Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 31, 2016

Isaiah 43:10a  "You are My witnesses" says the LORD,...

My question to you today is  - Are you?  Are you the Lord's witness?  Do you tell others about what He has done in your life?  Do you testify concerning who Jesus is and how He speaks to you? Do you bring it up often that He has never let you down?  How about the fact that He has promised to never leave you nor forsake you - and He has kept His promise?  I put these questions before you because they were put before me, and I was somewhat ashamed of how little I witness on my Lord's behalf.

From the above Scripture it is made very plain what the Lord expects of us.  We are to be His witnesses.  I don't think it comes easily to everyone, but since the Lord says it - I can only believe we are all capable.  I do think perhaps the way we live our lives can be a testimony.  The way we deal with hardships can witness to the Lord's strength.  The manner in which we interact with others we run into day in and day out, regardless of the difficulty, can speak to how the Lord has done a mighty work in our lives.

I urge you to pray about how you might be a witness for the Lord.  He declares you are one, so He will be more than happy to tell you how to go about it. Be open to His leading, and know that He will be right there with you in whatever you do. Let Him know you are a willing witness, and He will take it from there.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

January 30,2016

Genesis 25:34  And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way.  Thus Esau despised his birthright.

I read an article recently that explained that Hebrew sages use this verse to teach the philosophy of today's world:  live for the moment.  Forget the eternal perspective. Esau didn't see the value in his future blessings when he could have his meal "here and now."

How often we find that we are living in the "here and now" with no regard for our eternal promises. We find ourselves in this world that offers instant gratification around every corner.  I am not sure what the answer is other than making a conscious effort to treasure those things that are of eternal value.  Staying in the Word of God helps me a great deal.  I also like to keep a gratitude journal to remind myself of the many blessings God bestows upon me.

I think I will try to not go to one fast food place this week, or order on-line anything that I could go out at some point in the future and get.  Slow down and take time to smell the roses (okay this time of year - smell the coffee).  I encourage you to do the same.

Friday, January 29, 2016

January 29, 2016

Joshua 18: 3  Then Joshua said to the children of Israel:  "How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers has given you?"

Is there something God has given you - a promise perhaps, a mission perhaps, a territory of ministry perhaps - something that has been placed on your heart by Almighty God the Creator of the Universe?
Something that you are stammering and stuttering about, making excuses why you can't do it? Something that you just know someone else would be better equipped for?  Are you thinking - how does she know what I am battling?  Because I have done it most of my life.

I second guess God.  I can generally come up with umpteen reasons why I can't do it, instead of saying, "Okay God."

When God called Moses, he referred to Moses' staff.  This was just something Moses used in his everyday life and job.  Yet, when He gave it to God for His use, it suddenly becomes known as the staff of God.  He stammered around and neglected God's call as long as he could get by with it.

If God has called you, God will equip you.  If God has given you something to lay hold of, God will see to it that He accompanies you as you move forward.  So - how long will you neglect to go and possess the _____________ (fill in the blank)  which the LORD God has given you?"
As far as God is concerned, it is already yours.  Don't wait any longer.  Take it  - it's yours!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

January 28, 2016

I Corinthians 9:24  Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

This reminded me of the 2014 Winter Olympics and Russia.

As I listen to the stories that so many of these athletes have shared about what it took to get there, I am truly convicted.  Not about my lack of exercise or commitment, because I, too, have my passions; however, when I think about the spiritual race I am in as a Christian - I have my regrets.

What does Paul mean when he challenges us to run in such a way to win the prize?  I don't believe we get the prize by working our way to salvation, but true salvation should result in good works.  What is the prize?  I believe it is a relationship with Jesus Christ that will, at some time, include hearing Him say, "Well done my good and faithful servant."

Ask yourself - Are you satisfied to just be saved and labeled Christian?  Or do you want to finish the race well, obtaining the prize?   Does serving the Lord and His people rank high on your priorities?

I was once asked the question, and it still haunts me - "What if every Christian were like you?  Where would the church be?"     I will leave you to ponder that...

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January 27, 2016

Haggai 2:9  "The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former," says the LORD of hosts.  "And in this place I will give peace, says the LORD of hosts.

