My son called me the other day to ask me a favor. Him and his wife are moving to a different apartment this weekend and they need our help. I remember how much work is involved in moving, so of course, I cleared my calendar to be able to help them in any way possible.
I was thinking about that phone call, and how easy it was for my son to call us up to ask for help, and how eager we, as his parents, were to help him.
Isn't that the same picture we should have of God?
Our Heavenly Father is so eager to be there for us, to help us, and guide us, but unlike my son, we sometimes are not as eager to ask Him for the help.
When we are sick, the first person we consult is our doctor.
When we are broke, the first place we go to is to the loan office. Many times, in our times of need, going to God is our second choice or our last resort.
As a child of God, I want to be like my son, and not be hesitant to ask for help. I want to have a childs confidence that no matter what he needs, that he can count on his parents. God wants to help us, we can count on Him...but we have to be willing to make the call.
He is just one call, one prayer away. I am so thankful today that no matter the time, the day or the situation, that God is always near and always willing and able to help me.
Psalms 121:1-3 "I will lift up my eyes to the hills — From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber." NKJV
IRIS is hosting THANKFUL THURSDAY today. You can share your grateful heart with us by linking up over at http://www.eph2810.com/ . Next week you will find TT over at Lynn's place!
God is so good to us. His blessings are just overflowing. Even in the darkest, troublesome times, God has a way to open up the heavens and shower us with His power and blessing!
How come we don't fully recognize His blessings?
Sometimes it is because we lose focus. In our desperate time of need, when we finally get to the place of safety, we are just so relieved to have the storm behind us that we lose focus on how we got thru the storm. When God pours His blessing out upon us, it is not always for our benefit. Have you considered that His blessing is not to be kept to yourself?
Why not pay it forward?
When God blesses you...you turn around and bless someone else. I have come to realize lately that when God blesses me, it may be so I can be obedient and turn around and bless someone else. Sure, God could easily bless that other person and meet their need...but He is looking for obedience and when I am in tuned to His Spirit to pay it forward, it becomes a double blessing!
The indebted servant in Matthew 18 had an opportunity to "pay it forward". The servant owes his master an incredible amount, the king could have punished him greatly for not being able to settle it, but instead he pardons him and wipes his debt clean. The very next thing that happens is so amazing and so real-life to me. The servant goes out and is given the same opportunity, he has the chance to also forgive a debt owed him, but instead he attacks his debtor and demands to be paid. His injustice and inability to pay it forward lands him back in jail until his debt is paid in full.
MATTHEW 18:32, 33 "You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should you not have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?"
We can be like the wicked servant in Matthew 18. We each owe God an incredible debt, which none of us can ever re-pay. Each of us deserves to be thrown into a "debtors" prison, but instead, God has mercy on us, He pays our bill in full. Because of Calvary, our debt is paid, we are forgiven.
Have you been forgiven?
Then your debt is no more. So, go out and pay it forward!
It never ceases to amaze me how the human stomach works. It appears that the more we eat ... the hungrier we become. For instance, last night I ate so much that it felt like my stomach was going to burst, I was so full that I vowed to never, ever, ever eat again. But what happened? First thing this morning, my stomach was growling and turning and crying out for MORE food! I was starving!
It is no different in our spiritual body. We are hungry, so hungry for God's Word, for His touch, His anointing, and for His power. Once we dine with Him, we cannot be satisfied. We want more. We need more. Without it, we can never be fully satisfied.
But often times, because of hectic schedules, and lack of good time management, we push aside our spiritual hunger pains. We ignore the stabbing ache that we have to have more of Him and we slowly trade a satisfied spiritual appetite for a undernourished one.
REVELATION 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
Are you hungry this morning? Feed your spiritual appetite by spending some time with God today. Once you dine with Him, you will crave to have more of Him!
Last week, we took advantage of school being out for spring break and took a road trip to Wisconsin to visit some of our family. It had been quite some time since we have seen some of them. Traveling from Arkansas makes the drive a long and exhausting trip. A mere 795 miles which equates to about 12 hours of constant driving. But when we finally pulled into my mother's driveway, we were so glad to finally be at our final destination.
We hadn't been sitting in my mother's kitchen but a few minutes when we heard a knock on her door. It was late in the evening and we couldn't imagine who could be coming to her place at such a late hour. To my surprise, in walked my 2 older brothers and one of my nieces. My oldest brother and his daughter drove all the way from Ohio to surprise me. The three of us siblings had not been all together in 13 years. It was a wonderful surprise! Knowing that he drove all night long, 8 hours on the road, over 500 miles to come see his baby sister was definitely going the extra mile in my book!
