Category Archives: Christian Living

Jealousy Doesn’t Have a Chance

 

An “Inner Healing” retreat brought four of us ladies to Texas that weekend. I don’t remember much from the retreat itself, but I do remember something I learned on the return trip.

We had a huge lunch as we departed the conference. At a stop on the way home, the others bought ice cream. They offered to share some before they dove in. I was so full that I didn’t want even one bite of their ice cream.

Thinking about it: What if I walk into each day knowing how loved and blessed by God I am? And if I also remember that Jesus is more than enough to satisfy my soul? Then the jealousy that so often attacks won’t have a chance. I’ll be so filled with the love of Christ that I won’t want “even one bite” of someone else’s experience.

“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives….” –Colossians 3:16 NLT
“My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.” –Psalm 63:5 NKJV

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Doing Good Things

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT).

This verse says that all of us who are new in Christ can do the good things God planned long ago for us to do. I wonder what those things are.

I used to think they were big things like preaching, prophesying, or doing miracles. I didn’t do big things like that, so I feared that I missed doing the good works God prepared ahead of time for me to do. But maybe God’s good plans include smaller, less noticeable acts. It could be that He plans for me to show kindness and mercy, forgive those who offend me, help meet another person’s need, write a devotional blog, or pray for a friend (or an enemy).

As I seek to follow Jesus, He shows me good things I can do.

(Painting by Renoir titled “Girls at the Piano” is Public Domain from: https://www.wpclipart.com/ )

 

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Changing Thinking

When someone suggested I call customer support about one of our office machines, I grumbled, “They’re never any help.” I added in my mind: I’ve had nothing but trouble with that stupid machine from the beginning! Also, communicating with tech support totally frustrates me.

Really? Am I thinking that people should immediately solve the problems and if not, I need to get angry? Or do I believe that because I’ve had difficulties before, things can’t change? Maybe faulty thinking is behind my irritation. How can I change?

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2 New Living Translation).

I can start with prayer. Lord, please help me! I have harbored anger and frustration in my heart. which have come out in angry words. I also felt resentful toward people who seemed to get better service than I did. I confess these things as sin. Please forgive me.

I could follow up with choosing God’s way over mine. I choose to “cease from anger and forsake wrath because it tends only to evil-doing” (Psalm 37:8–Amplified Bible). I will “put on” the new me which is being re-created in the likeness of Christ (Ephesians 4:24). Now I can forgive others and choose to overlook someone’s fault. I will walk in an attitude of generosity which rejoices when others are blessed.

As I follow Him, Jesus leads me to experience abundant life. What a relief to be able to accomplish my tasks without tripping over my old non-renewed mind!

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Paths of Peace

Speaking to his infant son John (John the Baptist), Zechariah said, “[You will give the Messiah’s] people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins…[and the Messiah will] guide our feet into paths of peace.”

Thank You, Jesus, for guiding my feet into paths of peace.

When I go Your way regarding anxiety, I receive peace beyond understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). If I trust You and anchor my mind in You, You keep me in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). You give real peace, not the shaky peace the world gives (John 14:27).

Jesus, You tell me not to let my heart be troubled or afraid. Sometimes I think I can’t prevent my heart from being troubled and afraid. But the truth is that with Your Holy Spirit in me, I have all the power I need to choose obedience, trust and peace instead of fear, agitation and anxiety.

Yes, thank You, Lord, for Your guidance into pathways of peace.

Amen.

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Source of Sabotage

In a conversation with a respected friend, one remark flew right past the logic center of my brain and poked a hole in my heart. My friend had said one thing and somewhere between my ears and my soul it got twisted so that I heard something entirely different.

I heard blame: “XYZ’s unpleasant behavior is all your fault,” and I heard put-down: “You are a bad person, worthy of rejection.”

Aha! Rejection! There’s a mental stronghold where the enemy twists thoughts, shreds meanings, and shoots out his lies. I see other strongholds in my soul too, but what can I do?

Asking the Holy Spirit to show me the truth might help. He points out a foundation stone of pride—thinking life should work the way I want it to. So I could start with humbling myself before God and remembering that He’s God and I’m not.

I’ve let past rejections and hurt feelings build up instead of dealing with them God’s way. Now fortress walls guard a breeding ground for grief and misunderstanding. They ought to come down as I choose to repent of my bitterness and to quit focusing on myself.

