Stop and Give Thanks

1209407_15765517I’ve had a very busy week with all sorts of activities. All of it is good, so I’m not complaining at all! It’s been a very rewarding week because I’ve learned a lot concerning a new career endeavor that I’m embarking on. That’s always good!  I also won a fabulous prize at a Trade Show I attended. What a surprise it was. Who wouldn’t want to win an iPad??  Being that I’ve been out of my regular routine this week, I’ve noticed how hard it is to spend time with the Lord. I’ve missed my quiet time. I really have. It’s so easy to not make the time when you are always involved in non-stop activity. Some people live a non-stop lifestyle that’s always full throttle ahead. How do they keep the love light of the Savior burning within? I wanted to be a reminder for everyone that has a particular busy life to “remember” to spend time with the Lord. Keep the lines of communication open with him and let him know how grateful you are for all that he does for you. Stop and give him thanks today.

 

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

Psalm 46:10a

What’s It All About?

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Have you ever found yourself wondering what life is all about? All the work that becomes repetitious, the chores, errands and responsibilities that continue day in and day out can sometimes make us feel like it’s pointless to even try to get caught up! I think it’s safe to say we’ve all felt like this from time to time. How could you not? When you’re changing a diaper that marks your 500th, I’d wager you’re not feeling excitement. Or when you’re making the bed for the two thousandth time, it’s not really an event your likely to remember as special is it? I hate to admit it, but when we feel like this it’s really because we’re being selfish. Selfish in how we view our time. We feel our time is being wasted on a menial task. We get bored with the mundane day to day activities and long for something greater to fill our days. We have a desire to experience and be involved in something that will make a difference, something to be remembered for. The problem with all of these desires and feelings is we’re focused on ourselves. We need to refocus on the bigger scheme of things. Like Christ and what He wants us to do. What is Jesus asking you to do today? Maybe, just maybe changing diapers and making beds is what he’s asking you to do? How radical! When we take care of others needs we become his hands and feet to those that are needing help, help with things they can’t do on their own. When we serve our families needs we become Jesus to them. And Jesus didn’t grumble and complain! Even while facing death on the cross. Ouch! That hurt a bit as I typed it. If you or I had ever had a privilege taken away from us, such as the ability to make our beds or cook our food, we would joyously do these things again. So many people can’t take care of menial tasks without help. The thing is, life isn’t about all our wants and our needs. Life is about Christ. I think this scripture says it all:

 

“Everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him.” Colossians 1:16b

 

The Christian Life: It May Not Be What You Think

holdWhen I was a new Christian, I had the common misconception that once I accepted Christ as my Savior all would be well. All my problems would be a thing of the past. Life would be smooth sailing from here on out. You see, I had a distorted perspective of what Gods blessings are and what my purpose is. It didn’t take long before God revealed Himself to me and straightened out my flawed thinking. I learned that my comfort and desires were not the most important thing in life. I had thought of my life as just that- “my life”, but my life is more than that, it’s Jesus’s life. My physical discomfort, the trials, the areas of weakness and my heartaches are that what drive me to God, keeping me close by.  All these things are a witness to others, and as they see me, hopefully they will see Christ in me as well.  In this way, a lost world can be reached for God’s kingdom. As others see God provide strength and comfort and grace in my life, it is a testament to His faithfulness. When something great is done and I’m involved, it is despite my flaws and a testament to Gods power and glory. It’s easy to want to give up when life gets tough, but if I remember that my life isn’t all about me I can be strong and on fire for God. God is also using your situation to reach, teach, comfort and glorify Himself to you and those in your area of influence. Don’t lose heart when things get tough. Just know that it matters in Gods kingdom work. And he loves you enough to keep you close to his heart.

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Light of Jesus

I so enjoyed this blog post from Spirit Ministries that I wanted to share it with you my readers. Enjoy!

S.P.I.R.I.T Ministries

A friend of mine sent me this devotion the other day while I was at work. I thought to myself, God knows exactly what we need before we do. It was hot, my spirit was yearning for a drink of water. Just as I sat down to take a ten minute break, my phone began to go off. I jumped up, grabbed the phone which revealed this message to me.

