Motivation for Your Monday

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Whatever trial or tribulation you are facing on this Monday my friend, have faith that God is good, always.  He works in the lives of those who do His will and love Him. God does conquer sin in our world.  What is God’s Will for you today?  If you aren’t sure, just ask Him.  If you don’t know what to ask for, just say his name, Jesus.  He will hear you. He will put His purpose on your heart.

Let’s go Love and Serve the Lord today friend, for He is oh so good!

Heavenly father we face so many different fears today.  So many are facing loss of everything from natural disasters right now.  Many of us face financial struggles, and daily trials with children at home and worries about the paths our adult children are on, Lord. Someone has lost a child, spouse, or pet today and are grieving. But we know there is faith and hope in you, Father. In the name Jesus, there is love and beauty and rest.  Father today we come under your cover that you will see over our every trial and temptation.  We know your coverings promise good for those who love you.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Love Who?

 

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Do you ever feel like you will never be able to love everyone as God commands?  Yes, I am seriously asking this question.  And I have an inkling that I am not the only one who feels like this from time to time.  (Wink, Wink)

God is Love.

He just loves us. I know you have heard this probably a million times, but I am going to tell you again if you are reading this and you haven’t heard this ever.  God loves our messy, our ugly, our selfish, our entitlement, okay our sometimes bossy selves. (I threw that last one in for myself). Seriously, though,  we can all be real “pieces of work” most days . And our Sovereign Lord still loves us.

So I ask, why is it so difficult for us to love others?

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m not a doctor, I just play one on television.”?   Many actors like George Burns, Morgan Freeman, and even Whoopi Goldberg have portrayed God in film and television. Humans, acting like God. You and I friend, sometimes act like God. I know that might be hard to hear, however, we truly do, trying to be the directors of the show.  Not so much our Heavenly Father’s Will for us. Take One. God’s show; not ours.

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My Friend, we are not God.  We are not running the show.

Turning our lives over to God’s care as believers makes Him the director of our lives. We give total control to God  who makes decisions because he loves us unconditionally.  We did nothing to earn or deserve His love.  His Will for us is to trust him.  So we must get humble, make ourselves “right-sized”  before we can even begin to try to love as God commands.

Romans 12:12 gives us three positive action steps to take when we need to find the strength to love when we really don’t feel like it.  Along with many Bible verses, these action steps come in handy for this application, but also for any other times I need a little encouragement to move forward in action.

Let’s look at each step:

Be Joyful in Hope:  God is our hope.  He is enough.  We can have hope in Him as Galatians 2:20 reminds us, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

We, who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, have the Holy Spirit living in us.  We can have faith that because God is living in us we will find His love within us to be able to love others.  Be Joyful in the hope, the beautiful hope that our loving Father is constantly forgiving and forgetting our sins.

Patient in Affliction: I have to admit this is the hardest step for me, I am not a patient person.  God is going to help us out here, don’t you worry yourself, it’s just going to be in His timing.  I have to remind myself of this frequently.

Remembering what a loving, patient God we worship allows us to find patience in difficult times.  “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15)

So what will we do during this time? We will be faithful. We will get out of ourselves, because isn’t that where our heads really are when we say to ourselves, “I can’t love them!”  It’s time to think and do for others, not a time to sit around and be victims.

I honestly believe when we stop thinking about what was said or done to us and get out and do for others a transformation takes place in our hearts. Not over night, be patient. Our hearts will soften.

The Bible has tons of verses to turn to on practicing patience.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Psalm 27:14: “Wait for the Lord;be strong and take heart and wait for                                                               the Lord.”

Proverbs 16:32: “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with                                                                           self-control than one who takes a city.”

Psalm 37:7:  “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not                                                           fret when people succeed in their ways,  when they carry                                                           out their wicked schemes.”

Galatians 6:9:  “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the                                                                         proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give                                                                     up.”

Finally, Faithful In Prayer:  Jeremiah 29:12 says, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”  Take your struggles to Jesus in prayer friend.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus preached about praying for our enemies, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

Prayer is powerful.

Paul’s letter in Romans 12 was to provide believers with instructions on living a Christian life daily, which is living love.  We are called to love.  And wouldn’t this crazy world we live in be just a little bit better if we, as believers in Jesus Christ followed His example?  I know I have more work to do in this area.

Practice, not perfection my friends. I totally get it.  Have hope in Jesus, patience in affliction, and always, yes always pray.  Oh, and Love one Another as Christ First Loved Us!  We can do this, God’s got our backs!

PS: Just a little reminder, God did get just a tad bit upset with the Israelites a time or two, even then He loved.

I would love to hear from you.  What topics would you like to read about in upcoming blogs?  Is there a particular book of the Bible you would like to study?  I can’t wait to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mustard!

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Eating out with my husband last week at a little pizza joint in a quaint neighborhood with golf cart lined streets (It’s like Mayberry, without Barney Fife!) the unthinkable happened.  Mustard, of all the condiments! Seriously, the mustard, why was it on my veggie sub?  Taking the first mouth-watering bite of  my Italian sandwich, oozing out the back-end, the yellow substance  drizzled down my front. I am sure the words are already sliding off your tongue, “She was wearing white.”  You guessed correctly.  Lovely.  No, not really, it was mess!

