Addiction is a Worship Problem

Addiction

As I work my way through a devotion on self image, one morning this line just stuck with me Addiction is a Worship problem. Suddenly I realize that it really is a worship problem for me because I fail to allow Christ and worshipping him to become my addiction in life. If I could center on him then all would probably fall into alignment in my life the way God desires for me. It should be embarrassing to type such lines because devoting to him should be so easy, but I know that this life turns me away from him so easily each day. Scripture assures me that God will not tempt me without providing a means to escape from the worldly temptation , yet I fail regularly to become totally addicted to Him. “ No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Temptation

This leads me to wonder where temptation and addiction comes from because deep down I do not want to believe it is my sinful nature, but scripture once again shows me my weakness. ‘But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” James 1:14. The realization of the first sin burns deep within me and it is a fight that I can only hope to win with Christ by my side. “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—“ Romans 5:12. As the devil prowls the earth filled with sinful men, I must be cautious of how he uses my eyes, my words, my hands, my whole being to be tempted towards addictions that are not Worshipping my Savior. “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:16. And “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8.

Worship

What I have learned is that I need to worship God more! I need to focus on my relationship with Christ more deeply and let this desire and love overcome any addiction that the world puts before me. “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” James 1:12-15. God is not tempting me but the world is and I must put on my shield of faith and protect my soul. “ In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;” Ephesians 6:16. Protecting myself for the return of my savior and the hour of great worship and exaltation upon his return. I want my addiction to be strong when he returns. “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4: 23-24.

Worshipping with Christ

I am preparing to worship one day with my savior just as God has promised. I am preparing for the greatest worship service of all where I will proclaim Christ and he will know my name. “Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! …” Psalm 150: 1-6.

Closing Verse: “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” John 4:23.

Challenge: Do you have a Worship problem? Check on your addictions.

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There Is A Man I Admire

And that Man is Jesus.  

My heart is filled with so much hope and love.  I can walk day to day knowing that Jesus is by my side.  When I read of his life, I wonder how I get to have the life I have and Jesus had to sacrifice so much.  He loved, yet was betrayed by his own people.  “And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”” Matthew 26:21.  He trusted, yet those close turned against him.  With all of this he still forgave and opened the door for mankind to walk into the presence of this Father one day cleansed by his blood.  Why?  That is a deep and longing love for man.  “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.   That is a heart that I long for to walk like Jesus.  Jesus walked the earth among the sinners he loved and always searched for the good.  He taught us to find the good in others and to love others just as Christ has loved us. One of my favorite stories of Jesus’s love is found In John 8:1-11. 

but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

John 8:1-11.

I love that Jesus showed true forgiveness in this story and such an example for us all.  

Finding Jesus 

Finding Jesus in man today can be hard.  We are a self-centered people, who long to be right, be better than others, and find fault.  We protect ourselves from our own lives no matter the cost.  This is a hard world to live in and find Jesus.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, “ Romans 3:23.  Sometimes it seems like genuine Christians are few and far between.  Christians forget who they are and what they stand for sometimes as we walk through this secular world of sin.  God warns us of this world. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:15-16.  Yet, even I find myself sometimes lost in the sins of this world.  It can be very confusing to watch Christians live in this world today.  I encourage us all to guard our hearts.  “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” Psalm 119:37.

There is a Man I Admire

I do live with a man that I see Jesus in everyday.  He loves, forgives, and challenges me to be a better person.  He has been filled with so much pain, yet smiles and lives life to the fullest each day.  Sometimes I wonder how so many people around him can cause so much hurt and leave so much pain.  “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24.  I know Christ died for their sins just as he died for mine, so I pray.  I pray for healing, I pray for answers, I pray for forgiveness – I Just Pray!.  “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24.  Jesus left us with a new commandment and my husband lives this commandment each day.  I am challenged to do the same by watching his example.  Love your neighbor.  “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. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13: 34-35.

Closing Verse:  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

Challenge:  Seek to be like Jesus and not the world.

#Count Your Blessings

#CountYourBlessings2019

This week as hate poured from so many before even knowing the facts, I found myself looking into the tears that filled Bret Bair’s eyes. He was in an automobile accident this past weekend and took the time to remind us all what is really important and that is life. After a weekend of a pro-life march that turned to hate all towards our children, Bret caused me to stop and choose love. I love my own children. I have been blessed with two daughters who are strong and independent, but I adore. I love the students I have taught in the past and know that I have seen a glimpse into our future. So I pause and count my blessings because choosing this to be viral is a better show of God’s Love than choosing hate. I remember I wrote a blog post a few years ago about the song, Count Your Blessings, so I am reposting today. Let’s all stop and Count our Blessings before we reach for hate lets choose love.

