Sometimes, I can get so wrapped up in what is going on around me in life that I forget that "playing" (or relaxing) should be part of my routine. Especially during the holiday season. Thinking ahead of all that needs to done already has my heart racing and wondering how in the world am I going to get it all accomplished!
All work and no play is not what God had in mind when He spoke about having joy in our life. Sometimes we just need to put other things and other people aside and just focus on His goodness and His beauty. He has made a world so beautiful for us to enjoy, but when we get so wrapped up in "life" ... we sometimes miss out on the pleasures that He has given us.
Once a year, we go on vacation. It is sometimes the highlight of the year. We work hard all year in anticipation of our summer vacation. But just this past week, I was reminded that my time of "relaxing" doesn't have to be just one week out of the year. I don't have to burn myself out with "all work and no play", every now and then I could turn the vacuum off and sit down and read a book, or close my blog page and click on a favorite computer game. Going on a short bike ride or a quick walk can also bring some relaxation into my life.
ECCLESIASTES 3:11"God made everything beautiful in itself and it its time." (MSG)
Are we too busy to even recognize the beauty of Gods hand around us? Are we so consumed with the holiday Christmas list that we miss out on the stars in the sky or the fresh snow just fallen on the trees? God's beauty is all around us to soak in and bring rest to our spirit and body ... take time today to enjoy it!
When you fill up a glass full of milk or any other beverage ... what is inside the glass is what will come out. This thought reminds me of when God filled me with His Spirit ... it felt like He had filled me with liquid love.
God did something inside of me, and what I was feeling inside is what showed up on the outside of me. I felt happier. I loved more. I had the ability to forgive. I became more patient. Grace was not so hard for me to extend to others.
Having this kind of change inside of us is much like going to the beverage stand at the restuarant where you can just keep refilling and refilling your drink. God's liquid love is never ending as He continues to fill us as we seek Him.
Is your glass of "liquid love" full or empty? Ask God today to renew, restore and re-fill you! And He will.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new."
If we could look in the window of our neighbor, I wonder what kind of table we would see this Thanksgiving Day?
The widow who just recently lost her soul mate of 49 years, sitting at her table alone, staring at the empty seat across from her.
The young mother and her two children, join hands and not only pray for their meal but for the safe return of their husband and father from war over at Iraq.
The elderly man, bows and prays and thanks God for the last piece of bread that he is about to eat.
So many of us will gather around our table this day, joined with our family and friends and enjoy in a feast that seems never ending. While at the same time, people all over will have nothing to eat or have no-one to share their dinner with, much like the examples I gave above. No matter what your table may look like this Thanksgiving day, gratitude is indeed in our attitude.
Paul is a man in the Bible that truly had an attitude of gratitude! While in prison, Paul and Silas were praying and singing and it is during this time that Paul expressed is gratitude in a language. A language of worship that is. When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he encouraged them to share all of their worries and concerns to God. Not only did Paul instruct them to give it all to God but he also implored them to do it with thankfulness.
Paul knew, all too well, that this often-missing ingredient (thankfulness) would change the perspective of so many. Consider how thankfulness lightens your perspective. For Paul, being thankful kept his focus on what was good, true, just, pure and lovely, instead of on the chains of his circumstances. As a result, Paul felt the peace of God.
Maybe you are experiencing some anxiety this Thanksgiving day, Paul is not suggesting that we love the cause of our anxiety, but what he is saying is that we can find God’s peace when we take time to stop and worship Him! Some of the awfulness of this world will not entirely go away, but suddenly it will seem smaller or even more manageable if we seek His peace.
PSALM 95:2 “Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!”
Gratitude is a beautiful way to bring your worries down to size…no matter what your table looks like this day, speak in “gratitude language” to God and give Him Praise!
Hollywood likes to depict love stories in such a way that shows that young adults, well mostly young male adults, have a great fear of committment. Lack of committment is not something that we only see in relationships, but often times we see a lack of committment at the workplaces. Sticking with a job for a "lifetime" is a rarity today. As soon as one finds a better and more rewarding job, we tend to move on. Isn't that sometimes the same attitude people have when it comes to relationships.
People yearn for relationships that will take them thru thick and thin. You know the kind that shows that someone will stick by you no matter what!
LOYALTY ... the ingredient needed for surviving thru thick and thin.
The story of Ruth and her relationship with her mother-in-law, Naomi, is a beautiful story depicting what loyalty is.
