Saturday, August 24, 2013

Why Is It So Dark in Here?

Years ago in the lace shops of Brussels there was an unusual method used to make the finest lace in the world.  It was unusual because the rooms were darkened except for a light from one window, which fell directly upon the pattern. There was only one spinner in the room and he sat where the narrow stream of light fell upon the threads of his weaving. The spinner believed that the lace was always more delicately and beautifully woven when he worked in the dark and only his pattern was in the light.

Sometimes it is very dark for us too. We are not able to discover any beauty, any possible good in our trials or crisis. We do not see the thing that God is working out in us or a loved one or some situation. Yet some day, we may find out that the most exquisite work during our lifetime was done during those days when it was so dark. No circumstance, trial or tragedy has the power to place us outside the reach of God’s hand. Priscilla Shirer, Christian author and speaker, said “There is a calling out of your chaos.” Our circumstances don’t necessarily have to change for God to transform us into the man or woman He wants us to become. Some of God’s most exquisite work in our lives will be done during dark and difficult times.

In Judges 6, we find Gideon working at night under an oak tree while he was threshing out wheat in the most unlikely of spots – a winepress. His conditions were anything but favorable. He was the least of his family—in the least of families. He was working in one of the least possible jobs as a farmhand threshing out wheat--in a hiding place--alone--in the dark!

The angel of the Lord appears to Gideon telling him that the Lord is with you. Gideon struggles with this news because he can’t see how the Lord is with him amidst the struggles and difficulties he and the Israelites face from their neighboring enemies.  After Gideon brings an offering to the angel of the Lord, his eyes are immediately opened to see he has been talking to the angel of the Lord. Gideon discovers a new calling and the power to accomplish it.

God is a personal Heavenly Father who draws near to His people everyday. He is present during our workday, daily errands and tasks. He desires for us to have our spiritual eyes opened to His presence every day. Only then does the opportunity unfold for us to understand our calling and the vast inheritance we've been given to accomplish the tasks set before us. That is the heart of Ephesians 1:18-19 "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." 

What have we inherited? We have inherited our salvation through Christ our Lord and Savior. We have inherited the Holy Spirit indwelling within us to guide and teach us. We have inherited an understanding of God’s Word, which then equips us to know Him more intimately and follow the path He has purposed for us. With Him our purposes and possibilities completely change. We have inherited a citizenship in HeavenLooking at all the things we have inherited, I would say we have inherited some pretty wonderful glorious riches! Oh yes and another thing we have inherited --We are outfitted and equipped with the very armor God wears!  God's armor is listed in Isaiah 59: 16-17

"He saw that there was no one,
he was appalled that there was no one to intercede;
then his own arm achieved salvation for him,
and his own righteousness sustained him.
He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on garments of vengeance

and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. 

We find that same armor for followers of Christ listed again by Paul in Ephesians 6:14-20;

"Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak."

How amazing is that? We dress ourselves against the enemy with the very armor God wears! That is a bold statement!

So, what do you think disqualifies you from being a mighty warrior for God? He called Gideon, the least of the least! Let’s look at a list of people from the Bible who set the example for whom God calls:

God doesn’t call the equipped—He equips those whom He calls. Trust God in His purposes and plans for your life. Don't let the enemy tell you or sell you a lie.  Don't settle for less than who God has created you to become--a man or woman after His own heart!

I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me! (Philippians 4:13)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sin Will Take You Farther Than You Want To Go...

It is said that “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” 

What a truth that is for the Israelites when we find their plight in the first pages of the Book of Judges. They have been given a promised land by God and told to claim all of the land He has promised them. In Genesis 15:18 God said, “To your descendants I give this land from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates. God’s people were poised and positioned to receive a great inheritance from the Lord.

