Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from July, 2016

Don't be stingy!

I know there is nothing better for us than to be joyful and to do good throughout our lives; to eat and drink and see the good in all of our hard work is a gift from God.I know everything God does endures for all time. Nothing can be added to it; nothing can be taken away from it. We humans can only stand in awe of all God has done. What has been and what is to be—already is. (Ecclesiastes 3:12-15 VOICE)  

Hard work - we use that term to describe the fruitful endeavors of our hands, the back-breaking labor of our energies exerted in some task needing to be finally accomplished, and the exhaustion of our minds as we settle back to rest our weary bodies after a long day at the "salt mine" we call "work".  Hard implies we had to put some effort into it - maybe it was more than just physically fatiguing because it was troublesome for us to accomplish.  I have undertaken some projects on occasion which game me more headaches and soreness in my muscles that I wondered if …

What power do you hold?

"It is not so much our friends' help that helps us, as the confidence of their help." (Epicurus) Isn't it wonderful to have another to come alongside, lending that sense of confidence when ours seems to wane?  It is as though they see the wind in our sail just diminish, our forward movement begin to cease, and our burden beginning to bog us down to the place we cannot make another step.  As scripture so aptly points out, we all have a burden to bear and our own story to write - we cannot live life for another.  Yet, we can come alongside and help one who is struggling, so they might be bolstered by the confidence we can instill in that moment when theirs is far from them!

Each person has his or her own burden to bear and story to write. (Galatians 6:5 VOICE)

We don't always have to possess the answer to someone's troubles to be of support to them. I think people sometimes forget the powerful influence of just being a listening ear - comfortable to remain silen…

Moments or Monuments?

There is an old saying:  Something crooked cannot be made straight, and something missing cannot be counted.  (Ecclesiastes 1:15 VOICE)  

Corrie Ten Boom said, "Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future."  There is a song entitled "Dear Younger Me" by MercyMe.  The song begins, "Dear younger me, where do I start; if I could tell you everything I have learned so far, then you'd be one step ahead..." Boy, isn't that the desire of every parent?  To somehow share with our children the things we have learned in the "school of hard knocks" and repeated "recesses of rebellion".  Those memories don't have to haunt us - for they can be, as Corrie said, the key to different steps in the future. Those "different" steps may bespeak of deeper faith, a more solid trust in someone other than yourself, or a greater understanding of how to avoid the pitfalls that come our way.  If I had to tell parents these days one …

Where he is - there is light

God is pure light, undimmed by darkness of any kind. If we say we have an intimate connection with the Father but we continue stumbling around in darkness, then we are lying because we do not live according to truth. If we walk step by step in the light, where the Father is, then we are ultimately connected to each other through the sacrifice of Jesus His Son. His blood purifies us from all our sins.  (I John 1:5-7 VOICE)  

The light of God cannot be dimmed by all the darkness around us, or even that which is within us!  This is indeed good news in view of all the darkness we seeing perpetuated in our society today.  Darkness cannot dwell where perfect light shines - and God's light is perfect - undimmed by ANY kind of darkness. It is undimmed in our hearts where he has taken up residence and is renewing our minds, spirits, and souls each day.  it is undimmed in the midst of evil around us, despite the appearance otherwise.  God's light cannot and will not be dimmed. In fact, i…

Are you broken-hearted?

"Only the broken-hearted know the truth about love." (Mason Cooley)  They say to have loved and lost is far better than to have never even attempted to understand or participate in love at all.  Love is a "messy" kind of thing - sometimes quite a pleasant "mess" and at others kind of devastating to the heart.  I don't think most of us humans actually understand the love of God, though.  We make a pretty feeble attempt to actually understand the breadth, width, and depth of that unfathomable love, but in essence the closest we ever come to understanding his love is to receive it in the first place.  The most profound thing about God's love is not that he is interested in loving those who have "perfect love", but those who are already pretty "broken" in their ability or willingness to love themselves, others, and him!

Some people became fools infected by their rebellious ways, and sickness followed because of their sins.  Affli…

"In" or "Out"?

Oh, that every part of my life would remain in line with what You require!  Then I would feel no shame when I fix my eyes upon Your commands.  With a pure heart, I will give thanks to You when I hear about Your just and fair rulings.
8 I will live within Your limits; do not abandon me completely!  (Psalm 119:5-8 VOICE)

I looked up the phrase "in line with" in an online dictionary and saw this definition: "to cause to conform or agree with". Most of our challenges in life are because we have somehow become "out of line with" what God requires. We have chosen our own way, determined our own course of action.  We thought the "line" was too hard - it "confined" us too much.  On the other hand, when we chose to cross the line, we might have just realized our "newfound freedom" was just a little more than we bargained for!

As a young woman, just learning to drive, I was in my friend's car and she gave me the permission to drive.  …

Learning what we already know

"It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows."  (Epictetus) This is so true, isn't it?  We might think we are open to learning new things until we actually realize we have developed a thought pattern which already sees our viewpoint as "right" or "the best".  In essence, we shut our minds and hearts to any further intake of knowledge simply by thinking we already have it all figured out!  Maybe this is why scripture warns us to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, or that we are to remember the heart is pretty deceitful.  Epictetus also said, "The two powers which in my opinion constitute a wise man are those of bearing and forbearing."  To bear, one must take up, or come under a load so as to carry it for another.  To forbear, one must not given into the tiny annoyances which life (and sometimes people) send our way while not reacting to them in a negative or unkind manner.

...pass on to you these …

What happened to all the leaves?

