Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Just As I Am

1 Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!

2 As when fire sets twigs ablaze
and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies
and cause the nations to quake before you!

3 For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.

4 Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them,
you were angry.
How then can we be saved?

6 All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

7 No one calls on your name
or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and made us waste away because of our sins.

8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

9 Do not be angry beyond measure, O LORD;
do not remember our sins forever.
Oh, look upon us, we pray,
for we are all your people.

Isaiah 64:1-9

God made us just the way we are. It doesn't matter if we are outspoken or shy, quiet or loud, a leader or a follower. God made us the way we are and wants to use us, just as we are. He made us this way for a specific reason. I have heard more than once lately that sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone to do work for God. And I can't say that I completely agree with that. Sometimes, yes. But for the most part, I don't think so. I don't think that God wants us to change when he made us a certain way. And even more so, God made us this way and wants us to accept how he made us. When you become a follower of God, he doesn't change who you are, instead he changes what you are without him.

Matthew is an example of this. Matthew was a tax collector and very good with money. Without God he would cheat people. With Christ though, he was still good with money, but he used it for God's purposes. Simon was a zealot. He had a strong belief in military might and the strength there. He met Christ, and all that zealousness was put towards a heavenly Kingdom instead of an earthly Kingdom. God didn't change these men's personalities. Instead, he used what they were in a different context.

Self-acceptance will only make you more useful to God. By accepting how he made us, we can let go and allow him to transform those traits into something more useful for our future kingdom in Heaven. There is a place for everyone. Someone who comes across as loud can be used by God as a voice, a way to share his messages for his people. Who better to lead a shy person to Christ than another shy and quiet person? Each and every person is made specifically according to out potter's desires. Our type and shape are all decided before the potter even begins his work to bring us to life. I think it is about time that we accept our unique traits and better use them to glorify God, instead of feeling like it's a struggle to change.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" Galations 5:22,23

Love. Love is what brings all the fruit of the Spirit to life. We seek all these other things because of love. We seek to be kind to others because we love them. We learn to have patience because we love. We learn to have faith because we love our God and we want to draw closer to him. Without love, the rest of these are lacking unto themselves.

" 'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD." Leviticus 19:18

"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Deuteronomy 6:5

"Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you." Psalm 63:3

"Show us your unfailing love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation." Psalm 85:7

"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" Matthew 5:44

"And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " Matthew 22:39

Love is a characteristic of God. It is because of his love for us, that he sent his son to die for our sins. It is because of his love that we now have the opportunity of eternal life. God doesn't just love us and the people we worship with on Sunday- he loves all people. He loves our unsaved neighbors and the people in the next community. He loves ALL people. Yet so many times we have difficulties finding love for even one person. It is helpful to remember how much God loved us, how can we not love the person on the street with Jesus as our ultimate example. Jesus loved everyone while he was here on earth. He loved everyone, despite their status or station in life. He did his best to try and share God's love with everyone he came in contact with. Everyone! Jesus is the perfect example, and God is the perfect source of love. With God's love, we can love everyone.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13

Monday, February 26, 2007


Faithfulness is something that I could probably study and blog about for years and never say all that could be said about having faith. Faith is the ability to believe in what cannot be seen. And faith is the belief in the ability of God to do anything. First, let's look at a couple of verses in the Bible.

"And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness," Exodus 34:6

"The LORD rewards every man for his righteousness and faithfulness. The LORD delivered you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on the LORD's anointed." 1 Samuel 26:23

"Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies." Psalm 36:5 But you,

"O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." Psalm 86:15

Here we see that faithfulness is a character of God. In fact, we even see that Moses and David had the exact same words to say about God and his faithfulness. God has faith in us. He has faith in his Christians to carry on his word and do works that glorify his name. God loves us and has faith in us. One of the fruits of the spirit that helps us draw closer to God is that of faith. Without faith, we essentially have nothing. It is faith in God that keeps us going back to him for more of his love and understanding. I have complete faith that God is taking care of my family. He is providing our necessities for us. He is providing us with health at the moment. He has even graciously provided a project for my husband to do next week so he can be busy. Our God is an amazing God, and if we can have faith, we can become more like him. Scripture tells us many times that we are to have faith.

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former." Matthew 23:23

"He gave them these orders: "You must serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the LORD." 2 Chronicles 19:9

"Love the LORD, all his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full." Psalm 31:23

"Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road." Mark 10:52

" 'Have faith in God,' Jesus answered." Mark 11:22

You notice in the verses above that it doesn't say to have faith when it's convenient for you. It doesn't say to have faith when it makes sense to have faith. We should have faith at all times. Faithfully and wholeheartedly. I could list verse after verse from the gospels that talk about faith. How many times some one's faith healed them, I couldn't tell you. But there are many, many verses that have Jesus telling someone that their faith has healed them of their affliction. Maybe sometimes today, the reason that we are not healed of our diseases and infirmities is because we don't ask him to heal us? Maybe we don't have faith enough that God will actually do something like that.

Faith can be a touchy subject for many. It causes you to be introspective and reflect on yourself and your walk in the Lord. And it shows where we fail so many times to have faith. That is human, but it's also reason to strive harder to find that faith. What is so wonderful to me is that it is a character of God. If I can find even the smallest measurement of faith, that means I am that much more like my savior. That means I am that much closer to being what God wants me to be. I have talked about faith before, and for more, you can check here. And then here, and if you still want more, you can do a search over on Bible Gateway for faith, and it will give you many, many verses to go on.