Having spent a great deal of my life on a diet, I find myself once again starting over.  This verse was brought to my attention this morning, and it offered me hope.  As I ponder the fact that my body is the temple of the living God, I am claiming this verse as a promise from the Lord.  I felt a little like Sarah when she laughed at the Lord's proclamation that she would have a baby in her old age.  Here I am of retirement age and being told this latter temple will be greater than the former.  Only God could make me believe that!  As I said, it gives me hope to carry on.  I love how God is the God of hope.  When we think - No way!  we need to remember only He can make a way out of no way.

God Bless

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 26, 2016

Psalm 19  (last verse) - Whoever does these things will never stumble. (Common English Bible)

This Psalm was my devotion this morning, and I was so surprised to see the final verse after yesterday's writing about how we stumble.
What I like about this Psalm is that it gives me a "to do" list of how to avoid stumbling.
1.  Lives free of blame.
2.  Does what is right.
3.  Speaks the truth sincerely.
4.  Does no damage with their talk.
5.  Does no harm to a friend.
6.  Doesn't insult a neighbor.
7.  Despise those who act wickedly.
8.  Honor those who honor the Lord.
9.  Keep your promise. (even when it hurts)
10.  Don't loan for interest.
11.  Don't accept a bribe.
When thinking about all of this, I can see where many of my times of stumbling have had to do with these very issues.

I love "to do" lists.  Don't you?

Monday, January 25, 2016

January 25, 2016

Jude 24  Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy...

Besides this being a great doxology, this verse is so very practical and promising.  I don't know about you, but I find myself stumbling through life a great deal.  In those times I generally feel like I don't have a clue where I am going or what I am doing.  I feel like there is no hope for me, since I do this far too often.   BUT God is not only able to keep me from stumbling, He is willing and ready to.
The good news doesn't stop there though.  He doesn't just set us on solid footing, but presents us faultless before His glory.  We can only be presented faultless if we have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. God took care of that by providing His Son as the propitiation for our sins.  We can't do anything on our own.  The sooner we realize we need to rely on Jesus, the sooner we will lessen our stumbling.  And let's not forget the final words of this section of Scripture....with exceeding joy.
There is no greater joy than to believe and understand we are not on this journey through life on our own.  We have One who walks with us, picking us up when we stumble.  Don't decide to go it alone.

He is waiting for you to take His hand.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 24, 2016

Luke 5:10  and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.  And Jesus said to Simon,  "Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men."

As I was reading this today I was on a mission.  I recently visited with some teenagers who all had one thing in common.  They all had lost hope in there different situations.  I know the Word tells us our hope is found in Jesus Christ, so I am trying to find the message of hope in everything Jesus says.  In the above passage it was not hard to find it.  I think anytime we are told to not be afraid, there must be a reason, or someone knows something we don't know.  In either case - it ushers in hope.  In this case Jesus seems to be saying - I know I am asking you to give up your livelihood to follow Me, but I have something better in store for you.  We get the idea when we stop to determine whether men are more important than fish.  I think most of us would agree that the answer is: they are.  God had something of greater importance for Simon Peter to do.  That, in itself, speaks of hope.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

January 23, 2016

Psalm 16:11  You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy;  At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

You know when we ask the wrong questions, we get the wrong answers.  Let me give you an example.   I ask someone to tell me about Chicago.  He tells me it is a large city.  It is a windy city.  It is on a big body of water.  Okay.  That following summer I get in my car and drive south out of Indianapolis and eventually get south of Fort Lauderdale and run into a very large city, on a big body of water and because it is hurricane season - very wind.  Voila!  Chicago!!!!   Wrong.
What happened.... I asked the wrong question. I should have asked where is Chicago or how do I get to Chicago.

I found the same kind of thinking occurs in other aspects of life.  For years I have, and have heard others wonder - what is joy.  And consequently many of us have looked in all the wrong places.  I discover in the above Scripture we should be asking - "Where is joy?"   Then we will cease to look in the wrong places and look to the Lord.

I am convinced that is the only place we can truly find authentic joy.  Give it a try.

Friday, January 22, 2016

January 22, 2016

Isaiah 1:18  "Come now, and let us reason together," says the LORD, "though your sins are like scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

Winters in Indiana seem to always include snow.  That is one of the many good things about being a Hoosier, but some winters have so much snow that I finally get tired of it.  I tend to want to blame the weathermen with every nasty forecast they deliver.  God's timing is always perfect, whether it seems so or not, but this morning was exceptional.  In my devotions I was directed to Isaiah chapter one.

