Welcome to God's Lemonade Stand

It is my hope that by reading this daily you will grow in your walk with Christ and be set free from any struggles in your life that are weighing you down. Be blessed to be a blessing.

Monday, January 31, 2011

THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE

 
 
What do you do when you walk in a dark room? Instinct tells us to flip on the light switch. We want to be able to see and for some, the darkness may scare them. When you are in a room and light a candle the light from the candle illuminates the darkness.One tiny candle flame can light up a whole room.  No one really wants to stay too long in a dark place. We want to quickly have some light so we can see around us.
 
As Christians we are to be the lights in a dark world around us. The world needs Jesus now more than ever. Look around you and you can see turmoil and chaos. The word of God is not being followed and evil is being called good. In this world we have to shine Jesus' light wherever we go. Are you lighting up the world around you? Do you try to show Jesus love and kindness by what you say and do? It is something to think about. Make a determined effort today to let the light of Jesus shine through you to those you come into contact with today.  Light is stronger than darkness so be that light for those around you today. Matthew 5:14-16 tells us "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Go out and light up your world today!
 
PRAYER: Dear Father let us not hide our light under a basket but let us put it up on the lamp stand so we shine for you wherever you send us today. In Jesus Name. Amen.
 
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:5)
 
 
 
 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

CHOP CHOP SNIP SNIP

 
 
Yesterday it was a beautiful day and I spent a good hour or so out in the front yard pruning my bushes. They looked pretty messed up when I was done. If someone were to see them they would have thought I had killed them. I mean they looked awful!! When I was pruning I chopped them back so bad they did not look very pretty or appear to have any hope of ever blooming again. Little broken stubs just sticking out with no leaves on them at all. Last year I did this same thing where the condition of the bushes looked so bad you would think I should just dig them up and replant something else. But they did bloom again! As spring approached beautiful flowers burst forth and green leaves once again sprang forth. I had brand new flourishing bushes!
 
In the Bible it speaks of how the Lord prunes us to make us more like him and to conform us to his image. God is the 'master gardener' and does what he needs to help us bear fruit for him. John 15:1-8 says "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
 
It does not feel good to be 'pruned' but if we know God is working in this pruning and through it then we know it is for our own good. He is shaping us to be conformed to his likeness. He wants us to be his beautiful flower and to bear fruit for him.
 
 
PRAYER: Lord we know you love us and care for us. Sometimes we wonder why we have to go through things. When we are at a low point is when we look to you to help us. Forgive us for not staying attached to 'the vine' all the time. Help us from here on out Lord to stay connected to you and to know that the pruning season will be over and soon a beautiful life will break forth.We know you allow certain things in our life to get us to the point where we are more like you. Forgive us for not trusting in your plan for our life.  In Jesus Name. Amen!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

LOST KEYS AND GOD THINGS

 
Stuff  happens sometimes that frustrate us and we wonder why. The thing is when something bad happens it is sort of a test to learn to stay calm, cool and collected. Seems like in the past 3 months I have had a few things that threw me into a tizzy if I let them. Sometimes I have not stayed cool. The latest was yesterday when I misplaced my car keys at a local movie theater. I was so proud of myself. Instead of losing control I sort of took a few steps back, so to speak, and remained calm and started looking. Some kind people who were at theater waiting for their class of school children to get out of theater helped me.Another gentleman let me use his cell phone since mine was locked in the car and a third person helped me retrace steps.  I laughed and said, this probably happened for a reason to allow me another test to stay calm and beyond that maybe to meet those people. Who knows? Yes there are skeptics out there that say, "Sure Becky, God caused you to lose your keys, right!"
 
God can use all things to teach us a spiritual life lesson. Sometimes if we do not learn anything the lessons keep coming til we learn to praise God no matter what. Like in story of Job, where he said, "Even though he slay me yet will I trust him."(Job 13:15).  Now granted Job was dealing with a little bit more drastic stuff but the verse can still apply. Why do people get mad at God? Instead we should try to get in habit of saying " Lord thank you for allowing this situation so I could learn to trust you more. " Maybe I was supposed to help the people I talked to some way. Who knows? God does.
 
Life will bring all sorts of trials our way. It is how we deal with them that counts. 1 Thessalonians 3:3 says'".. None of you should turn back because of these persecutions. You yourselves know that such persecutions are part of God's will for us."  In Acts 14:22 it goes on  ... "We all have to experience many hardships," they said, "before we enter the kingdom of God." James 1:12 says "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test he will receive the victors' crown, the life that is promised by God to those who love him." Deuteronomy 8:2-3 says " Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you... to teach you that man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."
 
Well the story had a happy ending as even though I had called a my insurance company who was sending someone to unlock car in hopes they were laying on car seat, a young girl coming out of bathroom says "Hey I found these keys hanging on the hook in the stall of the bathroom." How funny is that? Of all places I did not look. In the meantime though I had spoken of things of the Lord in conversation with the people I was visiting with in the lobby, had stayed cool while looking, and had shared about the Moms in Touch prayer ministry with these two school employees. So I see it as God providing an 'open door' for me to spread the news about praying for children and schools again. Did he lose my keys? No he did not but through my patience and other things the Lord was able to help this situation be turned into an opportunity for sharing for which I am thankful for.
 
PRAYER: Dear Lord  we say thank you to you for allowing situations in our lives whereby we might grow and learn to be a stronger Christian. We know we can not grow unless sometimes we deal with things. Give us the ability when we face problems in life to turn to you and trust you to get us through them. In Jesus Name. Amen.  

Friday, January 28, 2011

GENTILES EAT PORK CHOPS

Say what?? What is up sister? Whatever do you mean by this?

This morning I was sitting thinking about the importance of following God's ways and getting into his word, the Bible, daily. Many people do not want to read the Bible. "It is boring, it is old fashioned", they say. "I do not understand it. Where do I start?" "Leave that to the preacher. He has been to seminary."  "The priest reads what we need to hear." There are sure lots of excuses.

There are many fun ways to learn the books of the Bible and four of my favorite books are in the New Testament not too far behind the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. A simple method to remember them is this acronym in today's title or another one is "General Electric Power Company". These are the books of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. In the Bible I am using today, which is the Living Bible version, these four little books are only 16 pages long. My goodness. Do you have about 10 minutes? That is about all it would take to read these four books of God's word. And there is so much guidance, hope and promises in those 16 pages. Now who does not have the time to sit for 10 minutes and read through these books? "Hey you do not understand. I have to hurry and get to work, I am running late." I hear you  loud and clear. Been there, done that, got the tee shirt. Be creative. Find a way to give God your time today. I am guilty of rushing around and not allowing time to pray and read His word too so I am not judging here just trying to help you find a fun creative way to sit down with a cup of coffee and feast on the word of God. Take your Bible with you and go to Starbucks. It is okay to read it in public.

In these four books you will find many verses to inspire you and perhaps give you a different outlook at the world around you. I will leave you with a few verses  and also a song to listen to to help you enjoy your Friday and inspire you. Be blessed today.

Galatians 6:7 "Don't be misled,remember you can not ignore God and get away with it. A man will always reap just what he sows." Ephesians 6:11 "Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all the strategies and tricks of Satan." Philippians 4:19 "And it is he who will supply all your needs from his riches in glory because of what Christ Jesus has done for us."   And finally, Colossians 3:13 "Be gentle and ready to forgive, never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others."  Now for the 'rest of the story'.

