Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Slow Fade

By: Melissa Baker

There is an old children's song that says "be careful little eyes what you see, oh be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down in love, oh be careful little eyes what you see." The song goes on to say little ears, little hands, little feet, etc. It may sound silly, but we as adults, need to listen to that song often, as a reminder that we need to be careful what we let in. The world is constantly trying to get into our mind, heart and spirit. If we are not careful, little by little, the world will make its way in completely and consume our whole being. We will slowly fade into what the world wants us to be instead of what God wants us to be. We will slowly be filled up with worldly things instead of Godly things. We will slowly be filled with hate, anger, resentment, and bitterness. It will be a slow fade.

But as we look back at our lives, we will see how this slow fade took place, little by little. For instance, you get busy so you skip your daily Bible reading. You wake up late and forget to pray before starting your day. You go throughout your day, not even thinking of God, let alone thanking him for your blessings. Before you know it, you will realize just how much you have been missing out on your time with God. Putting busy schedules, activities, sleep and other things before spending time with God, is a disaster waiting to happen. It's easy to skip a day here or there, but before you know it, you haven't read your Bible all week. Then that becomes all month. It's a slow fade.

Or how about our bad habits or not so great choices, that lead to addiction. You tell yourself, it will be ok, I'll just do it once. Then that one time turns into a couple times. Then it becomes a full blown addiction and you didn't even realize it. The enemy now has a hold on you. And you are stuck! That one bad choice, that one look, that one drink, led to the biggest mistake of your life that may cost you everything. Everytime you partake in this addiction, you don't realize how much of your life it consumes. It's a slow fade.

Casting Crowns has a song called "Slow Fade". It is mostly dealing with marriage issues, but it really paints the picture of how a christian can easily fade away into the world. If we are not careful, we will not only live IN the world, but we will become OF the world. We will drown ourselves in our own sin! We have to be intentional about protecting what comes in our minds, hearts and bodies. Our bodies are the Lord's temple, and we should treat it as such. The Holy Spirit has to have a pleasant and Godly place to live inside of us. So I encourage you, take a look at your life. Take a look at your activities, hobbies, etc. and be aware of what or who you let in, to prevent another slow fade.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Ten Ways to Be Kind

By: Jenifer Metzger

In Ephesians Paul doesn't suggest that we are kind. He doesn't tell us it's a good idea or nice thing to do. He just says to do it. Be kind. A simple command. A command that is also a fruit of the Spirit, something we need to cultivate to be Christ-like.

How can we be kind? How can we show compassion? Here are ten ways to be kind:

• Respond with patience when your husband or child is having a rough day
• Respond with gentleness when a stranger is rude
• Respond with self control when tempted to judge someone
• Forgive easily
• Invite someone to your home for coffee or dinner
• Offer to babysit, for free, for a single parent or parent battling health issues, just to give them a break
• Cook a meal for a working mom, then tell her to swing by after work to pick it up or deliver it
• That person at work or church who seems a loner, invite them to lunch or out for coffee
• That lady at church or in your neighborhood who seems stressed, buy/make her a coffee and drop it at her door with a kind note
• Go out of your way to say hi to someone you don't normally talk to

What are other ways you can go above and beyond and show kindness? Share in the comments.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Wondrous things...

This week, as I was reading the book of Galatians in my morning devotions, I came across a verse that I'm sure I've read many times, but never really seen. It made me pause and also made me wonder what it really meant. The verse was Galatians 3:19 and it mentions that angels were a part of the giving of the law to Moses.  My mind instantly went "what???" because I always thought, and in every Sunday School photo I'd ever seen, the giving of the law happened on Mt Sinai in an encounter between Moses and God alone.

If you've ever done an inductive type of Bible study, you are taught that the best way to understand the Bible is to let the Bible interpret itself. Yes, there is a place for commentaries and other helpful Bible study tools. However, first priority should be given to researching where else and what else the Bible has to say on a given topic. My curiosity about Galatians 3:19 led me to Deuteronomy 33:2 which made me think, "How did I not know this before?" It then led me to Psalm 68:17, Acts 7:53, and Hebrews 2:2.  There are five clear mentions in Scripture of the fact that angels were a part of the giving of the law to Moses, and yet I had never noticed it in all of my years of Bible reading and Bible study. I'd never heard it mentioned by anyone else either. My point in all this? God desires to open up His Word to us and show us wondrous things. But, we have a part to play in making that happen.

1) Read and study your Bible.
God is not and can not show you wondrous things from His Word while it's sitting on a shelf gathering dust. You have to make the choice to make time in the Bible a priority. If you are struggling to do so ask God for His help. Ask Him to give you a greater hunger to spend time in His Word. Ask Him to give you understanding and revelation as you read it. Ask Him to help you to love His Word. Then open it up with expectation that God wants to speak to you through it. If you find it difficult to understand, get a simpler translation. I've even recommended to some people who were really struggling to understand God's Word that they read The Jesus Bible Storybook as a beginning point to show them how all of God's Word points to Jesus. (It may take humility to read a children's Bible, but  look at what James 4:6 has to say about humility. "God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace, continually, to the lowly, those who are humble enough to receive it." If you are hungry enough to humble yourself and do whatever it takes in order to understand God's Word better, I truly believe God is going to pour out His grace on you and meet you in a powerful way.)

2) Don't judge your success in your Bible reading by the quantity of what you read but by the quality of the revelation and understanding you are getting while you read. In other words, really concentrate and focus on smaller portions rather than trying to read for volume. Take time to cross reference other scriptures that speak about the same topic when you have question, (as I did with that verse in Galatians). Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you as your read the Bible. That's why God gave us the Holy Spirit!

