Sunday, May 20, 2018

Day 1491 Kindness is Contagious

Day 1491: This morning Sunday School lesson was about serving God and it touched on tithing as well. I work with teenagers, they are broke so we discussed how they can tithe in service for the Lord. Did you know if we committed to giving God 10% of our time each day to study His Word, connect to Him in prayer and to serve others in His name our world could be a totally different place?

I called this 10% tithing of service spiritual servant tithing. In the video above, we studied the chain reaction of one simple act of kindness. Do you know looking into your phone all the time you are missing opportunities to share kindness like shown in the above video?

What kind of spiritual servant tithing do you think you do every week? Here is a challenge for you: Keep your eyes open for opportunities to start you own chain reaction of kindness.

Ephesians 4:32 is a good reminder for us all: "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Day 1490 It’s Not Too Late

Day 1490: Have you ever thought what God may be thinking? For example, can you imagine what God is thinking about our insurance system today? The denial of medical care of many, the outrageous price gouging the insurance companies are responsible for and don't even get me on my soapbox about the medicines and unaffordable prices they tack on that.

Insurance companies, God sees it all and knows every single wrong you do against His people.

What about big banks and corporations? I know what it feels like to be a victim of a predatory mortgage lender and oh, boy -- God knows it too because He heard every single word I lifted to Him about them. We have wealthy people that hoard away more and more money because it is never enough. Meanwhile, there are homeless and people that are barely able to make ends meet working one and sometimes two jobs.

Big banks and Corporations, God sees it all and knows every single wrong you do against His people.

Our government -- whew! What a hot mess that is and this is the administration we are told to respect. Our nation has drifted so far away from God the government offices are in chaos and constant argument.

Government, God sees it all and knows every single wrong you do against His people.

People today are mean, selfish and greedy. The ruthless killings, the nasty words against others, racism and judgment, the ignorance of humbleness and the ones that turn a blind eye to those in need to fulfill worldly desires of their own.

World, God sees it all and knows every single wrong you do against His people.

You cannot hide from God no matter how much money you have, how much power you have or how mean you can get. God sees all and knows every single wrong. I question how some people can lay their head down at night without their conscience keeping them up.

It's probably a good thing we do not know what God is thinking. We do know from His Word that there is no vengeance like the vengeance of the Lord. It kind of makes you feel sorry for those that will be in His wrath. Romans 12:19 reminds us not to take revenge ourselves but allow God room to take control: "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is Mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord."

Make sure you live a life that will make God proud, a life that examples His people and pray for those that have treated you unjustly; may they see His light before it is too late.

Those who trust in their riches will fall,
but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. 
Proverbs 11:28

Friday, May 18, 2018

Day 1489 It's Friday, Y'all!

Day 1489: We made it to Friday! Here is a little Friday acronym to remind you how awesome Fridays can be:

For God so loved the world He gave His only Son, whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. John 3:16-17

Revelation 21:3-4 "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

I said "O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and obey His commands," Nehemiah 1:5

Deuteronomy 7:9 "Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of  love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands."

Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and earth by your great power and outreached arm. Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is Yours. 1 Chronicles 29:11

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Day 1488 Dream Desire or Dream Delivery?

Day 1488: The past few nights I have been having dreams about lambs. I love sheep, one day when we finally get caught up on life I would like to have a few sheep. The dream last night was very real:

I was outdoors, a familiar place near the wood line. There were a few pigs that startled me close by and one tiny lamb. As I went for the tiny lamb the pigs ran off into the dark woods.

I remembered this lamb still had his long tail and though it was hesitant of me at first, I began to feed him a carrot. (Which magically appeared in my pocket -- it is a dream after all.)

Earning the trust of this lamb I took him home. I can remember the softness of the new wool; this lamb smaller than the average, it was the size of a new puppy. Those eyes could melt you and his cuteness was off the charts.

I took this lamb home and of course my daughter, Reily, fell in love with him. I remember he had an accident on her floor in her bedroom but it was an easy clean up. I watched him joyously leap throughout the room. I scooped the little lamb in my arms and embraced his sweet comfort and joy he gave to me.

Then the annoying alarm starts to buzz and the dream bubble popped.

We know in the Bible dreams sometimes are important. There are many accounts of God speaking to people in their dreams or "night visions". What can my lamb dreams represent? Could there be a message from God or my desire to finally be at the place in my life we can actually have a herd of sheep?