RUTH 1:16"But Ruth replied, Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will by my people and your God my God. (17) Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried."
So many times, we look at our relationships as "what's in it for me?" Marriages fail because they no longer seem "fullfilling" and at the same time we leave jobs because "our needs are not met". The lesson about loyalty that Ruth teaches us is that the value of relationships will take us far beyond "self-interest".
The saying "We will stick together thru thick and thin" needs to be revamped and preserved. Jesus tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. What an awesome example of loyalty shown to us thru His committment and love towards mankind.
Thru thick and thin ... stay committed and be a loyal friend, relative and servant.
WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD is a weekly post where I share my heart about a recent personal study. This week I was studying Ruth and doing a word study on Loyalty. It is my prayer that I will show myself loyal and be all I can be for Christ thru "thick and thin." -God Bless
Have you ever noticed how heavy a big bag of potatoes can be? This week as I picked up a bag, I was reminded of a experiment that I read about that a jr high teacher attempted...
The teacher asked her students to bring a clear plastic bag along with a sack of potatoes with them to class. Then, for every person that each student refused to forgive in life, they were to choose a potato and write their name and the date on the potato and place it in the clear plastic bag.
As you can imagine, some of the students bags became quite heavy. The teacher asked the students to carry their bag around with them everywhere they went for a week. They took it with them on the school bus, they placed the bags on their nightstands at night, the bags even went with them when they went to the mall.
It didn't take long before these bags of "potatoes" became a hassle to carry around. And it didn't take too much longer for some of the potatoes to begin to rot and become a nasty, smelly slime.
This teacher taught an awesome lesson here on what unforgiveness can do to someone. Not only does unforgiveness weigh us down (like the sack of potatoes), but before long, having unforgiveness in our heart towards others can begin to give out a bad odor, and become soft and funky looking much like a fungus.
MATTHEW 6:14 "If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."
Sometimes, we are like this story .... needlessly lugging around a sack of potatoes! This Thanksgiving week, I wonder if there is someone that you need to forgive? Why not extend the gift of forgiveness to someone and remember that carrying around potatoes can begin to get really heavy!
TRUSTING GOD? The answer to that question is something that I have been searching for. Like many of you, I WANT to trust Him, but the question is HOW MUCH do I trust Him?
Did I trust Him recently when I had to rush mychild to the hospital? Did I trust Him when I had to take a cut in pay?
Will I trust Him when it looks like I won't have healthcare anymore?
Sometimes things around us just look bad. We wonder how in the world are we going to make it this year? this month? How are we going to make it thru this day! But I assure you ... God has a plan for our world and He has a plan for our lives!
He does not do things by accident, He is willful and intentional. Sometimes we cannot understand His purposes but that is because we are human and have limited understanding. But God ... He has unlimited power and in Him is where I place my trust!
"When we get to a place where it can't be done unless God does it, God WILL do it!" - Vance Havner
Are you worrying about something today?
Are you fearful of what is to come?
Trust God ... He is in control!
JOB 11:7-9 "Can you understand the secrets of God? His limits are higher than the heavens; you cannot reach them! They are deeper than the grave; you cannot understand them! His limits are longer than the earth and wider than the sea."
I am so fortunate to be self employed. One of the greatest perks of being my own boss is setting my own hours and working part-time while pulling a full-time paycheck. As much as I enjoy working part-time, following God is NOT a part-time lifestyle!
The Bible clearly teaches that we are to be cautious AT ALL TIMES because the devil looks for opportunities to devour us. (1 Peter 5:8) God gives us grace though to withstand the devil. He empowers us to be rooted, stay strong, be immovable and remain determined to face whatever may come our way. It is in His strength that we can become strong.
Part-time labor can be desirable but not in building the kingdom of God! May we not become weary of laboring for Him!
I made a visit to our local Christian Bookstore this week and looked at Bibles. The shelves are full of all kinds of different versions of the Bible. King James, New King James, Standard, The Message, etc, etc. Being in the ministry, my husband and I are asked often what kind of Bible a new convert should purchase.
This isn't always an easy question to answer, especially since my husband comes from a strong family view that King James is the authorized Word of God. King James is what my husband likes to use but he also uses other versions when he is studying. I personally like to use the New King James, as it is written in a language that is much easier for me to understand than the old english.
