Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Overwhelmed Life

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.  Proverbs 14:8

Hello friends.  I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the cooler weather.  Today I want us to examine our hearts and our lives to determine, is it possible we are on task overload?  Have we overloaded our lives with worthless things?  Have we overloaded our lives with responsibilities and activities that God never intended?  Psalms 119:35-37 – Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.  Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.  Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. 

Today I encourage you to evaluate your life and prioritize your responsibilities and activities in such a way that would be pleasing to your Savior and LORD.  God desires to give us direction for our lives.  Prayerfully seek His will and ask Him to help you prioritize your responsibilities and activities, as you live your life for Him. 

God's Word tells us in Matthew 6:33 - But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Turn to God today for His leadership and guidance in prioritizing your life.  Ask Him to place His desires in your heart.  I can testify that God will change the desires of your heart and align your desires with His, if you are truly seeking His kingdom and His righteousness.  Study notes from the Life Application Study Bible reveal, "people, objects, goals, and other desires all compete for priority in our lives.  Any of these can quickly bump God out of first place if you don't actively choose to give Him first place in every area of your life."  I encourage you to give God the place He belongs - FIRST PLACE. 

One reason we may have allowed our lives to become overloaded with activities and responsibilities could be because we are “people pleasers.”  Search your heart and ask yourself this question, am I a “people pleaser”?  Are you trying to gain the approval of people?  Even during a time of persecution, Peter understood that God was the one he must please and obey.  Act 5:29 - Peter and the other apostles replied:  "We must obey God rather than men."  We learn in Galatians 1:10 if we are striving to please people, we cannot be the servant of Christ that He desires us to be.  Trying to please people will overshadow our attempts at pleasing our Savior and LORD.  Galatians 1:10 - Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. 

It is not "un-Christian" for us to say no.  We must learn to seek God's will before we respond with a "yes" or a "no," when asked to take on a responsibility.  Say "no" graciously and kindly when it is God led and Scripture defined. 

I end today by asking you, do you desire to live differently?  Are you ready to prioritize your life in a manner pleasing to your Savior and LORD?  He is there to give direction and guidance.  All we must do is seek His will.  Elisabeth Eliot stated, "The will of God is not something you add to your life.  It's a course you choose.  You either line yourself up with the Son of God . . . or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world."

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray today that You will help us to live a life that is pleasing to You.  Father, help us as we commit to putting You and Your will first in our lives.  Give us wisdom when committing to activities and responsibilities, and help us to say no graciously when that is Your desire.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..AMEN

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Value of God's Word

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.  Psalm 1:2-3

Good morning friends.  I hope you are doing well.  Today I want you to search your hearts and ask yourself, how much do I value God’s Word?  If someone asked us that question, we would say we value it above all we have and own.  We know that our actions speak louder than our words, so I ask this question, how often do you read God’s Word? 

I started a new online Bible study this week titled Read the Bible for Life.  The author of the study is George H. Guthrie.  He states in this study that only 16% of churchgoers read the Bible every day and only 37% say that Bible reading and study have made a significant difference in the way they live their lives.  These statistics came across to me as very alarming and very sad.  More than half of churchgoers do not read the Bible on a consistent basis.  If churchgoers are neglecting to spend time in God’s Word, I can’t imagine what the church in America will look like in the years to come. 

Years ago I made a commitment to spend time in God’s Word.  I realized, if I wanted my Heavenly Father to speak to me, I would have to read the Bible.  I have discovered, the more time I spend reading and studying God’s Word, the more I desire to read and study His Word.  I find God’s Word to be encouraging, nurturing, and fulfilling.  My desire for my family and friends is for them to experience the same, as they make the commitment to read and study the Word of God.  Pray, and ask your Savior and LORD to help you commit to spending time reading the Bible and that as you do this you will be encouraged, nurtured, and fulfilled.  Romans 15:4 – For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 

Psalm 119:105 – Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.  God’s Word provides us with clear direction.  When we read and study God’s Word, and internalize and obey God’s instruction, we will be able to live a life filled with joy.  Also, reading and studying God’s Word provides us with strength to endure until we enter into our eternal Heavenly home.  Apply God’s Word to your life.  It will completely change your life for the better.  Peace and joy will abound in your life as never before.

Psalm 19:7-11 – The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.  The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.  The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.  The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.  The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.  The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.  They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.  By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.  We find in these scriptures that God’s Word revives us, makes us wise, gives us joy, gives light to our eyes, warns us, and rewards us.  So I ask the question, why are Christians not reading God’s Word consistently?  God desires to offer us so much if we would only be willing to spend time with Him. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  Every word in the Holy Book is God’s inspired Word.  God’s Word is trustworthy and true.  The Bible is our standard for testing everything that claims to be true.  The world is filled with many ideologies claiming to be true, but when these ideologies are placed alongside God’s Word, it is clear they are false and are a tool of Satan to deceive the world. 

So I end today by asking you again, how much value do you place on God’s Word? 

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray today my family and friends will place value on Your Holy Word.  I pray for all believers that they would commit to reading and meditating on Your Word each day.  LORD help us to apply Your Word to all areas of our lives.  I pray when we read Your Word, we will read with expectation of hearing Your voice.  Help us dear Jesus to truly value Your Word.  In Jesus Holy Name I pray…..Amen

Friday, September 13, 2013

Leaving a Legacy

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.  Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Hello dear friends.  I hope your past week was pleasant.  I know we are looking forward to the cooler weather that fall will bring.  Just last night, a cool front came into the River Valley here in Arkansas.  It was very nice sitting on the back porch this morning, drinking my cup of coffee, and studying God’s Word.

Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to celebrate the home going to Heaven of several Christian saints who were dear to my heart.  Reminiscing with love ones over precious memories made me begin to think about the spiritual legacy we leave when our LORD calls us home to Heaven.  Search your heart today and ask yourself, if my LORD called me home today would I be proud of the spiritual legacy that I leave for my family and friends?  Friends, we will leave behind a spiritual legacy for our loved ones.  Charles Swindoll said, “Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”  Determine today to leave a legacy that points your family and friends to Jesus Christ.  Deposit in their memory banks precious, godly memories. 

I believe we can agree that life is short.  God tells us in His Word in James 4:14 – Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Psalm 144:4 – Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.  Study notes from the Life Application Bible tell us, “Life is short no matter how many years we live.  Don’t be deceived into thinking that you have lots of remaining time to live for Christ, to enjoy your loved ones, or to do what you know you should.  Live for God today!” 

Choose today to demonstrate your love and commitment to Christ, before your family and friends.  Mark 12:30 – Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  Be honest and ask yourself this question, can my family and friends see that I love Christ with my whole heart, soul, and mind?  If you can’t answer this question with a yes, stop right now and recommit your heart, soul, and mind to Christ.  Ask Christ to help you live a life that is totally committed to Him so that when He calls you home to glory you will leave behind a spiritual legacy that will be pleasing to Him and will point the ones you love toward Christ.

Do your family and friends see that your life is clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience?  Colossians 3:12-14 – Therefore , as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Apart from a close personal relationship with Christ, you will not be able to demonstrate the virtues listed in Colossians 3:12-14. The closer we are in our walk with the LORD, the more we will resemble Him in our behavior toward others.  Spend times each day in Bible study and prayer.  Pray and ask Jesus to place in your heart a desire to fellowship with Him through Bible study and prayer.  Jesus desires a personal relationship with each of us.  The only way we will mature spiritually is through intentional, personal time with our Savior and LORD.

The world is filled with a tremendous amount of negatively.  God tells us in His Word in Ephesians 4:29, 31 – Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Words of encouragement, spoken to family and friends, are never forgotten.  Choose today to leave behind a spiritual legacy that is filled with kind and encouraging words.  Do not leave behind bitterness, rage, and malice for your family and friends.  The sin of bitterness, rage, and malice eat away at the peace and contentment a Christian should have in their life.  In addition, this bitterness, rage, and malice could become a stumbling block that keeps family and friends from coming to know Christ as their Savior and LORD. 

