Friday, December 30, 2011

A New Year of Confidence

As we make our resolutions for the year ahead, let us go forward with great hope that all things can be possible—with Your help and guidance." (Anonymous)

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6)

God cares about every little detail in our lives, even the little things that we think are too small to take to Him. I pray and talk to God for the most eccentric little things; it's my way of communicating with Him daily. I don't feel that any prayer request is too big or too small and insignificant; our prayers are a chance to reach out to a loving God who longs to communicate about every little detail in our lives!  Some people worry that they shouldn't bother God with the "small" stuff, but if we are in the habit of bringing all of our concerns, worries, and also praises to God daily, it's so much easier to earnestly talk to Him about the "big" stuff. God doesn't want us to worry; He wants us to pray and seek Him constantly about everything. We just need to listen to His still, small voice speaking to our hearts when we pray about everything.

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. And if we know that He hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked Him." (1 John 5:14-15)

Regardless of any situation that is in our heart, God desires us to pray with confidence. And because we are one of His dear children, our powerful God loves us and cares about anything we tell Him! We can ask God for anything and He listens-He will answer. We should have a prayerful attitude at all times so that we can build upon our dependence on God. There have been many times in my life that I have tried to handle situations without first talking to God which just led me to worrying and/or stressing about the decision or commitment I did or did not make. I have learned to try and pray over every little opportunity that comes my way, and it has become natural to pray frequent, spontaneous, and short prayers for any cause or occasion.

Begin the New Year experiencing the joy of talking to God about everything (the big and the small stuff), knowing that He is listening and loves to hear from you! :)

"Don't worry about bringing small things to God, for with God everything is small!" (Kendall)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Enough Time

"The world may pass me by...but as for me, I will sing about your power. I will shout with joy each morning because of your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety in the day of distress." (Psalm 59:16)

My life moves at such a fast pace sometimes that it seems to pass me by before I can really enjoy it, and most of the time I'm running at least ten minutes late! As I rush around from one activity to another (usually starting another before completing the one I began with!), I seem to place all of my priorities on accomplishing tasks on my "to do" list rather than slowing down and putting joy and a positive purpose into each moment. If I don't give myself enough time to clutch and fully experience the activity I am doing, it can leave me with a feeling that my day was unfulfilled and lacking purpose. It takes some discipline on my part to slow down, stop what I am doing and reach out to God; He reminds me that I have a choice and can make the decision that I am not going to hurry and rush through my day. And once I have listened to His words of encouragement and wisdom, I am capable of having more power and effectiveness in the areas I can make a difference, and I actually accomplish more. Slowing down is a conscious choice I have to make and it's not always easy, but it leads me to a greater appreciation for the day and changes meaningless tasks to spiritual productivity and purpose.

"Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest, Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-29)

I see so many people running around in such frenzy; they think they have to multitask to accomplish more and that’s when they often miss the beauty of the moment they are in. Many of us place so much emphasis on our to-do list that we can miss our chance to live out our discipleship by making a difference in the life of another. Many times when we are with friends and family, we are distracted by all the things we need to do. What a missed opportunity! The opportunity to connect, share, and make memories with those we love. Sometimes we just need to shut off the outside world and turn all of our attention to the people we are with. We need to slow down and enjoy every moment of our worship time with God, with ourselves, friends, family, and anyone else that He has placed in our lives, and realize the importance of this precious time He has given us. 

It's difficult to know what tomorrow will bring, but time is one thing it will bring and whatever tomorrow does offer, there will be plenty of it to accomplish the important tasks we didn't complete yesterday. It's not the amount of time we have, it is what we are doing with our time! :) 

Linking up to Share His Beauty with Joan at The Beauty in His Grip   

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Living In The Light

“I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

The Christmas season is so full of brilliant lights that shine and cast a spell of wonder and jubilation. The lights remind me of the star that appeared in Bethlehem when Jesus came into the world, and the world was given the light; the light that leads to eternal life. Without this light we would never be able to find our way, because His light gives us freedom, forgiveness, and a new life. Each new day, Jesus shines His light of goodness on us all to guide and protect us. The light of Jesus draws people; it cuts through the spiritual darkness of the world and changes everything! As we were driving around and taking in the beauty of the Christmas lights in the nearby neighborhoods, I was once again reminded of how He shines His light of blessings down on us and how we should take every opportunity to shine our light for Him wherever we go. Shining our light is just one way of expressing our love in glorifying Him.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15) 

The purpose of illuminating our surroundings is to give glory to God and show everyone around us the One who gives it to us! We should put our faith as a lamp upon a stand to light up the whole room so that all may see, hear, and believe. It is our choice whether we let our light shine or keep it hidden, but when people see the light and love of a follower of Christ they are attracted to the light because they want to experience the same light. When we are radiant with the love of our Father it’s catching and it just seems to lift the spirits of those around us. When we take the time to shine our light brightly we are bringing cheer and affecting the lives of others in ways that we don’t even realize!

