My Father reminds me this morning of an activity that I used to participate in when I was a young girl in school. All of the kids in my class were divided into two teams and each team took hold of opposite ends of a long rope. There was a mark on the ground between us and the goal was to pull the opposing team so one of their team members crossed over the mark which brought their loss in the competition. This activity was call “Tug of War.” This is a sport that is actually played all over the world that puts two teams against each other in a test of strength. My Father has laid it upon my heart this morning that as Christians, we are constantly involved in “Tug of War” activity with the enemy, the Devil. His Word spoken to me this morning says that in the last days, there will be scoffers of the Lord Jesus who will follow their own ungodly desires. They are those who will divide us, who follow their natural instincts and do not have the Spirit of the Lord. In an effort to win this war, Our Father tells us the importance of building ourselves up in our most holy faith and praying in the Spirit, keeping ourselves in God’s love as we wait for His mercy to rescue us from this life into eternity. Being on our Father’s winning team, this means being a part of His team – being in relationship with our Father and other Christians, reading His Word (the Bible) and praying for strength to win the battles that we face that tug on us to cross over the line to the enemy’s side called sin. As we do, did you know our Father is helping us win and cheering us on? Yes, it is true! His Word tells us that His Spirit helps us in our weakness. We may not even know what to pray for, but the Lord’s Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Our Father understands our struggles as He searches our hearts and He knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will which is that we win over the enemy! Oh, I can hear that in my mind as I visualize our team tugging and tugging to win the battle between the flesh and the Spirit’s desires and our Father’s Spirit groaning as He helps us fight the fight to win over the enemy. As our Father’s cheerleader, I say to you this morning “Come on team, let’s win! Let’s tug, tug, tug and don’t give an inch to the enemy. We can do this. It will be a blessed time when at the end of the war, we can do the victory dance and reap the rewards of our efforts to apply strength for our Father’s winning team! Woohoo! It’s gonna be fun and victory will feel so sweet. Be strong. Keep going! So many need us!”
Good morning to you! As I gaze upon our Father’s Word today, it is on my heart to write about the importance of putting off our old self which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires and to be made new in the attitude of our minds – to put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. This is a message we have all heard before, meaning our old self is the sinful nature that lives within us, for which Christ died on the cross. This old nature within us misleads us from God’s ways and cheats us from seeing life at His best. Our Father mentions “attitude” of our minds in this passage. The attitude of our old self is one of worry, complaining and grumbling. Upon believing, He has placed His Holy Spirit in us to help us live our new self, to be like Him that is not anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, presenting our requests to God. And then the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. “Attitude” is something we can all struggle with and a bad attitude is certainly something to work on. I like to think about it this way: When our attitude is bad, we need to think “going to the car wash.” Say what? Yep, I said “car wash.” After all, we are God’s vehicles, so to speak, that carries His Spirit that carries the Good News along the road of life. Our vehicles have a tendency to collect dirt and be unclean (due to our sinful nature). As a result, the view through the front window (our sight) can become clouded over so that we do not see well the way of the Lord. This calls for the need to hose off with His living water (the Spirit in us), to apply the scrubbing bubbles called “Gratitude” as you follow the Word instructions (the Bible) so as to dissolve away the muck of our sinful attitude and then, use prayer wax to help guard (our mind and heart) and the cleanliness and shininess of Him in us (the new self) will be the result. We can then head out onto the road of life with peace of mind and His ride into the world through us will represent Him well. I’m thinking toting a good amount of change is a good thing to do. How about you? See ya on the road. I can do that well with a clean window (a Godly view)! Eph 4:1,22-24; Php 2:14-16, 4:6-8; Mt 6:25; 1 Co 3:16; 2 Co 5:20-21, Ro 12:2
Good Monday mornin’, dear family. I hope you all had a great weekend. I managed to transform my mountain of laundry into clean clothes to hang in the closet and as I begin this day, I join Jesus and His disciples as they are on top of the mountain, having just experienced the power of God as it changed Jesus’ appearance, leaving them not sure what to say and frightened. The next thing that happens is they find themselves within a cloud which is actually known as the symbol of the glory of God, the very presence of God. God personally spoke to them within the cloud and said “This is my Son and I love Him. Listen to Him!” All at once, they looked around and saw no one with them except Jesus. As they were coming off the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man rose from the dead which the disciples seized upon and discussed with one another what that meant. They had lots of questions for Jesus. They asked Him “Why is it the scribes say Elijah must come first?” Jesus said to them, “Elijah does come first and makes all things new again and yet how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer much and not be