Saturday, October 2, 2010
- “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”- Proverbs 29:25
Wow! Now that is what I call encouragement.
I trust you. Please help my unbelief. I think you that you are going to keep me safe.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The following is a quote from my daily devotional this morning (Our Daily Bread for August 24, 2010). It really made me think about some soul searching things. I'll start with the quote and progress to my thoughts.
"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for
you. —1 Thessalonians 5:18
A poet once wrote:
“As a rule, man’s a fool. When
it’s hot, he wants it cool.
And when it’s cool, he wants it hot. Always wanting
what is not.”
What an insightful observation on human nature! So when we read
in Philippians 4:11, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” we wonder, Can this be possible?
For Paul it was. Philippians 4:12-13 describes Paul’s response to life: “I
know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have
learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (NIV). Paul’s relationship with God superseded whatever he did or did not have. His contentment was not based on his circumstances, but on his relationship with Christ.
Paul reminds us that contentment doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something that we learn. As our relationship with God develops over time and through experiences, we learn to trust God more and ourselves less. Paul knew that Christ would give him the strength to persevere in whatever situation he encountered (v.13).
No matter what you’re facing today, through prayer you can receive the strength to be content. —Albert Lee
The world is filled with so much good that brings us joy and pleasure, but true fulfillment only comes When Christ we love and treasure. —Sper
We find contentment at the same place we find salvation—in Christ."
My verse to meditate on this week is John 16:24, "Until now you have ask for nothing in My name. Ask & you will receive, that your joy may be complete."
If we find contentment in the same place we find salvation, do we find Joy in the same place we find contentment? Are these things the same thing? I do not know that I consider them the same thing.
To me, contentment is not wanting more than I have and being thankful for what I have... not always longing for more... not having the cow mentality, "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence."
Microsoft Bookshelf defines contentment as the state of being satisfied. I think you can be contented or satisfied without feeling joy. I think you can not want more, yet, not really be happy or exuberant.
To me joy is more than just being contented or even happy. It wells up from inside and bubbles out, but like contentment, I don't think it is contingent on my circumstances. I don't think Paul was talking about joy necessarily at this point. He seems to be talking about the monetary state of his life. If he has plenty of food, money, etc. However, I think it could all be related. Can you really experience joy if you are not contented?
Microsoft Bookshelf defines joy as, "Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness. Synonym = pleasure; the expression or manifestation of such feeling. Or, a source or an object of pleasure or satisfaction: their only child, their pride and joy."
It seems to me that for either contentment or joy to not be contingent on our circumstance or what life throws at us, it must be something we get from Christ. If we ask for Christ, He will give himself to us so we can be complete. Joy, intense and especially ecstatic happiness or pleasure, is the result of asking for Christ.
So... my mind keeps asking... how can I (overextended, tired, stressed person that I am) experience this joy and contentment?
I am a Christian. I have ask Jesus to forgive me, save me, and live in my heart. I do meet with him every morning. However, I find myself longing to really experience contentment and joy... not exhaustion and stress. It seems to me that Jesus is telling me to seek him... not the emotion. Emotions are fleeting. If I seek Jesus with all my heart, soul and mind, He will give himself to me and He is joy and contentment.
But, how? What am I doing wrong?
Lord Jesus, please show me how to seek you... really seek you. Please fill my life with yourself so I can experience your rest, joy, contentment & peace. Thank you so much for loving me and offering this to me. --In Jesus Name, Amen.
Until next time...
Monday, August 23, 2010
"Until now you have asked for nothing in My name. Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be complete."
He says "your" joy... my joy. Really? God cares about "my" joy and not just His or other people's. Does this mean that He really wants to do something about it when my heart is breaking?
My heart has been breaking on a rather frequent basis lately. It reached the point last night that I was crying and feeling very "unloved" by my Savior. I mean... I know He gave his life for me. And, I was sure that He loved... me on some level. I am sure that He does not wish me to die and go to hell. I am sure that He gave his life for my eternal salvation, but it is much harder for me to be sure that He really wants me to FEEL joy. But, then today, I opened this verse.
