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Lost Your Way?

August 21, 2017 3 comments

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.”

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Are You Tired of Waiting?

May 31, 2017 3 comments

Wait Room 4Not long ago, as I was dealing with some of my dad’s health issues, I spent several hours in various doctors’ offices, imaging centers, and hospitals. Most of my time in those places was spent in a waiting room.

During one  long day, I found myself thinking about all the times I’ve been in God’s Waiting Room.

God’s Waiting Room is a place familiar to all praying believers. Those who petition the Father for answers, for relief, for deliverance, for guidance, and for comfort often find such requests are not answered immediately. That’s why God designed His Waiting Room.

If the waiting goes on for months, even years, God’s Waiting Room can become a place of discontentment, anger, frustration, and unbelief.

I know. It’s happened to me. Don’t let it happen to you.

I’ve learned that waiting on God doesn’t have to be unbearable as long as I follow the same basic principles I follow when waiting on a loved one in a hospital waiting room.

1. Don’t wait alone. Waiting is always easier if the wait is shared.

2. Find something to do while waiting. Occupying body, mind, and spirit makes the wait easier.

3. Encourage others as you wait. Empathy for others who may be going through similar circumstances lightens your burden and blesses your  soul.

4. Recognize God has a sovereign purpose in the length of your wait. Waiting is no different from anything in your life—God is working all things for His Glory and your benefit.

Those willing to wait on God are given a special promise. It’s found in Isaiah 64:4: “No eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him.”

While you’re in God’s Waiting Room, He’s out there working for you.

Keep on waiting.

Me jealous?

August 24, 2016 2 comments

gray word on red wallAs believers, we sing of God’s amazing grace, but, if the parable Jesus told in Matthew 20 is any indication, lurking beneath these praises could be a heart of jealousy.

In this story, found in Matthew 20:1-16 and often called the Laborers in the Vineyard, Jesus tells of a landowner who hires laborers to work in his vineyard. He does this throughout the day, so that the laborer hired in the early part of the day works many more hours than the laborer hired at the end of the day. Yet, the landowner pays each worker the very same wage–the amount initially agreed on when the hiring took place. Thus, those who worked longer received the exact same wages as those who worked for only one hour.

Predictably, when those who had worked a full 12 hours noticed that the landowner had paid each man the same wage, they grumbled and complained to the owner of the vineyard. This was the owner’s answer in Matthew 20:15, “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?”

Since the landowner is representative of God, we should take this parable as a cautionary tale to guard ourselves from complaining about the blessings God bestows on someone who appears undeserving of such grace. Instead, when God showers someone with blessings, our response should be one of joy. Imagine how pleased the landowner would have been if the workers, who bore the heat of the day, had rejoiced with with the workers who had worked but a few hours. What a celebration they could have had!

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:14-15.

Finding Happiness

May 3, 2016 Leave a comment

stay away 2As I enjoyed an early morning quiet time on my patio recently, I became captivated by the play of light and dark, shadow and sunlight, across the foliage of my backyard. I had just been reading a devotional about mankind’s universal search for happiness. In the article, C. S. Lewis’ classic, Mere Christianity, is referenced, particularly this quote, “All that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

After reading this quote, I glanced up from my iPad and saw the patterns the early morning sun was drawing in my garden. Some flowers were in shadow, while others were in sunlight. The flowers highlighted by the sunlight looked “happier” than those flowers residing in the shadows. Why was that? Well, obviously, it was because the “happier” flowers were basking in the sun’s light, while those in the shadow were not receiving the sun’s full benefits.. 

Although I’m quite certain flowers do not experience human emotions, my garden’s shadows and sunlight illustrated the truth of my devotional reading. We all seek happiness, but as long as we remain in the shadows–substituting other people, pleasures, and pursuits for God in our lives–we will never be truly happy.

“You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11.

Turn your face toward the Son. Bask in the warmth of His Light today. 

How To Be The Happiest Person On Earth

February 1, 2016 Leave a comment

Happy 2All of us have a desire to be happy, but happiness can mean different things to different people.

Some equate being happy with having pleasure, but, while having pleasurable moments can certainly add to an overall feeling of happiness, pursuing pleasure as a way of achieving happiness will ultimately fail. Just ask anyone who’s tried it, from the adulterer to the drug addict. Their stories, so full of heartache, sorrow, and loss, never paint a picture of happiness.

If having pleasure isn’t an adequate definition of happiness, then what is? Christian theologian, R. C. Sproul, in a recent blog article, defined happiness as “the state of inner delight, blessedness, and contentment.”

I would agree with this definition because I believe true happiness can only be found in the presence of God, and this is where we find our delight, feel most blessed, and know contentment.

Psalm 4:7 “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.”

Psalm 16:11 “You have made known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

How can you be the happiest person on earth? Instead of pursuing pleasure, pursue His presence.

Tomorrow’s The Day!

December 31, 2015 Leave a comment

 Goodbye, 2015. Hello, 2016.

Tomorrow, January 1st, is a day of promise. To many, it holds the enticing thought of a brand new start, a day to wipe the slate clean, to begin anew.

January 1st could rightly be renamed The Day of Hope.

  • We hope to lose weight, get more sleep, eat healthy.
  • We hope to be more productive, not procrastinate, get organized.
  • We hope to get a better job, earn more money, buy a new house.

But, so much of what we hope for tomorrow will just be wishful thinking.

There’s a different kind of hope that’s not just wishful thinking. It’s a hope centered on Christ, a confidence that what God has promised He’ll bring to pass. It’s the future tense of faith.

How can we have this hope that’s not just wishful thinking? Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” It’s the Word of God that makes faith and hope possible. All of your days in 2016 can be A Day of Hope by reading God’s Word.

Check out these Daily Bible Reading Plans for hope-filled days in 2016.

 

 

That’s Not How It Works

July 31, 2015 1 comment

Depositphotos_21089997_s-2015When an old woman from a small village won a washing machine in a contest, she was delighted. A few days after it was delivered, a friend visited her and was astonished to discover the old woman was still washing her clothes by hand, filling the tub with water and rubbing the wet clothes against the sides of it!

“That’s not how it works,” the friend explained, showing her how to let the machine do the work for her.

The old woman replied, “But if I do it that way, everyone will praise the machine and not me.”

As human beings we crave praise. Because we’re made in the image of God, that’s understandable. The desire for praise is an integral part of who God is. In Isaiah 48:11, God says He does everything in order to bring glory to Himself. “For my own sake, for my own sake I do it, my glory I will not give to another.”

However, as a result of our fallen, sinful nature, we reject the idea of giving praise to God and seek it for ourselves instead. Jesus warned his disciples about religious acts carried out in order to get praise from others. He gives an example of this in Matthew 6:1, where he pointed to the prayers of the religious leaders of the day.  “When you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others.”

While not as obvious as praying in public in order to bring glory to oneself, to glorify oneself in private can be just as troublesome. Do you give yourself high marks for  reading God’s Word, church attendance or tithing? What about being faithful to God? Do you find delight in your high moral standards?

To make sure all our praise is directed outward, to the one who deserves it most, His love for us needs to be at the forefront of our hearts and minds. The Psalmist says in Psalm 26:3, For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.”

It’s the faithfulness of God that we walk in, not our own. It’s God’s love for us, not our love for God, that we’re depending on. It’s what God has done for us, not what we have done for God, that makes us able to spend eternity with Him.

For Him to get the praise, that’s how it works.

 

 

 

 

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