Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pursue and Knock

Christian Quotes - Image 4 

 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8

Many times I've heard someone knocking on our door unexpectedly. I don't want to answer when I'm in my pajamas, have a face mask on, or it's inconvenient because I'm giving the kids a bath. Or I just don't want to deal with a salesman at the door! So sometimes, I ignore it if it isn't urgent. Eventually, the person on the other side of the door gives up and goes away.

I think many times God "knocks" on our door and we ignore Him. We think it's not urgent, or we are afraid of what might happen if we answer His call. We want Him to go away. We block out His gentle knocking, until He tries again. God never "breaks and enters." He has given us free will, and though He is persistent, He waits for us to answer His knock, and He waits for ours.

Jesus is telling us in the above scripture to be determined in pursuing God. The one who seeks FINDS. The one who knocks, the door WILL be opened.  When we pursue God, we start out seeking, and finding God. But many times we stop at the seeking and finding phase. We've found God, but now after a few half hearted attempts we seem to determine He is not as great as we thought. Or that maybe He isn't worth changing ourselves for which requires work. So we go on living our life, believing that Jesus died on the cross for us, but let's not change our life too much because of it. Maybe we aren't realizing that it was us who decided He isn't that great. That we couldn't find the determination within ourselves to pursue Him?

The real key in this scripture is OUR knocking. Notice that God carefully worded this. After He tells us that the one who seeks finds, there is another step after that. THEN those who knock at the door will have the door opened to them. So we have sought God, found Him, and then we are to take the extra step and pursue Him and knock on His door. The relationship is mutual. He wants us to want to love Him and pursue Him.

To pursue God with our whole heart and knock on His door daily takes faith, follow through, determination, and patience. It is a daily decision to pursue God and walk with Him. It takes daily prayer to ask Jesus to give us all of the above in abundance to seek Him. Each morning we rise, we make a decision that today we will knock on God's door. Today we will listen, today we will follow. We are promised that because we knocked, the door will be opened. That is a promise of God. He doesn't tell us the door "might" be opened. He says the door will be opened to you. God never breaks His word.

In Revelation 3:20 God tell us "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."

Again we have another promise from God! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will eat with that person and they with me. There again we are to take the next step. We hear God's voice, but then we take the step of opening the door to His voice and instruction. Our relationship with God seems to be based a lot on our own actions doesn't it? Our actions are pursuing God, knocking on His door, and when we hear Him knocking on ours, opening it.

 "They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it." 1 Peter 3:11

Again in Peter we are given two steps. A seeking step and an action step. We must seek peace but we must not stop there, we must then pursue peace.  God expects action on our part. He says, pursue me, knock at MY door.
The scriptures we have read above give us a beautiful example of a mutual relationship with God. One tells us that we are to seek, find and then knock. The other tells us that He is standing and knocking and that we are to open the door. He knocks at our door, but we also knock at His. And God then tells us "I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." When we pursue that mutual relationship with God, we will eat with Him together and share His bread of life. The door will be opened to us, and we will partake in His love with Him and get to know Him as a beloved friend.

If you are struggling, or feel God is silent, keep pursuing! If it takes the last ounce of persistence you have, do it and knock at God's door. He will knock back at yours with His still, quiet voice. Remember His promise, He will open the door. I've been there and I know God's promise is true. The door was opened to me, and it will be opened to you.

Prayer: Lord, help me to have ears that are sensitive and attuned to your knocking and give me the wisdom to respond. Give me persistence to knock at your door each day and to know that your door will be opened to me. Help me to remember that when I ask, I will receive. Help me to pursue you.

 "They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it." 1 Peter 3:11

"Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it." Psalm 34:14

"The Lord detests the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue righteousness." Proverbs 15:9

"Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor." Proverbs 21:21

"Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." 2 Timothy 2:22

May God's peace and wisdom be with you as you build your own wall of God's truth.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Many Names of God, Part I

"He has paid a full ransom for His people. He has guaranteed His covenant with them forever. What a holy awe-inspiring name He has! -Psalm 111:9

God has many names that reflect the many facets of His character. Each name reveals a part of His holy nature and His love for His creation.  
We can call out to God using His many names, and grow as we learn more about His character.

