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Lost Your Way?

August 21, 2017 1 comment

Finding Your WayIt’s easy to lose your way in the world. Our modern world has a myriad of paths from which to choose, and we can explore them all, saturating ourselves with philosophies, practices, and beliefs.

However, like hikers exploring a new trail, there are some precautions we should take before we head off into the unknown. Otherwise, we’re sure to lose our way. These practices should serve us well, whether we’re looking at a belief system, a career choice, a new set of friends, or anything requiring our time, money, and effort.

First, FIND a way to have a Daily Quiet Time
Spend at least thirty minutes every day in Bible study and prayer. It doesn’t matter how you do this. There’s a Bible reading plan out there that will match up with anyone’s learning style and preferences. The important thing is to put yourself in a position where your Father in heaven can communicate His love, His plan, and His desires for you, and you can catch a glimpse of His Glory.

Second, FIND a way to meet with others to worship God
Praising, loving, and serving God with other people will strengthen and enhance your faith. However, being with others in a faith-based group isn’t just about your needs. It’s about gathering with like-minded people who desire to give glory, honor, and praise to an Almighty Creator who sacrificed His only son to make such a relationship possible.

Third, FIND a way to express your faith
Our belief in God requires an outlet. Otherwise, stagnation sets in. This expression can take many forms, and it may be different according to personality types. For some, it may mean singing, speaking, teaching, or preaching. For others, it may mean journaling, writing, serving, or counseling.

Hear the words of the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 6:16: Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”

Life Out of Focus?

October 17, 2016 Leave a comment

Out of FocusOne of the great things about most cameras today is the automatic focusing feature. I’m old enough to remember using a camera that required fiddling with a bunch of dials before snapping the picture. Most of the time, those waiting to be photographed weren’t very patient about this process, and, oftentimes, after all that effort, the photo turned out to be out of focus after all.

As children of God, it would be nice to have this automatic focusing mechanism built into our daily lives, so that the moment our lives became blurry around the edges—from taking part in all the world has to offer, from neglecting Bible study, from participating in non-glorying activities—then our focus would automatically be returned to our Father and to living out Christ in us, “the hope of Glory” (Colossians 1:27).

However,  none of us has an automatic focusing mechanism. What we have is something even better—the Word of God. While having a device to automatically redirect one’s  focus towards God sounds good, in reality, such a device would ultimately lead to taking God for granted, and it would not adhere to the command to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).

God’s Word directs us to focus on Him in numerous passages of Scripture throughout the Old and New Testament. One of my favorites is 2 Thessalonians 3:5: “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”

Have you lost your focus? Direct your heart today to the love of God“The love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).

Direct your heart to the steadfastness of Christ. “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

Spending time  with the Lord in daily Bible study brings clarity to our lives and sharpens an otherwise blurry picture.

Best “Hack” Ever!

July 16, 2016 2 comments

open book on a cloudIf you’ve spent any time at all on any of the social media sites, you’ve come across something called “best hacks” or “unbelievable hacks.” These are usually discoveries people have made to make life easier. Whether it’s simply a description or a full-fledged video, each discovery uses a tagline to get your attention. My favorite is “this shouldn’t work, but it does.”

Here’s my own “best hack” for having a meaningful, God-glorifying, devotional moment. And yes, “this shouldn’t work, but it does.”

Take almost any Scripture, short or long, random or favorite, and read it through once. Then, go back and emphasize each word, using that word’s meaning to draw your attention to the Lord.

Here’s an example from Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

God–Of course, this is an easy one. Focus on your Creator, the maker of all things.

Is–Focus on God’s state of being; the essence of being the “I Am.”

Our–Focus on belonging to Him

Refuge–Focus on God as a shelter

And–Focus on God being more than

Strength–Focus on the availability of His strength for you

By the time you’ve completed this simple exercise, you will have glorified God and, most assuredly, you will have been blessed yourself.

Lost Your Way?

June 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Finding Your WayIt’s easy to lose your way in the world. Our modern world has a myriad of paths from which to choose, and we can explore them all, saturating ourselves with facts and philosophies and desires and practices and beliefs.

However, like hikers exploring a new trail, there are some precautions we should take before we head off into the unknown. Otherwise, we’re sure to lose our way. These practices should serve us well, whether we’re looking at a belief system, a career choice, a new set of friends or anything requiring our time, money, and effort.

First, FIND a way to have a Daily Quiet Time
Spend at least thirty minutes every day in Bible study and prayer. It doesn’t matter how you do this. There’s a Bible reading plan out there that will match up with anyone’s learning style and preferences. The important thing is to put yourself in a position where your Father in heaven can communicate His love, His plan, and His desires for you, and  in return, you can catch a glimpse of His Glory.

Second, FIND a way to meet with others to worship God
Praising, loving, and serving God with other people will strengthen and enhance an individual’s faith. However, being with others in a faith-based group isn’t always about the individual’s needs. It’s about a people who together desire to give glory, honor and praise to an Almighty Creator who sacrificed His only son to make such a relationship possible.

