Just like Jesus

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. – 1 Peter 3:8

 

There’s nothing like bringing the community together to practice the attributes of Jesus. Actually, it gives us opportunity to be Jesus to each other. My church had a community festival that went on for two days. There were representations from many cultures (love salsa music) and sharing of talents. Tae Kwon Do, dance, break dancing, cotton candy, hot dogs, large inflatable slides to play on, farm critters were on display and more. I think everyone had a great time and enjoyed the celebratory spirit of the event.

 

Any time that we are in contact with others is another opportunity to show the difference Jesus makes in our life. We could say it in words, but it wouldn’t make the impact as someone experiencing it when they connect with us. Jesus brings us to a whole new level of the spiritual gifts than we could do for ourselves. We are empowered to be like Christ … if we choose to be.

 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the great plans you have for me today … more than likely it will include relating to someone. I pray for your eyes to see that I can be like your son, Jesus, in all I say and do. Amen

 

Faith Tip: Choose now before you go out how you will relate with others … like Christ or not.

 

Rejoicing rules!

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: View of the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. (Image: US National Park Service ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – Philippians 4:4

Yesterday was a difficult day of remembering as the focus on the attacks on September 11 have left a huge impact on all who were alive to see it. I’ve read many blogs and Facebook statuses of where they were that day and how it changed them. So it begs the question, “How do we rejoice when something so devastating has happened in our lives?”

The word “rejoice” has a much deeper meaning than the word “happy.” Happiness is more external in experiences we have had that match our preferences. Rejoice comes from the deepest part of our soul. True rejoicing can only come in connection with God. Bottom line, if it’s only God and us and that’s all there is in our life … Rejoice! We feel through our life that we need other things and people … these are gifts from the Lord because of his love for us. However, if it is all taken away, as Job said, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the relationship we have where I can rejoice no matter what. It is my choice though. I pray that my eyes never stray from you so that I can stand strong when life is hard. Amen

Faith Tip: Are you struggling today? Try to take your eyes off your struggle and cement them on to Jesus. His yoke is lighter.

A whole new world

College Students Spending Time Outside

College Students Spending Time Outside (Photo credit: York College of PA)

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13

As I think about those going off to college, for many it’s a totally different environment than what they have experienced. More world views are expressed and many of those views most likely will not have a Christian worldview. I pray that the students can stand firm in their faith as the world tries to knock them off balance. It takes courage to stand strong.

It’s the same for all of us as we go out into the world. We are told what is acceptable in our culture and expected to align with it. However, many times the culture contradicts our faith and we may begin to feel wobbly in our steadfast stance. That’s when we clutch to the sword of truth and go into battle. We must remember though that it is a spiritual battle that we fight. We do not fight the people. We love them and pray for them for they are victims of the lies they have believed.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the opportunities when I care share your truth with someone who doesn’t know it. I pray that I can stand strong and not be pushed over by the world. Amen

Faith Tip: Make the choice now of how you will react when faced with something that comes against truth.

The drama of praise

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord. – Psalm 150

I just feel like praising God this morning. Last night, we had the first drama team meeting after a four or five year hiatus. It was wonderful seeing the new faces, but to have the “experienced” faces come back really filled my heart. There were hugs and laughter. I asked the question of when we started drama, and I was surprised to learn it was 17 years ago … really? Wow! I know God really has a mission for this team, and I’m excited to see it all unfold. I know it will be awesome.

Praising God just feels so good. It’s the best “medicine” on the days that are hard. Although it’s easy to praise when things are going great, our faith shows brighter to praise God when we struggle. This isn’t only for the benefit of others, but it is for us. It doesn’t show what we’re made of, but what God is made of.

Prayer: Lord, I praise you this morning from the depths of my heart for your goodness to me. I pray I find moments to praise you today. Amen

Faith Tip: Read aloud the psalms of praise like Psalm 150.

You’ve been surrounded

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore. – Psalm 125:2

There is comfort and encouragement in being surrounded. I know I feel that way when I am surrounded by friends or a quilt on a cold morning. Last night, I and a few other Word Weavers had an opportunity to surround Judy and Jerry Doctor, who lead a workshop based on how God uses dreams. They wrote a book on this subject entitled “Dream Treasure, Learning the Language of Heaven.”

God surrounds us. That’s a great fact to know as we go through our days … we do not walk alone. Mountains are a symbol of strength and stability. They protect and are always there during this life. God is the same in that his love and protection are always with us. I know that brings up a lot of “why” questions, but we need to trust in the mountain of God. Wrap the truth of this around you like a favorite sweater experiencing the comfort and encouragement of his faithfulness.

Prayer: Lord, knowing you are always with me give great comfort and encouragement. I do not have to climb the mountain to receive your love. You have already brought it to me. Thank you. Amen

Faith Tip: Go through your day today with the knowledge and confidence of God surrounding you and live that truth out.

Quick fixes

big stretch

big stretch (Photo credit: pixieclipx)

…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14

I knew as soon as I did it that I shouldn’t have done it. I was practicing a drama and forgot to stretch beforehand. As soon as I twisted I knew I was going to pay. My back has a history of being strained over the smallest things. Once it is hurting, it seems to take forever to feel good again … about 2-3 weeks. Being the impatient person I am, I try the quick fixes to feel good like heating pad, ice, Tylenol … but it takes time and rest.

There is a lot of healing needed in this world and if we need to look closer, our country, our state, our community, ourselves. We look for what will fix the situation … what can we do to make it right? We spend a lot of time, money and energy attempting to control situations, but it takes God to make it happen. God’s answer seems impractical to simply humble ourselves, pray and seek God, and make a commitment to turn from the ways of the world, and then God will heal our land. Can we do it?

Pray: Lord, forgive me when I do not even attempt to do what you call me to do. I pray that my eyes, heart, mind and soul are obedient to you at all times. Amen

Faith Tip: What are you willing to do to heal?

Help!

English: Brooding Mountain Top Ben Ledi at 879...

English: Brooding Mountain Top Ben Ledi at 879 metres watches over the River Teith. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm 
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore. – Psalm 121

These promises from God refreshed my soul this morning. I have been putting in a lot of late nights at the computer trying to keep up with the deluge of work recently put on my plate. Please don’t think I am complaining, because I am not for I love the work I do. But there are times when I wonder, and I have been there before, how am I going to do all of this?

God has walked me through these types of days before and I am sure he has done the same for you. He is faithful. Knowing that at all times God is watching over me and protecting me gives me great peace.

We can go forth in this day knowing that the times we don’t know which end is up that we can look up to the mountains as the psalmist says and know without a doubt where our help comes from.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the daily plan you have laid out for me and helping me to accomplish all that you would like me to do. I pray that I lean into you during those times when life gets busy. Amen

Faith Tip: Lots to do today? Keep this psalm in mind as you go throughout your day.