(Me acting up with big Brothers Don and Larry. Their daughters, Sarah, Abby and Nikki. My daughter Anna, and our mother!)
This small act of love made me wonder just how far I would go for my brothers and sisters in Christ...
Would I be willing to go the extra mile for one of them? What would I give up for someone in need? Would I give my time? Would I give money? Would I put my needs aside to minister to someone in trouble? How far would I go to express my christian love for someone?
Matthew 25:37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
In order to fulfill what Matthew is speaking of, we must be willing to go the extra mile. How far are you willing to travel for the least of your brothers and sisters?
Many times when I hear people talk about "peace", my thoughts wander to the warm thought of world peace or peace attained between two quarreling people. I wonder why when we speak about having peace, we don't automatically think of the biblical term of peace?
After all, without it, the peace of God that is, it is difficult to attain any other kind of peace. God really showed me this week how His peace is the first stepping stone to bridging the gap with any other kind of turmoil, disagreement or confusion.
For instance, if we are concerned with the turmoil that our country is in, without having the peace of God, having a peace of mind that our "world" is going to be alright is almost impossible. Peace does not come from our politicians, or our employers or from our bank accounts...it can only come from God!
Philippians 4:7: "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
I had something weighing heavy on my heart this week. I wasn't sure what to do or how things were going to work out. But I chose to trust God in my situation. As I began to trust Him, a peace came over me. I still did not know how things would turn out, but I knew that I knew that God was in control. And almost as quick as I just typed that, God backed up His promise that He would never leave me nor forsake me by giving me concrete evidence that He had everything under control. I received an email from someone that offered me EXACTLY what I was in need of and that I was praying about.
Do you see how that worked? Trust was first, peace was second, blessing was delivered! His peace is the kind of peace that will pass all of our understanding. Even when we don't know the when or how, we can trust the Who!
Aren't you thankful for God's peace?I truly am.
Iris is hosting THANKFUL THURSDAY this week. Please share your TT post with us by linking up. http://www.eph2810.com/
There are some things in my life that I would really like to give up, like eating. But giving it up totally would not be a good thing ... in order to survive, I need food! My problem isn't "eating", it's eating too much.
In last weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question, "Is there something you couldn't live without?" The top 3 answers were:
1. 80% voted and said that they could not live without God!
2. 60% said that they could not live without their family!
3. Another 60% voted and said prayer is what they could not live without!
After reading the results of this weeks poll, I have to say a loud AMEN to that! Those would probably be the 3 toughest things to try to live without. But yet many of us make choices each and every day that lead us away from these things. Many times God, prayer and family take a backseat to other things going on in our lives. We get so busy with our lives that sometimes we find ourselves at the end of the day without having spent any time with any of these things.
In order to make the important things "important", sometimes we have to give something up. That's what I love about going on a fast...it allows me time to just focus on God and rid myself of the unwanted and certainly, unneeded toxins that have crept inbetween me and my Father. There is just something so sacrificial about fasting, giving up things, things that I like, in order to get closer to Him.
I see fellow Christians doing this very thing. Giving up things in order to help others. Giving up their time to come and teach a class. Giving up money to invest in the children's ministry. Giving sacrificially to others, especially those in need. They give someone a ride to church. They visit the sick in the hospital. They bake a cake for a grieving family. They pray for a Missionary that they have never met.
John 15:12-13 - My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (NIV)
Giving of ones time and treasure can be a very sacrificial thing. When we give sacrifically to others, it can only bring us closer to God. And when we become closer to God, we will be driven to give sacrificially to others. Do you see how this works?
When I think about how Jesus gave His own life just for you and me, for our salvation, it makes giving of myself to others alittle bit easier. Really, when you think about it, there isn't anything besides God, prayer and family that I couldn't do without. How about you?
As I watched the waitress carry a very full cup of beverage to our table. I noticed how slowly and carefully she had to walk. It has been said that it takes a steady hand to hold a full cup.
Certainly, God was planning to give a full cup to the apostle Paul. But before He did, He led Paul into the desert of Arabia for a time. (Read Galatians 1:17) I'm not sure what all happened there, but I can pretty much assume that it was this place that Paul drew closer to the Lord in fellowship and communion. His teaching became much more refined after this as we see later when Paul writes the New Testament epistles.
Isn't this typical of what God does when He has a greater mission for people. Often times, we go thru a valley first. We see it as a valley, while God sees it as preparation time for something greater. Look at Joseph, he was used greatly in the house of Potiphar, but then he was sent to prison for 2 long years. Moses had 40 years of training in the wilderness before he led the children of Israel out of Egypt.