You see, back in May I started a personal study on joy. Circumstance have been less than ideal for me for quite some time. I looked up a whole list of verses on joy that contained a promise of when God wants to give us Joy. I have not been reading every verse each week. I have been opening a verse a week to meditate on and keep ever before me. That means... back in May God knew how I was going to feel last night... and back in May, God put in motion events that would speak volumes of encouragement to me today (August 23). This tells me that He must really be concerned about my emotions. And, He must really want me to experience complete joy.
LORD, please help me and my dear husband through this hard time in life. Please hold us under your protective wing and keep us safe in the strong crevice of your high tower. You said through the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 40:31) that those who trust in you will find strength. Lord, We need strength. We are trusting in You. Please help us. You said to ask so that our joy may be complete. I am asking now... we need strength and joy, and I am trusting you to provide. -- In Jesus name, AMEN
Until next time...
Monday, August 9, 2010
"Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy!"
As the Psalmist did, remember that God has done amazing things for me. What joy! Things are less than easy for me on this 9th day of August, 2010. I am scared about my future. But, Paul directs me in Philippians 4:4-9 to rejoice at what God has done for me, tell God all my problems, and dwell on or think on good things. "Yes, The LORD has done amazing things for [me]!" I can think on those things. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He will take care of me.
“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows."
Philippians 4:4-9 (New Living Translation)
"Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you."
Rejoice! God is so concerned about me that He numbers the hairs on my head. And, I lose a lot of them!
"Formula" (for lack of a better word) for keeping anxiety at bay:
- Rejoice in the LORD. Keep Him in His place. Don't forget to praise Him simply because of who He is.
- Tell God my problems and what is concerning me.
- Then trust Him to care and act. Thank Him for being a part of my life and loving me. He won't necessairily do what I want him to do, but if I turn the situations over to him, He will change the situation or me. He cares greatly about me.
- Thank God for all He has done, all He is doing, and all He is going to do. Thank Jesus for dying for me on the cross so that I can have this relationship with Him, and I don't fave to face life alone.
- Think on good things... all the things God has done, all the things God has made, how much God is in controle, how blessed I am...
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
"He brought out his people with rejoicing, his chosen ones with shouts of joy"
The thing that sticks out to me with the verse this week is that when God led his people they were rejoicing. They were sending up shouts of joy as they went through a change, and change is a scary thing. As I am seeking God to lead me... I mean truly seeking Him & for Him to lead... this tells me that I should beware of the path that has me "kicking and screaming", wanting to cry all the time... the path that feels like a "mighty, holy sacrifice". This is not to say that I don't believe God will ever ask me to do something that is hard or contrary to my fleshly nature. It is just that I believe that, if I am seeking God with a humble, contrite heart in right relationship with Him, He will change me to want to do the hard or contrary thing so that I am rejoicing with shouts of joy when I do it. He is just that good.
Thank you God for leading with rejoicing and shouts of joy!
Until next time...
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Psalm 51:12 (New Living Translation)
The Psalmist asks the LORD to restore to him the joy of his salvation, and then in the same sentence or breath, he asks the LORD to make him willing to obey Him.
I think the Psalmist recognized a link between obedience and joy. He realized that he needed to obey the LORD to have His joy. He realized that, without obedience, the relationship is broken and we cannot have joy. Such a short verse, but it teaches so very much.
The Psalmist recognized that we can do nothing without the LORD. The LORD gives us the very willingness to obey Him as well as joy. So very often, I think of obeying God and joy as separate. I fear that God will ask me to do something that brings my life something very far from joy. Often what God asks me to do is hard... not easy, but what Jesus did for us was not easy. How great it is that I can learn from the Psalmist to ask God for help with this. Lord make me willing to obey you...
"The joy of my salvation..."
I find myself being so petty. Worried about how healthy my dog is and how things are going at work and what to cook for dinner. All earthly things. But, I guess this is to be expected since earthly is all I "really" know. But... God is worried about my salvation.