We could argue all day which version is the best...but shouldn't the fact that the Word of God is being meditated upon and hidden in our hearts be the factor in this argument? When one prays the Romans Road to Salvation (3:23; 6:23; 5:8; 10:9; 5:1), the version is not as important as the message contained in these verses. When these scriptures are believed, confessed and prayed ... you will be saved, not because of the kind of Bible you read but because God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He loves, He forgives, He is compassionate, He is everlasting, He is our Redeemer, He is our Comfort, He is the I am!
ISAIAH 55:11"So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (NKJV)
God's Word ... this is what I am thankful for today. It directs me, it leads me, it instructs me, it disciplines me, it molds me, it inspires me. Aren't you thankful that the message of the Gospel never changes?
Please visit Iris over at GRACE ALONE for todays THANKFUL THURSDAY.
That old saying is true..."to have a friend, you have to be one!" I have told my kids that a million times while they were going thru that tough "making friends" stage. Have you ever thought about this saying and what the idea behind it is?
I believe it is suggesting exactly what Jesus said in the book of Matthew: "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it."(Matthew 16:25)
Growing up I had an imaginary friend. Don't laugh, I know some of you did too! Imaginary friends are great because they are exactly what you need a friend to be. They do what you want them to do. They are kind to you. They never leave you. They always protect you. As great as imaginary friends are, they are not real.
In last weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question: "Which superhero did you most admire and want to be like when you were a child?" The top 3 answers were...
1. 25% of those polled said that they admired Nancy Drew.
2. 25% of those voting said that they wanted to be like Superwoman!
3. 8% of the votes said that they admired Superman.
No matter what superhero we admired when we were growing up, they were not real. They may have been fast, powerful and invincible but they were not the real deal! The truest form of friendship that I have found, that has proven to not be fake or unreal is the friendship Jesus offers me. The popular christian song says ... "I am a friend of God, I am a friend of God ... He calls me friend!" What does a real friendship look like to you?
1. Does it reveal your thoughts and feelings?
Jesus did not hide anything from His followers. When He was angry with His followers, He let them know. I have found that if you cannot share your feelings with each other, it is difficult to be real friends.
2. Does it hide information?
Jesus did not hide information from His disciple friends. In Matthew 16:21, He warned them on 3 different occasions that He would face suffering and death in Jerasulem. I guess some people would have avoided sharing such unpleasant information, but Jesus wanted the disciples to prepare themselves.
3. Is it sacrificial? John 15:13 says "Greater love has no one than this, the he lay down his life for his friends." Isn't this exactly what Jesus did for you and for me? As Christ laid His life down for us, we too should be willing to lay our life down for our brothers. We may not literally die for them, but we may be required to give something up for them.
4. Does it lift up and encourage? John 15:16"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last." Are we just doing things to do things or are we contributing towards lasting contributions into this world? A real friend will encourage you in developing your talents and using them for Gods glory.
Today's society wants us to believe real friendships are like the ones on television, where "everyone knows your name". But truly the most important role model to follow when it comes to friendship is Jesus Christ, He IS the real deal!
WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD is a blog post designated once a week to a personal study of mine. This week I have been challenged to seek out true friendships, the kind that are based on God's design and more importantly, to strive to be the kind of friend that God would be proud for me to be. I want to be the real deal to someone today. How about you?
"Say what you mean and mean what you say!" - says Horton the Elephant.
When my son Jordan was very young, one of the things that he enjoyed was mommy reading to him. His all-time favorite book was a book about Horton the Elephant and a bird named Maizie. (Dr. Seuss "Horton hatches the egg") In fact, he would want me to read it so much that I finally tape recorded myself reading the book so when I was busy doing other things around the house, he could pop in the cassette tape and follow along with the book on his own.
Jordan is grown up now and in college. But he remembers that book very well, in fact when he graduated from high school, I found that book for him and we laughed and laughed about it. I am glad that Jordan still remembers those great times that we spent together reading that book, but I often wonder if he remembers the line in the book that Horton says over and over ... "Say what you mean and mean what you say!"
And more importantly, I wonder if Jordan ever considers what that means for christians today?
"Say what you mean and mean what you say?" God intends for His children to be men and women of their word. Integrity...this is what Horton the elephant was suggesting. And it is also what God expects.
JAMES 5:12"But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your 'Yes' be "Yes' and your 'No' be 'No', lest you fall into judgement."