We see example after example of how God used people in a great way, but often times it was after a time of training and preparation. What we see as "wasted" time, God only sees as "preparation" time. God was preparing all of these great men in the Bible for what was ahead for them. He will do the same for us.
One thing is for certain. When we go through the desert of hardship...God will use it and use us to be more effective in our ministry. He is refining us, teaching us and preparing us for something great.
HEBREWS 12:7 "As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as His own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?" (NLT)
When you think about the trials and hardships that God has taken you thru, what purpose do you see in them? Do you even see a purpose? Just remember, you can never be too small for God to use. We are all destined for something great!
I was awoken suddenly from my sleep early this morning. I was gasping for my breath. It felt like someone was choking me. Choking is not a very good feeling at all. You know exactly what I mean if you have ever choked on a small piece of food, it clogs your air passageway and all of a sudden you cannot breathe.
Of course, nobody was actually choking me this morning. It was just a "feeling" that had come over me. I guess it goes right along with the "feeling" that some of us get when we get discouraged spiritually. You know .... those things that you know that you know that God has birthed in your heart and so you take on a great passion and desire to see God work thru you but then all of a sudden something comes along your way that steals your joy, robs you of your passion and chokes the zeal right out of you.
What a scary place to be. To feel like your life, your ministry, your desires, your hopes, your faith could be choked right out of you.
Of course, this is only what the enemy does. This is his tactic. This is how he gets perfectly good Christians to throw in the towel. Quit. Give up. Feel unworthy.
LUKE 8:14 "Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity."
If you saw someone who was choking, say on a piece of food, no doubt you would rush over, wrap your arms around them and do the Heimlich maneuver and do everything you could possibly do to clear their passageway. As Christians, when discouragement is so strong that we feel like we are choking, this is what God does. He wraps His loving arms around us and applies His maneuver of love, grace and hope to our lives and He does everything He can to restore our faith, our ministry and our passion to labor for Him.
How about you? What kind of life-saving techniques do you apply to someone who may be choking spiritually?
A few years ago, I went Los Angeles to do street ministry. I saw firsthand how presenting the Gospel can take on a new meaning. When talking to street people, it was not a good idea to go dressed in our Sunday best. To be effective, we had to first learn how to be approachable. We needed to know something about their language and something about their neighborhood.
Anything less would have seemed not real to them. They could spot an imposter a mile away.
The same thing is true in our neighborhoods. We have to know the neighborhood, the lanugage, the culture. Many times before you can go in and talk about Christ to someone, you have to build a relationship with them first.
Now that doesn't mean that you join a gang, or hang out at the bars. But if you don't know ABOUT them, you will not be able to minister TO them. I tend to see good in people, even in the people that others deem as "bad". If I didn't take the time to get to know someone, know their heart, know their background, know their hearts desire...it would be difficult for me to express love, genuine love to them. Everybody deserves to be loved. Even those that we see as "bad".
God looks beyond the exterior and sees the interior. We see the hard surface, the foul language, the past mistakes...God sees a heart that is tenderizing, a soul that is yearning, a child that He loves.
It's not so much HOW you present it...it's that you DO present the Gospel!
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. (Mark 16:15)
As I sit here this morning, I am trying to search for what God would have me share today as I express my thanks. It seems like it should be difficult after the draining day I had yesterday. The sting of the emotion still lingers with me today.
Days like that makes me wonder how in the world Job pressed in and carried on.
He lost everything. Job lost his servants. His cattle. He lost his children. But YET he still trusted God and gave Him praise. Even his wife cursed him and told him to die. Man, when people curse us and speak death over us, we are called into battle. But God said that the battle belongs to Him.
It is in the midst of our battles, that we MUST trust God. So if you find yourselves in a tense battle like Job, lean upon Him and trust God. If you find it hard to find something to be thankful for...just be thankful for God.
When everything else fades...He remains.
When people turn their back on you...He remains.
When dreams seem to die...He remains.
When all hope seems lost...He remains.
He is rock steady. Immovable. Unchangeable.
You can trust Him, love Him, depend upon Him and know that He is not going anywhere...He will remain!
2 Samuel 22:2: and he said: "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;The God of my strength, in whom I will trust."
Now that is something to be thankful for!
