Saturday, April 24, 2010

Learning to Write Better

Today I'm attending a small seminar, the aim of which is to teach writers to write better. So, rather than blog for you today, I'm asking that you pray for me:
  • that I'll be attentive and learn!
  • that I'll become a better writer!
  • that whatever I write will bring glory to God!
Thank you, dear readers. May He bless you richly today!

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Chink in Our Armor

The leather repairman is coming today--to fix a small tear in our new red leather recliner. A careless accident involving my hubs resulted in his "Oh, oh" moment last week.

In the overall scheme of things, not a big deal. But it got me thinking: even strong materials can be torn or marred in the blink of an eye.

How about our souls?

God has given us full body armor to wear against the attacks of the devil. Yet when we become careless or otherwise occupied, are we diligent to put it on as instructed in Ephesians 6? 

Are we wearing the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness? Are our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace? Are we taking up the shield of faith, with which we can extinguish the devil's flaming arrows? How about the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God?

If we are not fully suited up, we leave ourselves unprotected, and, sure as shooting, that crafty devil will take aim at any chink in our armor. Don't let even one of his flaming arrows through your defenses. The damage it creates will far surpass any tear in my red leather recliner!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

On Measuring Up!

My husband always drags me along when it's time to take our cars to DEQ. He says I'm his "good luck charm" because, whenever I'm along, he passes on the first try! Whatever! LOL.

Still it's a good feeling when we get a passing grade at something we need to accomplish. It validates our struggles to measure up to the required standard.

How grateful I am that God never required me to "measure up" to His standard of holy perfection. Nope! And He doesn't require that of anyone else. Scripture tells us that:

"God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
~Romans 5:8

He took me and He'll take you right where you are. You don't have to measure up--because you can't. That's not the way it is. God accepts anyone with a repentant heart, anyone who recognizes he's ungodly and wants to change, anyone who invites Jesus into his heart. That's the beauty and the amazing grace of salvation.

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
was blind, but now I see."
~John Newton

Remember this whenever you feel you aren't good enough to get to heaven. Of course, you aren't! But it doesn't depend on you. It depends on who you know. And if you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, heaven's gates will open wide for you.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's Good for a Spirit of Heaviness?

Recently, I spent some time with a Christian woman who battles a spirit of heaviness. As she shared some of the things that troubled her (physical, emotional, and social issues), I could understand why she'd be depressed! In fact, I began to take on her mood. How could I help her?

Sometimes there's nothing we can do but listen . . . and mourn with those who mourn. And that may be just exactly what they need. However, other effective ways to help include:
  • Encouraging them to get professional help for physical and emotional issues,
  • Offering helpful feedback (especially when asked),
  • Loving them unconditionally,
  • Pointing them back to God,
  • Giving them a crown of beauty and a garment of praise.
Crown of beauty? Garment of praise? What's with that? It's a prescription from Isaiah 61 against a spirit of despair. Speaking of his role as messenger of God (and that's what you are when you minister in God's name to someone who is hurting), Isaiah said:

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, 
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted . . .
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion--
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."
~Isaiah 61:1-3

Sometimes the only way to comfort a mourning believer is to remind her that God knows all about her situation, that He loves her and wants only the best for her, that He is working everything out in the way only He can. For that, she can praise God. And in praising God, she is comforted. 

Can you share a time when you found comfort in praising God?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

For the Weary and Burdened

Are you weary and burdened? Jesus promised rest for you.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls."
~Matthew 11:28-29
He will give you rest--just what you need. (He always gives us what we need.) And He will give you something else. Note the second section of the verse:

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,"

Learn what? What will He teach the weary? How to carry a yoke? Yes, that's part of it. But He wants to teach us something else:

"For I am gentle and humble in heart,"

He wants us to learn gentleness and humility. That's good . . . but why, specifically? In order that we'll come alongside others in the right way. The apostle Paul learned this. Consider what he said to do when a brother was caught in a sin.

"You who are spiritual should restore him gently [with gentleness].
But watch yourself [be humble] or you also may be tempted.
Carry each others' burdens,
and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:1-2

Jesus wants to teach us to ease each others' burdens . . . and to do so in a gentle and humble way. We get to be His hands and feet as His Spirit dwells within us.

Can you think of a time when someone eased your burden? Was he heaven sent? Or did he make you feel like a hopeless failure in need of a handout?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Our Global Tower of Babel

As a whole, mankind has turned its back on God. Watch the news. World leaders desire to run things their own way and rarely consider the words of God or godly forefathers.  They speak arrogantly about the global world and all that men can do if nations pull together.

Makes me think of the Tower of Babel.

"Come, let us build ourselves a city,
with a tower that reaches to the heavens,
so that we may make a name for ourselves
and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."
~ Genesis 11:4

What was wrong with joining together? Just that it was in direct disobedience to God who had made it abundantly clear to Adam and his seed that they were to "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it."  Instead, man chose to cluster together around a tower of their own making.

So, what did God do about this act of defiance?  He confounded the plans of men and scattered them over all the earth (Genesis 11:8) Might He do that in our day? If so, when? When will He show His power and confound the nations? And how?

Tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes? What are ash clouds that cover all of Europe and bring air traffic to a screaming halt? These are just the beginnings of the "acts of God" that are headed our way. Anyone can read about them in the final pages of God's book, the Bible.  

It's not too late for mankind to turn from our wicked ways and humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord.