Friday, October 31, 2014

Visit

Holiday season is upon us.  Visit any store and they are evidence of the time of year.  Today is Halloween.  Yes, that means I am writing a few days late, but better late than never.  I live in a small community, where despite turning off the lights in hope to avoid tricks, I still get the little treat-ers.  This year I gave in and got candy since I know they are coming. 

Halloween night is much like many people's Christian walk.  They visit God briefly, get what they want from Him and leave.  He is delighted for the visit, gives us what we need because He is gracious and lives us. However, our visit is really one sided, to get what we came for, much like the little dressed up characters that will be knocking on my door.

Then there's Thanksgiving.  People visit, they fellowship a little, gives thanks and have a meal.  
 Thanksgiving also represents a little different walk with God, the Sunday Christian.  They visit, fellowship with other believers and maybe even God, they give thanks, get fed spiritually and then go on their way.  Again, God loves to have a visit from His children, but it is still lacking.

Then there is Christmas. One of my favorite memories as a child was having my aunt and cousin visit with us Christmas night and stay till late on Christmas day.  It seemed that it stretched out the celebration.  We would watch old home videos and reminisce. We would make ornaments. There was fellowship, giving thanks, great food, general fun, exchange of gifts, sweet treats, and a long visit that sometimes would span more days. 

God desires that we visit Him longer, more frequently, fellowship deeper. He wants us to reminisce of the things He has done for us, brought us through, and His extravagant love.  He wants us to have reminders, like the ornaments that point us back to those times. He wants deeper fellowship. He desires  to give thanks always. He wants us to great on His Word daily. He wants to enjoy us, and for us to enjoy Him. He wants us to share our gifts with others.

The truth is, God doesn't just want us to visit. He desires us to move Him in to our lives. He wants us to have spent so much time with Him, that when we go visit others, He is taken with us. That His presence can visit strangers we pass  the street, and transform their life.  He is a polite guest, and will never stay longer than we want, and never keep us from leaving if we desire. How intentional are we in our visit with God.

Enjoy

PhotoWe must intentionally take time to enjoy life.  It is not enough to go through life fulfilling obligations. We must take time to frolic and enjoy the beauty around us. We must intentionally enjoy the relationships that we have, instead of taking them for granted. We must intentionally find joy in everyday things.

First

Wow, 31 days, and this prompt from yesterday is my last to completeI made it.  This was a first for me.


Matthew 20:16 NKJV  So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.

As a child I remember always wanting to be first. First in line, first to be picked, first  get whatever.  As an adult, I realize that waiting is a better option.  Being the first to get new electronics, is bad. You pay a higher price, and all the bugs have to get worked out at your expense.  When I have my nieces and nephews, and they are complaining about being last I will say "you save the best for last." Of course this starts a while new argument.

We have to stop trying to put oneself above others. Jesus taught a parable  on this very subject. It is a timeless argument to want to be first, or best,  greatest. Even if we don't say the words, our actions show it. God does not honor that at all. 

We are not in a race against others. We are not competing against anything. We don't have to prove itself. The truth is, the one standard we have, we will always fall  short of, Christ.

Instead, we need to start making every effort to put Him first, intentionally.  I think back to one of the first blogs I ever wrote, on a message that impacted me, and has stuck with me. We must intentionally put God first in our:

Finances
Interests
Relationships
Stuff
Time


Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Leave

Hebrews 13:5 NKJV  Let  your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”


I struggle with a fear of rejection.  Some of that fear came from the fact that most of the people  knew me best are gone.  The leave came from death but it left a hole in my heart.  Or that my mother, for the most part has left me mentally due to dementia.  Or that distance has created a gap in relationships because I didn't take time to stay connected in life's busyness.


The feeling started as a child, and well, followed me in to adulthood. I didn't  recognize it's roots in childhood, until I really started processing my feelings over the past year. I found in my lion exterior was a child who felt rejected.


As I processed my childhood, I realized the rejection I felt was imagined.  The adult circumstances that surrounded me, that I was to young to comprehend, the devil used to build a lie upon. It wasn't rejection, it was God's protection. not only for me, but for others also.