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" Galations 5:22-23

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Self-Control/ Temperance

Well, I realize that last week I had decided that I wasn't going to post on Sunday's anymore, except that this morning we woke to blizzard conditions, and even though we only live about 5 blocks from church...well, I'll be keeping the kids home today. So they're getting a Sunday School lesson from Bob & Larry this morning, and I will get my own lesson on Self-Control.

Self-Control. In the King James Version on the Bible this is known as temperance. The dictionary defines temperance as moderation in thought, feeling, or action; restraint. Self-control can mean many things to many people. For one person, self-control can be applied to too much TV viewing. To some people, it's too much computer gaming. And for other people, it can be more serious, like alcohol abuse or substance abuse. Self-control can also be applied to mean some one's temper, or the urge to gossip about other people. All of these things in people's lives can benefit from the application of temperance. For myself (which I know I've stated over and over) shopping is my downfall. I can be out shopping for one thing, and before I know it, I've circled the mall and amassed an armful of "stuff." Temperance is one thing that I have been earnestly praying for more of. It's so easy to justify... well, Abigail needs this, or Zander would like this, or it's been so long since I treated myself to this...

I am so grateful to have the Holy Spirit with me when I am on a shopping excursion. I clearly can't avoid it entirely. We still have needs and necessities, and I still have to go to a store to buy them. But I can pray before I go, and pray that the Spirit will help me be wise with my dollars. And as I'm walking around being mesmerized by this or that, and picking up more than just the necessary item, I feel uneasy. I look at the armful of stuff and I know that I should put it all back. Thank you Holy Spirit for the prompting, and it all gets put back, and I walk out with the necessary item. Self-Control is not something that happens over time, let me tell you. For me, it's taken about...10 years or so. From the day I got my first credit card and had keys to a car, shopping has been a vice for me.

Let's see what the Bible says about self-control.

"Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control." Proverbs 25:28

"Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." 1 Corinthians 7:5

"So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled." 1 Thessalonians 5:6

"But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet." 1 Thessalonians 5:8

"It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age," Titus 2:12

Clearly, self-control is essential to our well-being. It's more than just a frame of mind, it's also important for our health, and our relationships with other people. Someone who is battling a vice is thinking on it at all times, and that can have a drastic effect on our relationships with people. When we'd rather be doing what we shouldn't be doing, we care less and less about the people we should be caring about. I really think this is one of the reasons that temperance is one of the fruits of the spirit. God knew that we'd need a bit of self-control to help our relationships grow.

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8 shows us that not having self-control provides an opening for the enemy to take control of our lives. It allows the devil to control our lives by making us focus on what we shouldn't. The most upstanding Christian can be going about their daily life when Satan introduces something new, and just like that, that model Christian has slipped and keeps going back for more. With the Holy Spirit by our side, we can be on guard for such an attack. I'm going to wrap up today by pasting here the context of Galations 5:22,23. I will post here Galations 5:16-26. It helps explain better what I've been trying to say, and also shows how important the fruit of the spirit is.

"So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another." Galations 5:16-26

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Merriam-Webster defines kindness as the state of being kind, affectionate, loving, and of a sympathetic and helpful nature. When I think of kindness, I admit that it takes a little bit to come up with what I think of as being kind. Kindness, I think, is attributed to physical acts. You are being kind if you help someone shovel their driveway after a snowstorm, or being kind is helping an elderly person to their car at the grocery store. Kindness is also picking up a child walking to school on a 20 below day, or calling someone up and saying "I'm running to the store, can I pick anything up for you while I'm out?" One thing is clear. Kindness doesn't just happen. While there are people who have a naturally kind and giving nature, I tend to think that kindness is a learned art.

I have to admit, my husband is the perfect example of kindness sometimes. We are at the beginning of a snowstorm over the next couple of days, and my husband's first thoughts are to how many people he can help dig out of the snow. He's got a map in his head of all the people he can help in just a few hours. He also thinks of our elderly neighbor quite often. When we're outside and she's outside, he makes sure he goes over and chats with her to see how she's doing and if she needs anything. Most likely she just enjoys the company. There are several scriptures in the Bible detailing more about kindness. I'll list just a few of them.

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32

"Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else." 1 Thessalonians 5:15

"And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful." 2 Timothy 2:24

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love." 2 Peter 1:5-7

As we can see in these verse, kindness also applies to turning the other cheek, and forgiveness. Kindness is a way we outwardly show our love for our fellow human beings. It's a way to let Christ's love show through us. The Acts 1:8 Ministry is a great example of sharing God's love with complete strangers through planned acts of Christian kindness. Even something as simple as holding the door for someone can be an act of kindness. I have to say, I love, love, love, the idea that simply being kind to someone can open a door that was never there before. Really. I mean, how many times do we ignore some of our neighbors, or the people we pass on the street. It really amazes me when we are out walking and people pass us without saying hi, or responding to our greeting. Yet, we always do say hi, usually with a smile. You never know when that smile and greeting is just going to brighten some one's day.

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" Galations 5:22,23

Friday, February 23, 2007


"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" Galations 5:22-23

Peace. That is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and today's focus. Peace can be such a gift. Especially as a parent. When I think of peace, I think of relief, of no worries, and of being loved. In particular, I picture one of my children crying as an infant. Just crying and sobbing away, needing attention. In walks Mommy, and scoops them up, and holds them close. Instantly, the crying stops, the baby relaxes and snuggles into the comfort of Mommy's arms. That is what I picture peace to be. I picture being in the midst of turmoil or trouble, and being able to just call on Jesus and he wraps his arms around me and I am comforted and safe, and have no worries. I can relax in the arms of my Lord, knowing that is exactly where I am supposed to be.

