Monday, January 31, 2011

Imitating Life

"We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." Hebrews 6:32 NIV

When you were a child, did you ever want to imitate someone? Someone you truly admired? Maybe it was a movie star. Or maybe a family member. Maybe someone in the history books.

We have a young son who wants to do everything that his older brother does. They are two and a half years a part. Just enough time to know that the older brother gets to do some cooler things than he does. It really bothers Peter that Joey always wants to do or be what he wants to be. Being the mom, I try to smooth it over by making the statement that it should be a honor that someone loves you enough to want to be like you. Doesn't help Peter's feelings of frustration about being an individual. And then of course I have to add the fact that since his little brother looks up to him, it is his responsibility to be a good example.

But it is true. If you want to imitate someone, make sure that it is someone worthy to be imitated. That is why it is important who you hang out with. That is why it is important that you have very strong and grounded Christians as accountability partners. Especially for new Christians just beginning on their journey.

Did Jesus just hang out with anyone? No, He picked His close friends/followers, very carefully. He--of course--was imitating His Heavenly Father. We--in turn--should be striving to imitate our brother--Jesus Christ. How? By getting into the Word. By hanging out with people that are grounded into the Word. And by praying. Praying for insight to becoming friends with people that your Heavenly Father wants you to.

You see, there can be a tendency to hang out with people that are easier to imitate--people that don't have such a strong definition of what is Biblically wrong or right. You may have found out by now that it tends to be easier that way--it's the lazy way.

Imitating those who have great faith and patience--now there is your prize! That is where the major inheritance is. Jesus never said that going the right way, would be the easy way. What He did promise is that the inheritance received through faith and patience, far out weighs it's value than all the gold of Easy Street.

Imitating the shallow living of Easy Street or the life changing living of the Road of Hard Knocks? What would you chose?

"Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God." 3 John 1:11 NIV

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pure and Simple

"Now this is what the LORD says to the house of Israel;
Seek Me and live!'" Amos 5:4 NIV

Four words. Four simple, POWERFUL words--'Seek Me and live!' We make it so complicated. We take a simple situation and mess it all up with unnecessary acts of works, preconceived notions of what God does and doesn't want, making up and living phony lives.

What does God tells us through His word? Does any of the above things matter? Does any of the above things add one day to your life? Does any of the above things draw you closer to Him and His plan for your life? No!

What God tells us through His word is that all you have to do is seek Him and live. So you think that you need to search for Him like a needle in a haystack? That He enjoys a good game of Hide'n Seek? That He tries whatever He can to make Himself and His way of life hard for you to find? Of course not! He has made it as simple as He can--you just have to read. You need to be active daily in His Holy Word--the Bible--to find out what He has desired for you. Imprint the messages onto and into your heart.

In case you haven't notice, our God is a pretty straight forward kind of God. He doesn't make up things, He doesn't play games. He doesn't require anything from us that He doesn't require from Himself. "Seek Me and live!" It's that pure and simple.

"And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Joel 2:32 NIV

Friday, January 21, 2011


"At three o'clock, Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthan?' which means, 'My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?'" Mark 15:34 The Message

Have you ever experienced that? The feeling that your God has abandoned you? That you and He are millions of miles apart? That for some reason, He has turned His back and deserted you?

I think we have all experienced those times. While they are valid personally to us, in reality to God, they are not. The reason that they are not, is because your Heavenly Father would not ever abandon you. He may have you go through some trials to help you grow in your walk--to teach you whatever the life lesson is that you need to learn--but He would NOT ever leave you.

Sometimes too, we can cause our own separation, our own sense of abandonment. How? By having unconfessed sin in our lives. Or by living a life that you spiritually know is wrong, but you somehow justify it. While on the surface, your life seems OK with it, deep under the surface, your spirit is dying. It's suffocating. The life is slowly being drained from it. A spiritual relationship with your Heavenly Father cannot survive when you on purpose, live a lie.

When did Jesus cry out the above passage? He did it as He hung on the cross and all of a sudden, the weight of all our sins settled on Him. Not so much physically, but spiritually. At that moment, a Son who was and always had been--at one with His Father, suddenly was torn apart. It wasn't His sin. No it was ours--yours.

Knowing that, how can anyone say that as long as this sin isn't hurting someone, it's not a sin? Your sin killed someone--not only your Lord and Savior--but it is killing you spiritually.

Please know sometimes that separation, abandoned, ignored feeling comes upon you for all sorts of different reasons. But never blame your Father. You need to pray about what He wants you to do. Pray that He shows you what is the matter and how to resolve it. And then do it!

