and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


       An animal will do all it can to protect its young, even fight off an enemy.  As humans, we have the same reaction to protect our children, not just physically, but in every other way.  It is an instinctual response.  When our children are young, we look out for their physical safety so they won’t be injured (or worse) and we protect them from seeing or hearing inappropriate material that could harm their innocent minds.

       As Christians, there is something else which we are supposed to protect.  Eph. 4:3 states, “Endeavouring (to make effort) to keep (guard from loss or injury) the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  I honestly think we don’t fully understand what it means to be ‘one’ with anyone.  Perhaps our human finite minds cannot fully comprehend it.

The two will become one flesh. (Gen. 2:24), …that they may be one, even as we are. (John ), For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1Jn 5:7), For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. (1 Cor. 12:12)

       We are one body under Christ with anyone who is saved by grace and has given their hearts, minds, and lives to the Lord.  That means we are to make effort to guard from loss or injury that ‘one body’ or family in which we belong.  Here are a few questions to think about:

If I speak to a ‘brother’ am I ensuring my words are guarding them from injury?

If I speak about a ‘brother’ am I ensuring my words are guarding them from loss of reputation?

Am I careful not to hint to other people at things that can hurt my ‘brother’ (whether suspected or verified)?

Am I sure my actions are not aggressively or passively hurting my ‘brother’?

Am I verbally protecting my ‘brothers’ from all denominations worldwide?

       There are Biblical ways to deal with sins and faults of each other, but that is not a frequent action, and I'm not writing about that aspect.  This post is about giving our best effort to protect our family from undue loss and injury.  Maybe we should just start speaking to others and about others like they are our children.  Maybe then our instinctual response would be to protect.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Follow the Good

And we exhort you, brethren, admonish the disorderly, encourage the fainthearted, support the weak, be longsuffering toward all.  See that none render unto any one evil for evil; but always follow after that which is good, one toward another, and toward all. (1Th. ,15  ASV)

       Encourage the fainthearted (weak minded, fearful, easily depressed), Support the weak (strengthless, sick).  Most or all of us become fainthearted at times- if we are willing to admit it.  It seems to me that we all need more encouragement.  This life is tough enough with all the suffering, pain, and problems thrown our way that we don’t need people to tear us down or make light of our troubles which only serves to make us feel worse.  We need to know that someone else has been there and understands, that they will stand beside us to uphold us, and to encourage us to keep going.  We are to care for and support those who are weak.

       We need to be longsuffering and patient (both included in literal translation), and I think this is one we all need help with.  Life can be very frustrating and many things happen to throw wrenches in our plans, but I remember one person saying, “Yes, it is inconvenient to have a problem surface at an inopportune time, but perhaps God is going to use it for a purpose, so trust God in the moment.”  So when there are difficulties with people or problems, we can rely on God to get us through.

       Always follow after that which is good, one toward another, and toward all.  Always pursue that which is good or beneficial, not just with our friends, our family, our brothers in the Lord, or those who can benefit us, but with all mankind.  Wow, even the people who annoy me, the school who is not helping my child, the slow clerk in the store, and the guy who cuts me off then shoots me the finger?  Yep, pursue good with all mankind- no exceptions.  This doesn’t mean they will accept it, but we are to try our best, and it is one way we will show the love of Jesus Christ through our actions.

       Imagine your relief when someone helps you out, or leads you to where you can get help.  If you go out of your way to help another person, they would be so grateful.  It could be the worst day in their life, and you could provide a ray of hope in the midst of their struggle.  Perhaps one day they’ll ask you why you helped, and you can tell them.  Withhold not good from him to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thy hand to do it.  Pr. 3:27  JPS 

       I think if we all followed that which is good at all times, this world would be a better place to live in, but also, we would have more peace in our own lives.  Jesus is our greatest example of following the good with everyone.  He treated the downtrodden and sinners with love and respect.  We should do our best to imitate Him.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Breath of Fresh Air

       It was a great day today for I got to see two of my excellent friends that I hadn’t seen for weeks.  I love their spirits; they are beautiful from the inside out and they shine the light and love of the Lord into my life.  One visit was planned, and the other was a surprise, but both were like a breath of fresh air.

