Open Up and Say…

 

…not Aaaah!

I’ve been doing a Bible study, which I hope you all are in some kind of personal Bible study. As I was working on my study, the subject of things we grip tightly and won’t let go of came up. Some things could be sin, or maybe just weights and hinderances that keep us from moving forward in our relationship with God.

Yes, I know this to be true but this time something smacked me in the face. A one-two punch.

Bitterness. And offenses. (Those are the negative things we cling to.) Keep them fisted right in our hands until our knuckles turn white and the circulation stops, sending pins and needles racing up our arms and yet still we hang on.

And I thought about a prior situation/s that happened in my life. I thought of the bitterness that had settled from that offense/s. I gave that bitterness to God a long time ago. I’m not bitter anymore. 

But what I realized was I still kept the offense in my grasp. Was it a legitimate offense? Yes. Was I reading more into what happened than was there? No. It happened. To me and to my husband. Over time, my heart grew cold and callused. Then rock-solid toward those who played a direct hand in the hurt. Did they intentionally mean to hurt us? I don’t think so. Not every person involved. But still…

As I thought about those offenses that wracked up over a course of two years over–one right after another, I realized while I wasn’t necessarily bitter anymore, I still kept the offenses in my fist.

And the Lord spoke to my heart. “When You give it to them, they gather it up, when You open Your hand they are filled with good things.” Psalm 104:28

I flipped to the Psalm and read the verses prior to that. 

O Lord my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
2 Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.
3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters,
Who makes the clouds His chariot,
Who walks on the wings of the wind,
4 Who makes His angels spirits,
His ministers a flame of fire.
You who laid the foundations of the earth,
So that it should not be moved forever,
6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters stood above the mountains.
7 At Your rebuke they fled;
At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away.
8 They went up over the mountains;
They went down into the valleys,
To the place which You founded for them.
9 You have set a boundary that they may not pass over,
That they may not return to cover the earth.

The context prior to this is about how grand and majestic our God is! Look at how powerful He is! Yes, the creatures rely on God to feed them, but we do too! At least we should.

I read verse 28 again and saw my hand. Tightly fisted around rocks. Tough, dirty. Rocks that

wouldn’t mold into the palm of my hand but instead cut into the flesh leaving bloody wounds and possibly scars if they dug in too deep. Rocks that did not benefit me, and yet I carried them–those rocks–those offenses–as if they were treasure, as if dropping them to the ground would leave me empty, desolate.

And then I saw, in my mind’s eyes, a gentle, yet powerful hand slowly pry open that fist.

Finger by finger. 

One rock after another began to plummet to the ground. Until not one was left. 

When my hand was empty, the dirt from the rocks washed clean. The wounds healed. Something happened.

The hand that released those offenses, those rocks, began to pour a rainbow of color into my hands. 

 

M&Ms! Not just M&Ms but my favorite kind! Peanut M&Ms! I giggled as they filled my palm and thought, “God, this isn’t exactly nutritious!” But the point was, M&Ms are sweet to the taste, something to delight in and they come in all varieties and colors. 

Exactly like God’s blessings. Like all the wonderful things He wants to fill our hands with.

But you can’t fill already full fists.

The question is: Are you willing to drop what doesn’t benefit you so God can fill you with what does? 

I answered yes. How about you?

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photocreditfreedigitalphotos/Rawich

Blame it On…

Come on, you know you were thinking “rain” and you’d be wrong. I am not talking about Milli Vanilli, although I am talking about choices today and they made the choice to lip sync through their career. It was bound to get out. Some of you may be asking, “Who is Milli Vanilli and what kind of name is that?”  I don’t know, but here’s who they are: Blame it On the Rain.  I know, right?

I’ve been thinking about choices lately. Especially since week one of my F.O.R.W.A.R.D. class I touch on choices when I speak on Adam and Eve.

But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered,
“I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said,
“Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded
you not to eat from?”
12 The man
said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and
I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have
done?”

