Light in the Dark

A few nights ago during our ladies bible study the power went out. One moment we were sitting around my living room studying God’s Word, and the next we were in complete darkness. The rain and clouds that night hid the moon, so it was extremely dark. However, one by one, the ladies grabbed their cell phones and began to light the room. No one had to stumble around to find their way. Everything that had been hidden with the darkness was visible in the cell phone light.

Much like my home was that night without power, the world we live in is very dark. People are stumbling around in their lives because they just can’t see. They need the light to shine in their darkness.

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12

Just like the ladies quickly grabbed their phones for light the other night, I pray we are always prepared to shine light in the darkness. We are the light of the world.. Let’s pray others will see that in Jesus there is life and that life is the light of men.

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Imperishable Beauty

Sometimes the role of being a wife is very difficult. It is hard to step back and allow our husbands (with all their imperfections) to make a final decision that we disagree with. After we have pled our case and given a great defense for why we think as we do and yet they choose differently we can feel insignificant, fearful, unappreciated and a slew of other descriptives. It can be easy to allow resentment and bitterness to fester. What is super hard is remembering to remain gentle and kind trusting that God is sovereign even over our husband’s decision making abilities.

1 Peter 3:4-6 says, let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

I have on more than one occasion needed to be reminded of the many women in scripture who did good without fear and trusted God. God faithfully brought these women through all sorts of situations and predicaments. He not only brought them through unimaginable difficulties, but honored them by having their stories written in His holy word. We read about them today and gain wisdom and encouragement from their life stories of incredible faith in God.

Lord, thank you for the women of scripture who lived their lives leaning on, trusting in and relying on You. Please help us to remember that You look at the heart. Give us gentle and quiet spirits which are very precious in Your sight. I pray that we will have faith like Sarah, that we would do good, and not be afraid of any fear because our hope is in You. Amen.

Hallowed Be Your Name

Sometimes when I want to pray I just don’t know what to say. I am in good company because Jesus’ disciples had the same dilemma. A closer look at the Lord’s Prayer this week has been just what I needed. It has left me overwhelmed. I guess it is the idea of this example Jesus gave of the proper way to address God Most High. It has swept over me and left me in awe.

“Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.] Matthew 6:9-13

Contemplating the meaning of the written words, taking the time to meditate on each verse, all of it has been therapeutic to my soul. I would like to challenge you to take a new look at these verses this week. Think about them. Ponder each verse and allow the Word to refresh your soul and give you a renewed intimacy with the Creator.

I have been left in awe, amazed, depleted, refreshed and consoled all at the same time. I pray you are as well.

Tenderhearted

 

“Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight.” (Psalm 119:143)

Sometimes trouble sneaks up on me and I am completely unaware of it until, there it is. Sometimes I can find it without too much effort at all. Whichever way it comes, when I find myself caught in it, I am thankful for a God who is tenderhearted.

What does it mean to be tenderhearted? When I think of tenderheartedness I think of consideration and understanding. Being tenderhearted is not rushing or hard. It is gentle. It is recognizing a need. It is taking the time to listen with the ears of our heart. It is kindness and forgiveness. Tenderheartedness is love.

Ephesians 4:32 says: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

And Ephesians 5:2 says: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Let us remember that we are children of God, that we have been born again into His family. Children learn by imitating their parents. We learn by imitating Christ. God has shown us His tender heart in giving us His Son. Being tenderhearted is Christ like and is therefore pleasing to God.

Stir Up One Another

Are you not absolutely fascinated with God? Everything about Him is wonderous. His creativity, wisdom, grace, pick any subject to ponder and He fills our thoughts with incredible, glorious praise that can’t help but spill out to others. His children love hearing about Him and we love talking about Him. He knew that about us. Actually, He created us that way.

Have you noticed how children naturally boast of their parents, especially little boys and their dads? We have all heard, “My dad is stronger, smarter, bigger than your dad!” I love to hear little children speak this way of their dads. There is something about hearing a child applaud their daddy that is extremely heartwarming.