Now that you have welcomed the Anointed One, Jesus the Lord, into your lives, continue to journey with Him and allow Him to shape your lives.Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness. Make sure no predator makes you his prey through some misleading philosophy and empty deception based on traditions fabricated by mere mortals. These are sourced in the elementary principles originating in this world and not in the Anointed One (so don’t let their talks capture you). You see, all that is God, all His fullness, resides in His body. You, too, are being completed in Him, the One who has dominion over all rule, all authority. (Colossians 2:6-10 VOICE)

Is our heart a welcoming place for Jesus?  We might answer a positive "yes" to that one, but let's just stop to consider what it is we welcome into our heart without really paying much attention unti…

Doggone it! Did I forget to ask again?

If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it; and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking.The key is that your request be anchored by your single-minded commitment to God. Those who depend only on their own judgment are like those lost on the seas, carried away by any wave or picked up by any wind. Those adrift on their own wisdom shouldn’t assume the Lord will rescue them or bring them anything. The splinter of divided loyalty shatters your compass and leaves you dizzy and confused. (James 1:5-8 VOICE) I cannot tell you how many times I have started out on some journey in life with a whole lot of unanswered questions and feeling like I was barely making it on a wing and a prayer.  I think there are just times when we don't have all the wisdom we need for the steps we are about to take, but maybe we just launch forward in hopes we will somehow be able to muddle our way through things…

Who's been sitting in my car?

I watched a short news clip the other night about a black bear in Colorado who managed to find his way into an automobile parked in the family's driveway, then lock himself inside.  Imagine coming out to leave for the day one morning and finding a little bit of a scary ball of fur in your front seat!  While the homeowners were walking round and round the car trying to figure out how he got inside the car and if there was a way to actually let him out, the bear moved from side to side, almost petitioning to be set free.  His gaze through the now pretty smeared up windows was not one of anger, but of pleading to be free again.  I don't think the bear liked it anymore than the homeowner did that he had ended up stuck in that car overnight!  Newscasters commented on how bears can find themselves in the most unusual predicaments in life - all because curiosity got the best of them.  Honestly, I don't think we humans fair much better on that one!

Any temptation you face will be n…

Exercise that "giving muscle" today

"Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity, When I give I give myself." (Walt Whitman)  There are a whole lot of things and way we can give.  Many of us have "given" blood and would "give" more blood when called upon to do so.  Some have given of their time in the military forces, protecting our freedom as a nation.  Others give to charities in the form of foodstuffs for food banks, clothing for the homeless, or used goods to local thrift stores who employ men and women down on their luck.  A lot of church-goers "give" regularly into collection plates passed during service.  Some will give of their time, others of their belongings, some even give of their excess, while others give "till it hurts".  Despite all the ways of giving, none rises quite as close to the top of the list as when one gives themselves to another in service.
But I will say this to encourage your generosity: the one who plants little harvests little, and the…

Help me do more than survive

16 Celebrate always, 17 pray constantly, and 18 give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.)19 Don’t suppress the Spirit. 20 Don’t downplay prophecies. 21 Take a close look at everything, test it, then cling to what is good. 22 Put away every form of evil.  (I Thessalonians 5:16-17 VOICE)

Throughout scripture we find certain actions which are presented not so much as suggestions for living, but as imperatives upon which we are to build our relationships with God and others.  They are not "optional", but are instead what we might just refer to as "conditional". They depend upon the condition of our heart!  They influence the condition of the hearts of others.  They can undo hard conditions.  They can create conducive conditions. 

The first we will explore today is that of celebration.  The directive is to celebrate always. I don't know about anyone else, but this one is hard for me…

Faith, Hope, & Love

"Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness." (H. Jackson Brown, Jr)  If we all harnessed these three, applying each of these without wavering, we'd really become a powerhouse to contend with, united in meaningful purpose!  Brown also said, "Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you."  Now, there's food for thought!  To live in such a way our children seek us out as the example by which they wish to pattern their behavior is indeed an honor.  Many kids these days emulate the behaviors they see on TV, in the lives of sports stars, or some imaginary "hero" of legendary proportions portrayed on the big screen. I wonder how different our society might just be if we gave them a different "pattern" by which they began to lay out the actions and course of their lives?

For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as whe…

Feedback

"We all need people who will give us feedback. That's how we improve." (Bill Gates) There is a principle taught in scripture of iron sharpening iron.  In essence, it implies it takes something a little abrasive to actually put a sharp edge on us.  The "tuning up" of our character is not done so much in the little "off-hand" comments, but in the times we actually sit face-to-face and listen with intent to what the other person is telling us.  It may not be perfect, nor may it be comfortable, but if our heart is open to actually learn from each other, we each have so much to share.  As I have said before, we only see half of ourselves in a mirror, but the other individual sitting across from us has seen us back and front!

In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend. (Proverbs 27:17 VOICE)
I saw a post recently reminding us not to change to get people to like us.  The rest of the quote just reminded us to be …

Emptiness demands filling

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.  (Philippians 4:8 VOICE)

Is it just possible some of the awful things which happen these days are because we have filled our minds with things not so very beautiful and/or truthful?  What lies do we believe, simply because we were told them and we didn't do the work to validate them?  What untruths do we propagate simply because we repeat them, not really thinking about what could be at the root of what we are repeating?  What sinister plans do we have in mind when we do some of the things we do in the name of this or that cause?  I start today with a bunch of questions because I think we don't do a very thorough job of asking the questions in life which help to perpetuate the beautiful or the truthful! Maybe we need to ask those questions of ourselves - and we d…