Saturday, July 30, 2011

Got Patience?

 “Beware of anxiety. Next to sin, there is nothing that so troubles the mind, strains the heart, distresses the soul, and confuses the judgment.” William Ullathorne

Are you a patient person? I am ashamed to say that it is really something I need to work hard on! If there is any quality I need in my life today, it is patience.  I experienced a situation last weekend that I became so absorbed in that it ended up  taking control of just about all of my energy. (I crashed my computer!) One thing led to another until I was so stressed that I felt sick inside.  The problem is that when I need a situation or condition worked out and/or resolved, I want it to happen now! Anxiety and lack of patience can keep me thinking obsessively about something until it completely monopolizes all of my thoughts and time, but stepping back and calming down will actually move me ahead more effectively than nervous, anxious energy.  Why is it so hard to wait sometimes? I have learned over and over in many situations that if I just wait on the Lord, doors open and I am directed, supplied, and protected.

Consider how many difficult things would be made less difficult with a little patience.  Patience is the work of God, and He is committed to building patience and perseverance in our lives so that we may be able to resemble His own character. When we exhibit patience not only does it get us through the circumstances of life, but it can transform our lives and the lives of those around us with His love. Isaiah 30:18 says “But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right-everything. Those who wait around for Him are the lucky ones.” (The Message) Patience is hard (I expect everyone struggles just a little bit!) because too often we run ahead of God and miss His direction for our lives. If we have Godly patience and are able to trust God with what is before us, then we will experience a calmness and inner peace because we know He is in control and His way is best. He wants us to see Him in the center of every circumstance and wait patiently on Him so that we are better able to see Him at work and receive the blessings He is waiting to give.

“We also pray that you will be strengthened with His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need” (Colossians 1:11)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You Are One Of A Kind

My husband and I “babysat” our grand puppy Olive this weekend. It’s amusing to watch how she and our dog Schatzi interact with each other.  

Olive is a sweet, playful and sassy puppy who loves everyone…

And Schatzi is definitely an “alpha” dog who likes to be in charge and boss everyone around!

Their unique styles and differences are so fun and entertaining to be around; isn’t it so true with the individuals we interact with too? We all have unique personalities, and the diverse ways in which we are unique make us stand out in a crowd. There is so much to be learned from people’s distinctive character and contrasting identities. We all have different approaches to life and different opinions; what a beautiful experience it is to surround myself with those of different cultures and backgrounds! There is so much to be learned in that diversity, and others can benefit from what we have to offer as well. What makes us unique is our individual life journey, for no two people have traveled the same path. And there is no one else who has your own special abilities, interests, or history; you are the only one there is! :)

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

God loves variety, and regardless of our background, circumstances or history - His love and grace is intended for us all. Even though we are different, we can all be united because the love of God unites all Christians. He made us different to learn, love and honor each other and to unite us all in a glorious symphony with His Son!

“That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (Romans 8:28 MSG)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Spiritual Distraction

“All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the master without a lot of distractions.” (l Corinthians 7:35 MSG)

Are you too busy doing life to spend time with God? There are so many things in this world that fight for my time, and I am the first to admit that I fill any free time with hobbies, activities, and planned events to take advantage of every single minute of the day. My family, friends, work, and social activities all compete for priority, however when I allow myself to get caught up in too much, sometimes I lose my focus and become distracted from time spent with God. I begin to feel an emptiness inside and know that there is something missing, and I realize that I have bumped God out of first place! I feel incomplete and wonder how I could possibly leave out the most important and special existence I have in my life?  

 “A day without God is a day wasted; for our days are numbered and only by walking with God can we lay up for ourselves treasure in Heaven. Brethren, let us than begin each day with God and end each day with God. Amen.” (Unknown)

How much time apart from ALL distractions do you sit down to spend time with God, and to read and meditate on the Scriptures? Spending time with Him should be a part of our daily routine, and we should be willing to abort what we are doing to give Him first place in every area of our lives; our daily time spent with Him should be exciting and life-changing! :) In John 15:5-8 Jesus says that the only way to live a truly good life is to stay close to Him, like a branch attached to the vine. We must spend quality time with Him every day and include Him in all of our relationships and every activity that we invest our time in. Relationships grow stronger the more time spent together, and the same is true with God; we must spend time in His presence everyday. Whatever our plans are, we have to keep God in our consciousness and use our time wisely to enrich our lives in faith. God does not take time out from us, so we should not take time out from Him! :)       

Remember, seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

 “It is impossible for a saint, no matter what his experience, to keep right with God if he will not take the trouble to spend time with God.  Just as a poet or an artist must keep his soul brooding on the right lines, so a Christian must keep the sense of God’s call always awake.  Spend plenty of time with God; let other things go, but don’t neglect Him.  We are not here to do work for God; we are here to be workers with him, those through whom he can do his work.” Oswald Chambers

Monday, July 4, 2011

Freedom Is The Cross

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." (Romans 8:1-4 ESV) 

As I was sitting outside enjoying my first cup of early morning coffee on this celebrated Independence Day, I saw a beautiful bright image reflection of the cross on my fence, and it made me start thinking of what the cross means to me.  

Our beloved Christ came to set us free, and the cross means that salvation comes to any and all who will accept the offering of Jesus for their sins. It is freely given, and Christ demonstrated His great love by setting us free from our sins through His death on the cross.....thank you sweet Jesus! :)  By trusting Christ we are loved, forgiven, and freed to live for Him. The cross of Christ frees us from spiritual diversions, and instead brings us closer to God. What comes to your mind when you hear the word freedom? As I reflect on the blessings of freedom and liberty, I believe that only through Jesus Christ can we find true freedom, a freedom within and can never be taken away. When we become fully committed followers of Jesus Christ, he will lead us into a life of freedom through discovery of his perfect plan; a plan to successfully live with a positive purpose, and with love, compassion and respect.

"Now the Lord is the spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." (2 Corinthians 3:17)

I am so blessed and thankful that God has given me the opportunity to approach Him with freedom and assurance, and the Fourth of July is a wonderful time to consider our freedom—as Americans and as Christians. Our national freedom is precious, but our freedom in Christ is of infinite worth. Jesus’ perfect truth frees us to be all that God meant us to be! :)

“To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood… to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.” (Revelation 1:5-6).