For the Love (Lies!) of Money

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Holiday season.  It’s the time of year we find ourselves in more department stores shopping for those we love, and chances are we’re doing a little shopping for ourselves as well.  Things are on sale and who can pass up a great deal?!

My daughters and I had a “girls” day yesterday.  We went out to the stores to pick up gifts for my husband and a few others on our list.  We had such a lovely day together looking at things, pondering ideas, and laughing.  We even had a pit-stop at the local yogurt bar to keep their “shopping energy” levels up.  But amongst all this, I found my own eyes wandering to those things “Oh, look at that pretty bowl.  I want that”.  Or, “I should get those for our house, we used to have a lot of big things, we should have big things again“.  I lost track of our purpose, shopping for others, and started making mental notes of all the things I wanted.

Later in the day, when we were back home and having some down time, I took a browse through social media.  Looking at Instagram feeds my wheels start to turn again “She’s so pretty and put together. I should be more like this too“.  I found myself sucked in by the world’s desires.  Tempted by the things of the world.  Ah, stop the madness!

You see, the world embraces success and places it’s significance on money.  People believe in the lies surrounding them and put their faith in the false hopes they are told money can give them… Power, Prestige, Status, Happiness, and Security.  Does this work for some?  Yes!  But that’s because we are born into this world already sinful and fallen.  Narrow is the gate and few will enter.  (Matt. 7:13)  So, until our eyes are opened to the bigger picture, we will continue living our day to day in the filth of the earth.  Remember, we brought nothing with us when we entered the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.  (1 Tim. 6:7)

For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.  (1 Tim. 6:10)  The Bible doesn’t say that money = IS evil.  It says that it’s the root of all “kinds” of evil.  It matters where we’re putting our trust.  God never intended for money to give us those things above, power, status, prestige.  He gave it to us to be an exchange for goods or services.  Here are some ways money is intended to be used:

  1.  Personal Needs – Able bodied people should work to earn money to provide for the   needs of their family.
  2.  For God’s Work – We are commanded to give our first-fruits back to God.  By doing   so, it will be used to help in the work to further advance the gospel.
  3.  Helping Others – We are to share what we have to help those in need.

Everything we have is from God.  It’s on loan from Him to us.  It’s not about “how much” we have, it’s about how are we going to use what’s been given to us?

My prayer for you this holiday season is that we fix our eyes on those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.  (Phil. 4:8)  Let us approach the throne of grace in confidence.  (Heb. 4:16)  For it doesn’t matter how many times we fail because God is in the business of restoration.  By His grace we are forgiven.  So for as long as we are in this world, we are going to fall victims to the lies whispered in our ears trying to distract our attention from the truth.  I pray that as people created in the image of God, that we keep our focus on those things which are eternal and not fall into the traps of this world.  If I may be so bold and shout the “F” word… FOCUS!

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Spiritual Maturity: Building Great Character

houseplant-2056357_1280“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it.  Instead, I do what I hate.” (Rom. 7:15)

Common problem, right?  How is it that we know the right thing but we either refuse to do it or do the complete opposite?  The Holy Spirit that lives in us guides and directs us yet we refuse to listen to that voice in our head and that nudging in our heart.  And then there’s the aftermath.  We look back…regret.  Shame.  Unworthy.  We are reminded of how broken we are born into this world a sinful man (or woman).  So we kick the dirt, flap our arms, and everything in our humanness says, “Give up.  It’s too hard.”.

Blessed, before you give up there’s something you must know.  The very things you rebel against are the instruments God will use to mold you and perfect your character.  Spiritual maturity takes time and we must be patient.  God is the developer of our character and Christian walk.  We are not ultimately in control (Luck 12: 22-26) remember?  Be willing and have the courage to look within yourself.  However, IF something is revealed to you, it’s important you don’t brush it off or make a justification… “That’s just who I am.”  “I am like my dad (or mom).”

