Wondering

He has told you, human one, what is good and what the LORD requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God. ~Micah 6:8 (CEB)

I can’t help but wonder what a strong movement against some injustices in this world would look like if we would take such offense to them as some of the things that have been in the news. Could we stamp out hunger, child exploitation, and abuse? Are we being blinded to the true issues that exist?

What if we put all that energy into stopping child abuse, slavery, rape, children starving, loving the orphaned, and helping the bullied? Would there even then be a need to argue politics, gun laws, gay rights, straight marriage, or free speech?

It saddens me as I read people’s opinions one side or the other. My heart hurts at their offense. But I can’t help seeing instead the people I know who are struggling to just make it through each day. They don’t care where “we” eat or where “we” shop. They don’t care about protesting funerals. There is a mother who wonders how to get food for her children tomorrow; a young girl who hopes that there isn’t another day; a man who sits with his hands shaking so hard and praying for strength to stay sober one more night; a family who wonders where they will live…

Are our energies misplaced? I don’t know. I can’t help wondering.

Dear God, there are a lot of hurting people in this world. A lot of people are divided. Help us, guide us where You would have us place our energies. Show us the wrongs to right and the stands to take. May we be guided by You and not our own understandings. Amen.

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Response

Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior. He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant. Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored because the mighty one has done great things for me. Holy is his name. He shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next, who honors him as God. He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations. He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty- handed. He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, remembering his mercy, just as he promised to our ancestors, to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.” ~ Matthew 1:46-55 (CEB)

Jesus says that our load should be easy and our burden light… but there was a time that I couldn’t understand what this meant. My load was not easy and my burden was anything but light.

I had found myself in a place where I knew I had been saved but I was working hard for everything else. Life shouldn’t be about trying-hard. Seeing who Jesus is is not to make us try harder but to help us learn to let go. What happens when we let go of trying to live right? What happens when we learn to let Jesus work through us?

My  response to understanding what it means to remain in Christ and to letting him work through me is that I grow in faith and overflow with thankfulness. When I let Jesus be who he is through me I find I don’t have to try so hard. When I allow him to work through me the work I am called to do becomes easier. Remembering what he has done for me makes me thankful and gratitude lightens my steps.

The acting and the struggle are in the letting and remaining. When I dare to believe what is truth and decide to live out of that truth, faith and thankfulness are the natural response. If I search in the Bible for an example of how this might look, I can turn to the story of when Mary was told by the angle that she would be the mother of Jesus. We don’t see Mary worrying about what she will do or what people will think. Instead, we see that Mary’s response is praise and worship.

I want to live continually in a time and place where I am so in touch with God that I can sing God’s praises as easily as I breathe out air. I want to be so sure of the truth that I can’t help to sing of God’s glory. I want a faith that looks like Mary’s.

Heavenly Father,thank You for examples of what faith looks like. Thank You for examples of how to be Your vessel. May Your praises always flow through me to lighten my step. May my knowledge of Your good news lighten the loads I am called to carry. Amen.

I am sure about this

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“I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus.” ~ Phil 1:6 CEB

When I read my Bible I like to highlight, circle, mark in some way things that stand out to me. What stands out to me in this verse is “I’m sure about this”. I would mark this phrase so that in times when I am feeling unsure about life in general I can skim through my Bible to remind myself of the things I know to be true.

What do I know to be true of the rest of this passage? Paul tells us in Phill 1:6 that God saved us and started a good work in us, and His work in us will come to full completion. As we think about God in work in us, we must remind ourselves that as imperfect as we are, God is perfection. Perfection may seem impossible. It is! God’s plan isn’t perfect because we’re perfect. The plan is perfect because God is the One who designed it. The perfection comes from Him alone.

I am thankful as I try to move on toward perfection that I do not have to rely on my skills alone. God knows me better than I know myself and He has designed and set into action a plan engineered just for me. I don’t have to know the whole plan yet. I just have to take those first steps of faith and follow Him.