“While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Jesus in John 9:5. Jesus Christ was the Truth which illuminated the darkness of the misunderstanding of the world. As the disciples lived with Jesus, the light of the world cast His brightness and dispelled the doubts and fears and confusion of their minds. The light of Jesus’ love infused their emotions. His light brought brightness to their relationships with others. As long as the apostles…

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Are You Feeling Unlucky? Consider This

834640_88057651Are you feeling unlucky? I touched on the topic of luck and its role in the life of a believer in my post “Good Luck, No God Bless.” As I wrote that post I reflected on what lucky means for Christians. I’d written that post before I’d started reading a wonderful book that really got me thinking deeper about luck and how we view those that are considered lucky in our society. Given the trials I’ve endured over the past two years, some people would probably say that I’m unlucky. Heck, if I were on the outside looking in at my own life I’d most likely surmise that I’d been unlucky as well. It easy to feel that way, when you get one blow after another you can come to the conclusion that you’re gonna be knocked out of the fight. Not a lucky feeling. Not only that, you may feel like the last person or the most unlikely person that God would ever use. But we of the faith need to redefine what luck really is, in light of eternity. Even as I type this, I’m well aware that it’s easy for me to say this because I’m enjoying my life. I’ve had a lot of trials true and I still have some residing issues, but I’m able to do all I want. I have a very good life. If the residual vertigo problems I have continue, even throughout the rest of my life, I am fortunate as compared to some. Fortunate in this lifetime. So what makes someone unlucky? Am I unlucky?1013752_95503215 If I were confined to a wheelchair it would be much harder than to simply deal with feeling bad on occasion. So am I luckier than someone with greater limitations? Maybe in this life I am, but our luck is found in what’s to come and the comfort that has already come. The comfort of Christ living in us, is a reminder of that which will be, when the kingdom of God will rule on the earth in its fullness. Even if our lives are not what we had anticipated, we that have put our hope in Jesus are lucky. For it’s we who will inherit eternal life and that far surpasses any temporary earthly pleasures this life can offer. We also have comfort that comes from God. Those that feel lucky in this life are the ones that are really unlucky, because they haven’t felt their need of a Savior. Therefore they do not have what Christ has given us. They only have their self sufficiency.1176741_68006109.Revelation 3:17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. The people who feel self-sufficient and not in need are the unlucky ones. Radical huh? The book I’m reading challenged me to think differently about those that are considered lucky and unlucky in our society.

“Lucky: How the Kingdom Comes To Unlikely People” by Glenn Packiam. Highly recommended. As a side note Mr. Packiam is the writer of a well-known praise and worship song titled “Your Name”.

Here’s an excerpt from his book.

Victory has started to unfold. Comfort is coming. Indeed it has come. Imagine that a man takes you to a junkyard covered with rusted metal and decomposing parts, littered with paper bags and used up cups. Imagine that he tells you that this very ground will be a beautiful garden. “No way,” you say. “This place is covered with trash and refuse. This is a junkyard, not a garden.” “True,” the man says. “it is a junkyard now. But I just bought it and will make it a garden. In fact, I’ve already started my work.”

“What?” you say. “It looks the same as it did last week. How is anything different?” The many gently replies, “I have already planted some flowers.” “Where>” you ask. “I don’t see anything.” But its work is beneath the soil. Suddenly he points to a green shoot breaking through the earth. “Look! There it is. I planted that recently. There is a small sign of what is coming.”

The Wrestling Match

862415_58406763Job did it, Jacob did it, Jonah did it and we do it. Many, if not all of the people in the Bible have wrestled with God’s will. Job wanted to die, but God didn’t take him. Jacob wanted to rule, but God showed Jacob he was in charge. Jonah wanted to hate, but God said to love. We want our way and we don’t always get it. We don’t always like that which God allows or asks of us. What mother of a sick child delights in their child’s sickness? Who asks for declining health or loss of employment? These events can come upon us like a whirlwind. Can’t wait to talk to Job about his whirlwind one day. What about the unforeseen accident that renders you helpless or lifeless? The out of nowhere pink slip that leaves you wondering “where did I mess up?” Why do we react so strongly against what God is allowing in our lives? Why do we wrestle with what we know God is telling or asking us to do?

