Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Focus on What's Important

Focus
Photo Credit: Mark Hunter (toolstop - flikr)

God,

I need help to do the work You have given me to do. I want to do it with the right attitude. Shape my heart and attitude so my work will bring You glory. Turn my focus from others -- what they may or may not be doing, thinking -- which wastes my time and energy.

I want and need your help to keep You as my sole focus. May my only concern be what you think of my work. I want to develop the habit of having the mindset that everything I do is for You, but I need Your help.

I want to stay out of your way so I don't inhibit Your work in and through me, but yet I want to participate and work with You and be used by You.

Thank you for Your never-ending love, patience, mercy, forgiveness and grace. I love You!

In Jesus' name, I pray
Amen

iFellowship

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What's on Your Nightstand - June 2011



This month I have read:
  • The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill - I knew that Corrie ten Boom was a remarkable woman and knew a little about her before reading this book. What impressed me the most is how Corrie and her family lived their Christian beliefs every day regardless if they were in their home or in prison, whether they had much or had very little. Their faith in God was consistent because it was not dependent on their circumstances. This is a story of how God can use anyone, anywhere, and at anytime, if they are willing to be used. While the story describes the ugly face of evil, it also shows the healing power of forgiveness and that the power to forgive comes from God.
  • Between Sundays by Karen Kingsbury - This is story where the NFL meets the foster child problem of America. I knew very little about foster care in this country, and the statistics about what happens to foster children after they leave the system at age 18 were eye opening. While the plot may have been somewhat predictable, it was a good read that reminded me that everyone desires to be a part of family and the power of God's grace to transform each of us.
  • 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn - By compiling information from many sources, the authors give some insight into what occurred within the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, from when the first plane hit until the last tower fell. It also explains the reasons why so many survived the planes' impact of the buildings, but were unable to get out alive. This book could have been confusing and chaotic with all the different storylines and background information being provided, but I think the authors did a great job in conveying the story in a clear and compelling manner. Even though I knew how the story would end, it was difficult to put the book down, and I found myself reliving that tragic day once again.
  • From The Sons of Encouragement Francine Rivers: The Priest is about Aaron, the brother of Moses. The Warrior which is the story of Caleb. Each novella is about a Biblical character who served God while standing in the shadow of a great leader. The stories are works of fiction based on the Bible and they made me view these well known Bible stories from a different perspective by considering the characters emotions, actions and possible motives.

Monday, June 27, 2011

1000 Gifts - 221 to 240



221.  Home grown vegetables
222.  Bradford pear trees
223.  Laughing until you cry
224.  The peace that comes after an intense conversation with God
225.  Being able to trust God with anything and everything

226.  Trustworthy people
227.  Pay check
228.  Being still before God
229.  House to live in
230.  Malware programs

231.  Seeing a rabbit in a neighbor's yard
232.  Seeing God work in a child's life
232.  Listening to my niece sing "Jesus Loves Me"
233.  John 15
234.  My mother
235.  Time spent with family

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Hiding Place


I recently read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill, and these quotes made an impression on me:
There are no "if's" in God's world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety. (page 67)
If I had ever needed proof that I had no boldness or cleverness of my own, I had it now. Whatever bravery, or skill I had ever shown were gifts of God -- sheer loans from Him of the talent needed to do a job. And it was clear, from the absence of such skills now, that this was no longer His work for me. (page 211)
And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with command, the love itself. (page 215)

Taking A Much Needed Rest

Rest here
Photo Credit: Oliver Kendal (Creative Commons)

This week I will be meditating on Exodus 14:14:
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
I love that God is on my side willing and able to defend and protect me, but first I need to be still and rest in His presence.

I need to rest from:
  • Striving to do things with only my own power;
  • Trying to escape trials;
  • Trying to figure out how to right all the wrongs I encounter.
I have to trust that God will take care of me and what's going on in my life. Sometimes I just need to get out of His way so He can work in my life.

What do you need to take a rest from this week?

I am linking to Spiritual Scripture where we are sharing verses that we are focusing on this week.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Limited Perspective

endlich himmelblau
Photo Credit: Till Krech (extranoise) Creative Commons

Job said:  "How often is the lamp of the wicked put out, Or does their calamity fall on them? Does God apportion destruction in His anger? Are they as straw before the wind, And like chaff which the storm carries away? You say, ‘God stores away a man’s iniquity for his sons.’ Let God repay him so that he may know it." (Job 21:17-19)


Job's friends contended that prosperity was a sign of God's favor, and since Job had suffered great loss, the reason was because Job had displeased God through sin. They thought that misfortunate was the result of wickedness.


