Sunday, November 28, 2010

TURMOIL IN ISAIAH

It only took my reading Isaiah, chapters 1-12 about six times before I untangled the mess Judah was in.  So, here it is:  Assyria attacks Israel and Syria, Judah refuses to join Israel and Syria against Assyria so Judah is attacked by Israel and Syria in retaliation.  Judah asks Assyria for help and Israel is attacked and falls.  Judah makes no new alliances and God rewards them by destroying Assyria.  Judah shows their temple treasure to the ambassadors from Babylon and this leads to the eventual capture of the Judeans and the Babylonian Exile.  YAY!  I GET IT!

Monday, November 15, 2010

JESUS A CRIMINAL?

The other day in bible study we talked about Christ being crucified and the significance of the cross.  I mentioned that I guess that's when the cross became a symbol of Christ.  I've thought about that some over the weekend.

Jesus was innocent of charges brought against him, and sentenced to execution, but he received so much worse.  I think of execution as a bullet through your head and immediate death. But he was  brutally tortured even before he was nailed to the cross.  The roman government knew their punishment rituals.  This "man" chose to not use his power and overcome his enemies, but rather to take upon himself all the evil thoughts and actions of the world and to die for our sins.  Even his last breathing moments were devoted to his followers, and non-believers alike.  He forgave the criminal next to him and asked God to forgive those "who know not what they do".

Grace is unmerited favor, and yet sometimes I think I'm supposed to do something to deserve it.  That's the point, I don't deserve it, but it's given to me anyway.  I should just be grateful and say Thank You!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

LISTENING TO GOD'S VOICE

Just like I don't always follow God every minute of the day, nor do I tend to listen to what he has to say to me every moment.  If I'm not still and silent I lose out on the message he was trying to pass on to me.  Unlike my television, I cannot pause or rewind God to review what I missed.  If I missed it, I just have to hope he thinks it's important enough to bring it to my attention in another manner.  I need to learn and grow the skills it takes to be able to hear him directly and personally.  Don't get me wrong, I don't want him to speak to me audibly.  That would totally drive me insane.  But I know God speaks to his people, and I am one of his people.  He speaks through his word, the Bible, the counsel of good friends and through the holy spirit.  I think it takes a fair amount of effort to make time in my schedule to listen to the only voice worth listening to.  I am not saying I reject God's counsel, only that I am human and unable to train my mind on him all day.  I love, trust and respect him.  The only conversation he cares about is the one I have with him.  Why can't I just take 10 minutes of of my day to listen?  When a friend calls me with a problem, I listen.  Even if I don't have the time, I sit and listen and possibly counsel.  That's all God wants.  He wants me to come to him with my issues and praises and he promises to sit and make time to listen to me.  I should have enough love and respect to offer the same to him in return.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I WILL FOLLOW JESUS

Today, I will follow Jesus.  Of course, I do every day.  Not very well, but I definately don't purposely not follow him.  If I say I'm willing follow him, what does that mean to me?  To me it means I think he is worth it.  He is all love and understanding, comfort and compassion.  My following him means I'm not asking him to prove himself worthy of being followed.  I'm not saying "I'll follow you if you do this for me".  He is worth having at my side in good times and in bad.  It means I will love him no matter the adversity that encroaches upon my life and he will love me no matter the sins I commit.  That doesn't give me permission to sin on purpose.  Jesus IS worth following.

I am convinced that nothing can separate us from God's love.  Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow -- not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below -- indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

GOD WATCHING OVER ME

If God could keep Israel safe, surely he can watch over me.

I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip, he who watches over you will not slumber;
Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you, the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm, he will watch over your life.
The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

My God does not sleep, or look away, or even blink.  Nothing misses his ever watchful eye.  He can see, hear, smell and touch all at the same time.  He can speak to my heart if I only listen willingly.  Even when I'm not willing, he still thumps me over the head.  He keeps me from danger and uncomfortable situations.  All the time?  Certainly not.  Just like I allow my children to make mistakes so they will learn, my God is still allowing me to fall on my face once in a while so I will learn.  But, he is ever watchful.  He is holding me when I can't stand on my own.  He is comforting me when I am in despair.  He convicts me when I'm wrong.  He loves me no matter who I am, or what I do.  Does this give me permission to sin day after day, knowing he will forgive me?  Well, no, but it  gives me the knowlege that I will not lose his love just because I think badly of someone, yell at my kids, curse at bad drivers or am lazy in my chores.  Just as my mother always welcomed me with open arms, and as I will always welcome my children with open arms, my God never closes his arms to me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

GOD IS IN EVERYTHING

"A state of mind that sees God in everything is evidene of growth in grace and a thankful heart" Charles Finney

Yesterday, I saw evidence that God was with me all day.  From a family pancake breakfast to just hanging out at the house. From having patience with my daughter while shopping for jeans to the kids cleaning up the kitchen after themselves.  From my husband getting to the cabin safely to finding a thankful heart.  God is everywhere, not just in some places.  God is in everything, not just the good things.  He is with me 24/7; in my sleep and lucid moments equally.  He is a presence that never leaves me.  Life has thrown me some harsh intruders lately, and yes, God was in those too.  He  perhaps is showing me to be grateful for a loving family and financial security.  Or, heaven forbid, he is trying to show me patience.  I tend not to recognize God's hand when things are not going my way. I have to remember he is in every adversity and success, every joy and heartache, every valley and mountain.  I also tend to turn to God for strength and guidance when a crisis of some sort hits.  It's the small things, like my daughter getting frustrated when she couldn't find jeans to fit her, that I forget to turn to God.  I did yesterday, and it worked out better than if I'd just been frustrated with my daughter too.  I was open to receiving God's grace and my hands were ready to take hold of anything he deemed ready to give me.  Not that I am always ready when God places items on my plate, but I can be open to receiving them and handling them with the grace God has bestowed on me.  I have to be willing to do his will, not mine.  I have to be willing to see him in everything, not just the success, joy and mountains of my life.  LORD I ask you to continue to show me yourself in every aspect of my life, to nurture me to a grateful heart.  Thump me on the head when you need to and wrap your arms around me when I'm down.  Allow me to accept the valleys of my life with equal thankfulness as the successes.  I place my trust in you, God, and know I can lean on you at any minute of the day or night, ask you to give me understanding and knowledge, and guidance to continue to stay on your path.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A RECIPE FOR THE GOOD LIFE

Found this in an old cookbook and thought it was cute.

