What Really Matters?

9 Jul

Scripture Acts 16:1-21

EVER HAD PLANS you were excited about, but they just didn’t work out?  Paul had suchpassions plans also.  When his plans didn’t work out he took that as God blocking the plan.  Since we all know that God knows all, sees all, even the future, can we also assume than when plans don’t work out it is for our best.  We are looking at the future from a one-dimensional vantage point.  Got sees it differently.  He knows what the future holds.  We look to our future through rose-colored glasses, only imagining the very best outcome.  God knows the real outcome! 

WHAT REALLY MATTERS is our intentions with our plans.  Are we just out for an enjoyable time, new surroundings, more luxury, or are we keeping God’s best interests in mind.  What does that mean?  As God-followers, we keep in touch with Him regularly through His Word and prayer.  We are seeking to live-out His will in our lives or just enjoying life.  In my opinion, the ultimate enjoyment of life is seeking to live out His will.  And how would we know what His will for us is?  His universal will for all is to believe in Jesus Christ, and wrap our lives around service to others, in Jesus name.   

EVERYONE IS GIFTED with passions and desires.  We can use these passions and desires to satisfy our own interests or discover how to use them to be a blessing to others.  One of my passions is the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Using that passion, I connect with others to promote the Godly values found in those books. I love to help people write their life stories and impact future generations with their faith in God.  Another is to learn amazing things about animals and share that with others, to point them to God as creator.  Our passions are our gifts from God.  How we live out our passions is our gift to Him.  Let’s wrap our plans around our passions and seek God’s advice in how and where to use them for His glory.

  • Adoration: We accept our passions as a privilege and a responsibility.
  • Confession: We admit we often forget to include You in our plans.
  • Thanksgiving: Thank You for the joy we find in following our passions.
  • Supplication: Help us to let You be in the driver’s seat on how to use our passions.

God’s Question for me:  Are you open to discovering how to honor Me by following your passions?

God’s Promise to me:  I gave you your passions, so you would enthusiastically discover how to use them to bless others and honor Me.  

 

 

Advertisements

Is Judging Ever Okay?

7 Jul

ScriptureActs 15:1-21

WE ALL KNOW the advice, “don’t judge a book by its cover.”  We all claim to live by that judging cartooncode, but we still are drawn to make first impression negative judgments.  Now, making judgments in life is a necessary attribute. It would be foolish to throw judging out the window.  But most everyone uses their judgments in a harmful way.  My husband was in a community organization made up of men.  Some days when he went to the meetings he was dressed in a suit and other days, in work clothes.  Everyone knew him well.  Yet, on the days he was ‘dressed-down” he could see disrespect in their eyes.  On the suit wearing days their eyes lit up and they included him more.   

APPROACHING A BLIND person, you make a judgment, that person is blind, and you temper your interactions taking that into account.  That is a good thing. But if we approach a homeless person, a disabled person, or a person covered with tattoos, we often give them a wide berth, and think unkind things under our breath.  That is the kind of judgment God condemns.  We must show kindness and respect to all human beings—regardless of their appearance.  Unfortunately, we get “set in our ways” and don’t stop to think before judging.  

IN TODAY’S PASSAGE, judgements were being made based on faulty premises.  Some of the Jewish people felt they were the honored race, because God had guided their family line for many years, gave them the Law and promised a Redeemer to come from their line.  They failed to realize that this promised Redeemer was for all people, not just the Jews.  They wanted to put restrictions upon the non-Jews that they themselves had wearily followed for years.  Here we find the advice to leave the past behind and move forward with the focus on Jesus, not the old rules and regulations that burdened everyone down.  Step into the freedom of Christ and love each person, regardless of their appearance or how you think they should act or look.  We are all drawn to love and acceptance and repelled from rejection and condemnation.  

  • Adoration: Christ has set us free to be ourselves and point others to Him.
  • Confession: I’m sorry I too am prone to make negative judgment.
  • Thanksgiving: Thank you for loosing up the judging rules and judging up not on our own merits, but upon Jesus standing in the gap for us.
  • Supplication: Help me to willing and eagerly stand in the gap for others.

God’s Question for me: Will you make every effort to replace judgment with acceptance?

God’s Promise to me: Jesus died to set you free from the condemnation of judging.  He asks that you let Him take care of that arena, and your arena is just to love and accept. 

 

 

Did you Hear?

6 Jul

ScriptureActs 14

WHISPERING CAMPAIGNS DESTROY!  My mother used to say, “a man convinced gossip1against his will is of the same opinion still.” I would add, when a person is convinced against their will they will double their opposition.  In today’s political arena we are exposed to “whispering campaigns,” one after another.  Each person decides who they will believe and condemns the other.  In this chapter, Paul is teaching and presenting unmistakable evidence that God is behind his words, by performing miracles and wonders.  No hocus- pocus here!  Those who did not want to believe opposed by whispering campaigns, sowing mistrust and suspicion.  Here we are, some 2000 years later, still being involved in whispering campaigns.   

