Saturday, December 29, 2012

Resolving to find God's will

It’s that time of the year again. End of one year and the beginning of another. It always strikes me funny that people try to make resolutions at this time of the year. Things that they want to change, or quit or become better at …they resolve that THIS is the year to do it. No matter if it is eating better, or exercising more, or quitting a bad habit, seems like New Year’s Resolutions only last but a few days before they are easily forgotten.
When it comes to changing something in my life, I don’t want to just write it down on paper, I want to write it in my heart and spirit. It is there that change will take place. Often times we try to make changes in our life before consulting God. No resolution will stick unless we seek God’s will for our life.

 Look at Habakkuk…he was complaining to God about his situation. He was tired of not knowing God’s will for His people. But the Lord said to Habakkuk:

 “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.” (Habakkuk 2:2)

Wouldn’t it be great if God would write His will for our lives on a tablet and just present it to us. Things would be so much easier. We wouldn’t need to make resolutions, we could just refer back to the tablet. Unfortunately, this isn’t how it works. He does have a wonderful plan for each of us, just as Jeremiah 29:11 points out, but He wants us to seek Him to find out what that plan is.

So many people get in a panic if they do not know what God’s will is for their lives. Recently, someone I know went into a frenzy because they did not know what they were suppose to do five years down the road. They felt a need to know all of the answers for tomorrow TODAY. But that isn’t walking in faith. Sometimes we have to just walk in faith to find His will.

All of us would love to see how life is going to turn out, but instead of worrying about 5 or ten years from now or even our entire life span, perhaps, we should concentrate on finding and doing God’s will for today.

Scripture gives us clear guidelines on seeking Gods will…let’s start here today and leave the rest of our life up to Him:

1.      Give thanks in ALL things
( 1 Thessalonians 5:18)

2.      SEEK the counsel of others
(Proverbs 11:14)

3.      GLORIFY GOD in our bodies
(1 Corinthians 6:19,20)

 4.      DO GOOD!
(1 Peter 2:15)

5.      ACCEPT CHRIST and have eternal life
(John 6:40)

Are you seeking God’s will for your life? Start with these clear instructions and see if God doesn’t direct your path.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” PROVERBS 3:5,6

Friday, December 28, 2012

LACED WITH GRACE...Where does GRACE abound?

Today I have shared a devotion with the readers of LACED WITH GRACE....

"None of us are perfect. In fact, all of us mess up, even AFTER we pray the sinner’s prayer and accept Jesus in our heart. Too many people forget that no one is capable of being perfect, except God. Too often, we say we love people, but yet, have no grace for their shortcomings.
If you don’t agree with that, just think back to your recent family Christmas. Who got on your nerves this year?

CLICK THE LINK to read this entire post!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Copycat Christian

One of the things that I hate about tragedy that is aired on the news is the copycat crimes that seem to happen afterwards. We see it over and over again and it happened today, just a few days following the horrific shooting and deaths of those first graders in CT.

I got a text from my teen daughter today, saying that there were police all over her campus at her high school. She was told that there was going to be a shooting at her high school. I immediately called the school office and was told that they heightened their security because of a "text message" some of the kids were forwarding saying that guns would be brought to the school.

Nothing resulted from the threat. Except for scaring people unnecessarily. It was nothing but copycats. Someone getting a kick out of imitating someone elses bad behavior. It saddens my heart to know that someone would make light of such a very sad, traumatic situation.

All of this news media has alot of people asking one question..."What has this world come to?"

Are we nothing but a society of copycats? This question has me wondering, what, if anything, am I copying? Is it something of worth and value or is it something destructive? Whom am I copying and imitating?

You might remember a few years ago, everyone was throwing around the WWJD question..."What would Jesus do?" Such a question thrust us in the thinking that in all that we speak or do, we should be following the behaviour of Christ.

When we consider "imitation", "copying" or "emulating", we are clearly not talking about having the same hairdo or eating in the same restaurants. We are not even talking about saying the exact same things as others. However, we are talking about modeling our behavior after a role model. After all, don't children learn behaviour by observing those around them? If they are surrounded with positive influence, they will learn positive things. Negative behavior will be learned just as quickly.

The same is true for a Christian. When we are babes in Christ, it is imperative that we surround ourselves with positive influences. Finding a strong Christian to follow, or look up to, or even copy will encourage our walk with the Lord. Learning to be a good Christian can be learned by spending time with good Christians.

If this is true, and you are looking for someone to copy, I would suggest we need to be a copycat of Jesus Christ. His ways are higher than our ways, therefore He is worthy to be looked up to. As much as it is important to be someone worthy for others to follow, it is just as important, if not more, to follow someone who is worthy. Jesus Christ is such a person. To be more like Him, we MUST get to know Him, spend time with Him and follow His ways.

"Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children." Ephesians 5:1

Too many people are copying the wrong people. What we need more of in this world is some copycat Christians....the kind that follow, emulate and copy Christ. Imagine if the news media got a hold of this concept, what change would happen in our world! What kind of copycats would we see?

