God’s Masterpiece

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Masterpiece

Sometimes I am sure that readers maybe get tired of my musical references, so I am giving everyone fair warning.  I heard another great song!  Masterpiece by Danny Gokey.

Side note: I hope you took the time to stop and listen to this song and somehow you were moved at what God has done and is doing and will do for you.

Monday Morning Blues

As I heard this song on a Monday morning struggling to get back into the grove after Spring Break, I was reminded of how much God loves me and the work he is continuously doing in and for me. “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21.  The song begins almost said with lines like:

Why I’m not fixed by now
Begged and I pleaded
Take this pain but I’m still bleeding

Heart trusts you for certain
Head says it’s not working
I’m stuck here still hurting

But then I hear the chorus and I realize that the struggles of just everyday living can seem like nothing is working, life is hurting, and prayers seem unanswered.  The chorus is the answer:

You’re making a masterpiece
You shaping the soul in me
You’re moving where I can’t see
And all I am is in your hands
You’re taking me all apart
Like it was your plan from the start
To finish your work of art for all to see you’re making a masterpiece

God the Artist

This causes me to celebrate the life I know he is still creating for me.  His handiwork is still moving in his plan for my life.  “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:3.  I know that all is well.  “To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1.   He is the great artist painting his great work.  ME!

I can not see the final product.  I can not see the one who will stand before God one day, but he does.  ” I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.

Guess I’m your canvas
Beautiful black and blue
Painted in mercy’s hue
I don’t see past this
You see me now
Who I’ll be then
There at the end
Standing there as

Your Masterpiece

Closing Verse:

Romans 8_28 (2)

Challenge:  Stop and see the Masterpiece that God is Creating in You.

Sunsets

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Easter Sunsets

The week after Easter this year is my Spring Break, and my husband and I were able to take a few days and enjoy the warm Florida sunshine and gulf coast beaches.  This is one of my happy places.  The best part is watching the sunset.  As the sun descents down into the gulf waters the colors and sites are like no other and I am sure there is a God.  “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11.  God shares beautiful sunsets to remind me of his majestic presences so I have no excuse but to turn my heart and mind back to relationship with him.  “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”  Psalms 145:5

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Knowing God Through a Sunset

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1: 19-20

Just as I watch the beauty of a sunset and am reminded of God, I am also reminded of his creation of the light out of darkness.  His handiwork not mine is what I see  in nature and in my own life.  “When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,” Proverbs 8:27.

I think if I am really honest the sunset does remind me of life and its shortness.  The sun will set.  The end will come.  I hope that I have left behind happiness and not strife.  This is my reminder when I see the sunset.  I am not promised tomorrow.  “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Proverbs 27:1.  Carpe Diem – Seize the Day!  Live for Christ today not tomorrow because we do not know what tomorrow brings.

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Anger and Sunsets

The reminder of how short life is comes this scripture that also reminds me to not hold onto grudges and anger – from Ephesians 4: 26-27, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”  Just one more reminder that sunset could be our last one so do not leave anything undone.  Do not let your angry and the devil win.  Make amends with others before the sunsets.  Live a life of Psalms 103:8, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

Closing Verse: “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!” Psalm 113:3
Challenge:  Prepare for the Sunset.

He Lives

Reflection and Fast

Today is Good Friday, the beginning of our Easter weekend and the culmination of Lent.  This has been a time of reflection and fast for many.  This time of year causes me to just pause and evaluate my life and relationship with Christ.  I choose to give up a little something to only slightly feel the impact of what Christ had to sacrifice for me.  His sacrifice is one that I alone can never match, but my walk here can be for him!  In the words of Paul found in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

Celebrate the Life of Jesus

My words will not be the words that should be typed or read this weekend.  Stop and read the resurrection story and celebrate the sacrifice and love Christ had for us all!  This story can be found:

Mark 16

Matthew 28

Luke 24

John 20

Each is story is  powerful and shares how much Christ loves each one of us.

