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, February 28, 2011

TOP MODEL FOR JESUS

How many of us get up in the morning and spent countless time in front of a mirror to make ourselves presentable to the outside world? I have heard the statistics for how much money this countrys' women spend on makeup and it is up there in the billions as I recall. So we have to keep the makeup industry in survival mode, right? "We are just doing our part for the economy so what is wrong with that?"

Our beauty should be on the inside. We are not to be judging someone because of their outward appearance. So many spend so much time to try to impress others or to fit the worlds' image of what we think is right. In 1 Peter 3:3-4 says "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight." Now I am not giving us the green light to get lazy, overweight and sloppy for God wants us to take care of our temple to glorify him, but he does not want us to obsess over any area of life. Stay fit for God's kingdom not for your self and bring glory to Him in the choices you make as well as in your appearance.

When you are getting ready to go somewhere make sure your clothes do not cause those around you to lust as well. I am not saying to dress in a cape and not show anything but use moderation and think about why you are wearing a certain thing and women, realize you may cause men in your office temptation by your clothing choices. Who are you dressing for anyway and why?

Not everyone can afford the latest styles and why does it matter anyway? That is fitting into the worlds' mold. We are not to be conformed to the world it says in Romans 12:1-2 but we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

In 1st Samuel 16:7 it says "But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

So be excellent for God and be his 'top model' by modeling a tremendous life in the world around you. Do not worry about fitting in with the latest trends or trying to be cool but ask yourself if you are being his representative where he has placed you in life.

PRAYER: Dear Lord help us today to not worry about what we are to wear as it says in Matthew 6:25 but help us put our efforts and focus on being conformed to your image. Help the choices we make when we are getting dressed bring honor and glory to the kingdom of God. In Jesus Name Amen!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

WOW ARE WE BLESSED

If you live in the United States, which probably a majority of the readers of this blog do, then you are truly blessed. There is no other place like it currently. Even our 'poor' are not poor like those in third world nations. Most people here have some means to get all sorts of care be it food, clothing, clean water, or medical attention. It is from the Lord these blessings come. "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord."(Psalm 33:12).

Here is a brief list of some of the things we have some of us may take for granted. Food in abundance, hot water, warm homes in winter, cool homes in summer, flush toilets, place to live, freedom, telephones, access to computers at home or library, free libraries, car to drive, bicycle to ride, safety from foreign attacks, several pairs of shoes, more clothes than we ever wear, friends, good families, education, access to medical care, money to spend, leisure time, television, refrigerators to keep food fresh, clean running drinking water,no guards walking around neighborhoods, travel opportunities, abundant natural resources, city parks to enjoy, cameras to snap multitudes of pictures, ability to read our Bible in public, eyeglasses if we need to see, wheelchairs for disabled people, books to read, and so much more. You can see we are truly blessed. Ephesians 1:3 says "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings:" 
Psalm 68:19 says "what a glorious Lord! He who daily bears our burdens also gives us our salvation."   It is the blessing of the Lord that man gets wealth. (See Proverbs 10:22). God has blessed us because for years we acknowledged him and obeyed his commands. Our nation"one nation under God" is starting to stray. If we do not keep his laws he will not continue to bless. Something to think about.

PRAYER: Dear Lord thank you for all you have given to us. We do not say thank you enough. Forgive us for taking things for granted. Help us to look around each day for someone to bless. In Jesus name,amen!  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

NO WORRIES, IT'S ALL GOOD, IT'S NOT THAT DEEP

 
No worries. Wow that is nice to say but do we really have no worries? And how do you stop worrying? Worrying does nothing but continue to make a problem seem worse. Focus on good things and trust in God is the best solution.
 

Worry does not change anything and it only makes you not be able to fully enjoy your life. 1 Peter 5:7 says "cast all your care on him for he cares for you."  Are you able to fully trust God with the situations in your life? Some things you just have to let go. Reasoning and fretting only add to your distress and do not change things. Back to the good old standby, that being, getting on your knees in prayer. The Bible says to "Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks,for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).  If we practice thinking on good things (see Philippians 4:8) then we leave little room for problems and concerns. It does require mental discipline to stay focused on the positive. It seems it is easier to be in a negative rut.

You have to make a deliberate effort to cast off bad thoughts. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 it says " We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." To take something captive you 'capture' it like a prisoner and keep it put away or locked up. That is what we should do with fleeting worry thoughts. When a bad worrisome thought comes into your head try to replace it with something positive and cheery. It is not easy and takes training to accomplish this. Capturing thoughts and thinking on 'things above' is a spiritual discipline just like praying and reading the Bible. You can not lead a victorious life for Christ if you are always fretting and not  trusting God.  "Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ"( 1 Corinthians 15:57).

To continually worry robs you of peace which God wants us to have. "in the world you will have much tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). John 14:1 says "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me." The Bible says in Matthew 6:34 " Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." So think in the present. Fabricating 'what if this happens' or 'what if that happens' is wasted energy. Go to God in prayer asking him to help you to achieve peace and set your mind on him and not things you have no control over. Do your part and leave the rest to God. Jeremiah 29:11-13 says "I know the plans I have for you,plans to bring you a hope and a future." 

PRAYER: Thank you Jesus for things you allow in our lives. Some may cause us to want to worry but we know you know the 'big picture'. You know our future so help us to relax and trust you with it. In Jesus name,amen. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

KEEP YOUR LIGHT BULB LIT

Are you a follower of Christ? As it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 " Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." When you ask Jesus to be Lord of your life, your life should change. Some folks may have dramatic testimonies but for most it is a turning away from the old lifestyle where Jesus was not first place in your life. Once he is on the throne of your life,as He should be, do you live for him and honor him? Is the light of Jesus radiating from you or is your light hid under a bushel somewhere? Are you embarrassed to say you are a Christian and think that you should not talk about 'churchy' things in certain settings? Do you do the 'headache prayer' in restaurants where you pray with hand on head nonchalantly hoping no one sees?  Mark 8:38 says "if we are ashamed of  him he will be ashamed of us." Ouch.
 
Matthew 5:16 says for us to "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Do the things you do on a regular basis bring glory to God or shame? Some examples would be the movies you watch, the places you go, the books you read, the music you listen to and the things you believe in or perhaps the company you keep. We are to be his witnesses but we are not to be sucked into things that are not good for us.  God does not expect us to give up the entire secular world but he wants us to be salt and light when we are there and have an impact. After all that is what he did and was criticized for it. Luke 7:34 says "The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!" Bible teacher Joyce Meyer says "we should affect people and don't let them infect you."
 
One way to keep yourself from some questionable activities that perhaps would not bring glory to God or  please Him is to ask yourself  if Jesus were here with me would you take him with you?"  Sort of the thing the "what would Jesus do" movement emphasized. In effect you are taking him, as once you ask Christ into your life he lives in you. Would God want to go see a slasher movie for instance or movies with total nudity and sex scenes? Or would he want to hang out at the bar and get drunk? These things are not being said to condemn but to make you think. We should desire purity in all areas of our lives. We need to be there and be strong in order  to help those weak people who are fallen to get back up again, so to speak. To stay strong and be able to do this we should be knowledgeable of what God's word says. There is so much in there that covers just about every situation in life. And it is true! Skeptics try to tell us otherwise and then even some well meaning believers might say only parts are true or we should only follow the New Testament. To know the Bible you have to pick it up, dust it off and read it.
 
