Thursday, March 31, 2011

It May Be Only One

Matthew 18:12 - 14
  12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

God loves you!  But sometimes, he is not as worried about you as you think.  He knows your heart, your soul, your mind.  He loves you.  He sees you doing what you need to for him.  You are in church, participating, trying to help others.  So he watches you, but sees that another person is slipping farther from him.  Who do you think he is going to pay more attention too?  The Bible tells us that he will leave the flock and go after that one.  That doesn't make you less special.  But if you are in the fold, doing your best, don't worry that God isn't listening to you.  Be thankful that he is actually going after and saving someone else.  

Just be thankful you are not that one.  Be thankful that you are not the one caught alone, feeling lost and have wandered off the narrow path.  Pray for those who have.  God wants us to make each person feel special.  We can still do our own thing sometimes, but just as the shepherd goes after that one lost sheep, God does things to help that one lost soul come back to him. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We Be Big - A book review

I just finished the book, WE BE BIG, THE MOSTLY TRUE STORY OF HOW TWO KIDS FROM CALHOUN COUNTY, ALABAMA BECAME RICK & BUBBA, by Rick Burgess and Bill "Bubba" Bussey with Dick Burgess.  I must tell you, it was better than I expected.  Rick and Bubba each told a chapter, on how they both enjoyed the radio media, being in the limelight and how their lives took separate paths to end up where they are today.  They are both Christian men who do the unthinkable, talk about their faith on the air, but they don't preach or flaunt it.

Their story tells how they play by their own rules and how they created a following that worked for them and won the acceptance of each station they were with at that time, usually.  They proclaim to do outrageous stunts and make up characters as they go along.  They understand that their biggest fans are the ones that are listening and calling in everyday.  Rick and Bubba also talk of their personal families and through this book, show that even personal tragedies can be overcome.  This book chronicles their lives and losses, how through it all they trusted God and how they have shot to fame.

The minute I finished this book, I didn't put it down.  I put it in my purse and gave it to my Dad.  This is a book that your dad may enjoy too. I hope that Rick & Bubba's fans have all read this.  If you haven't, pick one up today and read it.

Be Joyful!

Psalm 98

 1 Sing to the LORD a new song,
   for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
   have worked salvation for him.
2 The LORD has made his salvation known
   and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love
   and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
   the salvation of our God.

 4 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
   burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the LORD with the harp,
   with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
   shout for joy before the LORD, the King.

 7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
   the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
   let the mountains sing together for joy;
9 let them sing before the LORD,
   for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
   and the peoples with equity. 

What jubilation!  That is what I have thought of as I finished this psalm.  It seems that Israel saw the promises of God come to fruition and I can see David dancing around, playing.his harp, singing.  Do you get that happy with God that you want to dance, sing and play, basically just looking silly?  But it isn't silly.  It's okay to let yourself go.  It's okay to fall down on your knees, out of breath, because you were dancing around.  All because you were joyful in the Lord.  When I was teaching Carter on Sunday, we sang, If You're Happy and You Know It, he was jumping, dancing in circles, carefree and enjoying himself.  I love to see that joy.   Can you be that joyful?  It's hard, but today, when you are in your car or somewhere private, sing at the top of your lungs.  Dance around and thank God that you are able to freely praise him this way.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Are You Hiding?

Psalm 97:10
Let those who love the LORD hate evil,
   for he guards the lives of his faithful ones
   and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. 

 I am reading this book about a missionary from India, that for the past 39+ years has been trying to reach the those who have never heard about God and His saving grace.  This is a hard book to read.  It talks of the horrible poverty that most of India faces, and how if we as affluent American citizens, could do without a lot of the things we have, we could be a bigger blessing.  But that is only a small part of this book. K.P. Yohannan truly has been a persecuted missionary.  When I read this verse in Psalms 97, I thought of him.  He was stoned and beaten for his belief in Christ.  But, he is still here.  God had guarded him and delivered him.  The Christians in many countries are underground because they are scared to proclaim their faith because of Satan's power in their country.  But, one man, as told in this book, Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan, says, Christ did not hide when he proclaimed the gospel.  He did not try and hide when he was led to Calvary.  He was out where everyone could see him and hear him.  Why should we hide?  God will protect us.  What a great concept!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Best Laid Plans