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NIV).

(Picture by Colin Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13083522)

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The Soul’s Delight

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live” (Isaiah 55:1-3a NIV).

“Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. [Other versions say, “and the unrighteous their thoughts.”] Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously” (Isaiah 55:6-7 New Living Translation or NLT). [Other versions—“freely pardon,” “freely forgive,” and “abundantly pardon.”]

Holy Spirit, I need Your help to forsake my old negative ways of thinking that I learned from the world and culture around me. I want to come and drink living water and partake of the bread of life. Please point out to me where I’ve chosen the wrong ways so I can repent. I will choose to be transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2).

Ephesians 4:22-24 instructs me to get rid of my old corrupted nature—my ways of thinking and doing which aren’t under Your control. Instead, I am to “let the Spirit renew [my] thoughts and attitudes,” and to “put on [my] new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy” (NLT). So with Your help, that is what I’ll do.

I’m determined to quit feeding the old me with its negative thought patterns and behaviors which have no life. I want to start feeding my new nature which is becoming more and more like Jesus. He is life and the Giver of life. I will partake of Him and His Word, and I will grow.

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Our Tailor’s Pattern

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern,…just so you shall make it.’” (Exodus 25:1, 8-9 NKJV)

God is shaping me according to the pattern of Christ.

Like a tailor, He cuts away the material that doesn’t fit the pattern. As I yield to His work, things like bad attitudes, jealousy, outbursts of anger, impurity, quarreling and other sins can be discarded. (See Galatians 5:19-21.) Also, all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander must be snipped off and trashed (Ephesians 4:31).

Then His Spirit removes and adds and shapes (when I obey Him) so I match Christ’s likeness. Colossians 3:9-10, Amplified, says, “Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices, and have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it.”

Finally, as a quilter would, He fits me together with other believers to make for Himself a work of both function and beauty. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)

Thank You, God. Amen.

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Unfailing Love

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” (Psalm 90:14 NIV)

Yes, Holy Lord, please satisfy me with Your unfailing, eternal, love this morning! Your love fills my longing soul with Yourself. It oozes the oil of joy which begins to restore the broken places in my heart. Then I will sing because I can enter the day believing I am undeniably loved by You, Lord–amazing, awesome God. With a full heart, I can give instead of grab, serve rather than seek service, and love others, not try to use them. And because Your love never fails, I can be glad every day forever.

Thank You for Your unfailing love, Lord! I could never deserve it, but You offer it in Jesus. Please help me open my eyes to perceive more of it. Amen.

(Pinterest)

Psalm 89:1 NIV “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.”

“Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,sing his mercy and his grace….”(From the hymn “When We All Get to Heaven”)

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Where Wisdom Starts

Proverbs 9:10“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). I wonder what kind of fear that is. It must not be the fear that He will reject me if I accidentally do something wrong or that He will give up on me if I fail too many times. No, it can’t be fears like that because that fear involves torment, and God’s perfect love casts that out (1 John 4:18).

Rather, surely that “fear of the Lord” recognizes His awesome power, might, intelligence, and total authority. It acknowledges that He is God, and I am not; that He is the potter, and I am clay; and that He is absolutely righteous, pure and true. It is fear that seeks to obey His commands and walk His way. And obeying Him and His laws always results in a better outcome than anything I or any other human being could plan or do. Thus, the fear of the Lord is indeed the beginning of wisdom.

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Cast Your Burden

Today I remembered a couple of unconfessed sins from my college years. At first I went back to my old way of thinking: “Oh I wish I could go back and change my attitudes and actions so I wouldn’t be ashamed of them when I face Jesus at judgment.” Then I remembered a certain story a Christian leader told me:

“A man carrying a load on his back walked along a dirt road on his way to town. A farmer in a horse-drawn wagon offered him a ride. So the man climbed up beside the farmer, and they continued on. The farmer asked the man why he didn’t put his burden down in the wagon bed.

“The man replied, ‘Oh sir, you were so kind to give me a ride! I couldn’t ask you to carry my pack also.’”

Ah, yes. When Jesus died for me, He paid for those two sins also. And 1 John 1:9 is still true: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV)

I don’t have to carry around that shame. I can lay it down in God’s wagon bed of grace.

Colossians 2:13-14 “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” (NIV)
Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” (NKJV)

 

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