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.

Do you agree?

Praise God

Praise God (Photo credit: GlacierTim)

 

Then God gave Christ
    the highest place
and honored his name
    above all others.

So at the name of Jesus
    everyone will bow down,
those in heaven, on earth,
    and under the earth.
And to the glory
    of God the Father
everyone will openly agree,
    Jesus Christ is Lord!” – Philippians 2:9-11 CEV

Agreements come in different shapes and sizes. Today I have already agreed to meet people at certain times and places. I agreed with my husband this morning regarding a financial decision. This has been so far an agreeable day.

Watching the news, I can see that there are many who are not in agreement with circumstances. There is major disunity in some situations that are heartbreaking. Fighting, bitterness, anger and more are the result of not being in agreement.

There will be a day when everyone will be in agreement of who Jesus is. In comparing today the different beliefs about Jesus, it’s hard to imagine what it will be like when all people will declare that Jesus Christ is Lord. For some, it will be too late, but they will know without doubt who Jesus is. That makes the sharing of the message very important.

Prayer: You are Lord. I have no doubt about the day when all will bow and declare your holy name. I pray for opportunities today to share that good news. Amen

Faith Tip: Agreement brings reconciliation. Be a part of the solution today.

 

Being Lifted Up

English: President Reagan presents Mother Tere...

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And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name, – Philippians 2:8-9

Mother Teresa gave everything to serve. She had very little material possessions and ministered to people considered the poorest and neediest. As she humbled herself more and more throughout her life, the Lord lifted her up to do great things in his name.

Humbling oneself does not mean to talk oneself down and feel unworthy, but it means to know that all power comes from Jesus. The dependence on God makes all the difference. It’s not about us, but always about God. God longs to do great things through each of us, but we must first let go of ourselves and cling to the cross of Christ.

Prayer: It is amazing, Lord, how you work through me. I thank you for the opportunities of growth you will be giving me today. I pray that I cling to you as you guide me through. Amen

Faith Tip: If God asks you to do something today, and your first thought is, “I can’t do that,” your second thought should be “Get behind me Satan.”

Lessons from the Year

A woman thinking

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I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. – Philippians 3:13-15 The Message

The beginning of a new year always gives me the feeling of a new start. The lessons I have learned in the last year can be applied and expanded in the following year. God is calling me to follow him. The message to me is to keep my eyes on Jesus.

That is the message for all of us. Keeping focused on the goal of Jesus will help us to receive all that God has planned for us. If we get off track, God will find a way to redirect us back on the right road. Let’s encourage one another to stay on the journey mapped out for us by someone who loves us very much.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for this past year and all the lessons I have learned that have brought me closer to you. I pray this new year will continue to help me keep my focus on you. Amen

Faith Tip: Remember the lessons of the past year and determine how they can be built on this new year.

Jesus is the Perfect Fit!

Birth of Jesus

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Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  – Philippians 4:11-13

It’s difficult to see people struggle financially especially during the holiday season. We all have an idea of how Christmas should be and what people should have to make it perfect. Perhaps you have heard stories of people with children who buy expensive gifts only to have the children more interested in the boxes they came in. There is one ingredient needed to make Christmas perfect … Jesus.

Life circumstances change for all of us day by day. We really don’t know if we will go hungry or have a place to live. We could become sick. Each day holds so much. Whether we are rich or poor, healthy or sick, hungry or content, those who have Jesus have the perfect need satisfied for any day. This Christmas gift is for all. Because of the baby in the manger, we can be content always.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful gift of Jesus. I pray that my focus will be on this gift more than any other. Jesus fits perfectly in my life. Amen

Faith Tip: Discern how you can share the gift of Jesus to those looking for other things to be content.

Gentle Warfare

Frustration (was: threesixtyfive | day 244)

Image by Sybren A. Stüvel via Flickr

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5

On a day of running errands, I seem to come across an abundance of rudeness such as cars cutting in front of me, a service person not wanting to look at my desk lamp I brought in to see if it could be fixed and going to a restaurant with a friend where the waitress seemed to think we were invisible. Gentleness seemed distant. I saw this verse earlier in the day for a reason. I had to mentally play it through my mind in each instance of interactive challenge I experienced that day. I believe it was through gritted teeth I spoke of this verse to my friend in our restaurant dilemma.

I don’t know why we all experience days like this. I do know that the Lord is always near and cheers us on to do what is right. Perhaps it is an exercise of endurance, a test, or maybe just a time to see how far we have come in patience. The goal is to honor God with all we do. Hopefully, next time I won’t feel the frustration as much choosing the road of experiencing peace rather than feeling wrath.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the unending patience you have for me. I pray that I will be filled with your patience and trust you in all situations. Amen

Faith Tip: When you come across a frustrating situation today, remember the verse and choose the road of peace.

We win!

Pedicure Day

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, – Philippians 2:1-3

A few years ago, my name was drawn winning gift certificates as local stores involved in the open house drawing. It was very exciting to receive the phone call. In fact, I wasn’t home and my husband took the message and I didn’t believe him at first. When I realized it was for real, I went to the store to collect the certificates. It would have been fine using the certificates myself, but it was a lot more fun taking friends and family to enjoy them with me. I was blessed with the prizes, and was able to bless others with it, which blessed me. This is a wonderful cycle of blessing.

In the same way, the blessings we receive from Christ would be great for us alone, but it is so much better to share them with others. Because of the special spiritual gifts such as the fruit of the Spirit, we are called to use those gifts to bring others closer to God. Didn’t Jesus put us before himself in going to the cross? Could we mirror that type of love for others? We are equipped to do so; we just need to make the choice.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for showing me how to value others. I pray that the choices I make today reflect your great love. Amen

Faith Tip: Be intentional today in blessing others.