So go out in this hurting world and shine for Jesus!
 
PRAYER: Father I want to be a shining light for you. I know wherever I go you want me to let the light of Jesus shine and illuminate the dark places around me. Forgive me when I only have a glimmer and let me be a spotlight for you. In Jesus Name, Amen!
 
 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

PEACE IN TROUBLED TIMES......GODS' PEACE

Much is going on in our land today. It is enough to make mens' hearts fail for fear. Today I am copying  Psalm 46 because it is a good chapter to give us hope. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.  There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.  Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolation's he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge."

There you have it in a nutshell from the Holy Bible. God will be exalted. He reigns on high. All the trouble in the earth is not greater than what God can handle and get us out of. He has a plan and he is on the throne. He wants us to trust him and have faith and above all to keep praying. Never in my lifetime have I seen the US being threatened from forces within and outside of the country. People are taking sides and fighting and some can not seem to get a grasp that anything really bad is happening. The enemy has blinded a lot of people.  Socialism is on the doorstep and with it comes the lack of freedoms we have enjoyed. But God is not done and he has a plan. Have faith. God is mightier than man and his ways are perfect. He is able to still save us.

PRAYER: Lord thank you for freedom. Thank you for your word the Bible. Lord Jesus we know you are bigger than any situation or any problem in our nation or world right now. Keep us from worrying. For so long we have seen the erosion of values and morals and now it is creeping up on us in a big way. Father forgive us for being complacent and not speaking out for righteousness when we had a chance. Deliver us from evil. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WHAT IS GOING ON?

For anyone following our world news these days there seemingly is much to fear. It is as if Bible prophecy is starting to come to life. We feel protected here in America but we are really not because the enemy has infiltrated our ranks,so to speak ,and is set upon destroying us and our Christian way of life. We do not need to sit around and wring our hands in desperation though. We have the promises of God to sustain us and we still have prayer. Luke 18:1 tells us to "Pray and never give up."  We can never hear 2 Chronicles 7:14 enough and it says "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." I feel we can never hear that verse enough and it needs to be committed to memory and followed. How many of us are complacent and say "God is in control" and "he has a plan" and do nothing but go about our day? This verse says it all and we should do what it says. If we did we might start seeing some changes in our land.

America is truly blessed and evil forces are jealous of our freedom and our way of life and will do whatever it takes to destroy it. There have been forces out there trying to say "we are not a Christian nation" when in fact we truly were founded on the Bible. Evil has crept in and even brainwashed some and desensitized us to sin. Isaiah 5:20 says "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." We call right wrong and wrong right. Prayer is taken away and so are the Ten Commandments. There is no more Biblical standard to run a nation by.

2 Corinthians 4:18 says to us "so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." There is much to fear in the human realm but God wants us to trust him and stay in his word. Proverbs 11:11 says " The good influence of godly citizens causes a city to prosper, but the moral decay of the wicked drives it downhill." Today we tolerate sin and do not call it sin. We call it an alternate lifestyle. There is no standard and we become like a frog in a pot of water where the heat is slowly turned up til the poor frog is dead. That is what we are like here on earth if we do not stay alert. The devil is prowling around seeking whom he may destroy. (See 1 Peter 5:8). Be alert, be on guard, and stay in Gods word. Do not conform to the culture around you but be transformed by the word of God.(See Romans 12:1-2). Proverbs 11:21 says "You can be very sure the evil man will not go unpunished forever. And you can also be very sure God will rescue the children of the godly."

I will end with this verse of hope from Proverbs 3:26 which says "for the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap." Our hope is only in the Lord.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus help us keep our eyes fixed on you. Help us pray for our enemies and those who abuse us and try to tear us apart. Thank you for freedom and thank you for America. In Jesus Name. Amen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2nQALWDStA

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

RICHES WILL NOT SAVE US

 
 
"Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." (John 6:27) .
 
In todays world there is much fear and talk of an economic collapse. Leaders seems to have deaf ears to the people and principles of economic law are not being followed sometimes seemingly intentionally trying to destroy our economy and our way of life. We know God is in charge and it is he who controls the power to get wealth. (See Deuteronomy 8:18). We are not to trust in man but in God. Psalm 62:10 says "Have no faith in the rewards of evil-doing, or in profits wrongly made: if your wealth is increased, do not put your hopes on it." Many today have panic and think maybe they should pull their money from the bank and stick it under their  mattress or perhaps should invest in gold. The answer is not to run and hide everything but to be in prayer and to put faith in God as  he alone can save the nation and save us spiritually.
 
Money is not evil. Some political forces today are trying to say it is ok for people to not work and others to support them. This is wrong for 2 Thessalonians 3:10 says 'Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: "Those unwilling to work will not get to eat."  Christians in this country have always been generous without the government telling them they had to. 1 Timothy 6:10 tells us "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." We are not to love our money or set our hope on it. Proverbs 23:5 reminds us "In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle."
 
All we have is from God and he wants us to bless others with it when we can. When you give you end up being blessed yourself.
 
We are to be giving back to God and doing it cheerfully. 2 Corinthians 9:7 clearly says "You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully." Malachi 3:10 says" Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need." You reap what you sow.
 
I urge you to not worry and to look to God for your strength. There is so much uncertainty in this present day. God is still on the throne.
 
PRAYER: Father God thankyou that we can trust in you and not in our checkbooks. Lord help us share with others what you have blessed us with. Open up the eyes of the leaders in our nation to listen to you Lord and to know you. Lord Jesus we thank you for giving us so much to richly enjoy. Help us not be lazy in our work and help us to not look to the government to save us. Forgive us for times we have taken our blessings for granted. Help us to be good stewards of the wealth you have blessed us with. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Monday, February 21, 2011

HEAR AND DO

Yesterday many of us probably spent the morning in church or attended  on Saturday night. If you did not I am not trying to guilt you but if you did it is my hope you experienced a good message from the pastor and did not fall asleep. That one hour on Sunday is important. Not only is it one of the Ten Commandments which says "remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy" ( Exodus 20:8) but it is more than that. It does little good to sit in a pew for one hour and then go out and live your life with no changes. God wants you to change and grow. Giving him one hour on Sunday is great but your heart should desire a closer walk with him through reading his word and prayer. There is a saying, "going into a church will not make you into a Christian any more than going into a garage will make you into a car."

When you make your list of things 'to do' for the day is daily devotions or 'quiet time" one of them? The Lord does so much for us so we should want to give him time back. When our love for God grows our love for people will grow.  It will be hard to hold a grudge or talk bad about someone if we are studying his word daily and in fellowship. Of course our enemy the devil will do all he can to distract you and keep you away from the Bible for it is in it you have power and victory. 1 Peter 5:8 says "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."

1 Corinthians 1 :18 says "the preaching of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." Being a Christian does not have to be dull and boring. Find a vibrant church that preaches God's word and is alive. Being a Christian is not about religion but is about relationship. Maybe you will even have to change churches or break away from one you went to forever just because your family did. If it is not alive for Christ find one that is!
Has your love for God grown cold? God can help you. Do you want him to be first in your life? He is there. Just call on him. No matter what you have done God is ready to forgive and is waiting for you to come to him in prayer. Jeremiah 33:3 is also affectionately called 'God's phone number' for it says "Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and unsearchable things that you do not know."


PRAYER: Lord Jesus with so much vying for our attention today we know how important it is to stay firmly connected to you and your word. Forces are out there trying to drag us downhill and trying to get us to deny God. Or perhaps trying to get us to just do our Sunday thing but not care to grow in the knowledge of God. Father give me a hunger for you and your word that I have never known. Help me be more than just a 'Sunday Christian."  In Jesus name. Amen.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-oZbBS_OhM

Sunday, February 20, 2011

ZIP THAT LIP

 
Jesus suffered the ultimate torture and betrayal yet his only words were "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." (See Luke 23:34).In Isaiah 53:7 it says "He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth." How many of us could say the same? It is hard to not get the last word or make our point or try to fight back.The best response is no response at all. Human nature wants to get back at someone who has offended or hurt you but 'God's nature' is to 'let it go' and pray for the person. When you are accused wrongly or otherwise,your flesh wants to lash back and defend yourself. God is your defender. Psalm 59:17 says "To you oh my strength I will sing, for God is my defense and the God of my mercy." Give it to him. Matthew 5:44 says to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." It is only with the Holy Spirits' help that this can be done.
 
"The power of life and death is in the tongue." (Proverbs 18:21). Uttering a word in haste or without thinking can end you up in much trouble too. James 1:19 is a excellent verse for all people but especially those that are married. I am surprised it is not read at  marriage ceremonies. It says " This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger."  Giving something over to God is easier than continuing to fester.  Satan loves conflict and he is the author of it so when you offend with your words you only bring glory to the enemy and hurt a person. Proverbs 17:27 says "He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding."
 
"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." (Proverbs 25:11). Let your mouth be under God's control. Use it for blessing, encouraging,kindness, promoting, praising, and thanking and not cussing, ridiculing, gossip, lying, or belittling. Zip that lip and learn the discipline of knowing when to speak and what to say .
 
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)
 
 
PRAYER: Dear Lord my mouth can get me into trouble if I speak before I think. Oh Lord I want to use my mouth to bless others and not cause trouble. Help me know when to speak and what to say and give me the ability to keep my mouth closed when it is not appropriate to add my 'two cents'. Give me wisdom and discernment so I do not have to dig myself out of a hole because of a careless word. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

FREEDOM IN CHRIST

 
Our freedoms in the United States of America are God given. No nation on earth is like this one having liberty and justice for all. But when there is liberty there will be evil forces trying to take it away from us. That is why Christians should be on their knees in prayer for this great land of ours. No other government was founded like ours on Biblical foundations. Those settlers who came over to America came so they could have a Christian society and worship God freely. But we can not take this freedom for granted as little by little forces come in and try to destroy it and educate us a different way.
 
The founders looked to the Bible when making the laws of this land. There is no mistaking when you visit Washington, D.C. that this nation was founded to serve God. Nearly all the monuments say "In God We Trust." But anti God and anti Christian forces have permeated our land in the last century trying to remove God from everything. Prayer and the Ten Commandments were prominent in schools in the 60's when I was growing up. Things were much kinder and gentler then so to speak. But evil is always looking trying to take freedom away and can trick those not informed. In 2 Corinthians 11:14 it says " But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." In 1 Peter 5:8 is says "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." We  have to be on our guard.
 
2 Corinthians 3:17 says "Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom."  There are voices out there today trying to say America is not a Christian nation and  we need to tolerate all religions. When you take God out of society it will fall. Look at examples all around the world. You can not separate being a Christian with caring about your country. We are so blessed in the United States of America and forces are out there trying to take these blessings away. Sometimes we can become complacent when we have things too good and if we do not wake up and do our part for freedom we may one day live in a regime and not a free land. It can happen. We are in spiritual warfare in this country as Satan does not like liberty and freedom and he will try any means and any trickery to destroy it and take us captive.  John 8:32 says "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free."
 
Psalm 33:12 says "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage." We will not continue be blessed if we do not get on our knees and cry out to God to save our land. Some say 'don't talk to me about politics." Well 'politics' is all over the Bible. I have cited some of the verses right here. The citizenry has to be aware of things going on and do more than 'just pray'. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says " if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." May God bless America and heal our land and its' people.
 
PRAYER: Lord wake us up to the freedoms we have that we may lose if we are not on our knees in prayer. Father we thank you for living in such a great land. I thank you that the truth can set us free. Father help me remember to pray for my nation and its' leaders daily. Help me father to pray for freedom and liberty to continue to bless this land. Forgive me Lord if I have ever taken my freedoms for granted. In Jesus Name. Amen.
 
 

Friday, February 18, 2011

MAKE ROOM FOR DADDY

 
Presently I am in a Bible study of the book "No Other Gods" by Kelly Minter. That is where I got the idea for this title on one of the key points in one chapter about 'making room' for God. God is known as our 'daddy', Abba Father. We are to call out to him and run to him and say "Daddy!" Do you feel that way about your heavenly Father? Is he your daddy? Galatians 4:6 says "Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” Abba is an Aramaic word which means "daddy" or "papa".  In Romans 8:15 Paul tells us that we have "received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out Abba, Father." Think about adoption for a moment. That baby is chosen and God chose us!
 
If you have a guest in your home overnight you 'make room' for them. You set aside a special place where they will stay and they are not an inconvenience for you. You are happy to 'make room' for them as they are a special friend. Is God an inconvenience or a burden to you? Is the thought of God way over your head or do you call him your 'daddy'? Think of a daddy loving you and bouncing you on his knee and playing with you. God is supposed to be that type of loving father to us. Some may have not had good relationships with earthly fathers so maybe it is difficult to relate.
 
John 8:37-38 says "I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father." Just like back in the days before Jesus was born there was 'no room' in the inn for Mary to give birth so she ended  up in the manger or stable giving birth to the king of kings, we today do not 'make room' for God in our day or in our week at times. Think what he did for you. He died to set men free yet we continue to ignore him and put him on the shelf. Sometimes we may think we do not need him because we have so much and are so busy that there is little time for 'religion'.
 
Psalm 10:4 says "In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God." When things are going good people tend to forget God and when trouble comes they cry out "Oh God!' Why not cry out to him all the time? Do you set aside time for God each day? This is a way to insure you have 'made room' for time with him. God wants you to make room for him. He is waiting. All you need to do is call out to him.
 
PRAYER: Father you are our daddy. We want to sit at your feet and praise you and worship you. Forgive me for not making room in my day for you and your word. I know I can not truly know you unless I commit to reading the Bible and desire you more than gold. Daddy I need you in my life now and forever. In Jesus Name. Amen.
 
 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

GLAD,SAD or MAD??

You may have lots of reasons to not feel glad today but the Bible says "This is the day the Lord has made we shall rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24) Do not focus on your problems and your fears but make a mental effort to focus on God and good things. Bad stuff will always be there. There may be difficult people in your life weighing you down and causing you trouble or there may be a misunderstanding with someone or a bad situation. We are still to give thanks in all things as well. Yes, it does say that in the Bible.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 says "In all things give thanks for this is the will of Christ Jesus concerning you."  'But wait just a minute God I can not be thankful for bad junk'. Get in a habit of saying 'Lord I do not know why this is happening but I pray you will make stars out of scars.'

We are to try to live at peace with everyone. Hebrews 12:14 says "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord." Romans 12:18 says "Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone." It is a challenge with some people to even feel like talking to them especially if you have been hurt but you see it here that we are to try to be peaceful. God can give you the strength if you only ask him.