Here are a few to start.

Alpha- Alpha is the first letter of the greek alphabet. It means "the first one, the beginning." 

“I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” Revelation 1:8

We can always trust God who was there from the beginning of time, the first one. 

Shield- God is our shield. He holds Himself in front of us.

“God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection." 2 Samuel 22:31

"You have given me your shield of victory; your help has made me great." 2 Samuel 22:36

Purifier- The blood of Christ shed for us was to purify us from our sins. God purifies our minds, hearts, bodies and souls.

"Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7

“Then I will purify the speech of all people, so that everyone can worship the Lord together." Zephaniah 3:9

"Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins." Hebrews 9:14

Rose of Sharon-   "I am the rose of Sharon, And the lily of the valleys." Song of Solomon 2:1

Our God is our Alpha, our Shield, our Purifier and our Rose. He is our beginning, our protection. He will purify us and He is as a rose among thorns to us, His chosen ones.

"For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth." Psalm 47:2

Prayer: Lord, help to me to know your character more and more every day. Reveal the facets of yourself to me and show me that you provide ALL I need. Amen.

May God's peace and wisdom be with you as you build your own wall of God's truth.


Monday, May 27, 2013

A Mighty Wall of Fire


"For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’” Zechariah 2:5

In the verse above, God (spoken through Zechariah)  is referring to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is God's, and so are we. God wants to be the wall of fire that surrounds us. He wants to protect us, guide us and show us how His heart burns for us. He wants to be the glory in our hearts, our homes, setting our lives ablaze and burning for Him. He wants to be the glory in the midst of our everyday.

God and His word are the wall of fire that surrounds us in our life. He wants us to burn for him, to set our walls and hearts ablaze for Him. He wants to burn away our ungodliness, and refine us with the fire of His word.

"I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’” Zechariah 13:9 (NLT)

“But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes." Malachi 3:2 (NLT)

God's wall of fire is our protection, our promise from Him. It doesn't mean we are free from difficulty in our lives, but no matter the problem, He is still burning around us. His fire is still ablaze and never goes out. His fire is eternal. His mighty fire is always surrounding us!
God will refine us. He will refine us in our finances, our health, our relationships, our learning of His wisdom and ways. He will burn off our layers of blindness leaving us with only His peace. We can only achieve what God wants from us when we allow Him to burn in the areas of our lives that He commands. 

Imagine for a moment the place you live. Imagine a wall of fire outside, surrounding your home, but it doesn't burn your home down. Instead it protects it and keeps the heart of your home alive and burning for God.  This is what God wants to be for us. Our home and hearts need to be a dwelling place for His mighty power, His holy fire. What a tremendous reality. His heart and fire burn around us always.

The refining in your life may be slow and feel painful right now. You may feel, as I have many times, that God has stopped working. Don't lose heart. 
"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin." Zechariah 4:10 (NLT)

The Lord is rejoicing in your steps, small and large in your process of refinement. He is rejoicing as you set your life ablaze for Him. Don't lose heart, and let us stay on our path. He is ablaze all around you and I.

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the Lord." Zechariah 2:10 (NLT)

"Does not my word burn like fire?”
    says the Lord.
“Is it not like a mighty hammer
    that smashes a rock to pieces?"
Jeremiah 23:29 (NLT) 

How powerful and what a blessing God gives us, when He says He "dwells in our midst". He is with us. He surrounds us. The Alpha, Omega, Holy One of Israel. Our mighty God, our wall of fire.

