Archives

Be prepared 

1 Peter 3:15,16 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”

Well, the packing is almost done. I have been thinking about as many scenarios as possible to prepare for. I have bandaids, moleskin for blisters, a first aid kit, sunscreen, muscle rub, medication for pain and headaches, aloe. I have extra clothes. I have water bottles to fill. My goodness, I can’t believe all the stuff I have packed!

I like to be prepared. I don’t like to be caught off guard. I have even written off the address and lock box info for the house we are staying at just in case I don’t have cell phone service. I try to be prepared. 

But how well do I prepare myself for spiritual journeys? 

Each and every day is a new challenge, a new focus, a new opportunity to share Christ with someone. But am I ready?

Getting into the Word is a great start. Reading and studying and thinking about God’s precepts and principles is a necessary step in growing and preparing. 

Prayer is also a necessity. How can we expect to be ready for any spiritual battle or situation if we don’t communicate with The Commander and Chief? 

There is also one more thing that helps get me ready for spiritual journeys – my brothers and sisters in Christ, aka – my church family. I need them. I need their love. I need their support. I need their encouragement. But you can’t have that church family if you don’t make the sacrifice to be a part of it. 

Be prepared. Be prepared for life. Be prepared for spiritual issues and battles. Be prepared to be in His Word. Be prepared to spend time with your Savior. Be prepared to find love in your church family. Happy Monday. 

The week before

1 Peter 5:6,7 – “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

Do you ever dread a week? For me, the week before vacation is a dreaded week. I’m working like a crazy person trying to get everyone seen and all their paperwork completed that might be due while I’m gone. I’m thinking and making list after list about what I need to remember to purchase and pack. I’m leaving things out on counters so that I don’t forget them. I’m trying to clean my house because if I die, I don’t want people coming into my house dirty (I know, it’s morbid. I can’t help the way my brain works!). 

But here I am on Friday. One last day this week to get those people seen and get that paperwork done. One more day to get the items on that list. One more day to remember how God has brought me through this week. 

It hasn’t been a bad week. It really hasn’t been a rough week. It has just been a week. And as glad as I am that it is Friday, I’m really anticipating Monday at 2 – when work is truly finished and I clock into vacation mode. 

But God has got it between now and then. He sees my lists. He knows my potential issues and problems. He knows what all needs to happen between now and then. I’m not worried about it. God is going to take care of it. 

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

These are the words I’m claiming and have been claiming this week. I’m choosing today to lay my burdens at His feet and walk away trusting that He is going to make it happen one way or another. And I can do this because He loves me. He, the God of Heaven and Creator of all things and Savior of my soul, loves me – a sinner choosing to give my best by following after Him. 

So on this Friday, I want to encourage you to let Him love on you. Let Him take your burdens. Let Him hold you close. Let Him show just how awesome and amazing He can truly be. Happy Friday. 

Order

James 4:7 – “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Let me first just say that I’m sorry. I haven’t been faithful to my blog in a really long time. God is the God of second chances and I’m claiming that one!

Now then, about this verse –

This verse was mentioned in our BTC lesson last night at church. (Side note – Man! Was the sermon given last night ever a blessing! We left church at 9 last night!  Not one time did I even want to look at my watch! God had me captivated! The message was thought provoking and heart wrenching. God is so good!)   I wanted to take a closer to look at it today. Think for a moment about the order of this verse. 

First, “Submit yourselves therefore to God.” The part about the devil comes second. You see, we think we need to flee from the devil to draw closer to God. We get it backwards. We are supposed to FIRST submit ourself to God. That means, we need to give Him control. We need to be willing to follow after Him and do what He says to do, without complaining. Submitting, to me, means giving over control in regards to decision making. I can get things done. There are days I feel like I get more done before I leave the house than most people do in an entire day. But I don’t like making decisions. I will defer that duty as much as possible. I think part of it is the responsibility aspect of it. Like most people, I want as little responsibility as possible. God is wanting me to turn that over to Him. The key is, however, that I have to be willing to follow when He leads. 

And then there is the second part of this verse – “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  Does this mean that I have some sort of power over the devil? Only when I do the first part first. When I am submitted to God, the devil doesn’t seem so difficult to walk away from. His temptation and taunting doesn’t seem quite so overwhelming when I’m walking with and submitting to God. 

So I want to encourage you today to make the choice to submit to God first. Do it now. Ask Him to be in your day. Allow Him to show you in His word how to draw closer to Him. Listen to Him when you pray and hear Him as you go through your day. And then, when the devil rears his ugly head, it won’t seem so tough to turn away. With God, things are purer, brighter and more desirable, even when it seems tough. Happy Monday. 

Strong children

Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

It has been a long school year. But at the same time, it has flown. It has been a process of encouraging my children to succeed and guiding them through trying times. 