Do your family and friends see you storing up treasures in Heaven?  Matthew 6:20-21 – But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  As mature Christians on this journey toward our Heavenly home, it is important that we demonstrate what is really important; eternal kingdom treasures, not material possessions. 

As stated before, life is fleeting.  Be intentional about the spiritual legacy you will leave for your family and friends.  My heart’s desire is for my family and friends to know Jesus as Savior and LORD.  This life will soon be over friend, and eternity will begin. 

Dear Heavenly Father...I humbly bow before You telling You I love you.  LORD I pray you will help us to be intentional as we live our lives.  Help us Father to leave a spiritual legacy for our family and friends which will point them to You as Savior and LORD.  Father please forgive the mistakes we have made and from this day forth I pray our words and actions will be pleasing to You.  In Jesus Name I Pray.....AMEN



Friday, September 6, 2013

Inspired By Obedience

May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.  2 Timothy 1:16

Hello Friends.  I pray that you took the opportunity this past week to spend time in God’s Word.  Often we allow many things to drown out the voice of our Savior and LORD.  I encourage you  to make the time to allow your Heavenly Father to refresh your soul. 

As I participated in my book study this past week, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, this question was asked – Have you been inspired by someone else’s obedience to God?  I would like to ask another question for us to consider.  Has my obedience to God been and inspiration and encouragement to others?

We read in 2 Timothy, Paul was imprisoned and he knew he would soon be facing death.  Imagine the mental and physical conditions Paul had to endure in this dark, damp, musty dungeon.  We see in the above verse that a man named Onesiphorus took the time to visit Paul.  As hard as it is to understand how one can be refreshed in prison, Paul said that he was refreshed after visiting with Onesiphorus.  Onesiphorus, being obedient to the LORD, visited Paul in prison and ministered to him. 

I think about the Christian saints in my life who I have watched be obedient to the LORD.  They have inspired and encouraged me, even during difficult seasons of their lives.  I remember the dedication my grandparents had to reading the Word of God and serving their Savior and LORD.  I remember their commitment to their church family and their commitment to ministering to those that did not attend church.  I am thankful for those who taught me in Sunday School and Training Union when I was a little girl. These teachers were so faithful to teach God’s Word. They provided me with a Biblical foundation.  I am thankful that my parents took me to church.  These Christians have inspired me through their obedience.  They have inspired me as I have watched them handle lives’ difficulties with a godly attitude.  I encourage you dear friend, take the time to let those who have inspired you, by their obedience to the LORD, know that they have been a blessing to you.  What a gift of refreshment they will receive from you when you acknowledge the godly example they have lived.  I received such a gift last night.  I received an email from a mom of young lady I had taught in kindergarten.  She is now a senior in high school.  This email was a gift of refreshment that blessed my heart. 

Galatians 6:10 – Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.  Friends, we will have the opportunity to inspire others.  When your Savior and LORD directs you down a path, choose the path of obedience.  Our obedience to our LORD may inspire others to choose obedience.  Ephesians 5:15-16 – Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Prayerfully seek God’s wisdom and direction.  Our God will never fail to direct us down the path He desires for us to travel.  Colossians 4:5-6 – Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so you may know how to answer everyone. 

Whether we acknowledge it or not, others are watching.  We have the opportunity to live our lives and inspire others.  I encourage you today to make the choice to be obedient to your Heavenly Father and go out and inspire others to fully commit to their Savior and LORD.

Dear Precious Heavenly Father…..I pray today that You will provide us with the desire and the strength to walk in obedience to Your calling upon our lives.  Give us wisdom Father when making decisions.  Help us to be compassionate and kind to believers and unbelievers.  I pray that the words we speak will always honor and glorify You.  Thank you LORD for the Christian saints in my life, who have inspired me to be obedient to the calling You have placed before me.  In Jesus Holy Name I Pray…..AMEN