The Lord Will Hear When I Call To Him – Daily Inspiration, July 21, 2012

“Know the Lord has set apart the godly for Himself; the Lord will hear when I call to Him.” Psalm 4:3

If you are faithful and devoted to God, know that He hears and answers your prayers. Don’t believe your prayers go unanswered because you may fall short of God’s high standards. Because we trust Christ for our salvation, God forgives us and will listen to us. His answer, however, may not be what we expect.

May the Lord be with you today.

Can You Drink The Cup I Am Going To Drink? – Daily Inspiration, July 20, 2012

“‘You don’t know what you are asking’, Jesus said to them, ‘Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?'” Matthew 20: 22, NIV

I follow a television personality on Twitter. One day, this personality tweeted a question for her followers – “What would you ask God if you could ask Him anything?” She re-tweeted responses that ranged from poignant to humorous. There was one response from a follower that made me think. This follower wanted to know why he or she had experienced so many trials since becoming a follower of Christ.

Many people erroneously think devoting one’s life to Christ means having a life free from troubles. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus prepared the disciples for their futures by telling them the following, “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master” (Matthew 10:24). Christ experienced many hardships during His time on earth. He was persecuted (Matthew 2: 13-14; Matthew 12). He experienced people doubting Who He is (Matthew 13: 55-57, John 1: 46). He faced temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). People deserted Him (John 6: 60-66). His family ridiculed Him (John 7: 1-9). He was betrayed (Matthew 26: 47-50). He faced dread (Luke 22: 42-44) and pain (Matthew 26: 67-68; John 19:1; 17-18). He even, briefly, felt abandoned by God (Mark 15:34).

No, following Jesus doesn’t automatically give us permanent residence on Easy Street. Following Jesus gives us the strength to persevere during our trials by His example. Despite His hardships, Jesus forgave (Luke 23:24; John 8). He loved (John 15: 9-17). He rejoiced (Luke 10:21). He had compassion (John 11:35). He stood firm in truth (Matthew 27:11-14; John 18:37). He was courageous (Luke 1:37-53). He helped others (Matthew 14:34-36). He completed His mission (John 19:30).

Following Jesus is a commitment that includes a change in thought and lifestyle. We should grow from desiring worldly pleasures to desiring to do God’s will. As Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matthew 6: 24). So, when you question why, as a Christian, you are experiencing trials and hardships, remember the full life of the One we follow, not just His gifts.

God Bless you today and always.

Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely – Daily Inspiration, July 19, 2012

“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4: 16

Take a careful inventory of your beliefs. Wrong beliefs can lead one into sin and heresy. Stay on guard against those who attempt to persuade that how one lives is more important than what one believes. We must remain vigilant in our faith to keep from falling into sin that can quickly destroy us. As Paul exhorted Timothy, “…set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 Live so others see the Christ in you.

God bless you today and always.

Let God Be Your Motivator! – July 18, 2012

“My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.” Psalm 131:1

We’ve heard the phrase, “My haters are my motivators.” It’s a witty retort for those who unduly criticize and, in the wisdom of the world, seems like a good incentive to work hard towards your dreams and aspirations. But, of course, it is not. Trying to impress people is a never-ending task. It is also a fruitless task. If a person was highly-critical and unimpressed with you before you reached your goal, that person will be just as critical and unimpressed during your success. He or she may smile and say the right things to be a part of your circle but, inside, he or she is the same bitter person. There is no true happiness for you and no appreciation of your hard work. In fact, that person may be plotting against you. That is the danger of people-pleasing; your reward lies in them.

Placing our desire in people ultimately leaves us disillusioned and empty but placing our desire in God leaves us content and joyful. Don’t strive to impress people who will never be impressed. Strive for true wisdom and knowledge of God’s Word. He loved you before and He loves you now. His love endures forever. Let God be your motivator!

May the Lord be with you today.

The Word of The Lord Stands Forever – Daily Inspiration, July 17, 2102

“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fail, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” 1 Peter 1: 24-25

Our possessions, accomplishments and acquaintances will all eventually fade away, but the word of God stands forever. Let’s spend less time today chasing after and guarding those things that will sooner or later fall from our grasp, and spend more of our energy and time on that which is permanent: God’s word and eternal life in Jesus Christ.

God bless you today and always.

What The Lord Places On Your Heart – Daily Inspiration, July 16, 2012

“Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ‘ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22: 37 – 39

Each Christmas, I pass out Christmas cards and candy to my co-workers. It is my way of showing my appreciation for their camaraderie and to bring a smile to their faces. A few years back at a previous employer, the last thing I wanted to do was pass out cards and candy. There had been a falling out and I was no longer a part of one team in the department. I had been moved to a different team with a different job responsibility. My former team had a get-together and made a point of letting my new team and me know that we were not invited or welcomed to attend. It hurt; I had been a part of that team since I started with the company three years prior and had considered my former teammates friends. My new team held it’s own get-together a couple of weeks later. We did not make it private and invited everyone to come enjoy the treats we assembled on a table in the back area. The teammates declined the invitation.

