Thursday, February 28, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 96

The story of Joseph is one of my favorites for many reasons but especially to show that God’s purpose is working through everything, the good, the bad and the ugly. Joseph was thrown in a pit, sold by his brothers as a slave, shipped off to a foreign country and accused of attempted rape and thrown in jail. But he was in a place where he could use the gift God gave him with his dreams that would end up helping the Pharaoh and the whole nation of Egypt and put him in a place to help and forgive his brothers. Joseph had learned throughout his tribulations that no matter what his brothers intended that God intended it for good. This belief is what helped Joseph in forgiving his brothers. The evil in the world is certainly not good but God will use it for his good purpose of bringing more souls to salvation and back in relationship with him. If we have this belief in our hearts of the goodness of God and his purpose than we too will be able to forgive which is the way to gaining freedom and peace. God is good.

Genesis 50:19-20  But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 95

The first thoughts about good or goodness in the bible are right there in Genesis chapter one when God is day by day creating all aspects of our world. At the end of each day, God reviews his creation and thinks it is good. Well, yah, some might say, you are God so it isn’t going to be bad. Let’s put this into other words: God planned his creation and  day by day as it came together he thought it was all working according to his plan and purpose. Something is good when it works out as we planned. I thought about my wedding plans. I had a Renaissance themed wedding with the outfits and all. Because it was such a unique wedding it was a bit daunting thinking about how it was all going to come together but the evening of my wedding, as I walked down that isle everything was good. It all came together beautifully and it was a wedding many will never forget. I felt not relief that it was all good but satisfaction and joy. I feel that way when I create a scrapbook page or card. When it comes together and it is good, I am delighted. We can look at each day we are given the same way. God created this day and what happens throughout our day will work according to his purpose and it will be good. No matter what our day brings us, there is good in it because God’s purpose is working through it. Keep that in mind, when your kids are driving you nuts or your boss is making you angry or the roads are a snowy yucky mess to drive in.
Genesis 1:31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 94

I am delving into the fruit of goodness. What does it mean to be good? The dictionary defines it as a quality of being, moral virtue, righteous. But if you really think about it what good means to you may mean something a little different to someone else. It can be subjective based on who is doing the defining but we have to look at what God tells us goodness is. Our source for truth is always in his Word. So, start thinking about what goodness means to you and let’s see how it compares to what the Word tells us goodness is.
John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

Monday, February 25, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 93

This story I found on Facebook recently is a great representation of what we need to do with the challenges we face, what the attitude of our hearts should be like. Look to Jesus and who he was for your role model to follow and ask the Holy Spirit for help in getting that Jesus-like attitude.

Carrots, Eggs, Or Coffee

A young woman went to her Grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.

Her Grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her Granddaughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft and mushy. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hardened egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee.

The daughter smiled as she tasted its deep flavor and inhaled its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What's the point, Grandma?"

Her Grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity - boiling water - but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin, outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her Granddaughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong? But with pain and adversity, do I wilt and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a fluid spirit but, after death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water - the very circumstance that brings the adversity, the pain, the hardship – into something quite wonderful. When the water gets hot, it releases it's fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better, and change the situation around you for the better.

When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity?


