Tag Archive | Choice

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. 

Control

John 10:17,18 – “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

Power. We like to think that we have power over our life. We like to think that our date book is our own. We like to think that we have control over when we sleep and when we rise. We like to think that we have control over what the scales say or doesn’t say. We like to think that we have control over how our children are raised and who leads us into the future of our country. 

But do we really have control over any of those things?

I’d venture to say no. No we do not. Oh, our perception may be that we got this. But in reality….we don’t. 

In these verses today, Jesus reminds us of a very important fact – He has control. He has so much control that He has the power to freely give His life and take it back up again. This blew His audience’s mind. How could this possibly be?

We serve an amazingly powerful God. One that has the capability to give His own Son who has the power to willingly sacrifice His own life. One that has the power to raise Himself from the grave because He is all God and all man all at the same time. Did you hear that? Minds being blown all over the place!

What I want to get across today is God is in control. He knows what has been, what is and what will be. And if Jesus can raise Himself from the grave, He won’t forget you when He returns. Sometimes life feels so uncertain, so easily downtrodden, so discouraging. But take heart, God is in control. Truly, we have nothing to worry about. 

Hmm…how about that?

John 12:42,43 – “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

When I read this the other day, I though to myself “Hmm, how about that?”

Many people believed on Jesus but they were afraid to confess Him because of the fear that they had in what others would think. 

Sound familiar?

How many of us today keep Jesus tucked in our back pocket for emergencies and fail to put Him in the spotlight? It’s all well and good to express our gratitude and thanks and praise when we are in the walls of our church building, but what about when we survived a tough commute to work? What about when the weather miraculously changes in our favor? What about when we somehow have more than enough money to pay the bills this week? What about when we go into the doctor for something terrible and somehow or another it is gone?

Jesus said in Matthew 10:32,33 – “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”

Don’t you think that Jesus meant that just as much now as He did then? 

This is serious stuff. We are neglecting to share Jesus with others because we don’t want to offend or we are afraid. And I am just as guilty as the next person. I have a tough time with this. But do I, for one minute, think that those lame excuses will fly at the Judgment Seat? Nope. They won’t. And I know that. 

So what is to be done? Be brave. Don’t be a scaredy-cat when it comes to Jesus. Don’t hide Him in your back pocket. Wear Him on the front of your shirt where everyone can see Him. Hey, I’m speaking as much to my heart as yours. 

Just look around you. Do you see the wind moving the trees? God is doing the same thing to our hearts today. He is stirring and churning and trying to poke us into service. He wants us to share. He wants us to brave. He wants us to, at the very least, try. Let’s never let it be said of us that we loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. 

The Corners of your Mouth

Psalm 128:1-2 – “Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.”

Last night, my husband and I were poking around in some new stores. We found this one store that was full of sayings and stationary and pillows – random little things that make life more fun. 

I found this little saying – “Your day follows the corners of your mouth.” Think about that for a moment. 

It’s true, isn’t it! If you have a smile on your face, your day seems to go better than when you frown. And when your mouth is a straight line, well, nothing seems to happen. 

I had never really thought about that before. Yet, when I woke up this morning, I did my best to choose to make the corners of my mouth point toward Heaven. I could bend your ear from now until forever about all the blessings in my life. God has been so very good to me. But today, I am going to choose to show my blessings by pointing the corners of my mouth towards the One who has brought me thus far – my Heavenly Father. 

So let me encourage you this weekend to ponder this short little saying. It is small but profound. Take it to heart and choose to guide your day by the corners of your mouth. 

My side of the storm


Psalm 97:6 – “The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.”

There are many sides to a storm. For someone, this little summer storm was a game changer. For some, it brought fear with its creation. But for me, watching it from a distance was beautiful. 

Life brings storms – that’s just the way it is. But the same storm that strikes fear when seen on the horizon has the opportunity to cleanse us and revive us and leave us feeling renewed. It’s all about how you choose to see it. 

This psalm reminds me that all of it is God’s creation. All of it, even the really hard stuff, has the potential to bring Him glory. It has to do with your perspective of the storm. 

When the storm is forming, you have the choice to face it, hide from it or ignore it. Either way, it’s coming. Will you prepare for it, fear it or pretend it doesn’t exist?

