Tuesday, January 31, 2012

for this I am thankful...

January 31, 2012

Psalm 25:7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions, according to your steadfast love remember me for the sake of your goodness

Thank God that He does this all the time; even in the times we don’t realize we need it. And in those times when we know we have failed Him

Monday, January 30, 2012

before I was formed...

January 30, 2012

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…

I like knowing that He knew me before anyone else. He knew that on some occasions my anger would get large. He knew that I would suffer from insecurities. He knew where all my weaknesses would lie. He also knew where my strengths would be, and He knew how I would be able to serve Him. He knew when I would bring Him glory and shame. And through it all He loved me…I think that’s a beautiful thought. It was His choice because He already knew that on my own I am unloveable!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

showing love...

January 26, 2012

Psalm 103: 7 He will not always chide. Nor will he keep his anger forever

Chide is defined as “to express disapproval of; scold; reproach.” I am certainly more deserving of reproach from God on a constant daily basis. Yet, that’s not how God works; instead, He builds up and He teaches. He wants us to learn how to attack our daily struggles without turning to sin. Although He never sacrifices His holiness for anything; He also never desires to beat in our heads again and again over our sin. I wonder if we offer others in our lives the same degree of love as God shows us. For it is God’s love that is shown when He doesn’t rain down His anger, which is justified, on those who deserve it; instead, He shows us His love, and forbearance.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gratitude #4...Another and Another

January 25, 2012

Psalm 103:1-5

V 2 bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits

God has given me so much…that’s a fact that we often forget. In the devotion I read today, Nancy Leigh DeMoss spoke about a woman she meet recently who had memorized and meditated on scripture for many years. One of the things that stood out about this lady is the fact that she never really suffered from anxiety or depression. What did she do? Well, she would recite Psalm 103…while doing that she would be reminded of the many blessings we have as believers. Choosing to focus on what we do have instead of whatever problem she had helped her to stop worrying about it. I’m satisfied it would do the same for us also. Our assignment for today is to start a list, two actually, one titled “Gifts from God” and one “Gifts from Others”. Each day we are to think on this and add to our list. It’s often easy to list all that is wrong in our lives or all the things people have done to hurt us. This exercise will force us to think about the good not the bad.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Grattitude #3: Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so...

January 24, 2012

**We are back. God blessed Terry and I, along with Nick and Jennifer, a trip through our business, and that’s were we have been for the last few days.**

Psalm 107:1-32

V 1-2 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands!

I give thanks to the Lord because He continues to hold me and deliver me. I know that each step I take is one that will lead me to further righteousness, and without those steps, be they painful or fun, I would never achieve God’s righteousness in my life. I am thankful for so much, but I guess what I’m most thankful for is the reminder that I should be thankful at all times. I love how God uses our life experiences to illustrate to us what He is trying to teach us. Through this past week-end I learned so much for which to be thankful. I learned or rather God further illustrated to me, how gratitude in the life of a believer flavors their lives. God heard each of my cries just this week and He answered them in ways I never saw coming, certainly they were for the best. And that’s just this weekend…

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Choosing Gratitude Day 2: Abounding in Thanksgiving

January 18, 2012

Colossians 1:19 for in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell

In this second day of our gratitude devotional, Ms. Demoss is teaching us why believers have no option but to be grateful. That reason is that our gratitude rests on what Christ did for us on the cross, and also as important on who He is. Everything we have to be thankful for comes from Him. He is our joy and our hope. We can find it in nothing else; not any earthly source or any church service. Only in our relationship with Him; it is certainly a tall order to think about having to be grateful for everything in our lives because quiet frankly not everything that happens to us is good. Yet, our circumstances isn’t the parameter by which we judge being grateful. It is in what Christ has already done for us. He has saved us, and He sustains us.