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;  test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”  (Ps. 139: 23-24)  Psalm 139 is a fantastic prayer to pray when you’re feeling beat up about sinfulness.  That thing you did last night, those hurtful words you spouted off at your spouse or kids because you felt unappreciated, this is the kind of prayer you fall on your knees and acknowledge to God your awareness and gratefulness for his everlasting love and grace.  The Lord will not reject a repentant and humble heart.  “Create in me a clean heart, O Lord.  Renew a loyal spirit within me.”  (Ps. 51:10)

Most often we rely on our own human help to get us through a battle or challenge we are facing.  We might go as far as give up some “treasures” to win the approval of others.  But how foolish are we!  We need to trust in God for he is who fights our battles.  “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”  (2 Chron. 16:9)

In closing, keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking.  Your persistence alone will pay off.  Stay in the Word.  Be in the Word daily.  Our daily devotional time is when we receive our “daily bread”.  This is food for our soul.  We receive the orders and instructions from God for our day.  The Lord is in charge of our day and our walk, so why not get your daily instructions so you can do your part to be obedient?

“I found the potter working at his wheel.  But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. …As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.” (Jer. 17: 3-4, 6)

Keep on walking in the faith.  Pause in the moment and enjoy the wonder around you.  You are exactly where he wants you to be.

End Well – Live Well: New Year’s Reflections

I first wrote the title to be “Live Well – End Well:  New Year’s Reflections” but realized we shouldn’t be seeking to END, we should be continually striving to LIVE!  As we close the chapter of a current year and head into a new year very soon many thoughts and ideas are swirling about how we can make the next year even better than the last.  Some of our goals might be to listen more attentively to the people we interact with, get more focused with our work, make new friends, become a better friend to those we already have, be present with our loved ones, be a more compassionate mom… Eat better, exercise more, stop stressing over the house being clean and tidy all of the time.

Whatever your list might look like it occurred to me that each day we awake we are given a new day, a second chance, at doing this thing called “life”.  Every day, every moment in every day, is a fresh start and a new opportunity to change the way we do life.  Therefore, let’s continually look ahead and consider what’s behind the Ending Well so that each new moment we can Live Well.  There is no better day than today to start!

As I sit and have early morning quiet time I came across Luke 12:15, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed.  Life is not measured by how much you own”.  Whoa!  Does that cause anybody else to see through the glass crystal clear or is it just me?!  This reminds me that it’s not what we own, or how much we own, but what is it we do with what we own?  And as we head into a new year, what will we do differently with what we’ve been given?

So I really sat and pondered on this verse.  It started to sink deep into my marrow this morning and suddenly I began to journal:

Man does not live by bread alone.

Life is not measured by how much you own.

God sits upon the throne.

In us the Holy Spirit makes His home.

*

Every good and perfect gift is from above.

The only command we have is to LOVE.

When the Holy Spirit descends like a dove,

Every knee will bow at the feet of the Beloved.

*

I thank you God for the marvelous gift you give,

of your son, Jesus the Christ, who came to forgive.

Each of these lines are straight out of scripture.  The words started to pour into me and wash over me so clearly this morning that I had to share them with you too.  This is exactly what I needed as reminders for heading into this new year.  If I can’t think of anything else I’d rather try to work on or improve, let these simple reminders be etched into my heart for safe keeping.

Friends, our callings may not be directly related to church work.  We are each called individually into our fields of expertise.  Wherever you are placed remember that it’s “Not how well you End – but how well did you Live”?

Energy + Fire = Burning Desire

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“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. …. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.”  Eph. 5: 21-22, 25-26

These biblical principals can evoke negative thoughts or feelings if taken at face value.  However, there is much to be learned in this and with greater knowledge will bring more clarity as to what this really means.

For husbands to be instructed to love their wives would have been a radical thought to the Jews.  Wives were viewed as property, being passed down from father to husband.  Paul taught this radical shift in perspective by using one of the few and only examples, that of Christ’s love for the church [as bride].  As Christ so loved the church husbands are to love their wives.

Marriage is like a three-legged stool.  With one leg being the wife, the second the husband, and third God.  Oftentimes wives are taking it upon themselves to balance the stool with only one leg.  Wives must also be careful not to abuse their husband’s exhortation to sacrifice.  A husband may carry multiple jobs in order to provide for his family.  Most importantly, if Christ is not the head of the marriage, the stool falls indeed (Paul, 90 Days on his journey of faith, by Beth Moore).  All three must be in place for marriage to work.  I wonder if this is where we get the saying “You don’t even have a leg to stand on!”?