I realized that as a young adult, some of the rejection I felt was if my own making.  I had built walls around me, based on my childhood perception.  Walls I thought would protect me, but in reality created the very thing I wanted to be protected from.


I also realized, that another part of that rejection was a sanctification process. God removing from me people that did not belong in my life. People that might deter me from the calling and purpose He has for me. Not that the people were bad, or that I was better than, but that we were on different paths that may intersect at a better, more opportune time.


I also realized, and this one was something I knew in my heart from a child, that God did not reject me. In fact, His promise is to never leave me.  As I looked around in light of the revelation, I realized I am accepted.  I am surrounded by people  love me, and those times where I felt rejected had other purpose in my life.


So I chose to leave, intentionally. I leave those false feelings, those wrong perceptions, that rejection. I leave it.  The false power it had over my life. I take it back. I leave the negative effects, and take with me a corrected view.  I leave rejection here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Unite

Unite  verb (used with object), united, uniting.

1.   to join, combine, or incorporate so as to form a single whole or unit. 
 As I read through the Bible, I am always struck by the lack of denominations mentioned when speaking about the Church because when I drive around my community, and any other community, all I see are denominations.  My heart cries for the Church to be what God designed it to be.  The Church that knows that "Christ is the Son of the Living God" and the gates of Hades will not prevail against."(Matthew 16:18)

Christ did not die for denominations.  He died for the World.  He wanted His followers to be united, just as He was united with God.   As Christians, we have to stand together united.  There are things that we may interpret differently, but they should not keep us from being in unity as long as we stand on the truth that there is only one way to Heaven, through Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God (John 14:6)
 
John 17:11  Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. 

Philippians 3: 15-16  Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.
  
John 13:35 (NKJV) By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

We need to intentionally stand united with the followers of Christ, even from different denominations.  

Free

Galations 5:1 (The Message) Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

As Christians we are suppose to live free. Yet daily I hear about us living in bondage, stripped of the freedoms that Christ not only died for us to have, but that are afforded to every other person in our nation.   Although I do not agree with the hate that is spread in Christ's name, because God is love, my anger is not aroused in that they are exercising freedom of speech, it is that they are lying about the God I serve.  

Christians have stood back and allowed our freedom to be stripped.  We have allowed the world to put a harness of slavery on us, called tolerance.  We are afraid to exercise our freedom of speech.  Christ was very bold in his speech against things that were wrong.  He did not back down.  He did not spread hate.  He did not cause a scene (well except in the temple that one time!).  He spoke the truth in love.  He hated the sin, but loved the sinner.  

We must break the harness of tolerance that has enslaved the Church.  We must gain our collective voice and cry out against the atrocities that are sending people to hell, that are compromising the Church, and are limiting the freedom the Christ died for us to have.

The world has also place a harness of slavery on many called "insecurity."  We are concerned that we are not good enough to speak out.  Not talented enough, gifted enough, anointed enough, not..... enough.  These are lies from the enemy that were have enslaved us to stop spreading God's Kingdom on earth.  Every one of us is nothing in and of ourselves.  None of us are independently or individually qualified to do anything, because it is only through Christ that we can do anything. And with Christ, We can do all things for nothing is impossible.  

We must break the harness of insecurity that has enslaved many.  We must realize who we are in Christ and speak to those who are in our circle of influence.  We must realize it is Christ, not the individual that will bring about any change, we just provide a voice.  We must realize that the testimony of what Christ has done in us, can inspire others.  We must realize that with God, through Christ all things are possible, if we only believe and obey.

We must practice our freedom intentionally. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Acceptance and Value


Last night a friend of mine was teaching a lesson on tests and trials at our Monday night Bible study.  
 
Barb went through seven tests that most people face at some point in their life.  
 She share that we face tests or trials in:
1) patience
2) faith
    A) when he doesn't deliver you
    B) when we don't understand His ways
3) love - reveals our priorities
4) endurance
5) humility
6) sacrifice
7) obedience
 
She made the comment that God will take us right were we are and continue to test us until we reach the 100% level in that area, because anything less than that is not what He wants for us.