There is nothing more that will hurt our testimony than if we are children of God who cannot keep our word. It doesn't take too many times before our integrity and our trust will be broken when we do not keep our word or fullfill promises that we make to others.
It is my prayer that when I say I will do something ... I will do it! And when I make a promise...I will do my best to fullfill it! And when I say yes ... I mean yes and when I say no...I mean no!
Have you ever climbed a rockwall before? Every year, our church has a huge kids outreach and one of the things that we have is a rockwall for the pleasure of climbing. The goal is to start at the bottom and climb all the way to the top and ring the buzzer. It actually looks easier than it is. You have to be sure your footing is just so. And before you take each step, you must look ahead to see where you need to place your hands and your feet next.
Maybe you have heard the old saying, " Look before you leap". It may be an old saying, but a very fitting saying that applies to our lives. Before we jump into something, it is good to look ahead and plan. If we don't do this, many times we find ourselves sorry that we jumped.
Thinking ahead will lead us to making better choices. Especially in those important decisions of our life, impulsive behaviour is like dynamite to our future.
"There comes a time when we simply have to face the challenges in our lives and stop backing down." -JOHN ELDREDGE
Having wisdom is much like taking careful steps on that rockwall ... with each step we must carefully examine if the risk is worth taking or not. Committing each step to the Lord will bring us courage to put our future in His hands.
If attitude could be a color...what color would be on your palette? I have to admit, sometimes my attitude can lack vivid colors. When my day is long and I am beat tired from working all day, only to come home and have to work all night cooking, cleaning, laundry and paying bills, my palette can lack vibrancy. It is days like this that a dark, black cloud seems to move with me from place to place, room to room, attitude to attitude.
Wouldn't it be neat if when our attitude turned sour and it seemed to be tainted black, that a dust of color was blown down from heaven to alter our mind, our thoughts and our attitude. Some days, all we need is just a boost of color to brighten our day.
"Attitude is the mind's paintbrush; it can color any situation."- BARBARA JOHNSON
What color has your attitude been this week? Dull and dreary or vibrant and full of His beauty? Allow God to be the paintbrush and shower color bursts into your attitude!
As I write this, it is the eve of Veterans Day, I would be amiss if I did not dedicate this week's Thankful Thursday post to all of the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom. Not only have lives been sacrificed at the frontlines but so many sacrifices are still being made daily when families are separated because of deployment.
Mothers saying goodbye to children.
Wives saying goodbye to husbands, husbands to wives.
And fathers saying "I will meet you when I come back" to their unborn child.
May we never forget the battle that is being fought. May we never forget what it takes to defend our freedoms. While the troops put on their armor and defend our country, we too, who are left here have a battle that we must suit up for. The enemy is out to kill, steal and destroy and he will stop at nothing before we are defeated.
We have been given the sword in which we can fight back with. The Bible describes God's Word as a sword. It is our defense against the enemy, it is the very thing that will defend ourselves against the wiles of the enemy! God's Word has the power to cut to the core - it is not just any sword, but a two-edged sword, one that will cut both ways. The same God who speaks comfort to us also speaks words of judgement against His enemies. The words of Christ offers salvation for the believer and destruction for the unbeliever.
Many times, we just want to hear the good and the positive things but sometimes in order to grow, in order to do combat, we also need to have correction and repentance. The sword, God's Word is the best defense we can have to overcome the enemy!
"Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." EPHESIANS 6:17
Today, I am thankful to all veterans, past and current. I am also thankful for the Word that leads, guides and protects us!
What are you thankful for today? Please visit IRIS and
other grateful hearts over at THANKFUL THURSDAY!
Pray for my veteran, my son Jeremy who is currently serving in the Air Force!
I just love going thru old scrapbooks and picture albums. It brings back so many fond memories. Remembrance of the good times is often mixed in with some memories of the bad as well. It is fun to go down memory lane, but we must be careful of what we say about our past of regrets and failures.
It is easy to say things such as, "boy those were the good ole days!" or "we sure had some wild times back in college". We tend to forget the spiritual and relational struggles that took place during those times of our youth, the time before Christ saved us from a life of sin. How often do we minimize the dangers of what might have happened without the saving grace of Jesus Christ?
When I think about my spiritual journey with the Lord, I not only think about where I have been, but also I remember the wrong choices I have made and how I have reached the place I am currently in. I am not proud of some of my choices but I am grateful for them, for it is part of who I am today.
C.S. LEWIS said this... "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains."