Unfortunately the Israelites settled only in portions of the promised land and they did not drive out their enemies as instructed. Perhaps the Israelites were tired of fighting, perhaps they saw the “iron chariots” the enemy had as unbeatable weapons, perhaps they doubted their mighty God to save them.  Whatever the reasons, they chose to be disobedient to God’s spoken word and promises. As a result of not defeating and driving out the enemy, Israelites mixed with the Midianites and were subjected to the following:
  • Skirmishes and outbreaks of war with the Midianites over territories 
  • Fought battles to keep their crops that the Midianites routinely stole 
  • Steeped in the idolatrous culture around them, worshipping false gods and goddesses. 
Israel was making decisions based on their limited supplies instead of on the boundless resources of their God. If God had commanded their enemy's destruction, He had also taken into account their iron chariots and had planned to equip His people for victory, regardless. No weapon could stand against the almighty power of Yahweh. If only Israel had believed that and lived according to God's promises and plan.

Partial obedience is disobedience. How often do we today compromise our ability to fully enjoy the promises of God and remain under His canopy of protection and provision? What allegiances do we have with today’s world? What choices have we made that look like we too have settled in and are willing to let ourselves be swayed by the culture around us?

 God desires a restored relationship with you and me. The choices we make often take us to places where we become vulnerable and easy prey for the enemy. There is a cycle that God’s people have been in throughout history. What cycle are we in right now? Are we standing strong against the enemy? Are we walking with God and allowing Him to be our framework for the path we walk each day? Is He the foundation we chose to base our lives on? 

The story of God’s people from the very beginning has been a cycle of following God, falling away or rejecting God for their own way, decline of God’s people, consequences allowed by God’s hand, and finally a restored relationship to God’s presence. 

As Priscilla Shirer writes in the opening pages of her Gideon study, “The bottom line is that empowerment by God’s Spirit is a necessity for success. Supernatural acts require supernatural equipping.” It is a supernatural act of God for me to see who I am in His eyes. It is a supernatural act for me to love others in a way I normally would not love them or be drawn to them. It is a supernatural act for me to daily set aside my will and chose to follow God’s will. When I begin to follow the logic and rationale of “self,” I quickly reap the effects of disobedience. It looks something like this…”What do I want to do today?  How can I fix this problem?  How can I make someone understand my side of things? What should I do?

There were an awful lot of “I’s in that and not a bit of God anywhere. I’m guilty of trying to do it my own way and not seeking out what God’s best is for me. But my story and your story is not finished. We are a work in progress and have been given the gift of forgiveness and a way to be restored to our sovereign creator—through our Lord Jesus. He is the greatest Deliverer of all time! It is only through the divine presence of Christ in our lives that we can “circle back” and be restored to Him. Your legacy of faith is being written today and it will be written tomorrow and the next day. What will it look like to those around you?

If you were to expand upon Joshua 24:15 which says, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” will your legacy of faith reveal that “you will serve him most of the time, you will serve him when it is convenient and easy, or you will serve him despite the cost and whatever it takes to draw yourself and those around you to a closer relationship to Him?

Dear Heavenly Father, 
You are a loving compassionate Father who has provided a way out of bondage from the enemy. Help me to see that Your plan is the best plan for my life! Help to free me from those things that pull me away from You. Replace in me a desire to follow You wholeheartedly and to know that even in my weaknesses and struggles, You can do great and mighty things in my life if I just trust you! -Amen

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Are You Sure This Is Jesus Calling?

The book, Jesus Calling has been a fairly new devotional book which I've been reading.  I thought I would give you my thoughts on the book.

When I began reading this book, I initially had a problem with the fact that it was in first person but I began to enjoy how it seemed to speak directly to me.  I understand the idea that the devotional interprets biblical "principles" Jesus probably would say in first person and pairs it with scripture references for that day. But upon closer reading of the scriptures listed and looking at the daily messages of "Jesus"  there are subtle misuses of the scriptures over and over again. 

I went back and reread Sarah Young's introduction to Jesus Calling just to see what she said about the intent and purpose of her devotional.  Page 12 (XII) of her introduction was confusing to me.  She writes, "...writing down whatever I believed He was saying.  I felt awkward the first time I tried this, but I received a message.  It was short, biblical, and appropriate."  Lower down on that same page she writes, "This new way of communicating with God became the high point of my day.  I knew these writings were not inspired as Scripture is..."  Huh?  I thought you said you received a message that was "biblical and appropriate."  But now you say they are not inspired messages? 

