Wednesday, July 31, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 240

There are little random things written in the Word of God that seem out of place, random, misplaced but each word in the Bible is breathed to life by God and has some meaning for us. In this verse below in Acts, the word that caught my attention was ‘vow’. There are no details about what this vow is. This is the one and only sentence about this vow. There is no explanation regarding this vow but it isn’t about what the vow was but about the promise fulfilled. God is the ultimate promise keeper and perhaps He is showing us through Paul and his example that we too can make sacrifices in order to fulfill our vows made. The promises of God can flow through us to others. We can be the one who will sacrifice something, hair, even our lives for the gift it may bring to even one lost soul.

Father, Convict me, give me courage, let me be the light on your promises and all that you are, that those who are lost may see you and be saved. Amen.

Acts 18:18… Before he sailed, he has his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 239

Remember the old Burger King marketing motto, “have it your way”? It seems like we always want things to be “our” way and that includes how we want God to be. We want Him to fit into our lives rather than us realizing that He IS our life. God is so much bigger than the few moments I manage to pray or the little bit of time I take to read His Word. Do you think Jesus’ prayer time when he went off alone was the only time He was actively engaging with God? I don’t think so. He lived and breathed everything God. The Kingdom of God was His passion. He knew and lived like God was Everything. It wasn’t His way it was the Only way. Knowing God, He knew that everything He was and everything he did was a reflection of the love of His Father. So, He loved just as God loves us. I am reminded of the great song by Colton Dixon called You Are. The words go like this… You are, You are the song I’m singing…You Are, You Are the air I’m breathing… You Are. There isn’t anything that God isn’t. He is all of it, everything, the whole shhhbang. Lord, you are my everything. Help me to feel you in me, through me, around me and everywhere and live and love like I know it. Amen.

Acts 17:24 The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.

Monday, July 29, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 238

Have you ever wondered about some of the people in the bible who may not even be named but you wonder what happened to them. Paul and Silas in Acts 16 are beaten, flogged and put in chains and thrown in jail. They are praying and singing hymns to God about midnight when an earthquake happens, their chains fall off and the doors open. Now it says that the prisoners had been listening to them. I am betting this praying and singing went on for some time. I can imagine some of the prisoners complaining wanting them to keep quiet and maybe some of them snickering and making wise cracks but as midnight approached they were listening. Had the time and words finally sunk in. Did Paul and Silas just plant seeds of faith? The earthquake and escape are like the water and fertilizer all at once. Did the other prisoners leave, racing to their homes and telling of what they heard and witnessed? Were they forever changed just because they were in that prison with Paul and Silas? We don’t know. There are many things we just don’t know. It would be impossible to write every story of every person who encountered or experience Jesus or the early church. A lot will remain a mystery. Paul and Silas may never have seen these prisoners again until heaven. Maybe the prisoners greeted Paul and Silas when they entered Heaven and shared with them their story that started the night in that prison. Perhaps one day we will have people we have touched, encouraged, loved and cared for and shared with about Jesus that will come to us in Heaven and share their story with their own Seed Sower.

Lord, We don’t know the plans you have for any of us but I do know you love us in ways we cannot ever understand. Lead me to be a Seed Sower of your love and truth. Amen.

Acts 16:25  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the other prisoners were listening to them.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 237

How often have people put on other requirements to be saved? My first thought in reading chapter 15 of Acts was ‘why does this matter to me, I am not Jewish nor ever was. But letting this Word from God stew in my mind all day, God showed me that it does matter because tho it isn’t circumcision there is always something that Satan will use to make us think the cross and Jesus aren’t enough, that we can’t possibly be worthy. No we are not and never can be without the grace of Jesus covering our sin and making us holy like him so we can be in God’s presence. Our own minds and thoughts can lead us towards the wrong path, the one where we are trying too hard to save ourselves. So what do we do? We acknowledge Jesus as our savior, ask God for forgiveness and thank Him for being saved through Jesus Christ.

Father, forgive me for thinking I can do whatever it takes to be in your presence. Thank you for the gift of Jesus and taking the burden from me. I am saved by grace…by grace alone. Amen.

