Can you feel the love?

English: Traditional Devil's Food Birthday Cake

English: Traditional Devil’s Food Birthday Cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lord, what are human beings that you care for them,
    mere mortals that you think of them?
They are like a breath;
    their days are like a fleeting shadow. – Psalm 144:3-4

I remember a few years ago I was leading a meeting in Grand Rapids when a birthday cake was rolled out and everyone started singing “Happy Birthday.” I looked around and asked, “Who’s birthday is it?”

They laughed and said, “It’s yours.”

I was so touched by their thoughtfulness. Even though my birthday was a few days earlier, I didn’t think anyone would really care or remember.

Isn’t that how we see God sometimes? Why would he ever care about or remember us … we are mere mortals. We are humans that make bad choices quite a few times, so we can be frustrating to God who continually tries to lead us down the right path in life. But in his love and great patience, he cares for us always. We are never far from his thoughts. He wants us to have the best he can offer us … the best is yet to come because of his great love.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for caring about me. I pray that I can reflect your love and care to others I see today. Amen

Faith Tip: Think about the special ways God has cared for you. Now think about how you can care for others as opportunities come up. The more unexpected … the better.

Silver, gold, rocks and other unrelational items

English: Image of a pet rock

English: Image of a pet rock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But their idols are silver and gold, 
made by human hands.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell.
They have hands, but cannot feel,
feet, but cannot walk,
nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them. – Psalm 115:4-8

Remember pet rocks? This was a product that relied totally on the marketing of the idea of the perfect low maintenance pet. There were promises of relationship and commitment, but actually it just sat on a shelf and collected dust. I imagine someone going in their yard and finding stones to make a family. People would talk to their rocks and take them places. Pretty sad.

It’s the same with our spiritual relationship with idols. We want to believe they can do things for us, but in reality, they are nothing … they are not alive. God is alive and desires a deep relationship with us. Not only that, but he has power to do anything. But we have a choice to make. Do we place our trust in a rock, a piece of wood, money, success, etc. or do we trust God?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for being my living God whom I can talk to any time. You respond with your great love and grace, and I know that you love me dearly. Amen

Faith Tip: Consider what it is you are trusting today. If it’s not God, you may want to reconsider.

Bouquet of hope

Français : Bouquet d'oeuillets multicolores

Français : Bouquet d’oeuillets multicolores (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Yesterday, I communicated with someone struggling with pain in her life. She struggled with relationships in her family and didn’t understand why things were happening. As I listened to her story, I understood for I have experienced similar pain and was able to share what God has done for me. I wanted to give her hope. I wanted her to know that she wasn’t alone for all families seem to have dysfunction in some manner. It’s part of our human state.

Life can be very hard as we all know. Struggles are our classroom in learning to trust God. That is where the hope grows inside of us and blossoms into the joy and peace promised by the Lord. As we love to give a bouquet of beautiful flowers, we can give an abundance of hope for it never runs out, but continues to flow freely from the hands of Jesus.

Prayer: Lord, you know the pain that I struggle with and thank you for the hope you give me. I pray that the hope I have been given will be used to encourage another. Amen

Faith Tip: Gather the hope the Lord has given you and be ready to present your bouquet to someone in need.

Teaching grace

Jinda's nail salon

Jinda’s nail salon (Photo credit: quinn.anya)

Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
for I trust your commands.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey your word.  – Psalm 119:66-67

I’ve been going to Tulip City Beauty College to have my nails and hair done. Not only is it nice on the budget, but it has been a wonderful experience helping students master their craft. The instructors are there for the students as they work on clients.  The staff and students have been a blessing to me as I have come to know them.  As a student was working on my nails, they made a small mistake and felt so bad about it. I let them know it’s not a big deal and we are learning together.  I think of the times through my life that I have been shown grace, and have learned to show that same grace to others. It was through the tough times that I learned the most about grace.

It takes challenges in life to get our attention. As we journey through them, we get our greatest teachings and learn about trusting God and his word. If we didn’t have difficulties, we wouldn’t care about growing in our spiritual walk because everything would seem fine. Why would we want to rock the boat? But God has so much that he wants to show us. An attitude of neediness is a good place to be when it comes to our relationship with Jesus.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the times you have helped me grow. You have never left me to fend for myself, but always held my hand to guide me in the way I should go. I pray your grace will be experienced by others through me. Amen

Faith Tip: Be intentional on showing a large amount of grace today to those God wants to touch.

The refining of fire

 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire… – 1 Peter 1:6–7

Tonight I will be sharing with a group of people about my cancer journey. As I think back on what I went through, I can see how the experience has sharpened my faith. My dependence and trust in God have increased, my priorities realigned, and thankfulness enlarged. Each day I am given the opportunity to share what God can do and has done in hopes that it may encourage another.

We dread going through hard times in our life, but if we can keep in mind that God has a purpose in all things. It isn’t that he causes challenges in life, but may allow them to help us grow more like Jesus. When his face shines through our tragedies, hope is given to a hurting world.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the challenges you have brought me through in life. I pray that others will see you in my faith walk and be given new hope. Amen

Faith Tip: Struggling today? Seek God for understand and how he is making you stronger and better.

New hope of new birth

Happy

Happy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. – John 1:12-13

I love to hear of new births. There is something about the birth of a baby that gives new hope to any situation. The baby’s life has been planned out by God. Their creation has purpose and is highly valued. They are part of a family and dearly loved.

New hope is also gained by being spiritually reborn. Becoming part of God’s family is a decision by an individual to follow the one who created them. This is an eternal decision that will make a difference in how the life of a believer is led. Choosing to focus on God rather than on the world will enable a person to reap the benefits of being a child of the King.

Each person has great value. Life is priceless. The world may send us the message of being unworthy, but God’s message is of our great significance. His son died in our place by his choice. That’s the ultimate action of love bestowed on us. God wants us with him forever.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your sacrifice of Jesus to pay for my sin. This demonstration of your love cannot be greater. I choose to follow you and pray that my life exemplifies that choice today. Amen

Faith Tip: Think of someone you love dearly and what you would do for them. That will give you a hint of the great love God has for you.

Feeling protected?

"Old West" character - Parada del So...

“Old West” character – Parada del Sol – Scottsdale (Photo credit: Al_HikesAZ)

I am surrounded by trouble,
but you protect me
against my angry enemies.
With your own powerful arm
you keep me safe.

You, Lord, will always

treat me with kindness.
Your love never fails.
You have made us what we are.
Don’t give up on us now! – Psalm 138:7-8 CEV

Protection – I started to think about what that means to me. Is it an absolute or a feeling of being safer? What are the things that make me feel protected? My husband does in knowing he loves me, so my heart feels protected. My dog, Charlie, is my overzealous protector. Money in the bank helps me feel safe from being destitute. I know these examples are not absolute. Life happens and circumstances can turn on a dime.

God’s protection is absolute. No matter what happens in this life, we are protected by God’s love for us. He has us in the palm of his hand and nothing will separate us. He has all the power so we can truly rest in his strong tower.

He wants us to know that so it is written repeatedly in the Bible. Look for all the verses that refer to fear such as fear not or don’t fret. Don’t be afraid to trust God and his word.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise you for who you are … you are my strong tower of power. I pray that I can live as evidence of your great love. Amen

Faith Tip: Fearful about something today? Look to God’s absolute protection to get the peace he wants you to experience.