Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
I have thought about what to give you for your birthday. I don't have the riches of the three kings that came at your birth, so I have nothing elaborate or expensive to wrap and hand to you. I don't have the power of politicians who reign and rule our world today, so I can't you give any valuable property. I'm not even a leader in the church...so I cannot even install you in a position of authority.
Therefore I have been contemplating what would make you happy, Jesus. After all, you created this world, so you already own everything anyway...and you have all Power, so you do not need a mere "position". You have the final say, for you are Sovereign, you are the ultimate Ruler...King of kings, Lord of lords. So what can one person give you that would make a difference? It was then that I was reminded of what Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians : Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
I thought to myself, "Yes! That's it! I will give you my mind for Christmas! But then I had to ask what that really meant...to give you my "mind". Well, it's something you have been talking to me about most of 2008...ever since I started preparing my message for the retreat last spring, "Hope Springs Eternal". So, I went back to the words of Paul in the New Living Translation of the Holy Bible, and this is what I read in Philippians 2:5-11:You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
When I was a child at the age of 11 I knelt before you, Dear Jesus, and gave you my heart. When I was a young mother at the age of 30 I knelt at your holy altar, Lord Jesus, and surrendered my complete life to your service. Today, a grandmother who is still learning how to please you, I want to give you my mind...I want my thoughts, my ambitions, and most of all my attitude to be the same as yours, King Jesus, so that you might be exalted in my life and honored above all others. Happy Birthday, Jesus!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
This is the week that we have our two granddaughters with us in Michigan for a time of bonding, playing, loving, laughing...just enjoying being together. We picked them up last weekend, and Daddy will be taking them back home this coming weekend. Meanwhile my time is dedicated to them. They are still sleeping this morning, giving me a chance to share what I've been thinking.
I'm thinking how GOOD my heavenly Father is. He has entrusted these two very precious lives into my care, not only for this week, but for all time. They are covered by my prayers every day...even throughout the day I will stop and think about them and ask God to watch over them. While they are here I will do my best to make them aware of how much God loves them, as well as how much I cherish them. These girls are so easy to love, so easy to care for. They are very sweet...polite, well-mannered, obedient, excitable, innocent, playful, beyond intelligent, gifted in so many ways. But for me the most important thing is that they have Jesus in their heart, as they become accountable.
I want to be able to spend eternity with them, for I am truly enamored with their creativity and beauty and personalities.
My Princess is old enough now to play games with me...clue, back gammon, and chess with her Grandpa. She assists me in preparing the meals, and we enjoy watching "7th Heaven" together. She is also very good at being an older sister and playing with her sibling, including her in various activities...such as yesterday they were putting on a show together, with a keyboard...a musical show. One can sing beautifully (in her genes from the maternal side of her family, although Daddy has a pretty good voice also), and the other one is called "Rocker Chick" because she is in constant movement when the music starts. Princess and I have "our" song..."You Are My Sunshine". I've sung it to her across the years, and she found a birthday card to send me that had the song in it. I found a singing frog that sings the song, and that was one of her Christmas gifts. (We are having a Granny Bag Christmas...gifts each day they are here...they get to choose from the bundle of packages under the tree). She came into our lives when our Pekingese puppy was a year old, so Tuxedo and Princess have sort of grown up together, and she will give Tuxedo special attention.
My Angel loves to play with things that teach her. She likes using "Leap Frog" to learn her words, and "Big Bird" to play various learning games. We spent time drawing pictures with her new markers yesterday, and playing meal time with her new play dishes and plastic eggs. She gathered up the Christmas Teddy Bears (my collection from across the years) and set them around her table for a tea party. She has declared that Kefli, our Shih Tzu, is her very favorite dog...her best friend. I love to hear her giggle while Kefli is climbing all over her trying to lick her.
Tonight, even though it will be snowing and perhaps in the high teens, we have a Horse and Carriage Ride reservation at Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. We will just bundle up and go out to enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas. I love to watch the faces of these precious granddaughters...they have so many expressions, and it's fun to watch them light up when something excites them. Yesterday Angel opened her gift and had a box of Cheerios. To observe her reaction, you would have thought that was the greatest gift she could ever receive! Princess had to tell her to look at what was inside the box...Grandma is pretty good at disguising gifts. The little stuffed puppy inside that plays "Jesus Loves Me" didn't excite her near as much as taking the paper off a box of Cheerios! Tonight it will be fun to watch their faces as they see all the Christmas lights in the Sculpture Park as we take our ride, and all the decorated Christmas trees inside, and the model trains going around their various tracks. It will be a special outing.
