Thursday, January 31, 2013

Being Good - January 31, 2013

Luke 6:45 (New International Version, ©2010)
45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

3 John 1:11 (New International Version, ©2010)
11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.

It is something that we are taught from the time we can understand our parents. After learning about the word "no", the first real rule we hear taught to us is to be "good". No one is naturally good no matter how hard we may try, and the older we get the harder it is. Jesus even made commented to one who called him good, 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone." (Luke 18-19)Being good is not something we are able to be on our own.

Thank God that when He gave us the Holy Spirit to inhabit our lives, He gave us the ability to produce fruit, and goodness is one of those. But being good is more than reigning in our own behavior. It goes much deeper than that. Goodness is best shown when in the purity of heart we "do good" to all those we come across. We cannot be good without God, and we cannot do good without God.

Be good and excercise goodness to all, and you will truly reflect the goodness of God, who above all us was good to us.

Photo "Helping Hand" from je1196,10-19-2004 from stock.xchng

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Be Patient - January 30, 2013

Ephesians 4:2-3 (New International Version, ©2010)
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:2-3 (King James Version)
2With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The Christian work requires alot of patience, forbearance and longsuffering. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the focus of your life is no longer on you. It is one where the needs of everyone else needs to come before ourselves. Because of this, you might find out that you will receive alot of abuse and persecution. But you need to always be able to bear it, whether it is given by those who hate and despise you, or by fellow believers.

Our example is Jesus Christ, who took the abuse of those around him and the weight of our sins, and bore them on the cross. We need to identify with Him and know that our good fruit of patience will reap a crown of eternal life with God.

Photo "Winter" by just4you, 3-1-2006 from stock.xchng

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

His Peace - January 29, 2013

Psalm 119:165 (New International Version, ©2010)165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

John 14:27 (New International Version, ©2010)27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 16:33 (New International Version, ©2010) 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

James 3:17-18 (New International Version, ©2010)
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

A true sign of those who are filled with the Holy Spirit of God, and following after Jesus is peace. The good fruit of peace means that you are calm and confident in the Lord, and you seek to be free from quarrels and disagreement. Your life reflects the desire to live harmoniously with all. You do not stir up strife for the sake of your own purposes, and you "bend over backwards" to restore peace in any situation that might be difficult.

Bottom line is that you see everyone as God's children and every situation as one in which you can bless others for the sake of Jesus Christ. Jesus brought us peace in our souls by restoring our place with God; in turn we need to pass on the peace that we have been given to those around us.

Photo "Sunrays" by MajaFoto, 11-25-2009 from stock.xchng

Monday, January 28, 2013

Spiritual Joy - January 28, 2013

James 1:2-4 (New Living Translation)
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

When times get rough, do you remain confident in the ability of God to get you thorugh it? Or do you worry and become anxious and wonder what God is doing to you? These two reactions are probably very common for believers in Jesus and non-believers. All of us have become concerned and worried when times get difficult, but the true test of whether you have surrendered yourself fully to God is in the fruit we produce.

When we study the fruit of the Spirit exhibited by a Christian as found in Galatians 5:22-23, we find that our lives become a reflection of our new life in Christ. The next good fruit mentioned in these verses is joy. What is joy? It is a calm in the eye of the storm. It is that excitement that you know that God is doing something good in your life. It might not be pleasant at the time, but you have that quiet confidence that everything will work out for good. It is a promise that God has made to us and we need not be concerned because God keeps His promises.

I am learning to be controlled by spiritual joy, to not give up and focus rather on what God wants me to learn in the difficult situation. I know that Jesus Christ is alongside me, helping me with my burdens in life. It gives me that calm and confidence to work through my problems. Not that I don't become anxious, because I do at times, but I know the end of my life's story. I know that tomorrow will be a better day.

Photo "Summer Joy" by porah, 5-1-2008, from stock.xchng

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kindness - January 27, 2013

Colossians 3:12-13 (New International Version, ©2010)
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32 (New International Version, ©2010)
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

What has become of people treating one another with kindness? Daily you hear stories of bullying, abuse, jealousy, anger, treachery, cruelty and down right meanness that goes on around us all. The perpetrators are young and old, of all ethnic group, back ground and upbringing. The only common denominator is that there is a vicious attempt of hurting another, and this extends to other creatures as much as it is with people.

And hanging around fellow Christians doesn't mean that one is immune from being treated in this way. There are many of the same attempts to hurt people in churches and among Christians as there are in the world. What is at the root of this? Why do we behave this way? The answer is that if God is at the root of the good fruit of kindness, Satan is at the root of meanness.

If you are called by Jesus Christ and are ruled by the Holy Spirit, you are to be about demonstrating kindness to all people and all things. Your obligation to God is to treat every part of His creation with the kindness and love He has extended to you. It doesn't stop there; you need to be about being an advocate and defender of that same kindness in all that surrounds you.

That means teaching your children and young people as well as the adults around you how to treat one another. Never allow someone to be unkind to you without rebuking them in love. Let them know that to treat others with cruelty and meanness is never acceptable, and at the same time extend the hand of reconciliation, peace and kindness. Now here is a good fruit of the Holy Spirit that the world needs a lot more of.

