and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Should I Worry? ;) The Do’s

       Over the years there is one verse in the Bible that the Lord keeps directing me to and He’s just done it again.  I wonder if that means I’ll be needing to rely on it soon- in which case I’d better gear up for battle, especially since He wants me to recommit it to memory. 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Js. 1:9 ESV (afraid from MKJV) 

       Of course in context we notice this is said to Joshua as he is going into the land of Canaan to conquer it.  How does this apply to us?  Well, when we are stepping out into God’s will for us, whether in small or big ways, I’m sure He wants us to be strong, courageous, and not afraid or dismayed as well.  (It is interesting to note that in v.7 he was told to be strong and VERY courageous, not for battle, but to follow God’s Word without turning from it)  Surely these four commanded actions are not prominent in all our personalities, so what do those of us do who struggle with weakness in these areas?

       First we need to realize it is not an option but a command.  God said to do it!  Just like a commander when he issues an order, it must be obeyed: whether we feel like it, want to do it, are too tired, too sick or for any other reason.  So again, when faced with an action that does not come naturally, then what are we to do?  Start by understanding the verse more fully.

Be strong:
(also v.6) to strengthen, prevail, harden, be strong, become strong, be courageous, be firm, grow firm, be resolute, be sore
Our strength will fail, so I think it’s best to rely on God giving us the strength we need to do His will.  “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1Jh. 4:4)
Jehovah will give strength to His people; Jehovah will bless His people with peace. Ps. 29:11
In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength; my hiding-place is in God. Ps. 62:7
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; He also has become my salvation. Is. 12:2

Be courageous:
(also v.6) to be strong, alert, courageous, brave, stout, bold, solid, hard
It takes courage to step out of our comfort zone and do the things God wants us to do.  What great examples of courageous acts we have.
Abram left his relatives behind for a new country. Gn. 12:1
Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams. Gn. 41:15,16
Caleb, at over 80 took the land God gave Him. Js. 14:11
Jael (a woman) took out an enemy commander. Jd. 4:17+
Esther went into the king’s court which could mean death. Es. 5:1,2
David fought a bear, a lion and a giant. 1Sm. 17:33-36
Abigail appeases insulted David. 1Sm. 25:18+
Daniel said no to eating the king’s food. Dn. 1:8
Peter and John are threatened- still preach. Ac. 4:29
Stephen faced execution and preached. Ac. 7:2

(Tune in tomorrow for The Don'ts)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Messy Thoughts

       In the Christian world it seems honesty is difficult “to do” because it means people can see us as we are instead of who we want them to see us as.  I try to be honest even when people ask “How are you doing?” in passing by, sometimes shocking them with my answers.  So here’s my bit of honesty…

       My head wanders around with little direct focus.  There are about ten things in the Christian realm on which I continue to contemplate, several of which cause me to ponder Christianity and the mess it seems we (in the West) have become, three of which I need to make a decision as to action to take.  My body continues to ache from I don’t know what combined with heavy pulling, lifting and throwing of branches from the fallen tree.  My mind sometimes misses what a person says to me, perhaps only hearing the last word.

       In between all of the hard work of clearing branches, changing the house around and major cleaning, I enter in to a video gaming mode instead of what I should be doing- spending more time with my Love.  Today I realized there is little if any of this ‘down time’ that will benefit me in Heaven as it will mostly be ‘burned up’ as useless chaff.  All this time and effort--- for nothing.  How much of our lives will be like that?

Ah, now I understand my current state.  There are certain things I am avoiding…

      It’s easy to fall into the ruts of our pasts, far easier than heading in new directions.  I’m sure there is also some fear of the unknown kicking in there too.  The truth is I’m tired.  I don’t want to post.  I don’t want to think so much.  But in the midst of this mess I can’t forget this thought I found online.

