Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Plan for 2016

Photo by One Way Stock (Flickr)
Early in my first marriage, money was tight; therefore, I offered to cut my husband’s hair to save a trip to the barber. I was a bit nervous because I had never cut anyone’s hair before, but snip, snip – so far, so good.

Then after one more snip on the right side of his head … well, let’s just say, that was one snip too many.

Out of nervousness, I began to laugh as tears rolled down my cheeks. My husband ran to the bathroom mirror – and left me seven years later.

I can only conclude that it must have been the “one snip too many” that caused the demise of our marriage. I mean, certainly, it wasn’t because of any character flaws in either of us, right? Truth be told, our marriage would have been better served had a few of our character flaws been snipped off rather than my husband’s short locks.

I’m incredibly thankful for all God has done in me since that time. However, I want to see more growth and maturity. Therefore, with God’s help, I resolve to purposely pursue a more Christlike behavior, month after month, in 2016. Will you join me?

Let’s ask God to examine our hearts so we can begin the new year with a realistic plan that will allow us to see steady growth throughout the year.

Psalm 139
:23 Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 
:24 And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (AMPC).

What if, at the beginning of each month, we were to ask God to search our hearts and thoughts to show us one area in our life (the choices we’re making) that is displeasing to Him? Then, prayerfully, throughout that month, we did whatever it took (meditating on scriptures, LOTS of time spent with God, accountability, etc.) to change.

If we were to do this month after month, imagine how much we would have to celebrate on New Year’s Eve 2016.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Gift Worth Searching For

If you were told you had treasure of great worth hidden on your property, would you put off looking for it until you considered it worthy of your time?

Or would you immediately begin asking questions about its location and begin diligently searching for it right away?

Personally, I’d fall on my knees crying out, begging for information about how I could find the treasure to make it my own. And I wouldn’t stop asking and searching until I found it.

Photo by Trocaire (Flickr)
With that thought in mind, consider Proverbs 2:3-5 (NASB):
:3 For if you cry for discernment, 
    Lift your voice for understanding; 
:4 If you seek her as silver 
    And search for her as for hidden treasures;  
:5 Then you will discern the fear of the LORD 
    And discover the knowledge of God

Here’s the point: if we were to value true discernment (God’s wisdom) as much as we value silver and hidden treasure, how much different would our lives look?

One of the easiest ways to obtain true Wisdom is by reading the Bible. However, I worry that many of us take God’s Word for granted. That we don’t realize how much we need our heavenly Father’s counsel for every area of our lives. Because if we truly valued Wisdom for what it is, we would spend every possible minute seeking it – as if we were indeed seeking the greatest treasure of all.

Question: How much would it bother you if you weren’t allowed to own a Bible?

Could it be that we’re spoiled by easy access to Scripture; therefore, the Bible doesn’t have the same appeal for us as it does in oppressed nations? What if (in a way) we had to actually dig for even one page of this great Treasure. Would it be worthy of our time?

If it came down to it, would we do whatever it took to get hold of a Bible? Even if it meant risking our lives?

Thankfully, we don’t have to – at least not yet.
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Would you like to discuss this further? If so, leave a comment or email me (see About tab for my email address). If you are reading this from your smartphone or email, click on the title of this post and it will take you to the actual blog where you can leave a comment. Thanks!

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.

Also, please click on the tabs on the top of the page to receive tips on memorizing and/or meditating on the Word of God.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Do You Dread December 26?


Photo by Stephen Poff (Flickr)
December 26 is one of my least favorite days of the year.

It has less to do with saying good-bye to the most wonderful season of all, and more to do with how I live the weeks leading up to Christmas Day.

It shames me to say that my focus for the season hasn’t been as much on Christ as it has been on my desperate need to have the warm and fuzzy Christmases that Hallmark movies depict. Perhaps I’m constantly trying to compensate for past Christmases, especially those without my children.

Ultimately I’ve become so emotionally driven, that every year, I claw desperately for that perfect Christmas – totally making me and my needs the reason (or at least my focus) for the season.

It’s not like I didn’t know I was doing this year after year. In fact, I repent every December 26. But I seemed to be at a lost on how to move beyond my hurt-filled past

What about you? Would you also like to make this Christmas season a better one? Maybe meditating on and applying Matthew 2:11 will help us.

After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (NASB).

During the remainder of this holy season, let’s worship Him by reflecting on Who He is and thanking Him for coming over 2,000 years ago – and for remaining with us since.

We can also ask God to show us what gifts we can present to Him, such as an unforgiving heart or a dispiriting attitude. Perhaps if we choose to trust (and rest) in His sovereignty regarding our past, it’ll be easier to give Him our todays.

In addition, let’s seek ways to serve and give. By allowing God to use us in our communities, we defeat self-focused behavior.

In so doing, we’ll represent Emmanuel, proving that God is very much with us – and very worthy of our focus.

(I want to thank Jennifer Ashford Kirkes (my inspiration for this week’s column) for posting her thoughts on Facebook, December 5, on this subject. It would be worth your while to read it.)
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Would you like to discuss this further? If so, leave a comment or email me (see About tab for my email address). If you are reading this from your smartphone or email, click on the title of this post and it will take you to the actual blog where you can leave a comment. Thanks!

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.

Also, please click on the tabs on the top of the page to receive tips on memorizing and/or meditating on the Word of God.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What If You Judged – Wrongly?

Photo by ssalonso (Flickr)
When I was a young mother, I had to pick up and return my children to my former husband every other weekend. Every time I dropped them off, it was painful.

It hurt not only because I ached deeply for my children when they weren’t with me, but also because of the reality of my situation. My obsession to lose weight (anorexia nervosa) became so important that it cost me my family.

My disappointment in me was tortuously painful and affected me greatly.

One Sunday, I drove to the designated place to hand over my small children. Surprisingly, my sister-in-law met me there, rather than the children’s father.

Seeing my sister-in-law caught me by surprise and I became so self-conscious that I couldn’t speak or look at her. As I helped the kids get into her car, I knew how I must have looked: snobbish and ungrateful for her time.

In that moment, my sister-in-law could have easily judged me. How could she not? If I were in her shoes, I would have thought the woman who didn’t have the decency to even look at me, much less thank me, was at least rude. Wouldn’t you? But, if that is what she was thinking, then she would have been wrong.

In reality, I was just too ashamed to face her.

And that’s the point. Most of the time, we don’t have all of the facts to make a fair judgment about someone in a particular situation. John 7:24 commands us to “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment” (NIV 1984).

My sister-in-law probably never judged me as I imagined. (Knowing her, she most likely didn’t.) However, many times, I’ve formed an opinion about someone – and thought I was correct in my assessment – but I was wrong. Sometimes completely wrong.

So wouldn’t it be wise (and compassionate) to consider the possibility that perhaps we’re judging a situation by mere appearances?

Isn’t that what we would want others to do for us?

Please consider meditating on and/or memorizing John 7:24. And let me know how I can pray for you.

Would you like to discuss this further? If so, leave a comment or email me (see About tab for my email address). If you are reading this from your smartphone or email, click on the title of this post and it will take you to the actual blog where you can leave a comment. Thanks!

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.

Also, please click on the tabs on the top of the page to receive tips on memorizing and/or meditating on the Word of God.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Our World Needs Our Prayers

Photo by Upstream (Flickr)
With the increasing violence happening around the world (which seems to have escalated recently), I’m asking everyone to pray for our world. In so doing, it may help to take some of the focus off our own fears.

Remember, God is still in control and none of this is a surprise to Him.

Will you join me in praying? Then share your prayers on Twitter, Facebook, email, other websites, including this one. (No limit policy!).

Pray for our nation (and all nations) that God’s Truth, Light and Love will prevail over deception, darkness and hatred.

Other areas to consider praying for:
  • All leaders (spiritual and political) to pray to the God who created all things, asking Him for guidance about what is right and wise for their people – and the courage to lead accordingly
  • Protection for every nation (or grace to endure to the end) when threatened or attacked by terrorism
  • Christians who are being persecuted
  • Wisdom and protection for Israel’s leaders and people
  • The gospel to be spread into hostile territory
  • Protection of missionaries as they persevere to share God’s love and the good news of the gospel
  • Protection and continued growth of the underground house church movement in communist countries
  • Every person to experience God’s grace to love our enemies while walking in wisdom in how to deal with them
  • Every person to discover and grow in the revelation of God’s Word and to experience His love and faithfulness

As we memorize and/or meditate on this week’s verse, let’s remember what a powerful God we serve.

“For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37 NIV1984).

Would you like to discuss this further? If so leave a comment or email me (see About tab for my email address). If you are reading this from your smartphone or email, click on the title of this post and it will take you to the actual blog where you can leave a comment. Thanks!

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.

Also, please click on the tabs on the top of the page to receive tips on memorizing and/or meditating on the Word of God.


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