~ Author Unknown

1Peter 4:1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 92

Sometimes during a sermon my thought process sticks to one word said and the rest of it becomes a blur. The word that had me going off in my own thoughts was convicted. It is likely many words we use and hear and understand the meaning but couldn’t put it into a definition. So, I got onto the handy dandy Google site and got the definition of convicted or conviction: a fixed or firmly held belief. Conviction isn’t just about belief but about the groundedness of that belief, the solid foundation of that belief, the belief that doesn’t waver in the sifting sands of this world. I remember an when an earthquake hit in southern California when I was about 16. Usually, the earthquakes always came in the early morning hours and you slept right through them so this was my first experience of the ground beneath me shifting in this jolting rolling motion. I was drying my hair in the bathroom when it hit and immediately tried to get to the doorway where we were always taught you would be safer if the building/house collapsed. The ground was not what it always was. It was all over the place and walking those 4 feet the doorway seemed to take an eternity and be the greatest of challenges. By the time I made it to the doorway, the earthquake has stopped and my emotions bubbled over into a torrential rain of tears. It was hard walking those few feet with the shifting foundation below me which is what is like when our spiritual foundation is not solid. Would you rather walk on a solid surface or in a jungle where there may be quicksand in any step you take or on an icy driveway where you slip and fall? I want my walk to be on solid ground and that solid ground comes from the one and only Jesus and the Word of God. How convicted am I of what I believe? I can honestly say that my convictions have been on shaky ground at times but the more I am in his Word and working on living out the Word within my life the more I feel the foundation getting stronger. I think it will always be a life-long process of working on keeping the foundation strong and building it stronger but that is where the Spirit will help us in giving us patience, perseverance and hope to keep going, keep fighting the fight, keep walking the walk.
Romans 4:18-22 Against hope Abraham believed in hope with the result that he became the father of many nations according to the pronouncement, “so will your descendants be.” Without being weak in faith, he considered his own body as dead (because he was about one hundred years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver in unbelief about the promise of God but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. He was fully convinced that what God promised he was also able to do. So indeed it was credited to Abraham as righteousness.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 91

I picked up a book the other day at the library that sounded interesting. It is a fictional story about the world a hundred years from now in which there are 9 nine-year old children around the world who are the “trumpets” or prophets that must come together to bring the light back into the world. The world is going into an ice age of sorts and it is because humankind has turned away from God. There is no freedom of religion there is only no tolerance for religion of any kind. There are angels in the story that are in human form and are there to help win the war against the devil. However, the story seems to be leading towards the idea that all religions must come together and even said at one point there is not just one way to God. Well, that ruffled my feathers a bit because the real truth is there is only one way to God and that is through his only son, Jesus Christ. Thankfully, the spirit of the truth is within me and I can easily see the lies within this story but others who do not have a solid foundation in their faith may be swayed to believe such lies. The apostle Paul is very adamant about those who would preach another gospel and makes a point of saying whether it comes from a man or an angel. I love the idea of angels being around us and helping us but we have to be careful to not think of angels too highly. Jesus is the one we are to look to, love and worship.
Galatians 1:8 But even if we or an angel form heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!
Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

Friday, February 22, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 90

Men don’t change hair styles like women do. My husband has had the same hair cut for 17 years except for a brief try after we were first married to go a little longer. So, he proposed to me that he was going to try going shorter on the top. He talked to a guy at work that had just got his hair cut and decided he might want to try it but he wanted to get my thoughts first. I told him to go for it. Even if it didn’t work for him, it would grow back. So, he went and did it yesterday. He came back looking like a new man. Okay, now I am exaggerating but it was a nice difference. He told me how he always used a certain cutter size on the sides but always told the hair stylist to do an inch on top. This time he got a lesson in haircutting. He learned that he could use the cutter on the top too but with a different size. He tells me, “all these years I have been explaining to them what I want and nobody ever said a cutter size for the top until now.” This whole experience made me think of how people don’t go to the right source. They do it their own way or they try a different source that is not of God. The one right source is God and his Word. Of course, I am not saying when you need haircut advise the answers are in the bible. I am talking about spiritual decisions and choices we have to make throughout our lives. Our horoscope isn’t going to lead us on the right path; the TV isn’t going to lead us on the right path; a person without Jesus in their heart isn’t going to lead us on the right path. The only right source is Jesus, the Father and his Word. Be careful of what leads you and guides your choices. The devil will use anything and everything to make any kind of separation between us and the Father.
Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 89