GOSSIP IS CONSIDERED a “soft sin.”  We’ve heard it said, and we’ve said it, “well it’s the truth.”  But to God it is recognized as a “hard sin,” to put it in our words.  There seems to be a little demon in all of us that loves to stir us up against another.  When we hear the words, “did you hear,” our ears perk up and we savor each juicy morsel of gossip.  Then we can’t wait to tell someone else our “insider information.”  Gossip destroys families, communities, churches and nations.  No “soft sin” here!  How can we battle our desire to listen and pass on gossip?

PAUL, THE SPEAKER in this chapter, gives us the clear answer in a letter he wrote to the Philippian church who also struggled with gossip.  In Philippians 4:8 he said, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”  Friends, we must look for the good, not listen to the worst and pass it on.  Gossip is likened to the “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”  If we will obey the Bible and fill our minds with what is good, pure and holy, leaving no room for gossip to sneak in.  

  • Adoration: Your Word always provides just the antidote for living successfully.
  • Confession: How easily my ear is turned to a juicy morsel of gossip. I’m sorry.
  • Thanksgiving: Thank You for not giving up on me but providing Your Word.
  • Supplication: Help me to recognize and stop the gossip and the gossiper.

God’s Question for me: Can I count on you to be My ambassador of good will that looks for the good in others and refuses to pass on gossip?

God’s Promise to me: I have given My Word as the perfect antidote to gossip.  You can hardly miss it as listed as a vicious sin.  My strength is on your side to refrain from gossip. 

 

 

Is There a Hell?

5 Jul

ScriptureActs 13:26-52

HELL, FIRE AND brimstone is not what turns our hearts to Jesus.  I grew up attending a i love youchurch that taught more about hell than about love.  When I was old enough to begin reading the Bible for myself I discovered the boundless love of God, expressed through Jesus life.  Love is what drew me to God, rather than seeking God to avoid the fires of hell.  Is there a hell?  Well, the Bible says so.  Who is going there?  It says it was prepared for Satan and his followers.  God has invited everyone to come to Him for salvation and avoid punishment with Satan “Everyone who believes in Jesus is declared good and right and whole before God.’ (verse 39)

THE BIBLE WRITERS left us with a message of salvation—not damnation.  The apostles traveled far and wide to deliver this message.  Many believed—some did not!  How could they argue with Jesus’ ability to heal the sick, walk on water, raise the dead, feed the hungry, and then raise to life after His death on the cross?  They couldn’t but they still refused to believe.  Why?  It disrupted their long-accepted ways of “worship.”  This is the problem we all have when being taught a new way to do things.  It is safer to not change, especially if changing means, you step out of the leadership role and give it to Jesus. 

THAT’S WHERE THE rubber meets the road!  People don’t like change.  They think believing in Jesus means turning their life upside down and changing everything.  Instead, believing in Jesus frees a person up to be all that they were designed to be—and more than they imagined.  Don’t worry about changing anything—Jesus is patient and will lead you to changes that may need to take place.  He won’t force you, kicking and screaming, He just changes your heart and any changes you make are in response to His love. What a wonderfully free life to abide in Jesus love and care and never give a thought to the fear of hell.  The main message of the Bible is God saying, “I love you, pass it on.”

  • Adoration: How blessed it is to abide in Your love and rest in You.
  • Confession: I’m sorry I don’t give You freer reign in my life.
  • Thanksgiving: Thank You for Jesus’ sacrificial love that draws us to You.
  • Supplication: Help me to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus that cares more about others than myself. 

God’s Question for me: Are you all about passing on the love Jesus came to earth to demonstrate?

God’s Promise to me: I have not promised skies always blue, flower strewn pathways, all your life through.  But I have promised strength for the day, rest for the labor, light for the way,
grace for the trials, help from above, unfailing sympathy, undying love.

 

 

Command Central

4 Jul

Scripture Acts 13:1-25command central

DO YOU EVER just wish for a crystal ball to help you make wise decisions?  God knew we would need a little help, so he provided His Word, the Bible, and if that wasn’t enough He also provides His indwelling presence to be of assistance.  These both are readily available to help us live the abundant life in peace and joy.  Tired of how things are going in your life?  Try God’s ideas!  Why not tap into the master mind who created it all in the first place.  Sort of a “read the instruction manual when it doesn’t work on your own.” 

HAVING GOD ON our side doesn’t mean life is just one big bowl of yummy cherries.  But it gives us a “command central” from which to make sense of our lives and how to live intelligently.  Everything we do connects to every other thing we do.  It’s important to get our connections in order.  The Bible helps us do just that.  Every issue of life that we deal with has its basis in God’s Word.  We discover that with God on our side, whether we are rejoicing or down in the dumps, He provides just what we need to survive and thrive. 

ISN’T GOD ON everyone’s side?  He wants to be?  We determine whose side God is on.  To ignore His Word is to ignore Him.  His Word clearly explains how to get Him on our side.  With God on our side we can move mountains of obstacles that threaten to destroy us.  Reading from the New Testament, Matthew through Acts is a great start for the “how-to” of getting on God’s side.  You see, He is there for everyone, whosoever believes through Jesus sacrifice is welcomed into His family.  Don’t take my word for it, read it yourself.  Adopt God’s “Command Central” and find the connections of your life fall into place and experience joy unspeakable. 

