Monday, November 30, 2009

Sobered Up

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. ~~ Romans 12:3 NIV

I usually keep a clean house. I have a cleaning routine that I go through each week for each room of the house in order to maintain a state of cleanliness.

I thought that if cleanliness is next to godliness then I’m doing alright. I felt as I had conquered an area of my life—housekeeping. I have plenty of other areas to work on by now.

So those were my thoughts until this past week when the Lord sobered me up. My husband and I started “fall” cleaning so we can prepare our house to put on the market as he’s hoping for a transfer soon. Part of this process meant we packed up clutter and moved excess belongings to storage. We also painted a few walls to brighten things up.

In the process of cleaning, I had the vacuum cleaner out with an extension hose to clean the collected dust off of the ceiling fan. As I stepped back and looked, I saw dirt stuck in the “popcorn” texture of the ceiling paint, so I used the soft brush on the end of the vacuum extension and cleaned the dirt off the ceiling around the ceiling fan. I thought what a great job I’ve done.

But then, as I prepared to paint the walls, my husband stood at another place in the room and looked at the ceiling and said, “Now you can see the ceiling around the ceiling fan is white, but the rest of the ceiling is brown.”

I realized that even though I regularly picked up items, dusted the furniture, and vacuumed the floors, I never cleaned the ceiling. I confess, I do not normally look up to clean. With my husband’s help, it took about an hour to clean off the ceiling, little by little with the small brush attachment.

I felt the Lord sobered my judgment of myself through this experience. I’m not as good as a housekeeper as I thought I was. It took a lot of work to clean out our house this week. Through the house cleaning process, I realized I deceived myself.

If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. ~~Galatians 6:3 NIV

Deceit can creep in easily. I thank the Lord, He sobered me up. All that I have and all I do comes from Him. To Him be the glory!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give Thanks

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. ~~Psalm 106:1
Happy Thanksgiving! May all of you be blessed today beyond imagination. We all have something to be thankful for on this one day of the year set aside in America to be thankful for our God is good. His love endures forever.

I am thankful that our Lord provided a way for us to not suffer an eternal death by sending His Son, Jesus Christ.

I am thankful that we have the Word of God to read, learn and grow in the truth that sets us free in Christ our Lord.

I am thankful for family and friends who keep me on the right path of growing in the Lord.

There are so many things I can list to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day. Please share some of what you're thankful for today.

Blessings in Christ!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Open My Eyes

And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. ~~Luke 24:31 ESV

Have you ever cried out, “I just don’t understand?” Sometimes events unfold right in front of us and we do not understand the meaning of it.

Two men were walking on the road to Emmaus, which was about seven miles northwest from Jerusalem. They were talking about the crucifixion of Christ. They, like so many of the other people of the times hoped Jesus was the one to redeem Israel from the Roman rule. They were so caught up in the situation, they could not see past it.

Then the resurrected Jesus showed up and walked along side of these two men. ”And he said to them, ‘What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?’ Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’”

Apparently the news of the crucifixion traveled very quickly among the people of the land, without the use of cell phones and email. They did not recognize Jesus and they thought he must be the only one who did not know what just took place. So they proceeded to explain it to Jesus. When they got to the part about the women who reported angels and an empty tomb, Jesus interrupted them.

"O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:25-27 ESV)

I can see myself explaining an event and Jesus interrupting me to tell me how foolish I am. We need to understand the Scriptures. It is so easy for me to talk about what is going on in our world today, and feel disgruntled like these men on their way to Emmaus. But what if I let Jesus explain the Scriptures to me?

Jesus stayed with the men for just a little bit longer. When Jesus broke bread with them and gave it to them, then their eyes were opened. They realized it was Jesus and He was alive! They had an “ah-ha” moment.