On the last page of her introduction (XIV) Sarah Young says, "As I listened to God, Bible verses or fragments of verses often came to mind.  I have interwoven these into my messages."  Your messages?  I just felt uneasy as I finished the introduction.  Something seemed amiss...

I have carefully gone back and outlined numerous inconsistencies in what Sarah Young "paraphrases or restates" as Jesus' first person message and the correlation of scripture given at the bottom of the page.  It is subtle, misleading, and not very biblical at times. Please, please read this devotional book carefully.  Make sure the scripture at the bottom of each page really says what is in the daily message. Here is one example:  January 7 entry says: "Sometimes your adoration is a spontaneous overflow of Joy, in response to radiant beauty or rich blessings. At other times your praise is more disciplined and measured--an act of your will. I dwell equally in both types of praise."

I'm not going to address the possible meaning of  what "disciplined and measured praise" means but, suffice to say,  I can't find that in scripture.  What bothers me is " act of your will."  The scripture to go along with January 7  reading is 1 Thess. 5:18 which says, "...give thanks in all circumstances,  for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  My will is flawed, often wrong, and does not give God the glory.  Why is she saying that Jesus would ever want us to use "our will?"  (Isn't it thy will be done...?)

Here's a challenge...look at the next daily devotional for January 8.  Does it sound a wee bit mystical to you?  (tapping at your consciousness, seeking entrance; the weaker you are the more gently I approach you; hope is like a golden cord connecting you to heaven).  

Sorry, but not much of Sarah Young's entry for January 8 is scriptural. Actually, a lot of daily entries sound more mystical and new 'age-y" than they do biblical.

There's no place like home...there's no place like home. You've always had the power within you, Dorothy.  

I'm going to go feed Toto and read the Bible.

Forever His,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Who Is Tugging On Your Cape?

Pure Joy? All these trials we face as Christians, why would anyone call them pure joy? The salvation we have in Christ doesn't mean we will be free from trials in life.  Just the opposite is true.  You have a great big target on your back that is highly recognizable by Satan.  He sees you as one of God's very own and he aims his flaming arrows right at you...or your child...or a loved one.  James 1:2-3 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."  I don't know about you, but if Satan or his legion of fallen angels takes aim against myself or my household, I have a strategic counter attack plan with the most powerful Warrior who ever lived doing battle on my behalf.

When you become a believer in Christ, you are an enemy of the devil and the dark forces of this world.  Satan's primary goal is to try to destroy you.  He will try to shake your faith and make you doubt you are loved by Christ.  Christ offers peace during our trials by equipping us with His knowledge of how to overcome the enemy.  

The moment we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are given weapons that God Himself is wearing.  "He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak." (Isaiah 59:17)  God has provided these weapons and armor for us.  Take time to read Ephesians 6:13-20.  Paul describes six pieces of armor that the believer in Christ is given--a belt, a breastplate, shoes, a shield, a helmet, and a sword.  This armor represents truth, upright character, the gospel faith, salvation, and the Bible.

When I get dressed in the morning, I make sure I am equipped with the right clothes for the right activity.  Heading to the grocery store requires somewhat less formal attire than say, dressing for a date with my husband.  Not that he'd notice but you understand what I'm saying. The same is true if my child comes home and tells me that he caught the most awesome football during recess.  I'm equipped to respond with a "high five" and praise his prowess as a great football player!  But what if my son comes home and relates to me that he is constantly bothered by a child who calls him names, swings him around by the tail of his shirt, and shoves him?  What equipping is needed to deal with this situation?  God tells us "the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, [the weapons we fight with] have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient."  

Do you ever stop to think about "who" your battles are against?  Is it really your child's bully, an unpleasant neighbor, or even that one family member who is causing you turmoil? If you are a mother, grandmother, aunt, or sister--you have been privy to at least one occasion when a precious child whom you love has been treated unfairly.  If you respond as the world responds, you immediately think of at least eighteen ways to retaliate, react, and repay the evildoer for causing distress to your "precious little one!"  There's not a chance you plan on being passive, lax or idle!  We're like a biting dog when it comes to defending someone we love!  But who are we defending them against?

