To be or not to be

Desk

Image by Jim Carson via Flickr

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:40-42

As I make preparations for the conference I will be attending this week with many lovely ladies of the Lord, I find that my “to do” list isn’t shrinking. As soon as I check one item off, another one is there to replace it. This can be quite maddening as I think about all I have to do to be ready. The list includes proposals to be finished, one sheets written, talks practiced, and writing jobs done. I find that anxiety grows as I focus on what I need to do.

The truth is what I need is to “be.” That is a totally different direction of focus. The focus of Jesus is better. “Being” in Jesus will prepare me more than anything I can do.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I thank you for the wisdom of your word that gives peace to the anxious heart. I pray that I can keep my focus on you during this day. Amen

Faith Tip: Take your “to do” list and hand it over to Jesus. See what he can do with it as you watch the Master at work. Enjoy his presence today.

Going back

‘Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ (Zechariah 1:3).

The dancing ballerina doll! I remember the thrill of opening this gift as a child on Christmas. She had beautiful blond hair and a pretty pink ballerina outfit. She danced when I would lift up the knob in her crown. If I moved the knob to another position, she would tip toe.

Lots of family came for dinner that day. There would be tons of food, fun and laughter. I remember this day fondly knowing that I can never relive that moment. I can’t go back.

With God, we can always go back. No matter what we have done in life that was displeasing, we can always return to God and have our relationship with him restored. God promises to return to us when we are ready to let go of the things that are blocking our relationship with him. God is forever faithful.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for your promises. I pray that I can release any strongholds in my life that block our relationship in any way. Holy Spirit, I pray that you enlighten me. Amen

Faith tip: Ask God to show you what is blocking your relationship with him. Make the choice in ridding of it knowing there is something so much better with God.

The season of hope

Hannah the Angel

Image by Andy Wilkes via Flickr

“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’” (Matthew 1:20-21)

The children paraded out in their brightly colored costumes. There were angels, shepherds, wise men, a lamb, a star, and Mary and Joseph. The children were reenacting the Christmas story for their parents and friends. The ministry these children are involved in is called Kids Hope. I want to say though that hope was given to the adults as they watched their children perform. Sometimes it is hard to believe the true message of God that is delivered to us in many ways such as the Bible, prayer, through people (including children), and situations.

One message that many have a hard time accepting is that God truly loves them. God’s love is not like what the world offers…it is so much better. God’s love was displayed through the event in the relationships formed over the years, the children enjoying the cookies they decorated, the crafts made, the games played, the food served, the groceries donated, gifts given and the pictures taken. There was no doubt of God’s presence at the event and of his great love.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for always loving us. It is demonstrated every day, and I pray that I can accept your message of love and apply it to my life so that I can demonstrate you love to others. Amen

Faith Tip: Believe that God truly loves you. Take note of the way he shows you his love today.

It will be worth the wait

Lots of POPs

Image by etgeek (Eric) via Flickr

“But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.””  (Luke 1:30-31)

I remember as a child the commercial that asked the question, “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?” The wise old owl took three licks and crunched into it. The owl couldn’t wait until the center came later for he wanted the center now. But after he got to the center, it was done. No more pleasure from that sucker. That’s how it is with things of this world. We want things now, but once we get them the thrill is gone after awhile.

The above verses we have heard again and again, but there is so much we can take away from them. I think the best part of these verses is at the end. “…his kingdom will never end,” which shows us that the pleasure of being with God will last forever—not just a temporary timeframe after the kingdom comes. But it’s hard to wait. How many years does it take for Jesus’ kingdom to come? God knows exactly when, and we can be sure that it is the perfect time. We must be patient and continue to walk in God’s ways. The journey will be well worth it.

Prayer: Lord, I am anxious for your return, but know that your timing is perfect. Help me to be the woman of God you have designed. Your plan is complete and I just need to walk in it. Amen

Faith tip: What are you anxious for today? Is it something that will be with you forever, or temporary? Be excited for what God is doing in your life for the eternal.

Only one way

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Image via Wikipedia

And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared:

   “You are a priest forever,
   in the order of Melchizedek.”

The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. (Hebrews 7:15-19)

Mary looked longingly at the new car her neighbor just purchased. She wondered how she did it. She works part time, but is that enough for her and her husband to afford a new car? Mary thought of her own car in comparison and knew hers was less. How great it must feel to get behind the wheel of a new car, she thought. She sighed and went back to her work.

Coveting is one of those commandments we are not to do. Sometimes we find ourselves in the midst of breaking one of the laws or another. That is why in Hebrews it says that the law was weak and useless, because it did not make us perfect. The law does show us how imperfect we are and how much we need our high priest, Jesus, to make us perfect. It was by his death on the cross that we are made holy. There is no other way. We live a better hope because of Jesus drawing us closer to God. That’s something to praise about today!

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the laws of Moses you have established to show us how we should live. Forgive us for the times we fall short. Thank you for the grace and mercy you give us through Jesus. Amen

Faith Tip: Reflect on the true gift of the cross. Hold a cross in your hand or draw a cross and meditate on its meaning.

Pondering

A photo of The Thinker by Rodin located at the...

Image via Wikipedia

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

Each day, our minds are full of things to think about…what we will have for dinner, projects that are before us, someone is sick or hurting, world events, etc. It’s amazing all the things that our mind can hold and process. Studies show that we use a very small portion of our mind…about 10% at most times. There is greater potential for us if we choose to stretch our minds.

Of course, whatever affects our minds affects our hearts, too. What we choose to fill our minds with is what we choose in which to fill our hearts. Mary treasured the things God was doing in her life and around her…and pondered on them. She chose the things of God to fill her mind and heart. She lived her life in response to these treasures. What are some of the things we treasure in our mind and heart?

Prayer: Lord, you are more precious than silver or gold as the song says. May we treasure all that you are doing in our lives and around us…ponder on them like the treasure they are…and live out our lives in response to them.

Faith tip: Make a conscious effort today to take some time and ponder on the goodness of God. Step away from something else that you have been filling your mind with that is not treasure.

Wanting to serve

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38)

Some tasks are not as fun as other ones. Housecleaning can be a drag, but the result is having a nice clean house to live in. Planting a garden is a lot of work, but the result is lovely flowers or good things to eat from the garden. School work can be laborious at times, but the result is learning a lot of things to use later in life.

The Lord at times will ask us to do something that we may not consider a pleasure to do. We sometimes forget to look at the result of what we will accomplish. When Mary was told about becoming with child, this probably brought her some distress knowing that she was a virgin and pledged to be married. Her response to God is powerful. “I am the Lord’s servant” This young lady had it figured out to do what the Lord has asked. What was the result of her obedience? Jesus. Good results always come from the requests and commands of God.

Let us apply to our lives the same kind of surrender to God as Mary modeled. When asked by God to do something that may not seem easy or pleasurable, let our response be “I am the Lord’s servant,” and not forget the good results that will come from our obedience.

Prayer: Dear Lord, how often you have asked me to do something for you, and my response has not always been pleasing. Forgive me and create in me a new heart for you that will listen and obey.

Faith Tip: Listen for what God has for you to do for him today…respond with “I am the Lord’s servant.”