Acts 15:9-11 He made no distinction between us and them for he purified their heart by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 236

God has always given us the choice and yet He always shows that He is always with us, always loving and caring for us. We can always look back and see the plans of God unfolding in our lives. We can always in hindsight realize he was right there with us. What about seeing Him right here, right now? I have always found that my times when I am focused and in His Word everyday that I am much more aware of His presence and see His works in every little thing. Our busy lives, our problems, the difficult circumstances that life throws at us will weed away our focus and take us away from our time with God. He created us to be in fellowship with Him. He is the father, mentor, best friend, confidant, counselor that all of us need. Time with Him is like a plant being watered by the gardener. How good it feels…If you aren’t carving some time in your day for Him, stop and pray right here, right now for Him to guide you in helping you have a committed heart. With His guidance you can find the best time and way for you to really focus just on Him.

Acts 14:16-17 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony.

Friday, July 26, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 235

Listening is a skill that is essential for success in life and for your relationship with anyone including God. I have heard the complaints at my job about various people’s lack of listening skills.  This complaining stems from not feeling validated or recognized because you aren’t being listened to. Anger comes into play especially if this non-listening is on-going. I dealt with my own angry feelings about the email issue I am having a work that has been very disruptive, taking time away from my productivity and basically driving nuts. I finally thought I need to address this issue with the right people so I put together an email and sent it off. Before the end of the day, I was told it was to be worked on and the next day found it to be true that it is being worked on. It feels good to have been listened to. In reading from chapter 13 in Acts, Paul describes how the rulers and the people didn’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah even though they heard the readings from the prophets every Sabbath. They probably knew the prophets and their prophecies forward and backward in their heads but somewhere along the line those words from the prophets never got into their hearts. You really have to use your heart to truly be listening to what God has to say to you. You can read the bible day in and day out but if your heart isn’t hearing it, it goes nowhere, no growth is happening and no fruit is blossoming. I know that I am guilty of this. Everyone can have bad days when your heart just isn’t into it. Maybe you aren’t feeling well or you are preoccupied with some life issue or task that needs to be done. We have to ask God to forgive us and pray for the Holy Spirit to help us hear with our hearts. Lord, forgive me for my lack of focus, my distracted way of being with you in your Word that does not bring forth the fruit you would like to see with. Help me to find the time and place that will be the best to have that focus and give myself to you completely. With you all things are possible. Amen.

Acts:13:27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

365 Days of Spririt-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 234

Have you ever gone along with the crowd or agreed to something because you thought it would please the group, crowd, family, etc? I think we have all been swayed by peer pressure and driven by our own fears of rejection or our needs to belong and done things that we should not have done. King Herod does this in Acts 12. He sees how the Jews are pleased with how he has had James, the brother of John killed and so he decides to seize Peter because he wants to do what is pleasing the crowd. In this case, Peter is put in prison in chains and heavily guarded but God uses this opportunity to show the believers who are earnestly praying for Peter that God is listening by sending an angel to help get Peter out of prison. This is not anything like a jail break in a modern movie with tunnels being dug or schemes being played out that help the prisoner to get out of prison. Peter is literally visited by an angel who instantly releases him from his chains, tells him to put on some clothes, shoes and a cloak and to follow him. The angel leads him out and the iron gate leading to the city opens all by itself. God has taken the unwise decision of King Herod and turned it into an event that brings Him glory. Our own unwise decisions will be used by God for his greater plan as well but how about working on not making those unwise decisions in the first place. We shouldn’t be swayed or manipulated by anyone to do or say anything. Only God is our Guidance Counselor. It is Him we should go to when choices need to be made. This is a tough challenge in our busy world to do. How to stop and consider what Jesus would have us do. Pause and pray for wisdom to make the wise choices. It is something that needs to be cultivated in us. A habit needs to be formed and only a committed heart and some preparation will lead you to successfully becoming prayerful in all your choices. I am going to make it a family challenge and get my family to start working on praying before making our choices. We can celebrate with each other our successes and share our thoughts on how we might do better in the next days. A community effort is always helpful and I am sure pleasing to God.

