Flickers of hope in a dark theatre

Movie Theater

Movie Theater (Photo credit: roeyahram)

All your works praise you, Lord;

your faithful people extol you.

They tell of the glory of your kingdom

and speak of your might,

so that all people may know of your mighty acts

and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

and your dominion endures through all generations. Psalm145:10-13

I have always thought of a movie theatre being a safe place where kids could be dropped off without worry. That has all changed now. The evil act of one person has reminded me there are no safe places from evil … not even in the church. I don’t say this to be negative, but to emphasize the importance of knowing God as Lord and Savior. The safety comes in relationship with Jesus. His power is displayed even through the darkest times.

Through the horrific events in Colorado, God still shines through. People are hearing of God’s mighty acts and his grace that overflows beyond our comprehension. There’s one woman who survived the shooting because the bullet went through her brain perfectly in a spot arranged by God when she was born. There’s a mother who felt drawn to go along with her daughters to see a movie they planned on seeing. As they sat in the row of the gunman, they laid on the floor as the shooting began … mother covering her daughters and praying. Somehow they made it out safe. Then a story was told of three brave male teens who covered their girlfriends as the shots rang out. All three died giving their lives for another. There is no greater love.

I’m sure more stories will be coming out. Each one showing the power of God and the love poured on his people in their time of need. I don’t understand the whys of when something like this happens, but I do know with certainty that God is there and cares.

Prayer: Lord, it’s hard for me to understand the evil acts of the world and why such calamity is allowed. I realize the evil choices made by humans affect so many, yet at the same time you shine a light of hope. Thank you! Amen

Faith Tip: Today look for God’s light of hope as you journey through your day.

 

Feeling tempted today?

And lead us not into temptation,
   but deliver us from the evil one. – Matthew 6:13

Have you ever been tempted? That sounds like a really silly question, because we know that we have all been tempted by one thing or another. Just last night, I was tempted to eat a strawberry tart. I ate it. But then I can rationalize it by thinking, Well, at least I didn’t have the chocolate cherry cake ala mode. It was busy yesterday running from one appointment to another, so because of stress and the relaxing benefits of this dessert, I can indulge.  Creating excuses has never been a problem for me.

The truth is temptation surrounds us all the time … it’s not hard to find. The bigger truth is that God has provided for us a way out … if we choose to take it. The strength of God is more powerful than the pull of temptation. The power we plug into, God’s or our own, will make the difference in our delivery.

Prayer: Lord, your power in me is more than the power of the world. I pray that I choose to connect with your power rather than my own. That is how I will experience success. Amen

Faith Tip: Next time you are tempted, and it could be any minute, pray and read God’s word.

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.”

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Communion

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…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; – Romans 3:23-24

Tearing the piece of bread from the loaf, I heard the familiar words, “This is Christ’s body, broken for you.” And as I dunked the piece into the cup, the reminder given to me was, “The blood of Christ spilled for you.”

The act of communion is so important to Jesus, because he does not want us to forget. We are not to forget the great sacrifice made, but also that the price was paid for our freedom in Christ. We tend to remember the sacrifice, but sometimes forget that we are free to live holy lives, and we still act like we are under Satan’s reign.

This Advent season, reopen the gift of your freedom in Christ and enjoy the riches that are meant for you. This is the best deal of the season for you and someone you love.

Prayer: Jesus, I thank you for the wonderful gift of freedom you have given me though the price was great to you. Your love for me is the perfect fit for each day of my life, and I pray that I can focus on you rather than what the world has to offer. Amen

Faith Tip: Each day during Advent, starting with today, find a new freedom you have in Christ and enjoy it to the glory of God.

 

Beware of Easy Answers

Lion - Louisville Zoo

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Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. – 1 Peter 5:8-9

 

When life is hard and full of challenge, we want a quick fix … even thinking that today would be a good day for the Lord to return. However, that’s usually not the answer and most challenges can’t be overcome by a quick fix. It is during these times when we are most vulnerable to temptation. There’s an offer to get you out of your challenge, if you do this or that. We need to discern if the offer is of God or of the enemy. What is the big picture?

There are many lessons that God wants to teach us and sometimes it is through the struggles in life that the lessons come. If we choose to accept an offer that perceives to end our challenge, are we refusing the lesson from God?

Pray about what God would have you do in the midst of trouble. He hasn’t left you alone to figure it out for yourself. He is journeying with you and has the answer that is perfect.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for continually helping me grow in my spiritual walk. I pray that I only look to you for answers of my struggles and not a quick fix. Amen

Faith Tip: Are you struggling in an area of your life and want to get rid of the stress and worry? Beware that you do not fall prey to Satan and his temptations and reach out to Jesus for help.

Who Gives Temptation?

Dessert

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Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.

Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.

So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures. – James 1:12-18 MSG

If I consider all the things that tempt me during the day, the list would be endless for it seems that temptation is always around. I may think that if this food wasn’t in front of me, I wouldn’t be tempted. Maybe I would rather do something else than what I should be doing. A spiritual battle seems to always rage within, especially during busy times, which is always.

As humans, we do want to look for who to blame. Maybe we do think God is testing us so he created this scenario in our lives. God does not give us evil, but only good things. God wants us to succeed in life. While some things are allowed to happen, God has everything we need to help us get through it. God’s plan will always be good for us. Even in the painful times, we will grow for God makes beauty from ashes.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me all I need for today. I do not need to fear the temptations that I will face if I choose to follow you. Amen

Faith Tip: Make the choice now who you will follow today.

Logical prayer

prayer..

 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. – Exodus 17:11-12

Sometimes prayer just doesn’t make sense, does it? Perhaps most the time it doesn’t. When we are told that it’s the most powerful thing we can do, we really wonder if that is true. Sometimes we don’t experience clear answers to our prayers and think we may have wasted time talking to God about it. We especially feel this way when we are praying for bigger things like the economy and other nations. We can’t imagine how our little prayer will help in any way.

Praying is connecting to kingdom power. Our prayers are making a huge difference in the kingdom. Throughout Scripture, it is evident that prayer does amazing things. How about when Elijah prayed for God to accept his sacrifice when the worshipers of Baal couldn’t get a response from their god (1 Kings 18)? Moses prayed for the people repeatedly that God wouldn’t destroy them because of their sin against him (Numbers 11). People were praying for Peter in Acts 12, and an angel came and released him from prison. No one was more shocked that something happened than those who were praying.

I recently came across a sign that read “Much Prayer, Much Power, Little Prayer, Little Power, No Prayer, No Power.” It’s kind of like that saying, “If you don’t expect much, you won’t get much.” We base our actions on facts. The fact is that prayer is powerful. Why else would Satan fight it so much? He knows the power.

Pray knowing that things are happening. Not one prayer is wasted. Don’t wait until you reach heaven and then wish you would have prayed more during your life.

Prayer: Lord, you have shown us through the Bible that prayer makes a difference. I pray that I can live out that truth and stand steadfast on your promises. Amen

Faith Tip: Today make prayer an absolute in all you do. See the difference it will make in your life.