Friday, July 29, 2011

Portrait of Unforgiveness

seperation
Photo Credit: wheat_in_your_hair (Catherine) - Creative Commons

Smiles, laughter and hugs were once in abundance, and love flowed freely between them. But that all changed the day harsh words were spoken between them. Soul piercing words that can't be retracted. Hurt in a way they never thought possible, they each retreated behind a wall of pride in an attempt to protect themselves from any further pain.

Love has ceased to exist. Peace and unity are a thing of the past. Now there's steely silence broken only by sharp words.

They are old enough to know better, but driven by the need to be right at all costs, they refuse to forgive. They are unable to see the full magnitude of their actions. By holding fast their pain has become magnified until it has taken on a life of its own and has incurred collateral damage...family and friends near and dear to them.

No one wins when we refuse to forgive; everyone gets hurt. Unforgiveness is a poison that separates the best of friends, destroys loving families and damages our relationship with God.

The only antidote to end the downward spiral is forgiveness. Forgiveness is not about feelings, and it's not about whose right or whose wrong. Forgiveness is how love is displayed in relationships, and it's what Jesus has commanded us to do.

Will you join with me to pray for those who have been hurt that they will choose forgiveness today?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Good Ole Days

Good Ole' Days
Photo Credit: Andy Mangold (Creative Commons)

In Job 29 Job reminisces about days long past.  This is something people tend to do when life gets tough, and there is no change in sight. However, Job was very close to bragging, as he recounted his good deeds and past prosperity. It is better to remember our past blessings from God than our past accomplishments.

The other problem I see with dwelling on the past when things are bad is that we minimize the challenges that were encountered in the past and only remember the good which is not a clear picture of the past. It's what the Israelites did in the wilderness when things got hard.  They wanted to go back to Egypt because they remembered the good, but they failed to recall the oppression of their slavery.  If we're always looking back, we cannot move forward into the future God has prepared for us.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What's On My Nightstand - July 2011

This month I read:

From The Sons of Encouragement by Francine Rivers: The Prince which is about Jonathan, the son of King Saul and friend to David.  The Prophet which is the story of Amos.  I found this novella interesting because I knew so little about Amos.  Amos was a shepherd before being called by  God to be a prophet, and I enjoyed learning more about a shepherd's role.  The more I learn about sheep, the more I identify with them.

The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson is a story of tweve women of diverse cultures who come together to pray.  This is a book I've been wanting to read for a while and I'm glad I finally did.  This story made me think about many things, including the need to get out of our comfort zone, particularly when we worship God and what sacrifice is all about.  This book reminded me of the importance of believers coming together regardless of our differences in order to serve one another and to praise God.

The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Down by Neta Jackson picks up where The Yada Yada Prayer Group ends.  There did seem to be a lot more drama in this book, but that may be a product of having twelve women within the prayer group, and as they get to know each other, they become more transparent about what's happening in their lives. Stereotypes and racial prejudice were addressed as well as offering forgiveness. I enjoyed the description of the Messianic Jewish worship service. The one thing that I have taken away from this book that I've applied to my prayer life is to thank God for what He is going to do after presenting my requests to Him.




Monday, July 25, 2011

Note to Self #7


From Proverbs 31 Ministries on Facebook:
The spirit of complaint is born out of an unwillingness to trust God with today. Like the Israelites, it means you are spending your time looking back toward Egypt or wishing for the future all the while missing what God is doing right now. ~Priscilla Shirer
From Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss on Facebook:
I’m not responsible for the actions of others. I’m responsible merely for my own reactions and my responses to others . . . the implication of that is that no one can make me sin.
From the June Journey magazine:
In a passage on heaven, author John Eldredge wrote, "The One who created you and set all those loves and gifts in your heart, the One who has shaped all your life experiences (including the one that seem to make no sense), this God has prepared a place for you that is a more perfect fit for all your gifts and quirks and personality traits -- even those you don't know you have" (Journey of Desire).

