Tuesday, August 31, 2010

~ "...and I do it too!!!"

Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. (Rom 7:20)

Confused? I know I was the first time I read that verse! I had to re-read it three times slowly!

The closer you are to Jesus, the easier it is to know your sins. They haunt you. They eat at you. They continue to push you towards acknowledgement and when Jesus has a hold of your heart, it is very difficult to walk away. And he always gives you enough time to realize it before it's too late!

We are all tempted. Even Jesus was tempted. Knowing that doesn't make it easier to resist, it just makes you feel like you're in good company. When we truly want to obey God, we struggle and fight to attain the grace which is promised to us by our maker. He does not fail us, we fail us! We all have free will to pick and choose right from wrong. Knowing what God expects from us is half of the battle. But what do we do when presented with a challenge that we cannot see ourselves coming through as God would have us come through it? How do we fight off the demon inside of us that wants what it wants? How do we not do what we don't want to do in our hearts?

We pray. We wait patiently on the Lord and he will deliver us. He will bring us to through to the other side. If we continue to want to walk in his ways, he will continue to guide us. Right now, today, I struggle with what is right in front of me. I have to take a deep breath and again ask for his grace and mercy and almighty hand to secure my steps. It's all too easy to fall.

We always think we know what we want, God knows what we need. He reminds me that I am his and he won't let me fall. Letting him guide me was probably the hardest decision I've ever made, and it continues to be the only decision that makes any sense in my life. If I let him lead, I won't get lost. If I let him choose for me, I won't be disappointed. Don't let the evil one in and don't let his temptations take hold of your heart. Let Jesus comfort you in your time of fear and let him hold you close and all that is not of God will fall away. Do right by him and you will understand his plan for you!

Monday, August 30, 2010

~ "Are you ready to go yet???"

The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. (Joel 2:31) (Acts 2:20)

What will we see when the Lord comes again? Depending on your beliefs and your perspective, some of us will see nothing! In Matthew 24:27 "For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man." Is that the "Rapture" we are told about? Will we be gone in the blink of an eye with a strike of lightening or will we be witnesses to the full glory of God? Will we watch in awe as the Son of Man descends upon the earth to reclaim what is rightfully his?

I don't really think it's going to matter. Once his eyes meet mine, I will be forever focused on him! The same holds true for our own physical death. We anticipate seeing our loved ones who have gone on before us. I believe that we will be so caught up by being in the presence of Jesus, that nothing else will matter - and if you think about it, who or what could possibly compare to that?

I anticipate that day, I live for that day, but I do not have any desire to bring it to fruition anything sooner than is his plan! I grieve when loved ones die, but I do not doubt that they are where I long to be! In the presence of God, with no distractions, no temptations, no pain, no torment, no regrets! When the King comes, will you be ready?

(photo by Celia Darrigo)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

~ "The Words I Would Say..."

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (Eph 6:10)

There is nothing greater than the power of God! His love for us outshines the brightest star and the strength we gain by walking in his ways puts us one step closer to our goal. But what happens when we have doubts about our choices in life, or second guess our decisions? How do we know for sure if we are walking on the path God has laid before us or if we are drifting slowly to the left or the right without even realizing it?

This verse (as well as today's worship video "The Words I Would Say" by Sidewalk Prophets) tells us that "God's got his hand on you, so don't live life in fear"... it's that simple! If we choose to live our lives for God, we can't be on the wrong path! He constantly reminds us that we are his and he will not leave our side. "But what about Satan", you may ask. God knows our weaknesses! He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear.

Each day we are given yet another opportunity to love and be loved. We are given another opportunity to let his light shine in our hearts and in our lives. Don't give up! He has great plans for you! Like the seagulls that walk the beaches and leave little peace signs on the sand, God leaves signs of peace in our hearts! "From one simple life to another ~ come, find peace in the Father!"

(photo by Celia Darrigo)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

~ "Blah, blah, blah..."

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. (Matt 6:7)

In my book I wrote about the prayers I learned as a child. I knew them well; I still know them: "After all, they were as just as much a part of me as my name and my ability to read and write." I don't pray those prayers any more.

Today when I pray - I talk to God. I talk to him as if I were talking to a friend at my kitchen table. I tell him what I think I need (he always knows better). I don't fill my prayers with "thee's and thou's"; I tell him like it is! I thank him immediately when he blesses me and yes, sometimes I get angry and shout at him. I laugh and I cry sometimes.