Renewal

Easter is like a New Year.  I feel a sense of renewal.  A reminder of my walk and relationship and an opportunity to make it stronger.  Let the gospel work.  I pray you stop and read.  Stop and Listen

Closing Verse:  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:  25-26

Challenge:  Find time to reflect on Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Life Happens and God Draws Near

Brokenness

Coffee is brewing and the warm smell fills the room and I want to linger here in the presence of my Father.  He is calling me and I have not been listening.  I have been avoiding, living my own life, believing I was still in relationship with him only to find myself afraid, alone, and on my knees.  “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18.  I know I have not been listening, but God has my attention.  I know that he held my life before me and called me back to him.  I am here in your presence once again, not pretending to be whole, but broken and needy.  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  Psalm 147:3.  I am binding my wounds.

Self-Righteous

Who have I been?  I have been a selfish, self-righteous person, yet Romans 3:10 reads, “As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;”   I have not put others first, I have failed to not just be strong in myself, but allowed myself to wallow in self-pity.  I see all the ugliness inside of me.  Who did I think I was?  Did I feel I was better than others?  Did I forget to walk in others shoes?  How did I find my way back to this place?  I know I have allowed Satan a crack into my life and he encouraged me to think only about myself.  Why did God choose to bring me out of this pit?  I feel the weight of my selfishness lifting off of me as God is showing me my lack of relationship with him and begins to heal the brokenness.  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17.

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Broken Vessel

Walking along in my selfish life, I suddenly found myself in a situation that was like deja vu deep from my past.  Where did that ugly person come from?  This person that I thought was lost suddenly emerged like a monster from the dark.  Yet, probably not as suddenly as it seemed.  Recently, I have been a “Debbie Downer”.  I have been a self-righteous pompous person.  So finding myself selfishly raising my ugly head like a monster in the dark may have seemed sudden, but now I see that I was racing down a path of destruction. The humiliation means I want to hide, but I know that I have to move forward.  Although, the pain that comes with seeing my selfishness hurts deeply, it has been nothing like facing the emptiness where God should be in my life.  It is nothing like knowing he could choose to take my life with each breath, but has chosen to hold my beating heart in his hands.

My heart is broken because I have broken the most important person in my life.  I alone have created deep pain and sorrow that is hard to forgive.  I have hurt my husband deeply and that pain is like no other pain.  I imagine that the pain God has felt is much the same, watching his son hang upon the cross for my sins.   Words and sometimes even actions can not repair such damage, but I pray that our relationship can weather the storm.  Romans 5:1-5 promises me, “Father, we feel the burden of our sin, and it is exhausting to try and make ourselves whole.  Our hearts long for your presence.  We rejoice in our sufferings, know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”  I am a broken vessel… (a few lyrics from a powerful song)

Broken Vessels

You take our failures, You take our weakness
You set Your treasure in jars of clay
So take this heart Lord, I’ll be your vessel
The world to see Your life in me

Oh, I can see You now
Oh, I can see the love in Your eyes.
Laying Yourself down
Raising up the broken to life

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”  Corinthians 4:7

(1° Broken Vessels – 00:00 2° Touch The Sky – 09:32 3° Say The Word – 13:55 4° Heart Like Heaven – 18:19 5° Closer Than You Know – 24:49 6° Even When It Hurts – 33:34 7° Oceans – 39:52 8° Love Is War – 48:48 9° Captain – 56:05)

Worthy

As I contemplate my sin and move toward Christ, I realize that I am worthy in God’s eyes.  I feel God drawing near to me and feeling his strength now I can see where my focus should be.  First and foremost I need to focus on him and ensure he is the priority in my life.  “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  James 4:8.  So I seek his presence in prayer and in my daily walk.  I think of others before myself.  I smile so others might smile.  I seek the happiness in my life that is my choice and no one else.  I trust in God.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6.  I am focusing on my heart once again in order to put my Father first in my life.

My Worth Is Not What I Own 

Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed – my ransom paid
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer,
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul

Closing Verse: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Challenge:  Protect Your Heart.

Sometimes I Wonder Why?

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Why?

This past week I was reminded of God and how he works in my life.  I move through life and forget sometimes how much control he really has in my walk.  How he cares for me and others around me?  This week he reminded me once again of his presence in my life. “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” John 14:20.  I stood in a moment when I knew that God had been at work.

Skip it or not?