       “It is not good for man (lit. mankind) to be alone,” God said. (Gen. 2:18)  We weren’t meant to be alone, and even though Adam had God, the Lord wanted him to have companionship of others like him.  As I observe society, it seems that women have a greater need for friends than men, or is that just the way it has developed?  Either way, I enjoy having many friends in my life and wouldn’t choose to live any other way.

       So I sit here pondering friendship.  I believe in being friends with anyone willing (1 Thes. 3:2), but most stay at the acquaintance level.  Closer friendships go through levels of trust as time goes on.  The safer we feel with each other, the closer our friendship will be.  These are what I feel are important factors in close friends:

       1. They are honorable people of integrity.
       2. They accept and love me for who I am.
            -(I can be a little different...)
       3. They are loyal.
       4. They accept and love me for who I am.
            -(I can be a little annoying...)
       5. Its reciprocal- both putting in effort.
       6. They accept and love me for who I am.
            -(I often talk too much and unintentionally lack hospitality...)
       7. Did I mention?  They love me despite my flaws.

       Biblically speaking, these factors can all be found in the Word. 
(1. 1 Chr. 29:17; Phil. 2:3,4; Pr. 22:4; Ps. 25:21; 2 Tim. 2:22b) 
(2.4.6. 1 Cor. 13; Rom. 12:9,10; Rom. 15:7*)
(3. Pr. 17:17; David & Saul- 1 Sam. 24:6-10; 26:6-16; Pr. 18:24**; Ruth)
(5. 1 John 3:18; Rom. 1:12b; 1 Thes. 5:11;   1 John 4:7; 2 Cor. 8:8b) 
(7. Eph. 4:2; Pr. 17:9; 1 Pet. 4:8; 1 Cor. 13:7; speak truth in love- Eph. ,25;)

       Amazingly, I have found some great people who meet these factors in my life and I am thankful for every one of them.  I hope and pray I will be as good a friend to them as they are to me- and that we will remain friends for all eternity (if they can put up with me that long! J )  May our companionship provide lots of laughter, love, encouragement and support.

Friends are like a breath of fresh air.  Make sure you get enough fresh air today.

*John This is my commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you.
How does God love us?
(John 15:9; Rom. 5:8; John 3:16; Eph 2:4,5; Ps. 139:14-18; Luke 7:34; John 15:13 to 15- Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; …but I have called you friends; KJV)
**There are ‘friends’ who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer then a brother.  TLB

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Am I Important?

       How do we measure our importance?  In reality, we cannot for we cannot see every impact we have on this world, the people in it, or in the spirit realm.  Yet we know logically that each and every one of us is important just by the fact that God allowed us to be born- at a specific time and situation in this world. (Eph. 2:10)  Placing too much emphasis on feeling these days, we postulate that if we do not ‘feel’ important, then we are not.  The truth is, God made you for His plans and purposes, whether ‘great and glorious’ in your eyes or other’s, or even if you remain in relative obscurity. 

       When I think of my past, I remember several things that helped me to ‘find’ the Lord.  There was a tract I was given, one particular picture in it that stayed with me ever since, being invited to VBS, a young girl singing Jesus loves me, none of them great and mighty acts, yet all significant in my journey.  In the same way, I cannot know whose life I am touching today with my words or actions, with my writing or my prayers, or in a multitude of ways I cannot conceive.

        You are important, essential to this world and God has a plan and purpose for you.  He even manages to use us when we don’t feel able, when we are down for the count, when we are hidden in the background, when we have sin in our lives, when we are still being selfish with our time and Him, and every other time in our lives we don’t think He can use us.  He’s God, He can do anything. (Job 42:2)  He even used a donkey to talk to a prophet, so I guess He can use us too. (Num. 22:28)  His plans will prevail. (Pr. 19:21)

       It is easy to get down on ourselves for our many failings and this leads us to believe we are failing Him.  The truth is the Lord can even use our failings for His glory. (1 Cor. 1:27)  Sure He prefers if we are living by the Spirit (Gal. ) and following Him completely (Num. ), but He also knows we are imperfect and He is willing to work with us the way we are.*  So, don’t give up on yourself.  Don’t give up doing ‘little’ things in people’s lives, because you never know how big an impact it will have for them.

