Priorities!

We All have Them But
Are They in the Right Order?
To be honest, I don’t always get my priorities in the right order, meaning I put myself first and what I need. Yet, when I do get them in the right order, meaning God first and me second, I have experienced more peace and stability as well as order in my life. I remember singing, when I was a child, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Alleluia!’ You will find this in Matthew 6:33.
Seeking God first. There are a few verses that I have found that address this quite well.  Psalm 105:4,  Seek the Lord and his strength;
    seek his presence continually!
 Jeremiah 29:13, You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Proverbs 8:17, I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.
 From these verses, I find that I am to seek the Lord continually, whole-hardheartedly, and diligently. What does it mean to seek? I looked it up in the Bible dictionary, ‘to seek or strive after, endeavor, to desire.’ It is an action on my part in my relationship with Jesus.
I have come to look at it this way. When we first fall in love with someone, what are some of the things we do? One, we seek to spend more time with that person and talk with the person frequently.  Another thing that we do is that we desire to tell others about that special someone. The same needs to seen in my relationship with Jesus. If I say that I love Jesus then my actions need to reflect it.
Another of my favorite verses is Micah 6:8,
 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.
I see in this verse that God desires for me to walk humbly with Him. As I spend time with God, I will begin to reflect His character. Some of His characteristics that I know that I want to reflect  are to be slow to anger, to act justly and to love mercy as well as to be forgiving of others.

So I need to get my priorities straight in order to live a life that is pleasing to God and reflects His character.

My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, forgive me for not getting my priorities straight. Give me, I pray, a true desire to draw near to You first and seek Your kingdom and Your righteousness. Amen.
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We Are Called to Be Free!

Galatians 5:13-14,
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b]
 

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he was addressing the conflict over circumcision. He tells them not be bound by the former things because Christ has made all things new. He reminds them that in Christ, we are free but not to use the freedom to indulge the flesh, sinful nature. As believers, we are to serve one another humbly in love. We are to live by the Spirit, therefore, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law Galatians 5:17-18.

This is how we are called to live differently from the world. We are free from the consequences of sin as long as we choose to live according to the Spirit and not the flesh. Yet, if we fall short and we will. God is faithful and when we confess and turn back to Him, He will forgive us and give us a fresh start. I know that I have fallen short many a time and I have experienced God’s grace when I was prompt to admit my wrong.

In 1 Timothy chapter 6:17-18, Paul instructs Timothy to command the rich not to be arrogant or put their hope in their wealth but put their hope in God. They are to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.I believe that as believers we to are called to do the same, to be rich in good deeds and to be generous. This is pleasing to God. Paul summed it all up in Galatians 5:6b, The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Footnotes: [a] In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit; also in verses 16, 17, 19 and 24; and in 6:8. [b] Leviticus 19:18 [c]  Or you do not do what (Bible Gateway) Scriptures taken from the NIV.
My prayer: Dear Father in heaven, help me to live by the Spirit so that I do not gratify my sinful nature. By Your Spirit, help me to be rich in good deeds, to be generous and willing to share so that in doing so it brings You glory and draws others to You. Give me the desire to humbly serve others in love as You would have me to do not as I would do. Amen.
Disclaimer: I am sharing with you what I am learning and what I desire to add to my life through study of God’s Word and prayer. May you also desire the same.

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Today’s Focus is on the Word “Be”

It is not what you do that is important as it is what you “BE.”
This is what a good friend of mine told me along time ago.
I came across several different scriptures with instructions as to be. 
The first one that came to mind was Psalm26:10, Be still and know that I am God.” 
Be still is not an easy direction to follow. Life is full of activity. How does one be still before God? Stop all activity and find a quiet place to be still and know that He is God.
2. Ephesians 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma (NASB).” 
Here I am instructed to imitate God and walk in love, just as Christ loved me. I am able to do this through prayer and study of His word. God enables me by the power of the Holy Spirit for I live by the law of the Spirit and not of the flesh, my sinful nature.
3. James 1:19-20,My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires (NIV).”
I like the focus here to be quick to listen. How often do I take time to listen to what someone is saying to me? Often is the case I am in a hurry or I am trying to think of what I am going to say next. I need to take the time to listen. The next ones are just as important. I am to take time before I speak and/or become angry. For in my anger, I can do much to hurt or harm the other person. I need to stop and ask God to help me with my words. 

4. Ephesians 4:32, Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
I am encouraged to show kindness and being tenderhearted forgive others as  God in Christ forgave me. For I am told in Luke 6:31 to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. 
If I take time to be still before God and confess my sins, He will not only cleanse me from my sins but also enable me to be an imitator of Him, be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry as well as be kind and forgiving to others. He does make it all possible. All I need to do is trust and obey.