Take note of who you are copying...make sure you are following the right people, with the right attitudes. Make sure who and what you follow will lead you to Christ.


Friday, December 14, 2012

It is better to give than receive

This Christmas season, my family and I have decided to make it about others and not about ourselves. Some time ago, one of our grown sons and his wife asked us what we would like for Christmas, and we said, take the money you would spend on us and give to someone in need.

After all, what could we possibly need this Christmas that we don’t already have? We have good health, we have love, we have joy, we have a roof over our head, plenty of food to eat, and a warm bed to sleep on.

I have always thought of Christmas as the “giving” season, not the “getting” season. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE giving people gifts. Whether it is store bought, or a craft made or some goodies baked from my kitchen. Giving is MUCH more rewarding than receiving.

Often times though we forget about this concept. We forget about it when someone shows up at the door with a gift for us and we instantly feel bad because we did not get them a gift in return. We can blame our culture that we live in for this I guess because society tells us giving is really about trading…”I get you something, you get me something.” I use to feel guilty if someone gave me a Christmas gift and I had none for them. In fact, I had a friend that once told me that she would pick up things on clearance and keep on hand for such a time, so when she was caught off guard and had no gift to give back, she would reach into her closet and grab something.

Seems like an organized plan, but where is the thought, where is the heart in that kind of giving?

Can you imagine what it would have been like if the wise men had this kind of thinking? “I wonder what Mary and Joseph will give us in return for these great gifts we are bringing?” And do you think Mary wondered about the gifts that the wise men brought? “Gold works for me…but spices? That is something used for burials, what a strange gift for a baby!”

I doubt that was the way it was. I also doubt that Mary and Joseph felt bad that they had no gift to give back to the wise men. And the wise men were not looking for anything in return for their gifts. It was enough for them to have found the King and to worship Him.

As I reflect on this season of giving, I remember the saying, “It is better to give than to receive.” If I could put a “Laurie” twist on that saying, I would say, “We give because we have received.”

There is nothing that we could give that would compare in value to the ultimate Christmas gift…Jesus.

Matthew 2:10-11 “When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with His mother, Mary and they bowed down and worshipped Him. Then they open their treasure chests and gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

But we can share the love of Christ with others in our giving spirit and by doing so, we all will receive. May we have a Christmas like the wise men did…giving to others because our hearts are full of worship, adoration and love for our Savior.

May your Christmas be about His PRESENCE and not so much about presents!






Wednesday, December 12, 2012

LACED WITH GRACE...simplicity of Christmas

Today you can find me over at LACED WITH GRACE where I have shared a devotion with the readers entitled, " Simplicity of Christmas"...

"It is no wonder with the rush, and long to-do lists and the big crowds and long checkout lines, that some of us become good ole holiday Grinch’s. The joy is quickly stolen as we rush around, running here and there. It is easy to become “Grinchie” when traffic is backed up or there is no parking spot in sight for miles..."
CLICK THE LINK to read this post! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How meek are you?

One of my favorite Christmas songs is by Mariah Carey…”Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child”. ..

Jesus, Jesus
Oh what a wonderful child
Jesus, Jesus
So lowly meek and mild
Oh new life,new hope,new joy He brings
Won't you listen to the angels sing
To the new born King”

Often, Jesus is referred to as being meek and lowly, like in Matthew 11:29:
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls." - Jesus

What did Jesus mean when he said this?

“Meek” is often translated as gentle in other versions. When we look at Jesus in the Scriptures is He always mild?

I recall reading how He cleansed the temple with a whip. What about how He denounced the hypocritical Pharisees as being corrupt like “whitewashed tombs-beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones”  (Mt 23:27 NLT).

What I love about Jesus is that He had the ability to communicate in a way which was best for each person at the time. He could do this because He knew their hearts. So perhaps meekness is not equated to weakness or mildness.

Having meekness like Jesus, is not something we as Christians can learn on our own. Such gentleness or meekness with others can only come from the aid of the Holy Spirit. I like how Blue Letter Bible explains meekness…
Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God's goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not the human will. (Gal, 5:23) -Blue Letter Bible

If we are to sincerely pursue meekness in this life, we must put down the self help books and pick up the only Book that will truly lead us down the road of sincere gentleness with mankind.

It is easy for me to show meekness when everything is going great in my life. When there is enough money for the month, when my family all loves me, when my boss is happy with me, when my children are obeying me …. In times such as these, it is easy to be gentle, kind and meek in spirit.

But what about when things aren’t going so smoothly?

When the bank is repossessing the car, when a family member is mad, when you lose your job, when the kids become defiant… how does your meekness register during these times?

We all experience tough times, but even so, Jesus is the ultimate example of grace and having calm strength even under extreme pressure. It was in His sufferings that He learned and showed us obedience.
...though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. (Hebrews 5:8,9)

The song Mariah Carey sings resonates in my heart what meekness/gentleness offers. New life. New hope. New joy. May we all seek Christ-like meekness this Christmas season and even the days following. No matter what our circumstances may be, God wants to renew our hope and joy..
Will you allow Him?