Children of God

Today’s Reading: 1 John 3:1-3

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

We are blessed to have three beautiful children.  Jackson, Marshall, and Gianna.  Just 5 weeks since the birth of Gianna I can still pause and reflect on the amazing gift of birth.  Yet, no matter my love for them, it doesn’t compare to our verses today. I’m reminded about the love of our Father. reading our verses today reminds me of the love from our Father.  He loves us and our children more than we can imagine, inviting us into His family forever.  Just like when I paused to remember the birth of our children it’s more important to pause and land of the fact that we are part of God’s family. He’s adopted us  How amazing is that?  Our children, our siblings, our parents.  No matter our last names, origins, or any other family dynamic we are members of God’s family.  Amen!

Ephesians 1: 4-7 says  4 even as He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us[b] for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 

Often people will say we are  images of our parents, or our children have various characteristics that are similar to our caregivers. Actually,  we are reflections of our Heavenly Father.  We are reflections of our Father now, and we always will be.  This is something we should be growing towards each day.  It’s not easy. Our Christian life is a journey of growing more Christlike daily.

I remember running away from home when I was younger, I remember times when I didn’t want to come home when I was out doing my own things, I remember even times when I didn’t claim my family.  I was set on the world and the lies it can bring making you believe you can do it all on our own.  The truth is we have a Father.  A Father who loves us before we knew ourselves, who loves us now more than we can ever imagine.  A Father who calls us His own. One day we will come face-to-face with our Lord.  What an amazing day this will be.

Philippians 3:20-21  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

This Hillsong Worship song reminds me of our verses today. Enjoy!

Who am I that the highest King
Would welcome me
I was lost but He brought me in
Oh His love for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

Free at last He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin
Jesus died for me
Yes He died for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

 

Yes I am!

Thoughts and Prayers

It’s always a wonderful blessing to wake up and read back over God’s Living Word that we have available to us at any moment.  Going back through and looking at  scripture through the lens of God’s character  has been a reminder how amazing and gracious our Lord is.  Today, we get to reflect on His character in one of my favorite verses from Paul in Philippians 4.

As we read through these scriptures I try to use the S.O.A.P. acronym to read through scripture and apply it to my present life.  S= Scripture Writing down a verse or two that really stands out to you today.  O=Observation What are observations about what you read? What do you think God is saying to you?        A = Application Personalize what you have read by seeing how it applies to your life right now. P = Prayer write down a personal message from you to God based on what you just read and ask Him to help you apply this truth to your life.

Let’s give it a try.

Today’s reading: Philippians 4:4-9

4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.  6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Amen…As a new father of our 3rd child, a husband trying to juggle various needs for our household, a principal getting ready to start the school year,  I caught myself up most the night last night thinking about being a being a better husband a more supportive father, being a better son, being a better brother, being a more involved small group leader, being a more engaged mentor, being a closer friend, being a more helpful neighbor, being a dedicated student starting once again back to ISU…  There was definitely moments of rejoice about how the Lord can get you right where He wants you, but in all honestly there was more time questioning, concerns, wondering how I will do it? Worry about what it will look like? How do we get the kids from fighting? How can I put less stress on Jennifer? Then in the early hours of the morning,  I thought back to these verses for today. The truth is I can’t… but HE can.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank God for all He has done. God is listening. Instead of staying up wondering about future circumstances that haven’t even happened,  I should give it to God.  God gives us peace

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

John 14:27 I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

What reassurance.  When we are not at peace we can be in the opposite world of worry.  Not very fun.  A mind divided between God’s promises and our own destructive thoughts about how we plan to attempt to do it all and control all situations.  I can’t, we can’t allow our own thoughts put the Word of God to the side. Jesus is enough.  This reminder was shared once again with me this past Sunday by Jordan Rice as he preached on Joshua 21. Listen to this great sermon here. Kingdom Under Construction

1 Peter 2:9  But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

Psalm 55:22 Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

In verse 8 God tells us how we should think instead. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 

What would it look like if we fixed our thoughts on these six guidelines today? When we put these guidelines into practice our God of peace will be with us.

As Jordan said this week.  “Until God is enough, nothing else will ever be.”

Dear Father, I know you have a perfect plan for our lives. You transform us from the inside out and only from my own selfish desires do I lose sight of your promises.  When we follow your commands, trust in You,  You are enough! You are always with us, listening, waiting, providing the Peace that only you can provide in this world.  We love you.  Amen.

Praying for Peace today.

