Thankfulness – Day 15


rev 4 11

Holy Lord God,

Today we thank You for a time to gather together to worship. You alone are worthy of our devotion. We give You praise, honor, and glory because we love You and acknowledge You and Your wonderful works and blessings. Fill us with Your presence as we lift our voices in praise to You today.

ps 100 2

Psalm 29:2

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

Psalm 132:7

“Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool!”

Psalm

Scripture: www.openbible.info

Images: Google Images

Advertisements

Thankfulness – Day 13


Heal Me

Wonderful Lord,

Today I thank You for all the medical personnel who treat the sick and injured. I also thank you for diagnostic tools, medications, and therapy to assist doctors and nurses bring healing to our bodies and minds. Thank you God, for these servants and thank You for the miracle of healing.

Psalm 103:2-4

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

 Health and Healing

Psalm 147:3

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 41:3

The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. (3 John 1:12)

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Images: Google Images

Oblivious to the Blessings


blessings

I was living an almost charmed life.

My adopted home town was a very safe and livable community where everything I wanted or needed was nearby. The schools my children attended were great. I had wonderful, close friends, and a good job. I was a member of a significant church that reached out to everyone and had programs for all types of people. I lived in that community for 20 years. I expected life to always be that way. I thought I had a grateful heart, but looking back, I was oblivious to how fortunate my circumstances were.

This past summer we moved to another state. My expectations were that we would live in a similar community and attend a church similar to the one we just left. I thought I would find a job quickly and make new friends easily. I expected life to be the same, I would just have a different address. The truth is, it’s been an adjustment.

Thinks are different here, not wrong, just different. It is more than the names of streets and where to shop, the local culture is different too. It’s a way of life that in some ways doesn’t value what I took for granted. This difference has made me appreciate all I had even more. I was truly blessed living in in that small community in Texas. At the time, I didn’t see, and certainly didn’t appreciate, how God was showering me with His Love all the time I lived in that other city. He was feeding me, nourishing my soul. He blessed me in so many ways, but most of all, He blessed me with Himself.

Now that I am not experiencing the same circumstances I feel like my spiritual life is parched. I’ve been thanking God for what I had, and have asked Him to relieve the drought I am experiencing now. But that request is wrong. There’s a passage in the Old Testament explaining that when there is drought do not lose confidence because God has blessed you with deep roots.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

This passage reminds us that God will keep us filled, despite difficult situations. But the passage goes on to instruct us to bear fruit in every season, even during a dry spell. I can’t (and shouldn’t try to) recreate the same situation I was in. Instead, I should use my experiences to be a blessing to others. I didn’t realize it at the time but our great God was preparing me to go out into the world to do just that. Luke 6:45 tells us, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”  God filled my heart. Now it’s time to share what I was given.

Someday I will experience abundance again, but this time, I pray to not be oblivious to the blessings God sends my way. James 1:17 reminds us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” It doesn’t matter what the situation is, God is all I need.

May the Lord richly bless your day as you share your blessings.

betheblessing

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Images: google images.

A Life Road Map


productivity-treasure-map

Genesis 12:1

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”

Deuteronomy 31: 8

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

 

God opened up a new opportunity for my family. It was a call to move to a new place, to leave everything that was familiar. Now we’re here. In an unfamiliar city. We’re in a rental house. My children aren’t happy, and I haven’t found my purpose either. I have too much time on my hands. So what do we do now that we’re here?

For the Christian, the predictable answer is to turn to the Lord, but that’s easy to say and hard to do. During my quiet time I have found my mind wandering. I think about not having a job yet, that my children are unhappy, and I am lonely. I think about my friends back home, and the things I would be doing if I was still there. I turn to Facebook. I think about everything but God.

It occurred to me that God just wants me for Himself for a little while. I need to spend more time just loving Him. I need to let Him feed and strengthen me in preparation for what He has planned next. That “next” may be tomorrow, or next month, or next year. Now is the time to prepare. To do that I need to separate myself from the distractions of this world and focus on God. But how?