"I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety."
Psalm 4:8

"The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace." Psalm 29:11

"But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace" Psalm 37:11

"There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace."
Proverbs 12:20

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God."
Matthew 5:9

Peace is a blessing. The Spirit gives us the gift of peace that we may find solace and comfort in our Lord. And with that peace, we also have the ability to share that peace. Someone who is filled with peace will not be the one who causes unrest and trouble. It is the peacemaker who can step in and quell disagreement and discord. A life of peace comes directly from grace. It is the Grace of God that gives us peace.

"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all." 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Paul prayed for peace for his converts frequently. He knew that inner peace can only come from the grace that eliminates our sins. God gives us peace as we remember what he has done and as we put his instructions into practice. We can be that model for someone else who is struggling. By being at peace even when we are in trouble, and by portraying a life of peace, we can show others that we know they way to peace. And as we model that peace, others will feel compelled to follow in our footsteps.

Comfort and peace in the arms of my Lord. That is what I want to share with everyone I know. The feeling of being at peace because of God's Grace. A fruit of the Spirit that is a gift indeed.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" Galations 5:22-23

Joy. How can that not make you smile to just think about that. There are so many verses in the Bible that talk about joy, it's almost hard to just pick a couple. Of all of the fruits of the spirit, I think I am most grateful for the gift of joy. Being able to have joy in all situations is such a blessing. No matter how bad life may get, we can always find joy in knowing that Jesus died for our sins, and that when this life is at its end, we get to spend all eternity in the presence of Our Lord. That is worthy of joy. Even Job found joy- he literally had nothing else, not even his health, yet he found Joy in the Lord.

"Then I would still have this consolation-- my joy in unrelenting pain-- that I had not denied the words of the Holy One. " Job 6:10

"He prays to God and finds favor with him, he sees God's face and shouts for joy; he is restored by God to his righteous state." Job 33:26

The Psalms are also full of examples of Joy.

"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand" Psalm 16:11

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." Psalm 28:7

"Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God." Psalm 43:4

Andy and I have found a wonderful place of joy. It's amazing to us that in the midst of this time of uncertainty that we can still be certain of God's love and provision for us. And it gives us even more joy to know that we are setting a huge example for other people. It is truly vexing to some of those we talk to that we are placing complete trust in God right now. He is providing, and will continue to do so. And when things are back to normal, what a testimony we will have! We can share the joy of the Lord with others who may experience exactly what we are experiencing. Joy is such a precious thing to be able to have. And as a parent, that trickles down. Abigail and Zander see the happiness and joy that Andy and I have, and in turn, they are happy themselves. In the last two months we have all spent more time together doing silly things. Whether that be playing in the living room, or sitting around the table playing games, it's priceless. While we may not have the material things that the world says will give us joy, we have our God. And he fills us to bursting each and every day with his Joy.

I thank God today for his joy, and I pray that this joy we have found will be contagious to everyone who comes in contact with us.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I actually had to look this word up in a dictionary. When I looked at it I thought, goodness could be open to many forms of interpretation. So according to Miriam-Webster, goodness means the quality or state of being good. So yeah, open to interpretation. Next, I looked up good and received "of a favorable character or tendency." Now that makes more sense to me. Goodness is being of a favorable character. It means you basically follow the rules set forth by your community, you don't lie, cheat, steal. You're not subject to an addiction or a bad habit, and you treat your fellow people with respect and mutual admiration. Essentially, having goodness in your life makes you a good person in the eyes of the Lord.

"And the Lord said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." Exodus 33:19

"Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Psalm 23:6

"Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me." Psalm 142:7

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness...For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;" 2 Peter 1:3,5

Goodness comes from the Lord. It is one of the characters of God, he himself is full of goodness, and he wants us to be more like him and full of his goodness. When I think about goodness, I think not only of the outward appearance of goodness, but the inner part as well. I think that is the goodness most difficult to attain. It's easy to follow the rules, but not so easy to control some your thoughts about those rules or the people who make them. How many times do we think bad thoughts about another person? I know I am guilty of it all the time. That is an area of my life that I would like to change. I would like to stop thinking poorly of people, and think positively. With some work, and a little help from above, I pray that my inner goodness will show through in my outer goodness.

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" Galations 5:22,23

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

Today's fruit is patience. I cringe at the mere thought of patience. In general, I admit that I am not a very patient person. This served me well while in the workplace, because the lack of patience in the workplace is nicely referred to as a "sense of urgency." Which really means that everything that needs to be done needs to be done yesterday. And that carried over quite easily to my personal life. I'm pretty sure I've always been an impatient person. Once I decide I want to do something, I like to get it rolling and get done with it. Moving is a great example of that. Every time we decide we're moving, I get impatient, because it's such a long process, I want it to be done and over with as fast as possible. And that sense of impatience leads to me being short with those I love and being a bit of a crabby person.

So you can see why patience would be a fruit of the spirit. Here are some verses and what they say about patience.

