Showing posts from August, 2020

Will you share that with me?

I love the Lord, because He hears my voice and my prayers. I will call on Him as long as I live, because He has turned His ear to me. (Psalm 116:1-2) How easy is it to love someone because they do things for you? Probably a whole lot easier than it is to love someone who only takes and takes and takes, right? I wonder just how many so called 'Christians' love God because he 'does things for them', while they take and take and take all that he gives? God isn't looking for our 'sacrificial offerings' - the things we 'give' - as much as he is looking for the ways we just spend time communicating with him. As with any other relationship, there must be communication - not just superficial stuff that gets bantered around, but deeper, more meaningful discussions about what is bugging you, giving you anxiety, or bringing you pleasure and hope. These are the conversation God relishes - those that come from an open heart and a hungry spirit. There are lots of

Breathe in, Breathe out

When I said, “My foot is going out from under me,” Your loving-kindness held me up, O Lord. When my worry is great within me, Your comfort brings joy to my soul. (Psalm 94:18-19) The details never escape God, even when they seemingly escape our notice or attention. Maybe this is why it is so essential for us to trust God - because he has an eye on the details and he will never fail. Even though he never fails, our trust in him does, huh? We let worry grow within us - until it mounts to astronomic levels - and then we panic a little. God never stops taking care of the details of our lives, even when we are spinning out of control. The needs of our life are there, but he has all those needs under his control - no amount of 'great worry' will ever help bring the answer to those needs quicker, or in any better manner! I don't know where you are today, but I know there are bound to be some of you who are feeling like your feet are going out from underneath you. It may be like yo

There I go again

God did not keep His own Son for Himself but gave Him for us all. Then with His Son, will He not give us all things? (Romans 8:32) Do you have anyone in your life who always hesitates to ask God for things they really, really want? Are you that person? There are times when I think we all hesitate a little to 'ask' God for things because we think we are not supposed to bother him with these piddly concerns, or that they are too 'secular' for us to be asking God for them. The truth of the matter is that everything in our life matters to God - even if all we want is the right size tire for our vehicle to be on sale when we next need to replace them. God isn't going to reject our requests because they are 'too secular'. He wants us to use our common sense with things like purchasing new tires, but he also doesn't get put off by us asking him to help us find the best deal around. Nothing is too 'out there' or 'out of bounds' for us to ask him.

A song in the night

The Lord will send His loving-kindness in the day.  And His song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life.  (Psalm 42:8) How would you describe the Lord's 'loving-kindness' in your life? As a kid, I would have described it as the nice home I lived in, the neat toys I had, or even the super-speedy bike I rode. As a young adult, I would maybe have thought about the ways God provides for my needs such as a good job, food on the table, and freedom from disease or injury. As an older adult, I now look back over my life and begin to recount the loving-kindness of God in a much different manner. I'd have to say it was known in the embrace of a loving father, the gentle hand hold of a dedicated mother, and the warm hugs from a close friend. It is the 'thank you's' from you kids and grand-kids when you just shared a good meal, or the happy look on your grandson's face when he was the first one to catch the fish on that day outing. Loving-kindn

Get rid of the gaps

There have been times when someone has asked me how we can really know if someone is a believer - one who has more than just the "title" of Christian, but actually lives as a Christian in their day to day existence. I really believe the person is probably asking because they have been "burned" in some relationship by someone professing to be a Christian, but really not living by the testimony they have proclaimed to be true about their lives. We often see people leave the church, family, or other type of relationship simply because someone "burned" them. It is a sad thing, but it is true. Faith comes in all kinds of packages - some 'packages' are quite genuine, others are mere displays of what might have been if the 'package contents' were allowed to be unloaded. Today's passage gives us a kind of "barometer" for evaluating if our faith (or the faith of another) is real (genuine). This is how we know we’re living steadily a

Live in and you will love out

God is greater - greater than _______. You fill in the blank. Go ahead, give it a whirl. Greater than . . . that speaks volumes, doesn't it? I wonder if God is your 'greater than' in real practice in your life.  Practice is merely the habitual or customary performance we exhibit as we go about our daily routines. it is the performance we repeat over and over again. The difference between talk and practice is simply our action - practice requires the action that backs up the specific talk we might talk. In other words, there is substance to our words. Today we are reminded that love is really an action, not just a "message" or a thing we "say". It requires action to back it up! My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our wo

