Counting My Blessings and Giving Thanks to God.

Give Thanks Unto the Lord!
Psalm 86:12,“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.”
Last week, I had a procedure done which required prep and anesthesia. I am thankful for the friends that prayed for me and those who called or texted me to see how I was doing. It is a joy to know how many people cared about me.
I am thankful for the women in my core group at Community Bible Study. They are a wonderfully diverse group and each one is a beautiful woman of God. I am blessed to have young babies in our group and each one is a unique gift from God to their families. I am thankful for my core leader who perseveres in her own struggles to be with us each week. 

I am thankful for the scars I have acquired along my way for they shaped me into who God wants me to be. I am forever grateful for the difficult people in my life because I have learned that God uses them to help me grow stronger in certain areas of my life. I am thankful for all of my life experiences, good and bad.
An attitude of gratitude goes a long way to uplift one’s spirit and put things in the right perspective. What can you give thanks to God for in your life?

Psalm 106:1,Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”
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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Characteristics of the New Self

Characteristics of a Christian

Characteristics of the New Self.

We are continuing a theme on the Putting of the Old Self and Putting on the New Self. In part three, Put Away Old Habits, I discussed more of what we are to put way. Today, we will look at the Characteristics that we are to put on with the new self.

Colossians 3:11-13, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

In Verse 11, Paul is telling us that as believers we are all the same in Christ. There is no distinction between one another for Christ is all and in all.

In verse 12 to the end of the chapter, Paul is telling us what the characteristics of a new life of a believer are. We are going to look at 12 & 13 today.

Let us take a closer look at the word meekness. It is defined in Wikipedia as follows, ‘Meekness is a possible attribute of human nature and behavior. It has been defined in several ways: righteous, humble, teachable, and patient under suffering willing to follow gospel teachings; an attribute of a true disciple.’ There is a lot in just these two verses. We are instructed to put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, and patience. We are to bear with one another meaning carrying and supporting each other and most important to forgive as the Lord has forgiven us.

For Further Thought

I like to think of this as thinking outside of ourselves and being other-minded. Again we find the word must in verse 13 which implies that we are to take action and not hold back. Luke 6:31 comes to my mind, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (NIV).’ Of ourselves, it is not possible but through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, it is possible. God gives us the grace to put these on especially when one stops to consider how much He has forgiven you. I have seen this in my own life and it has surprised me what He has given me the strength to do. 

For instance, I have been able to be gracious when someone made an attempt to push my buttons in order to get a certain response out of me. I saw it for what it was and did not overreact. God helps me to see what is really going on and respond rather than react to the situation. I may not always get it right but God gives me grace when I fall short.

In the final part of this series, we will look at verse 14-17. Until then rejoice in the Lord; again I say rejoice.

What can you ask God to help you put on as you draw closer to Him?

 

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God’s Many Blessing in My Life

Part Two of My Story

 Life itself is the first of my many many blessings. You see, I was born prematurely and when my mom took me home the doctor did not expect me to live. My mom would sleep with her hand on me and when I stopped breathing she would wake and help me to breathe again, for this, I am forever grateful. I was the first born and later I was blessed to have two brothers from my mom’s first marriage and a sister after my mom remarried. Sister was born during my senior year of high school. I remember Dad picking my brother and I up from school to meet our baby sister and who is now a beautiful young woman.
I am blessed to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I have had a love of God’s word since I can remember. Another thing that I am thankful for is to have grown up going to church.

Blessings of Marriages and Children

My next blessing came when I married my first love in February of 1989. John Mark loved to be around others. He would have given the shirt off his back if someone was in need. He loved music and football. I am forever blessed to have known him because I gave birth to his son in July of 1991. This is one of the greatest blessings in my life. I am thankful to have become a mom and my son is a wonderful young man. Sadly, my son did not get know his father for he was killed in a car accident before he was born.

I was a single parent for 15 years before God would bring into my life, my heart’s desire. We met in 2004 while taking our sons to a group to help them with their challenges in life. Brian married me in 2006. There are not enough words to express my happiness. I now have a family of six between the two of us. Our children are beautiful people with many gifts and talents.
 
These are just a few of my many many blessings. There are many others on a more personal scale from life lessons along the way. God is good all the time!
What are some of your blessings in life?
Psalm 103:22, Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!”

 

 
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Anger: The Match versus The Gunny Sack

There are Two Types of Anger

I thought that I would take a moment here to talk about the two types of  anger from the Greek that the Bible talks about. There is a big difference in the two and it is the one translated from the Greek word orge that one is to forsake. I am going to quote it from Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words pg. 26 Notes (1), copyright 1984, 1996.