Thank you Heavenly Father for sending Jesus into the world bringing You closer to me. As I step through this day may I be sure about this: you will go each step of the way with me if only I ask You to be with me. Help me to keep my eyes on You and not my circumstances. Amen.

“I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus.” ~ Phil 1:6 CEB

When I read my Bible I like to highlight, circle, mark in some way things that stand out to me. What stands out to me in this verse is “I’m sure about this”. I would mark this phrase so that in times when I am feeling unsure about life in general I can skim through my Bible to remind myself of the things I know to be true.

What do I know to be true of the rest of this passage? Paul tells us in Phill 1:6 that God saved us and started a good work in us, and His work in us will come to full completion. As we think about God in work in us, we must remind ourselves that as imperfect as we are, God is perfection. Perfection may seem impossible. It is! God’s plan isn’t perfect because we’re perfect. The plan is perfect because God is the One who designed it. The perfection comes from Him alone.

I am thankful as I try to move on toward perfection that I do not have to rely on my skills alone. God knows me better than I know myself and He has designed and set into action a plan engineered just for me. I don’t have to know the whole plan yet. I just have to take those first steps of faith and follow Him.

Thank you Heavenly Father for sending Jesus into the world bringing You closer to me. As I step through this day may I be sure about this: you will go each step of the way with me if only I ask You to be with me. Help me to keep my eyes on You and not my circumstances. Amen.

“I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus.” ~ Phil 1:6 CEB

When I read my Bible I like to highlight, circle, mark in some way things that stand out to me. What stands out to me in this verse is “I’m sure about this”. I would mark this phrase so that in times when I am feeling unsure about life in general I can skim through my Bible to remind myself of the things I know to be true.

What do I know to be true of the rest of this passage? Paul tells us in Phill 1:6 that God saved us and started a good work in us, and His work in us will come to full completion. As we think about God in work in us, we must remind ourselves that as imperfect as we are, God is perfection. Perfection may seem impossible. It is! God’s plan isn’t perfect because we’re perfect. The plan is perfect because God is the One who designed it. The perfection comes from Him alone.

I am thankful as I try to move on toward perfection that I do not have to rely on my skills alone. God knows me better than I know myself and He has designed and set into action a plan engineered just for me. I don’t have to know the whole plan yet. I just have to take those first steps of faith and follow Him.

Thank you Heavenly Father for sending Jesus into the world bringing You closer to me. As I step through this day may I be sure about this: you will go each step of the way with me if only I ask You to be with me. Help me to keep my eyes on You and not my circumstances. Amen.

A dead life

Jesus replied, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you will see God’s glory?” John 11:40 (NIV)

Have you ever felt that part of your life was dead? I know I have, stuck in my troubles forgetting that God has power that I do not have to turn things around. I, like Martha, have cried out, Lord, if  You had been with me I would not be sitting here in pain now! There have been times that I have felt that Jesus seemed to be taking his sweet time getting around to my problem, that He would come too late.

In John 11:21-24 we find Martha in a state of despair. She had sent a message to Jesus to come quickly because Lazarus was gravely ill. Now here Jesus finally arrives and from Martha’s viewpoint, He is too late. “Master, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21).

“Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother shall rise again.’ Martha replied, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day'” (vv. 23-24). I don’t think she really understood what Jesus was saying. She was looking toward a future possibility, not a present reality. She didn’t really expect things to change. Martha saw things from her viewpoint, not from God’s viewpoint.

When I am hurting, I need to hold on to the hope that God can bring a new beginning out of the pain. He can create a Lazarus moment in my life. There is more here than just the part I can see. He can show me glory in my present circumstances, and he can use my pain for something great.

Lord, Help me to find the glory in my circumstances. I need to hold onto the fact that I may not be seeing the possibilities that exist from my vantage point. Help me have faith in you, the one who lives above life’s storms. Help me to trust your viewpoint on my present circumstances and that all will come together for my good. Amen.