As I was reading the above Scripture my husband popped his head into my reading room and announced another major storm on its way.  What a paradigm shift!  No longer did snow bring to mind horrible images and freezing temperatures..... instead I got warm and toasty inside.  (I think I borrowed that from the Grinch.)  Nevertheless, my mind immediately went to the amazing love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Whenever I reason with the Lord, as He mentions in the above Scripture, I think of all the times I have done laundry and tried to get blood or a red stain out of some article of clothing with very little success, and it reminds me how thoroughly God can cleanse us, and with His blood no less.  His ways are not our ways.  Just another paradox found in God's economy.  Amazing love and amazing blood!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

January 21,2016

Exodus 24:16  And the glorious presence of the LORD rested upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days.

As I read this Scripture it occurred to me how much the Lord wants to be with His people.  The presence of the Lord accompanied the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle, and showed God desired to live among His people.  Later, when the temple was built the promise of God's presence was there too.  The greatest evidence of God's desire to live among His people was found in the Incarnation. And now we Christians have the blessing of having His Holy Spirit living within us.  We have the hope of eternity and finally living forever in His glorious presence.
If that doesn't bring a smile to your face - nothing will.

Think about it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January 20, 2016

Psalm 18:5-6."Out of my distress I called on The Lord; The Lord answered me and sent me free.  The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?" (ESV)

Thank you, God, for loving us so much that You will rescue us when we are in danger.  I love knowing that I only need to call out to You and my safety is secured.  No one can hurt me when I am wrapped in your protection.  Father God,  you are all we need to triumph over the evil things that others throw at us.  We can stand tall against our adversaries knowing who our shield is.   Let my confidence in You shine though my actions so that all will know that You are my Lord.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January 19, 2016

Colossians 3:1-2 "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth."  (ESV)

When I read these words I am once again reminded about where we are to keep our focus.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in our earthly existence.  I find myself wanting more things.  I think I need more clothes or a new car or another bracelet.  I spend time fussing about something mean someone said to me or sometimes I am the one saying mean things.  I pick up a mindless novel to fill my spare time or tune in to a poorly written sitcom on television.  All things that are taking my focus away from Christ.   Rather I should be making an effort to pick up the Bible more often.   I should listen to Christian  music and read Christian fiction.  I should be filling my mind with Godly influences instead of the carnal ones from our culture.  I should, I should, I should.  Hmm.  Easy to say.  I think it is time to do what I say I should do, starting right now.  Care to join me?

Monday, January 18, 2016

January 18, 1016

Hebrews 2:18 "For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."  (ESV)

  Have you ever felt like you have fallen so far from God's goodness that it is impossible to return to his side?  Have you ever faced a temptation that is so desirable you really want to succumb even though you know it is the wrong thing to do?  If your answer is yes, it sounds to me like you are a human being.   You see, we live in this fallen world that is so full of seemingly fabulous things that are outside of the light of God.  At every turn believers have to make choices based on God's directives while faced with the pleasures of this culture.  The good news for us is that our Savior Jesus Christ has been there first.   He was tempted in every way and still did not sin.   He knows what we are going through and He will hold us up.  When we are in the midst of our trials, if we turn our faces to Jesus, He will help us to move back into the light.  Thank you, Jesus!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

January 17, 2016

Jeremiah 46:27 “My people, do not be afraid, people of Israel, do not be terrified. I will rescue you from that faraway land, from the land where you are prisoners. You will come back home and live in peace; you will be secure and no one will make you afraid.” (TEV)

We should be so delighted when we read this Scripture from the Old Testament! What a declaration that the Lord will save His people. I see application here for two different groups of people. First, I think those of us who unintentionally wander away from our Lord, who suddenly find ourselves prisoners to undesirable behaviors, can find comfort in the fact that God will bring us back to Him. Yes, we must actively reach out to our Savior for that support, but He will bring us home. I also think there is a group of people out there who have been taken away from the arms of God against their will who should know that our Lord has promised to rescue them. We know that we can rest on the promises of God. Don’t ever give up! Know that God is coming!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

January 16, 2016

Proverbs 3:6 “In all ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”  (ESV)