You are so valuable to your Heavenly Father--His family would not be complete without you.

"As you come to Him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him--you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house..." 1 Peter 2:4-5 NIV

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mountains and Muscles

"I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
from where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2 NASB

When you think of mountains, what do you think of? Do you think of tiny little lumps of dirt? Do you think of a pile of rocks, dirt and sticks that you can just step on? No! Of course not. Mountains are huge! They are undisturbable. It takes the mighty hand of God--through nature-- to shake, flatten or move a mountain.

When David wrote this Psalm, he was able to look out his window and see Mount Zion. It was the strongest, biggest mountain around his world--and he was comparing the power of his LORD to those of these mountains. In this comparison, his LORD was the winner.

Were do you look for help? Do you turn to the strongest thing in your life only to find it not strong enough to help you in your time of trouble? Things of this world will NEVER be strong enough to comfort and help you. But the LORD your God isn't of this world. Oh, He is in it. He has to be. But He is not of it. So He can rise above the things that would drain you of your strength. Bad behavior, doubt, habits, hurts and hangups. None of those affect Him. The only way that they affect Him is when they affect you, His beloved child.

During times of trouble, if you can remember this little verse, it will give you such great peace. It may be only a couple of lines, but the strength in it's words can overcome many a mountain.

Your God is ALWAYS there for you. All you have to do is respectfully ask Him. He will be there. You can either lift your eyes up to the sky or lower them to the ground--it doesn't matter to Him. All that matters to Him is that you ask. That you turn your eyes, heart and spirit to Him, daily. During good times and bad. Because you know, you don't just need strength during troubling times, but also good times. Understand that? We need God in all things, during all things.

Stop and honestly ask yourself where you seek your strength. If the answer isn't the Lord, fix it! How? By prayer. Prayer is the fix-it all band aid. And being in His word--the Bible. You pull those two things into your life, and you will see mountains of despair disappear and mountains of Spiritual growth grow from seeds to the tallest mountain in the world!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Peace Exchange

"You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3 NIV

Steadfast. I looked up the word 'steadfast' in the Noah Webster's Dictionary and this is what it says; (a). Not fickle or wavering; constant; firm; resolute; unswerving; steady. Wow! That is a pretty tall order. Do you find it hard to be steadfast? What is in your life that you can claim that you are steadfast about?

What would you do to have perfect peace in your life? Isn't that what we all yearn for? Perfect peace? I know I do. Peace that isn't based on what we do or what others do to us or how they treat us. Peace not based on what we have or don't have. Peace not based on who we are or aren't. Peace not based on where we are or our surroundings.

How do we obtain this perfect peace? By keeping your mind steadfast--not fickle or wavering; constant; firm; resolute; unswerving; steady--on Jesus' words and purpose. We make it too hard. We get caught up in the world's definition of how to obtain peace and we miss the boat entirely. The world's way keeps us from peace. It steals it away--like a thief in the night--with no apology.

Jesus' way is straight and true. You keep your focus, spirit and heart pointed in the right direction and just open yourself up to what the Lord wants to give you. It's that simple. The only hard thing that you have to overcome by doing it Jesus' way, is the habit of feeling that you have to 'do' more. Stop it! Break the cycle!

All Jesus wants is to give you this gift that He has paid a mighty price for--His very life. What is the exchange rate? Pretty cheap. You give Him your trust and He gives you His peace. Simple. Sweet. Complete.

Can you do it? Will you do it? The choice is up to you. What do you have to lose?

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives." John 14:27 NIV

Monday, January 10, 2011

Eye Opener

"Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!" Matthew 6:22-23 The Message

This old line for your body, "You are what you eat"--can be the same for your soul--"You are what your eyes see." Isn't that true? If you watch smutty movies or read smutty magazines or books or visit smutty websites, where does your thoughts go? To smut. If you watch movies or read books that are full of laughter and has a good underlying moral message how do you feel inside? Uplifted and encouraged.

God gave us the gift of sight for one purpose and one purpose only--to worship and honor Him with. That is why we should stop and think before we look at somethings. Before we look, we should be thinking, "Now, how is this building my relationship with my Lord? Is it affirming it? Helping it to strengthen?" If the answer is no, then you should put it away. Far away and never to be visited again.

Because you see, what goes in through your eyes, goes straight into your mind and soul--and stays there. Forever. You can't erase it. You can't make it go away. It's just there. And the devil can--and usually will--use it to start building a wall between your Father and yourself. He will use it to create a brick of shame, a brick of guilt, of failure, of embarrassment--these bricks could go on. Don't let him!