Well, the day is about to begin...I think I hear voices heading my way...it's time to have breakfast, open a gift, and play!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Well, now for some highlights of my reading this past week. I feel so in need of a daily tune-up, and I am grateful that God is faithful to highlight those things I need to give thought to and improve on. Here's a few:
1. Love is not rude. I must strive to be a person who is pleasant to be with. I must treat others in the way I want to be treated. Avoiding people, criticizing people, talking about them behind their backs....very, very rude...very unkind. I don't want people to treat me that way, so I must be careful not to do the same to them. I guess it's best summed up in this phrase from my journal: Learn to be a joy...not a jerk!
2. How I think determines my attitude, and my attitude determines my reactions. I often struggle with negative thinking, and it drags me down, leads me into feelings of anger, and it affects my relationships. I know that I should think on whatever is lovely and pure and beneficial to my mental well-being...I know that, but I don't always practice that. Big room for improvement in this department!
3. The Love Dare book has really been challenging me on a daily basis to reexamine what real love looks like...how it displays itself. Going right along with thought #2 above, love will choose to see the positive and best in people, and not focus on the negative. When I determine to focus on the positive qualities of a person, I will find that it creates more blossoms in that relationship, and the garden will become much more fragrant.
4. Lately I've been a little concerned about our finances...or lack of. So when confronted with the question, "Worried about money?", I was reminded that I don't need to be, for God will provide. He gives me this promise in Matthew 6:32-33: Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the kingdom of God your primary concern. Thanks...I needed that reminder!
5. Depression is something that plays no favorites. Not only have historical giants struggled with it (Abraham Lincoln, Mozart, Ernest Hemingway), but so have biblical giants (Jonah, Jeremiah, David). Even Jesus was touched by depression when He was on the cross and felt abandoned by His Father, calling out "My God, My God! Why have you forsaken me?" But there is value to be found in depression. In the midst of our pain we find that God is right there with us, drawing us to Himself if we allow Him to. (I recall how I spent my days basking in His presence when I felt I couldn't face the daily routine of life. I leaned on Him for strength and guidance, and He saw me through that tunnel experience. In fact, He even rewarded me with a trip to His land....the land of Israel. I honestly felt that Jesus was my partner on that trip, and I can only say, "Thank you, Jesus!") So...there are many successful and famous people who suffered with depression prior to or during their greatest achievements. Depression is common, but one must go on with life to get through the tunnel...and we do it by hanging on to the hand of Jesus.
6. Regarding our passion for God....it's much easier for satan to slip in and defeat us when we do not remain close to God...passionate about our relationship with Him. When the circumstances of life close in on us, that is all the more reason to draw in closer to the Source of our strength and purpose. Even as He hung dying on the cross, Christ's passion for us was uppermost in His mind and heart. In fact...it was His passion for us that put Him on that cross. It was part of God's overall plan to provide redemption for us. We are reminded, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength... Do what is right and good in the Lord's sight, so all will go well with you... For we are righteous when we obey all the commands the Lord our God has given us. (Deuteronomy 6:5, 18, 25)
7. I'll end this blog with God's Word to me this morning: You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God... Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil. (I Peter 3:4, 11-12)
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Like that picture? Hubby and I made a ten day trip up along the west coast of Michigan all the way to Mackinac Island and back home again back in October. We tried to stop at most of the light houses along the way. Have you ever walked in sand dunes? It is NOT easy!! Look again, way out past the light house....see that ship passing through on Lake Michigan? Michigan is a great place to visit, vacation, in any season, but I highly recommend the fall color season.
Well, stop back again sometime...you never know what I'll be thinking!
Any guesses where the above picture was taken? Surely all true blue Michiganders will recognize this spot. It's best gotten to by bike, and the whole area is surrounded by water. In fact, there are no motor vehicles allowed! Bikes, horses, carriages...a step back in time..."Somewhere In Time"!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
In one particular new book it was noted that no electronic reproduction could be made in any way, shape, or form without written permission of the author/publisher. I respect that. My gut feeling is that if the other books I read were written in this day and technological age, they would contain the same warnings. Therefore, I will no longer quote from any of the books to avoid doing something illegal. Instead I will paraphrase what stands out to me, and perhaps a note about how it applies to me...or what I need to think about. I cannot say it as well as the author, so I am sorry that the actual quotes will no longer be available.
