Sunday, September 28, 2014

Take Time

“Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well!” Psalm 90:12(MSG)

Recently I was looking at the calendar on my iPhone when I accidentally scrolled down too quickly and I found myself looking at the entire calendar year for 1941! As I used my thumb to scroll back to the 2014 calendar, I went on a nostalgic journey as I saw all the calendar years pass before my eyes. I saw the year I was born, the year I was married, each birth year of my children and the years that were turning points in my life. 

As quickly as my thumb scrolled through the calendar years on my phone, was as quickly as it seems life has gone by.

As I was sharing this nostalgic journey with my husband, we both acknowledged that time is moving faster than we would like. When we are young, we feel it is going by so slooooowly.  But when we are in our 50’s and above, it seems to zoom by. 

Both my husband and I wished we knew then what we know now. Below are just a few thoughts that ran through our minds.:

… Take time - life is a gift! Life is precious and we should savor and enjoy it as much as possible.

… What seemed to be big challenges in life when we were young adults, wasn’t worthy of all our worry because God always proved to be faithful.

… No need to be afraid - God is worthy of ALL our trust and when we put our hope in Him - He never disappoints us.

… Enjoy each moment when your children are young because before you know it, they will be grown adults.

… Cherish the times you have with family and friends - celebrate that they are in your life.

... Always put God first - love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength - you will never regret it.

... "Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind." Ecclesiastes 12:13

Let's take the time .... before the time takes us!

“You only have one life to live and it will soon be past, but what you do for Christ, that will last.” Chuck Smith 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

False Positive

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18

I believe one of the most dangerous sins is pride. The reason why I believe it is so dangerous is because it sneaks up on us. Let me correct myself, it “appears” to sneak up upon us but the reality is pride is an attitude of the heart and it can blind us from the dangers that can seriously impact our life.

We don’t just wake up in the morning and realize that we are prideful. Instead it is the condition of the heart because of our fallen nature and is embedded into each human walking on planet earth.

On the other hand, one of the most beautiful attitudes of the heart is humility. Everyone is attracted to humility – even God is attracted to true humility! The Bible says in James 4:6, “God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

I believe one of the reasons God is opposed to the proud is because it gives the person a false positive.  It appears to the person that everything is going great, when God knows and most likely others know that just the opposite is occurring.

Pride NEVER results in a positive. In fact, the Bible says that pride comes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18) – OUCH!

The good news is stated in James 4:10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” God’s favor reaches out to us in love and in spite of our human shortcomings, He gives us worth and dignity!

“Proud people take little account of their weaknesses and do not anticipate stumbling blocks. They think they are above the frailties of common people. In this state of mind they are easily tripped up. Ironically, proud people seldom realize that pride is their problem, although everyone around them is well aware of it. Ask someone you trust whether self-satisfaction has blinded you to warning signs. He or she may help you avoid a fall.” Commentary

Friday, September 19, 2014


“…For I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.” Jonah 2:10

Many are familiar with the story of Jonah. Jonah was a reluctant prophet who tried to go as far away from where God had commanded him to go.  In fact, he fled in the opposite direction by jumping on a ship headed for Tarshish!

However, the boat with Jonah in it did not get too far before God sent a great storm on the sea to get Jonah’s attention. Not only did it get Jonah’s attention, but also it got the attention of the mariners on the ship. This is what the mariners said to one another:

“Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said, to him, ‘Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?”

Jonah knew that he could run but he could not hide from God or the call that God had on his life! The story continues when the mariners, with the consent of Jonah, throws him overboard into the deep, cold sea! As Jonah is sinking to the bottom of the ocean, God in His tender mercies sends a large fish to swallow him and save Jonah’s life.

While in this large fish, Jonah now sees the error of his ways and humbles himself before God and rededicates his life for God’s purposes. Miraculously, by God’s command, the large fish vomited Jonah onto dry land.  The Lord gives Jonah another opportunity to obey him and Jonah accepts the call of God and goes to Nineveh to warn the people of their coming destruction because of the evil life style the people in the city were leading.

After Jonah announces the coming destruction on the city, Jonah waits and watches to see what God will do! But something beautiful happens to the surprise of Jonah, the people of Nineveh accepted Jonah’s message and with fasting and prayers they cried out to God for forgiveness for their evil ways and the violence that governed their lives.

In Jonah 3:10 it says, “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”

Unfortunately, God’s mercy upon this city made Jonah angry instead of joyful. You see Jonah had no compassion on the people of Nineveh even though he himself received the compassion of God and was spared his own life.  After seeing God’s great mercy upon the city, this is when Jonah said this to God:

“Ah LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.” Jonah 2:10

“I Know: Jonah himself had experienced the excellencies of God.

Gracious and merciful: May be rephrased as “marvelously gracious.”

Lovingkindness: Can also mean “loyal love.”” 

Jonah still had a lot to learn in his life and so do we! But let's not miss the beauty of our LORD - He is marvelously gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness!