"And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life." Revelation 21:6

Prayer: God, may I always remember that your power burns all around me. You have never stopped burning for me, from the day I was born. The fire of your might never goes out. Burn in my life as never before, refine me, show me your wisdom, power, peace and joy. May my walls be so ablaze for you that you can see them from heaven. Amen.

May God's peace and wisdom be with you as you build your own wall of God's truth.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Queen Esther

Queen Esther - Image 4

"Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?"  Esther 4:14 NLT

Queen Esther is a portrait of a strong and noble woman of character. Her feminine strength shows God's beautiful design for women. He uses all those traits He designed in women for His glory. Queen Esther is a true role model. Women like Esther aren't praised in today's society, but they are cherished in God's heart.

Esther came from humble beginnings and was appointed queen by King Xerxes. She was raised by her cousin, Mordecai after her parents died. She gained favor with the King, who selected her to be queen and was said to be selected based on her beauty. She could have taken her newly found status, power and beauty and let it go to her head. Instead, she wanted to be of service to her people.

When Esther hears of Haman's plot to kill the Jews, she says that she will speak to King Xerxes herself, at the risk of death. (she risked her life because she requested to see the king when he had not requested her presence) “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” Esther 4:16-17 (NLT)

Because Esther had gained favor with King Xerxes he asked her to come forward and speak. She told him of the plot to kill the Jews and he heard her plea. She had gained favor throughout time with the king not only based on her beauty but her character.

Esther displayed true strength. She never asked to be queen but then used it for the good of her people. She planned and asked her cousin Mordecai and the Jewish people to fast for her. She wanted to go and ask the King in a wise way to spare her people. She was human. She must have felt fear, but regardless of that fear she went ahead because she knew it was the right thing to do. She had a clear vision of what to do, and she didn't shrink from it. She searched for and found the strength to do the right thing. She didn't wait for anyone to tell her that it was her place to do it and what to do. She looked deep within herself and knew it was her that could make a difference. She didn't selfishly say no and ask someone else to go before the king. She was placed in the palace at that time but still had a choice of what her role would be in that situation. She could have remained silent and her people would not have been saved.

“If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor with him, and if he thinks it is right, and if I am pleasing to him, let there be a decree that reverses the orders of Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, who ordered that Jews throughout all the king’s provinces should be destroyed. For how can I endure to see my people and my family slaughtered and destroyed?”  Esther 8:5-6 NLT

God had a plan for Queen Esther and she fulfilled that plan and relied on God's strength. But she had a choice, and she chose the right thing. God put her in that palace at that time to serve Him and she obeyed.

Esther was brave, noble, strong, courageous, had strong character and was willing to act. She didn't go off of her beauty or flirtations. She desired to do the right thing and stepped out of her comfort zone to do so. 

 Esther is a wonderful example of a woman of God. We can step up and have strength and courage in our lives no matter what our situations. We may not have the same conflicts to deal with that she did. But we may be in a position to help our families, help another friend or family member God has placed in our lives, train our children and love them, or step up when our husbands need us. It doesn't mean it is going to be easy and it doesn't mean it won't come without self sacrifice. We have to be willing to do it without being asked and because it is the right thing to do. 

I encourage women everywhere- wives, mothers, single women, older women, to step up to the role in their lives that God has put in front of them. Fill in those gaps that are right before you and be the person that God has put in place "for such a time as this." The world desperately needs to see women like you! Like Esther, be obedient, and trust God for the outcome.

Lord, help me to see the areas I may not be stepping up to in my life that I need to fulfill. Show me the things you have for only me to accomplish at this time of my life and give me the strength, energy and courage to fulfill them.

The Bible has a lot to say about women of character. A few proverbs are below. I think that they can be applied to any woman, married or not, to become a Godly woman of virtue at every stage of life.