I worked hard on the lesson. I read, tore out, prayed, and gather supplies. I wanted so much for yesterday to be a success. I gathered things up, grabbed my keys and purse, got in my vehicle and drove to church. I pulled into a parking place, put the Edge in park and turned the car off. I turned toward the passenger seat to grab my purse and packet...wait, where's the packet? Did I bring it? Oh no! It's not here. We looked in the back seat, but, no. It isn't there. I left it behind. What am I going to do? Well, I can do part of it. I can tell them the story of Jesus healing the blind man. I can have them close their eyes and get a sense of darkness. I can do at least one of the activities that I remember. Yes, I can wing it, I hope.

I was prepared, but it didn't matter. I left important pieces of the lessons for my class at home. We all have had laid out our plans and intended to follow through, but somehow, things got thwarted. The lesson got knocked away. Was this God's doing? Was it Satan's? I don't know. All I could do was figure out how to get through to the three year olds that may attend the class. God wants us to depend on him. Sometimes it is not clear as quickly as other times, but God wants us to know that he is still on his throne. We just have to look at him. Proverbs 3:5 says "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;" That's what I did. And it was a success. I will confess, there was only one three year old, but my, how busy and smart he is. He did his best to listen and do the parts of the lesson I could, he danced as we sang. Then he took paper and made a jet.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Blessings by Laura Story

Laura Story


Laura Story

from the album Blessings
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Singing My Song

Psalm 96

1 Sing to the LORD a new song;
   sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
   proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
   his marvelous deeds among all peoples. 

Day after day, I hear new songs.  Day after day, I praise God.  Not just for the big things that happen, but for the ordinary, menial things too.  I try to remember to not make my prayers about me and my needs. I try to praise God for all he does.  For getting me safely to work, for helping my kids with their day, for giving Mike the rest he needs.  Hopefully, through my daily new songs, God is glorified and I am a singer to the lost.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Come, Let Us Worship and Bow Down

Psalm 95:6-7
 6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
   let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
7 for he is our God
   and we are the people of his pasture,
   the flock under his care.

These verses are some of my favorite.  I remember the first time I heard the praise song made out of these words.  It was while I was looking for a Christmas cantata for our choir.  Come, let us worship and bow down.  Let us kneel before the Lord our God our Maker;  Come let us worship and bow down.  Let us kneel before the Lord our God our Maker.  For He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of His hand, and the sheep of His hand.  It is a quiet, soothing song that I imagined that could be played at the manger of our Lord, as he slept.

It shows that we should revere, respect and rest God.  We should revere him by bowing down in worship.  We should respect him as our God and Maker.  We should rest, because we are under his safety and care. Won't you come today and kneel at the foot of God?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Trail

Imagine, if you will, a trail.  A trail on the side of a mountain.  The dirt trail is cluttered with roots and foliage that scratch your ankles and calves as you make your way down the slippery slope.  It's dusk and to make matters worse it rained last night, making the trail muddy and slippery.  The trail starts to get steeper and the night starts to grow around you.  It's hard to see and you start slipping in the mud.  You try and slow down, but your legs just keep going, your feet just keep sliding.  Part of you is enjoying the thrill, the free-for-all sensation you have, but part of you knows you need to stop before you fall of the trail.

That's what it's like with sin.  You taste what the world has to offer.  Just a little bit, when you think no one is looking.  Pretty soon you are gliding along, skimming on the wrong trail.  You know you need to stop, not sure how you got here.  That when you quote Psalms 94.

18 When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
   your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. 

You ask God to help you.  You ask him for forgiveness and he gives it freely, as well as his never failing love.  He will support you.  He will bring you back to the trail of his will.  We have all been there.  We have all sinned and gotten off the beaten path, onto one that we know is of our own doing, not God's.  But he is there, waiting for you to let him know that your "foot is slipping".  So stop skimming and start depending on his grace to get you through.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Storms of Life

Why does television and movies make thunderstorms so terrifying?  The skies are black, the clouds look like they are churning, the thunder claps often and the lightning looks like electric beams. It isn't often that we get storms like that.  But when we do, everything is on full alert.  Sometimes I sleep right through them, sometimes I sleep like my dog, with one eye open.  Just waiting for the wind to die down, the rain to quit hitting the windows, and for the flashes to stop.

