Welcome To Daily In Christ Devotionals

Psalm 119:10-11 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not
wander from your commandments! I have stored up your
word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Table

Mat 26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." Mat 26:27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; Mat 26:28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

With the Holiday's upon us at full speed, how often do you find yourself gathered around the kitchen table? The smell and taste of wonderful food and the experience of meaningful interaction between loved ones. It is a place where family and friends join together for a common interest, to be fed. The joy of eating and sharing stories during this time of the year can't be compared.

The twelve disciples reclined around the table with the ultimate dinner guest two thousand years ago. Along with breaking bread and drinking wine, I am sure they shared several stories of their time together. But this table was different. It was the last time they would eat and share together as a group of men following their Lord.

Jesus had a purpose for this last supper together. "This is my body," He said as He broke the bread before His disciples. The bread as a symbol represents the body of Jesus offered for us, "a beautifully simple, pathetic, and poetic symbol of his death." (Bruce) And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins."

Here are the words of Matthew Henry regarding the writings in the book of Matthew chapter 26.

This ordinance of the Lord's supper is to us the passover supper, by which we commemorate a much greater deliverance than that of Israel out of Egypt. Take, eat; accept of Christ as he is offered to you; receive the atonement, approve of it, submit to his grace and his government. Meat looked upon, be the dish ever so well garnished, will not nourish; it must be fed upon: so must the doctrine of Christ. This is my body; that is, spiritually, it signifies and represents his body. We partake of the sun, not by having the sun put into our hands, but the beams of it darted down upon us; so we partake of Christ by partaking of his grace, and the blessed fruits of the breaking of his body. The blood of Christ is signified and represented by the wine. He gave thanks, to teach us to look to God in every part of the ordinance. This cup he gave to the disciples with a command, Drink ye all of it. The pardon of sin is that great blessing which is, in the Lord's supper, conferred on all true believers; it is the foundation of all other blessings. He takes leave of such communion; and assures them of a happy meeting again at last; “Until that day when I drink it new with you”, may be understood of the joys and glories of the future state, which the saints shall partake with the Lord Jesus. That will be the kingdom of his Father; the wine of consolation will there be always new. While we look at the outward signs of Christ's body broken and his blood shed for the remission of our sins, let us recollect that the feast cost him as much as though he had literally given his flesh to be eaten and his blood for us to drink.

As we gather around the Christmas table and celebrate the Lord's birth, let's not forget this simple message of forgiveness and redemption this year. Christ gave Himself up for me so I could live eternally with Him forever. There is no better gift I could ask for this Christmas and all the year long.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Blessing Of Trials

Jas 1:12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Trials and temptations, we all go through them. No one is immune to difficulties in their life and James describes here that the man who perseveres under a trial is a blessed man. Not only is he blessed, but he will receive the crown of life. I certainly do not feel blessed while going through trials, in fact often times I feel as if the Lord has moved farther away from me rather than closer. So when I am feeling this way I need to remember to turn to God.

When trials and temptations come, isn't it easy to blame God? If He was with me then this trial wouldn't happen, or maybe if God had stopped this event from occurring I wouldn't be in this mess. Well, God isn't the author of chaos nor does he cause our conflicts and trials.

Jas 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
Jas 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

Lust, evil desires, greed, and other fleshly decisions are what cause me to get into the trouble and difficulties I face. Owning the responsibility for the trials is the first step to understanding God's grace. If we fix our blame on God then we are no longer accepting that maybe we have some responsibility in this difficult time. God has a way of getting our attention a bit more acutely in difficult times if we allow Him to. Open your heart to Him and He will show you what is in it.

Pro 19:20 Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days.
Pro 19:21 Many plans are in a man's heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand.
Pro 19:22 What is desirable in a man is his kindness, And it is better to be a poor man than a liar.

God wants us to learn His ways during our difficulties and the first step to doing that is to get into His word and spend time learning them. The Psalmist tells us that being afflicted turns us to God. Psa 119:71 shows me that it is good to be afflicted because in the end I will have learned more of what God would have me to know about Him.

Psa 119:71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.
Psa 119:72 The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

God, please help me to avoid my sinful desires and always turn towards you. I know that I make decisions that separate me from you, and I pray for your forgiveness. Please keep me walking upright in your Word that I might receive the crown of life which you have promised me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Listen To The Small Voice

Psa 73:23 Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand.
Psa 73:24 With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.
Psa 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
Psa 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psa 73:27 For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
Psa 73:28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works. (NASB)

"With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory. God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Sometimes I have to ask myself if I really believe that. My heart and my flesh may fail me but God is the strength of my heart.