"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
Proverbs 31:30

"The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain." Proverbs 31:11

"An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels." Proverbs 31:10


May God's peace and wisdom be with you as you build your own wall of God's truth.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

True Joy


We hear a lot about happiness today, but not a lot about true joy.  Happiness is fleeting and is often based on circumstances. True joy is everlasting regardless of our circumstances. The word joy comes from the greek word "chara" and means "to be exceedingly glad."  From Latin gaudia, plural of gaudium "joy," from gaudere "rejoice."  

Zephaniah 3:17 says: For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” 

God delights in us. He wants to calm our fears, cast our anxieties away. He delights in us and sings over us! Just as we delight in our children's silliness or we laugh when they do something funny, I believe God feels this way with us. He delights over our lives, our growth, and our eccentricities and probably has a sense of humor about them too.

The true deep joy of our hearts, our hearts song, is to come from knowing that we have eternal life with Christ and that is enough, it is all we need. Our hearts should be overflowing from this alone. Our permanent joy should come from God, not from our brand new big screen tv or new car we just got. Joy cannot be quantified. It comes from deep within and God gave it to us and He wants us to feel it every day. 

“And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful." Proverbs 8:32

We might have a bad day or be tired, or grumpy, or feel discouraged. True joy is felt regardless of our other emotions. We can be feeling sad, frustrated or that we are struggling with something, but we still have the deep joy in our hearts.  We can always count on God's eternal joy for us. He doesn't want our joy to just be on the surface, He wants it to be in our hearts, so that regardless of our day, we still rest in the joy He has for us.
We lose sight so often of joy in the midst of our human struggles. But in following Christ, we are bound for heaven, and a life of eternal joy. We can't lose sight of dwelling in that everyday. God wants to rejoice over us with singing while we worship Him for eternity. We can already live with that joy in our hearts in our life on earth because we already know what is to come. We need the joy of what Christ has already done for us to be in our hearts daily.

Romans 5:2 says: "Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory."

He gives us the privilege of sharing in His glory and His joy. His love is so great for us that He wants to share that with us. He desires for us to live in that joy every day.

Lord, joy is hard to remember every day, but show me your joy each day and allow it to overflow in my heart. Help me to remember that you already have victory and you already have joy awaiting me. Help me to dwell in your joy and delight in you every day. Let my heart rejoice in you with joy.

But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy
Psalm 68:3 

"Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy." Psalm 33:3

"Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces."  Psalm 34:5

"What joy for the nation whose God is the Lord, whose people he has chosen as his inheritance." Psalm 33:12

"I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” Psalm 40:8

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wall of Life

These are all the areas and qualities in our lives that God wants to be involved in, help us cultivate, and help us grow in Him. Everything in our life. Nothing is to be left out to be dealt with from our own faulty wisdom because God is too busy. He wasn't too busy to create every aspect of who you are and he's not too busy to be involved in every aspect of your life. This is what we need to build our eternal wall of life on. We can only build our wall of life if we commit to give every aspect of it to God.  "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done."  Phillipians 4:6 (NLT)

We are to "Never stop praying." 1 Thessalonians 5:17

(click on the image above to enlarge)

The Plumb Line

"Then he showed me another vision. I saw the Lord standing beside a wall that had been built using a plumb line. He was checking it with a plumb line to see if it was straight. And the Lord said to me "Amos, what do you see?" I answered, "A plumb line." And the Lord replied "I will test my people with this plumb line.  I will no longer ignore all their sins. The pagan shrines of your ancestors and the temples of Israel will be destroyed, and I will bring the dynasty of King Jeroboam to a sudden end." Amos 7:7-9 (NLT)

A plumb line is a tool used to determine if something is straight and upright. It would ensure the straightness of a wall. (Our modern version of this is a level) A wall that is not built correctly leveled will collapse.

The Lord measures each of us with His own plumb line-His word, and He looks at our lives. Can we stand upright in God's eyes? We may have accepted Christ in our hearts as our savior, but do the walls in our lives stand strong? Our walls need to be built on the foundation of God's word, not on the world's values.