Living Faith

It’s been 10 days since the birth of our daughter Gianna Linn LaFrance.  At times, it can feel like it was yesterday. The miracle of birth is a true blessing.  So I wanted to find a way to connect today’s passage to her birth. In readings today’s passage of James 2:14-20  we get a chance to take a closer look at our faith.  What a great reflection for ourselves and for our children. Is it living or dead? Let’s read the scripture together.

Faith without Good Deeds Is Dead
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

When I first read these verses by James I think about the amazing “Faith & Work” that was created by Charlie Welke and other amazing young adults at Eastview.  Here you can find some amazing testimonies and more to encourage, remind, and highlight this journey of Faith & Work(click to hear more)

Throughout the book of James and in our verses today, James offers a series of tests we can take in order to take a pulse on our faith. It is like 2 Corinthians 13:5 where we are asked as followers of God, to test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine self.   So today, with myself and our children in mind I’d like to think of it as a test, and a prayer for what God is doing and what He can do when our faith is alive.  Back in James chapter 1:2-13 James we looked at tests under trial.  How are we responding in these trials? Am I controlled by my circumstances? ( Living or Dead Faith? ) Next up in James 1 we looked at testing with temptations.  Where do I place the blame? (Living or Dead? ) Beginning in James 2 we looked at testing of how we treat the poor and needy. What are our responses? How do we show love? (Living or Dead Faith? )

Now, here in James 2:14-20 is the test of works.  Is there righteous actions? Righteous behaviors? Are we obedient to His Living Word? How am I truly living? How do I pray for others to be living? (Living or Dead Faith? )

After taking these tests, I can only put my head down and hands up while turning to prayer.  I ask for forgiveness because I know many times I can have the words, and fall short in faith. (Dead) The wonderful news is how Jesus transforms us and He is always at work on our hearts and souls. Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that we are his workmanship, created in Christ for good works.

My prayer for us, for our families, for my 3 children including 10 day old Gianna, is that we have a Living Faith! One that doesn’t change with our circumstances, that in all trials we face we have a faith that we are never alone.  We give it all to God. That in our temptations and desires of this world now let alone what our children face – we battle.  We put on God’s full armor, placing no blame on Him, allowing His perfect plan to take place.  I pray we recognize and take action for those in need. That our actions and words  are full of love and without judgement.  Romans 2:6 says He will render to each one according to his works.

God, I pray that in every day you give us we have a Living Faith,  a faith that transforms us in all that we do.  In our thoughts, words, and actions glorify you, and reflect a Living Faith that you have tested us on here in James.  Our lives won’t be marked by the day we were born, or the day we die, but by a Living Faith that shines for you.  Amen

Have a blessed day.

 

The Parable of the Wicked Farmers

Today’s Readings: Matthew 21:33-44, Mark 12:1-11, Luke 20:9-19, and Psalm 131

As we look at the Parable of the Wicked Farmers (Tenants) found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke I’m reminded of the meaningfulness used in all of the parables by Jesus.  These parables were used to tell a story to the listeners that would connect to their hearts and souls. This parable as well as the story of the two sons from yesterday connect when Jesus is being questioned.  A story that would connect with the crowds current lives as well as our present day.  The difference in this next parable is its direct pointedness to the priests, Pharisees, and religious leaders that had stopped him to question who he was and questioning his authority. This all came after Jesus called them out on their hypocrisy.

In Jesus’s last week of life on earth, Jesus had just entered the temple and had turned things upside-down. (literally)  He was upset and saddened by what they were doing. The high priests and religious leaders had just asked Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things?” After sharing one parable about the Two Sons, Jesus shares His second of three parables in this questioning of His authority.  Jesus paints a picture to those that have gathered to hear him preach.  One that they would all relate to at that time.  Verse 33 a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a wall around it, dug the winepress, and built a watchtower.  This illustration in 33 shows the landowner taking care of self and others by building the vineyard, he protected the vineyard by hedging around it, then added a winepress that would turn their grapes into grape juice, then finally a tower which would have multiple purposes.  It would provide security, shelter, and a place for storage.    The stage is set for Jesus to tell about three servants sent by the landowner to receive his portions from the land given to the farmers. What happens to the three servants sent?…beaten, killed, and stoned. All dead. After each death the landowner showed grace that in sending his next servant the belief was they would repent and give back the fruits provided for them.  Lastly, the farmer sends his own son.  Sound familiar… His own son to collect the fruit.  What do they farmers do? They plot and murder him in hopes they would then be given the inheritance.  In verse 40 Jesus then asks those questioning his authority, “When the owner of the vineyard returns,” Jesus asked, “what do you think he will do to those farmers?” 