Four of the books in current listing are being read "devotionally". By that I mean I read a chapter per day from each book and comment on it in my journal. They are short, devotional size, chapters, and I feel like I'm getting a tidbit each day from each book. I also treat each book as though it is God himself talking to me about things I need to pay attention to, learn, grow in. So as much as I enjoy my prayer time with the Father, I can hardly wait to get to my four books to see what God has to say to me each day. From there I write my journal notes as I feel inspired. Perhaps I will start sharing that daily, or as time permits, but tonight I will recap my reading/thoughts from the first three days of December.
By the way, not sure I have any followers on this particular blog. I am still continuing my Reflections on Genesis Blog as I have 6-7 more posts to complete the book of Genesis. I will leave that blog up and running once I complete it, but there will not be any new posts after Chapter 50. I had two other blogs...a weekly menu blog and a Journey of Hope blog (my original blog). I shut both of those down. I was conscious that many people may not have sufficient food to eat in a week, and I felt that posting my menu was too much. I obviously eat too much food in a week, and need to cut back and think about those who are struggling with having even the basics of life. My Journey of Hope blog contained many of my earlier writings in life...papers I had written for classes I had taken, sermons I had preached, etc...as well as personal comments about my life. I am sensitive to others and tried not to post anything that would expose others beyond what they have already exposed about themselves. However, there was fear that could happen, since I am such an open book. Out of respect for family members, I shut that blog down. It was during a sad time in my life, and perhaps I jumped the gun too early, but I felt several urgings to do so...so I did. So, for now, this is my only "personal" blog in which I will share my thoughts. However, I will not be mentioning specific people or sharing personal intimate details of my family.
With those disclaimers, I am now ready to recap three days' worth of devotional thoughts:
Monday, December 1, 2008:
1. Depression affects a huge number of our society. I myself experienced clinical depression back in 1987-88. Often depression will cause us to not want to eat, yet not eating tends to only make things worse. We need to eat a balanced meal even when we don't feel like it. Also, how we respond to events in our lives has far more to do with how we feel than what actually happens to us.
2. God has made me unique. The sooner I accept who I am, and quit trying to be who I am not, the quicker I can get on with what God has planned for me to do.
3. When it comes to forgiveness, there are three areas in which forgiveness needs to occur:
-I must forgive others.
-I must forgive myself.
-I must forgive God, as He forgives me. Then I can build a bridge and get over it...no matter what has happened to hinder my advancement in life.
4. If I am going to learn to love, I must recognize that love is first of all patient and kind. I need to control my emotions so they do not control me, and practice extending mercy and gentleness to others by my kind words and thoughtful actions.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008:
1. When we think no one understands us, Jesus always understands. He is so focused on others, rather than on Himself, that even as He was headed to His own crucifixion on the night He was met by the soldiers in the garden, he took time to heal the ear of one of those who had come to arrest him. No pity party for Himself...He still sought to do what was best for others...even His "enemies".
2. A beautiful woman is one who serves others and shares in their lives, allowing God to shine through her. But she does it all without desiring recognition or reward. Her spiritual demeanor is like a fragrance to those around her.
3. Even when we think we are going through horrible persecution, bad things that seem to have no purpose other than to defeat us, God is using that time to draw us closer to Him so that we might better reflect who He is by our attitude and actions. Only through persecution of the early Christians did the church grow. What will God do through those who allow persecution to refine them and make them more in His image?
4. When it comes to love not being selfish, God's Word says it best:
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves. Philippians 2:3
Wednesday, Dec 3, 2008:
1. To avoid being depressed, I need to focus on my accomplishments, not my failures. I need to be patient with myself as much as with others!
2. Each "opportunity" we go through is a time for us to learn and grow and move forward in wisdom. May I be willing to say yes and seek the positive results from the adversities in my life.
3. I must get to the place where Jesus is always my main focus. It is from Him that I receive my purpose and the power I need to fulfill that purpose.
4. Love is thoughtful. Rather than rushing ahead with the words that come to mind, think about how they will be received, and choose to say things kindly and with respect.
5. God honors faith, even faith the size of a mustard seed. He can do mighty things for those who have faith and believe.
