Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Breath of Heaven

What has the Lord called you to do for Him today?  Mary demonstrated a beautiful heart of submission to her King - may we all be as fully surrendered to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.   While none will be as miraculous as the birth of Christ, even our simple callings will be used in mighty ways for His Kingdom when we bow in obedience to Him.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Cup Runs Over

Its Thanksgiving week!  Where has the time gone?  Soon our small family will join hearts around the table and enjoy a feast of kings to celebrate what the Lord has done in our lives.  What reasons to rejoice! 

I’ve been in a reflective frame of mind.  I take so much for granted, and wish to be purposeful rather than cavalier with my thanksgiving.  If you will indulge me, I’ll share my thoughts …

·         I am thankful for the promise of eternity with Jesus.  By His sacrifice on the cross, He paid my ransom and set me free from the bondage of sin and eternal death.   Thank you, Lord, for making it so simple to receive You in my life!  Your Word says that whoever believes in You will have eternal life.  We need to do nothing more than accept Your forgiveness and leading in our lives.

·         He desires relationship with us.  The only thing needed to enter the presence of the King of kings is a heart that seeks Him.  When I seek Him with all of my heart, I find Him.  He is Immanuel – God with us – and He stays by my side, always.  His Holy Spirit dwells in me (and in all of His children), and I am grateful that He promises to never leave nor forsake us.  He is here to stay, and I couldn’t be more appreciative!

·         We do not walk this journey alone.  I am thankful for the loving family and caring friends that He has placed in my life.  I never imagined the support that God’s people offer one another, even in the most unexpected ways.  For those of you who have poured into my life through prayer, encouragement, love, laughter, quiet listening, Godly counsel, and an occasional cookie, I thank my Lord for you.  You know who you are, and I pray you understand the difference you make. 

·         I am thankful for the blessings He brings through trials.  I do not always feel happy or comfortable, but I can always be joyful because of His power and love in my life.  I am grateful for His promise to work all things together for the good of those He calls according to His purpose.  I wait with eager anticipation for the redemption of the hardships in my life.  There is often excitement in waiting to see how God will next reveal His power, even when things may look hopeless or impossible.

·         Without Him, I am nothing but I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength.  I am grateful that in His strength alone, even someone like me can serve His Kingdom.   I love to feel His pleasure, even when those around me sometimes scoff and scorn.  He gently reminds me that His work is for His glory and that His grace is sufficient.  

I wish you a joy-filled Thanksgiving as you reflect on the goodness of the Lord.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.  His love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1(NIV)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Like the Bereans - Even on Facebook!

We’re all learning, aren’t we?  We receive an urgent e-mail from a friend saying that our house will burn down in 3 minutes unless we unplug our televisions.  As soon as we finish scurrying around the house unplugging televisions, we forward the e-mail to our entire address book because, after all, we don’t want the homes of our friends to burn down.  A few minutes later, we receive a reply from a levelheaded friend who informs the entire distribution list, “This is not true information.  Please disregard the e-mail and plug your televisions back in.”    We feel a bit foolish, but thought it better to be safe than sorry.

It’s happened to all of us – we get caught up in the hype, then react out of care and concern for our friends.  Sometimes we receive not-so-gentle reminders that we should have taken a moment to verify the information before passing it on.   (www.snopes.com is a good source for that, by the way).   

So, we’re learning.  But are we handling the Word of God in the same way?  This next example is true (I made up the story about unplugging televisions).  A friend of mine posted a wonderful graphic about loving others on Facebook.  I don’t believe she was the original source.   It listed practical steps to love others with a Scripture reference for each step.  Since I am facilitating a study on love in Sunday school, I thought to share it with the class. 

As I looked at the list more closely, something looked a little fishy.  One of the verses caught my eye and as I recalled, it had nothing to do with the action step listed.  When I looked it up in my Bible, I found that I was incorrect and the scripture reference was accurate.  But it made me wonder, how many times have I blindly forwarded references to God’s Word that aren’t correct?  As careful as I have become with potential urban legends, am I taking the same measure of care with God’s Word?

Sharing information seems to become easier every day.   When receiving or sharing the Word of God, we have a responsibility to examine the scriptures as the Bereans who “were more noble minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. “  Acts 17:11 (NASB).    I love that they were eager, but still verified the information.    We can be excited to learn more about the Lord, but must be careful not to soak in every Internet post as fact. 

There’s a lot of garbage out there.  Take care not to blindly accept it all as truth.  Let’s dust off our Bibles to see for ourselves, and then share God’s truth with confidence.