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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Running Out of Time!

I just celebrated another birthday! I let go of my “work, work, work” mentality. I kicked back and watched, with my husband, the heartwarming movie, “The Music Never Stopped.”  I even ignored my healthy diet and indulged in a large slice of rich, moist chocolate cake drizzled with chocolate fudge! I amused myself, admiring the deep purple larkspur and pale yellow roses arraying my floral bouquet. I engaged in unrushed conversation when friends stopped by with unexpected birthday blessings. The day passed too quickly!

 Just like life, I thought. It fades away swiftly. James reminds us, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”(Verse 4:14) So I began to reflect on my use of time. How will my choices make a difference in the long run? What are their future implications? Will they give glory to God?
Since life runs short for me and for you, let’s be thoughtful and intentional about the time God allows us.   

Saturday, March 22, 2014

3 Good Reasons Forgiveness is NOT Optional

Our freedom and peace depend upon choosing forgiveness. Yet, we search for reasons to justify anger or bitterness. We try to convince ourselves that the Lord must have meant something else when He taught: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).)

Instead of shirking the obvious, let’s take on our responsibility. Instead of “cringing under every criticism, smarting under each slight, tossing sleepless if another is preferred” let’s give up the fight. (A. W. Tozer)

Let’s consider 3 good reasons to forgive.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bitter or Better? When Someone Hurts You

People that live closest to us seem to have the greatest potential to hurt us. Someone mistreats, annoys, or irritates us. Perhaps it’s what someone didn’t do or say that causes our rights to rise up and protest. When you feel hurt, stop and think.

Anger is not the solution. Neither is lashing out with gossip, withdrawing, taking revenge, or growing bitter. Forgiveness is the better way. As Corrie Ten Boom said, “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is the power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.”

When the Nazi’s occupied Holland, Corrie Ten Boom’s family hid Jews in their home. Consequently, they were sent to a concentration camp where millions were tortured, raped, and killed. Prison guards stood by mocking, sneering at women’s naked bodies as they shuffled to the showers.  Corrie survived, but her sister succumbed to the abuse. Corrie’s hate for one particular guard intensified.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Expect Enemy Attacks and Anticipate Victory

You may have heard it said, “The Christian life is not a playground; it’s a battleground.”  For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12 NLT) It is clear that our warfare is not against physical forces, but against evil invisible powers who have clearly defined levels of authority.

Evil forces strategically tempt us to oppose God’s will and His authority. For example, the other day I was driving home from work, minding my own business. Suddenly, I became aware of a thought that was opposing God’s will. It lingered until I prayed, commanding it to leave. The devil also works through people. How many times has someone deflated you with a cutting, critical remark? Demonic assaults come unprovoked, unannounced and are relentless!

I’m not saying all adversity is bad. God permits some to strengthen our faith. Yet, Satan uses it to entice us to do and think that which brings harm and destruction. Consider the epidemic of broken families and marriages.  “Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves.” (James 4:1 MSG) Wicked spirits tempt us to give into selfish desires.

How are we to overcome and be victorious in the battle? God’s word tells us to “stand against” such attacks. It’s significant to know this verb’s meaning: to command bravery and great vigor, not passivity. (Ephesians 6:11)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

What to do With Your "What-Ifs"

At first, I panicked.  My 18-year-old daughter announced her plan to move out of the house on the heels of graduation. Sure, I had done my best to teach Bonnie practical life skills and, most importantly, impressed upon her the ways and character of God. Nevertheless, I suffered a miserable case of “what ifs.”

What if she can’t pay her rent and utilities, car payments, car insurance, gas? What if she’s short on food?  What if she gets sick? What if she lives in an unsafe place? My parental radar assessed this uncharted territory way too adventurous!

Can I trust God to keep “my baby” safe?

Other fears trigger “what ifs”. Driving in crowded highways: “What if I have an accident and I’m injured for life?” Hearing of someone getting cancer: “What if that were me?” While pregnant: “What if my child is born with a mental or physical disability?” When a death occurs: “What if God takes my husband or my children?”

Do you relate?