Paul and I do not let our kids use their phones at the dinner table, however this was an emergency. I grabbed my phone from my purse.  Google came to my rescue. “How to remove a mustard stain” I have to give credit here to “The Spruce” for their first instructions, “Use a dull knife or a spoon to gently scrape away as much mustard as possible. Be careful not to scrape so forcefully that you damage the fibers of the clothing.”

Our lives on a daily basis are messy with sin. The little white lies. Speeding down the highway. Gossip at the kids’ ballgames. Judgments made about the homeless couple on the corner. Making a commitment to volunteer and deciding not to show up.   Embezzling from a company. Failing to pay taxes.  Big or little, a sin is a sin, which causes mayhem in our lives.

Great news friend, the mustard came out! Just as Isaiah 43:25 tells us how God will “blot out our transgressions” when we ask Him to forgive us. Just like the directions to remove the mustard explained to gently scrape away the mustard, God eases his holy hand on us and gingerly wipes away the stain of sin.  Now let me fill you in on the best part; just like my mustard splotch is now erased, the stain of our sin is totally forgotten by our Heavenly Father.

When I have recognized I have done wrong I can be my own worst critic, how about you? I can honestly beat myself up for days, sometimes longer depending on the sin.  Why do I do that?  All I need to do is humble myself and remember the beautiful words of Isaiah 1:18  “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” God wants us to talk out our problems and sins with him. Amazing Grace.

I love the lyrics in For King and Country’s song “Priceless”, These words paint such a magnificent picture for me of how God truly sees us after he forgives and forgets our sins.

“Sisters, we can start again
Give honor ’til the end Love, we can start again

Brothers, we can start again
Give honor ’til the end
Yeah, we can start again

I see you dressed in white
Every wrong made right
I see a rose in bloom
At the sight of you
Oh, so priceless
You’re irreplaceable, unmistakable, incomparable
Darling, it’s beautiful
I see it all in you
Oh, so priceless

Yes, sisters, brothers, we pick up and move forward, start again clean giving God all the praise and honor!

Thank you God for your overwhelming love, mercy, and grace!  Thank you for so calmly and gently removing the mess we bring on ourselves daily.  Heavenly Father, direct and guide us in our choices each day. Help us to share your love with others that we may forgive others as you forgive our transgressions and remember them no more.

I know I need to have a little chat with Jesus daily, how about you?  Tell him your mustard story, He is happy to listen, love you, and forgive you.

 

 

At the Crossroads

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Saturday morning I headed out, top down on my little Beetle, Of King and Country playing (I love them!) to pick up some specific items for my little sister’s extra special birthday! (A lady never tells her age, but welcome to the club darling, precious Jules!)  I was on a mission, I knew exactly where I was going to shop for these delightful treats. Rounding the first left turn on the journey I spotted a young lady out for a morning bicycle ride.  She had stopped at the crossroads.  She appeared to be deciding which road to take, as she wiped the  glistening sweat from her forehead under her helmet. Continuing on my way, the thought popped into my head, “I wonder which route the cyclist would choose to take on this gorgeous day?  If she went left, the road was narrow, hilly, and filled with tight turns. Scary. The road right, on the other hand was wider, and led to an open area where she would have to stop again within a quarter of a mile, take a brief rest, only to make yet another choice.  She would have three directions to turn, all pretty much wide roads. All safe bets, or were they?”

In our lives, we will all arrive at crossroads and have to decide which path we are going to travel.  Will the decision be easy for us to make or difficult?  Do you think we will know which road is the right one to travel?  How will we know?

I believe the answer is in Matthew 7:14, the path less taken, the narrow gate to life.

Collage 2018-08-04 13_06_43Friend, when we make the choice to choose the less traveled, narrow path, we are choosing God’s way for us.  We are making His Will for us our will and that is the correct use of our will and choice.  God doesn’t promise us this path will be easy, no He does not. But he promises us life with Him eternally when we do!  What Joy there is in knowing we have life forever with Jesus!

If the cyclist Saturday chose the path to the left, remember I said, it was the narrow, curvy road? Well, let me just tell you, if that was the choice she made, she got to go on one heck of a bike ride! A shady tree canopy covers the road. A handful of  houses are  tucked away in the woods, it’s a road only a few know.  Sound familiar?

Teaching elementary school I often suggested to my students to, “Take the extra mile highway, there is less traffic”  The looks I would get!   Sometimes journeying through the narrow gate might take us longer and I guarantee it will be harder than we planned to get to the place God is leading us because He has a lesson for us to learn along the way. However, as scripture says, only a few find the narrow gate at their crossroads, I pray it is always you and me my friend.  Jesus is and will be waiting for us.  It is going to one heck of a ride!  One I am excited to experience!

Heavenly Father I pray today that you will guide us to the narrow gate when we arrive at the oh so many crossroads in our lives.  I ask Father that when we do go through the wide gate because we think it is the easier softer way, that you will give us the gentle reminder we need to make a “U-turn”, to get going on the straight and narrow. (or even the curvy and narrow is okay too).  In your Sons’ Holy Name I pray, Amen.

What crossroads are you at today?  What gate will you enter?

When you have been at crossroads in the past, did you choose the small gate and narrow path?  How did God provide for you?  Where did He lead you?  I’d love to hear from you.