Monthly Archives: January 2014

Six Things That Encourage

1.  That it’s all about coming to a point where we surrender and praise.  

  • When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped.  Judges 7:15

After many evidences and workings of God, Gideon finally got it.  Something clicked in his heart.  He finally realized at a gut level that God really was with him.  It was something he didn’t see after fire came and consumed his sacrifices, or even after God worked miracles on the fleeces he put out. But something about creeping through the night and being at exactly at the right place, at the right time, and hearing the dream in the enemy camp brought it home to him.  He was ready to fall on his knees, quit worrying about the strength of his opponents, trust and worship God.

God does this in our lives as well.  Through my health challenges lately, I have had to wrestle with it and be able to say, “God, if it is your will that my health fails, or even my mental facilities fail, I will trust you, and praise you.”

The good news is that when we come to this point, God acts.  Just like with Gideon, when we surrender and delight in the Lord, He has us where we need to be, and He will work.

2. That God will open our eyes.

  • Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.  Luke 24:45

We need God to help us to understand the scriptures, to be able to see Him better, to have insight into all of the mysteries and truths.   Here are some other scriptures that address this:

  • I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe  Eph 1:18
  • And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  Eph 3:18

It strikes me in an increasing way how much I need this.  I have been praying for God to show my how to love others better.  And it has been working!  I have seen the importance of thanking God for others frequently, and how this helps my heart.  I have seen how interactions with others can nourish my soul.  And much more!

Yesterday we were talking at a workshop on leading about how to pray better, and how difficult it can be to pray sometimes.  One of the comments was that we need to ask God for wisdom on how to be devoted to prayer.  God didn’t make it so we can just figure things out by our own wisdom.  We try and try to serve him, and after awhile, we just hit our head against a wall.  But if we pray for wisdom, God DOES open our eyes, and it is by His power, not our own.

  • If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

3. That God’s kingdom is always increasing!

  • Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end.  Is 9:7

Although it often feels like the world is getting more wicked, and chaos is gaining the upper hand, God’s kingdom IS growing more and more all the time.  God’s good and perfect will IS being accomplished.

As I reflect on this, I see it to be true.  I see many people who are not just believing in Jesus, but following him with ALL of their heart.  Most of all, I see the hearts of people expanding through the years to become so much more spiritual, more loving, more peaceful, more awesome!  I was thinking this morning as I regarded my husband that I have truly seen the miracle of God in him.  I have seen him grow from a selfish person (I was too) into a giving, compassionate, joyful, faithful man.  God has made him more and more into what he was created to be.

Here are some other verses on this:

  • I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.’ ”  Jer 33:22
  • But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. Dan. 2:34
  • “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. Dan. 2:44
  • But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession.  II Cor 2:14
  • “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”  Matt 13:33

4.  That people CAN change.

People get stuck.  I get stuck.  (See point #2)  There are people I’ve been studying the Bible who want to follow God, they just can’t seem to change their lives to get it done.  One encouraging thing I learned this weekend is ways to help people to change, and hearing stories of people who have changed.

  1. First, I was reminded that your heart and outlook needs to change for your behavior to change.  Just telling them what to do differently won’t help.  I need to help them change from the inside out.  Their heart need to be softened.  They need to find godly sorrow.
  2. Second, I was reminded that they need God to help the change their heart.  They can’t just try to gut it out by doing the right thing.
  3. Third, I got ideas for things that will help.  Instead of studying the Bible with them, we can get them to study something out for themselves, and their heart will be changed.  Or we can start praying with them, and get others to pray with them.

Now that I think about it, I see so many ways people have changed.  I see Antoinette and Ashley, who got baptized recently, and the miracles that happened to get them to that point.  I see Kristen and Lin, who are still studying, but who have made significant strides that could only have been made with God.  I am excited about going forward.

5. That we need trust, not clarity.

  • Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  Matt 14:28-29

This is an amazing thought for me.  I have been praying so much lately that God would make it clear what I need to be doing with my life.  Should I work part time?  Should I just embrace where I am?  Should I find a charity work that I could be more involved it?  Am I wasting opportunities by just sitting back and waiting for it to be clear what I should do?

