Monday, September 30, 2013
''Suffering is part of the human condition, and it comes to us all. The key is how we react to it, either turning away from God in anger and bitterness or growing closer to Him in trust and confidence.''--Rev. Billy Graham
Suffering is only temporary for the believer and the eternal outcome is the hope that keeps them going. Even tho, suffering is not pleasant to see or experience, it does have purpose in His plan. Life is not fair or bliss filled all the time. Suffering builds our character and perseverance. Why do we think we should be exempt from suffering, when Jesus suffered for us all? As the verse above states, we can look forward to the coming day of no pain or sorrow.
''"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone... opens the door, I will come in and eat with him" (Rev 3:20). To believe, according to John's Gospel, is to receive (Jn 1:12), to receive what God has already done. His part is finished ("It is finished," he said on the cross). Our part is to receive that work and let it work itself out in and through our lives, including our tears. We offer it up to him, and he really takes it and uses it in ways so powerful that we would be flattened with wonder if we knew them now.''
Suffering is part of God's plan to show your need for Him, draw you closer to Him and let Him work through you to the hearts of others.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Well, it takes more than big ears to really hear things. Of course, we need the ability to hear but it also requires our undivided attention. We are so easily distracted that our concentration wavers at even the littlest of things. The noise of the world can deafen us so that we can't hear God's whispers or screams.
What if I wrote about the same thing every day in my blog and used the same picture, wouldn't you want something new and different? Some people say they don't need to go to church because they claim to have heard it all before. If that is true then they should be as close to 'perfect' as you can get but 'know it all' people are far from that. 'The eye is not satisfied with seeing, but is weary of seeing always the same sight, and covets novelty and variety. The ear is fond, at first, of a pleasant song or tune, but soon nauseates it, and must have another; both are surfeited, but neither satiated, and what was most grateful becomes ungrateful.'
Romans 10:17 'Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.'' When we hear the gospel, we should be convicted in our hearts. Just as we develop in our lives from child to adult, our faith builds the more we hear, learn and put into action the message of Christ.
'To truly hear, you must quiet the mind'. Have you ever said, 'I can't even hear myself think?' Tune out the world and find your own quiet space to have a heart to heart with God.
Friday, September 27, 2013
He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known. - Proverbs 10:9
Integrity is best......
--Even when it makes parts of life harder
-- Even when it allows others an unfair advantage
--Even when it requires uncomfortable conversations
--Even when it exposes my weaknesses
--Even if it means I won't fit in
--Even when no one else will know the difference
--Even when it requires me to treat others better than they've treated me
Integrity is all about doing the right thing, even when no one is looking, caring or interested. 'Integrity is a heart issue and a spiritual habit.' 'Building a reputation of integrity takes years, but it takes only a second to lose, so never allow yourself to ever do anything that would damage your integrity.'
The 'ends do not justify the means' no matter how much the world tells you that it does. 'A word of advice to those who are striving for a reputation of integrity: Avoid those who are not trustworthy.' Choose your friends wisely because you will be judged by who you keep company with. 'When you lie down with dogs you get fleas.'
Success without integrity is failure. 'Do what is right and let the consequence follow.'
Thursday, September 26, 2013
As a catepillar turns into a butterfly, we too can be transformed into a new creation in Christ when we surrender our will to His. My devotional yesterday talked about how personal renewal can benefit our lives. Let me share this with you.
Personal renewal brings New Determination, New Direction, New Dependence, New Desire, New Devotion, and a New Dedication. Where can we find an example of this in the Bible? ''When famine came to Bethlehem, Naomi, her husband, and their two sons fled and settled in Moab. In due time, her sons married Moabite women. The Moabites were a race that was born in incest and a people who observed a false religion that was the antithesis to their Jewish heritage. Later, Naomi’s husband died, as did her sons. Left with her two daughters-in-law, Naomi, upon hearing that there was now bread in Bethlehem, set her face like a flint to return to the will of God for her life. She encouraged the two women to go back to their people and to their gods. Orpah kissed Naomi and went back. The other, Ruth, clung to Naomi, saying, “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” These now familiar words constitute the formula for us when new things come and we cling to Christ in such a manner. When personal renewal comes to our own heart, it brings several new things.'' [biblegateway.com]
So many people are looking for newness in their lives, just look at all the self-help books on the market in your local bookstore. When you decide to believe in Christ, your life should be dedicated and devoted to Him, like Ruth was to Naomi.