Photo from Nursing Home Article from 5-2-2009

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Gentleness - January 26, 2013

Matthew 18:1-5 (New International Version, ©2010)
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

It is interesting these days that when religions are compared, they are all are given a moral equivalence in today's society. Unfortunately, those opinions stem from the fact that many so-called followers of Christ were very far from Him. Many remember atrocities that were carried out in His name and have associated that behavior with all Christians. If you have really walked with our Lord for very long, you know that those opinions are false. Whenever you hear someone associating those things with Christians, you probably think to yourself that true followers of Jesus are far from those things.

Fact is that Jesus Christ made it very clear how we should approach the kingdom of God, with a contrite and gentle heart. He likened the attitude that we should have with the attitude of little children; gentle of spirit and character, yet wide open with possibilities, and eager to embrace the simple truth of God's love message to His people. True believers filled with the Holy Spirit exhibit the good fruit of gentleness in all things, especially those of Christ. This is true in how we treat those around us, and how we deal even with those who would chose to harm us.

The true Christians will bear all and approach all with the spirit and fruit of gentleness; in doing so, they will reflect the strength of God and will win many to Jesus Christ.

Photo "Bunny Girl" by familylife, 9-9-2007, from stock.xchng

Friday, January 25, 2013

In the Last Days - January 25, 2013

Isaiah 2:2-5 (New International Reader's Version)

2 In the last days the mountain where the Lord's temple is located will be famous.
It will be the most important mountain of all.
It will stand out above the hills.
All of the nations will go to it.

3 People from many nations will go there. They will say,

"Come. Let us go up to the Lord's mountain.
Let's go to the house of Jacob's God.
He will teach us how we should live.
Then we will live the way he wants us to."
The law of the Lord will be taught at Zion.
His message will go out from Jerusalem.

4 He will judge between the nations.
He'll settle problems among many of them.
They will hammer their swords into plows.
They'll hammer their spears into pruning tools.
Nations will not go to war against one another.
They won't even train to fight anymore.

5 People of Jacob, come.
Let us live the way the Lord has taught us to.

The world is a very troubled place these days. Although we hear mainly about the unrest in the Middle East, and the rumblings of trouble in our own country, there is much more going on than we even know.

Earthquakes, plagues, hunger, murder, war, all of these things go on somewhere on the arth every minute of the day on our planet. It is difficult to know how we fit into the scheme of things. Each day we wake up to one more overwhelming incident after another, and it is enough to cause fear for oursleves and those we love around us.

That said, God expects us to be His "light among the nations", to be that representative of His hope in this very troubled world. Not that we are expected to do something global for the Kingdom of God, but in our own little world that God has given us stewardship over, we must do our part.We must fearlessly and boldy move forward towards the goal He has set before us.

It is not mere coincidence that you are doing what you do, in the place in which you are, at the time in which you find yourself. It is not by your own efforts that you are a believer in Jesus Christ, and if you are not, it is not by chance that He is drawing you to Him this very minute.

There will be a day when God will make all things right again. On that day, He will bring about justice and peace, and those who chose to turn their backs on Him will be dealt with. As for now, we are to "live the way he wants us to".

Photo "Up in the Mountains" by rolve, 7-8-2009, from stock.xchng

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Singing a New Song - January 24, 2013

Psalm 40:3 (New International Version, ©2010)
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.

Psalm 98:1 (New Living Translation)
1 Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; his holy arm has shown his saving power!

Some time ago, I heard a great message about praise and worship. In it I heard that when you study the Scriptures, its hard to find where praise and worship as singing is done by anyone other than mankind. If you read carefully, most of the time when we think that the angels are singing in praise and worship, they are actually speaking the words. Only in Job 38:6-7 is there a vague reference to the angels singing.

The message went further to explain that God has put the "song" in the hearts of those that He has redeemed. They then express their love and thankfulness to God through lifting up His praises in songs of thanksgiving. Singing praises and worship to our God has become such a part of the faith experience, that one can't imagine what it would be like without it.

If you are a committed Christian, its hard not to be joyful and to lift up praises in song to our God and Savior Jesus Christ for what He has done for us. Some day soon though, God will put a new song in our mouths, no longer about the suffering Servant who laid down His life for our sins, but a new song for our worthy and conquering King who will bring us with Him into His kingdom.

Revelation 5:9-10 (New International Version, ©2010)
9 And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

Photo "Praises 5" by Martin, 7-30-2007, from stock.xchng

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

His Good Will - January 23, 2013

Philippians 2:12-13 (New International Version, ©2010)
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Philippians 2:12-13 (The Message)
12-13What I'm getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you've done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I'm separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God's energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.

So, what is God's will? It is a question I know I will be searching for the rest of my life. God has led me to this point in my life. He chose the time and place, the occupation and circumstances, my past and my future. Everything that is "me" is under His control. His will is what I will prayerfully pursue forever. He has gifted me with a seat at His table, a place of rest at His feet. It took a long, round about way to get me here, but now I am here.

I have tried to answer what is meant by God's will, but I believe only each person can discover and answer that question. None of us is the same, and His will for each of us is different. What ties us together is our pursuit to find His will for each one of us, to pursue it, and in the end to be found acceptable for doing so. I would want nothing else but to have served at God's good pleasure, and like Paul the apostle before me, be acknowledged as a good and faithful servant.

