Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Word of Life

“The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father, and has appeared to us.” (1 John 1:2)

The Word of Life  was created by the words and works of Jesus Christ, and 1 John tells us how Jesus came to reveal the Father, and how we can be confident in our fellowship with Him. His Spirit has been given to each one of us who is born again, and we are encouraged to love one another and to practice spiritual unity by putting that love into action. 1 John wishes to set before its readers the life that is in Jesus Christ; the life revealed. A life lived with Jesus is to have personal and faithful contact with Him, and because of Jesus’s great love, there is no doubt that all who believe in Him are guaranteed eternal life with Him in heaven!

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” (I John 1:3)

Jesus is God’s eternal plan for our salvation and the restoration of our fellowship with God. And He has put a desire for relationship in every one of us! Our love to God is measured by our everyday fellowship with others and the love it displays, and being in fellowship with God is the best way to be in fellowship with our brother’s and sister’s in God’s family. God calls us to love one another, and this can only happen when we spend time together. Our words will flow quite naturally because of our relationship with Jesus simply by living the life He has called us to live. And by living that life, we direct others toward eternal life. Fellowship is praying together, serving together and growing together; fellowship with God and fellowship with others go hand in hand!

“We write this to make our joy complete.” (1 John 1:4)

Joy is the emotion of great happiness and delight caused by something so wonderfully good that gives us pleasure and gladness. God is this source of this triumph and hope that has filled us by giving us the power of Jesus Christ. God created us for a wonderful purpose: that we might live forever with Him in peace, love and perfect holiness. Through the bible we are promised a never ending life with God that will be filled with unspeakable harmony, love, and joy. And He is working in us and through us to bring us this joy. Joy is the eternal goal, and those who choose to serve and obey Him will dwell in eternity in the fullness of joy…now there is something that will cause joy to rise up in your soul and be complete!

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Saturday, March 23, 2013


“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all of the peoples on the face of the earth to be His people, His treasured possession.” (Deuteronomy 7:6)

There are times when it just seems that life has overlooked us!

A wonderful truth in the Bible (that always makes me feel pretty exceptional and special!), is that we have been chosen by God to be a part of His family! Most of us remember times when we have been “overlooked”; when someone else has been chosen over us when sides were chosen for teams and sports events; when someone else was chosen over us for a special dance or party; or maybe a co-worker was chosen over us for an extra special project.  And regardless of what the special event was (or is!) there is within us a desire to be chosen…       

Chosen to belong…

Chosen to be recognized…

Chosen to stand out in the crowd…

Sadly we can’t make everybody accept us or love us, but while others may reject us; God does not! He hasn’t overlooked us; in fact He holds our future in the palm of His hand!

 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit. (John 15:16)

When we feel left out or experience setbacks in life, we have to remember that God is working behind the scenes for our future. He is preparing opportunities with the right people, in the right place to cross our path at the right time. Because with God we are all chosen and none are excluded! He doesn’t choose the best or show favoritism, He simply choses all that will call on Him. Out of pure love God has chosen us to do wonderful things, and it doesn’t matter if we are the last one to be picked by our peers or anyone else, we have the assurance that we are wanted, needed, and chosen by Him.

“For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” (Ephesians 1:4)

There is something special about everyone, and no matter what anyone else says, God specially created us and is very proud of who we are. It doesn’t matter if we are plain, ordinary, everyday people, He doesn’t require any special talents or requirements. As long as we are sincere, loyal, and faithful, and offer our heart and soul to Him, He chooses us. He chooses us because of His grace and love, for salvation and to receive all spiritual blessings.

He chose us to be His glorious inheritance!

“But we ought to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the spirit and through belief in the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Heart of Laughter

“A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.” (Proverbs 15:13 MSG)

Joy and laughter instantly lifts my mood, makes me feel great and gives me more energy; how about you?  And God is the One who enables us to find joy in any given moment-just as we are!  He instructs us to be joyful and thankful in all circumstances. Of course everyone has problems on some level or another... but it’s how we choose to respond to the situation that makes the difference in the quality of our lives. We have to maintain the ability to laugh and have joy in the midst of it all or our souls will wither and die. There is joy surrounding us in God’s creation and it’s there for us to fully experience if we chose to, no matter what storms may be swirling around us. When we laugh we can't help but feel good, but have you noticed that sometimes as adults we don't laugh enough? I am pretty sure that no matter how “old” our bodies’ get we are still able to choose and share the love and joy that truly makes life worth living! It doesn’t matter if we are 20, 50, or even 80, it is always the right time to celebrate being alive with joy, laughter, and love so that we can celebrate in the life that God meant for us to live.
“A joyful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22)

I have always thought that being surrounded by positive people is the key to a journey of peace and fulfillment. Fun and laughter is contagious, and I am completely drawn to folks that bring me joy and laughter, because typically people can have the strongest influence and affect in my life. Family and friends that I spend my time with and share ideas with have a major influence on my joyful mood and how my entire day is going to go, and then in turn, I am happier and more positive around the people I am with later on. We infect others with our joy and cheerful attitude, and as a result we can influence them in a positive way that makes them feel good about themselves. But here’s the best part…being full of joy is not only good for those around us, it’s really good for our own body and soul as well!