PRAYER: Lord help those today who have lost their way and can not find joy in you or your word. Open their hearts to understand your word and what you want them to hear. Help the Bible come alive to them. Father we know the enemy, the devil, tries to come and spread lies and snatch your word out of our hearts. Help us resist him by praising you and reading your word. There is hope in Jesus and no other. It is my prayer that today reading the Bible will help change hearts and lives. In Jesus Name. Amen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2loeds35UI

Thursday, January 27, 2011

ME FIRST!!

 
The Bible talks about dying to self(1 Corinthians 15:31) and putting others before yourself but how many people really do that and what does that mean? Not just giving up the last roll in the basket when there is only one left but much more. Romans 12:10 says to "be devoted to one another in love and honor one another above yourself."  Let people go first, open doors, don't be greedy. It is not pleasant to be around a person that talks about themselves all the time. Make a deliberate effort to talk about others and get involved in their lives and show interest in them. Being selfless is also thinking of ways to help others or get involved in helping with a need in the lives of those around you.
 
We hear the accounts of  soldiers who save all their buddies around them by throwing their body on a hand grenade. Now that is selfless love."Greater love has no man than a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) Now that act of the soldier on the battlefield is truly one of the most unselfish acts I can think of and the ultimate gift. 
 
 The story of Jonathan and David in the Bible is one of selfless love as well. 1 Samuel 18:1-4 says," After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.  From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt."
 
Maybe giving up your right to what you want is another example. I know I am a city girl at heart and have never lived on a farm. Oh I love the outdoors and adventure and frequently go out in woods and places to hike. My husbands dream was to own a small farm some day and I was aware of that when I married him. Upon moving from my subdivision in a nearby 'bedroom community' of Huntsville, Alabama I gave up my convenience of being able to just step out my front door and go for a run which I regularly did or to be at Starbucks in 5 minutes and other things. This was so he could have a life long dream of farming. I asked God to help change my attitude and to help me show my unselfishness by agreeing to do this.  You can not always get your own way. In marriage there is much compromise and adjustment and it is truly a place to attempt to practice unselfishness.
 
"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."(Romans 12:3).Depending on what you do or who you know it might be a little easy to get puffed up at times. But beware. Do not always demand your own way or think you are right. Be willing to help others. Giving of yourself is the best thing you could do. Do not seek to always be number one. James 4:10 says to "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." 
 
Philippians 2:3-4 says" Don't be selfish,don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble,thinking of others as better than yourself. Don't just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others too and in what they are doing."
 
PRAYER: Today Lord help me think of others before I think of myself. Help me find ways to put others first. In Jesus Name. Amen. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

STAYING POSITIVE IN A NEGATIVE WORLD

 On an old Saturday Night Live sketch actor Kevin Nealon, played a psychologist, who would say "Harness the good, release the bad." Kind of humorous but true. Then he would say over and over "harness, release, harness, release."  There is much truth to that. We are to forget stuff that is bad and in past and focus on positive uplifting things. Somehow it seems easier to be mad than to be cheerful. I have heard you get more wrinkles if you frown. Not sure on that one but why chance it huh? Many complain and sometimes it is justified, but let us not get in a habit of being negative. Staying positive means staying focused on good things. In Philippians 4:18 it says "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
Say to yourself, what do I have to complain about? I am so greatly blessed. Even if suffering in a wheelchair or laid up temporarily we still have to be thankful to the Lord for each day he has given us to impact our world for Him. Are you doing that today or are you going out and about with a negative spirit?
Oh there were grumblers and complainers in the Bible. We are to learn from them and their stories. Here is one example of complaining. In Exodus 17:3 it says "But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?"
If you have trouble staying positive, talk out loud to yourself when you are somewhere private and say positive confessions like " I am a child of the living God'. "God has a perfect plan for my life" "The Lord wants me to forgive those who have hurt me". "I will not let any bad thing come out of my mouth today that is negative and I need your help God." A good friend of mine up in the windy city area used to say, "Blow it off!" Good advice. Or the younger generation uses the phrase "It is not that deep'. You get the idea. Try to make yourself aware of how you are being negative and nip it in the bud.

Put on some good Christian praise and worship music to help you stay focused on Jesus and not negative things going on around us. God is in control and even in seemingly bad situations he is still there working behind the scenes to work things out. Trust him but keep praying. It is more pleasant to be around happy people that are positive than to be around a complainer. I remember on an episode of the Christian children's show 'Gospel Bill' and now called 'Adventures in Dry Gulch' there was a  skit where one of the characters had a dream and a voice kept saying, "You complain too much, you complain too much." Try to get rid of any critical spirit you have and pray instead and see what happens!!

PRAYER: Father God we thank you for the beautiful earth and we thank you for this day. We thank you for placing us in life just where you have us. Help us Lord to try to be cheerful as much as possible. We know there are times to voice a complaint but help us do all things in love. Father keep our hearts, minds and thoughts pure and focused on you. In Jesus Name, Amen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qVkzdK6N20

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

WRONG THINKING

I often tell people that I hold the gold medal for the sport of 'jumping to conclusions'. Reigning champ, wow I am so proud. I would love to give up this medal to someone else yet it is really not an honor to possess. It is easy if you are not patient to assume things before you really know the facts. Doing this is not a good thing on relationships or in business. Patience is the key. Assumptions are a bad thing. Learn to be patient and try to think the best of things and not assume the worst case scenario. This is back to that mean old devil. He is not some Halloween character in a red jumpsuit with a pitchfork or a cartoon character. This enemy is real, and he destroys relationships by messing with peoples minds when they do not stay focused on Christ. Philippians 4:8 says " Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Basically it says to 'fix' your mind on things that build up not tear down. Worrying and assuming do not lead to any good thing. It is a discipline to focus your mind on God and things 'above' so you do not get into a rut mulling over things in your mind and creating problems that are non existent.

Proverbs 18:17 says "Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight."  There is no way we can know it all and assume something and be sure of it. Here is a scenario from my own experience. Back in the mid 90's I had a friend who is now in heaven with Jesus who I was waiting to hear from so I could make some summer plans. I was keeping my calendar open for her because she was going to be passing through my area and I wanted to see her. When days went on and I never heard from her, humanly it made me upset. Now this was before email and instant communications. As time went on I would say to myself,"I wish Suzy Q would hurry and contact me so I could make my summer plans." Finally she did contact me to tell me she had found out she had cancer and had 3 months to live. Oh my gosh did I feel selfish and stupid. This one thing taught me a valuable lesson in a powerful, yet sad, way. We never know really what is going on so be careful getting mad at people or sending a letter or stuff like that that could backfire later. In most cases there are good explanations so just be still and wait. Another time  I wondered why a good friend was not answering my calls or texts and it turns out she had left her phone in car and another time the battery was dead. So you see what I mean? Do not assume the worse.

Proverbs 18:13 says" how stupid to decide something before knowing the facts." Most times you need to just move on and try all you can to be patient because things will be OK. Trying to fix them or say something to the person might not be the best idea. If you have had this happen just try to have a calm and peaceful spirit and an understanding heart. This whole situation is really a matter of getting our mind off self and onto Jesus. Get involved in the word and concentrate on good things and you will have little time to ponder and wonder about other earthly things. Give those things to God and let them go. Bury those problems and throw away the shovel. It takes practice, believe me.

I will end by saying wrong thinking can lead you into a lot of emotional pain. Fix your eyes on the saviour who can save you and rescue you. Romans 12:1-2 sums it all up and it says " Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. " God bless you on your journey to staying focused on Him.


PRAYER: Help those reading this learn to Be still and know you are God (Psalm 46:1) and to lean on you Lord for any situation in life. Help them stay focused on things above and know that you are the one true friend who is always there and always understands. Help us all stay focused on Jesus and give our cares to him. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Monday, January 24, 2011

FEARFUL?