I encourage everyone to read the book, 'Not a Fan' to understand the difference in being a fan of Jesus versus a follower of His.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Job 7; 17-19 ''What is mankind that you make so much of them, that you give them so much attention, that you examine them every morning and test them every moment? Will you never look away from me, or let me alone even for an instant?''
We feel lost and alone when we depend on ourselves for answers, direction and comfort. Who hasn't said, 'Just leave me alone' at some point. The walls we build up can often block out the very help we need at the moment.
You are never alone, never forsaken, and never forgotten... God always knows where you are and how you are. No, He won't look away from you even for an instant. Job didn't understand that despite all of his strife that God was looking after him at all times.
'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.' Sometimes it's hard to see the good in the journey when we aren't sure of the plan He has in mind. Heaven tho is not just about the destination but the journey and the relationship built with Him during it.
When I was 13, my parents took me on a drive but wouldn't tell me where we were going. Yes, I've always wanted to know what Point A and Point B are on a trip and the route we are taking. I had to just trust them in that they knew what they were doing and the best way to get there. They didn't need my help but just to follow along in the ride. It turned out better than I expected....Magic Springs. Isn't that how we should trust and obey in God's leading of our lives? I bet the destination is better than we expect too.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Oh the heat of the moment! It is often the devil's playground. Haven't we all let our mouths run wild and say hurtful things in that moment? It could be from the stress of the situation, the worry in our minds, or just the blame game in action. Just because we know later that we didn't mean what we said, we also need to tell the person we said it to that it was wrong. Hurtful words can be replayed over and over in the mind, therefore deepening the wound in the heart.
Proverbs 21; 23 ''Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.''
Matthew 6:14-15 ''For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
May we all bridle our tongues, even in the moments when it's so hard to hold back. A point to ponder.. 'I would rather sit in silence for days than let my hurtful words echo on in someone's heart forever.'
Monday, September 23, 2013
Philippians 1:6 ''Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.''
If you're like me, there are some people that you 'think' are never going to change and are beyond hope. Well that kind of thinking comes from our own arrogance that we have in our own efforts to be more than a seed planter of the gospel. ''When we get to heaven, we will find out how little we actually had to do with our salvation and how true our verse today is--“He who has begun a good work in you.” Salvation is, from start to finish, from first to last, the work of God Himself in us. He sought us. He found us. He began the good work in us. He keeps us. And one day He will present us faultless before His Father’s throne. After all, it was the shepherd himself who went after the one lost sheep until he found it, and then he carried it on his shoulders safely back to the fold, rejoicing all the while (Luke 15:1– 7).''
'For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God'. Did you catch that? ALL and no one since the fall of Adam is excluded, not me or you, from sin.
'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.' He gave His Son because He loved all of us in this world, even before we knew Him.
'For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”' There are no exclusions. No one is beyond the reach of Christ's calling.
Jesus Loves Me.....lyrics
Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.
Jesus loves me! This I know,
As He loved so long ago,
Taking children on His knee,
Saying, “Let them come to Me.”
Jesus loves me still today,
Walking with me on my way,
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.
Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.
Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for Thee.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
'I found loveliness today, down along life's broad highway-
Saw its beauty in the trees, heard it whisper in the breeze...
Beauty within pastures green, next in clouds of silvery sheen,
Golden glow at break of day, joy in children at their play,
Scented odor of wild rose; peace I found where violet grows-
All along life's broad highway, I found loveliness today.
Carleton Everett Knox
I hope that as you enjoy today's gorgeous weather, that you recognize the One it came from. No, it didn't just happen by accident. We are surrounded by God's love thru all the created things around us.
Psalm 27;4 ''One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.'' We often say on beautiful days like this, 'I wish it could be like this all the time.' Well the truth of it is, that it can be. You can see God's beauty shining through in different ways every day of the year. Take the negative blinders off your eyes and see the countless blessings of God's love. Dwell in it, Gaze on it, Seek Him in it, and Thank Him for it all.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Yes, when you look at the sheep in the caption above, you should see yourself. How is that? The Bible has many references to sheep because of how we need to be led by our Shepherd. Sheep are dumb, directionless and defenseless.
