Monday, March 26, 2012

It's Not Impossible

In the book of Mark chapter eight, we join Jesus in His compassionate, redemptive work in this world. I've been thinking about the seven questions Jesus asked His disciples when He fed the four thousand, and how my answer to these questions would affect and control my attitude. It is a story about how Jesus always has an amazing compassion for His people, and has the ability to look beyond Himself to a greater need. Jesus is never so busy with His own important matters that He overlooks our daily needs. There is no problem or need that is too large for Him to handle, and no concern of ours that is too small to get His attention. He can make the impossible happen! 

  1. How many loaves do you have? What we often do not realize is that we have more than enough if only we would cast away our doubts and negative thoughts, and put our hearts in the Lord’s hand. We should take what we’ve been given and be glad! Jesus will bless all of our gifts and talents if we entrust them to Him, and He will use what little we have to feed those who are hungry around us.
  2. Why are you complaining about no bread? Jesus takes what we have and multiplies it! We should not dwell on what we don’t have, but instead be positive and thankful at all times. He takes what we have and uses it to accomplish what He wants!
  3. Do you still not understand? Jesus came to give us abundant life, which will feed us and the whole world. God loved us so much that He sacrificed His Son so that we could have life! Praise God for this ultimate demonstration of love and grace!
  4. Are your hearts hardened?  Many people blame God for any hardship that befalls them, and they feel rejected. Their hearts become hard and they turn away from God. Are we too full of pride to listen and take heed to God’s Word and understand His grace? We need to be tenderhearted and keep God close by our side in the good times and the bad times
  5. Do you have eyes but fail to see? God is everywhere! Even though we cannot feel or touch Him, His spirit is right beside us all the time. Knowing that God is everywhere we can be secure in His faithfulness, power, and love because He’s never somewhere else when we need Him by our side.
  6. Do you have ears but fail to hear? Don’t ignore God’s voice; take time to listen! So many times we think we have all the answers, but we must always remember to look to the Lord for the answer. The Word says; "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Prov. 3:5)
  7. And don’t you remember? It’s easy to forget the miracles and blessings God has bestowed on us when things aren’t going our way. But God is so much bigger than anything we can possibly go through; we should never forget to remember God! Remembering Him means that He is a part of our thoughts, words, and deeds, and that we are choosing to think, speak, and act as He would have us do.
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

God can make the impossible possible. There are limitless possibilities for us if we are willing to put our faith and trust in Him. We shouldn’t focus on scarcity in our lives, but abundance! We should concentrate on what we can do instead of what we cannot do. Even when it seems like a situation is impossible, He is very much in control and will move whatever He has to move, however He has to do it, to finish the work He has for  us in our lives.

 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)

Linking up with Joan to “Share His Beauty”

Beauty in His Grip Button

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Forgiving Me, Forgiving You

"Generous in love-God, give grace! Huge in mercy-wipe out my bad record! Scrub away my guilt; soak out my sins in your laundry. I know how bad I’ve been; my sins are staring me down.” (Psalm 51:1-3 MSG)

Forgiving Me

Sin is very real in our lives, but…..

Forgiveness is the best gift you can give yourself.

Forgiveness doesn’t always come easy for me; I often wonder if God grows weary of me coming back and asking for forgiveness over and over, but…..

God is not like that.

We are instructed to keep on asking…keep on seeking…keep on knocking; He doesn’t count the times. Even though God doesn’t encourage us to keep on sinning, there is no limit to the amount of times you may ask forgiveness from Him. By faith we can view ourselves as God views us…as His child; loved, forgiven, and cleansed. When we confess our sins, God with His unconditional love, welcomes us back and genuinely forgives us. We can run into His eager loving arms instead of running away in fear, knowing that He will forgive us! He wants us to know and fully experience His mercy and grace. That’s when we can fully rejoice in our secure relationship with Him, and experience a breakthrough even after many failures. We are dead to sin and alive to God.

