Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One Word for 2014

I was reading a blog yesterday and this person said they have picked a word for the next year.  The word was creativity.  I have never picked a word for my new year but as I was lying in bed this morning praying, that blog post came to my mind.  I thought, at first, there are so many words…how could I pick one????  This other person’s word was a broad word and could be used in so many areas.

It, surprisingly, only took a moment for me to come up with my word.  I thought next, how would I make this “my word” for the year.  I don’t know, maybe I could write it on our school calendar, maybe our wipe-off board in the kitchen, maybe a background on my phone… I am sure I can find ways.

The next thought was, blog this! Certainly, I need a ray of sunshine on my blog!  I can tell the quick prayer that lead up to this decision and my word, which is simply, my son wasn’t able to find his hat and gloves before needing to leave for work this morning.  He had a hat and pair of gloves (he had to because it is about 1 degree right now) but it wasn’t the ones he wanted…the good pair.  As he walked out the door I said, “Dear God.  Please help me find his gloves right now”.  Now to say my son’s room is disorganized is an understatement because he has his entire dorm room’s worth of stuff in there since it came home with him during break and his room isn’t that big.  Anyway, I went in the room as he was going to his car, I moved one thing and there they were. (Yes, he got his “good” hat and gloves before he left) J

Since, it was so early (5:45), I decided to go back to bed, but during the time of getting back to bed (I was already outside and started the car and shoveled the walk, so I was changing back to just my pjs) I said thank you again to God; and then had a time that I realized just how unbelieving I am.  Something so simple as a pair of gloves are important to God; He showed me that by answering that pray so quickly, and yet I forget that He cares about me, what’s going on in my life, and that He is able to do anything, on a regular basis.  So, as I said, I now was lying there and my mind had already started, so I got up and started my post.

Next part of “my word” and post I thought would be to put my word in my Power Bible CD and see all the verses that come up… I was shocked there were NONE.  Hmmmm Well, that didn’t go according to plan.  Okay, fine.  Let’s shorten the word; got it! 

Psalm 92:4
For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work:
I will triumph in the works of thy hands.

Okay, so what is my word?

My word for 2014 is “triumph” or “triumphant”.

So, why triumph? I know my faults and I think that I am so focused on my faults, failures, and desires that I don’t “realize” what I have in Christ and who I am in Christ.  I lose my focus and when I do that, I am anything but triumphant! 

Can a word make a difference?  I’m sure it can.  I guess the truth of following through is yet to be seen.  We, I, will have to check back in one year and see how I did.  That’s a long time to wait, so what’s the plan for “now”…

Simply to start to think; think about what God has done so many times for me personally, remember what He has done for others around me, and just don’t stop believing who He is based on what I am experiencing around me. 

There is a great, big God very much involved in our lives but sometimes we (I) just forget His triumph.

Hebrews 10:23 
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; 
(for he is faithful that promised;)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Down In December

December "should be" a joyful month but often times it isn't a joy but rather depressing. I am sure there are many reasons people are depressed from unhappy memories of childhood Christmases, anniversaries of a death of a loved one, a sense of emptiness, being overwhelmed by bills, or countless other reasons. 

Each year from late November- early January I find myself getting snappy and sad in between times of actually enjoying the time or events that are taking place.  I can't say when this started because I really don't know, but for the past few years I have noticed this pattern.  I think that my life is actually very good, but there is just something about this time of year that throws me off. 

I have been able to "adjust" my thinking since I have noticed this pattern and although I can't say I don't experience this anymore, it certainly isn't as intense as years past.  I know myself well enough to know that for me this issue is coming, each and every year, and knowing that, I can prepare for it. 

How do I prepare?

First, I expect it; I have noticed the pattern. It seems that we just "accept" things we expect to happen and know we have to deal with it. Check yourself for a pattern; if you are constantly "surprised" by it, it will seem harder. 

Second, I don't pretend it's not there or that everything is just fine. Take it one day at a time and talk to God about it. Do what you can do and don't do what will add stress; know your limit. 

Third, I remind myself that it will pass. I know this is a "season". I don't know why it is here but I also know it will pass. 

Fourth, I don’t make big decisions. During times of sadness, loneliness, or frustration, we shouldn't make big decision as things always seem worse when we are in that kind of state. 

Fifth, I do something that will recharge me. I know that spending time alone whether I am reading, writing, spending time with God, or watching a movie makes me feel better. I don't know where the idea came from that we can't have our time but it's just not so. Some people need time alone and others want lots of people around them, whatever the case, do what you know makes you feel "better" but also be practical and don’t expect being able to chuck your responsibilities for “me time”.

Lastly, realize that all the fun activities and time alone and everything else I listed above isn't lasting. 

At this time of year, or any time of year or during difficulties, the one thing that will help is the Lord.  The only thing that we have that will "last" is being secure in our relationship with Christ…and even that needs to be nurtured!  Nothing in this world can give you the peace you long for because it is all physical and we live in a fallen world.  We all need to spend time with God to understand, and more importantly BELIEVE, the promises that he has told us. Each person’s relationship with God is special and personal. So whether you are sad, frustrated, or down right depressed go work on your relationship with Him because he truly cares about you.

2Timothy 2:19b The Lord knoweth them that are his.

Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

1Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Psalm 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Circling Back

Have you ever had the same sin come back time after time? That's where I am at again. I feel like I am in a loop and at some point in this circular pattern I jump on a hamster wheel and run around the same thing again and again. 

I have done that with this one thing that is bothering me now over and over again and don't feel like I can stop it...I certainly want it stopped but it seems to allude me and just when I think I got it, I am back there again. 

I think we are so easily distracted by our own desires or ways and easily get off track because of it. Although I find these times frustrating, I am so thankful that I can ask God to change me and I realize AGAIN just how much I need him. 

So, if I have to keep returning to the same issues over and over, I am willing to do it just so I realize how much I need him and see how easily I am drawn away. 

And do you know that we are all this way, repeating some sins over and over? 1 Corinthians 10:13a tells us, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man. Being tempted is not a sin; what we do with our "issue" determines whether we are going to sin.  The thoughts of our hearts lead to sin. 

Just like many years ago when Noah was building the ark and the people's thoughts were continually evil, we have an escape by trusting in the Lord's promise that all our sins: past, present, and future are removed by the blood of Christ. 

Trusting in the Lord Jesus for salvation is a one time thing and most people understand that. What we fail to see is our sin nature is battling against us all the time even after salvation. That is a daily battle and one that salvation doesn't "fix".  So, here I am doing the thing(s) that I don't want to do.. Just like the great apostle Paul, but...

...what do we do? 

Rather than focus on the frustration of our sin nature, focus on Christ and tell God again how much you need Him. And remember that it isn't a one time thing but rather a daily surrender to the realization we are just as bad as our sin nature and that's why we need Christ in the first place. 

 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, 
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Above All

Ephesians 6
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

How many times do you think you have read or heard those verses?  I have been going to church for almost twelve years and I can’t count how many times I have heard it.  This time as I read it verse 16 stood out, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked”.

These verses tell us all the things we need to stand in the battle of life, but interestingly God says, “above all, taking the shield of faith”.  As I was listening and reading those verses I thought, “I dropped my shield”.  And isn’t that just what Satan wants, for us to not be able to stand against the darts he is throwing at us?  It is hard to do any of the things listed if you don’t have your shield above all! 

But what kind of faith can possibly be able to “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked”???

To be as simple as possible (for my little brain to handle it) it is having faith in Christ. It is not about what I am doing, thinking, seeing, or whatever.  But it is about the belief that Jesus Christ is everything.

Each one of us has to deal with things, some small and some big; each decision is based on our faith or belief in what we know about Christ.  As we keep walking throughout our lives, our faith is tested.  I think that we believe the testing of our faith is to see if God’s word is true… when, in fact, our faith should be viewed as what we believe about the statement made by Jesus himself in Matthew 28:18, And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Our faith is the root of it all.  If we don’t believe something, we certainly aren’t going to rely on it. Without faith that God is who he says he is, did what he did, does what he does, and will do what he says, we can’t do anything else.  It’s a challenge for us to use that faith but it’s that simple… simply believe what God says…

above all have faith that Jesus has all power. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Wise Enough

As I was reading 1 Corinthians, my thoughts were about people that we look up to because they seem so smart or understand things of God really well.  The verse that started me thinking about this was, 1Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 

Let’s flip that for a minute:
-foolishness of God is wiser than men= the WISEST man is nothing compared to God’s foolishness
-weakness of God is stronger than men= the strongest man is nothing compared to God’s weakness.

The “best”, or “top” people in this world are no match for God.

Just two chapters over, it says in 1 Corinthians 3:
 18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain

The wisest person on earth needs to admit that they are a fool compared to God.  In our flesh, we don’t like to admit anyone it “better” than ourselves.  I don’t have statistics, but the average person, I would think, would like to think of themselves as at least somewhat wise.  I know that I would like to be considered someone that had a little wisdom. We all know that there are people that have amazing wisdom, beyond the average person.   I know there are a lot of people smarter than me and I am okay with that.  But we don’t like to think of ourselves as being fools, which stings.

But, I think this is a problem for us… we think we are wise enough and don’t need to rely on anyone else.  Not bad so if we are talking about people, although life is easier when you have someone in yours; but what about when we are talking about God? I believe that most people think they can live their lives “just fine” without him.

How foolish of us to think the Maker of the universe shouldn't be the most knowledgeable about everything.  If I want to know something, I would go to an expert.  In our lives, we have an expert AT EVERYTHING, and yet we don’t seek Him.  And why? Because we think we can do it without Him.

And all the while we are working out our own issues God is waiting for us and says in James 1:5: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given himWe need to humble ourselves enough to admit we don’t know anything compared to God and ask Him for wisdom.

It’s a choice really; follow God’s wisdom or man’s.  Since we are of this world, we see man’s ways right before us; It seems logical, often, to follow what everyone is doing or sometimes it is just what we do without giving it much thought.  To have God’s wisdom means stepping out of the world’s mold and seeing things as God does…something we aren't so good at.  I am not saying all our problems would be solved, we will never get there, but if we have Godly wisdom our lives would be easier. Let’s try to stop doing the same things over and over and look at everything through God’s perspective (at least the best we can) and seek God’s wisdom.

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.