- Some people are just mean and there is no other way to say it. They hurt other people because they can, because they are interested only in themselves, because they want control... and many other reasons.
But regardless of the reason, the result is the same: it hurts.
We encountered one this week. Overcoming emotions that arise from such an attack is a battle, yes, but not a lost cause. No matter how powerful the emotions, you do not have let them dominate you.
You can refuse the bad feelings. Like a package delivered to your door that you did not order, refuse to accept them. Set your heart to overcome and accept nothing less. It is a struggle and may take some time, but the effort is worth it.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
- We are accountable to God for what we say, do, AND think.
Some feel this is an intrusion into their privacy. I consider it one of the ways God protects me from damaging myself--which I could easily do (have done) if left to my own devices.
I want Him in my every thought. Why? I trust Him. I find peace and security in His loving watch-care. In my opinion, having tried both extreme independence and deep surrender, the latter is a far better way to live.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psa 19:14 NIV)
Monday, July 28, 2014
- Ever encountered someone who does not let you forget mistakes? No matter what you have done since, they judge you by them and "hold them over your head". They can be at work. They can be family. They can be anywhere.
Why do they do it? Perhaps they are insecure and the judgment makes them feel superior. Who knows? I do know that regardless of "why", it can be very discouraging to be connected to such a person.
I am grateful God does not treat us that way. That encourages me and gives me hope. I am what I am today--not what I was in the past.
If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. (Psa 130:3-5 NIV)
Saturday, July 26, 2014
I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. (Psa 145:1-3 NIV)
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
- Yesterday's message was about feelings. Continuing that thread...
Feelings are powerful. They cannot be ignored. They will dominate if they can. And often, we struggle to understand why or what we feel.
It is a dilemma, no doubt about it. Paul experienced it, just as we do. So what can we do?
As yesterday, in my opinion, our understanding and response must be rooted in our relationship with God. Therein is trust and security. Therein is being understood even when we do not understand ourselves.
And isn't it comforting to know that someone understands?
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. (Rom 7:15,18,22,23 NIV)
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
- Having a hard day today? Or week... or month... or year?
Emotions try to take hold in those times. They can mislead you and distort your perceptions: lots of things can feel real that are not.
If you are there, do not believe the lie that you are a failure in faith for feeling such things. Focus on the solution, and in my opinion, it begins with your relationship with God.
This is what helps me: Like the psalmist in today's Scripture, I tell Him how I feel even if it is not "pretty". He listens. And in time the feelings give way to truth and reality. They always do.
I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. You don't let me sleep. I am too distressed even to pray! I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and think about the difference now. (Psa 77:3-6 NLT)
Monday, July 21, 2014
- Sometimes we forget how much little things matter--or at least what we consider little things (God has different ideas): things like honesty, integrity, genuineness... even how we treat the cashier in a checkout line. It all matters.
It is good to be reminded that how we handle the little things matters to God. And it is good to remember that it matters a lot!
"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. (Luke 16:10 NIV)
Friday, July 18, 2014
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. (Col 3:1-6 NIV)
Thursday, July 17, 2014
The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, "Return home and tell how much God has done for you." So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. (Luke 8:38-39 NIV)
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
- Yesterday's TS message was about feelings. And today, another perspective on feelings.
So, how do you feel about that? (Sorry. Couldn't resist!)
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Cor 4:6-7 NIV)
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
- A counselor's favorite question is: "How do you feel about that?"
Feelings are powerful. Sometimes we feel like a victim of our feelings and we have no choice in the matter.
We do have a choice, and we can overcome them. However, it can be very difficult to do sometimes. Not impossible. Just difficult.
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible. Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, "I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it," says the Lord. Instead, do what the Scriptures say: "If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you." Don't let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good. (Rom12:17-21 NLT)
Monday, July 14, 2014
- Have you ever "missed God" on something important?
I have. And sometimes I was even upset with Him. After I calmed down, I realized that the failure was mine. I had been too busy, too distracted, not spent enough quality time spent with Him, and such.
Have you been there? (Maybe even now?) Let's change it: join me in today's prayer.
The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked. "How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. (Acts 8:29-31 NIV)
Friday, July 11, 2014
Thursday, July 10, 2014
- Ever prayed... and felt like you just were not getting through?
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" (John 11:41-43 NIV)
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
- Peace. Governments want it. Families want it. Neighborhoods want it. Businesses want it. And you likely want it. I know I do.
Many people believe peace is a circumstance that you either have or you don't. Others believe it is a feeling.
I believe that peace originates deep in our spirit, growing from our relationship with God, independent of circumstances.
You can have it with someone else who is seeking it. But those who are not? You can have it sometimes on some levels... but not always.
So, find it with God first. No one can change that--except you.
Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psa 34:11-14 NIV)
Monday, July 7, 2014
- It has been said that "To err is human...". I agree with that. We all make mistakes. I know I have made more than my fair share.
But when a once-made-mistake becomes a repeated pattern of behavior, in my opinion and experience, it can no longer be called a mistake. It has become a choice.
The good news is that God is willing to forgive either.
Have you forgotten the sins of your ancestors, the sins of the kings and queens of Judah, and the sins you and your wives committed in Judah and Jerusalem? To this very hour you have shown no remorse or reverence. No one has chosen to follow my law and the decrees I gave to you and your ancestors before you. (Jer 44:9-10 NLT)
Thursday, July 3, 2014
- What is most important in your life? What really matters? What are you living for? If you do not know, then set about doing what you have to do to discover the answer. (Knowing that is very important!)
Paul said, "...I want you to understand what really matters...". He taught that your relationship with God was essential. I agree.
I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns. (Phil 1:9-10 NLT)
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man." I was cupbearer to the king. The king said to me, "What is it you want?" Then I prayed to the God of heaven ...And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests. (Neh 1:11, 2:4, 2:8b NIV)
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
- A question: Have you ever realized that you did not know enough and your best was not good enough? If so, what did you feel? Relief? Fear? Maybe confusion or something else?
For me, it was relief. I finally understood that I did not have to be perfect or know everything, and I did not have to prove anything to anyone. I could love God just as I was, and it was all right.
It was freedom for me. What about for you?
The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior. Don't count on your war horse to give you victory--for all its strength, it cannot save you. But the LORD watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. We depend on the LORD alone to save us. Only he can help us, protecting us like a shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we are trusting in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone. (Psa 33:16-22 NLT)