Repost – Count Your Blessings

I haven’t spent as much time in the car listening to the radio this summer and since I have been working this past week once again my drive includes listening to KLove.  I have these moments when listening to music sometimes and it goes like this, What is the name of this song?  Who sings this song?  I really love the message of this song!  I need to Shazam this song?  So today I am sharing a new song for me and the impact while driving to work as I thought about the meaning. Count Your BlessingRend Collective I was blind, now I’m seeing in color

I was dead, now I’m living forever

I had failed, but you were my redeemer

I’ve been blessed beyond all measure 

Blessed

If there is one thing I have fully determined this summer, it is that I am blessed.  God has given me the time to disconnect from the world and focus on Him and what he has given me.  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  James 1:17.  I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters who are hard working and independent.  I have been blessed with a loving husband who has loved me now over 30 years with all my faults and failures.  I have been blessed with a career that touches children and (I pray) I have changed some of their lives.  God is Good, but this summer He asked me to really look and appreciate the beauty he created and blessed me with.  Although, I understand the words I was blind and now I see in color as being saved, the past month showed me that color in 3D.  I really see the colors now, Lord.  I see what is important.  I am living and want to continue to live both here and forever with you.  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,” 1 Peter 5:6. 

Treasure 

I was lost, now I’m found by the father

I’ve been changed from a ruin to treasure

I’ve been given a hope and a future

I’ve been blessed beyond all measureI am counting every blessing, counting every blessing

Letting go and trusting when I cannot see

I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing

Surely every season you are good to meOh, you are good to me

Oh, you are good to me God is showing me the treasures he has stored up for me.  “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.” Luke 12:33.  I want to focus more on trying to live out this verse.  Sell, share, and live with less in order to experience God more.  He is allowing me to taste heaven here on earth, and I am thirsty for more.  I want to experience more of his beauty and grace.  I want to not just count my blessing but enjoy my blessings.  I want to enjoy a future that is full of both my Father in heaven and my remaining days here on earth.   Luke 12:34 states it best, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” 

Strength

You were there in the valley of shadows

You were there in the depth of my sorrows

You’re my strength, my hope for tomorrow

I’ve been blessed beyond all measureI am counting every blessing, counting every blessing

Letting go and trusting when I cannot see

I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing

Surely every season you are good to meOh, you are good to me

Oh, you are good to me I have walked through valleys and across mountain tops and I know that my life will be filled with both.  Yet, I have hope in God’s strength, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13.  As I walk through the life God is giving me and count the many blessings, I know that I continue to need his strength to make the decisions and walk his path.  I know that the only strength I can rely on is that which the Lord provides.  Driving and listening to this song, I feel my Lord’s strength which I will need and promised to me in  1 Chronicles 16:11, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” Surely your goodness pursues me

Surely your heart is still for me

I will remember your mercies all my days

Through every storm and gale Closing Verse: “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31. Challenge:  Take the time today to stop and count your blessings and lean on the Lord’s strength for your life.

Songwriters: Gareth Gilkeson / Chris Llewellyn / Bridget Herron / Ali Gilkeson / Will Herron / Steve Mitchell / Patrick ThompsonCounting Every Blessing lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

Child of God (repost)

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This is a post from back in April, 2018 , but after a week full of tons and tons of students running in and out of my life on a daily basis and trying to make sure each child received everything they needed from me with a smile on my face, well I just needed to repost for me.  Not only does this remind that I am a Child of God, but the students I love each day are also, and times like this week I need to be reminded that each student is loved and created by God.  God Loves his children….

I read this in my devotions written by Lysa TerKeurst from Proverbs 31 ministries.  I just added my name.  As you read today replace my name with yours.  You are a Child of God.

Allie, the forgiven child of God.” and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”  Romans 3:24.

Allie, the set-free child of God.1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2.

Allie, the accepted child of God.  “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:”  1 Corinthians 1:2.

Allie, the holy child of God.  “ And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,”  1 Corinthians 1:30.

Allie, the made-new child of God.“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Allie, the loved child of God. ” even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love” Ephesians 1:4

Allie, the close child of God. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13.

Allie, the confident child of God.“in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.” Ephesians 3:12.

Allie, the victorious child of God.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

I am Redeemed…

 

Closing Verse:  “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” John 1:12.

Challenge:  Place your name in the statements above. Place a Child’s name in the statements above.  We are all Children of God.