The fact is I've had lamb dreams for a while now and last nights was the most real feeling. If this was God's message, I broke it down like this:
  • First of all, the lamb representative is noted. Jesus was our sacrificial lamb; "I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep." John 10:11 Then we read Isaiah 53:6, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." And this part didn't hit me until right now ... last night I was cleaning the youth classroom and came across props from a Sunday School lesson of a sheep and goat hat. Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus explains how the people will be divided and only His sheep will be gifted eternal life in heaven. 
  • Why did the pigs run away in fear of me and what were they doing to the lamb before I interrupted them? For this I thought of how darkness tries to consume the Lord's sheep. I am not calling pigs evil but even in the Bible they are not highly praised. I actually like pigs, especially the miniature ones. But just as the enemy will cower down in the name of Jesus, so will his darkness. The pigs stopped whatever they were doing when I walked toward the tiny lamb and they ran back into the darkness of the woods. 
  • Earning the trust of the lamb represented how we trust God. As I provided a carrot to the lamb, God provides everything for you and me, He is our spiritual nourishment our soul needs. Those who have trust issues concerning God are the ones that are not content with what He has provided and usually want more. This tiny lamb in my arms was humble and happy to have that carrot. 
  • The way I looked at the lamb with admiration represents how God is looking at His children. Sometimes the reflection in the mirror is not exactly what we consider adorable but God sees way beyond our reflection, He sees our heart. We should try seeing ourselves more like God sees us, less worldly eyes. 
  • Bringing the lamb home represents bringing faith and living the life of Christ into your household. This part was important to me because as a parent it is important to raise your children in faith. 
  • And the lamb having an accident on the floor is a big message in this dream. We are going to have mess ups in life but depending on God to help us clean up is a big part of faith. No matter how much sin you have in your past or how many times you've screwed up, the blood of Christ cleanses all those accidents. 
  • Watching that tiny lamb jump around so happily reminds of me the day we enter our eternal home in heaven. There will be no more pain, no more tears and pure perfection in the house of our Father. When I took that tiny lamb in my arms and experienced the comfort and joy he gave to me -- one day our Father will have His children in His arms and I am pretty sure He will be pleased we made it home. 
  • Why a lamb and not a mature sheep? A reminder we always have room to grow in our faith walk. 

This dream could be just that -- a dream; but it also could be a message from God. Is this God's message to you? 
In a dream, a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on men
as they slumber in their beds,
He may speak in their ears
and terrify them with warnings,
to turn man from wrongdoing
and keep him from pride,
to preserve his soul from the pit,
his life from the perishing sword.
Job 33:15-18

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Day 1487 Prayer Battle

Day 1487: How is your prayer battle? Do you casually lift up names and concerns in prayer or are you like the Terminator going in prayer battle? There is nothing wrong with going the casual prayer route, we should be doing that throughout the day but you need to armor up in God's Armor and enter prayer battle using the Terminator method more than we should.

What is the Terminator method? It's that moment you enter God's Presence away from all distractions and you are on your knees praying while the devil is taking punches one after the other. You don't even need the shades, leather jacket or intense muscle mass -- just time and faith is all that is required.

Prayer battle is one of the most important life battles you will ever fight. It's not easy and it requires strict commitment but it is not impossible. Keep in mind the enemy will fight back hard on this battle because your prayers are the attacks against him.

Tonight I am beginning a Bible study on prayer battle with the youth I work with. We will begin watching War Room and have Bible study / discussions throughout. It is my job to teach youth how to battle in prayer and help train them -- it is your job as well.

I ask you to pray for me and this study as I offer myself to God to use in training the upcoming generation of prayer warriors. The devil is already on attack because he knows God's army is about to grow.

I encourage you to take prayer battle serious and have some Terminator time in battle. Continue the daily casual prayer life but set times to armor up and kick some enemy butt. 2 Corinthians 10:4 "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."

When you wrap up your prayer battle,
turn to the already defeated Satan and say:

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Day 1486 Procrastination Crazy

Day 1486: End of school weeks are the epitome of chaos. Between my daughter's final class report stresses and state testing, the banquets and concerts all on top of myself working at a school with all the end of the year requirements is a collective basket of crazy. I am not alone because every parent that has a student in school is experiencing their own basket of crazy right now.