Their response and Jesus’s response varies.  The high priests respond with judgement and replacement, where Jesus asks first if they have ever read the scriptures. (ouch)

‘The stone that the builders rejected
    has now become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing,
    and it is wonderful to see.’43 I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. 44 Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.

The priests knew they were just called out and were upset.  In reality they would have been better to repent.  Their eyes and ears were not open to this parable.  The Psalm surely song a couple days earlier as Jesus entered the town. Psalm 118:22-23 says The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. 23 This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.

What does the parable mean for us?  I think of the vineyard is where we are at now.  If you have a chance read the connection to Isaiah 5 God’s people are His Vineyard. We are in a place where we hear Him, produce fruit for Him, and respond to Him when he calls on us.  How are we responding? How are we doing with the vineyard he has put us in to produce fruit? It’s amazing to think that one day God will be sending His son once again to see how we have done? Will we be ready to hand everything over or standing with those who have rejected Him? My prayer is for us all to be praising Him together standing with handfuls of fruit, giving Him everything we have.  That as we stand in our vineyard our and build cornerstone of the tower we call home is the foundation of Christ.

God has chosen us to be the living cornerstone’s for Christ, what an amazing blessing.

1 Peter 2:4 says 4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.

Resources

Tysdale Life Application Bible

Grace To You –

 

 

 

Acrostic Poem

Good Tuesday Morning Bible Journal Family,

At first when I was looking over our reading for the day I was excited to read about the opportunity to read and reflect on the amazing invite to a great feast provided by our Lord in Luke 14:16-24.  After all, I love meals. There are a few messages being shared as we chew on these few verses.  First we can see that this invite is for us all.  Second, the meal provided will leave us permanently filled and never thirsty.

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Third, Jesus wants us to come now with no excuses. As a previous expert in excuses, I can think of times where I resist or delay this call by God with my own actions.  I can’t put this invite off for another day or make up another excuse.  These last couple weeks I have had personal friends who have lost loved ones and celebrated their life.  in addition, I’ve had a few former students lose their lives based on various situations.  In addition to children to others pass away. Reminding me that I need to be grateful for every breath, but keep faith that God has a plan for everything and everyone.

Our 2nd reading is called an acrostic poem, the longest psalm and longest chapter in the bible. Twenty-two sections containing eight verses a piece.   The acrostic part is that in each section of Psalm 119 a new letter to the Hebrew Alphabet is taught starting with Aleph and ending with Taw.  Various bible studies say that this Psalm would allow many to memorize with this type of formation.  To me I love the celebration of the word of the Lord, and a direction for us to follow.  A few of my highlighted words that provide me with hope, trust, guidance, and love include; who walk, who keep, seek Him,  praise, obey, rejoice, meditate, and delight.

Dear God,

Your words have opened my eyes (v.18), they have filled a longing in my heart for a Father and a unconditional love, they have taught me to turn my heart not from selfish gain (v.26,36), but to a promise of hope (v.41,49). Before I was afflicted I was astray, but now I try and pray to obey your commands (v. 67-68). I know His law are righteous and His Living Word is eternal, continuing through all generations(v.89-90).  Your commands are always with me and they provide a lamp to my feet and light to my path.  I pray my heart stays set on keeping your decrees until my very end(v105,112).  Let me live so I can praise you, and may Your laws sustain me. I have strayed like lost sheep. God please seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands, and I know you are the Good Shepherd(v.175-176).

Amen

Bread Winners

Today’s Reading: Matthew 13:33, Luke 13:20-21, and Psalm 107

Matthew 33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Luke 20 Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? 21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Influence. Have you ever really thought about the influence you have throughout the day? Your family, neighbors, co-workers, friends, community? These influences can come in the shape of a simple hug, smile, phone call, or word of encouragement.  All small gestures can have great influences.   You see we never know what may be going on that day with the other person you give this gesture to.   A Christ-like gesture can make a difference like Jesus’s parable about yeast to dough,  you can change a persons day.

As I look at this picture of making dough I’m reminded of how God is shaping us, kneading us, and watching as we rise to a closer and more intimate relationship with Him.  I think about small kingdom words or expressions I could use in my everyday moments.  Maybe the gesture of praying with someone, praising God in song, or maybe recognizing fruits of the spirit being acted out by others.  These positive moments that model our Father can influence like the yeast that starts out small in dough, but spreads throughout.

Our Father is building His Kingdom always.  We always have influence.  I was reminded by a friend this morning that we are called to influence.  That in Romans 8:12 we have an obligation not to the flesh, but to the spirit.