The woman said, “The serpent
deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 1
God knew exactly where Adam and Eve were. But He was doing what any good parent would. Giving an opportunity for the kiddos to come clean. To be honest with Him.
When I know my child has done something, I don’t go in all accusing. I ask, “Did you eat that cookie I told you not to?” Why? Because I want to know if they’ll come clean and accept responsibility for their actions or will they lie to my face. The rule at my house is: You tell me the truth, expect consequences. Appropriate for the “crime” of course. Without consequences, what are we teaching our children? Nothing! We’re going to have an epidemic of spoiled adults who think they can do anything they want without reprecussions. Now, if you lie to me, the consequences are going to be more severe. Why? Because I want the truth. Be truthful, I’ll show you mercy. 
But Adam did not come clean. He played the blame game. He blamed Eve, yes, but ultimately he blamed God. “That woman YOU put here with me.” (emphasis mine) In other words, he was saying, “Had you not given me this woman, I’d have never messed up. I blame you. It’s your fault.”
There are many things in our lives that happen outside of  our control. We can blame God and get bitter or we can trust Him to heal us and turn it around for good. That’s our choice. And the choices we make based on the things that happen to us, they’re ours to own.
God didn’t force that fruit down Adam’s throat. Adam chose that. Eve gave it to him, but she didn’t force it down his throat either. Adam did that. And even the cunning serpent didn’t spoon feed him. Adam chose it. And Eve made her own choice as well.
We have to own up to our mistakes/bad choices and put the blame where the blame is due. On us. Be honest with God and let His mercy shower you. Can’t say He’ll remove the consequences. He disciplines those He loves. 
But mercy will lighten it and grace will get us through it.
I’ve been dealing with a situation with a loved one who has been blamed for another’s actions. The unleashed fury on this loved one is overwhelming and lately, I’ve been living out pray without ceasing. But that angry person made a bad choice. And then took that bad choice and aired it online for everyone to see. And as a result of those choices, consequences came. 
Pride gets in the way of owning up to moments of missing the mark. Fear gets in the way. Really it’s only one of the two. Pride goes before falling and fear holds us back from moving forward. And me? I always want to be in a state of propelling forward. I never want to fall on my face because I was too proud to admit I messed up. I’ve been there though–prideful and fearful. 
I’d rather have mercy and grace.

Rocks Really Can Cry Out!

 
But he
said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.” Luke
19:40
 
How in
the world do rocks cry out?
 
This particular scripture was fulfilled in Matthew 27:51
after Jesus finished the work on the cross.
 
“Then,
behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the
earth quaked, and the rocks were split,…”
 
What if
there’s more to it?
 
Let’s get into a little quantum physics, shall we? And let
me start off by saying, I am in no stinking way an expert in physics.
According to an article written by John Keely circa 1893, (whichyou can read here) he stated the following:
 
 
Second: In the aggregation of matter,
force or energy is stored up or conserved.
 
Third: In the dissociation of
matter, force is liberated.”
So, matter is a whole formed by many. In its whole form,
force is stored up. He says, “matter is force in bondage.”
 
Hang with me, troops. I’m gonna bring it all together soon.
 
Apparently there are subdivisions of matter. He says, “The
atomolic substance is what is termed the ether which fills all space and is the
transmitting medium for all celestial and terrestrial forces.”
 
Ether is the upper regions above the sky. Supernatural.
Which we know there is. God in the heavens, sitting on his throne. We know
there are angelic hosts, they rejoice when sinners repent. They sing—choirs of
angels. We know the seraphim circle God’s throne and they cry out (like the
rocks could) Holy! Holy! Holy!
 
But with our human ears, we can’t hear it. Nor can we, with
human eyes see it.  2 Samuel 5 tells us, “Therefore David inquired of the Lord,
and He said,“You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon
them in front of the mulberry trees.  And it shall be, when you hear the sound
of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly.
For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the
Philistines.”
 
Heavenly troops marched above the trees! God allowed them to
hear.
2 Kings 6 tells us, “Then
Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the
LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was
full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
 

 

 
So how
does this relate to rocks crying out?
 
In Japan, they designed a supramolecular nanofiber that
aligned with 
harmony in music. Yeah. Wild huh? They played Mozart and Beethoven
and that little nanofiber danced in harmony to the music. I have no idea about
the physics behind it other than it was proven. You can read about it HERE.
Which is interesting because Keely also says, “All motion is
synchronous; no sound or movement can be made but all that moves or sounds does so in harmony with something.”
 