When she said that, my mind started to wonder.  How can a perfect God accept us right where we are and work with us until we reach where He is.  My human mind just couldn't comprehend this.  When I take a test, I want that perfect score.  How can a perfect God settle for anything less. 

And that is when I felt a quickening in my spirit that He will take us at 1%,  because we are covered by the blood.  The blood of Jesus that covers us at Salvation, so God takes our 1%, but values it at 100% because we are perfected in Christ Jesus.

The work that the Holy Spirit will do in our lives to perfect us until the day of Christ is done under that covering of Christ's blood.

Hebrews 10:14 (NKJV) For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

1 John 1:7 (NKJV) But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 

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Long

Most of us live our life in a state of longing.
Some people long for love.
Others long for children.
Some long for company,
While others long for solitude.
Some long for work,
Displaying Longing.jpgOthers long for rest.
 
There is something in everyone's life,
That they are longing for.
 Will bring us to a status
What we long for often is seen
As a void in our life.
We believe once filled
Of contentment.
This is a lie.

We were designed to be content
In every state,
Not just when we fill completed,
We are to be longing for nothing.
When we learn this truth,
We can find joy in all circumstances.

The only thing that will fill the hole
Is Christ.
The interesting thing is,
God is longing for us too.
When we turn our longing to Him,
And it is met with His longing for us
Blessings will flow.


Isaiah 30:18 And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!
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Friday, October 24, 2014

Look


                                       

Why do I forget
to take the time
to appreciate and be thankful for
Why do I often fail
to
Look what the Lord has done?

Look what the Lord has done
He died for me
And you
Without a guarantee that
We would accept
His sacrifice.

Look what the Lord has done
He forgave me
Wiped my sins away
Knowing I would fail
again and again
But forgiving anyway.

Look what the Lord has done
He sent the Holy Spirit
to guide me
direct me
comfort me
Even when I refuse to let him.

Look what the Lord has done
He has blessed me with
Every good and perfect thing
Even when I take it
For granted
He blesses me anyway.

Look what the Lord has done
He has given me people
To laugh, to love
To cry and mourn with
To call family and friends
And loved ones.

Look what the Lord has done
He meets those needs
Those spoken and unspoken
In his perfect timing
In his perfect way
In his perfect love.

Take time
Be intentional
Remember often
Meditate on
And speak often
Look what the Lord has done.
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Fear

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 

Love provides a reverential fear, a deep respect for the object of our love.  Love should not create a dread or terror in the object of our love.  Love should cast out dread and terror.

Some time ago I was in a relationship of fear.  Honestly, and sadly, my children remember it more than I do.  God's love cast that fear from me, and although I know it was there, He wiped my memories of it so that I can love with His perfect love.  My kids will do the "remember when" and in all honesty, I don't.


God did an amazing work in my life and in that of my husband.  God helped me set clear boundaries.  Even though I filed for a divorce when the hands that loved me physically hurt me; God was there to bring about the change and that divorce never happened.  When he hit me, that was different than throwing things, and threatening, that was the line I wasn't willing to have crossed.  When he wouldn't leave, I filed for a divorce which would cause him to have to leave.  We set up separate households, we told the kids.  And then, God.

My husband was not a bad guy.  I loved him.  The anger that was eating him up inside wasn't towards me, I was just the safe place he felt he could express it. This man, who I loved but now feared, reached out to the one place I held on to in safety.  Church.  I knew that it was an attempt at manipulation, and I went in with honesty.  He went to my pastor and pleaded his case.  When I was called in I remember sitting there listening, begrudgingly.  He asked what do you hope to get out of being here.  My answer was somewhere along the lines of "On w
ith my life, I don't want to be here."

Week after week we went, then the pastor started coming to the house and my husband would come.  We dated.  He pursued me like he did before we married. And then, somewhere along the way, God.

I was clear with my husband that would never happen again.  I know we are not suppose to write those kind of scripts in our marriage.  I haven't heard God tell me I have to unwrite that one.  But still, God.  God did a work in me.  He did a work in my husband.  My love for my husband is not perfect.  His love for me is not perfect.  But God's love is perfect.  we have been perfected in His love.