"Through patience a ruler can be persuaded,
and a gentle tongue can break a bone." Proverbs 25:15

"The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
and patience is better than pride." Ecclesiastes 7:8

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud." 1 Corinthians13:4

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2

Patience is clearly more than just a trifle. Patience can persuade rulers, it is better than pride, it is love, and it is a vehicle for that love. Being patient can open doors where a window was previously shut. There's a joke that runs along among Christians that of all things, you really don't want to ask God to give you patience, because that is the one thing he will most definitely oblige. And you will learn patience good and hard. Ask my parents, who felt God leading them to sell their house so they can move on... and in return, asked for patience for the process. Oh, is God granting them patience as their house is not selling in their time and on their terms. But it will sell... in God's timing.

Patience is something that I am constantly asking God to help me with. And sometimes I feel patient, and sometimes I don't. Right now I am very patient about our living situation. A few months ago, I was not patient. I had a strong sense of wanting to buy a house and getting ready to move, and I really had to pray about that one. And now, I don't feel that urgency. God wants us here yet, and when the time does come to get that house and move, it will be exactly where God wants us to be, and when he wants us to be there. In the meantime, I have been granted a wonderful gift of patience, and in that patience, I have found contentment with where we are.

Patience is also necessary when dealing with other people. Especially in a church that is growing in Christ. Everyone grows and learns in a different manner, and sometimes it can be easy to forget that some things are not second nature to everyone. Where I grew up in a Bible-believing church, and know much of what the Bible has to say, many people do not know those things. Many people in our church today came to know the Lord in their adult life, and it is good for me to remember that and be patient with them in many of our conversations. And when one scripture in particular may be speaking to me, that doesn't mean the same verse is speaking to everyone. It may be meant just for me. Being patient with other believers is a symbol of Christ's love for each other. I pray quite often that God would grant me patience when dealing with issues that involve God's House.

Patience is also very necessary when dealing with the unbeliever. It can be a long drawn out process to lead someone to the Lord, and it's through the Holy Spirit that we can find the patience to share with someone over and over. You never know when that person is going to make the most important decision of their lives, and the last thing you want to do is be impatient and try and force the issue. It can have the opposite effect, and in my mind, patience speaks volumes. That we would care enough about that person to speak with them over and over about Christ and his love, without becoming frustrated or impatient. Patience truly is a virtue, and it can be a tool that we can put to good use.

Monday, February 19, 2007


"A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth." 2 Timothy 2:24,25

Quite often when we are put in a position of leadership, the strong persona comes out. Sometimes, this is necessary, as in a workplace environment where a strong, assertive attitude is necessary. Not so within the church. Becoming a leader within a church atmosphere, whether by choice or appointment, means that an attitude change may be necessary. Thankfully, we have an excellent example in Jesus as to the attitude we are to assume.

Jesus was gentle and meek and he called his followers to have those attitudes as well. Here is Matthew 5:5:

"God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth."

And here in Matthew 11:29 he gives another example:

"Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Jesus taught with love and kindness, he was gentle with his instruction. We see Paul's own advice to those who have been given responsibility in 2 Timothy 2:24 and 25 at the top of the page today. Paul also gave instruction to the Philippians and the Corinthians regarding how they are to behave.

"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." Philippians 4:5

"Now I, Paul, appeal to you with the gentleness and kindness of Christ" 2 Corinthians 10:1

Gentleness and meekness are not weakness! It takes great strength to teach God's truths and love amid much opposition. But we need to remember to exercise that strength with meekness and gentleness. "The Lord's servants must not quarrel and be kind to everyone." We must be kind to everyone- even when we disagree. Jesus and Paul were both excellent examples of gentleness, we can ask God to help us be more like them when faced with the trials of leadership.

Gentleness also happens to be one of the fruits of the spirit, and that is the direction I am heading for a week or so (or longer). I'm going to do a little study on each fruit of the spirit as found in Galations 5:22-23. After I've hit them all once, I'll see if I want to dig deeper.

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!"

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sunday's Off

I think that I am going to start taking Sunday's off from blogging. It seems that Sunday's I really struggle to find the time to get my thoughts into this blog, so unless I feel moved, I will be taking off Sunday's.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Acts 1:8

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

It's so easy in daily life to discuss trivial things. It's easy to discuss things like kids, family, vacations, gardening, what's for dinner, etc. I could go on and on. But how many times do we discuss what is truly important? How many times do we ask our friends and acquaintances if they know Jesus? There is a common unwritten agreement that we don't discuss money, religion, or church with other people. Why? Because we are worried that we might offend in some way. That has become a serious wrong with churches today. We are afraid to share God's love because we may offend someone. Someone new walks into church and we all say hi and welcome them, and then after they're gone everyone discusses what little they know about "that new person." And gosh, do you think they'll be back? Did we do anything to offend them? Why on earth don't we walk up to that new person, greet them warmly, and then introduce them to Jesus? We is there this sense that we have to pussyfoot around- that we need to tip-toe, and make this person feel warm and welcome, and get them involved and only THEN do we ask them if they've made a commitment to God. That's so backwards and just not the way it should be.

We are told in Acts 1:8 that we are to be Christ's Ambassadors. A real ambassador doesn't walk into a foreign country timidly! They walk in and announce their presence and allow their hosts to serve them in whatever way possible. This verse tells us exactly where we are to be Christ's Ambassadors- in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. These are metaphorical for us today, for this was being preached to the people of Jerusalem. So in this instance, Jerusalem means our home town, Judea means our own state, Samaria is the home of our enemies, and to the ends of the earth means where culture and language are completely different from our own. It is often easier to start at "the ends of the earth" because it can be easier to share God's love with a complete stranger than with a neighbor that you've known for years. Yet we need to start with that neighbor. Jesus promised to always be with us, and he gave us a direct command, along with the power to carry it out. The Holy Spirit will come upon us when we need it most. We need to go and be witnesses of the gospel, and we need to do it in love. The Holy Spirit will help us to say the right words, and will guide our conversation into the direction that we need to go.

