Got a Memory?

mamas-vase

When I was a young woman, my mother and I would often go to Fenton Art Glass, world famous for their beautiful hand painted and blown glass. One trip stands out in my memory because it was for my 25th birthday.  My mom bought me a vase to commemorate the day with each other.

The beautiful glass vase that we chose together sits in a window in my home today, catching the sunlight and reflecting it in rainbows. Every time I look at it, my heart smiles in remembrance of the day spent together and the laughter we shared.

As Christians, we spend time with God to find direction, strength and wise counsel before we make any life decisions. Whenever we doubt God’s direction or forgiveness, we can take our mind back to the exact moment when we met with God and reaffirm His direction for our lives.  We have a definite memory to stand on, a reference point that we can point to and say, “I know it’s real, right here is where it happened!”

Just as you enjoy time spent with your parents or children and friends this Christmas, God treasures the time we spend with Him! Make a memory in your heart when God speaks to you through his Word, preaching, or His Spirit.

Treasure that memory as a point of acknowledgement and recognition whenever you doubt our heavenly Father’s love or direction. God wants to be an every day God; He’s interested in every area of your life. Say His name often in your heart, hold awareness of Him close.

Psalm 77: 11-12  I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will remember all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.

Prayer:  Father, help me to want to know you more. Show me how to make time in my busyness to spend time with you. I want to have memories of times you and I share together and talk, memories of your presence in my life. Thank you for wanting to spend time with me. Amen

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My New Year’s Resolutions

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Have you noticed how hard it is to keep New Year’s resolutions? Why is that?  Psychologists have thought maybe it is because people are all caught up in the excitement of starting over.  They want to change their bad habits into good ones, symbolic of the turning of the year; New Beginnings.

Everyone knows that if you keep doing the same thing over and over, you will always have the same results. Time for change, this time, THIS time, I will do (whatever) different.

That ideology makes sense to me so, in light of my—enlightenment– I have determined that what I resolve to do, will be done. This year, I plan to lose weight, save more money and spend more time with Jesus. To achieve my New Year’s goals of losing weight and building my savings account; I will exercise more and eat less, I will save more and spend less.  (rolling my eyeballs) Both plans look so easy on paper.   

Since I’m in control of my thoughts and my actions; I’m the only one that can decide what is changed and then discipline myself so that change happens.  Just like planning a time to go to the gym or planning to save money; I must plan time for Jesus. 

Now, that I acknowledge the goals and have made the plans, on to the hard part. The final step of my New Year’s resolutions is to carry out the plan. When my life is so busy, without the discipline to do the plan; nothing will change.  If nothing changes, I’ll be right here, next year, setting the same goals–again. (siiiigh)

Recognizing the need for change is step one. Making a realistic plan to accomplish that change is step two. Now, the most difficult of all; step three, the discipline of DOING it.  I will set a time to exercise daily, make sensible food choices and arrange to set cash aside in a savings account every pay day. As I actively plan more time for the things of God; I set a time, “this hour of the day,” so my plan is carried out. 

To serve God is not troublesome; like my other goals, it is simply a matter of planning and then, the follow through of doingI’ve noticed that I’m more likely to do the things that are really important to me; an attitude adjustment may be in order.  

This year, as the New Year begins, I’m going to not only plan but do whatever re-arranging is necessary, to keep my New Year’s resolutions. Looks good on paper, feels good to my heart as I read what I just wrote. Carrying out my plan in the business of everyday life—will take discipline.  Lose weight. Save money. Spend time with God. I have the plan. I have the goal. Not starting tomorrow, starting—now.  

John 3:30 He must increase but I must decrease.

Prayer: Father God, help me to cultivate the fruit of self-control. Show me ways that I can discipline my lifestyle to reflect your presence in my life. I love you and want to serve you in every area of my life. Amen.


 

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Special is—SPECIAL

checkerboard-cake

Special is—Special

Hosea 6:6

My daughter’s birthday is in a holiday month.  Every now and then, the holiday falls on the exact same day as “her day.”  Her 13th birthday was one of those times.   

Since I love to cook, holiday meals are a time to go all out; I bake and cook till I have enough food to feed a small city. In the midst of all the cooking prep, we stood looking at the chocolate cake, the pies and the cookies.  Turning to me, my daughter said, “Mama, where’s my birthday cake?”

 I told her the chocolate cake could be for her birthday. With a look of dismay she said, “But mama, that’s for everybody, it isn’t for ME.”  Of course, she was right. I hugged her and got my mixing bowl out.   