Our afflictions are only momentary it says in scripture. 2 Corinthians 4:17 says "For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! " Things happen in life but this too shall pass.

Remember tribulation works patience and is for our good even though it does not seem like it. Romans 5:3 says "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance." "Create in me a clean heart oh God and renew a right spirit within me."(Psalm 51:10).

Try to learn to be quiet even though humanly you have every right in the world to fight back. Ask God for strength to have a calm spirit and whoever in your life is sandpaper give them to the Lord and say " Lord what I am supposed to be learning because of the conflict with this person." Remember you can not change anyone only the Holy Spirit can do that. Keep praying and do not give up.

Romans 8:31 says "If God be for us who can be against us."

PRAYER: Father show me if there is anything in my life that is contributing to the misunderstanding with a person or the problem in my life. Lord God I want to experience your joy 24/7 and delight myself in you. Forgive me for focusing on stuff I can not do anything about. I want to walk with you and I want to be your servant. Help me to have patience with the 'thorns' in my life and show your love even when I do not feel like it. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

REACTING TO UGLY PEOPLE

Are there people in your life that push your buttons? You would truly like to give them a piece of your mind but you know the gift of self control(Galatians 5:23) does not really say that is the right thing to do. These people could be family, friends or strangers. It could be a harsh word or criticism or something like being cut off or tailgated by a rude driver. These little irritations can drive us nuts and unless we focus totally on the Lord and stay in an attitude of prayer we can make matters worse. Fighting back does nothing but add fuel to the fire.
 
Ephesians 4:31-32 says " Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." This means giving up your right to get back at someone or get the last word or react in a negative way. It does no good and in fact can make matters worse.
 
Last night I was blessed to get to see a new movie that is coming out next week. It is called "The Grace Card". (www.thegracecard.com). I do not want to give away the content of the movie and spoil it for you but basically it boils down to a man who held bitterness and a grudge for over 17 years and it flowed over into all areas of his life. It was grace that finally set him free. Basically grace means giving up your right to get back at someone and to give it to God. It is trying to be like God. It is defined as a capacity to accommodate and forgive. Try to see people through Gods' eyes and ask God "Why is this person acting like this" and instead of lashing back in some fashion pray for the person.
 
 Look at Jesus up on the cross being beat to a bloody pulp. He had all the reason in the 'human world' to be angry but instead he said "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34). Remember the real enemy is not the person but the devil who tries to destroy relationships and get people all angry and bent out of shape. Even if the other person is not kind you go ahead and show God's love and let God take care of the rest.
 
Ephesians 4:27 says "for anger gives a foothold to the devil." Finally watch what you say and how your react. Colossians 4:6 says " Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."
 
 
 
PRAYER: Dear Lord thank you for situations you put in our life to allow us to practice grace skills. No matter if it is someone we know or a stranger we thank you for helping us ahead of time to know how to respond. Help us Father to see hurting people through your eyes Lord and show compassion. Lord Help me to love people like you do and give me the ability to love and show grace even when humanly I do not feel up to it. In Jesus Name. Amen.
 
Footnote..I have added a nice praise song to help you focus on God.
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

DEAD TREES AND OTHER THINGS

I heard a sermon this past Sunday where an illustration was given of a dead tree and compared it to we in the body of Christ. Picture for a moment a dead lifeless tree in winter. Dormant, no leaves, no blooms. Just a big piece of wood sticking up out of the ground. It is not truly dead but lying dormant for the winter months waiting to burst forth again in spring. Christians can be kind of like that tree. We can sit dormant for a long time and not 'bloom' at all for the Lord. We would not look any different than any other person and have no real value other than taking up space waiting for spring so we can bloom and bud. It should not be like that. We need to remain alive and vibrant year round so we can be effective for the Lord. Sure times in life come that can make us feel lifeless but that is where we need to stay connected to the 'vine' to get the nourishment we need.

Maybe we need a little nourishment in order to start growing. This fertilizer is the word of God, worship and fellowship. By feeding our spirits with Gods' word and listening to good praise music and attending church or Bible study our spirits can grow and soar and come to life!

Ephesians 2:1-2 says "Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world." The entire second chapter of Ephesians is worth reading. Grab a cup of java and sit down and feast on the word. Stay connected to the vine in order to grow.Let me end with this wonderful word from the book of John. John 15:1-5 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." Go out and bloom for the Lord!!

PRAYER: Father recharge our spirits. Awaken us to those around us who need the light of Jesus in their lives. Keep us growing for you. Forgive us for when we have coasted through life and not given you any time and thus causing our spirits to shrink and our Christian life to be stagnant and dormant. I want to be alive for you Lord. In Jesus Name. Amen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_ZAN2HKS4c
(Devotion idea today came from sermon by Rev. Jimmy Aycock of Asbury UMC, Madison, AL)

Monday, February 14, 2011

FRIEND OR FOE?

Do you love your friends? Would you do anything for them? Have you ever been mistreated? Do certain people humanly pester you or have you been guilty of pestering someone? If you want to be a friend you need to show yourself friendly. Friendship makes time for their friends. They listen to them and are there for them.

Some of us have lost friends whether it be to death, moving away, misunderstandings, or growing apart. It hurts no matter how it happens, I know because it has happened to me in all four categories. Sometimes friends can do things to make you feel left out and that hurts too. But when you find a true friend it is precious. Some married couples are blessed to call their spouse their best friend and the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship too is pretty special when you can call that person your best friend.  Think about a best friend for a moment. You can tell them anything. They will not ridicule you or put you down. They try to encourage you when you have a new endeavor in your life. They just like to hang out with you. They make time for you and want to be with you. They have an understanding heart and are ready to forgive you. They are there to laugh with you or to be a shoulder to cry on.

With the new age of social networking people seem to  have tons of  "friends" but how many of our Facebook friends would stick closer than a brother and be there through thick or thin? Proverbs 18:24 says "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Some food for thought.

In Moms in Touch throughout the years we have prayed for our children to have the kind of friends who will lift them up instead of pulling them down. Proverbs 13:20 says " He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." 1 Corinthians 15:33 says "Evil company corrupts good habits."  It only takes one bad friend to change the course of a persons' life so it is important who we associate with.This does not mean not to be kind to bad folks but do not get sucked down into the pit with them or it may be hard to get back out. Proverbs 22:24-25 says "Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared."

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends". (John 15:13). Jesus did this for us on the cross. He is our ultimate friend. We think of this scenario on the battlefield where soldiers have given their lives for our country and to save their fellow soldiers. What a gift!

Faithful are the wounds of a friend.(See Proverbs 27:6). Friends sometimes tell you things that hurt but you want them to be honest. It is very hard to win an offended friend back. Proverbs 18:19 says "An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars." For anyone who has gone through this they will know it is true. Forgiveness is the key. Do not harbor grudges. It does no good.

Do you have true friends or superficial friends?  Do you have someone you can share anything with? They are there to share your joys and your sorrows. To comfort if needed and to celebrate with you when appropriate. It could be a boyfriend or girlfriend, husband and wife or two friends. God is our best friend. He is there when others betray you and run out. He is ready to receive you with open arms. He is there when others say they do not have time for you. God is our 24 hour friend. Hallelujah!

What kind of friend are you?

PRAYER: Father one of the best gifts ever is a great and true friend. We thank you for the friends you have placed in our lives throughout the years. We thank you for the things we learn from our friends and the ways they have brought joy to our lives. Help me be a good friend to those you have put in my life. In Jesus Name. Amen.