Lots of things in life can make us scared. I know I have been in a few situations and I am sure all of us has that can release tremendous fear if we do not lean on the Lord to help get us through. Financial problems, fear of dying or being killed in a crash, work problems, unplanned pregnancy, waiting on grades, waiting on job offers, being involved in a law suit, and you can probably add to this small list of things that can cause fear. We are to give our worries to Jesus and let him carry them. Wow now that is easier said than done. But you release this issue, whatever it is to God.

In 1 Peter 5:7 it tells us to " Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." The Lord can deliver you from whatever it is. Or he can sustain you while you deal with an ordeal as you learn and grow in the process.  One of my favorite verses is 2 Timothy 1:7 where it says, " for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." Fear is definitely not from God and is not a fruit of the spirit. It is the enemy trying to steal your joy and get your focus off the Lord. If you are constantly worried and fretting is is pretty difficult to be thinking of Jesus.

Psalm 3:6 says '" I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side." No matter what it is turn to the Lord. He is there to help you. Remember the word is 'through' meaning you will not stay there forever. There is hope. Psalm 118:6 is another good one if worried about humans doing something to you and it says, " The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" God is bigger than your problem. Just keep that in mind. Keep saying these verses out loud. Believe me it helps. Psalm 23:4 says " Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil,for you are with me; your rod and your staff,they comfort me." We often hear that typically at a funeral but it has much to say to the living as well. Focus on God and not your problem. Be blessed.

PRAYER: Father comfort those people who are worried about something in their life. Help them lean on you and your word to get through the situation they may be faced with. Calm their hearts and help them to spiritually breathe out the fear and breathe in peace. In Jesus Name. Amen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RRhchb8IQQ

Sunday, January 23, 2011

FACEBOOK VS. THE BOOK

There is a church about 10 miles from me that has a sign out front that says "Spend Less Time on Facebook and More Time in His Book." Now that is something to ponder. Church signs have a way of doing that. They bring to light something we need to perhaps think about.

 I am on Facebook and it is a good tool for spreading the word about something or in my case posting my devotions for people to read. If not managed properly though it can consume your life and become an addiction. I always liken it to 'People Magazine' for 'normal people' or in other words we look into each others lives as if we were celebrities. As the saying goes, "welcome to the way people communicate in 2011'. The thing that gets me is the friending people, some of whom we would probably not even go sit and have coffee with, then there is defriending people. What an awful new word, 'defriend'. Ouch. It stings to be defriended or blocked by someone. There in a nutshell is one not so good thing about this social medium.

We can spend lots of time on things that really do not matter that much and not enough on things that do. Facebook is a fun way to stay connected with friends from the past who have moved on. But is it really important enough to sit and stare at it for hours? For students it can waste precious study time. For business people at work it could get you fired if you were looking at it and not doing your work. For young moms at home it could take away valuable one on one time you have with the children God blessed you with. Sad to say I have even heard of extreme cases of facebook breaking up relationships. So you see it can be a tool for good to stay connected or a tool that cause addictions and wasted time.

So back to the church marquee. How much time do you spend reading God's word each week? "Oh it is so boring and has nothing relevant for today" you may say. "I do not understand it" is another good excuse. "I do not enjoy it" is one I have heard. "Where do I start and what do I read about?' "I can not get through all the thees and thous". "I feel like some of it is not really true" or " I do not believe it all". "I just wait and listen to the preacher or priest give me what I need."

The Bible does have much to say to address every situation you can possibly encounter. If you are confused about it and do not know where to start I often have said to start by reading the book of John in the New Testament or a Psalm a day since there are 150 chapters to Psalms that should keep you busy. You can get a good Bible with a subject index in the back and look up specific topics. One version of the Bible I recommend is the Life Application Bible. (http://www.lifeapplicationbible.com/)

Hebrews 13:8 says "Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever." Revelation 22:18 says " I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy in this book: If anyone adds anything to this, God will strike him with the plagues that are written in this book." The Bible can come alive for you and be exciting. Get in the habit of wanting to read it daily for guidance and just as a way to start off the day.

Matthew 5:6 says" Blessed is the man who hungers and thirsts after righteousness for he shall be filled." Are you hungry for God and the Bible? I heard someone once say the Bible in acronym form could mean B.I.B.L.E. or "basic instruction before leaving earth'. Wow now that says it all and is pretty easy to understand. So where are you at? Do you desire to know more about God? 2 Timothy 2:15 says "Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Psalm 119:11 says "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Get to know God and get into his word. It can be an exciting journey!

PRAYER: Dear Lord I ask you to help those people who struggle with reading your word or who find it boring or only partially true. We know the enemy comes in and plants lies and wants us to let our Bible get dusty. Help us have the desire to know you more Lord through your word. Be with those who doubt your word and open their mind totally to your truth. Help those searching find a Bible study to be part of or a good Bible believing church to attend. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

HAPPY HOUR

Got your attention I hope. There is a church in the next county over called Lindsay Lane Baptist and they have very creative advertising on a billboard on a major highway here in Alabama which says, "Come To The Only Happy Hour You Will Remember" or something to that effect. Are you happy? Do you have joy in your heart? God wants us to have his joy, his happiness. Things happen in life that take away happiness but we need to keep trying to have a joyful attitude no matter what.

That happy hour this church refers to,of course, is the one hour we typically spend on Sunday in church. Some do it since they were taught to do this and others really want to be there. Regardless, it is good to go to a Bible believing church where God's word is alive and you can have fellowship with other believers.

I think of a childhood Sunday school song that went something like this," A sunbeam a sunbeam. Jesus wants me for a sunbeam. A sunbeam a sunbeam, I'll be a sunbeam for him." Are you being a sunbeam even when you do not feel like it? Sometimes I find that trying to smile at people or doing something nice for someone else helps restore joy and happiness. And try praising God. That helps too. So friend today seek to put on a happy face.

Psalm 144:15 says "Happy are the people whose God is the Lord." John 13:17 says "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you… If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for we know true happiness is not found in earthly things but only in you. Help me not rely on things on earth to bring me happiness but help me seek you with my whole heart to find the joy of the Lord. In Jesus Name, amen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHyh7JZMFPo

Friday, January 21, 2011

WATCH THAT MOUTH

How many things could be defused if we just watched what came out of our mouth? Trying to get the last word or defend ourselves can just end up in some sort of verbal brawl. It is best to speak less and listen more. I am preaching to myself here on this one. Problems with the mouth is one of my key battle grounds. Maybe none of you have this problem but it is apparently pretty evident some do as the Bible has many references to what we say and being careful what we say.

That little tongue can get us into a heck of a lot of trouble if we do not think before we speak. Our words should be few and not just randomly spewed out. I have a little card on my refrigerator that has a kitten holding a phone and it says 'Lord help me to talk less and listen more' and is followed by the scripture verse in Psalm 37:7 which says," Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes." I guess this means that we do not have to be into everything and sort of do what it says, to be still. Do not overreact. Respond to people with grace.

 Sometimes it is difficult to not speak your mind but that does not please God and is not showing one of the fruits of the spirit, that being 'self control'. To be self controlled in the area of speech would be knowing when to speak and knowing when to be quiet. It takes practice. There is a saying in the military, 'loose lips sink ships', meaning if you divulge info to the wrong person you could jeopardize your mission and thus cause your ship to sink. Same is true in life. Too many words can hurt and wound.

Psalm 19:14 says "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight oh Lord my strength and my redeemer." Be willing, as Bible teacher Joyce Meyer often says, to admit you may be wrong. We have an opinion and we think we are right but we may in fact not be, so be willing to humble yourself and  to accept that fact. Above all do not try to convince others of the error of their ways. That is the Holy Spirits' job.