I should take joy in the fact that I have been saved from everlasting condemnation and that I experience grace and mercy everyday of my life. I can have relationship with God through Christ. Wow! I should be praising... not worrying.
When I think of what Christ did for me and how superficial my life is to the grand scope of what Jesus did, my problems seem much smaller. Maybe that is part of the joy of my salvation. The very grandness of what Jesus did for me makes my problems seem smaller.
And, then.... He answers my prayers for the small, petty things in life... a paper I lost at work, lost earrings, paying bills, getting a parking space at the store, rain holding off because I don't want to walk in the rain in the shoes I wore to work... and I am so overjoyed that He actually cares about me!
The Joy of my salvation and obedience... so very much to ponder...
Until next time...
Monday, June 21, 2010
"11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy"
- God turned mourning into joyful dancing. How cool!
- God took away those clothes of mourning. Then He clothed the Psalmist with JOY! How cool!
- Many days here lately I feel like mourning. Life is just kind of hard at this point in my life. I'm under a lot of stress. God answered part of my dream for my life, but there is still a part where I feel an aching or mourning for Him to provide. This verse gives me hope. Even if God doesn't give me what I think I want so badly, He will clothe me with JOY. He will make it all OK. Praise God! Makes me want to cry for a whole new reason... I love you LORD.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
What a statement. How great it is that we have this testimony of what God did for the Psalmist. If He did it for the Psalmist, we can count on Him wanting to do it for us. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The new testament talks often of this transformation happening when we get to Heaven one day. But, He did it for the Psalmist here on earth. I believe that even if He does not make our circumstances grand and wonderful, He will give us a joy and a peace for here on earth while we go through these situations.
So, today as I read this scripture my heart cries out... "Thank you, LORD for loving me so. Thank you Jesus for making it possible for me to have a relationship with you. I don't deserve anything, but you give so much anyway. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you..."
Thursday, June 17, 2010
"The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving."
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Psalm 103:4-6 (New Living Translation)
"4 He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
5 He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
6 The Lord gives righteousness
and justice to all who are treated unfairly. "
Psalm 103:4-6 (Amplified Bible)
"4Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;
5Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle's [strong, overcoming, soaring]!(A)
6The Lord executes righteousness and justice [not for me only, but] for all who are oppressed."
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
This morning when I was doing my bible reading (before getting out of bed and facing any part of my day without first checking in with the Lord), I could barely hold my eyes open. I read the whole chapter of Acts 6, but I only remember one small portion of what I read. The part that stuck out to me this morning was that when the "lying witnesses" accused Stephen, his face glowed like an angel (Acts 6:13-15). God stood with him and supported him.
When I turned on my computer and signed onto my email, I saw that I had received a RBC Ministries daily devotional. I get them everyday, but I don't always have time to read them. Today, though, I thought I should since I really did not have a very good devotional time before getting out of bed. It was from Psalm 139:7-12. The Psalmist lists terrible places that he could go, but proclaims that "even there [God's hand] will guide me, and [God's] strength will support me". Such encouragement!
So, as I face this summer and the enormous tasks that are before me... even there God's hand will guide me and strengthen me and support me. As He did with Stephen when he faced incredible odds and everyone and everything seemed to be against him.
How awesome & amazing! Oh, how I am so very thankful for that this morning.
God is good... All the time... God is good.
"When adversity strikes us, God is ready to strengthen us." (David Roper in Our Daily Bread)
Thank you Jesus for loving me and holding me safe in the midst of this storm of life.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
READ: Ephesians 6:1-6
- "Believers, have a much higher calling when it comes to dealing with employers. In the Scriptures, we are encouraged to exhibit a respectful attitude toward those who supervise us. "
- Ephesians 6:5-6 (NLT) - "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart."
- "Whatever task you find to do, regardless if it’s big or small, perform it well, with all your heart, because there’s One who sees it all. —Sper"
- "No matter who your boss is, you are really working for God."
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
"Above all you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ"
Philippians 1:28 (NLT)
"Don't be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself."
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think on such things.