In the book of Amos, the Lord is frustrated with Israel.  They have oppressed the poor, been idle, been lazy, been accepting of things they shouldn't. They've ignored God and been gluttonous and greedy. Amos is exposing their sin to them. Though they declared themselves upright and grand in the eyes of God, God tells Amos they are not and that compared to His plumb line, they are almost in a state of ruin.  We seem to think of ourselves this way still. This was written long ago, but God's word here applies to us today.

"How terrible it will be for you who sprawl on ivory beds surrounded with luxury, eating the meat of tender lambs and choice calves. You sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and you fancy yourselves to be great musicians, as King David was. You drink wine by the bowlful, and you perfume yourselves with exotic fragrances, caring nothing at all that your nation is going to ruin therefore, you will be the first to be led away as captives. Suddenly all your revelry will end." Amos 6:4-7 (NLT)

Nation is referring to Israel, but I also believe "nation" can be interpreted as God telling us that we care nothing that first we are allowing our homes and the hearts dwelling in them to go to ruin. Godly homes are the building blocks of a Godly nation. Many homes, even Christian ones, are not built upon God's holy truth. We have allowed in our complacency for the world to come into our homes and influence us.  We allow books, movies, music, wrong money principles, materialism, lack of modesty and humility before God in our hearts, and worldly opinions and values to creep in and soon we are not standing upright to God. Soon our wall is measured by God's plumbline and it is about to collapse. Soon all of these homes have made a nation and we are a nation whose walls are crooked yet we can't even recognize it. God is going to measure us against His absolute truth.

God was downright angry with Israel. He warns "Do what is good and run from evil-that you may live! Then the Lord God Almighty will truly be your helper,  just as you have claimed he is. Hate evil and love what is good; remodel your courts into true halls of justice. Perhaps even yet the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on his people who remain. Therefore, this is what the Lord, the Lord God Almighty says: "There will be crying in all the public squares and in every street. Call for the farmers to weep with you, and summon the professional mourners to wail and lament. There will be wailing in every vineyard, for I will pass through and destroy them all. I, the Lord, have spoken! Amos 5:14-17

Here the Lord gives the nation of Israel a warning, do what is good and change your ways or your destruction is certain. But the Lord who loves us always gives us a choice to do what is right in His eyes.

“In that day I will restore the fallen house of David. I will repair its damaged walls. From the ruins I will rebuild it and restore its former glory. And Israel will possess what is left of Edom and all the nations I have called to be mine.” The Lord has spoken, and he will do these things. “The time will come,” says the Lord,“when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested.
Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine. I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands,and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again. They will plant vineyards and gardens; they will eat their crops and drink their wine.  I will firmly plant them there in their own land. They will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God. (NLT)

Maybe the Lord is calling you. Do you feel like the nation of Israel? Is your life going to crumble and go to ruin if you don't rebuild? You have a choice. Rebuild your spiritual wall on God's truth. He is giving a very clear choice. Go the way of evil that Israel went in Amos and you shall be destroyed. Go the way of truth, and you shall be restored. God will help you to repair your damaged walls just like he promises to Israel.  

Don't just go to church, participate, and then stop there. Don't just say "I believe there is a God" or "I believe Lord but just don't have the guts to truly follow you." God expects us to truly love Him. He wants nothing more than for us to show Him our true love so He can bless us and spend eternal life with us. He doesn't need to prove His love to us or show us His love. He already has. He bridged that gap when He sent His only son to die on the cross for us and shed His blood. 

 He expects us to allow our belief in Him to overflow into each area of our life. He cares about even the smallest details of our lives. As you build your spiritual wall, God wants to be involved in each quality that you add. He wants that spiritual wall of your life to eventually reach to eternity, where we will have eternal life with Him. Then He wants it to reach your children, and your children's children. Maybe you are afraid to trust God, or be the first in your family to ever make these choices, to live by God's eternal word. God will walk with you, and just like the above scripture, He will firmly plant you in His truth.