So there you have it. Be still, speak less, listen more, and respond to those around you with the love of Jesus as hard as it may be.

PRAYER: Dear Lord today help the things I say to those around me be kind and loving. If I am challenged in any way help me to not lash back but to respond with Christian love. Help me to not stick my nose where it does not belong and help me to admit when I may be wrong. Lord teach me to close my mouth when what I may say may be hurtful to others. In Jesus name, Amen!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

SIPPING SAINTS

This was actually the title of a book I saw over 20 years ago. The issue of drinking in the Christian church has been very controversial. Certain churches are very liberal and others think drinking is the ultimate sin. It is a fact alcohol can cause lots of problems such as addictions, car wrecks,medical conditions, promiscuity, financial problems, silly behavior, and family breakups to name a few.

 I guess one of the funniest ,or I should say saddest things, I remember is a time when I was on active duty in the Army. There were these things called 'Officers Calls' which were held at the Officers Club. Usually there was a guest speaker talking on a topic followed by a social time. Once at Ft Campbell, Kentucky back in the early 80's the subject of this meeting was alcoholism in the military or something to that effect. What was odd about it was that once the speaker was done someone else came up to the podium to  announce that 'the bar was open'. Say what? "You just got done speaking of the perils of alcohol abuse then you open up the cocktail lounge." Oh well. Life is funny sometimes.

The saying or the excuse is "everything in moderation". Or how about "Jesus turned water into wine".  "Hey they drink in Germany and there is no problem there." "Red wine can help you medically so it is not bad."  "Beer is actually good for you and has food value."  I am sure you have heard many more. Some of these are in fact true.

 Now do not get me wrong. I am not writing to condemn those of you who choose to have a drink every now and then ,but to just make you think. Drinking is not going to send you to hell.  The Bible does have something to say about it though so you decide after you read this. Each person has to be convicted in their own way . For me personally if I am going to cause a person to 'stumble' by them knowing I am a prayer group leader and then they see me with a margarita it might hurt my witness. This is not to say it is wrong to have a glass of wine to celebrate special occasions. Let me give you the Bible verses and you pray about it yourself and ask God what He would have you personally do. I for sure am not trying to guilt anyone, only make you think. Also another factor is raising children and what example you want to set. Each person has to decide on there own. This can be a very sensitive issue to some.

In Proverbs 23:29-35 it says " Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints?  Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?  Those who linger over wine,  who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.  Do not gaze at wine when it is red,  when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!  In the end it bites like a snake
and poisons like a viper.  Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things.  You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt!   They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up  so I can find another drink?” Ephesians 5:18 says " Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.'

I know the days of youth can cause many to do lots of crazy things and thankfully most people survive their stupidity or this growing up phase. It is not necessary to become a drinker to grow up though. Alcohol can create serious havoc. How can a person know when they drink 'only one beer' that they are not headed for alcoholism? So ask for God's direction. Do you drink to fit in or because your job requires it at social functions? Or you say, I just happen to love beer. OK that is fine. Just know when to say when and ask yourself if you really need it to have fun.

I will leave you with a couple more scriptures to ponder. Romans 14:21 says 'It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble." 1 Corinthians 8:9 says "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak."  For the younger members of my reading audience I will leave you with this verse from 1 Timothy 4:12 which says " Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.'

It is important to remember I am not saying drinking is a sin but just giving you some food for thought from God's Holy Word. Be blessed.

PRAYER: Father there may be those people struggling to overcome an alcohol problem who are having a hard time. Give them the strength only you can give. Also for anyone who does not want to drink but feels social pressure give them the courage to say no. Father help those who do not choose to drink not to act self righteous to others. Help us show your love to everyone we encounter. In Jesus Name. Amen. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

TOTAL FORGIVENESS

What does it mean to totally forgive and harbor no grudges or resentment?? Last night I was the fortunate winner of tickets to a
special showing of the movie "Amish Grace" shown at one of our local theaters. I  had known of this horrible tragedy back in October 2006. We all know about the school shootings brought to light by the tragic Columbine High shootings in 1999 but this one was different. This involved a local man from the community who was mad at God for letting his baby girl die so he got back at God by shooting 10 Amish girls, 5 of which died. He himself was not Amish but lived among them and drove a local milk truck.

The Amish keep themselves separated from the world but all of a sudden they were in the national limelight due to this horrific incident. The tremendous amount of love, grace, and forgiveness shown by the Amish community to the family of Charles Roberts, the shooter, who later committed suicide after the shootings,was unheard of and definitely not normal in our worldly secular society. The news media were astounded thinking maybe it was all some sort of act. But it was not. These people,even though hurting, went to Amy Roberts, the widow of the shooter and told them they forgave her husband and asked how she was doing. After all, she had lost her husband and her children had lost their dad. This whole thing was a total shock to  her as well.

How many of us could do that? Probably not many. But it was not Amy's fault. She was hurting too. It was wrong what happened but harboring bitterness and resentment did nothing and certainly did not bring these young girls back to life. This was the true evidence of 100% forgiveness by a loving community of Amish who practiced what they taught and preached. The world we live in would send a lawyer to the scene to talk to the victims about suing. After all look what happened you deserve it. This does nothing but continue a hurtful unforgiving cycle. We all have lots to learn from the Amish and the way they showed love and moved on. They even came to the funeral of Mr. Roberts when hardly anyone else did.

Matthew 6:15 says "But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." In Job 36:13 it says that the 'godless in heart harbor resentment'. Colossians 3:13 tells us to " Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." It does not say to call 1800GOLDBERG and get even. Ephesians 4:31 says "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. So the aim is to move on and to do what Christ would do and show love no matter what.

PRAYER: Father we pray we never have to go through anything like these families in Nickle Mines, Pennsylvania did but if something does ever happen that would make us want to get back and get even give us the grace to be like you and respond like you would respond, In Jesus Name, Amen.

TOTAL FORGIVENESS

What does it mean to totally forgive and harbor no grudges or resentment?? Last night I was the fortunate winner of tickets to a
special showing of the movie "Amish Grace" shown at one of our local theaters. I  had known of this horrible tragedy back in October 2006. We all know about the school shootings brought to light by the tragic Columbine High shootings in 1999 but this one was different. This involved a local man from the community who was mad at God for letting his baby girl die so he got back at God by shooting 10 Amish girls, 5 of which died. He himself was not Amish but lived among them and drove a local milk truck.

The Amish keep themselves separated from the world but all of a sudden they were in the national limelight due to this horrific incident. The tremendous amount of love, grace, and forgiveness shown by the Amish community to the family of Charles Roberts, the shooter, who later committed suicide after the shootings,was unheard of and definitely not normal in our worldly secular society. The news media were astounded thinking maybe it was all some sort of act. But it was not. These people,even though hurting, went to Amy Roberts, the widow of the shooter and told them they forgave her husband and asked how she was doing. After all, she had lost her husband and her children had lost their dad. This whole thing was a total shock to  her as well.

How many of us could do that? Probably not many. But it was not Amy's fault. She was hurting too. It was wrong what happened but harboring bitterness and resentment did nothing and certainly did not bring these young girls back to life. This was the true evidence of 100% forgiveness by a loving community of Amish who practiced what they taught and preached. The world we live in would send a lawyer to the scene to talk to the victims about suing. After all look what happened you deserve it. This does nothing but continue a hurtful unforgiving cycle. We all have lots to learn from the Amish and the way they showed love and moved on. They even came to the funeral of Mr. Roberts when hardly anyone else did.