Iris is hosting THANKFUL THURSDAY this month. Please share your grateful heart with us by linking up over there. http://www.eph2810.com/
God really did a good thing when He gave us all of our 5 senses. Sight, Hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Each and every day we take these for granted. Until one of them is removed. For years now, I have not been able to smell anything. I never realized what a blessing it is to smell a cake baking or a fresh bouquet of flowers. How I miss being able to smell sweet fragrances.
Many times what happens when one of our senses is gone, the other remaining senses become stronger.
In last weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question: "Which of your 5 senses could you live without?" The top 3 answers were...
1. 40% responded that they could live without "taste".
2. Another 40% voted and said they could live without "smell".
3. 30% said that they could live without "hearing".
As Christians, we have a 6th sense, and that is our faith. I don't think I could live without having faith. Without it, none of these other senses really matter. It is the most important and most certainly it is the one sense that I want to be the strongest. I could live without being able to hear or see, and I would miss the touch of someone I love, but if I lost the sense of having faith, I couldn't make it a day.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11: 1(NKJV)
Having faith, real faith in God is so much more than just acknowledging you have faith...
1.) REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOMETHING YOU SAY 2.) REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOMETHING YOU FEEL 3.) REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOME SOMETHING YOU THINK 4.) REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOMETHING YOU BELIEVE 5.) REAL FAITH IS SOMETHING YOU DO
So, what kind of faith do you have? Do you operate in your faith like one of your other senses?
Today I have shared a devotion with the readers of LACED WITH GRACE. It is entitled "Slow fade".
One of the hardest things as a Christian is to watch another Christian slowly walk away from their faith. I have always wondered how a person could go from being on fire for the Lord to not serving Him at all.
Do you know someone like this? Maybe this has even happened to you.
Many times, difficulties in life become too much to bear, so we just throw in the towel. We blame God...
There are two things that I am really proud of. My kids and my husband. Things that may seem small to you, like winning a little league game or getting a "A" on a test are really proud moments for me.
In last weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question: "What is the one thing that you are most proud of?" The top 3 answers were:
1. 55% voted and said they are most proud of their children.
2. 22% responded and said they are most proud of their spouse.
3. 11% said they are proud of their testimony.
I would say that all of us are proud of something. It is a good thing to show honor and respect for those things but when our attitude becomes prideful, that is a different story. Having a prideful spirit is something different than being proud of something. Having pride takes the honor and attention from something or someone and is shifted to being all about us.
Its an ageless joke that we have all heard...women who say men will drive around for hours before stopping for directions. Honestly, I think some of us live our lives just like that. Men don't like to stop for directions because their pride might get hurt that they couldn't find their way, but the truth of it is, that we allow pride to get in the way of finding out the direction God may have for our lives.
PSALM 10:4 "In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God."
Christians cannot manipulate the map of life alone. We need God and we need the direction of the Holy Spirit. But so many times pride settles in and we think we can find the way or that our way is better than God's way. But instead, we just end up in a bunch of dead ends and lost just like the male driver trying to find his way without a road map.
Jesus was so different than us. He depended upon His Father for direction. He was flawless and did not have pride like we do, but yet, He didn't try to make it on His Own, He sought His Father's way.
Today, I am thankful that even in the times that pride gets in the way, I can always find my way back to my Father who will lead me, guide me, and put me on the right path. It is His direction that I seek, anything less will only lead me down a wrong road and in a dead end!
IRIS is hosting THANKFUL THURSDAY this month. Please share your grateful heart with ours over there... http://www.eph2810.com/ .
Last summer when I went on a missions trip to Ecuador, for 2 weeks I sanded down concrete walls. After a few days of sanding, I actually got pretty good at it. I know some people who are also pretty good at being like sand paper. I call them "sand paper" people, because they rub us wrong.
We all know someone like that. Sometimes they don't mean to rub us wrong, but they do. On the other hand, I know some people who DO mean to rub us wrong, its their mission in life. Often times, it is difficult to know how to handle these sand paper people. Sometimes we try to change them, but most often, we try to avoid them and run the other way when we see them coming.
When I was sanding down the walls in Ecuador, at first I could not see the good in it. After all what was a few bumps on the wall going to hurt? But after awhile, I could see the difference sanding was making. The walls were becoming much smoother and will be almost ready to be painted, leaving no bumps or flaws. My perspective changed after I could see the good the sanding was doing.
Our perspective needs to change when we look at "sand paper" people. If only we could see them like God sees them.
"Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each others faults because of your love." (Ephesians 4:2)
God looks beyond the abrasive behaviour of sand paper people, He looks at the inner beauty that many cannot see. He recognizes the worth that is under all of the roughness. May we look at others like God does, may we see the value in others like He sees.
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! :)