I will continue more on this theme on Wednesday. I pray that you will take time to BE still and know that God is God. Come and know Him better.
Disclaimer: This is what I have experienced and learned for myself. I share it with you so that you can know what I know. God’s grace and peace be yours.
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My Thoughts on Good Friday

Scripture Must Be Fulfilled in Jesus
Jesus was not a victim when He went to the cross. He was obeying the will of His Father, God. He willing went to the cross to fulfill scripture.
Jesus said in Luke 22:37, For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment. 
Jesus was referring to Isaiah 53:12b, because he poured out his soul to death
 and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many,
 and makes intercession for the transgressors. 
He who had no sin (Hebrews 4:15) was numbered with us (transgressors)  when He went to the cross.  According to Romans 3:23 all have sinned (transgressed) and fall short of the glory of God. Fulfillment means completion and this is why Jesus said in John 19:30, “It is finished.” He did what we could not do for ourselves. He paid it all. Jesus also intercedes for us.
The cross was a place of shame but Jesus came to do the will of God. Jesus, despising the shame of the cross (Hebrews 12:2), suffered an excruciating death so that believing in Him and His resurrection we would be saved from the wages of sin which is death (Romans 6:23) and eternal separation from God. 
On this day in history, Jesus was scorned, beaten, and tortured to death for all. But as I was reminded recently, Sunday is coming! Jesus was not a victim but the Victor!
May you remember on this day what Jesus willingly suffered for you!
Disclaimer: I know that there are many out there who would discount what Jesus did but I wholeheartedly believe that He did this for me. I want others to know Jesus as He wants them to know Him.
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Hanging on the Words of Jesus

Valuing Jesus’ Words
Luke 19:47-48
And He (Jesus) was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men …were seeking to destroy Him, but they could not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on His Words.
The phrase were hanging on his words” stands out to me. How often do I hang on the words of Jesus. He told his disciples in John 6:63, “It is the spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken are spirit and life.” Therefore I should hang on His words. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus came to give us abundant life. The truth sets us free to live abundantly. Jesus is the truth that sets us free from the law of sin and death. The apostle Peter said in John 6:68-69, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we believed, and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.
Whoa, you might be saying. You might think that I am getting too deep. But this is what Jesus is calling us to. There are some who think I am wrong and that’s okay. Let me put it this way. If they are right and I am wrong, I have nothing to lose. But if I am right and they are wrong, they have everything to lose and I have gained eternal life (a changed life now and living with Jesus forever in the next ). I have experienced the changed life now. I am not who I used to be.
So let me ask you. Which side to you want to be on? Romans 10:9-11 tells you how you can have the assurance that I have.
As for me,  I will choose to hang on to the words of Jesus.
Disclaimer: I share with you what I have learned and what I have experienced so that you too may believe in Jesus Christ.
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An Attitude of Gratitude Can Bring a Smile to Your Face

Gratitude

Looking for Things to be 

Thankful for in Everyday Life!

Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (ESV)
This verse tells us that in whatever we do, in word or deed. This means when I go shopping, going to the doctor’s, cleaning house or just about anything do it in the name of the Lord. It also refers to what I say to my family or the clerk at the store. Therefore, I am to speak as if Jesus were listening which He does. I am to give thanks to God the Father through Him. There are time when I do not always get this right but if I stop and think about it, it is a game changer.

An attitude of gratitude is what separates the believer from the unbeliever. It should also be what attracts others to Jesus. Gratitude is the state of being thankful. So on my trip to see my father last month it was easy to see many things to be thankful for. But upon returning home that I seemed to be challenged to find things to give thanks to God. Now I try to focus on the little things that I can be grateful for and give thanks to God. For His love endures forever.

Developing An Attitude of Gratitude

 1 Thessalonians 5:18
In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (KJV)
 
Gratitude for the simple things in my life brings a smile to my face. I am thankful today for the Christian women in my life. I am thankful for the cancellation at a doctor’s office so I could be seen. I appreciate it when the traffic lights are green. When someone tells me that they were thinking of me when I call makes me smile. God somehow made my time multiply and I was able to get much accomplished before my flight tomorrow. Getting to hold a child even for a little while brightens my day. My husbands calm and collective reasoning to help me work through my emotions to make a right decision. My loving young men who ask how I am doing and give me hugs. Most of all I am forever thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus made so that I may reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him in the next.
What little things in you life that you can be thankful for and give thanks to God? Smile for Jesus died for you!
 
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Greater is Jesus in Me than he that is in the World!

1 John 4:4,
 “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He (Jesus) who is in you is greater that he (Satan) who is in the world.”
I take great comfort in this because I know no matter what comes my way I am okay for He is with me. He surrounds me with His amazing love through the prayers and encouraging words of my friends and family. There is nothing that can separate me from His love and He truly works all things out for my good, helping to shape my character to be more like Jesus everyday.
Looking at the verse above the reference for the “them” that we have overcome is the Antichrist which is the spirit that does not confess that Jesus is from God. By confessing Jesus is Lord , as a believer, I have overcome that spirit. I have victory in Jesus. With the passing of my father who I know has gone to be with Jesus, I take comfort in this. There is none like Jesus in all the earth. I know that one day I will see my father in heaven when I see Jesus. I am thankful for the time that I spent getting to know my father. 
God’s got him now. I pray for comfort and peace for those of us who will mourn his passing but rejoice that he is with Jesus and no longer suffering. I take comfort in God’s word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me and impart to you what I have learned from His word.
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Can You Find Jesus in Psalm 22?

