Basic questions

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God. Whoever loves someone who is a parent loves the child born to the parent. This is how we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep God’s commandments. This is the love of God: we keep God’s commandments. God’s commandments are not difficult, because everyone who is born from God defeats the world. And this is the victory that has defeated the world: our faith. Who defeats the world? Isn’t it the one who believes that Jesus is God’s Son? ~1 John 5:1-6(CEB)

“How do I know that I love God?” “How does God want me to live?” “How do I know that I belong to God?” 1 John 5:1-6 tells me, everyone who believes that Jesus is Christ has been born from God. God wants me to love all His children. I show my love of others and of God by keeping God’s commandments.

This isn’t the only scripture speaking to me of God’s love and how I should remain in His love. John 15:9-12 says “As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete. This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you.”

So I show my love of God by keeping His commandment (1John 5:2). What is His commandment? Love each other just as I have loved you (John 15:12). In verse 13 of John 15 Jesus tells His disciples “No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends.” How much did Jesus love me? Jesus died on the cross so that I might live. Wow, and I am to show that much love to others? How do I die to self so that others might know Jesus’ love? One thing is time I give up to serve others, to I help the hungry, to minister to the lost. When I put self on a shelf even for a little while, I find myself in Christ’s love as I become his hands and feet to those around me. Verse 11 of John 15 tells us that Jesus has told us these things so that our joy might be complete.

Heavenly Father, I want to find myself in Your love this day. Help me set my own wants and desires aside when someone’s need is great. Give me eyes that I may see these needs. Give me a heart to love others as You would have me love. Amen.

Be God’s mouthpiece

For those who want to love life and see good days should keep their tongue from evil speaking and their lips from speaking lies. ~1 Peter 3:10

 

The words we speak can be a blessing or a curse. Once words are unleashed they can never be retrieved. We can ask for forgiveness for the words we have said but we can never take them back. How differently would we live our lives if we thought about this fact before we ever said a word? If I thought ahead how hurtful my words might be before I say them would I ever say them in the first place? Often I think I would not. What is said out of anger or carelessness many times brings regrets and deep sorrows.

I want to live a life of love. I want to see good days. If this means that I need to slow down my own reaction to situations before I respond, if it means that I need to not take offense so quickly then I want to work harder on my part of the picture. I want to take that deep breath before I let words fly. I want to think about the reason the other person may have acted or said what they said. I want to be a solution not an aggravation to the problem.

I can think of a relationship or two that I have lost because I did not slow down and think ahead. Misunderstandings can have disastrous results. Some bridges can never be mended. I don’t want to live a life full of regrets or long for relationships that could have been different. I want to live and love as Jesus would have me do.

Heavenly Father, help me to guard my words. May the words that I speak be carefully thought through. May I be known as a reflection of your love even in the things that I say this day. Amen.

Joy in the moment

A joyful heart helps healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones ~Proverbs 17:22 (CEB)

Looking at the big picture can seem overwhelming sometimes. Too many times I forget to live in the moment. I see the bigger picture looming ahead of me and I don’t see my son’s little dances, don’t feel my daughter’s hugs or appreciate my husband sitting on the porch swing with me. I forget to smell the jasmine, to see my blooming flowers or my vegetable garden grow. I forget to laugh at my dog as she takes serious her task of chasing the rabbits. I forget to listen to the bird’s songs or listen as the wind rustles the leaves.

Seeing things piece by piece and searching for the joy in the moment helps to lighten my day. When I get to worrying about all the things that I have no power to fix at this moment, those things that are out of my control, I allow those things to steal the simple joys from my heart. Missing out on these simple things soon finds my spirit hurting.

God doesn’t want me to live with the weight of the world on my shoulders. He has put things in my path to help me enjoy life. He created flowers and bird songs for my enjoyment. He gave me my family for comfort and love. May I remember each day to appreciate all that he has blessed me with down to the simplest and smallest of details.

Heavenly Father, help me to remember to stop and smell the flowers, to hear the birds sing, to hug my family. May I not take any of these joys for granted. May they ever be fresh on my heart. Amen.

A smile and a kind word

So then, let’s work for the good of all whenever we have an opportunity, and especially for those in the household of faith. ~Galatians 6:10 (CEB)

A smile and a kind word, I would say that this is my mother’s ministry. I grew up with my mother always smiling to those she met and giving a smile. It seems like such a simple thing. It seems that it couldn’t really make a difference, but I have seen many eye light up when my mother smiles.