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

Sunday, February 13, 2011

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE

Tomorrow is Valentines Day. For some they may say it is just a Hallmark holiday but never the less it makes us think about love and what the word really means. John 13:34-35 says "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples." If we claim to know Jesus then we need to show love to others.

Now Valentines Day is thought to me more for romantic love but it is a good time to think about what the word really means. Jesus has commanded us to 'love one another' and this type love is sacrificial love that puts the other one first. Love is to be about the other person and thinking about them first. This is easy to do when you are 'in love' but needs to continue into marriage and in friendships as well. Do not always wait for other person to do something kind.

Love is not just romantic and full of wonderful feelings but it is the thing we need in relationships to make life livable. 1 Corinthians 13 is often used at weddings and it is good for the new bride and groom to commit to memory but it is good for other types of relationships as well. In verses 4-6 of this chapter it reads as follows, " Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." Love is not just a feeling, although that part is important in the dating relationship as we all know. Love continues beyond feelings and for some you will need to show love when you do not feel like it. Love is commitment.

For those married people on Valentines Day it may be easy to overlook this holiday saying it is too commercial or you can perhaps use this as a time to renew your wedding vows to each other or just honor the other person that day in some special way.

Love thinks of other person. Love forgives and forgets. Love does not care about the others faults but loves them anyway. Love is caring.Love is kind. Love attempts to understand the other person. Love shows compassion and grace.Love is for better or for worse. Love looks for the good in others. Love looks for ways to share and give and put the other person first.Love is not rude. Love likes to laugh and have fun. To love is to enjoy someones company. Love sacrifices what he wants for what the other person wants and seeks to please them.

A real follower of Christ shows love to others. 1 John 4:7 says," Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God."

PRAYER: Father we love you and we want to show your love to others. Thank you for those who have a special person in their life to love. We thank you for bringing these special people into our lives. Help me show love to my significant other whether married or single. I thank you for bringing them into my life. For those without a significant other thank you Lord for the love I can show for all those persons you have put in my life. In Jesus Name. Amen.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzfPHnoT0-0

Saturday, February 12, 2011

UNLOAD THAT BURDEN

Are you carrying around a thought, a mental load, cares and worries, reasoning, and things you can do nothing about? Mulling over situations does nothing to profit you nor does it change things. We fabricate things in our mind and wonder about outcomes and this does no good as well. This is why we need to focus on good things and train and discipline our mind to let go of junk we can not do anything about and concentrate on what is good and worthy. The mind is a battlefield where thoughts can cause us to be victorious or trip us up and keep us defeated. Thoughts can lift you up or tear you down. They can bring happiness or gloom. Your outlook on life has to be positive to keep your thoughts uplifted. When you get up each day to 'seize the day', consciously make yourself have good thoughts and not dwell on concerns or negatives. There was a movie out where one of the characters said to 'think happy thoughts'. That is good advice.

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. "  Things we think about and things we say are two areas where not enough can be written about them. Words and thoughts can make us or break us. The enemy, Satan, wants you to sit and fret and ponder as it takes your focus off God. John 10:10 says that "the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy" and that is exactly what his mission is. To steal your joy, kill  your dreams and happiness and destroy you as a person. God is not the originator of worry. 1 Peter 5:7 says to "Cast all your care on him for he cares for you."

If you are having difficulty thinking on 'things above' then might I suggest get your Bible and open it to Psalms and start reading. Soon your mind will be focused on Christ and not stuff down here on earth you can not do anything about. 1 Corinthians 14:33 says "God is not the author of confusion". Are you confused, mixed up,trying to figure things out in your head? Give these things to God before it causes you undue anguish and mental torment.

Persevere, stay encouraged, hang in there and run your race to win. Keep focused on God and his glory and let him take your burdens and let the joy of the Lord be your strength and carry you through. I love to run so it is a good word picture what it says in Hebrews 12:1-2 and that is "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Be blessed today and be a blessing.

PRAYER: Lord God I thank you that you do not want us to fret over things we have no control over. Forgive me for the times I have done this and taken my mind off you and your word. I want to be conformed to your image Lord in the things I say and do. Help me stay on the path you have set for me to walk. Give me the ability to let go of past problems or future concerns and live for today. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Friday, February 11, 2011

REPRESENTATIVE FOR JESUS

 
It has been my privilege to spend time in our Nations' Capitol these past two years visiting offices of our Representatives. These men and women are elected to represent us and our viewpoints when voting for legislation. As we have seen in past year they do not always do this very well and go their own way. They are supposed to 'represent' us thus the name representative. We call them our Congress and our Senate.
 
 In the body of Christ we are to be His Representatives representing Jesus to the world around us. We are his ambassadors. How are you doing? Do you represent the kingdom of God in a good way or do you shame the Lord? Ambassadors are supposed to put on a good face and represent in a good way. They are to be the person who could represent what the country stands for and not bring shame upon it.
 
Lets say you are in a foreign country and someone finds out you are an American. Would your actions and appearance represent the United States like you wanted to or would you embarrass your nation? This is something to think about in the kingdom of God. There is a saying, "If you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?"
 
Some things to think about would be when you drive do you speed and cut people off? Is your attire befitting of a Christian? For instance for ladies do you dress modestly with nothing too short, too low cut, too tight or too sheer? Do  you let people go in front of you in line occasionally? Is your language befitting of a believer in the Lord? When it comes to entertainment choices do you use discernment of what you allow in your mind because remember Jesus is in you and he has to sit through whatever you sit through. Are you any different than those around you? We are to mingle with non believers and not stay in a holy huddle but we do not go purposely to places we know would not please God.
 
2 Corinthians 5:20 says "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." 1 Peter 2:9 says "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." Be a light for his kingdom wherever you go in the world. We are called out of darkness to light up this world for Jesus. Go do your job and shine for Jesus today!!
 
PRAYER: Lord today I want to be your representative wherever I go. Help me to not act haughty but to be humble and represent the body of Christ in a good way. Let the things I do and say bring glory to you and your kingdom. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

BUSYNESS AND BUSY BODIES

 
Neither one of the above are good. Being too busy makes you miss out on lots in life. If you are unable to say no and constantly on the go then it can squeeze out important things. Someone told me once that an acronym for the word busy could be "Being Under Satan's Yoke." Ouch! Being too busy robs you of peace. God wants us to have peace. John 14:7 says "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Make wise choices to bring peace. Pray for the ability to have good time management skills. Do not take on every little thing that sounds good. Even for those who stay home you can get over committed and frazzled even with seemingly good things. Some busyness may be unpreventable when it comes to being in a high pressure job unless you make wise use of your breaks and insure you are getting out of office and walking or taking that coffee break. Leave when it is time to leave and do not become a workaholic. For one, if you are married, workaholism can hurt marriages if you are constantly feeling things can not get done if you do not stay and do them. What about your home?Now of course as a Christian you want to work heartily (Colossians 3:23) as they Lord says to work and not be lazy but you do not have to go overboard either. There is a fine line.
 
