Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fix Your Thoughts

Do you remember the story of Peter walking on the water? It must have taken a lot of faith to jump out of that boat. If he would have only kept his eyes on Jesus he would have stayed dry that night. But...Peter was human just as we are. He looked away and started sinking. I do that all to often. Things happen in life and next thing we know...we are going down for the count. That's been me this week. I have not stayed focused on what I know I need to think about.

Philippians 4:8-9

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

It is so easy to read this and think...yes, I can do that. But for me when life gets ugly and things get tough...I fail at it a lot. The good thing is. When you start to get your head back on straight...and begin looking up again... Jesus is waiting there with His hand stretched out to pull you back up.

What about when you have let circumstances start weighing on you and you feel yourself starting to sink...what do you do then? How do you get yourself back to the point of being able to reach for His hand? Well, lately everything I read says to worship and praise Him no matter what! Even when we don't feel like it!! Also read the Word and talk to the Father all the time! You need to stay as close to Him as you can...always. People think it's especially important when things are tough...and it is. But, the truth is...if you stay as close as you can in the good times the bad times won't seem so bad...and it won't be so hard to keep your eyes on Jesus so you don't start sinking.

This is something that I really need to grasp hold of. Maybe you do also.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Psalm 27

Have you ever noticed that at times everything just seems to be going your way? You wake up in a great mood...your happy...good things are happening in your just feel good...blessed!! Then as quickly as it all started going right for you...all hell breaks loose! Then you have decisions to make...

Are you going to start on a downhill slide that really only makes things worse? Or, are you going to do what you know you the Word and talk to God? Usually the first choice I make is the wrong one...then it's all downhill from there!! The best one is read the Word and talk to God. Somewhere in the back of your mind you know this. Tonight I was flipping through the Psalms and landed on Psalm 27:4-8. This is what it says...

4 The one thing I ask of the Lord
      the thing I seek most—
   is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
      delighting in the Lord’s perfections
      and meditating in his Temple.
 5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
      he will hide me in his sanctuary.
      He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
 6 Then I will hold my head high
      above my enemies who surround me.
   At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
      singing and praising the Lord with music.  7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
      Be merciful and answer me!
 8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
      And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

This is about David finding strength in the presence of the Lord. When he went into His sanctuary David found strength to face whatever problems he had. The part that really hit me was verses 7 & 8. When all hell breaks loose in our lives what is it that the Lord wants us to do? Talk with Him! David heard the Lord say, "Come and talk with Me." Then he did what we all should. David responded, "Lord, I am coming." Wouldn't it just make everything so much easier for us if we would just do that?

Then I read the rest of that Psalm. Verse 14 says...

14 Wait patiently for the Lord.
      Be brave and courageous.
      Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Sometimes life gets really...well, just plain ugly. Situations happen in all of our lives that we can't control. The best thing we can do is to pray and ask God to just handle it and give us strength and wisdom to do all the right things.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What Easter Means To Me

Easter...what does it mean to you? Our church has been doing a play titled "Master Mender" for a couple of weeks. Because of that I really started to think about that question for myself.

As a child it meant a day filled with good things...almost as good as a birthday. First we would get up and find an Easter basket filled with candy and a toy. Then, of course, I had to put on my new Easter dress and shoes...which never thrilled me because I liked jeans and t-shirts!! I'm sure for those of you that know me that is not a surprise. Then it was off to church. After church it was the big family dinner and an Easter egg hunt. Everyone I knew all had just about that same schedule in their lives. As I got older the Easter basket went more egg hunt...and the big family dinner dwindled down. One thing remained the was always in the picture. Over the years Easter Sundays have come and gone. I can't remember ever missing an Easter Sunday service in my life. The funny thing was...

Every year Easter Sunday was just a reminder of something that I couldn't have in my life. Actually, I should say someone I couldn't have in my life...Jesus. That was what I truly believed. The longer I believed that...the tighter satans grip on my life was. He fed me lies and I believed him. Like many of you that are reading this right now...

