Thursday, January 31, 2019

Divine Appointments

Did you ever have a chance meeting with someone and just know that you were supposed to meet? That happened to me today.

I stopped in a coffee shop today to grab a bite of lunch. While waiting for my food I noticed a beautiful young girl. I didn't know her, but I recognized the look on her face. She looked like me when I'm trying to think of the next words to write - fingers poised over the keyboard, eyes looking up, searching for just the right word or phrase to express what you're trying to say. If you're a writer, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

I asked her if she was writing and that started a conversation. We spoke for just a few minutes, but in that time I learned quite a bit about her and knew that God had arranged for the two of us to run into each other. Her name is Amanda and she has a wonderful story to tell. I just know that God is going to use her to help and encourage many people along the way. He has a wonderful plan for her life and he's arranging circumstances and moving people into her life to help her along the journey.

I'm adding Amanda to the list of people I pray for on a regular basis.

Does something like this ever happen to you? When you're out and about, keep you eyes open for someone that God might want you to meet, to encourage and to pray for. You never know when your normal, everyday life will turn into a divine appointment.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Dirty Dishes Devotional

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you dodo it all for the glory of God." 
1 Corinthians 10:31

Let me just say this right up front...

I hate doing dishes.

I could say that it's because I grew up in a household with 5 brothers, Mom, Dad and me and that I was responsible for doing the dishes each night while my brothers were allowed to go outside and play...right outside the window over the kitchen sink where I slaved over a pile of dishes. (My mom made wonderful, old-fashioned big meals, so lots of dishes.) Yes, I could say that's why I hate doing dishes, but I won't. You are free, however, to assume that's the reason I hate washing dishes.

Now, here's the kicker - I have a dishwasher, but I wash them by hand. Why, you ask? Well, our dishwasher was installed when our mobile home was manufactured about 35 years ago. It's loud, it runs for about an hour and a half per load and it drives up our electric bill terribly, so until we break down and buy a new energy-saving dishwasher, I do by them by hand. Did I mention that we've lived in our mobile (which we love) for 20 years?

So, there I was this morning, dreading the pile of dirty dishes on my counter. (Yes, I'm a procrastinator.) Then the verse above came to me - 

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you dodo it all for the glory of God." 

1 Corinthians 10:31

I grabbed my Kindle, put on some worship music and sang my way through that pile of dirty dishes. Was done before I knew it and, much to my surprise, I enjoyed it! Who knew?

How about you? What is that one household chore that you dislike so much that you put it off until it's a much bigger job than it needs to be? Can you pretend that God, Himself has asked you to do it for Him? 

Go ahead, do it that way and let us know how it goes.


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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Struck with a Sense of Sehnsucht

Sehnsucht (n.)

Origin: German

Definition: The inconsolable longing in the human heart for a far, familiar, non-earthly land one can identify as one's home.

I didn't know there was a word for this constant longing I experience for my heavenly home. It's always there, in the back of my mind - a wondering about what it will be like, look like, sound like.

My heart beats a little faster when I think of dwelling in the presence of my Savior and my Heavenly Father. Will the Holy Spirit still reside within me or will he surround me?

I contemplate the joy I will experience at seeing those I love who have gone on before to their promised reward - that place that was prepared for them by Jesus himself.

The chorus of an old hymn comes to mind...

Oh, I want to see Him, look upon His face,
There to sing forever of His saving grace;
On the streets of glory let me lift my voice,
Cares all past, home at last, ever to rejoice. 

Tell me, my friend, are you ever struck with a sense of sehnsucht?

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Monday, January 28, 2019

Lawlessness and a Lack of Love

Is it possible to love those who have a total disregard for the law and humanity?

 In Matthew, chapter 24, the disciples came to Jesus and asked him, "What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (verse 3)

Jesus began to list various signs that would proceed His coming. We've heard of most of them; many leaders will come in the name of Jesus and mislead people, wars and rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, famines and earthquakes, many people falling away from their faith, betraying and hating one another, false prophets that mislead many. (verses 5-11)

Then Jesus mentions one that we seldom pay attention to. He said, "Because lawlessness is increased, many people's love will grow cold."

We see increasing lawlessness everywhere these days. Newspapers, television, the internet, radio - the bulk of what is reported as news today on every media outlet is lawlessness and not just misdemeanors, but vile, ugly crimes against humanity. I won't even list them here, because the minute you read that sentence, horrible things came to mind - things you hear on the news every day.

The more we hear about these people who have no regard for one another, for the law, for human life, the more we tend to withdraw. We no longer think of humans as kind and worthy of our love. We pull back from reaching out to those who are lost and hurting because we just don't trust humanity any more. It may be a natural response, meant to protect ourselves, but for those who are followers of Jesus Christ, this can not be, for we are commanded to love - 

"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:12-14

This does not just pertain to our fellow believers.. 

"But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." Luke 6:27

So, friends, as hard as it might be, we need to guard against our love for others growing cold. Love others, fiercely and if that proves too difficult, ask God to love others through you. Let it be His love that reaches out to the ones who hurt us, disappoint us and reject us. Express that love through kindness and praying for those who are hard to love. 

Do not let the godless, lawless acts of others be the reason you pull away from doing what our Father asks us to do - LOVE.

Sometimes living the Christian life is difficult, but God has already given us everything we need to live a life that pleases Him -

"Jesus has the power of God, by which he has given us everything we need to live and to serve God. We have these things because we know him. Jesus called us by his glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1:3 (NCV)
What do you think? Are you having a hard time loving others? Does the behavior of others release us from following God's commands?

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Are you a member of The Church of the Wandering Heart?

Remember how much you loved Jesus when you first asked Him to be the Lord of your life? How hungry you were for the Word? And how your heart longed to let everyone around you know how much God loves them?

What happened? What distracted you? What seemed more fun, more exciting, more profitable? What was the hurt that caused you to distance yourself from the One who loves you?

In the book of Revelation, God tells the church;  I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 

God wants hearts that are committed to Him. Hearts that are not enticed away by the flashy but worthless attractions of this world. Hearts that turn to Him when they are hurting, not blame Him for their troubles. 

The good news is that when we recognize our wandering heart, repent and return to God, there is no condemnation - only love and acceptance.

Dear One, return to your first love. 

He is waiting with open arms. 

Pray: Father, forgive my wandering heart. Restore to me the fire that once burned bright for you. Give me a hunger and thirst for your Word and a love for those around me that reflects your love for them. I am returning to you - my First Love. Amen

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