Fear, plain and simple. The all to familiar feeling that makes you sweat and hits you right in the gut. We fear that God is making a mistake. We’re afraid that we can’t handle or cope with what He’s allowed in our lives. We fear the process of change because we don’t like to hurt and change usually hurts. It’s just not easy. When we’re asked to change we have to move from familiarity to faith, as we tally up the costs we may determine we just can’t pay the price. It’s too high. “You’re asking me to go, do and accept what?” Fill in the blank. What comes to your mind? Besides the fear, we just like to have things our way. Life isn’t like a burger joint, where you decide you don’t want pickles and they’re instantly removed. No pickles for you or you just won’t buy that burger. Wrong! We don’t always get to pick and choose what happens to us. We struggle against the thought of having to eat pickles, because after all you’ve never liked pickles and it’s just ruining your burger. Enough about pickles. I actually like them, but you get my point. We want to stay wrapped up in our own cocoon of comfort. The cocoon of safety and familiarity will become a prison if we stay there too long. It will keep us from evolving from a caterpillar to a glorious butterfly. The fact is our life is like the weather. As they say in Tennessee “stick around long enough and it will change.” Did you catch that? I’ll repeat it, because I need to hear this myself. Your life is like the weather, stick around long enough and it will change. Oh, there are some things that never change. God never changes. The rising and setting of the sun never changes. The flow of the tide hasn’t changed and the fact of aging and death still eventually affect us all. Life though is mostly ever-changing. Even the skin cells on your body regenerate constantly. Even though God does not change, He’s in the changing business. In fact I believe He likes it. God’s all about change, changing us. Henry Blackaby stated in his book Experiencing God,  “You can’t stay the way you are and go with God.” We are called to change. God delights in our changing. We can’t be set free until we go through the process of releasing that which binds us. We can’t experience a renewed mind unless we go through the renewing process of replacing old thoughts, with new ones and that involves change. Change doesn’t happen overnight, so if we’re gonna serve a God that loves change we’ve got to be willing to accept change ourselves. Even when our heart is crying out, “No, no, no!” It’s not supposed to be this way. Who are we to question God? We are to submit our requests to Him, going confidently before the throne, I’ll be praying right along with you, but pray mostly for God’s will and your heart to be in agreement with His.

Our Pastor recently addressed a group of us at my church about an upcoming change that seemed to come about rather suddenly. Our “whirlwind”. He alluded to the fact that we have a false sense of control in our lives and it’s so true. We make our plans as if we by the making of them can override God’s. Sometimes things will go our way and we will be healed or be blessed in some way but,often times we won’t get what we ask for. Or if we do get an answer it’s different from what we had expected. We’re only kidding ourselves if we think we have control of our lives. We can’t even will our next breath. As painstaking as it is at times we need to let go and let God! If we don’t we may end up like Jonah, in the belly of a fish! We don’t have to like all that God allows. God understands our hurts and He feels them as well. We need to know that despite the pain we are we are growing. Our growing pains will mature us to be more Christlike. God in His infinite wisdom knows what’s best. Trusting Him and believing in faith that He is in control and truly loves us will bring our hearts to peace and then we will step away from the wrestling match of our will against God’s. God’s guidance and providence is stronger than we are and the sooner we realize that the better off we’ll be.

How To Be Free From Sin’s Grasp

credited to Ramiz Hashisho stock.xchng

“If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32

What type of freedom is this scripture from the book of John alluding to?  What is this passage telling me? I decided to dig deeper today and do a study on this passage.The  word continue will be my starting point. Continue in its original Greek form is meno.

  1. to remain, abide
    1. in reference to place
      1. to sojourn, tarry
      2. not to depart 1a
    2. to continue to be present 1a
    3. to be held, kept, continually *
    4. in reference to time
      1. to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure 1b
    5. of persons, to survive, live
    6. in reference to state or condition
      1. to remain as one, not to become another or different
  2. to wait for, await one

* I especially like that remaining is to be held or kept continually.

On to the next interesting word. How about truth. What does it mean here in the original Greek form? The word truth in this passage is translated as aletheia.

  1. objectively
    1. what is true in any matter under consideration
      1. truly, in truth, according to truth
      2. of a truth, in reality, in fact, certainly
    2. what is true in things appertaining to God and the duties of man, moral and religious truth
      1. in the greatest latitude
      2. the true notions of God which are open to human reason without his supernatural intervention
    3. the truth as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man, opposing alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians
  1. subjectively
    1. truth as a personal excellence
      1. that candour of mind which is free from affection, pretence, simulation, falsehood, deceit

On to the next important word free. The word free translated is eleutheroo.

1. to make free .

2. set at liberty; from the dominion of sin.

I see that the word free means set at liberty from the dominion of sin. Let’s look further into the word dominion. What does the word dominion mean? From Webster’s online dictionary.

1: domain

2: supreme authority: sovereignty

3 plural: an order of angels- see celestial hierarchy
often capitalized : a self-governing nation of the Commonwealth of Nations other than the United Kingdom that acknowledges the British monarch as chief of state
5 absolute ownership
What a scary thought. That sin could have absolute ownership of us!
 
So here’s my take on this verse:
If I continue (meno) in God’s word by keeping it in my heart, abiding in it daily and not departing from it and allowing it to transform me into Christ’s image, I am His disciple. I will then know the truth (aletheia). My knowing the truth (aletheia) in things pertaining to God will result in my freedom (eleutheroo) from the dominion of sin. My knowledge of things pertaining to God will give me victory over the bondage of sin.credited to Anton Belovodchenko at stock.xchng.com
One thing I must point out here is the work of the Holy Spirit. Upon conversion, when a person accepts Christ as their Lord and Savior the Holy Spirit then indwells them. By God’s grace He gives us the Holy Spirit to teach us all things pertaining to Himself. We could never understand scripture if it weren’t for the gift of the Holy Spirit. So it’s through the Holy Spirit that we can continue and abide in God’s word and therefore know the truth, which in turn releases us from the bondage of sin. It’s all because of God’s grace.

