Meditating on Myself

Sometimes I get to meditating on myself and thinking about all the things about myself I don’t especially like. I think about how things seem to be going and sometimes I don’t like that so much either. I feel rushed and harrassed at times and I worry I might not have enough time to finish what I am trying to do. Then,  at other times, I feel other things I also don’t especially like feeling.

Then, there are so many things I just don’t understand. Why did I do what I just did? Why in the world did such-and-such have to happen to me? And sometimes I do understand, and that’s the problem. I understand a little bit too much, and I don’t always like what I understand.

Sometimes, I think to myself, how can God like me when at times I don’t even like my own self? I don’t always feel all that useful or able or smart or loveable or anything of value at all.

If I continue to meditate on myself and meditate on my “plight,” trying to figure out what I need to do to fix myself, I realize I am for sure heading for big trouble. Praise God, He shows me the trap before it’s too late. I begin to recall something very important. I begin to remember, the spirit of depression is down that road waiting patiently for me and cheering me on to come on down.

So I slam on the brakes as quickly as I can. Scr-ee-ee-ee-ch!

I decide, rather than meditating on myself, wouldn’t it be far better to meditate on the Word of God? That way, I am assured of a good outcome. I will get uplifted and energized. I will receive light and direction.

For You will light my lamp; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. for by You I can run against a troop, by my God, I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him” (Psalm 18:28-30).

 I must keep this in mind (as we all should): nothing on this earth (as it exists today) will ever be perfect, or perfectly clear, or easy all the time–not for me, not for you, not for anyone. We are all subject to disappointment and even discouragement at times. But there is a time coming when we will no longer have to experience such things.

So let’s hang in there in the meantime. Let’s not lose hope. We’ve come much too far to lose it now. And let’s not forget, God still love us, and He has already provided everything we need through Christ Jesus His Son and our Savior.

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In Light of the Latest Headlines

I get a little nervous sometimes when I think of how things are going in the world. How about you? Watching the six o’clock news faithfully or reading the newspaper in the evening is not usually a prescription for a good night’s sleep, I can tell you that much. So from time to time, I think it best to turn from the news. Even still…we know, don’t we? We know all is not well in this world.

Just to name a few things in the news, we hear of wars and rumors of wars, gun control, hijackings, kidnappings, earthquakes, crops dying, rivers drying up, prices rising, hope declining. And let us not forget: the God of the Bible has been asked to step down.

So…we can’t help but wonder…what’s going to happen next? Is my home safe? My family? My community (and so on)? That’s when an on-time word from the Lord can bring great comfort.

But whosoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil (Proverbs 1:33).

We can live in safety if we will listen to the wisdom of God. Now that is a wonderful promise.

In all fairness though, we also need to read the previous verse and what the Word says about those who do not listen to the wisdom of God.

For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and complacency of fools will destroy them (v. 32).

Which way will it be then? The way of the one who listens to wisdom? Or the way of the simple and foolish? Apparently, we get to decide. Doesn’t sound like such a hard decision to me. What say you?

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The Living and Powerful Word

When we read the Word of God, we are reading more than nice words, more than nice little stories with moral endings, and much more than man’s rationalized thoughts and ideas. This book–the Bible is different from any book you might have on your shelf–in many ways.

We, of course, understand that the Word of God reveals to us who God is, who we are, and God’s plan for man and for all of His creation. In addition to these awesome and powerful truths which we cling to for dear life, there are other attributes of the Word of God which are also so very thrilling.

For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

The Word of God is a living entity. How about that? And it can cut through and get to the bottom of things. It can uncover what appears concealed. It can search out the secrets in the heart of man, penetrating so deep as to get to the very end of a matter. It can alter things too, and transform things–like the human heart, for example.

The Word of God is equipped with divine power to accomplish the result for which it was intended (see Isaiah 55:11). Referred to as the sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6, it is part of the armor of God. It is part of our protective equipment as we stand “against the wiles of the devil.”