My daughter, Reily, has been known to procrastinate a bit. I'll give you a couple of examples: I did know about the band concert last night even though I forgot about it. If it made it on the calendar I knew about it. (As I told her.) What I didn't know was the banquet scheduled tonight and the meal I am suppose to bring. I found that piece of information out at the concert in an announcement. I think I saw Reily shudder from the look I threw her across the room. Oops -- she forgot about mentioning that to me and the slip of paper informing parents must have transported directly to the Bermuda Triangle. I think I would remember to A. Put that date on the calendar and B. I would definitely remember I have to prepare a meal for a banquet.

My oldest child, Jeremy, is the opposite of a procrastinator. He would be assigned a paper to write with a deadline of two weeks from the date. That paper would be done the next day the assignment was given. My middle child, Peyton, wasn't quite as stressed over getting the paper done immediately but she always allowed herself enough time to get it done and turned in on time. Now Reily ... she is my wait until the night before child. I cannot tell you how many papers she crammed the night before and the projects, Good Gravy!

Last month Reily had a recycle project due. The afternoon before the project due date she rushes in the front door off the bus, throws her stuff down and immediately hits the recycle bin in the kitchen. I question this odd behavior and she nervously smiles telling me about her project due tomorrow: She had to create something from recycled products.

I've learned over the years of parenting not to always bail my kids out because the hard life lessons to learn usually are the ones that have the lasting effect. I also learned to always let them do their own projects because I'm a bit too OCD and that clashes with a mind of a child that refuses to use a ruler for their board titles.

So I just watch Reily as she is frantically searching through the recycling and then climbing through storage coming back with an armload of cardboard. I dread going into storage to see the number of boxes sacrificed for this last minute project. I watch Reily work hard over this project and create something pretty cool from trash. She made a cat scratching pad resembling a log and even used a Coke can to create a mushroom. I was impressed but I never doubted the kid's ability; this is the same kid that invented hundreds of things as a child and created her own indoor swimming pools. She is resourceful and has a brilliant mind that is out of the box.

One of many inventions created by Reily.
What hamster wouldn't love a hammock ride while their human cleans her room? 

The next morning we both were rushing to get to school. It wasn't until the bus pulled up I realized she didn't have her project and asked her where her project was -- all the color drained from her face as she realized then it was still in the house. There is the bus which was already a little behind scheduled pick-up time and I needed to get to work fast. Insert the hard life lesson, I told her to get on the bus and I have to get to work before I'm late. 

I felt like a pill the whole day ... I questioned if I did the right thing; was this really a hard life lesson she needed to learn to be more responsible or was I being mean mom? The conclusion of this story can only happen to Reily, remember she is resourceful and inventive naturally.

A friend gave me a fabric bag to give to Reily. It had cool print on it and Reily is not the purse kind of girl so she cut here, snipped there and sewed together her own book bag. That book bag she was using is what Reily turned in for her recycle project and the kid won 2nd place.

The book bag created by Reily.

Reily still has to learn to balance procrastination in her life and of course, the responsibility part. She was very blessed to have that book bag with her that day; it all worked out. Deadlines are going to always be a part of life, the basket of crazy also, but keep focused on the fact that it's going to work out as it should.

Life is a tricky balancing act and while we try to walk the tight rope we are juggling a lot of things in life. If you have Jesus, you have a safety net to catch you. Can you imagine trying to walk that line without a safety net? It's also important you don't have too many things you're juggling that causes you not to have the time to focus on God. He is pretty inventive and resourceful Himself when we are in need of Him.

As you carry your basket of crazy this time of year, remember to pray and have your Bible time with God -- you do not want to procrastinate His time.

The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns,
but the path of the upright is a highway.
Proverbs 15:19

Monday, May 14, 2018

Day 1485 Words Hurt or Heal

Day 1485: Do you think words hurt? Absolutely, they do. If you disagree think back on a time someone said something hurtful to you ... see what I mean? You wouldn't be able to have remembered a time if those words didn't leave an impression of hurt.

Jesus corrected His disciples a few times on their hurtful words and poor choice of words. Sometimes the disciples had motive behind their words a lot like we do today. It can be tricky at times, easy to say something snippy or critique maybe even in a joking manner but the undertone is still there.

There was one time Jesus even scolded Peter for something he said by replying to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan!" (Matthew 16:23)

We are advised many times in God's Word to watch our words, our thoughts and our actions. We will be held accountable for them and they can be the determination for heaven or hell.

"But I tell you that everyone will have to give account
on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken." 
Matthew 12:36