I don't believe that abuse is okay.  I believe that people must protect themselves and especially the children in a home where there is abuse.  Although I did, I would never advise anyone to stay.  I can't know what really goes on behind closed doors so I will always err on the side safety, because I know God can still bring reconciliation.

I also will not argue with someone who has decided to stay.  If someone has made an intentional decision to love in spite of it and stay, then I will talk with them about safety and having a plan in case.  I can't make someone leave, even if I think they should.  I will err on being prepared, but I know that God can bring change.

But what I can tell either person - the one that leaves or stays; and what I can tell the abuser, the recipient, or the observer  without doubt is that God must be the center.  Our fear must be for God, the reverential type.  God must be the one that you turn too.  God must be the one that brings peace to your decision.  God must be the one to bring about the change, it can not be manipulated.  For some change may be immediate and permanent, for others it is a process, but God can still bring reconciliation and God can still change people.  His love will cast out all fear.

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Expect

Matthew 24:44 (NKJV)  Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

I recently with with a group of women from my church to see the new Left Behind movie.  I was excited to see Nicolas Cage in the role, and I expected that it would be a good Christian movie. It was good, as far as acting.  But the plot line, the Christian aspect left me expecting more.  The movie depicts the rapture, that is all.  The people left behind are left questioning with no real answers.  There is some conclusions drawn and briefly shared about the Christian belief of the rapture.  As a Hollywood film, it likely did what it intended.  As a Christian film, it was left wanting.

Don't get me wrong, I laughed and I jumped (a couple times) even though I expected the next scene.  I even cried, although it was not for the movie, but the reality of what I am expecting will happen.  I cried, because I expect the event depicted to happen.  I cried because the people left on that plane, and on the earth were left behind.  That is the reality of what will happen when the Son of Man returns. My compassion for the lost brought me tears.

Christ will return at an hour we do not expect.  Am I living intentionally?  Am I reaching the lost  intentionally?  Am I planting seeds for others to water and help grow, intentionally? Am I intentional in my witness?  If I am not, I can expect others to be left behind.



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Truth and Dare

As a child, I can remember playing truth or dare a lot at slumber and birthday parties.  You have to chose between being completely honest about something you don't yet know what you will be asked about. Questions like "Do you have a crush on..." "Have you ever...."  "Did you..." These were easy because you could just answer, yes or no.   Or you are dared to do something, usually something crazy or stupid or silly.  Dared to kiss someone there, tell someone how you felt, do something you shouldn't do. But the game ends and life goes on.

God wants to play truth and dare with us.  God wants us to be honest with Him about everything.  He  already knows what we are thinking, but He wants us to intentionally share those truths with us.  Just like we would with a person, He wants us to open our hearts up to Him.  He wants to hear the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  He wants to hear the good, the bad, the ugly.  He wants to hear our dreams and desires.

God wants to be there for us during those times.  He wants us to stop lying to Him and to ourselves and just be honest about how we feel.  Then He can do a work in us.  He can bring healing.  He can bring comfort.  He can make something of our truths - a testimony of how He carried us through, a celebration of the good, or a path for us to walk those dreams out.

God doesn't want us to chose between the truth or dare, He wants us to do both.  He dares us to do better, walk bolder, dream bigger.  He dares us to bring everything and set it at His feet.  He dares us to trust Him completely.  He dares us to hope. 

Lamentations 3:21-22(NLT)
21 Yet I still dare to hope
    when I remember this:
22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.


Give God the truth intentionally and dare to live intentionally.


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 This post is a part of Five minute Friday, a writing flash mob that happens every week when writers are prompted by a single word to write for 5 minutes without any major editing. Just raw thoughts and emotions. You can find out more and/or join the party here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Taste

Psalm 34:8  Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! 

I love that God uses all our senses.  TASTE.  I love food, probably a little too much.  I am a picky eater, and there are things I can eqt daily and never grow tired of, and things I refuse to try.  I just think that they might taste bad.  

When I was younger I used to dread reading the Bible.  I thought that it was boring.   But the more I spend with time with God, the more I know how good He is.   The more time I spend with Him, the more I long to taste more of His goodness.

If you have a hard time reading the Word.  Taste and See.  Start with a scripture or two, or even a chapter.  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to you. Read the Word.  Meditate on what you have read.  Write down what ministers to you. It is good to keep a journal.  Then pray and ask God to do that work in you.