Then again, since God is ultimately in control, He will help me complete the assignment He has laid out for me! Comforting isn't it? In the end, if we call on Him to be our Lord and Savior, He will make sure we do what He wants us to do! He will help us to do His good and perfect will.

Photo "Bible Reading" by ProLife, 9-2-2004, from stock.xchng

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rock Salt - January 22, 2013

Matthew 5:13(New International Version)
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

For many centuries salt has been one of the most important commodities in the world. It has been used for preserving foods, for currency, for balancing the blood, for adding taste to foods, and many other things. Our world and our bodies could not function without salt. In fact four-fifths of the world is covered in oceans that are full of salt; it adds to our lives in countless ways.

Jesus used this very important compound to speak of how followers of God need to be engaged in the world around them, while being different from the world. As Christians, this is the directive we need to follow, engaging others by living Christ-like lives, and making a difference in the world around them.

If we fail to be any different from those in the world, then we can no longer represent the difference that Jesus brings into people's lives. We will lose our ability to help bring effective change in people's lives that only belief in Jesus will. He is the Savior of the world, and a person's acceptance of His work on the cross as payment for personal sins, changes lives.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, don't lose your effectiveness by becoming a part of the world and diluting your witness. Instead,stand upon the Rock who is mighty to save,and be living examples of Christ.

Monday, January 21, 2013

His Pre-Determined Will - January 21, 2013

Ephesians 1:4-6 (New International Version, ©2010)
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Ephesians 1:4-6 (The Message)
3-6How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Have you ever thought about why you are here? I am sure you have, because we all have. Many of us spend our entire lives wandering around fairly aimlessly, without a clue of what we are destined for. I would venture to say that, although many of us know what we would like to do in life and work and other things, we really don't know what tomorrow will bring us. We don't even know if we will have a tomorrow, and for some, that can be pretty scary.

Do you realize that when you woke up this morning and headed off to work or school, when you had lunch or a break, or when you drove home to see your family, that it was all part of God's plan? Seems pretty incredible doesn't it, but nothing that you do, or that happens to you is a suprise to God. He knew your beginning and He absolutely knows when this all will end for you. Personally, I wouldn't want that kind of knowledge, but for our all-knowing God, it is all part of His plan.

What's so amazing about all of this is that before the earth and everything in it was created, God knew you! He made you and knew when you would be conceived (Psalm 139:13-16;Jeremiah 1:5). He knew when you would be born, and first walk, and go to school, when you would rebel and turn away, and when you would come back to Him. He pre-determined, because He wanted to, that you would exist today! He purposed in His heart to create you, to rescue you from the world of sin and all of your junk, and to lift you up by His grace to be redeemed by Him.

If you know that you are a Christian, you need to continually praise Him for allowing you to be "in His will", and for rescuing you to serve Him. And, if you are not a Christian, this is the time that He has chosen for you to come to Him; surrender yourself now, pour out your sins to Him and ask for His forgiveness. Believe that He has sent Jesus to rescue you and take all the punishment that you deserved. Commit now to allowing Him to guide you and the Lord of your life from now on. This is the time God has determined for you to be His own!

Photo "Determination" by thadz,11-10-2006 from stock.xchng

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A New Song - January 20, 2013

Psalm 40:3 (New International Version, ©2010)
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.

Psalm 98:1 (New Living Translation)
1 Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; his holy arm has shown his saving power!

Some time ago, I heard a great message about praise and worship. In it I heard that when you study the Scriptures, its hard to find where praise and worship as singing is done by anyone other than mankind. If you read carefully, most of the time when we think that the angels are singing in praise and worship, they are actually speaking the words. Only in Job 38:6-7 is there a vague reference to the angels singing.

The message went further to explain that God has put the "song" in the hearts of those that He has redeemed. They then express their love and thankfulness to God through lifting up His praises in songs of thanksgiving. Singing praises and worship to our God has become such a part of the faith experience, that one can't imagine what it would be like without it.

If you are a committed Christian, it is hard not to be joyful and to lift up praises in song to our God and Savior Jesus Christ for what He has done for us. Some day soon though, God will put a new song in our mouths, no longer about the suffering Servant who laid down His life for our sins, but a new song for our worthy and conquering King who will bring us with Him into His kingdom.

Revelation 5:9-10 (New International Version, ©2010)
9 And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

Photo "Praises 5" by Martin, 7-30-2007, from stock.xchng

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday Praise! - January 19, 2013

Psalm 16(New International Version)
1 Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.

2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

3 I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”

4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips.

5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.

6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay (prophecy about Jesus Christ*).

11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

* Italics mine

Friday, January 18, 2013

Looking for God's Mighty Acts - January 18, 2013

Habakkuk 3:2(New Century Version)
2 Lord, I have heard the news about you;
I am amazed at what you have done.
Lord, do great things once again in our time;
make those things happen again in our own days.
Even when you are angry, remember to be kind.

Habakkuk 3:2(New International Reader's Version)
2 Lord, I know how famous you are.
I have great respect for you
because of your mighty acts.
Do them again for us.
Make them known in our time.
When you are angry,
please show us your tender love.