Paul writes to the Christians at Ephesus and trys to get them to look at their spiritual journey, so they can see where they were going and how grace played a huge role in their lives:
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, (2) in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient." - EPHESIANS 2:1,2
Paul is evaluating their past lives. This is not a general statement he makes, he has come to know these Christians, he has listened to their stories, and he worked among them to know that they were dead in their sins. But he did not want them to stay straddled with their past mistakes or allow them to think they were worse than others.
ROMANS 3:23 "For we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
That's right. All of us! We are all sinners. But remembering is not just remembering what we were, it is also remembering what delivered us from this state. What was the changing power? What took us from "dead" to "alive"?
EPHESIANS 2:4,5"But because of His great love for us, God, Who is rich in mercy, (5) made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved."
In last weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question: "What area of your life are you least proud of?" The top 3 answers are...
1. 37% of those voting said that they are least proud of their academic ability.
2. 25% voted and said that it was their professional achievements that they were least proud of.
3. Another 25% voted and said it was their appearance.
Failures ...we all have them. Mistakes...we have all made them. God's Grace...we don't deserve it but we all sure do need it!
I think we all can look at our own faith journeys and if we could log it all down in a special scrapbook...we would all have times where we have fallen down. But instead of tearing out that page of the book, we need to realize that because of God's grace we need not to worry about those times. Instead, we can rejoice that God loves us, accepts us and He is our grace keeper!
WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD is a weekly blog post designated to highlight a personal study that I am doing. This week I was doing a word search on God's grace and it brought me to a remembrance of what God has brought me from and how He is turning my past into praise! I pray He will do the same for you today!
Occasionally, my husband and I catch the popular british television show "Keeping up appearances". The main character of this show is so involved in being someone she really isn't. Always going the extra mile to be seen at the right places, doing the right things, wearing the right clothes and saying the right things.
I would like to say that I'm not at all like this. But sometimes, I guess I am. When I focus on pleasing man more than I please God ... then I guess I am keeping up with appearances.
Having a birthday this week reminded me of how many times we try to please man. As I get older, I am more aware of the importance that we often put on our looks and our shapes. It seems like no matter where I look, I see advertisements for hair color, diet plans, exercise equipment, tanning packages, wrinkle removers and tummy tucks. I have reached the age that ALL of these things seem appealing to me.
But I have to ask myself this ... am I making myself appealing for others? or for myself? Am I concentrating more on what is on the outside than the inside? Imagine what it would be like if we cared for the maturing spirit as much as we do the aging outer body.
If we would powder and pluck away those things that are eating away at our inner beauty - we might find that keeping up our appearance for Christ is realizing that God loves us just like we are and it is the condition of our heart that He is concerned with and not the condition of our skin.
PSALM 90:17 "And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us."
["It is impossible to please everybody, but it is not impossible to please God."]
I have always been grateful and proud of the kind of father that my husband has been to our children. The absence of a earthly father in my own life has many times left me wondering what it would have been like if I had had a father growing up.
Sometimes I ask that question...you know ... "if only". Well like everything else in this world, we can't turn the clock back. Thru the eyes of my four children, I have been able to see what the love and the care looks like for a father to have towards a son or a daughter.
I can remember when my kids were younger, there was absolutely nothing that their Dad could not do. There was no problem that he could not fix, and circumstances never got so bad that they could not call upon Dad. Even when our kids grew older, they depended upon the wisdom of their father...
I remember one of our sons calling when he was stranded at work, his truck wouldn't start. He called his dad.
Another time, in the middle of the night, another son was driving home from work and slid on some ice and crashed into the ditch. He called his dad.
When our youngest son had a vehicle overheat, and he needed to know what kind of oil he needed...yep, you guessed it - he called his dad.
Dad's are great! They can do anything. As we grow older, many times we come to a realization that dad sometimes can't always be there in our time of crisis. In fact sometimes when we ask Dad a question, he sometimes has no other way to respond than, "I don't know."
I am so grateful that we ALL have a Father, our heavenly Father, that loves us so much and in His unlimited ability, He avails Himself to us whenever we need Him. Just like our sons who call up their father, God is simply waiting for us to call Him up and simply ask for His help, His guidance, His Truth, and for His provision.
We have grown children now who still call "Dad" up once in awhile to ask for his help. I am so glad that in the midst of our trial or difficulty, we don't have to rely upon someone else to fix our problems. All we need to do is call out the name of Jesus. JESUS - The name above all names. And He is there!
