Small Steps

Isaiah 30:21

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Proverbs 16:9

 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Lisa Tuerkhurst says, “the next big step God wants you to take, might actually be small. But we’ll never know what that next step is if we don’t listen for GOD’S voice in everything we do, everywhere we go”

God will guide our steps and if we waver a bit, he will welcome us back.  I have been off the path so many times.  I would spend long periods of time wondering a path of my own making.  Making myself believe that the path was right and good until life would hit, consequences would arise and challenges would confront me and then I realized the path I was on wasn’t so right.  I can’t believe that it has taken me over 50 years to acknowledge that my path is not the best for me.  I am aware of my path now, I’m aware when I’m wavering and I quickly ask God to steer me back.

I encourage you to ask Him to steer you back.  He will never tire of coming to your rescue but believe me, you will tire of walking the path of your own making.  So ask Him!

Lord I’m grateful that You never have given up on me.  I thank You!  Please Lord help me to be firm in my steps and even if I can’t take big steps that I will understand  that small ones will lead me to You also.  Help me to help others find Your path.  Amen!

Sacrifice

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

What does this look like Lord?  How is this played out in my life?  Am I aware of the opportunities and the needs of  other to know when I should be willing to sacrifice? Do I understand the monumental sacrifice that You made for me and do I understand the need for me to sacrifice for others? But what if I need? Could possibly my need be filled by giving of myself?

Lord, I ask You!  Thank You for sacrificing so dramatically for me and help me desire to sacrifice of myself.  Help me to see what is being placed in front of me. Help me be willing. Amen!

Question Friday

Am I devoting enough time with God for spiritual growth?

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Philippians 1:6

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Find some scriptures on your own.  What speaks to you and draws you closer to HIM?

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In the middle of the muck!

Mark 2:5  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven”.

This world and the people in it will beat us up emotionally, we make decisions throughout our lives that lead us into ugly and painful situations, we cause harm to and take advantage of others around us, we talk in ways that bring harm instead of peace and we never let ourselves off the hook much less anyone else.  Our mind can be a hindrance to our healing process if we continue to let it speak to us and control our next move.  I have heard people say words like, “Look up and you will see God”, “We must surrender our will to Him”, “Our defeats don’t define us” and “take the steps to change something today even though it may be small”.  We don’t need to let the things of this world and the mind inside us paralyze us to the point of destruction but if we don’t face it, IT WILL.  There is only one way to push through the power that controls us and that is giving the power over to God and accepting His forgiveness.  He is there for us even in the middle of the muck of our lives and He will pull us out.  Jesus saw my faith, and he said to me, “Daughter, your sins are forgiven”.  Listen and He will talk to you too!

Dear Lord Father, I know that You are a loving and forgiving God.  I have sinned in so many ways and brought about confusion  instead of peace in my life as well as in others.  But Lord, today I give it all to You.  You are way more powerful than that which lives inside of me causing the ugliness. I simply have to make the decision today, continue to walk towards you with baby steps even if I take a couple of steps backwards sometimes, You are still there beside me holding my hand so that I can feel Your strength. I know that never will I fall so far down where You can’t reach me.  I pray Lord that I will shine for You today.  Amen!

Spiritual Sleep

Ephesians 5:14

This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
We all know what it means to be awake.  Alert, not asleep!  You are aware of your surroundings and your being.  But are we really awake from a spiritual sleep?
We all continually go through out days, making decisions, reacting to situations, loving or not loving those around us and believing in what we know to be true.  But our spiritual sleep is not that easily determined.  We feel strong but are we?  We appear confident, but are we?  We stand firm on our beliefs but whose voice are we listening to?
In the spiritual world there are 2 main characters, God and Satan.  Both fighting for us!  Satan is real and we’d love to believe that he is not.  We go along believing that we are too smart, too educated, to good or to Christian to believe that Satan can get to us.  But he can and will!  We all have weaknesses and he will hit there first.  He will knock us to our knees with pain and feed us lies, yet sounding so true.  So we MUST, we MUST, plant our feet next to the Lord.  Putting on His full Armor of Strength so that we are able to fight off the one who is attacking us.

Ephesians 6:10-17

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.

Lord, I thank You ahead of time for preparing me for battle.  Sometimes it’s the battle within myself and sometimes it an external battle.  But You Lord have and will continue to give me the strength I need.  This world Lord is filled with those that don’t know You.  I pray that I will be brave and share with them the promise of Your strength and mighty power.  Be with them Lord and equip them.  Amen!

Question Friday

Am I loving others as God loves me?

Matthew 22:36-40 [Full Chapter]

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. …

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.

1 John 4:19-21

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Micah 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

1 Thessalonians 5:15

See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

Galatians 5:14

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

John 13:35

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

Lord, help me to be aware.  Help me to love as You have shown me love.  Help me to love those who seem unlovable.  Help me to love beyond! Amen!

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Authority

Luke 10:19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

The Lord has not left us to live this life without Him. We have the Father who created us, the Son who died for our sins so we could be saved and the Spirit who is with us always leading us through this life so we can be with the Father forever. So since we are not alone, we do not need to live on this earth with fear or worry because the Lord has given us the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions and have the power over our enemies so that nothing will hurt us. There will be situations and people on this earth who will try to steal that peace away from us, who will push us to the limits of our own ability to fight and will test us to see if we live the walk that we talk. We must pull from the Spirit to have the wisdom and power to ward off those who attempt to pull us into their world. They do not know the peace, love, joy, hope and faith that comes from having HIM in us always.