Jesus explained the Scriptures to them. Most of us have several copies of the Bible in our homes. There are several places on the internet to read the Bible. God’s word is readily available to us. Let’s read and study God’s word and ask Him to explain what it means to us and ask Him to open our eyes to see Him.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For Our Veterans

I want to personally thank our veterans & service members for their faithful service to our country. It is your service and dedication that keeps us free. Thank you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

For the Joy

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. ~~ James 1:2-4 ESV

Last week I started a new exercise routine. Based on the results of a friend from church, I purchased a Jillian Michaels video. Since I very seldom watch television, I learned that she is the personal trainer on The Biggest Loser. And she’s known for getting results and that’s what I’m seeking—results.

Each workout in this video is only 20 minutes. When I started this workout last week, 20 minutes felt like a torture. I thought I was fit as I’m used to walking and jogging each morning. But I realized I haven’t really been working out after the first few days of this video. My body has been going through stress.

“We want your body to change as quickly as possible. In order to do that, we have to put stress on it. That’s how things change. By putting stress on your body, it’s going to adapt,” Jillian states as the workout really gets going.

Since the first time I heard those words “We have to put stress on it. That’s how things change,” it has resonated in my mind over and over again. Then in Sunday School we had a lesson on James 1:2-4 and thoughts started clicking in my mind.

If we’re too comfortable in a situation we’ll stay in it. Stress, trials, and tests all produce results. The various kinds of trials we face produces steadfastness, which according to means “unwavering, as resolution, faith, adherence, etc., firmly established, as an institution or a state of affairs, firmly fixed in place or position.”

We need to be firmly fixed in the Word of God through Jesus Christ. That makes us firmly established. Then steadfastness will work into us the perfection—the work that God started in us which He will complete. (Phil. 1:6) Then we’ll lack nothing because of our faith.

I think I’m starting to see a glimpse of why James said, “Count it all joy.” We must go through a process. My muscles scream, “OUCH!” But they are under stress now so they will have to change and adapt to this new routine as I persevere with it. Later these muscles of mine will be in better shape.

Now as I face the trials in my life, I realize that the Lord uses the stress to produce endurance so I’ll be firmly fixed in Christ. We can’t always understand the “why am I going through this?” But we can trust in the One who increases our endurance so we can be perfected. Let’s endure and mature for the joy!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Do You Know What You're Asking For?

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask."

"What do you want me to do for you?" he asked.

They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory."

"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?"

"We can," they answered. Jesus said to them, "You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared." ~~ Mark 10:35-40 NIV

“Mom, come outside and see what I found!”

I hurry through the house hearing some sense of urgency in Chase’s voice. As I step out through the glass door, I see the puppy.

“Mom, he followed me home while I was out riding my bike. Can I please keep him? It’s a boy, please.”

“That dog belongs to somebody and it’s so small it would need to be an inside dog. You can take care of him until we find the owner.”

“I promise I really will take care of him. Look he already likes me.”

Does my son really know what he’s asking for? I had him take care of the puppy that followed him home all through out the day, including cleaning up after its potty mess. He no longer was excited about keeping this dog.

Sometimes there are things in life that we think we really want. Naturally as humans, we want things, like a new puppy. But with those things comes something called – responsibility.

James and John asked Jesus to allow them to sit with Him in His glory. Jesus asked them if they could drink for the cup he would drink and be baptized with the baptism He had. They agreed they could. They thought it would be a great idea to have what Jesus had—glory. But Jesus told them that they did not know what they were asking for and they would drink from the cup and be baptized, but only the Father could decide where they sit.

Jesus suffered a death on the cross for the Father’s glory so that all men and women can be saved. Jesus asked James and John by asking if they could take the cup and the baptism which represented sufferings. They said they could and they did. James was the first apostle to be martyred by King Herod sword (See Acts 12:2). John was the last of the apostles to die, but he endured much tribulation and was placed in exile. Both of them suffered for the sake of Christ just as they asked.

When we ask for things, do we know what we’re asking? Once we receive it are we willing to see it through to the end? Whose glory are we seeking—our own or the Lord’s?

Chase allowed this puppy to follow him home, now he will take care of it until the owner can be found or it is placed in a home who wants it. He will need to see this through. When we ask the Lord for a thing, we need to be willing to see it through once He says yes. He will never give us more than we can bear.

Ask and it shall be given. But do you know what you’re asking for?