Posts Tagged ‘devotional’

copied from Simple Reminders

copied from Simple Reminders

The older I get the more I realize that I am just not comfortable in groups of people. It is just much simpler for me to stay home than to go to a social gathering. There are times I want to catch up with old friends and enjoy a cup of coffee and a dessert but I find it a daunting tasks to do so.  Most of the time I force myself to put it on my calendar because socializing is out of my comfort zone. Long after the event is over it isn’t important what I wore or how awkward I felt but that I made room for someone or something I enjoy.

I need to learn how to make time for people who need me by making time in my heart and in my home. Time is something we all have and yet everyone has a need for our time. For me to sit selfishly in my home because that is where I am comfortable, is not allowing the Holy Spirit to use me where I am needed.

I am reminded of this verse and He promises me that His presence is with me whether I am comfortable or not. John 14: 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Being sociable is almost always an inconvenience. Being with those who need us is not about my own comfort but it’s about making others feel safe and happy with where they are. Jesus made time for everyone, for all types of people—friends; whether rich or poor, people who betrayed Him, strangers and foreigners, the little ones, and so many more. Making time for others was a character of His ministry.

Jesus didn’t die on the cross for me to be comfortable but for me to be conformed to His image. Me being conformed to His image is me taking time to give to others…comfortable or not.

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I have been noticing more and more some disheartening actions among people who claim to follow Christ. We recite our Bible verses about turning the other cheek and not retaliating evil for evil and think we have it. When it comes to things that personally affect us or our family, we do away with the “turn the other cheek” and suddenly an “eye for an eye” becomes our theme.

There is a tendency in all of us to think having the “right” beliefs (religious, political, outlook, theory) or following a certain set of rules, gives us a free pass to act like a nitwit. Some will learn how to refrain and some will always force their jerk-face attitude on others.

Voting for certain candidates is not a justification for being offensive and saying derogatory things about political opponents. Obeying all the rules that we have set for our life does not give us a free pass to treat people harshly who do not agree with us. How we respond to people is how we respond to Jesus. “For I was an hungered and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” Matt. 25:35-36

Our reality of, “I am right” is not an excuse to treat another person like garbage.

Regardless of what others may do to us, whether a minor offense like cutting us off in traffic or something major like, stabbing us in the back when we gave all we could to help them ―we do not treat them with love because their actions merit that we do ―We treat them with love because Christ told us to. And HE will reward us. Be assured God will not bless when purposeful actions are taken against His Children.

When we take into our hands to “get them back” then the scripture “Vengeance Is Mine….I will repay” may never come to fruition. God may say, ―You took care of it―  How much better do you think God could handle it than we ourselves? When God judges or chastises it is much more effective.

If accepting Christ does not transform our heart, our behavior, and our actions then it is time for self-examination. This life-changing effect should be evident most in how we react to those who disagree with us, are not of the same social or political status, or those who just blatantly wronged us. I cannot emphasize this enough.

Our flesh tells us to treat them the way they deserve by their actions but we are to treat people the way Christ treated us.

Jesus, who was innocent and perfect in every way, gave His life in place of all humanity that was guilty. When confronted with his executioners, He cried out “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” After all of horrendous actions that had been done to Him, He had every right to choose retaliation…

Our salvation is not based on our behavior or our obedience of all the rules. But our salvation should change our heart thus changing our behavior. We are saved because we trusted Christ and nothing we can do on our own will get us to Heaven. Simply trusting Him.

We can follow all the rules, attend church every time the doors are open, write books about salvation, or have all the colleges give us Honoree Doctorate degrees but if we treat others like jerks

Jesus said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Matt. 5:4

I have decided there will always be someone who is prettier than me. There will always be someone with a bigger house, more friends, better clothes, a better job, and more money than me. There are some that seem to value success on the wealth of a person, judge their value on their looks or the success on their accomplishments.

I was never really interested in trying to be better than another in outward appearance but I see more and more that it is important to some. What I do see is when we fix our eyes on those qualities it makes our relationships with others turn into power struggles. I have seen some that have spent so many fruitless days wanting or trying to measure up to someone else.

Coming from my background, I spent my life never being smart enough, never being beautiful enough, never being the one family or friends wanted, never having my worth defined by wealth, status, or success. But according to what I read in the Scripture it is very clear what is valuable to God. He isn’t mentioning the words like success, wealth, clothes, or jobs but clearly it says what the Spirit will produce in one’s life and heart, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:…”Galatians 5:22-23  And these things are available to everyone. That is the part I love about God. He offers it to everyone!