Often I forget that we are called even in the little things of life to serve Christ. If I put on God’s eyes and look around, His ears and listen, He is calling me to reach out every day even in the little things. Acknowledging a cashier and asking them about their day, holding open the door for someone, letting someone ahead of me in line who only has a couple of items, a smile, these are all things that I can do to serve Christ. Sometimes these “small things” can impact someone greatly. I will probably never know how my small actions may impact someone’s life this day but I am called to be Christ even in the small things that I do.

Lord may I not be so caught up with my own life that I forget to look out beyond myself. May I notice those around me with a smile and a kind word today. Amen.

Chosen for a priesthood

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are Gods own possession. You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light. ~1 Peter 2:9 (CEB)

 

The first few words in this verse jump out at me and grab my heart. I am chosen. If you know a little Bible history you know that once it was the Jewish race that was chosen to carry God’s truth to the world. When Jesus came into the world He established a fulfillment of the law and all races are now the chosen. But what have I been chosen for?

I am part of a royal priesthood now. My character my behavior, everything I say and do should reflect the fact that I am part of Christ’s royal priesthood. I have to admit I sometimes don’t act very royal. I also forget that I am to share with others that I once was in darkness but that Jesus came into that darkness, brought me up out of that darkness into the light of his saving grace. I forget that I am to seek out the lost and share with them the truths that I have learned and stored in my heart. 2 Thes 3:5 says, “May the Lord lead your hearts to express God’s love and Christ’s endurance.”

Sometimes it seems strange to think that I have been “saved” so that I might go out and speak to others about God and what He has done for me. 1 Peter 2 is built around this verse 9 and calls us to a Holy Living. Our new birth is not a magical event that changes us instantly into the likeness of Christ but a daily journey. Part of that journey is seeing those along my way that need someone to reach out to them. In sharing my salvation story it not only could provide someone with a hope but also reminds me of where I have been. This reminder helps my personal journey and helps to keep me on the right path.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for what you have done in my life. I thank you that you sought me out in the darkness and walked with me until I was ready to come out into the light. May I in my thankfulness remember to see with your eyes those who may be stuck in darkness. May I help them to see there is a hope and that hope is You. Amen.

I can’t bear this on my own

 

I can’t bear this people on my own. They’re too heavy for me. ~Numbers 11:14

 

Sometimes life is just more than I can handle. Some days it is all I can do to manage what I need to do for that day. In reading Numbers chapter 11 we read where Moses is feeling overwhelmed with leading the Israelites. They aren’t happy with the fact that God has been providing them just manna to eat. Now they are complaining that they want meat to eat too. Moses cries out to God in verse 13, “Where am I to get meat for all these people? They are crying before me and saying, ‘Give us meat, so we can eat’.”

The first thing Moses did when he realized he had come to the end of his rope in this situation was to admit, “I can’t bear this people on my own. They’re too heavy for me.” This allowed God to say, “I can!” The problem was bigger than Moses but once he allowed God into the situation it allowed God to go to work.

I often forget that God is waiting on the sidelines for me to call out to Him for my needs. God wants to work in my life but He isn’t going to come into the situation without my invitation. I first need to call out to God, “Help, this is more than me!” I need to realize Who can get the job done and then I need to let Him.

Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that You are my God and I ask You into my life this day to help me through this day. Amen.

Betrayed by a friend

 

 

It’s not an enemy that is insulting me— I could handle that. It’s not someone who hates me who is exalted over me— I could hide from them. No. It’s you, my equal, my close companion, my good friend! ~Psalm 55:12-13 (CEB)

 

There is nothing worse in the world than to be betrayed by a friend. A friend, a close friend is someone you trust, someone you expect to be there for you in good times and bad. No one can hurt you more than a dear friend. When you have been betrayed by a friend the hurt goes so deep that you feel like you could never trust anyone ever again. You feel so alone with your feelings of hurt and betrayal. No one could ever know what you are going through.

But you are not alone. Jesus was sold out by a kiss. His betrayal led him to the cross. Peter, one of his closest friends, denied him not just once but three times. All the disciples fled in fear. Jesus was left alone. In the moment he needed a friend the most he found himself without even the dearest friends. They were all gone.

I don’t think I have ever been in a place where I have felt such complete abandonment. I have felt the sting of losing a friend that I thought I could trust but once the pain subsided some I realize that I was not as alone as I thought. But for Jesus there was no one. The hardest thing for me about this story of betrayal and abandonment is that Jesus foreknew what was to come. He did not walk into this situation blindly. He chose to die on the cross to save me even when those dearest to him had left him to fend for himself. If I had been in his shoes I imagine I would have said well if even my closest friends can’t appreciate what I am about to do for the world then why bother! But thankfully I am not the Messiah.