An ability to quote [the Word of God] on proper occasions, and especially in times of temptation and trial has a wonderful tendency to cut in pieces the snares of the adversary (Clark’s Commentary on the Bible, regarding Ephesians 6:17).

Let’s see how this works–how speaking God’s word can rescue us out of threatening situations. First, let’s look at an instance involving Jesus in Matthew 4.

When Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, and after He had fasted forty days and forty nights and was hungry, the devil came to Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

Jesus did not fall for the devil’s scheme. He did not begin to question His own identity as we might have been persuaded to do under similar circumstances. But Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” The devil, persistent as he is, tried to tempt Jesus two more times while He was in the wilderness. Each time Jesus responded with God’s word. Then, we are told, the devil left him.

Now let’s look at how Eve responded to a similar temptation in the Garden. We read in Genesis 2:16-17, God told Adam that he could eat of every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If he ate of the forbidden tree, God assured him, he would surely die.

But then the serpent came along to stir up trouble. Going straight to Eve, he lied to her so as to convince her to disobey God’s word. And what did Eve do? Rather than holding fast to God’s word and confessing it, as Jesus had done when He was confronted by Satan in the wilderness, Eve considered the lie and gave in. The rest is history (you can read the full account in Genesis 3). If Eve had continued to say what God said, she most likely would have run the serpent away.

So let us all begin to realize that the Word of God is not an ordinary word. it is alive; it is Spirit; it is full of power; it is able to destroy the works of the enemy. And speaking such a powerful word makes things happen.

I hope you are inspired by this (as I am myself). We need to talk more about it.

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Something for Everyone

Here is the wonderful truth of what Jesus’ presence was meant to accomplish in our lives–in our spirits, in our souls, and in our bodies. Just bask in these words for a few moments from Luke 4:18-21. Jesus reads these words from the book of Isaiah as he stands in the synagague:

The Spirit of the LORD is upon ME,

Because He has annointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives

And recovery of sight to the blind,

To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.

We read further that when He finished reading these words,”the eyes of all who were in the synague were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'”

Maybe you don’t, but I sure know how it feels to worry about paying everybody who expects to get paid; I have suffered the sickness and pain of a broken heart. And I have suffered through most of these other things, as well. But thank God, according to His own words, Jesus came to set us free from all of that. Now that’s some good news!

I hope this message helps to lift your spirit today and to inspire you.

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God’s Provisions Flow

This morning I got a slightly different perspective on receiving God’s provisions and blessings in our lives. I can tell you, my faith increased instantly because of it. One of our major problems, when it comes to receiving from God (when it comes to finances or any other kind of divine intervention), is our tendency to worry and fear. We worry that there is not enough to go around. We worry that we will not be able to get all we need. We know God is not pleased when we think such anxious thoughts, but the thoughts persist anyway.

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…(See 2 Peter 1:3).

I understand and am very glad that the above scripture applies to spiritual matters–eternal matters, of course. But I also believe it applies to those matters we must deal with right here on earth right now, as well.

So let’s consider this question. Could we possibly receive God’s provisions in our lives in almost the same way we walk outside and effortlessly receive as much warmth, light, and energy from the sun as we desire? Or could we possibly receive God’s provisions in our lives in almost the same way we inhale and receive the oxygen we need from the air which surrounds us?

My point is, we don’t worry about the energy from the sun running out or the sun shutting down from exhaustion. Therefore, we freely take in and enjoy the sun’s rays almost any day we like. And we don’t worry about how much air is left in the atmosphere after we  have enjoyed a vigorous bout of breathing. No, in most cases, we believe the air will continue to flow and continue to be available to meet our needs. So we breathe freely.

I see very clearly today, that sort of like the rays of the sun and the air we breath, all of God’s provisions are continuously flowing…all the time flowing…all the time circulating…over here, over there, and around every corner as He sees fit. I also believe no valley is too low or mountain too high to prevent God from doing what He has promised to do on our behalf.

