Friday, January 29, 2010

Hit Delete

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12

My husband had an incident with his computer the other day. He decided to play around with networking and accidentally deleted some very important files. After much agitation and a few phone calls, he did manage to undelete most of them.

Lesson learned.

How many times have you deleted a file of your own? Say, a file of confessed and forgiven sin—only to undelete it. Why is it that we continue to bring up old hurts, sins and unpleasant memories? God has long forgotten our forgiven issues, but it’s so tempting to undelete them.

Satan would like nothing better than for us to be trapped in our past—especially if it holds pain. But our lives go by so quickly, it’s a shame to be lost in a sea of constant regrets. We become ineffective when stuck in this pattern of delete, undelete.

God wants us to live in victory over our past, and by resurrecting those files buried deep inside, we are making light of the forgiveness provided for us. Let us stop trying to recover the things that made us stumble, and keep pressing forward, looking upward, and giving thanks for a fresh start.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What's Your Plan?

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer. 29:11

How many of us go through our week, planning this, planning that. Most of the time we don't even think about what God might have planned for our time and life. Caught up in the scheme of life, His plan is taken for granted.

Many times I have caught myself plodding along in a certain direction, looking behind me to see if God is following. "Come on Lord, bless me in this place I am headed." Then if I pay attention, He gently takes my hand and guides me back to his plan.

Prosperity, protection, hope and a future are what He plans for us. Why then wouldn't we want to walk in HIS way? Could it be that we just can't see the distant future as He does? We don't see with his eyes. We don't even love ourselves as much as He does. His plan stems from a kind of caring a Father has for his children.

Let's ask today...Lord, reveal to me your plan.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Don't be a fool...

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gains understanding,
for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.

Proverbs 3:13-15

First of all I have to comment on the fact that wisdom is referred to in the female gender. How great is that!? Sorry, that’s just a personal observation that tickled me. I’m sure there is a reason behind that, but that’s not my focus today.

The bible talks a lot about fools and the folly of mankind. There are many warnings in scripture about knowing and being attentive to God’s voice. A fool will only hear his own voice and obey it above any other.

This encouragement to gain understanding and wisdom is serious business. Our spiritual lives will stagnate without this dynamic duo, and without them we are pulled back into the world, not caring about the impact our foolishness has on those we love.

God compares wisdom to silver, gold and precious gems. He wants us to value and desire wisdom as we would covet all those prized possessions. If our heart is hungry for God, and our prayer is to stay right, wisdom and understanding are life to us.

The great thing is that it’s all available to us. He has given us his word, his Spirit, and his very voice to teach, guide and direct. Our job is to seek, listen and heed. Then we will be blessed with fellowship with God, better relationships, effective spirituality and joy.

Don’t be a fool—be a treasure hunter.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Are you internalizing or eternalizing?

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14: 1-3

The followers of Jesus were having a difficult time understanding him when he talked about heaven. Not ever having heard this concept before, their minds continually returned to the here and now – the tangible. They were stuck in the rut of earthly thinking.
We are creatures of the same habit. Often in our spiritual lives we internalize the principals of Jesus’ teaching. But internalizing only makes things temporary. Our focus should be on eternalizing our thoughts and actions. Thinking in terms of our beliefs having an eternal effect puts perspective on what we do and say. Our vision of life should extent beyond our life on this earth.
God has given us a glimpse of heaven and it’s a picture that is almost too big for us to comprehend. Turning our small vision of God and the home He is preparing for us into something we can grasp is difficult. But when we change the way we think, and keep our eyes on eternity, the concept becomes clear.
Life is not about the here and now. We must let go of internalizing life. Think bigger than you have ever thought before, then think even bigger than that! That will get us closer to understanding the kind of place that will be our home for eternity.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Go with your feelings? Not.

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. Colossians 2: 6-8

I was once elected foreman of a jury on a felony assault case. I had a difficult time keeping the other jurors on task and focused on the instructions and statement of law. Sometimes I felt as though I was babysitting a bunch of little kids in an unruly classroom.

The biggest challenge I had was to keep the emotions and feelings of the other 11 people reeled in. It was a revelation to me how fast things could get out of control because people were going by their feelings to make a decision that would effect the life of another human being. Facts and letters of the law were easily set aside when emotion ruled the room. At times, I felt I was the only one who understood the evidence and could see that our only choice was to convict the defendant. Had I gone by my emotion, I would never have been able to send someone to prison.

