New Habits

When I think of something working from the inside-out, my mind turns to a microwave oven!  I know – weird, huh?  Hang in there with me, I’m making a point.

Those little micro waves begin cooking in the center of whatever is in there.  Just as a microwave heats your coffee or cooks your bacon…  God works on us!  Now you feel like a cup of coffee or a strip of bacon, don’t you?  LOL!  I doubt that God sees you that way.  Nah…  pretty sure He doesn’t.

God begins His work with His precious Holy Spirit – in the center of our being – our hearts and minds.  Renewal begins to take place.  We love the things that God loves and hate the things He hates.  We have to be careful to never hate people – but behaviors we can definitely hate and refuse to participate in.

Because the enemy of our soul is still working in our world – it’s possible to slip and fall.  Even those who belong to God are to some degree vulnerable.  Actually, it seems the more you are trying to work for the Lord, the more that ol’ devil whispers in your ear – and remember – he copies everything that God does.  He’s a copy-catter!  He will do anything to get you off-balance.

God wants us to thrive in this life.  He wants us to lean on Him and learn His ways.  Remember when Nancy Reagan said, “Just Say No” – in her one woman drug campaign?  I was a young teen at the time and thought, “she didn’t go far enough.  You can’t just say no to drugs – you have to turn and say yes to Jesus!”  

There was a time when the 12-step program was centered around a faith and trust in God.  I think they tell you a “higher power” can be anything now – but it was originally all about God.  Lean on God instead of your addiction.  I’ve been through OA twice.  The second time, the leader explained the “higher power” as anything you place higher than yourself.  I wasn’t diggin’ on that, but I wasn’t the leader, so held my tongue.  I did – and yeah, it took a miracle.

Maybe your higher power is your cat…  but the only HIGHER POWER that you can always depend on to come through for you is Jesus Christ!  He will be by your side when temptations arise.

Let Jesus have your heart, soul, and mind…  let Him help you form some new habits – replacing your unhealthy and self-destructive habits.  🙂

New Soul

I want a new soul – a soul that is more kind, more compassionate, and more obedient to God.  The opinion that others have of me pales compared to the opinion that God has of me.  I want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant – enter into your rest.”

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  – Matthew 16:26

What good is a new year, a new beginning, if we don’t have a change?  Consider that the change does not have to be physical.  Yes, that’s what we see in each other – but what about a change of soul?  I know you probably don’t think much about your soul…  that invisible part of you; but what if I told you it’s well worth taking some time this year to ask your Heavenly Father what He would like to see changed in you.  There’s always room for improvement – in all of us!

A new soul…  a heart and mind like that of Christ Jesus, our Lord!  What does that look like?  It looks like moving forward in truth and right living, at whatever pace you can.  It looks like doing your very best in the face of difficulties that could slow you down.

Since New Year’s Day I’ve read and heard so many people teaching us how to be successful either financially or in our appearance.  It’s amazing how often we see these articles or hear these advertisements – but we don’t see or hear anyone emphasizing the importance of maintaining a happy and healthy soul.  Is any amount of money worth losing your soul?  Can a person lose all the weight they need to lose and still have an unhealthy soul?  Of course!

There is not a job, profession, time not spent in prayer, time not spent reading your Bible – that is worth it!  There are a gazillion ways to be successful here on earth, but be careful – because some of those methods involve the exchange of your soul.  I know, you are rolling your eyes and calling me crazy – but I’m right.

I know this is really long…  but take some time and take a look at this:

Oh I really like this!  

There is one way to be successful as God’s child.  Read your Bible and pray.  Does that mean you can’t have the best of both worlds?  According to God’s Word, it’s nearly impossible for a RICH man to make it to Heaven.  It likens a camel going through the eye of a needle.  Have you ever seen a camel go through the eye of a needle?  Yeah…  neither have I.  

Once we dedicate our lives to the cause of Christ, our priorities change.  We are not interested in the same things as those who are only after earthly successes.  We want different outcomes in life.  That’s why Christians are sometimes said to live IN the world without being a part OF the world.

The soul may be the most quiet part of you, but it’s not good to ignore what your soul needs.  Your soul longs for Christ and His love, peace and merciful salvation.  Let His amazing grace be your goal in this new year!

I invite you to take a look at this sermon on Philippians 2 from Darick Jones.  I worked with his mom, Pam, for several years.  Darick makes some good points here and I know I plan to glean and grow – hope you will too.  🙂

http://www.fbcclearwater.org/sermons-2/

EASTER

I have exciting news!  I’m going to start posting a weekly blog post beginning today!  I’ll be covering more Scripture verses and give you an opportunity to study it for yourself for a week.  Obviously, John 20:6 is the Scripture about the resurrection of Christ – HE AROSE!!!  Without the resurrection of Christ, Christmas would be meaningless.

