Tuesday, December 29, 2009

quick quotes

Give me five minutes with a person's checkbook, and I will tell you where their heart is.

God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.

I've read the last page of the Bible. It's all going to turn out all right.

Billy Graham

Monday, December 28, 2009

live my faith – a privilege and a responsibility

A couple of weeks ago, my sweetie narrated the Christmas Presentation at our church. I listened to him recite his narration quite a few times. Each time, there were two words that caught my attention. I thought about how powerful and how significant these words are.

The words are ‘privilege’ and ‘responsibility’.

As Christians, it’s our privilege and honor and pleasure and joy and desire to love God, to serve God, to worship God, to glorify God, to praise God, to trust God, to respect God, to believe in God, to live for God, to be faithful to God. It’s our privilege to exalt the Holy name of God, to be thankful servants, and pray directly to our Lord and Savior.

Along with privilege, comes responsibility. As Christians, we are to eagerly study God’s Word, and follow His will for our lives. It’s our responsibility to share God’s gospel and love and hope and forgiveness and grace and mercy and peace. God gave each of us blessings and abilities, and it’s our duty to use our time and our talents to serve Him. It’s our obligation to willingly devote and commit ourselves to Him. Our lives are to be witnesses for God.

It seems I often read and study the Word of God and listen to His teachings thru His church, and stop there. And, that’s just wrong. I must go beyond the reading and the studying and the listening, to the point of passionately living my faith.

I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD: the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:1-3 NAS

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

quick quotes

If God gives you a watch, are you honoring Him more by asking Him what time it is or by simply consulting the watch?

What I believe about God is the most important thing about me.

It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.

A W Tozer

Monday, December 21, 2009

the paths of my life

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
Isaiah 43:2-3 NIV

When I have a difficult or painful or frustrating or distressing time in my life, it’s hard to walk thru unknown waters. Where is it miry? What creatures are lurking? I can’t see what’s around me. Are there any clear waters? Is some of the water shallow? Where is it deep? How far will I have to swim? And, I’m not a good swimmer. I am frightened. I don’t want to go alone.

I need strength and courage and faith.

When I find myself on the wrong side a riverbank, I have to cross to the other side. The water is raging. The rapids are powerful. I see white waters and boulders and waterfalls and turns and twists and strong currents. Will I be swept away? Is it impossible to cross? Can I do this by myself? I can hardly think with the crashing sounds around me. I am frightened. I don’t want to go alone.

I need strength and courage and faith.

When I’m face to face with fire, I don’t know what to expect. I know I can walk thru the fire and not be burned. Fire symbolizes purification and cleansing and correcting and light. It also represents God’s power and God’s presence, and the Holy Spirit. The fire of my heart needs to be (re)kindled. It should burn with love and compassion that will spread God’s flames of kindness, melting the hearts of others. This is a considerable responsibility. I am frightened. I don’t want to go alone.

I need strength and courage and faith.

I need God.

God is the one who can calm my fears.
God will never leave me alone.
I depend on God for strength and courage and faith.
It is God who purifies my heart and He uses me to spread His love and compassion.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

it’s not my will, it’s His

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7 NAS

I use to think (years and years ago) this verse meant I could ask God for anything I wanted, and He would give it to me. Sort of like I could wish for anything at all, and He would immediately grant my wish(es). And, when I never got what I asked for, I didn’t understand. I was disappointed. I was frustrated. I was discouraged. I hate to admit this, but sometimes I was angry. I just didn’t understand!

But, wait! Eventually I came upon 1 John 5:14 (and numerous other verses). I paid attention! It clearly shows I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Why in the world did I expect the trivial things? Things that didn’t matter? Insignificant? Selfish? Why did I ask for them in the first place? What was I thinking? It’s not about me. It’s all about God.

What is prayer all about? To praise God. To be sincere and earnest. To pray in faith. To ask for forgiveness. To pray for His will. Pray for guidance. To pray for thankfulness. Pray for others. Etc.

What else? I depend on God. I need God. God is my Savior and Lord. He supplies my needs. (That is needs, not wants.) Yes, I know...without God, I am nothing, nothing, nothing.