If this is true, that all that moves or sounds does so in
harmony with something, then imagine if everyone stopped praising God. Not one
praise from a human being.
 
What would happen?
 
That
force in bondage would break open and be liberated.
It
would explode, like quaking—like mountains moving– in harmony with the praise
already going on in heaven! Like that nano fiber jiving to Mozart. The rocks would
indeed have to cry out if ALL that moves or sounds does so in harmony with
SOMETHING!
 
Don’t make a doctrine out of this, but think about it, that’s all I’m doing…thinking. How
ironic that physicists try to discredit God all the time yet Jesus may have
been standing there giving a lesson in physics on that day!
 
These rocks will cry out. If you won’t move in harmony with
the sounds in heaven, they will. Physics demand it!
 
Crazy huh? Speaking of crazy. The Hebrew word for “rocks cry
out” in Luke 
19:40 is krazo. Which totally had me laughing as I said, “Oh, God,
do you get it?! That’s krazo—crazy!” Pretty sure he got it.
 
Truly, he is the Great I AM.
 
“All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing
was made that was made.” John 1:3 

If he says the rocks can cry out…they can.

 
 
Brings a whole new meaning or a richer meaning to this song
doesn’t it?
 
 

No Brainer by Patricia Bradley

Buy the book HERE!
Welcome back, everyone! Thanks, Pat, for being here again and for this devotion!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a
future.” Jeremiah 29:11(NIV)
Like Taylor in Shadows
of the Past
, I have not always lived by this verse. I wanted to do things my way. And my way got me into a lot of
trouble. But God never let go of my hand, just as He never let go of Taylor’s.
And a few years ago, I embraced this verse and began living it.
That doesn’t mean that right away everything started
happening the way I thought it should. No, I had another lesson to
learn—everything happens in God’s economy of time, not mine. But if we wait on
Him, what He will do is exceedingly and abundantly more than we can think or
imagine.
An example: I wanted an offer for 1 book published, but when
I waited on God’s plan I received an offer for a three-book deal.
Waiting on God’s plan=A nobrainer.
Sneak peek!
Psychology
professor and criminal profiler Taylor Martin prides herself on being able to
solve any crime, except the one she wants most desperately to solve–the
disappearance of her father twenty years ago. When she finally has a lead on
his whereabouts, Taylor returns home to Logan Point, Mississippi, to
investigate. But as she is stalking the truth about the past, someone is
stalking her.
Nick
Sinclair pens mystery novels for a living, but the biggest mystery to him is
how he can ever get over the death of his wife–a tragedy he believes he could
have prevented. With his estranged brother the only family he has left, Nick
sets out to find him. But when he crosses paths with Taylor, all he seems to
find is trouble.
Join the
chase as this determined duo search the murky shadows of the past for the keys
to unlocking the present and moving into a future filled with new hope and
love. Readers will be swept into the sultry South in this debut novel from a
promising and already award-winning writer.
Visit Pat HERE!
What have you been waiting for? 

Who Knows the Cry of Your Heart?

Yesterday morning was a typical day. My daughter had already left for school and I was waiting on my son to finish up his routine so I could drop him off. His school I.D. tag was on my table so I grabbed it and went into the bathroom where he was brushing his teeth.

“Do you need this?” I asked.

“Mmm. Mmm…mmm….mmm…mmmm…mmmm.”

“Put it in your backpack. Okay.” I walked out of the bathroom and followed his instructions. And it hit me, wow, that was such a mom thing here. He never once pronounced a syllable let alone a coherent word, but I know him so well. I heard his mumbles clearly. It wasn’t a mystery.

Much like mothers translating their toddler’s babbles to those who don’t spend much time around them. 

You just know. If you’re a parent, you’re nodding right now. Or if you’re a babysitter, nanny, or day care worker who spends copious amounts of time with particular children.

And it struck me how thankful I am that God knows all my mumbles. Sometimes, I don’t have the words to say. I don’t even know what to say. Sometimes, they’re only incoherent sobs. Heart cries.

God knows every hiccupped, mumbled word. 