Many of us have a longing to see God work in our lifetimes. We want to see Him do mighty things and know that they are from Him. As we become weary in waiting for the bad things to end, we long for God to bring about justice and set all things right. There is so much trouble, pain and diffculty that we long for His hand to bring about relief and comfort. We want to be able to see Jesus alive and in person. We know that God has been mighty in the past, and now we want to see it for ourselves.

I believe that God is alive and well in our world today, and He is doing "mighty acts" each and every day. Jesus is newly inhabiting lives and the Holy Spirit is changing hearts and minds on a minute by minute basis. In addition, God is doing great things today in the acts of His people. Each and every good thing, every gesture that is good and decent, every act of mercy and grace, ultimately are because of Him and from Him. He shows up whenever we are in trouble, are in pain or difficulty, and in His love and mercy, He shows us His tender love.

If you are longing to see God do great things, accept Him into your heart. Let Jesus Christ be your example, and let the Holy Spirit guide you each and every day. God will show up in all you do, and you can praise Him for His "mighty acts" and know Him today!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Silver Linings - January 17, 2013

2 Corinthians 1:3-5(New International Version)
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

The way things are in the world these days, it seems that there are many people out there that are going through some kind of trouble. Almost on a daily basis I hear about difficulties with many people out there are going through a something. As followers of Jesus, we aren't immune to be difficulties, they come into our lives as well.

What is important for us to learn is what to do with what we are going through; the lessons that we need to learn while we are going through trouble. Many times the trouble and difficulty we go through as a Christ follower are for a purpose. God takes us through "stuff" to demonstrate His mercy, grace and power through our circumstances. He is with us in our deepest valleys, and when we climb out, we have a story to tell of His goodness. He identifies with us through Christ's sufferings, and we can be assured that He will be there if we stay close to Jesus.

What we need to remember is that with every difficulty we will go through, there will be a "silver lining". God will bring us through it; it is up to us to help others that are going through what we have just been through, and to share the comfort that only a relationship with Jesus Christ can bring. All of us are surrounded by friends and others that are having problems. Make sure that you are there to help.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What's Next? - January 16, 2013

2 Peter 1:3,5-9 (New International Version)
3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

Okay, God chooses you and you can be certain that you will enjoy living in God's favor and grace, because you have taken action and placed your faith in Jesus. He alone saves you from the evil world around you, as the one who has reconciled you to God. What happens next?

Many times people listen to an inspirational and evangelistic message in church, on TV, or during a crusade. Countless numbers then take that step of faith and "give their lives" to Christ. In this simple act of placing their faith in Jesus, they are "born again" into the family of God. But research into church trends will tell you, that this type of "faith" experience will not have lasting effect on most people. In our society in this day and age, it does not translate into any significant change in lifestyle, or increase in church attendance. Why is that?

I would say that these same people have no idea of what needs to happen next. Thankfully the Bible always offers great guidance. The verses from 2 Peter above tells us what must be done after the step of faith has been taken. If we are truly changed, God the Holy Spirit comes to reside in you, and He enables you to have the strength and the power to add to your faith. The same text from The Message says what we are to do best:

5-9 So don't lose a minute in building on what you've been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can't see what's right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.

If you have undergone this significant and lifechanging experience, get connected with other Christians or a good bible teaching church, and be sure that you grow in your new spiritual life. Jesus offers life change. It is up to us to accept it, take personal resposibility and build on it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Trapped! - January 15, 2013

James 1:13-15 (New International Version)
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

We all have an inborn problem, which is the problem of giving in to temptation. Whether it is wrath, greed, laziness, pride, lust, envy, or gluttony, all of us have the problem of giving in to these vices. Why is that?

I believe that the temptations are all around us, on display day in and day out. The media today does a great job of shoving it in our faces; whether on television, or in magazines, or on billboards, it is designed to lure us in and trap us. And, because of our fallen nature, and the evil one's hate for us, we are very succeptable to getting trapped.

Some people have erected a strong defense against temptation by knowing thier weaknesses, and seeking God's help for strength. Others tend to remain weak because they don't seek God nearly enough. Thank God that He loved us enough, to provide the way out of what has us trapped.

By the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross, we have the means of release from the traps that can lead to death. Jesus has overcome our sin and has redeemed us; it is our resonsibility to accept God's gift, and once we are released, to avoid falling back into the trap.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Perishable - January 14, 2013

Isaiah 51:6 (New International Version)
6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment
and its inhabitants die like flies.
But my salvation will last forever,
my righteousness will never fail.

It is difficult imagining what God is like. We haven't seen Him, yet billions believe in Him. How else would all of what is around us exist? Big Bang? No, I don't think so. Chance? That means having nothing times nothing equals something. The math doesn't support that one. No one can explain our existence without God. Many deny that, and they spend a lifetime trying to prove it, but they never will. True to form, the scoffers will do anything but believe in God. Must be what they have to face up to.

God has proven Himself by what is around us. The magnificence of His creation, from the smallest of organisms to the expanse of the universe, is proof enough. Yet for the wonder of what is around us, it will all come to an end someday. Everything perishes(Now that, the scoffers do agree on). Everything dies; everything decays. With that prospect in the future of all of us, what then? Do we pass into nothingness? Many would hope so, but those with real hope in Jesus Christ know differently.