When I was little we got a dog.  My dad told mom that the dog would be good for the kids because he would calm us from the storms and we would stay in bed.  That night, we had a full-blown thunder storm.  At the first clap of thunder, guess who the first one in my parents bed was?  That's right, the dog!  Now it is hysterically funny to me.  But that night was scary.  As I grew up, I learned to do what Maria the nun taught the Von Trapp kids.  "When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel so bad."   I grew to love, but respect the storms.  We were told that the thunder was God dumping potatoes into a big wagon, just like what my grandpa did at harvest.  I comfort my kids when they were smaller that the lightning was just God taking their picture. 

Storms are a part of our life, in weather and as troublesome times.  But remember, all storms come from God.  He is the master of them.  Praise God! 

Psalm 93:3-4

 3 The seas have lifted up, LORD,
   the seas have lifted up their voice;
   the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
4 Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
   mightier than the breakers of the sea—
   the LORD on high is mighty.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Can You Still Praise Him?

I have been reading a book that is a good book, called We Be Big, The mostly true story of how two kids from Calhoun County, Alabama became Rick and Bubba.  It's mostly an autobiography of these two men and how they became radio personalities.  One of them talks about the birth of their son and how his wife and the baby almost died.  As we walked out to tell his family that everything was okay, he yelled how great God was at that moment.  But then he heard, if they had died, would I have been less great?  What words!  When we are high on that mountain with life being good and everything going our way it is so easy to say God is good.  But it's in those lowest points that we have to question ourselves about our faith.

I do not think it is a question we want to ask ourselves, but something that we need to evaluate maybe after the worst is pass.  And you will know when that is.  Maybe it will be a few months after the crushing blow of losing a loved one, or your job.  Maybe it's after the dust settles and the treatment is starting to work.  It could just be the blahs.  But whatever it was that took you to a dark, sad place, can you still say the words to Psalm 92?

Psalm 92
It is good to praise the LORD
   and make music to your name, O Most High,
2 proclaiming your love in the morning
   and your faithfulness at night,
3 to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
   and the melody of the harp.
 4 For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD;
   I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
5 How great are your works, LORD,
   how profound your thoughts!
6 Senseless people do not know,
   fools do not understand,
7 that though the wicked spring up like grass
   and all evildoers flourish,
   they will be destroyed forever.

 8 But you, LORD, are forever exalted.
 9 For surely your enemies, LORD,
   surely your enemies will perish;
   all evildoers will be scattered.
10 You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox;
   fine oils have been poured on me.
11 My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries;
   my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes.

 12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
   they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the LORD,
   they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
   they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The LORD is upright;
   he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Not If, But Because

Psalm 91 has become one of my favorite chapters in the whole Bible.  We have the faith chapter, the love chapter, and I dub this chapter as the protection chapter.  There are many aspects to these verses that I like.  First, verse four it talks about God covering you with his feathers.  My first thought was how soft.  His feathers must be like that of a goose or some other bird that keeps their chicks warm and safe.  How safe that makes me feel, knowing God is protecting me.  I am also reminded of a feather pillow.  My Dad has one and I have one.  We love them. I love the smell of my pillow.  I know that is strange, but it gives me memory sensory. 

The verses following verse four (five through thirteen) tell what you do not have to be afraid of.  What comfort to know that anything you can think up, God is shielding you.  He has his angels there to carry you so you will not stumble or stub your toe.  He then finishes the chapter with a promise.  A promise that says that because we love him, he will rescue us.  Not if, but because.  What a wonderful chapter!

Psalm 91

 1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust.”  3 Surely he will save you
   from the fowler’s snare
   and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
   and under his wings you will find refuge;
   his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
   nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
   nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
   ten thousand at your right hand,
   but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
   and see the punishment of the wicked.
 9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
   and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
   no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
   to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
   so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
   you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
 14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
   I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
   I will be with him in trouble,
   I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
   and show him my salvation.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Compassion in Affliction

For the past few weeks, I have listened to K-Love on my way into and home from work.  It started out as a way to find some of the newer Christian songs, which led to hearing them challenge their listeners to tune in to only Christian radio, to now, loving K-Love!  The past few weeks, I have heard about a little seven-year-old boy named Jake, who has an aggressive form of cancer. 

