Be brave … be humble

English: fireworks seen across the at Washingt...

English: fireworks seen across the at Washington, D.C., USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

… 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

With America celebrating another birthday, I appreciate the sacrifices made for the freedom I enjoy today. Many brave men and women gave up countless things back in the time of 1776 following their dream of independence. Their courage of humbling themselves to the cause is a model to me today.

As our country ages, there are so many things that we can be proud of in the development of the United States. God has truly blessed America. Unfortunately, like the Israelites in the book of Judges, we have a cycle of sin that brings us to our knees. With the freedoms God has given us, we have gone astray from his truth and made our own truth. This sin has created illness in our country.

The brave thing for us to do is to humble ourselves before God and seek his way. We have lost our way in so many areas of life and allowed sin to waltz in without any effort to hinder it. All of us are a part of the problem, and all can be part of the solution. It begins with prayer.

Prayer: Lord, forgive me when I have not done what I should have in my life. Empower me to go forth in your strength and power and pray for the healing of our land. Amen

Faith Tip: Join in the courageous group of prayer warriors and seek God for his healing to fall on us as a nation.

What’s that burning over there?

Moses before the Burning Bush

Moses before the Burning Bush (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush,“Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.” – Exodus 3:4

For me, one of the good things that came out of having cancer was an awareness of the need of others who suffer. Being a part of the cancer community became a call to work in supporting others who are or have dealt with it. The cancer was my burning bush.

God sends many burning bushes to us throughout our life when he wants to get our attention to invite us to join him in his work. So many times, we are distracted by what’s going on around us that we sadly miss the large flaming shrub that should be so obvious to us.

Consider the burning bushes in your life that called you to action. How were you blessed? What did you learn about God and yourself? The important part of seeing a burning bush is our response. Like Moses, will we say “Here I am”?

Prayer: Lord, you are doing so many things at the same time that I can’t fully understand how you do that. I am so thankful for the burning bushes you place in my life knowing that you want me to join you in some work. I pray I may say, “Here I am, Lord.”

Faith Tip: Today, keep an eye open for a burning bush. God may be calling you for something special.

 

Where’s your focus?

Old postcards and a magnifying glass.

Image via Wikipedia

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. (Numbers 11:4-6, 10)

When I was dealing with the treatment of my cancer, life was different for me in that there were things I couldn’t do at that time, I was tired all the time, my taste buds were shot, not to mention surgeries, chemo treatments, and more. At the same time, there was a loving husband that cared for me dearly, friends and family expressing love in many ways, the presence of the Lord was felt by me during this time which is always inspirational, I was still able to do my work for I was given very understanding clients, and many other blessings. Focus is everything. I could have chosen to focus on the negatives (which I did sometimes) or the positives. Focusing on the positives doesn’t mean to not deal with the negatives, but more of having a thankful heart. God’s blesses us in so many ways and we lose sight of that because we take things for granted and our human nature wants more. The “more” can become our focus and our heart can harden.

Notice God’s reaction to the Israelites wanting more. They forgot how he saved them, provided for them, and was with them. They focused on the more. God became “exceedingly angry.” It must have been like a slap in the face to him. Let’s be aware of where are focus is daily.

Prayer: Lord, you have given me so much and I thank you. I pray that contentment and thankfulness will keep me focused on you and your will for me each day. I praise you for your greatest provision in Jesus. Amen

Faith Tip: Be aware of your focus today.

Live out what you already are

Angel with Halo מלאכית עם הילה

Image via Wikipedia

I am the LORD, who makes them holy. (Leviticus 21:23)

I want to be a good writer, so I study writing, go to writing conferences, network with other writers, purchase writing resources, and practice. While all of these things help me be a better writer, it does not guarantee that I will be a good writer. Good writing comes from within the person with a talent for communicating a message or a story. All writers are unique—there are no two exactly alike.

Being holy is another goal many of us would like to reach, but unlike writing, being holy is something God does and not us. We can strive to do things better, and follow Jesus closer, but that will not make us holy. Only God can do that. Jesus died on the cross to make us holy. He paid the price for our redemption. So although we cannot be made holy by what we do, we can live an expression of holiness in glory to God.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for paying the price so that I could be made holy. I could never do it on my own. I pray that I express my gratitude to you by living a holy life in glorifying God. Amen

Faith Tip: You are set apart for God…made holy. What one thing can you do today that expresses holy living?

Face to face

A full size replica of the Israelite Tabernacl...

Image via Wikipedia

Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend (Exodus 33:7-11).

I have some friends that moved to another state some years back. Through technology, it was possible to stay in touch, but it never is the same as being face to face in conversation—sharing our lives and hearts with one another. I recently heard they were moving back after being gone about six years. I am so happy that we will once again have the opportunity to share each other’s life face to face. A lot has happened to us both over the six years they were gone and we are changed. That’s God’s plan to continually change us and it is normally done through the experiences in our lives.

One thing that never changes is how we can meet God face to face at any time. It is a wonderful gift to know that God never moves away and we have to rely on technology to keep in touch. The Lord’s presence is with us now. It is a wonderful and joyous reality. We are truly never alone.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for your continual presence in my life. You are there to speak to me at any time. I pray that I never take this wonderful gift for granted. Amen

Faith Tip: Take time today to talk face to face with God.

Clear oil for the lamp

Oil lamp

Image by ralphunden via Flickr

“Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning” (Exodus 27:20).

As I read this verse, I wondered why the oil needed to be clear for the light in the lamps. It seems that the lamps could shine brighter and longer with the oil being free from any dregs in the pressing process. This reminded me that often it is the dregs of life that keep us from shining brightly and for a long time. The world offers dregs to form in our spiritual life and the way quite often to press the dregs out is through challenges.

Challenges in life are a common denominator for the human race. We all have struggles, but it’s how we respond that makes the difference. If we sink more into the world, the sediment will add up. But if we press into God and allow the Holy Spirit to clear away the residue that resides, we will be made free to light up for Jesus for a long time.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for helping me deposit dregs where they belong—in the trash. I pray that the oil of my spirit joins with yours to make a light bright and beautiful for all to see to draw others closer to you. Amen

Faith Tip: Allow the Holy Spirit to find a dreg in you that needs to be cleared out, and then press into the One who created you and desires clear oil in your spirit.

No more excuses

The Burning Bush

Image by spratmackrel via Flickr

“And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

And God said, “I will be with you” (Exodus 3:9-12).

When God calls us to do something that seems out of our range of possibilities to us, we drag out what I call the “Moses excuses” and start listing to God the reasons we can’t do what he has asked us. We think, “Who am I?” We are actually asking, “Who are you?”

God makes it clear to Moses and to us that he is Lord over all. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is our creator and knows us inside and out. God knows our limits, but that doesn’t stop him from calling us. You know why? He knows what he is capable of doing through us. So if we truly believe God to be who he claims to be, it is only a question of obedience. God promises that he will go with us. He will supply everything we need to complete the call. In exchange, we will see his glory at work. What a joyous time that will be.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for the times that you call me to do for you the things I cannot possibly do on my own. I love to see you at work. I pray that others will be drawn to you through your glorifying work and miraculous ways. Amen

Faith Tip: Rip up the list of excuses of why you can’t be used of God today. Fall freely into his waiting arms and let him lift you up to the call he has for you.