However, Job saw many people who lived in open rebellion of God, but yet enjoyed financial prosperity, success, good health and saw their descendants multiply. Job was troubled by wickedness going unpunished.


Prosperity is not a sign of God's favor. Both the wicked and the godly will know good fortunate and bad on this earth. God sees all, including when the godly suffer because of no fault of their own and when the ungodly continue in their rebellion. God will bless the man who is faithful to Him through life's trials, and He will punish the sinner who refuses to submit to His authority. However, God's timing for blessings and punishments will differ than our own, and thus, we must trust in his divine plan and not become discouraged.



Monday, June 20, 2011

1000 Gifts - 201 to 220


201.  Testimonies of believers who have been affected by the Mississippi River flooding
202.  Public libraries
203.  A home in heaven
204.  Peanut butter
205.  Opportunity that I had to go to college

206.  The generosity of others to provide scholarships for my college education
207.  Miracles
208.  Shampoo
209.  Fresh strawberries
210.  Unexpected gift from a friend

211.  Opportunity to extend grace to others
212.  Not letting the little things get to me
213.  Missionaries
214.  Sleeping late on Saturdays
215.  Afternoon naps on Sundays

216.  Poboys
217.  Enjoying learning new things
218.  Shade on hot days
219.  Watching clouds change their shape in the sky
220.  Tomato sandwich

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Note to Self #5



Success is most often a by-product of faithfulness.
From "What Agreements Have You Made with the Enemy" by Cliff Young:
Every time we choose to give upon ourselves based upon what someone else tells us or as a result of our fears, we confirm those agreements and they become a greater stronghold in our lives.
One reason many of us don't live up to God's expectations for our lives is because we allow ourselves to accept something less than best for it. We tell ourselves we can't do it, we aren't worthy, it's for someone else or we're "OK" if we don't.

The Master's Plan

7 days planned
Photo credit: Banalities (Flikr)

My Siesta Scripture Memory Team verse for the rest of June is Jeremiah 29:11. I have memorized this verse before both in the King James Version and the New Interational Version, but the Amplified Version really spoke to me so I decided to memorize it too.  The Amplified Version says: 

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
  • The fact that the Almighty God thinks of me never ceases to amaze me. His thoughts of me are numerous. He has taken all those thoughts and made plans for me.
  • Those plans are for my benefit. God desires that all my needs be met and that I have a right relationship with Him and others so I can experience peace and well being.
  • God is good so therefore, His thoughts and plans for me are all good. Even when things appear to be going south in my life, I can trust in His goodness and know that He will work everything out for good.
  • God wants me to have hope. He knows I need hope to persevere when times get tough. His many promises that are in the Bible are my source of hope.
  • God doesn't do anything halfway. God will continue to work in and through me until His purpose is fulfilled.
I have linked this post to Scripture Sunday where we are sharing verses that we will be meditating on this week.  What verse will be your focus this week?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Worth the Wait

It's Worth the Wait!
Photo Credit: QueenNeveen (Flickr - Creative Commons)

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry....Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Psalm 40:1, 4

Blame it our express lane society or just my self-involved flesh, but I don’t like to wait. However, often God will answers my prayers with “Wait...not yet.”. I have come to realize that part of my spiritual growth is to wait on the Lord. "Often blessings cannot be received unless we go through the trial of waiting."(Life Application Bible)

Waiting may seem like a passive activity. Satan would like us to think this so we'll become frustrated and impatient. Unbeknownst to us, a lot of stuff happens when we wait on God. While we wait, God is preparing us for the next step in our walk with Him.

Waiting for God is never time spent in vain. This is because God is faithful and He will continue to actively work in our life until we are in heaven with Him. Waiting patiently requires us to trust God, and we can because He's faithful.