Friday, November 14, 2008
"Unfortunately, stubbornness comes as a standard feature on both husband and wife models." (and to go on...) "Defending your rights and opinions is a foundational part of your nature and make-up. It's detrimental, though, inside a marriage relationship, and it steals away time and productivity. It can also cause great frustration for both of you." (end of paragraph)
I'm supposed to tag five other people with the same challenge, but I'm not into passing tags along...I don't follow that many blogs. I'll just say that this book is probably going to be very challenging to me when I start reading it. It's a 40-day do this kind of book to enrich, or even save, a marriage. What marriage doesn't need enriching? So, I'll be back to this book in about a month, at my current rate of reading.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
"For Paul, worship means "to present your bodies," or, in our language, "to offer your very selves." In true and genuine worship, everything we have is to be offered to God; every part of our lives is presented as a "living sacrifice." Worship, then, is not limited to a ceremony, an occasion, a service, a place, or a particular time during the week. The worship events that punctuate our lives are intended simply to gather and focus all the parts of our lives. According to Paul, all of life, all of who we are and all that we do, is the content of our worship. Worship is the drawing together of the whole of our lives and the offering of that whole to the Lord. All of our humanity and all of our relationships--to God, to the world, and to one another--are brought into worship. We offer our brokenness and remember our wholeness. We offer our alienation and uprootedness, and we recall our rootedness in the history of God's people. To offer ourselves so totally to God is what Paul describes as "spiritual worship."
Paul's next words are about conformity to this world.... Paul is saying that conformity to the world is more than a failure of lifestyle or politics; conformity to the world is a failure of worship. The integrity and vitality of our worship is tested in our relationships to the world. Paul, knowing how often we will fail these tests, calls us to be transformed. He wants us to have our minds renewed so that we may know the will of God, that we may know what God is saying to us, that we may know "what is good and acceptable and perfect." Without this transformation, we will continue to conform to the patterns and structures of this world; without this renewal, we cannot know the will of God because our attachments to the world cloud our vision and obstruct our hearing.
...In worship we are refreshed and renewed, our vision is rekindled, and we remember again who we are and what we are about."
(The Call To Conversion, Jim Wallis, HarperSanFranciso, 1981, pg. 140-141.)
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Then let go. Laugh with them, cry with them, rejoice with them, and dream with them. But let go of them. Then when they come down the driveway to see you, you can know that the only reason they are coming is because they want to see you.
And you will begin to realize the deep joy that comes from having what you are willing to lose."
(See you at the house, Bob Benson, pg. 128)
Thursday, October 23, 2008
And our oneness with each other, and our twoness, should be the same way."
(See you at the house, Bob Benson, pg.119)
I can't even say what's bothering me.
I go over the days one by one,
I ponder the years gone by.
I strum my lute all through the night,
wondering how to get my life together.
I read this in Psalm 77 this morning, and it spoke to me...it's exactly where I am right now. Life isn't making a lot of sense to me these days. Even though I trust in God, the human in me at times struggles with things inside me that I can't even express or explain. I suspect this is a common phenomenon in people with my make-up. Not engineers or scientists...who deal with facts. I deal with emotions, but somehow I've managed to put a lot of mine on the back burner, or I've buried them. I must go on and leave certain things to God to handle. But in my heart of hearts I am sometimes confused and sad.
Monday, October 13, 2008
("See you at the house.", Bob Benson, pg. 86)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
He entered into life wholeheartedly. He identified with it. He put himself within the limits of life and made no claims of immunity. He joined in exploring its possibilities. He suffered and worked at it. He addressed himself to the ills of society. He pleaded for the poor and defended those who were attacked. He entered into disappointments and struggles that are the daily occurrences of every man's life. He embraced the world as his own. He came into the sweat, dust, and tears of life.
Jesus was a holy man. But I think we often think it was because he withdrew from life. There were times when he had to be alone with the Father. But I am beginning to believe that his holiness did not come because he withdrew from life; he was holy because he entered into life at every level.
Some people imagine a Jesus who, when confronted with sorrow or sickness, slipped into a phone booth and took off his glasses and put on his God suit. It helps me more to know that he didn't have some sort of spiritual overdrive that lifted him out of the context of life. He hung in there and wept and bled and talked and healed. He was not less involved with life than we are. He was infinitely more caught up in it.