Little did I know that I was going to come home traumatized yesterday. Now, it may sound like I am exaggerating but remember this is from a born and raised Southern California girl. Wednesday evenings my son goes down to the church for a youth group bible study time. I have been staying in town after work to have dinner and than go to the library and study. So after being at the library for about an hour, I decided to head out early and go get some frozen yogurt but as I walked out the door of the library I was blown away by how much snow had fallen in the last hour. Everything was covered. It was a blizzard! I got 75% of my windows cleared off and started to head out, only to drive up on the sidewalk because I couldn’t see it. I managed to get out of the library parking lot but was now going into full on freaking out mode. I couldn’t see more than a few feet ahead of my car and everything was covered with fresh fallen snow making it very difficult to drive on the road and not the sidewalk. Well, frozen yogurt was definitely not on my mind anymore, it was frozen everything else. So, I began the trek towards the home where I would pick up my son. About half way there, he texts me to say they will drive him all the way home. Yeah! Now, I just have to make it home. I wasn’t sure about getting on the highway as I didn’t want to get stuck on it but decided to go for it. At this point, I had already prayed really hard for some relief to my anxiety. I was singing the music on the radio and slowly following behind a snow plow. But than the snow plow stops and cars are diverting around it. Great! Turns out there was a car stuck at an angle right in the middle of both lanes so we had to inch by between the car and the guard rail. Yipes, just glad it wasn’t my car. I get off at my exit and slide here and there in the turns but manage to keep going. I make it to the light to turn left and have to stop for the red light. As I am waiting, a car going the other direction on the green light didn’t make the left turn but ended up sliding into the embankment. Whoa! I made it all the way home and decided to try to get up my driveway but only made it half way when my car slid backwards at an angle so I stopped and left it there. My hubbie just laughed. Really?! I have been totally traumatized by this experience. I am not going to go to work today simply because I have to recover and the thought of driving out in that again is too much. I am so thankful to God for giving us the snow and keeping me and my son safe on our way home but really God, really! Next time, can you please make the snow come after I get home?
Psalm 143: 8 Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 88

It was ten years ago today that I went into labor at 20 weeks with my daughter. It was one of the scariest days of my life but with God’s help my fear was covered over with his peace. The minutes it took us to drop my son off at a friend’s house and get to the hospital were beyond anxious. I was shaking with the fear inside of me of what was happening. I will never forget the look of the nurse who checked me and yanked her hand away so quick. In the next few minutes they came and adjusted my bed I was on back degrees and told us the amniotic sac was protruding out of the womb. They got me to a room and the doctor came and took a look and gave us two choices: a surgical procedure to put a stitch in the cervix to keep it from opening more or take labor stopping drugs. The doctor had no idea what started first the cervix opening triggering the labor or the labor starting which opens the cervix. She told us the two choices and said I will give you five minutes and walked out of the room. The pressure of this decision was so intense. I asked my hubbie his thoughts and he was leaning towards the surgery and said it was my decision to make. I knew that I couldn’t make this decision alone and prayed at that moment for help. My prayer was heard immediately as I was filled with a complete sense of peace. My fear and anxiety were gone and I believed in my heart my baby girl would  live and be healthy. I made the decision to go with the less risky drugs and the labor stopped. Both nurses who worked with me through that first 24 hours came to me later and told me they literally felt God in the room. All I could do is tear up and nod my head with an “I know” in my heart. Seeing the peace that came over me and making the decision, my hubbie said you can name her whatever you want and I, without hesitation, said her name is Faith. The next day as I started my 4 ½ week journey lying in that bed angled back at 10 degrees, I read this verse in the bible and just cried with joy.
Mark 9:23 “If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 87

I love this idea of putting on fruits of the spirit like clothes. It really is a reminder that these fruits are not something we just have within. We aren’t born with patience. Think of how a baby cries when it is hungry. The baby wants that milk NOW! We don’t  have kindness naturally. Think of the kids in the school yard calling each other names. We are just lumps of clay when we are born. God takes that lump of clay and molds it into a bowl and we ask the Holy Spirit to fill that bowl with fruit or to go with the clothes analogy, we put on our shirt of kindness, our pants of patience, our sweater of humility and so on; dressing in spiritual layers everyday no matter what the weather calls for. I am often hot at work as you know because the thermostat is up so high for the others near the windows who are cold but I have been putting on my spiritual layers of clothes and have been patient and kind regardless of my over-heated body. I am going to give names of the fruits to my clothes as I started above and think of those as I dress each morning.
Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Monday, February 18, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 87