Pray that your husband would love you out of his devotion to Christ.  In full circle, your husband will know Christ by his bride (that’s you!).  Use your words and deeds to build up not tear down.  Build your husband up and love him as commanded.  In return he is seeing God at work.  It’s important to pray for those we love to have the scales removed from their eyes to see God.  Welcome God into their hearts, souls, and minds.  Open the blind eyes!  Unlock the deaf ears!

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I have nothing.  If I give all I posses to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”  1 Cor. 13: 1-3

Father God, I pray for the energy to be motivated to act out in love.  Not only kept in my mind’s thoughts but in deeds unto others.  Stir up this fire in me to grow and consume into a burning desire for more.  More love to show, to give, to do, to act.  Help me to share this formula with others. For as we are instructed, go! Make disciples of all nations!  In your son Jesus’ name we humbly pray – Amen.

 

Quick to Forget: Dumping Your Blessings to Follow the World

So you’ve had a good run at life.  Perhaps not your dream job but you’ve landed in a good place that’s safe and takes care of you so you can provide for your family well.  Aside from minor tragedies (cuts and bruises) you’ve not had to endure any life altering trauma.  All is well!  And then, you’re suddenly betrayed by a friend.  Even more clearly, you perceive to have been betrayed by a friend.  Because after all, it’s your gut intuition not necessarily built on facts and proof.  How does this make you feel?  How do you react?

Let me take you back a bit.  To a time of High Priests and Kings.  It’s 3061 B.C. and King Joash reigns, Jehoiada is a priest.  (2 Kings 12: 1-15)  Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.  Together he and Jehoiada maintained a collection of money brought in by the people and used to pay the workers who worked to restore the Lord’s temple.  They did not need a treasurer because everyone acted with honesty, all was well.  Safe to assume at this point God was well pleased.

So here we are, everything is clicking along beautifully.  Workers are moving stones, the temple is being repaired, people are coming with smiles on their faces gladly dropping their fare into the prepared box outside of the temple.  God is smiling down, glorious day!

Then, full of years, priest Jehoiada dies at the age of 130.  (2 Chron. 24: 15-22)  Soon thereafter Joash is persuaded to abandon the temple of the Lord to begin worshiping Asherah poles and idols.  Jehoiada’s son, Zechariah, came to the people as God instructed him.  Pleading for why they’ve turned their backs?!  After all the wonderful times they had enjoying the blessings of following the Lord they can easily turn and begin adopting the ways of this world?!  Zechariah was stoned to death in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple, and Joash completely forgot the goodness of priest Jehoiada.

How often do we forget the good?  We cruise control through life soaking up the sun, laughing with our friends and family, to suddenly be spited by someone or something that doesn’t go our way.  Our smiles turn to gritted teeth and our thoughts begin to plot revenge.  We are very quick to react, become stubborn, and cold.  Our hearts immediately turn off to what was previously good and well.  Our instinct is to defend ourselves (pride) and our territory (earthly things).  Do we forget the big picture?  Our blessings?  What is good?

Rise above!  Big picture thinking!  It’s amazing how you can change your whole world on perspective alone.  I encourage you to keep a small notebook and journal all of the times that happen where you are WOW’ed.  Perhaps a coincidence (which do not exist by the way because all things are God planned and ordained), but none the less these are the moments you have been blessed.  So jot them down in this book and have it handy.  When you are spiraling down the hole to the abyss of bad things you can go back and read your notebook to be reminded of all of the good things that truly exist.  Those are the moments you directly experienced God at work in your life.  Be reminded that He is in and around you at all times.

It’s extremely easy to fall into the ways of this world.  To be honest, it’s the easiest route to take.  Please don’t buy into easy for comfort.  God never promised us an easy life, but he does promise to never leave or forsake us.  We are never truly alone.  Connect with your God, your universe, and be mindful of what you are putting out there in thoughts and deeds.  Everything is energy going out and coming in.  What kind of energy do you want to put into the world?

You Are a Snowflake Meant to Water the Earth

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William Bentley took one of the first photographs of snowflakes.  He first tried by using an old microscope from his mother, but it was hard to capture them before they melted.  He then got the brilliant idea to attach a camera to the microscope, catch the snowflakes on black velvet, and was able to capture these amazing photographs!  Please take a moment to look at each circle, the details that accompany each one, and ask yourself how “common is each one”?  Not a chance!