During some of the most trying times it is easy for me to rely on my old nature to take charge of a situation. And as I have learned over the last 40 + years, sometimes my heart and my flesh give me the wrong answers.

But God is faithful to me. He is there to answer the difficult questions that arise from circumstances in our lives. One such event arose this evening where I was put into a situation. I needed to make a decision to please another person and possibly protect them from harm due to a poor decision that was made on their part, or go with my gut instinct and say "no, I can not help you in this way." As I contemplated all of the scenarios I began to allow fear and frustration tell me what I was going to do rather than the voice of God. All along God was right there nudging me to say "no, I can't help in this situation, but I can help you in another way."

My options began to weigh heavy on me. It was as if I had a bridle on and was being pulled from one side to the next. I finally made my decision... I was going to go against my gut instinct and decided to go with my flesh. The decision seemed wrong, but I felt it would help out the person better than the decision that felt right.

God is a God of great mercy and grace. He will enlighten our spirit to His ways but still give us the freedom to choose our own. And whatever we choose, He will always be there for us afterward. It was an incredible learning lesson for me. And when the evening was over, the right way did come to be the way we chose. As I was beginning to make the decision and follow through with it a situation came up which didn't allow me to follow through with my wrong choice, so my default choice, the right one, become the only choice. Isn't God amazing...

Psa 37:24 If he stumbles, he's not down for long; GOD has a grip on his hand.

So what did I learn from this? I learned that to save my integrity with men I must make the right choice when it is presented to me. And to save my closeness to God I must make the right choice as well. Verse 25 tells me that I desire nothing on earth besides God. I was trying to please another person today rather than please God and He was gracious enough to remind me of that this evening.

Thank you Lord for being patient and kind. You are above all things and are always there to guide my decisions. Please help me Lord to remember to listen to You when You nudge my spirit and please forgive me when I forget.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Living By His Strength

Isa 41:10 'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' (NASB)

There is something amazing about a physically strong person. To become strong, one must continually work out the muscles, eat proper nutrition, and dedicate much time to the pursuit of strength. It is considered by many to be a noble undertaking. There are all kinds of ways to describe strength in a person. Moral strength, emotionally strong, or even someone who has strong character traits.

But what about our spiritual strength? What does it take to be spiritually strong? Spiritual strength is quite similar to physical strength in that one must exercise the spiritual muscles daily and keep them fit. Prayer, Bible reading and fellowship are as important to our spiritual strength as daily workouts and proper nutrition are to our physical strength. But what happens when we just can't go on in spite of our best efforts? When we become weak and tired and held down by the burdens in life? Or even beaten down by sin and disappointment. God gives us His strength.

Isa 40:29 He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Isa 40:30 Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Isa 40:31 Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. (NASB)

Regardless of our circumstances, God will sustain us in our trials which will allow us to resist the temptations of Satan and the corruptions of our humanness. With His strength in our souls, we are able to perform His duties, resist temptations, exercise grace, withstand corruptions, bear afflictions, suffer persecutions, and do His great and mighty work, according to His will. If God is our strength, then we need not be afraid of any persons or things.

Ask God for His strength today as you go about your business. Consider for a moment what your day could be like if you just relied on Him rather than your own efforts. He will never fail you, He will never let you down, He will never leave you hanging...

Psa 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (NASB)

Do you believe God can strengthen you today? Just ask Him to...

Lord, thank you for your everlasting strength. I know that if I try to conquer my battles or get through my day alone I will grow weary and fail miserably. The anxieties that come from relying on myself are too much to bear. Please Lord, give me your strength and help me to see your mighty hand working in my life.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dealing With Anxiety

1Pe 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 1Pe 5:7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Anxiety. Just the word stirs up uncomfortable feelings and emotions. I know that when someone mentions the word anxiety my mind goes to certain times in my life that were anxiety provoking for me. In conversations with others on the topic, I say to myself as they are talking about their troubles, "I can relate to that."

We all have suffered from it from time to time in our lives. Some more than others, but never the less, we all have experienced the feeling of anxiety. The flush feeling coming over our face, the panic stricken sensation all around us, and the feeling in your gut that everything is going to go wrong in this particular situation.

I have gone for periods of time where anxiety was as common to me as breathing. The feelings of despair and wondering where God could have gone overwhelmed me to the point of great fear. It is the epitome of hopelessness...

But there truly is hope. Hope that God has His hand on me and He cares more for me than I could ever imagine. God doesn't want us to be burdened with anxieties and held down. He longs for an intimate relationship with us and seeks to comfort those who call on His name.