Forgiveness is one of the biggest battles we all face. Our anger and bitterness are the easy way but to walk in the light of Christ means we forgive as Christ forgave us. How can we show kindness to others if we have anger against them? Anger is a wall that you build up between you and that person just as a wall was built up when Adam and Eve committed that first sin. Forgiveness is the hammer that can break down that wall and Jesus is the one to do the hammering. He has hammered down the wall between us and God but we have to ask him to do the work for us. Don’t let your anger and bitterness reign in your heart, release it to Christ and have him take down the wall that will enable you to forgive and show the kindness and compassion that Jesus showed us.
Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 85

We watched this movie last night with Denzel Washington called the Flight. The movie is about an airline pilot who is an alcoholic, drug user who while being high on alcohol and other stuff calmly executes saving the plane that suddenly goes into a nose dive for an obvious mechanical reason. He crash lands the plane and only 6 of the 102 plus 6 crew members died. The real story is about his pride. In the end, he realizes that he is an alcoholic and deserves whatever punishment he gets. At the end, he is in prison and talking to a bunch of inmates about his story and says when he told the truth he was finally set free. The movie indicates all along that all the events have been controlled by God. God was working on this man to get him to let go of his pride and realize he was not in control but God is. The truth does set you free. I know I felt that same freedom when I finally told my husband and family about the three past abortions I had had. I hadn’t blatantly lied about them but in not saying anything about them it was a lie within myself, a darkness that kept me from real relationship with the Lord. And the light of truth was finally put on that darkness and I was freed from it.  God led me to that truth just as he did for the airline pilot in the movie and does for all of us. God is amazing in all he does. Everything that happens is used by him to lead his people to Him.
1John 1:6-7 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 84

Saturdays are always out of the norm so I haven't had a chance to get to my computer until now which is about dinner time. I spent this morning in my bible looking up different scripture that apply to my first class I am taking for my masters in Christian counseling. I got wrapped up in it and than it was time to go to work to put in my overtime and than I spent all afternoon with my daughter at the mall. My brain is tired, by body is aching and I am ready to be a couch potato for the evening. So, I will let you ponder these words from Luke.
Luke 12:33-34 Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no theif comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Friday, February 15, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 83

Sadly, not all people felt loved yesterday. I heard on the radio about a boy with Asperger’s who did not get one valentine. It is easy to love some and it is harder to love others but Jesus calls us to love everyone. My daughter got the opposite of this boy with no valentines. Her teacher got bookmarks for all her class but when she was getting all the heart book marks, she saw a kitty bookmark and thought of my daughter who is the biggest kitty lover ever. So, the teacher announced that she got bookmarks for everyone but one person got a different one. My daughter was not expecting it to be her. That one little act made her feel so loved and so special. I am grateful to God she has a teacher that not only is working with her class on building up their knowledge but building up each of them in their heart. I pray that all those who are not feeling loved will remember or come to know that God’s love never fails and his love will always be there for them.
1Corinthians 8:1 Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 82

Last night we attended our Ash Wednesday church service. Admittedly, it has been the first Ash Wednesday service that I have attended since I was a Catholic kid. We sat up close which is not our norm and found it to be a different experience. In the closeness, we were able to truly see the tears in the eyes of the pastor speaking and the emotions on her face. It made the words that she was saying so much more. God makes us into more than just the dust, dirt and clay that we are. At the end of the sermon, the pastor went to a potter’s wheel and began to make a clay bowl as the rest of us came up to have the ashes marked on our foreheads as a sign of humility to Christ and to remind us that we are made new. God’s love for us is beyond our understanding it is so great but I know that his love is within me and I am to become that pitcher, vase, bowl or whatever he is making me into that will do something with that love that will glorify him and build his Kingdom.
1 John 4:9-12 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 81

The drama continues at my workplace… Monday tasks were switched around and Tuesday they were switched back to where they were before. The head honcho was not happy with our visiting worker from India who made this switch before evaluating everything. She came up to my desk later in the day and wanted to train me how to record something in another program but I was in the middle of trying to get the mail finished and she just expected me to drop it all and listen so I did. I thank God for giving me patience with her because she wants to make sure of things but doesn’t want to hear my answer. She wants a yes or no but there are things I have to point out to her so she fully gets the whole process. Than, just as abruptly as she came she will walk away and go to another person’s desk and interrupt them without a care. I don’t know how long she is here for but I am sure the frustrations she brings will keep coming only because she is trying to do her job and has the stress of reporting to the head honcho who likes to be in control of everything. So, I am trying to remember that there is another part to her, the part that God loves no matter what.
Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 80