Be assured that your greatest battles are not with any man, woman, or child.  Paul says in Ephesians 6:12 that our struggle is not against human enemies.  They include the spiritual beings that fell with Satan and are the ranks of his "army."  Satan delights in tormenting us.  He does this best by tormenting those whom we love.  I recently was reminded of a Jim Croce song that says:

You don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Jim

Most of you don't know that the inside joke there is that my Dad's name was "Jim."  He was the kind of man who people "did not mess around with!"  My Dad was a rough and tough kind of guy who was armed (literally) when he drove his car, his motorhome, or his boat.  I truly thought everyone's Dad carried a .357 Magnum wherever they went.  It's funny what you believe when you are growing up.  You think everyone lives pretty much just like you do.  You get used to it. 

As a child of God who adorns the full armor of God, I know that I know many of the trials we face come from Satan and the dark principalities of this world.  Satan knows we get used to hearing bad news, seeing a loved one suffer from addictions, watching horrific tragedies play out in our world, etc.  We get used to it. I'm sure he hopes we blame these events on someone being at the wrong place at the wrong time or people making poor life choices. However, when the flaming arrows of Satan comes to myself or my family you can rewrite the lyrics to say:

You don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Me!

Nothing strikes a chord with a mother more than if one of her own has been hurt!  Satan has met his match!  If you are doing battle against a stronghold in your life or the life of a loved one, take up the very armor God wears and equip yourself with His power.  In spite of your own weaknesses or failures, you must be completely honest before God in order to overcome Satan.  Name the situation that has a stronghold in your life or the life of a loved one.  Confess it and ask for help and forgiveness for you/your loved one.  Pray for God to disperse his heavenly angels around the person you are holding up in prayer.  Pray scripture during your prayer time.  When Jesus was in the wilderness, he was tested by Satan.  Jesus rebuked Satan three times with three different scriptures. (Matthew 4:1-11)  If you are not sure which scriptures apply to your particular situation, look in the back of your Bible for the concordance which lists topics alphabetically.  If you don't have a concordance, google or do a word search for scriptures relating to your present situation.  I love the book of Psalm and pray many of the Psalms daily.  Psalms 34, 35, 40, and 119 are a great place to start if you are unfamiliar with the Book of Psalm.

Dear God,
You are Mighty, All Powerful, and The Great Defender.  Thank you for the trial that has been placed before me--may this trial grow me or my loved one to complete maturity in Christ.  Please help me fight the battle that has come to my doorstep.  Equip me with Your protective armor as I do battle on my knees for myself or my loved one.  Please fight this battle for me in the heavenly realms against Satan and the dark principalities of this world.  Dispatch your heavenly angels to surround myself or my loved one.  I know that the victory is yours and you are working this for my ultimate good.  Thank you, Lord, that He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world! (1John 4:4).  In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Living in a Counterfeit World - Are You For Real?

It is hard to know what is real anymore.  Purses, shoes, clothes, even money can all be counterfeit these days.  When I see a woman with a Gucci purse, glitzy jewelry, and name-brand clothing getting into a 1982 Honda, I admit, I'm skeptical!  Something just doesn't line up!  Remember on Sesame Street (or was it Electric Company) where they showed four things and said "Which one of these things doesn't belong?"  The woman's older car makes me think,  "Are any of those items she's wearing really designer brands?"  I allow my thoughts to ponder what she values. Does she value only those things that look real but settles for a counterfeit?  

I know I'm guilty of doing some of those same things.  I wear very cheap zirconia earrings when I play tennis. Several ladies wear their pretty jewelry while playing tennis and I guess I think I need to look just as fashionable! If you've ever seen me play tennis you'll know that my earrings are the least of my worries! When I first started playing tennis matches, my partner and I observed our opponents huddling up to strategize against us.  I walked over to my partner, Penny, and said, "I've got no strategy...but it looks like we are going to have to buy some jewelry to play this game!"  I was joking but it occurs to me that I have also valued counterfeit items in my life because they look like the real thing.