“He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouting” (Job 8:21)

To make our lives more meaningful, it takes a cheerful heart!  And it is pleasing to God whenever you rejoice or laugh from the bottom of your heart. Laughter is the best kind of medicine; it helps to heal our emotions as well as our faith and trust in the Lord. The Lord has done great things for us, and we should be filled with joy. And joy is what happens when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are! God has created us that we might have joy and laughter, and if we embrace His Word, we can have that joy. We should always be thankful for the God-given gift of laughter and make use of it as often as we can. Once we have the Joy of the Lord, not only do our spirits soar, but we can have a healing effect on those around us.  Mark Twain wrote “Humor is the great thing; the minute it crops up, all our irritation and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.”  We were meant for joy, we were meant for laughter, we were meant to rejoice before God, and we should never let anything or anyone rob us of our inheritance. The path that leads to joy is filled with the Lord and laughter. Humor is one of God’s most marvelous gifts; do not let the gift of His joy be wasted!  :)

“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you to belong to Christ Jesus to live.” (l Thessalonians 5:16 MSG)

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lost Baggage

“But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

Are there certain people or events in your past that have caused rooted feelings of regret, remorse, injustice, or disappointment? These hang-ups can build up and settle deep down in our hearts, distracting and nibbling away at our attitudes toward life. I am pretty sure that we know that when we carry around too much baggage, our bodies grow weary and our minds become cloudy and cluttered with negativity.  But letting go isn’t always easy, as a matter of fact it can be very hard! Our tendency is to hold on because these things tend to become attachments, however the longer we carry it the worse it gets, because when we continually hang on to something we aren’t allowing ourselves to move forward and we are carrying useless baggage that’s really slowing us down.

Letting go means…

To move or proceed (especially to or from something)

To leave a place; depart

To attempt to obtain; strive for

To proceed without hesitation or delay

“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.” (Hebrews 12:1)

What would our life be like if we let go of our resentment and anger over things that are beyond our control, or if we let go of the pain we have been carrying from things that happened long ago? For most of us, we muster all our faith to believe that everything will work out in the end…but we struggle daily…we give our problems to God then take them back again. Being in control makes us feel safe and secure but often turns into a bad habit that very often gets us nowhere and our little controllable world gets more and more fragile. When we learn to let go of some control we are taking a step closer to having total faith and trust in God, and we begin to accept the reality that God’s wisdom is ever present and available; He can fill every void and the emptiness we feel when we battle feelings of pain and discontent. That’s when we know we’ve surrendered to God; when we rely on Him to work things out instead of holding on to past regrets. God wants us to give Him…surrender to Him…everything that is not of Him, and grow rather than to remain stuck in in a place or situation that is holding us back.

“God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

There is really no point hanging on to past regrets or grudges because (most of the time) there is really nothing we can do about what has happened except to learn from it. If we don’t like where we are at in this moment, it is our decision to make a different choice and move forward instead of being stuck in the past. As long as we live we will deal with setbacks, missed opportunities, painful relationships, and tons of mistakes, but we can’t waste our time mourning for things we can’t change because we miss the opportunities of the present. God created us with everything we need in order to be used by Him, and we have to stop allowing the things that we encounter along the way to become baggage that prevent us from moving forward. When we truly let go and let God, the result is that we‘ve lost most of the fear and unhappiness that we have been carrying and we slow down long enough to allow God to take control over our lives.
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Spring Cleaning

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. (Isaiah 58:8)

It’s March and we are one step closer to spring! And after the long, cold winter months, we crave and embrace the warmer weather and longer days. The arrival of spring is celebrated with a sense of joy because it gives us a reason for renewal and hope. Wintertime blues withdraw as patches of brown begin to disappear, flowers begin to bloom, trees begin to leaf, and despite the extremes of the long and cold winter; spring arrives!  When we think of renewal, we think of rebirth, and springtime is a wonderful time to renew our hearts and our minds, and get rid of things that are dragging us down or stealing our energy.  We allow ourselves to do some “spirit cleaning” and reflect upon our personal and spiritual development.

With spring approaching, we have this sudden urge to open windows, reorganize and make everything in our homes fresh and new. For those people who suffer with seasonal affective disorder (SAD-winter depression), it’s also a time to bust out and reunite ourselves to the longer days, fresh air, and beautiful sunshine. Regardless of our circumstances, spring opens our minds and our hearts to hopefulness, optimism, and rejuvenation. This is a wonderful occasion to reflect on doing the same thing in our spiritual house and life. We all know what areas need some improvement; areas where we need to clean all the cobwebs and junk that have built up in our lives; areas where we need to plant internal seeds that lead to personal and spiritual progression.

Reflect…press forward and leave the past behind

Rebirth…start over fresh

Renewal…relinquish old habits

Growth…recharge your spiritual life

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."   Hebrews 4:12

What are some of the things that clutter up our lives? Do things like gossip, anger, worry, and/or depression get in the way of serving God to our greatest potential? Just like we gather all the cleaning supplies we need to do some deep spring cleaning, we need to submerge ourselves into God’s Word and clean our spiritual homes-His Word is an all-purpose cleaning tool that will meet all our needs!. He is the master cleaner, and He can grant us the strength and wisdom to continue cleaning. In His Word we understand how to…clean out conceit and replace it with humility…clean out doubt and replace it with faith…clean out gossip and replace it with inspiration…clean out anger and replace it with self-control.

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8)

It can really be exciting when we use the time to clean something far greater than our house-our soul! And the more we invite Jesus to blow some fresh air into our life, the more we realize just how messy our souls have become. One advantage we have when we clean spring our spirit is how replenished we will feel when we shed our old skin! Happy spring!
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