Lord, give us wisdom to see where we need to rebuild our eternal wall. If we need to start over give us your strength because we cannot do it on our own. Show us how to build a life that walks in your absolute truth. Help our hearts to not be deceived by what is not your eternal truth. Help us to build a straight, strong, and eternal wall of life.

And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. Matthew 19:29

But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:14

But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.” John 6:27

The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. John 6:63

For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 1 Peter 1:23

Monday, May 13, 2013

The World's Path or God's?


Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. -Psalm 119:35

Do we follow God's path or the world's? Maybe we don't even consciously realize what path we are walking, and one day we ended up where we are. Maybe we don't even know that we have a choice and that there is a better way. Even seasoned Christian's may not even realize the path we are on accidentally intersected with the worlds and we've found ourselves walking the wrong way.

The world's path offers fancy things. The best dining. The best and most expensive cars, a bigger house. More stuff that we want and we think we need. The world's path offers brokenness and unforgiveness. Constant shopping and sales.  Slavery to media and pop culture. The "latest and greatest" of everything.  The hottest new movie and the new trends we have to have THIS year! We have to have the best and most tan bodies and the best cars and the newest furniture, and our kids need to go to the best preschool. Soon we have become slaves to our things, and slaves to our activities and slaves to the money it costs to pay for all of this.

The path of God doesn't ask us to be in slavery to any of this "stuff", or to anything of this world. God's path is freedom, and peace, and quiet of the soul. Walking God's path is a conscious daily choice. It doesn't just happen. It takes determination and a decision to walk on God's path each morning. Part of our daily prayers need to be for God to keep us on His path for us, and that He goes before each step we take. The enemy wants to divert our path at every turn and distract us enough that we start walking on the wrong one.

 "He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake." Psalm 23:3

Notice it says "He restores my soul, He LEADS me in the paths of righteousness." It doesn't say "maybe" He will lead me or "if He is in a good mood that day He will!" It says HE LEADS. He will lead you if you are faithful and determined in your decision. He won't let you down.

It might be hard to start walking another path than the one we are on, and make life changes. We might start to look different that "everyone" else. We should look different from the world, the world's path doesn't lead to eternal life. God's does. Maybe we need to slow down, spend more time with our children and those we love, or move to a smaller house to not feel trapped by our worldly things anymore. Maybe we need to have a lesser car payment or even have no car payment. Or watch less tv because all those shows were never required viewing by some class syllabus. We all have some area or areas that are trying to keep us on the world's path. We have to pray God reveals them and turns our steps back to His path. If we feel we are struggling to keep up with all of these worldly requirements that is God speaking to us to change our path.

God doesn't promise His path will be easy. But neither is the world's path easy! But there is a great difference.  God does say in Psalm 16:11  "You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." The world does not promise fullness of joy, or pleasures forevermore. It cannot, and never will.

Walking the Christian path is not a matter of just accepting Jesus in our hearts but then continuing on our same path. It is a matter of walking a new path with Christ, however He personally leads us. God's path depends on Him leading us in ALL of our steps in all areas of our lives. He commands that we walk in His paths so that "you may walk in the way of goodness, And keep to the paths of righteousness."
Proverbs 2:20

Lord, I pray in my missteps that you will quickly lead back to your path. Lead me each day on your lighted path and guide my heart and mind in all things. Go before my steps God and lead me on your path of life.

Proverbs 3:6:
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 4:11: 
I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths.
Proverbs 4:14
Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil.
Proverbs 4:18:
But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
Proverbs 4:26:
Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established.
Proverbs 12:28:
In the way of righteousness is life, And in it's pathway there is no death.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

The apostle of Jesus Christ in this text (Acts 16:1) bestows on motherhood and grandmotherhood a great honor. You have a calling that can become the long-remembered ground of faith, not just for your children — mark this — but for the untold numbers who will be affected by your children. And that’s in addition to all the other thousands of ripple effects of faith in your life. (“Honoring the Biblical Call of Motherhood”)
-John Piper


Friday, May 10, 2013

God's Promises


Yet Jerusalem says, “The Lord has deserted us;
    the Lord has forgotten us.”
 “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child?
    Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
But even if that were possible,
    I would not forget you!   
See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.
    Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins. 
 Soon your descendants will come back,
    and all who are trying to destroy you will go away. 
 Look around you and see,
    for all your children will come back to you.
As surely as I live,” says the Lord,
    “they will be like jewels or bridal ornaments for you to display.
 “Even the most desolate parts of your abandoned land
    will soon be crowded with your people.
Your enemies who enslaved you
    will be far away. 
 The generations born in exile will return and say,
    ‘We need more room! It’s crowded here!’  

Isaiah 49:14-20 NLT

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Godly Vision For Your Child


God has a great plan for each child's life. He wants to be glorified in each life He creates. He wants each life to experience the richness He has designed for it. Do we as parents have a vision for our children to guide them to the fullness of God's design for them? Or are we focused on worldly goals?

We as parents can lead our children very far from God's plan for them. We can lead them astray, or we can lead them to God and closer to His purposes for them.

 We have to pray constantly for God's wisdom about our children. We need to pray He reveals to us our children's God given talents, who they are and how to train them in the way they should go. Each child is so unique that we must pray for God's unique wisdom pertaining to how to best guide that child. 

Each persons life will reach it's fullest potential in Christ when they fulfill what God intended for them, when He lives in their hearts and they accept Him.

Let's be in prayer daily as parents for wisdom to be the parent God needs us to be. To show our children God. Guide them in their talents and help them focus on who they are uniquely created to be. 

We have visions and goals for a lot of things in our life. We need to have them for our children too. When they are 30, 40, 50, what do you want for them? Do you want them to be walking in God's truth and fulfilling God's perfect design for them? Or are you only focused on their academic or sports successes?

It takes diligence, discipline and commitment on our part to pray for our children every day and guide them every day. We need God's help in this. Our focus cannot waver on who they need to be in Christ. If we wash our hands of our responsibilities we are not doing our God given duty as a parent. We will stand before God one day and give an account of our shepherding the life of the little ones God entrusted to us.

Maybe you don't have small children anymore. Maybe you have come to know Christ or grown in Christ and you regret how you raised your children. It's not late. Whether they are 20 or 55, pray for them now. Pray that whatever relationship you have with them now that you will be able to see them live in the fullness of their life in Christ. Pray for repentance for your own mistakes in not leading them as you should have, and ask for God's guidance for their future.

When we as parents step up to our God ordained roles, we help our children know how to grow up and step into theirs. Our children then go on to teach their children and grandchildren. It affects each generation. It is of utmost importance that we diligently show our children Christ and pray for clear visions of their futures.

If you are being lazy in this area with your children, pray for God's strength, energy and discipline to come into your life so you can follow God in your parenting.

We know how much we love our children as parents. We can only imagine how much more God loves them. We should hope as parents for God to guide us, to show us His great plan for them and to be the best vessel we can be to guide them to glorify God and live the abundant life He has for them. The life God has planned for them is far greater than we as parents could ever plan for them or imagine.

 "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."
-Jeremiah 29:11

 "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." Psalm 139:13-16

"Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart." Proverbs 29:17

 "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?  And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." Matthew 18:12-14

Thursday, May 2, 2013



Contentment. Have you ever truly felt content in your life? Are you always running around searching for more, building your future, but missing your life now? Contentment is knowing that right now, we are supposed to be right where we are, that God has us right where He wants us. Right now, I am not supposed to be anywhere else in my life. In spite of my mistakes, or circumstances, I am called by God to be content. To be anything less is a sin. I am then telling God, "what you have given me God is not enough." "You did not give me all the things I wanted right now so I will not rejoice."
The human heart always wants to do more, to dream, and to be more. God put this desire for growth in our lives in our hearts and minds. Using our discernment to know how to work toward the future while maintaining contentment in the moment is where we need God's help. I believe we grow in our journey of contentment when we grow in our walk with God. True contentment lies within our hearts, it lies in our love for God and our relationship with Him. Notice I did not say "true contentment will happen when you receive the right job." "True contentment will happen when you get that great house." Contentment is not a state of being where we feel happy with our "stuff." Our stuff will never satisfy.

Contentment is a state of the heart. The heart beats in peace with God. It is a state of satisfaction with knowing God and who He is. True contentment is permanent no matter what stage of life you are in.

We absolutely need to master this skill as Christians. Yes, contentment is a learned skill. What a challenge in this culture of more, more, more. 

If we look back on our lives, we can see our behavior and thought patterns. "Once I get that job God, I"ll be content with my life." "Once I get that dream house God, oh and my dream car, I'll be content." "Once this difficulty in my life is over God, I'll be happy." "Once I get (insert your personal experience here) I'll be happy." Once you achieved those things, were you content? Or did you move on to the next thing? Notice what just happened! You missed being content. You missed being peaceful with where you were. You missed your opportunity to be in peace at that moment in your heart with God communing with Him. A lack of contentment and constantly looking out for the next thing to fulfill is distracting from our relationship with God. Can you see how a lack of contentment is causing you to miss out on the life God has given you? I believe this is why God calls us to be content. To see the abundant life He has given us in Him. In order to realize how to live in the fullness of God's love, we must be at peace in our hearts. In order to fully grow in our lives to the person God calls us to be we must learn contentment.

Life has seasons. It will always have changes and God may bless us with more money, or even a bigger house, or the other things we have in our minds that we desire- or that may not be His plan for your life. He may have something else in mind-something more than you imagined for yourself. You may also experience crisis, illness, unemployment, loss, frustrations and stress.  But life is constant and if we constantly wait to receive our contentment, to "reach" this state we are chasing after, you may never in this life reach it if you don't realize the root of what contentment actually is.

Contentment does not mean we will not continue to pray for our future. It doesn't mean we don't continue to work toward our future, and to work toward the future God speaks to us and directs us towards. Contentment means while we are getting there, we know that right now, what we have is enough from God. Right now, God is filling our hearts. He is enough. Right now we are going to take time to commune with God. We are going to feel peace in our hearts. We feel the fullness of Christ. The external is not all we need. God is all we need, no matter what phase of life we are in and what we are working towards we should always feel content with Christ.

You might be missing out on a lot in your life right now based on your lack of contentment. Are you always spinning around? Are you so much focused on the future and the future that will "make everything better?" On the "next best thing?"  Your lack of contentment is holding you back from your life. You are missing out. You are missing out on time with your children, time with your spouse, your family. Time serving God or time doing whatever else God will put before you. Time worshiping God and growing and learning. Your anxieties and tunnel vision about building your future are not from God. They are taking away from your relationship with God. The moment you are living right now is what God put before you. Live in it. God wants you to live in His abundance, His fullness, His richness, His peace, right now.
Give your control over your future, your worries, your anxieties and discontent to God. Leave them at the foot of the cross. Let God be enough. He already is. The one who was, and is and is to come. He is always enough.

Dear Lord, help me to know how to feel peace and contentment right now in this moment in my life. Give me wisdom and discernment to know how to feel that peace while praying and preparing for the future you have for me, no matter what my current circumstances. Let my heart beat to your rhythm God. Help me to find my peace and contentment in you always Lord.

 I believe that contentment is such a large part of the Christian walk. The Bible is abundant with scripture on contentment. A few are below:

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content"
Phillipians 4:11

"For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:10

"Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content."
1 Timothy 6:6-8

"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5

"As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness."
Psalm 17:15