The Word of God directs us, encourages us, gives us hope and provides every day living wisdom to live by!
Paul was in prison. He had been beaten. He was not treated well and had to be physically exhausted.
Perspective. Paul had it. He reminds all of us that our view of our circumstances can rely on our mindset and perspective.
The Holy Spirit of God filled him and used him as a major vessel and carried the gospel in prison. So much that he went to the house of another jailer and shared his faith in Jesus to the jailers house and the scripture said they were all saved!
He found the secret. The secret in the power of Christ. He is our only one true hope! Praise his name!
Have a great day and ask the Lord to help you with whatever you are struggling with today!
How can we pray for you?
Great scripture here in James 4!
We are not guaranteed tomorrow! Enjoy this day as a gift from God and his beauty all around you. Find 3 things to be thankful for. I’ve always tried to do that when I want to get too far ahead of God and do it myself and operate in my limited strength instead of Gods amazing power!
Our life is a mist….the Bible reminds us……here for a little while (in terms of eternity) and then gone….God wants us to make our time count when we are here! Lord Jesus help us serve you with our actions and our words!
God gives is the definition of Sin here- “if anyone knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them”. Ouch. That’s kinda close to home. Once God reveals himself and what he wants us to do it’s up to us to act and move….
I’m sure glad God is in control of my life and I will give him full surrender every day!!
Every day we wake up and have a choice. What are we going to think about first. What is our mindset going to be like for the day?
We are all human and have negative thoughts come in our mind all the time. We have a choice if we are going to listen to our negative self talk or not. What we feed our mind with absolutely affects our behavior and how we are going to act and speak.
Hebrews 12:2 reminds us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith”.
We are to gaze on Christ and try moment by moment to ask ourselves, “what would Jesus think about this” or “how does this look to Jesus”?
It re-focuses us on what’s important and what’s eternal. It re-aligns our heart and gets us centered back to our walk with God. We have to be intentional about it. Our natural thoughts are to waver and go the opposite direction. We have to pray and ask God for help moment by moment. It’s a battle we all face!
I want to encourage you today to focus on Christ and his goodness. Remember all that he has done for you in your life and believe by faith that he’s not done with you yet!
Recently our family took our annual summer beach vacation. It’s been a tradition in our family for many years and we always look forward to it.
One thing I can count on and thats God to give me a reminder or a lesson that I need in my life at that exact time. God is faithful and like a Father loves his children, God knows what we need and when we need it.
One day we were out on the beach enjoying the scorching July heat in Florida. You know what to expect in Florida in July and August….really hot! It was a beautiful day and the water was calm and the waves were at a minimum. I was walking in the shallow water looking for some nice shells to pickup. Matthew, my 10 year old, was curious as to what I was doing. So I told him I was picking up seashells. He joined me for a few minutes and I explained to him what to look for. I told him that I look for the shells that are not broken or messed up. We walked along the beach shoreline a little longer and I said it to him again. “I only like to keep the shells that are whole and not broken.” Instantly God reminded me how that sounded and what he thought of us. It sounded so ugly coming out of my mouth and tying it into the lesson God wanted to teach me that day.
God reminded me our world we live in has a different expectation than he does. Culture embraces looking good on the outside and not displaying any kind of brokeness. The exact opposite of what God values and loves! God loves us and takes the brokeness in our lives and uses it to draw us near to him. He loves taking flawed sinners like each one of us and takes delight in healing us and making us whole. Psalm 147:3 says “he heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” God never throws us back into the ocean because we don’t look good. He picks us up, broken and battered, loves us and reminds us that He sent his one and only Son, Jesus to die on the cross for us (John 3:16).
It was a short, quick lesson that would leave a permanent impression on me and how I felt about broken sea shells. I thank God that he took a broken, messed up person like myself and made me whole in Christ. He gave me a new life, a new identity, a different outlook on life. God wants to do the same thing in your life today if you will let him!
This morning I got to take my 9 year old son, Matthew, fishing at Anna Maria Island at a place called the Rod and Reel. It was a nice morning with a slight cool breeze blowing off the water. It’s Spring Break 2016 so everyone and their brother, cousin and bestie was there fishing this one particular morning. We rented a couple of fishing poles and bought 2 dozen shrimp that like to jump out of the bucket they gave us.