Here is the story that Mike Gross told to illustrate this point yesterday in his sermon.  It is about a man who went to Mother Teresa and asked her to pray that he would have clarity.  She told him, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.” When the man said that she always seemed to have clarity, the very kind of clarity he was looking for, Mother Teresa laughed and said: “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”

6. That failing allows us to experience the love of Jesus.

  • But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.  Matt 14:30-31

I HATE failure.  It is one of my biggest fears.  So although I know that in order to walk on water you have to get out of the boat, my life is a cycle of getting out of the boat, taking a few exciting steps of faith on the water, failing in some way, and struggling with hating that I have failed.

I love that Mike pointed out yesterday that each time we start to sink in the water, each time we feel like we are failing, it is a chance for Jesus to put his arms around us and demonstrate his love for us by saving us.  I am looking forward to putting this principle into practice.

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Filed under Abundance/Greatness of God, Faith, Hope, Love, Patience, Surrender, Uncategorized

True Success

What is success?  Is it measured by achievement?

Peter would have measured success by his fishing haul — that he knew the best places to fish, and was able to consistently come home with a boat full of mackerel.

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But one night he must have felt like a failure.  He and his partners went out and threw their nets in the water, over and over again, hour after hour, but didn’t have anything to show for it.

Maybe that fruitless night seemed like a symbol of everything in Peter’s life that had gone wrong.  It could be his marriage was on the rocks, or the people in Galilee didn’t respect him, or he had let his father down.  He might have felt that his dreams were broken, or that the Roman occupation had taken away his hope for a better future.

Like many of us, he could have been wallowing in bitterness and disappointment.  The first thing we do when things go wrong is feel like God isn’t working in our life.  Certainly there are times recently when I have felt bad physically and emotionally and I have felt apart from the will of God.

But then there are passages like this one in Isaiah 40 that get our thinking back on track:

Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth. . .
To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

It puts things in perspective to consider how epically great God is.  I read recently that some scientists feel that the universe is infinite.  When we were driving home at night Monday, we went through parts of the countryside so dark that we could see many more stars than usual.  And I thought, “This is only the first layer of stars.  There are more and more, going on forever.” To me this a reflection of God – He is so vast it is mind boggling.  Who are we to complain to God about our circumstances?

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He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. . .
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.  (From Is 40)

In the end, when things go wrong and we feel apart from God, we should realize instead that our ONLY real hope is hoping in God.  The word “hope” here means much more than wishing.  It means expecting, waiting with sure anticipation. To me it is like holding on to a tow rope.  God is taking us some place, we just need to hang in there.

A girl named Olivia Luna in a picture I found

A girl named Olivia Luna in a picture I found

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Phil 1:6

You see, here is the thing.  Peter defined success in terms of accomplishment.  But when Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you a fisher of men” in Mark 1, he changed Peter’s whole paradigm. The true success was going to take place in Peter’s character.  The heart of Jesus would became his own.

This wasn’t something that would happen all at once.  The word “make” in Mark 1 means “to produce, construct or form.”  It was going to take time.  There would be a process.  And as we read of Peter’s life, we see that he went through a lot.  He had highs — walking on water.  And he had lows, like the time he denied Jesus.

But this process taught Peter to WAIT and HOPE in God.  As he wrote later in his life, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (I Peter 5:10)

Let us change our paradigm of what success is.  Let us trust COMPLETELY, and hold onto God in all circumstances.  We do not stand apart from God’s will.  His right hand holds us fast.  (Ps 139:10)  We will stand in awe of the future He brings.  Our joy will be deeper, because we will be more like Him.

The future is bright

The future is bright

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The Good News

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,
“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.”And this is the word that was preached to you.

I love this passage at the end of I Peter 1.  It points out the power of the word to change hearts, to regenerate us, to take us from our sinful selves held captive by conflicting desires and make us new, a child of God, pure with His righteousness.

And I love this passage because it describes clearly how Peter believed that the message they preached about Jesus wasn’t just a sharing of what they had seen or heard, but was actually giving people the seed that would generate the process of rebirth in them. Peter didn’t just consider the Old Testament writings as the powerful word of God, but the good news they related was the word of God as well.

The passage contains a selection from Isaiah 40.  How can I discuss this in the context of that mighty chapter?  There is so much good in it, beginning with the voice of the one crying in the wilderness, and ending with the famous verses about those who wait on the Lord rising up on wings of eagles.