As far as sunrise is from sunset, He has separated us from our sins!

“Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone, a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and Him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18 MSG)

Forgiving You

How do we forgive when we really don’t feel like it…

God’s Word tells us we must forgive as He forgave us.

How do we forgive someone who is hurtful…

Letting go of grudges can make way for compassion and peace.

Forgiving someone who has hurt us or done us wrong seems like the last thing we would want to do. Betrayal can hurt both emotionally and physically which can cause us to struggle with excusing someone’s behavior. Sometimes we just don’t want to forgive because it may seem like we are forgetting the wrong they have done and we don’t feel like the other persons behavior deserves to be pardoned. But unforgiveness is like a cancer that eats slowly away at us!  If we dwell on hurtful situations and resentment we allow negative feelings to crowd out positive ones and we might find ourselves swallowed up by our own bitterness.

“Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him. Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again’, forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4)

God wants us to be peacemakers; He wants us to show forgiveness and love towards others even when they have done us wrong. He honors our commitment to obey Him and our desire to please Him when we chose to forgive! Once we break the barrier and chose forgiveness, God will set us free from the load we have been carrying, then we can rejoice from the freedom we feel and find peace in our hearts. God is waiting and ready for us to offer forgiveness just as He forgives and gives peace to us.

“You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well.”

When we chose to tolerate and forgive others…
 we will find it in our hearts to tolerate and forgive ourselves…

Linking up with Tracy at "My Daily Walk in His Grace"

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Embrace the Day!

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6: 34)

I am always thankful for and delight in the new day and the hope and promise it will bring. We benefit most by trusting in God and looking forward to whatever challenges, blessings, and opportunities that He has planned for us today. Our past is remembered and our future is hoped for, but the present moment is when we are called to seek Him with each breath we take and with each moment that passes.  Even though it is not unreasonable to plan ahead (as Jesus explains in Luke 14:28), we need to make sure that we fill up today with every opportunity God places before us and deal with tomorrow when it comes.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

God knows what needs to happen today so we shouldn’t worry about the past, its past, and we don’t have to worry about tomorrow if we trust and have faith in His promises. We must run one day at a time with patience and determination, thankful for the day that He has given. He instructs us to walk by faith today and promises to give us our daily bread tomorrow! We must continue to remember that living in the realm of faith and trust releases us from worries of yesterday and tomorrow so that we can live today to the fullest in the power of God!

"Your gravest danger is worrying about tomorrow. If you try to carry tomorrow's burdens today, you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat. You must discipline yourself to live within the boundaries of today. It is in the present moment that I walk close to you, helping you carry your burdens." (Unknown)

When I submit to God, and allow Him to be Master of my life, all of my worries of the past and concerns for the future become strengths in His hands. We should live today for tomorrow with just the few memories we need of what was. I know that God was with me yesterday, and I know that He will be with me tomorrow, but I believe that He longs for us to “live in the moment” walking with Him just the way He wants. I find myself rejoicing more and worrying less the closer I stay connected to God, and when I am in constant communication with Him. And when I live moment by moment in relationship with Him, every new day is the best day of my life! We should chose to rise up and make a brand new fresh start every day with God by fully surrendering the present moment in His hands. Embrace the day and celebrate God's love; share and express your joy to the world around you!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Forward

"See the winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come." (Song Of Songs 2:11-12)  

Spring is ……."to rise, leap, move, or be released from a coiled or constrained position; to come into being, rise or arise within a short time; to come into being by growth." …….

Setting the clocks an hour ahead for Daylight Savings time always creates an excitement in me as I wait in anticipation for how the season will start changing. We will begin to see longer days, vibrant flowers springing forth in colorful blooms, tree limbs starting to bud, and birds staring to sing! It reminds me that as the seasons turn, there is no way for us to get around change either; life itself is a process of change and growth. It creates in me a genuine yearning to grow more, and motivates me to set forth plans to change and make new resolutions for the days to come.