Yet through all of it, it has been the goal of our family to grow strong children. And I think we are. They face so many situations at school and in their “recreational” time that sometimes life seems overwhelming. 

My son is the strong, silent type. You know what a first child typically looks like? Flip it around, shake it up and cover it with a cloak and you have my son. My husband and I laugh that he is an enigma. But he is courageous. He always has been. His speech was delayed as a child and that made him shy. So overcoming is almost second nature to him. 

Now my daughter, on the other hand, well…there are very few words to accurately describe her. She is definitely strong. She is courageous – she rarely lets things keep her from speaking her mind. (Not sure where she gets that from!)   But she is joyful. She is fun. She is determined. She is mighty and fierce. 

They both are such strong and amazing children. I hear of other people worrying about their children and their future. Not me, I know God has placed these two on this planet for amazing things. I’m excited to see what it is!

But we need to encourage all of our children, whether we have them given birth to them or not, to thrive. Be successful. Be brave. Be courageous. They have a Mighty God who will NEVER leave them and He has something in store for them that we can’t imagine. 

Monday night, I heard a speaker challenge a group of students in this way – What was the promise that God made to the world when He brought you into it? Live every day with that in mind and see what God will do. 

Free to choose

Deuteronomy 11:26-28 – “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.”

Joshua 24:15 – “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

The other day is saw a meme – “You are free to choose but you are not free from the consequences of your choice.”

So very true. Too often, I think, we feel that we have the right to choose whatever way and desire and action to engage in that we want. We should be free to make those choice – regardless of what anyone else may say, think or do. And we are free to make those choices. But the one making the choice better be ready to accept the consequences. 

Consequences are often overlooked. They are pesky little things that no one wants to deal with. Yet, like a bad penny, they keep turning up. And they must be dealt with. 

Consequences can sometimes be good and sometimes they are not so good. They may seem bad at the time but turn out for the good. Regardless of how they turn out, consequences are the direct result of a choice. 

God gives us choices. He doesn’t want an army of robots to serve Him. He wants followers who love Him and choose to serve Him because of that love. And because He loves us and gives us that choice, He also gives us the opportunity to make the most out of consequences – good and bad. 

Today, you WILL have choices to make. You WILL experience consequences- good and bad. But one of the greatest things about these opportunities is that God has the ability to teach you in each choice and in each consequence. You (and I) need to be willing to learn in both situations. 

So, stretch those muscles, breathe deep and get ready for the challenge – He wants you to choose to serve Him today and He wants you to be ready for the consequences of that choice. Happy Wednesday!

To the sky

Luke 21:25-27 – “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

We are always looking to the sky. We look for the sun. We look for rain. We look for lightning. We watch for storms and fair weather and signs of the wind. But do we look for the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

One day, He will break through the sky and gloriously return to take us home. And I believe, there will be little doubt as to what has happened. He said to look for Him – that has to mean we will see Him when He arrives. 

All creation is eagerly awaiting His arrival. We see things happening in the natural world that are mentioned in these very verses. We see “men’s hearts failing them for fear”. We see “the sea and the waves roaring “. Just look and you will see. 

But do you look to the eastern sky with eager anticipation? Are you excited about His return or do you dread it? Or worse, do you fail to believe? 

Let me urge you – search the Scriptures and know. Ask, and He will tell you through His Word. Jesus will return soon. Will you be ready?

About her…

Proverbs 31:30 – “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.”

If I didn’t think you would go into panic mode, I would have put Proverbs 31:10-31 here. But that’s a lot of verses and some would stop reading. 

This was my reading this morning. I have always been fascinated and frustrated with the iconic “Proverbs 31 Woman”. Fascinated for obvious reasons and frustrated because I feel that I could never live up to her. And there have been times when I convinced myself that she wasn’t a real woman. Those are the times when I really stop and look at my life and realize that it is possible to do all of those things listed. 

So, here I find myself in the year 2016 trying to live, do and be it all just like the “Proverbs 31 woman”…and I’m tired. I’m  tired just like she was probably tired. I think in our quest to be that woman, we neglect one very important detail – balance. 

That is what stuck out at me in the devotional I read this morning. Balance is what happens when we listen to God – when we hear Him directing and instructing our heart. Balance is what happens when the fear of failure leaves. Balance is what happens when we take time for others in the midst of all that we feel we need to accomplish. Balance is what happens when we allow ourself the time to relax. 

So, to anyone who reads this portion of God’s word, don’t be overwhelmed and frustrated and find yourself walking away feeling inadequate. Instead choose to see balance and love and ingenuity and determination. Because when you allow God to balance your life, you allow Him to create in you “the Proverbs 31 woman”.