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What the World Needs Most

The song “What the world needs now” was sung in 1965 by Jackie Deshannon.  The lyrics continue: “is love sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”  It’s not a Christian song, but it certainly has a message which the Bible teaches over and over again. If you look up the word love in the back of the scriptures you find many commands to love. When Jesus was asked which of the commandments were the most important, He said to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” was the first and the second was to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  The first one isn’t that hard as we know God loved us so much that “He sent His only begotten Son that we might have eternal life.” But that second one is very difficult. What if you have a neighbor, co-worker, or relative who is difficult, rude, and ignorant? That puts a whole new light on this loving the neighbor thing doesn’t it? The Lord has been dealing with me this week about this very thing. It is easy to love someone who treats you good and loves you back, but the Bible says that “even the heathen do this.” We are to be different, We are to manifest the love of Christ. I believe Christ knew this would be difficult, but He gave us examples during his ministry. The most important example was on the cross when he forgave those who had nailed Him up there. “Father forgive them. For they know not what they do.” They were ignorant of what they were doing to the very Son of God. Sometimes people we deal with are ignorant as well. Can we show the love of Christ to those around us even if they treat us badly? It is a lesson in Christian maturity which I have not yet reached. I admit that I need to allow Christ to work in me to allow this to happen. What about you?

Lord, forgive me for not being your witness in this lost and dying world. Help me to allow your Spirit to teach me Your way of love and forgiveness. Amen

Why Worry?

In a sermon I heard on the radio yesterday, the speaker said, “Those who worry or are anxious have little faith.”
As I read my morning devotions from several different books, I realized that a couple of them were on the same topic of being anxious. They used the scriptures from Matthew 6:25-34. When I see the same theme in several of the readings, I feel God is attempting to get my attention.
I know I’m guilty of being anxious about things over which I have no control. I start some of my sentences with, “I’m afraid.” I mean, not that I’m literally terrified, but concerned or worried.
I recall Jesus speaking to Peter and his disciples on occasions where he used the expression, “Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt me – or why are you afraid?” He was right there with them, but they still lacked trust.
Perhaps the answer is that instead of talking about the problem or situation and expressing worry, we should be praying as the scripture says in Philippians 4:6-7 NIV – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of
God which passes all understanding will guide your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (The verse I claim as my life verse.)
God brought a chorus to my mind as I was writing this, which I sang as a child in church. It was written by John W. Peterson, and one of the lines to song says: “Why worry when you can pray? Trust Jesus; He is the way.” Yes, we can trust Him for all our needs.

Lord, thank you for hearing me. Please forgive me for doubting—for being overly anxious. Increase my faith and trust as I come bringing all my concerns to you. Amen

“I am the reason for the season!”

          The pastor made this profound statement during his sermon: “Jesus is not the reason for the season.”

          People in the congregation looked shocked. What was he saying: We all know that “Christ”mas is the celebration of the birth of the Christ child—the Messiah.

          The point he attempted to make is that it was because of the sin of mankind that God promised to send a Savior to reconcile His people back to Himself. Since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, we are all under the curse of sin.

          It wasn’t something Christ needed to do for Himself. He came to die for me and for the sin of the whole world.

          Christmas is indeed a special time to remember that Christ came to earth to take on His human form—to live among men. He set the standard of how He wants us to live and love.

          This Christmas, may His love manifest itself in our hearts and shine forth in thankfulness for the greatest gift of all—salvation through our Savior, Jesus Christ. Yes, I am the reason this season was necessary.

Luke 2:10-11: “And the angel said unto them, fear not for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior Who is Christ the Lord.”

The Barren Tree

“In this is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” John 15:8 KJV

Stark grey branches of the pecan tree stand out against the winter sky giving no hint of its species. Unless you are familiar with the genus of trees, you wouldn’t know that it was supposed to bear delicious pecan nuts.

In the spring, the pecan tree will once again send out leaves and flower buds which will begin a new the process of bearing its fruit (or nuts in this case).

The tree reminds me of my Christian life—barren at times. Could anyone tell that Christ lives in my heart? Do I bear any of the fruits of His Spirit such as love, joy, peace, long-suffering, or generosity? We have opportunity to manifest our faith in action as we minister to those around us.

Perhaps, like the barren tree, we too can come out of the winter of our lives with the help of God’s Spirit and grow the fruit of his love.

Prayer: Father, help me to allow you to work in my life that I may bring forth fruit fit for your kingdom. Amen

When Christians Disagree

“In 1750 George Whitefield wrote: “After all, those who will live in peace must agree to disagree in many things with their fellow-laborers, and not let little things part or disunite them.”

“Upon the death of George Whitefield, John Wesley wrote a memorial sermon downplaying the two men’s doctrinal differences.”