Change is……opportunity. Opportunity does not exist without change, and to take advantage of every opportunity that God places before us, we must embrace it and look at all the positive possibilities that exist if we change our attitudes, our perspective, and our thinking. When we work with change instead of against it, it can have a large positive impact in our lives and the results can be truly incredible!

To change is to transform or reform; to substitute one for another;
to give and take agreeably

C~convert from the inside out
H~hunger for transformation
A~adjust attitudes to a new challenge
N~never be pessimistic
G~give hope to others forced to change
E~exchange new ideas with others

God’s purpose is to change us and practice His way of life…from the inside out, and sometimes we just have to bury what is dead and gone and look forward to what lies ahead! Spring is the season of new life, and offers many delights and thanksgiving as Christians rejoice in Jesus' resurrection and His promise for grace. It inspires us to glorify His wonderful creation of beauty, and to enjoy the wonders of the brand new things that God is creating in us! As I bask in God's love and grace, I wait for something beautiful to change and emerge from within me, as I prepare to spring forward and share my joy! 

"Forget what has happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert; be present. I’m about to do something brand new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is ! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands” (Isaiah 43:18-19 Message)

Linking up with Joan to share His beauty.....

Beauty in His Grip Button

 and Tracy for an "Acrostic" word challenge!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Are You Listening?

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul." (Psalm 143:8) 

We all have a desire to truly hear our Master’s voice, and hearing God’s voice should be as natural as hearing your best friend talk to you. When you talk to God, how clearly do you hear Him? What do you want to hear from Him? I believe learning to hear the voice of God is a (listening) skill we acquire based on our faith through scripture and prayer…

… the Bible is one of the main tools through which He speaks, and reading scripture 
is the primary way that God communicates; it is God's instruction book for all of us.

… God often speaks to us through prayer, and listening to God requires the right 
attitude in our hearts, and a commitment to understand His message. Once 
we’ve prepared our hearts to listen to prayer, we are more likely to hear His voice.

God speaks to us frequently, but only when we are listening. I wonder how God feels when He is trying to communicate something important to us, and we are not listening? In Joshua 1:7-8, God's word to Joshua is that we must follow His words to be a success in His eyes, because it is His opinion that lasts forever! "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law that my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful in everything written in it."

God listens and sends us a message in many different ways when we are fully surrendered to Him. We must choose to center our lives on Him daily through thoughtful prayer and reading the Bible so that we can follow His guidelines in every situation. Too many times we find excuses that delay us from spending time in worship and daily scripture, and listen only to what we want to hear. But if we want to truly live our lives in faith and trust in Him, we must listen to God with all ears regardless of what He is saying! If we listen very closely and look all around us, we nearly always hear the voice of God or get an indirect message from Him every time we are in need or He is trying to lay something upon our hearts. In "What Happens When Women Say Yes To God", Lysa TerKeurst says it best, "When God is speaking to me about a particular issue, I cannot escape it. Around every corner there is a sermon or bible study lesson or speaker's topic or conversation with a friend that is consistent with what I've been hearing from God in my time alone with Him."

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

God uses lots of things to talk to us, and He can be found when you seek Him with all of your heart; we need to keep our thoughts and our hearts open to hear His message, and be quick to obey so that He will direct and keep us on the right path. Hearing from God isn’t so much a matter of if He’s talking, but rather whether we are listening! He waits for our willing response to His call, and delights in our continuous conversations with Him throughout the day. If we want to hear God’s voice then we must be ready to listen! In order for us to grow in our relationship with Him, we must draw near to Him and trust that He wants to personally speak to us. Listening and responding to God is our most important time with Him because… He hears…He answers…He’s always there!

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20)

"Sharing His Beauty" with Joan today at "The Beauty in His Grip"...

Beauty in His Grip Button

...and linking up with Hazel at "A Joyful Noise"

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