Here this prayer, oh Lord:
Use me to change this world, in big and small ways, in happy or down times, where ever I am and with all whom I am able- near and far away.  Use me for Your glory, and I will relegate ‘my importance’ to the back shelf where I won’t be concerned about it, knowing that You will find opportunities for me to impact this life.  I surrender myself for Your use.  Amen

*Ps. 138:8  Jehovah doth perfect for me, … The works of Thy hands let not fall! YLT
                 The Lord will work out his plans for my life… TLB

Monday, August 22, 2011

Words and Thoughts

       According to scriptures David was a man after God’s own heart. (1 Sam. 13:14)  If you ever wondered why, perhaps this verse will help you understand.  David writes this prayer to his God, his Savior.  

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Jehovah, my rock and my Redeemer.  (Ps. TIB)

       We all try to impress others with our words: employers, co-workers, congregations, family and friends.  We use our words to achieve things of both noble and selfish purposes.  But how often do we want to please God with our words?  Sure, there are words we know He doesn’t approve of that many of us try to avoid: swearing, gossiping, derogatory remarks, etc, but what about the rest of our conversation?  Are we trying to please Him with the words from our mouths, or do we not even consider it?  I have to admit more to the latter.  L

       If that isn’t enough, David also wants to please God with what he thinks about- “the meditation of my heart”.  Again, many of us try to avoid those really bad thoughts because of course there are levels of badness (insert rolling eyes), but again, do we yearn for our thoughts to please God?  And of course, we base what pleases God on our own estimation of our words and thoughts, but David is concerned for what pleases God in God’s eyes. 

       We all know David sinned several times which were exposed in the Bible, but in his heart he really wanted God to be pleased with all of his being including his words and thoughts.  He prayed to this end and he strove towards it.  Knowing that, is it any wonder God said what He did about David? 

       Here’s a thought to ponder.  If God wrote a sentence about you, what would it say?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Extreme Makeover

       Earlier during some down time I was watching a few minutes of Extreme Home Makeover, and it got me thinking about another extreme makeover I’ve seen- one far more meaningful than any new house.  It was twenty eight years ago that I accepted the Lord as my Savior and He gave me a new heart and life.  Now, you have to understand… on the outside I looked pretty good, at least by the world’s standards.  I didn’t drink, smoke, do drugs, or get involved in premarital sex; I listened to my parents, helped when I could, did my school work, got decent grades, attended church, treated people the way I wanted to be treated, etc ad nauseam.

       What the outside didn’t show was the sin inside of me.*  It didn’t matter how I appeared on the outside, because on the inside was a black heart that didn’t know the Lord Jesus Christ.  As a result, selfishness, hatred, constant judging, perversity, and all kinds of sin (Matt. ) reigned in my heart.  (Rom. )  Ah, you say, but that didn’t hurt anyone so what’s the big deal?  Well, it did hurt me and left me in a state of bondage (Rom. 6:6) and led to guilt and shame.  That is no way to live.  It also hurt my Father as my sin created a wall between us** and kept us from having the relationship He wanted to have with me.

       And so my Savior saved, healed, and delivered me in 1983, and thus began my personal extreme makeover. (2 Cor. )  Immediately I started talking to people more as I had been exceedingly shy.  From that point on until now I have undergone tremendous changes in my heart, my spirit and my soul.  Jesus didn’t just save me, but He continues to change me and will perfect it until the day He returns. (Php. 1:6)  Who I am today is nowhere near the person I was back then, and I can honestly say I like me better now.  I love this life and I can live it without the bondage of sin, guilt and shame- all because of the blood of Jesus Christ. (Rom. 5:19-21 6:6,17,18)  He gives me abundant life.  (John 10:10)

       Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Cor. 5:17)  Ah… to be made new- not just fixed up, resurfaced, patched, flaws covered up, or recondition, but to be ‘brand spankin new’.  This is one extreme makeover I’m thankful for. 

*for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;  Rom  
** but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, so that he will not hear.  Isa 59:2