Matthew 6:15 says "But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." In Job 36:13 it says that the 'godless in heart harbor resentment'. Colossians 3:13 tells us to " Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." It does not say to call 1800GOLDBERG and get even. Ephesians 4:31 says "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. So the aim is to move on and to do what Christ would do and show love no matter what.

PRAYER: Father we pray we never have to go through anything like these families in Nickle Mines, Pennsylvania did but if something does ever happen that would make us want to get back and get even give us the grace to be like you and respond like you would respond, In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

GRACE...WHAT IS IT???

A while back I had heard the acronym for grace to be "Gods Riches At Christ's Expense." Or another is unmerited favor.  What exactly does that mean on a human level, to be able to respond with grace to someone or to show grace to someone?

First of all let's define grace. It can be the capacity to forgive people. To truly accept those people who anger you or turn you off. To respond like Jesus would respond. To be ugly to someone is not responding with grace.  I can think of the example of someone calling all homosexuals 'queers' which is a hateful response, or a worse word, I won't say, without stopping to understand how they got there or how to help them out of their sin.

The  Bible says "we all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory" (Romans 3:23) and in 1 Corinthians 6:11 it says in part in referring to those in sin of any kind, "and such were some of you." So to respond in grace would be with kindness,compassion, understanding and the love of God. The Bible says "kindness leads to repentance" ( Romans 2:4). Calling a girl having babies continually out of wedlock a derogatory term is not pleasing to God.  Showing love and grace is what will help. That is not our human nature but God's supernatural power within us which allows us to not judge and condemn others.

To be ugly to someone or talk behind their back over a particular sin we do not understand is not being Christ like. The Lord has compassion on all his creatures.  Another incident would be to ridicule a person we see on the TV news who looks Iike some lunatic and say nasty things about them or what they did. Those in prison ministry have a heart to understand these individuals better but mental illness is a strange thing and these folks who suffer need love too. That does not mean I am saying what they did was right as it was not. We have to have grace to understand and love despite the crime committed. These criminals may suffer from a terrible mental disorder. It is so easy to judge. When one finger points to the person 3 more fingers point back at you. Think about it .

What would grace have us to do? “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” ~ Colossians 3:17 That about sums it up.

PRAYER: Help me Lord to be kind to all people. I may not approve of the sin but help me show your love to those caught up in sin. Even when people sin intentionally help me to keep on praying for them to come to the knowledge of the truth and ask you into their hearts. Heal the broken hearted and set the captive free. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Monday, January 17, 2011

WORDS FROM GOD

Have you ever had the experience of needing a Bible verse at a certain time and a verse just sort of 'popped out' at you? Well those times are no accident or coincidence. I can recall this happening a good deal in my life. One of the most recent was back in the summer when I was starting to volunteer at the local pro life center as a counselor. Even though my degree is in counseling I had never been an 'official' counselor so the enemy was trying to get me scared making me feel I was inadequate and was going to say the wrong thing. I knew in my heart this was wrong because we are 'bathed' in prayer there before we enter the counseling room. In the morning when all the volunteer counselors arrive for our shift we go in the directors office and join hands and pray. One of the things we pray is that God will bring just the right client for the counselor. A perfect fit in other words.

On this particular day I started off about 45 minutes early to relax and read my Bible at a nearby Starbucks. I remember there being a time I was embarrassed to be reading the Bible in public then remembered Mark 8:38 which says "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation the Son of man will be ashamed of him when he comes in clouds of glory." Pretty powerful and to the point wouldn't you say? It is right up there with the 'headache' prayer where you are in a restaurant but do not really want people to know you are praying so you sort of hold your head like you have a head ache. People read the New York Times in Starbucks so why not read your 'owners manual' and get insight for each day?

Anyway at this day in Starbucks I was directed by the Holy Spirit to read Isaiah 61. It was the perfect chapter to read to give me the peace and the courage I needed to get on with my day of being a minister of the Lord, serving as his hands and feet to the hurting ladies coming to the Choose Life center that day. I did not know who I would see but God already did and he would give me the words to say. Briefly this chapter in Isaiah says " The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor  and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,  and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes, .." This was just what I needed for that day and to start off each time I went to the center. It gave me the peace and assurance I needed that God would be with me and give me just what I needed in every situation I encountered over there.

He did it for me and he can do it for you. The answers are right there in his word. Once again I urge you this day being the 17th day of the month to read the 17th Psalm and the 17th Proverb as a way to sort of get started on this journey to know God through his word. Blessings to you my friend.

PRAYER: Lord help us to love your word more than riches and gold. Forgive us if we have let our Bible become a dust catcher or worse yet, can not even find it. Help me to stop making excuses for not using it as a tool to get through every day of my life. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

MAKE GOD A DAILY CHOICE

Today is Sunday the day we should want to set aside to spend special time with God in church. Some people go on Saturday night and that is fine too but the point I am making is that Sunday is a day set aside to honor God. If you think about your week and if you spend 18 hours awake each day then that means you have an average of 126 hours awake. How much time during that 126 hours do you spend with God praying, in church , or reading his word? Do you just get up on Sunday and 'check the block' and do nothing the rest of the week? In order to get to know God better and get closer to him you have to spend quality time with him.

Many things tend to squeeze God out. Reading for instance. Do you read the newspaper and People magazine more than you read the Holy Bible? Just something to think about, not trying to guilt anyone.Do hobbies or sports take the place of God? On a few vacations I have been on they have actually offered a church service. The most recent was in December on a Royal Caribbean cruise who offered a non denominational service on Sunday. At Copper Mountain Ski Area in Colorado  you can attend church in a church building on the resort or up on the mountain top outside. Some campgrounds I have been to offer a service as well.

 I heard an illustration given once on tithing, referring to our money, but it also mentioned tithing our time. If you spend only 20 minutes a week with a friend you would not know very much about them now would you? The more you put into the relationship the more you get out of it. I mean is it really important what movie stars are doing anyway that you have to be consumed in a movie star magazine? I was convicted several years ago about this area so chose to not buy People magazine anymore. I am not saying you can only read the Bible, do not get me wrong. I love to read. But make sure you put good things into your head that will build you up. Every one has to be convicted in their own way.

Exodus 20:8 says, "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy." Isaiah 58:13-14 says " “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”  For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." I am not saying you can not go enjoy Sunday. The Lord created a beautiful world out there and there are many fine forms of recreation. Just do not get in a habit of putting God on the 'back burner'. Psalm 122:1 says "I was glad when they said unto me let us go unto the house of the Lord." Do you get excited about Jesus? Find a church home where Jesus is alive and his word is preached and people seem happy to be there and are growing in the Lord. Hebrews 10:25 tells us "to not forsake gathering together for worship." It should be something you want to do. I pray in 2011 you find a way to get excited and truly make Jesus a priority in your daily life.


PRAYER: Father I desire to know you better and to spend more time in your word getting to know you. Forgive me when other things have taken the place of spending time alone with you in your word. I seek to know you better and have a closer walk. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

BOLL WEEVILS GOT YOU DOWN?

