Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Shepherd Your Flock Well

Peter, one of the most influential disciples, was known to Jesus as The Rock. Christ knew the strong will and determination within Peter would serve him well as he grew in his Christian faith. Christ knew Peter would learn to stand firm. But before he stood firm, Peter fell. And when he fell, he fell hard. Peter was determined to stand for Christ no matter what! He told Jesus, "Even if all fall away, I will not." Yet within hours, Peter denied even knowing Jesus on three separate occasions. Peter fell away.

But God's grace, revealed in Jesus, gave Peter another opportunity to develop his faith and live for Christ. Jesus asked Peter 3 times, "Do you love me?" Peter responded, "You know I love you." And Jesus simple reply was, "Feed my sheep." Peter was given a charge to care for the flock. To lead others to the love and knowledge of Christ. Praise God, Peter's failure was redeemed and he was used for reaching others for the Lord. Peter's leadership furthered the gospel of Christ.

We are all in positions of leadership. We are mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, employers, or committee members. People look up to us even when we are not aware of their watchful eyes upon us. Like Peter, we are in charge of a flock. There are people placed before us by God's design that we are to care for, build up, and lead to the Lord. Not by force or manipulation but by love, grace, and the power of the Holy Spirit we are to meet their needs, gently discipline and guide, and lead by example.

As Peter grew in his leadership, he encouraged others with the same charge he was given. In 1 Peter 5, Peter is addressing the elders of the church. He tells them to, "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers- not because you must, but because you are willing to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being  examples to the flock."

Whatever your position, no matter where you find yourself today, lead your flock well. Seek to be an example in your speech and through your actions. Be encouraged by the words of Peter that your place of leadership is a place of service to the Lord Jesus Christ!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Prayer is Essential

The recent election stirred most Americans into conversation. Even those normally quiet about politics had something to say. And now that the election is over, conversations are dying down. Oh, yes, there are questions and concerns about the future, but for the most part, politics is not the focus of nearly as many conversations as it was a few weeks ago. The vote was cast and the decision was made. Our new authority is in place.

But Friends, we cannot just stop there. We must pray for those in authority over us. With all my heart, I believe God is in control. I believe God to be the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, and the ultimate authority. But I also believe there is an enemy of our souls. An enemy who would love nothing more than to destroy the freedoms in America, increase sexual immorality, bring violence to an all time high, take innocent lives, and render this country ineffective. Our prayers are essential to the future of peace and godly living in our county. His aim is destruction. Our prayers are essential.

In 1 Timothy 2: 1-2 Paul writes, "I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people- for kings and those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."

Today I urge you to faithfully bring our nation before the Lord. Pray for our authorities to be counseled by men and women of God. Pray for prayer to be held in places of meeting and decision making. Petition God to place his angels of peace and protection over our national assembly and those at state and local power. Thank God for those in office who are seeking to live for Him and to bless them with a strong, clear, and effective voice. Pray that God will raise up authorities within our systems that have His values and character.

Paul also urges us to pray for ALL people. Pray for those lost in addiction, bound by past sins, in abusive relationships, in foster homes, living in city streets, and in large mansions. Pray for the ones who are working hard,  those who are in gangs, and those who are living quiet godly lives. GFFs, pray for ALL people.

It is one good to rest in knowing that God is in control. Peace is found when we rest in God's supreme authority. But, that doesn't mean we sit back idly waiting to see what happens. We must be active in prayer. It is essential to petition His throne for the release of His power and might over our authorities and ALL people. And, let us begin today! Amen

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

God With Us

"Look!  The virgin will conceive a child! 
She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel,
which means, 'God with us.'"
Matthew 1:23

I am reminded today that God is with us everywhere.  He is with us when we are helping others and when we are making supper for our families.  He is with us when we are at work and when we are shopping.  God is with us when we are visiting a friend in the hospital or when we are saying goodbye to a loved one.  God is with us when we conquer an addiction and when we make the decision to live for Him.  He is with us when we are on vacation, walking the dog and making that 5th trip to after school activities.  God is with us when we are relaxing on the couch and when we are babysitting for the neighbors 6 kids.  God is with us when we've been hurt.  And although many of these things listed are places of comfort and good, God doesn't stop there.  God is also with us when we hurt others.  God is with us when we gossip, when we get angry and burst out at a friend or child.  God is with us when we avoid that poor man on the corner.  God is with us when we talk negative to ourselves and others.  God is with us when we give into addiction.  God is with us when we take up our idols and when we dabble in adultery.  God is with us when we feel hate towards that person who hurt us.  God is with us!  