I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night thanks to the cup of tea I had but that cup of tea brought not only my sleepless night but joy and peace. The joy part came when all of a sudden my daughter took off running for the bathroom. She got in there and I hear this big “ahhhhhhhhh” and just smiled really big and looked up towards God and thought you gave me a mini-me, I don’t know if I should be scared or joyful about this but I will take the joy. The peace came in the middle of the night as I tossed and turned and got up to go to the bathroom 3-4 times. I got back in bed and just laid there wanting my mind to relax and shut off and I heard the train whistle blowing. At that moment I thought of how you come to get use to the sounds like a train whistle during the night to the point you don’t even notice them anymore. God is speaking to us all of the time but have the sounds and sights of our life drowned out the voice of God? Quiet time with God is an essential aspect to the Christian life. Without this time and being still to hear his voice, we will be led by the things of this world into darker territory. You often hear of the excuses a mother will say like there is just too much stuff to do, I can’t get a moment alone and I am sure I used that excuse myself thinking this is just a season I am in and I will get back to having my time with God. It’s time to let go of any of those excuses you have had that are keeping you from having some quiet time with God. I am a morning person so naturally it is the best part of the day for me. My mind is fresh and ready for the day but it may be best for you in the evening or afternoon time with a cup of tea. I have enjoyed my quiet time although it is often interrupted with my daughter waking up and coming downstairs but the point is to do it.  Lord, thank you for the peace you gave me last night when I heard that train whistle and thought of you. Help me to take the time to just stop everything and be with you with my mind, body and soul. Amen.
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God.

Monday, February 11, 2013

I began reading through the last 78 days entries and realized that I dropped the ball on a few things. I say do this but don’t do it. Follow-up through is one of my strengths but even strong body builders get tired and puts down the weights. So, I am going to go back and look through and find the ones that I haven’t followed through on and create a to-do list of these things I have said I would do. Here are just a few from the first couple of weeks that you might want to review as well.
From Day 3 on loving others:  Try using this scripture as your prayer each day and instead of the second “I” put in a person’s name.
Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I (person’s name) am fearfully and wonderfully made.
From Day 5 loving your church community: Try these action items:
          1. Learn 5 new names—and use them.
          2. Ask how others in your church family are doing—and listen to their    response.
          3. Pray for church family needs we become aware of.
          4. Combat the toll our busyness takes on church family life by building more     time into our Sunday routine for conversations or to help someone along our    path.
From Day 6 on loving God completely: This is an area I will be praying about in the days to come.
Almighty God, I know I love you in my head but help me to love you with all my heart and soul so much so that I am not holding back; that I am shinning your love out of me to all those around me. In your precious name, Amen.
From Day 11 on loving strangers, neighbors, etc: So look at your day and take the time to smile and start a conversation with the grocery clerk, smile and say some kind words to the telemarketer who is calling you right in the middle of dinner, smile and do something your husband normally does like take out the trash.
From Day 15 on changing our thinking: Become God-thinking and other-thinking.
Proverbs 1:5 Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 78

My mind has been on our aunt who had a stroke this week. We went to visit her in the hospital up in Denver yesterday and I was delighted to see that she was doing much better than I had anticipated. She suffered a stroke pretty much centrally located at the base of the brain. She couldn’t move her left side but that has come back and now is just a numbness. The main issue now is her eyes are not working together and what the doctor called ‘boucing eyes’. So, I am praising God that she is in good hands and seems to be the same aunt we all know and love. We also pray that she will continue to improve especially with her eyes and that she may find the time in the hospital a time of reflection and prayer that will draw her closer to our God. Despite the stroke, God has already brought good from it by her quitting smoking. So, we are singing praises to God.
Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 77