Hollow spaces get filled in time

You have probably noticed that I tend to turn to the Psalms, Proverbs and Pauline Epistles as my "favorite" places to read and re-read in the scripture. It is because I "connect" with King David - a sinner through and through, but intent on keeping God first in his life, not afraid to turn again and again to God seeking grace for his misadventures, much like me. I also connect with Solomon, a man seeking wisdom and intention in life, always open to the truths God would teach. Similarly, I find the honesty of a heart struggling to make a break from the past ways of doing things and reaching to do things in the newness of this Christian walk when I look at the walk of the Apostle Paul. Regardless of the place I go in scripture, the theme is the same - God's gift of grace leads us right to where we need to be - connected to the one who gives life! I particularly enjoy the any scripture that speaks to me of living out my life, not in some "religious"

Author = Authority

It is one thing to be proud of what you represent, but another to be proud in yourself. I am not ashamed to say and show that I represent Christ in my life, but I do get pretty down on myself when too much of 'me' comes through, showing that side of me that wants the attention and glories in being the center of it. If it were not for the work of the Lord in my life, I would have a very miserable existence. My life course would have been dramatically different. How do I know that? I know full-well the course I was on before Christ grabbed hold of my heart and I began to hold onto his as though my very breath depended on it. It wasn't a good one and the path was headed for more than one form of disastrous outcome. Maybe you can say the same - we don't have the same path, but we all somehow came to the realization we need Christ to take over that 'path setting' in our lives. If you aren't there yet, just wait - your point of turning is coming! If anyone wants

Get over yourself

When we are doing things that we didn't want to do, but figure out we really enjoy doing, we are in a good place indeed. To love God with all our heart is a good thing, but let me tell you that it takes time for us to realize just how good it is to let the things we thought were so important to fall away while allowing Christ to take that place within us. We allow a lot of things to occupy the space in our lives that really are meant to be fulfilled with what will truly satisfy us - giving us a sense of enjoying life to the fullest. There are times we do everything in order to avoid the things that will produce true joy and fulfillment because we don't want responsibility in our lives. I am here to tell you that 'responsibility' may be hard, and we may think with responsibility there will be no real sense of doing something because you love it, but when we begin to give of ourselves, not because you feel an obligation to do it, we will begin to enjoy it more. “You must

Live or Die

Here is something to ponder today - will you die knowing that you spent your life doing something you loved? That can be a hard one for each of us because there are some things we love to do and then there are things we do that seem to almost refill love into our lives. Which is more important? I think they are equally as important, but it isn't always the 'what' we do that matters - it is more important for us to know the 'who' behind all that we do.  If we live, it is for the Lord. If we die, it is for the Lord. If we live or die, we belong to the Lord. (Romans 14:8) If we live...  That speaks volumes to me because we are never assured of life, are we? We might hope we will arise in the morning, put effort into the day, and finish it out in stillness and rest, but are we assured of our next breath? No one knows the hour of his birth, nor does he know the hour of his death. What happens in between those two moments in time is what we refer to as 'life' - at

Sow a little, reap a lot

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant. (Robert Louis Stevenson) Wouldn't it be good if we all thought a whole lot less about what it is we will gain from something we are doing and a whole lot more about what others may reap in return? What is the purpose of a seed? Isn't it to produce more growth? We sow one seed, but we harvest a much larger return than just one seed. The farmer who sows wheat seed is not hoping for the return of one grain of wheat - he is hoping for the return to be multiplied. We sometimes think we sow to reap, but I would like us to think differently today - we sow so others may reap from what we have sown. I know we won't always reap the return we hoped for, but that doesn't mean we stop sowing those seeds! Live and work without pride. Be gentle and kind. Do not be hard on others. Let love keep you from doing that. (Ephesians 4:2) Live and work without pride. The seeds of pride are sometimes sown withou

Challenged to Run Well

Time is short - what are you doing with yours? This may not seem like a very significant question when you are twenty and going strong, but the recent passing of a young man just barely in his forties made me realize we cannot take life for granted. Chances are he arose every morning living life to the fullest, but none of us knows when our last breath will come. We all run this race - with urgency and equally with responsibility to run it well. When time is short and a solution is imperative, how do we run? Likely we run with a determination - because we know we have limited time and we want to be sure whatever needs to be done is accomplished. A race is more than a contest in speed - it can also be one of endurance and perseverance. How well we run is often determined by our "interpretation" of the need to run - the thing that is right in front of us that we are running toward, or the thing behind us that is making us run! If we have a wild animal charging at us, intent on

What one thing?