As I go to work each morning, I come up the hill to where I-65 and I-24 merge. As you top the hill, you can see the skyline of Nashville in the distance. It is nearly always interesting to see. Sometimes it is sparkling in the morning sunlight and sometimes it is shrouded in fog. As all the lanes come together everyone is jockeying for position. I'm trying to stay in the outside lane as long as I can because it is faster. Finally I have to get over in the right line to catch I-265 around to the office. Other people are trying to do just the opposite. Frankly, I hardly ever pray over the city.
One morning Jesus came riding over the hill from Bethany and looked down on the city of Jerusalem. It was a city that had great meaning to him. It was a city in which he had preached and healed. It was the city in which he was to die. As he saw the city in the morning mist, his eyes filled with tears and he prayed. "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I would have gathered you to myself, like a mother hen gathers her chicks, but you would not."
Now I ask you, who is the most involved in life? Me, blowing and honking and changing lanes, or Jesus, weeping and praying over the city? Jesus loved life and people and flowers and causes and was more aware of them than we are. In that very sacrament of humanity, his dignity and likeness to his father was magnified. In the process of revealing God to us, he also demonstrates that humanity is possible and desirable.
So the great challenge is for you to live your life in union with him. The union is here. This is the place. You are the one. The union will manifest itself in the everyday noise and the crowded streets of your life. You can be what you are. You can think what you think. You can have your temper. You can have your will. You can have your emotions. He will bring his life as the union. It is in that life together that you are gently transformed and remade."
"See you at the house.", Bob Benson, Generoux Publisher, 1986, pages 53-54)
Friday, September 19, 2008
So if I do not seem to hear him speak from the outside, and if there does not seem to be any message from the sky, then I must listen to the voice that is within me. For that voice, too, is the purposeful, calling voice of God to us."
(See You at the House, Bob Benson, page 45)
Thursday, September 18, 2008
("The Word for You Today", Fall 2008, pg. 12)
Friday, September 12, 2008
(Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus, pg. 31)
That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it. (Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT)
Sunday, September 7, 2008
("The Word For You Today", Fall 2008, 9/7/08)
Friday, August 29, 2008
God made this day. He knows the details of each wrenching moment. He isn't on holiday. He still holds the conductor's baton, sits in the cockpit, and occupies the universe's only throne. 'We will rejoice and be glad in it!' Oops, there's another word we'd like to edit: in. Perhaps we could swap it for after? Or through, or over. 'I'll rejoice when this days ends!' Paul rejoiced in jail; the Hebrew children remained resolute in the fiery furnace; John saw heaven in his exile, and Jesus prayed in the garden of pain.
You no longer have yesterday. It slipped away as you slept. You don't yet have tomorrow. You can't spend its money, celebrate its achievements or resolve its riddles. Days are bite-sized portions of life: 84,000 heartbeats, 1,440 minutes, a rotation of the earth, a sunrise and sunset, a gift of 24 unlived, unexplored hours. And if you can stack one good day on another, you'll link together a good life. 'This is the day,' live in it!"
("The Word For You Today", 8-29-2008)
Thursday, August 28, 2008
(a) made prayer and uninterrupted time with His Father a top priority;
(b) recognized that doing God's will was more important than "being all things to all people;"
(c) refused to let other people's definition of what was urgent, distract Him from fulfilling His life's purpose. So, don't get sidetracked."
("The Word For You Today", Summer 2008, pg. 50)
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
(Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Published by Revive Our Hearts, copyright 2005; Day 12 of "30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge for Wives".)
Saturday, August 2, 2008
(What Is Sanctification?, Leslie Parrott, pg. 15)
Lord, help me not to become distracted by commercialism. Let me remember that in dying on the cross, you taught us that the greatest gift we can give is ourselves. Amen."
(A Moment a Day, Margaret Brownley, pg. 146-147)
Thursday, July 31, 2008
The Author of the Scriptures will not allow us to drift if we listen to His Word. He will not allow us to miss His revelation of truth for our day, if we will come under the authority of His Word. Is this not the solution for our drifting?
(Stephen Manley, "The Evangelists' Perspective", summer 2008, pg. 19-20)
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
So then, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you. Come near to God, and he will come near to you.
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. -- Ephesians 1:11
My name is Kathy Eareckson, and Joni is my little sister. I'm the one who was at the beach that day when Joni dove off the raft and broke her neck.