Now busybodies, that is another whole issue probably harder for women to combat than men just because of our nature. Women seem to like to 'know' things. That is probably why all the daytime talk shows are on and People magazine flies off the shelves. But as a Christian we really have to discipline ourselves to not be carried away or enticed by the things of the world that do not really matter. In 2 Timothy 3:6 there is a verse that talks about leading "silly women' astray. Now I am not sure exactly it applies here but I always feel women can tend to be more gullible so we have to be on our guard. Another name for a busy body is someone who sticks their nose where it does not belong or offers their opinion when it is not requested. Being nosey is not appealing to anyone and can be quite irritating. The new Facebook generation has opened up the door through the 'wall" to sometimes be overly curious into people's lives. This is an area that takes self control to not obsess over stuff on there.  There is a time to know things and a time to let things go and forget about it. Now there is a difference in showing concern for someone and asking questions about how their family is doing just to show interest and then prying into their life for every detail.
 
Patience comes into play on both the issues of busyness and busy bodies. Be patient and relax and try to not orchestrate your day into some sort of marathon. Above all make time to take care of your spiritual and physical self in your day for your over all well being. Patience in the human relation area would be waiting for God to do things and not always opening your mouth and spouting off. Proverbs 10:19 says "Don't talk so much. You keep putting your foot in your mouth. Be sensible and turn off the flow." Now that verse is a clear word picture.  Proverbs 15:23 says "A man has joy in an apt answer, And how delightful is a timely word! "  If you are a parent of a married child for sure you may have an opinion about something but once they married you need to learn to let go and try to zip the lip. Give your concerns to God and then try to be patient and wait for the answer. Believe me it is not easy and takes discipline to accomplish. Sometimes speaking concerns can backfire and may take many weeks to heal and forgive. In Proverbs 18:21 it says "Those who love to talk will suffer the consequences. Men have died for saying the wrong thing!" How true is that? Proverbs 15:28 says that a "good man thinks before he speaks". Oh how we all could benefit from being patient and thinking before opening our mouths. Once those words are 'out there' they are hard to get back and the damage is done and misunderstandings start. Finally self control, which is one of the fruits of the spirit,(see Galatians 5:22-23) means to control what we say too. Proverbs 13:3 says "Self-control means controlling the tongue! A quick retort can ruin everything." When you feel like saying something or giving your "two cents" worth ask God if you really should and sit back and wait for his answer. Sometimes it is better to just not say anything.
 
PRAYER: Today father I need your help to control my tongue. When I feel a 'meddling spirit' coming upon me with whomever be it friends or family help me to stop and think about what I am about to do. Help me control the words that come out of my mouth. Also Lord help me today to say no to things that will over commit me and help me to focus on the tasks you have given me to do. I want to be guided by your spirit in all the things I say and do and give you the praise and glory. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

NO MIDDLE MEN

Where do you stand with God? Are you firmly in his camp and his loyal soldier? Or are you somewhere out there sitting on the fence not truly dedicated to your task of serving him and serving his kingdom? Are you a Christian in name only? Something to think about.
 
We are either for God or we are against God. We are not to be a Sunday Christian or a fox hole Christian. God wants our total allegiance. You must not worship other gods it says in scripture. (See Exodus 20:3) Do not call on him just when you need something. Talk to God all the time. He is your friend. If you have earthly friends you want to hang out with them. God is the ultimate friend and he wants to hang out with you too.
 
Deuteronomy 6:5 says we are to "Love him with all our heart." Not part of it but all of it. Do you truly love Jesus? Or do you just call on him when something is going wrong or take him off the shelf at Easter and Christmas because it is the right thing to do?
 
And in loving him do you truly put him first and want to serve him? Examine your heart on this one. In Revelation 3:16 it says' Be either hot or cold  but because you are lukewarm I will spit you out of my mouth."  So are you lukewarm for God? Think of lukewarm food. If we were to get lukewarm food in a restaurant we would demand it be sent back and bring back a plate of hot food. Lukewarm is just not appealing. No one wants lukewarm bathwater or lukewarm coffee. Lukewarm just does not cut it.
 
Do not cry out to God just in trouble and then expect him to be a genie in a bottle. He is your 24/7 God and is there for you in times of joy and in times of sadness. He is your round the clock repair service for broken hearts, wounded spirits, and any condition you have. He is Almighty, Bondage breaker, Counselor, Deliver, Eternal, Forever, Great, Highest, Indescribable, Justified, King, Never tiring, Omnipotent, Powerful, Radiant,Supreme, Thoughtful, Unending, Victorious,and Wonderful. Start today and make Jesus Lord of your life and Lord of your day.
 
Proverbs 2:1-6 says " My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding."
 
Make your schedule and allow time for a 'coffee date' with God. He is your forever friend.
 
PRAYER: Lord forgive me for when I put you on the shelf. I want to spend more time with you. Give me the ability to discipline myself to get into your word and study it. You are my best friend Lord so help me act like it and spend time with you. I am sorry Lord that I have not wanted to hang out with you. I will do better. In Jesus Name. Amen.
 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

HERE COME DA JUDGE

Excuse the poor English, but I can remember a while back hearing this expression used either by the late comic Flip Wilson or on Rowan and Martins 'Laugh In' sketch. Talk about dating myself. My younger readers are going, "Say what?" Try not to be that judge because our assignment in life is not to pick people apart and criticize them.  But how many of us tend to judge something by sight without knowing the whole story? If we look at people through the eyes of Christ it will be easier to not condemn them or find fault.  Let God do the judging and you do the loving. 

Is there anyone who has not at one time or other looked at someone and formed an opinion about them without knowing 'their story' or situation? Unless you were raised in a perfect atmosphere then it has probably happened. Example of one would be a cell phone ringing in church and the person whose it was has no clue it is their phone ringing  because they never bring it in church with them.It is a total accident. Perhaps looking at someone who is overweight and not realizing they maybe have an illness or injury  that prevents them from working out. It is easy to form opinions such as looking at people with tattoos and thinking they are all bad which we know is not the case.  In John 7:24 it says ,"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." Whether getting a tattoo is right or wrong is not our problem. What God wants from us is to love and let go of a judgmental attitude. 

 Matthew 7:1 says to "Judge not less you be judged." Romans 14:2 reads, "Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him." Just like the woman caught in adultery where people were saying to stone her and Jesus said "Go and sin no more."  (See John 8:1-11). We can fall into a trap of being a self righteous judge acting like we are better because we do not do such and such or go to this place or that place. Be on your guard against this. Let God convict people of sin and wrong. You do not need to condemn them.

One of my favorite verses dealing with judgmental attitudes is Matthew 7:3 which says ""And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own?" Another catchy way to illustrate this is "why worry about the toothpick in your friends eye when you have a telephone pole in your own eye?"

"We all have sinned and fallen short of Gods' glory" it says in Romans 3:23. Our enemy the devil likes us to keeping judging as doing it separates us from God and makes us have condemning spirits and not loving ones. Be aware if you are falling into the trap of doing this and ask for God to deliver you from it. We are will stand before God's judgment seat so let us let him do the judging. (See 2 Corinthians 5:10).

PRAYER: Father help us look at all people through your eyes and not from the eyes of condemnation. We know it is not our job to pick people apart. Give us the grace to show love and kindness to even those we may not see eye to eye with. Give us Christian love for those around us. Help us let you be the judge and we be your hands and feet in this world. In Jesus Name. Amen!

Monday, February 7, 2011

RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS

 
Back in the 60's the singing group 'The Carpenters' sang a hit tune "Rainy Days and Mondays" and it went on to say 'they always get me down'. Do they have to get you down? Whatever is causing you to be in slump can be taken care of. You do not have to be down in a pit forever. Even just thinking right will be half the battle for leaning towards waking up with the 'blues'. When you intentionally think on things that are good and pleasant and not dwell on 'what ifs' and your problems then things will be much better. Focus on what you have to be grateful for because, for those of us living in America, right there is one big thank you!
 
I will not disregard the fact that there are some out there who indeed need a physicians care for clinical depression. If you feel that is you then by all means go seek medical attention but on the average many folks wake up forlorn and a little out of it every now and then. Keep your mind set on things that will build up and not tear down. Make a deliberate effort to be kind and positive. The cares of the world will 'choke' the word of God so you have to try to keep looking to Jesus for your strength. Mark 4:19 says, "And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful." Things do not make you happy but living for the Lord and helping others will.
 
Psalm 46:1 says "God is our refuge and strength a very present help in time of trouble." Whatever you are going through God does care and he is there for you. Make your life count and know that God is there as your biggest cheerleader.  In Acts 20:24 it says,"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."
 
PRAYER: Thanks Lord for another day you have given me to impact the world around me. Help me to smile at others and be at peace in all sorts of situations. Give me your love for all the people you place in my path that I might be your witness. Take away any self centered attitude and help me be Christ centered. In Jesus Name, Amen!
 
 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

SUPERBOWL SUNDAY

 
Today is the big day for football fans and fans of cool commercials, some even with a message such as last years' Tim Tebow pro life ad. This is the day once a year big parties are held, bets are made, tons of food is consumed, and people gather round to cheer their favorite team on or just wait for the commercials to air. Even churches at one time got in on the action by hosting 'Super Bowl Sundays' and holding chili cook offs or other events around this big sports holiday of sorts. I was not aware til I started to write this daily blog that the NFL had 'pulled the plug' on churches hosting Super Bowl parties back in 2008 as it said it was a violation of copyright law to play the game on their big screen TVs.(Washington Post, 1 Feb 08,Jacqueline Salmon). Bars still aired the game on their big TVs so it seems to not really make sense. Something in the copyright rules exempted sports bars. Doesn't this just smack of discrimination against the church once again? Apparently if you have a smaller screen then it is allowed but other than that you must host parties in your home.  I am not sure if the law has been reversed as the Rutherford Institute had planned legal action citing discrimination against the churches and religious liberty issues. I hope in fact today if the law was reversed and found to be unfair then there are many churches in the US hosting parties as it is a great outreach tool to bring in the unchurched and unsaved in a non threatening way. I have been to a few and they are lots of fun.
 
We know the body of Christ is under attack. Today their are Christian legal groups defending the rights of students to pray in school, the rights of churches to meet in public places and on the list goes. There are always forces out there that want to snuff out the word of God as it is powerful. There are good forces  then there are forces led by the enemy trying to take away religious liberties. Philippians 3:18-19 says,"For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things." The Christians enemy are not the human forces trying to legislate against anything Christian but are something else. Ephesians 6:12 says "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." 2 Corinthians 3:17 says "Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom." Many cases pending  today where people have to defend their beliefs because they are being trampled upon and threatened even by our own government. Our Constitution protects religious freedoms.  
 
Be thankful for the rights we have to assemble under the name of Christ in this country. In many countries of the world you could be arrested for assembling and preaching in Jesus Name. We take so much for granted. Read that Bible. Do not let it get dusty. Some day it could be taken away from you by forces who do not like God or the Bible. And above all if you are going to a church Super Bowl game day party tonight then enjoy being able to gather with believers and non believers alike knowing that this is America. May the best team win and may there be some good commercials for we who are not big into football.

PRAYER: Father thank you for the freedom we enjoy in this country to have television which is not censored by the government. To be able to sit with friends and watch a football game and even maybe enjoy a church party with it. Thank you for freedom in general. May we never take it for granted and may we stand up and speak out when it is threatened. In Jesus Name. Amen.
 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

DO THE RIGHT THING

What exactly is integrity and do you possess it? First some questions. Do you pay for one movie but then sneak into another one feeling like you are entitled to because they charge so much? Are you a McDonald's customer who buys their cup of coffee which comes with free refills then assumes that means 'for life' and drags your old cup around in car and each time you pass McDonald's go in for your 'free' cup? If you are on an airplane and you use one of their blankets to stay warm do you feel justified keeping it and sneaking it in your carry on because, hey, I paid a ton of money for my ticket so I should get it? In the office where you work do you take home office supplies such as paper clips, ink pens or rubber bands? I would think that would be stealing from your employer. Do you use your office copy machine for personal things such as copying Sunday school papers, tax papers, and other items that have nothing to do with work? When you go someplace that is apparently free admission but they ask for an 'honor' fee do you pay it? Do you take towels from motels? If a clerk gives you too much change do you give it back?

All these scenarios mentioned above boil down to two things, lack of integrity and stealing. Stealing?? Yes taking things that do not belong to you is stealing and the Bible clearly tells us in Exodus 20:15 says "Thou shalt not steal". Yes taking things like mentioned above is wrong. So is stealing the bosses time using Facebook at work and things like that.

Out where I live there is a road called "You Take It". I am not joking, this is the actual name of this country road. In the almost 6 years I have lived out in Tennessee this road sign gets stolen at least once a month. After all it says "you take it" so the thief is just doing what he is told, right? Wrong! It is still taking property that is not yours and stealing road signs is a worse offense and can get you into serious trouble if caught. Sometimes young high school students take things they think is funny such as traffic cones off  the highway, mugs from restaurants, towels, and various other things. The sins of my youth  as the Bible calls it. Psalm 25:7 says "Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my rebellious ways and according to your love remember me, for you are good, O lord."

All of us have sinned and not met the mark at times. (See Romans 3:23). If you are guilty of anything listed above first you have to be convicted by the Holy Spirit of your wrong or you can not truly repent of it.

I have a funny story. Back when I lived in Arizona I was taking a short hike in The Grand Canyon on one of the top trails and picked up a rock. I love to get rocks from hikes especially out West.I have a collection of sorts. A sign clearly stated to not remove rocks from the park. But I did it anyway. Upon arriving home I became super convicted of the wrong of my action and packed the little rock up and mailed it back to the park ranger. I did not include my name, just a note. I later heard stories of others doing this because of some superstition of what would happen to you. Mine was not superstitious worry, but the fact it was just wrong to do this when it asked us not to. 

When I was stationed at Ft.Campbell, KY in the early 80's a former soldier wrote a letter to the editor of the post paper stating that he was returning an Army blanket he had taken when he had been stationed there. He went on to say he had become a Christian and was convicted what he did was wrong so was returning it. What an impact that letter had on me and others who read it too I am sure!

So where are you at in all this? All I can advise is to do the right thing.

PRAYER: Dear Lord help me truly know right from wrong and good from evil. Forgive me for not always living up to excellent standards you want me to. Lord God I know all I need to is confess my sins to you and you will forgive me and forget as well. Thanks for being like that Lord. In Jesus name Amen.  

Friday, February 4, 2011

YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO GOD

I would think it would be tough being a celebrity who all of a sudden finds themselves not in demand or not in the limelight anymore. Perhaps this is why many take to doing strange things .You have been top dog and top billing and all of a sudden someone else is the big person everyone is swooning over. Unless you were pretty well grounded and secure this could throw you for a loop. No one is clamoring for autographs anymore. You are a 'has been'.

It could happen in normal life too. Let's say you are a lady who is the 'big cheese' at some corporate firm and you decide you want to stay home with your children and raise them. There may be a few admirers that know you are doing the right thing but many will blame you for wasting your education or giving up such a lucrative position or a job title. I actually had someone tell me once I was wasting my degrees by staying home with my children. I begged to differ. I was raising leaders for the future and proud and happy to do it. My husband even affirmed me with my own 'stay home mom' business card. It was terrific! Everyone needs a boost to their self esteem so this was a great encouragement.

Seems like the world is hung up on title and position. You have to be secure in yourself if you have been in a big important job and stepped down. When I got out of the military several years ago right before starting a family, all of a sudden I was not 'Captain Miller' but just another dependent of a active duty soldier. For a while it bothered me but not because of the fact I was an officer, but because I seemed to get treated differently. No one should treat big wigs better than others. Sure there is a matter of protocol but besides that we are all important in Gods' eyes. Each person has a valuable contribution to make to his or her world no matter if they work in a skyscraper, if they are at home baking cookies or collecting garbage. All people deserve respect.

Romans 12:3 says for us to "Not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think ..". Ecclesiastes  7:16 says for us to "not be over righteous and overly wise...". Proverbs 27:2 says " Let another praise you and not your own lips.A stranger and not your own lips." Romans 12:16 tells us to be "willing to associate with men of low estate."

Another thing is you were made by God and he thinks you are pretty super. God may not always be pleased when we disobey him but he created us special. In Psalm 139:13-18  it tells us that we are 'fearfully and wonderfully made". " For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,  your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you."

  Do not ever think you do not matter. Everyone is special to God.

PRAYER: Lord God thank you for just where you have me in life. Help me Lord to reach out to others in the world around me and bloom where you have placed me in society whether it is a mom, factory worker, volunteer, business person, teacher, bus driver or whatever job I am in. I have value and help me to not put myself down.Help me learn to be kind to all kinds of people. Give me your love for all people.  In Jesus Name. Amen.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

DID I SAY THAT??? AGAIN??

The tiny little tongue in your mouth has probably got the most things in the Bible written about it or at least is up there at the top. We can never hear too many sermons on watching our mouths and what we say.  I will highlight just a few verses from Proverbs to ponder.
Proverbs 10:14 says " a wise man holds his tongue. Only a fool blurts out everything he knows,that only leads to sorrow and trouble.". Proverbs 11:9 says "evil words destroy, godly skill rebuilds."  Proverbs 10:19 says "Don't talk too much. You keep putting your foot in your mouth. Be sensible and turn off the flow." Proverbs 12:18 says "some people like to make cutting remarks but the words of the wise soothe and heal."  Proverbs 13:3 says "self control means controlling the tongue. A quick retort can ruin everything!"  Proverbs 13:17 says " An unreliable messenger can cause a lot of trouble. Reliable communication permits progress."  One of my favorites is Proverbs 15:1 which says " a soft answer turns away wrath but harsh words start quarrels." Proverbs 17:27-28 says" The man of few words and settled mind is wise; therefore,even a fool is thought to be wise when he is silent. It pays him to keep his mouth shut. "
There are many more, especially in the book of Proverbs. Thinking before we speak is a discipline to develop. Bad things that proceed from the mouth are lying, gossip, sarcasm, hatred, nagging, belittling, anger, bad advice, complaining, rudeness, blaming, abrasiveness, excuses, critical spirit, negativity, harshness, name calling, judging, swearing, quarreling, offensiveness, bitterness and probably a few others you could fill in. These types of communication are certainly not from the Lord. Ask God 'how do you want me to respond' but may I suggest to try to respond with 'grace' to everyone around you and you will be much better off. And above all think before you speak as sometimes our emotions get us to say things without thought causing pain and hurt in relationships.
With our mouths we should bless others and speak words of encouragement and love. There is a saying 'if you do not have anything good to say do not say anything at all'. Good advice for all of us. James 3:9-10 says to us " With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be."
If we could just control our tongue we have won a tremendous battle. If you have hurt someone with words you have said go and ask forgiveness. Try to let the Lord control what comes from that mouth and you will have a better life. I will end with Ephesians 4:29 which says" Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
PRAYER: Father forgive me when I have not always used pleasant words in my daily activities. Help me Lord to be careful what I say and to be honorable and kind. Help my words be gracious as if seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6) both inside my home and out in the marketplace and with my friends. In Jesus name. Amen.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

ALONE WITH GOD

 
Do you often rush through your day with hardly anytime left just to sit and rest? If you work your mornings are probably crazy just trying to get out the door. Even if you do not  have a paid job you may be a homemaker with many responsibilities and just have to hurry and get out and get going. In this hustle and bustle of activity when is there time to sit alone with God and just meditate on his word? It can be a challenge.
 
In the prayer ministry I am a part of, Moms in Touch International, one of the leaders at the National level came up with the idea of a DAWG day. DAWG stands for 'Day Alone With God'. Pretty nifty concept. I have done it a few times. Sure you may not have an entire day but if you can, and you do not have small children underfoot you are caring for, then perhaps you can schedule this on your calendar every now and then. I find it nice to get away from the distractions of the home or even a coffee shop. Go somewhere without crowds around. Pick somewhere safe but just find a quiet spot where you and God can be alone. If the weather is nice then perhaps a park at a picnic table or on a bench. A few times I have gone up to an overlook at a nearby state park and have even just sat in my car with Christian music playing and have my Bible handy and a notebook to write my thoughts and maybe even a Christian book to read. You can be creative but just make it a time alone with you and God. Unless you have an emergency even turn off your cell phone. Your family and friends can wait for a couple hours and the world is not going to fall apart.
 
So take the time to do this. For those of you who have children either grown or at home you can remember the times you had special times with them in the park? Well this will be your special time with God in the park. Have fun and enjoy your day.
 
Luke 5:16 says "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."
 
PRAYER: Dear Lord today I pray you will help us take the time and energy to focus on you. Our world is filled with many things to distract us and keep us away from you. Help us be deliberate in putting you first. Help us Lord too to set aside a day to just get away with you. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

MIND CONTROL

Where is your focus when you step out of bed each day? As you go about your day do you start fretting, dreading the day, worrying, dwelling on issues from the past, concerning yourself with things none of your business, dwell on celebrities lives by saturating yourself in People magazine, and reason situations out in your head that you have no control over? Starting out like this is setting yourself out for a horrible day. Your focus is on the wrong things and many situations you can do nothing about. Instead practice getting up and taking control of your thoughts from the get go. Say 'this is the day the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it.' (Psalm 118:24) 
You have to make a determined effort to let the past go and it's issues and challenges and turn things over to God that you can do nothing about. 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." Are you making a concerted effort to think on good things? In 2 Corinthians 10:5 it says " We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." So capture those bad thoughts. It is a spiritual discipline to train yourself to think properly.
To be victorious in Christ you have to be able to take control of your thinking and discipline yourself to keep good things in your head. Practice being positive. Things in the past you can do nothing about have to be given over to God. Release situations to him. God cares so give him your burdens so you do not continually dwell on them. 1 Peter 5:7 says "cast all your care on him for he cares for you."

The more you release things to the Lord and allow him to fill your thoughts each day the better off you will be.

PRAYER: Thank you Jesus because I know I can have the mind of Christ if I just practice thinking about you. Give me the desire to get into your word, the Bible, so  my life can be more conformed to yours. In Jesus name, amen.