God knows everything in my heart (as he knows everything in yours). For me, today, it's about giving praise! Someday I may be able to just say "thank you, God, for everything" and leave it at that, knowing he knows my needs - but that hasn't happened yet. I still communicate my wants and desires as well as my needs. I still pray the "Lord's Prayer" (which in Matthew is 6:9-13) but only when I read that part of that gospel. My prayers are conversations with God. I can't sit in church and recite a script written by men over and over. I want to hear about God through the sermon, worship God through the music and praise God with my fellow Christians!

Today when something makes you smile, just say "Thank you, God". If you should encounter an unpleasant situation, again, just say "Thank you, God" (because your situation could be far worse than it actually is). If you need guidance - yes, just say "Thank you, God" -- he knows!

(photo by Celia Darrigo)

Friday, August 27, 2010

~ "What did you say???"

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. (James 3:13)

We are all held to a higher authority. What we say and do is constantly under the watchful eye of our father in heaven. He knows our every thought and action whether we are in a crowd or home alone in the dark.

Matthew Henry tell us that "true wisdom may be known by the meekness of the spirit and temper." Constantly screaming and shouting profanities at someone does not make them a very wise person...it leaves a lot of doubt in the person hearing it. We, as Christians, are the model of Christ. When people see us on the street, we need to be that same person we are on Sunday mornings at our worship service. The saying that actions speak louder than words is very true for us. Sure, we all have our "moments" - that's understandable - it's how we handle those moments that makes the difference.

We are all victims of our circumstances. We use words that we've grown up with, phrases we hear all the time. We are not perfect, but need to strive to be better than we are!

Our wisdom comes from our experiences. Our good deeds done in humility come from the knowledge of what it feels like to be in that situation. Let your wisdom guide your tongue today. Be a wise, understanding and humble Christian and let your words be soft and kind! It will make a difference in the way that people see you!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

~ "I can see for miles in the darkness..."

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Heb 11:1)

I know that God has a plan for me. How do I know? My faith! For me, its the same faith I have that the sun will rise every morning - I just know! Some days are a bit cloudy and dark, but it's always there. The same is true for God. He may not always give me what I want, but he knows my needs and will continue to provide for me. When his blessings do come, they are greater than anything I could possibly have imagined.

Jesus is human! He knows our hearts desires better than we do. In all that we do, he is there. He loves us and guides us and reminds us that he has paid the price for our sins (even the ones we have yet to commit). He knows our strengths and our weaknesses and loves us anyway! He knows our passions (especially those that are about HIS work) and continues to strengthen us as we defend his name. He will never let us down (even when we feel alone). It is our faith that forces us to continue to move forward and not return to the emptiness we felt before he claimed our hearts! It is our faith that causes us to take one more step when we are so tired and want to give up and give in.

Have that faith in what you hope for and it will become a reality. It's been promised!

(photo by Celia Darrigo)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

~ "Can you feel the love???:

Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. (Gal 3:23)

I realized something this morning (which was started with a comment made by Natalie Grant last night) ~ we've been taught the rites and ceremonies of religion, some of us, throughout our entire lives. We were prisoners of our regimented and regulated churches.

Christ's words in the Gospels are very simple. He tells us to love one another! We have allowed "teachers" of God's word to complicate and manipulate his word so much so that it becomes impossible for us to believe we will ever be able to accomplish anything. Love is the key to it all. We know that "by works alone" we will not enter the kingdom. We know that "no one comes to the Father except through Jesus". It is by grace that we are saved and through faith that we receive blessings.

If we could just love our fellow man as Christ did, we'd have no fears! Reaching out in a time of need is one thing, but to do it every day, all day - well, that's a different story. Our personalities get in the way, our likes and dislikes, our idiosyncrasies and our stubbornness all contribute to how we see, act and react to others.

Make an effort today to be a little kinder to someone that ruffles your feathers, induces that "nails down the blackboard" reaction in you, or just annoys you to no end! Leave your sarcasm by the side of the road and just allow yourself to love someone you dislike. You don't have to become their best friend, but just take a step back and allow Jesus to lead your heart in those instances where you want to just smack the snot out of someone! His way is the only way - let his love guide you today and every day!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

~ "Father, Again I Thank Heaven..."

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Heb 11:6)

What do you do after you've received the reward? It's so easy to just sit back and relax! Guess what? In order to keep receiving those rewards, you have to continue to seek him!