I pray for God’s will in my life and I know He hears my prayers. God’s will, not mine. I believe and I trust and I serve and I have faith in God. He never promised the narrow road would be easy. The paragraph below (I think I found it in a commentary) speaks much better than I can:

We must come away with the realization that prayer is not dictating to God, but a humble and heartfelt expression of our attitude of dependency and need. Because of this, the one who truly prays is submissive to God's will, content with Him supplying his need according to the dictates of His sovereign pleasure. The result of this, combined with the infusion of God's attitudes and thoughts as we draw near to Him, will work to create us in His image.
This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1 John 5:14 NAS

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

quick quotes

*Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.

*To know the will of God, we need an open Bible and an open map.

*Is not the commission of our Lord still binding upon us? Can we not do more than now we are doing?

William Carey
father of modern missions
pioneer missionary to India

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

closed eyes, open heart

While watching a Gaither Homecoming show last night, I heard one of my very best truly most cherished greatest ever finest especially loved favorite Christmas songs. It’s one of those songs I can listen to over and over and over and over again.

It’s one of those songs I’d rather listen to with eyes closed. Maybe to keep distractions away, maybe to become part of the words and music, and maybe in the darkness, I can freely worship God from deep within. Mostly, because of all three.

The words, written by Mark Lowry, came from a unique point of view. He wondered what Mary was thinking and how she felt holding the newborn baby Jesus. Lowry came up with questions he’d ask Mary. With the words, Buddy Greene added the music. And, hence, the song, ‘Mary Did You Know?’
(For the story behind the song, check this link: http://www.christianitytoday.com/tc/2002/novdec/16.18.html)

Mary Did You Know?
Words by Mark Lowry, Music by Buddy Greene

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you’ve kissed the face of God.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I Am.

Friday, December 4, 2009

lie (part 2)

In lie (part 1), I admitted that I (verbally) lied.

What is a lie?

It’s deliberately and intentionally and knowingly saying something that isn’t true. It’s consciously deceiving by a false expression or by a false impression. A lie can be spoken, a lie can be an action, a lie can be so many things, and a lie can be said or done in many ways.

As a Christian, when my actions or my thoughts or my words are against the teachings of Jesus, I consider these things are lies.

I pray that I will do and pray that I will say and pray that I will be honest and that I will be stronger and that I will strive to live in accordance with God’s will for my life.

In lie (part 1), I had an opportunity to be kind, to meet a need, to share Jesus. How many opportunities have I let slip away???

And again, the Bible is full of verses regarding compassion, and caring, and loving, and sharing, and hope. And again, I need to study the Bible and live what I have learned.

*For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
Matthew 25:35-36 NIV

*Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Luke 6:38 NIV

*But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 6:3-4

*Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
1 Peter 3:8 NIV

*He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.
Proverbs 19:17 NIV

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

lie (part 1)

I told a lie last week. I knew it was a lie, but I said it anyway.

As I walked out of the mall, a small SUV slowed to a stop. The man inside said “Ma'am, we are asking everyone we see to help us.” A woman in the passenger seat stared at me expressionless. Next, he said, “we don’t have much gas and this is all the money we have (holding up a ten dollar bill).” Then, he pulled two pictures from his wallet. They were of a young girl. He held up the pictures and said they had to get to Wilmington to see her. She was critically ill.

I told him I was sorry, but I didn’t have any money. Before he drove away, he said “Thank you ma'am, and God bless you.”

I told a lie. I knew it was lie, but I said it anyway. I did have money. I had $14. Why didn’t I give him the money? As they left, I felt terrible. I don’t always have money to spare, but last week I did.

There is never a justification for lying. Plain and simple, lying is a sin. (Yes, the encounter did make me feel a little uncomfortable. Crime has increased, especially during the holidays. I try to be aware of my surroundings and I’m extra careful.) Yet still, plain and simple, lying is a sin.

Maybe I should have given him my $14. Maybe I should have been compassionate. Maybe I should have helped. Maybe? Maybe I should have? There is absolutely, positively, definitely, undeniably, never ‘maybe’! Without any doubt, God commands truthfulness!

I’m a Christian, but I failed miserably. Truthfulness is a commandment, but I failed to obey. I’m thankful that God forgives me of my sins. I’m grateful that the Word of God teaches me the way I should go. I pray that next time, I will be honest and truthful, and do what God has instructed.

I knew it was a lie, yet I said it anyway.

A lie is a lie is a lie.

The Bible is full of verses regarding lying, dishonesty, and deceit:

Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him
Colossians 3:9-10 NAS

There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood,
Proverbs 6:16-17

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
Ephesians 4:25 NIV

"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Exodus 20:16 (NIV)