Isn't it funny how sometimes we find it so easy to listen and believe satans lies and so hard to really hear and believe in the love that Jesus has for us. I think once you start believing satans lies he starts putting this shell around you...kind of like an eggshell. The difference with this shell is that it gets thicker and thicker until it is almost unable to be cracked.  You might hear the word preached...people may talk to you about the listen to Christian even go to church every week because you want God to want you...but your shell is uncrackable. Why?...satan. He is right there in your face telling you that he owns you. God doesn't want you because you have done too many terrible things. Why do you think you can be exposed to all of this church and God stuff and still..."YOU"...can't feel anything. "YOU"...can't get past everything that has happened to you. "YOU"...can't stop wanting to do all of the things you know are wrong. "YOU"...continue to fail. No matter what "YOU" do God doesn't want you!!! But satan tells you he does want you so you need to just stick with him. Well...satan is a liar!! That shell that he has helped to put around you can be cracked in an instant. How...

GOD!!! There is a little two word phrase that I really like...But GOD!!! Because of God we have a way out of all of the mess of our lives. God sent His son Jesus into the world for people that have let satan lie to them and put a shell of deceit around them. Jesus came to crack that shell and set us free! That shell represents the bondage that satan has us wrapped up in. The bondage of lies and all the failures of our pasts. When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, He did that to set us free from all of our failures...our past life. We don't have to listen to satans lies anymore.

God does want you. He doesn't care what you have done. He sent His Son to take care of all of those things. Jesus died on the cross with His arms stretched out saying come to Me. He won't condemn us for our past sins and failures. He loves us. All we have to do is come with a repentant heart and ask for His forgiveness. Go to the foot of that cross and tell Him you are sorry for your sins. Ask Him to forgive you and help you  learn to live for Him. That shell will start falling away and He will make you a new person.

John 3:16-17 (New Living Translation)

 16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Today Easter means to me...Forgiveness and new life.

Monday, April 18, 2011

We Are So Blessed - TaRanda Greene

So Blessed

Tonight I just want to say thank you to the Lord for a great day! He is awesome!! Sometimes He chooses to bless us with things that we don't ask for and really aren't expecting at all. Today, He chose to bless me with an incredible gift. It was something I wasn't prepared for but it was incredible. It all started with...a slow moving, boring day.

Nothing much was happening in my world at work today. No phone one coming over with problems to solve...just had to do my normal day to day stuff. Since it was Monday, and I was tired, I needed a little more to keep my day moving along. So...I turned on my music and started listening while I worked. Finally...about an hour into it...I hit on the right song. We Are So Blessed by Taranda Greene. I started really listening to the words and my mood started lifting. I am so blessed by all that He has done and brought me through! Then, the next song was...What A Difference You've Made In My Life...talking about the Lord. WOW...could I relate to that!! Next up was...Thanks To Calvary. That one hit me too...I'm not who I used to be and it's all because of Calvary!!! Then the last one was...He Is Here. And He was!!!! He was right there with me and I knew it! From one song to the next I felt His presence more and more!

So...I'm about to have another get real moment with you. I have never been much into feelings. I learned how not to have them and once you do that...they don't just happen just because you want to have them again. It seems to be a process that I have found I don't have a lot of control over. God just seems to hit me with them when He wants me to feel something. Today was one of those times...and I loved it.

The whole purpose of this post is just to say Thank You to the Lord. Without Him, and everything He has done for me, my life would not be what it is today. He has changed me...and is still working on me. He has blessed me beyond anything I could imagine. Not so much with material things, but with people He has placed in my life and with real things that matter. Most of all He has blessed me with...His love for me!!

These are the lyrics to We Are So Blessed by Bill and Gloria Gaither. If you like Southern Gospel music you will like the song. If not...the words are great anyway.