I asked my son when he came out of the bathroom, “Did it surprise you I knew exactly what you were saying?”

His reply: “No, should it?”

Child-like faith. He knows I know him. And it doesn’t surprise him that I understand every word out of his mouth whether it’s formed perfectly or not.

Don’t ever be afraid that God doesn’t know your heart and the cries that swell from within, even if you’re not sure. He is. And never doubt that he hears every single word. And that he loves you and plans to take care of you. 

                           Oh yes, you shaped
me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High
God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside
and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how
I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into
something.
Like an open book,
you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out
before you,
The days of my life
all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day.
Psalm 139:13-16 MSG
Do you ever struggle with thoughts that tell you God doesn’t hear or understand you? How can these verses bring truth to light for you? Or do you have other verses that sink into your soul and bring security? Share one!


But Who?

Imagine with me, John the Revelator. Exiled to a
rocky island called Patmos. Imagine him sitting one day, staring off into the
distance and longing for home, for eternity, for Christ. And in an instant he’s
taken up to heaven in a vision…
“I saw a scroll in the right hand of the One
Seated on the Throne. It was written on both sides, fastened with seven seals.
I also saw a powerful Angel, calling out in a voice like thunder, “Is there
anyone who can open the scroll, who can break its seals?”
There was no one—no one in Heaven, no one on
earth, no one from the underworld—able to break open the scroll and read it.
I wept
and wept and wept that no one was found able to open the scroll, able to read
it.” Revelation 5:1-5 MSG
Can’t you feel is his angst as he weeps. Who can
fulfill God’s plan in history? Who is worthy to do it? No one. No one can
accomplish what is written in these scrolls. The utter doom slides 
into your
stomach like an icy ball.
Hopeless.
Helpless.
But then…
“One of the Elders said, “Don’t weep. Look—the
Lion from Tribe Judah, the Root of David’s Tree, has conquered. He can open the
scroll, can rip through the seven seals.” Revelation 5:5

A lion!
A conqueror!
John must envision a mighty warrior with a
frightening roar, sharp teeth, a powerful king. 
Aggressive. Coming with force.
Slowly, tears running from his cheeks, he raises
his head to see this Lion.
“So I
looked, and there, surrounded by Throne, The Living Creatures, and Elders, was
a Lamb, slaughtered but standing tall.” Revelation 5:6
Not a lion.
A lamb as though it had been slain.
Without a roar. Without sharp teeth.
He came as sacrificial love. In mercy. In grace.
A lamb! A lamb!
But he is powerful. He is mighty! He is standing tall!
“He came to the One Seated on the Throne and
took the scroll from his right hand. The moment he took the scroll, the Four Living
Creatures, and Twenty-four Elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.” Revelation
5:7-8
And all sang around the throne!
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain ; To receive
power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation
5:12
“Blessing and honor and glory and power be to
Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Revelation 5:13
Worthy.

Is.

The.

Lamb.

What is just one name you’ve experienced Christ as? 

Photocredit: freedigitalphotos/ponsulak

photocredit:freedigitalphotos/tratong

Working for Jesus vs. Ministering to Him

Visit Jeanette! 
Welcome to Wednesday, my favorite people! I am so excited to introduce you to the sweet and hilarious, Jeanette Levellie! Jeanette is…
A spunky pastor’s wife of over thirty
years, Jeanette’s debut humorous inspirational book, Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top, released in April of 2012,
and has already become an Amazon bestseller in the humor category.
Jeanette’s bi-weekly
humor/inspirational column, God is Bigger,
has been a popular feature in the Paris Beacon News since 2001. She’s published
stories in Guideposts  and  Love is a Verb with Gary Chapman anthologies;
articles in Vista, God’s World Today, The Christian
Communicator, Birds & Blooms, Country,
and Country Extra magazines; devotionals in The Upper Room, Daily Hope, Light from the Word, & Glimpses of God, greeting card verses
for Celebration Greetings, and poems
for La Leche League International calendars.  

