“I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise.” Psalm 138:1
I once had a co-worker who, after hearing me speak of my faith, asked, “How can someone so intelligent believe that Jesus is the only Messiah? There are documents out there that point to other messiahs. How can you not count them?”
His question both shocked and saddened me. I was shocked because I never knew he had such deep-seated doubts about the sovereignty of Jesus Christ. It saddened me that those doubts prevented him from fully accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
We have free will. To believe in God and accept Jesus is a choice. I don’t think it is necessarily wrong to know other religious points of view. I do, however, think it is very damaging for Christians to allow those other points of view to cloud our vision or impede our Christian walk.
I didn’t stop being friendly with he co-worker and stood firm in my faith each time he attempted to “enlighten” me. I respected his right to reject Jesus as the One and True Savior but I did not follow his example. Eventually, the Lord caused us to part ways. I’ve thought of that co-worker from time to time, wondering why our paths crossed. Perhaps, we needed each other spiritually; maybe he needed to meet someone resolute in faith and maybe I needed to meet someone to re-affirm my faith.
May the Lord guide your steps today.
“Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
This can seem extremely difficult, especially in our stressful, hustle and bustle society. Take a moment today to focus less on what is wrong with your life and be joyful for what is right. Don’t think you have anything to be joyful about? Well, you do have one thing – you are alive, which is a tremendous gift. If you don’t agree, just watch your local news and tally the number who cannot make this claim this morning. Don’t have time to pray? Turn your morning shower into a prayer session. Prayer doesn’t have to be long and formalized. The 5 -10 minutes you spend sudsing can also be valuable time to spend with God. Don’t know what to say? Speak from your heart. Stuck in traffic on your way to work? Thank God you have a vehicle to be stuck in, whether you are fortunate enough to own a car or blessed enough to have bus or cab fare.
God Bless you this day and everyday.
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know you, and they know that You have sent Me. I have made You known to them and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them.” John 17:25-26
We know them. Sister ABC and Brother XYZ. No one can utter a negative word about them; no one can refute their pristine reputations. They give to those in need; their good deeds are legendary in your church. They know the Bible frontwards and backwards and can easily tell others the book, chapter and verse of all scripture. You admire them and want to model your life after them. They are the personification of Christianity.
While Sister ABC and Brother XYZ may deserve admiration and their actions may be a sincere product of their faith, Christians should never look only to man for an example of how to lead their lives. We have been given the ultimate example in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As John 1:1 explains, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In this verse, the Word is Jesus Himself. Therefore, for instruction on how to conduct ourselves, we need to dedicate time to consistent and conscientious Bible study rather than looking for others to lead the way. This responsibility rests upon each of our shoulders. Through study, we develop a better understanding of Jesus, His mission and His precepts thus strengthening our relationship with Him. Sunday sermons should not be the only time the Word enters our lives. Faith and belief should be personal, not based upon someone else’s interpretation and understanding. If during your independent study you come across scripture you cannot comprehend, pray for guidance and understanding. Don’t conclude that you are not smart enough, Christian enough or worthy.
At one time, Sister ABC and Brother XYZ may have been just like you. They may have witnessed the light of a Christian elder that shone so brightly it made them want to have the same spiritual maturity, joy and peace. Although that elder was the impetus, he or she was not the root. The root is Jesus Christ. Take the initiative to know Him for yourself.
When quoting Scripture, be careful to read the entire chapter or even the entire book in which it was written to make sure you are applying it in its proper context. Read more…
Personal note: My apologies for the lapses in posting. I recently had surgery and have been in “med fog” for the past week.
Whenever faced with personal challenges, I always try to view my circumstance from a spiritual perspective. I recently published the following devotional on my Hub pages domain. Please take the time to read. If you are facing a daunting circumstance, don’t be afraid For God Has Not Given Us A Spirit of Fear…
May the Lord be with you and bless you this day.
“For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:9-10
Do you sometimes wish you had someone with whom you could talk? I mean really talk. Someone who wouldn’t hold your thoughts against you or constantly remind you of your transgressions? Someone you know wouldn’t blab your secrets or your desires, but would instead walk through them with you. In essence, a true friend.
Just thinking about someone like that brings about a sense of peace and assurance that seems impossible in this world. I am close to my mother and, although I can go to her with any problem, there are certain things I wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing with her. I have close friends but, again, there are some thoughts and situations I deemed too complex and private.
I was wrong.
Nothing is hidden is from the Lord. He knows our hearts, which is the home of our desires. He is already close to us; we need to become closer to Him. Talk to Him. I mean beyond prayers that have become rote. Talk to Him about your problems, from that small irritation you encountered at work to that major issue that you feel no one else would understand. He is interested and concerned about You. Go ahead and try it. You will literally feel the yoke being lifted from your shoulders.
It’s true that everyone needs someone to talk to. As Christians, we always have Someone who is available at anytime and anyplace.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’. 1 Samuel 16:7
Who among us has not felt convicted by this verse at some time or another? For me, it is usually after averting my eyes from that homeless man or woman on the street. When shaking my head “no” from inside my car as they panhandle at traffic lights. Sometimes, it’s when I cross the street or take a different direction to keep from passing a person who just doesn’t look right. You see, I have been conned by people posing as homeless and physically threatened by mentally unstable people while walking to the parking garage from work. So, I’m leery but I do tend to go against instinct and let my guard down. I’ll still offer money and a blessing to the men and women holding signs on the street corners. I’ll push aside past experiences and walk by that person on the street.
When reading the verses leading to 1 Sm 16:7, you will discover the context in which the Lord spoke these words to Samuel. Samuel was sent to Jesse to appoint one his sons king. Samuel saw Eliab’s impressive appearance and thought surely he was the anointed one. Thankfully, the Lord guided Samuel. For it is from the lineage of David that Jesus was born.
Like many, I have no problem with guarding myself against individuals who appear unsavory. But how many times have I been pleased by the outward appearance only to be hurt when the true nature, or heart, shows through? Often, we see people for what we want them to be, not for who they actually are. God doesn’t have these limitations. He sees the heart and knows the person’s strengths, weaknesses and intentions. Before rejecting someone God has placed in your life, pray for discernment. Outwardly, he or she may not be what you expected, but his or her heart may be everything you need.