We walked around the back of the small older shack that sits on the water, only to find an empty bench where we would sit and fish for the next hour or so. Matthew counted on me to bait his hook and position his pole in the water where he would catch the fish he was after that day. After we sat down and got all settled in, I noticed that nobody was casting their lines out very far. Instead, they were just dropping their lines right down in front of them trying to catch the fish that directly beneath them. I got up and walked around to the place I had rented the poles looking for the guy who sold us the shrimp. He was not around however there was a another guy doing some busy work in the same area. I asked him, “Why isn’t anyone casting their lines out in the water, they are all dropping them straight down”? He replied,”All the fish hide underneath the dock”. He told me to drop the line straight down and try to catch them that way. After all, everyone else was fishing that way.
I went back to the bench and Matthew and I fished for the next hour or so and caught nothing. I just enjoyed spending time with my son fishing. Were we trying to catch something? You bet! So we kept throwing the lines over and over and over. Now something caught my eye at about the had way point I neglected to mention. Many of the people weren’t sitting on the bench anymore fishing, they were laying down on their stomachs, hanging over the edge of the dock and casting their rods underneath the dock. You see, thats where the fish were! I knew that, after all, the guy who works there had told me where to catch the fish.
I began to notice 4 or 5 people sitting around us lying down and fishing. Here’s the funny thing, they began catching fish. One by one, they reeled them in and celebrated catching a fish! They weren’t big fish but that didn’t matter, after all they were catching something. I was faced with a decision, do I make the sacrifice and lay down on my stomach to catch something or sit on my bench and hope for the best.
I wish I could give you a happy ending to the story. I had a choice that morning. I honestly didn’t want to get uncomfortable and lay down on the hard, wooden dock to fish. I wanted to catch a fish, but not sacrifice myself to that point. It felt as though the Lord was speaking to me and saying, “to follow me you will have to make some uncomfortable sacrifices in your life.” It won’t be easy but will certainly be worth it. The ones that chose to lay down and do the uncomfortable, were the ones who got the reward.
God reminds us all the same thing. How bad do you really want it? How much of a sacrifice are you willing me make for Christ? I was challenged this day and reminded that to follow Christ, will require me to get uncomfortable sometimes.
The Reward is always greater than the sacrifice!
When God allows us to go through seasons that aren’t particularly pleasant…we always wonder why. Searching, reasoning, forecasting our future, talking it out with a best friend..still we are not sure. Rest assured God is in control and wants to help you through seasons of wilderness that may seem to last for an eternity.
Here are 3 tools that have always helped me push through times like these:
1. Prayer– talking to our Heavenly Father first about the concerns of our heart is our first step . We need to “get it all out” with him first before going to anyone else. True confession and crying out to Him will begin to align our heart with the heart of God.
But in my distress I cried out to the lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears. Psalm 18:6 (NLT)
2. People – spending time with friends face to face does good for the soul. God puts friends in our lives to encourage us and give us hope to see our situation through a different set of eyes. In a culture that bends our perception of friendship as a ‘friend’ on Facebook, a ‘favorite on Twitter, or a ‘like’ on Instagram, we need more than that. God uses others to give us Victory over our struggles.
“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” Proverbs 27:9
3. Scripture – reading the promises of God that he has for you will change the way you are viewing your current situation. When we fill our minds and souls with God’s truth, it gives us an eternal perspective of our lives. God’s Word gives us hope that what we are walking through now has a “reason and a purpose” in it.
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.Then you will be prosperous and successful.“ Joshua 1:8
God loves you and has an amazing plan for your life. The season in your life will not last forever, no season ever does. Allow God to shape you and mold you into the person he wants you to become!!
It’s something we cannot possibly earn and certainly don’t deserve. If we all got what we deserved, it probably wouldn’t be pretty, at least in my case it wouldn’t. Grace. God’s Grace. His undeserved favor in our lives. Grace is a word that’s thrown around in culture but rarely unpacked. We have a ‘grace’ period in paying our monthly mortgage payment. We say ‘grace’ over our food. When we look into our lives and see what Jesus has done, we start to remember his grace in a whole new way. We fall into a state of thanksgiving and humble thoughts about who and what God has rescued us from. We remember what we used to be, a wretch, who said yes to a God who wants to teach us his grace the rest of our lives. This Holiday season allow God to use you to be a ‘grace giver’. Allow him to use you to be a ‘dispenser’ of his grace. His awesome, powerful, life changing grace. Offer it to those who certainly don’t deserve it, from the world’s viewpoint, and it will glow even brighter. It will take an intentional effort on your part & will more than likely take you by surprise. You will find yourself right in the middle of the moment where you get to be a ‘grace dispenser’. Will you ignore the opportunity or allow the Holy Spirit to work through you? You get to decide in the freewill God gives you. Watch God use you this season to be a ‘grace giver’ and a ‘dispenser’ of his grace. It will bless the person receiving the grace and bless the giver also. His Grace is Amazing……