Celebrating God!

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There’s all sorts of ways to celebrate God. I celebrate God with my writing. Others celebrate with their painting, their sculpting, their acts of kindness to others. And certainly one way to celebrate God is through music.

I admit that I’ve never been a big music lover. Sure I had a few favorite singers and enjoyed their music. Now, my husband is a music lover. He loves music of all sorts. Rock. Hard Rock. Heavy Metal. 50’s music. Bluegrass. Country. Hymns. Praise Music. It doesn’t matter what type of music–he loves it. And unlike me, he usually knows the words!

But I do love one genre of music. Music that celebrates God.

And Chris Tomlin is up at the top of my list of favorite musicians that celebrate God. Of course, there are others on the list.

Anyway, here’s a great song to celebrate God today!

YouTube Video–Our God Is Greater sung by Chris Tomlin

I Don’t Understand!

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Proverbs 3: 5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart not on your own understanding.

 

Why am I sick, Lord? Why did I lose my loved one? Why did I lose the job I loved?

When bad things happen to us, we want to understand why the bad thing happened to us. But do we really need to know that? In most cases, we don’t. Will understanding the why make a difference? You’ll still be sick, your loved one will still be gone, or you still won’t have that job you loved so much.

I think when we ask why, we are really asking is why me? Why did this happen to me? Are you mad at me? Don’t you care about what happens to me? Don’t you love me?

This is where studying the Bible and, especially, passages relating to God’s love for us will get you through the bad times. Once you understand the depth of God’s love for each of us, then you can trust Him which will lead you to accept His sovereignty.

This is when you have to go back to His Word—His promises. The Bible assures us that God loves us. It says so in so many different ways. If you think of God as your father, then you know that He loves you and wants the best for you.

When you ask why again and again, it will rob you of your peace and joy.

Trusting God means forgetting about the why.

Trusting God means moving forward.

Trusting God means giving the problem to God.

Trusting God means that you believe His promises.

Trusting God will restore your peace and joy.

We don’t need to understand why each bad thing happens to us–unless it’s of our own making. If bad things happen as a result of our own actions, then it’s good to know that and learn from it. But when bad things happen for no reason that we can understand, that’s when it’s time to trust God and His promises.

So today when that why word rears its ugly head. Banish it from your thoughts. Instead, tell yourself and God over and over—I trust you. I know you love me.

It will do wonders!

 

PAUL’S PRAYERS

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Today’s guest writer is Sandy Smith. Sandy is  a long time member of my church and teaches the Women’s Bible Study Class. Thanks, Sandy, for sharing with us.

 

PAUL’S PRAYERS by Sandy Smith

 

Colossians 1:9  (Amplified Bible)

For this reason we also, from the day we heard of it, have not ceased to pray and make [[aspecial] request for you, [asking] that you may be filled with the [b]full (deep and clear) knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [[c]in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God] and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things—

 

When you don’t know how to pray for others follow Paul’s example.

PRAY…..

  • They understand God’s will
  • They gain spiritual wisdom
  • They please God in every area of their life
  • They bear fruit
  • They grow in the knowledge of God
  • They be filled with God’s strength so they can endure whatever comes their way
  • They rejoice and give thanks
  • They grow in grace

 

Prayer is a mighty ministry that any believer can have—anytime, anywhere, in any circumstances. Don’t forget to focus your prayers on spiritual concerns. The spiritual condition of that person will determine how well she/he is able to cope with life’s issues, whether those issues are physical or emotional.

 

Need Some Encouragement?

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I had a few setbacks this week in my ongoing journey with my brain tumors so I was needing some encouragement. I went to my stack of index cards of  Bible verses. I don’t have a good memory so I write verses that are special to me on them so I can read them again and again. And thus renew my mind and put God’s truth in me.

Anyway, here are a few verses that spoke to me and I want to share them with you, in case you’re needing some encouragement as well.

 

Proverbs 24: 16: For though the righteous fall seven times they rise again.

Psalm 92:12: The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree.

Psalm 91: 2: I will say of the Lord. He is my refuge and my fortress: My God in him I trust.

Psalm 31: 15:  My times are in Your hands.

1st John 5: 4:  for everyone born of God overcomes this world.

 Luke 18: 1: One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.

 

So whatever you are facing today, pray about it; trust in God’s love for you; and never give up!

 

Writing Is My Ministry–What’s Yours?

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Psalm 138: 8a

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever– do not abandon the works of your hands.

 

Miriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines ministry as something used to achieve an end. That definition works for me. For a Christian, the end is glorifying God by adding to His kingdom, both in heaven and on earth. Some of us may think of ministries as church activities and only church activities. They include preaching, singing, teaching, and missionary work.

