Following Christ’s Example

All By The Grace of God!
 Romans 15:5-6; Colossians 3:13
 
With God’s amazing grace and the power of His Holy Spirit, I can make every effort to walk in His example. I must die to self and allow Jesus to increase in me in order to follow in His footsteps. The rewards are great not only here but also in heaven. The more I follow in His steps the more I become accustomed to doing so. I am happy with myself and my spirit is light. All is for His glory. He makes it all possible and often I am stupefied as to how God does it. His word tells me that He has the means to transform me and that I live for Christ and because of Him. This is the mystery found in Christ. 
 
How it is that people would choose to live without Him is beyond me. Studying Revelation this year has shown me that God has it all figured out. He is waiting, oh so, patiently so that all may come to the saving knowledge of His son, Jesus. Yet, there will come a time when the waiting is over and God will bring about His judgement and remove sin. It is my responsibility to speak for Him and to testify to the Word of God. Following Christ’s example, to do the Father’s will. To live for Christ is gain. With the help of God, I can bear with my fellow Christians and forgive as He has forgiven me.
 
Challenge: Whose example are you following?
 
 
My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, forgive me, my Lord, for I am weak and I often chose the easy way. You alone have the power to bring about true change in me and to give me the desire to follow Your example. Give me a boldness to testify to Your glory. Amen.
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Joy is Found in Serving Others!

This is No Lie!
Yet it is my struggle to keep
 The right frame of mind,
That of Christ.
My mother recently had surgery and is in a neck brace for 8 weeks. She is in need of my time and assistance. I have given of my time and abilities willing amid my busy schedule and when I have not been at my best, yet, God has come through and given me strength. With His help, I will continue to do so. I have also given of my time to my sister who is a mother for the first time. She needed me to come and assist with my niece while she did some baby-proofing. I do not say this to brag but to give examples of how God has called me to serve my family. Serving others has brought me joy.
Giving of myself, when it would be so easy to find an excuse not to, has been a joy. In doing so, I have been Jesus with skin on to my extended family. I have been tired and some of my own family needs have had to be set aside but God reminds me that I am to put myself aside, not be obsessed with getting my advantage, and I am to forget myself long enough to lend a helping hand. This is what Jesus did for me and for all of us. He had equal status with God but did not cling to the advantages of that status. He became human and stayed human living a selfless life even unto death on the cross.
I like how 2 Philippians 2:1-4 in the Message reads,
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
The struggle comes when I am tired or I find myself wanting time for myself. Yet, it is Christ in me that leads me to give of my time and by doing so I show that I love my family. Without Him, I know that I would be greedy with my time and be resentful of what I do give. God’s grace is sufficient to meet all my needs. Serving the Lord with gladness is the motto of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
My Prayer: Father God in heaven, You make all things possible. Thank You for giving me strength to serve my family. Forgive me when I am self serving. Give me a willing heart and help me to meet all my needs as well as those of others. By Your grace, Amen. 
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Confession Is Freeing

I Must Confess
I went to a retreat this past weekend and there God revealed to me areas in my life that were becoming idols. One, food because I was turning to food when I was not truly hungry. I was eating for other reasons such as boredom, for comfort, and to be honest just because I wanted to eat. I was also not minding my body’s signals when I was hungry or full. Second, Facebook games. I was spending too much time and money on the games. I was not limiting my time though I wanted to be able to do so. I was being neglectful of my responsibilities around the house and to my family.  I have since removed several game apps from my Facebook page. Confession is not easy but it humbling and freeing.
My new course of action regarding food: I am going to make an effort to ask myself “why am I eating? Am I hungry or am I wanting to eat for another reason?” I do desire to journal about my reasons for wanting to eat when I am not hungry and find something else to do. 
My new course of action from playing games: One, renew my blogging and work on writing a Bible study. One other thing that God called my attention to was that I am not worshiping Him for who He is, for what He has done, and for what He has yet to do often enough. In this Bible study that He is leading me to write I am going to explore worship and how I (we) can worship Him anew. For worship hinges on honoring Him.
Confession is good for the soul and my relationship with God. Both of the reference scriptures above make it quite clear that confessing one’s sins is vitally important. 
My Prayer: Dear God in heaven, forgive me for making these things idols and allowing them to rob me of my health and my time. Cause me to make better choices and to follow through on what You have called me to do. You alone have the power to help me to change. Amen.
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Now For Something Completely Different

Something to consider; Could Even Illness/Infirmity Serve a Purpose?