We all say that we will continue to follow Jesus no matter what. When he rewards us with blessings it is far too easy to become absorbed in the earthly particles and forget where we were last week. Once the pain is gone and we are no longer suffering, we need to remember to continually thank him for that feeling as well. We can't allow ourselves to be drawn away from our routine and habits of praise and thanks for all he's given us. Once we do that, we start back down a path that can only lead to personal disaster.

Make a promise to yourself and to God today: "No matter what comes along, be it good or bad, I will continue to praise you and worship you in my usual way. You are my God and my provider and I am grateful for all that you have given me." Let your FAITH be the prayer...

photo by Celia Darrigo

Monday, August 23, 2010

~ "Which way do I go???"

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. (Heb 11:8)

So many times we have no idea where the Lord is leading us, yet we question and negotiate with him to let us in on his plan. Sometimes we are unsure of the direction we're headed in (is it God's plan or is Satan involved in this journey). Our faith will not let us become lost. We follow where HE leads and we'll be just fine.

Abraham knew that God was faithful. He knew God would not let him fall into the hands of the enemy so he continued on his journey. God told him he would bring him through and he believed.

Today we are led to the cross. We make our journey and find the comfort of a loving God. When we are in his presence, we are whole. We trust in him and he provides, just like he did for Abraham. We know where the journey ends and yet we still have that shadow of a doubt that holds us back. Walk with your head held high and find that place where God wants you! Our inheritance is in heaven, with him! It will be greater than any other joy we've ever experienced on earth. Keep that in mind while you make your way and you will be in the company of great men and women who had the faith and believed that God would lead them!

(photo by Tracey James)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

~ "We're all in the same boat..."

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Eph 2:8-9)

♫ Amazing grace, how sweet the sound ♪... God's grace is what brings us through the hard times and sustains us in the good times. He is fair and unbiased. His love is there for all, no matter how wretched we may be. He forgives a thousand times over. Its a GIFT! We don't have to earn it - it is given freely to us!

God only asks that we believe! He offers us a chance to belong to him! He promises good things to us! He will protect us and bless us and provide for us!

Lift up your hands and your hearts today and praise his name! Offer praise and thanksgiving for all he does for you! Know that he will continue to bless your life - if you just believe!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

~ "Hello, how are you???"

The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. (Genesis 2:20)

We were not designed to be alone. God made us to be partners and companions to one another. Sometimes we go though life surrounded by family and friends, and other times we sit on the sidelines and watch the world go by. When we wait on his will for us, we are never let down. He provides us with everything and everyone we need. Our situations change throughout our lives. Loved one die, friends move away, some marry, some divorce, some have children, some don't.

Reconnecting with God gave me the strength to do what I needed to do in my life. I was not happy. I had become a prisoner of circumstances. Today, I am no longer a prisoner. I choose what suits me best (as long as it's in God's plan) and follow where it leads. Sometimes the path he's laid out for me surprises me! Not in my wildest dreams could I imagine what the Lord has in store for me. He continues to bless my life and fulfill his promises even through my own doubts. His hand is evident in every aspect of my life.

God has a "helper suitable" for each of us. They, like all creatures, come in different sizes and shapes and ages and from different walks of life. They are the ones we call friends. Some of them are closer than others, but none are farther away than a phone call. Reach out to one of those people in your past that you miss, tell them you've been thinking of them and remind them that they are loved!

Above all, remember that God has great plans for you!

Friday, August 20, 2010

~ "But I'm not afraid..."

In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;he is more awesome than all who surround him. (Ps 89:7)

Fear of God is not to be confused with being afraid of God. We "feared" our parents when we were young because they made the rules and they could dish out the punishment for breaking them! We were expected to act and behave a certain way in public, had chores at home and were required to take a bath every night. If we didn't do these things, we knew we were in trouble. In spite of their rules (especially the ones we thought were dumb) - we loved them! They took care of us!

The same is true for our Father in heaven. He makes the rules and tells us what he expects from us. We know that if we step over that invisible line or push the envelope, we're in big trouble! Fear of God comes from loving him and not wanting to disappoint him. As with our human parents, we want only to please him and do what he asks.

Challenges and road blocks, combined with temptations and distractions often keep us from reaching our full potential as Christians. God continues to call out to us and request our presence at his table. He's a very patient God. He loves us very much!

