Friday, January 17, 2020

Pleasing God with Our Goals

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Therefore, we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the LORD.” So, we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 2 Corinthians 5:9 (NIV)

As God’s children, we are to obey Him. We choose to do this out of gratitude, love, and respect.  When we practice obedience to God, we please Him.

 we make it our goal to please him

How can we please God? We please Him when we make worship a priority in our daily lives. We can do this through daily devotional readings and Bible study.

We please Him when our speech reflects His teaching. Sometimes on social media, I see some shared “Christian” memes that may have one uncalled for word. This bothers me. I also prefer not to use minced oaths.

We please Him when we reach out to someone who is going through a difficult time. Some people face certain issues long term.

We please God when we stand for Him and His Word. In our society, we see groups moving away from God’s Word by watering it down or by completely ignoring His direction.

whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

The Apostle Paul says something here that gives me pause. When we are “at home in the body” we are alive and walking this earth, making a living, taking care of our families, checking on those who are ill.

What gets me to thinking is the phrase, “or away from it.” Then I remembered what Paul said to the Ephesian believers, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

Someone recently explained that because Paul belonged to Christ, he had Jesus with him while he walked this earth. When he would leave this earth, Paul would be with Jesus and that would be the best outcome.

We, who believe in Jesus as our LORD and Savior, look forward to the day that we will see Him. It is our goal.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Press on With God

Image result for the apostle paul

Not that I have already obtained this or and already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ.
                Philippians 3:12- 14 (ESV)

Paul had a goal in mind, to be more like Jesus. He had a plan. To forget the pain and hurt of his past. I never really understood what he meant by forgetting. In this instance, according to Warren Wiersbe, it means not to allow a past issue to control us.

When I read this, I thought about what he said, and it made sense to me. A lot of the things that caused hurt in my life were things in my past and most things done to me.  I learned to let go. I had to even ask God to forgive someone for me.

It worked; I stopped feeling guilty about the events that caused our estrangement. I felt no shame about it. I could go on and make a life for myself, a more vital relationship with Christ.
I have heard that our past does not define who we are. As I grow older I realize that statement is true.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Trust God’s Leading

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Trust the LORD, your God,
With all your heart and lean
Not to your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge
Him and he will direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Have you ever made plans that didn’t turn out as you had thought? Sure. You have; We all have done it.

Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in what WE want to do that we ‘run ahead of the LORD’ and do what we want about our plans and the issues facing us.

We may say things that are on our hearts but are not godly. We may watch a television show or movie that contains dialogue that God does not want us to hear think about.

King Solomon gives us universal, eternal advice in these verses.

Trust the LORD, your God,

God is bigger than all our worldly problems. He is bigger than the world’s current unsettling conflicts and threats. God is in control of everything that can happen, that will happen.

with all your heart

 God wants us to rely on Him completely.
  The prophet Jeremiah tells us we will find God when we seek Him with our whole heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
lean not to your own understanding;
In the scheme of things, how much do we really know or understand how things operate? I am reminded of God’s speaking to Job about what he knew about God’s business and what He had done. (Job 38-40:1) We only see a snippet of what is happening to us and our loved ones, God sees the big picture.

In all your ways acknowledge him

In every action we take, every word we speak, and every thought we have, we are to give credit to God, to thank Him, to obey Him.

he will direct your paths

God guides us through the quagmires of life. In my adulthood, I have personally been through those times when I thought I would never get through the difficulty. But God was there for me, each and every time.

Friday, January 3, 2020

My Plans for 2020

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Writing Plans for 2020.

Last fall, I found myself thinking about the Apostle Paul and his imprisonment in Rome. I started a piece about how a member of the Praetorium Guard got to know Paul better and that guard’s thoughts and impressions of him. (All this came to me as I was preparing to teach a Bible Study on Philippians.)

My word for 2020

I thought about several words. I have chosen “PRAISE.” I will write more about it as the year progresses.

 Blog Topics and Frequency

Each fall, I consider the topics for my blog for the next year. These usually are related to the time of year, Lent, Advent, Thankfulness, advent, etc.

I will still write and post entries on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Writing Group

That new writing group that I was invited to join chose not to meet in December. It is scheduled to start up again this month. The group plans to meet once a month.

