Friday, April 30, 2010

My Favorite Quotes

Here are some great quotes from some of my favorite books to get you through the weekend. Enjoy.

"We cannot inherit Christianity,. We might have had a Christian father and mother, but that does not necessarily produce a Christian child. I could be born in a garage, but that doesn't make me an automobile! God has no grandchildren."  from Peace With God by Billy Graham

"Initially, we might wonder why Christ wouldn't give us a cake-walk kind of Christian experience if He really loved and cared for us. But we have to realize that the inevitability of crosses in our lives is not the result of a careless Leader who wants to make life tough. Crosses are hewn from the reality that the cause of Christ is being carried out through my life in an imperfect world that is hostile to the One I follow." from Following Christ by Joseph M. Stowell (love, love this book)

"Yes, the Father has a plan and He has ordained that every blood-washed believer in Christ be a part of His magnificent purpose. It is important to understand the Father's position and purpose in our lives, or we will be distorted in our view of who He is and what motivates His heart. When we see the Father more clearly, our disappointments and problems become steps on the path toward a closer relationship with Him." from The Father Revealed by G. Craig Lauterbach

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Three Simple Steps

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Sounds easy enough. Three steps to fulfilling God’s will for your life. Be joyful, pray and be thankful. Three simple steps.

Simple, but not always easy. Between life’s trials, our finite mind and faltering faith, there are many roadblocks to keep us sad, non-communicative and grumpy! But if it were not possible to be and do those three things, God would not have asked it of us. He supplies the means to rise above the world and live in a realm where we can be joyful, thankful and in constant prayer.

We may not live in that state for days on end, but each time we practice the presence of God, it becomes a little more familiar. Each time we stop to remind ourselves that this is God’s will for our lives, we may be encouraged to try it again.

These requirements are not dependant on our feelings, our social status, our education, or anything else – except obedience. If we are obedient to keep pressing forward to the life we could have in Christ Jesus, He will reward us with confirmation in our spirit.

Lord, I take a moment right now to express my joy, speak to you, and be thankful for your saving grace.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Does It Feel Hot In Here?

“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12

Paul tells us in this scripture that because of our faith in Christ, we are no longer under condemnation of the law. But he goes on later in the chapter to explain that our bodies are members of Christ’s body. Therefore we have a responsibility to whatever we allow into our bodies, minds and spirit.

The bible is full of cautions about plunging headlong into practices that could drag us down – chipping away at our faith. If we dabble in those things long enough we run the risk of eventually going against God’s will for our lives. The old story of the frog in the pan of water is a true warning. As the heat is slowly turned up by our selfish desires and lack of awareness, we don’t even notice that we have reached the boiling over point. Then it’s too late – we have crossed the line once again. We let ourselves be deceived into thinking we could manage on our own.

This is when we find we have been mastered by our indulgence. What seemed innocent at the time now has us back into the bondage we were so happy to be rid of. And we discover that we have worn ragged the relationships of people who have tried to support us.

But there is a Savior waiting to restore us. Jesus will catch us when we jump from the fire. It takes time to heal from the burns and brokenness, but He has strong arms and a longsuffering heart – enough to get you back on track. But you must take that leap!

Thank you Jesus that you stand ready to restore me once again. Forgive me for my indulgence and carelessness.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Battle Cry

"He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins" Ephesians 1:7

Do we realize the authority we have in Christ? Do we do battle against the enemy of our soul? Do we experience the power of prayer on a regular basis?

These are questions that we should ask ourselves. In this moment in history our world boasts of freedom of speech, actions, rebelliousness, sexuality, drug use...the list goes on and on. Our children hear voices that speak of self image, doing what feels good and ignoring God. They fall prey to Satan's lure when they are not covered with the spiritual authority their parents have in Christ.  

The same blood that gave us forgiveness of sin can give us freedom from the same. How do we impart the message to our children?

These are difficult times for our young people, more difficult than any generation before them. How tragic it is when they are thrown to the wolves without a firm foundation and knowledge of God in their lives. What standard will they use to measure their actions and beliefs? The worlds?

Lord, help us to cover our children with prayers of protection by the blood of Jesus. Help us to be bold in our efforts to teach and guide.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Resting Place

“I find rest in God; only he gives me hope. He is my rock and my salvation. He is my defender; I will not be defeated. My honor and salvation come from God. His is my mighty rock and my protection.” Psalm 62: 5-7

There are times in our lives where we feel there is no resting place. Troubles and busyness cast a shadow on our spirit, leaving us in a dry, shallow place. Old memories or a repeat in unpleasant circumstances weigh heavy on us, and sap our energy.

These are the times when we long for rest in a peaceful place. For some, it may be a last cry of desperation – I need a resting place! Some of us have been in turmoil for so long that we have forgotten what real rest is and what it can do for us.

We all know how strong a rock foundation is. This is where we come to find that blessed rest. The rock of our salvation stands firm – strong enough to hold all the burdens we carry. The rock fortress is our protector and defender – holding us up on a higher place – a place where we can see far and wide. Then the face of our enemy can be seen. The quiet high place gives us the distance we need from our adversary. We can breathe again – we can trust again.

Run to your high place. Close the gate and distance yourself from the battle for a while. God will give you strength to carry on when He sees you are ready.

Thank you Jesus for a resting place. May I be ever mindful of the open invitation to run to my high place.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Can You Hear?

“Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”   Matt. 13:9 NLT

Ears to hear. Not just listen, but really hear. There is so much that God wants to tell us. His instruction is endless and He longs to communicate to us his plan for our lives. It’s up to us to listen for his voice, hear what He is saying and then do what He wants us to do.

For those of us who have children, we remember the days when we thought they would never learn to listen. I would get in my children’s face and have them look straight into my eyes while I gave instruction. Sometimes, depending on the distractions, that wasn’t even enough to make it stick. It’s very frustrating to a parent to feel they are not getting through to their little ones.

God is never frustrated, but He still desires to speak to our hearts with words of comfort, wisdom, exhortation and love. He waits patiently to reveal the secrets of the universe as they pertain to us.

Stop. Take time to listen. Hear the voice of the Lord. Let his words soak into your heart and soul.

Heavenly Father, teach me to listen and hear. Tell me what you want me to know and I will do my best to please You.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Understanding Salvation

"The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God."   I Corinthinas 1:18

New Testament references to salvation indicates an ongoing process. Christians are people who are "being saved". This is the manifestation we are to show the world. Not that we have arrived and they have not. Not that our work is complete, but that we are living through our salvation with expectation and obedience.

We are all still vulnerable to the clutches of temptation and sin - after all, we live in a world full of it. But we wait on God, persevere and pick ourselves up time and time again. It's an ongoing race that can only be finished by clinging to His righteousness and grace.

There are those that will see the message as foolish. But if we consistently live Christ in front of them, their doubts just might be dispelled. Being honest about our rescue from our sin on a daily basis will show them the validity of Jesus in our life.

We cannot take the process of salvation for granted. The word tells us to be on our guard, lest we forget our Savior's sacrifice and fall into the trap of complacency.

Thank you Lord for keeping us daily in your plan of salvation.

Monday, April 5, 2010

How Bright is Your Light?

"For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true."  Ephesians 5: 8 & 9

Living as people of light is the call of this scripture. Sounds easy enough. We just need to behave, be nice and do a good deed here and there.

This is not the definition of the kind of light mentioned here. The greek translation of this word "light" here mentions "luminousness" and "fire".

It's not enough just to not do bad things. To illuminate is to bring attention to something - to make something easier to see. And fire brings to mind an intense light, one that catches your eye. That is what we are to be - a light strong enough to call attention to Jesus. Our attraction is the fire that burns intensely enough to make others take notice. Blending in is not escaping the darkness. Only living in the light will do that.

A plant that doesn't get the proper proportion of light will not bear fruit. The world needs much more of the fruit that we have to offer through the Lord. We are called not to be Chameleons, blending into our surroundings for our own protection, but the fire that calls the world to come and see the Jesus that lives in us.

Lord, make me burn bright with the light of your righteousness that I may draw others to You.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter's Contrasts

I was listening to Chuck Swindoll on the radio yesterday. He told about how his church has a Good Friday service each year. They come into a darkened sanctuary - the theme being the dark tomb of Jesus. They meditate on how significant Jesus' death was and how final it must have seemed to those who mourned. Then the lights come on and the rejoicing starts as they celebrate the power of the resurrection - the light.

I thought that was a great idea. We don't always think about the contrast of those days - darkness and light, death and life, sorrow and great joy. How confused his followers must have been. How happy they must have been to have Him appear to them again when they thought all was lost. The contrast of their emotions would be enough to rock their world.

What about you? Do you experience the Easter holiday with intensity? Are your thoughts of Jesus in the dark cold tomb? Do you recognize the power it took to raise Jesus from the dead?

What a blessing that we have reason to rejoice.
Happy Easter everyone.