We are dumb when we try to do things our way based on our own thinking. The Bible clearly states 'do not lean on your own understanding.' Psalm 94:8 ''Take notice, you senseless ones among the people; you fools, when will you become wise?'''
'So many men and women go through life without any real sense of direction, void of any perceived purpose. Many simply exist and have never learned how to live because, like sheep, they have no sense of direction in life.'
We are defenseless but we don't grasp the reality until we are truly humbled. Only when we are broken and God is all we have is when we realize we have all we need.
'There is no clearer explanation of what transpired on the cross of Calvary than in these words of Isaiah 53:6. On the cross the Lord Jesus took our sin in His own body, bearing the wrath of God’s punishment that we deserved. He suffered the hurt, the humiliation of our sin, the agony and the death we deserved to die. He died our death so that we could live His life. He took our sin so that we could take His righteousness. Not only was His death on the cross voluntary, but it was vicarious. He died in my place and yours. What a Savior!' [biblegateway.com]
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Motivation to get things done should come from within yourself. Our minds can often be our biggest obstacle. We can make excuses faster than the speed of light. We often put doubt in the place of confidence.
'Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.' Nobody in my life said 'you are going to go to college and get a job.' Those were my desires and expectations to meet my own personal standard. Your life is your road to walk and nobody can do it for you.
'Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes but they don't quit.' Success comes with trying, failure comes when you quit trying
If you tried, you could probably count all your problems but could you ever truly count all your blessings? I think it's too infinite of a task. Count the ones you can, but know once again how short we fall.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
I've started a new 10 day devotional on the '10 Bible verses everyone should know.' John 3;16 is probably the most quoted verse of the Bible. 'It is the gospel in one verse. It reveals to us salvation’s cause, its cost, its condition, and its consequence.'
Love is a God thing. He loved us while we were still sinners. We love because He first loved us. His love is unconditional, while ours is prone to leave. There is no greater love to seek and find than God's love for you.
Love God passionately, thoughtfully and practically.
For God . . . the greatest Lover
so loved . . . the greatest degree
the world . . . the greatest company that
He gave . . . the greatest act
His only begotten Son . . . the greatest gift
that whoever . . . the greatest opportunity
believes . . . the greatest simplicity
in Him . . . the greatest attraction
should not perish . . . the greatest promise
but . . . the greatest difference
have . . . the greatest certainty
everlasting life . . . the greatest possession
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Satan’s objectives: [intouch.org]
1. To draw us away from God through both direct and subtle means.
2. To thwart God’s purpose in our lives by getting us out of our Father’s will.
3. To deny God His rightful glory and honor, which results from our choosing to live obedient lives.
4. To destroy us in this world.
John 8:44 ''You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.''
1 John 4:1-4 ''Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.''
Many are tempted to believe what they want to hear and are falsely led down the wrong path. 'Faulty thinking leads to disobedient behavior, which impedes God’s purposes for us. Erroneous ideas produce vulnerabilities like worry or fearfulness, which Satan can exploit to hinder our spiritual progress.' In the verse above, it says 'test the spirits to see whether they are from God.' In other words, don't believe everything you hear. What is the test? Test it with Scripture only. Don't trust in the person who said it, don't be persuaded by propaganda and don't rely on your own understanding.
I was looking for information yesterday for my blog and ran across a verse but I didn't recognize the book of the Bible it came from. The verse sounded good but when I saw that it was from the book of Mormon I knew it was man made, not God breathed scripture. No wonder I didn't know the book it came from.
Use discernment to know what is true and what is false in every aspect of your life.
Monday, September 16, 2013
If you looked in the Bible, could you find examples of what you were today? Giving, humble, gentle, slow to anger..... and the list goes on and on. We are to the world what it sees and hears of us. Is that the example you are striving for?
'Kindness to others, helping others, loving yourself, no judgments about other people, no gossip, and everything coming from love not fear. As you learn this in your own life and apply it, those around you won't need you to speak a word.'