Happiness or Joy- Which Would You Choose?

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Have you heard about the “Happiness Revolution”? It’s a hot topic, for sure! Just browse any book store and you’ll see countless shelves filled with the topic of happiness, how to attain it, attract it, keep it and develop it. There are even television shows about happiness. Just Google “happiness” and see what you find. I did as I was thinking about writing this post today. Happiness is  apparently on everyone’s mind. So what does the Bible say about happiness? Here’s one passage on blessedness, which to my understanding would mean happiness.

Psalm 1:1-2 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take  or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,  and who meditates on his law day and night.

Here, we’re told some of the things to avoid doing and some things we should do that will make us blessed or happy.

  • not walking in the counsel of the ungodly.
  • not standing in the path of sinners.
  • not sitting in the seat of the scornful.
  • delighting in the law of the Lord.
  • meditating on God’s law day and night.

Here’s a scripture on joy

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.” Psalm 34:51386581_51264205

Experiencing joy is different from happiness. Joy is an internal feeling that isn’t based on any external happening.  In other words, you may be experiencing a difficult situation such as; financial pressure, physical ailments or grief, yet you have joy because  joy is an internal feeling and not related to the outer happenings or circumstances that you may find yourself in. If given the choice between joy or happiness, joy wins hands down. Trials will come, but joy will see you through.

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What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God yet always wanting Him.” ~ A. W. Tozer

Clearing The Way To Know God’s Will

1341750_91353374Being in God’s will is a very popular topic of study for a lot of Christians. We all want to be where God wants us to be don’t we? I know  I wrestled with the will issue a lot as a new Christian. I remember struggling internally over different situations, not knowing which course to choose, fearful that I would somehow miss God’s will. Part of my problem was, I’d made so many wrong choices when I was living apart from God, that I felt unsure of myself.  Myself is the key word here.  I was depending more  on myself than on God to lead me. I had to learn to trust that God would guide me and that I didn’t need to depend on myself, to choose the right course of action. Nowadays when I’m praying about a situation or decision, I’ve come to know that God will indeed guide me. The main thing I need to do is, not jump back into the seat of authority. I hope these guide lines help you to hear God more clearly.

  1. Pray that you can discern what the Holy Spirit is telling you..
  2. Ask for God to reveal anything within your spirit that may lead you astray. (Example: sin, selfish gain or greed)
  3. Check to see if the situation is addressed in scripture.
  4. Test the answer against God’s word. It shouldn’t contradict.
  5. Seek out godly advice. Is the person you’re going to for advice consistently following and living a life for Christ?
  6. Ask for prayer
  7.  Make sure you are at peace. You may feel slightly nervous if God is asking you to step into something different, but peace will over-ride any nervousness you may have.

Sometimes it takes a while before you get an answer. The best thing to do it that situation is wait. 

A great bible study that I highly recommend is Experiencing God, Knowing and Doing the Will of God, by Henry Blackaby.

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God’s Love Is Overwhelming

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAOnce again, I find myself inspired to write about love- that feel good feeling we’ve all experienced. Love, the prime motivator that has spurred many a writer to write, be it stories, poems or songs throughout history. Love’s a powerful feeling isn’t it? Sometimes love can be so powerful that we feel overcome by it, as if it’s engulfing our very being, filling us so full, that we cannot contain it! Ever felt like that? Usually when we feel like that it’s because we’ve just fallen head over heals for someone. Most of us seasoned love birds, that have been married a while, we don’t feel so overwhelmed by our love. As our marriage grows so does commitment and familiarity. Even still, love is extremely powerful, just ask a grieving widow or widower.

People are changeable and along with that comes the unfortunate problem of broken relationships, some of which result in divorce. God however never changes. Gods love is the purest form of love and it’s consistent, it’s not based on anything we’ve done or will do. God’s love is unconditional and that’s overwhelming! The fact that God loves us despite ourselves is incredible. I’ve never been loved that purely in my life, and I don’t think I ever will be, but for the love God has so mercifully shown me. You see He’s fallen head over heels in love with me and you! Not only does God love us with extreme love, it’s also an everlasting love. We get the best of the best from God, His commitment and His passion. We then are able to love others only because God himself loved us first. God is the very embodiment of love! It’s hard to fathom, but true.We only experience love, but God IS love! Don’t believe me? Check out these scriptures-1390217_65415655

1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.

Eph 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:9-11 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us,we also ought to love one another.

Eph 3:16-21 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.