My son’s favorite saying from Monty Python is, “Now for Something completely different.” Here is something different to consider. How can Illness/Infirmity serve a purpose?
Yes, I believe it can. Having come through a recent experience of my own, I have come to realize that if I expect myself to always be healthy or if I have a pity party when I am ill, I am being a perfectionist and unrealistic. It is wrong of me to think that life should always be sunny for after awhile I no longer appreciate it and start wanting it to rain. To expect God to instantly make me better is not being realistic either, though He can if it is His will for me. 
My infirmity serves a purpose in quite a few ways. One, it slows me down and requires me to call on God for strength. Two, it allows the opportunity for someone to serve and to give. Third, I can experience healing through different venues such as medicine, prayers of others, including the laying on of hands, and time. 
You see, in the Ecclesiastes passage there is a time for everything. In being ill, I have come to appreciate the help of others and the good health when it returns. Illness is the other side of the coin of health and it is a consequence of the fallen world. In the garden of Eve, long before sin entered in, there was no sickness and in heaven there will be no sickness either, therefore, until Christ returns, I must face whatever comes my way with God’s grace for in 1 Corinthians 12:9 His grace is sufficient. I cannot experience that grace unless I am in need of it. In my infirmity, I am to a be patient and be willing to ask for help. Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God. This is something I am still learning to do and He has a away of causing me to be still before Him. 
I challenge you the next time you find yourself ill, seek Him for His strength and His grace. Ask Him what He wants you to learn from Him.
My Prayer: Dear Gracious God, thank you for helping to see things differently and to understand that into my life illness will come but Your grace is sufficient. Be with those who are ill and give them strength. Amen. 
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Do Unto to Others…

As You Would Have Them Do To You.
Luke 6:31
I want to examine this more closely. I have done some reading on personalities in Marita Littauer’s book, “Wired That Way.” It is from understanding my personality that I can begin to understand others. If I understand, for example, that someone I love is wired differently then I can think to myself that if I were wired that way how would I want to be treated. Personally, I crave respect and affirmations. I, therefore, try my best to show respect and give positive feedback yet for some people who are wired differently they don’t necessarily receive it as it is intended. I know people who are wired to crave credit for their work and desire loyalty, therefore, I strive to acknowledge that person’s hard work promptly. This also helps me to not look for what I need from someone who is wired differently. 
God has made each person unique and one of a kind. If I expect others to be like me then I am doing them a disservice and not respecting them for the uniqueness that God has created. Besides if everybody was like me it would be nuts because nothing would get done. I have come to accept myself for who God created me to be and now I can accept others for who God created them to be. According to Marita’s book my personality is one that likes to fun have and do things the easy way. This has its drawbacks of not being very motivated but it also has its blessings of being a people person. 
One of my recent favorite verses in the Bible is Romans 12:18, If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. The key here is that as far as it depends on me not someone else. I am responsible for my actions and the words that come out of my mouth not for anyone else just me. Understanding the personalities helps me to live in peace with others. Each person is God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus. He knows each of us better than we know ourselves. With His help, I can love and appreciate the people who are in my life and those who come into my life.
My Prayer: Dear God, You are the creator of every person and everything. All Your works are right and Your ways are just. Thank You for creating me to be who I am. Help me to love and accept others for who You created them to be and to do unto others as I would want them to treat me.. Amen. 
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No Grumbling Allowed Only Trust

If You Must Take It to God.
Philippians 2:14-15; Jeremiah 31:25
I was reading my Jesus Calling for today and yesterday (10/10 and 10/9). I was struck by the fact that if I think that I have reason to grumble I should take to Him. If I grumble and complain to anyone else it opens the door for deadly sins like self pity and rage. Yet, by going to Him He will lift it and replace it with His thoughts and put His song in my heart. Wow, what a shift in paradigm this is. God after all can handle it better than anyone else could.
For today, I am reminded that I am to live in the present and not to divide my life into things that I can do myself and things that require His help. I am to train my mind to seek His help continually. All I need to do is relax and refresh myself in the light of His presence. This is easy to do when I am in need of Him yet it is a challenge to do so when I am feeling on top of the world. 
I saw the movie Inside Out and in it, I learned that all our emotions have a purpose and one cannot remain in one emotion all the time. Sometimes joy comes out of sadness. It is like learning to appreciate the rain in a drought. I have had plenty of days where I was filled with joy and then the next day I felt the opposite. There was uncertainty and sadness. I didn’t like feeling this way. I reminded myself that God remained faithful and that I could not abide in the elevated mood all the time. Maybe my focus on Him had shifted and I needed to be brought back to a place where I would turn to Him. 
From my own experience, when I have trusted Him in every situation (for a time) I have been able to enjoy life more and face each day confidently. Therefore, I need to recognize it better when I have shifted my focus and bring it back to trusting Him more and myself less. I will do my best to take my grumbling before Him and ask for Him to help me to see things differently.
My Prayer: Gracious Lord, I am thankful that not only will You listen to my grumbling but also will give me a change of heart and put Your song in my heart. Forgive me for the times that I lose my focus and rely on myself. When will I learn that You are trustworthy in all things and at all times? Amen. 
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Set Your Mind on the Spirit;