“For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)   

We must never shut our lights off from the rest of the world; just knowing that He is us makes us whole and gets our beams shining, and when we are beaming nothing can contain it! Then we shine for all to see, and soon they will have caught the ray of light too and the light of God will make everything clear. Turn it on and get ready; it will be amazing!

Linking up with Tracy on Winsome Wednesday! Merry Christmas everyone! :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Control Freak!

“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 who will keep you on track.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG)

No one likes to admit being a micromanager. It's like saying you are a bossy, controlling, ego-driven know-it-all! My daughters think they are pretty funny (actually they are!) because they came up with a song recently about me being a micro manager; complete with funny words and a tune! So, I admit it; most of my life I have been taught and expected to take control and be the assertive one, but actually their (well-intended) song got me to thinking about whether I let my life and my mind get too full of things and overlook God’s will and direction in some areas of my life. Do I make it a choice to seek God’s guidance in all things, or am I trusting my own decisions and going my own way? Does God always have my attention or is my attention drawn away by other things?

“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it,” whether you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21 ESV)

The holidays can especially be a time when we feel as though there is an abundance of things to accomplish, and we rely on our own self-sufficiently to carry out our goals and tasks. They should be a joyful and blessed time of planning, shopping, decorating, writing cards, socializing, etc. but when the pressure builds we often act as though Christmas depends on our efforts alone! When we put God in charge of Christmas we remember to keep our eyes focused on the true meaning of Christmas and the spirituality and joy the season brings. When we put Him in charge, we experience a season of renewal and strength instead of stress, or anxiety. It takes faith and trust to get to that place of putting our lives and our plans into the Spirit’s hands on a daily basis. The first ingredient in living a worship-filled Christmas season is to let God control and direct us; the pressure is not always on us!

Jeremiah 10:23 says “I know Lord that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course.” Relying on God can be very effective in managing our persistent worries and anxieties, and sometimes we just have to stop and remind ourselves to be totally reliant on Him. If we trust God more with our everyday decisions and choices, and not ourselves, He will give us the guidance we need to help us. He will become the “micromanager” in our lives to help us see clearly and lead us in the way we need to go. We need to trust in God’s infinite knowledge and understanding instead of trying to figure things out and go our own way. With God managing our lives our route and destination is sure, because He knows the way. 

Linking up with Joan today to “Share His Beauty”

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Past is History

“You were taught with regard to your former way of life , to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-23)

Our past does not have to determine our future. It doesn’t mean that we agree with or condone whatever it is we have done; it just means that we no longer choose to let our past actions hold us back. And we should never think there is a limit to what God can do through us! I set limits on myself all the time, and run away in fear and doubt from plans, dreams and desires that dwell in my heart. I have done many things in my life for which I am ashamed and often find myself re-living in the past; wishing to change circumstances that can’t be changed. But God’s desire for me is to let go of my past guilt and look forward to what He will help me become. My job doesn’t end with the failures in my past! As Christians, we are in a continuing education program and must read God’s word and pray for what is good and what is pure so that we can be obedient and look forward to a fuller and more meaningful life.

“Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you; develops well-formed maturity in you.” (Romans 12:1-2 MSG)

What is something that you really want to do for God? What is holding you back?! Imagine that you are no longer limited by doubts and limitations that you set on yourself. Imagine that these obstacles are no longer able to hold you back. That’s God’s desire; He wants us to be transformed with renewed minds because He has good, pleasing and perfect plans for us. This is serious stuff for me! I have a rich desire and lots of great ideas to help the homeless and less fortunate people in my community, but so far it has just been that; an idea. There lies in me fear and doubt on getting the job done, and I continue to cop-out and wait for the right time and the right place. Every day I tell myself that this is the day for me to make a difference; it’s the moment to transform any confusion, skepticism, and inhibitions into magnificent opportunities and make them real! I know that many of us share these same desires to use the gifts we believe we have and move on to a fuller and more meaningful life of faith and obedience to Christ, we just need to let go of whatever it is in our past that is holding us back, because “yesterday ended last night”! 

Linking up with Tracy on Winsome Wednesday!