Category Archives: Christian

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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Filed under Christian, Christian Living, Thoughts from Sermons Heard, Uncategorized

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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Hope in God – Journey Reblog 11

As my journey continued through the distress of almost constant panic, I journaled about my feelings. In mid-January I wrote:

The hours and days pass moment by moment, and I feel faithless and fearful. But I choose to trust in You, Lord Jesus Christ.

            I need sleep! I got very little last night. Lord, You are the One who sustains my body. You know what I need, and You determine how soon the meds will take effect. You are the One who gives sleep.

            I seek You. I need You, Lord! You alone can help me. I don’t feel faithful or trusting, but You alone are Lord, and I’m determined to believe and trust You. Please heal my body and mind. Amen.

When a godly friend prayed for me, I thought that would fix everything. I was disappointed that I still woke up every couple of hours at night and first thing in the morning in panic. I also feared that I would be a disappointment to her—as though it were my responsibility to make the answers come instead of God’s!

Maybe I’m trusting in my ability to believe God instead of trusting in God Himself.

            Father, I don’t know how to change. Please help me focus on You and really trust You. Amen.

The medicine did finally start helping me sleep. I came to the place where I didn’t wake up in panic mode each morning.  By balancing brain chemicals, the medicine also enabled more reasonable ways of thinking. And God is helping me to change my thoughts to healthier patterns (Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”)*

So I want to encourage anyone who is still thrashing through the forest of anxiety/depression symptoms to hope or keep hoping in God. He will lead you out of your distress at just the right time because His faithful love endures forever.

Psalm 42:5 “Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.”*

1 Chronicles 16:34 “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.”*

 

*Scriptures are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

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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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Encouragement for the Anxious – Journey Reblog 10

(Flowers on a Journey)

When did I begin this journey toward wholeness? I had thought I began in early November of 2016, but really, I’ve been on the journey all my Christian life. Likewise, I had thought it ended by the first of March 2017, but again, my walk toward wholeness won’t end until my life on earth is complete and I see Jesus face to face. (1 John 3:2–Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is.”)

Nevertheless, during that 4-month period, I struggled with the brokenness of anxiety/ depression in a way that made that part of the journey particularly noticeable. So how can I encourage others who find themselves on the same road? There is one thing I could say to those who follow Christ yet feel overwhelmed with anxiety or depression symptoms: You can be sure that God is with you. I was so wrapped up in anxiety that I had trouble believing that. Frequent verbal reminders helped me. Many Scriptures tell us this truth, but because I couldn’t feel God’s presence, I wavered in unbelief. I hope you’ll do better at believing than I did, but even if you don’t, He’s still with you, loving and helping you through it all. And He will still be with you when you come out on the other side.

How do I know? First, because God has promised and He is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”) Second, because of what God did for me. How thankful I am for God’s faithfulness to me and His patience with me!

Psalm 139:5 “You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me.”      Psalm 23:4 “Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me.”

Hebrews 13:5-6 “…for [God] Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. Therefore, we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

(Scripture quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)

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