It brings great comfort to me when I realize that there is nothing in the world that Jesus hasn’t been through. If I need an understanding ear he is the best choice. Jesus will never abandon me. Romans 8: 38-39 says, “I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.” There is NOTHING that can separate me from the love of God. Even though I might find myself alone, Jesus will always be with me. The Bible tells me so.

I am thankful that I have a friend in You Jesus. There is nothing that I go through that You have not also been through as well. I know I can trust You and turn to You for guidance in all I do this day. Amen

He leads me beside still waters

 

He lets me rest in grassy meadows; he leads me to restful waters; ~Psalms 23:2 (CEB)

 

I am about to be in trouble when I start saying things like “there is just so much of me to go around”. This little flag should be a warning to me that I am close to overload. With this little comment I am saying that I realize that I have limits and I have reached them. Often I say this ignoring the red flag that should otherwise help me. I say it in exasperation but it is a choice that I make when I continue on past my limits.

Other flags of warning are physical pains that start to creep in. It might be in the form of sickness, shortness of breath, maybe things get so out of control that I begin to experience worse symptoms like tightness in my chest. God doesn’t want us to live on overload. He made us needing times of rest. God viewed our need for rest as so important that he listed it in the Ten Commandments: “Keep the Sabbath day and treat it as holy, exactly as the LORD your God commanded: Six days you may work and do all your tasks, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. Don’t do any work on it—not you, your sons or daughters, your male or female servants, your oxen or donkeys or any of your animals, or the immigrant who is living among you—so that your male and female servants can rest just like you.” (Duet 5:12-14)

Our innate need for rest is the reason that God created “grassy meadows” with trickling streams.  I have learned for my health and over all well-being I need moments to sit on my porch swing, smelling the jasmine as it wafts around me like a security blanket while the birds serenade me with their songs. I have to remember that I need in my day those quiet times for recharging and gathering of strength.

Thank you Heavenly Father for knowing me so well that You know my need for rest even when I don’t recognize it myself. Thank you for leading me beside still waters and giving me peace. Amen.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in every situation

Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in every situation because this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus. ~1 Thessalonians   5:16-18

Here in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-21 it lays it all out pretty simply. Rejoice always. It doesn’t say, only when you feel joyful, it says rejoice ALWAYS. Pray continually, not just sometimes but in everything, I should be in prayer. Give thanks in every situation… hmm. That one is harder.

Last Sunday morning I got in the car to head to church. The car didn’t start. I am to be thankful in this Lord? Well, I could have been an hour from home like I had been a few days before. I could have been at the grocery store with frozen food melting in the trunk while I waited for help. So, I was thankful. I was thankful that this didn’t happen while I was visiting my parents in West TN, 6 hours away when I had a tight schedule for getting back, not just for the day I was traveling back but also for the next two days after I got back. The few days I was without a car I only had to rearrange a handful of things and for this, I was thankful too. No, I wasn’t happy about having to spend money on my car for repairs but I was thankful that I had money to pay the repairman. I was also thankful that I have a repairman that I trust. After I thought about it, I realized that I had a lot to be thankful for in spite of my car troubles.

Because I took the time to look for the things that I was thankful for, despite the car troubles and the impositions it caused, I was able to handle this “crisis” I little better this time.

Heavenly Father, help me to remember to rejoice always, to pray continually and to always remember to give thanks in every situation. Amen.

Stay the course

Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up. ~Galatians 6:9 (CEB)

 

No matter what is going on in our lives we must never give up. In the scripture on God’s Armor (Eph 6:10-18) it ends the section with “no matter what, persevere.” This is easy to throw around but how do you even begin to persevere in a world that is full of all kinds of problems, frustrations and difficulties? I persevere by my diligence in prayer, resolving to stay the course, unwavering faith, and determination to stand firmly on God’s Words and His promises for me.

It gets frustrating how slowly things seem to be moving sometimes. It is easy to think that God isn’t dealing with the situation but I have to remember that God is doing some of his greatest work even if I can’t see what He is doing. Also I need to keep in mind if the problem didn’t occur over night it also will take time to correctly resolve it.

No matter what is going on in our lives the victory is in not giving up. I think that is a good definition for perseverance. Not giving up. When the road ahead is full of bumps and I feel like I am acting out one of my son’s ninja shows trying to dodge trouble I need to keep assured that the good that I am trying to do is noticed by God and time will bring fruition to my diligence.

Sometimes God, I get tired of doing the right thing. Give me courage to stay the course give me strength to do your will. Amen.

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