Life can be busy! Sometimes, it’s so easy to get caught up in ‘doing’ things that we “include” God too. God created us for companionship with Him, relationship not just here on earth, but throughout eternity in His presence.  

Has the business of life taken you away from your relationship with Jesus?  Oddly, including a quiet time for conversation with the Lord doesn’t cram our day up.  Those moments spent with the Lord give us strength for the day, peace from the busyness and relief from the stress.  

Talk with the Lord, just like you talk to your friends and family. He loves you so much! He literally created you for the pleasure of your company. Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship. He made a place in your heart that only He can satisfy.  Make time; take time, just for– Him. 

Scripture: Hosea 6:6 I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings 

Prayer:  Father God, help me to always remember how much you love me. Touch my heart so that I want to make time for you, no matter how busy my life is.  I love you. Amen.

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Mercy, Not Reason

lizard-shannon

MERCY, NOT REASON

I Peter 1:3-5

As I sit on my patio, the sunshine is warm and comforting. This is good, I need comforting right now. Prayers for understanding have been futile. Leaning back to let the soothing warmth of the sun bathe my face, I try to focus on my Lord’s provision instead of life’s trials.

With forced effort, I remind myself that it is often easier to see God’s presence in the aftermath than it is during the storm. Closing my eyes tight, I struggle to run ahead in time and view today from the rearview mirror of tomorrow. No revelation is found. A yard lizard crawls out of the shadows and crouches on the leaves in the sunshine.

If I could just “pray through,” as the old preachers say, if I could just “grab hold of the horns of the altar and not let go”—I would find relief. But, exhausting prayers have been made– to no avail. Perhaps, after all, there was no lesson that could be had?

Could there be no spiritual truth to be gleaned; are some things in life simply events? The lizard looked up at me, as if it heard my silent questions. I angrily threw a wadded up tissue at it, but, as it seemed with my prayers, was ignored for my effort.

As I sat, spent from crying, exhausted from the pain of questioning a silent God, I watched the lizard sit still in the sunlight, soaking up the heat.  In weary resolve, I set aside the searching and in silence, watch the yard lizard stretch as his body warmed.  In introspect, I begin to realize that I don’t have to know “Why?” all I have to know is that—God is. He said it Himself, “I AM.” (Exodus 3:13-15)

Why must I demand to know answers for everything? Exhausted with the vanity of searching; I simply let go. No more looking for reason; just simply, a cry for relief.  In total surrender, I no longer seek logic, just—- mercy.

As if a floodgate has been opened, my pain is released!  The intimate, Spirit led, awareness that He is God and He does not have to explain Himself to me washes away the confusion. The release from my emotional pain is — stunning.

He is God and He does all things well, working them for my good, not necessarily so that I “feel good.” The lizard, warmed by the sunshine runs off into the grass.  And I, warmed by God’s sovereign presence, finally—rest.

I Peter 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

Prayer:   Father, help me to realize that everything in my life doesn’t have to be understood by me. Give me insight to understand lessons that are to be learned out of every day experiences. Show me how to worship you for your sovereignty over all things, whether I understand them or not. Thank you for your great mercy. Amen.

Scripture references

Exodus 3:13-15  Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”  God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.

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Granny and Puss Harvey

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Granny and Puss Harvey

Galatians 6:7

One afternoon, my son in-law’s Granny was watching a TV evangelist while holding her cat, Puss Harvey, on her lap. Puss was sick and Granny was deeply concerned. The TV preacher’s sermon was very timely; how important our pets are in our old age.  He said that God even cared for the sparrows, so it was scriptural that God cared for our beloved pets.

The TV preacher announced that if your pet was with you and sick, hold it against the TV screen and he’d pray for that pet.  Granny grabbed Puss Harvey, held him against the television and agreed in prayer for healing.  The prayer finished, the Televangelist proclaimed that if you REALLY wanted to INSURE that your pet was healed, send an offering of $100.  Granny pointed at Puss Harvey and said, “Puss, you gonna DIE!”

Of course, “Granny” did take her pet to the veterinarian and was faithful in her monetary support of her local church where she attended.  It’s so easy to get the wrong attitude toward giving; especially when we rely on televangelists to interpret the scriptures for us. The scripture does say, in both the Old and New Testaments, to tithe and to give offerings. (Genesis 14:20, Genesis 28:20-22, Leviticus 27:30-32) (I Corinthians 16:2, II Corinthians 9:7)

The tithe is such an important part of our covenant with God that not only are there instructions to give the tithe, but specifics about how the tithe is to be used and cared for. (Numbers 18:21, Deut.12:5-11, Deut. 14:22, Deut. 26:12, Nehemiah 12:44.) In the Old Testament, we also find what happens when the tithe is misused or neglected and the blessings that ensue when the tithe is used properly and given faithfully (Malachi 3:8-10)

In Hebrews 7:5-9, Abraham’s tithe is used to illustrate the significance of changing over from the Old Testament priesthood to the New Testament blood covenant. The New Testament mentions tithing as a part of what is required but specifically states that the tithe is not the ONLY thing that is required of God’s people if they want to prosper (Matt. 13:23).