Spend some time today loving him back. Reach out to him through someone else who is not as fortunate as you are. Share what you know of him with a stranger if you can! Let the world see that God lives within you! Don't be afraid - God loves you!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

~ "Oh, sorry, I almost forgot..."

I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me. (Ps 13:6)

We remember to pray in the hard times, but do we remember to praise in the good times? It's very easy to get sidetracked when things are going smoothly. Life rolls along without any bumps and we forget the pain we were in last week. We smile and laugh and life is wonderful - until the next time. Being conscious of our joy and praying earnestly is just as important as praying in our time of need. It reminds us that all things we have come from the Father.

Additionally, when our routine is disrupted by travel or work, we need to remember to get right back into it. God's routine doesn't change, why should ours? Remember, we are to pray without ceasing. Keeping the focus on what is right and good is something we must do every day in order to receive continued blessings. We can't just walk away when we get comfortable. But God does understand that. He knows our weaknesses and our strengths better than we know ourselves. He knows what "joys" will move us slightly to the left or right in our focus on him, as does Satan. Keeping yourself centered throughout the tough times is easy, doing it in the good times can be just as easy if your focus remains on HIM!!!

Remember who brought you through that catastrophe last week ~ sing a song of praise to him!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

~ "What was I so upset about again???"

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

These are the comforting words Jesus left with his disciples. He reminds us everyday that we have a peace within us that cannot be moved.

We have all heard testimony (and probably know through our own life) that the pain we go through is always overshadowed by the joy and peace when it finally comes. But no matter how many times we experience it, we are ever amazed at what God can do! Getting through the pain is the hard part, but having a greater love to focus on makes it well worth the journey. He'll never stop loving us, he'll always protect us and we are forever in his mercy and grace!

Keep focused on what is important. Know that whatever it is God has in store for you, he will reveal it when he is ready! His time ~ not ours!!! Let go of the past troubles of your heart and don't be afraid to step out in faith today! God is watching!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

~ "But where's the light switch???"

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)

The one great thing about Christ's love for us is that it never dies! He's forever with us. Even when we think we are alone and wandering around in the dark, he is guiding every step we take! It's no longer a conscious decision for me, it's a way of life. His love has become such a big part of my being that it feels unnatural to step outside the box. He provides everything I need!

But there are times when to walk in the darkness would be easier! Our ability to continue to want to do things our way, our stubbornness and our pride can cause us to want to turn off the "light" just for a bit. The problem is, once our souls are captured by Christ, he doesn't let them go! His guiding love is what surrounds us in those moments. He reminds us that we are his and that he will not allow us to fail! And there is not "dimmer" switch either. His love is just as bright in our own despair as it is in our joy ~ we just need to take off the sunglasses and focus!

Today, focus on what he's done for you and what he will do for you as you continue your journey! He has great plans for all of us if we just leave the light on!

Monday, August 16, 2010

~ "Warning: This soul is protected by the Almighty...

Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. (Prov 2:9-11)

I am protected by love! Love from the Father who created me, the Son who redeemed me and the Spirit who enlightens me!

We become so caught up in the real world sometimes, we forget that the struggles we encounter have already been determined not to be more than we can handle. Each step we take as Christian has already been accounted for. Each mistake we make has already be rectified. We cannot fail spiritually if we are washed in the blood of Jesus!

Our faith sustains us many times over. Our stubbornness is what gets us into trouble. When we don't see God's hand as quickly as we want to, or we don't see our prayers being answered we may want to give up, but again, that still small voice within reaches into the deepest recess of our minds and pulls us still closer to him!

Everything in our lives is a testimony to his mercy and grace. Our abilities, our strengths and even our weaknesses tell the world that we are his! Be brave and be proud and fear not - we are under the watchful eye of the creator, and he never blinks!

Friday, August 13, 2010

~ "Oh, be careful little fingers what you key..."

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. (Ex 20:16)

Lies. They distort the truth and hurt the one they are being spread about. We are commanded not to lie about others. Our recollections, our interpretations of situations, the selective memories we hold on to, and our need to be accepted sometimes cause us to forget the reality of a relationship and replace it with what our minds and our hearts can deal with. We get over the hate, but we never get over the love.

When relationships fail, we lash out in anger and in pain. We say things we might not normally say, we do things that we later regret. The biggest obstacle in our path at that point are the lies of others. The hurts they continue to heap on the pile (some without even knowing it) create an anger and pain that causes us to want to seek revenge. And in a time when we should have been defended, we find that we are punch line to their jokes.