Imagine leading your entire neighborhood to Christ! What an accomplishment! I just finished reading a series of books by Beverly Lewis. They are set in Amish country, and one of the main characters is a very old matriarch who knows Jesus, but hasn't shared his love with the rest of her community. Towards the end, she has a stroke and is unable to communicate for a while. Eventually she begins to speak and move some, and her first agenda is to save her people. As she's lying in bed alone, all she can think about is what Jesus will think of her. And she is brought to tears because she could die at any time, and she has not shared his love with those she loves. It was a very powerful moment in the book, and really made me stop and think.

What do you think? What will Jesus say when you meet him face to face? Will he say "well done..." Or will it be "you could have done so much more..." I certainly pray that it is not the latter.

Friday, February 16, 2007

God's House Comes First

Today I opened up my Bible to Haggai, chapter 1. This chapter is proof that God is involved in the lives of his followers. It is also proof that God wants to be the first priority as well. Following time away from Jerusalem, the people of Israel were allowed to return. They needed to rebuild their temple, as it had been destroyed in a previous battle. The managed to re-build the altar before becoming distracted with their own needs and left it stand. For eighteen years they lived in this manner- seeing to their own nice houses and desires while leaving God's house standing in ruins.

The people kept saying that it wasn't time yet to rebuild God's house, and God had other plans. He sent word to the people through the prophet Haggai, here is verses 4-6:

“Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? 5 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! 6 You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!".

God wants his house taken care of first. He wants the first priority in our lives. God's people had allowed themselves to become distracted with material wealth, and so they saw to their own desires first. And how much easier is that to do today! There is so much more to distract us, so many more things we could do with our money than give it to God for his purposes. There have been several times in the past year where God has asked Andy and I to provide something the church needed. And it wasn't like we had extra money sitting around, it was spoken for. Instead, we followed direction, and I truly believe that because we paid attention to what God placed on our hearts, and did what he wanted with our money first, that we are being rewarded by being taken care of during Andy's lay-off.

It's important to us to keep God in perspective. There have been many times where we have wished we owned the house we live in. But then a need will come up at church and we are able to take care of it- we wouldn't be as able to do that if we had the worries of home ownership and all that comes with it. One thing is certain, while we want to own our own home, we want to be able to do it without it being our prime focus. We still want to be able to take care of God's house first, and I pray wholeheartedly that we will keep that as our number one priority.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Joy at all times?

There are so many times where you hear people questioning God. It can happen a lot during a tragedy- why did this have to happen to someone? Andy and I could be saying that very thing today as there is no end in site to his lay-off right now. 1 Peter chapter 1 tells us how we should be thinking and acting though, and it's certainly not "woe is me."

"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy."

The fact is, God allows us to go through trials from time to time. If we don't face a trial, how can we put to practice what he has shown us in His Word? If we don't make it through to the end, how can we show his Glory to others who are going through the same thing. So instead of grieving or becoming desperate and full of sorrow or worry, we can put our trust in God and be full of joy instead. Because the trials we are going through today bring us closer to God. And once it's all said and done we can look back and think of how wonderful our God is to get us through a difficult time. And we can share that accomplishment with others who are struggling.

And look here are verse 9:

"The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls."

The joy we experience during trouble is part of the Salvation Experience. If we know Jesus, we can know the joy of His companionship during times of trouble. We can know in our hearts that he is there beside us every step of the way. Every day that I sit down to pay the bills, he is sitting right there with me, opening my eyes to where the money needs to go. Jesus is a wonderful companion. And even though our trials are only a fraction of the trials that he suffered because of me, they still serve to bring us closer together.

Joy in times of trouble is a wonderful thing. I wouldn't give it up for anything.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

From A Frustrated Man

Today I read the book of Habakkuk. And yes, the entire book. It is, after all, only three chapters long. This past Sunday our Pastor touched on the book during service, and I felt compelled to know more. Habakkuk was a very bold and very faithful man. God was punishing the people of Judah for their repeated sin, and Habakkuk questioned God. He questioned God as to why he would allow the sinful nation of Babylon to destroy Judah. God spoke right back to Habakkuk, telling him that all the people would be judged, and ultimately, righteousness would prevail. This assurance gave Habakkuk the courage and hope to trust God's plans about the days ahead.

"See, he is puffed up;
his desires are not upright—
but the righteous will live by his faith" Habakkuk 2:4

The attitude we are to have toward God is that of Habakkuk, the attitude of trust, not the doubt that we see here in verse 4. When we trust God, we are able to see through the doom and gloom that may surround us and see that God has a deeper purpose. We don't know the future- but we can trust that God does, and we can trust him fully regarding out future. Habakkuk is a grand example of our relationship with God. Habakkuk openly questioned God and told him what he thought. God wants that from us! He wants us to be open with him, even when we are telling him that something really sucks. That's part of having an open and honest relationship.

Chapter 3 of Habakkuk is my favorite part. Our Pastor used this in his sermon on Sunday, and it made me chuckle then, still makes me smile now to read it again.