Thumos Versus Orge

“Thumos, “wrath” (not translated “anger”), is to be distinguished from orge, in this respect, that thumos indicates a more agitated condition of the feelings, an outburst of wrath from inward indignation, while orge suggests a more settled or abiding condition of mind frequently with a view to taking revenge. Orge is less sudden in its rise than thumos, but more lasting in its nature. Thumos expresses more the inward feeling, orge the more active emotion. Thumos may issue in revenge, though it does not necessarily include it. It is characteristic that it quickly blazes up and subsides, though that is not necessarily implied in each case.”

I like to look at it this way, thumos is like a match which quickly lights but does not last.

Orge, on the other hand, I refer to as a gunny sack where one stores up grudges only to use them against someone when the time is right. It is also this type of anger that one is not to let the sun go down on (Ephesians 4:26).

Personally

For me, I have learned that thumos is a signal that something is not right. This gives me the energy to make a change for the better. Nor am I to provoke others to anger nor be quick to become angry (Ephesians 6:4; Ecclesiastes 7:9; James 1:19). One more thought, orge is the one that someone chooses to stay mad about a hurt or wrong done to them.

Which anger do you identify with and how do you handle it? Ask God to show you ways to better cope with your anger as well as that of others.

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. I wish to impart to you what I have learned from His word.

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God’s Cell Phone?

God's Cell Phone

What if God Had a Cell Phone?

Many years ago, a dear friend of mine introduced me to her father who gave me this verse to think on Jeremiah 33:3, Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know’ (NIV). This would later lead me to contemplate on what God’s cell phone number could be using two words, Cry & Call. There are a number of scriptures that refer to crying out to God or calling on his name.

Psalm 145:18-19,
“The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
  he also hears their cry and saves them.” (ESV)

Psalm 57:2
“I cry out to God Most High,  to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” (ESV)

Psalm 3:4,
“I call out to the Lord,and he answers me from his holy mountain.” (NIV)

Psalm 18:3,6,
“I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.”

“In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.

From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.” (ESV)

God's Cell Phone Number

What might that number look like?

When you use numbers from the phone to replace the letters you get 279-2255.  Mind you, this is not a for real number but just something to consider to help you to remember that when you cry or call out to Him in truth He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him and will answer their cries.
Proverbs 1:20 -30 gives good reason why God does not answer when people cry out to Him.
What great and unsearchable things has God revealed to you when you call to Him?

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: Put Away Old Habits

Old Habits

Put Away the Old Habits.

 In my post titled A Paradigm Shift, I discussed what we were called to put to death. Apostle Paul continues to tells us to put away old habits of the sinful nature. Therefore, we continue on a theme.
Colossians 3:8-10, “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
In verse 8, look at the contraction here. It is a turning point. You were once living in sin BUT now you must put them all away. Your action is required. There is no and, if, or but about it. The rest of the verse lists those things that one is to put away. These are the old habits of our sinful nature.
In verse 9, we are told that we are not to lie to one another because we have put off the old self with its practices. Lying is to be a thing of the past, in with the new and out with the old. After all, Christ has made you a new creation.
In verse 10, we are to put on the new self which is being renewed in the knowledge after the image of its creator.  How is this done? We are to be transformed by the renewal of our minds through God’s Word.  Renewal in the Greek means to replace thought process in error. God’s word replaces that error in us. This is what makes us different from the world and what should draw others to Christ as they see that difference in us.

Look for the Next Post on this Theme.

In part 4, we will look at the characteristics of the new self in verses 11-17. In my next post, I will share with you God’s cell number.
 
What efforts are you making to replace the thought process in error in order to put off the old self and embrace the new self?
 
 
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Peanut Butter Puddle Cookie with a Poodle Story

A Story about a cookie and a poodle

Something funny happened while I was in Las Vegas visiting family. My brother  & I went to lunch at Layer’s Bakery where they have a peanut butter puddle cookie. There was a gentleman with his beautiful black poodle. I wrote this little story based on our experience there. For you see, I very much like Dr. Seuss.
PB Cookie Story

Peanut Butter Puddle With a Poodle Story

While I was in Las Vegas my brother, Mike, and I went to Layer’s Bakery and there I saw a peanut butter puddle cookie. I thought to myself wouldn’t it be nice to eat a peanut butter puddle with a poodle. 
As we were leaving we stepped out onto the patio, where there was a gentleman eating his hot dog with his beautiful black standard poodle. I kid you not! I said to the gentleman, “You should go in and get yourself a peanut butter puddle to eat with your poodle.” He looked at me as if I was crazy and that was okay because I did not care for I was not from there.
So if you are ever in Henderson, Nevada, and have the opportunity to go to Layer’s Bakery, be sure to take your poodle with you and get yourself a peanut butter puddle to eat with you poodle while standing in a puddle. The End.
Therefore, I do so hope that I made you smile for this was something that only God could  have orchestrated for He knows how much I like to read Dr. Seuss. I so much enjoyed that day I spent with my brother for we both got silly. God loves us with an everlasting love and if we stop and look we kind find His love even in the smallest of things like a peanut butter puddle and a poodle.
Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

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New Self: A Paradigm Shift is Needed

Paradigm Shift

What is a Paradigm Shift?