The ‘tithe thing’ is one of the most often given grievances people have against the church.  Yet, people have no complaint against social clubs, gyms, recreation parks, and organizations that require money in order to attend, participate or join.  Oddly, people agree that cost is part of upkeep for having a nice facility and great programs; but they have issues with funds being requested at a house of worship. (?)

Unlike worldly gathering places, God does not say if you don’t tithe, you can’t come to church. The scripture does say if you do tithe, you will be blessed and if you don’t you remove God’s blessings. The choice is ours, either way; we are still covered with the blood of Jesus, forgiven f our sins and welcomed into fellowship.  Since I want all the blessings God offers, I pay my tithes plus more.

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

Prayer   I love you, my Lord. Open my eyes to see that everything that I have comes by your blessings. Help me to understand the principle of giving and to give with a willing and thankful heart. Teach me to be generous and to realize that it is impossible to out give your blessings.

Scripture References:

Genesis 14:20 And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Genesis 18:20-22 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the LORD will be my God  and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”

Leviticus 27:30-32 “‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD. If a man redeems any of his tithe, he must add a fifth of the value to it. The entire tithe of the herd and flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod—will be holy to the LORD.

I Corinthians 16:2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

II Corinthians 9:7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Numbers 18:21 I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting.

Deuteronomy 12:5-7 But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go; there bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you.

Deuteronomy 14:22 Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always.

Deuteronomy 26:12 When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.

Nehemiah 12:44 At that time men were appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for the contributions, first fruits and tithes. From the fields around the towns they were to bring into the storerooms the portions required by the Law for the priests and the Levites, for Judah was pleased with the ministering priests and Levites.

Malachi 3:8-10 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

Hebrews 7:5-9 Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, their brothers—even though their brothers are descended from Abraham. This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham,

Matthew 13:23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

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Got My Back?

walking-with-friends-2

GOT MY BACK?

Galatians 6:1-2

When I was a child, we used to play a game called, “Got Your Back.”  Two players, one wearing a blindfold, would stand back to back. The other team would try to attack the blindfolded player with a squirt gun. The person with the open eyes was to watch out for the enemy and whirl the blindfolded person around, keeping them out of the line of fire.

The same “got your back” principle should also apply in spiritual things. Thanks to the devil and one of his favorite tools, the blindfold; it can be easy to be caught “blind-sided” by sin.

We are to be concerned for each other in our daily walk. James 5:16 says to confess our sins to each other and pray one for another. Praying for each other is an important part of fellowship ministry.

The Bible doesn’t say that we are to ignore sin. It says we are to deal with our OWN sin first (Matthew 7:4-5).  There is no scripture found that tells us to ignore sin, in our own lives or the life of others.

In Matthew 18:15-17 Jesus personally gives instructions on how to approach a believer who is in sin. 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 goes so far as to say we should “judge” each other within the church.

Galatians 6: 1-2 instructs me to be alert and reach out when I see a brother/sister stumbling and restore them lovingly. Galatians even warns that I should use caution because I could fall prey to the very same sin I see somebody else doing.

I Corinthians 10:13 says that we are ALL tempted, temptation is common. It is important to hold behavior up to the light of the Word; letting the Spirit bring conviction. Whether in my own life or the life of others, it is God’s Word that “judges”, not my personal “take” on sin.

Maybe, we should re-think our approach?  Stop worrying about the perception of “judging” and start actively helping to keep each other away from the enemy. We can watch each other’s back through prayer, loving counsel and the revealing light of God’s Word.

Perhaps all the hoopla over “not judging” has been satan’s way of numbing us to the awareness of our responsibility to each other? I hope you “Got My Back.”

Galatians 6:1-2 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin; you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Prayer: Father, God, help me to always be aware of satan’s tricks. Help me to first examine my own life and attitudes and then keep a discerning eye open for satan’s attempts to trap my friends and loved ones. Give me wisdom and make me sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that I know how to speak to those who are being deceived without making offense or hurt. Remind me to cover my friends in prayer, knowing that they face the same temptations that I do. Amen.

Scriptural References:

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Matthew 7:4-5 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.  But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. 