JAMES 5:13 "If you are having trouble, you should pray."
JEREMIAH 32:27 "I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for Me?"
Go ahead, call out to your heavenly Father and see what He might have to say!
Few things are more sad than seeing a less-than cheerful Christian. We are approaching the season of giving. The stores are already decorated. The radio is already playing the Christmas songs. This is a season of joy, love and laughter but yet the busyiness of it all can make us walk around with long faces.
Jesus Christ promises us a life of abundance and joy, but He will not force His joy upon us. We must seek it and receive it. It is a gift that beats out all other gifts. Without the joy of the Lord, it is difficult to be a cheerful giver. Why not give from your heart this holiday season, it may just put some "cheer" back into the season of giving.
I have noticed that the outward attitude will often times reflect what the inward reflection is. Hands down I would much rather be around someone who has a positive outlook rather than someone who is always finding fault, and negativity about things.
Think about it, if you took two people and stood each one of them up on a platform with a microphone. One shouting out positive comments with great enthusiasm and the other claiming negativity about our community, our state, and our country....which one do you think would draw the largest crowd the quickest?
No doubt, the negative speaker would draw curious onlookers. But only after a short while would they tire of hearing nothing but bad news, with a sour attitude. They would eventually leave and work their way over to hear what positive things the other speaker had to share.
John Wesley said this..."Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn." Can you imagine if we all fanned the flames of enthusiasm for Christ, what an impact and drawing we would be for those observing us from afar!
Our world desperately needs to hear some positive. Some good. Some enthusiasm. We have enough negativity. Too much bad. More sarcasm than we need. Why not be enthusiastic about all that God has offered us.
Ephesians 6:7"Do your work with enthusiasm. Work as if you were serving the Lord, not as if you were serving only men and women."
Wherever you find yourself, be all you can be. Live to the hilt every situation you find yourself in. Be thankful for the opportunities that God gives you to share your enthusiasm. Fan the flames of enthusiasm for the cause of Christ!
For more grateful hearts, visit IRIS over at GRACE ALONE for THANKFUL THURSDAY!
As I sat in a conference, there was a commotion at the door. The conference speaker had already begun the conference, but a gentleman and his wife had arrived fashionably late and seemed to be unaware of the disturbance they were making. Talk about an entrance! Not one person in the room was unaware of this couples arrival.
I was reading this week in Gods Word about another grand entrance, except this one was motivated by love for mankind. The entrance of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost!
Violent wind. flames of fire. Speaking in another language.
Acts 2:1-4 "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. (2) Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. (3) They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. (4) All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them."
Talk about drama! Talk about taking notice of what just arrived in the room!
This same "appearing" is available to us today. We might be awed at how the day of Pentecost changed so many lifes, but that same power can awe us each and every day. The Holy Spirit helps the believer in so many ways...
THE SPIRIT GIVES US ABILITIES THAT WE CAN USE (Acts 2, vs 4)"The Spirit gives us abilities we can use to serve God and others." The Spirit enables us with many gifts, some are not as flashy as what we read about on the day of Pentecost, but each gift is important. Such giftings as teaching, organizing a ministry, preaching or encouraging one another.
THE SPIRIT TEACHES US (John 16:12.13) "I have much more to say to you , more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth." We live in a world of confusion and it is comforting to know that we have not been left in this world without a guide and a teacher. If we would look for the signs, we will find the One to show us the way.
THE SPIRIT BRINGS US TOGETHER
All you have to do is pick up the newspaper and see that we are threatened by war, genocide, crimes of hate and prejudice. In spite of these barriers, the Holy Spirit brings us together. On the day of Pentecost, different languages were spoken but yet understood by all...this is what the Holy Spirit does, it gives understanding to all.
THE SPIRIT BRINGS COMFORT
There is something about the wind blowing. It brings peace and comfort in the midst of a storm. The "wind", (the Holy Spirit) is the gentle wind that ever so gently soothes our wounds.
I need the Holy Spirit in my life. I cannot imagine one day without the wind and the fire. In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I asked the following question: "How would you describe your experience with the Holy Spirit right now?" The top 3 responses were:
1. 50% of those voting said that the Holy Spirit was like a glowing ember in their life.
2. 16% of those polled voted and said that the Holy Spirit was "up in the air".