Today we have joy, peace, and HOPE that was not possible before God raised Christ from the dead!  Aren’t we thankful for what Jesus did for us on Calvary and beyond?  When the stone was rolled away and God raised Christ from the dead…  salvation’s wondrous plan was done.  All that’s left is for us to believe and with faith, trust that God through Christ has us in His very capable hands – and with His Holy Spirit, will help us navigate our way through.

I’ve heard so many sermons about this passage of Scripture.  We know that Peter was a bold sort – a fisherman by trade – we might call him rugged, unpolished, a diamond in the rough.  He’s the sort who speaks before thinking and ends up having to apologize later.  That may sound familiar to some.  LOL!

For this week, I want us to think about 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

I was taught that a verse that begins with THEREFORE needs to be investigated further.  We need to know what came before this verse, so we know what it is THERE FOR… so – verse 15 says:

As God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.  – 2 Corinthians 4:15

It’s not that I’m against doing all I can to preserve myself outwardly – believe me.  I don’t welcome these crows feet around my eyes at all – but I try to call them smile lines to keep it positive.  The question really is, does your outward maintenance mean more than your inward maintenance?  So much mental struggle could be helped if we’d just put as much importance on studying God’s Word as we do on spa days for the outward body.  Let’s face it, when we get to Heaven, God’s not going to ask me how many spa days I took (which I could count on one hand) – but He will ask how many times I shared the gospel of Christ with others.

True Christianity is about living a balanced life.  God gave us one body and one soul, along with a great owner’s manual, if we’ll take the time to read it.  The Bible teaches us so much about ourselves and how to care for body, soul and mind.

I had a friend who always tried to put things together without reading instructions.  It made me crazy!  He’d end up with extra pieces – or needing pieces, then scratched his head because he couldn’t figure out how that happened.  Really?

Have a wonderful week and leave this blog some love if you like it.  Thanks!  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (24)1-peter-3-34Remember reading the stories about pirates and buried treasure when you were a kid?  The treasure was always gold coins and expensive jewelry.  The pirates could hardly wait to get their hands on it – not because they wanted to wear it, but because it was something of value they could sell or pawn for cash.

Most women have nice jewelry – because they like to wear it.  Some just feel better when they’re dripping in it, and others – believe it or not, are actually trying to hide behind it.  They don’t feel worthy enough without it.  The more expensive it is, the more they like it.  I have a friend who admits she used to be like that.  She was a bit on the heavy side, and thought if she wore large, gaudy, but real jewels, it would detract people’s attention from her size.

God wants you to know you are fine without the decorations.  He loves the you on the inside and couldn’t care less about all the trimmings.  He isn’t either impressed or intimidated by gold, silver, pearls, diamonds or any other gems you may want to name.  Heaven has streets paved with gold…  that should tell us something.  He uses gold to pave streets like Cornejo uses asphalt.  Ponder that for a while…

The Lord looks on the heart, not the wardrobe, jewelry box, or hair salon results.  Sometimes, the circumstances in life force us to change our priorities about vanity.  I hope you don’t look in the mirror and decide that you’re having a bad hair day, so you won’t leave the house.  My goodness, don’t let that stop you.  Put on your ball cap and GO!  Live as long as you have breath.  God loves you so much and has so much to show you – but much of it is outside your house, not inside.17101674_1899358353641959_272982276_n

If you really want to meet other people where they are, expensive baubles can hinder you from doing that.  Be genuine in your friendship, without pretense, and most people will respond in like.  When people put on airs, that’s when they soon learn that friendship can be difficult to gain.

I’m reminded of my favorite British comedy, “Keeping Up Appearances”.  Hyacinth is what I refer to as “high maintenance” –  but only in the most socially acceptable way, of course.

There are two points to be taken today.  The first is, God loves YOU – not what you adorn yourself with.  And, He doesn’t want you loving your adornments, or depending on them to define you.  He wants you to love HIM above all – and just be your genuine self.  You don’t need make-up, jewelry, a fancy hairstyle or designer clothing to do that.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART 35

Father, we yearn for the satisfaction that only You can give. Help us discard the things that leave us empty and thirsting, and exchange them for the satisfaction of the living water You offer.  – Bobby Fulks

thirst

Been prayin’ for a shower???

Have you felt thirsty lately?  You take more time to workout at the gym.  Nope, that isn’t what you needed.  You take more time to relax and watch television.  Huh…  nope, that didn’t help either.  You are just thirsty and something is missing.  Then you decide that it’s time to take a little road trip – surely that will do the trick.  You know what?  Your thirst is still not quenched.  Now you’re beginning to get a little ticked off – and frustrated.