Acts 12:11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 233

I know I am not the only one that has read something somewhere and read it again sometime and it was like reading it for the first time. I read about that it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. Interesting? I want to know more… so I read the sidebar section in my bible and found that Christian means those that belong to Christ. I felt all at once a sense of comfort, joy and peace. Belonging is something that many of us need. I know it is within my temperament needs to feel accepted and that I belong. We belong to Jesus. He is the shepherd and we are His sheep. I saw a tree and thought it is like we are the leaves. Leaves don’t belong on a fence or a stop sign or in drain pipe. They belong on a tree. Can you come up with your own simile? Belonging to Jesus is like…?
Acts 11:26 The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 232

As the offering plate went around at church on Sunday, I debated in my head if I should quickly reach down and possibly hold up the offering plate so I could put in my money. I had a vision of taking out my wallet and dumping all the money I had in the offering plate in a grand display in front of the little girl sitting next to me to show her how we should give. But I did nothing but passed the plate along and wondered why. I talked to my hubbie about it after church. He is an usher now and told me that there are plenty of people scrambling to get a check written or their money out before the offering plate gets to them. This made me realize how totally unprepared I am to come into church to worship. I can’t tell how many times the offering plate has gone by me without my contribution because of my lack of forethought. Maybe it is me wanting to keep some control over my cash flow and maybe it is me trying to justify how I have given in other ways or to other places. In any case, I am not ready for it and it makes me wonder how ready am I to worship, truly worship? Holy Spirit, lead me in preparing my body, soul and spirit to give all I have to the Lord.

John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”  

Monday, July 22, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 231

How forgetful we are! As I read from Acts 9 about Saul’s conversion, I realized how I had forgotten that God can and will intervene if it his will. I have often prayed for those I know who do not believe or are “Christian” without the passion. But I usually pray that I can be an instrument in helping this person to the truth or that God will bring others into their life that will plant and/or sow the seeds that will lead them to Jesus. I have forgotten that God is God and he can show them all on His own if He wants. I have seen many times in my study on temperament that in some cases only direct intervention from God will help this person. Lord, I am sorry to have forgotten who really does the work. Whether it be through me, through others or come down from you directly, I pray that those I know and love who do not believe or have fallen by the wayside can see the truth of You. Amen.

Acts: 9: 20-21  At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name?”

Sunday, July 21, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 230

My computer was being upgraded yesterday so excuse me for missing yesterday. I am thrilled with the new stuff on my computer though!

Last night I watched the last ten minutes of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with my daughter. We had seen it in the movie theater but much like reading the bible when you watch a movie again you see parts you missed the first time. The father of the hero in the movie has trouble expressing his love to his son. He tries to get words out in front of a crowd of people and is stumbling and stuttering but miraculously the leading lady takes a device that is on Steve, the monkey and puts it onto the father and immediately his voice comes through the device and he shares what is in his heart to his son. I found this especially beautiful because it is a great example of the weakness found in certain temperaments and how the Holy Spirit can be that miraculous device that enables us to express our love and our need for love. I am always amazed by God and how he works. His power can drive out the fear that keeps us from love.

1John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.


Friday, July 19, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 229

In reading the seventh chapter in Acts, I was questioning along my reading why was Stephen reiterating the history of the Jews but as I read further I realized that within this history is the pattern of rejection and rebelliousness they had towards God. He was boldly attempting to show them that they were continuing with that pattern with how they rejected Jesus and how they are rejecting the apostles who are now speaking in His name. There can be truth spoken to us through our past history. I know my own testimony in coming to know the truth was through accepting the sins of my past as sins so that I could lay them at the cross. We continue that pattern set by the Hebrews of rejecting God and rebelling against Him. That first thing that needs to be conquered is this history. We have to recognize and accept that we have indeed been rejecting God and rebelling against Him. Not many of us will be boldly told to look at our past history to see the error of our ways but the truth will set you free. How can we be boldly share with others the truth that is shown in each of our own histories? Through the Holy Spirit…Stephen was filled with it and we can be too.
Acts 7: 55-56 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. 