Yeast is used in both good and bad contexts in the bible.  Yeast can spread corruption as we are reminded in Galatians 5:9 or 1 Corinthians 5:6 or it can also be for building His Kingdom. The kingdom is promised to those rich in faith and who love Him. James 2:5,

What will you do with the yeast you provide today? 

Colossians 4-5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Dear Father,

Thank you for your parables that you speak into us through your living word.  Just like we have had others speak into us, help us today to be an ambassador for you.  Let our grace, kindness, encouragement, and love for others point back to you God.  We are grateful for each day we get to praise you and pray for us all to continue to draw closer to you each day.  Amen

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, His love endures forever.  Psalm 107:1

Light of the World

So Jennifer has asked me now for a few days when I plan to change the bulbs that have been out in our house for the last couple weeks. Whether its in our room or in the kitchen I’m sure the darkness cast on these places has made a difference. Same with our life, whether its replacing a bulb, flicking the switch, or maybe you just forgot to plug something in; being in darkness makes a difference. In the dark you can lose sight of some of the detail. For example you may grab two different color socks or papers can build up on the kitchen counter because there is a darkness cast on that part of the counter. That is the same in our life. When there is darkness sin has space to slide in. Things build up without being noticed. What a difference it makes when His light is cast upon us. What a difference it will make when I put in the bulbs this week. 🙂

Jesus said,
14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

And just like the difference it will make of putting those new bulbs in, Jesus said, “We are the light.” In the midst of seasons or circumstances, are we like the bulbs I needed to replace? Do we still shine bright in the midst of our busyness? Are we shining bright when faced with adversity?

Here is our reminder for this Tuesday. By His grace we have been given an eternal kingdom, a Living Word that is breathed by Him. Isn’t it great to know we have a Father that cares more for us then anyone! He willingly sent his own son to live a perfect life and provide us with an example of the light we should be shining for others today. I’m praying our 811 readers are reading today and understand the light you are able to shine on others today. That no matter our current circumstance, God has great plans for us! That on this short term camp out here on Earth we have the opportunity to share this light with others who are still living in darkness. Think of the difference we can make in our workplace, neighborhood, community. Praise God!

Let His light shine today through you.  If you need a new bulb, put it in! If the switch needs to be hit, do it.  Praise God!

This weekend I had the opportunity to share a life verse with my son Jackson as he moves over to the next Sunday school classroom. It was Joshua 1:9.

9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Dear God,

You brought us out of the dark.  You gave us light and asked us to share this good news with other so they can see to.  God help it not to be our words but yours.  God we love you and ask for your support and guidance we need in holding Your name high and sharing,  so all can hear, see, and be part of Your kingdom one day.

Today’s Readings: Matthew 5:14-16
Psalm 95
Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our Salvation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=8RpLB7bAlYc

Shine Bright Today!

Judging Others

Matthew 7:1-5 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. 3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

Growing up I had a fear of being judged, in being honest, I can find myself slipping down this road again at times.  Why do we do this? For myself, growing up what I saw as, various obstacles, made me think our family was different.  Parents with multiple failed marriages, addictions to alcohol or drugs, abuse, and to top it off being very poor. My mind or heart as a child was not set on a richness in being content in the Lord, but on a worldly expectation of keeping up with others or appearing to have it all figured out. I worried (worry) what others thought about me and/or my family? (Thank you Lynden for a great reflection on not worrying. )

When I was younger, if people knew what happened in my house, what would they think? How would they look at me?  Would they even like me? In my head the answer was no. So what did I do? I became a master of pointing out what others where doing wrong. Sadly at times, made fun of others.  I was judging others and pointing out others shortcomings trying to get the spotlight off my dysfunctional family and self. I was tearing down others to try to build myself up.  How sad….  I’m sorry for my insecurities and have prayed many prayers of apology whole heartedly for my lack of understanding of our real judge.  My hurting of others through my words or actions caused genuine pain, while honestly looking in the mirror caused more?

So what does this scripture mean? Why do I share that sad story of an insecure young man?  Because the struggle can be real for many. We have fear of any kind of failure, and when we do mess up it’s a lot easier to call out others to get the magnifying glass of ourselves.

I have really loved digging into various scriptures on not judging others.  Knowing that we have but one Father, one Judge, one that has put us in His perfect place allowing us to trust Him. He pulled me out of a selfish pit and helps me to share my story.  As we have said the phrase before audience of 1.

Here are some scriptures that can help you to walk a mile in anyone else’s shoes.  That can help us to see others like God sees each of us.

Luke 6:37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.

1 Corinthians 4:3 As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. 4 My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.

Jesus is telling us to examine our own motives and actions. What we tend to call out in others is often what we need to reflect on ourselves.  The world teaches us to judge people by their appearance. But God doesn’t judge people by how they look — and neither should we.