We are so blessed, by the gifts from Your hand
We just can't understand why You loved us so much.
We are so blessed, we just can't find a way or the words that can say
Thank You, Lord, for Your touch.

When we're empty You fill us 'til we overflow
When we're hungry You feed us, and cause us to know.
We are so blessed, take what we have to bring,
Take it all, everything, Lord, we love you so much.

We are so blessed by the things You have done,
The victories we've won and what You've brought us through.
We are so blessed, take what we have to bring, Take it all everything,
Lord, we bring it to You.

The Lord is wanting to bless you too! If you need to feel something from to Him about it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Real Love

Have you ever noticed when Christians are writing, or speaking at a conference, they are quick to tell you what their favorite bible verse is? Then, after they tell you theirs they always ask what yours is. So...I've thought a lot about that. The conclusion I have come to is, I don't have a favorite. I have many favorites. Here are some of them...

2 Corinthians 5:17 (Amplified)

Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!

That verse means so much to me because it is exciting! I am a new person because of Jesus!!

1 Peter 2:24 (Amplified)

He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree [as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.

This is the time of year when we hear and think about everything that Jesus did for us. He was spit on...beaten...forced to carry His own cross...nailed to that cross...pierced...and finally He could take my sin and yours upon that we could be healed and live.

1 John 4:10 (New Living Translation)

This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

It is still hard for me to try to understand the kind of love that God has for us. His love can't compare to any other.

Romans 6:6-7 (Amplified Bible)

We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin. For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men].

But...we can only live free and be healed if we accept Him as our Savior. The great thing about that is...once we accept Him and His salvation...we are a new person. We get a makeover like no other makeover you've ever known! Our old self is gone. He makes us new...sets us free...He gives us a second chance at life!

If you want a true picture of real love...just look at Jesus with His arms open wide...for you and for me...hanging on the cross!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Consume Us

This past week I have been wanting to post something but it seems that my thoughts have all been pretty random. I haven't been able to get any one definite thought to come together...until now.

Tonight I decided to play some music and just think about the words I was hearing. I pulled up my library of songs and immediately knew what I wanted to hear...From The Inside of the Hillsong Chapel cd. The cd is all done acoustically. It's a great cd to listen to and worship the Lord with. I started listening to this song a few weeks ago when I was really struggling hard with some things. My soul was crying out for peace when I couldn't seem to get it together. In fact at times I would just play it over and over and God really did use it just to give me some peace.

If you're reading this...and struggling...and you just really need His peace to overtake you...listen to the video. Even if you aren't struggling...listen anyway. This should be the cry of all of our hearts. We all need Jesus to consume us...from the inside out!

Hillsong Chapel - From The Inside Out

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hebrews 13:8

JESUS CHRIST...the same yesterday, today, and forever!!

How great is that statement?? HE is always the same...HE will never leave us...HIS words are righteous and true...HIS love endures forever...HE holds the keys to death and hell...HE is our rock and our salvation...HE is our ever present help in time of trouble...HE is our healer...He is our deliverer...HE is rock solid!!...HE is our soon coming KING!!!

HE wants to be everything to every one of us if we will just let HIM!!!! Give HIM a chance and find out what it is HE can...and for you today!!

He Will Never Leave Us

God is just really funny. He gives me things when I am first waking up. Of all places to talk to me, many times it's in the shower. Finally, I think I have figured out why it's there. Because there is nothing, and no one else around, to take my attention away from Him. I will listen and tend to really think about what He's saying to me. Focus my attention on it because I don't want to forget it before I get back to my computer!! This is what I couldn't get away from this morning. A little phrase I have heard preachers and friends say so often.

GOD is good all the time...and all the time...GOD is good!!

I don't like saying this because it's a be real moment but here it is anyway...