I have to honestly admit I was dreading something this past week.  The snow at the beginning of the week made it even more desirable to skip out on a promise I had made, but I knew I had given my word so I plunged forward.  I guess I felt my heart strings being pulled and did not even know why.  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.  That is the work I saw from the Lord this week.  He used everything to bring good not just into my life but to those around me.  I am not sure if those with me realized the impact but this day did not pass me by without knowing that God had been in full control and done his good work.

Where God is?

Now looking back from the other side and knowing that I almost did not go, I can see God’s full plan and the blessings he provided for me.   I thought I did not want to go, but now I know that I would not have missed it for the world.  What I thought I was going for had nothing to do with the lesson that God taught me that day.  Where was God?  He was in an unexpected place where I was not looking, yet he reminds me to look every where for him.  “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13.  Maybe it was a slap in the face to remember that I am to be seeking him, but when I fail like this past week he will seek me.  “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

Closing Verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own           understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

Challenge: Seek God first in all that you do, but know that he will seek you in a place you might least expect it.

Celebration in Heaven

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Saying Good Bye

Over the past week or so, I have watched the country say good-bye to a man who believed in the walk to Heaven.  He has preached to Louis Zamperini and was known as the Pastor to the Presidents, as he prayed and advised many.  He has loved so many people and so many have been touched by his passing.  Even as he made his last trip from Montreat, NC to Charlotte, NC, the roads were lined with so many people who needed to say goodbye.  I struggled to watch news report about him because for some reason losing him has brought forth in me so much emotion.  I did not know him or his family, but he was just a person who seems to easily connect with people – thousands and thousands of people.  This past Sunday night, I watch the short documentary and just cried, but I know that living or dead, Billy Graham belongs to God.  “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”  Romans 14:8.  It feels like the world has lost something good. Someone who found the good when there seems to be so much hate.  Rev. Billy Graham personally touched me at a trying time in my young life with his words, and for that I am thankful.

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Zola

In November of 1987, I said another goodbye that caused more pain than I had felt in my 19 years of life.  My grandmother, Zola Williams White, passed away.  She was such a role model for me, and I saw and knew her love for Christ.  What she and I failed to do was talk about death and her not being in my life one day. What would that be like?  I was a Sophomore in College, I needed to know where she was or if she was.  Seems strange to tell this story now, but back then without a laptop, smart phone, etc to do simple research, I began a journey to find some answers. “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”  Hebrews 11:6

(my grandmother)

Heaven

This journey began by finding Christian bookstores and visiting each looking for answers about Heaven.  I looked at so much material.  I read many, but we all  know that there is not really an answer to be found.  I have to stand in my faith just as she had done for some many years.  I know looking back she was not afraid, but where I found my comfort was in a book written by Rev. Billy Graham.  Facing Death and the Life After was published in 1987 released just about the time of her death.  I feel like it was written for me, and reading this book began a turning point for me to walk in faith after being so angry with God about losing her. I realized that Heaven is a place that Christ promised us while on Earth.  “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”  John 14:2.  I long to be there.

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Goodbye is not Forever

So watching the funeral and events leading up the funeral have been painful knowing that a great man of God is not among us anymore, but how happy heaven must be to have Billy Graham home.  One day I pray that I meet Billy Graham in heaven standing along side my grandmother who I know is loving both Christ and Billy today.  How do I know?  God’s Word Tells Me -“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Psalm 119″105.

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Closing Verse: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Challenge:  Christ is challenging us to follow him and walk by faith.

 

Shine to Serve

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Photo Created using Wordfoto

Winter Blues

Life is hectic and chaotic sometimes and I just plod along and forget that others are watching me.  They are watching me when things are awesome but more importantly when things are not awesome in my life. As the hectic part of this school year is pressing down on all educators, it is a great reminder for me to not let the winter blues block my bigger purpose and calling.  There is a time for everything and during this time it is important for me to take a pause in my life and remember not to let everything get to me so that others see all my frustration.  I need to be sure that I am not allowing this craziness to affect those close to me.

 

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.     Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

Re-Focus

I guess that God knew I needed a little re-adjustment in my life and He sent the above picture to me.  Although a great picture, it is the words that have pricked my heart.  What do others see in me?  Do they see someone grumbling?  complaining? exhausted?  or do they see God?  Right now, I am pretty sure others do not see God.  So God sent this picture to remind me that my focus is not on this life but on allowing others to see him so they can find their way home into His glory one day.  How do I adjust myself during this season?  I seek his Word.  “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16.