I’ve been reading a series of books by James Bryan Smith. I finished reading The Good and Beautiful God (I highly recommend this book.) I’ve just started the second book in his series, The Good and Beautiful Life. In an early chapter, Smith suggests an exercise – to write a letter to God about what you want your life to look like. This takes some thought – it’s an exercise that requires you to think about God, and His plans for you, not just your own desires. Psalm 37:4 tells us, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” So what are those heart’s desires?” I trust God will let me know.

As Smith suggested, I wanted to write a letter to God about what I want my life to look like, but it was an overwhelming thought. I avoided the exercise for several days. Finally, I realized I had to break it up into more manageable pieces. So I thought about all the aspects of my life and wrote to God about what I want in these areas: Spiritual, Family, Marriage, Friendships, Financial, Health, Work, Hobbies, and Relaxation. It was easier to focus on just one aspect of who I am, then move on to the next. As I finished my letter, a familiar verse came to mind.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

I trust that God does have a bright future in store for me, but I’m impatient. I want to know what it is. Now. Jeremiah 29:11 is a frequently quoted verse, but do we really think about it fully? The verses that follow verse 11 are perhaps more important to understanding verse the verse itself.

Jeremiah 29:11-14

11 For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you”—this is the Lord’s declaration.  (Emphasis mine).

So that’s the key. It’s time to search for God with my whole heart, and no preconceived ideas. It was time to rewrite my letter to God, this time praying for the Holy Spirit to guide my prayer. The end result is a more than a letter; it is a road map for my life, blessed by God. As you look at the life before you, consider talking to God about how he created you and what he created you for. You may find God has actually given you a treasure map. After all, He only wants the best for you.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Psalm 32:8

 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Blessings on your day.

Image: google images

Scripture:  www. openbible.info

Moving On


1

 Isaiah 43: 18-19

“Do not remember the past events; pay no attention to things of old.
Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

I’ve been absent from this blog for several weeks because I needed time to contemplate a life changing decision. My husband was offered a job in a different state. But is it the right decision? Moving across country is a big deal. Leaving everything familiar and starting a new life is challenging, to say the least. The thought of saying goodbye to everyone we know has made us all apprehensive. We have deep roots in the community, my son is starting his senior year in High School, and I love my job. What should we do?

To make the decision, we turned to God, to the Scriptures. God called Abraham to move on from his home and blessed him for his obedience.  Our Lord led the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promised Land. He returned the exiles to Israel. Paul went on many journeys. Throughout the Scriptures God’s people move.

I trust God to lead us where He wants us to go. So we are moving on to a new home, a new community, and will establish new roots. There’s a song that has meant a lot to me as we’ve made this decision – Oceans by Hillsong. I’ve linked it below. I hope it blesses you as much as it has blessed us.

Encouraging Confidence in our Ourselves and Our Children


“I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4

I’m participating in a Bible Study on confidence. The book seems to have been written specifically for me, but the all the ladies in my group feel the same way. How could they feel any lack of confidence? They are all prettier, smarter, thinner, or more educated than I am. Each one seems to be a better mom. The truth is many people struggle with a lack of confidence.

How early in life do our perceptions, attitudes, and circumstances begin to affect our confidence? We know our attitudes and behaviors start to be shaped when we are small children. As kids we let the words and actions of others have a deep, lasting impact on how we value ourselves. Circumstances can have a disastrous effect on us and we believe many lies. Adults often live with leftover negative emotions from their childhoods. Sometimes these feelings of inadequacy penetrate our adult thinking and have a negative effect our confidence. I know these incorrect thoughts have caused me to lose confidence.

I don’t want this to happen to my children.