Lately I have been struggling a lot. Sometimes I think maybe I could just give in because I would feel better. Then I realize...that isn't true. For a moment in time I would feel better...but it would be just a brief fleeting moment. When you are going through a battle you have to keep your eyes on what you know to be true...the things that will last!! I have been told that even when you are going through something that you think is unbearable...the darkest of your current times...God is still there with you.  Fighting with you in your struggle. Helping you to make it through so you can grow through your pain. When people tell me things like those moments of my life...I don't always readily accept it. Deep down, I know they are right. Yet sometimes, when I might not be walking as close as I should be with the Lord, it's hard to see that there will be light on the other side. I'm sure there are others of you reading this that have struggles like this too. So here's something to truth I know right now...

Hebrew 13:5 b
“I will never fail you.
      I will never abandon you.”

Remember that as we go through our day!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

1 Chronicles 16:11

1 Chronicles 16:11
Search for the Lord and for his strength;
continually seek him.

Have you ever found yourself truly searching for the Lord, seeking after Him because you don't know what else to do so you can just make it one more day? We always need His strength but there are sometimes in our lives when we don't know if we can take another breath without an extra portion of Him! We have probably all had at least one of those times. It reminds me of what Asaph wrote in Psalm 77:1-4

I cry out to God; yes, I shout.
Oh, that God would listen to me!
When I was in deep trouble,
I searched for the Lord.
All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven,
but my soul was not comforted.
I think of God, and I moan,
overwhelmed with longing for his help.
You don’t let me sleep.
I am too distressed even to pray!

This guy was in a mess! Have you been there? I can so relate to what he is saying. Even though my circumstances were not the same as his...what he wrote fits. However...there is always tomorrow. Read on in that Psalm. Verses 11 and 12 really caught my attention.

But then I recall all You have done, O Lord;
I remember Your wonderful deeds of long ago.
They are constantly in my thoughts.
I cannot stop thinking about Your mighty works.

Finally Asaph started getting it together. He realized just how much he has seen the Lord do. For me I don't have to think back too far to remember all that the Lord has done for me. Everything that He has changed for me...delivered me from. When we are going through things in our lives and thinking...Maybe God isn't here with us after all, maybe He really doesn't care...we need to think back to the times He healed us from sickness...kept us from having an accident...had a doctors report come back clean...maybe we even need to think about when He forgave us and gave us new life!! Mighty works done for us by the Lord!! When we are having a tough time it's hard to remember the good times. But it's so important that we do. Just remembering can help to get us through to the other side of whatever the problem is. You have to remember also that everything that's wrong may not change all at the same time. It's hard but you just have to decide to not give in to what the devil is telling you. Don't listen to him. He is not your master anymore. Look to the Lord for your strength!

In Exodus 15 there was a conflict going on between Egypt and Israel. It wasn't just between the people in the countries it was also between the gods of Egypt and the GOD of Israel. The gods of Egypt were demons but the GOD of Israel was the one and only true GOD! Just like with us today. We are battling the devil and his demons. We have to rely on God and His mighty works to see us through our battles just like His people had to do back then. Exodus 15 verses 11 & 13 are part of a song Moses and the people of Israel sang to the Lord.

“Who is like you among the gods, O Lord
glorious in holiness,
awesome in splendor,
performing great wonders?
“With your unfailing love you lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your might, you guide them
to your sacred home.

I really like what it says. We need to remember how glorious and awesome He is! We need to tell Him! His unfailing love is what has redeemed us and saved us from death. One of these days He is going to lead us home too. We just have to stay strong. Talk to God and read His Word. He will help us all.

Continually seek HIM!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Morning has broken
nights finally moved on
Thank God for the blessing
to see yet one more dawn

You're thankful that yesterday
came to an end
With that you're praying
for new life to begin

They say without faith
nothing rings true
Well I can tell you right now
you must have hope too

Just keep your head up
try to stay in the game
The battle wages on
you must win to gain

It's a war of the mind
your body too
God is the only One
that can see you through

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Glorious Day video by Casting Crowns is perfect. Think of the words as you listen to it. Living HE loved Me!! Dying HE saved me!!Buried HE carried my sins far away!! Rising HE justified, freely forever... One day HE's coming!! Oh Glorious Day!! Could it get any better than that?