We are very much similar to these ice flowers.  Even though we are all people moving about the earth, working, serving, living our daily lives, we are still unique and nobody is like the other.  God’s word tells us that “the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Cor. 12:7)  One person may receive the gift of wisdom and another knowledge.  Some are given the gift of healing and others of prophesying.  “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” (1 Cor. 12:11)  One spirit, each unique gifts.  He distributes them just as He determines… We ought to rejoice and give thanks to God for the gift he has given us and embrace our uniqueness.  Embrace who YOU are and that there is no need to be like the person next to you or the friend, who’s gifts you wish also possessed.  God has given you the gifts exactly as you need them to accomplish His work.

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  (Isaiah 55: 10-11)  How much more are we than snowflakes?!  We too are scattered throughout the earth, however will not return to heaven void.  Before we enter God’s kingdom and kneel at the throne we are on this earth to water it, make it bud and flourish. This means we are to work for the One and Only boss above.  Everything we do, every job we work, is for Him.  Let the words from your mouth not return void, for everything you say and do does not die on the vine but keeps going.  Will it be to build each other up or tear each other down?  What you put out there lasts forever.  Make sure you are putting out the best.  Put out positive!  It returns to you, make it worth it precious snowflakes!

Just as each snowflake is unique yet makes up the same white snow covering the earth, so are we, the body of Christ.  Each very much unique but making up the one whole body of Christ.  Being made up of just an arm does not allow you to function as a whole person, so it is with each member of God’s church.  Each of our parts come together for the common good.  May we always be working towards the goal together focusing, not on what is behind, but what is ahead so that we can attain the ultimate prize.  (Phil. 3:14)

 

The Blessings of Affliction

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“It is not happy people who are thankful.  It is thankful people who are happy.”

What do you do during times of affliction?  Is it “woe is me”, “this isn’t fair”, “why would a loving God allow this to happen”?  The Lord already knows our beginning from our end.  “But He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold”. (Job 23:10)  He already knows our path!  He is, however, fully aware of our afflictions.  Since we are given free will the test comes with how we will respond when times are tough.  God would not get any glory out of making us His puppets.  It’s when we choose ourselves to respond to him, cling to him, and trust in him that his glory shines!

Take an ugly jagged rock.  On the outside it’s not much at all.  Frankly, what worth would this thing hold?  Put that ugly rock into an extreme heat of fire and out comes brilliant, smooth, valuable gold.  On the inside there is a brilliance and all it took was the refining fire to work and mold to expose the true value inside.  When affliction is upon us we are being refined by the heat and fire.  God is working on within us, smoothing and polishing us, and when we come out of hardship we will shine like gold!

Focusing on our obstacles distorts our vision.  Recall when the Israelites were sent by Moses and Aaron to check out the land the Lord was giving to them, the one flowing with “milk and honey”.  When the team came back to report on what they saw they focused on how strong the people were.  They would overtake them, there is no way they would conquer and inhabit that land!  (Num. 13:26-33)  After 40 years roaming the land and all of the provisions the Lord provided during their journey they still doubted.  Unfortunately, we do the same.  As many times we are blessed and lifted high we still doubt.  We continually rest on our own control and struggle to relinquish that over.  Do we really think that [in the end] we will have had full control?  God has already devised the plan for us to come out of it, do you trust Him to get you through it?

Jesus, your name alone holds power.  You say that all we need to do is ask in your will and it will be done.  Search us Lord.  Search our whole being and cleanse us from any unrighteousness.  Any fears we have are not from you.  You did not come to condemn us (John 3:17), but to save.  Save us from ourselves!  Our tongues are strong weapons, with it so quickly we can destroy somebody.  Let us use our words to lift others up.  Let us focus on those things that are pure and lovely and for giving praise.  We seek an attitude of gratitude as we walk in footsteps alongside yours.  Thank you for your leading and guiding, Jesus your name we pray… Bless & Amen.

No Longer Do I Live, But That Christ Now Lives In Me

Your story.  Do you have one?  Of course we all do.  Some may have had a dramatic turn of events so vivid and poignant that it’s no hard question when they saw the light.  Others have always been somewhere around and in the faith but over the course of time slowly began to grasp the light.  Neither is the best experience nor is either right or wrong.  The determining factor is not how exciting your conversion was but how excited you are now about your conversion.  Amen?!