What a great plan for our lives as we move through the first month of a new year.  Friends, if we acknowledge God in all things, we are seeking His wisdom and guidance in all that we do.   If we acknowledge God in all things, we earnestly look for ways to please Him and do things that will glorify Him.   This Scripture promises that if we do that, God will show us the way.   We do not have to go through another year wondering if what we do is the right thing.  We don’t have to aimlessly move through our months hoping that we are making the right choices and randomly picking which way to turn.   We simply need to be in relationship with our Lord and ask Him what we need to do.  He will take our hearts and minds and fill us with His wisdom so that we can forge ahead with full confidence that we are on the right path.  Why would we choose any other way?   

Friday, January 15, 2016

January 15, 2016

1 Peter 4:7-9 “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (ESV)

Again we see Scripture that points to the return of Jesus Christ to this earth. We are reminded that Christ may return at any time and we are to keep our wits about us so that we might be prepared. But, above all, we are called to love. We need to love everyone; those who are easy to love and those who are hard to love. When we focus on loving others, it is so much easier to tolerate the things they do that offend us. When we focus on loving others, we begin to view them through the lens that Jesus sees them, rather than our own narrow-minded sight. When we focus on loving others we want to be hospitable rather than hostile, which is God’s desire. Let’s give it a try this week. Pick someone who you feel hostile about and try praying that God will soften your heart and help you to love that person. At the end of the week you might be surprised just how easy it can be to love another when you are full of God’s grace. Thank you, God!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

January 14, 2016

Jude 1:18-19 “They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.” (NIV)

Jude is giving us a big warning my friends. He is telling us that there are people in our midst that do not believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. They will live life on the edge, using the favorite old slogan, “eat, drink, and be merry”. Rather than living the Word of God, these folks do what they please and often try to get us to go along with them. We must carefully guard against following their ways. I know how easy it is for me to behave in ways that are not pleasing to God when I am in certain situations. For example, if I am with a group that is gossiping a bit about someone else, I can easily slip into the role of gossip if I am not very careful! It is imperative for me to be in the Word daily to remind me how to be in line with God’s expectations of me. This Scripture tells that that “in the last times” we will meet these people in our daily walk. Guess what? That times is now! Often we think that the end times are far off and we have time to get things together. However, some scholars say that the end times began when Jesus left this earth and will end when He returns. Hmmm. That would be now. Let’s open our eyes and protect ourselves from those scoffers.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

January 13, 2016

Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (NIV)

Wow! This Scripture is easy to read but very hard to live. Clearly we are to never speak ill of another.  Clearly we are called to treat all others with respect and kindness. Easy, most of the time, when that person is someone we love. Hmm…except when we are tired or disappointed or preoccupied or busy or ……. you add your favorite excuse to be grouchy. How much harder is it than to be nice to someone who we do not know, or who is mean to us, or who is just plain nasty? Paul reminds us that in God’s eyes, it does not matter. God instructs us to “not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths” and to only “build others up” with our words. He does not distinguish that we should only be respectful to those we love or those who are nice to us first. We should be diligent in acting in love and forgiveness toward all that we encounter so that we please God with our attitudes and our actions.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

January 12, 2016

2 Peter 3:13-14 “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” (NIV)

We are told in this Scripture and many others that God will create a new home for us; a place where we will live in fellowship with Him for eternity. To this end, we must live every day as if that day is the one during which Jesus Christ will return. We should have our eyes turned to that new earth and be striving to be ready for that joyous day. I know that I fall short every day, but I am working hard to do so less and less. I pray that God will direct my steps and my words so that my daily living might be pleasing to Him. I so want to be ready for that glorious day! I so want to be found spotless and blameless!