Jake was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago.  As expected, he has been in and out of the hospital in Indianapolis, IN quite a few times.  Well, one day Jake expressed to his mom that he wished he could get 1,000 Pillow Pets to comfort every kid in the hospital.  His mom, in turn, told someone at their church about it, who told K-Love.  Somewhere in between, local Applebee Restaurants became involved as a drop-off point for donations.  Last Friday, I had heard that there were 975 Pillow Pets collected.  This morning, the announcers on the radio said that as of Monday, there were 4,000 Pillow Pets collected and the contemporary Christian band, Third Day, dropped by where Jake was to let him know about it and to sing.  Sometimes, it takes just a small ripple to make a wave of love crash over us. 

Verse fifteen of Psalms, chapter 90 says
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
   for as many years as we have seen trouble. 

Jake didn't think twice about his own problems.  He saw the needs of those like him, who didn't have the compassion and love he had and wanted to share it.  Oh, that I can see with the eyes of my Father and of this little boy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Forving and Forgetful

When I started reading Psalm 89, it was so upbeat and happy.

Psalm 89:1-8
 1 I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever;
   with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
   through all generations.
2 I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
   that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
3 You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
   I have sworn to David my servant,
4 ‘I will establish your line forever
   and make your throne firm through all generations.’”

 5 The heavens praise your wonders, LORD,
   your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
6 For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD?
   Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings?
7 In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;
   he is more awesome than all who surround him.
8 Who is like you, LORD God Almighty?
   You, LORD, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. 

 But then, you get into where David is in trouble and God's favor isn't upon him anymore.

38 But you have rejected, you have spurned,
   you have been very angry with your anointed one.
39 You have renounced the covenant with your servant
   and have defiled his crown in the dust.
40 You have broken through all his walls
   and reduced his strongholds to ruins.
41 All who pass by have plundered him;
   he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
42 You have exalted the right hand of his foes;
   you have made all his enemies rejoice.
43 Indeed, you have turned back the edge of his sword
   and have not supported him in battle.
44 You have put an end to his splendor
   and cast his throne to the ground.
45 You have cut short the days of his youth;
   you have covered him with a mantle of shame. 

David starts this Psalm out right, praising God.  Then he asks him to for give him, talking to him about the punishments he has endured (but it is his own fault).  That's always the way, we want to know how long our punishment will be.  When my kids are grounded, that's the first thing they want to know.  How long will this punishment be for?  They need that hope, that light at the end of the tunnel.  Sometimes it is for a few days, sometimes weeks. But they also have to learn that we won't tolerate disobedience.  And we, as Christians need to remember the same thing.  God wants us to be trustworthy.  He wants us to obey his commands.  For me, most days it is hard.  I usually say or think or do something stupid that gets me in trouble.  Thank goodness God is forgiving and forgetful!  And with that, we can say

52"Praise be to the LORD forever!
            Amen and Amen.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What Can We Do?

My heart has broken for all those in Japan. What a horrible tragedy! What a mess! What an opportunity to spread God's love! Always the realist and the optimist, I see where we can bring God to a society that needs hope. That needs to know that no matter what has happened, God loves them. Every few hours it seems, there is more news, more scares coming from there.

As Christians, God wants us to help uplift each other and he commissioned us to "Go make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." Matthew 28: 19. He doesn't exactly tell us how to do that. He wants us to be creative, he wants us to give of ourselves, he wants us to sympathize with their plight. It's easy to sympathize with the people of Japan. The media has it all over. The relief efforts have not even started, but our government has vowed to help. How can you as an individual help? We can first off, pray. Pray that God's will will be there and that his spirit will move. Pray that the missionaries all ready there will be equipped to serve those Japan. Second, we can talk. Talk to each other about it, organize our families, small groups and churches to do something. And thirdly, we can give. Give time to help out, give a few dollars to a charity. Anything will be appreciated.

Our church is giving to IDES - International Disaster Emergency Services. There are many services you can give to. But get involved someway.


Friday, March 11, 2011

How Can We Help?

This week, we had a tragedy in our office.  A young couple lost their newborn baby.  They knew a month before that there was a problem with the baby, and they didn't disclose this to most of us.  The baby boy was born on Tuesday and lived a mere forty minutes.  We do not know what the condition was that made this infant leave this earth so quickly, but we do know how heartbroken his parents are and how all of us in the office are just stunned.  We here are having a hard time knowing what to do.  We want so much to help this couple out, but we are at a loss on how to help them.  We want to do something special to remember Baby Ian, and to honor his parents. 

We are all doing the usual things, asking questions, praying, and it has made a lot of us remember that our problems aren't that big of a deal in comparison.  The question is, what, would be an appropriate way to go about doing something for this family?  Should we talk to them first, make a donation to the hospital in the baby's name?  Maybe we can plant a tree or purchase the headstone for the grave, is there is one.   Has anyone else gone through something similar?  What was something that you now appreciate that you didn't even realize was such a big deal at the time?

God really has started working around here.  We are a charitable group and when something happens to one of our own, then we want to jump in and help.  But in this case, we are kinda at a loss. 

Psalms 135:13
Thy name, O LORD, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Give up the Guilt

Psalm 88 is depressing.  The psalmist keeps talking about being put in the pit, how he is taken from his closest friends, how God's wrath weighs on him.  To me that sounds like guilt!  When we feel the guilt and shame of our sins, sometimes we think that everyone knows what we have done and that we are shameful and trying to hide something.  But, God knows.  Whether anyone else knows or not, God knows.  The only way out of that feeling is to ask God for forgiveness and to forgive yourself.  Then you ask for the same forgiveness of our brother that you wronged.  The best part is when you ask God for forgiveness, he will remember the sin no more.  That is the good news.  God will save you from that guilt and shame. So tell God your sins, give up that guilt and shame and live a life that is knowing God loves you and forgives you.

Psalm 88:1a
 1 LORD, you are the God who saves me;

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I Love My Town

Have you ever seen the television show Undercover Boss?  It is a show on CBS where the CEO or President of a company goes undercover (in disguise) to see how things are working in areas of their company that they never see or hear of.  Mingling with the little people, so to speak.  It's actually really enjoyable and not so mushy and I love to see the bigwigs get down and dirty.  It makes me giggle. 

On the show this week, Mark Mallory, the mayor of Cincinnati went undercover.  He is the first elected/government official to do this on the show.  It was very interesting to learn more about this man, to see his love for Cincinnati, and to see how he would react to the brow-beating that all the bosses get a taste of, because they ask the question, "How do you think the board of directors/powers that be are doing for the company?"  I was also a little nervous to see how the show producers would show Cincinnati.  Cincinnati has gotten a lot of bad publicity in the past few years.  I am happy to report that Mayor Mallory and the show did well.  While the mayor is not the most entertaining person to watch, he is very intelligent. 

The first job the mayor did was ride around with the one person in the city who picks up the roadkill and other dead animals in the city.  That had to be horrible.  I was laughing at the sense of humor the city worker had for his job and the reaction of the mayor.  He didn't complain, but he looked grossed out.  That is one job I would hate to have.  Mayor Mallory also had to work on the city's vehicles, work at the McKie Recreation Center, and give parking tickets to those who were downtown and did not have their meter kept up.  As he was walking around with the meter attendant, he saw a vehicle who had a bumper sticker that stated "ILoveCincinnati".  I even saw one this morning on my drive in to work.  Mayor Mallory has a heart for his town.  He seems to really care about what happens here.

Watching this show gave me a softer heart for the man who represents our biggest city in Southwestern Ohio.  I have always loved everything about Cincinnati.  Just as God loves the city of Zion in chapter 87 of Psalms.  The second verse says that God loves the city more than any other. 

2 The LORD loves the gates of Zion
   more than all the other dwellings of Jacob. 

God is preparing a new Zion for us and we will all be there.  He will write our names down in the register, and is making each of us a place to live.  I can't wait to sit down and feast at his table.  I can't wait to walk on the golden streets and the see the crystal river.  I can't wait to see those who were before me.  But for now, I want to make my city a place that people will have pride in and respect.  Do you love your city?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Make It Personal

Psalm 86 has a lot of attributes of God.  He is forgiving, good.  He abounds in love, he listens to our cries and he answers us.  There is no other gods like him.  No one can do the things he does.  All he created will worship him.  Who else can we say these things about?  No one!