3. Another 16% voted and said that it had been a long time since they experienced the Holy Spirit.
The poll this week was very telling. When asked if the Holy Spirit was "on fire" in their life ... the response -0% but yet when asked if they had never experienced the Holy Spirit ...16% responded they had NEVER experienced the Holy Spirit.
Today is the day for you to experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. The wind, the fire, the understanding ... Jesus said He would leave us a comforter, a friend and it is the Holy Spirit. Don't leave home without It!
WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD is a weekly post designated to a personal study of mine. This week I was studying the book of Acts and the day of Pentecost. It is my prayer that you will experience the power and the giftings that the Holy Spirit provides. Let the wind of the Holy Spirit blow on you!
When I was growing up, I remember going to my Grandparents house and helping tear down their house. I don't really remember why they were tearing down their house but what I remember are the piles and piles of lumber and roofing material.
It appeared that the debris was piled nearly to the roof (ok it probably wasn't piled THAT high but to a kid, it really appeared to be!) It seemed no matter how long or how many people worked at digging away the debris - it seemed to not make a dent in the pile.
This reminds me of a story I read earlier this week of a boy who was helping his parents remodel their old farmhouse. The old material was piled high, nearly to the ceiling. The young boys job was to begin cleaning up the old material. Noticing the look on the boys face when he saw how high the pile was, the father encouraged his son by saying to him, "Just keep at it Son and remember one piece at a time and you will get it done."
After several hours of working, the boy was grimacing but yet still working. The father who had peeked in on him noticed how the boy was moving slowly but yet he had not given up. Smiling, the man moved beside his son and without a word spoken, he began to help him out with the clean-up.
Philippians 4:13 "I can do everything through Him Who gives me strength."
Like this story, I often times look at the mountain that sits before me and all I can see is the debris. It appears that the mountain is piled way too high for me to climb or even tear away the rubbish. But if I can just be determined like the young boy was, I just know that one piece at a time, one day at a time, that my endurance will reap the reward.
But I can't do it alone. The little boy needed his father to help him and I need my Heavenly Father to help me! He hears my cry for help, He offers His encouragement and His strength to move the mountain right out of my way.
Do you have a mountain standing in your way? Is it too high or difficult for you to move? Remain determined and hopeful and expect God to step in and help!
Hospitality...who has time for it?
This world we live in is fast paced and some weeks we are so busy around this house that the thought of having people in our home is totally out of the question. The laundry would have to be put up. The floors would have to be mopped. Groceries would have to be bought. and the list goes on and on. Nobody has to tell us what is obvious and what is obvious is that we all have responsibilities ...LOTS of them!
We not only have obligations and responsibilities to ourselves, but to our family, to our community and to God. We must be careful that we do not get our obligations mixed up. We should be putting God first, family second, jobs third and everything else should follow in after that. In all that we do, we must be careful that we are taking all of our duties seriously, especially our duties to God.
One of the things that my husband and I have been discussing is the idea of having people over in our home for fellowship. The thought of that is really great, but when I think of what is involved to make that happen ... well let's just say I lose sight of the joy when I think of the work involved to prepare things to make it happen. After all, when it comes to responsibilities and obligations ... who is responsible for being hospitable to the new people in church?
The answer: you and me!
It is so easy to think that someone else will do it, but does someone else do it? It is so much easier to hold the person in the mirror accountable for such things. So what keeps you from offering hospitality to others? Is it time, is it the kids, is it a messy house, or is it just because you don't feel obligated to?
"Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility." - DIETRICH BONHOEFFER
Sometimes the best thing to do is just make a plan and stick to it. So with this in mind, we all pitched in around here and got the house in order and had people over last week. It was great! Creating an atmosphere for fellowship is a wonderful gift and blessing.
JEREMIAH 17:10 "I, the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."
God is not so much concerned with the inside of your house or what it looks like, but more concerned with the intent of your heart. Step out and embrace the fact that God has blessed you with a home, and use it to glorify Him by offering the hand of fellowship to someone.
Now that you know our door is open, we will leave the light on for you. Come on in, we look forward to getting to know you!
Check out AT THE WELL today to visit other posts on this topic of the ministry of hospitality.
Sharing God's love and truth thru devotional writing here and across the web. My heart is to bring hope,love and forgiveness to those that feel broken and lost. I was once broken and lost but I am so glad that God didn't let me stay that way. Come along with me on this adventure of faith and may you also find the hope and love that you are longing for! :)