Thursday, December 29, 2016

Giants In Your Life

Do you have a "Goliath" in your life--not a 9' warrior in bronze
armor, but a problem that looks or feels too big to overcome?

What I said in today's prayer I have learned through "precious and
costly experience" and I believe it to be true:

 "You have a solution to what I face before I face it. I will
 see it when I see You as greater than the challenge."
A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the
  Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. He had a bronze helmet
  on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five
  thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze
  javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver's
  rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield
  bearer went ahead of him. Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of
  Israel, "Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a
  Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and
  have him come down to me." On hearing the Philistine's words, Saul
  and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. (1 Sam 17:4-8,11 NIV)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Not What You Say

Some think that saying "Lord, I praise You." is praising God. In my
opinion, it is not. It is a vague, unspecific acknowledgement, but
certainly not genuine praise.

My lovely wife constantly encourages me. She makes certain that I
know how she feels about me and she is very specific. However, if
she only said, "I encourage you." over and over, would that be
encouraging? No. Perhaps eventually annoying--but not encouraging.

I believe it is the same in our relationship with the Lord.
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)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Who Gets Hurt

Ever notice that sometimes people hurt those who are closest and
kindest to them? Perhaps it is like a predator sensing weakness.
Perhaps it is their pain lashing out at a convenient target. Perhaps
it is intentional. Perhaps they cannot help themselves.

Whatever the reason or situation, I know that it takes far more
strength to respond in God's love than to respond defensively.
Personally, I cannot do it on my own--only through the Lord and by
yielding to His Spirit (Romans 8).
O God, whom I praise, don't stand silent and aloof while the wicked
  slander me and tell lies about me. They are all around me with their
  hateful words, and they fight against me for no reason. I love them,
  but they try to destroy me--even as I am praying for them! They
  return evil for good, and hatred for my love. (Psa 109:1-5 NLT)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Rules vs. Relationships

Rules vs. Relationship: A very, very old conflict.

Most of us begin in Rules; that is how we learn. However, we should
grow into Relationship because love is the fulfillment (or complete
expression) of all the Rules. So, how do you know where you are?

Is your interaction with God motivated by requirements and
avoidances to escape consequences, e.g., "I have do this, but can't
do that because it's sin.", or, does it flow out of love for Him and
living in agreement with Him because you love Him?
The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not
  steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be,
  are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
  Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment
  of the law. (Rom 13:9-10 NIV)