As the prophet Isaiah tells us with the words of God, everything will pass away, except God and His salvation. He provides the Way and will never fail His creation. So the next time you look into the heavens, and contemplate your existence, make sure that you have accepted God's salvation and have taken His Way. That will never pass away.

Photo from

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sifted - January 13, 2013

Luke 22:31-32(New Century Version)
31 "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to test all of you as a farmer sifts his wheat. 32 I have prayed that you will not lose your faith! Help your brothers be stronger when you come back to me."

If you are the baker in the family you are very familiar with sifting flour. Sifting is defined as "To put (flour, for example) through a sieve or other straining device in order to separate the fine from the coarse particles"*. It is a way to remove impurities from what your mixing so that whatever you are baking has the perfect texture. If you love baked goods like me, you really like the outcome of this step in the process.

Jesus used the example of sifting wheat when the disciples were gathered in the upper room just before Christ's crucifixion. He had just completed sharing the Passover meal and using it to establish His new covenant that we call "Holy Communion". The disciples were arguing about who would be the greatest in God's kingdom, and Jesus was growing very weary of the argument. Even though Jesus had tried to tell them numerous times, none of them really had a clue what was about to happen.

Peter being the leader among them, and probably the one with the largest ego in the group, was about to have his ego leveled and his true character tested, and Jesus was giving this very arrogant man a warning. God was about to allow Satan to put him through his most important testing of his life, and Jesus was praying that he would withstand that test. Peter was about to under go "sifting" that would remove the coarseness and shallowness within him, and purify him in a manner that would develop him for future leadership of the new Christian church. If he made it through this testing, then he would be able to handle the opposition after the departure of Jesus Christ.

Here lately, I have often felt that I have been going through alot of sifting, and the way things are in the world, I am sure that there are many of you going through the same thing. I hate to let everyone know, but this is a time that God is developing our characters, preparing us for tougher times in the years ahead. The great thing about trials and difficulties is that after you go through enough of it, you resign yourself to not thinking that you can do it all; you learn that the only way to make it is with God's help.

If life has you being pressed through the sifter right now, make sure that you are staying close to Jesus. If you aren't, don't worry, your time will come. Remember though, Jesus will be with you to comfort you, and He will strengthen you through the process.

* Definition from the Free Online Dictionary/sift

Photo from "Mule Team on the Move", Muhlestein Family adventures and travels, posted 6-10-2011

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saturday Praise! - January 12, 2013

Psalm 136 (New International Version)
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
4 to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
5 who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
6 who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
7 who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
8 the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
9 the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
11 and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.

13 to him who divided the Red Sea[a] asunder
His love endures forever.
14 and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.

16 to him who led his people through the wilderness;
His love endures forever.

17 to him who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
18 and killed mighty kings—
His love endures forever.
19 Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.
20 and Og king of Bashan—
His love endures forever.
21 and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.
22 an inheritance to his servant Israel.
His love endures forever.

23 He remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
24 and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever.
25 He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

As you prepare for Sunday worship, give thanks to the Lord for His goodness. Give thanks for His love and His blessings, and thank Him for what He has done for you.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Overcoming Obstacles - January 11, 2013

Psalm 73:12-28(GOD’S WORD Translation)
12Look how wicked they are!
They never have a worry.
They grow more and more wealthy.

13I’ve received no reward for keeping my life pure
and washing my hands of any blame.
14I’m plagued with problems all day long,
and every morning my punishment begins again.
15If I had said, “I will continue to talk like that,”
I would have betrayed God’s people.

16But when I tried to understand this,
it was too difficult for me.
17Only when I came into God’s holy place
did I finally understand what would happen to them.

18You put them in slippery places
and make them fall into ruin.
19They are suddenly destroyed.
They are completely swept away by terror!
20As someone gets rid of a dream when he wakes up,
so you, O Lord, get rid of the thought of them
when you wake up.

21When my heart was filled with bitterness
and my mind was seized with envy,
22I was stupid, and I did not understand.
I was like a dumb animal in your presence.

23Yet, I am always with you.
You hold on to my right hand.
24With your advice you guide me,
and in the end you will take me to glory.

25As long as I have you,
I don’t need anyone else in heaven or on earth.
26My body and mind may waste away,
but God remains the foundation of my life
and my inheritance forever.
27Without a doubt, those who are far from you will die.
You destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

28Being united with God is my highest good.
I have made the Almighty Lord my refuge
so that I may report everything that he has done.

There are many good people out there that are doing the best to follow Jesus Christ, yet it seems that they can't catch a break during these tough times. When things are tough it is hard not to get bitter. We tend to get angry with God in that bitterness, when we see those that do evil prosper. After asking God, "why me?", we wonder why He let's those who are against Him get all the breaks in this world.

If you are doing your best, trying to follow Jesus and it just hasn't gotten any easier for you, remember that God does want you to prosper. He is just working out His plan in your life. Fine gold or silver are at their finest when the impurities have been driven out. Steel is only at its stongest when it endures the hottest of temperatures. The trials you are going through have a purpose, and those who seemingly laugh at your faithfulness to God will receive their just reward.

Don't lose heart! He will carry you through this, and at the end of your struggle, you will see His plan and experience His joy.

