Tag Archive | spirituality

I’M STAYING IN BED TODAY

I think I’ll just stay in bed all day.

I wonder: did Paul ever wake up and think “I don’t want to face the Jews or Gentiles (non-Jews) today. I’m tired. I’ll just stay in bed today.” Or “Hey guys, I’m just gonna soak in the tub today. Take the day off.” Somehow, I don’t think he did. He relied on God completely. The acts of Paul: full reliance on God, perseverance, patience, tenacity, loyalty, faithfulness, endurance…

If you’re like me, you are weary and tired.  Tired of world issues, politicians, violence, hatred, extreme reactions and, of course, COVID-19. Feeling battered and battled. Paul’s life was much worse than mine. How did Paul keep moving forward under difficult circumstances?

Philippians 3:4b-11 (ESV) If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Paul endured more than I can imagine.  He CHOSE to go back to Jerusalem even though he knew it would me beatings and imprisonment, or worse. Acts 21:10-15 (TPT) During our stay of several days, Agabus, a prophet from Judea, came to visit us. As a prophetic gesture, he took Paul’s belt and tied his own hands and feet with it as he prophesied, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘The one who owns this belt will be tied up in this same way by the Jews and they will hand him over to those who are not Jews.’”When we heard this, both we and the believers of Caesarea begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. But Paul replied, “Why do you cry and break my heart with your tears? Don’t you know that I’m prepared not only to be imprisoned but to die in Jerusalem for the sake of the wonder of the name of our Lord Jesus?” Because we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said nothing more except “May the will of the Lord be done.”

He was repeatedly beaten to break his will; imprisoned to prove a point. He didn’t curl up in a ball and think “woe is me” or give in to his persecutors.  He sang and praised God from his prison cell. God met him right there with an earthquake and a beam of light. His ministry did not cease while he was imprisoned and continued long after his death. In fact, today we still read the letters he wrote while in prison. Paul’s conversion was dramatic and life changing. His passion for spreading the news of Jesus as Messiah was fueled by the multitudes who were converting. Maybe he was the original “Jesus Freak”!

Most days I don’t have 1/10 of the energy and passion we find in Paul. This world and its chaos breaks my heart. I’m talking about heinous crimes, national and international responses (or lack of response), health issues, life or death issues.  Paul’s heart must have ached for everyone to know Jesus. How can I have just half of the perseverance and endurance Paul exhibited?

Father God, thank You for Paul’s example.  Show me how to rely fully on You! Give me the acts of Paul!

lg

NOT ANOTHER NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

snow-on-blossoms500

So, I got out of bed this morning and headed toward the closet for my workout clothes. I grabbed what I needed and begin to put on the socks first. Except, in my sleepiness, I had not removed my pajamas, including socks for my cold feet! Although there hasn’t been much restorative sleep in my house as of late (my husband had the flu for 6 days and nights), in my grogginess I realized if I do not take off the old habits and put on the new ones in Christ, it is like putting lipstick on a pig! The pig is still a pig. Christ told us in Luke 9:23:  Jesus said to all of his followers, “If you truly desire to be my disciple, you must disown your life completely, embrace my ‘cross’ as your own, and surrender to my ways.” (TPT)

What does disowning my life look like? Is it abandoning my family and giving away all my possessions? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I must evaluate all aspects of my life and purge any part that is contradictory to a Christ filled and led life. Personally, I am being convicted of the many distractions keeping me from focusing on Him. One of my favorite hobbies is putting together jigsaw puzzles. I had the app on my tablet and completed at least one puzzle per day. Notice, I used “had”. One day as I am about to open the app, I felt a nudging to delete it! WHAT? Are you sure? Deleting the app would delete all the puzzles I have added and the list of completed puzzles! Longing to be obedient to the Lord, I deleted the app. I still enjoy puzzling, but I am sticking to the tactile version on a table. In the puzzling vein, I am a bit of a wordsmith and enjoy playing and watching word games. Sometimes this “love” inserts itself before quiet time with God, before reading Scripture. My need for focus trumps my need for puzzles and games. I have found when I put those things behind me and study God’s Word, listen to praise music, or pour myself into a book study, I do not feel deprived of anything. In fact, I feel the opposite. My spiritual cup is filled and overflows.

What’s that? I’m talking about minor things not sinful habits to shed? Then, let’s get real. In our culture, it is common to speak damaging words regarding others. This can be viewed as venting or telling the facts. Matthew 15:18 But what comes out of your mouth reveals the core of your heart. (TPT) This verse has been nagging me for a few weeks. Just last evening, I was caught up in speaking poorly regarding a contractor who lives in my neighborhood. It was not my intention to make others think less of him. Or so I thought. In reality, I gave in to the peer pressure to agree with someone else’s assessment. To truly follow Christ’s example, I must refrain from even thinking disparaging thoughts about someone else! This world is deeply broken and humans disappoint other humans. If by God’s grace I can see the other human as God sees them, I can see the good person created in God’s image. I am far from perfect and have disappointed others on too many occasions to count! I would hope for God’s grace to cover my inadequacies. 2 Cor.5:17-19 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (NASB) (emphasis mine)

Father, thank you for revealing distractions in my life! May I be obedient to Your nudging and remove distractions. Please keep one hand on my shoulder and one hand over my mouth to keep me from mouthing off. May I remember You are the God of reconciliation and You see me as Your child, perfectly loved. Amen.                          lg

Ps. 40:3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord. (NASB)

Take this world. Give me Jesus.

imagesSomedays it seems that the world is full of more darkness than Light. Recently, I read that if I focus on the Light in the world and the good things people do, I will be less influenced by the darkness. I equate this to the “junk in, junk out” philosophy. When I continually, focus on the dark it becomes overwhelming. My attitude deteriorates. My mood becomes cloudy. When I notice the kindness of others, the beauty of nature, the smile of my grandson, the many blessings God has given, my attitude becomes lighter. My outlook reflects this with gratitude.

One recent afternoon, my attitude was flushed down the toilet (so to speak). Initially, I was unaware of the change. But, God gently nudged my inner being. Thankfully, not with the iron skillet I deserve!  He was waiting for me to reach out to Him. To readjust my focus to the Light, the Word. We were created for union with Him. Each human is searching for Him. When we do not commune with Him, we seek other ways of satisfaction and are disappointed when it doesn’t work. We must look to God first. I know I fail at this more than I’d like to admit.

My prayer for each of us: Father, thank You for Your Manual of Life! Help us not to give in to distraction. Gently, guide us back to Your Word, Your Truth. May we begin each day with praise for the many blessings You provide.

Matthew 6:33-34 (TPT)  “So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly.Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.”