3) Don't quit when you go through dry times. Everyone goes through times when they read the Bible and it feels like they are getting nothing out of it. The Bible is a supernatural book. I recommend that you take the time to read through Psalm 119 and mark all of the spiritual and even physical benefits that result from reading and loving God's Word. Even when you go through dry times remember that invisible impact is being made in your innermost being as you take in God's Word. You are feeding your spirit and making it stronger. A person with a strong spirit is less likely to be led astray by their own thoughts or their emotions, be caught up in deception, or be overcome by life's trials.

4) Be a curious student. The Bible is a book of patterns. It is consistent from Genesis through Revelation. For example, the spotless lamb is a theme from Genesis through Revelation. The whole Bible points to the truth that Jesus is the once and for all spotless sacrificial lamb Who died for us. When you are reading your Bible and you come to something that sparks your curiosity, look for other places it is referenced in the Bible. One year my word for the year was endurance. When I began to look up all the references to endurance, and its kindred word steadfastness, I was shocked at how many there were. I fed spiritually on those scriptures all year long and I still refer back to them often. This past week, when I noticed that angels were a part of the giving of the law, I was then reminded of these verses that mention the angelic troops of heaven who accompanied the birth of the Son of God, the One Who purchased our freedom from the curse of the law.  It seems that both the Old Covenant, the law, and the New Covenant, salvation through Jesus, were a busy time for the heavenly host! See what I mean when I say that the Bible is a book of consistent patterns. Discovering these kinds of things fills my heart with joy and confirms to me that the Bible is no ordinary book. It is full of wondrous things that God is eager to show you and me!

still following,

Friday, July 13, 2018

Why You Need to Avoid Gossip and Rumors

What dainty morsels rumors are—but they sink deep into one’s heart. 

Proverbs 18:8 NLT 

How often does gossip affect your life?

I’m sorry to say that it used to be a daily temptation of mine.

In a place where I used to work, gossip passed through the place like a platter of warm cookies, delicious and irresistible. Too often, I took cookie after cookie from that secretly dangerous plate. I even shared those cookies with others.

Why are rumors and gossip so appealing to us?

I once knew a Bible study friend who lived a simple life. She candidly admitted that the drama of rumors appealed to her sense of excitement, which she felt was missing from her rather mundane yet godly living.

The lonelier we feel, the tighter grip rumors and gossip can have on us. Gossip and rumors can make us feel important, in-the-know, and on the side with the “cool kids.”

I think that’s why I’ve savored gossip and rumors like dainty morsels before.

But gossip and rumors have a deadly effect. In the Bible, gossip is grouped with sins like murder, greed and hate. God doesn’t want us to participate in these sins because he knows the destructive power of cutting words. He wants us to actively build relationships instead of tearing them down. He wants us to overlook offenses and honor secrets.

As a freelance writer, I often write articles for dentists. One thing I’ve learned over the past year is the importance of yearly dental checkups. The dental assistant has the dirty job of scraping plaque from underneath your gums. I never understood why this is important until I began writing dental articles.

If you don’t remove plaque from under your gums, it can travel to your arteries and cause blockage in your heart. The plaque left over from food can cause heart attacks or strokes, which are leading causes of death in the U.S. Gross, but true. And easily preventable with a healthier diet.

Gossip and rumors work the same way. They may taste delicious in the moment as we savor the momentary excitement they bring. But their toxic residue silently travels to our hearts where it can do the most damage. It can block our relationship with God and others and even put our eternal salvation at risk.

It’s hard to see the internal damage too many chocolate chip cookies can cause, just like it’s hard to see the damage of listening to a rumor or sharing one piece of gossip. But the Bible warns us against it, and we must follow God’s commands if we want to live a spiritually healthy life.
Too many cookies can cause invisible internal damage, just like rumors and gossip.

God tells us that we can bear spiritual fruit if we open our hearts to his Spirit. Fruit is healthy for our bodies and our spirits. Spiritual fruit improves relationships; it never destroys them like gossip or rumors do.

The next time you are tempted to listen to a rumor or share a bit of gossip, immediately ask the Holy Spirit to guard your tongue or cover your ears. Offer an arrow prayer for courage and strength to resist the temptation. Then walk away and let Jesus wrap his arms around you. Your spiritual heart will be stronger after the challenge, friend.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,

Photo from Canva.com

Reflection questions:

1. When are you most tempted by gossip or rumors?
2. What will you do differently next time gossip or rumors tempt you?

Thursday, July 12, 2018

What are you posting?

I posted this on my Facebook page earlier this week. It's still weighing heavy on my heart, so I thought I'd share with you!

I'm having a little bit of a hard time. I see so many people on Facebook who proclaim to be a Christian and yet their posts are mean and hateful. Some even border on bullying!

Matthew 4:4 says, "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;"

If we proclaim that we are a Christian, a Christ follower, and we spend our time bashing people all over Facebook, we aren't following the instructions given to us in God's word! 1 John 2:4 tells us that..."If someone claims, 'I know God,' but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth."

This tells me that claiming to be a Christian but not obeying God's commandments makes you are a liar! I challenge you to T.H.I.N.K. before you post...
     T - is it True (not hearsay, not an opinion, but factual!)?
     H - is it Helpful?
      I - is it Inspiring?
     N - is it Necessary?
     K - is it Kind? 
photo credit

Have a wonderful day!!!