Posts Tagged With: Christian

Be Still and Know

Cross in Clouds

Be Still and Know

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I am the Creator of heaven and earth.

Be still and know that I knit you together in your mother’s womb.

Be still and know that I discern your thoughts from afar.

Be still and know that I am the God who heals.

Be still and know that I am the God of comfort.

Be still and know that I am steadfast and abounding in love.

Be still and know that I am slow to anger.

Be still and know that I will not leave you nor forsake you.

Be still and know that I am a refuge in times of trouble.

Be still and know that I forgive your sin.

Be still and know that I have a plan for you.

Be still and know that I am sovereign.

Be still and know that

Be still and know that I am God.

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Self-examination and Repentance

Spotlight

We are 18 days into Lent. How has your Lent been going so far? Have you done anything different in the last 18 days? Do you feel closer to the Lord today than you did 18 days ago? Last week I talked about how to observe a holy Lent. The invitation in the Book of Common Prayer that is said before ashes are imposed during an Ash Wednesday service invites us to observe a holy Lent. This invitation goes on to tell us how to do just that.

It starts by self-examination and repentance. So what does self-examination look like and how do you do it? It starts by taking a close look at your life and seeing where your life is in line with God’s will and where it isn’t. It is looking at your life and and the sinfulness in it. Often we realize we have done something wrong and we ask the Lord for forgiveness. Seeking His forgiveness is just the beginning. We are to follow it with repentance which is a turning away from our sin.

Self-examination is more than us looking at what we feel is the sinfulness in our lives, it requires us to seek the Lord and ask Him to reveal to us areas where we are sinning. Often we are sinning in areas that we aren’t even recognizing as sin. We tend to rationalize, justify and minimize our sinfulness. During Lent, the Lord calls us to shine a bright light on our sinfulness and allow Him to highlight areas we may not even recognize ourselves.

Once the Lord shows us an area of sinfulness, we need to repent. Repenting is difficult because it is completely turning away from that sin. It is not ‘trying’ to do it but actually doing it. When the Lord shows us our sin and we look at it from His perspective, we realize how wretched it is in comparison with His holiness. When we understand how truly ugly and hurtful our sin is, we are inspired to turn from it.

If you have not taken the time for self-examination, there is no better time than the present. If we are to observe a holy Lent and be transformed this Lenten season, we must start by taking a hard look at our sinfulness. If you have not had to repent of an area of sinfulness yet this Lent, it isn’t too late. This is one of those situation that we try to avoid and put off when all we need to do is just do it.

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What Does Your Love Look Like?

Love

February 14th is Valentine’s Day. Everywhere you go you see hearts and candy and all kinds of things that encourage us to buy something special for those we love on Valentine’s Day. It made me stop and think about love and what my love looks like. The love that is talked about in Scripture is not a mushy, gushy feeling, it is something that is put into action.

We are only able to love others because we were first loved by the Lord.

1 John 4:19

We love because he first loved us.

Scripture also tells us God is love.

1 John 4:8

 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

It is easy for us to see what God’s love looks like in His Word.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

There is nothing we did or can do to earn God’s love for us. We don’t have to wait until we are good enough for Him to love us.

Romans 5:8

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Scripture even gives us a beautiful description of what our love is supposed to look like in the book of 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

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.

Read over those verses and see if that description of what our love is supposed to look like. How does your love compare? Which areas are you struggling with in your relationships? Do you find yourself being rude or arrogant? Do you become irritable or are you resentful of others?

Perhaps the best gift we can give our loved ones this Valentine’s Day is to simply seek the Lord and ask Him to empower us to love the way that He loves. Ask the Lord to reveal to you people you are having a difficult time loving this way. What could loving those in your life in this way do to improve, repair or restore relationships?

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Running on Empty

Lord Fill Me Up

Are you running on empty this Christmas season? Are you exhausted from shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking and preparing for parties and celebrations? If you find yourself feeling a little empty this morning, perhaps you need to go to the source and ask Him to fill you up.

It is easy for us to feel like we are running on empty when we spend all of our time doing ‘stuff’ and don’t have time to spend with the Lord. The Lord is the only one who can fill us with His Holy Spirit. It is through His Holy Spirit that we are able to bear His fruit in the world.

Let’s take a look at what the fruit of the spirit is.

Galatians 5:22-23

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Are you in need of joy? How about peace and patience? Do you think the world could use a little more kindness and gentleness this Christmas season? Are you in need of a little or maybe a lot of self-control?

In and of ourselves, we are not able to bear this fruit when we are running on empty. However, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can bear His fruit and shine His light into the world, even when we don’t feel like it. It is always a choice to walk by the Spirit or to walk in our own flesh. What do you choose today?

Galatians 5:16

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Choose to spend some time with the Lord today and ask Him to fill you with His Spirit so you can be His witness in the world. Let His Spirit shine brightly through you during this Christmas season so others may be drawn to our Lord and Savior.

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Stop Looking in the Rearview Mirror

Rearview Mirror

Sometimes we spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror of our life that we miss what God is doing today. Our past does play an important role in our life, but we are not supposed to be so focused on it that we are not living in the present.

Isaiah 43:19-19

“Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.

Where is your focus? Are you constantly looking back at things you have done or things that have been done to you? We need to keep our past in the proper perspective. We are to learn from it and use it as a way to give God thanks and praise for all He has done in our lives. But, it is not to be our focus.

God is constantly working in our lives and we need to be focused on the present so we an see where He is working in our lives and hear what His plans are for us today. This is the verse the Lord highlighted for me a couple of years ago. I was focused on my history with a church and all God had done in my life during that time. But God was about to do something new. He was calling me to a new place to do a new thing.

It was hard to leave a place where I had come to know the Lord, served and had many friends. It wasn’t until after I responded in obedience and left that the Lord revealed the way He was making in the spiritual desert I found myself in. It is easy to stay where we are comfortable but that is not always where God wants us to be.

A history we have with a place or with people is a blessing we are to treasure in our hearts, not what we are to cling to. God wants us to cling to Him, lean into Him so He can reveal what He has for our present and our future. If I had only focused on looking back, the past and the connections with it, I would never have seen what God had for me today.

I cannot begin to explain the blessings upon blessings God has given me in this new adventure. It was not always easy and some of the lessons were tough to learn but so worth it.

Think about how you are viewing your life. Are you constantly looking back at your past? Are you allowing the things in your past to hold you back from what God has for you today? When driving, we glance in our rearview mirror from time to time but we don’t keep our eyes there. That is what we need to do with our past. Glance at it, appreciate it, learn from it and then focus forward. Who knows what God has in store for you today!

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