We used to play this little game when we were kids. We'd all lay around under the shade of a big tree, one foot crossed over the other, some of us half sitting, half reclining. We'd pitch the question, "If your house was on fire right now, what one thing would you take with you?" That may not seem like a very significant question, but we'd hold each other to just 'one thing', because inevitably we'd have a hard choice between saving our dolls, cars, favorite books, or even our cutest dresses. Before long we'd be spouting off a list of things we would have to 'rescue' from the fire instead of just ONE THING. The instructions weren't hard - the lessons they taught were! I have found as much joy in following Your Law as one finds in much riches. (Psalm 119:14) That simple game may not have seemed all that significant at the time, but it actually revealed where our heart was at that moment. Some would choose to save their baseball card col

Let 'em rattle, roll, and roar

There will be wars and rumors of wars. The earth will shake and the waters tremble. The mountains will spew lava and the earth's crust will split apart. These are painful reminders of our sinfulness - of our absence of God's presence in our midst. The one thing we can count on in the midst of all the 'bad stuff' that seems to happen around us is that God is our safe place and our strength. He isn't just a place to hide, but he is a means to stand strong in the midst of what seems to otherwise shake our world. The more we study he faithfulness of God, the more we see he has always kept a watchful eye on those who call upon his name. We should never forget that 'bad stuff' will happen, but we don't have to be afraid of the 'bad stuff' around us. We are safe in his hands - his presence makes a way for us to feel secure and protected. God is our safe place and our strength. He is always our help when we are in trouble. So we will not be afraid, even

Oh, so that's what I need....

I spend a little time on occasion just perusing ideas on Pinterest because I like to see what creative things others come up with to either save money, make something old new again, or reuse something in a totally different way. It gives me ideas and some of them I actually put into use in my home. What 'worked' for someone else begins to find a way to 'work' in my life, as well. It may be that they show me how to create a raised garden bed and I adopt those ideas as I create my own. It has been useful to see ways people hide pesky cables that gather behind our media stations in life. Sometimes I know what I want to create, but there are no plans I can find. That is when I have to make a "prototype" of the object. It is pieced together in the fashion I 'believe' will work, but not every prototype I create actually works very well! Some make it no further than the scrap pile. Others work 'okay', but they aren't really what I desired. It is g

What do you see in me?

When you stop long enough to watch another - not just in a casual way, but with some purpose in your watching - you might just see a thing or two which you'd have missed otherwise! I believe most of us are probably some form of people-watchers. We observe their behavior, gleaning much from their "attitude", and coming to some conclusions as a result of what we observe. The power of "observation" is a learned habit. It just doesn't happen one day. In fact, you have to learn to look beyond the surface to get really good at this - otherwise, we draw conclusions which are not always based in reality. Don't believe me? Then how is it we 'fall in love' so easily, then come to the realization who we thought we were so 'madly in love with' isn't really the same person we fell for? We saw what we wanted to see and formed the story around what we interpreted in our mind's eye! the real world, this is a dangerous thing! Watch what G

Wow, this is dry stuff

I can't get enough of.... You fill in the rest of that one - go ahead, I will wait. My BFF makes these awesome peanut butter brownies, I'd have to say that would be it for me! On a more serious note, though, there are a lot of things in a spiritual sense that I wonder if we'd even consider when we finish that sentence. Enough: adequate for the want or need; sufficient for the purpose or to satisfy desire. Desire: a longing or craving for something which brings satisfaction or enjoyment. Have you been so desperate for something that absolutely nothing else enters your mind? You just cannot turn your attention from whatever it is you long for, craving it with such intensity, nothing else will satisfy that desire. Wouldn't it be awesome if you could honestly say this about God - his grace, goodness, and love? He becoming the object of your longings or cravings - so that he would become the center of your focus so much that nothing else would satisfy! I wonder how we get to

Do it and Mean it

Did you realize there are various forms of bankruptcy? I didn't know a person could declare themselves 'bankrupt' and still keep their stuff, but they can. They don't always have to 'liquidate' everything - there is this option to kind of 'rehabilitate' your financial status, while eliminating a whole lot of the debt one has created in life. In the simplest terms, being bankrupt means one is unable to satisfy any just claim made upon that individual; or their is this lacking in a particular thing or quality. Today, as our economy tanks and our finances seem to be the focus of so many conversations, I'd like to take a moment to really focus on something we seldom spend much time thinking about in terms of bankruptcy - love. We throw the word "love" around like it was a "thing" rather than a quality, or an outflow of a person's life. For anyone who has been around a while, it is not uncommon to have heard some familiar passag

Just a little niggling

Do you not know that your body is a house of God where the Holy Spirit lives? God gave you His Holy Spirit. Now you belong to God. You do not belong to yourselves. God bought you with a great price. So honor God with your body. You belong to Him. (I Corinthians 6:19-20) Is there anybody out there other than me that struggles to treat their body right? You know what I mean - eating healthy, making wise choices with your physical activities so as to not stress out your body too much, and getting enough rest. If you struggle with any of these, then just know you are not alone. I constantly go back and forth between desiring to eat healthy, but also craving a luscious brownie! The two are incongruous, aren't they? I haven't met a 'healthy' brownie yet! We crave a whole lot of things in this lifetime that are incongruous with what God desires for our lives. If you don't really understand what that word means, then let me explain. Anything that is 'incongruous' i

Sowing in Drought?