I will never forget that Saturday afternoon in July 1967. I was a teenager, like Joni, and had planned a swimming date with my boyfriend. I knew Joni had hoped to play tennis with her friend that afternoon, but when the match fell through, I asked if she wanted to join us.
We drove to the beach on Chesapeake Bay, and wasted no time in heading for the cool water. I stayed near shore, but Joni made a bee-line for a raft anchored further out in the water. Suddenly, I felt a sharp pinch. A crab pinched my toe! Startled, I shouted to Joni, "Watch out for crabs!" She didn't respond. In fact, she was nowhere in sight. Not on the raft. Not in the water. Something told me to go find her-quickly. I reached her just when she was beginning to drown!
What are the chances of a crab pinching someone's toe and getting her attention just in time to respond to an emergency? A million to one. Every time I've been tempted to doubt God's hand in those terrible circumstances that day, God brings that humble little crab to mind.
From the big events in life down to the tiniest of details, he is great, he is sovereign, and he is in control. ********I've learned from Joni (actually, the Bible) that through puzzling, perplexing, and even heartbreaking as our circumstances might be, we can trust him. Bow low before the throne of your Father who loves you, and cares about every detail of your life.
Praise you, Father. It's so amazing that a God who spins great galaxies across the void of space would care about the seemingly small events of my day.
Joni and Friends"
Taken from Pearls of Great Price. Copyright © 2006 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
Friday, June 27, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
This is a power packed verse, and I think we "Christians" do not grasp the depth of what is being said here...the admonition of how we are to live. God is often just a convenience to us to pull and use when we need Him...like a Kleenex. But when we are faced with instructions on how we are to live, we tend to think they are optional.
This scripture speaks to me the simple truth that if we hope to see the Lord, we must live a peaceful and holy life. We cannot do that on our own...we must have the Holy Spirit living within us to empower us to be peace loving and to live lives set apart for God's use.
We expect Him to change the sovereignty of His omnipotent heart, instead of humbly asking Him to give us a heart willing to be changed.
"Be still, and know that I am God," (Ps. 46:10) means, "Relax, let God be God."
A Moment A Day, Adapted from How to Do Everything Right and Live to Regret It by Fay Angus. Copyright 1983 by Fay Angus. Published by Harper & Row, San Francisco, CA. Used by permission.
Not long ago I visited a funeral home and was stunned to see the way they "advertised" their services. Funerals are now portrayed as "celebrations of life." Funeral services now have themes: if the deceased enjoyed fishing, then funeral directors offer a display of rods, reels, nets and other fishing doo-dads to decorate the casket. If the dead person liked gardening, then its watering cans, hoes and rakes, and sunflowers with a floppy straw hat cocked sideways on the coffin. We are kidding ourselves when we romanticize death as the beautiful climax of a life well lived. It is an enemy.
It is an even greater enemy to the unbeliever, for death then becomes his threshold to hell (that's nothing to celebrate)! Jesus spoke of hell more than anybody, and he made plain that rejecting his offer of eternal life would result not in non-life, but the misery of God's wrath (John 3:36).
As hell is the worse outcome of this life, so eternal life is the best. It is the supreme and ever-increasing happiness where all sin and all sadness will be erased... all that is evil in this fallen world will be removed... all that is good will be preserved and intensified. We will be changed so that we are capable of more happiness than we could possibly conceive in this life. That's something to celebrate!
Oh, if only unbelievers could see the unspeakable horror of treating God with indifference or contempt in this life. Unbelievers have only this earthly life in which to hear the Gospel and respond to Christ's invitation. Today, will you be encountering someone who doesn't believe in Christ? Share with them your testimony and pray for their salvation.
Blessed Redeemer, today make me mindful of every opportunity to share your love with those who don't know you.
Joni and Friends"
Taken from Pearls of Great Price. Copyright © 2006 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Think of what he went through; how he put up with so much hatred from sinners! So do not let yourselves become discouraged and give up. For in your struggle against sin you have not yet had to resist to the point of being killed.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Joni & Friends
Taken from Pearls of Great Price. Copyright © 2006 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
Monday, June 16, 2008
Let us, then, hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we have a great High Priest who has gone into the very presence of God--Jesus, the Son of God. Our High Priest is not one who cannot feel sympathy for our weaknesses. On the contrary, we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin. Let us be brave, then, and approach God's throne,where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
("The Word for You Today", Summer 2008, pg. 11)
Thursday, June 12, 2008
As I snuggle closer to Him, He gently probes, "Why do you think you are pleasing me only when you are actively accomplishing something for me? Don't you know I am much more interested in what you are becoming than in what you are doing for the advancement of my kingdom? Learn what it means to be still. Just be still---and get to know me. I am your Protector, your Provider, your Comforter and your Healer. And, my child, I dearly love you. Understand that.""