The Tongue & Apologies

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Rotten Fruit

How many times have my words cut someone down?  I can honestly say that I am not sure I really want to know the result of my tongue and the lack of my apologies.  Sometimes it is hard to stop and think about the wrongs I have done until I feel the impact of someone’s tongue toward me.  When I eat the fruits of someone else’s tongue, I only taste the fruit of my own.  I have to stop and linger over the rotten fruit that I have produced from my own lips.  “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” Proverbs 18:21.

The Tongue

I believe my biggest sins sometime come straight out of my mouth.  The tongue is such a work of evil that I pray constantly for the Lord to help me bring mine under control.    The Word tells me the only way to keep my tongue in check and I know that I alone can not do that without God working in me, so that my tongue brings more glorification than hurt to those around me.  “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” Proverbs 21:23.

Apologies

I want my tongue to bring healing and not hurt.  I want my tongue to spread God’s Love not the Devil’s hate.  I want my tongue to show love in all that comes forth, but I fail at this everyday.  When I fail I must sow the seeds of forgiveness by asking for forgiveness and giving it when I am hurt.  I must apologize and bring healing with my tongue when I bring hurt with my words are swords of hurt.  “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18.  As I pray and seek God’s word to help keep my tongue in check, I turn my eyes to Jesus and know that following his example is the way to the Father.  “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.

 

 

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Closing Verse:  “For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;”  1 Peter 3:10.

Challenge: Seek the Lord in your words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Anthem

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The Star-Spangled Banner

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

September

This month I remembered 9/11 and as I remembered such a difficult time in our nation’s history, I started thinking about the national anthem.  As the national anthem of the United States is making headlines over and over but not in the way, Francis Scott Key ever intended when he penned the words so many years ago on Sept. 13, 1814.  As he witnessed the attack at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry and then raising of the US flag to show their victory over British forces in the War of 1812.  He penned these words after a night full of fighting and years later our country took these words as our national anthem.  These words for me represent pride for my country and respect for the men and women who have fought and died to protect my rights and freedoms.  As I ponder the Star-Spangled Banner and its words, I see a connection to Christ.

Connection to Christ

Christ who paid the ultimate price and sacrificed himself for me, so that I might live eternally with my Father in heaven.  “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,” 1 Peter 3:18.  This sacrifice reminds me to not just be proud to be a American but proud to be a Christian.  “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  Matthew 23:12.  As a proud Christian, I must show myself as a humble servant not one who stand and looks down on others.  I must live by example so that other may find Christ and have the same sense of pride in their relationship with him.  “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21.

Proud American

So just as I show by living for Christ, I must stand as an American that others can see my pride in this country.   “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” John 8:32.  It is sad to see so many in this country state so firmly their disgust for a country that was founded to protect their rights.  Sometimes I even wonder where I am living and long for my eternal home.  “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:16.  As long as I am here, I will choose love not hate.  “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8.

 

Closing Verse:  “Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14.

Challenge:  Stand up for Christ in your life! Live as an example for others of his sacrifice.

A Favorite Rendition:

Did you know?  The song has 4 verses.

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Eye of the Storm

Peace in the midst of the Storm

Today, I sit and wait on Florence to arrive at my home. She has ravaged the NC coastline and kept me in the dark for days about my daughters well-being.  Today, though, I received good news for a change.  All is well where she is and her home is still standing with minimal damage.  Praise God!  Watching the rain and wind now brings me little anxiety as compared to the past few days.  God has answered prayer.  “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24.  As I praised God this morning, I just felt this song in my heart.  I needed to hear it and sing it.  The emotions of the last few days are wrapped up in these words by Ryan Stevenson.

When the solid ground is falling out
From underneath my feet
Between the black skies and my red eyes
I can barely see
When I realize I’ve been let down by my friends and my family
I can hear the rain reminding me

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds, me in the eye of the storm

I know that as I watched, waited, and cried these last few days, God was with me and he comforted me and cared for me.  “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4.  He loved me like no one could in such circumstances.  He was my rock and anchor when I felt like everything was out of control.   He provided my solid ground.

Faith in the midst of the Storm

This past week when I felt out of control and helpless, it was my faith that kept me going through the storm.  “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1.  Walking in my faith has been the strength God has provided as I waited and waited for word of the storms impact.

When my hopes and dreams are far from me
And I’m running out of faith
I see the future I pictured slowly fade away
And when the tears of pain and heartache are pouring down my face
I find my peace in Jesus’ name

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm

Faith is all that can bring peace in the midst of storms in life.  Whether the storm is real or just storms of life the only peace can be found in faith.  “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Romans 5:1.  Guard your soul with the word of God.