Back in 1982-84 our family lived in Enterprise,Alabama which to my knowledge is the only town in the United States boasting a statue in the town square to an insect!  Yes you read correctly. A statue to the boll weevil proudly held up in the square to honor this bug.  Some of you who have never been to the South and tend to stereotype us all down here as a bunch of hicks need to know the story. This little insect destroyed the cotton crop back in 1910-1915 which was the main source of revenue for this area. It was total destruction and the townspeople did not know how they would  recover. One farmer suggested they diversify and try growing peanuts. The story goes that he was laughed at but that is what they did. This crop proved to be much better for the economy than cotton ever had been so to thank the bug who brought it all about they erected a statue in it's honor in 1919.  Now you know ..'the
rest of the story'.
In life sometimes you get thrown a set back or a curve ball. Perhaps it is a lost job, a lost friend, a sickness that keeps you laid up for
a while or a host of other things. God knows ahead of time his plan for you and sometimes these seemingly bad things work out so much better than what we would have planned for ourselves.  Romans 8:28 is a familiar and favorite verse and it says "all things work together for the good to those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose."  I am thinking of the story of a man who was put out of the Army during the RIF also known as reduction in force. This set back is devastating to anyone. Your dream to stay in and make it a career and all of a sudden this is shattered.  In this man's case it turned out good as he ended up in a different job and was somewhere being trained out of state and it was there he met his future wife. I can think of lots of stories like this some involving my own family but you get the point.
So do not say "why God why" but instead try to ask the Lord what it is in this "human setback" that you are supposed to learn and grow from. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths."  Proverbs 3:5-6
PRAYER: Father help me to know that whatever happens in life I know you are in control and will work things out for my good. When you close a door you will open a window. I thank you that we can trust you no matters what happens for your plan is perfect. In Jesus name amen.

Friday, January 14, 2011

YOUR JOURNEY IN LIFE

Is there a big decision coming up in life? A job change perhaps or a decision you have to make?  Proverbs 16:1 says "We can make our plans, but the final outcome is in God's hands." God knows where he wants you to be and he has a  plan for you. A popular verse to quote is Jeremiah 29:11 which says "I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Do not fret over detaills either. Philippians 4:19 says,"And it is he who will supply all your needs from his riches in glory because of what Christ Jesus has done for us."

I have been many places as a military member and later a military wife and I look back and see situations and places now as true 'God things'. When something was going on at the time you may not see the good but in hindsight you can. Moving is not always fun but part of the military way of life, but with those moves came tremendous new friends and many blessings. Proverbs 16:33 says," We toss the coin,but it is the Lord who controls its decisions."

When I was a single Second Lieutenant in the Army living in Pacific Grove, California I had a poster on my apartment wall with Ephesians 3:20 on it which says," Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of -infinitely beyond our highest prayers,desires, or thoughts."
Basically just pray to God, give him your concerns, ask for his guidance, wisdom and peace in your decision making. Trust him, then let him work.

PRAYER: Today do you need peace from God on a big decision you have to make. Talk to him in prayer and trust him for the outcome. He is in control ultimately. And he has the best in store for you. In Jesus Name,amen

Thursday, January 13, 2011

CHA CHING

Who does not like money? Hard work is what gets you money. Sitting around dreaming about it does not. Now the Bible tells us to not set our heart on money and getting rich. Proverbs 23:4-5 says, " Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens."  Psalm 62:10 says "If Riches Increase, Set Not Your Heart Upon Them ."

 The Bible does not say it is wrong to gain wealth but sadly the current administration in the White House is trying to demonize those who make money and set up class warfare in our society. People work hard and deserve the paycheck they earn whether it is $20,000 or 1 million. That is what makes our society operate. People have an idea, they work hard on it and become successful. It does not happen overnight. In this country all of us have an opportunity to get ahead. We are truly blessed.  We are not be envious of those who have money.(See Exodus 20:17). Wise investing gets you money also. In Matthew 25:27 it says, " Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest."

But what does the Bible have to say about gambling if anything? Here we are in the day of the mega million jackpot lottery. The Bible does talk about 'if you do not work you should not eat'. (2 Thessalonians 3:10). In Proverbs 3:11 it says," Wealth from gambling quickly disappears, wealth from hard work grows."  To me gambling is not being a good steward of the money God has blessed us with. It is all his anyway. He is the one who gives us the power to gain wealth. (See Deuteronomy 8:18).There is one gas station I go to over here in Tennessee where I see folks who look pretty down and out lining up for lottery tickets. This makes me sad as the lottery is sort of a gamble. Many of the stories you hear of winners has them losing all their money in a few years. Some people I feel think there is no other way to get ahead. I am not trying to insinuate they are all lazy or anything like that but saying wise planning and hard work can alleviate the need for thinking getting rich quick will solve it all.

In the United States we feel 'entitled' to things like welfare checks, unemployment, and 'our rights'. Unemployment is important when someone has been laid off work but it should not become our lifestyle. We lose the desire to work and produce if someone is always giving us a handout. This is what has created the welfare state of thinking in this country. We feel the government owes us something. God does not want us to become lazy. Proverbs 14:23 says, " All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty." Colossians 3:23-24 tells us " Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Proverbs 10:4 says, "Lazy men are soon poor, hard workers get rich" and goes on in verse 5 to say "A wise youth makes  hay while the sun shines, but what a shame to see a youth that sleeps away his hour of opportunity."

Many stay home moms may feel like society feels they do not contribute as they are not out there working. God has a special place for you and that is to raise the beautiful children he has blessed you and your husband with. There will be plenty of time for work. Never work and sacrifice your children just so you can live in a bigger house or get some 'toy' you do not really need. There will be many years ahead to have a job once children are gone. You are raising leaders for the future is what I used to tell people.

 So what do you do with the money God has entrusted to you? Do you work hard and share his riches with others? Do not set out to be rich but be thankful when God does bless you with the ability to gain wealth. We can do many good things with our money to help others. Try to find ways to share and you will be a happier person.

PRAYER: Father thank you for what you have given me. Forgive me if I have ever been lazy and taken my money for granted. Help me to work hard at what I do. Help me to look around me for opportunities to help those less fortunate. Thanks for getting to live in America where we have so many opportunities to prosper. We know all we have is from you anyway. Help me never take what I have been given for granted. In Jesus Name, amen.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

REFRIGERATOR GALLERY

I have had some free time the past few days due to the winter storm that paralyzed the South. Because of this I thought of little projects I could do around the house that had not been tended to. One of these was organizing the 'gallery' on my refrigerator. Most ladies I know do have a collection of favorite pictures, magnets from vacations, and memento's upon their refrigerators. My husband was hoping when we moved into this home over 5 years ago that our new refrigerator would not be the kind magnets would stick too. But alas and thankfully magnets stick all over the place. We want to keep things neat and orderly and I know from past house selling experiences that realtor's recommend  you take down your refrigerator gallery when trying to sell your home to try to make things look neater. You know first impressions and things like that. But it is there and I tried to organize it a bit last night to neaten it up somewhat.

As I pondered my 'gallery" I remember hearing something a few years ago that said 'If God had a refrigerator your picture would be on it!" How true is that? I think of my collection and it has pictures of family, close friends both near and those far and I see them every day when I go to get something from the refrigerator. Yes God would indeed have your picture upon his refrigerator because you  are very special to him. He made you special and unique and he has a distinct plan for each person on this earth. He knit you together in your mothers' womb. Psalms 139:13-17 says " For you formed my inward parts;you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret,intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance;in your book were written, every one of them,the days that were formed for me,when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!" Now that says a great deal there. God knows you, loves you, has a plan for you. You are not an accident. He is proud of you. So yes He would for sure put your picture on his refrigerator if he had one.

PRAYER: Lord thank you for loving me when I am nice or when I act ugly. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for forgiving me when I have fallen short and disappointed you by my words or actions. Thank you Lord that you made me for a purpose. Help me to bring honor to you by what I do and say. In Jesus Name, amen!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

CHEER UP

Having trouble getting in a good mood? Especially if you are one of those shut in by winter storms.Even if you have a job outside the home you may not be able to get there due to ice on roads and such. Some of you are blessed to live in warm climates. I think of my friends in Arizona. Enjoy the warm dessert. I loved it out there the two times I was blessed to call it home. But no matter what type climate we are in sometimes our moods can become 'blue' and we feel like we just can not get going. It is at times like these you need to sit down with a piece of paper and make a list of things you are thankful for.