THANK YOU LORD for You are marvelously gracious and have a loyal love for us. Thank you for reminding us that your grace and love is not only for us who know you, but also for the entire world. Thank you that you are ALWAYS ready to show compassion and mercy to ANYONE willing to seek You! Thank you for giving us second chances, third chances and as many chances we need to participate in Your work. Thank you LORD for sending the “large fish” in our life, as they are your acts of mercy towards us! In Jesus’ Name – Amen.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Stay Fresh

One of the little joys of my day is picking up my high school daughter from school. Each time she gets into the car there is always something interesting she shares with me about her day. This week she found out that some of her friends that were on the basketball team with her last year were cut from the team this year. She also found out that the team would have a new coach.

After my daughter shared her remorse about her friends being cut from the team, I asked her how she felt about her own skills. This is what she said, “I feel I need to step it up.” That was exactly what I hoped she would say. I reminded her that comfort is not always a friend, but sometimes being a little bit uncomfortable helps us to move out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary.

Talking about being uncomfortable, reminded me to share with my daughter the story about the benefits of having a shark in your tank. If you have not heard of this story before, I shared the version of the story below from the site, The Art of Management, Inc.

A Fishing Story:

“The Japanese love fresh fish. However, the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades. So to feed the Japanese population fishing boats got bigger and went farther than ever.

The farther the fisherman went, the longer it took to bring in the fish. If the return trip took more than a few days, the fish were not fresh. The Japanese did not like the taste.

To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezer on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer.

However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen and they did not like frozen fish. The frozen fish brought a lower price.

So fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, fin to fin. After a little thrashing around, the fish stopped moving. They were tired and dull, but alive.

Unfortunately, the Japanese could still taste the difference. Because the fish did not move for days, they lost their fresh-fish taste. The Japanese preferred the lively taste of fresh fish, not sluggish fish.

So how did Japanese fishing companies solve the problem?

To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies still put the fish in the tanks. But now they add a small shark to each tank. The shark eats a few fish, but most of the fish arrive in a very lively state.

The fish are challenged.”

For most of us, in order to prevent becoming ineffective and unproductive, we need to be challenged in order to do our best or other wise we will take the road of least resistance. 

In 2 Peter 1:5, Peter wanted to rouse the complacent believers. This was what he said, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you posses these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Faith must be more than belief in certain facts; it must result in action, growth in Christian character, and the practice of moral discipline, or it will die away (James 2:14-17). Peter lists several of faith’s actions: learning to know God better, developing perseverance, doing God’s will, loving others. These actions do not come automatically; they require hard work. They are not optional; all of them must be a continual part of the Christian life. We don’t finish one and start on the next, but we work on them all together. God empowers and enables us, but He also gives us the responsibility to learn and to grow.” Commentary

What a great reminder God gave both my daughter and to me about the dangers of being complacent!

Definition of complacent: pleased, especially with oneself or one’s merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied.

Let’s make every effort as the Bible exhorts in 2 Peter 1:5, "to step it up", and let's continue to learn and to grow in every area of our life! If we make every effort, by the Lord's grace, He will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive especially in our desire to grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ! Stay fresh!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Shadow

“All whom God uses greatly are first hidden in the secret of His presence, away from the pride of man. It is there our vision clears. It is there the silt drops from the current of our life and our faith begins to grasp His arm.

Abraham waited for the birth of Isaac.
Moses didn’t lead the Exodus until he was eighty.
Elijah waited beside the brook.
Noah waited 120 years for rain.
Paul was hidden away for three years in Arabia.

God is working while His people are waiting, waiting, waiting.

That’s what’s happening. For the present time, nothing. For the future, everything!” Joseph: A Man of Integrity and Forgiveness, by Charles Swindoll

Don’t you love this encouragement from Charles Swindoll? What a beautiful thought that as we wait and wait and wait in the secret place of His presence, our faith begins to grasp the arm of God!

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

Thursday, September 4, 2014


“…Choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days….” Deuteronomy 30:19

Today I turned 50 years old – what a gift from God to be able to say that!  How wonderful that Deuteronomy 30:19 was in my devotional reading today! We are exhorted to cling to God for He is our life and the length of our days!

For all intended purposes, I should not be here today writing this blog. For you see, approximately five years ago I had a stroke in an area of my brain that controlled all of my life functions. But thanks be to my Lord, I have been able to enjoy an additional five years with my husband, my daughters, my parents and my dear friends! Everyday since then, my eyes have been opened to how quickly life can be taken. I have learned to cling to God, as He is my life and the length of my days. I do not take one minute, one hour, or one day for granted.

In Psalm 90:12, Moses, the man of God prayed a prayer. He prayed, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

“What Moses needed was a new understanding of the meaning of his own life. To number our days is more than just having a sense of mortality; it means valuing the time we do have by using it for eternal purposes.” Commentary

I no longer worry about when He will call me home; instead I value the time that He has given me here on this earth.  My greatest desire is to live a life that loves my Lord, that obeys His voice and that clings to Him for everything!

You do not have to experience a life-changing event like a stroke in order to value the time God has given you here on earth. All you need to do to value your life is to listen for His voice, obey His instructions and clinnnnnng to the ONE who is your SOURCE of joy, love, mercy, forgiveness, help, grace and life!

"You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it." Psalm 139:5-6