1000 Gifts - 309 to 340

309.  God providing a new pastor for my church
310.  Seeing the church full with fellow believers on the Sabbath
311.  Strength from God to help me focus on a task that required accuracy when I didn't feel my best
312.  Going 11 weeks without having to take the prescription medicine for a migraine
313.  That the prescription medicine works fairly quickly in providing relief from the migraine pain

314.  Waking up the day after a migraine with new pain
315.  Caffiene the day after a migraine to give me energy
316.  The smell of rain
317.  The freedoms I have by being an American citizen
318.  The many men and women who sacrificed so much for the freedom that I enjoy

319.  Celebrating my niece's 3rd birthday
320.  Family barbeque
321.  Fireworks
322.  Dependable electrical services
323.  City workers who are trying to find the gas leak around my office

324.  Laughing with my family
325.  Shopping with my sister
326.  New pretty blouse
327.  The sound of crickets at night
238.  Watching butterflies fly around the yard

239.  Seeing an American flag waving in the wind
240.  Free song download from K-LOVE

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Don't Know What To Do

indecision dice
Photo Credit: Anne-Lise Heinrichs (snigl3t - Flikr)

If you want wisdom -- if you want to know what God wants you to do -- ask Him and He will gladly tell you. James 1:5

There are many times in life when choices are unclear, and you are unsure what to do next.  The good news is the answers are always available, if you will ask God.

God wants to give you the answers that elude you and guide you in the way to go. It makes the Lord happy when you come to Him for help. You are not bothering Him. He never tires of you asking for wisdom, but if you ask, God expects you to obey and do what He says. When you ask for wisdom, be sure that you are willing to follow God's directions at all cost.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Note to Self #6


From the Foreward in Between Sundays by Karen Kingsbury:
It's not what we do in front of eighty thousand people on Sundays that defines who we are. Just as we are not defined by what we do on Sundays in church. It's what we do and how we live Monday through Saturday, when no one is watching, that defines our legacy. It's more than a game, it's life, and we all have a chance to make a difference as we live our lives between Sundays. ~ Alex Smith
From Fearless by Max Lucado:
Worry has more questions than answers, more work than energy, and thinks often about giving up.
From Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Maida Rogerson, Martin Rutte and Tim Clauss:
One of the true marks of a leader, a consummate professional, is to do the unthinkable. To tackle the impossible. To touch the untouchable. ~ Naomi Rhode

1000 Gifts - 286 to 308

286.  Catching up with my co-workers on Monday morning about their weekend
287.  Being able to see the bottom of my inbox at work
288.  The joy and closeness I feel to God when I blog
289.  Encouraging comments from blog readers
290.  Quiet day at work

291.  Remember Me app for my phone that helps me learn and review memory verses
292.  Home grown tomatoes
293.  Spending time with relatives that I haven't seen in years
294.  Laughing with family
295.  Safety while traveling in the rain

296.  Seeing the godly man that my cousin has become
297.  Being able to take time off from work
298.  Having a day to slow down and relax
299.  Gas prices dropping (it's only 2 cents here and there, but I'm thankful for the decrease no matter how small)
300.  More rain (I know I've mentioned rain a lot lately, but after a 2 month drought every drop is precious!)

301.  No cavities :D
302.  A friend sharing coupons with me
303.  Talking to my aunt on her birthday
304.  Jesus dying on the cross for my sins
305.  Insight gained from my study of Proverbs

306.  Being able to provide a job lead to my co-worker's husband
307.  A productive, but relaxing Saturday
308.  Fresh vegetables from the garden
309.  Walking in the rain
310.  The advice of a wise friend

Friday, July 15, 2011

2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Verse #14

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

I love the hope that these verses promises. We can't see what God is doing right in front of our eyes, if we're busy living in the past.

What verse gives you hope?




Because Jesus Said So

After reading Mark 3:13-19 where Jesus called the 12 disciples, I was recently asked why did the disciples follow Jesus.

My first response was because Jesus said so. It's the way it should be.  However, I know at times I don't always do that. I'm slow to obey because I'm sizing up the situation. Obedience should be wholeheartedly and without hesitation. 

But another reason why I think they followed Jesus is because of the Holy Spirit. No one can come to Jesus without God drawing them to His Son. He chooses us, gives us faith to believe and then speaks to us through the Holy Spirit to draw us to Jesus.