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.”

2 Timothy 4:8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.

33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!

Dear Father,

You know our hearts.  Continue to due open heart surgery to help to know, trust, and show your love to all others.  God please remind us of you being the only judge and for us to first seek your kingdom in everything we do.  God we can’t do this, the world pulls us many directions.  But you can! Your wisdom, knowledge, and love blankets us. Thank you Lord for being our one true judge.  Amen

Psalm 119:66 
I believe in your commands; now teach me good judgment and knowledge.

Today’s Reading Matthew 7:1-5, Psalm 83

Heartfelt or Hypocrite

I have a desk in our unfinished basement tucked away in the corner just out of the way of most flying balls or pucks. This is a usual spot for reflection and prayer. At my desk, dinner table, bed, car, school or church how are my prayers? In the longest recorded sermon given by Jesus, He describes the traits He was looking for His followers.  Jesus requires consistent heartfelt prayer.  He is not looking for a series of words but a true confession of the heart.  This confession can be anything, because He already knows.

Matthew 6:8 says, “Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”

As I reflect on my various daily prayers there are times when I read this verse I pause to think am I always honest and sincere? At times do I babble? Do I take for granite the fact that God is right there listening to every prayer.  Even the dinner prayers were I’m attempting to keep the boys from calling each other out for having their eyes open.   I believe as our relationship with God grows closer so does our prayer life .  We are reminded that our Father who is mentioned 17 times in the Sermon on the Mount knows what is truly on our hearts.  My flesh side of my self can be at times fearful, while at opposite times it can be full of pride.  This lacks the closeness and the honest heartfelt prayers our Father desires.

Pastor Mike Baker a couple weeks ago shared four prayer killers that can take away from a sincere closeness to my Heavenly Father.

  1. Not abiding in God or His word ( John 15:7 )
  2. Not asking ( James 4:2)
  3. Not believing what you’re asking for ( James 1:6 )
  4. Not asking with the right motives ( James 4:3)

Which one of these can get in my way of the genuine one on one intimacy God desires no matter my location or circumstance?

Today’s Reading Matthew 6:8, Psalm 71

Dear Father, You know our hearts, minds, and soul.  I ask that you help us to not let any of these prayer distractions get in the way of a closeness with you.  God we don’t deserve this amazing promise and grace but it’s not about us, its about you.  You hear all our prayers, you answer them all according to your perfect timing.  Thank you for your love that only our eternal Father can give.  I pray to always be open and honest with you admitting that I need you always.  Jesus, we come to you with our hearts wide open.  Help us to share the truth you already know, asking to come into our hearts and trust a promise you already gave us through your son Jesus.  We love you. Amen

Psalm 71:5 For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.

Psalm 71: 18 Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all that are to come.

Salt Life

SALT

• Adds Flavor to Life,

• Purifies Set apart,

• Preserves  the souls of man for the Kingdom of God

Good Morning,

Today we get a chance to look at Matthew 5:13-16. The Salt Life image that we see on cars or shirts is imprinted my brain. Verse 13 says how we are the salt of the earth. A couple characteristics of salt that can be seen as a parallel to our Christian life includes the ability to make me thirst.   Last week as I battled a cold and went to the good ole’ gargling of salt water,  it made me thirst.  That even as I poured the salt into liquid it never lost its saltiness.  As we are living in this world do we lose our flavor? As we are watered down by worldly pressures do we keep our saltiness  in every part of our life? Colossians 4:6  says Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. 

Salt also adds seasoning. It makes a better taste. Does the flavor of being a Christian make others come back for seconds? Seasoning brings out the best flavor of our foods.  Do we bring out our best and point it all back to God?

 

I have learned I can’t always control the circumstances I face, but I am the keeper of my “saltiness.” Will I be bitter, broken down or better and making a difference? Less seasoned or more flavorful? When God comes back, what good am I if I’ve lost my flavoring?

 

Light of the World

If we all understand that the light of the world is God we will be able to see. Matthew 5:14-16 what living for Christ is like. That God’s light should be in full display in our hearts, minds, works and actions. That as we let our light shine others will see the reality of God in us.   God’s light will guide us as we speak to Him and for Him. God’s light will shine when we are trying to avoid a situation.  Let’s not let sin dim our light.  Let’s not put our light to the side when others need to see.

Ephesians 5:8 says For you were once darkness, but now you are the light of the world. Live as children of the light.

Have a blessed day being the salt and the light.

Today’s Readings: Matthew 5:13-16, Psalm 59

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; you are my fortress , my refuge in times of trouble.