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Honor

There is a great book about honor that really impacted my life, it is called Honor's Reward by John Bevere.  A few years back our church went through the series on a Wednesday night.  There are a couple things that really have stuck with me, and have become part of who I am.  Since it is Pastor Appreciation Month, I will focus on that.   We need to honor our Pastors.  In theory I am sure we all think we do this, but in reality some of our behaviors may be less than honoring:


I Timothy 5: 17-18  Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 
  a) Being on time - how many come in to church late, show up to other meetings late?  This is something that God has really done a work in me about because I have never had any concept of time.;  I was one of those people that the family also ways told me thirty minutes early to arrive so that I would only be five minutes late.  Although I still have no concept of time, I make sure that I am on time, and if for some reason I am not, I apologize.  It is usually dismissed, but I honor their time.

b) Be formal - Call them Pastor, Reverend, Bishop, whatever your denomination calls those that lead ministry.  My skin crawls when I hear someone reference the leader by their first name alone.  It is not an age thing, most of my pastors are younger than I am, it is a respect thing.

c) Don't disrupt - this may or may not have been in the book, but don't get up in the middle of the service. As a young person, I admit I was bored in big church.  I was the one that was always being told "shhhh" or I was getting up and down throughout the service, passing notes, etc.  This was rude behavior, and really unacceptable for a young person, and even more so for adults.  It not only can distract the preacher, but it disrupts the people around you.  I am easily distracted, and now I am more aware that my nonsense as a child, could have disrupted someone from hearing the message that would save their soul.  I look forward to being in Heaven and seeing the lives I have impacted, but oh how my heart breaks for those I might have distracted from the kingdom.

d) Don't talk bad about them or too them. So you didn't like the message, the song service, or it was too long, or too short.  Keep your mouth shut - it is not about you.  Unless you were the only person that was in the congregation that day (and  that would make you the preacher to an empty church), maybe someone else needed a Word.  Maybe someone else needed a breakthrough that would come through worship.  My momma always said "If you ain't got nothing nice to say, don't say it."  Build them up with your words, don't tear them down.

e) Pay your tithes - this goes to support the church, and yes, pay the pastors who lead the congregations.  So many people have no problem sitting in church week after week and giving nothing.  I am sure that you would want to go to work  day after day and not be paid.  Tithing is a whole blog in and of itself, but honor your pastors with tithes, offerings, and gifts.

f) Pray for your pastors.  Pastors deal with their own problems, in addition to helping people in the congregation, and those who walk in from the street.  They deal with the physical, emotional, mental and most of all spiritual needs of people.  They need to be covered in their congregations prayer, just as much as the congregation should be covered in their prayers.

Be intentional with your honor of those who lead you spiritually.  Realize they may not be perfect, but God has appointed them, and you have set yourself under them with God's direction.  Your words and actions should always honor them - intentionally.

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Care

Titus 3:14 (NLT) Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive.

In our world, we like to pretend that we care. We tote the causes we support, attend fundraisers and sometimes even volunteer.  But do we care enough to sacrifice?

It is easy to write a check, to give money or in-kind goods to a cause. It is easy to be moved by the powerful testimony of a life transformed by a particular program. But do we care enough to get to know those who are in the front lines helping?  Do we take time to connect with those who are being helped?  Money is earned, so you can always earn more to replace what is donated.  Time however is given, and can never be taken back. 

It is great to go to events and socialize with friends and meet new people to support a good cause.  It's great to have entertainment our hear a moving story, but do you care enough to share that cause with someone not there?  Do you care enough to be moved beyond that event to really get involved and make a difference?  Do you care enough to follow-up after for more than a tax receipt?

Do you care enough to volunteer, not just for the position, but for the need.  A lot of people want to volunteer for the board position that gains them recognition, or the one time event that they can say "I volunteer there" but aren't willing to get to know the true needs of the cause. Realize that the needs change, even in long standing organizations. Do you care enough to really understand the why's and how's behind the who's and dos?