Shining for God

Scripture reminds me to shine my light for Christ because “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.  My light should lead others to Christ and then to God.  So during this season of winter, I realize that more than ever I must focus on shining my light for others.  The sun may not shine as bright and feel as warm, but I want my example of Christ to shine and warm others around me.

Serving Others

The last thing this quote reminds me is that I what I do is not for myself but to let God shine.  I should not be boasting about my service for the Lord.  I must remember that I serve him and everyone does not need to know because they will see Him in me.  “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:2.

Closing Verse: ‘Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12.’

Challenge:  I pray that might light will shine and help others find their light so that the world can find Christ.

Blessings

We pray for blessings 
We pray for peace 
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep 
We pray for healing, for prosperity 
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering 
All the while, You hear each spoken need 
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things 

Prayers

Funny how when life just seems crazy and full that a simple song will remind me to stop and get my priorities in order.  What is the best way to get my priorities in order than to find myself on my knees in prayer.  Prayer is one of those really personal times when I connect with my Father and share my life with Him.  I share both the blessings and the struggles.  I share my physical and emotional needs and for God to hear even the unspoken prayers in my heart.  As I listened to the song, I really began to think about my prayer life and my relationship with Him.  He promises to provide for all my needs, but sometimes I do not see my needs the way He does.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you

will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will

put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,

and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more

value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour

to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing?

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,

yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these…”

Matthew 6:  25-34

We pray for wisdom 
Your voice to hear 
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near 
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love 
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough 
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea 
And long that we’d have faith to believe 

Alone

I do pray for wisdom, but not just for me but those around me, for those leading me, and for those who are struggling to know and feel God in their lives.  Sometimes I feel like he is not near.  I feel abandoned and alone, yet I know that He is listening to my cries.  This is when my faith is tested.  I cling to the Word and its truths.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  John 1:1.  I read and remember the promises made in the Word.  I strengthen my faith, find my priorities, and feel his blessings by turning to prayer and His Word.  “But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops 
What if Your healing comes through tears 
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near 
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise 

Jesus, My Example

Remembering that he did not promise that our lives would be perfect and easy in this walk.  Jesus who is my example did not walk an easy road.  “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18.  As a Christian I have to look for the Lord in the trials, the tears, the raindrops, and even the sleepless nights. These are the times when I do need and feel him close to me.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

When friends betray us 
When darkness seems to win 
We know the pain reminds this heart 
That this is not, this is not our home 

Heaven

Even when the trials seem to be winning and the darkness in this world begins to cover my light, I long for my home resting in the arms of my Lord and Savior.  “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2.  I long for the peace that he will give me.  I long for the rest that will come when I walk along side him in heaven. ‘And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”’  Luke 23:43.

What if my greatest disappointments 
Or the aching of this life 
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy 
What if trials of this life 
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights 
Are your mercies in disguise

Blessings

The great reminder that this song, “Blessings” by Laura Story,  provides for me is found in Romans 8:28, ” And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  I believe that even the disappointments, the aches, and the hardest nights are providing me with a thirst for a life beyond this world by providing “mercies in disguise”.

Closing Verse:  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  2 Timothy 4:7.

Challenge:  Get your priorities straight and seek the Lord.

 

Loss of Innocence

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Loss of Innocence: 

Today is Valentine’s Day and a day that should be filled with loving those you have been blessed to live life with,  but I sit and watch the sadness of another school shooting.  Deep down in my soul I ache and cry for the innocent lives lost and the innocent lives scarred once again.  As a public school educator, my heart is breaking.  I hold the tears back and just wish that I could make the world a better place for every child.  I look back on this year and the loss of two young lives in my community who chose to take their own life to end the pain deep in their soul that could not be filled.  I find myself once again praying hard for the students that I love each day who just need someone to say good morning, call their name, and make them feel important, put clothes on their back, and food in their bellies.  I pray as 1 Thessalonians 5:17 teaches, “Pray without ceasing,”  God has blessed me with  the privilege of watching children struggle and bloom, yet either way I walk in a world where children just have different lives.  I ask the questions Why?  But I already know the answers.