My Five Thankful Things:
  1. God is a God who answers prayers
  2. My sweet little girl who told me yesterday not to worry because while I was gone God would help us send "heart emails" to each other when we look at the moon!
  3. the hugs and kisses I get everyday from my children; and when my sweet Jackson tells me I'm the most beautifulest mom ever ( I don't correct his grammer!!)
  4. my sweet little baby who gets in my bed a lot cause he just needs to snuggle
  5. learning the power of being still and waiting before God and trusting in His power

Monday, January 16, 2012

#1 Defined by Gratitude

January 16, 2012

Colossians 3:12-17

**In our small group at church we are starting a great new study on gratitude…Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss…for that study we are doing a special devotional three times a week for nine weeks** this is #1

I was asked my Ms. DeMoss to rate myself on how grateful I am. I must be honest and say that I really haven’t thought a lot about what it really means to be grateful, and I’m learning that being grateful is much more than just being thankful. Ms DeMoss defines gratitude this way “learning to recognize and express appreciation for the benefits we receive from God and from others.” I know that I have been blessed beyond measure by God and the many family and friends that make up my life; I am sad to say that I haven’t thanked them for that! I pray that God will help me to become more thankful, more grateful, as I learn what that word really means. That it would permeate my life and be an outpouring that others can see. I am also suspossed to write down

5 things that I am thankful for each day, so here’s my list:

·     apparently Elle-Catherine ate something that did agree with her, and we aren’t dealing with a stomach virus in our house

·     excitement building for mine and Terry’s upcoming trip

·     God’s blessings on my endeavor to become more healthy

·     My mom and dad who will keep our children while we are on the trip I mentioned in #3

·     Sunday dinners at my Mom & Pop-in-Law’s!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

jumping in...

January 12, 2012

Philemon 1:6 that the sharing of your faith…

MacArhtur tells us that the word “sharing” usually means “fellowship.” It’s a much deeper meaning than simply having a potluck on Sunday night. It’s a sharing of our lives with other believers. It’s a jump into the deep end with other people who believe like you and you all sink or swim together. It’s actually putting flesh to the term “body of Christ” and walking with them. It’s telling them your problems and listening to theirs; knowing that they will pray for you and you being faithful to pray for them as well. All of this is sharing, but like most of our lives what is good and perfect is often corrupted by our personal sin.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

the strength to obey...

January 11, 2012

Philemon 1:5 hearing of your love…toward all the saints

Facts are facts; some people are just hard to love, and some are easy to love. Some people come into our lives and we immediately wish that God would move them out of it. Yes, that’s harsh I know, but no less true, right? Even more so when this person, whoever it is, has wronged us in some way; it’s much harder to offer forgiveness and love in light of that. Yet, I cannot deny that this is what the God I love and serve commands. This is why I decided to come to Philemon for my quiet times with God; I needed to be reminded of this and find the strength to obey.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

while the world watches...

January 10, 2012

Philemon 1:2 …and to the church in your house

What Philemon doesn’t know is that he is about to hear a personal letter written to him in front of his family and his friends; he is going to hear Paul address him on this issue he has with Onesimus. Paul wanted Timothy to read this letter essentially to Philemon, but certainly can and will be used to instruct us all on forgiveness, in front of others so that Philemon would be held accountable. Accountability is a wonderful thing; it, when nothing else will do, can make us willing to do the right thing. It will at least force us to acknowledge that we are choosing to disobey. Philemon may not have wanted to forgive Onesimus of his behavior but he knew that if he didn’t everyone else would know it too. In some degree accountability makes our obedience to God’s will easier, it makes us more aware of our choices if others are watching us closely. Yet, it is hard to give someone else that sort of power over us; to surrender the choice to disobey. But do we really have a choice to disobey, if we really want to bring glory to God? Well, we certainly have that choice that’s what free will is all about, but should we take it I guess is more the question. Maybe, we should seek accountability more often so like Philemon, we would have the world watching our choice.

Monday, January 9, 2012

home is where we are...