At some point, you may be questioned about what makes your life different. How can you handle difficult times with peace? How can you trust in what's to come? How can you think of others before yourself? Be ready and willing to share the Good News with those who have seen the Light in your daily walk with Christ.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
'Staying quiet doesn't mean I have nothing to say, it means I don't think you're ready to hear my thoughts.' Who's with me on this one?
Oh my goodness, I sometimes think my mind has a mind of it's own. It's either on non-stop mode, critical mode, repeat it mode or daydream mode when I wish I could shake it all out. They say sin always starts in the mind and I believe that to be true. The devil can only tempt us but we make the choice to act on it. 'Thou shalt not murder' includes not only the physical act but also your hateful thoughts.
Philippians 4:8 ''Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.''
'Defeat bad thoughts by replacing them with something better.' Yes, subtract the negative and add the positive.
Friday, September 13, 2013
Are you ready for it? The weather forecast for tonight's low is 52. I say 'aghh' while others say 'ahh'. That's okay, I'm prepared as I leave my electric blanket on my bed year-round. Yes, and my electric heaters will come out of hiding soon enough for my showers.
I believe in being prepared for what I know is to come. Are you prepared not just for winter with a stockpile of firewood, but more importantly... are you prepared to meet your Maker? 'Every knee shall bow before Him.' Our lives in eternity will be to truly hail the One who deserves all the glory.
Phillipians 2;9-11 ''Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.'' All in creation is subject and under the authority of Jesus. Romans 14;11-12 '' It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.'' If that sounds scary to you, then I suggest you start getting prepared. Not defensively, but with the blessed assurance of being saved by grace thru Jesus Christ.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Although I don't wish hard times for people, I do wish that someday you'll realize the three things above for yourself... men or women. I have learned these things and it has made my faith stronger.
'Stronger' through weakness. I think of things in the past that have truly tested me in all areas of my life and can say I was strong enough to withstand it. Your struggles do shape you and build you for the road ahead.
'Closer' was of my own choosing. Jesus was always there with me and any distance between us was my fault. 'Yes, through it all I've learned to trust in Jesus.....and depend upon His Word.'
'Loved' beyond measure. If love is a light, then I'm always on a spotlight. I'm surrounded daily with family and friends that love me for me, not for what I can do for them.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Seasons change and 'its a God thing'. Daniel 2:21 ''He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.'' No man can change the weather or the seasons... no matter their position, their knowledge or how hard he tries. It may not feel like autumn is here when you step outside today, but if you step into my room you can get into a 'fall' mood. Karla, my parents and I changed the decor in my room from summer frogs to fall scarecrows yesterday.
Here are a few pictures below.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Do you ever wonder if God uses such hot days as today to make us rest a little more and give us more time with Him? I will gladly take a hot day over a sick day to do just that. As this caption points out, 'just take a minute' to slow down and count all your blessings.
How often do we miss what is right in front of us because we are in too big of a rush? The beauty of the Lord surrounds us everyday and even shouts 'look at me' by all of God's creations. I hadn't spoken directly to my lil 4yr old friend who was over the other day and she said 'Angie, didn't you see me?' I think God probably has the same question of us when we don't acknowledge Him in our daily lives.
May we seek Him, acknowledge Him and glorify Him as we rest in His gracious goodness everyday.
Monday, September 9, 2013
It doesn't matter if you made it, built it, bought it, earned it, or stockpiled it in this life, you cannot take it with you when you die. I think this is a problem for all ages. Young people want the coolest, newest things for themselves before thinking of others, and that's 'if' they think past themselves. Older people are often penny pinchers to a fault by not wanting to spend money to enjoy life or to take care of themselves with a caregiver.
What you can take with you are the treasures you've built up in heaven. Matthew 6;19-21 ''Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.''
'Worldly-mindedness is as common and as fatal a symptom of hypocrisy as any other, for by no sin can Satan have a surer and faster hold of the soul.' Satan wants us to believe that this life is the end so we are led by the lie to get all you can out of this life and disregard the consequences. God says believe in Me and promises eternal life. John 3;16 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.' God doesn't love this world, nor should we, but He loves us in this world.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
My cousin, Jamie, and I grew up together and are the closest of all the cousins. I am two years older but that didn't matter back then or now. We both have a great sense of humor but he is the best joke teller I know. He can always make me laugh.