I am thankful for a warm house, indoor plumbing, money to spend, a iced latte shop near by, an interstate highway system five minutes from my home to connect me to the 'world', fresh water, a great family who loves me, an education that 'opened doors' for me, that I was in the Army which got me to the place in life and location I am now, a husband who has a good job and is a good provider, food on the table, my hearing and eyesight, freedom, friends, ability to use my legs and feet since I run and hike, the military gym to work out in, and on it goes. You get the point. I heard of a former Vietnam prisoner of war say he was grateful for a 'doorknob inside of the door".

 If you really stop and think you can come up with a pretty large list. It is hard to be down on life when you think of all that you have. Count your blessings each day. There is much to be thankful for. Luke 17:15-16 says "One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him -- and he was a Samaritan."  " In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18.)

If you woke up today you have many things to say thank you for. Try it and see if you do not feel better.

PRAYER: Father help us each day wake up with an attitude of gratitude to you for all you have done. In Jesus Name. Amen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1WmzRxBGFY

Monday, January 10, 2011

A DIAMOND FOR GOD

A diamond is a beautiful gemstone and pretty to look at and wonderful to receive. Diamonds hold special meaning too for the one who receives them. In thinking about a diamond we look at it reflect light, shine and glisten. Our lives as Christians are supposed to be like that diamond. We are hard as a rock and nothing can break us or tear us apart. Our light is to shine. It represents permanence. We are to reflect God's love to others we come in contact with daily. God is flawless and perfect and a diamond is pretty much perfect as well.

Matthew 5:16 says for us to "Let our light shine before others so they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Do you glow for Jesus? Do you sparkle for Him?

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for the opportunity we have each day to glisten for you around the people you have placed in our path. Help us not neglect being a good witness for you and shining your love no matter where we are. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

BLESS THOSE WHO CURSE YOU

We used to have a neighbor in one place we lived who did ugly things for no reason. She planted thorn bushes right at edge of our driveway so when we opened car door it would be hard to not scratch it. This same lady claimed our fence was on her land. The previous owner had installed this fence. On and on the things like this went. To your face she was nice but behind your back she would hire lawyers and try to cause trouble. Nothing ever came from it as she was in the wrong and just trying to create trouble.
This irritated my husband but I would tell him God had allowed her to be our neighbor for a reason, maybe to teach us how to get along with those hard to love. I would say, "Pray for those who spitefully use you and abuse you." Human nature wants to fight back but God's response is to ignore the offense and show love.

Do you have someone in your life who is hard to love at times? Maybe a co-worker, friend, or even a family member? God wants us to be gracious and loving and not stoop to same level as the one being mean. In Matthew 5:43-48 it says,"You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.'  You will not humanly feel like praying for those who hurt you so you have to ask God to help you. Say Lord " help me see these people through your loving eyes."

A good verse to help you to not get mad is James 1:19 which says, " My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.'  I often write that along with 1 Corinthians 13 verses on wedding cards as a reminder to the starry eyed bride and groom that things happen and remember to respond in love. So choose to stay calm and ask God for help or choose to cause strife and give Satan glory by arguing. It is as simple as that. This anger thing could even be to not overreact to tailgaters who cut you off and are just plain rude. Show love. Counteract the ugliness with good. "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."(Proverbs 15:1) PRAYER: Father help me respond in love to those people around me who may do something mean or ugly. Help me not dwell on it and try to get back at them or stoop to their level and continue to let the anger fester. Help me to forgive even when someone does not know they hurt me. Help me Lord to love the unlovely and see them through your eyes. In Jesus name. Amen!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

PGF

When our children were little one of the Christian childrens' shows they watched on TV, I believe it was called 'Joy Junction' ,used to remind the children at the end of each episode to 'Put God First!' What exactly does it mean to put God first?

 In your life you should have priorities for what you want to do. We make lists of things we have to get done for the day. The list for a Christian should include 'spend time with God." Now this can be as simple as sitting down with your Bible and reading, praying, or watching a favorite Christian TV show or listening to a sermon on the radio. But we should definitely make it a priority if you claim Jesus is number one in your life.

 It is easy to go about your day and squeeze God out of it. Other things get in the way like housework, a favorite television show, time with friends, vacation, talking on the phone, going to the gym, and going to work. Sure we have to go to work as it takes money to live on and we need to get to the gym to keep our physical bodies in shape. Friends are important too. But 'where your treasure is there will your heart be also'.(Read Luke 12:34). When a couple is dating and in love they want to spend time together as much as possible. We are to love Jesus too and want to spend time with him. How do you truly get to know someone unless you spend time with them. It is that way with friends. If you want to be a friend you have to show yourself friendly, the saying goes. You do not get to know your friend on an intimate level unless you share time together.

God is like that. He wants you to get to know him and have knowledge of his word, The Bible. The Bible is our guidebook for life. It is  our instruction manual so to speak. When we get a  new car we have a manual to show us all about it. Well the Bible is the manual to help us know about Jesus and to give us encouragement to get through the joys and sorrows of life.

Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' (Matthew 22:37)

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for loving us even when we ignore you and 'put you on the shelf' so to speak. Give us a hunger for the word of God and help us not be distracted by other things before we spend time at you. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Friday, January 7, 2011

DON'T LASH BACK

In life it is easy when someone does something ugly to get mad and get them back. That is not what God wants us to do. In Romans 12:21 it says, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." "But wait, you do not understand. This person said bad things about me behind my back, lied to the boss about me, and  hurt me." It can be a variety of things. God does not want us to wish evil on people or seek revenge. Instead he wants us to love them despite their ugliness to you. At times depending on the situation this can be difficult to do.

This person who hurt you may be a friend, family member, neighbor, co-worker, or total stranger.(This could even apply to evil tyrannical rulers who do not listen to the people.) Still God does not get much glory and your witness is ruined if you start to be mean and lash back. That is human nature to act like that. God's nature is to forgive even when the person does not deserve it and to just move on. A friend of mine used to say, 'blow it off'. Good advice. Showing love might put lawyers out of business because you give up your right to get back for a wrong suffered. The thing to do is to pray.

Proverbs 24:17 says " do not rejoice when your enemy falls. And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles." Now that takes a walk of faith and God's help to not say something like, 'well hey he deserves exactly what he is getting." Another good verse is Job 31:29-30 (New Living Translation) which says "Have I ever rejoiced when disaster struck my enemies, or become excited when harm came their way? No, I have never sinned by cursing anyone or by asking for revenge."

If you have never had this happen to you then be thankful but when a person says mean things about you behind your back you somehow may want to set the record straight. All you will do is dig your hole deeper. It is best to ask God to help you and let it go.

PRAYER: Father today if anyone reading this has issues with someone and they feel they are justified to hold on to a grudge help them see it does not do any good and only causes the division to widen deeper. The only person who is happy is Satan because he keeps anger in the heart of the offended one. Help this person to move on and let go and pray for the right attitude and spirit. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

WHERE ARE YOU STEPPING?

Did you make a New Years resolution? I find it a nice way to have a fresh start on something you need to do. What about spending more time with God? How do you do that you might say? Purpose in your heart to lead a life that pleases him. Walk with the Lord daily and seek to get closer to him through Bible study and prayer.