(A Moment A Day - Practical Devotions for Today's Busy Woman, Peg Rankin, page 38...see sidebar for book info)
Joni & Friends Daily Email Devotional
Sunday, June 8, 2008
(Joni and Friends/Daily Email Devotional - firstname.lastname@example.org)
Friday, June 6, 2008
For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
("The Word for You Today", Summer 2008, pg. 6)
Saturday, May 31, 2008
- Because you have a past. You can't go back, but He can. The Bible says, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8). He can walk into those places of sin and failure, wipe the slate clean, and give you a new beginning.
- Because you need a friend. Jesus knows the worst about you, yet He believes the best. Why? Because He sees you not as you are, but as you will be when He gets through with you. What a friend!
- Because He holds the future. Who else are you going to trust? In His hands you are safe and secure---today, tomorrow, and for all eternity. His Words says, "For I know the plans I have for you...plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen." (Jeremiah 29:11-12).
If you'd like to begin a personal relationship with Jesus today, please pray this prayer:
Lord Jesus, I invite You into my life. I believe You died for me and that Your blood pays for my sins and provides me with the gift of eternal life. By faith I receive that gift, and I acknowledge You as my Lord and Savior. Amen."
("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 53)
Thursday, May 29, 2008
("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 50)
Do not restrain the Holy Spirit; do not despise inspired messages. Put all things to the test: keep what is good and avoid every kind of evil.
May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being--spirit, soul, and body--free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
- Decide to change.
- Change the way you think.
- Take a small step every day toward change.
God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished. (Php. 1:6)"
("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 50)
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for men. Remember that the Lord will give you as a reward what he has kept for his people For Christ is the real Master your serve.
Friday, May 23, 2008
God's plan is to make known his secret to his people, this rich and glorious secret which he has for all peoples. And the secret is that Christ in is you, which means that you will share in the glory of God.
Since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with him. Keep your roots deep in him, build your lives on him, and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
In conclusion, my brothers, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise; things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable. Put into practice what you learned and received from me, both from my words and from my actions. And the God who gives us peace will be with you.
...I have learned to be satisfied with what I have. I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
...You have the right to fill your mind with any kind of garbage you choose. But understand this, constant exposure to the wrong things will weaken your character, rob you of self-respect and eventually enslave you.
When it comes to replacing bad habits with good ones, only one person is going to make it happen -- you. Your character is the sum total of your everyday choices. Day by day, what you think, what you choose and what you do is who you become."
("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 46)
Sunday, May 18, 2008
"There are many things that will catch my eye, but there are only a few that catch my heart. It is those I consider to pursue." (John Maxwell)
(Both quotes in "The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 45)
Who's the Enemy?
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
-1 Peter 5:8
You've had it happen. You read a book on marriage with your spouse, set goals, make promises, and six months later the situation is the same. The same unmet expectations and hurt feelings. Your marriage could move forward if only your partner would shape up.
Or maybe it's the family. If they would just be more sensitive, more careful with the way they ask for things, you wouldn't get so down. You wouldn't feel stepped on or demoralized. If they would say "thanks" once in a while, depression would be a thing of the past.
Perhaps it's your friends. If only they would make the first move to plan a luncheon date instead of your always calling. If they would show a bit more consideration, they would be real friends.
But wait. Remember who your problem person really is. Because Christians have, in fact, only one enemy. The enemy is not your spouse. It isn't your children or your friends. The Devil is your only enemy. And he would love to keep your spouse spiritually retarded. Your kids, a bunch of selfish ingrates. Your friends, thoughtless and insensitive. This is exactly why you need to shower extra love and abundant prayer on these very people!
Remember who your support person is. Jesus Christ is your help and shield. He is the one who has called you to love your spouse, nurture your children, and lay down your life for your friends. It's the best way to defeat the Enemy in your life ... and in the lives of those you love.