“There are many doctrines of a less essential nature… In these, we may think and let think; we may,” ‘agree to disagree.’ (All above quotes from Wikipedia)

One of my favorite chapters in the New Testament is Philippians 4. God has used His word in this chapter to encourage me in some stressful situations in my life.
In this scripture Paul writes that he is troubled about two women, Euodia and Syntyche. They are both fellow servants of God, but they are having a serious disagreement or misunderstanding over some issue. The problem is not stated in this account. Paul’s desire is that they work out this issue.
Paul also asks that fellow believers help these women. (Sometimes God calls us to be peacemakers mediators to others.) I believe the news of this dispute saddened Paul as he loved them both.
When we allow spiritual issues to disrupt the harmony in our churches and lives, God’s Spirit is hindered in His work. Satan is delighted when this happens because it can ruin the witness of the individuals involved.
Is it essential that we all interpret or believe God’s word the same? We have many denominations in this world who hold different views on the interpretation of the Bible, and that’s why we have thousands of different churches. We cannot force others to believe the way we feel in our hearts is right. Ultimately, we are all accountable for accepting Christ into our own lives and how we live.
If our loved ones do not know Christ, we are encouraged to share the simple gospel truth with them. However, if they do have Christ’s Spirit within them because they have placed their trust in Him, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring about God’s desired results in their lives—not us. It is hard for us to step back and allow God to work when we feel they are on the wrong path.

Philippians 2:12-13 KJV – “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who worketh in you both to will and do of His good pleasure.”

Prayer: Dear God, forgive me for trying to do the work of your Spirit in other believers. Help me to be faithful in sharing your word with the lost, reading your word and praying for those in my life who need your guidance. Amen

Reflection of Lent

 

          Lent is a time leading up to the remembrances of our Lord’s death and His resurrection. We consider and contemplate our spiritual well being. How does our life reflect our Christian beliefs?

          An acquaintance of mine told me a story about how she was raised in a Christian home, and she had made a decision to follow Christ as a child. She felt confident that she was a pretty good Christian. One day, she hosted a garage sale. She wore a tee shirt with a Christian message. Another friend showed up at her sale and when she read the message on her shirt, she said: “When did you become a Christian?” This was a wakeup call to her that she was not reflecting Christ.

          The more time that we spend with God in His word and in prayer—the more our lives will reflect a Christ-like attitude in our dealings in business, and with our friends and families.

          Lenten season is indeed a time to reflect. It serves as a reminder for spiritual housecleaning. A time to look back over the past year. Perhaps a time when we determine to grow closer to God.

          Some people give up something they enjoy during this season. Perhaps instead of giving up something, we could determine to do something productive to show our Christian faith. In Samuel 15:22, we find these words: And Samuel said, “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”

          Well, that’s pretty clear—“To obey is better than to sacrifice.”

          We cannot reflect what we do not have. I take many photos of reflections in water, and whatever the camera sees in the water is exactly what is on the land around it and nothing more.

          When we look in the mirror at our reflection, we may not like what we see, but what we see is the real us. When God looks at us, He sees exactly what is in our heart; we cannot hide it from Him. When our families and the world look at us, do we reflect Christ by our actions? Without the love of Christ in our lives, we cannot reflect this light to others.

         

Prayer: Almighty God, we bow before you in humbleness. Forgive us for when we fail You. Help us to reflect your light to all those around us. During this Lenten season and always, help us to strive as Christians to mirror Christ’s life so that others might come to know your Son and embrace the miracle of the resurrection. Amen

Christmas Blog

Lessons from Christmas Past – 2013
As I reflect on past Christmas memories, they are not all pleasant. Some, memories are painful to recall.
This year, I had friends and family members die. I have friends who are critically ill and they need miracles to get well.
One of my memories is the Christmas that I was pregnant and miscarried. We planned to travel to PA from Maryland to share Christmas with our families. I was not prepared the day before Christmas for the emotional loss of a baby.
The Lord touched the hearts of several friends who took time out of their own holiday celebrations to prepare food for us. I learned that year Christmas was about the love and support of friends when I was in need.
Another memory was the year my brother died suddenly two weeks before Christmas, and a week later my mother was operated on for incurable pancreatic cancer. She spent Christmas in the hospital, and I didn’t want to celebrate anything that year. Through the love and compassion of my husband who took over the preparations, God taught me that Christmas was not about me and how I was feeling, but about joy for the birth of a Savior who came as a gift for the whole world.
Another Christmas found my husband with the diagnosis of two aggressive cancers and facing a second operation and months of chemotherapy. At the same time, the company which I worked for eleven years went bankrupt. God taught me to take one day at a time and trust Him for just that day. He gave me a “peace which passeth all understanding” that year.
My 58-year old sister Dottie was diagnosed with liver cancer during another Christmas season. It was a heart-breaking time as our whole family got together to be with her for her last Christmas. I learned about the love which sacrifices to ease burdens and share pain for someone in need.
There have been other close family members who have died just before Christmas in the past several years. They are always remembered and missed.
Also, there has been the pain of divorces and division in our family. People, who we called family, no longer sit around our table. Again, God reminded me that it was not the circumstances of my life which I am celebrating.
This holy time of the year is about love, joy, hope and peace. The Prince of Peace who is able to give us that “peace which passes all understanding.” If your heart is heavy and you are sad this Christmas, focus on the real reason for Christmas, and know that God loves you so very much.
Lord Jesus: Thank you for coming to earth. Help us to keep our eyes and heart focused on you and not on our circumstances. You know our every need. Help us to trust you during this special time as we celebrate your birth. Amen

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