Our work environment is a festering pot of frustration and yesterday the pot let out a little steam but not in an honorable way. A co-worker of mine, in her frustration, said loudly “Jesus F@*$#ing Christ”. I was taken aback by it and paused in my own work in the shock of it but also felt like I should something but was at a loss for words. I went on about my work but this incident stayed with me all day long. So, before bed I asked my husband if he had experienced anything like this at his work. He hadn’t but kindly suggested I speak my feelings to the person about it when it happens. So, I went on thinking about what I might have said and what I could say when this kind of situation may rise again and than I stopped myself and prayed to God and asked him to give me the words, to guide me in finding the truth in his holy word. So, I gave it to God and went to sleep. This morning I have been looking at commentaries about taking the Lord’s name in vain and have learned it really is meant to be more than just like the incident I experienced yesterday but also living in reverence to our Lord. In any case, I looked at the scriptures that were given in these commentaries and found this one in Phillipians to be the one that I will memorize and will say if and when the name of my Lord is said in such a way.
Phillipians 2:9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Friday, February 8, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 76

At the end of the book of Job, God speaks to Job and basically God says I am God and I command everything over the universe. He ends up blessing Job in the later years of his life with more children, etc and tells Job that his friends need to sacrifice a burnt offering for their foolish words. In the end, we can be angry with God, we can ask the why’s and we have to remember that God is God and we may not get the answers to our why’s. The main purpose is to keep in relationship with God. Don’t let bitterness or well-meaning friends and their words turn you away from the God who is infinite, who can do all things. Always look to Him and pray.
Job 42:10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 75

We have a woman from India that started working with us this week. She is demanding lots of time and attention along with reports of the numbers of things we do. I, thanks be to God, had the patience yesterday as she came to me with questions and than proceeded to stay at my computer screen asking me to scroll this way or that and ask more questions about things that didn’t relate to me so I had to ask my team lead across the room. So, I did this for ten minutes and she finally left. My team lead was at her wit’s end. She said she felt she was being pulled from all angles. I told her she should go talk to our office manager about it even though nothing would come of it, she could at least get her emotions off her chest that were festering and to the right person. I think she felt better after having talked and cried to her. I had to leave for lunch even though I brought my lunch just because I could feel the tension and stress of it all starting to get to me. The sunny day and time to pray gave me a better perspective. So, I am praying today for more patience and the words to help others make peace with each other and the work that has to be done.
James 3:18 Those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

365 Days of Spirt-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 74

We got word last evening that my Aunt-in-law has suffered a stroke. She’s lost all movement on her left side and they are hoping the clot will resolve itself. My heart and mind are with her and the family at this time but in reading some more of Job this morning I found this scripture that really hits the nail on the head when it comes to our prayers and do we feel that God answers them. The answer is not always what we want or may not come as we thought but if our hearts are open and our eyes can see and discern what God is telling us than though the answer may not be what you wanted you will know and feel that God is with you no matter what and have peace.
Job 33:12-14 But I tell you, in this you are not right, for God is greater than man. Why do you complain to him that he answers none of man’s words? For God does speak—now one way, now another—though man may not perceive it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 73

Today I will ponder these words from CS Lewis, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” Without Jesus, we cannot find what we need. We are like a blind man stumbling along in the dark but with Jesus by our side, he can lead us towards all that we need.
Phillipians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Monday, February 4, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 72

I find it interesting in Job that all his friends are giving him advice but it is misguided advice. The latest friend, Eliphaz tells him to submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Unfortunately, although he got the first part right in turning to God, asking forgiveness and being obedient to him, the second half is not always the case, a prime example being Jesus who was the ultimate in righteous and yet was led to and nailed on a cross. His friend thought Job had sin that he was being punished for. There are definitely consequences to sin but they are not there to punish but rather to direct you back to the Almighty. I was thinking the other day of the analogy of the clay and the potter. We are the clay and God is the potter. He is sitting at his potting wheel pouring water over us which keeps us from drying out and is shaping us into something. When God is not at the potter’s wheel because we have turned away from him, the evil one is going to suck the life out of us leaving us a dark formless lump of clay, nothing.  We must ask God to come back and sit at the potter’s wheel, than the Holy Spirit will be poured into us giving us life and light and God will work again at shaping us to work into his plan. Will we be like a vase that stands there and shows the beauty of the picked flowers? Will we be like a pot that is mixing something up that will be for all? Or will we be like a pitcher made to pour out water? We will discover his plan for us as we journey through our faith. Job’s friend had his assumptions wrong. It is not about sin and being repentant and obedient to God so that we will have prosperity. It is about being in relationship with him. Job is angry at God but he is still talking to him. We too must keep talking to God through our struggles, troubles and tribulations and ask him to pour the water over us.
Job 23:16-17 God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 71