Monday, June 13, 2011

1000 Gifts - 171 to 200

171.  Praying early in the morning while the birds sing outside my window
172.  Being able to talk to God anywhere, anytime, about anything
173.  Working with godly people
174.  Hot popcorn and a good movie
175.  Prayers answered just in time

176.  An encouraging note from a friend
177.  Someone offering to pray for me
178.  My nephew being promoted to the next grade
179.  Hugs from my niece
180.  Sore muscles the day after a good workout

181.  The convenience of the new Courthouse
182.  Homopaethic allergy remedies that work
183.  Local health food store
184.  Seeing my sister minister to others through her job
185.  Help at the cell phone store to get my new phone working right

186.  Realization that it's okay that I don't know everything
187.  The opportunity to blog
188.  God using my blog posts to minister to me
189.  Realization that I wasn't meant to do everything
190.  Black and white movies where you can comedy, romance and drama without explicitness

191.  Commentaries and study guides that give me greater insight into God's Word
192.  Cool breezes on warm days
193.  Making new friends
194.  Finding a band aid in our office first aid kit to put on the blister on my foot
195.  Taste buds to enjoy food and beverages

196.  Indoor plumbing
197.  Air conditioning
198.  Fat free sour cream (that doesn't taste any different than the regular kind)
199.  Being able to bend my arm so I can scratch my back
200.  The smell of gardenias

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Note to Self #4


From Lysa TerKeurst:
Nothing kills patience like being solely focused on the object of your desire. And tragically, impatience becomes the breeding ground for compromise.
From The Rurban Church:
Mark Mittelberg says, "We must become courageous Christians if we're to become contagious ones."
From The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill:
Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.

Monday, June 06, 2011

1000 Gifts - 136 to 170

136.   Hearing God speak to me
137.   New cell phone
138.   Soft pillows
139.   Paid vacation days
140.   Laughter

141.   Hot shower
142.   Loving friends
143.   Teddy bears
144.   Rainbows
145.   Maple trees

146.   Healthy food choices
147.   Gulf shrimp
148.   Sonic hamburger
149.   Rain drops
150.   Clean contacts

151.   Sunrises
152.   God's promises
153.   Keeping up with friends via their blogs
154.   Saxophone music
155.   Waking up refreshed before the alarm goes off

156.   Reading books on Kindle
157.   The many different ways God gets my attention throughout the day
158.   Understanding people
159.   Negative medical test results
160.   Ice

161.   Calendars to plan and keep up with my schedule
162.   Hair conditioner
163.   Pepper
164.   School teachers who taught me over the years
165.   Dental floss

166.   Difficult times which drew me closer to God
167.   Almonds
168.   Jesus' promise that He's coming back for me
169.   Paid holidays
170.   Thorough doctors

Are you counting your gifts?

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Note to Self #3


From Grace Quotes daily e-mail:
Worldliness is what any particular culture does to make sin look normal and righteousness look strange. Author unknown
From Praying for Purpose for Women by Katie Brazelton:
Turning points occur when our plans and reality collide. Disappointments, failures, tragedies, and dead ends all provide an opportunity to ask "Why?" and become a victim or to ask "What next?" and cooperate with God about the next phase of our life! ~ Janet Congo
From Home Life:
Everyone wants to receive a blessing, but not many want to be a blessing. What does it mean to be a blessing? It means affecting the lives of those around us for their good, which in turn brings honor to God. ~ Joe Gibbs, Game Plan for Life

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Proving A Point

Point!
Photo credit:  a2gemma (flikr)


In Job 20 in the midst of Job's suffering, his friend, Zophar, was convinced that Job had brought on his current troubles on himself by sinning against God. Zophar was intent on getting Job to see what he perceived to be the error of his ways and prove Job to be a hypocrite.


When you are working hard to prove a point, you need to consider:
  1. You could be right, but continuing to push your viewpoint will only alienate your friend. Loving a friend -- flaws and all -- is more important than getting him to acknowledge that he is wrong and you are right.
  2. You could be wrong and continuing to push your viewpoint only draws attention to your stubborn arrogance and your refusal to see things from another viewpoint.
Dear Heavenly Father,

Please forgive me for assuming that I'm right about everything. I know that only You have all the answers and know each situation perfectly. Forgive me for judging others.

Help me to be a better friend, especially to those who are suffering.  Give me the wisdom to know when to speak and when to hold my tongue, and when I speak, dear Lord, give me the words to say so they may benefit those who listen.

In Christ's name, I pray.
Amen

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