Why do you get out of bed in the mornings? To let the cat out? To get kids ready for school? To get you ready for work?
Years ago, before my relationship with God became real and serious, I remember waking up alone one morning. David had already gone to work and I was off work for a holiday. I laid there thinking that I did not have a single reason to get out of bed that day. My conclusion from that train of thought was that my life had no purpose. I was aimlessly adrift. Continue reading “A Reason to Get Out of Bed”
Today, I just want to share a passage of scripture with you. I hope you will read it slowly and let the words of Jesus really sink into your soul. Do you abide in Him?
John 15:1-11 ESV
1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3Already you are clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples. 9As the Father has loved Me so I have loved you. Abide in My love. 10If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
May we abide in Him from this day forward! Have a blessed day!
Are you struggling today to hold on to seemingly elusive peace or do you know someone else who is?
My interpretation of peace has changed over the years. I use to think of it as a lack of war. When I think of peace now, I think of it as me being in a state where my sanity is not being threatened because I have something that I can hold onto and count on. Actually, it is Someone.
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.”
What is freedom in Christ? It seems as if many Americans think that freedom means that we can do literally whatever we want to. But, that is not what it means, is it? In the United States freedom is basically, in my opinion, freedom to do what we choose as long as it doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s rights and freedoms. We just need to basically obey the laws, be nice and be considerate of each other.
What about freedom in Christ, though? Are you living out your freedom in Him?
1“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Some days are just normal, huh? Then some days are abnormal. And some days are super-normal. How do you like my made up words?? As Christians, we have been set apart for a different kind of days… a different kind of life, actually. Amazing things and amazing, abundant life!
“Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.'”
Do you have sufficient energy for today? How about for this week? Have you struggled with some perplexing problem over the last few days that has taxed your sleep and therefore taxing your approach to this new day?
1“O God, You are my God, earnestly I will seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
Last time we talked about our hearts and how that is where it is determined whether we can focus on God or not. He puts the passion for Him in our hearts and He gives us the desire and discipline to focus our hearts and lives on Him.
It’s all about the heart and I want my heart to be all about Him. How about you?
We are talking more about the heart today. There are things about our hearts that we need to keep in mind as we go through this life – important things. We will be talking about 2 verses: Proverbs 4:23 and Jeremiah 17:9.
Proverbs 4:23 NIV
23″Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
We have spent quite a bit of time over the past few days talking about staying close to God… keeping our eyes fixed on God… focusing our lives on God. Today I have been thinking about how that may just seem impossible when you are busy with work, kids, homework, grandkids, etc.
So, today, we are going to talk about how we can actually do that. Is it really possible and if so, how?
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
5“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make Your paths straight.”
It seems to me that staying focused on God is partly habit, partly determination, but mostly heart. Throughout God’s Word, there is a consistent theme – it is about the heart – His heart, my heart, your heart.
Mostly About Our Hearts
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 3:3
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart…” in Deuteronomy, Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
“…and serve Him with all your heart…” Joshua 22:5
“…above all else guard your heart…” Proverbs 4:23
According to christianbiblereference.org, the word “heart” occurs in the NIV translation almost 600 times. Each translation is a little different on the count.
As God draws us to Him, He turns our hearts toward Him. He gives us that heart’s desire to focus on Him, know Him, love Him, serve Him, trust Him, and so on. So if we need the heart to focus on Him we need to ask Him for it.
Let’s go to Verse 5:
5“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…”
The AMP Bible says:
5″Lean on, trust and be confident in the LORD with all your heart and mind, and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.”
It is pretty clear in this verse that we do not just automatically do the will of God. I am sure we all knew that – but our insight and understanding apart from God will almost always lead us in the wrong direction.
God’s Wisdom or Ours?
Why? I think it is because then we are actually relying on human wisdom, which falls terribly short in comparison to God’s wisdom. Human wisdom will take us down human paths.
But what path will God’s wisdom take us down?
Now to Verse 6:
“…in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
The AMP Bible says:
“In all your ways know, recognize and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.”
Focused on Him
This is where we really get down to the word “focus”.
We are to “in ALL our ways acknowledge Him”. When we do that, we are focusing our lives on Him. Well, the way that will happen is if our heart/soul is so clinging to Him and wanting to be in His will that we acknowledge Him such as
“So, Lord, is this the way I should go?”
“Lord, how do I accomplish this thing that I feel You are leading me to do?”
“Please help me forgive her, Lord. I know You do not want me to stay angry.”
“This is too hard for me, Lord, so please help me.”
“How can I bring You glory in this situation, Lord?”
Does it Line Up?
As He leads you and answers these questions for you, won’t He be making your paths straight? Absolutely. But, how do you know He is the one leading you? How do you know it is His voice? Does it line up with God’s Word?
We must know His Word well and know His character well. Which comes from spending time in it and with Him. If you are not sure, go to a more mature Christian, a mentor of sorts, and ask them to help you qualify it in God’s Word.
God will never, ever lead you to do anything contrary to His Word. If it is contrary to His Word, you have not heard from Him. There again, you may want to talk with a Christian mentor about it.
He will never lead you to lie or break any of His laws, to accomplish His will.
He will never condone this thinking “the accomplishment justifies how I get it done – no matter how shady or deceptive I am.” We are to walk uprightly before God and man, aren’t we?
It is such a beautiful thing to be protected and led by our wonderful Lord. He has His glory and our good in mind… always! He is so good to us and He wants good things for us.
Things to Ponder:
Are you trusting in the Lord today or in yourself or in someone else? We need God’s help even in trusting Him, so let’s just do that. Ask Him for His help in trusting Him. For me, some days it is harder than others but He is faithful to help us.
Are you acknowledging Him in all your ways? Do you bring Him into your decision-making process?
He loves you and me so much and He delights in our seeking Him! He really does. No matter how many times we take our burdensome decisions or issues to Him, we cannot over-burden Him. He has unimaginably strong, broad shoulders to carry the load.
May your day be filled with God’s light and your heart be filled with His joy!!