Trust in the Lord

So this storm has taught me to trust more in the Lord.  To give my worries to him and stand in his strength and faith.  He is my protector.  “He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:4.  I will hid under his wings through the storm.


When they let me go and I just don’t know
How I’m gonna make ends meet
I did my best
Now I’m scared to death
That we might lose everything

And when a sickness takes my child away
And there’s nothing I can do
My only hope is to trust You
I trust You LORD

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm

Closing Verse:  “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”  2 Thessalonians 3:16.

Challenge: Find refuge and peace in the eye of the storm under your Father’s wings where peace and faith live.

 

 

Visit Ryan’s website: http://smarturl.it/ryanstevenson

Connect with Ryan Stevenson:

Facebook: http://smarturl.it/ryanfacebook

Instagram: http://smarturl.it/ryansinstagram

Twitter: http://smarturl.it/ryanstwitter

 

 

Good, Good Father

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Summer is Almost Over

As life starts to get busy and summer is coming to a close, I think about the many different openings to school I have had over the past 28 years.  I have always loved watching the excitement of students, even my own, as a new school year begins.  Everyone is ready and excited about the new year, new experiences, and new relationships.  As students begin a new adventure in a new classroom, the excitement of searching for answers and writing a new chapter of their lives seems reachable as a new school year begins.  It gets me excited about what is to come.  For some reason this experience brought the song Good, Good Father by Chris Tomlin to my mind.  I guess just watching students at the middle school level searching for who they are and who they want to be just reminded me that God is where all the answers really lie.  “But test everything; hold fast what is good.”  1 Thessalonians 5:21.

I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

Searching for Answers

I love watching middle schoolers search for their identities and acceptance.  This can be such a hard time for so many and sets them down particular paths in their lives.  I pray for the students that I get the honor of building relationships with each year.  I pray that God will somehow shine through me and they will find hope and strength in who they are.  These students are seeking so many answers for their future.  I pray that those who need a Good, Good Father may find the peace of God sooner in their lives.  “May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.”  Jude 1:2.

I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching
For answers only you provide
‘Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word

You’re a good good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you                                                                                                                     It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Love Speaks Louder Than Words

As this new year begins and students enter my life one more time, I pray that I will bring love and peace to their lives.  That they will see a deep love within me that they will want to seek for themselves.  I pray that I have the opportunity to plant seeds and share his love.  As I watch students walk through a day with little love in their eyes and in their lives, I know that I might be the only person to call their name or smile at them that day.  This is a reality for many children.
1 John 3:1 “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.”
Oh, it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
Into love, love, love
Because you are perfect in all of your way                                                                                You are perfect in all of your ways                                                                                                You are perfect in all of your ways to us
You’re a good good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am
Closing Verse:
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Challenge:  Share the Good Father with those who need Him.

 

 

Searching For A New Heart – part 2

(First posted on March 31, 2013)

Heart of Doubt

kablam_glossy_heartI am continuing to search scripture in order to understand my heart and how to fully allow God into my heart so his work can be done.  I closed my last post dealing with doubt and fear in my heart.  Today I begin my search with thoughts about how the heart is connected to our thoughts.  Doubt and Trouble come from our thoughts, and I found scripture on this in Mark 2:6,8.  Verse 6 reads, “And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts,” followed up in verse 8 “But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, ‘Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?”  The scribes were full of pride, remember that for later, and in their hearts they reasoned that when Jesus healed other it was sinful.  In Matthew 9:4 Jesus even says on the same occasion, “But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts?”.  Evil comes from the heart into our thoughts, but there is good news!  Psalm 19:14 says “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”  We can ensure that our thoughts are good and acceptable to Go, but we must focus our heart toward good and God.

Pride

Looking back at the prideful scribes who allowed their pride to plant sin in their hearts and cloud their judgement on Jesus.  Pride evokes fear in me and my heart as it should after reading Proverbs 16:5 which reads “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.”  That is a powerful verse that makes you stop in your tracks.  How many times have we been overcome with pride. How often do we want things our way and fail to consider everything because of our pride.  How often do we want to be praised for what we do instead of serving for the Lord and him alone.  Pride an abomination to the Lord brings silence to me right now.  I wait for God to move.  Leviticus 19:17 mentions hate in the heart, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart.  You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.”  God commanded his people not to have hate in their heart.

Hope vs Wickedness

I tremble before the Lord as I read these verses because I know that God can withdraw himself from my heart if I do not keep my focus on him just as he did with Pharaoh first stating in Exodus 4:21 “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand,  But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.”  God allows hardening of the heart when he is not living in your heart.  When God is living in our hearts we have purpose.  2 Corinthians 9:7 says ” So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”  We have purpose we give from the heart which leads to rejoicing from the heart.  Acts 2:26 tells us ” Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.”  These verses give me hope that the wickedness of my heart will not win out over the Lord living in my heart.

