Saturday, November 24, 2018

Top of the List

What's on the top of your shopping list this weekend?  Chances are you have a list of Christmas gifts for special friends and family.  Or maybe you have a grocery list filled with ingredients of your favorite Christmas cookies or appetizers.  Or maybe you are shopping for that perfect dress for an upcoming Christmas party.  Whatever is at the top of your list, will determine where you go.  If you are looking for ingredients for cookies you probably won't be going to Old Navy.  If you are looking for a dress you probably won't be going to Krogers.  Your list will direct your shopping travels.

This reminds me of another list that directs the way we live our life; the list we have in our hearts. What's on the top of that list will determine the way we live and where we go.  For example, if being a financial success is at the top of that list, you will do whatever you can to make money.  If being physically healthy is top of the list, you will do everything in your power to live a clean active life.  If finding a spouse is at the top, you will join several dating sites.  While making money, being healthy, and getting married are not bad things, as a Christian loving Christ should top our list.  When we seek God first we can trust He will lead us exactly where we need to go.  What does loving Christ and seeking God first look like? First, I have to receive His love for me in order to love Him back.  In my personal life, seeking God first means to slow down and spend time with Him.  I have to renew my mind in His Word and examine whether or not I'm following His leading or my own.   I have learned when I feel discontent and unhappy that I tend to find things to "fix" that feeling.   However, when I am seeking God first, I go to Him when I feel that way.  I talk to God like I would a friend.  I tell Him my fears and concerns and ask for His advice. I thank Him for all my blessings and I trust His love for me and I wait for Him.

In this life, we can have many things wanting first place in our hearts.  However, when God is first, everything else falls into place.  I want to encourage you today to examine your heart's "list".  What is on the top of that list?   Does #1 reflect where you really want to go? If not, this is a great time to prioritize that list.

Jesus replied, "You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.  Matthew 22:37 NLT

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.  Matthew 6:33 NLT

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do and He will show you which path to take.  Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

❤Hurting Heart at Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Friend!  I hope you are having a wonderful day filled with family and friends.  I hope that you feel God's love and are overflowing with thankfulness!   However, chances are there is someone reading this post that is hurting today.  You are tired of being lonely.  You feel that life has passed you by.  You may be with other people but your heart aches inside.  I have some good news for you! The Bible tells us that God is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalms 34:18)

God sees your breaking heart and He cares.  He's there.  Your feelings are screaming that you are alone and have no real friends.  On the other hand, as a Christian, the Bible tells us Jesus is our friend and NOTHING can separate us from His love.  You may feel alone today but God is there  and is working everything out for your good. (Romans 8:28) He loves you and is still writing your story. Walk in faith and don't give up!  Reach out to someone that God has put into your life.  Encourage them and pray for them.   When we reach out to others and think about how we could bless them, we often feel more peace and fulfillment.

What if you don't know God as your Savior?  Does that mean you truly are alone and hopeless?  It means that God, the Creator of the Universe, is longing for you to come to Him.  You have an emptiness in your heart because you were created to need God's love.   He has made a way that a hopeless sinner can be forgiven and walk in unity with Christ; His son died on a cross in our place.  We were born with a sinful nature that we inherited from Adam.  God knew we couldn't be holy on our own.  Jesus died on a cross and paid the cost for our sins.  He paid it all.  He loves you and wants you to receive eternal life by receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  Cry out to Him and let Him forgive and restore you.  You will never be alone again.

So whatever condition your heart is in today, look up! There is HOPE for you.  God is stirring your heart and leading you to focus on Him and His will for you.  God is faithful and keeps His promises.  Please know I am praying for you today and you are loved.

Happy Thanksgiving❤

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Are You Walkin' What You're Talkin'?

This morning as I drink my coffee, I look across the room and see an old familiar wall hanging that I have had for years.  It hangs right by the front door.  This sign features Philippians 4:13; I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength.  What a great scripture! This scripture is for Christians, those that have realized they can't live this life on their own and long to surrender all to Christ.  I have quoted it for years!  However, today as I read it, I feel a pang of concern.   I know God's Word is true and powerful. On the other hand, to be honest, today I am not living as though Philippians 4:13 is true for me.  There are some things in my life that God has put His finger on; some things I need to take action on.  What am I waiting for?  Maybe I am waiting to "feel" strong.   I start to move forward and all these doubts start swirling in my mind.  I know what we believe will eventually show up in our actions.  I think it's time for me to not only speak God's Word, but to live out my life as if I truly believe what it says!

