Saturday, July 31, 2010

How Great Thou Art!

I spent the morning with my daughter and grandchildren. Thank you, God, for family.
I've just come in from feeding the birds and working in the yard. Thank you, God, for nature.
My back is better! Thank you, God, for new shoes and renewed health!

We're about to leave for a funeral. Thank you, God, for life, both now and everlasting.
My husband just walked past the office door. Thank you, God, for love.
Thank you, God, for hope! Thank you, God, for everything!

How great Thou art!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Improperly-fitted Shoes

I learned this week that improperly-fitted shoes can be a source of painful backaches--even good shoes. In preparation for vacation two years ago, I purchased expensive walking shoes from a catalog . . . in the wrong size. Who knew? They felt great! I wore them everywhere.

Over time, however, my back began to give out. I didn't pinpoint the source of the pain until I went, in person, to a specialty shoe store and was fitted properly. The shoes I'd been wearing were a size too big.

This caused me to consider a verse about "shoes" in the Bible.

" Stand firm then with. . . your feet fitted
with the readiness that comes
from the gospel of peace."
~Ephesians 6:14-15

Like Jesus, when we go out "about our Father's business," we should have our feet fitted with the gospel of peace. We should be full of God's wisdom, the wisdom which comes from heaven, i.e., pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 

Sounds like a tall order, right? Yet this kind of wisdom is freely available to all who ask for it (James 1:5). And it is available to us on a moment by moment basis.

Consider what happens when we go into the world "about our Father's business" without properly-fitted "shoes." We will rub others the wrong way, we will cause pain--both to ourselves and others--and we will end up on the sidelines, unable to get out of bed in the morning, unable to move.

So check your "shoe" size. Are you properly fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

When the final results are tallied

One day, our life and our influence will come to an end--though not at the same time. 

Have you considered that the words you speak and the actions you take will live on after you--that the ripple effect will come into play, causing your influence to continue, for good or for ill?

We've all heard stories of little-known persons who spoke a good word to someone who went on to become great, e.g., Dr. Livingston's servant, or Helen Keller's teacher. What about the person who lead only one person to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, but that one person was Billy Graham? The influence of these three obscure individuals lived on long after them. In fact, the ripple effect continues.

When the final results are tallied, you may be shocked to see how much influence you had on history. Or not. It's not too late. Begin today.

What word of encouragement can you give to someone today?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Whatcha Doing with That Bread?

Pioneer women used to spend all day making bread for the family. Today's women and men work all day for the bread that feeds the family. "Bread" can signify food or the money it takes to buy the food.

There's a verse in Ecclesiastes that talks about bread:

"Cast your bread upon the waters
for after many days you will find it again.
Give portions to seven, yes to eight,
for you do not know what disaster
may come upon the land."
~Ecclesiastes 11:1

In church on Sunday, missionaries from Mexico talked about their work in an orphanage. Children with little or nothing receive help through the goodwill of people who have never met them--people who are casting their bread upon the waters, giving portions to seven or more.

That caused me to think. What am I doing with my bread?

Jesus loved the little children, instructing His disciples to let the children come unto Him and forbid them not--for of such is the kingdom of Heaven. If Jesus cared for the children, shouldn't we as His followers?

It is good to know our Bibles. It is good to study doctrine. It is also good to put feet to our beliefs and to consider what James says in his epistle:

"Religion that God our Father
accepts as pure and faultless is this:
to look after orphans and widows in their distress
and to keep oneself from being
polluted by the world."
~James 1:27

Do you, like me, hear a voice saying: "Whatcha doing with that bread?"

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Search for Significance

Years ago, I studied and taught from Robert S. McGee's materials, Search for Significance. This excellent study describes how people generally fall into one of four categories based on false beliefs they have about their significance. The false beliefs are these:
  1. Performance - I must meet certain standards to feel good about myself.
  2. Approval - I must have the approval of certain others to feel good about myself.
  3. Blame - Those who fail (including myself) are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished.
  4. Shame - I am what I am. I cannot change. I am hopeless.
Do you see yourself in any of the four categories?

For purposes of this post, I'm not going into any further detail about these false beliefs. It's enough to say that they have derailed countless Christians who look for secular answers to the question of significance.

Does our significance really stem from what we do or who we know or whose approval we have? If so, we're in trouble. We can never do enough or please enough when the bar is constantly being reset and raised by fickle people.

So where do we find our significance? We find our significance in the fact that we were created in the image of God almighty Who loves us and sent His Son Jesus Christ to shepherd us on home to Heaven. For those who understand and embrace this fact, the search is over. Free from shame and blame and enjoying the approval of the only One who matters, we can busy ourselves with the work God has prepared in advance for us to do.

"For we are God's workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do."
~Ephesians 2:10

Monday, July 26, 2010

Just One Week to Go--Seven More Days

The Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference begins in one week. Just one week to go. And you can be sure that conference organizers, as well as attendees, are making last-minute preparations like crazy!

Is everyone provided for? Are rooms ready for presenters and conferees? Is the menu better-than-good? Is my work as polished as it can be? Am I ready to make my "pitch"?

Suppose we knew that Jesus was returning in exactly one week. How would our lives reflect that knowledge? Would we be on our knees repenting for actions we planned to do today? Would we be on the road telling our loved ones, far and near, about the goodness of God?

For it's the goodness of God that brings repentance.

Our world, our nation, our people, our friends, our relatives, ourselves . . . we all need to repent. Jesus is coming again. Will we be ready, our lamps filled with oil to greet the Bridegroom, or will we cower in shame at His appearing?

It may be at morn when the day is awaking,
When sunlight through darkness and shodow is breaking,
That Jesus will come in the fullness of glory,
To receive from the world "His own."

O Lord Jesus, how long, how long,
ere we shout the glad song,
Christ returneth! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen.
Hallelujah! Amen.

Let's be ready when He comes. Keep looking up. It could be next week. It could be today!