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,

Look at that! Habakkuk had nothing, and nothing to look forward to. And look at verse 18! He still rejoices in the Lord. He is surrounded by doom and gloom, but he knows that the things of the earth are not what's important. He knows that the rewards in Heaven are what await him, and because of that, even though he has nothing, he is rejoicing in the Lord. What an awesome reminder that we are not on this earth to collect. We are not here to build mansions and grow bank accounts. We are here to help gather souls for our eternal party together in Heaven. And that is a life worth living, and one worth rejoicing about.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Lesson of Frustration

It's so easy to get frustrated with people. I can't tell you how many times Andy or I will get excited about something involving church- most often when we're away for a weekend and we discover something great to put to use in our own church. In Matthew chapter 17, we see that even Jesus gets frustrated at times.

At the foot of the mountain, a large crowd was waiting for them. A man came and knelt before Jesus and said, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”

17 Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Then Jesus rebuked the demon in the boy, and it left him. From that moment the boy was well.

19 Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?”

20 “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.

In verse17 Jesus says "How long must I put up with you!" He'd been up the mountain having a great experience with God, and when he came down, he found that his disciples couldn't help someone in need. Yet Jesus didn't let his frustration come between him and the glory of God. He still met the needs of the father and the boy, driving out the demon. Then, once his work was done, he set his frustration aside and returned to his instruction of the disciples. His disciples had lost focus, and Jesus patiently showed them what they needed to do.

I have to admit, thinking about being the one to frustrate Jesus is a bit nerving. Perhaps there are times when we pay too much attention to the task and changes at hand. Instead, we should focus on The Lord, and he will prepare us properly for the task ahead. And by focusing on God and his timing, rather than our own, the people we are serving will be prepared for the changes ahead.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Today I read 1 Peter chapter 4. This chapter talks about living for God, and gives direction on how to do so. And as on most days, one verse in particular struck me this morning. Here is 1 Peter 4:9

"Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay."

This has been something that we have been learning over time. It was a big step for us to decide that we were going to host a small group through our church. We'd previously been in a group that rotated from home to home, so we only needed to host one out of five weeks. Hosting a small group every week was quite a commitment, let me tell you! That said that we were going to have to clean up for company every week. With small children, that is no easy task. Plus it became even more difficult when we decided that our group needed to meet during the dinner hour- that meant cooking for everyone and providing food and drinks for both adults and children.

At first we tackled the challenge with gusto, but it really didn't take long for us to start dreading the weekend. Our weekends were devoted to cleaning the house for company on Sunday, and by the time our group was over we were crabby and exhausted. I really had to change the way I thought about our group. And that's where today's verse comes in. It says cheerfully. Not with a pretend smile on your face, and not grudgingly, but cheerfully. Yikes. We needed to work on this. At the same time that I was working on my attitude about our group, I was also working on my attitude about housekeeping, and my daily activities. And it wasn't long before I realized that they went hand-in-hand. For it was because of my lackadaisical approach to housekeeping that made the weekend so tumultuous for us. One week I just determined that I was going to keep the house clean all week so that I didn't have to unbury everything for Sunday.

And imagine that... it's been working. A few weeks ago, on a Thursday afternoon I surveyed my clean kitchen and dining room and was all excited because I knew I could keep it clean until Sunday. I wake up in the morning now ready for my day. I tackle any dishes that need to be done first, followed by any baking that needs to be done and one load of laundry. That right there has been a savior. Doing one load of laundry every day has eliminated the dreaded "laundry day." The only day that I need to do more than one load is when I wash bedding and towels. It's great. One load can easily be washed, dried, folded and put away in between games with Zander. Every weekday I also tackle a room in the house for a deep clean. Some days it's a bathroom, some days a bedroom, or even a kitchen cabinet. And because God has helped me view housework in a more pleasing light, I am now much more welcoming to guests. I look forward to having company, because I don't have a major housecleaning event to plan for.

We now happily share our home. Our house is devoted to doing God's work, and I suspect will continue to be used for that purpose for a long time.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Glad Heart

I returned to Proverbs this morning. Specifically chapter 15. There are so many little nuggets of truth here, that I could go all day on this chapter. Instead I'll just pick out two verses in particular. The first being verse 1:

" A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger."

As a parent this verse especially rings true. I can't tell you how many times I'm at the end of my rope with one of my kids, and I snap at them when they ask something. The reaction is true- they get angry and upset with Mommy. The same thing happens with grown adults. People are passionate about their feelings and their beliefs, and if you don't watch your mouth sometimes in conversation you can seriously upset someone. One example is child discipline. As a general rule, Andy and I are not fans of spanking. We don't do it because for the longest time Zander was hitting and striking out when he was angry. So we learned that the best way to deal with him was to take something away for have him sit in a naughty chair for awhile. Amazingly, he's stopped hitting his sister when he's angry with her. And when we have a conversation with other people about this exact subject, we have to be careful how we say "we don't do spanking" because it can come out as a direct criticism of those who do- and it works for them, but it is an area near and dear to parents. The last thing we want is to start a feud of sorts just because we disagree.

The other verse that sticks out this morning is verse 13:

"A happy heart makes the face cheerful,

but heartache crushes the spirit."

Andy's learning about this very thing. He's always been a glass half-empty kind of person. When something would go wrong at work or at church he would dive right into those conversations about all the problems and join in with the complaining. At some point though, he realized that all the complaining was getting him nowhere, all it was doing was acting as fuel for everyone else. So he's been doing the opposite. He has been looking at things with a different point of view. He's letting Jesus show him all the good in people and he's literally overflowing with positive thoughts. You used to be able to take one look at my husband and know whether he's had a bad day or a good day. Now he's always cheerful, because he knows that every day is a gift. That even at the end of a bad day, God will always love him, and the kids and I will always love him, and that's the important things in life.

It's fun to watch him interact with people now. Someone walks up to him and asks him if he's working yet and he says "No! Isn't it great!" And the other person just doesn't know what to say to that. Even though we're not able to do the things we want to do for lack of money, he's been able to work on God's House as much as he wants, and he's been able to spend so much time with his kids that he doesn't normally get to. He's gotten a few projects done around the house that were waiting for him, and he's been available to do things for other people, like help shovel out driveways and volunteer at school. It's great. It will almost be sad when he does go back to work.

One thing is certain. Misery loves company. And if someone is crabby and miserable they like to bring everyone down to their low place. But to put on a cheerful face and share love and smiles can change the dynamics so much. Before long, people start smiling, because smiles are contagious. Letting God's Joy take over can be infectious. Isn't it time we start spreading joy instead of germs?

Saturday, February 10, 2007


This morning I was led to Joshua 6, the story of the fall of Jericho. I just can't read this story anymore without thinking about vegetables and slushies...anyway...

This was almost a light-bulb moment this morning. How often do we have problems in our life that seem huge to us? That in our minds are as big as Jericho? Pretty often, actually. Those problems that you dwell on... so many of our waking moments are devoted to thinking on and praying about these problems and how to bring down those walls. Verse 3 has an amazing example of what we are to do with those insurmountable problems.

"You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days."

The key phrase here is "once a day". Just once a day we should devote our prayers and thoughts towards this problem we have. Once a day! And then move on to other things and other tasks that need to be taken care of. Now once a day did eventually lead to seven times in one day- and that happens too. There may be times where God tells us to go ahead and concentrate our prayers and wait on him to answer. That may take some practice to recognize that point. But in the meantime, those nagging problems will only get my attention for a portion of my day, during my prayer time. I pray that God will grant me the perseverance to follow his instructions and take care of my problem once a day. Eventually, the walls will crumble, no matter how high or how strong our enemy is, it's only a matter of time before the walls come down.

Friday, February 09, 2007

You can take it all...

Many of our discussions with people lately have been about prayer. What can we ask God for? What will he respond to? When will we see results? What if what we pray for doesn't happen? Does that mean we shouldn't pray again? And lately, I've been feeling that all those questions are poppycock, to be honest. The questions everyone should be asking is what CAN'T we ask God for. I've mentioned before how I have developed a constant dialogue with God all day long. I have my time in the morning, but then I also am thanking him or praising him all throughout the day. Occasionally those little prayers are requests, but I ask about everything. Even the little things. The other day I prayed while on my way to do some grocery shopping. I prayed that God would keep me accountable while I was shopping and that he would close my eyes to temptation. And you know, I stayed within my budget.

Right now I'm taking my bills to the Lord. Seriously. I get that statement from the energy company and I pray that God will place the funds in our hands when we need it. And he does. I pray when Zander is in tears because we can't find something special of his that we will find it- and you know we always do. I pray when another fish dies in Abigail's fish tank, that she will be understanding and not be upset and sad. I pray for all the requests that get passed along throughout the day, or if I hear about someone going through a rough time, a prayer is said immediately. This was put the to the test last week as I received an unexpected phone call from someone in distress. I instantly prayed for wisdom to say the right things, listen when I should listen, and for the comfort of those on the other end of the line.

The point is, we can take anything and everything to God. Even our wants and desires. Why not? God wants us to be happy, he wants us to ask him for the desires of our heart. The way I see it, I can pray for that big house with the kitchen I really really want. And while I do know it's on the horizon, it's in God's hands, and it will be there when the time is ready and God is ready for us to have it. And if God decides that house isn't for me... well then that just means that he actually has something better in mind for me. And how can I argue with that!

What brought this all to mind today was reading in 2 Kings, chapter 19. Specifically, verses 14-19.

"Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD : "O LORD, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God.

17 "It is true, O LORD, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by men's hands. 19 Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God."

Hezekiah received a frightening letter. And what did he do with it? Rather than fret about it and worry about it and spread the worry tot he rest of the people, he took it to God. He took a physical letter to God and spread it out for God to read. He took his worries to God directly, and asked God to take care of the army on the way. And God most certainly did. The angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian troops that were on their way to Judah to defeat them.

That right there is proof that it is worth it to take all our cares and worries and desires to God.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Not A Liar

"God is not a man, that he should lie,
nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill?" Numbers 23:19

"a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time," Titus 1:2

As I've been going through and talking about some of the promises of God, I thought that it might be appropriate to look at a few verses that talk a little more about the character of God. You will notice that both of these verses say the same thing- He does not lie. When you first read these, it's like, oh, okay, God doesn't lie. But then when you really think on it. God doesn't lie! Ever! Which means all those promises, all those notes and letters in the Bible are true and pure. When God says he loves us, he means it! When God says he wants to take our hurts away, he means it! When he says that he is preparing a wonderful place for us, he means it! We have a wonderful God who will never, ever turn his back on us and will always be there watchin gus and walking with us through life. Wow. What a great God!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

One More Promise

The beauty of being at this devotional blog for so long now is that it has become a habit, I daresay. And even though everything goes out the window when I'm not feeling well, I know that I can come back to this blog and pick it up like I never missed a day. I like that. And while part of me did miss my devotional blogging the last few days, mostly I wasn't thinking about much more than taking my next snooze. I'm thrilled to be feeling better, and I'm looking forward to getting my energy back. So with that being said, I had one more promise I wanted to touch on. Here is the verse in Romans 8:37:

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37

This is a promise to us that we need never be defeated Christians. We are more than conquerors, because we have our God behind us every step of the way. When I think of a conqueror, I think of a barbarian. Someone who takes whatever they can because they can. Someone who moves into a space and completely takes it over- or takes control of a person. And while we can say that we frequently conquer our own personal battles from day to day, really we do much more than that because we have our God with us. And because Jesus died for us, for our sins, we can never be parted from our God. Never. There is nothing any physical man can can do to us to separate us from the love of Jesus.