Loving with the Heart

I hold several verses close to my heart and want to share.  Earlier I mentioned that God does not like hate in our heart and commanded it of his people.  Jesus brought a new commandment found in Mark 12: 30-31,33.  In verse 30 -31 Jesus says, ” And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength,” This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  This is finalized in verse 33 showing Jesus as the one true sacrifice where we can find such love in ourselves and our hearts.  Verse 33 reads, ” And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  These commandments and the love I want to hold for the Lord and others in my heart are summed up in Matthew 6: 19-21.  My focus is really on verse 21 but I feel the verses as a whole really shows me that I need to focus on the Lord so my heart is lead to my treasures.  Otherwise my treasures will be evil and sinful and of this world.  Beginning in verse 19, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where the moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; (20) but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Closing Verse:  Matthew 6: 21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Challenge:  Commit your heart to the Lord and your store treasures in heaven.  I pray God will help you and me focus on a new heart.

Searching For a New Heart

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Recently, I started looking back at some of my post and find this random 4 part series on the heart back in 2013.  I was not writing regularly back then so decided to repost this series over the next few weeks with some edits.  (First posted on March 13, 2013)

Open My Eyes to My Heart

kablam_glossy_heartSometimes I sit in awe of the Lord and how he leads us and draws us near to him.  Recently I have been praying and asking God to help me let go of some things which were causing me to become a person I did not want to be.    It is funny sometimes how something you have always known just really comes to light and you have to accept it for what it is.  I guess the finality of acceptance is something we as humans try to avoid.  I know that I have in many areas of my life.  As God recently opened my eyes to this ugly person I did not want to be, he sent me searching through scripture and everywhere I turned he introduced me to my heart.  Not this heart that I can be proud of but the real heart inside of me.  I will get to that.  I feel lead to share where God is leading me on this in-depth discovery of the heart.  I long for the new heart the scriptures speak of but to have that heart I must understand the heart as a whole.

Good vs Evil

The heart can be root of both Good and Evil, but more often the heart will lead us down the easiest road and usually that is not where we truly want to go.  As I read various scriptures, I decided to turn to Strong’s Commentary for some guidance and here I found a plethora of verses that speak of what is seeded in the heart.  I was lead to all this because I was not right and I quietly and silently began really listening to God.  He began to show me so many things about myself as I read the scripture.  Everything kept leading toward the heart and that caught my attention.  Specifically I began a 6 day devotional study on Love & Marriage I found and guess what Day 1 was on – you guess it – the Heart.  This first devotion is the initial cause of my digging.  I felt God calling me to the scriptures for more.  One of the verses shared in the study on day 1 was Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” I felt completely and utterly a failure because following my heart without God would always lead to wickedness because the heart is wicked.  Who can know our heart?  The simple answer is only God and he knows all our wickedness.  So begins this journey to know my heart.

Following Scripture

I have been visiting verses lately that speak of what is rooted in the heart.  These verses can sometimes seem good but if you really look at what can come from the heart you see the wickedness.  The first verse from Jesus in Matthew 5: 28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  So our sin before it is revealed has already been committed in our heart.  But what of lust as I noticed a verse was listed that spoke specifically to this word found in Romans 1:24 “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves.”  So God pulled away and their hearts took over which lead back to Matthew 5:28.  What of our desires?  Romans 10:1 says “…my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”  At first read, this sounds good but looking deeper I see that we have to have control of what our heart desires.  Left alone we become the heart in Matthew 5 and Romans 1.  As I sit speechless and pray that the Lord will help me find my new heart with him.  I am almost afraid to continue on but the draw is powerful to read more.  What more words did Jesus have to say about the heart?

Mark 11:23 reads in the words of Jesus, “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”  This verse sounds so awesome, but to have this faith.  It is so easy to say yes Lord I have this much faith when really my heart doubts.  Jesus says in John 14:1 ” Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”  I must not let trouble and doubt fill my heart just the Lord so my faith can overcome the wickedness my heart desires.  These words are similar to those from Isaiah 35: 4 “Say to those who are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with a vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”  With such words from our Lord why do I let me heart be my guide?

Time to meditate on these words from scripture.  Putting this puzzle together is encouraging but also brings me to my knees in need of prayer.  Before seeking more it is time for prayer.  Time to start seeking my new heart.

Closing Verse: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Challenge:  My prayer is that God will be my guide and work in my heart. May he also be yours.