When this song came on the radio this morning it was the one I needed to hear. I posted it because for me it was a good reminder of everything HE has done for me...and everything that is still to come. For all of those "epic fails" in our lives that we can't seem to get away from sometimes...JESUS is the answer!  HE died on that tree for us. And now...really soon...HE's coming back for us!! Those failures...they are nothing to HIM. JESUS wiped them all far as the east is from the west!! Sometimes that's hard for wrap my head around. The thing just have to believe it. Believe...Believe...Believe!!

That Glorious Day is coming! Are you ready??!!!

Many of you get this blog by e-mail. If you do visit the site and watch this video. It beats my writing any time!!

Glorious Day (Living He loved me) ~Casting Crowns

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's Epic

Romans 7:22-25 (The Message)

 21-23It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
 24I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?
 25The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

We have probably all seen those "epic fail" videos that get passed around on the internet. If you haven't you might wonder what "epic fail" means. So, here it is...when you fail in such a big way that it seems you are just a total failure. Another have failed at some sort of task that should be reasonably easy to complete or see through to the end. Since we don't all look at things the same you might consider yourself an "epic failure" at something when others don't. Of course on the other hand...everyone else may see you as a total failure and you don't think you are. I guess sometimes it's just a matter of perspective!!

"Epic fail" is what the passage in Romans reminds me of. We want to live for God so much that at times we can't think of anything else. But no matter how much you want fail. Badly!! You try everything you know to make it but it just seems that you can't. All you think about are things you shouldn't do but want to, and...things you shouldn't have done, but did. Every part of you starts to rebel against everything within you that you know is good and right! You can't even find the truth anymore. Then just like verse 24 are at the end of your rope...and you just wish someone would wrap it around and pull it tight because you don't know what to do. You are steam rolling from one "epic fail" to another. Then it seems that the next segment kicks in. For me, that's commonly known as...

Fear...that is a word I hate. My whole life I lived with a great amount of fear in me until after becoming a Christian. Even as an adult there were many nights I slept with my light on. Darkness...actually what might be in the darkness...was always a fear I had. Getting left behind when Jesus comes back, and spending eternity in hell, was always the biggest one for me. There were others but they were minor compared to these. The question you have to ask yourself when you fall into an "epic fail" like this is...

What do you do now? Are you really going to let it overtake you or do you get up and fight back!! The devil is in your head continuously telling you that you aren't going to make it. The darkness is surrounding you and hell is your destiny!! Even though you have asked Jesus to forgive you...every "epic fail" you have ever committed is in your thoughts day and night. You begin to dwell on these things and satan becomes your biggest cheerleader...he loves the torment you are experiencing. You are sure that your eternity will be spent with him!! WRONG!!! This is what you do.

Even though you don't feel like it...and you don't think it will get your Bible out. You talk to God and ask Him to help you to find what you need to read. Then you start reading and talking to God. Sometimes you might just ask Him for help. Say...Help me Jesus!! Over and over if you have too! Let another Christian know that you are in trouble so they can pray. Something else I do is...sleep with a Bible. I lay it on my chest and put my arms around it...then turn off the light and talk to God!! Then I sleep! When you wake up you might not feel any better about things. Just keep talking to God and reading scriptures...and believe! You have to believe what you know to be true...Gods word...His promises!! You will win!

I consider this to be what is commonly known "Epic Win"! At least the beginning of one! "Epic Win" is...something far greater than your normal casual win. Beating the devil and getting back on the right track is definitely an "Epic Win". My goal is to have more "Epic Wins" than "epic fails"!!

You may be going through something that is causing you to feel like you are committing one more "epic fail" in your life! It's okay. Jesus Christ is the answer to all of our "epic fails". That's what it says in Romans 7:25. Jesus is the answer!! We just have to ask Him for His help!