Psa 55:22 Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Here are some thoughts on ways I have learned to overcome anxiety:
  • Pray. God wants us to cast our burdens on Him. This means to dismiss or reject as useless or inconvenient. The anxieties we experience are useless to us and only cause grief.
  • Share how you are feeling with someone you trust. Sharing our struggles with others gives us a chance to help one another. Gal 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. (NASB)
  • Re-evaluate the situation. Have you ever heard some say, "Just change your perspective?" Great advice. Many times the problem we are anxious about is merely an issue of how we perceive a particular problem. Learn skills that help to change how we see our problems.
  • Take a break from your problem and walk away for a few minutes. Go for a walk, workout, read a book. Find something that will allow you to get away from your struggle for awhile.
  • Stop obsessing and think positive. Relate your problem to the big picture. Is this something that I need to worry about right now? Most things we struggle with don't even come to pass so our anxiety isn't worth the destruction it is causing in our life.
  • Work through it one step at a time. Some of our problems are real problems and the best way to face them is head on one step at a time. When I have a stress producing event I try to break it down to simple steps I can achieve.
There are many ways to deal with stress and anxiety. Find the methods that work the best for you, and remember, the Lord wants you to live free from anxiety and stress.

Pro 12:25 Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad. (NASB)

Lord, thank you for caring about me. Please help be to learn ways to cast my anxieties onto you. I want to live for you and know that stress and anxiety can get in the way of that.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What I Am Thankful For

Col 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Col 3:17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (NASB)

During this Thanksgiving week I have given more time to my thoughts and prayers regarding the things I am thankful for. I am a blessed man, husband and father and am realizing it more and more every day.

Here are some of the earthly things I am thankful for:
  • My Wife (duh! of course I need to post this one first)
  • Kids. Not just my kids but kids in general. I love to watch and listen to small children and sometimes ask them silly questions that really make them think. It's fun to hear their answers.
  • The rest of my family. That's right, I am thankful for my entire family. As dysfunctional as we all are I am thankful for them all.
  • Laughing... I love to laugh. Sometimes I think I laugh at things other people don't find all that funny. And that makes me laugh even more.
  • Pasta. I am thankful for pasta, especially when it has seafood and white sauce mixed with it.
  • Technology. I can't imagine blogging with a rock and a chisel and trying to deliver a message by horseback... Or cooking over a fire and sleeping on the hard ground. Thank God for smart people and cool technology. Imagine life without thermal underwear and toothpaste and email on our phone and cruise control. Wow, where would we be without all that stuff.
  • My health. I am so thankful every day that I am in good health. I am amazed at the things I am able to do because I am healthy.
  • The sun. I wonder what life would be like without the sun. I love the sun. I wish it would shine bright every day to keep me warm and happy. The sun is awesome.
  • Inspirational movies. I am a sucker for movies that inspire. Some of my favorites include: The Man From Snowy River, Facing The Giants, Radio, Pride, Marry Poppins.
  • Female musicians. I love the sound of the human voice when it is in tune, but especially the female voice... Not sure why, just thankful for it. Especially Natalie Merchant and Enya. Not to mention Natasha Bedingfield, Mariah Carey, and Sarah McLachlan.
  • Money. Glad to have it when I need it. I wish it was easier to acquire, but I am thankful for having it.
  • Friends. Where would we be without them.
  • America, even though it is going to the dogs.
  • Our men and women who serve our country and protect us.
  • and so much more...
These are a few of the things I am thankful for this holiday season.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Walking Down His Path... Not Our Own

Gal 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
Gal 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. (NASB)

A couple of days ago I was running through some pathways around a big nature park close to my house. The path was covered with a blanket of autumn leaves so it was difficult to see any obstacles. As I ran I was looking at the ground very cautiously because I feared that I would run across a root or step into a hole and twist an ankle or knee. If I injured myself I would have grave consequences so being careful and staying free from trouble was my goal.

On occasion I would get sidetracked and look around at all of the trees and beautiful colors and textures that I encountered along the way. Each time I caught myself doing this I quickly pointed my head downward to see the path once again as to not stumble.

Walking in the Spirit for me is the same way. I desire the things of God to keep me safe so I am daily trying to keep my eye on His path for me so I remain holy and faithful to Him.

What does it mean to me to walk by the Spirit of God and not carry out the desires of my flesh. I have pondered that on several occasions in my Christian walk. I have tried to rationalize it many times to mean something it isn't in order to make me feel better about certain decisions I was going to make.