Isn’t it the same way with trying to live out the Christian life – making important decisions and walking daily in God’s will. We have a foreman who keeps reeling us in, and a book of “law” to keep us focused on the real truth.

Living by emotion and making decisions based on feelings is a dangerous thing. We walk by faith in what we have learned from bible, and consider all the evidence that is put before us regularly. Then we compare the evidence with the word to make sure we are on the right track. How very easy it is to get sidetracked by fear, pride, sympathy or even carelessness. It is a sad thing when we skip a step in the process of finding out where to go and how to live. We are bound to miss the mark, hurting ourselves and others along the way.

In my case, we did convict, and when the judge met with us afterward, he shared with us things that left us with no doubt that we had done the right thing. Some of the ones who had gone on an emotional tangent, unable to bring themselves to face the truth, were brought up short. The judge knew things that we didn’t know, but according to the way of democracy, he had to let us come to the right conclusion with the tools we had.

Isn’t that just like God? He knows, but gives us tools to make up our own mind. It’s free will, and let’s hope we all set aside the things that hinder us from using it properly. I am thankful He gave me discernment when I was put in a position to need it. Without his guidance, I might have been sucked into the vortex of emotion.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Do we realize what we have?

“Those who go to God Most High for safety will be protected by the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘You are my place of safety and protection.’ You are my God and I trust you.”
Psalm 91:1-2

How many times have we been rescued by God? We cry HELP when we are in trouble or don’t know where to turn. He is faithful to cover us, and protect us from ourselves. I personally can’t imagine how to live without his sheltering arm.

But I’m not sure God’s children fully comprehend the magnitude of that protection. The arm of our Creator is broader and longer than our minds can fathom. The fact that He would outstretch it just for me is an expression of his loving character. All I need to do is to go to Him, trusting He will do as He says.

It’s not that God needs to acknowledge us, He does that in ways we don’t even realize. But when do we acknowledge Him? Only when we need help? Only when danger lurks? No, He is ready and waiting to gather us in every minute of every day. He watches and faithfully guides all who look to Him.

As a child, I knew my parents would be there if ever I needed them. When I was in danger, I would run to them. Our Heavenly Father waits like a caring, protective parent. But his power to protect is mighty. Our praise and thanksgiving should rise up accordingly, for his shelter is undeserved.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Go the Distance

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:12 & 13.

I have pondered this scripture many times. I have prayed for understanding about loving our brother, especially in times when our “brother” treats us with less compassion and generosity than the world does. Yes, it happens to all of us I suspect. Our hearts are crushed when we discover that friendship means little to ones we thought we had bonded with.

My dilemma lies in figuring out the balance between expectations and grace when it comes to friendship. That’s tough isn’t it? I am one who doesn’t like the “change of seasons” when it comes to relationships. I always expect it to be a never ending mutual commitment. I am not good at seeing my investment crash in the stock market of love.

I believe that laying down our lives for our friends encompasses many different things. Genuine love requires investment, and some are better at it than others. As an author I have been taught to show, not tell. This is how we truly communicate our story to others, showing that they matter - showing that we are willing to go the distance with them. This is the true example of laying down our lives.

Christ’s example of love is our model. He always looked into the eyes of his brothers and saw them. Looking away from our friends doesn’t take any sacrifice – investment does. Let us lay down our lives by taking time to see those God has given us to love. Let us go the distance.

Monday, January 4, 2010

It Just Never Ends

"You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever."
Psalm 16:11

I've been a Christian for all of my adult life. I've fallen short more times than I care to admit, and I've had victories and grace that I didn't deserve. I have searched the scriptures, written about God, and shared His word with others in studies, speeches and song.

What continually amazes me is that in my 40 or so years of knowing Him, what I actually know is only a drop in the bucket of all there is to discover. I will say part of me is frustrated over that. Part of me is excited. Mostly, I'm just dumbfounded.

We never arrive, and I'm one of those people who wants to arrive. But God wouldn't be a god worth worshiping if we could come to the end of our knowledge of Him. His greatness and vastness has to be beyond time and space, beyond our comprehension in order to be God.

So we keep striving to understand, know, connect and discover with our creator. It will take eternity to satisfy me. So glad I accepted the invitation to go.