It is at those times that God lifts us up and reminds us that we are loved! His love comes to us in many ways. Even though the words of some cut us down, in that same moment, the actions of others lift us up! We all have moments when we are "insane" (some of them last longer than others) and we eventually become grounded again. The hurts come when the lies we are tagged with do not go away. Some people feel the need to continue to be the grammar school bully into their adulthood. They aren't happy unless they're tearing someone else down. My friends, know that God has a plan for them, too!

True friends, like true love, comes from the heart. God's goodness and mercy will always outshine the deeds of the evil one! Accept the hand you are dealt and pray for those who continue to hold on to their hurtful ways, they are known to God and he will deal with them in his time!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

~ "Being all that you can be..."

... If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Rom 12:6-8)

A catchy little jingle "Be all that you can be" was used some years ago to encourage young men and women to join the Army Reserves. God asks us to "be all that we can be" as well. He asks us to use our gifts and our talents to serve him by helping others less fortunate, less knowledgeable, and less able. Do we do it? Do we do it with a smile? Does it come from our hearts?

Sometimes God allows us to be in certain situations so that others have the opportunity to rise above their own selfishness and self centeredness. Reaching out to someone who was hurting and heal their pain was something that Jesus did on a daily basis. It didn't matter who it was, his touch made people whole. His love continues to do that. He reaches out through each of us to others. We are the vessel through which his love is spread. We need to reach out to our family and friends and let them know we understand their pain, their losses, their situations and their plights. Every situation is an opportunity to see the power of God at work. It doesn't matter if their situation are self-created or the result of a catastrophe not of their control; what matters is that you lift your head up long enough to acknowledge that you care. Sometimes that's enough to keep people on the right path. But know that we are not stupid by nature and that most people can differentiate between a vain attempt to help and a true gift of love and compassion. Do it with the right intentions, do it with a smile in your heart - do it out of love, otherwise, it means nothing!

Make a difference in the life of someone you know! It will come back to you when you least expect it!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

~ "Biting off more than you can chew..."

The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. (Gal 5:14-15)

When is it time to stop? We destroy people with our words every day, whether we realize it or not. People hurt because we refuse to forgive, refuse to yield, refuse to accept and refuse to understand. People are human (duh) and therefore make mistakes! I'm grateful that we serve a forgiving God, otherwise, I'd be doomed!

When we refuse to forgive someone, we cut ourselves off from blessings that might come from loving that person. We sometimes have to look beyond the fabled expressions of our youth and go with the faith that God can change anyone! Our stubbornness and unwillingness to change causes us to remain stagnant in our faith. The gossip and backbiting that we engage in only serves to push us away from Christ. He certainly was not one to gossip, nor did he reach into his tote and say "sorry, all out of forgiveness today". He saw the good in everyone and anyone who asked was forgiven and received the opportunity to walk with his head held high.

God's love changes people. It makes them whole again. We are told to forgive and forget! We are told that we are not to hold past sins against one another forever. We are told to love one another as Christ loved us! Strength comes through prayer. Let go of that one hurt that keeps you from forgiving. Lay it at the feet of Jesus and ask him to help you to forgive those you need to forgive and ask him to help those who need to forgive you!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

~ "Sticks and stones..."

Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Tim 4:11-12)

When I was young, whenever someone would make fun of me, or tease me, or ridicule me or any of my friends, we had a phase we would retaliate with: "Sticks and stones may brake my bones, but names will never hurt me." Unfortunately, names and words sometimes hurt more than sticks and stones because they cut deep and leave scars unseen by the eyes of men.

It is very difficult for the young people of today (or any day, for that matter) to be accepted among their peers as prayer warriors, followers of Christ and believers who walk in the word. It's not the "cool" thing to do (sorry, young people, but I'm not really up to speed on what word you would use here - so I'm going with one from my generation). Some teenagers and young adults need to "fit" into the world - they don't want to be laughed at or made fun of, so they have a tendency to conform to fit into their circle of friends. Its easy for us (as mature adults) to sit back and tell them they need to live their own lives and not worry about what other people will say or think of them. Easier said than done. We all strive for the approval of our peers, no matter how old we are. We continue to associate with the same people who have used us, tormented us, and shunned us at times because we weren't quite at their level (be it higher or lower - in their opinion, that is). Its frustrating to watch someone continue to associate with people you know have no respect for them and try to be a "part of" that group of individuals who truly have nothing nice to say about them and include them only so that they have someone to talk about or laugh about.