Loving thru the Darkness:

I watch the news coverage of the shooting, and again I ask Why?  Why God is there so much darkness in the world?  Then I remember that Man made the choice that brought sin into this world, and no one is immune from the darkness and pain that sin brings not even an innocent child.  Genesis 2:17 explains, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”  It is hard, so hard to watch the lives of so many children, and it is hard to accept the loss of young lives cut so short in their prime.  To know their dreams, their families dreams are shattered in one brief moment, yet I feel so blessed each day to go to work and serve children.  My prayer has always been that I am a catalyst that brings some hope, love, and joy to their lives.  I pray to God that I am an example of your love for these children you have placed in my life and that I am able to touch their lives each day, each month, each year.  As 1 John 2:6 reads, “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” May my walk show Christ.

Walking in the Light

“Walking in the light may sting a little, but it is far preferable to life in the dark.  And on top of that, it is the only way to healing.”   -Jared Wilson.  I read this quote at church on Sunday morning and it just resonated with me.  I have been searching the scriptures this week and seeking the light in the darkness of our world because scripture is clear in 1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”  To walk in the light is to walk with the Lord.  God’s light is the one true light that can bring healing into my life, my students lives, and our world.  A world that is hurting and in need of so much healing light.  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”Psalm 147:3.  I know that seeking the light will bring healing in the darkness.   2 Corinthians 4:6, ‘For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.’

Following the Light.

When my heart is broken from the darkness of the world, I seek healing in the light and I find comfort in his word.  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Psalm 119:105.  These words of light written so long ago in such a different time, but yet so relevant today because God knew that the darkness would never leave and his people would need to continue to seek the light.  Comfort is what his word brings to my life.  I pray for a country that will heal in the words of 2 Corinthians  1:3-4 and bring comfort to others, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”  I pray that I can bring comfort into the world or at least the lives of the children I love each day.  Ephesians 5:8, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

Closing Verse:  ‘Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”‘ John 8:12

Challenge:  Do you find yourself in the darkness?  Does the pain of the world seem hard?  Seek the light of Christ for your life, so you can Be the Light for someone else who needs to find their way out of the darkness.

 

Odd Man Out

Feeling Excluded

Recently, I had that feeling that I was the odd man out.  That feeling that everything happened around you but you failed to see it and be included.  I admit that I felt a little pain in my heart, but I look to see what God is teaching me from this moment in my life, and what is to be learned. God has felt this isolation from his people.  Jeremiah 2: 1-5 tells this story,

” The word of the LORD came to me, saying,  “Go and proclaim in the

hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD, “I remember the devotion of your

youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land

not sown.  Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest. All who

ate of it incurred guilt; disaster came upon them, declares the LORD.” Hear the

word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel.

Thus says the LORD:  “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went

far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?”

I pray to seek the devotion of my Father and not the devotion that always let me down.  God will never let me down, and this is the lesson to be learned.  I return to my relationship with my Father where I am safe and find his full love and devotion because he loved me enough to save me from myself – my sin.  “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”, Romans 5:8.

Learning from Exclusion

The empty feeling that I had during and even after this experience eats at my heart.  Why?  I continue to ask myself why did I believe and trust in man over my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Deep down I know it was not intentional, so I have to stop myself and realize something even deeper.  When have I done this to others?  Have I made someone feel excluded?  Did I put myself before others so much that I overlooked someone around me and their feelings.  I remember the words in Philippians 2: 3-4, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  I know that my hurt is just a result of the hurt I have given others around me.  So as my own heart is aching, I realize that I must love others.  I must live the words of John 13: 34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

The Lesson

As I study his word and search for his lesson, I begin to wonder if this experience where I found hurt was really God showing me how to be a Christian.  How to separate myself?  How to be an example in a world that is different from me?  Sometimes standing alone is what Christians are called to do and that is ok.  “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”  1 Peter 4:16.  So even as I rise from this lesson stronger and I pray with eyes opened more to the world around me, may I know I have received the ultimate gift from God in a Savior, Jesus Christ.  ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16.

Closing Verse:  When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.  Psalm 34:17-20.

Challenge:  Cry out to the Lord when you are walking a path of troubles and the Lord will listen, teach, deliver, and love you.

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