But as far as the word goes, the chapter makes it plain that the good news of the Lord is to be broadcast with joy:

You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”

Isaiah says it WILL be such wonderful news:

Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power.
He will rule with a powerful arm.
See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.

The good news is that God will bring salvation with his mighty arm, the Lord Christ.  As it says in Isaiah 9:7, Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.

The good news is also that God will show himself to be an amazingly loving and caring God:

He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.

We were vising church this past week, and we heard a sermon by Joel Dalrymple at the Jax Beach Church of Christ.  He talked about Peter.  He started by discussing how Peter was called through a miraculous catch of fish, and saw himself as unworthy before God.  And then at the end of Peter’s life, he again saw himself as unworthy as he carried the guilt of his betrayal of Jesus.  Yet both times, the message of Jesus to him was to not be afraid, and to join him in his work.

We all feel unworthy before God.  I know with my physical and emotional challenges, I certainly do.  Sometimes lately I don’t feel like myself, and I don’t feel like being giving to God or others.  It is discouraging.

But it is good to remember that God’s message to me is not condemnation, but mercy and the giving of a purpose.  There is good work for me to do.  And the work for me to do is to go out and share the good news, the very good news that I am living out — that I am unworthy, but Jesus’ love for me far eclipses my shortcomings and presents me with the gift of having the very best thing to do.  As Paul said in Ephesian 3:8, Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ.

So I am increasingly encouraged that I have the gospel, the powerful word, to share with others.  May I put my hand in God’s and let Him lead me, trusting him completely, without the fear of my own shortcomings, and doing the work He gives me to do.

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“You Doubt Your Value”

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Life has a way of shaping us.

Last year around this time I started blogging.  It was a wonderful experience.  I sat at my computer for hours and drank cocoa and wrote copious treatises on my inspirations.  I created a new entry every day.

How different it is now.  I have developed reactive hypoglycemia, and I can’t drink cocoa on an empty stomach anymore without getting the shakes in an hour or so.  When I eat, I haven’t been totally able to get my sugar levels right, and I never know how clear my mind will be.  Often, the words don’t flow anymore.  Instead, I jot down bits of ideas that might take shape at a time when I feel lucid.

It can be discouraging and disconcerting to experience change.  Since I can define myself by performance, I despise feeling unproductive.  I have started longing to have a job — something where I can measure my success, and get tangible evidence of my efforts — a paycheck.  I KNOW I am doing the best thing I can do with my life by studying the Bible with others, and spending time to encourage them, but there’s just a part of me that cries out to use my talents to do something great with God.

Then, a couple of nights ago, I watched some of “Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawntreader.”  In it, Lucy is tempted to use a spell to make herself beautiful.  Aslan admonished her with a phrase that struck me to the heart, “You doubt your value.”  His point to her was that her unique characteristics made Narnia what it was.  If she was someone else, their lives and Narnia would have been completely different.

I doubt my value.  I feel like what I am doing is not enough.  I crave to do more, because deep down I feel it will increase my worth.  But my unique characteristics have contributed in countless ways, even if they are small ways, to accomplishing good things as God intended them to be accomplished.

On Sunday, Jake talked in his sermon about the importance of having turning points.  He shared about a very low point in his life when he was 17, and how that experience served to move him towards God in a deeper way.  He could have turned away from God, or towards him, and because he turned towards the Lord, his whole future was vastly different.

Do I see my times of trial as turning points?  Or do I see them as periods of weakness, thinking I will work on becoming stronger when they are over?  Every experience can have a purpose.  Every time of weakness can be a time when I make the decision to go to the Lord for the answers, instead of just gutting it out.  This time of physical and mental weakness can shape me, if I lower my defenses and open myself to what God can teach me.

And what is God teaching me now?  He is teaching me more and more about love. I joked to Ken that maybe I am experiencing physical challenges because I am working on loving others more, and they keep me compassionate.

I love what my friend David Webb said about love in a discussion we were having yesterday.  It helps me see clearly how love should be a part of everything I do:

Any “morality” that is not about love is not of God, and is therefore not moral. There is no morality apart from love. Anything that is CONTRARY to love is immoral. Love is seeking and doing what is in the best interest of another. Therefore, anything that is not in another person’s best interest is immoral, BECAUSE IT IS NOT WHAT LOVE WOULD DO. In the same way, refraining from doing what is in the best interest of another, when one has the ability and opportunity to do it, is ALSO immoral, because it is not what love would do.