John the Baptist preached:
Therefore bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, …  And now also the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?He who has two coats, let him give to him who has none. And he who has food, let him do likewise. And tax-collectorssaid to him, Teacher, what shall we do? And he said to them, Continue to do no more than that commanded to you. And the soldiers also asked what shall we do? And he said to them, Do not forcibly extort anyone, nor accuse any falsely. And be content with your wages. Lk. 3:8-14 (in part)

Jesus preached:
But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you, Mt. 5:44
And He also said to him who invited Him, When you make a dinner or a supper, do not call your friends or your brothers, or your kinsmen, or your rich neighbors; lest they also invite you again, and a recompense be made to you. But when you make a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you shall be blessed, for they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just. Lk. 14:12-14
For I was hungry, and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me.
Then He shall answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me. Mt. 25:42,43,45
Then Jesus, beholding him, loved him and said to him, One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have and give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven. And come, take up the cross and follow Me. Mr. 10:21
Sell what you have and give alms… Lk 12:33
Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, I will cut him off; him who has a high look and a proud heart, I will not allow. Ps. 101:5

If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and if one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled, but you do not give them those things which are needful to the body, what good is it? Even so, if it does not have works, faith is dead, being by itself. But someone will say, You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith from my works. Jm. 2:15-18

How many of these things do we ACTUALLY do?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

How Much Time?

       This question came up in Bible study the other day, “How much time do you read / study the Word?”  It was asked with wonder at how much time we should be spending on it.  The leader, wanting to bring it into perspective, brought up how we often tithe 10% so what would be 10% of our day- 2.4 hours.  Of course if you did only waking hours it would be about 1.6 hours.

       Either way, it is probably more time than most people spend in the Word.  Imagine where we’d be spiritually if we all did that amount of time.  Yet still, if that is all we do it doesn’t seem sufficient as it delegates only a small part of our day to God instead of all of our time.  In that regard, I am reposting this to share how I think it really should go…

My Mistake

      The kids and I were sitting around the table during one of our Bible teaching times, and we each had a paper with a circle drawn on it in front of us.  We were to turn it into a pie chart as to how much time we spent on different activities every day.  Friends, family, food, sleep, and whatever else we felt should be added like God time.  I thought it would be easy, but no matter how mine was adjusted, it just never seemed right.  Eventually I finished though unsatisfied with the results.

      It wasn’t until several weeks later I figured out what was wrong.  I had made a mistake in the very formation of my chart.  See, it didn’t work no matter how big a piece of the pie I gave the Lord, because it meant He was ‘left out’ of the other pieces, and that never made sense to me.  The reality of how I try to live my life is more like the pie chart being completed with the actual time I spend solely with Him each day allotted in, but then a transparency being laid on top with the word “God” written on top; because in actuality, I try to be with Him during all the things I do in life.

      Does that mean He comes to the bathroom with me?  Yep.  Some of our funniest times have been in that room.  Is He there when I’m chauffeuring the kids around?  Yep.  He makes the drive more interesting.  What about when I’m vacuuming or doing dishes?  He definitely brings life to those tedious chores.  Whether I am helping a friend, baking an apple pie, dealing with a school issue, volunteering, shopping, or anything else in my life, my Lord, my Love is with me in it all.

      He’s like the transparency in my life over everything I do, everywhere I go, over all the ways I fill the time in my journey.  Now that makes more sense to me.  Maybe it seems a little crazy to some people, but I’d rather be seen as crazy with the Lord filling my life than be seen sane with Him just fitting into a small portion of my life.

      So the next time I have to make a pie chart of activities, I know exactly what I’ll do.  I won’t make the mistake of trying to fit God into a piece of my life.  Instead I’ll go get a portion of clear plastic/ transparency/ saran wrap and place it over top of my chart with the name of God written in permanent marker so it can’t be changed.  No more mistake.

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go… Gn. 28:15 NIV

for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.  Js. 1:9 NKJV

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!  If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.  If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.  I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.  To you the night shines as bright as day.  Darkness and light are the same to you.  Ps 139:7-12 NLT