In Paul's letter to Timothy, he reminds him that "godliness has value for all things". The words we speak, the phrases we use, do define the person we are. Our actions do speak louder than words as well. It's not easy to be a teenager or young adult in today's society, but it is possible to be a godly teenager or young adult! Choose your words wisely, choose your friends wisely and your choices will be many, because God will bless you throughout your lives. Be the one who has the opportunity to say "I started it,...before it was all the cool new thing." Be a champion - for Christ!

Monday, August 9, 2010

~ "Why is your head stuck in the sand???"

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. (3 John 1:11)

There's a great country song entitled "I Saw God Today" - is has some really nice lyrics and talks about seeing God in the eyes of newborn baby, an old couple holding hands, etc.

When we deliberately do things and say things that hurt other people, when we refuse to yield to the forgiving of those who have wronged us, when we stand in our righteous beliefs of worldly affairs and do not look at the person and remember that they, too, are one of God's creations - can we say we know God?

We can walk in the ways of Christ and yet still be dead. We can profess our love for the Lord and be empty. So," what do I do", you ask. Be brave in your walk! Forgive those you would rather see suffer for what they've done to you! Remember, that no one can hurt you unless you allow them to. To continue to harbor resentments against people takes up space that could be used to love them! Jesus loved all men, even Judas!

Find one good thing about the person that keeps you from giving yourself fully to God. Give yourself a reason to forgive. Walk with your head held high and don't let their lies or their blind interpretations of you or a given situation cause you to wallow in anger and resentment! Forgive them and ask God to bless them! Today, make it about someone else and it will come back to you multiplied many times!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

~ "But God, you don't understand..."

But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matt 13:23)

Understanding what Christ wants from us is easy. He wants our love, our dedication and our prayers. He wants us to plant seeds in others. He wants us to be obedient to his word. He wants us to have faith and to keep the faith we have! It is human nature to doubt, but then where would we be if we always doubted everyone or everything? The motives of others are not for us to worry about. Their judgement will come in his time as well as our own. We don't always go about things with the "proper motives", we justify what we do under the mistaken belief that it is for the "greater good".

Stop where you are and look at yourself. Are you everything that God wants you to be? Have you done something thinking you are "helping God" keep someone on the right path, when in reality you were just trying to control a situation that was none of your business? I know that I have. I hang my head in shame sometimes when I think of the things of tried to accomplish in HIS name.

The bright side is, he is a forgiving God. Let go of what it is that you feel you need to control or keep tabs on. Don't let the enemy convince you that it's your place to stick your nose in where it doesn't belong. The only place your nose belongs, in some situations, is pressed against the palms of your hands while you ask for forgiveness and mercy. God knows all things, he knows your heart and what you were trying to do (even if you weren't going about it the way he wants you to). Ask him to heal, or mend, or enlighten the person you are trying so desperately to keep (or get) on the right path. Ask him to open their heart to what it is they aren't seeing. Be strong, stand firm and lift up your voice to him ~ he hears your pleas and cries! He has promised us eternity - what more could you possibly want?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

~ "Pick a card, any card..."

"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)

I never could quite find the "church" I felt was the "true" church. Each one had its own little set of rules and regulations that would preempt me from going to heaven if I didn't follow them precisely. Finally, I realized I was never going to find that one, perfect place to worship because true worship comes from within us.

Right now, I attend a church with a very dynamic preacher. He is animated and captures your attention throughout the entire service. His message causes you to think and his knowledge of the Bible is amazing. Its nice to sit and listen to someone who doesn't put me to sleep, but it doesn't end there. For me to be truly worshiping God, I need to do it every day. God doesn't take time off from me, who am I to take time off from him?

Yes, I have my moments. We all do. God understands that and he does remind us that we need to remember who it is that set our lives in motion in the first place! He's not going to let us fall.

It doesn't matter what "church" you go to ~ what matters is what is in your heart! There is no "one, true church" other than Jesus! HE is the one, true church! It's not the building, or its rules or even its leader that gets you into heaven ~ it's the fact that Christ died on the cross for our sins and to acknowledge and believe that (thus being born again) is the foundation we should build on. It has nothing to do with not eating meat on Friday, not having a cold beer on a hot day, or even doing absolutely nothing on Saturday. It's the spirit in which we worship the Father and being true to his word. Worship him today in spirit and in truth and put the "human" elements to it in your back pocket. Be a rebel - praise God where ever you are, where ever you want! Fear God, not a building!