Photo from "OVERCOMING THE OBSTACLES TO YOUR VISION", by Coach Dan Foster, posted 3-9-2011

This is a re-post of one I did some time ago; I pray that it is as relevant for you today as it was when I first wrote it. Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Heart of Reconciliation - January 10, 2013

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (New Living Translation)
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

Colossians 1:19-20 (New King James Version)
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

Christianity involves Christ's work of reconciliation between us and God. Through the sacrificial death of Jesus, through the shedding of His blood as payment for sins on our behalf, our relationship with God has been re-established. When we believe and accept this, we are restored to friendship with God. As Jesus Christ said, "I do not call you servants anymore. Servants do not know their master's business. Instead, I have called you friends. I have told you everything I learned from my Father." John 15:15(NIRV)

Since we have been given this gift of reconciliation through Jesus Christ, it is our responsibility to seek reconciliation in all things. It is our mission to be God's ambassadors, sharing Christ and helping to bring into harmony all of those who are separated from God. As Christians we do nothing in our own power, but the Holy Spirit brings about the reconciliation as a new believer surrenders to Jesus Christ. Our job is to represent what has already been done for us; we are to reflect God's work of reconciliation.

We are to seek reconcialition in all things, always striving for restoring Christ-like relationships with everyone we encounter. There is nothing more important than for us as Christians to reflect Jesus Christ, as we reach out in the present and to those damaged relationships in our past. This might mean stepping aside accepting correction that we felt was misplaced, or subordinating ourselves to a co-worker that has taken our positions. It might mean re-engaging with alienated family members, extending forgiveness to those who have betrayed us, or humbling ourselves to those who have taken advantage of us. In all of these acts, we become God's ambassadors of reconciliation, and help to promote the healing and restoration that God desires.

As you enter into the grind of this new year, make it a point to follow what Jesus Christ has begum on our behalf. Make it a point in this year to seek reconciliation in all things and with all people. Be sure that this year is the one that heals old wounds and restores broken relationships. Make sure that this year will be the year that you discover the work of Christ and the true heart of God; make sure you discover what reconciliation is all about.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Whole Story - January 9, 2013

Ecclesiastes 12:1,13-14 (New Living Translation)
1 Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” ...13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.

One advantage from looking at life from the right side of forty is that you have the ability to look back and see what we have done wrong. One statement I am sure we all would agree with is that "life is hard", and many of us have had to learn the hard way, that we cannot do this job of living on our own.

As he approached his later years, the King who had it all in his time, when it came to the world's definition of success, wisdom, money, pleasure, and power, had to give the life he led a serious look. As he examined his life and everything he had done, Solomon reached the conclusion that his life had been meaningless. The twelve chapters of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament of the Bible is a sad lament on leading a life that is only after the things that this world has to offer.

This is a great book for us to read and reflect upon for ourselves. It is never too late to understand the fact, that this life and everything in it has been given to us as a gift with a purpose. The world would want us to think otherwise, but we have been created to serve God and to serve those around us. I am thankful that God in His unexplainable love and grace revealed this to me before I too had to lament, as Solomon did, that everything was meaningless.

Solomon gives us a bit of wisdom that we need to take to heart and pass on to our youthful friends, and our children and grandchildren. We need to remember that we are here for God's purpose, and life is much easier if our focus is on Him. He summarizes all of the wisdom that God gave him in the concluding verse above. Our reason for living is to love, obey and serve God, because ultimately we are accountable to Him for what we do with this gift He has given us.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Everything is Meaningless - January 8, 2013

Ecclesiastes 1:1-3 (New International Reader's Version)1 These are the words of the Teacher. He was the son of David. He was also king in Jerusalem. 2 "Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Everything is completely meaningless! Nothing has any meaning." 3 What does a man get for all of his work? Why does he work so hard on this earth?

Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 (New Living Translation)10 Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. 11 But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.

Why do we do what we do? What purpose does our work and everything we strive for have in this world? What value does it truly add to our lives and to the lives of others? Many of us ponder these questions often in our lives, especially when we are searching for meaning to our lives and life's work. The value of what we do in life is just as important as the question,"Why am I here?".

The Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament of the Bible was written by King Solomon of Israel as his reflection on the life he led. In it he examined the many aspects of what he did as the wisest and richest king in biblical history. Here was a man that God granted great wisdom and wealth, but he sqaundered away the blessings he was given for a life of immorality and pleasure. As he writes this book at the end of his life, we have the opportunity to look into the window of his life, to ask and answer some big questions for ourselves.

As Solomon sought to understand what benefit there was in his efforts of working, gaining wisdom, and at seeking pleasure, we need to examine for ourselves the purpose in what we are doing. Are we here to work hard at our jobs and accumulate homes, cars, and investments for retirement denying ourselves nothing in material gain? Are we here to get a great education and learning all that we can, to secure the best position and power possible, that our advanced degrees will allow? Or are we just here to live like there is no tomorrow and experience every pleasure and desire the world has to offer? Not that any of these things are wrong in themselves, but Solomon tries to show us through the self-examination of his experiences that chasing after these things alone is meaningless.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Seeing Is Believing - January 7, 2013

2 Corinthians 5:7(New King James Version)
7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Romans 8:24(New American Standard Bible)
24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?