Dear Father, I pray that I will never lose sight of all the comes from having You in my life. Constantly going to You for the wisdom to deal with the everyday situations that come my way, being able to love those that are in front of me even though they may not show that love to me. Satan is working hard on me Lord and I need to be reminded that You are my power. I know that the life I live in You is what I desire so I will pull from Your power. Amen!

 

Conflict

Isaiah 43:18-19

“Forget the former things;  do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”

Conflict!!!!!!!!!   No one likes it yet it seems some like it a bit too much.  Whether you’re on the receiving end or the giving end, it’s just plain uncomfortable.  So the solution is………….just ignore it!  It will go away!!!!!!   I’m here to tell you, generally it don’t!  We hold it in, stuffing it, just as long as we can until our lid pops off.  And then the mole hill has somehow become a mountain.  Or we don’t confront out of fear yet we tell everyone around us, instead of the person we need to be telling, and then that conflict soon becomes an out right war.  

These 2 examples of not confronting are exactly what Satan wants.  To cause more harm and prevent the good.  But this is not how God wants us to deal with conflict.

Matthew 5:9 (MSG)

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”

Ephesians 4:29  (MSG)

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

He wants us to deal with it out of reverence for Him and out of love for others.

There are 7 simple steps we can take to make the “conflict” easier…..

  1. Take Time Out– Take a deep breathe, maybe even 24 hours before reacting to the situation.  Pray about it. Talk to God out loud.  Sometimes saying it out loud defuses the situation and makes us see it clearer.
  2. Validate the Other – Think of something good about the other person.  We all have something good about us.  Remember we could be the one on the receiving end of the deal and we’d want the other to look at our good side.
  3. Use “I” Statements –  Keep your focus on how you feel about the situation and don’t make it about the other person.  Expressing how something affected you  is way more impactful to the other than wanting to point fingers and make accusations.
  4. Use Reflective Listening – Listen intently and repeat back to them what they just said to  you to make sure you understand it.  And ask them to do the same.  Sometimes our minds already have it made up before we even hear what the other says, so taking the time to reflect makes it clearer.
  5. Brainstorm – Take some time together to come up with solutions that everyone can agree on.  This has to be a joint effort .
  6. Impasse – Some times we simply will not be able to agree.  Regretfully this happens! So if it happens to you, handle it with gentleness, patience and respect.  Remember we love the sinner not the sin.  Matthew 5:43-47 (click to read).
  7. Reconciliation and Restoration : That is God’s goal and should be ours too. 2 Cor 5:18 (click to read)

So the next time we find ourselves in a “conflict”, face it!  Hit it head on and work towards Reconciliation and Restoration.  Through that process we will find our place in God’s Family.

Lord, thank you for providing me with a guide for loving others.  Please help me to have a heart for reconciliation and remove my eyes from myself onto the other.  Be with my family and friends Lord.  So much hate and anger in this world!  We all need You Lord to provide direction.  Amen!

Question Friday

Am I lazy in the works of the Lord?

Ask ourselves…..

Do I..  Make excuses, Let things fall apart or have excessive inactivity

Do I… Find myself wanting or needing, bring shame on the ones that love me or destroy community

Click on the link to read from Biblegateway.com

Hebrews 6:12 (NIV)

Romans 12:11 (NIV)

Proverbs 18:9 (NIV)

Proverbs 4:7 (Message)

Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV)

James 1:23-25

Colossians 3:23-25

Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)

Lord I pray that in everything I do, I do it to please You. Amen

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Before the Lord

James 4:10

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Humble
 1. having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance. Or of low social, administrative or political rank.
         synonyms: meek, deferential, respectful, submissive, diffident, self-effacing,                  unassertive, lowly, poor, undistinguished, mean, modest, ignoble, low born, underprivileged.
  2. lower in dignity or importance
         synonyms: humiliate, abase, demean, lower, degrade, debase
 In today’s world, what does being humble look like.  When everyone’s working diligently to get ahead, win the race, fight to the end and let’s face it………. compete with the Jones! How easy is it to be humble?
I don’t have an answer for you that is as simple as ABC because this is something that I have to work on daily.  To humble yourself is not a bad thing, in fact, as the bible says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up”.  So does God call us to be humble?
Well what is the opposite of humility?  Pride!

Proverbs 16: 5: “Everyone that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord.”

Proverbs 8:13: “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, but pride and arrogance and the evil way
and the froward mouth do I hate
.”

So again I ask, “Does God call us to be humble?”

Dueteronomy 8:2  Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

We must humble ourselves before the Lord so that our heart is open to the Lord and He knows we will keep his commands.

Well what about humbling ourselves to others around us.  Would you rather be close to someone that you knew what was in their heart because they were brave enough and tough enough to humble themselves before you and be open/honest or would you rather not know them really at all, just a surface relationship?

Just a thought!  I know which is my choice.  What’s yours?  And are you going to humble yourselves before the Lord and others?

Lord, thank you for being my guide.  Thank you for giving me the Holy Spirit to help me with my day to day choices.  Please be with me Lord and help me fight away the urges to be prideful.  Help me to remember that being humble is bringing my heart closer to You. Amen!