A healthy hunger

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“Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full. ~Matthew 5:6 (CEB)

Healthy people get hungry. Appetite is a sign of life. Matthew chapter 5 verse 6 tells us that Christians should be defined as people who are hungry for God. In the “Disciplined Life”, Calvin Miller says that our souls should have an excessive appetite to please God. But most of us don’t hunger to this extent. We are perhaps a little hungry for Christ, but we are more consumed with ordinary pursuits for shelter, food, safety, power and sexual appetites. This is part of being human, but can become dangerous when we lose our mastery over them and allow them to take over our lives.

God places within us a hunger for Him. Often I forget that the restlessness that I feel inside of me is because I have strayed away again and I try to fill that hole with other things that will not fit. Those things are just temporary fixes and because it doesn’t come from the true source I will find myself back at the well again. I need to be filled in such a way that I no longer thirst or hunger. I can only find this satisfaction in Jesus. I can only fight the cravings if I try to fill myself up with Christ.

Heavenly Father when I find myself back at the well, fill me with you. Fill me up until I want no more. Satisfy this restless hunger inside of me with your righteousness. Amen.

The Bible tells me so…

We have known and have believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them. 1 John 4:16 (CEB)

When my son was little and starting to say his bed time prayers on his own, he naturally began his prayers with no prompting from me, “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so” and then he would move into blessing everyone he could think of, ask for good sleep and for safety through the night. Until I heard the words from my son’s mouth I never really thought about the fact that we know God’s love because the Bible tells us so.

It is so easy to go about our everyday life saying the words that God loves us without ever really knowing just what it is that we are saying.  The knowledge of God’s love should not be just some biblical fact which we adsorbed as a child but it should be a living reality in our lives. Look again at verse 16, God is love. He doesn’t just love me, He is love. The verse goes on to tell us that those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them.

How do I remain in God’s love?  John 14:21 says, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them loves me. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” What are the commandments to keep? Matthew 22:37-39 says, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself”

It is not enough just to know that God loves me. I must live my life in such a way that I remain in God’s love. To remain in God’s love I should love my neighbor as myself. When I love others, I am in God’s love.

Gracious God, your commands are stated simple enough for a child to grasp but sometimes it slips right by us and we forget what you want of us. You want us to love each other in all we do and say. Lord help me this day to love those around me as the Bible tells me to love. 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.

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 them a kind word. 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.

Praying in Jesus’ name

In that day, you won’t ask me anything. I assure you that the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Up to now, you have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive so that your joy will be complete. ~John 16:23-24 (CEB)

Here we find in John 16:23-24 another one of those Biblical truths that we learn but might not think about the truth behind the words. I was taught as a child to end my prayers “in Jesus’ name” I was taught to ask for what I needed in Jesus’s name but I haven’t really thought about what I am doing when I mimic my upbringing. This scripture tells me that when I pray to God using His name He answers me. What this means is that I have been given authority in His name.

The exciting part about this is that when we pray using God’s authority, it is as if He was saying the prayer. That is some powerful stuff! It is almost too awesome to think that when I am saying my payers it is as if God is saying them Himself! That should give me confidence in my prayers. Not only does God know what is in my heart, not only does He hear me when I pray, but when I pray it’s as if He has said the prayer Himself! This gives me a new perspective on the power of prayer.

This perspective on prayer gives me new meaning to prayer. Prayer is powerful. No longer will I think when the situation is bigger than me, “well, all I can do is pray”. Now I can see how it is the most powerful thing I can do. It isn’t a last resort; it should be my first step of action.

Heavenly Father, may my prayers be more confident knowing that you not only know my heart, hear me speak, but that you are right there praying with me.  In times of great need may I remember the simplicity of calling out in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.

Prayerful

I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord.

Apart from you, I have nothing good.”

You, LORD, are my portion, my cup;

you control my destiny.

I will bless the LORD who advises me;

even at night I am instructed

in the depths of my mind.

I always put the LORD in front of me;

I will not stumble because he is on my right side.

That’s why my heart celebrates and my mood is joyous;

yes, my whole body will rest in safety

because you won’t abandon my life to the grave;

you won’t let your faithful follower see the pit.

You teach me the way of life.

In your presence is total celebration.

Beautiful things are always in your right hand.

~Psalm 16:2,5,7-11 (CEB)

“Most of us grew up saying prayers, reading prayers, or listening to others praying. There is a difference between a person whose says prayers and a prayerful person. It is the difference between something we do and someone we are.

Do you know someone who is a prayer? He or she is probably someone who views life in a different way than most – someone who seems to have found a way to be aware of God’s presence in an ongoing way.

We are called as Christian people to be present in each moment in order to experience that God’s time and our time have intersected. We are called to practice the presence of God. It is this for which our hearts yearn.” ~Ron Delbene, “A Simple Way to Pray,” Weavings

Heavenly Father, may I go about this day in prayerful diligence. Help me to experience You in all I do. Help me to be present in this time and space so that I can feel Your presence as I go about my day. Help me keep You ahead of me so I will not stumble through my work. Bring me home at the end of my day to the rest and peace that only You can give. 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 overall 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.

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