A paradigm is a framework of basic assumptions and ways of thinking about something, for example, a worldview. A paradigm shift is a change in those assumptions and ways of thinking to another point of view. Often it is not easy to make the change. However, this shift is exactly what the Apostle Paul is wanting believers to do. Think of it like crossing a bridge to the other side of a great chasm.

Put to Death What is Earthly in you.

We pick up the post on Put on the New Self, part 1. We are focusing on Colossians chapter 3. In part 1, we covered Colossians 3:1-4. Today’s passage is verse 5-7. 
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these, you too once walked, when you were living in them,” (ESV).

You might ask, how does one put to death that which is earthly in us?  Good question! This is where the paradigm shift begins. Here we will use scripture to interpret scripture. Romans 6:13a reads, “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness.” We are to choose not to sin.

The earthly things that we are to put to death are listed in the second half of verse 5 above. Ephesians 5:3 tells us that sexual impurity and all impurity or covetousness must not even be mentioned among us as is proper among the saints. Covetousness is referred to as idolatry (Eph. 5:5). Idolatry is the worship of an idol or a physical object as a representation of a god. So when one desires what someone else has, one is putting that desire before God in one’s life.

Paradigm

We are not Helpless. We have a Helper.

However, we are not left helpless. 1 Corinthians 10:13 reads, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Therefore, as followers of Christ, we have a way to avoid the temptation to sin and God will provide that way out. God gives us the power to put to death that which is earthly in us through the study of His word, prayer, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
To summarize, the paradigm shift is not only to see our sins as God does but to have a desire to put them to death.  The Holy Spirit enables us to resist temptation and will convict us when we have a need for it.

Next in the series: Put Away Old Habits.

 

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Sharing My Story with You

This is My Story to Share with You

Today, I thought that I would tell you a little about me. Here is my story.
I was born in Fort Worth, Texas on a Wednesday in the fall of 1965 in the early morning hours. I am the oldest of my mother’s children of which there were 4. We moved around a lot growing up. It was at a church revival that I believed in Jesus as my Savior. My scripture was Romans 10:13, “Whomsoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved,” (KJV). God’s word was and still is important to me. I remember doing different Bible studies from the time I was ten. There was Dial a Prayer, Radically Active Discipleship, Bible Study Fellowship. I am currently active in Community Bible Study.
 
Life was not a walk in the park for me. For instance, my parents divorced when I was 10 and Mom remarried. We continued to move around quite a bit. I have experienced great losses; deaths of a young brother when I was 12, an uncle when I was 14 and a spouse while pregnant and overseas when I was 25. However, it would have been an even rougher road without my faith. I hate to think of where I would be right now if I did not believe in God.
By and large, these are just a few of the valleys in my life but God was there with me all the way. Next Tuesday, I will share some of the many blessings in my life.

What About You?

Where in your life do you look back and see only one set of footprints when Jesus carried you?
 
My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. Although you may not have the same experiences and that is okay. Even so, I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me.
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Put on the New Self Part 1

Put on the New Self

Putting on the New Self

My focus is on putting on the new self as mentioned in Colossians 3:10.
This week, I will be mining Colossians chapter 3:1-17. Let’s begin with verses 1-4,If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (ESV).

There is a lot here. First, take a look at the ‘If then.’ I think of this the same way I do the ‘therefore.’ It implies a connection with what came before this chapter. Looking back at chapter 2 it is verses 5 -7 that grab my focus. Colossians 2:5-6,For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” 

To clarify, Paul is expressing to the Colossians his feelings for them as they persevere in faith.  They are rooted and built up in Christ for this Paul rejoices. This is what brings us to the ‘If then.’ Being rooted and established in our faith in Christ, we are to seek things that above and set our minds on higher things. For our lives are hidden in Christ with God. Hidden means kept out of sight; concealed. Set means put, lay, or stand (something) in a specified place or position.

Our Part

In conclusion, we are to put, lay, or stand our minds on things that are above (higher things, Isaiah 55:8-9) because we are concealed in Christ with God. Christ is our life. In Him we move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

It takes discipline to set our minds on things above but we are not helpless. For we have the help of the Holy Spirit to become disciplined disciples of Jesus. In doing so all things will grow strangely dim. And through our trials we will prevail for greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.

Next in the series: A Paradigm Shift.

So what do you need to do to set your mind on things above and not on earthly things? What things are your setting your mind on?

 

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