So, why do you think the disciples followed Jesus?


Monday, July 11, 2011

1000 Gifts - 261 to 285

261.  Singing with the congregation at church
262.  Hearing sound Biblical teaching
263.  Bible teachers who are transparent about their struggles to live a godly life
264.  Rain that lasted 45 minutes
265.  Water standing in the yard after the rain

266.  A friend's mother coming home from the hospital 
267.  My sister enjoying a much deserved vacation
268.  There being enough money to pay this week's bills
269.  God's perfect timing in providing blessings
270.  Air conditioning in my car on hot summer days

271.  God's creativity
272.  God's forebearance with me
273.  God speaking to me during our quiet times together
274.  The sound of thunder
275.  Hugs

276.  The church chimes playing "Jesus Loves Me"
277.  Not having to do errands for the office on a hot afternoon
278.  Trying feta cheese for the first time and liking it
279.  Chance encounter with friends that I haven't seen in a while
280.  Watching a friend use her artistic abilities for the glory of the Lord

281.  Being chosen by God to be adopted into His holy family
282.  My cousin being able to go to church after a six month illness
283.  Hot, homemade egg rolls from a client
284.  Missing elderly man from my comunity was found safe
285.  Being made in God's image


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Seeing the Big Picture



"God knows everything about us. He understands every thought and feeling before we even think or feel it. Nothing is wasted in His economy, even though we don't see how that's possible at the time.
Take heart. God sees the big picture. Rest in Him, and give Him time to reveal His plans for you." Praying for Your Future Husband: Preparing Your Heart for His by Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer
While this quote came from a book about praying for your future husband, the comfort I find from this quote applies to all areas of my life. Because it doesn't matter how long I've been a Christian or how well I know the Bible, there are times when my world gets turned upside down, and I need to be reminded of God's unconditional love for me, and that He has a wonderful plan for my life. I need to remember that He understands me better than anyone in the whole world; He knows me better than I know myself.

Without timely reminders like this quote, I will easily become frazzled and apprehensive in times of trouble, but as always, God knows exactly what I need. When He reminds me that He knows me completely and knows the path He is leading me down, I can rest in His presence assured that everything will work according to His perfect plan for me.

Monday, July 04, 2011

1000 Gifts - 241 to 260


241.  The antics of my two year old niece
242.  Finding out that the bird that I've been admiring is a woodpecker (who knew they were so pretty!)
243.  Knowing that someone is praying for me
244.  Sharing with a friend what God is teaching us during our quiet times
245.  Rain showers two days in a row

246.  Getting to use my umbrella because it was raining
247.  Getting to use my windshield wipers because of the rain
248.  Sleeping straight through the night
249.  God telling me exactly what I need to hear during my quiet time
250.  God reinforcing that message throughout the day in various ways

251.  Cooler temperatures after the rain
252.  "The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made."  Psalm 145:13b
253.  Finding beauty in nature
254.  Seeing storms clouds gather
255.  Safety and protection during thunderstorms

256.  God guarding my mouth when dealing with a rude client
257.  Being able to treat a migraine with over the counter medication
258.  Waking up from a nap headache free
259.  Feeling the power of prayers lifted up on my behalf
260.  Receiving some rain almost every day this week

Sunday, July 03, 2011

In God We Trust


"It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible."  George Washington
"The whole inspiration of our civilization springs from the teachings of Christ and the lessons of the prophets.  To read the Bible for these fundamentals is a necessity of American life."  Herbert Hoover
"In regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man.  All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book.  But for it we could not know right from wrong.  All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and hereafter, are to found portrayed in it."  Abraham Lincoln
"Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet-anchor of your liberties; write its precepts in your hearts and practice them in your lives.  To the influence of this book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization, and to this we must look as our guide in the future.  Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people."  Ulysses S. Grant

Saturday, July 02, 2011

2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 13

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice -- the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
Romans 12:1 NLT

This is a verse I've memorized (or at least tried to), but it hasn't stuck with me. I know the gist of the verse, but I hoping that this time Roman 12:1 will be well hidden within my heart.

What verse are you hiding in your heart through memorization?

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