You sit quietly in your living room, wondering what it’s going to take to fill that longing inside.  You try some of that flavored carbonated water they sell at Walmart for 68 cents a bottle.  Nope…  that’s not the kind of water that will satisfy the kind of need you have.  You walk into your study – and there you see your old friends – your Bible and favorite devotional book.  It dawns on you that you’ve got the bookmark stuck on the page that says April 16th.  Well…  it’s not April 17th today, is it?  You haven’t opened the book or your Bible for a while.

It’s a special kind of water you need…  God’s LIVING WATER.  His special water – filtered through the Holy Ghost filter with letters in red spoken by Christ Jesus Himself.

thirstyDid you read the last stanza???  DON’T IGNORE YOUR SOUL, WATER IT AND SEE.  What good advice.  We run toward all sorts of things we can see with our eyes, convinced that those are the things that will satisfy.  Maybe those things make us happy for a short while, but the happiness is short-lived and the feeling of longing for something better is back.

Hey – I’m not perfect – far from it.  You know where I got that example about the devotional having a bookmark placed in it on the April page?  I got that example from personal experience!  Life gets busy for all of us.  There is a lot of competition for our attention, isn’t there?  We have games to go to and jobs we have to do.  We have kids that need things – and grandkids that need to be spoiled.  The list is endless – but our souls do thirst if we don’t make it a priority – a matter of our WILL to set aside time to study God’s Word and commit it to our hearts and minds.taking-the-plunge

The truth is, we will be lied to in this world – by people we never thought would lie.  The only reliable place to find counsel is not social media (oh…  gag!)  It’s found in God’s Holy Word – your Bible is where you can go for counsel and honesty.  You will be filled with God’s peace and joy.  You will know His principles and gain wisdom for practical application in your everyday life.  🙂

JEREMIAH 6:16 ON 6/16

TL 6-16 JEREMIAH 6-16 ON 6-16

This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’   – Jeremiah 6:16

If you travel much, you probably do a little planning ahead of time.  A few weeks before we head out, I see my husband studying his big Rand-McNally map.  The prophet says that the Lord wants us to ask where the good way is and walk in it.  It just makes common sense to choose a good way.  I’m sure my husband is not looking at the cow paths that will take us where we need to go.  He’s mapping out a route using interstate highways and byways.YOUR WAYS

So many in the world today are saying they will not walk in that good way.  They are so wrapped up in their rights, they are overlooking the wonderful benefits that follow when they submit to the God of the universe through Christ Jesus.

Jeremiah brings us words from God Himself, yet we still don’t heed them.  How do we find rest for our souls apart from walking the good way provided by God?  We can’t.  We think we can.

Oh – maybe we can find it in making lots of money.  Yeah – that must be the way.  Have you ever met someone who won the lottery?  I have.

We were going to a little church in a small community near our city.  My husband and I took care of the flower garden in the spring and summer months.  One Saturday, we were working in the garden when we heard some people driving by and they were just honking and waving and being crazy.  We knew what they were thinking – they thought we were the couple that won the lottery – but we weren’t.  The guy who did the lawn for the church about a block away had just won the lottery!  The last I heard, he had to sell his house, move without leaving a forwarding address, as I understand it he ended up divorced and basically miserable, wishing he had never played the lotto.  I’m guessing that money doesn’t buy happiness or rest for the soul.

I’ve heard people say that they feel wonderful when they are eating yummy scrumptious food.  Hmm…  this is a path I’ve trod.  The food you eat tastes so good, I’m the first to admit it.  You chew for about 30 seconds, then swallow.  You swap 30 seconds of wonderful for a lifetime of weight (fat, let’s face it) on your body.  Eventually, eating and overeating will catch up with you.  As little as two pounds of extra weight on your knees can do a number on them and a knee replacement is needed.  Disease such as type 2 diabetes can result from being overweight.  I’m guessing food won’t bring rest to our souls.  It’s not even an effective way to deal with anxiety or fear.  Stress eating doesn’t take stress away – it just makes it worse.

How about working out and making our bodies look perfect?  Yeah – surely exercise would bring rest to our souls!  Yeah – let’s just go to the gym every day and become gym rats.  We can get really fit and spend hours looking at our own reflection in the mirror.  Well, yes that’s going to help get weight off and yes that will make our health and overall outlook on life better, but that’s not what brings rest to our souls.  God does want us to take care of our one and only body – but no, it’s still the wrong path to receive rest for our souls.

See where this is going?  People turn to alcohol, drugs, sex, and all sorts of addictive behavior to find satisfaction for the flesh and a way to escape the stresses of life – but it’s not going to give rest for the soul.  It’s only when we get on the right path – God’s path and His ways that we find peace, joy, Agape love (God’s kind of love), and yes, rest for our souls.  🙂