What did the turning point teach Jake?  That God was enough, indeed, more than enough.  And that has been my conclusion as well at the despondent times of life — that it’s just me and God, and having HIM is having riches.

So in this new year, I pray that I will be completely open to whatever is happening, believing that God is shaping me for the best.  As I read on the web site of the Church at Brook Hills:

“We align all of our plans with the Word of God.
We are not asking God to bless our plans.
We are aligning with the plans He has already promised to bless.”

God is good.  He works for the good in incredible ways, and we will all stand in awe.

How will life shape me?  As Jake asked in his message Sunday, is my story defined by faith or fear?  Each day, at each turning point, may my story be defined by faith, believing that what I do and who I am has value because I seek to walk with God.

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Circle of Friends

thirtysomething2

I remember when Ken and I were a young couple, we used to watch this show called “Thirtysomething.”  And what I LOVED about that show was that the people in the show were such good friends.  They would just come over to each other’s house all the time, and drop in like they were family, and spend time together.  I longed for something like that in my life.

We all want deep sincere friendships.  But it’s harder to build those relationships than it looks like on TV.  Because I tend to be a performance oriented person, I can make interacting with people something I check off my list.  I would like my motivation always to be a genuine concern for others.  I still want the Thirtysomething dream.

  • I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.  Phil 2:20

I feel like God is helping me to make some progress.  I am beginning to see how interconnected we all are.  I feel like I will only do as well as those around me are doing.  If they are thriving, I will thrive, and if they struggle, I will struggle too. It is not just me, I am not an island.

  •  “For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.”  I Thes 3:8

So it was a victory yesterday that I was motivated to call and check on people because of this feeling of connectedness.  I just wanted to touch base with them.  I just wanted to hear their voice for a moment.  I wanted to encourage them to be at church tomorrow just so we could be together.

Slowly, people are becoming more of my treasure.  Don’t take me wrong. For years I have loved people greatly, and they are my joy.  I just want for love to be more of my motivation, instead of performance.

Here are some of the verses that have helped me in this:

  • As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.  Ps 16:3
  • I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now  Phil 1
  • But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you  Matt 5:44
  • If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.  Prov 25:21
  • Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  Luke 23:34
  • Jerusalem, Jerusalem. . .  how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.  Luke 13:34
  • And (Jesus) said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”  Luke 22:14
  • He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”  Matt 26:37-38

The truth is, it is good to be action oriented and accomplish things, but a goal orientation can obscure relationships.  I just wrote my last blog about my desire to focus on the process, not fancy New Year’s resolutions.  It’s not that I don’t want to make goals in the new year.  I do and I am.  But I know that I if I’m not careful, I will focus on these goals to the point where I’m not focusing on God, who is the true SOURCE of everything.

In closing, I would like to post a picture of a REAL LIFE Thirtysomething.  Christina Shaw, if you are reading this, it is YOU!!

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This is a picture of Christina with two wonderful women she studied the Bible with and baptized, Corina and SeAnne.  Christina didn’t just study the Bible with these women, she made them a part of her life.  She exercised with them.  She had them in her house.  Their kids played together.

Like me, Christina struggles with legalism.  But she is a great example of living out her love for others.  I want to be like that more, where I take the time to just have fun and enjoy my friends!  Thank you, Christina, for helping me see how to do that.

To God be the glory always!

“Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. “   I Cor 8:1

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A Fruitful Process for 2014!

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I can get obsessive about setting goals.  It is just so wonderful to have a clean slate of a new year, and dream, and work towards objectives.  But this year, I’m thinking that I don’t need to be focused on big, fancy goals.  It strikes me that what is really going to be effective is simply sticking to the process. GOD’S PROCESS WORKS!

In the end, if we are LIVING as disciples, we will stand in awe at how God is working.  It’s tempting to think of all of kinds of plans and directions to go in.  But if we stick to the basics, we will be blessed.  I believe from the bottom of my heart that this New Year, and every year, holds GREAT PROMISE if we embrace God’s plan in the following ways.

Build a great relationship with God.  Let us delight in Him, and enjoy spending time with our Father, our confidant, our protector, the one who cares.  May we thrill at living the life He has given us.  He will be working on our behalf all the while.