All the time He is with us and His Spirit is waiting to lead us.  I don't like the idea of God being with me when I am doing things I shouldn't.  I can't stand the thought of dragging him along to the bad things I do!  But, friend there is no place He would rather be.  He loves me and you.  He wants to help us in our struggles and our sin.  He doesn't want us left behind and so he invests in us and gives us His life.  

Dear God,
Forgive me for the times I take you to places that break your heart.  Help me to make better choices and remember that you are with me everywhere I go.  When things are hard you are always right there.  When I am wrong you never leave my side.  God you are so faithful and loving and patient with me and I thank you for being so amazing.  Help me to feel you with me everywhere I go.  
Amen   

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sing to the Lord

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving.
Psalm 147:7

Praise is a powerful tool. Praise reaches the heavens and resounds at the throne of God. Praise makes the enemy flee. Praise turns a heart of pain into a heart of joy. Yes, praise is a powerful tool. Throughout the book of Psalms we are repeatedly told to praise and sing to the Lord. 

When life's circumstances are positive it's fairly easy to praise, and yet we often forget to praise God in the good times. In the storms of life, praise is not always our first response. Yet when we choose to praise instead of focus on the negative, we are changed from the inside out! 

Today, choose joy by singing  to the Lord with thanksgiving. Praise His name! Praise Him for his faithfulness and mercy. Honor Him for his love and unending grace. Sing because He has freed you from your sins. Praise Him, yes, praise him in his holy sanctuary!

Dear Lord,
We thank you today for the gift of life and the forgiveness of sin. We thank you for your love and mercy. God we praise you, for you alone are worthy of our thanks and praise! We lift our voices in worship because you are King of the World! Amen

Friday, November 18, 2016

One Choice Away

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil by doing good. Romans 12:21

It all comes down to a choice. In every situation we face, we are only one choice away from doing good or allowing evil to have its way. 

As I read this scripture, I am reminded that all to often I live in my own power and not the in the power of the power of the Holy Spirit. When temptation comes my way, I 'try my best' to make the right choice, yet so often, I fail. Why? Because on my own, I am not strong enough to overcome the evil. I need the help of the Spirit. 

God is a gentleman. He never forces his way upon us. He is always present, willing, and able, but he waits to be invited to act. And his Spirit works the same way. In times of temptation, we must call upon the Spirit to help us. We are always only one choice away from good or evil. And the Godly choice is to invite God to release the power of his Spirit to do that which we cannot do... overcome evil by doing good.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

He Abandoned Them To Their Foolish Thinking

Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.  Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.
Romans 1:28-29 

Broken heartedly I bring you this scripture with our country in mind.  I see all these bad things that are happening around us, abortion, same sex marriage, sexual immorality at its highest and a decline in the way we protect our young from it, children raising themselves, drugs taking innocence, and hate.  The list goes on and on, and while one could say this stuff has been going on for years, I believe it's getting worse.  I believe it might be possible that God has left us alone to deal with our sins and to do what we want, the things that should never be done.  Will He be there when we call on Him?  Yes, I believe He will never give up on us, but it takes us acknowledging that He is our King,  that Jesus Christ is our Savior and we would be nothing without God.  

Personally, when I find myself gossiping or quarreling with someone the one factor that is missing is God.  When I get too far out there and start sinning it is because I go on my own.  Going solo, I leave God behind, because if I did take God with me and acknowledge what I know about Him then I wouldn't want to sin.  If my focus was on God's commands and His love for me I would want to do what is right. 

God allows us to make choices and He will not make us go His way.  It is up to us to acknowledge Him and stay away from sinful behavior being careful not to fall into something that should not be done.  Because He will let us go and stay as long as we choose.  We must help eachother stay focused on God and encourage one another to stay away from foolish thinking.  And most importantly, pray for this country and for the world.  Pray for people to acknowledge God!  Pray for people to open their bibles!  Pray for people to stay away from sin!  Pray in all ways and in all things and at all times!  Pray!      