Hebrews 11:1(New International Version)
1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

These days its really difficult to know what is going on. Every day we are reminded by one thing or another that these are tough times, and it seems as if they will never end. You wonder at times if God is paying attention to your difficulty, and you wonder what you may have done wrong. Why does it have to be so hard? What can you do to overcome what your going through?

If you are a Christian, it's times like these that you can really get close to Jesus, because He has walked through some of the same things we have. What can give us confidence that things will be better is that He has gone through every type of emotion that we have. He knows how we feel.

It's at times like these that you need to understand that blessing comes from having faith, total trust, that although you cannot see what will happen, God will take care of you. Yes, you don't know how what your going through will end, but God does. He has given you His promise that He will never leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6), and that everything that you go through will be for your own good (Romans 8:28).

Because of His promises you can have confidence, that although you cannot see where you are going, He is leading you where you are supposed to go. He knows what you need, and He is into the details. So what should you do? Totally trust God. Seek Him continually in prayer and ask Him to help you in leaving the results to Him. It is only in total faith and trust that you can truly be at peace in all that happens around you.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Can't Get No Satisfaction? - January 6, 2013

Psalm 49(New Living Translation)
1 Listen to this, all you people!
Pay attention, everyone in the world!
2 High and low,
rich and poor—listen!
3 For my words are wise,
and my thoughts are filled with insight.
4 I listen carefully to many proverbs
and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp.
5 Why should I fear when trouble comes,
when enemies surround me?
6 They trust in their wealth
and boast of great riches.
7 Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death
by paying a ransom to God.
8 Redemption does not come so easily,
for no one can ever pay enough
9 to live forever
and never see the grave.

10 Those who are wise must finally die,
just like the foolish and senseless,
leaving all their wealth behind.
11 The grave is their eternal home,
where they will stay forever.
They may name their estates after themselves,
12 but their fame will not last.
They will die, just like animals.
13 This is the fate of fools,
though they are remembered as being wise.


14 Like sheep, they are led to the grave,
where death will be their shepherd.
In the morning the godly will rule over them.
Their bodies will rot in the grave,
far from their grand estates.
15 But as for me, God will redeem my life.
He will snatch me from the power of the grave.


16 So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich
and their homes become ever more splendid.
17 For when they die, they take nothing with them.
Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.
18 In this life they consider themselves fortunate
and are applauded for their success.
19 But they will die like all before them
and never again see the light of day.
20 People who boast of their wealth don’t understand;
they will die, just like animals.

Do you long after the riches of this world? Are your pursuits after those things that money buys? Is your first aim in life to do all you can to obtain wealth? Do you believe that in doing those things you will have satisfaction? Has God been relegated to a small corner of your life as you pursue after these things? Do we hunger more for power, wealth and riches than for the love and satisfaction found only in God?

Many times in God's word we are warned against worldy pursuits. We are told that by doing so we can never find satisfaction and happiness. Any of us who have spent a little time on this planet knows that this is true. No matter how much we seek after the world and its riches, there is never enough and we can never be satisfied. In God's econnomy, worldly wealth is fleeting and soon fades away, but He gives us supernatural wealth in Jesus that can sustain and satisfy us for eternity.

Only by seeking God first and foremost in our lives can we ever be truly satisfied, and He tells us as long as we put Him first, He will take care of everything else we need. Only in Him can we be rescued from the world and given satisfaction that lasts.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Taking Right Path - January 5, 2013

Matthew 4:8-10(New International Reader's Version)

8 Finally, the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain. He showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 “If you bow down and worship me,” he said, “I will give you all of this.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Get away from me, Satan! It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God. He is the only one you should serve.’” (Deuteronomy 6:13)

The beginning of a new year can be compared to standing on a mountain top, and surveying all the possibilities of where we can go and what we can do. We are often offered a path that can give us success, riches and glory, but choosing that way may require us to compromise our values and beliefs. It might expect us to become involved in things that will not be a good witness to our faith in Jesus Christ.

In this day and age, Christians are being pressured by the secular world around them to give up on God, to forget all we are called to be and do as followers of our faith, and to go along with everyone else. We are constantly being bombarded from every direction to "get out of the Dark Ages" and embrace the social norms of today. Businesses led by Christians are being told that they have to offer medical services that go against their freedom of conscience, and others are forced to support a lifestyle that goes against morals and ethics instituted by God.

In this year, there may be times in our working world where we might be asked to compromise our beliefs for the sake of a promotion or a raise, or just to be included as one of the gang. Also in this year, there may also be times when our children will be faced with compromises to what they have been taught by us as right and good living, for the sake of being accepted by their piers, or as is all the more common, what will be forced upon them by the schools and educators themselves.

 As this year progresses and in the years ahead, all of us will be forced to conform more and more to an evil world, but it will be up to us to choose the path we will take. One will offer us success, riches and glory, and the security that conforming to the world's image will give, and the other will force us to get out of our comfort zone and stand up for the things of God. Just as Jesus took a stand against the lure of everything the world had to offer, we too need to take a stand for God and against the world.

As you survey the year ahead, make sure that you look out for the lure of those things that are objectionable to God, and make sure that you follow the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus, and take the right path that is pleasing to Him.