Jeanette, thank you so much for being here. I absolutely loved this! Take it away!
When I became a Christian at age eight, I went to school the
next day and told my friends in a singsong voice, “I’m going to hea-ven and
you’re no-ot!”
I don’t recommend this method of sharing your faith. Although
my heart was right—I wanted to serve the Lord—my methods were a bit primitive. Pre-believers
need more than a taunting song from a freckle-faced kid hanging upside down on
the monkey bars to see their need for a Savior.
Since that early faux paus, I’ve honed my “sharing the
gospel” skills. I’ve also discovered that attitude is everything if I want to not
only please the Lord, but also enjoy my relationship with Him. I made that
discovery when a close friend nearly landed in jail.
Several years ago, our friend, Roger* was arrested and falsely
accused of a crime. After weeks of earnest prayer and Roger’s savings moving
from his savings account to the lawyer’s wallet, the judge lessened the
sentence from jail time to community service. I was so grateful, I wept as I
praised the Lord. Then I thought, 
“I want to do something to show my gratitude.”
I decided to take my lunch break once a week to visit a
nearby nursing home. I brought yarn to one of the patients who crocheted, ice
cream bars to the nurses’ aides, and smiles to those who’d lost theirs.
Although I often grieved when I left, knowing I was returning to my healthy life,
visiting these unfortunate people was a joy. I never associated the word “work”
in relation to these visits. I was ministering to the Lord by loving a few of
His lambs. It was a tangible way I could say “thank you” to Jesus for rescuing
Roger.
It’s too easy for us to slip into categorizing some of the
things we do—teaching Bible classes, leading worship, sharing our testimony—as
“working for the Lord” rather than “ministering to Jesus.” We tend to label our
activities as “spiritual” or “secular.” But that’s not how the Master thinks.
He says, “If you’ve done something for another human being, you’ve done it for
Me” (Matthew 25).
If we’re interested in making our lives count for Jesus, we’ll
be conscious that every floor we mop, every tip we give a waitress, and every song
we sing, ministers to the Lord. Well, with one exception. That tacky little one
I sang as I hung from the monkey bars is long gone!


Does it help you to
think in terms of ministering to Jesus as opposed to working for Him? Is there
a difference? Why or why not?

How to Prepare Yourself for Service

Consecration. A word that means set apart for a specific
purpose.
When we think of consecration, we think of the Levitical
priesthood, setting themselves apart/consecrating themselves before ministering
before the LORD. The same is true today.
Set apart for a
specific purpose also means to prepare.
Last week, we talked about Daniel preparing himself for the
vision he received. He fasted three weeks, only eating bland foods. He
abstained from meat, bread, and wine.
It was a physical action he took.
But it came from his heart. Today I want to look at another
instance where Daniel set himself apart.
Imagine coming into Babylon a slave. Being spoken to in a
language you did not understand. 
Taken from everything you knew. No facebook,
google maps, or Travelocity to give you any idea of where you were going.
Nothing.
Daniel was taken, along with his three fiery-furnace
friends, and were to be integrated into society. Taught the language and
customs etc…and to eat meat and wine from the king’s table.
Daniel 1:8 tells us, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that
he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with
the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs
that he might not defile himself.”
In ancient times, meat was sacrificed to false gods, and
wine was like a drink offering to them, so to sit at the table and eat and
drink, meant you were acknowledging, accepting, and even worshipping their
gods.
Daniel wasn’t being forced to hard labor. He was about to go
into a prestigious training program. Refusing to follow the rules could be disastrous
at the least and at most deliver a death sentence.
Don’t think Daniel didn’t think of the consequences. But in
the end, he purposed in his heart. 
He made the decision. To set himself apart.
To not compromise.
To be different.  To
be who he was called to be.
It took courage and bravery. 

Consecrating ourselves to God and to His purposes takes
conscious decisions. It will take determining in our hearts.
Whatever the outcome. Whatever the penalty.
The reward is always greater.
If you sit in the middle of the fence, nine times out of
ten, you’ll fall.
Make a choice. Determine in your heart what you will and
will not do.
And trust God with the outcome and rewards.
“So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs
had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,  “Please
test your servants for ten days
, and let them give us vegetables to eat and
water to drink. Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the
appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and
as you see fit, so deal with your servants.”  So he
consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days
.” Daniel
1:11-14
The results:
“And at the end of
ten days their features appeared better
and fatter in flesh than all the
young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies.” Daniel 1:15
“And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which
the king examined them, he found them
ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers
who were in all his
realm.” Daniel 1:20
How many times better were they?
Ten?
Coincidence? I think not.