Monday, January 11, 2016

January 11, 2016

Job 5:11 “He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.” (ESV)

We can trust our Father in heaven to take care of us. We can know that in the arms of our Savior we are safe and loved. This world throws much at us that is destructive and meant to tear us down, but when we look to God for answers we can immediately take on the cloak of His protection. When we are faced with disappointments or even crises, we should turn our tear-streaked faces to God to again know that security of His unfailing love for us. When we are torn apart with grief because we have lost a loved one, we can know that God grieves for us as well, but promises that we can find comfort in His embrace. There is nothing in this world that can hurt us so badly that God cannot lift us to safety, as the Scripture says. We must trust God. We must trust that He is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do. Thank you, God that you promise us that security.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

January 10, 2016

Hosea 12:6 “So you, by the help of your God, return; Observe mercy and justice, And wait on your God continually.” (NKJV)

Have you ever felt that you have drifted away from God? Are you in a season where your spiritual fire is just smoldering and you are more interested in the worldly things in your life than in reading the Bible? Maybe you have lost your passion for the Word slowly and don’t even realize it. I have been in that place before and it is not a happy place. But this Scripture brings a big splash of hope to all of us who have ever felt lukewarm towards God. He tells us to come back to Him. He says He wants to show us mercy and to be just in our error. God says He will help us make the journey back to Him. How can we turn our backs on an invitation like that? First, we must realize that we are needy, then we must ask God to forgive us and turn back to Him. Then we must accept His gift of mercy and support. Hmm. I think maybe it is time to hit our knees!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

January 9, 2016

Titus 2:7-8 “Show yourself in all respects a model of good deeds, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us.” (RSV)

Paul wrote this Scripture to illustrate for us the relationship between faith and practice. It is imperative for Christians to behave in a manner that represents what they believe. People are watching us and waiting for us to fall so that the doctrine that we profess can be questioned and ridiculed. Paul admonishes us to be a good role model. He reminds us that we must fill our time with good deeds. We should be finding ways to reach out to others in service so that we can practice what we preach. This does not have to be a big difficult endeavor. It can be something as simple as changing our mindset to focus on the needs of someone else and not so much on ourselves. Good deeds don’t have to require a lot of time or money, but they can make someone else’s day a little bit better. Try letting the man with one item that is behind you in line at the grocery go first, or what about paying for the order of the car behind you at the fast food drive up. How about today you make a conscience decision to find a little way to brighten someone else’s day!

Friday, January 8, 2016

January 8, 2016

Psalm 7:1 “Oh Lord my God, in You I put my trust; save me from all those who persecute me; and deliver me,” (NKJV)

David was asking God to deliver him from his enemies in this Psalm, and many times I find myself asking God for the same favor. Have you, like me, ever found yourself in a situation at work or at play where you were verbally assaulted because of your faith? I sure have and it is not comfortable! Granted, I have never been physically threatened, as have too many others, but still felt vulnerable and uncomfortable when confronted by a non-believer. I often don’t think real fast on my feet, so I heard myself saying all kinds of great defenses well after the fact. That is when I realized that David was so smart to ask God for that deliverance and that I too should be seeking God’s action in my times of distress. When I began to trust that God would fill my mouth with the words that He wanted me to say in these situations, I became much more assertive and verbal about defending my faith in my Lord and Savior. Interestingly, the verbal haggling became less and less as I trusted God to handle the situation. I am not sure if I ever made a difference with my actions, but I do know that God was represented in a much more powerful way when I allowed Him to take the lead. Thank you, God!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

January 7, 2016

James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (ESV)

For me, January is when I like to reflect on the last year. It is a good time for me to remember those times when things went well and ponder what went wrong when things didn’t. It is a time when I smile as I thank God for another year of blessing. I thank Him for the great things and the difficult things, for I know God was in the middle of it all. The most important piece of this reflection, however, is to stop and ask God to fill me with His wisdom as another year begins. When we seek God’s truth, He will make sure that we are overflowing with wisdom. We find that wisdom in God’s word. God will provide for us the understanding when we commit to reading and learning. We all need to be in the Word every day. Let’s all make reading the Bible our biggest priority for 2016.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

January 6, 2016

Matthew 20:26-28 “Not so with you. Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first, must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (NIV)

For some of us serving does not come easily. We are bombarded with the messages of me first and encouraged to take care of ourselves, sometimes at the expense of our neighbor. Our young people are growing up with an increased feeling of entitlement that encourages this self-centered attitude. However, to be great in the eyes of God we must actively become His servant. We need to humble ourselves and roll up our sleeves and take care of those around us. Yes, it will take some time. Yes, it will take some effort and some intentional planning. But it is God’s command that we serve others, so I think we better get started. God I ask you to open our eyes and hearts to the opportunities you have given us to serve, and then get us moving!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

January 5, 2016

Colossians 4:2 “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” (ESV)