Lord, change our circumstances for the better, like dry streams in the desert waste! Let those who plant with tears reap the harvest with joyful shouts. Let those who go out, crying and carrying their seed, come home with joyful shouts, carrying bales of grain! (Psalm 126:4-6) Most of us would think of a "circumstance" as something that at least modifies or perhaps influences what will happen in the end - what the outcome of a particular situation or occurrence will be. When we have the right one in charge of the "circumstances", there is no "modifier" beyond our ability or capability! Do you know what a drought is? In the simplest sense, it is a period of "extreme dryness". Most "dry spells" are not a matter of our doing. They are "circumstances" beyond our control - because none of us controls the weather. In the times of spiritual "dryness" there is much at work attempting to modify our responses in life - pe

Just a closer look

Look in the mirror. What do you see? Today you may see a new blemish on your cheek, a little puffiness under your eyes, or a few wayward gray hairs that seem to have a mind of their own. Look a little bit longer and you may realize you need to pluck a few hairs, deep clean a few pores, or see the dentist for a teeth cleaning. We 'see' what we want to see, don't we? There are days when I look in the mirror and just give myself a cursory glance. It is like a really quick once over to just make sure all the hair is down, there isn't anything dribbled down the front of my shirt, or that the outfit doesn't make me look too heavy. Other days I find that chin hair that sprung up out of nowhere, or noticing for the first time how tired I look after a particularly grueling set of circumstances have taken their toil on my body. We see what we want to see so many times, but at others we can see things we probably didn't want to see. God sees both - the things we want him t

What is in the house?

What is a break-through? We hear that terms a lot of the time, but we don't always know how to define it in our particular circumstance. For example, if we need a 'financial break-through', we may say we need to be out from under some oppressive debt. If we need a 'physical break-through', we may say we need to be healed of a life-altering disease. These are easier 'break-through' types to define, but there are a whole lot of emotional, spiritual, and even relational break-through moments that we don't always know how to define. They are a little more elusive because they really rely upon us being open and honest about things. Sometimes we just need to acknowledge what we have, then allow God to do what he will do with what we have - then in some way God allows a break-through. Now the wife of the son of one of the men who tell what will happen in the future cried out to Elisha, “Your servant, my husband, is dead. You know that your servant honored the L

No escape plan for me

Have you ever hidden so well in that old time game of hide & seek so that you were absolutely unable to be discovered? That which is hidden is not visible - it isn't easily perceived, or has little to no evidence it even exists. If we are playing a kid's game, being hidden in such a manner ensures that you will be declared the 'winner' of the game. In real life, always hiding so well isn't going to ensure you 'win', is it? It just means you remain undiscovered! When our hiding place is in God himself, it isn't that we aren't able to be discovered - it is just that his barrier of protection over our lives is so impenetrable that nothing can get at us!  You are my hiding place and my battle-covering. I put my hope in Your Word. (Psalm 119:114) When times challenge us a little, do we turn to God as our covering, or do we simple hunker down a little in some 'place' we have designed for ourselves as a means of escape? I daresay there are a lot

By what Power and Right?

Then the Jews asked Him, “What can You do to show us You have the right and the power to do these things? (John 2:18)  I dunno about you, but if someone changed water into wine right in front of my eyes, and not even the cheap stuff, but the top of the line wine, I might not be asking this type of question! I think the Jewish leaders were intimidated and riddled with all manner of confusing 'impressions' about Christ. They didn't recognize him as the Messiah - the Redeemer. They didn't trust his works as those of a man godly in every manner, but rather considered his works as potentially from the one who ruled the pits of hell. They demanded the proof that Jesus had both the right and the power to do great miracles in their midst. Trust me on this, my friends, if Jesus were standing right in the middle of some crowds today, doing some form of miracle, there would be equally as much skepticism! Some will believe almost immediately, even without the tremendous miracles, b

In or Out?

Life can be lived fully - don't you agree? If you are like some I know, you might just be 'squandering away' a little of life each and every day, though. In fact, we all probably do a little 'squandering' without really being aware we are 'losing out' on something that could be really, really big in the end! There are certainly times when we are gung-ho about seeking all life has to show us, while there are others when we'd just as soon "check-out" for a while and resume this whole thing called life just a little later on when things calm down a little - the theme song lyrics of 2020. It is only natural to be "all in" sometimes, and then pull back a little at others - we are not gonna always be giving life our 100%, right? Sometimes we just need to escape - but we don't want to miss out on things just because we did! I wonder if there has been some important stuff we missed out on when we are "checked-out" a little th