Searching for Markets

From time to time I search for markets to which I can submit. Presently, I have a few in mind to investigate and see if I can create something appropriate for some of them.

Reading List
I have yet to decide on books I choose to read this year. I will spend time this month making decisions about this.

Devotional Reading
The Sunday school class I am in uses devotional readings as a springboard for discussion about the message. I also will be reading the Daily Guideposts devotional book.

Goals List
I have returned to making a list of goals. I have used the “S-M-A-R-T” format, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

December Reflections

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December was a different month for me. To quote Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
The first week of each month is a busy time for me. I had plans for every day that week. The only one I got to do happened on Monday. Tuesday’s visitation day got postponed until almost Christmas.
On Tuesday, I had to go with Hubby to the Emergency Room. Hubby had Heart Failure (aka, Congestive Heart Failure. They admitted him. He was there until Thursday. The doctor added more medication to keep the fluid away from his heart.
He (and I) are on a low sodium diet. It is an eye-opener as to how much sodium is in our food.
About the middle of the month, on a Saturday, we went to the yard barn and brought in most of our Christmas decorations. That Sunday evening, I put up my little tree and decorated our coffee table. (That involved cleaning and storing a lot of items.)
Hubby decided to help me with decorating the coffee table. I had come home from church to find the biggest Poinsettia I have ever seen sitting on it. This got me in the mood for decorating.

My visitation partner and I missed one day of visitation. One of her daughters was admitted to the hospital where she lives and then was transferred to a trauma hospital in another town. The doctors considered sending her to Cleveland Clinic. When the young woman got released, my friend went up to stay with her for about a week.  When we did get out to do visitation, we told each of them why we had not been able to come earlier in the month. They all understood. That friend’s daughter is being evaluated for a heart transplant. She was taken back to the hospital on Christmas night.

Our son got to come home on Christmas Eve day. We weren’t sure if he could get off on that day.  He went to church with me on Christmas Eve. (Hubby’s medications kept him home.) We opened our gifts before we went to the Christmas Eve service. Our son and I watched some of the Christmas Classic movies while he was home. I found a version of “A Christmas Carol”, made in 1934, which was different from the one from 1951.  We also watched “O Henry’s Full House”. My two favorites of the five are “The Last Leaf,” and “The Gift of the Magi.” I also found the 1951 version of “A Christmas Carol” and taped it to watch on Christmas Day.

Earlier this fall, I made some plans for my blog topics and chose my word for 2020.
My next post will be about my plans for 2020 and my word for this year.
Happy New Year to each of you.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

God Came to Earth

Sallman- Head of Christ

 As a baby,

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12 (ESV)

Into a poor family,

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-8 (ESV)

Was tempted by the enemy,

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. Luke 4:1 (ESV

Saw heartache and sickness among the people,

So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. Matthew 4:24 (ESV)

Died a horrible death, yet was sinless,

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” Luke 23:39-41 (ESV)

Asked the Father to forgive those who crucified Him,

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. Luke 23:34 (ESV)

Comforted the disciples,

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” John 20:26 (ESV)

Forgave Peter,

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”, He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
John 21:15-17 (ESV)

Ascended to the right hand of His Father,

And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. .”  Acts 1:9 (ESV)

Is coming again,

And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”  Acts 1:10-11 (ESV)

Will live with His people.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
Revelation 21:3

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Mary’s Response

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And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.” Luke 1:46-48

Mary was very young and from a poor family.
The Angel Gabrielle came to her and told her that she would bear God’s child. At first, she seemed skeptical. She couldn’t understand this message.

Gabrielle shared news about Mary’s relative, Elizabeth. Elizabeth, an older woman was with child. She and her husband Zechariah had not been blessed with children before.

Mary visits Elizabeth in her home. Elizabeth and her unborn son both recognize that Mary is the mother of the LORD.

Mary gives praise to God. She realizes that God is made real to her by His decision to use her in such a special way. She feels God’s presence in her soul and her spirit.
God became real to Mary during the time she carried this special baby.

Has God ever become real to you through something He has done for you?

Has God become more real to you through someone else by what they said or did to help you through an uncertain time? 

Pleasing God with Our Goals  Therefore, we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the LORD.”...