January 9, 2012

Philemon 1:2 …and to the church in your house

According to MacAuthur, regular church buildings like we know of today didn’t appear until the third century before that time churches met in people’s houses. I wonder if we have lost some of the intimacy that should be connected church, when we moved out of houses and into church buildings. When you invite someone into your home every week you are essentially inviting them into your lives because home is where you live. It’s where you are the most true, and I think it’s a little bit harder to be fake about who we really are in our homes. It’s much easier to convince others and possibly even yourself how much better you really are when you are not in your home but somewhere else. God intended for his church to be so close to one another that He compared it to a body. This is how close we are to work with one another; to feel for one another, to love each other as our selves. I wonder if having church in our house would help to cement that. Once upon a time, before my church had a real building we had small groups in people’s houses. We met once a week in different homes to eat, fellowship, and learn from God’s word. It did create a deep sense of intimacy with each other that is hard to duplicate anywhere else.

Friday, January 6, 2012

There are worse things...

January 6, 2012

Philemon 1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus…

Paul could have begun this letter with any manner of greetings; he used his status as an apostle to start 2 Timothy for example. So, he could have chosen to do that here and no one would have or could have had a problem with that. But yet, he didn’t. Instead, he starts off this letter by reminding it’s readers, (Philemon, the church that met in his house, and us,) of his being in prison, which as they would have known was no piece of cake. It would also have reminded them of all that Paul had suffered for the sake of Christ and the gospel. His imprisonment would have reminded those hearing this letter of the times his body had suffered beatings, his starvation, and his pain; so, why would Paul have chosen this greeting. According to MacArthur, he did so specifically for Philemon, but of course, we all can benefit from it as well. In this letter, Philemon will be encouraged to accept and freely forgive Onesimus, his one-time slave, who had betrayed him. Paul wanted to remind Philemon that although hard, forgiveness is not the hardest thing to do for Christ’s sake, and perhaps we need to be reminded of that also.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Philemon's letter...

January 5, 2012

Philemon 1-3

V 2 To Philemon our beloved fellow worker…

Philemon had a slave named Onesimus, and he stole some money from Philemon and ran away. He planned to hide away in Rome with his stolen money and a sort of new-found freedom. Yet, like He will sometimes do, God had other plans for Onesimus. At some point during his time in Rome, Onesimus met Paul, and through this meeting Onesimus heard the gospel and was saved. Paul depended on Onesumus both as a friend and a valuable servant while he was in prison, but he also knew that Onesimus had broken the law when he stole the money and ran from Philemon. Paul decided that the best thing to do was to return Onesimus back to Philemon. He did so with this beautiful letter of forgiveness written by him to Philemon.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Nothing Hidden

January 4, 2012

Jeremiah 23:24 Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?

Ever been confronted with something in your life that maybe you either didn’t realize was there or you have been somewhat ignoring. I have and it always seems to happen to me early in the morning. In those moments between sleep and awake, I will start to dwell on something God is laying on my heart. Always it’s dealing with something we would prefer to remain hidden right? Yet, God’s word tells us that if we are His He will discipline us; for He disciplines those He loves. This happened to me today and I’m glad it did. This morning I was forced to confront something I have been neglecting, not horribly, but I certainly wasn’t doing things as I should, and God gently reminded me of that this morning. I am grateful because as I was reflecting on things this morning I was reminded of another fact of life. Our sin doesn’t always just affect us, nope many times it also affects those we love the most, and that would break me. So, as I sit here writing this I’m thankful that even though I might prefer not to acknowledge the less sterling facts about my character God will not allow me to ignore them, and nothing is ever hidden from Him.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Willingly Working...

January 3, 2012

Proverbs 31:13 She…works with willing hands

Before we started school this year I did a word study on work (you can read my Proverbs 31 post HERE), because let’s face it, being a successful anything requires bucket loads of work. Like most everybody else I guess, I always have a sense of renewal at the beginning of a new year. I vow to do things differently than perhaps I have been doing them the past few months. When the general busy-ness of the holidays are over, you are left with life. So I needed to be reminded of the fact that my work is done with willing hands. What ever work might be required of me I do with a joyful heart. I don’t look at my time with a selfish eye, but I freely give it to those whom I love the most…my family! I needed to be reminded of this!