A RECIPE FOR THE GOOD LIFE

A heaping cup of Kindness
Two cups of Love and Caring
One cup of Understanding
One cup of Joyful Sharing
A level cup of Patience
One cup of Thoughtful Insight
One cup of Gracious Listening
One cup of Sweet Forgiveness
Mix ingredients together
Toss in Smiles and Laughter
Serve to everyone you know
with Love forever after.

Friday, October 8, 2010

GUIDE TO APPLICATION OF GOD'S WORD

Four guidelines to follow for applying God's Word to your life.

IS YOUR GOAL PERSONAL? Is there something you are going to do?  A life application should never be what you want someone else to do.

IS YOUR GOAL PRACTICAL?  Is it worth obtaining?  Make sure the goal is worth the time you will spend accomplishing it.

IS YOUR GOAL POSSIBLE?  Believe that anything is possible with God's help, but don't set an unrealistic.  Don't promise God you won't sin again, it's impossible!

IS YOUR GOAL PROVABLE?  How will you know you've accomplished your goal if there's no way to measure it?  A goal to memorize scripture is provable.

APPLY GOD'S WORD TO YOUR LIFE

James warn us in 1:22 "be doers of the Word, not hearers only.
I need to concentrate on scripture and learn how to apply it to my life.  This is a trick my church passed out long ago.  I still keep it in my bible.

S.P.A.C.E.P.E.T.S.
S - Is there a Sin to confess?
P - Is there a Promise to claim?
A - Is there an Attitude to change?
C - Is there a command to obey?
E - Is there an Example or follow?
P - Is there a Prayer to pray?
E - Is there an Error to avoid?
T - Is there a Truth to believe?
S - Is there Something to thank god for?

Every day write down at least one thing that you read in the Bible that you want to apply to your life.

DAILY GUIDANCE

Every morning I wake up and I ask God to guide me through my day.  I don't ask for favors, I don't ask for answers to prayer and I don't tell him what I have to do that day.  I just ask him to keep me company all day and help guide me through my trials and victories and to remind me I should be equally grateful for both.

JESUS:  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.  Mark 1:35

ABRAHAM:  Now Abraham arose early in the morning and went to the place where he had stood before the Lord.  Genesis 19:27

DAVID:  In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.  Psalm 5:3

DANIEL:  He entered his house and and continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before His God, as he had been doing previously.  Daniel 6:10

If these Godly men and the Son of God thought it was necessary to spend time with God daily, how much more do I need to.

PRAYER VERSES

God has given me some good reasons for spending daily time in the Bible and in prayer:

TO KNOW GOD:
I don't want your sacrifices, I want your love.  I don't want your offerings, I want you to know Me!  Hosea 6:6
-- To get to know anyone, I must spend time with them, talking, listening, sharing life.  This is what a true relationship with any friend would look like.  Why should it be any different with God.

FOR SPIRITUAL FOOD:
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.  Matthew 4:4
Like newborn  babes, long for the pure milk of the Word, that by it you may grow in respect to your salvation.  Peter 2:2
-- I cannot survive without food and as such I cannot survive without God's word to nourish my soul.  What good is having a living body if my soul is lost and therefore destined to death.

FOR DAILY VICTORY:
How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your Word...I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  Psalm 119:9, 11
-- My time with God in His Word will help me resist temptation and stay in keeping with His commands.

Monday, October 4, 2010

THE POSITIVE VERSES THE NEGATIVE

by Jackie Sandoval on Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 11:02am
My thoughts sometimes get away from me and take me to a place of tranquility...

A tranquil spirit is sometimes hard to find, when your mind is filled up with the anxities of life. Anxious thoughts can sometimes get the best of us if we let them. We must be at peace in our life and our minds. We must be anxious about nothing. A mind that is focused on the right things can bring our anxious thoughts back to peace.

Peace is something we must long for and go after...In order to have peace in our life we must search for it and find it for ourselves. Our minds can tend to wonder and carry us away and bring us great anxiety and despair. Don't allow your thoughts to even take you there. Change your mind and your thinking...Think about the good things happening in your life instead of focusing on all the bad.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God..." Philippians 4:6

"and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus..."
Philippians 4:7

"A good thought can make your heart glad."

"A good thought can turn a bad idea into a good idea..."

It's all about changing your mind. The choice is up to us to make and decide.Rise above where you are and change your mind.
Don't let negative people or negative thoughts influence your life.
Start hanging out with people who have a positive view on life. Start telling yourself you are more than you think you are and your worth more than you think you're worth.

"Negative thinking will always bring a negative attitude..."

"Positive thinking will always bring you into a positive attitude..."

People who are negative will never see the potential they could become.Instead their primary focus is on where they are now.

A positive person sees beyond the now and what they will become....
Negative people hurt other people...They cut people down to make themselves feel better...They are gossips and backbiters. Complainers and critics...They are never happy in their life....

Positive people lift up other people and heal people with their kindness and words. Their whole focus is to encourage people around them and try to bring happiness to them....

With this being said, Which one would you rather become???
A negative person who drags people down or
A positive person who helps people get up???