Can you spot a counterfeit? At times it is simple enough to tell the difference between something that is real or fake.  What about your faith?  Are you aware of what you allow to influence what you believe?  Anytime we put our faith in something or someone other than God's Holy Word we are in danger of placing our trust in a counterfeit belief system.  I was challenged by a sermon from Adrian Rogers about spotting a counterfeit.  Below is a summary from his sermon of how to spot a counterfeit.

False teachers or false prophets have been around since Biblical times.  During the life of Paul, he traveled and wrote letters to tell people about the Lord Jesus.  Many times Paul had to address false prophets and false teachings. (Acts 20:28-30, 1 Timothy 4:1, 1 Timothy 6:3-5).  Matthew spoke of false teachers in Matthew 7:15-20.  There are five ways to spot a false prophet:

1. Source Test- What is the basis of their teaching?  Does someone give you a revelation of some other teaching? There are followers of religions who believe in "amendments" to God's Holy Word. The Mormons believe in The Book of Mormon which came about less than 200 years ago. Apparently, Joseph Smith encountered an angel who gave him golden plates with information from God, he buried them, and then lost track of where he buried them. As a middle-aged hormonal woman who constantly loses things, I feel for the poor man.  That's not to say I believe in the doctrine which the Mormon people follow.  How do they account for all Christians who lived before this time?  This belief system just leaves me scratching my head.  Adding or taking away from God's Word is covered in:
Deuteronomy 4:2
Deuteronomy 12:32
Proverbs 30:5-6
Ecclesiastes 3:14
Galatians 1:6-12 (This passage alone would scare me if I was a Mormon)
Revelation 22:18-19

2. Savior Test- Do you worship Jesus Christ? Jehovah's witnesses will acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, they praise and honor Him, and they revere Him.  But they do not worship Him as Lord. The Bible is full of worship regarding the Lord Jesus Christ.

Matt. 2:2 and 11 - the magi who came to see the newborn Jesus came to worship Him.
Matt. 8:2 - a leper came to Jesus and worshiped Him without rebuke.
Matt. 14:33 - the apostles who were in the boat worshiped Jesus without rebuke.
Matt. 28:9 - Jesus' disciples took His feet and worshiped Him without rebuke.
Matt. 28:17 - Jesus' disciples saw Him and then worshiped Him.
Mark 5:6 - the man with the unclean spirit ran to Jesus and worshiped Him.
Luke 1:11 - Mary accepts Elizabeth's declaration "the Mother of my Lord" = the Mother of my God (Elizabeth used the word "Adonai" which means "Lord God").
Luke 24:52 - as Jesus ascended into heaven, the apostles worshiped Him.
John 9:38 - the blind man who was cured by Jesus worshiped Him.
John 20:28 - Jesus accepts Thomas' statement "My Lord and my God!" Literally, "the Lord of me and the God of me!" 

3. Subject Test- Does the teaching line up with what is in the Bible?  The Old Testament states Jesus is coming. The New Testament states Jesus has come.  The Book of Revelation states that Jesus will be coming back. For anyone who wants to use historical secular sources which speak to the evidence of the life of Jesus, I encourage you to look up the following: Thallus, Celsus, Lucian of Samosata, Mara Bar-Serapion, Flavius Josephus, The Babylonian Talmud, Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, and Justin Martyr. Many of these men who wrote of their personal accounts of Jesus' life, death and resurrection were well respected men of their day. As followers of Jesus, some were martyred for their belief in Jesus.  They suffered violent deaths.  They could have recanted their belief in Jesus to save themselves but they went to their deaths acknowledging Jesus as their Lord.

4. Salvation Test- Does what you believe in teach grace through faith that gives glory to God? Or are you believing in some form of legalism to get you into heaven? Baptism is a wonderful outward sign which tells people that you are now God's child and that you belong to Him.  Works are a great "love gift" back to God to show how much you want to serve Him. But nothing is required for salvation except admitting you are a sinner, believing Jesus died for your sins, and confessing Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Praying the ABC's of salvation is all it takes to be saved!  God honors even the smallest amount of faith for a person to be saved. (Luke 17:6)

5. Sanctification Test- We are called to live holy lives. Let me just stop right here and say, "Yes, I know that sounds hard!" But we have been sanctified which means "set apart" by Christ.  What are we set apart from? We are set apart for God's purpose for us and from those things that cause us to revert back to our old lifestyle.  "...I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ." (Philippians 3:12)  You know Jesus finished His work on the Cross over 2,000 years ago.  Don't keep Him on the cross with your old sin habits.  You are supposed to die daily to sin in your life--not Christ.  

