Saturday, October 21, 2017

Day 1280 Storm Focus

Day 1280: "One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” Luke 8:22-25

Where is your faith? The disciples were stuck in a boat when the roaring storm at sea approached and they panicked and forgot to have faith for a moment. We have a habit of doing the same thing in life. We get so caught up in the circumstances that moment and the problem is all we can see. Sometimes we even tell God how horrible the problem is and predict the worse forgetting He is bigger than the problem.

When there is a life storm surrounding you, remember to keep your faith and call on the Lord to rebuke the storm and give you peace. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Day 1279 A Great Love

Day 1279: I love Jesus. 2000 years ago, I would have followed Jesus around with a hunger craving His teachings. Today I get lost in His words and incredible life wisdom. Jesus has a way to explain life and how to follow God's direction in such a real and down to earth way. There are parables that are really deep but once you get it you will forever be reminded of His wisdom by looking at a simple object such as a seed, a tree, a bottle of perfume ...

Listen to how Jesus addresses a sinful woman that approaches Him with perfume and her tears. Do you love Him with a great love like the sinful woman showed?

Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
Luke 7:36-50

When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Day 1278 Pass A Spoon Please

Day 1278: One of the best ways to describe my daily battle with chronic pain is the spoon theory by Christine Miserandino. Basically, I would start out with a handful of spoons a day and have to surrender one each time I do something that takes a toll on my body. Example: Taking a shower will cause exhaustion and pain -- there is one spoon. Grocery shopping -- there is a spoon. Housework -- sometimes I have to surrender two spoons. Weather changes -- a spoon. Traveling -- two or three spoons.

You get the idea, the simple things in life many don't think about is a big deal for someone fighting a chronic pain illness. We have to reserve our spoons when we can and most of the time we do run out just trying to keep up with life. There are consequences when we do run out of spoons. Flares arise and there is a flaming torture of pins and needle pain throughout our body. Each nerve is alive and like a live electric wire it sends painful shocks throughout every muscle and joint in the body. The exhaustion is nothing compared to the pain yet the ever present fatigue triples during and after a flare hit. You can see why it is pretty important for us to conserve the spoons.

I went to bed last night with a plan I was going to get a lot of work done today. I woke up with fewer spoons than I expected. Tomorrow is a traveling day, a zoo field trip at work. That means I have to plan accordingly today, budget some extra spoons for tomorrow. Saturday will be a pain day no doubt and thankfully there is nothing on the calendar yet. Sunday is another field trip to the pumpkin patch with the youth and children, will I be ready? Managing time and finances is burden enough for us, try adding spoon managing to the list.

I share this with you today with purpose. You never know what someone is going through, physically it looks like there is nothing wrong with me. God reminds us we have a bad habit of looking at the outward appearance of people but God sees the heart. We should try harder to see heart and not so quick to judge another.

Man looks at the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7

Another reason I share this is because I want to show God to you today. When I woke up this morning and realized it was going to be a spoon shortage kind of day, I started to feel overwhelmed and frustrated because there is just so much that I need to do. I asked God to help, I asked Him to pass an extra spoon or two my way. I then caught movement out of the corner of my eye. There were two does and their growing babies in the backyard looking directly in the window I was standing at. A few seconds of complete stillness passed and they continued to graze as I watched in awe. 

Here are the deer in the back yard. There is another baby to the left in the shrubs.
You see, I woke with a to-do list running in my mind and God had to remind me to stop for a moment and accept His peace. Standing at the window admiring such peaceful animals felt to me like a couple more spoons were added. Time went by and as I watched the family return back to the shelter of the woods I realized half of that growing to-do list that was racing through my mind earlier didn't seem so important anymore; it was as if God just crossed them off for me. 

And the peace of God, 
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

If you are battling a life of chronic pain and running low on spoons, turn to God and ask Him to pass a spoon. If you are overwhelmed with life -- a job, family, chores, finances -- turn to God and ask Him for some peace. We are not created to do life without depending upon our Creator. Ask God for help. 

Whatever you ask for in prayer,
believe that you have received it,
and it will be yours.
Mark 11:24

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Day 1277 Lost And Found

Day 1277: Have you ever been traveling while following your GPS when all of a sudden it malfunctions on you? You were on the right path then the directions just stopped and you are left trying to figure out what turn is next.

My life is a lot like a malfunctioning GPS right now. God has placed me on a path and so much life circumstances has popped up I am trying to discern if the malfunction is God updating the GPS ordnance or satan throwing up all kinds of road blocks to throw me off track.

In situations like this, the only thing we can do is pray it to God and wait for direction.

This reminds me of corn mazes, have you ever been lost in one? I have. At first it wasn't that big of a deal until I realized the corn was much taller than I was and all the worse case scenarios started flooding my mind. When lost in a corn maze, the smart thing to do is to look up and figure out your direction using the sun and the setting shadows. From there you have an idea which direction you want to head. (Though I recommend a farmer's map before entering the maze.)