He and his wife, Janet, came by to see me this afternoon. We shared stories of both past and present. It is funny to hear stories of what others remember of the past. He said he could not hear the song 'Abracadabra' by the Steve Miller band without thinking of me. He said when we were about 6 and 8yrs old that we were listening to the radio on my boom box. He had never seen a boombox and thought 'I gota get one of those.' As we were listening, I said 'if Abracadabra comes on I might just go crazy.' I probably scared the lil guy because he said today 'he didn't know what that meant' and he thought 'Im going to feel that way in 2yrs.' Haha...this makes me laugh and it totally sounds like us.
Thanks for the memory Jamie and all of our good times together.
Friday, September 6, 2013
Do you agree? We are all guilty of comparing ourselves with others and coveting their strong attributes. If you believe that God makes no mistakes, then that includes you. You were made with a divine purpose in mind.
As much as we want to hide our weaknesses, they are there to build our character. 'Men with good intentions make promises, but men with good character keep them.'
Romans 5:3-5 "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. "
I know personally that I would not be who I am today without my present and past sufferings. 'Character cannot be developed in quiet and ease. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved.'-Helen Keller
What's one man's junk is another man's treasure but to God we are all his precious treasures.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
My mom made chicken and dressing the other day and some might say 'it's not Thanksgiving yet.' That's silly to wait for a certain day to enjoy food that you can love any day of the year. Just the same, we shouldn't wait for a certain day to 'give thanks' for all of the blessings of the year.
Traditions can be both good and bad. Some are just fun and can bring a family together with memories of past years. Some can just be a ritual with nothing but routine habit in it.
What about traditions related to church? Are your beliefs your own or were you just raised that way and you've put no thought into it? Is going to church on Sunday 'just what we do' or do you look forward to it? Does the church service seem set in stone with it's unaltering pattern?
May you see the difference in what is routine and habit-driven in your life and change it to include heartfelt joy and anticipation of your own.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Well if you're reading this then that means you woke up today and that's 'a God thing'. There are many people in this world who did not. You have been given another day of life. Did you give thanks for that today? Are you rejoicing and glad for it?
Today God gives you a new opportunity to praise Him. Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Today God provides for you and wants your trust. “Give us day by day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3).
Today God wants to speak to you through His Word. The believers at Berea “searched the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11).
Today God desires to renew your inner person. “The inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16).
May the Lord direct your path today and you faithfully follow His leading. God does lead His dear children along.. 'some thru the waters, some thru the flood, some thru the fire but all thru the Blood.'
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Where is your Bible right now? Do you even know? D.L. Moody said, 'The Bible was not given to us to increase our knowledge but to change lives.' Has it changed yours?
We must not just read or hear the Word but be doers of it for it to change our lives. We must give it the authority it deserves over our lives. Does culture, peer pressure or tradition interfere with that authority?'
Matthew 7;24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.''
I know nobody likes to read an instruction manual before we try it our own way but the Bible is not just our guide but our Daily Bread.
Monday, September 2, 2013
So, I turned 42 today. How can that be? I don't know and I don't know how to act my age because I've never been this old before. What is 42 supposed to feel like?
42 to me feels... blessed, more assured in everything, filled with more mature thinking, driven with purpose, secure in my future, full of thankfulness, simpler than the past, and surrounded by generous family and friends.
Just as our days are fleeting, so too goes the energy level. The heart is willing but the body requires more rest and recuperation time as we get older. I'm a good example of this but time management can help me to make the most of my days.
Thank you to each and every one of you who have made my birthday special. 42 is off to a great start.
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Well, unlike Woodstock I'm choosing to relax this afternoon inside with the air conditioning on. Sundays are not meant to be lazy but rather still enough to be more focused on the Lord. Maybe a time to reflect on what God has done in your life over the past week. Maybe a time to think about what you can do for others over the upcoming week. Maybe just a time to bask in God's good grace to you.
Psalm 62;5 ''Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.''
Deuteronomy 5;12 ''“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God.''
Even if you are doing some laborious tasks on this Labor Day weekend, do it as if unto the Lord. May your Sunday be more and more like 'Sonday.'