Your eyes are such an asset to your wholeness of spirit. They are a treasure to cherish. Do so. Keep your eyes clean and wide open and hungry, gleaning all the wonder your Heavenly Father has created for you and words of wisdom that His Book has for you.

As you pray for protection, add your eyes. Your body isn't whole without them.

"In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around." Romans 12:4 The Message

Friday, January 7, 2011

Freedom Reigns

"Yes, even today when they read Moses' writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like Him as we're changed into His glorious image." 2 Corinthians 15-18 NLT

"Wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." Wow! Isn't that a thought!? Freedom. People search forever for freedom and never seem to find it. Freedom from fear, from worry, from habits, hurts or hangups, you name it. What is the freedom that you are yearning for?

Personally, I have been working on finding freedom from worry. There are times that I worry. I worry about little things. I worry about change. I worry about how people perceive me. I worry if I am doing enough for my God.

During the time that I am worrying, I hear my Spirit say to me, "Why are you worrying? Don't you know that worrying will not change anything? Where is your trust in Me? With Me, you have freedom from not worrying. I will take care of everything. You have nothing to worry about. Come on, just rest in Me." When I stop to hear--to truly listen--I am so blessed. My God gives me freedom.

Your God can give you that same sense of freedom. You just need to stop and consciously give to Him what you need freedom from. His Spirit is big enough to take it on. Trust. You can trust Him to take it and use it for your good and the growth of your walk.

You may be saying that you have tried that and it hasn't worked for you. Don't give up. It may take you some time to see the signs and to catch them right away. But the more you do it, the quicker it will be. And the sense of blessing will be so wonderful.

Your God is one mighty God!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Time to Laugh?

"And Sarah declared, 'God has brought me laughter. All who hear this will laugh with me." Genesis 21:6 NLT

Sarah made this statement eight days after her and Abraham's son, Isaac, was born. If you remember the story, Abraham was 100 years old at this time. Sarah wanted a child for many years and it just didn't happen. So, she in her sadness and frustration, she tried to 'help' God by having her maid servant bear Abraham a child. But that isn't what God wanted. God wanted to be the answer to her prayer. And even though Sarah gave up on Him, He still honored His promise and she conceived and they had Isaac.

As a side note--I don't know about you, but when you name your child, there is a lot that goes into it. A lot of prayer and thought. So does it surprise you that the meaning for the name 'Isaac' means, he laughs? How appropriate!

During times of your life, it may be hard to laugh. It may seem like the most unappropriate thing to do. And it could be. For you. But God did create the gift of laughter for us to help us and our spirits. In our own timing.

Have you experience moments, when something seems so bad, that the situation that you are in, or the emotion that you are experiencing, is so sad that you are just stuck there. And all of a sudden, for some reason, you start to giggle or laugh just a short laugh. It's like a little pressure spout on a pressure cooker--it lets out a little of the feelings that are going on inside. And whala--you start to feel better.

Jesus laughed, cried, got angry and loved. God laughed, got angry, jealous and loved. We were created in Their image. It's alright for us to experience all those emotions. It's what we do with them that makes them appropriate or unappropriate.

Our God is a gift giver. His generosity is obvious in how lavishly He bestows on us rainbows, waterfalls, sunrises and sunsets. Smiles and giggles helps us to express not only our gratitude and happiness, but also our sorrow and frustrations. Thank Him for that gift.

"Jesus said, 'Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.'" Luke 6:21 NLT

Monday, January 3, 2011

Rewind Please

"Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
He's the one that will keep you on the right the track."
Proverbs 3:5-6 The Message

Ever wish that you could have a redo? That you could say to God, "Oops! My mistake. Could you kindly hit the rewind button? Let's do a take two."

In the movies, that is what they do. If you were the main charactor, you would have the chance to take as many retakes as it took to make the scene perfect. But in real life, that's not possible. We have one chance and one chance only. Whatever we make of the scene is what is recorded. There's really no do overs.

At the same time, we can't live in the world of regret. Oh, we can be sorry for what we did. We can learn from our mistake, but we shouldn't keep kicking ourselves forever. We can't let the joy of the Lord be stolen by the feelings of regret.

How do we keep the joy through the regret? We turn to the part of our verse that states, "trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own." You see, sometimes we think that we know a lot more than we really do. We think that we are in control of our own destiny--but we're not. There's no guarentee that if we did things differently, that our lives would have a different outcome.

What's guarenteed is that if we trust in our God, if we give Him our paths, if we don't try to micro-manage everything, if we, "Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He's the one that will keep you on the right track.", the outcome will ultimately be what He had designed the scene to be in the very beginning.