Have a Friday filled with boldness and the Holy Spirit!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 228

I found this great book called The Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordeiro at the library. I am only partially through it but already know I will have to buy a copy to have on hand as a source for my counseling practice. He made a great case for two types of teachers: Consequences and Wisdom. How many of us have learned the hard way over and over again because we hadn’t the wisdom to do otherwise. Our greatest source of wisdom is from the Word of God and the author’s main point of the book is that being in the bible daily we will plant seeds from the stories of the people in the bible who will give us wisdom when the time comes and we need it. The author also goes into the difference between choosing from right and wrong and choosing from wise and unwise. He gave a good little story to illustrate this concept: A man working in his office was talking with a woman co-worker who was having some emotional issues. He took her to lunch to discuss and after lunch while sitting together in the parking lot she leaned over and gave him a kiss just as the man’s wife was driving by. He didn’t do anything wrong but the choice to take her to lunch was unwise and led to his wife not trusting him for the next 8 months until the trust was built back. There are constant choices in our lives some of which can have life-long effects. How much better off we would be if we called on wisdom from the Holy Spirit within us to help us make wise choices. It’s just as the apostles do in Acts 6 when they are confronted with an issue of widows being overlooked for food. They know that they are called to continue the ministry of teaching and evangelism so they call on 7 men to take on the responsibility of making sure physical needs are met of the people. They wisely choose to delegate rather than try to do it all themselves. And so our first deacons of the church were created...
Ephesians 5:15-16 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 227

I have been re-reading Wendy Alec’s Series Chronicles Brothers again as the latest in the series is out and I like to have everything from the previous books fresh in my mind. The basic premise of the series is about the archangel brothers, Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer. I am in the second book when Jesus is on Earth. The women who touches the fringe of Jesus’ robe and is healed has just happened and Jotapa, princess of Arabia who is in the crowd with her brother Zahi who has leprosy has just made eye contact with Jesus. They had an earlier encounter when she was on the run from Herod Antipas. Her temper flairs as she has the temperament of a firecracker. But Jesus sees past this temper into her heart. Here is the excerpt from the book: …but then, as she returned His gaze, somehow she knew with a deep knowing that it was not her discomfort He enjoyed…He was enjoying her. Despite all her flaws—and  there were many—the Hebrew liked her, Jotapa, spirited, strong, haughty princess of Arabia. And she realized that to each one who clutched at His robe, He was the same. He found the treasure in each soul—searched through the sin and bitterness of each and He found the pearl of great price.
Haven’t we all wanted to be known, really known for who we really are. Jesus knows us and sees into our souls. He speaks to our soul, sees past all the sins, anger and hurts and knows exactly what we need. Through Him we can conquer those sins, anger and hurts and be reconnected with God.
Psalm 139:1-4
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge is back on... Day 226

We have lift off!!!!!!!  I conducted some more research on the problem I was having entering text into the post and discovered it was because my browser is becoming too old. So with my hubbie's help I got a new browser going and it's working!!
I came across this scripture in Acts 5 that makes me think that this week long break in blogging was all part of God's plan and in his timing the solution to the problem was found and fixed. He won't let this blogging fail. I hope and pray that the words that come from my heart and through God's Word will inspire, teach, give you a fresh perspective and above all point you towards our Awesome God.

Acts 5:38-39 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 222 & 223

Despite being out-of-shape, I managed to survive a 5 mile round-trip hike on the Fern Lake trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. I was the slow-poke of the family. This trip through the forest was a testament to perseverance. My attitude was focused on getting to “The Pool” which was our destination. It was a lovely spot and worthy of the effort. It make me think of our spiritual journey with the Lord. It can be difficult with moments where you need to stop and stretch or times when you need to take a break for some water. There can even be times when you contemplate turning back or just stopping to catch your breath. These times in our spiritual journey are times when we get into our bible, pray or talk with a fellow believer. Our journey through life is difficult just as a hike up a mountain can be when you are not in the best of shape but with the right focus and those moments of prayer, study and worship the Lord gives us what we need to continue that hike. Those stretching breaks, water up times and rests for breathe provide us the strength to keep going. Be sure to do your stretches, drink your water and breathe in the living word of God and you will be able to preserve and enjoy the moments along the way.
Hebrews 12: 1 …and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 221

Enjoying the Rocky Mountains in Estes Park today... Hope you can get out and enjoy God's creation.

