December 7, 2007

Fibromyalgia Flair up brings Thankfulness

Posted in fibromyalgia, THOUGHTS tagged , , , , , , at 6:30 pm by graceabounds

It seems that my fibromyalgia is flairing up again. It has been going on about two weeks and everyday feels a little worse. Laying in bed last night I was trying to fall asleep and in my heart was determined to not be frustrated by the pain. I thought I am thankful for the pain in my legs because I still have them and the ability to go where I need to go, I am thankful for the pain in my back because I am able to feel and have control over my body, I am thankful for the pain in my feet because I have feeling and mobility I am still able to serve God and others and tell of His great love for them. I am thankful that although there is pain in my hands I am able to show love through service. I am thankful that despite my headaches I am clearheaded enough to remember the GREAT PRICE CHRIST PAID FOR ME and the priceless gift of salvation. I am thankful that He enables me to be thankful.

In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

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December 6, 2007

Christian Disciplines- The “What to Do’s”

Posted in DEVOTIONS, THOUGHTS tagged , , , , , , at 10:39 pm by graceabounds

Christian disciplines are the “what to do’s”.  If you are like me, then you like to know what is expected and how to go about doing that.  I like list and checking them off.  Let’s learn what these disciplines are and begin to check them off; beginning a new lifestyle.   Christian disciplines are area’s that will guide us to grow closer to the Lord.  Disciple and discipline are words that are very similar.  As we are Disciples of Christ, we become disciplined and obedient to His calling.  These areas of Christian disciplines will enhance your walk with the Lord. They are better than any self help book or self-remedy.  In fact, putting these disciplines in our lives is showing that we are no longer living for self, but for Christ. Since we are set free, we should want to do things that will draw us to Him. 

BIBLE STUDY 

My prayer is that after you read this you will have a hunger for God’s Word. Often, new believers are terrified of reading the Bible.  They believe it is too hard; they think of it almost as a different language.  In addition to their fears they believe it is boring, unimportant, and outdated.  The list could go on and on.  I don’t want to fuel these beliefs but rather help you to see what you are missing. Let’s get to the good stuff.  If you only knew what you possess in your Bible, it may change your thinking and your life.  Read this passage below: 

John 1:1-14 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 From this section of passage we learned that Jesus was the Word, and that the Word was God.  Let’s look deeper into who Jesus was. 

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 Here he said he was the way, the TRUTH, and the life. In this next verse Jesus is praying to God before He is betrayed.  

John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth 

Jesus was praying to God that the Word of God would sanctify, which means to set apart and make holy.  He calls the Word truth.  Let’s gather all we have learned.  The Word is Jesus and the Word is God and the Word is truth.  Jesus is truth and He is the Word so He is then God.  We have God, Jesus, Truth, and the Word all in one!  Isn’t that exciting?  I am very excited as I write this.  In front of me, in my Bible (the Word) I have Jesus.  I can at anytime come to Him as I read.  I can turn to Him and His guidance, truth, and what He has for me at anytime.  Isn’t that enough reason to read your Bible?  If you knew that tomorrow Jesus was coming to your house, you’d go crazy with excitement.  Well, He is there right now waiting to speak to you.  Are you ready to listen? 

Psalm 118:89Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. 

Isaiah 40:8The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Scripture, the word of God, tells us there is power in it and it’ll endure forever. 

Hebrews 4:12-13 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. 

The Bible is alive, just as God is alive!  It isn’t out dated or out of touch.  It is so powerful it can cut through to our motives and thoughts.  The word of God has the same power as when he made creation.

Psalm 33:6 KJV, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.”

Wow, doesn’t that just stir your heart?  Aren’t you ready to begin reading your Bible, having time with God alone allowing that power into your life?  It just gets me all excited just telling you this! 

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 

God’s Word is directional.  It will guide you and help you as you go about your day to day life. Here’s a little food for thought. Do you ever forget to eat? Do you miss a meal because you were too busy? I rarely miss a meal due to my hypoglycemia.  If I go without eating I get shaky, lightheaded, and cranky. It is the same with Bible study.