Sometimes as Christian's we make the Word of God a little more complicated than it is. This part of the letter from Paul to the Galatians is to help us understand that living in the Spirit of God will produce holiness.

For me to walk means to be active. To continue walking step after step, mile after mile. It isn't a destination we are trying to get to, such as achieving a certain level of maturity so now I can "walk in the Spirit." Walking in the spirit is for all Christians big and small. From the new believer to the seasoned veteran, God calls us to walk and walk and walk in the Spirit. This will keep us from the desires of the flesh.

I did a search for "fleshly desires" on the internet and this is what I came up with: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these... Many of these desires are easy to hide from our family and friends, but we can not hide them from God. He sees the desires we store in our heart and wants us to desire what He desires.

2Pe 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
2Pe 1:4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
2Pe 1:5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,
2Pe 1:6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,
2Pe 1:7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
2Pe 1:8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Pe 1:9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
2Pe 1:10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
2Pe 1:11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you (NASB)

I am encouraged today because I know that He is walking with me. I desire the things of God and today I am going to make it a point to carefully watch where I am walking so I don't step on a root or into a hole and stumble.

Lord, help me to walk in the Spirit today and every day. Thank you for showing me your path and making it easy to walk on. I desire your ways in my life Lord and ask that you keep me walking and walking and walking.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Trust In All Things

Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
Pro 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (NASB)

Trust is an amazing thing. God has a spectacular way of showing us His ways by trusting in Him. One of the blessings that come from trusting is an increased faith in the One we are trusting.

Several weeks back a homeless shelter we do some volunteer work for needed some fire doors for the new building they are building. The woman who started the shelter, a woman of great faith, decided to go out and purchase those doors. The total for the fire doors came to around $25,000 and would be needed to be paid when the doors were delivered two weeks later. She informed the board of her decision and the doors would soon be on the way. By the way, there was no money in the budget for the doors...

Thursday morning two weeks later the doors arrived. There were volunteers around to unload them and more later who came to install them. Shortly after the truck and crew unloaded all of the doors a couple pulled up into the parking lot and proceeded to enter the building. Since it is not operational yet, there are people wandering around and no one really there to staff the office. Thankfully they were able to approach the woman and discuss some things with her.

During the conversation they informed her that they were preparing for a year end donation to the shelter but felt convicted to give it to the shelter early. The donation was in the sum of $25,000.

When we are faithful God will deliver. Trusting in him for me means to step out in faith even if it doesn't make any sense. Even if the odds are against me, I know when He is calling me to trust and not fear. The hard part is actually doing it.

Psa 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psa 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. (NASB)

The Bible is full of promises that God is and will be faithful in my life. He tells me to delight myself in Him and to trust in Him and if I commit my ways to Him, He will do it. As I walk throughout this day I will commit my ways to Him and watch how He will be faithful to me in return.

Thank you Father God for your everlasting faithfulness. Thank you for allowing me to trust you and showing yourself trustworthy. You are an awesome God I pray that I can reflect your ways to those around me. Allow me to trust you more each day.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Window

I came across a story recently that I wanted to share. It strikes a contrast between encouragement and despair. Our perspective plays a key role in how we see the world around us as evident in this simple message.

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Then unexpectedly, a sinister thought entered his mind. Why should the other man alone experience all the pleasures of seeing everything while he himself never got to see anything? It didn't seem fair. At first thought the man felt ashamed. But as the days passed and he missed seeing more sights, his envy eroded into resentment and soon turned him sour. He began to brood and he found himself unable to sleep. He should be by that window - that thought, and only that thought now controlled his life.

Late one night as he lay staring at the ceiling, the man by the window began to cough. He was choking on the fluid in his lungs. The other man watched in the dimly lit room as the struggling man by the window groped for the button to call for help. Listening from across the room he never moved, never pushed his own button, which would have brought the nurse running in. In less than five minutes the coughing and choking stopped, along with that the sound of breathing. Now there was only silence-deathly silence.

The following morning the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths. When she found the lifeless body of the man by the window, she was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take it away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it all himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."

Heb 3:12-13 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

It is easy to become discouraged when it appears others have it better than we do. Encourage one another day after day... It is difficult to do that when we are looking at life through eyes of discouragement and negativity.