We humans, on the other hand, tend to comparmentalize everything, don’t we? This is mine right here, we say. That’s yours over there. But let’s start thinking like this: everything belongs to God. And His possessions and blessings are therefore everywhere at His disposal, just like the energy of the sun, and just like the air we breathe. Everything is available to Him for dispensing as He chooses, for meeting needs and blessing His children. Nothing is permanently parked anywhere. He keeps it moving–circulating. He is the determiner of all things and the dispatcher of all things.

Think of how God provided bread directly from heaven (manna) for the Israelites as He delivered them out of the cruelty and bondage of slavery in Egypt (Exodus 16). Think of how He directed the Prophet Elijah to the widow’s home in Zarephath where He would perform great and miraculous works to provide for Elijah’s needs as well as the needs of the widow and her son (1Kings 17).

Think of how, in order to pay their taxes, Jesus directed Peter to “cast in a hook and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for me and you” (Matthew 17:27). Example after example of God’s miraculous provisions is provided in His Word and even all around us today.

There is no shortage because God can never fall short. He is the mover of all things. His Spirit is ever moving. That is why, the Word can assure us, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over…” (Luke 6:38). And the Word can assure us, “The wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous” (Proverbs 13:22). God Himself is seeing to it that everything is continuously moving to bring about the fulfillment of His promises.

And our part  is described in Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Our part is to immerse ourselves in His Word. Our part is to  trust Him as a child trusts his or her earthly father. Our part is to surrender to what He wants to do in and with our lives. Then we don’t have to panic–no need to lose heart. Instead, we can know the answers to our prayers are approaching speedily and are very near–even at this very moment.

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Environment Matters

I’ve always been terrified of planting things. Whether planting in a garden or in a pot, it doesn’t matter–I am usually nervous about it. Last month, I set aside my fears though and headed for the Farmer’s Market. I wanted to find enough easy-to-please flowers to make up three large pots to go in my front yard.

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I bought purple and yellow petunias (I knew these were easy to grow), and daisies in bright coral, pinks, and yellows. I also bought a flower in a hanging basket which showed off a delicate purple bell-shaped bloom. I wasn’t familiar with this flower, but the lady there assured me this flower would not present a problem.

I beamed with pride and anticipation as I carefully packed all the flowers in the back of the car and headed home. Once I got home, I repotted the flowers and placed them in the front yard–all in direct sunlight. I felt very pleased!

Do you know, flowers, just like people, don’t need or like all the same things? Have you ever thought about that?

A few days later, the petunias beamed and swayed happily in the easy May breeze. The daisies stood proudly basking in the sun. But the hanging basket didn’t look so happy. It had bowed its head, so to speak, as if cowering from an enemy. And in a few more days, its blooms had almost all dried up and fallen off. I just continued to water the flower and hope for the best.

Then I remembered something! The lady at the market had warned me about this flower. She had told me to provide it with a partially shaded environment. By now the stems had turned all brown and brittle and the blooms were nothing but a memory. I moved the plant to the porch and hoped for the best.

After a few days on the porch, lo and behold, the flower began to rise up with renewed vigor. One tiny purple bloom appeared…then two…then three spectacular blooms. At last, the stems began to lose a lot of their brown and brittle look as new green leaves appeared. What a miracle.

You know, we too can oftentimes find ourselves surrounded by conditions that don’t work for us, that work against us, draining our energy needlessly, even threatening to extinguish our very lives, if it were possible. But we can be glad that our Heavenly Father will lead us out of those things– if we will listen (see the example below from God’s word, as an example).

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of the sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2).

He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper. (v 3)

Let’s be led of the Lord in tightening up our environment. I am sure we would all like our lives to flourish and bring forth many spectacular blooms for a very long time to come. Just remember my little hanging basket.

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Hello world!

Welcome to my blog. I feel sure you will find encouragement and inspiration here. Enjoy.

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