 John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” 

We now know that reading God’s Word is His will. We should be like Jesus; where we desire to do His will more than eating food or the other fleshly pleasures.  I am not saying we should never eat or have pleasure.  My point is we hardly deprive ourselves of nourishment nor should we deprive ourselves of our spiritual food.

Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

Proverbs 8:7,” I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” 

I have a friend whose view on Bible study drastically changed her life.  Reading her Bible use to be a chore, she did it because she knew that is was what God had commanded.  While doing a Beth Moore Bible study, she saw how Beth Moore was excited about the Word of God. Beth said that if you don’t have something, you ask for it.  If you want to desire God’s word, then you ask for it.  Needless to say, she asked for it. That was over two years ago.  The growth in her is almost immeasurable.  She lives to do her Bible study and walk with God.  She is happier and more content with her life than before. We, too, can experience that same intensity and blessings from God’s Word. Don’t you want to hunger and thirst for Him and His Word? Seek Him with all that you have.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.  Take a few minutes and re-think your previous list of reasons keeping you from reading your Bible. 

December 3, 2007

A PRAYER WORTH PRAYING

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 9:48 pm by graceabounds

LORD,

I give up all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my time, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.

A prayer by Betty Scott Stan who lost her life along with her husband in China by decaptation in December 1934.

PLANNED OBEDIENCE

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:29 pm by graceabounds

One of the toughest parts of being a Christian and walking with God isn’t learning what we are to do; rather it is doing what we have learned. Obedience is the next crucial step.  As we begin to follow and learn we must put it into practice.  We are told in James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”  One of my favorite Bible stories growing up was the story of Joshua and the Battle at Jericho. Here we will see his obedience despite how things seemed illogical.   God had led the Israelites, His chosen people, out of slavery in Egypt.  He was leading them to the Promised Land, where there would be plenty for them. Yet, they sinned and their punishment was to wonder in the desert for forty years.  After Moses died, God appointed a new leader, Joshua.  Joshua was told by God to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River.  He immediately was obedient and followed the commands.  He had crossed over the Red Sea with Moses as they left Egypt, so he knew that God could dry up the water and land so the people could cross.  That is where we will begin our reading at. 

Joshua 6                                                                                                                                              

1 Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. 2 And the Lord said to Joshua, See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. 3 You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. 4 Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.

 The city of Jericho was a fortified city with walls surrounding the city.  It is reported that the walls may have been up to 25 feet high and 20 feet thick.[1] God told them that despite how things appeared He was going to deliver Jericho to them through unusual means.  All that they had to  do was walk once around the perimeter for six days walk and on the seventh day blow the trumpets and shout, then the walls (remember how thick those walls were) would fall down and they’d go in and conquer the city.   

6 So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord. 7 And he said to the people, Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord. 8 And just as Joshua had commanded the people, the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord went forward, blowing the trumpets, with the ark of the covenant of the Lord following them. 9 The armed men were walking before the priests who were blowing the trumpets, and the rear guard was walking after the ark, while the trumpets blew continually. 10 But Joshua commanded the people, You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout. 11 So he caused the ark of the Lord to circle the city, going about it once. And they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp. 12 Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets blew continually. 14 And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days. 15 On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. 16 And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, Shout, for the Lord has given you the city. 

Joshua was obedient to God commands. He didn’t reason, nor did he pick and choose which part he would do. He was fully obedient to God. Are you being obedient in the area’s God has commanded you? We all have areas we need to work in.   

17 And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. 18 But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. 19 But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord. 20 So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. 21 Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword. 22 But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, Go into the prostitute’s house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her. 23 So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel. 24 And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. 25 But Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. 26 Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, Cursed before the Lord be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho. At the cost of his firstborn shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set up its gates. 27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land. 

So they did as the Lord commanded.  They overtook the city; God’s fame went through out the land.   Remember if God has told you to be obedient then you are able to do it. God doesn’t command us to do things we aren’t able to do. He doesn’t give us things so we can fail. As Joshua was obedient by faith he was able to see God’s power. We need that same faith to do the big and small things. The closer we walk with Him the more we will see His power in our lives.


[1] Life Application Study Bible, New King James Version, Tyndale House Publishers 1993, p.344

December 2, 2007

LEARNING TO FOLLOW

Posted in DEVOTIONS, THOUGHTS tagged , , , , , at 6:51 pm by graceabounds

I have often heard that sheep are extremely dumb. I can speak for myself and say I have made some really dumb mistakes.  Just as sheep look towards the shepherd for protection, nourishment, and guidance we should also keep our eyes fixed on the good shepherd. Psalm 23 is a beautiful Psalm which teaches us the benefits of following a shepherd.

Psalm 23 

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 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. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

This is symbolic of the Christian walk.  Isn’t it comforting to know we don’t have to worry, want, and struggle?  If the Lord is your shepherd you will not want.  If your eyes are focused on Him you will have everything you need. However, nowhere does it say life will be easy. But we are told that we can rest in Him.  The world is a tough place and life gets hard but we can always find rest in God. 

Look again at verse four.   Hard times will come, but we don’t have to fear; He will comfort us.  Charles H. Spurgeon says in the Treasury of David this, “…it is not “the valley of death,” but “the valley of the shadow of death,” for death in its substance has been removed, and only the shadow of it remains.  Some one has said that when there is a shadow there must be light somewhere, and so there is.  Death stands by the side of the highway in which we have to travel, and the light of heaven shining upon him throws a shadow across our path; let us then rejoice that there is light beyond.  Nobody is afraid of a shadow, for a shadow cannot stop a man’s pathway even for a moment.  The shadow of a dog cannot bite; the shadow of a sword cannot kill; the shadow of death cannot destroy us.”[1]   Jesus, our Savior, not only came to save us from sin, but from the effects of sin.  As you know, our world is at times cruel, hard, and painful to bear.  These are the effects of sin.  We have great news!   

Luke 4:18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 

Despite everything, we have Him to bring our hurts, sadness, weariness, depression, broken lives, crushed dreams, and struggles.

Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  That sounds like me at times.  I am often in need of healing.  Right now, you can allow Him to heal you emotionally. Is there any pain that you are holding on to? Or do you feel your problems are too big or small for God? Now is a great time to turn them over to Him.  He is waiting to hear from us and to begin to work afresh and anew in your life- we must turn it over to Him.


[1] Charles H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, Volume I p. 355

December 1, 2007

A LOST WORLD

Posted in DEVOTIONS, missions, THOUGHTS tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:32 pm by graceabounds

It amazes me at how comfortable we as Christians get in our everyday lives. We do our daily routine and take care of the necessities. Some of us even read our Bible daily and live out our faith. Yet, there is one major issue we are missing! What could be missing? Ah, the most important thing after loving and following God is loving others. We all in our prideful states become puffed up and say I love people. We begin to justify how we love others and how we have held our tongue instead of giving them the piece of our mind we wanted to. We as Christians are content to love people at a distance. Yet, I know that myself and many other Christians are missing the mark!

Do we really love others? When is the last time you actually shared with someone your faith? When is the last time you supported a missionary on the field struggling to accomplish the great commission? When is the last time you thought if I don’t share with this personwhat Christ has done and tell them how to be saved they will spend ETERNITY IN HELL and away from God. Why are we so content to live out our daily lives not being obedient to God?

Everyday as a Christian that passes we are closer to Heaven while the opposite is true for those who don’t know Christ. Every second that passes is a step closer to Hell for them. Won’t you reach out and tell someone that God loves them. Why not share with someone today that simple fact. As we share this the simple truth that God does love them it will open up doors to share the gospel. If we are actively seeking ways to be a witness God will actively place people in your life to share the good news of Christ with them.

Lets be active today in others ETERNITY!