Find Jesus

Find Jesus’ Crucifixion in Psalm 22

Psalm 22:1a,16-18 (NIV)
 
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
 15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
17 I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
I remember reading this psalm back when I was still in the military at Bergstrom AFB. For me, it was amazing to see Jesus in this. It was like visiting the cross myself. This Easter, I hope that you would take the time to consider what Jesus went through so that you might not perish but have everlasting life. Therefore, I want to encourage you to study it for yourself. The following references are taken from the NIV. To clarify, I am listing the verse from the Psalm  and then where I have found the similarity in the New Testament.
22:1 – Jesus cried out, “My God , My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
22:15 – Jesus was weakened from loss of blood from sweating blood and from the flogging. (Luke 22:44; Mark 15:15)Jesus complains of thirst from the cross. (John19:28)
22:16 – The Roman soldiers mocked Jesus and drew lots for his clothing. (Matthew 27:27-31) Jesus’ hands and feet were pierced. (John 20:25b-26)
22:17 – The chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked Him. (Matthew 27:41-43)

The Purpose for the Cross

After all, Jesus willing went to the cross for everyone. Hebrews 12:2b-3 explains it so beautifully,
“For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

For You to Consider

Celebrate this Easter with joy and thanksgiving to our risen Lord and Savior! Be sure to go and see the Easter Triumph Passion Play if you are in the Austin, Texas, area.
 
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Mining Psalm 81

Psalm 81:5b-12
What Can We Mine from This for Us Today?
 I heard an unknown voice say:
“I removed the burden from their shoulders;
    their hands were set free from the basket.
In your distress you called and I rescued you,
    I answered you out of a thundercloud;
    I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—
    if you would only listen to me, Israel!
You shall have no foreign god among you;
    you shall not worship any god other than me.
10 I am the Lord your God,
    who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
11 “But my people would not listen to me;
    Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
    to follow their own devices.
 A couple of weeks ago, I did a post on what if God had a cell phone. Verse 7 mentions that in Israel’s distress they called out to God and He rescued and answered them. As followers of Christ, God hears and answers our prayers. He gives us strength to weather the storms in our lives. It is by His grace that we come through them only made stronger for it. Yet in this Psalm, God warns His people to listen to Him. God is a jealous God and wants know other god to be in His place in our lives. He is our Lord and there is no other. When Israel would not listen to Him, He gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. He does this today for He wants us to love Him and be devoted to Him because we choose to and not a forced following. 
This is what I find to be so amazing about God. He is so astoundingly patient with us and He so willing lets people choose whom they will follow even though following God is the better choice. He never changes and is always faithful waiting for people to accept His gracious gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, who paid a price that was meant for all man to pay. I am forever thankful for what Jesus did for me. There is  nothing that I could do to earn my way into heaven for Jesus has done it all for me. This is so simple and beautiful yet people can’t seem to accept it for what it is, a gift freely given. May you contemplate on this as Easter is approaching and remember that Jesus died for you so that believing in Him you would be saved and have eternal life. I heard it said that eternal life is a changed life now and living forever with Him in the next.

Rejoice in the Lord today and always for He is good! What do you have to be thankful for this day?
My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me and impart to you what I have learned from His word.
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New Self: A Change in Our Hearts

Change in our hearts

Our Hearts are Keys to the New Self.

This is the final part in a series on the New Self of which this makes 5. In part 4 of this series, Characteristics of the New Self, I discussed Colossians 3:11-13. We learned what we were to put on. This part we will discuss the change in our hearts as a result of Jesus in our lives.
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:14-17 ESV.
Here we are instructed to put on love which binds things together, to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts and be thankful. In verse 16 we find the how to, through letting word of Christ dwell in us going on to teach and admonish one another.
The key here is that it is a matter of the heart. First, we are to let the peace of Christ and His word rule in our hearts and second being thankful in our hearts to God.

My Personal ExperienceHearts changed

Ephesians 4:21-32 is another passage on putting on the new self. I particularly like verse 29, Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (ESV) This means that one should be mindful of what comes out of one’s mouth as not to hurt or harm others. One ought to think of something to say that would build the other person up instead.
God has often afforded me the grace to hold my tongue at times. He helped me to remember that once words are spoken I cannot take them back. I also think of how I would want to be treated and try my best to be kind. Again, I may not always get it right but I do my best to promptly admit when I do wrong and ask for forgiveness.
In conclusion, as a follower of Christ, I am called to live differently.  By the grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit and study of God’s word I can be the light in this dark world. I am changed from the inside out and I like who I have become in Christ.
May you grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Tomorrow I will have another acronym for your consideration.
 

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