Rain yesterday pretty much melted all the snow we have had accumulated the past few weeks, and then the temperature dropped and everything became a glaze of ice. When we woke up this morning, we had perhaps a couple of inches of snow on top of the ice, and it has snowed most of the day thus far. Very pretty sight outside! Tree branches are so glittery when encased with ice! Then sprinkle some snow on top, and it looks like a special homemade treat...best viewed from inside!!
Well, today is the day I MUST make a blog post on my I Peter blog. I've been working on it for 2-3 weeks, and have 15 pages of notes. I'm trying to get inspired and motivated to start summarizing my notes and writing the blog, or Bible study. Just wanted to get an update on this blog first.
Don't know what happened, but all of a sudden yesterday I realized I had close to 500 comments going back to when I first started my blogs, but comments I had never seen before...most of them spam. So I spent a major portion of last night cleaning up the blogs, and putting some tools in place to prevent that in the future, I hope.
Yesterday Paul and I went to see "A Christmas Carol" in Kalamazoo at CenterPointe Church. Very nicely done. That was our "Christmas Date"...a break from routine.
Notes from my devotions this past week:
"Walking By Faith":
Like Abraham when we follow God's leading, we do not know where we are going, but we can be confident that no matter what our path, or how long it takes, God will keep His word to us...He will be with us in our journey through life. We won't be exempt from problems, but "...he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion." (Phil. 1:6) All we need to do is "trust Him with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." (Prov 3:5-6).
"Be Careful What You Say":
"The lips of the godly speak helpful words." (Prov 10:32) We need to speak with wisdom, passing on to others what God has taught us. We can only speak correction if we have earned the right by having a close relationship, speaking the truth in love, and not expecting prompt results or even appreciation. We need to speak words of encouragement, for hope pierces despair. Encouragement is a way of bringing healing to the bones. When we speak, we need to ask ourselves the following questions to avoid hurtful or gossipy words:
- Is it true? Time will always reveal the truth.
- Is it confidential? If trust is betrayed, integrity is sacrificed.
- Is it helpful? Do not partner with satan, who is devoted to defeat.
- Is it necessary? We are more likely to regret things we do say than things we didn't say.
"Righteousness of God":
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (Rom 5:1-50)
"God Will Forgive and Restore You"
God already knows our guilt, so we need to deal with it honestly and confess. Confession is simply agreeing with God that it is wrong and asking for forgiveness. He cannot cleanse what we do not confess, and He cannot heal what we won't reveal.
"Instead of Complaining, Change!"
We need to acknowledge our wrong behavior because complaining is an offense to God. "Let us examine our ways and test them." (Lam 3:40) We need to look at our behaviors and determine if they really work. If not, we need to change them. Doing things God's way will bring an end to our frustration, and will be the beginning of joy and fulfillment.
Personal note: I have been struggling, I've been in a fierce battle with the enemy of my soul. He is trying to disable me, making me ineffective in God's kingdom work. He is doing this through my mind and spirit. It's been a particularly rough week for me, and I've had some pretty low moments, taking me back to the days of my depression. I won't go there. All I know to do is pray and keep up with my daily devotional time with Jesus. I have to make some changes, and this week's devotions spoke directly to me.
I hope anyone who reads this who is also struggling will recognize that God does know, and He does care about you. He loves you very much, but He wants you to grow and conquer some more battle ground. It seems to be something we cannot do without the Holy Spirit, so we must seek our guidance through prayer and reading God's Word, taking to heart what He is saying. The battle is not ours, it is the Lord's!!