But this is a limiting view of ministry as far as I’m concerned. Any activity you choose to do on a regular basis that glorifies God in some way becomes your ministry.

If you grow a huge garden and share the food with others—that’s a ministry.

If you babysit for young parents so they can have a date—that’s a ministry.

If you volunteer at a school, a hospital, or whatever—that’s a ministry.

When you make a conscious choice to do something and do it for God’s glory, it becomes a ministry. Teaching in a public school can be your ministry if you do it in such a way to glorify God. Being a good neighbor can be your ministry. God gives each of us different passions and abilities and when we use them to glorify God, then that activity becomes a ministry.

I know some of you may disagree (and that’s OK). You feel that it’s only a legitimate ministry if it’s related to the church you attend, but good works are not limited to church activities. In fact, I would challenge you to say that more of us need to step out of the church building to find our ministry.

In fact good works are not limited by anything except your creativity and your passion. If you viewing writing as your ministry, it will affect your writing and your life. It will give you the power to say no to activities that will distract you from your purpose which is also God’s purpose.

Writing is my ministry–my gift to God. He’s not gifted me to be a great theological writer. Instead I tell stories. I tell stories that show Christian characters trying to do the best they can in whatever circumstances they find themselves. I write stories to entertain Christians and non-Christians alike, and in so doing bring glory to God.

It took me many years to get published by a traditional publisher. And during those years, I spent countless hours at my computer writing. Each hour spent made me a better writer. To spend those hours writing, I had to say no to other activities and you may need to do the same–no matter what your ministry is.

This may not be easy and some people will not take kindly to you when you refuse to volunteer for whatever the next event may be, especially if you’re a pre-published writer. Now, I’m not saying to not participate and volunteer for SOME things. Of course, you should, but you also need the freedom to say no when it’s appropriate so you can follow the dream God’s put on your heart.

So, I’d love to hear from some of you who’ve stepped out of the box. What’s your ministry?

The Circle Maker

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Luke 18:1

Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.  

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything. My husband and I were blessed to be able to spend a month at the beach in North Carolina so I took a break from my blogs as well while I was there. Then I needed a week to recuperate. Anyway, I’m back!  I’ve been reading The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. The book is about prayer–the kind of prayer that can change your life.

I’m only in chapter 8 and have already had a several revelations. One of which I’m going to share with you today and probably more to come.

In Luke 18, Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow. In a nutshell, she wants justice and she continues to bother the judge who couldn’t care less about her, God, or justice. But he finally gives her what she wants because she won’t stop bothering him.

Do you get it?

I surely didn’t, but I do now!

I’ve always felt like I shouldn’t bother God with the same requests over and over, especially requests that I consider on the selfish side, meaning prayers about me and my circumstances.  But Jesus is very clear–we should always pray and not give up!  I don’t know about you, but I think that’s wonderful news.

It gives me permission to keep praying about the same things over and over. How and When God chooses to answer my prayers is up to him, but in the meantime, I’m going to keep praying.

In fact, I’m asking all of you to form a prayer circle around a career opportunity I’m involved in. I’m not going to give the details right now, but I’m asking for your prayers for me to move forward in this opportunity and that I write the story God wants me to write.

If you have a prayer need you’d like to share with my readers and me, I’d love to pray for you as well.

 

 

Are You Dumber Than A Rock?

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Luke 19: 40

 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

I’m sure you’ve heard this insult before. I know I have. In fact, I admit to saying it a time or two–mostly about my dogs. I’m not quite sure how it happens but it seems at any given time I have a really smart dog and then a not so smart dog. And, of course, the smart dog makes the not so smart one look even dumber.

Anyway, what about you? Are you dumber than a rock?

Now, don’t go getting on your high horse? I ask you that not to insult you but to make you think. Luke recounts the triumphant scene when Jesus enters Jerusalem during Passover week.  The Pharisees tell Jesus  to rebuke his followers for praising him.

Jesus’s response was to say even if they are quiet, the stones will cry out. All of God’s creation  know that Jesus is the Son of God, even those dumb rocks!

So again I ask are you dumber than a rock or do you cry out your praises to the Son of God? Is he the Lord of your life? Is He the one that gives purpose to your life?

So many of us struggle with a wide variety of issues. Perhaps, like me, you’re suffering physically. Or you’ve lost a loved one. Or you’re disappointed and frustrated with how life is going for you. Your first response may be to say that praising God in your circumstances doesn’t make sense.

But you would be wrong.

God is God in good circumstances and bad. He is the Creator of all. He sent His only begotten Son so that we may have life everlasting! And for that alone He deserves our praises.

As Easter approaches, this is a great time to recommit to God.

PS. In full disclosure, I need to admit that the idea for this devotion is not mine, but comes from my brother’s sermon yesterday. Thanks Herb for the idea!