Life is about choices – choosing to follow Christ, be scared of Him or simply pretend He doesn’t exist. If you choose to follow Him, the storm becomes an opportunity. If you are scared of Him, the storm becomes a weapon you perceive that He uses against you. If you try and convince yourself that He doesn’t exist, you see it as “fate” or the “universe” that is out to get you. 

So, what side of the storm are you on? What do you see in this beautiful picture? I see beauty. I see strength. I see possibility. I see promise. But then again, I’m a follower of Christ and I know that He can guide me through anything, even a summer storm. 

Overwhelmed 

Psalm 61:1-5 – “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.”

Have you ever had moments in your life where you are just completely overwhelmed? 

You may be overwhelmed by fear or sorrow or joy or gratefulness. Being overwhelmed can come in many forms. 

I have been overwhelmed several times this week. Monday, I was overwhelmed by God’s care and attention to my life. Tuesday, I was overwhelmed by uncertainty. Wednesday, I was overwhelmed by excitement. Thursday, I was overwhelmed by stuff – lots and lots of stuff to do. And today, I am overwhelmed by gratefulness. 

Today is my 21st wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe that I have been married more than half my life! But it’s true! It is a decision that I would make over and over again. My husband is the BEST! He is loving, honest, true, trustworthy, the leader in our home – I could go on and on. 

I know that the longevity and beauty of our marriage is due entirely to OUR Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know that without Him, we would never have survived. Jesus is the One who has kept us sane, kept us strong and kept us choosing to love each other each and every day. 

You know, as we were going through Monday, I knew that God would see us through the trial we were facing. But He did something extraordinary – our couples devotion for that night specifically dealt with what we were dealing with – to the detail! It knocked my socks off! All I could do was cry. It was amazing. 

Being overwhelmed can sometimes be a good thing. It brings you to the place of praise and communication. It doesn’t matter what state of overwhelmed you are at, you can’t help but cry out to Him when you are there. 

So the next time you find yourself overwhelmed, don’t sweat it – be prayerful in it. Be joyful. Be grateful. Be praising. Be crying out to Him. 

Keep on truckin’

2 Peter 2:5 – “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly”

Let’s talk about Noah for a bit. 

Noah was 500 years old when he began building the ark and preaching repentance. He was 600 years old when God told him to get on the ark with all the animals. For 100 years Noah preached and explained things to the people. I mean, it’s not like he could hide building a boat of that size nowhere near the water! One hundred years of preaching and pleading and instructing and only 8 people got on the boat. Eight. 

Can you imagine?! Can you wrap your brain around working that hard for that long only to have 8 people believe as you do? 

We get frustrated when the one person at work that we invite to church doesn’t show up when they say they will. We get upset that people are falling away from church services to do other things. We don’t understand how people can drive by our place of worship and see all those cars around the place and not want to stop in and be a part of what we are doing. 

We need to be faithful. We shouldn’t let the poor choices of others dictate our faith. Just because others are making bad choices doesn’t mean that God is any less powerful. It doesn’t mean that He cares for us or them any less. 

It means that we are not robots that He controls. We have a choice and the free will to make that choice. He wants us to serve and worship Him because we want to, not because we have to. 

That’s why just like the people of Noah’s time had a choice, we have a choice. We can let the world drag us down and rain on our parade or we can chose to dance in the rain. We must keep going. 

Noah could have given up. He could have thrown up his hands at year 50 and said, “That’s it! These people won’t listen and I look like a fool!” But he didn’t. He kept on following God and doing exactly what He said to do in spite of how crazy and weird he looked. 

What about you? Are you ready to give up? Are things going south in a hurry and you are holding on for dear life? Well, keep on holding. It may seem that your world is falling apart, but it’s actually falling together. (I heard that in a song the other day.)

I’m not saying anything you don’t already know – but life is tough. Things aren’t fair. People will let you down. 

But life is good when you are following Christ. When He is the reason you wake up in the morning and He is the reason that you keep going – well, life can’t get much better than that, can it? 

Let me encourage you today to keep on truckin’! Keep on keeping on. Dance in the rain and keep doing what He leads you to do.