My story is fairly uneventful.  My faith journey has been a gradual process over many years.  Starting with a lot of wonder and testing the waters, but going back and forth between a new self and the old self.  Much of the beginning was focused on “doing things” the right way, by following “rules” and mimicking a certain “image” of what it meant to follow Christ.  We can still fall into these traps today!  We often establish our own set of values, which is wonderful for ourselves.  We have our own convictions based on our relationship with Christ. However, where we fall into danger is when we assume to apply those same values onto others.  What is right for us does not mean it should be right for everyone.  Please be careful when judging a friend.  Only the Lord God knows their heart, not you.  (Rom. 14: 13-23)

Also know that there are no manmade laws and rules for which will save us.  There is only One.  That we accept who Jesus is and what he did by dying on the cross to shed blood for our sins once and for all.  That is it!  All of those other rituals and devotions are great for keeping us in the Word and in the faith but they are not requirements for getting us into the Lord’s kingdom.  If we have accepted Jesus and have confessed to him we are immediately cleansed from unrighteousness and have a room in the kingdom of heaven.  We are forever marked and belong to the Almighty.

I used to be a very insecure individual.  Always doubting, never trusting, because I would place my hopes in other people.  I would mark my value based on earthly surroundings.  Whether people liked me or didn’t, what possessions I had acquired.  Pride becomes your root.  I had the sense of control over situations and my environment.  As my faith walk has grown I realize I do not have control at all.  I now trust that God guides and will lead me where He wants me to be.  I accept what comes my way and put my trust in Him, not others.  Know that people WILL fail you.  This is not a maybe or perhaps, it’s a promise.  (Psalm 146:3) The heart is deceptive.  (Jer. 17:9)  God will not.  He promises to never leave nor forsake us.  (Deut. 31:6)  And that brother/sister is something you can TRUST. Amen!

I can now accept that my testimony isn’t big and glamorous.  It’s exactly what you had in store for me.  You make me a member of the body of Christ.  Each one of us is a vital piece in the kingdom.  Together we make up the body.  There will be a day when our heavenly bodies will be made glorious in the image of Jesus. (Phil. 13:21)  Until then, we strive to become like Jesus on earth.  Our human flesh submits to God’s will.  We continually seek and knock and the Holy Spirit, who lives in us, guides us into a deeper understanding.  We no longer live, but you live in us.  For this we are forever grateful.  

Father God, I started this blog in hopes that these words find somebody who needs to read them.  They are not of me but of you working through me.  I myself don’t always know if it makes sense in writing but I pray that somebody needs to hear those words and “strike a cord” with them.  Thank you Lord for giving me the knowledge and courage to pour it out here.  To continue learning and growing about you until the day you call us back home into your kingdom.  Where we are true prince and princesses in your castle.  We are so excited!

Tuning In: Singing “Good Vibrations”

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“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Ps. 103: 11-12

The cross, going vertically up and horizontally across.  Our transgressions are all of the mess in the middle which was covered by the one true sacrifice, Jesus.  Picture it, hear the sounds, Jesus nailed to the cross… the pounding of the nails, the one true sacrifice, an unblemished lamb, taken to the slaughter to cover us. Us!  Our sins, past, present, and future already covered on that cross.  When the Lord looks upon us He sees His one and only son.  Jesus is our intercessor.  He is the “vine, you are the branches” John 15:5 We need only to remain in Him, He’s got us.

What does it mean for “as high as the heaves are above the earth”?  High, above… Ever notice the Psalms are written in praises and often “to the tune of”.  A tune, a frequency.  To tune in means to be on the same frequency, all on the same page, to be one, in unison.  When we are praising, lifting up our voices, we are one in the body together.  We are “tuning in”.  In reading of the Psalms, of praising the Lord, we are tuning our spirits.  Soaking in the praises and reflecting on them is putting us on the same vibration as heaven.  “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN”. Matt. 6:10  As it is in heaven, it’s already done in heaven!  I hope that resonates, that what is already created in the heavenlies comes down into this earth.  God’s will supersedes anything we think we have control over.