So, when the holiday season approached and I was purchasing the cards and candy, I had no intention of including anyone on my former team. Why should I? They had moved on and so should I. But there was something deep inside that prevented me from evening the score. I purchased cards for each of them and bought German chocolates and candy canes. I placed cards and candy on each co-worker’s desk. My new teammates thanked me; one person from my old team sent a thank you email. As I passed by their desks later that day, I saw some of my former teammates had thrown their cards into the trash. I remember feeling like a fool to have even bothered.

At the end of the workday, I stayed behind to finish a project while everyone else filed out. A member of my old team stopped by my desk. He confided that he was going through an acrimonious divorce. His wife had moved out with their children. He hadn’t seen them in weeks. He said my card was the only kindness he had been shown in a long time and would probably be the only present he would receive this Christmas. He thanked me for thinking of him.

It was at that moment I realized I wasn’t foolish for extending myself to my former teammates. The one who needed it was reached. Don’t ignore what the Lord places on your heart. It may seem foolish in a worldly sense, but spiritually you may be planting seeds of faith, encouragement and love. Your intention may be for many, but God may only need to reach one. Allow Him to use you to accomplish His will.

May the Lord be with you today.

Rejoice! – Daily Inspiration, July 15, 2012

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4: 4-5

Paul was in prison when he wrote these words to the church in Philippi. Certainly, his outward circumstances were not pleasant, yet he didn’t allow his circumstances to steal his joy. Joy comes from within and is an emotion of great delight caused by something exceptionally good and satisfying, elation. Happiness is good fortune, pleasure and contentment. When we make the Lord our source of joy we can be grateful during times of misfortune. We may not be technically happy about our current lot in life, but this is only a season. Joy in the Lord is forever. So, rejoice today, in spite of your circumstances. Don’t let unpleasant situations alter your perspective. As Paul writes, “The Lord is near.”

God bless you today and always.

Grieving God Vs Pleasing God – Daily Inspiration, July 14, 2012

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. He kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4: 31-32

Are you at odds with someone today? Forgive him or her. Easier said than done, but forgiving someone is the hardest and simplest thing we can do to heal broken relationships. Pride may not let you want to take the first step, but take it. Don’t hold on to your hurt and anger. It’s unhealthy physically and spiritually. The way we live our lives can either please God or grieve Him. Don’t live a life that grieves our Father. Live in love with one another.

May the Lord be with you.

Reject Unsound Advice – Daily Inspiration, July 13, 2012

“Doubtless you are the people, and wisdom will die with you! But I have a mind as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know these things?” Job 12: 2-3

Job spoke these words in response to Zophar’s argument about why Job was experiencing such misfortune. Zophar’s intention was in the right place, but he misunderstood the reason behind Job’s suffering. Job’s response is sarcastic but raises a solid point. Sometimes our friends have good intentions when they offer us advice and instruction. But we have minds of our own, and if that advice or instruction goes against our Christian principles or sensibilities, we should reject it just as Job did. We place our trust and faith in God’s Word, not the good intentions of our friends.

May God be with you today.

A Warped Sense of What To Be Thankful For? – Daily Inspiration, July 12, 2012

“Plowman have plowed my back and made their furrows long. But the Lord is righteous; He has cut me from the cords of wickedness.” Psalm 129: 3 -4

I read a story recently about a young Pakistani woman who was attacked with acid when she was 16 for professing her Christianity. It was a brutal attack, resulting in months of surgeries and rehabilitation. Today, however, the woman is enrolled in a Texas college and studying to become an American citizen; living a life she never thought possible for herself. The woman praises God in the article for everything He has done for her.

The article was beautiful and inspiring, but some of the comments below the article weren’t. One comment that struck me the most was from an admitted non-believer who wanted another commenter to acknowledge he or she was thanking God for people throwing acid in strangers’ faces. He ended by stating the commenter has a “warped” sense of what to be thankful for.

We have free will to believe what we want. However, the commenter’s statement reminds me of just how limited man’s vision and discernment is. The young woman and the fellow Christian commenter were not praising God and being thankful solely for the violent act. They were full praise for God being with the woman through the attack (she could have very easily died), guiding her through a difficult recovery and blessing her beyond her dreams. God turned evil into good. But the non-believing commenter, with his worldly view, could only focus on the evil. To me, as a Christian, that is a warped sense of comprehension.

May the Lord be with you today.