Third, FIND a way to express your faith
Our belief in God requires an outlet. Otherwise, stagnation sets in. This expression can take many forms, and it may be different according to personality types. For some, it may mean singing, speaking, teaching or preaching. For others, it may mean journaling, writing, serving, or counseling.

Jeremiah 6:16: Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”

Filling in The Blue Bar

May 19, 2016 Leave a comment

Download imageIf you would have asked me the moment I made my commitment to Christ if I loved the Lord, I would have said yes.

Now though, as I look back on it, it’s hard to measure that kind of love.

That’s because I know more about Him now, so I feel I love Him more. My relationship with Him now, as compared to when I first came into a relationship with Him, makes that initial claim of loving him seem as nothing.

I was thinking about this one day as I sat in front of my computer watching a new program get downloaded. A pop-up box dominated the screen with a line of text assuring me the process of downloading was taking place.  Even though I wasn’t able to see it, I was supposed to believe it was going on in the background.

To help me visualize the progress of the download, a long bar appeared in the pop-up box. The bar was clear with no color showing. Because I’d done this before, I knew  the moment the software elements were added to my hard drive, the bar would begin to fill up with blue. The colorization would begin on the left side and gradually make its way over to the right, culminating in a solid blue bar. Once that happened, the download was complete, and I was encouraged to begin using my new program.

How this blue download bar related to my thoughts about my love for Christ is easy to describe but hard to explain.

Picture the clear bar as the moment I accepted Him as my Savior. Then, picture the bar as completely filled in at some future moment in eternity when I shall know Him fully and love Him perfectly.

In this comparison, what kind of progress can I see on the blue bar right now? Practically none. Perhaps a little sliver of blue on the far left-hand side. Nothing more.

However, like the message on the pop-up box, God’s Word is continually reassuring me my life is  being changed and the elements of my sanctification are being added. Though I may not see any progress, I must believe the message.

One day, Jesus promises His believers they’ll hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:23).

One day, the download will be complete, and we’ll be able to use our new program.

In the meantime, be patient and keep reading His Word, His Message of Hope.

Come And Dine!

March 12, 2016 Leave a comment

Thanksgiving table decorationI’ve discovered having a successful Quiet Time is a lot like having a dinner party.  To have a successful dinner party, you’ve got to plan well. I do that by asking myself several questions.  Who will I invite to the party?  What will be the main course?  What will I use for a table decoration? Will I use the good china or my everyday dishes?

It’s the same with having a daily devotional time. I have to plan for a successful outcome by asking some pertinent questions. What version of the Bible will I use?  Will I read the Bible through this year or study one book at a time?  Will I record my thoughts in a journal? What’s the best time for me to be alone with God?

I seldom have a party without something unexpected happening. There might be a quick solution to the problem, like making a fast trip to the grocery store when the ice maker stops working.  Sometimes, however, there is no easy solution, and things just don’t turn out the way you’d hoped, although your guests will probably not notice when things go wrong.

You need to expect the unexpected during your Quiet Time too. There will be days when the telephone rings, the dog needs to go out, or the kids wake up early. At those times, you might be able to resume your appointment with the Lord.  On the other hand, some interruptions don’t have quick solutions, and your daily devotional time may seem like a failure, although I doubt the Lord will ever feel your time with Him is ever a failure.

My most enjoyable dinner parties aren’t necessarily those rare ones where everything turns out beautifully. Instead, it’s the one where I forgot to make the gravy because I was hearing about my friend’s hurt feelings or the one where I decided to stop looking for the wooden salad bowl so I could hear a funny story from someone who never tells funny stories.

Having an enjoyable daily Quiet Time may not always involve high moments of ecstatic wonder or theological insight. A pleasing time with the Lord may be consumed with painful confessions or heartbreaking requests. Yet, in the end, the real reason for having a Quiet Time, like the real reason for the dinner party, is to set aside time in your day for sharing yourself with a friend.

Complimentary words from guests as they leave your home when the party’s over are always nice to hear. But, listen to these complimentary words from the writer of Psalm 119 after spending time with the Lord, “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”(Psalm 119:103)

Why Do You Believe In God?

March 4, 2016 Leave a comment

Believe 1Why do you believe in God?

I’ve seldom had to answer that question. In fact, when I heard it the other day, it surprised me. That’s like asking me why I breathe or why I love my grandkids. The answer seems obvious.

Then again, maybe it isn’t.

Why do I believe in God?

It’s certainly not because I’ve had some tangible experience. I’ve never seen God or had an angelic visitation, nor have I received some special sign—a cross in the sky or writing on the wall—to prove He’s real.

The answer to why I believe in God involves trust; it involves faith. I trust what the Bible tells me about God. Ironically, the faith to believe in Him and what the Scriptures tell me about Him is a gift, a gift from God. It is, as Ephesians 2:9 says, “not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Believing in God is not something I can do for myself. The ability to believe in God comes from God.

Any person who sincerely wants to know God will find Him. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13.

I believe in God because He created the desire, provided the means, and made the provision for me to believe in Him.

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