Today, Lord, I ask You to enrich the lives of those whom You've placed near to me. Where there is contention, please sow Your love. Where there is disappointment, give hope. Use me to touch others with Your love.
Joni and Friends
Taken from Diamonds in the Dust. Copyright © 1993 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
"Who am I?
This or the other?
Am I one person today, and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once?
A hypocrite before others,and before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?...
Who am I?
They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, thou knowest, O God, I am thine."~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Friday, May 16, 2008
So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. Do all this in prayer, asking for God's help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads.
I never read this passage of scripture without recalling the time our youngest son preached from this passage at East Brainerd Church of the Nazarene in Chattanooga, TN, back in the early 1990's. I believe if he had opportunity to cross over from this life into the next and could truly experience the evil forces at work, he could preach this once again with such conviction and passion that those who heard him could not doubt there are two forces at work in our world.
It appears that satan's forces are winning...they certainly are deceiving many, including those who have been Christians. We know that in the end Christ will reign supreme, and only those who have claimed Him as their Savior will truly taste the victory. I wish those caught in the bondage of living for selfish pleasures could truly see they have sold their souls to the devil and there is never a better day ahead for them. Today is the best day they will have. The chains of bondage are drawn tighter and tighter until there is no escape.
I pray the Jesus Christ will break those chains that bind the ones I love and set them free to be the giant of a person that they were created to be! Battles in the kingdom of God will be lost if they do not step into their leadership roles and press on toward the goal of ultimate victory over evil and eternal damnation.
I pray for more warriors for God's side to come forth and take their stand. It's a serious world, with a very serious outcome. I can no longer stay silent. Time is short. Only what is done for God will make an eternal difference. For my children and my grandchildren I pray for victory over the forces of evil...that God's angels will protect them from the Evil One. May those who come behind me find me faithful!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
What I say is this: let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature. For what our human nature wants is opposed to what the Spirit wants, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants.
But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control There is no law against such things as these. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives. We must not be proud or irritate one another or be jealous of one another.
Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. A person will reap exactly what he plants. If he plants in the field of his natural desires, from it he will gather the harvest of death; if plants in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit he will gather the harvest of eternal life. So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest. So then, as often as we have the chance, we should do good to everyone, and especially to those who belong to our family in the faith.
(My life verse is Galatians 5:13...the first verse in this passage.)
("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 39)
Sunday, May 4, 2008
("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 37)
Friday, May 2, 2008
"I am crucified with Christ, therefore I no longer live,
Jesus Christ now lives in me...
I am crucified with Christ, therefore I no longer live,
Jesus Christ now lives in me!"
(chorus that runs through my head now and then...also, verses and chorus are basis of one of my recent sermons...given at Vicksburg Community Easter Lenten Service 2007 and Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene Wednesday night service, fall 2007)
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
1. God's still looking out for you. When things look bad, remind yourself that God's bigger than your problem...
2. Don't think about quitting. Every time you reach the breaking point it's a test. You have before you a series of choices that will add up to either quitting, or persevering through to victory...
3. If it doesn't have your name on it, don't pick it up! Stress comes from micr0-managing others and assuming responsibilities that aren't yours. Establish healthy boundaries...
4. Your breaking point can be the start of a breakthrough... So keep going -- by God's grace you'll make it!"
("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 35)
Saturday, April 26, 2008
("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 33)
Thursday, April 24, 2008
("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 32)
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
("The Word for You Today, Spring 2008, pg. 32)
Yet we who have this spiritual treasure are like common clay pots, in order to show that the supreme power belongs to God, not to us. We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed. At all times we carry in our mortal bodies the death of Jesus, so that his life also may be seen in our bodies...
The scripture says, 'I spoke because I believed.' In the same spirit of faith we also speak because we believe. We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus to life, will also raise us up with Jesus and take us, together with you, into his presence...
For we know that when this tent we live in--our body here on earth--is torn down, God will have a house in heaven for us to live in, a home he himself has made, which will last forever...
So we are always full of courage. We know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord's home. For our life is a matter of faith, not of sight. We are full of courage and would much prefer to leave our home in the body and be at home with the Lord. More than anything else, however, we want to please him, whether in our home here or there. For all of us must appear before Christ, to be judged by him. Each one will receive what he deserves, according to everything he has done, good or bad, in his bodily life.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008,pg. 31)
("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008,pg. 31)