What is
something you can set apart/consecrate to the LORD? 



A Year of Promises!

 
Welcome to
another new year, friends! I hope you’ve enjoyed your Christmas holidays.
Followed through with old traditions, made new ones. Enjoyed our wonderful
Savior.
 
Instead of
saying HAPPY new year, I’ll say something else. (I have said Happy New Year and
begrudge no one the saying, I’m making a point.) You see, some woke up this
morning still in physical and emotional pain, still struggling financially,
still grieving lost loved ones, still afraid or uncertain of the future. What I
will say is, here is to a promising new year. Here are just a few of those
promises. Happiness may not come, but the joy of the Lord is deep and abiding
even when things aren’t happy.
 
“If
you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My
Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you,
that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John
15:10-11
 
“For
I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I
will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry
wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
 
“No
weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against
you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the
Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17
 
“All
praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with
every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with
Christ.” Ephesians 1:3
 
“May
God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and
whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming
of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable.
If he said it, he’ll do it!” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
 
“If
we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
 
“…nothing
can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels
nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even
the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above
or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to
separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our
Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39
 
“And
be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20
 

 

Which of
these promises spoke to your heart most? Or if you have a promise you plan to
“stand” on this year, feel free to share it! 
 
Also, Happy Birthday to my mom today! I love you, mom! Here’s to a promising new year for you!

Keep It Humble Part 8: Don’t End up Grazing

 
 “Be of the same mind toward one
another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do
not be wise in your own opinion.” Romans 12:16 NKJV
 
 
Today we’re finishing our
series on humility according to the passage here in Romans. I hope it’s
benefited you and you’ve applied it in your own life.
 
When the new year rolls
around, I’m sure we’ll talk more about humility and pride. It’s something everyone
wrestles with.
 
To be of the same mind, according to the Greek word, means to be
of the same mind i.e. agreed together, cherish the same views, be harmonious
 
Spend time with those who
cherish the Lord as you do and are of low esteem—humble. Not 
too big for their
britches.
 
You become who you spend time
with.
 
It’s true.
 
Why do you think God wants your
time so badly? So you’ll become more like him.
 
Do not be wise in your own
opinion. In the KJV it says, “Be not wise in your own conceits.”
Conceits…conceited. The Message
says, “Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with
nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.”
 
The truth is, without Christ,
we are nothing. We can do nothing. We need his grace. His mercy. His
forgiveness.
 
People who live this lifestyle,
they are the ones we should be spending time with. Associating with. You and I?
We don’t have it all together. We don’t know it all. And the moment we think we
do, we could end up growing hair all over our bodies while our nails shoot out
like claws and we settle for grazing in pastures!
 
Remember, King Neb? From the
book of Daniel?
 
“But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was
hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his
glory from him. Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made
like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with
grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that
the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He
chooses.” Daniel 5:20-21
 
I’d kinda like to get a handle on pride now, as I’m not a
fan of pastures or dew. Or grass—of any kind.
 
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6
 
I’d much rather God raise me up than to do it myself and
have Him bring me low. Amen?
 
Life
Application:
Spend some time asking God to search your heart
and help you to see if you think you might be too big for your britches.
Evaluate your friendships/networkings and ask God to reveal to you your motives
behind them. If it’s about what they can do for you, how they make you look, if
it’s about the value they bring to you based solely on who they are…you might
want to pray through that. Who do associate with?

 

 
Prayer: God,
we ask for a clear picture of our motives. Bring light to areas that are
darkened by deceit and denial. Help us to learn to humble ourselves through
your word—by being more than hearers but doers—so that we don’t have to be brought
low through hard experiences. Give us grace when do have to. Teach us your
ways. Guide us into truth. Let it illuminate each step we take. For your glory,
In Jesus’ name, amen.
 
“Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for
dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love
deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled
and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit
in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in
hospitality. Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your
happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with
each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great
somebody. Romans 12:9-16 MSG”
 
Have you ever been humbled by God? What did you learn from that experience?