We were created for praise.  “Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits”. Ps. 103:2  Praising gives life to our souls.  It’s life for our bodies.  Gratefulness and joy enter in.  Holy Spirit comes and feeds us.  We thirst for this.  When we don’t know what we are looking for, when confusion sets in and we don’t know where to turn, praise.  With a heart of gratitude praise your Father.  You will begin to sense a change inside.  Positive gratitude produces a chemical reaction that quite literally attaches itself to the cells in your body.  Pick that up!  Yesterday we talked about not picking up those burdensome rocks, not to weigh ourselves down.  Today, this my friends, you want to pick up!  Our spirit connects us to the Lord.  Music calls to us, we resonate with music.  Our vibrations go on a different plane, when we worship, music helps us tune into heaven.

Dear Jesus, we want to be in tune with you.  Tune us Lord.  Tune us into you and help us tune into the people that surround us.  To be of one body and one mind for you.  In unison we lift up our praises.  High above this earth is our Lord. We thank you for the knowledge and wisdom you provide.  Speak to us Lord Jesus, feed our souls.  Amen

Relationships: Turn Skepticism Into Prayer

Happy New Year 2016 all!!  Hip hip hooray it’s a new day!  I always tell people, “Every day is a second chance.”  A new beginning, a fresh start.  Isn’t it great?  Are we ready for a new year?  “According to the Lord’s word (thank you Father for your word)… we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.” – 1 Thes. 4:15.  Lord, if we are not yet asleep, I want to be alive for you!  Let’s start this year making it better than the last for He will not fail us, ever.

We are called to love.  Love God and love others as God loves us.  This is the greatest commandment.  If we are seeking obedience to God this is by far the first and foremost single key to our success.  So how do you do this?

God will acknowledge your willingness.  He knows your heart!  We can all learn a thing or two from the apostle Paul.  “Becoming all things to all people.” – 1 Cor. 9:22  Take a self evaluation for a moment.  How do you relate to others?  What are your thoughts when you look upon other people, those you know and don’t know?  As you go through your day and interact with the waitress at the restaurant or the attendant behind the gas station counter, bumping into carts at the grocery store, what goes through your mind?  When your eyes see what does your heart feel and your head tell you?  Hint:  Jesus did not shy away from sinners.  Keeping in flow of Paul’s advice, we too should not be shunning people we don’t agree with or push our legalistic viewpoints.  Instead, we ought to have compassion and extend grace to others.  In doing so they will be seeing our light and seeds will be planted.

Find common ground with people.  You can still listen without giving up your Christian values and beliefs.  Therefore, do not become discouraged (or worse yet) defensive with others. This does not show the light and does not help the world to know our God, Lord bless us.

So what about the “arrows that fly (at us) by day…” (emphasis added) – Ps. 91:5  Our focus is to be true to God and leave how others are/or how they treat us up to Him to judge and avenge.  Take Jesus’ yoke for the burden is light.  The heavy burdens we carry should be left in God’s hands, not ours.  “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  In the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Matt. 7:1-2  I like to ask people, “Is that a stone you want to pick up and put in your backpack?  Because all of those stones we pick up and keep are weighing us down.”  Burden.

Trust is tough.  I, too, am skeptical of my leaders.  Skeptical of others and their intentions.  Instead of worry turn your skepticism into prayer.  Pray for your leadership in making sound decisions for the people, the company, and the customers.  Let the Lord know you are struggling to trust and believe, then lift the burden up to Him.  Every person is imperfect and fallen.  Not one person is free of sin.  Nor is any one person on a pedastal  greater than another.  When we put our hope and focus into other people they will fail us because of these things.  Put your hope into the Lord, He will not fail you and His promises remain.

Kind David was known as a “man after God’s own heart”. – Acts 13:22  What do you want your epitaph to be?  What should people read about you in one sentence?  Perhaps there are thoughts, activities, actions that need to be removed, or what things need to be added in order for you to become a man or woman after God’s own heart?

Jesus, help us to become better people this new year.  We desire to love others as you have loved us.  As you have commanded us to doing.  We are imperfect sinners and we thank you for the grace given in advance for this.  The greatest gift of all is given to us who are most undeserving of it.  You will never fail us, and though we ask for things because we think we know what we need, you know us from beginning to end.  Like a father knows his child, you know us better than ourselves.  Let nothing stop with just us, but that the knowledge and light we gain continue through onto others for this is how the world will know who the true God of the universe is.  We pray to not give off a false impression of who you are Lord, keep us strong and steadfast.  ~Amen