In these crazy times we are living in, I don’t know about you but I need heartwarming. Life is tough. If we take a look around this world, its incredibly upsetting. There is so much brokenness. Sickness and natural disasters, not to mention the deception, corruption and greed seems to be on the rise everywhere. The weight of it all can be overwhelming. But as God’s children we should not be surprised by this. Jesus Himself warned us that things in the world would go from bad to worse before The Day of His return. (Mathew 24, Mark 13)

We need to remember that just like a good dad provides everything needed for his children, our Heavenly Father has provided everything needed for us in His Son, Jesus Christ. When we are overwhelmed by the weight of the world, it’s because our focus is not on Who our Daddy is.  We have forgot and we need to be reminded.

Scripture says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25

God has explained to us how to gain encouragement, how to stir one another up. We are suppose to spend time with each other specifically to talk about Him, sing about Him, do things that rightly represent Him and to meet all the more often as we see the world getting more and more messed up.

When we become discouraged it should be a signal for us, like a red flag waving in the wind. It should tell us that we need to do some God praising. Likewise, if we notice discouragement in other believers we should realize that they also need some God praising..

There’s a reason God said to be sure that we get together with other followers of Christ and to do so more and more as time goes by. He knew life would get tough. He knew we would need each other. Getting together gives us opportunity to remind each another of just how great our Dad is. Our Heavenly Father is stronger, smarter, bigger than any situation. Let’s remind each other often because we do love to hear about Him. We love talking about Him. God knew that about us. He created us that way.

He Has Listened

Have you ever felt like God did not hear you when you were praying? There are times when I have felt sure my prayers never even reached the living-room ceiling fan, let alone the throne room of heaven. I have prayed and then wondered, “God did you even hear me?” It seems at times, He has not even been listening to what I have to say.

My bible study this week is about what God’s Word has to say concerning God listening when His children call to Him. Here are two verses, among several, that maybe we should consider before we begin bringing our concerns to our Father in prayer.

The easy to read version of the Bible says: “If I had been hiding sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened to me.” Psalm 66:18
Proverbs 28:9 in this same version says: “When people do not listen to God’s teachings, he does not listen to their prayers.”

God’s word has been given to us to reveal His thoughts on every matter under the sun. These couple of verses are concerning some expectations God sets before us when we pray. We are not to be deliberately hiding sin in our hearts and we are to obey the teachings of God.
Scripture has a way of speaking to our hearts, if only we will allow it. God expects us to obey His written word. Once we become aware that our thoughts do not agree with the thoughts of God, we are at that point given a choice. It is then that we must decide, will I allow my mind to be changed to agree with God or will I refuse and continue to think my own way? If we refuse to agree with God’s Word, how can we expect to be heard by Him?

The next time you or I feel like God may not be listening when we pray, let’s remember these verses. It’s possible something is hidden in our hearts that is hindering our prayers from being heard. God’s desire is His children’s sanctification. When we come to the Father with a clean heart that agrees with His ways, we can with confidence say along with the Psalmist, “But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.” Psalm 66:19

This is Love 

My daughters are my best friends. Just thinking about the two of them puts a smile on my face. When they were younger I feared that I was too much of a friend to them, if you know what I mean. Now I am absolutely thrilled that they are grown up women so we can be shamelessly, unapologetically, guilt-free best friends.

We enjoy each other’s company immensely. We laugh together at our own jokes until we almost pee our pants. We just as easily cry together when we hurt from life’s pains and brokenness. We are brutally honest with each other without fear of repercussion and are always each other’s biggest cheerleaders. We can also complete each other’s sentences without missing a beat. We talk on the phone, text, FaceTime, video chat and visit with each other every chance we get. We encourage each other and pray for each other. We absolutely adore one another. Given a choice, I would pick spending time with these two women hands down any day.

When I think about the three of us and what a treasure our relationship is, I can’t help but think that ours is exactly the type of loving God had in mind for His followers. This is what the church should look like.

Jesus reminded His disciples of just how important love is.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

In the book of Romans, Paul gave us a wonderful place to check ourselves to see how we are doing in the love department.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13)

Can you imagine what the world would think if believers actually loved each other this way? It is encouraging to know that it is possible to love like this. If it wasn’t possible, our Lord would not have asked us to. On our own we can not, but with Him we can.