The definition of the word "fabricate" means to concoct in order to deceive.  Do not let fabricated words or teachings worm their way into the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The greek translation of fabricate is "plastos." This is where we get our word "plastic."  Plastic is easily molded and shaped into something to fit a purpose.  Satan fabricates lies to lure you away from the Truth.  He has done this since the beginning of time-that is his purpose.  His ways are subtle and often take the form of something pleasant to lure us in.  Seek God's guidance and discernment to any teaching which does not have Jesus as its cornerstone of faith.

Dear Lord, you are Sovereign, Unchanging, and Perfect.  Thank you for The Holy Bible-your True Living Word. Thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.  May you give me discernment to seek and follow the One True Living God.  May you give me discernment about what is truth and what is a lie.  Help me to never exchange the truth for a lie.  Please provide me with wisdom to understand your Word and apply it to my life. I love you Lord Jesus, Amen. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Healthy Habits for My Soul!

You know when you read or hear a new word, you suddenly keep seeing or hearing that word repeatedly?  It is the same with God's Word.  You hear a passage or a principle and then you constantly come across it again and again.  I recently had that experience with 1 Thessalonians.  During one month, I heard 1 Thessalonians taught at church, Bible study, and heard a pastor on Christian radio teaching from Thessalonians.  

I finally started listening to what that "still small voice" was saying to me:  "You are supposed to live this way!"  Paul tells the church in Thessalonica to " lives worthy of God who calls you into his kingdom and glory." (1 Thess. 2:12)  I love 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5.  These two chapters cut right to the heart of how a Christian is to live in this world and not be controlled by sin.   

Sin in our life is a bit like yeast.  Even in small increments, the sin we allow into our lives slowly builds until it takes over and affects more and more areas of our life.  It might be a reality TV show (those are hard to resist, I know), novels, music, etc.  We live in a world that floods us with media and information.  As if that weren't enough, we are also influenced by what our friends, spouse, and children do and say.  I feel like a one of those explorers cutting through thick, tall layers of grass and underbrush just to get a path cleared. I want to walk the path God has set before me but obstacles have to be cleared constantly and daily for that to happen.

If you want to know how we are to live as Christians, read 1 Thessalonians 4.  It is clear and concise.  Paul doesn't mince any words.  The theme of this chapter is living a self-controlled life. Knowing that I have power from God to live a self-controlled life is revealed in 1 Thessalonians 5.  This chapter has to be one of my all time favorite chapters in the Bible!  Beginning in 5:12, the scripture lays out a spiritual "road map" to encourage God's people how to live life.

Staying Spiritually Sharp:
1. Develop an attitude of joyful, thankful prayer (vv.16, 17, & 18)
2. Cooperate with God's Spirit within you--do not put out the Spirit's fire-you know that still small voice inside of you!  (v. 19)
3. Respect the preaching of God's Word (v.20)
4. Filter everything through God's Word (vv. 21 & 22)

Develop habits that can nourish your soul:
1. Daily prayer
2. Spiritual Friendships
3. Reading and meditating on Scriptures
4. Solitude and silence
5. Simplicity

Thank you, Dear Lord, for giving me your True Word, your Holy Spirit, and your Precious Son to help me understand who you want me to be and how you want me to live.  Please help me to daily seek your will for myself and my family. Please give me wisdom and discernment to follow your path and not the world's path.  I love you, Father.  Amen.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

God's Attributes A-Z

All letters of the alphabet ready to spray paint!  I bought these 4" letters at Hobby Lobby.

My family took turns placing the letters on the tree in A to Z order.  We read scripture to correlate with each attribute of God.  The carpenter who drilled the holes in each letter would not let me pay him when I told him they were going to be ornaments depicting the attributes of God!