My daughter, Elianna, just turned 10. She’s been doing gymnastics and cheerleading for years. I’ve watched her confidence shattered by the words and actions of certain coaches and even other parents. Several years ago she came to believe she couldn’t do a back handspring. Elianna was little. The right choice at the time was to change coaches. Now she can do several back handsprings in a row. She got her confidence.

ellie

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Now that confidence teeters because she’s struggling with another stunt – being a cheer flyer. Although her confidence is wavering, this time the process is different. Her coach is encouraging her, helping her with every step of the process. She sets smaller goals to help my daughter gain confidence. My husband and I also encourage her, and we let Elianna know what we expect from her. Our standards are high, but not so high she can’t reach them.

That’s how it is with God. He encourages us and prepares the way for us. If we put our trust in Him, our confidence will soar and we will be able to accomplish the tasks he has set before us. Proverbs 3:26 tells us, “For the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.” And Isaiah 41:10 states, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Those verses are more than verses for cheer leaders who want to perform stunts; they are promises from God for all of us.

I pray for my daughter (and son) to have the confidence of God, not just for sports, but to have the confidence to accomplish all that the Lord sets before them. It’s a big prayer, but it’s what God wants for all of us. He’s all we need to accomplish His will for our lives.

“Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5

 Our kids are going to face many challenges and dilemmas as they grow. We are forced to work with people who want to bully us, or try to shatter our confidence in other ways. Sometimes people will withhold love if we don’t behave a certain way. We need to teach our kids to believe in themselves and have the confidence to stand up to people who are less than nice. That confidence comes from our Lord. Are we modeling that truth for our children?

 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

We must learn to replace falsehoods with God’s truth. But we need to do more than use these tools for ourselves. We need to pass these tools to our children so they will grow up to be confident, godly men and women. The Bible gives us a lot of information about our identity in Christ. Let God’s perspective fill you, and your children.

 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

 We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). As we let go of the falsehoods others have said, or circumstances that shatter our confidence, we must teach our children the same truth. As you talk to God about changing your thinking, ask Him to help your children develop correct thinking and confidence in Him. The Message paraphrase of Romans 12:2 urges us to reject the flawed thinking of our culture and those who surround us: “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You will be changed from the inside out.”

We must teach the confidence God gives us, and His sufficiency early in life, but how do we do that? I think the answer is simple, but hard to do. We have to let go of our strong wills and turn ourselves over to God. We have to ask Him to increase our faith, so we aren’t tempted to try to solve problems in our own strength. Then we need to pass that truth onto our children. We also need to learn to forgive ourselves, and those who have hurt us.  Forgiveness doesn’t excuse someone else’s behavior; it merely prevents their behavior from destroying our confidence.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

May you and your children feel and believe the full measure of the confidence our Lord desires you have.

 

Scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com

Photo: Gerry Garro

Bible Study: A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

Jeremiah 29:11


i_dont_have_time_to_be_this_busy1

I was pondering one of my favorite verses again:

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Let’s pick that verse apart for a moment. I looked up key words in that passage (Dictionary.com)

Plans are a specific project or definite purpose

Prosper means to be successful or fortunate, especially in financial respects; thrive; flourish

Hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.

The future is something that will exist or happen in time to come.

Wow! God wants the very best for us.

 

So why isn’t the best happening?

I think we are the ones that get in God’s way. We take our eyes off God and listen to the crazy, busy noise of this world. We can’t be focused on two things at once. If we take our focus off this world, and put it squarely back on God, we can listen to our Lord, and then will realize His plans for us.

How do we do that? I think the answer lies in Psalm 46:10a

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

 

It’s time to shut out the busyness and noise of this world, and listen to the only one who really cares for us.  That’s hard. Who has time to take a break?

The fact is our daily quiet time is so vital to living a healthy Christian life. We need that time alone with God each day. We will get more done if we spend a precious few moments with Him each day.

Those precious few moments will lead you to realizing the plans God has for your life. Plans to prosper you; and plans to give you a hope and a future.

Blessings on your day.