  • Delight yourself in God, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37:4
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Prov 3:5-6
  • I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing  John 15:5
  • But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matt 6:33
  • Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Gal 6:9
  • 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. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.   Jer 17:7
  • They devoted themselves to the apostles teachings, to the fellowship…and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42,47

Really care about others. People need to be our treasure on earth, and in heaven. Enjoy meeting people, talking to them, spending time with them.

How do you make people your treasure?  Have a list of people that you pray for.  If you pray for them, they are more important to you.  Make it a practice to THANK GOD FOR THEM daily.  And then, realize that we are all interconnected.   The way you treat your brother WILL ripple back and affect you.

  • The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!  . . . If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.  I Cor 12:21, 26
  • For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. I Thes 3:8
  • As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.  Ps 16:3
  • What is my joy, my crown For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?  I Thes 2:19
  • How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?  I Thes. 3:9
  • I always thank my God for you because of God’s grace given to you in Christ Jesus, I  Cor 1:4
  • First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. . .  I remember you in my prayers at all time Rom 1:8-10
  • Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly,  Eph 1:15-16
  • Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  Gal. 6:2

Step out in faith, out of our comfort zone.    We all probably have those times of faith where we act boldly.  But most of our life we are caught up in day to day living.  Most of the time we protect ourselves and don’t want to go out on a limb.  The challenge of discipleship is to get out of the boat every day.

  • Cast your bread upon the waters. . . Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.  (From Ecc 11)
  • Against all hope Abraham in hope believed, and so became the father of many nations.  Romans 4:18
  • Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.  Acts 4:29
  • When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.  Mark 7:25-29
  • The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.”  Matt 8:8

Commit to holiness.  To me, the older I get, the more dealing with sin seems like my bathroom.  I clean it, but the next day the grossness is there again — the toothpaste spatters, hair, dust, soap scum, etc.  When I was younger I thought I would be able to get rid of certain attitudes forever.  But things like jealousy and glory hogging keep popping up in my life, until I think this is normal and just accept them.

We need to renew our determination to get in the dusty, mildewed corners of our hearts daily and clean house.  We need to rebuild the faith that God’s tools ARE EFFECTIVE to do this — and then find and apply great scriptures, pray fervently for God’s guidance and assistance, confess, and work with the Spirit.

  • And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God. II Cor 7:1
  • But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;  I Peter 1:15
  • For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life  I Thes 4:7
  • You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Therefore each of you must put off falsehood. . . etc.   Eph 4:22-23
  • Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship  Rom 12:1
  • We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ.  2 Cor 10:5
  • If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.  Matt 5:29
  • For if you live according to the flesh, you will die.  But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.  Romans 8:13

Trust and live in the moment.   We need to take a deep breath, trust that each moment is just where we need to be, and live it to the fullest.  Each moment is a purposeful gift from the God who has ordered all of time in the vast scheme of His most amazing and marvelous will.  Each moment is all we have.  Each moment can make a difference.  Let’s not sully it with worries, projections or distractions.

  • …continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
  • “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”  John 12:27
  • Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”  John 5:19
  • The LORD is my inheritance and my cup. You are the one who determines my destiny.  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.  Ps 16:5-6

There is great comfort in knowing that God’s process works.  We don’t have to come up with the perfect plan, the flashiest way to get people to church, the best technique to meet people.  We just need to revel in God, take joy in others, maintain integrity, and live our life believing that each moment has purpose.  God is the Master Gardener, and He will do the rest.

Months ago I wrote a blog called, “A Better Tomato.”  I discussed how I tried to grow a tomato plant, but it didn’t produce any tomatoes.  But weeks after I wrote that, lo and behold, the tomatoes came!  Lots of little cherry tomatoes started popping out on my plant.  Even after I left it outside during a freeze, the tomatoes continued to ripen, and there are pretty orange globes on the brown stalks of my plant right now.

I have an orchid given to me by my friend Markeya.  Sometimes it goes for long stretches without any blooms.  It looks like a couple of green sticks in a pot.  But a few weeks ago it started to develop 7-8 buds, and one is just about to open.  I can’t wait.

All of this gives me such hope.  God gives us plants that flourish, to show us he knows how to make life abound.  I can’t think of anything better to do in this New Year than to love Him, love others, and let Him bring the increase.

Orchid given me by Markeya

Orchid given me by Markeya

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Filed under Faith, Holiness, Hope, Relationship with God