The Bible says 'the steps of a good man are ordered by God."(Psalm 37:23) Are you steps leading you down the right path or away from the Lord? In Proverbs 2:20 it says,"Follow the steps of the godly instead, and stay on the right path." Sort of like in the Wizard of Oz with the yellow brick road. Dorothy,Toto and her 3 companions were told to 'follow the yellow brick' road to get to Oz. If they got off of it they would not get to Emerald City. Likewise we have to stay on God's highway to get to his heavenly kingdom which is far better than the land of Oz in the movie.

Psalm 25:4-7 says,"Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD."

PRAYER: Father help those who may be reading this who need direction and help for staying on your path. In Jesus Name, Amen!

THE WOW FACTOR

Sent out late due to being delayed in Washington DC and having no WI fi connection.

Who doesn't love looking at beautiful homes and imagining what it would be like to live in one? I am referring to the type of home that makes you say 'wow' when you pull up in the driveway. Now I am not trying to teach you to break one of the ten commandments that says  'thou shall not covet thy neighbors house' (See Exodus 20:17), but I know we can ooh and  aah over these magnificent showplaces. Some of you reading this may be blessed to live in an extraordinary home that is the kind you would see featured in Better Homes and Gardens. God has truly blessed you.
I do not want you to be ungrateful for the home you do have as many are homeless in our country. Most Americans live better than the rest of the world even if their 'castle'  is a small apartment or a mobile home. Be thankful for what God has given you and be content.(See Philippians 4:11 and Hebrews 13:5).Do not be jealous of others. Do not compare yourself to others either.

The ultimate best home is going to be our heavenly mansion. I heard a sermon once about tithing and the chaplain was  telling a fictional account of  how a person complained when he got to heaven and found out his home was tiny. God said, 'well you did not send up enough money for us to build it any bigger' referring to tithing. That makes you think, although I am not sure that is how it works. The Bible does mention in several places about our mansion in glory and speaks of streets of gold. It is pretty exciting to think about. Wouldn't you say that is the real 'wow' factor?

However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"--(1 Corinthians 2:9).

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for blessing us with a place to lie down and sleep at night. Help us to never be envious of others. Thank you Lord for the heavenly mansion that awaits all of us who have asked Jesus into our hearts. In Jesus name amen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xwzItqYmII

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

JOY

JOY

The definition of Joy is 'feeling of great happiness or pleasure.'  Joy
is mentioned many times in the Bible. What does it mean to have the kind of
joy that the Bible speaks of?

1 Peter 1:8 says ' though you have not seen him you love him, though you
do not now see him you believe in him. You believe in him and rejoice with
joy that is inexpressible and full of glory.'

When you are walking with God and following his commandments and seeking
to please him it is easier to have joy. When you start focusing on your
troubles the enemy can quickly get your mind off of Christ and off of praise
and worship. If you don't feel joyful remember that joy is not always based
on feelings. If you have trouble 'feeling' joy I suggest listening to some
praise music or reading a Psalm or two.  Perhaps sit down and make a list of
things you are thankful for.  

We are to have 'joy unspeakable and full of glory.'  Let the joy of the
Lord be your strength.  (See Nehemiah 8-9).Do not allow someone else to
steal your joy. Purpose in your heart to be joyful.

PRAYER: There may be those reading this who have reason humanly to feel less
than joyful.  I pray you will restore to them the joy of their salvation and
sustain them and get them through whatever is dragging them down. (Psalm
51:12) In Jesus name, amen!

Monday, January 3, 2011

OUR SURE FOUNDATION

 
There is a Christian hymn that says "on Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand." What exactly does this mean? Here in Huntsville a new hotel is being built downtown. A couple weeks into the construction process they had to stop because a sink hole was found in the ground. Had they proceeded without making the necessary corrections once the hotel was built it may have collapsed into this hole. It was not on a firm foundation. 

Our life in Christ is much like that. Christ is the solid rock and as long we we are firmly with him doing his will and following him we will be able to deal with the 'sinkholes'  in life. These sinkholes will come. No one is exempt. If we are firmly grounded in Christ we will be able to stand up under trials and not cave in.

1 Corinthians 3:11 says, "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid,which is Jesus Christ."  Matthew 7:24-27 says " Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

So what will it be for you. Do you choose solid rock or sand?

PRAYER: Dear Lord help those people reading this who have not made the Lord their solid rock. Help them turn to you and stand firmly on the 'solid rock' . In Jesus name,amen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsgwfliQoqg

Sunday, January 2, 2011

KEEP TRYING

When we were small all of our parents probably tried to encourage us and instill the 'don't quit'  and 'never give up' attitudes in us. I know I did this with our two sons and hopefully it has paid off.  Sometimes we try something in life and it does not work out so you may say to yourself, " this must not be what God has for me."  But if you have a dream and want something sometimes you just have to keep on. There have been famous personalities who were told they would not amount to anything and had they listened our world would not be the same as they would not have achieved the greatness they did.

Lucille Ball was one that was told she had not acting talent. Clint Eastwood was fired from a TV series called 'Riverboat"  because his Adam's apple was too big. Back in 1927 Walt Disney was told his 'Mickey Mouse' character would never work. Director Steven Spielberg did not get into UCLA film school because of his poor grades. Albert Einstein was told by one of his teachers he would never amount to anything. Even though Thomas Edison held 1093 patents for his inventions which we use daily he had several failures too.

When I was in high school I really wanted to be a class officer. I tried both my freshman and sophomore years. Neither year did I make it. This was very humiliating. My best friend encouraged me to try again my junior year, and I did, and I was elected and re-elected my senior year to the position of Class Treasurer. Right now I am really wanting to be a community columnist for the local paper in Huntsville but for the 2nd  or 3rd year was not selected. Do I quit? Not if I really want it. I just try again next October when the contest for 2012 opens and write my two articles to enter and wait. Maybe God has another plan for me right now. Another door will open.

Is there something in your life you want and are about to give up on? Is anyone discouraging you from your dream? Do not let people tell you that you are too old, not enough experience, and the rest of the ways people may discourage you. Instead if you feel in your heart you want to try for something why not just go ahead with it. Do not give up.

Some verses to help you stay encouraged follow. Philippians 4:13 says "I can do all things through him who gives me strength." Revelation 3:8 says "I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me." And finally Psalm 118:6 says "The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" So I encourage you to keep on trying. If you fail at something just like famous inventors who mess up the first time, just keep at it. Keep your focus on God and do not talk yourself into being a failure.

PRAYER: Father encourage those people who have a dream to keep on dreaming and planning and to not give up or lose hope. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

WELCOME TO A BRAND NEW YEAR

Hallelujah, a brand new year is ahead of us!! A year to start things and finish things. A year to look forward to daily blessings and be a blessing to others. A year of new beginnings and new challenges. A year to mend fences with those who you may have a grudge against. A year to move on and try new things. It is exciting. A year to wake up each day and say 'this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!'(Psalm 118:24). We all have a good deal to look forward to. A year to have a positive attitude. What will 2011 have in store? I always love the New Year. It is a time to look forward to what is ahead and take stock of what we need to change.

Isaiah 43:19 is a great verse for the New Year. It says, "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." This is a time you can let go of things that are keeping you from being closer to God and start new habits to get you nearer to the Lord. Remember when we knowingly do things that make the Lord sad we  only give the devil a foothold. Human nature wants our own way but we should seek God's way.

Why not start 2011 by reading Psalm 1 since it is day 1? And do not forget to pray daily and never give up. God is there for you when others run out. Happy New Year!

PRAYER: Dear Lord convict us in 2011 of those things in our lives that displease you. Help each of us Lord to want to be closer to you and make it a priority in this new year you have given us. Help us number our days so we use them wisely. We know all we have is from you. Thank you for family and friends. Help us never forget our blessings. In Jesus Name. Amen.