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

His Righteousness Never Fails

Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.  
His righteousness never fails.
Psalm 111:3

If only we had eyes to always see things like this!  Instead of seeing our troubles like the world would see them it would be so freeing to see them through this lens.  Satan wants us to dwell on our troubles and disappointments and our "unanswered" prayers but God wants us to wait on His timing and His work.  Everything He does reveals His glory and majesty.  Even the difficulties we face!  Yes even the bad news we just received, or the friend who hurt our feelings, or the loss we experienced.  All things can reveal God's amazing love and provision for us!  His righteousness never fails!  

Dear God,
Help me to see my daily life through Your beautiful, big picture lens.  Show me Your hand in all things and open my eyes to Your saving power.  Give me Your wisdom to experience the glorious ways in which You work.  Let me experience your majesty through the unexpected ways in which you do things in my life.  God you are my God and I love you and treasure the way you take care of me.  Help me to appreciate the mystery that comes with knowing You.      

Monday, November 14, 2016

If....

If. It's the word that has plagued me all night. Just when I shut it down in one scenario it cropped up in another. It was a word that just wouldn't die. It's such a small word yet it seemed so powerful. I tossed and turned trying to put an end to it's nagging voice.

You know similar statements. They sound much like this...
      "If I would have just listened."
      "If only I had ________."
      "What if I could take back just that one action?"
      "What would my like be like if...?"
      "If I just hadn't _____."

As I awoke in the night with If statements meeting me at every turn, I had to work to change my mind.  It wasn't easy. It quite honestly was a long, hard fight. I battled most of the night. The negative thoughts came bringing with them companions like guilt, regret, and fear. I battled them down one at a time, all the while asking God to recall his word to my heart to speak truth over the lies that wanted to take up residence in my heart. His truths would come to my heart and I would recite the scriptures and refocus my mind on Christ. Until, yet another if statement reared its ugly head.

Finally as the sun rose, I could see the truth over the lies. The truth is that, yes, I could have lived my life differently, handled a situation with greater compassion, and stood firm instead of cowering in fear, but I didn't and the if statements were of no help. They were not from God. They were a tactic of my enemy to defeat, derail, and devastate me so that I would wake up feeling useless, as if I were a forever failure. The truth is this... I am human. I am by nature foolish, selfish, and prone to sin. I have and will make poor choices and mistakes. Yet, I am forgiven and nothing, no nothing, is unredeemed when it is given to the Lord. Where I am today is part of my journey and that journey is not complete until my last breath. I will not live with regret, but rather learn the lessons that are imbedded in my mistakes, grow from them, and allow myself the grace that Jesus offered me on the cross.

Whatever your past. Whatever your mistakes. The only if statement you need to focus on is, "If I give my life to the Lord, I will be forgiven and live forever with Jesus!"

Dear Jesus,
Forgive me for my choices and mistakes. Tender my heart to hear your voice as I journey on. Guide my steps and lead me in your ways. Take the if thoughts and help me learn from them and bind the harm that the enemy intends to cause through them. Amen


Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Psalm 32:1





Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sing-Along-Saturday

Are you tired of the same old fight? Feeling weighted down from the burdens of this life? Haunted by your past mistakes? Then come and sit at the feet of Jesus.... He's a Chain Breaker!

Click here to listen as Zach Williams sings the praises of the One who can free you!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Unless The Lord

Unless the Lord builds a house, 
the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the Lord protects a city, 
guarding it with sentries will do no good.
Psalm 127:1

It doesn't matter how much planning goes into our building.  We can hire the best builders to produce our dream home.  But unless God is at the center it will be a waste.  The same goes for our family and anything else we hold dear to us.  God must be at the center for us to find peace, joy and success.  As we experience so many people worrying about our country, it saddens me to see that we are leaving one important factor out.  We are putting all our trust in a person or political group instead of our God.  Unless we invite God to protect our nation guarding it with the right people will do us no good.  We can find the most talented troops, the most educated polititians and the best candidates but without God it is all a waste.  A country without God will surely crumble!  Unfortuately so many think a country without Hillary Clinton will crumble.  We have it all wrong and so our fear should not be in who our next president is but in what will happen if we don't turn from our sinfulness and ask God to be at the center of our lives.  And so we pray for Donald Trump!  That he seeks guidance and wisdom from God.  That he has advisors who believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.  We pray that our nation's leaders place God at the center of their lives and at the center of this country!  We place God at the center of our own lives and we seek a personal relationship with Jesus.  The only answer to a safe nation is God.  AND we do all this while loving our neighbors and those who do not think like we do.        


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Lord

Another reminder of who is really in charge.  It isn't the leaders of this nation who have the final say.  What they do or decide cannot take away our faith in Jesus Christ and our freedom in Him.  We who believe in the power of God can trust that He is in control of all things.  

Psalm 146
I praise the Lord!
Let all that I am praise the Lord.
I will praise the Lord as long as I live.
I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.

Don't put your confidence in powerful people;
there is no help for you there.
When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
and all their plans die with them.
But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
He made heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them.
He keeps every promise forever.
He gives justice to the oppressed
and food to the hungry.
The Lord frees the prisoners
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.
The Lord loves the godly.
The Lord protects the foreigners among us.
He cares for the orphans and widows, 
but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.
The Lord will reign forever.
He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations.
Praise the Lord!


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

God is in Control

Romans 13:1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 

Today is a day of uncertainty as we await the outcome of the presidential vote. The rights and freedoms of Christians as well as the morality of America are held within the hands of today's winner. However, Christians around the world unite in prayer and celebration because God is still on the throne and no authority comes into power without his permission. Stand strong today knowing that God will not be surprised by the winner. Heaven will not be rocked because of the chosen President. God held this day long before you and I were born and he knows just how He will accomplish His purposes through it! 🙏🏼 

Monday, November 7, 2016

A Good Laugh

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I believe God wants us to have some fun in our lives. I believe He enjoys watching His children have a good hardy laugh! I also believe it's good to learn to laugh at ourselves. I know I can get too serious about life and when that happens it's not long until I find myself feeling exhausted. Being serious all the time wears me out! 

Today I challenge you to laugh! And better yet, share that laugh with a friend! 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Stand Confident Against Your Accusers

Then let them curse me if they like, but you will bless me!
When they attack me, they will be disgraced!
But I, your servant, will go right on rejoicing!
May my accusers be clothed with disgrace;
may their humiliation cover them like a cloak.
But I will give repeated thanks to the Lord, praising him to everyone.
For he stands beside the needy, ready to save them from those who condemn them.
Psalm 109:28-31 NLT

I found the words I have been trying to tell my teenage daughter!  She is learning quickly that high school can be hard and kids can be mean, especially girls!  It breaks my heart to see her struggle, but at the same time I pray daily for her to learn from her experiences, trusting God to grow her and prepare her for what the future has in store for her.  I often forget that the things I know aren't a big deal, are the very things that give her identity in this stage in her life.  I often tell her how special she is and that she is God's girl.  I drill home the importance of staying true to herself and God and not worrying about what other's think.  But she is human and her feelings are often hurt and she needs to know that God is on her side.  This prayer written by David is perfect! 

I love that he was able to continue praising and rejoicing when his enemies where attacking!  It is so important to remember that when everyone seems to be against us God is for us.  He will be the judge and we can lay that burden at his feet!  There is no need to get revenge because God will always take care of the things that need taken care of.  Praying that his accusers see their wrong doing and be shaken to shame and repentence.........maybe a little humiliation in there too but that humiliation will often times bring someone to change :)

God is listening to our cries for help in all areas!  It is important to trust him when we are being wrongly accused, when gossip is spreading about us and when someone is hurting our feelings.  "Let them accuse me if they like, but you will bless me!"  My dream for my daughter and myself and all of us!  Stand tall and confident in Whose we are!  Search our own hearts and stay concerned with our own lives.  Go to God when we are being accused and be confident that no person or thing of this world can destroy us!  

Praying for all of my GFFs who need to be reminded that you are in the hands of God.  Whatever your issue or whoever your accuser I pray that you can know your worth in Jesus Christ and claim that truth today!  Continuously praising God and repeatedly thanking Him.  Amen           

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Rehearse Everything You Know

When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you,
from Jordan depths to Hermon heights,
including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos, 
to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers crash and crush me.
Then God promises to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
My life is God's prayer.
- Psalm 42:6-8 MSG -

When things get hard or discouraging we would do well to rehearse everything we know of God.   Recalling those moments when God came through for us, or remembering that feeling of peace in our moment of hardship, will give us confidence in even the worst of situations.  Seeing our issue from this perspective gives us the best chance of coming out full of hope and confident in our God.  



Don't ever forget the ways in which God has helped you, and call on those memories in your moments of despair.  How does this scripture touch you?  What can you learn from this portion of God's word?  How can you apply this to your own life?