The author then goes on and asks God to teach him so they can rely on God's faithfulness.  They want a heart that is undivisable, in unity with God.    They want to praise God's name forever because God has saved them from death.    What a wonderful God. 

You can make this psalm so personal. I want to rely on god's faithfulness.  I want a heart that is undivided.  I want to praise God's name forever because he has saved me from certain death.  Praise God!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Psalm 85

Psalm 85:10-11

 10 Love and faithfulness meet together;
   righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
   and righteousness looks down from heaven

What beautiful words!  I love the personification that is given to each of these words, love, faithfulness, righteousness, peace.  Living in harmony with each other, as this describes can only be in heaven.  Love meets faithfulness, and faithfulness comes from earth.  Obviously, love comes from God who dwells in heaven.  Righteousness and peace greet each other and righteousness also prepares the way for God.  What wonderful descriptions.  What great things we have to look forward too!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Using What God Gave You

Apparently this week, I am veering away from Psalms.  I guess it is good to take a break once in a while.  In my last devotion, I talked about how I didn't see myself as showing mercy.  But several of you spoke up and proved me wrong!  Thank you for that.  My second strongest gift is Shepherding/Pastoring.  Now I never saw myself as a leader.  But, I am.  I lead the choir.  I do what I can when I can.  I am the Secretary of our school's Band Boosters.

As a leader, I will confess that I don't feel worthy most of the time.  It has taken me 20 years to come in to my own as choir director.  I still make mistakes.  Most of the time I am unorganized.  But, I still like directing.  I do have a desire to lead another type of group.  I would love to start a women's bible study.  My problem is finding a time, looking for material and maybe even getting help.  If this is something you would be interested in, would you let me know?  I would welcome anyone who is willing to come.  We did this once before at had a great turn out.  I think it's time to start this again.

Anyway, God has given each of us gifts and the ability to use them.  But, it is up to us to figure out how to  use them.  We each have to be patient.  Most of us are not born leaders, well at least I am not.  Not all of us are givers or encouragers (this is probably why I rarely send out cards).  We each have to rely on each other for gentle reminders, proddings and encouragements.  I think it is good that we share our gifts and that we tell the church what our gifts are.  Then we can help God's kingdom and bless everyone around us by using these spiritual gifts.

1 Corinthians 14:12
12Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What's my gift?

Okay, so today I took the Spiritual Gifts Analysis.  I was kinda surprised by the results.  I'm kind of laughing right now because it is probably more right on the money than I thought.  I scored highest in Showing Mercy and lowest in Administration.  I find this funny because I always tell my family that I have no sympathy for them if they are sick, and I am a Receptionist.  I'm suppose to be organized and do administrative type work.  Apparently I am in the wrong business.

In the explanation, it says that 'As a mercy-shower you have the Spirit-given capacity and desire to serve God by identifying with and comforting those who are in distress. You understand and comfort your fellow Christian. You enter into the grief or happiness of others and have the ability to show empathy which is to feel WITH others, not just for others.'  I can remember that when the NASCAR driver, Davey Allison died.  I watched the next race and saw all the somberness and the dedication done for him and I bawled.  I did the same thing when Glenn Payne of The Cathedrals died, and I especially did it when John Ritter died.   I usually do not try to feel for them, I just do.  My heart goes out to anyone in a sad state.

How can I use this gift?  First off, pray.  I have to ask God to put in my life what his will is for me in this area.  I can look around and see who is needing God's mercy.  Because it's not really my mercy. 

I still am a little baffled by this because, I don't see myself at that type of person.  I see hints of it every now and then.  Like if I see someone leave the service before it is over, I go check on them.  I get that.  For those of you who know me, am I like that?  I think maybe I messed up the test or something.  Have you been surprised by this test?  I thought my biggest gift would be the gift of prophecy or serving.  Serving is my third biggest gift.  But prophecy is one of the lowest.  Maybe I do not know myself as well as I think.    Take the test and see how you see yourself.  Then let God use you in the right place at the right time.  His time.    

Ecclesiastes 3:1   
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: