Monday, November 7, 2011

Processing with Eternal Filters

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 is only 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 extend 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. But when we change the way we think, and keep our eyes on eternity, the concept becomes clear. Are we processing our beliefs through eternal filters?

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! You will be closer to understanding the kind of place that will be your home for eternity.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Be Mindful of Your Seeds

"And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed." I Corinthians 15:37-38

I have often marveled at the amount of parables and teaching that comes out of the principle of sowing a seed. The object of the seed is used by Jesus to make many different points of great meaning. It’s a word picture that is easy for us to understand and relate to our lives.

Today, as I read scriptures about the parables of seeding, I thought about my husband and the way he farms his wheat land. He is a good farmer, and always does a great job at doing all the proper things in the proper order. It’s imperative for us to reap a good crop every year. But I wonder what would happen if by some careless mistake my husband planted all the wrong seeds?

What would he do? Would he tear up the entire field to start all over with the planting process? Cost prohibitive. Would he just take whatever plant happened to grow and make something out of it? Most unlikely. Would he have a nervous breakdown? Probably.

Seriously, I think my own parable tells us that we should be careful what seeds we are planting. They will grow, they can’t help it. But what will they produce? I want only the best and most productive seeds planted in my life. I never want my farming efforts to be in vain, producing a product that will offend, mislead, or damage someone else. I want to help feed the world with good fruit. I know you do too. Be mindful of your seeds – before you plant them.

Dear Lord, bless my seeds and make them into fruit You can use. Forgive me when I am careless.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oh, the Heart...

1 Samuel 16:7 

“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."
Why is this such a hard concept to grasp? I don’t know very many people who don’t struggle with this reality on a daily basis. We don’t have to be obsessed with self to forget the importance of a clean heart. We don’t have to be overly vain or self-centered to fool ourselves into thinking the condition of our heart is under lock and key – not visible to God or anyone else.

God looks at our heart because He knows therein lies our true self. The condition of that vital “organ” is the barometer for everything else we do and say. If it is covered with layers of fear, bitterness, unforgiveness, jealousy or even indifference, the heart will be uglier than any imaginable disfigurement of our outward appearance.

When beauty, youth and robustness are the standards we use to measure our value or someone else’s value, we are dangerously missing the mark. I say dangerous because when we are distracted from the true measure of a man, we cannot meet their needs. We may miss what God is calling us to do in and for the world.

Pray every day for the eyes of discernment – the eyes that see others as God sees them. And even to see our own hearts for the condition they are in. Only then can we effectively make an eternal difference.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Put on the Armor

“But to do this, you will need the strong belt of truth and the breastplate of God’s approval. Wear shoes that are able to speed you on as you preach the Good News of peace with God. In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. And you will need the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit – which is the Word of God.” LIVING BIBLE

When I read this scripture, I think of an old movie I saw with Roman soldiers. I wondered how they could possibly fight in a battle with all that heavy, metal gear. How could they even stand up?! The Bible tells us to “put on the full armor of God” – but this kind of armor won’t weigh us down. Its purpose is to aid and protect us in the battle. Yes, we are in a battle every day. Satan will try to throw things at us to make us stumble and fall away from God. He will invade our minds to plant lies and seeds of discouragement. The influences of the world around us will quietly wear us down.

Truth, righteousness, the good news of peace, faith, salvation, and God’s word, are all parts of the armor God gives us to win the battles. Truth gives us stability to stand. Righteousness is God’s goodness in us – it shelters our heart, which is so vulnerable. The good news will give you sure footing and a reason to fight. Faith – our belief in God and His promises – is the shield that makes the temptations and other things that may hurt us bounce right off. Salvation, which is our hope, keeps us pointed in the right direction. God’s word is the ammunition we need to keep fighting. It’s all there anytime we want to put it on. We never have to go into battle unprepared or alone. God is faithful.

Mothers, teach your children to put on the armor each day before they enter the world. Their tender little hearts need the protection while they are away from your care.

Blessings all!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Now I know why...

As I sat staring at the scenery around Sedona, Arizona today, I had a revelation. No, I didn't see a vision, or an angel or hear the voice of God. But I did come to realize something important to understanding God's character.

He did not create all of this magnificent beauty for himself. He has the universe, the galaxy and beyond to behold. He created this earthly beauty for us to enjoy. He knew we would need something to catch our eye in a big way - something to be in awe of - something we can actually touch, feel and admire to the fullest.

It's like a father who wants to bring home the best toy he can find for his precious child. Something that will make him smile and squeal for joy. He loves his children enough to do some of his best creating just for us.

I saw some of that creation today and I appreciate it more than ever before. Especially now that I realize why it's there.

Because He loves me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Following Instruction

“I take joy in doing your will, my God,

for your instructions are written on my heart.”

Psalm 40:8

Whose vision are you living? Is it someone else’s vision, or one that God has given to you personally? Are you trying to live out someone else’s direction?

God has instruction for all of us. He speaks to us individually—writing dreams and visions on our hearts. They are meant just for us—tailored to suit our gifts and personality.

How will we know his direction unless we hear his voice and answer his call? It takes practice in stillness, expecting and listening. Many of us have poor listening skills and are not good at waiting to hear God speak. Yet his words are life, and following his instructions brings joy.

Just as the compass points us in the right direction, God shows us the right path we are to take. We only need to pay attention to the teacher and guide. He will never lead us astray.

Jesus, through patience and stillness, I will listen to your direction.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Look no's all here.

"It is ironic how we stretch our imagination and seek extraterrestrial life forms with unique qualities in the dark vastness of space, when in essence they are amongst us in the light of day. Those mysterious life forms we call animals."  P.A. Rittler

This is a strange quote to find on a devotional blog, I know. You may be wondering what in the world it has to do with anything spiritual. Let me explain.

We took our grandchildren to the zoo the other day. Once again I saw strange and mysterious creatures, some are beyond my ability to describe. As I walked through and examined the variety of life forms, I was again struck with the awesomeness of a creative God. No human mind could ever contrive such intricate uniqueness in this world and beyond. We serve a Creator that knows how much we need to explore and seek. He has provided enough interest here to last a lifetime of discovery.

Psalm 111:4 (Amplified Bible)

"He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious, merciful, and full of loving compassion."

It was his pleasure to create this wondrous world for us. Sometimes it's best just to look in your own back yard before wandering beyond to satisfy your longing. Let us praise Him for his creative gifts.