I'm at a point in life where I feel so much is bigger than I am and I am unsure which direction I should take. So what do you think I should do? It's time to look up to the Son and listen to where He guides me.

How do we hear God when He sends us direction?

He speaks through His Word.
"For the Word of God is living and active ..." Hebrews 4:12

He confirms it in our heart.
"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people" Ephesians 1:18

He lines up everything so it all falls into place.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Day 1276 Trusting When It's Not Easy

Day 1276: Psalm 56 is a beautiful passage of David writing to God. During this time, David was held captive the Philistines. Take a moment to read this and allow it to sink in your heart. David shows remarkable trust in God considering the condition he was in. Are you able to trust in God when it is not easy, maybe even when it seems impossible to get out the situation? While you read, think of a time there may have been a time you felt pressed on all sides, attacked by others:

Be merciful to me, my God,
for my enemies are in hot pursuit;
all day long they press their attack.
My adversaries pursue me all day long;
in their pride many are attacking me.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?

All day long they twist my words;
all their schemes are for my ruin.
They conspire, they lurk,
they watch my steps,
hoping to take my life.

Because of their wickedness, do not let them escape;
in your anger, God, bring the nations down.

Record my misery;
list my tears on your scroll
are they not in your record?
Then my enemies will turn back
when I call for help.
By this I will know that God is for me.

In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can man do to me?

I am under vows to you, my God;
I will present my thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered me from death
and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God
in the light of life.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Day 1275 Forgiving Lesson

Day 1275: Can you imagine forgiving someone who has done something wrong to you or someone you care about? It is hard, hard, hard to forgive. Did you know that Jesus said we are suppose to forgive anyway? In fact, He says if we don't forgive, we are not forgiven.

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Here is something to think about when you struggle with forgiving that someone. Jesus was beaten, spit on, tortured, hung on a cross by nails through his body and mocked; yet Jesus asks forgiveness form His Father upon the people around Him who were responsible for all the above. Can you imagine doing that if you were on the cross? That is how powerful the love of Christ is because not only was He asking for forgiveness for those around Him but He was asking it for you as well. Yes, you were also on His mind during that spoken prayer to His Father.

Here is a little self-help homework assignment for you. Think of someone you really need to forgive. Pray about it asking God to help you take the first difficult step to forgiving and begin walking one step at a time toward the freedom of forgiveness. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Day 1274 To Trick Or Treat?

Day 1274: What are your thoughts on Halloween? Can you be a Christian and still celebrate it? The answer is yes and no.

Yes: Christians shouldn't fear Halloween or hide from the trick-or-treaters knocking on the front door. Have fun with it, pumpkin carvings, yummy foods, silly costumes -- embrace it and look for opportunities to shine the light of Jesus. Check out these pumpkin blogs I wrote and share it with others this holiday:
Day 559
Day 193
Day 168

I guess I must really like pumpkin carving to write about it so much. The above links have powerful lessons to teach while carving a pumpkin. While you teach someone the hands on lesson while carving a pumpkin, they will always remember it year after year and one day pass it along to their own child or class they teach. Matthew 5:14 says to be the light, why not shine bright Halloween? Don't hide the light.

No: There is a line Christians shouldn't cross when it comes to Halloween shenanigans. Let's face it, some of the Halloween costumes are a little more Jezebel style than they should be. I'm not saying you have to dress up as an old maid but ask yourself what message you may be sending to others -- could a skimpy costume ruin your witness without you even meaning for it to?

What about the dark side of Halloween -- the Ouija board, the horror, the cults? 100% stay away. It only takes a tiny crack in your armor for the devil to slip in, don't put that welcome mat down for him. (I talk from experience. Been there, done that, there is a t-shirt somewhere.)

I had a youth ask if watching horror movies were bad. If you feel fear after you watch the scary movies, then they are bad because fear is only from satan and never of God. (2 Timothy 1:7) Remember, it only takes a tiny crack for satan to barge in and mess with your head. And he is a relentless bully.

I can't watch horror movies anymore. I mean Children of the Corn, Pet Semetery, Nightmare on Elm Street is Child's Play compared to the horror movies of today. The movies today have channeled into darkness and demonic crazy stuff. I watch something and I am walking through the house turning every light switch on and running into walls always looking behind me. If it scares you, you shouldn't be watching it.

The best thing to do as a Christian and wondering about Halloween celebration is ask yourself: W.W.J.D.? Christians that are quick to judge another for carving a pumpkin or handing out a few pieces of candy, ask yourself: W.W.J.D.?  Halloween is associated with darkness which is why many Christians do shun the holiday. Remember what John 12:46 says: "I have come into the world as a light; so that no one who believes in Me should stay in the darkness." Halloween or no Halloween -- just shine the light of Christ to everyone.