This can be such an encouragement during times of persecution. Whether that persecution comes from a neighbor or co-worker or boss or family member, it would serve us well to remember that we have the love of Jesus with us at all times. Even when we are at the bottom of the barrel, Jesus still loves us, and that makes us a winner in his eyes. This is something that I would have loved to have at the forefront of my mind during my school days. Even though I'm sure I heard this several times in Sunday School and church, it never really stuck, I guess.

The promises of God are such a wonderful thing. I think I'd like to come back to them again in the near future.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Review

I'm learning to remember and use my own lessons here. I am having a hard time sitting front of the computer today and focusing on what I'm doing. I seem to have developed a flu bug, and it's really getting me- Zander too, actually. So today I just want to reflect and remember some of what I've learned in the last while. Specifically today the Names of God that we had been working on. And specifically Yahweh Rapha. The God Who Heals will remove this illness from myself and my son, and prevent my other loved ones from coming down with it. And in the meantime, my little beauties will behave and play nicely today while Mommy takes it easy.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Promise of Light

"Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path. " Psalm 119:105

Just a few days ago I was posting about discovering God's Will, and how to know for sure what God's Will was. Today's promise is tied to that question. For God promises that we will have a guide to discovering his Will for our lives, and that guide is His Word. As we see in Psalm 119- His Word will light the path for us. We have guidance at all times, we just need to open it up and see what it has to tell us. That is a mighty promise. We don't ever need to feel as if we're lost and without a direction, because we have direction. We have a map and a guidebook- and The Author is anxious for us to use it. The promise that we can discover his will within the pages of a book is quite incredible actually. What other book can promise that? There is nothing that compares, nothing else so complete. Yet so often it is our Bible's that gather the most dust. With the promise that the Bible will show us God's Direction, how can we not pick it up and read it more often?

Before I started this blog, I was terrible about reading my Bible. Simply terrible. Really, the only time I pulled it out was if we were discussing something and I wanted to reference a verse. The funny thing about the Bible though is that if you aren't using it regularly, the things you know and are familiar with become unfamiliar. Lately though, it's as if so many of the verses I've been reading are sticking. And that is because I am reading my Bible most every day now. It's amazing how the Bible as a whole is becoming familiar again, verses are coming back to memory, and it's wonderful that the tool that I'd all but forgotten and set aside is useful again. And if you are reading this, and don't have a Bible to call your own, you can do one of several things. You can click on the link to the right for Bible Gateway and do Bible reading online. You can get yourself to a book store to pick one up, or you can go to your local church and ask for one- most churches will happily give you a Bible. Or if all else fails- shoot me an e-mail through my profile with your name and address, and I will happily send one your way. The Bible is a powerful ally in our times of need, and with all of God's promises contained within, it's a must-read and must-have tool.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

More on Peace

I was going to start with something this morning that said that I really like this promise too. But I guess the reality is that once you start pinpointing God's promises to us, they're all pretty cool and encouraging. Today's promise comes to us from Philippians 4:7.

"Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."

Doesn't that just give you a sense of peace almost immediately? At least it does me, to think about that. God's peace will guard out hearts and our minds. I like to think about guarding. A guard in the true sense, doesn't just watch for alarm or danger or something bad to happen. A guard protects. A guard bars the path to keep trouble out. God's peace will guard. It will help keep away the fear and the alarm entirely. God promises that his peace will guard our hearts and our minds.

I want to go back a verse in Philippians so we can get the context of what is being said. Here is Philippians 4:6:

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done."

Ah. Worry. We all worry- some of us too much I suspect, but the reality is we all worry. Mostly about the things we can't control. Right now I am trying really hard not to worry about our finances. We really don't know when Andy will be going back to work, and it is really, really difficult to remember that God is in control of this situation entirely and that he will provide for us. I still worry about how we're going to make it through until those paychecks start rolling in again. What I can take away from verse 6 right now is that I need to stop worrying. The moment I begin thinking about that balance in the bank account, I need to stop and pray instead. Thank God for taking care of us so far, and thanking him for what we do have and for showing us how we can manage without for a short while. God knows that we need money to pay our bills this month, and it will delight him if we actually ask him for help there. To actually call out to him and say "Lord, please supply what we need to take care of our bills this month."

This is where verse 7 comes back into play. God's peace will guard my heart and my mind to keep me from worrying about money. To keep me from worrying how we're going to pay our electric bill. God will provide, not only with the financial means that we need right now, but with his peace while we make it through this time. What a wonderful God we have! As a new month begins, and I know that things look a little grim for us, I can't help but be filled with joy and anticipation of the coming new month. God will provide for us, and I am so excited to see his work in action. Thank you Lord for caring about me and my family today, and may we share your glory with so many, thanks to your provision.