Psalm 96 12-13... Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sind before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 220

Today as we celebrate the freedom of our country, I will celebrate the freedom given to me by God. I remember the day that the weight of fear and shame was lifted off of me thanks be to God. Driving home from the Women of Faith conference, a sweet lady in the car asked me about how I came to know Christ. I told her about my years of disappointment after disappointment trying to get pregnant with our second child and how I finally opened up to God and acknowledge that I didn’t have control over what was to happen with my life but He did. With my knowledge of my temperament and temperament theory, I can see how that was the time when I started really communicating with God. When it comes to relational and social issues, my temperament is a double-edged sword. I do not initiate friendships and conversation for fear of rejection but I need to have a good amount of this to be fulfilled. During this time of infertility, my two best friends became pregnant and my sister. It was a struggle to maintain my emotions with them so the topic was avoided as much as possible but it pushed me towards God and ultimately led me to accepting Jesus into my heart. My need for socializing was now being met fully by the one who can meet all our needs. Another temperament need I have is the need for lots of control over other people and no control from them over me. Because I was becoming more open to God and starting to learn about Jesus, I finally was able to submit to God and acknowledge that I didn’t have control. But the third need in my temperament regarding love was not being met yet because of my fear of rejection. I have a compulsive need for love and affection but do not initiate it so others don’t know of my need and it doesn’t get met. As I told my story in the car to this dear lady, I heard a voice ask “why are you afraid?” It was at that point I realized that I didn’t need to fear rejection because I have the one and only true God who loves me in ways beyond measure. This love set me free. The weight of shame from the three abortions I had in my younger years was lifted so I went home and told my husband and family of my past sins. I was free from the fear of people rejecting me because of my past sins. I know that I am loved and that compulsive need for love has been fulfilled by the only one who could fulfill it. Do you have a freedom story? I would love to hear how the Lord has set you free. Have a blessed independence day!
Matthew 10:8 Freely you have received, freely give.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 219

Yesterday was the last day of work for our operations manager so I brought her a little homemade gift and a card. My department has been through a lot of negative stuff and a lot of that was put on our office manager for lack of communication, etc. But despite the negative stuff, I felt gratefulness towards her for believing in me and inspiring my confidence over the last 4 years. The card was received with some looks from my fellow team mates but I kindly said to look past the negative and sign the card. Later in the day in the break room, our operations manager came over and gave me an impromptu hug. It was surprising to me but than I realized she must have gotten the card and read what I said. Speaking these kinds of words can be tough especially with someone with whom you only have a working relationship with but the written word is always a good back-up to let someone know you appreciate them. It was good see her go on a positive note.
1 Corinthians 11:1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

365 Days of Spirt-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 218

Time has gotten the better of me… I like my morning routine to have my blogging time with the Lord but I really had to do the dishes this morning and now my time has flown away. Despite not having time to get into this today, I am still contemplating and praying about the fruit within us. How about you?
Psalm 31:15 My times are in your hands.

Monday, July 1, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 217

There are lots of different kinds of fruits to eat in our world but there is one fruit of the spirit. In doing some digging on this topic of fruit, I found that there is some contention on the definition of the fruit. Was it meant to say there is only one fruit that have 9 different aspects or is it 9 different fruits? I believe there is one fruit which is the Holy Spirit within us. The nine attributes within this Spirit are within us but as all fruit needs cultivating with sunshine, good soil and water. And much like it is in our world, there will be places where the fruit ripens beautifully and there will be other places where the fruit is lacking quality because it didn’t get enough water or insects got into them. We, too, have to cultivate these attributes of the Spirit within us. All these attributes of the Spirit are within us but we have to allow them to grow until they ripen and can be harvested. They are individual attributes but all have one common goal to be like Jesus Christ. I think these 9 listed attributes are only a starting point as there are many other attributes that Jesus has that we should strive for like compassion, consideration, humility. It is all about becoming more like Christ. The more we know and understand who Jesus is the more we will understand what we need to cultivate within ourselves to become more like Jesus.
Philippians 2:1-5 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.