You Will Find Life and Peace
 Let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual up-building. This is only possible when I set my mind on the things of the Spirit of God through reading and meditating on His word. The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. I have this through Jesus who has reconciled me to God and therefore, I have peace with God. It is no longer my place to bring others down, I am called to live at peace with others and to do my best to build others up. To set my mind on the flesh (my sinful nature) is death therefore, I choose to set my mind on Christ which leads to life and peace. Having peace with God I am equipped to love others as myself and do as He would have me do.
This is a major paradigm shift from the world’s point of view. The world wants me to believe that it is all about me and my wants and desires. I know that if I delight myself in the Lord He will give me the desires of my heart. There are needs that I have that if I do not tend to them I will not be at my best to live at peace. They are basic needs and I know how to get them filled without taking advantage of others. God knows my needs and helps me to get them met. He does have my best interest at heart for He created me and loves me unconditionally. I cannot nor will not believe any different.
Romans 12:18 tells me that it is my responsibility to live at peace as far as it depends on me, not if it feels right or if others treat me right. I am responsible for my side of any relationship not for the other side. Sure it would be nice if it worked both ways and it does for some but not all people. I am to love mercy, act justly, and walk humbly with my God. Again this contradictory to the world’s way of thinking. Yet, I have a peace that passes all understanding and I can sleep at night.
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. This, indeed, holds true.
Peace to you from God our Father!


My Prayer: Thank You Jesus for reconciling me to God through Your death and resurrection. Help me to be a messenger of peace and hope. Amen.
 
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Be A Willing Participant

In the Changes God 
Wants to Make in Your Life!
God can and will affect positive changes in one’s life if one willingly becomes a participant. He will not force it but offers it with great hope and expectation. Paradigm is a framework containing basic assumptions, ways of thinking and methodology in the way one looks at life. Romans 12:2 tells one how to make a change in paradigm. It is through God’s word that one can be transformed by the renewing of the mind. Renew in the Greek means replace thought process in error. This is exactly what a shift in paradigm is. By meditating on and putting God’s word to memory one can start to the process of bringing about the changes God wants to make in our lives.
Once the paradigm shift begins it leads to the new creation that is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 5:17. God has made each person unique and one of a kind. He has a purpose and future for everyone though some do not believe in Him. He is sovereign and in control. He will impart His wisdom to those who ask for it. He does not find fault in those who ask. He is the author and finisher of our faith. What a great and mighty God I serve. God can make all things new especially, our hearts.
 
So I invite you to become a willing participant in what God wants to do in your life. Ask God where He would like to show you change is needed. Allow Him to change your paradigm. He will not fail nor disappoint.
Prayer: Almighty God, thank You for the changes that You have already made in my life and for the changes yet to come. Have Your way n me so that others can see Jesus in me. Amen.
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Call on Him as Long as I Live

Psalm 116:1-2
I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live. 
He hears and answers my prayers. He is righteous in all His ways and faithful in all He does. He is near to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them (Psalm 145:17-19). What a comfort it is to know that He is near to me and will hear me when I call out to Him. He has already answered so many of my prayers and given me my heart’s desire. He richly blesses those who call on Him (Romans 10:12).
I am beginning a new faith journey. I am taking a step of faith to reconnect with someone dear to me. I am trusting God to go before me and soften our hearts and open new lines of communication between us. I am excited but scared at the same time. I do not wish to cause harm nor do I want to be hurt also. God is in the business of healing relationships. I rejoice in the possibilities. God is good! 
For there is nothing my God cannot do for you or me! To God be the glory for all that He has done and yet, to do.
Prayer: Dear God in heaven, all things are possible with You. Please go before me and prepare our hearts so that we can begin anew. Give me strength and the words I need to say and responses that are from You and not from me. Pour Your grace out upon me. Amen.
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Let’s Talk About Hope

Find Rest My Soul, 
Put Your Trust in God 
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24 
The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love. Psalm147:11 

Dictionary.com defines hope (verb with a subject) 1) To look forward to with desire and confidence; 2) to believe, desire, or trust. I am called to put my trust and confidence in God’s unfailing love. For I am saved by hope but I do not hope in that which I can see for one does not hope in what one sees. I place my trust , confidence, and desire in the God who created me, raised Jesus from the dead, and is creator of all things. He keeps His promises. I like how Lamentations 3:24-26 reads;

24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for Him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him,
    to the one who seeks Him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
 
Without one is prone to despair and hopelessness. This is not a healthy option. Jesus brings hope to those in despair and without hope. I desire to be Jesus’ messenger of hope. Putting one’s hope in man is risky business because more times than not it will let you down. God is worthy of one’s hope for He sent His son into the world to bring us hope. 
 
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5

 May you also put your hope in God and find rest for you soul.
My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, thank You for giving me reason to put my hope in You. Help me to be Your messenger of hope. Amen. 

 

 
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