Category Archives: Christian

Stop the Train!

My train of thought has jumped its track and is chugging off toward Comparison Station with a proposed stop at You’ll-Never-Be-Good-Enough Landing. But wait! I will cry out to God for help. Then I can choose to stop the train and back it up. God will help me get my thinking onto His track—remembering His love and grace and power.

Okay, Thoughts, “All aboard for the destination of a mind set on things above where Christ is!” (See Colossians 3:1)

Train in Chattanooga, TN

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Glorious!

“What does glory look like?” I asked the question as I looked at Colossians 1:27. It says that God lets the Gentiles know “the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (NIV).”

Part of the answer may come in asking, “What results from ‘Christ in me’?” As Jesus lives in me, He produces Holy Spirit fruit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Again, what does that look like? Maybe it shows up as my listening to the news the way Jesus would if He were me—not feeling threatened and not getting angry about things I can’t control. And I might remember to ask Father what parts of the news I need to pray about and how He would have me pray.

Perhaps it appears as compassion and joy in the Lord pushing out envy and self-seeking. Or a time when I experience contentment instead of jealousy and when I triumph over people-pleasing with confident trust in God’s love and care.

That sounds glorious to me. And Jesus Christ in me is making me like that.

And we who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV).”

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The God Who Loves

I received an invitation that reminded me of a painful incident from my youth. I prayed:


“Jesus, You were there when it happened. You longed to quiet my pain, but I thought I had to handle it myself. Why couldn’t I receive Your love and comfort? Perhaps back then I knew You only as a far-away God or as a Spirit who didn’t enter the reality of my daily teenage world.


“But now I know You better. You are Almighty God, Maker of heaven and earth. You are also the God who loves each person You created. You see us, not just as a group, but also as individuals.
“And You are the God of all comfort, the God who knows when a sparrow falls and who counts the stars and yet also knows the ever-changing number of hairs on my head.” (See 2 Corinthians 1:3, Matthew 10:29-30, Psalm 147:4.)

Dear Lord Jesus, Savior, Friend,
I want to sing Your praise again.
You are my life, my God, my King,
Ruler over everything.

Jesus, You are all I need.
I want to learn Your voice to heed
So I can walk in Your good plan,
Son of God and Son of Man.

Anger tries to push You off Your throne.
Bitterness turns my heart to stone
I reject these things that cling to me
And accept Your offer to set me free.

O Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Cleanse and heal and make me whole,
As I repent and seek Your face
And the kingdom of Your grace. Amen.
(See Ephesians 4:31.)

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Go Forth in Joy

God’s love doesn’t depend on your behavior.” How many times have I heard this and even said it myself? Yet recently a friend unearthed a stubborn place in my heart that didn’t believe that. This spot of unbelief lets in fiery arrows that cause me to stumble.
One day I prayed, Dear Father, I feel so out-classed by some of the Christians I’ve met. They serve you well in career and marriage/family and seem to grow steadily in their relationship with Jesus. I hesitate to share my real thoughts with such people. Although I’m sure they don’t think themselves superior to me, I think myself inferior.
Perhaps God answered with this bit of verse:

Don’t believe Satan’s lies, dear child.
Just lift up your eyes to Me and look—
My heart for you is written in My Book.
You are loved. You are prized.
Your value cost Me My Son’s life.
So doubt no more about your worth,
And don’t compare to others on earth.
Relax, receive. Choose to believe.
My love depends not on you, but Me.
And though your trust falters, My love never fails.
Go forth in joy
And know I am with you whatever assails.

“Search me O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV).
I will turn away from the offensive ways of unbelief which You, God, have exposed, and I will return to trusting You with ALL my heart and not leaning on my own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

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Glory

My Old Testament Bible reading one morning, Exodus 36-38, gave a lot of yawn-producing (at least for me) repetitive detail about the wilderness tabernacle and its furnishings.

But I thought about how You, God, “gifted Bezalel, Oholiab, and the other skilled craftsmen with wisdom and ability” in construction so that the result was perfect and beautiful (Ex. 36:1). And you also put on the hearts of the people such willingness to give that they had to be told to stop because so much was given.

Oh the beauty and glory of that tent and furniture where You dwelt with Your people! Yet how much more beautiful and glorious is Jesus Christ, God’s Son. And He lives in me.

Lord God, may I become purer and purer and more transparent so Your beauty will be seen in me. Amen.

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Never Alone

Father, please help me live today in a way that brings joy, not sorrow, to Your Holy Spirit because You have identified me as Your own (Ephesians 4:30 NLT: “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.”)

Ephesians 4:30 brings other verses to mind, like the ones in Romans 8 which tell me that nothing can separate me from God’s love and Hebrews 13:5 that says God will never fail or abandon me.

An old hymn also comes to mind: “Never Alone” which we sang with this chorus:


“No, never, never alone. No, never alone. He promised never to leave me.
He’ll claim me for His own.
No, never, never alone. No, never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.”

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Truth–Do You Love IT?

(Image by GDJ from openclipart)

“Truth is under attack in our culture,” states David Barton, author of The American Story, in a recent talk available on YouTube. He gave startling statistics especially about moral truth. He noted that 3 out of 5 Americans believe there no such thing as absolute moral truth. Among millennials, the number is 4 out of 5. Even among Christians, 1 of every 2 believe there is no absolute moral truth.

He spoke about 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, particularly about verses 10-12 where Paul talks about people not receiving a “love of the truth.” A continued rejection of truth results in being deluded and believing a lie. People then act on these lies and experience condemnation.

Mr. Barton points out that personal opinion has replaced truth and fact in our society. “My side winning” has become more important than truth.

(The above from the American History II video in a series of 3 at Christ for the Nations Church:)

American History I https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTNXBYbwGFQ

American History IIhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omgg6b6kZMQ

American History IIIhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKKLiI-Mz-Q

All 3 videos were truly fascinating with true American history being given in each one, much of which I didn’t know and which is no longer taught in American schools.

How very sad that people in our country have drifted so far! Everyone “doing what is right in their own eyes” must stop. The only way our nation can be restored is for all of us to begin to love and pursue truth in every area so God can bless America again.

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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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