I'm not suggesting people over commit. There are causes that you write a check to cause it's a friend cause or an immediate need that you can meet. But everyone has some time that they can give to really get connected too. It should be something you care about that makes you want to get involved.  Make and take the time to do it.  


I live in a wonderful community. We have a lot of great causes, with wonderful, compassionate people who truly care about the people they help.  They sacrifice more than most people realize because they care.  

I don't personally believe that organizations were called to provide thus care. The church was called by God to care and meet needs. However, I do believe that since these organizations exist, the Church should develop personal relationships and come along side these organizations.  The organizations know the need, the who, the why, and the how and the Church should become the do. We are called to care, and to be the hands and feet of Christ.


Take time to care.  Your sacrifice will change someone's life and you will be surprised that usually that life is yours.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Adjust

It seems that I am always having to adjust things in my life.  It is so easy to get out of balance. Just when I get one area set, another area creeps out of balance. So how do we get the right perspective on what to adjust and when should we adjust.

Quickly take an inventory of the top five things that are important to you. Be specific.  I find these are usually the areas that we need the most adjustment.  You can make this list as long as you want, but be realistic.
For  example: 
1) God 
2) spouse 
3) my children 
4) my extended family 
5) service to others - women, children, military, church

Second list where you spend the majority of your:
 1) time.  Again be specific, either in hours or time frames.  You might need to look at your calendar, or write down your activities for a week. Whatever you need to see where you are spending your time.  Does where you spend your time reflect what is important to you?  

2) money.  Again be specific, either in dollar amounts our percentages. Online banking and programs like Quicken make this easy.  Look at where you spend your money. Does where you spend your, money, and what you spend your money on reflect what is important? 

If your list of where you spend your time doesn't match your priorities, you need to adjust. If you find you spend money on things that don't strengthen and support your top properties, you need to adjust.

Another area where we usually need to adjust is our attitude.  Sometimes, or maybe it's just me, my attitude it's the hardest thing for me to realize I need to make an adjustment.  It helps to have a strong friend or family member that can give honest feedback, speaking the truth in love  when your attitude is out of line. 

One other thing to remember when making adjustments, don't best yourself up. If you need to apologize, do it. Then just start working towards adjusting your priorities.Photo

Thanksgiving


In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Most of us have been through something that as we were going through it, we were anything but thankful.But the scripture in I Thess. 5:18 says to be thankful in everything.  I have heard it explained that we don’t necessarily thank God for the circumstance, we just have to be thankful while we are going through it.  Like I can go through something terrible and thank God for my dog and count it good.  but as I looked up this scripture in the Blue Letter Bible the verse reads:

In each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything be grateful, feel thankful, give thanks for this thing is the will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure of God in Christ Jesus into, unto, to, towards, for, among you

It is possible to give thanks in all circumstances, if we keep our focus on God.  It doesn’t matter how bad the circumstances are, we can thank God through them and in spite of them at all times.  However, to give thanks is a choice.  

Other than the fact that God commanded us to give Thanks in all circumstances, I want to share some other reasons why we should give thanks

  1. It gives honor to God  Psalm 69:30   Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving.
  2. It makes His deeds known to others Psa 105:1     O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
  3. It is a sacrifice Psalm 107:22  Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.

As I look back on my life, I can think of many terrible circumstances that I have faced, and looking back on them I can find many reasons to be thankful.  I think that sometimes we find it easier to give praise and thanks on the other side of the journey.  I know for me personally, my thanks goes deeper because I can look back and see God’s hand in the situation.  While giving thanks after the fact is good, how do you keep your focus on God so that you can keep an attitude of thanksgiving in the present?  

  1. Remember that you are His representative in word and action  Colossians 3:17  And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
  2. Remember that He is there for you and you can trust Him Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.  
  3. Give thanks for the people that are involved  1 Timothy 2:1  I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.
  4. Get your praise on  Psalm 95:2 Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him.   Psalm 100:4  Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.

    We must be intentional with our thanksgiving,  Not just one day out of the year but in all seasons.  
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Life

Life should be about the things that are really important. Today I saw the most beautiful, yet unusual sight. 

I was driving past the town square and out of the corner of my eye I saw this man in dress pants, shirt, and tie running.  He wasn't running because He was late for a meeting. His hand was attached to a little girl who was happily running around the fountain with her dad in tow. 

The happiness on both those faces showed what was really important in life. Not work, but family.
Somewhere our society got off track. But today I saw hope that we have realized life is not about the job we have or the money we make.  Life is about the moments we take and the lives we touch.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Away




Many things in my life have been taken away.  Although there are people that I wish were never taken away, I know that God has used everything to shape me in to the person that I am today.  Their lives, however short or long, touched my life in profound ways.

My best friends from childhood were taken away, one by illness another by tragedy.  I was not prepared for either, but their life continues to impact mine today.  Understand I don't live in the past, but their lives shaped who I am and how I live.  I think of them often, but God was there to comfort me.  I know they are both in a better place and one day I will see them again.

My parents were taken away.  My father to death, my mother to dementia.  Again, I wasn't prepared for either.  I stood in faith that my father would be healed.  When he wasn't healed this side of Heaven, I broke.    With my mom, it is a slow journey, I find myself pulling away, and then feeling guilty because her time here is limited.  God was there to catch me when I fell, and is there as I journey through this with my mother.

Dreams I had have been taken away.  Many have just changed as I have grown in my relationship with God.  He has shown me that He has better things for me than what I thought I wanted.  For every dream I thought was taken away, He replaced it with more than I could ask.

I remember when I walked away.  I admit there are days when things are tough that that thought crosses through my mind, but that away is the only one that I can't find a positive in.  When I walked away from God, my life took me places that although He has used for His glory, were never things He wanted in my life.  As a result of me, walking away from Him


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Work

Matthew 5:16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

The attitude that we have while working should give glory to God.  Wow.  That is a sobering thought.  How many times have I sighed deeply, or blown my bangs up with a deep exhale to express my frustration with a job I am doing?

I am reminded of the childhood song "this little light of mine".  There is a verse, "don't let Satan blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine".  It is times of frustration that he doesn't blow out my light, I do. 
My good works are nothing if Christ's light is not shining in me continually while I do it.  The Bible doesn't say my good works give glory to God. It is my light shining while I do them that brings Him glory.

My light can only shine if  I stay connected to the Source.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rest

Matthew 11:28 Then  Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.


In our society, rest has become something that is gained in hour long massages and not a daily practice.  This has lead to increased stress and stress related illnesses.  God designed us to rest, we were made in His image and He rested on the 7th day.  

I admit that I for the past fifteen years I have not rested.  I was on call 24/7 and not just to my family.  I knew to come to God.  I could tell, as could everyone around me, if I had missed a church service and not had daily time with Him.  

 I knew I had to come to Him, because He was the only one that I could share my burdens as a child welfare worker and then as a therapist. The burdens were much to heavy for me to carry.  I knew I could bring them to Him.  I came to him frequently, and I saw the impact it made in my life and the lives of those I worked with, because when I came, I brought them to Him in prayer and often desperation.

What I didn't know was that I was weary.  Other people saw that, but I couldn't.  It took some young ladies that I ministered to to show me that.  When circumstances stopped me in my tracks and rest was the one thing that was certain, they would comment on how I didn't seem so wore out.  I was happier.  I thought my mask hid that, I was wrong.

In that time, I learned that I can give everything to God.  Not just the things I didn't think I could handle.  Anything that was a burden, He will take.  He designed me to sleep and rest, and He loves when I do it in Him instead of out of complete exhaustion.  If rest was good enough for God, I should take advantage of it too!


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Teach

Psalm 86:11
Teach me your ways, O Lord,    that I may live according to your truth!Grant me purity of heart,    so that I may honor you.

We often times look to others to teach us the ways of the Lord.  While there is a certain amount that we can learn from others, God desires to teach us His ways.  there are things that God wants to teach me that I can only learn from Him because, they are assignments from Him for me.

While I may have a similar call on my life to someone else, God uses my unique personality  and traits to carry out that call.  If I am only allowing others to teach me, I am missing out on God's call for me.

God wants to teach each of us things that will allow us to live according to His truth.  The truth He has for our lives.  When we seek Him to teach us, He sees our pure heart and is honored.
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