Friday, August 6, 2010

~ "Oops, I did it again..."

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. (2 Cor 12:9)

When that "still small voice" tells you to do something, and you argue with it, you are reminded very firmly, but lovingly, that he's in charge!

I've never been a quitter. I usually hang in there until there is nothing left to fight for. Frustrations allow me to take another path, try another solution or solve the problem. I've come to expect miracles from God. When they don't happen when I want them to, and when they aren't exactly what I asked for in prayer, I get mad and become the four-year old who's not going to talk to him. He just smiles and says "yes, you will".

Our God is very specific. He tells us exactly what he expects from us and what it is we are to do. He has the power to do all things, anything, no matter how "impossible" it may seem! In that knowledge is my faith! People will tell me "that's never going to happen", but my faith tells me it will!

Jesus told Paul that his grace was sufficient enough and that in his weakness it would be made perfect. Paul tells us to boast of our weaknesses with joy because it is then that God's grace will make us whole again! Our weaknesses, our human wants and desires, our attitudes, our insanity, our illnesses, but mostly our humility, make us the perfect receptacle for God's grace. His love makes us strong! Let him work a miracle in your life today!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

~ "There is always light..."

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Gen 1:3)

I've learned that no matter how dark it gets, no matter how angry or upset I become over a situation, that eventually it lessens. Sometimes it takes a long time for it to completely go away; sometimes it never goes away.

God may have created the world in six days, but he knew what he was doing. We try to fix things in a short time frame and much to our surprise (and we really shouldn't be surprised), things just don't go as we plan.

Events in our lives help to make us who we are. Regrets are our reminders of the opportunities missed or the mistakes we've made. I have many: things I wish I'd done differently, events I wish had not taken place, words I wish I'd never said. I won't even go into the regrets I have that have effected my life that were caused because of others - be they doctors, friends, or family.

We have a light in our lives. It burns brighter than the stars or even the sun. It shines in our hearts and lights our way even when we are dangling by a thread. That light is Jesus! He is always present whether we feel him near or not. He helps us to push through the darkness and once again bathe in the warmth of his love.

Remember to thank God for the light he put into your life - his Son - our Savior - his light will never burn out!

Monday, August 2, 2010

~ ...

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matt 12:34)

Matthew Henry Commentary:

Men's language discovers what country they are of, likewise what manner of spirit they are of. The heart is the fountain, words are the streams. A troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring, must send forth muddy and unpleasant streams. Nothing but the salt of grace, cast into the spring, will heal the waters, season the speech, and purify the corrupt communication. An evil man has an evil treasure in his heart, and out of it brings forth evil things. Lusts and corruptions, dwelling and reigning in the heart, are an evil treasure, out of which the sinner brings forth bad words and actions, to dishonour God, and hurt others. Let us keep constant watch over ourselves, that we may speak words agreeable to the Christian character.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

~ "the chosen one..."

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts2:2-4)

Do you see a glimmer of hope in your darkest days? I sure the Apostles had some pretty rough times. They're emotional ups and downs before and after Christ's crucifixion, their reacquaintance with him after the resurrection, then his ascension to his kingdom, then Pentecost - when the Holy Spirit came and anointed them! And we thought we had problems!

As we are reborn into Christ's family, we share a special gift. We may not be aware of it, but it is there! Jesus asked us to spread his word, he sent the Holy Spirit to enlighten us! We are never alone - we always have them! We have the Father who created us, the Son who died for us, and the Spirit who lives in us! From the moment the Spirit touches our heart, we have unlimited resources to preach his word to others. He will put the words in your mouth that you need to speak, he will guide you to where you need to be in order to do that and he will comfort you in times of doubt, pain, and grief. He is that "still small voice" that says it's okay, that you're not alone - he won't let you go!

Knowing what to do is easy, it's the follow through that is hard. Walk a different path and let the Holy Spirit lead. Reach out to others and give them something to hope for. Give them back a piece of their faith by your actions and your words. Don't let the enemy in! He'll try to keep knock you down and hold you there. But know that you will be lifted up and kept safe because you have been chosen!