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i loveWhen reading the list I am thinking, OK, this must be a joke!  Right?  …And why did they just name Republicans and not Democrats? Usually easy for most of us to say because we know that is what we are suppose to say. Moderately easy to believe but so very difficult to actually practice…Without Him! We do not even have the ability to love to this degree on our own. We can not create it on our own.

Only His undiscriminating love that causes the sun to rise on the good and the evil is the only One that can produce this kind of love. All He has asked of us is to release our hearts to Him. We are still caught up in our eye for an eye thought that totally releasing our heart to the love that Jesus wants us to have for others is a so foreign to most.

He wants us to love like HE loves. Christ loved me first – end of story!  (I have a lot of work to do on this subject!)

Matt. 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

I will never forget Demetrius!

Over the last week my thoughts have been led back to our encounter with Demetrius this past winter.  Demetrius, an apparently mentally challenged person that my husband invited to church one Wednesday night. My thoughts continue to go back to the shoes he had on. (more…)

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. Luke 4:16-21

What a passage for Jesus to read as He began His public ministry! Reading from Isaiah 61:1-11, His gracious words were so different from what the people heard from the religious rulers of their day. Most people  I know, with very few exceptions, have a past they would rather not re-live. Haunting memories cloud our minds. We feel broken, imprisoned by our previous experiences. It doesn’t matter if these wounds were self -inflicted by our own sin or by someone else’s. The result is still the same.  Noone is excluded from the blessings of knowing Christ as Savior.

Jesus, in His sweet, compassionate voice calls to each one of us, offering us:

Wholeness for brokenness (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Liberty for bondage (Romans 8:1-2; John 8:31-36)

Light for darkness (John 1:4-5; John 8:12)

Joy for mourning (Psalm 30:11-12; 1 Peter 1:3-9)

A spirit of praise for despair (Ps. 40:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Belonging for rejection (1 John 3:1; Galatians 4:6-7)

Righteousness for injustice (Isa. 26:1-8; Isa. 30:18-19)

In Him the disgraced find newness of life. The abandoned are taken under the shelter of His wings. Hope is restored. What a Savior!

Blessings! ~Kelly (more…)

“Whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye.”  ~Zech. 2:8


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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I’ve heard and sung this beloved hymn for many years.  It’s story never loses it’s power, no many times it’s been told.  Horatio G. Spafford, a very prominent lawyer in Chicago is the man who penned the lyrics.

 

 

 

 

In the 1860’s, life was going very smoothly for Horatio and Anna.  Four daughters and a son graced this couple’s lives.  They were enjoying wonderful Christian fellowship with D.L. Moody and members of their church.

Then the unthinkable happened.  (So many of us can identify with life going smoothly, then all of a sudden, it as though something broke loose and one horrible thing after another happens.)

Their only son, who was four years old, suddenly died of scarlet fever.  The very next year, the Chicago fires wipes out every single house Horatio and Anna had bought for investments.

Their family heartbroken over the death of the baby and the money lost, Horatio decided to take his wife and daughters on a trip to England to help D.L. Moody in one of his evangelistic crusades.  At the last minute, Horatio was called on immediate business.  Not wanting to delay the family’s trip, Horatio told Anna and their daughters to go ahead on the boat set for England and he would join them in a few days.  Nine days later Horatio received a telegram from Anna that simply said, “saved alone”.  A boat collided with the ship they were sailing.  In twelve minutes the ship sunk and all their daughters were killed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Anna.  Her last memory of that horrible event was her standing on the deck watching Annie, Maggie, Bessie and Tanetta clinging to her, but torn away by the fierce waters.  Anna was spared by a plank underneath her.  She heard that small still voice say, “You were spared for a purpose”.  She immediately thought about what a friend had said to her, “It’s easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God.”

 

 

 

 

As soon as Horatio got the telegram, he boarded the next ship leaving New York to join his wife.  He asked the captain of the ship to tell him when they sailed over the place where the accident happened.  When they reached the area where the ships collided, Horatio went down to his room and penned the words to “It Is Well With My Soul”, taken from 2 Kings 4:26.

These old hymns are such a treasure!  What is your favorite hymn story?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I will celebrate before the Lord.  I will become even more undignified than this.”  ~ 2 Samuel 6:21-22

When the Ark of the Covenant finally arrived in Jerusalem, David was ecstatic!  The king called for a celebration!  As he danced happily before the Lord, his wife felt he was behaving in a very undignified manner.

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“He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.” Hebrews 11:25

I have always admired Moses for exchanging the wealthy lifestyle he was assured in Pharoah’s house. Instead, he willing traded that for a position in which he could identify with his own people, even though that meant a life of sheer discomfort and pain.
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