Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Time to Laugh!

I'm branching out and joining this Blog Hop group. I'm new to all this, but from what I understand, this will link to many other blogs. This time we are supposed to list something funny. Everyone is invited to post comments that will make us laugh!

Here's my funny story for the day. When my oldest daughter, Amy, was 2, she was quite the talker indeed! She overheard me talk about a series I was teaching about the 7 Last Words of Christ. One day, out of the blue, she asked, "Mommy, when Jesus was dying on the cross, why did He say, 'My God! My God! For Pete's Sake!' "

MckLinky Blog Hop

Click here to enter your link in the blog hop and view the entire list of entered links...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Courage to Speak Up

Today's post is written by a friend who came to our writer's group at the Equipping Center last night. The assignment was to write a devotional with a scripture, application, prayer, thought for the day and prayer focus. I thought it was great! Here it is:

Read Ezekiel 3:17-21

“When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” Ez. 3:18

How many times a day do you see someone who is very clearly doing wrong? Either hurting someone, stealing, vandalizing, lying – all these things seem to be more prevalent every day.

Now the tough question – how many times do you speak up and tell that person what they are doing is not right? Whether we hold back out of fear (especially of a stranger) or hold back because we love the person (and don’t want to hurt their feelings or make them not like us), we are still doing the perpetrator a grave disservice, possibly to the cost of his own life.

Lately I have begun to make people angry because I just can’t sit around and watch this happen anymore. I can’t enable someone to continue on in their sin by not saying “I see you, don’t you think God sees you, too???” At best, I am called blunt. At worst… well, I can’t write that word here. I just know that I don’t want anyone’s blood required at my hand. I have enough of my own transgressions to be held responsible for.

Prayer - “Dear God, give us all the courage to speak up in the situations that you lead us into. Gives us the wisdom of not only what to say, but how to say it and to only speak your will. Give us the integrity to speak only out of love and never out of judgment. Amen”

Thought for the Day - Think back to a time when you felt like you needed to speak up, but you didn’t. Maybe that was the Holy Spirit giving you a nudge. It’s called conviction.

Prayer Focus - Pray for the ones who do speak up and are persecuted for their courage.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Are You Riding On Coattails?

From a very young age I have experienced God to be real in my life. I have the privilege of the Christian faith being passed down to me from both my father and mother's side of the family. Even so, I had to make a choice myself to accept God into my life. Those who just go through life on the coattails of their parents' faith (or anyone else's faith for that matter) without making it personally their own, end up falling away when the storms of life blow. The winds of opposition are so strong in this world that no one can keep a grip on someone else's faith to see them through. On the other hand, if that faith is ignited within their own heart, it doesn't matter where that storm may take them, they are firm and get right back up!

Monday, August 3, 2009

What is the Opposite of Love?

Any thoughts on that question? Most would probably say "hate." I'm here to say I disagree. "Hate" is not the opposite of "love"...it is a by-product of the opposite of "love." I think the opposite of "love" is "self-absorption."

This might be contrary to the world's view of "love." To many, "self-absorption" is a synonym of the word instead of an antonym. Think about it. One might say, "I love ice cream." "I love to party." "I love sex." They "love" all those things because of what they bring to themselves. That type of "love" quickly leads to obesity, addictions, sexually transmitted diseases, depression (when they can't get what they "love"), and anxiety (when they do what they can to try to get what they "love.") Ultimately it could also lead to hate when one sees others with what he "loves," but he does not see them doing anything to help him get it. How futile! What ends up being a journey to get all the gusto for self (because after all, we only live once!), ends up leading to self-destruction.

True love brings freedom from that downward cycle of destruction. John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." That's exactly what Jesus Christ did for us. He is our example. "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren." (1 John 3:16) If we truly love others, we will put aside our desires and do what we can to give the other person what pleases them. Then, because we love them, we take pleasure in seeing them fulfilled. If they truly love us, they will do the same for us. Then our "self" ends up getting fulfilled in an unselfish way...with fulfillment and life instead of destruction.

I challenge you today to find ways to forget about yourself and show a random act of kindness for someone else. Think about your actions this week. See if you are acting out of "self-absorption" or unselfish, true love.