Photo by  Nicole K. Docimo, from her blog Blue Bicicleta, June 27, 2011

Friday, January 4, 2013

One Day at a Time - January 4, 2013

Matthew 6:25; 33-34 (New International Reader's Version)
25 "I tell you, do not worry. Don't worry about your life and what you will eat or drink. And don't worry about your body and what you will wear. Isn't there more to life than eating? Aren't there more important things for the body than clothes?"... 33 "But put God's kingdom first. Do what he wants you to do. Then all of those things will also be given to you. 34 "So don't worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own".

Easier said than done! As we look forward to a new year, set our goals, and make our plans, we tend to worry about what a new year will bring; taxes, job changes, personal issues, struggles of all kinds. It is very hard not to worry, when you add to that everything that is going on in the world around us; runaway government spending, ballooning national debt, crime, hunger, terror plots, and so much more.

These statements were made by Jesus, shortly after he began his ministry around 30AD. He was spending his time traveling throughout a region North and West of the Sea of Galilee, which is in modern day Israel, teaching in synagogues, gathering his disciples, and healing people of many kinds of illness and sickness. It is part of what has become known as The Sermon on the Mount(Matthew 4-7). The Sermon is a compilation of the moral teachings of Jesus and addresses God's perspective on the needs of the people. Here he specifically addresses what our response needs to be to the "worries of this life".

Jesus is very clear here on where our priorities need to be when we face worry, personal needs and struggles, and the future. Our focus needs to be on God, seeking Him in all the decisions that we have to make. We need to take one day at a time, making Him top priority in our lives. The best part about his statement is His promise take care of all the things that worry you. We just have to make sure that we are following His will.

What struggles are you facing as you look towards this new year? What do you need to turn over to a loving Father that is concerned about carrying your burdens and troubles? Put God first this year, and the rest will work itself out.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Well Placed Trust - January 3, 2013

Proverbs 3:5-6 ( New Living Transaltion)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (New King James Version)
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

For many years now, this has been one of my favorite verses from the Bible. It puts everything in the proper perspective, when it comes to how to live our daily lives. Many times our own thoughts and desires can be very deceiving, leading us into things that we should not be involved in.

At the beginning of the Book of Proverbs, it makes it very clear what the author, Solomon, son of David, King of Israel, intended for us to obtain from the reading of this God inspired book,"2 for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; 3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair;"(Proverbs 1:2-3). He sought to have us gain the ability to discern and judge what is right for daily living and to receive the benefits from doing so.

We are now making plans of how we will live out 2013. As we go foward into the new year, we need to use godly insight to give us a wise plan of action. Let's take these words into our own hearts, seeking God and trusting Him as we make decisions in our lives, and making sure that we are mindful of Him. By doing so, He will remove the barriers that might hinder us along the way.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Preparing for the Journey - January 2, 2013

James 4:13-15 (New International Version)
13Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."

By now many of us have made plans to go here or there this year, set goals to lose weight or accomplish this or that, planned calendar events such as vacations or weddings, committed to change jobs or find one, or set resolutions to bring about change. I am in the process of doing so and have done it in the past. In order to go anywhere in life, you need to have goals, and construct a plan on how you will accomplish them. Many fail in attaining their dreams and living a truly satisfying life, because of their failure to do so. Nothing is worse than a "ship without a rudder".

James, the brother of Jesus, was interested in vital Christianity, that results in consistant character and is lived out in serving those around us. In this passage, he encourages us to make our future plans with God in mind. As you sit down and take time to do the work of setting goals and making plans for the new year, meditate on what God might desire for your life. What can you accomplish in your life and for those around you with God's help? What are His purposes for you in 2013?

This life passes quickly by; we need to do the work of seeking God, placing Him first in our lives, and include His work in our plans. Commit yourself in the new year to seek Him in prayer before you go on the journey.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Winning the Game in 2013 - January 1, 2013

8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Today is the beginning of the New Year, 2013. It is a time for reflection and anticipation, as we look foward to the year ahead. What will the next year bring to us? What challenges will we have to face? What lies ahead as we strike out into a new beginnings and opportunities? What will we be looking to for help in navigating through the difficulties? Who will be with us through it all?

Many today are reflecting on these questions, while many others are simply enjoying a great day and time for college football! There are guys, and yes some gals, that are focused on a television set or sitting in a stadium watching a great game of New Year's Day football.  The key to winning a football game is great blocking, and for the team that blocks the opposition the most effectively from the player who has the football, will likely be the team that wins.

It is like that spiritually as we move into this New Year. The answer to many of the questions above is made clear in the Bible passage above.  If we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and if we have truly surrendered our daily lives to Him, it will be God who will go ahead of us to help us through 2013. He loves us so much that He has spared nothing on our behalf; He is wanting to personally lead us through anything that we might come across. He wants to be there through the struggles and the blessings.

As you look ahead into the new year, be sure that the first thing you do is get good blocking; make sure that you offer up to God your prayers, and seek Him for what you are about to do. Devote time right now, give Him praise for what He has done for you in the past, and commit your life to following Him. He will provide the "blocking" that you will need to win the game of life in the upcoming year and beyond.

Stanford's Stepfan Taylor (33) follows a block by teammate Stanford's David Yankey (54),as the Stanford Cardinal takes on the Oregon Ducks at Stanford Stadium, on Saturday November 12, 2011 in Palo Alto, Ca. Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle/ SF