Friday, February 10, 2012

God’s Everlasting Love

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;

I have drawn you with loving kindness.”

Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)

God never falls out of love with us. He lovingly knit us together (Psalm 139) in our mothers’ wombs. He made us exactly as He wants us to be.

He knows in advance what we will do and say in our lives. (That’s scary. That means He knows when I will loose control and say something He won’t like.)

He rejoices when we rejoice. He laughs when we react to a funny joke or circumstance. God also cries when we find ourselves sad. A friend from high school recently posted to our class’s Facebook page that her husband had died. All those who responded shared her grief and told her they would pray for her.

God hears us when we cry out to Him in our times of loss. He loves us but sometimes has to do some things that hurt us at that time. We have to understand that God has everything under His control even the things that seem hard for us. What He does for us He does out of His great never-ending love for us.

Our Father listens when we talk to Him. He lets us know when He comes near. When we have concerns about our lives or the lives of those close to us, He is there to help us view the options. He guides us through the times of self-doubt and allows us to understand Him and ourselves better.

He does these things and many more for you and me because He loves us forever.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Honor God with the First Fruits

“Bring the best of the first fruits of your soil to the house of your God.” Exodus 34: 26

As a young adult, I heard tithing explained in a way that demonstrated how this verse was carried out. A farmer took his wagon to the field at harvest time. He divided the bed of the wagon by separating a section one-tenth the size of the bed. As the workers harvested the crop- be it corn, wheat, or apples. The best of the crop would be placed in the area separate from the larger part of the wagon. Those things picked and placed in the smaller area became the Lord’s.

Have we ever thought about what all God gives us? All he asks in return is one-tenth of what we have.

When I became convicted about my need to tithe, I worked where my pay days were every two weeks and came at or near the beginning of the week. When I sat down to pay bills, I established the habit of writing my tithe check first.

When we took travel vacations, I wasn’t employed at that time What ever spending money I was given, I tithed also. These exercises taught me several lessons. I learned to obey God about giving back to Him, and to appreciate what He had given me. Both of these things seem to have brought honor to God.

Toward the end of December, I received word that I had made a mistake in my checking account. This affected two of my checks I had written. Because of this error and the charges I accrued, I had an interesting January. I lived like a miser. During the month I received two reimbursements for items I had purchased; one had a sad side to it. A company that I had ordered a tee shirt went out of business. This caused the group I bought the shirt from to issue refunds to all who had paid for one.

God has been with me through this time. Because of the experience, I have started keeping a better track of my funds. I evaluate my purchases closer (Do I really need that right now?)

Our local newspaper has decided to “offer” subscriptions to its online daily editions. I have to consider how this could impact my funds. And two women at our church are presenting a Financial Peace University class for about three months. Somehow they have a reduced rate for those who attend. The younger of the two women is the granddaughter of a personal friend. I want to attend but there again; I want to honor the Lord with my decision.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Honor God with Our Mouths.

Photo found on Bing

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation

of my heart be pleasing in your sight.”

Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”

Matthew 12: 34 (NIV)

I confess I used to have a very bad habit; I was careless with my speech. I went through a time of when, if I didn’t say those words, I thought them.

One day at work, I met a woman whose habit caused me to think about how she sounded, how I might sound. She would say those words that took God’s name in vain. She even used that one word that no one likes to hear. A little bit later she talked about going to church. Deep down, I knew this wasn’t the way we were to talk. We have to be mindful of God’s Word on this issue.

When I decided I wanted to write. I purchased a second hand electric typewriter. It wore out and my husband bought me a new electronic one for one of my birthdays. It had correction tape and neat ways to make the font bold. Also, I could set my line spacing. The ribbon was in a cartridge, which meant no more nasty fingers after changing it. But, there was one issue I had with this machine.

The ribbon cartridge and the correction tape spool would not go in place for me, causing the typewriter not to function. I sometimes have a short temper. Dealing with anything that doesn’t work brings it out of me. I yelled, screamed, and said all sorts of bad words. Our son came to my rescue. He showed me how the cartridge and the spool had to click in place before the mechanism will work.

I realized that I had been very careless with my words. “What if the Lord would have come at that moment?” Later, I shared my experience with a lady from our church. She understood why I felt so guilty about my behavior. I asked her if I could call her when I would need to change the cartridge and the spool and ask her to pray for me. She consented to this arrangement. And, yes, I did just that.

When I find myself out of sorts with what has been placed in front of me, I have to take a deep breath, whisper a prayer, and relax before I can fulfill the task I have been called to do. Following this practice has saved me grief and helped me as I try to honor God.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...