accepted?” He stated “I tell you, Elijah has come. They have done to him everything they wanted to do. They did it just as it is written about him.” Elijah is referring to John the Baptist who had came as a forerunner to Jesus, preaching repentance. He was put to death by King Herod. As I reflect on this story, these thoughts fill my mind. 1) First of all, what an honor for the disciples and for us as Dad’s kids to be able to see and hear the things of God. My heart so desires this for those who do not see and hear Him presently. It makes me want to keep going for Dad! 2) How would it be to have the God of the Universe personally recommend you as He did Jesus? Talk about a statement of accreditation! Guess what? Ok, I’ll tell ya – as Dad’s kids, He also gives us His vote of confidence when He says to “Go into all the World and make disciples.” We are His ambassadors or representatives entrusted to speak to others for Him. Are you like me, in that this encourages my heart to know my Dad desires “me” to be part of His team. Dad gives us this advice in so doing “Listen to His Son!” In stepping out for Dad, to successfully lead others, we must follow His voice and seek Him when we have questions. 3) After receiving the vision and hearing the voice of the Father, they saw no one except Jesus alone. I ask myself, do I see only Jesus in my life? He needs to be the focal point of my life whom I listen to and who leads me and and not anyone else. He tells us to seek the counsel of others at times, but everyone’s counsel should always be filtered through our Father for His guidance and final say. 4) When I think of one’s head in a cloud, I think of the importance to have our minds positioned in the presence of our Father and His voice and not be lofty or high up in the clouds of pride and self-talk. Apart from God, we can do nothing on our own. There are times when I can also find myself too low to the ground and frightened due to cloudiness of mind. I know others sometimes struggle with allergies, affects of medications, lack of knowledge, too many things on the brain and lack of sleep that affect our thinking and can leave us feeling inadequate, too lowly. It is always encouraging to me to know that others struggle with this as well not that I desire others to struggle, but it makes me feel I’m not the only imperfect in the world. In this state, we need to also “Listen to God’s Word (Jesus) which says to seek His healing, trust Him to help us, to give us wisdom, work good through us and to think of ourselves with sober judgment. Because of this struggle in my life, it helps me to lend grace to others who are struggling. Well, dear ones – it has been a great mountaintop experience with ya this morning. May the presence of our Father linger with you today and be a great reminder to you that He is ever present, He loves you and desires for you and me to join Him in His work. Bless you!
Mk 9:7-13; Mt 11:13-14, 28:16-20; Ex 24:15-16; 2 Co 5:20-21; Ro 8:28-29; Ps 103:1-3, 121, 139:7-12; Ro 12:1-8; Jn 3:16
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Traveling through Tuesday with ya! Neither of us are alone this day, so I guess we could then say it’s “two’sday”, huh? The disciples are traveling today in a boat with Jesus and I have to chuckle as they remind me so much of me! It is just like me to leave my country home and get almost to town about ten miles away and remember, “oh, great. I forgot my lunch or I forgot this or that.” The disciples realized after they were out in the boat with Jesus that they only had one loaf of bread. I am assuming the one loaf they had was pretty small based on the context of the story and it was not enough to feed them. This really wasn’t a problem with Jesus on board as He could’ve easily provided for them from their small supply as He did the 5,000 and the 4,000 people, but this hadn’t clicked with the disciples yet. “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” This left the disciples scratchin’ their heads and I imagine a “deer in the headlights” look, asking “Why did Jesus say that?” They concluded to each other like “Dudes, it is because we have no bread.” Aware of their discussion as Jesus always is in our lives, He responded “Why are you talking no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? Don’t you remember when I broke the five loaves, feeding the 5,000 and also feeding the 4,000? How many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up? When they answered twelve and seven, he said “Do you still not understand?” Ouch!!! The poor disciples again. They were always struggling to get it and I can so understand that ‘cuz they remind me of me again! Can you imagine being Jesus and having so much knowledge and trying to communicate it to these new believers? The God of the Universe who truly is a “know it all” is trying to explain what He knows to His kids who struggled to get it. People can be in different places spiritually and sometimes it can be difficult for them to relate to others. It’s sometimes made more difficult when we use jargon and parables that are not understood. Dad says we all need to be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Jesus desired to teach the disciples, but they struggled to figure out what Jesus was trying to tell them. In this story, He was trying to warn them that there were people who could lead them astray. The disciples thought Jesus’ comment was a different issue. It was one of those difficult situations where Dad worked good through it for the growth of His kids, using it as a teachable moment in their lives just like He does in ours. Ok, in light of this, here’s my new motto if I lack wisdom: “Just ask.” Dad says He gives generously to all who ask without finding fault. He’s so loving and so smart. I wanna be just like Him when I grow up! Well, I better start oaring through this day. Sisterly love to ya’ll! Mk 8:14-21; Eph 4:2-6; Ro 8:28-29; 1 Co 2:1-3:2; Ja 1:2-8