What about you?  Have you quoted this verse for years?  Maybe right before a test or a confrontation?  But now, God is tugging on your heart to move forward.   Maybe He is showing you that it is time to lay that pet sin down and to agree that it is not good.  Maybe He is showing you someone you need to apologize to or someone that you need to forgive. Maybe He is asking you to rearrange your priorities to glorify Him? You may feel you just can't, but  I want to encourage you (and me) to remember WE CAN do His will because HE gives us the strength. Notice it is HIS strength in the first place, not ours.  We can trust Him!   As we spend time with Him and go deeper in His Word, we can start living out by faith what we have been quoting for years:

 Philippians 4:13

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Resisting Rest

We have a two year old grandson that we love to hang out with.  We keep him about two days a week and we love every moment of it.  Today he did not get a nap.  I tried and tried to encourage a nap but he resisted wholeheartedly.  I tried to rock him asleep but he pulled away.  I tried to watch a movie with him but he wanted to play instead.  No matter how I tried, he resisted rest.  However, about 6pm he began to get whiny.  He didn't like any thing we offered him.  Even when we tried to play some of his favorite games, he would only cry.  He was miserable and I knew it would be a challenge to keep him awake to a "normal" bedtime.   If only he would of gave in and trusted me that he needed a nap!

Isn't it ironic that we are often that way with God?  We  are exhausted and weary but resist the rest He offers.  We insist on trying to do things in the flesh.  We insist on trying to be in control and "fix" everyone. We insist on trying to fill our emptiness with worldly and fleshly things; all the while the Lord is longing for us to simply climb up in His lap and rest in His finished work.  Psalms  46:10 a says:  Be still and know that I am God.   When our soul is discontent and weary, Christ is the answer.  He offers us rest and peace.  Will you receive the rest that God offers your soul or will you fight and resist His leading?  The choice is yours!

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Never Caught Off Guard

Have you ever been caught off guard?  A couple of weeks ago I had a scare.  I have had a health issue that I have put off and put off.  However, the day came where I could not put it off anymore.  As a Mom and wife, sometimes I put my health on the back burner while trying to "fix" everyone else.  (Sound familiar?)  With Chad's urging I decided to go on to the doctor and much to my surprise it was not a minor thing.   In fact, I had a biopsy on the spot.....something I have never had before.  I was told that I either had something "bad" or something "really bad".   You never want to hear that! As I left the doctor's office that day I was in a daze.  I was talking to God out loud as I walked to my car.  No telling what people thought.  I said, "Oh,".  That's all I could say.  I got into my car and continued the conversation all the way home.  I had ministered to others that have been in that situation but I had never personally been there.  Thoughts and fears swirled through my mind.  At that moment I felt tempted to feel all alone and abandoned.  Have you been there?  Maybe it wasn't a doctor visit.  Maybe a son or daughter delivered some bad news that left you stunned.  Or maybe a spouse walked out the door for the last time leaving you bewildered as to why.  Or maybe your boss suddenly let you know He won't be needing you anymore.   When we find ourselves in these positions, we sometimes feel as if this problem came out of nowhere; a total shock and surprise.  We often feel all alone.  However, even though it may shock us, God is never caught off guard.   This was my day.  This was my time to put into practice all that I have learned about my Father. Despite my feelings,  I wasn't alone because His Spirit was with me.  I wasn't abandoned because He promised He would never leave me.  Was this day a surprise to Him?  No.  In fact, He sees my life from beginning to end in one glance and He has a plan.  While it is true that we have no choice as to what this life brings,  we do have a choice in how we will respond to it.  Will we respond in fear or will we respond in faith?  I realized at that moment I was responding in fear.  I acted as if God was taking a vacation and not there with me.

I am blessed to report to you that the results of that Dr. visit was not the "very bad"!  However, what I thought was bad news was actually God taking care of me.  He orchestrated my circumstances in order to protect me.   I think back to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was betrayed by Judas.  When Jesus was arrested and being led off by a group of armed men, things looked very bad.  Peter even tried to take things in his own hands and cut off the ear of one of the guards.  However, as hard as it was to believe, God had a plan.  He had a plan that came from a heart of love.  Through His son, He was going to save the whole world.   I don't know what you are facing today.  However, God does.  Not only that, He has the solution and the strength to make it through.  Take comfort in knowing the same God that is writing your story is the same God that created you and loves you deeply.

"Abba Father", He cried out, "everything is possible for You.  Please take this cup of suffering away from me.  Yet I want your will to be done, not mine."  Mark 14:36

#fear #faith #Godslove #facingtrials #christianlife