  • Adoration: I am so grateful to have You at the helm of my Command Central.
  • Confession: I am ashamed of the times I ignore you and make foolish choices.
  • Thanksgiving: Thank You for Your willingness to welcome all into Your Family.
  • Supplication: Help us to be Your ambassadors to those we are in relationship with.

God’s Question for me: Will you invite Me into your life to help you manage and live victoriously for all of time and eternity? 

God’s Promise to me: I will never leave nor forsake any who come to My Command Central for help and guidance. 

 

 

Antidote to Fretting

3 Jul

ScriptureActs 12

IMPOSSIBLE!  GOD’S SPECIALTY!  Think back over your life.  How many times were 2017-08-10 Baseball game - Copyyou facing an impossible situation?  But here you are, reading this, and the impossible is long in the past, nearly forgotten.  When we face the impossible we can know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God is near and has a plan.  All we need do is trust and not fret. Humanity excels in fretting. Trusting is the antidote to fretting and works so wonderfully. In this passage Peter had been jailed and was due to be lynched the next day.  He slept that night like a baby.  How do we sleep the day before a big surgery, a trial or some such challenge? Trusting or fretting?

OUR SON RECENTLY died after about five years of dealing with cancer.  We were all amazed at his ability to trust God through it all.  We never heard even a hint of fretting.  He went through some hard-physical challenges.  He never complained, always trusted, and put a smile on his face, kept on playing with his grandsons.  When we would ask how he was doing he would say “getting better every day.”  Even up to the day they told him they could do nothing else and he would die soon.  Even then he faced it with valor—assured us of his love, and appreciation for us.     

WE HAVE TWO choices in life. Trust or fret!  God comes through for those who trust.  We were drawn to emulate our son’s trust.  Even in his death that trust carried us through the pain of loss.  Peter forged ahead in life, doing what God called him to do, preach the Good News of Jesus, come what may.  When imprisoned he chose trust!  God did the impossible.  He sent an angel to release the handcuffs and get him past the guards and locked doors, out to freedom.  No one even knew he was gone.  That same angel came to release our son from the prison of a diseased body.  We rejoiced with Peter and we rejoiced with our son.  Always trust!

  • Adoration: Trusting You is the key to peace in this life, come what may.
  • Confession: I admit I don’t always trust but often choose to fret. I am sorry.
  • Thanksgiving: Thank You for dealing with our impossible stuff.
  • Supplication: Help me to emulate Peter, and Curt’s trust in You.

God’s Question for me: As you daily face challenges will you look to Me in trust or will you choose to fret?

God’s Promise to me: I will not disappoint the one who trusts in Me.  Even though troublesome times come, I am right there with you.  I am your antidote to fretting.

 

 

Let it Begin with Me

2 Jul

ScriptureActs 11

DON’T SPEAK UNTIL you have heard both sides of the story!  What a lot of awful gossipgossip would be stopped in its tracks.  We hear a “story” about something someone did and immediately conclude they are wrong.  This is another one of the areas where the Golden Rule applies.  “Treat others as you wish to be treated.”  These uninformed conclusions happen in families, neighborhoods, communities, churches, states, nations.  Wherever there are people, this is happening.  We see something on Facebook that agrees with our opinions and pass it on, feeling sure it must be true.  Don’t!

NEGATIVE NEWS SPREADS like wildfire.  This is nothing new!  In Acts 10 and 11 we read the whole story of Peter’s experience teaching the non-Jews.  Even in the Bible times, without any technology negative news spread quickly.  Word got back to Jerusalem that Peter was hobnobbing with outsiders and was eating foods prohibited under the old law.  They were all up in arms—until Peter arrived and set the record straight.  Mankind is just prone to believe the worst—without the facts.   We all claim to follow the Golden Rule, but few do.

THE TRUTH FREES! In Matthew 18 Jesus taught about how to stop gossip and the value of forgiveness.  Look at the turmoil our world is in because of ignoring the teaching of Jesus.  Gossip is rampant and forgiveness—forget it!  Instead of believing the worse, let’s—LOOK FOR THE GOOD.  Unless we refuse to gossip and indeed forgive, our families, neighborhoods, communities, churches, states, nations will keep on gossiping and refusing to forgive.  As the song says, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”  We all breathe “amen” when that song is sung and turn around a curse the driver who cut us off.  Just forgive and go on your way.  We all make mistakes—and some mighty dumb ones too.

  • Adoration: Our lives are blessed beyond boundaries through Jesus’ teachings.
  • Confession: I am sorry I too have joined the gossip and lack of forgiveness crowd.
  • Thanksgiving: Thank You for Your Word that continually calls us back to truth.
  • Supplication: Help me to be a beacon for You, lighting the way for others.

God’s Question for me: Will you commit yourself anew, daily, to living by the Golden Rule?

God’s Promise to me:  I gave mankind free will and it is up to use that free will for good or ill.  Gossip and lack of forgiveness turns free will into all kinds of evil. 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: