There are times when someone asks us to do something and our response is "I will"....and sometimes we tack on the end of that with "I promise". I will, I promise...yikes, I've said those very words and the truth...I didn't measure up to my words. Not because I wanted to because my intentions were right but my follow up well---you know. Has that been you before? Sometimes those "I wills" were spoken to God. And our prayer is God please forgive me...and He does.
My heart wants to make certain I don't make a commitment or promise I don't keep. Ask God to help with the commitment and with the follow through. God never fails to keep his promises or follow through with His 'I wills". “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!" John 14:12-14.
Did you notice the "I wills"...and Jesus does...we can count on Him always.
When we come to Jesus with our prayers, He always hears us, always. Here is where the devil lays the trap, he wants you to worry about your past or the scars because they can't be forgiven, that's the devil's lie.
God in Jesus forgives them all, in fact has already forgiven them. Our loving Father in Heaven is there for us to lean on and carry our burdens and free us to live in faith and not doubt Him or his promises. There is nothing you can do or have done that can make God love you less. The love Jesus has for us is complete.
So, when you sin, and you will, go to God in repentance and hear the precious words, your sins are all forgiven. Jesus was and is perfect for you. And trust God that He does love you, always. And He's waiting to hear from you. "If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for one who believes." Mark 9:23
We've experienced times when problems seem to have no solutions. We've done everything we know to do and still no solution. Israel staring at the Red Sea in front of them and the advancing Egyptian are behind them... the 5,000 plus people gathered to hear Jesus and where to get the food?
Impossible looking situations are opportunities God uses to teach us to depend on Him. God knows how to solve our problems but, He may ask us to do something that seems unreasonable or even impossible.
One of my favorite Proverbs. 3:5-6..."Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and he will make your paths straight".
God is in the impossible waiting for us to trust Him and follow His lead.
The devil is having a field day with so much "it's all about me and not about Thee". What did we, or do we, expect when God is removed from His rightful place in our lives.
"If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand." Phil 2:1-4
Jesus' word is so appropriate for today, for all of us who call on the name of the Lord. Our neighbors, friends, people we don't know have experienced the unthinkable, many have lost their homes, their possessions and some even love ones.
Continue to pray for them, pray for your response, and then reach out in Christian love and help because that's what Jesus would have us do.
’For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Matt. 25:35-36
Ever notice how we often seem to want more. More memory for the computer, more legroom, more time, more choices, more and bigger.
While there are people who simply would like some...some to eat, some water to drink. When we sit down for a meal, 'whose going to say grace"? It is a time, and very appropriate, to offer thanks to God for his blessings.
Grace is undeserved but a gift of God's love for which we thank and praise Him. Saying grace is really acknowledging we are so blessed by God.
"I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds" Ps.9:1.
"The mountains may move, and the hills may shake, but my kindness will never depart from you. My promise of peace will never change,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you." Is. 54:10 (God's Word version).
Think about this verse for a few moments. Even if things crumble around you God's promise of love and compassion is sure and certain and will never change.
Things can and do change, people can and do change. But dear friends the unchanging constant in our life is God, lovingly walking beside us to reassure us and guide us through all of life's challenges and changes.
We may be riding the crest of some really good times and things just couldn't be a lot better. Praise God for those moments, those times. God is good.
Friends or family members may not be riding that same crest. They may be struggling with something or someone that is darkening their day. God would have us step in and step up for them in some way.
Maybe a hug, maybe let them know of your concern for them and help bear the burden..." Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Gal. 6:2."So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." Gal. 6:10.
Hmm, who knows, maybe tomorrow it could be us who needs that hug or someone to come alongside us to help us bear the burden. That's what Jesus would do.
" give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." I Thess. 5:18.
Cicero wrote, "A thankful heart is the parent of all virtues." I read this somewhere...."It is a dangerous thing to ask why someone else has been given more. It is humbling---and indeed healthy---to ask why you have been given so much".
We are truly blessed...God loves us, forgives us, and provides all we need...how can we be anything but thankful to God.
Smell some roses today.
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Prov. 22:6.
Children are likely to reflect what they see in adults and the words they hear during their early years. They listen, they observe, they mimic adult responses. And as they grow up others enter the sphere of influence in their lives. It is important for their spiritual growth that they have relevant worship and Christian teaching for them to reflect and hold on to. If daily devotions, prayer, and worship are important to you there is a very good chance it will be for them.
If not for you, chances are it won't be important to them. Some things seem to be slipping away in our midst...don't let it be one's relationship with Jesus and prayer.
In our sinful broken world we are assured of problems and challenges and challenges to our faith. It's easy to think that our problems and challenges are unimportant to God...not so! Whatever you confront, whatever concerns you have they are not unimportant to God because you are important to God.
Believe no matter how great or small your challenges are, God is greater. “This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’ Jer. 33:3
It's True: "Our God is an awesome God He reigns from heaven above With wisdom, power, and love Our God is an awesome God"
Some of us are leaders. Some are followers and, some sit on the front porch and watch others engaged in actually putting words into action, rolling up their sleeves, getting involved and making a difference in someone's life. Those who sit in their chairs and watch others actually doing something often times offer nothing more than criticism. What would have happened if Moses said, no to God? Or if Joshua would have looked at the daunting task of moving this sea of people across the Jordan to the land of Promise and say no thank you?
Maybe they would still be at water's edge looking across and wondering what could have been. Or, if Jesus would have said, no thank you I'm not going there? The Christian faith is not a spectator faith it's taking a risk for the sake of the Gospel, it's not being afraid to step out and allow the light of God's love shine through us. Oh, you may find resistance, rejection, even ridicule but then so did our LORD. Sometimes it's difficult to love, to serve, to speak, to act...but consider the downside if you simply sit on the porch and watch others...who really loses? Those who sit and do nothing.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4.
What happens when God becomes irrelevant in the lives of people? When God, or even the mention of God, is removed because it makes someone uncomfortable? When man is more important than God? When my opinion is the only opinion that matters? When the 8th Commandment is neither respected or practiced? When hate rules rather than love?
When God's children retreat instead of practicing Christ's Command to "love one another as I have loved you". Well, the answer is all to clear and all around us. And we are horrified. "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land" 2 Chron. 7:14. We say to God if you will I will...God's response is, no no no---If you will then I will. Isn't it time to return to the God of creation and salvation.
Isn't it time for us, all the people, to bend our knees, bow our heads and fold our hands in humble repentance before God and ask Him to heal our land, our leaders, and yes---us.
"When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up." Ps. 94:19.
So often when we get upset at something or someone we internalize it or really let go and say things we later regret. Life happens, stuff happens, people may be a real pain, and frankly are at times. We have a difficult time eliminating these situations because often they are beyond our control. It's how we handle them, how we choose to react that is our real witness.
I love this verse...notice the Psalmist said "when" and not "if". Paul's words..."Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phi. 4:6-7.
Let the Holy Spirit bring calm to you when you experience those challenging times. And remember, ''you calmed me down and cheered me up." Put a smile on your face and make the world wonder....why you have that smile, (psst...it's Jesus)
"Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth." Col. 3:2.
If we were to admit it we get this verse backwards. We think about the things here most of the time and give not as many thoughts to heaven. Kinda happens when life is bit out of balance. God created us for relationships. First with Him. Spending some time every day just the two of you (us) God and you...then quality time with family---with the emphasis on quality and not necessarily quantity over quality...and a healthy understanding the part work plays in a balanced life.
This one so often gets way out of balance at the expense other relationships. And then taking care of our health which is a way we honor God as well. And then worship and serving God with other member of the Body of Christ rounds out a life that honors God and having a healthy respect for things this side of heaven.
God would have us put Him and his design for us first then the rest of life seems to work a whole lot better. " Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed." Prov. 16:3
"What's on your mind"? Hmm, Facebook asks that same question every single time I prepare to post something.
What exactly IS on your mind this day? Reflection, worry, anxious awaiting some news, struggling with a problem that isn't resolving or just won't go away? Or, happy thoughts? Just did a wedding last week. Such a beautiful day...rained in the morning and I'm sure there were a few anxious thoughts but God turned it off and it was beautiful. Bride was beautiful, groom handsome...love was in the air. And I am reminded, again---for the umpteenth time---of God's goodness.
We worry too much, we fret too many things. We don't stop and smell the roses God provides daily. The roses of family, of friends, faith, the beauty around us---the blessings of life. Even in the midst of struggles the sweet aroma of God's love fills our hearts.
Good morning Heavenly Father, I do so look forward to what you have planned for today...remind me of the roses in my life. " And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others." 2 Cor. 9:8....God provides plenty of everything and not simply food and drink but EVERYTHING we need so there is plenty to share.
I'm sitting in the breakfast area of a hotel staring at an aquarium full of fish gently swimming around without a care in the world. It is so peaceful. I wanna crawl in the tank with them.
But, of course, peace, real peace, doesn't come from a fish tank but from God who promises: "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you." Is. 54:10.
We don't have to go fishing for God's love and peace...it's ours by faith in our Savior Jesus. So, I say, "may the peace of God that passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ." Ph. 4:7
"But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit." Jer. 17:7-8.
There is a verse from an old hymn that goes "Trust and obey For there's no other way To be happy in Jesus But to trust and obey".
Hmmm, trust Jesus, take him at his Word, follow Him....there's where we will find peace and contentment, like Paul---"I've learned these secret of being content in any and every situation"...his secret? Jesus, trusting and following his Word.
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine" Is. 55:8.
Have you wondered or even said it out loud, 'why God'? Why is this happening? Maybe in your life or in the world. It doesn't mean that we have no faith in God, it's simply our human weakness and perhaps desire to know or understand. In other words for us it needs to make sense or be logical. We try sometimes to arrange God in our neat logical way of thinking. But we can't. Because, (God talking) 'my thoughts are not yours' and my ways, well are way beyond yours'. We even want God to be predictable by acting the way we want Him to. That also isn't going to happen. God's Will, will be done around us, beyond us, and by faithful obedience---in us.
We won't always get the answer to our 'why question'. "The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions." Deut. 29:29
Have you ever thought... I wish I could sing like him, or her, or play piano like that young kid. Or I wish I could do what 'they do'. God has gifted each of us with gifts to use to serve Him and others. He didn't gift everyone with the same gift. And talent!
Imagine if we all had the same talent? I wonder what that would be like. So, it is better for us to say: I don't wish anymore for gifts or talents that I don't have but attempt to use what I know I have to honor God and serve others. Peterson writes encouraging words for us: " There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.
In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!" Rom. 5:3-5
"Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy" Ps. 126:2-3.
So much of conversations are "what's wrong" with the world, and yes even what's not right, or missing, or unfair in our life. Happiness isn't a guarantee in this world, nor is societies definition of prosperity. If we would focus less on what we don't have and more on what we do have we would indeed be content and thankful. God has and does bless us with all we need. He loves us and cares for us and about us.
Being thankful and smiling is good for our spirit and health and honors God. Others may then see there must be something you posses that lends to such thankfulness, smiles and laughter.