Paul reminds us that prayer is a very important part of our spiritual life. If he felt the need to ask for prayer, how much more must we need to do so! This Scripture tells us to pray always. Too often we pray only when we think of it, or only when our need is great. Yet, God wants us to “pray without ceasing” (I Thes. 5:17). God desires that we think about Him and lift up prayer to Him throughout the day. He wants us to ask Him for help, thank Him for our blessing, and even praise Him for our very breath. The second part of this Scripture tells us to be watchful as we pray. Friends, we need to pray as if we expect that God will answer. We need to pray as if our very being depends on that relationship with our God. When we just give lip service to our prayers we are cheating God. When our prayers are routine and only done out of obligation, God will not hear our mutterings. Let’s fire up our prayer life today! Begin by praying about everything and with an expectancy that God will move in answer to our prayers. Then, thank God for loving us so much that He hears and responds to us!

Monday, January 4, 2016

January 4, 2016

Colossians 3:12-13 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (ESV)

In this Scripture Paul was calling on the Colossians to take on the Christian virtues that exhibit to all that they were followers of Jesus Christ. God’s people should be about accepting  one another. We would do well to follow this good advice as well. Too often we call ourselves Christians, but then treat others with indifference at best, and with hatred at worst. This Scripture calls God’s people to be kind-hearted and to always forgive others. We must remember that our sins have been forgiven by our Father totally, and we must do the same for those who have wronged us. Human nature tricks us into believing that we have a right to feel victimized and should expect an apology from one who causes us distress. Scripture, however, is clear that we should be the one that forgives with or without an action from the other party. The Lord has shown us the way to do so. Now, it is up to us to follow the example. Lord Jesus lead us!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

January 3, 2016

Colossians 4:5-6 “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”  (ESV)

Paul was instructing the Colossians in how to witness to the people who were outside of the family of God, but these words still ring true for Christians today. We must never assume a position of superiority. Rather, because we are called to spread the good word, we should be putting ourselves in the company of those who are lost. However, lest we forget our own priorities, we must be wise and strong in our faith and find ways to talk about who our Savior is and how to find Him. It is critical that Christians walk through our daily lives in ways that are in line with our testimony. Likewise, Christians must be careful that what we say is not in contrast to what we profess to believe. Friends, let’s step out in our communities with the intent of making a difference in the name of Christ. Let’s be the “salt” so that we might bring others along in our faith. My prayer is that others will look at us and think that they want a piece of what we have!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

January 2, 2016

Colossians 4:2 “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” (ESV)

Great advice as we begin the new year. Paul gives us the directive to prayer constantly. We should give everything to God in prayer; the good, the bad, and the ugly. God wants us to rely on Him and to turn to Him always. When we are making big decisions, we should first consult with God. When we are worried about something, we should turn it over to God. When we are happy about something, we should thank God for the blessing. In everything we should be prayerful! We teach our babies to talk to God, beginning with simple prayers at mealtime and bedtime. We encourage our youngsters and teens to look to God for guidance through prayer. Why is it that so many of us as adults think that we no longer need to pray about life’s issues? Some of us think we can handle “it”. Asking for help may make others think we are weak. Some of us seem to think that our God is too small to deal with real big life issues or maybe we don’t want to hear what God tells us we need to be doing.  I can tell you from experience that if we talk to God first we will save ourselves a lot of stress and difficulty. I often get myself in a big mess before I turn things over to God. It is always less messy when I just give it to God to begin with. Jot this Scripture down on a card and carry it with you to remind yourself to first pray. God will bless your efforts!

Friday, January 1, 2016

January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

I read a great article recently regarding the new year.  It mentioned that God is not looking for resolutions, but a reaffirmation of our love for Him.  The premise is that if we focus on our love for Him and His Word, we will begin to let His Holy Spirit do His work in us and through us.  As we approach this new year, let's not only reaffirm our love for our Lord, but also give His Holy Spirit complete reign in our lives.

Let's not focus on our failures of last year, but look forward to a new beginning with our Lord Jesus.  He longs to have a meaningful relationship with us not just today, but forever.  Let's look forward to Him doing a mighty work in our lives, our communities, our local and worldwide congregations.
Let's unite in saying:  "Hallelujah, all praise and honor and power goes to God alone!"
Happy New Year!