Lord, please help me today to see my troubles in the right perspective. Help me to look at the brick walls in front of me not as obstacles, but as opportunities to see You working in my life. Thank you for putting people into my life that encourage me in difficult times and help me to be an encouragement to others as well.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Getting Frustrated With The Little Things

Eph 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

I came into a situation this morning that had a negative outcome for me financially. Not a substantial amount of money, but money that was mine was not given to me by my employer. As I was communicating with the payroll employee I could sense that she wasn't understanding the situation and wasn't really willing to try to understand it. The more I stated my point the more I could feel the frustration welling inside of me. Then, in just a moment of silence I felt a voice speak to me, "are you going to allow a $30 discrepancy in pay tarnish your character? I have and will provide all of your needs."

At times throughout the day we all run into situations that have great potential for incredible frustration. Grocery store lines, traffic, dealing with the negativity and issues of co-workers. The list could go on and on. But today I am reminded that God is more concerned about my character than the outcome of my frustrating situations. Yes, God cares about my life and the things I encounter, but in that, He wants me to show His love and patience to others rather than my anger and frustration.

So I politely ended the conversation with the timekeeper and decided to take my frustration to God rather than have this poor woman experience my personal wrath. As I sat there for a moment I began to pray about the conversation and ask God to give me a spirit of peace about it. I thanked Him for providing for my needs and asked Him to guide me to the scriptures he would have to encourage me today. I was led to a journal writing that I wrote about 18 months ago and was able to read it and see the scriptures he placed on my heart back then.

Eph 4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30 says to not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. I realized after my encounter with timekeeping, if I would have been angry and frustrated with this woman I would have actually been grieving the Holy Spirit. By giving way to any wrong temper, unholy word, or unrighteous action I am in sin and therefore causing the Spirit of God grief. Verses 31-32 show me a better way.

Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
Eph 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (NASB)

Trouble seems to find me even when I am not looking for it. Satan has a way of undermining our successes and would have loved for me to get upset with this person rather than displaying patience and restraint. It would have caused her grief, me grief, and would have made me lose heart for a period of time which would have taken my focus off of Christ and His Spirit that is in me.

Life is full of frustrations big and small. Today I chose to give into the Spirit of God and not allow my humanness get the best of me. God's word is there for guidance and how I live my life is a reflection as to whether or not I am willing to listen to His instructions.

Thank you Lord for giving me your Word and allowing me to be victorious in it. Please continue to show me how to live true to you and not be grievous to the Spirit that You have placed in me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

God Cares About My Plans

(Psa 37:4-6 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday.)

Do you ever just sit back and asked yourself, "So, what is the plan anyway?" Have you ever began a project or started out on a trip and not had a plan? When do I turn left, what is the next piece to the puzzle, where am I going exactly...?

My wife and sit down frequently and ask ourselves the question. "What is the plan?" Since we are getting to the stage where our children are leaving the nest we are asking... "Now what God?"

I never imagined I would get to this point so soon, but the time is drawing near. When we read Gods word together we have the utmost confidence that God has a plan for our lives, is genuinely interested in that plan, and the plan is good. So, how do we find that plan out? That is our burning question.

I went to Gods word this week, which I do for most all of my questions about life, and came to some very helpful conclusions. The first and foremost is that God wants to give me the desires of my heart. God truly wants to bless me with the things that I desire and tells me in His word that He will do that. psa 37:4-6 tells me that when my delight is found in Him then my desires will be given to me from Him. What an encouragement that is.

Secondly, I found it abundantly clear that the plan He has for me is a good plan. (jer29:11-14) God loves me so much that He has a plan for me. I am not just a bystander in the kingdom of God. I know there have been days where I would ask myself, "why would the creator of the universe be interested in me or my plans and desires?" Well, the reason why is that He desires me to fulfill His purposes. And when I delight in Him, my desires are to also fulfill His purposes. So what exactly does it mean for me to delight in the Lord?

To me delighting in the Lord means to seek out my joy and happiness in and through Him. There are things in this world that give temporary satisfaction. A nice dinner, a beautiful home and maybe a trip to an exotic place. Great times and lots of fun. But once the event is over the memories of the event and the joys that it brought seem to fade right along with it. So we tend to strive to do more, acquire more, or perform better to become happy and joyful. When I delight in Christ I no longer need to find that perfect trip or next event to fulfill my joy quotient. And when I delight in Christ then the plans I make will be from Him and blessed by Him.

When I commit my ways to Him and trust in Him, He will fulfill my greatest desires. It gives me the freedom to dream big. With God all things are possible. I know that as my wife and I sit down and ponder about our daily walk with Christ, we can be assured that He has a plan for us, He wants to bless us with the desires of our heart, and He will bring us goodness and joy as we delight in Him.

As for me and my house...we will choose the Lord