Corinthians 5:9-13 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.  But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.  What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”[

I Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

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Sometimes, I Just Feel—Beat

feel-beat

Sometimes, I Just Feel—Beat

II Corinthians 4:16-18

Baking a cake is brutal.  The first thing you do is to take a wire whisk and beat the sugar into the eggs.  From the inexperienced view point, that seems a bit overdone. If the sugar is not beaten into the eggs till the grainy feel is gone and the batter is smooth and light, the texture of the cake can be coarse. The experienced baker knows that every step is a necessary part of the process no matter how tedious it seems.  

Of course, that is just an analogy, but, sometimes, we look at the circumstances of our own life, or the life of somebody we love and we think that they (or we) are being brutalized. Feeling battered and bruised, we cry out to God, “Whyyyyyy?” In the Old Testament, we see the patriarchs rising above hardship, tragedy and, sometimes, even their own shortcomings, to emerge as mighty people of God.   

In the book of Job, we see a righteous man taken from prosperity to the depths of suffering and back to prosperity; illustrating God’s sovereignty through circumstance. The New Testament saints were beaten, persecuted and lived in poverty so that the knowledge of Christ could be spread.  

When we study the scriptures; there are far more references to overcoming, conquering, standing strong, working hard and being responsible than there are about comfort and abundance. Sadly, today’s Christian is often more focused on the sweet rewards of serving God than the hard truth about everyday life.

Satan’s goal is to separate me from my Lord. Whether the devil chooses the tools of temptation, sickness, circumstances or bitterness; his ultimate goal is to lessen my relationship with Jesus.  

Make note that satan’s success relies on my participation in his plans! When life is difficult; I choose whether I turn to my Lord or turn away. Satan can try to influence me but he can not control me. Serving God with all of my heart is a moment by moment decision.  

We serve God faithfully, even through hard times, because we know satan’s schemes and we choose to walk strong in Jesus. The events in our lives that hurt can come from various directions. Sometimes, I do things that cause my own pain, other times; somebody hurts me.

Now and then, circumstances just work against me and cause me discomfort. Walking strong means forgiving those who have hurt us (II Corinthians 2:9-11) and growing through those things that satan has meant to defeat us.

When bad things happen, God has a plan to turn even the worst circumstances to our favor. (Genesis 50: 18-20) God’s plan is to use everything that happens in our life to work to our good.  Romans 8:28 doesn’t say everything that happens in our life will feel good at the moment. But, rather that all things work FOR our good.  

More importantly, life isn’t just about “here, now.” Life is a preparation for eternity, where we will rule and reign with Christ— so, stand strong even when you feel like you have been beaten. Always remember, God, like the master baker, knows what it takes to make His creation—-beautiful.

II Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Prayer: Lord Jesus help me to keep my eyes on the goal of eternity with you. Give me grace, wisdom and mercy to handle every situation and circumstance that comes against me so that in all my attitudes and ways, I honor you with my life. Amen.

Scriptural References:

II Corinthians 2:9-11  Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake,  in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Genesis 50: 18-20 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him “We are your slaves,” they said.

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

 

 

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I Love Old Bibles

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I Love Old Bibles

I love old Bibles! One of my most treasured possessions is an old, very old, small Bible that was given to me by my husband.  He paid only a few cents for it at a country sale held alongside the road in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. According to the dates etched in calligraphy on the presentation page, the Bible was presented in 1886.  

Inside of the old Bible are carefully penned hand written notes and meticulously underlined favorite scriptures. It took planning, a fountain pen and an ink pot to write notes on those pages. Faded by the ravages of time, some of the markings are almost illegible. 

In my mind, I can imagine the owner of this small Bible sitting at her kitchen table each morning, reading inspiration (by candlelight?) for the new day in the pages of God’s Word. It is very moving to gently flip through the pages of this treasure and read the verses that encouraged a dear saint who had gone on to be with Jesus before my own great grandmother was even born. 

Odd as it would seem, the young woman struggled with the same problems, temptations and failings that I struggle with today. Our modern technologies haven’t changed the fragile human condition with all its weaknesses and trials. I can tell by the worn, dog eared pages that some of her favorite chapters to read are also my favorites. Someday, when I’ve gone to be with my Lord, I hope to meet this gentle soul who lived so strong for Christ. 

My heart can only hope that one day somebody who loves the Lord, hopefully my own grandchildren, will find my old Bible and be encouraged by the markings I’ve made in its pages as I’ve read. What an incredible testimony of God’s faithfulness; to leave a Bible, well read, marked up, worn out and earmarked with tear stained pages.  

One of the underlined verses treasured by this dear saint, “Anna,” whose name was so similar to my own,  speaks even more clearly, now, to me, as I read God’s Word, than it did when she read it in 1886:

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

 

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Making Healthy Choices

healthy-food-meat

Making Healthy choices

II Peter 1: 4-9

I love going to the big warehouse stores like Sam’s Club and Costco!  My favorite time to go is on the days when they have vendors set up with little cooking stations. One reason this is a favorite time to shop is because they have new and creative ways to prepare old favorites alongside samples of food I’ve never eaten.

As I pass by, the vendors offer me tasty morsels to sample. I love learning new methods and experiencing new tastes. However, there is also a “down side” to shopping on this “sample it” day.

The whole idea of this presentation is once I have a taste, I discover that it’s so good I want to have more. Since I shop here often, I’m aware of the temptations and make sure I’m satisfied with healthy food before I get there so that the samples are eaten sparingly.  

Food is one of my weaknesses, I dearly love yummy food. An important part of being a mature adult is that I have the wisdom to know I should turn and walk away when I’m tempted. When I discipline myself to make healthy life style choices, I reap the physical benefits.

Now and then, I blow my plan totally, but I know how important it is to pick up and keep on going. Stumbling is not failure; the only time I fail is when I don’t get back up and continue on. The Bible says that the fruit of the Spirit is SELF control. (Galatians 5:22-23) And Proverbs 24:16 says though I stumble, I will get up. Even though the verse refers to spiritual stumbles, I reference it for my physical fallings as well. God cares about EVERY area of my life.

In the same manner, when I discipline myself to make healthy spiritual choices, I reap the benefits of being spiritually stronger, healthier and more alert. I need to plan for Bible study and prayer the same way I plan how I will turn aside and walk away from temptation.

Life is about discipline, anything worthwhile requires discipline and planning to make it a routine part of my life. Just like physical exercise makes my body muscles strong, Bible study and conversation with my Lord exercises my faith and makes my spiritual muscles strong. (Romans 10:17)

The discipline of choosing healthy food choices makes a healthy body.  The discipline of spiritual choices makes a strong, effective witness and a successful life.  Make a plan, stick to the plan, reap the benefits; it’s ALL good, “gotta get me some more of THAT!” 

II Peter 1: 4-9 

Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, help me to discipline my life so that I make healthy choices both spiritually and physically. Open my eyes so I’m aware of temptation and can respond quickly with the fruit of the Spirit, self control. Help me to be strong and healthy in every area of my life. I love you. Amen

Scriptural References:

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Proverbs 24:16

Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up,but the wicked will stumble into ruin.

Romans 10:17

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

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Like I Ache for Cake

german-chocolate-cake

Like I Ache For Cake

Psalms 63:5

The other day, I baked an extraordinary German Chocolate Cake. I’d toasted the pecans and the coconut before I put them in the special icing. It was, beyond any doubt, the most delicious German Chocolate Cake I’d ever made, bar none.

Later that night, I was lying in bed, when I remembered those layers of chocolaty sweetness; enrobed in a blanket of sweet coconut and toasty pecans. Once my mind started thinking about that cake, it’s ALL that I could think of. I wanted a piece of that cake so bad; it was like an ache in the back of my throat!  Mercy!

The Psalmist, David, wrote in Psalm 63:5 that his longing for God was satisfied like his body is satisfied with fine food. What an illustration! Thankfully, unlike aching for a piece of cake, the desire for intimacy with God is a good thing that has no down side to be regretted later.

In Psalm 34:8, David said, “Taste and see that the LORD is good.” To be so intimate with the presence of God that you recommend that others “taste” it; what an incredible place to be.  I love it when the Word uses everyday experiences to illustrate spiritual truth.

God longs for intimacy with us so much that He sent His only son to die so we could know Him. (John 3:16) But, wait, there’s more! God sent His Holy Spirit so we could have not just a relationship but intimacy with Him.  We were created not to just “know” who God is but for personal relationship.

There is no other god who wants a relationship with us!  Out of that personal intimacy comes an awareness of who He is. We can’t help but to worship in acknowledgement of the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Great and Almighty God.

The more time I spend with the Lord through prayer and Bible study, the more I long for more of Him.  Like when my throat aches for cake; when I think of my Lord, my throat aches to praise Him!

 Psalms 63:5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

 Prayer: My Lord, you are a great and mighty God. I can’t even imagine how you love me so much that you want to spend time with me, to talk with me. Help me to never forget what an honor it is to be in your presence, to read your Word and to be loved so completely. I love you and thank you. Amen.

 Scripture References:

 Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

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