At this point in Job’s suffering, he is consumed with self-pity. His friends come and their words do not help him, do not comfort him but rather condemn him. But there is always hope and within all this talk with his friends he grabs back onto his faith for a bit. The truth is right there before him that it is faith that will see him through. He must learn to trust in God’s goodness and know that he is in control. He must put his focus back on God and others and not on himself. Teresa of Avila wrote these words that speak of what will help get a person back on track with God: The best medicine—I do not say for removing the trouble, for I know of none for that, but for enabling the soul to endure it—is to occupy oneself with external affairs and words of charity and to hope in God’s mercy, which never fails those who hope in Him. May he be blessed forever. Amen. We watched a movie last night called Exit Humanity. It was about zombies and honestly after watching some of the previews before the movies I was not anticipating a good message from it but there was one. This man in Civil War times is the main character and he looses his wife and 11 year old son to the zombie plague. He goes crazy in his grief but God gives him a purpose when he reminds him of a conversation with his son about a waterfall he had drawn a picture of. He knows he must take his sons ashes to the waterfall. Along the way, he meets up with Issac and is persuaded to help him free his sister from the clutches of the Rebels who are led by a general from the war who has really lost it. They come to a place where a “witch” lives to get help when he is wounded by a gun shot. They discover that she is not a witch but just a women who has suffered. She confesses to him that she was the one who started this zombie plague in using some ancient scrolls she had found to try to bring back to life her sister who was hanged by the community. He is at a point now where he is able to forgive her and she says to him, “it is never too late to heal the soul.” In the end, he begins to feel hope and life again and says so in his journal he writes in that that is the only cure he knows of is to keep the hope.
Job 19:25 I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 70

My son has gone away on a weekend church camp. They gave us what they are to be studying this weekend in the bible, the book of Job. I decided to read it myself to refresh myself of the story but also to look more deeply at it. Job is a righteous man who has been blessed by God in many ways but Satan claims that he wouldn’t be the faithful man he is if all those blessings were taken away. Thus far in my reading he has lost servants and all his children to death and now he is stricken bodily with sores from head to toe. After a week of this he finally pours out his anguish to God. Not cursing God but only asking that question we have all asked, “why?” At this point his peace is gone, he is in turmoil and can find no rest but he does what is right in calling out to God. Despite all the suffering, he has not turned his back on God but embraced him with his anguish. I especially like what Job says in response to his wife who is urging him to curse God. He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job 2:10  Trouble will always come and we have to be ready for it by standing firm in our faith and loving God no matter what. Job shows us that we are to take our anguish to God, cry out to God, be angry at God because in doing this, we are still facing him in relationship. Like any relationship, it has it’s bumps in the road but we want to keep on that road and not be steered into a detour because of the trouble that has come upon us.
Job 3:26 “I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.”

Friday, February 1, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 69

I know a young lady at my work who is suffering from chronic migraines. She told me she has had them since she was 12 years old. They have gotten worse in the last month and it seems almost anything she eats triggers one. She’s been to doctors and tried acupuncture but so far nothing is helping. As I talked with her about this I wanted her to know that despite the pain she is loved by an awesome God. God lead me to the story of the woman who has been bleeding for many years who came up to him in a crowd just wanting to touch any part of him. She touched the edge of his cloak and was healed. The pain and troubles we go through in life are used by God to mold us, change us and lead us to Him. If it is God’s will my young friend will be healed but in the meantime I have to let God use me to guide her towards him. So, I pray for the fruits of the Spirit to be filled up within me that the hope that is in Christ will be shown to her.
Mark 5:25-34 A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” You see the people crowding against you, his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and trembling with fear told him the whold truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”