The gift of self

“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. ~John 10:11 (MSG)

Part of being a Christian is following Jesus’ example. Even to lay down our life for other people. We are called to be Christ to others, and here we see in this passage that Jesus is willing to put his life on the line for those He is in relationship with. When we are willing to share with others our sorrows and joys, our despair and hope, our loneliness and experience of intimacy, it makes our lives available to others as a source of new life.

It can be easy to be overwhelmed with all the pain and suffering I see around me. I have to remind myself not to put on blinders of protection. I am not here to solve the problems of the whole world, but I am here to be a helping hand to those God has put me in relationship with.

In his book Bread for the Journey, Henri J.M. Nouwen says, “One of the greatest gifts we can give others is ourselves.  We offer consolation and comfort, especially in moments of crisis, when we say:  ‘Do not be afraid, I know what you are living, and I am living it with you.  You are not alone.’  Thus we become Christ-like shepherds.”

Father in heaven,  may I not be so busy in my life to notice the pain and suffering of those I have been called to be in relationship with. Help me to be willing to share out of my life so that someone else might be able to find hope in You. Help me to be a light pointing to Your love. Amen.

Taking life as it comes

Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34 (CEB)

Sometimes I think I hold the market on worry. I get so pulled into all the possibilities all the” what ifs” that I sometimes just wear myself out. As a child, I would almost make it a game. If I could think of all the “what ifs” then maybe I could keep them from happening. Even though I know the odds of really being able to control things in that way I still find myself in my old habit of worry. Maybe that is part of the key to the problem. I have let worry become a habit. I do it without even thinking. It has become part of a thought process that I need to unlearn.

Just before verse 34 in Chapter 6 of Matthew, we are told that God knows what we need. He dresses the earth in splendor, He feeds the sparrows, He knows the number of hairs on my head. Can’t I trust Him to know what I need as well? How I can learn to set aside my worry is just to deal with things as they come. God has equipped me to do this which is why He tells us to focus only on today. Worry only brings frustration and frustration is the first clue that God isn’t in my situation.

Lord help me to practice this day the art of taking life as it comes.  You know what I need, and I am assured by your Word that you will meet my every need for this day. Amen.

Fighting giants​

“The LORD, “David added, “who rescued me from the power of both lions and bears, will rescue me from the power of this Philistine.” “Go!” Saul replied to David. “And may the LORD be with you!” ~1 Samuel 17:37(CEB)

I like the story of David and Goliath. The boy versus the giant and the boy wins. It isn’t the underdog theme that I love it is the confidence that David shows us in the story. He had such an intimate relationship with God that he KNEW that God would take care of him. How did he know? David knew God would take care of him because they had a history together. David tells us some of this history. “The Lord, who rescued me from the power of both lions and bears, will rescue me from the power of this Philistine.” David had the confidence to fight the giant because he had a history with God where God had delivered him from the lions and bears. To him, it was a natural assumption that God would take care of him in this situation as well.

It is important for us to be aware of the times that God has worked in our lives. Even the small things He has done for us. Recalling the small things, He has done bolsters our confidence for the big things in life. If God only came waltzing through our lives at the big events, we might not have the faith we need to believe that he will show up in great times of need. But I think he blesses us even in small things so that we can learn to trust him and as our trust grows and our relationship blossoms we gain the confidence that we need for the big battles in life.

The challenge for us is to look for those small blessings that God bestows on us. Sometimes they might be easy to overlook or to say that it is just coincidence. When we learn to look for God in the small moments of our lives, we will gain the knowledge we need to see him in the crucial times as well. God is always with us. We have to train our eyes to see him at work in our lives.

Heavenly Father, I know the Bible tells me that you are always with me. Open my eyes to see you in the small ordinary moments so that I will be confident to find you in the trials of life. Amen.

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