WE CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST

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In every way we’re troubled, but we aren’t crushed by our trouble. We’re frustrated, but we don’t give up. [2 Corinthians 4:8 (GW)]

Lord, give us the wisdom to know when we just need to push our way through or even climb over the obstacles in our lives and give us the strength to do it. Please Lord, also give us the wisdom to know when it simply makes more sense to find our way around life’s obstacles. Give us the fortitude and willingness to try Plan B, and when that doesn’t work to try Plan C or even D. Thank you for your guidance, strength and encouragement. With you, all things are, indeed, possible!

The key to life is how well you deal with Plan B. [Stephen Dias]

I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me. [Philippians 4:13 (GW)]

2014-6-18

What’s Written on Our Hearts?

Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts. [2 Corinthians 3:3 (NLT)]

Paul wrote these words to the people of Corinth, but they still hold true today. What is written in our hearts? Does the way we behave reflect our faith? Do people know we are followers of Christ, not just by our words, but by our actions? Let’s be sure that what people read in our behavior is true to the word of God.

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-by and have a good day; stay warm and eat well” – but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds. [James 2:14-18 (NLT)]

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will cause food to fall like rain from the sky for all of you. Every day the people must go out and gather what they need for that day. I want to see if the people will do what I teach them. … So the people of Israel did this; some people gathered much, and some gathered little. Then they measured it. The person who gathered more did not have too much, nor did the person who gathered less have too little. Each person gathered just as much as he needed. Moses said to them, “Don’t keep any of it to eat the next day.” But some of the people did not listen to Moses and kept part of it to eat the next morning. It became full of worms and began to stink, so Moses was angry with those people. [Exodus 16:4, 17-20 (NCV)]

Why did God insist that the Israelites couldn’t save any extra manna? Why couldn’t they stockpile some in case the manna didn’t appear the following day? Perhaps it was it because God wanted to teach them to depend only upon Him for each day’s sustenance and to trust that He would provide. God wanted them to understand that, if they consumed his provisions as he commanded, exactly the right amount would be provided when it was needed again.

God blesses us each day, not just with food but also with money, opportunities, talents and time. Do we ever hoard those blessings because we don’t trust God to continue his provision? Be careful; if we don’t use the gifts he gives us today we, like the Israelites, might find those blessings spoiled or gone tomorrow.

Father, help us trust in your daily provision for all of the blessings in our lives.

Give us the food we need for each day. [Matthew 6:11 (NCV)]

Waterford or Corning Ware, Lamborghini or pick-up truck?

You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this. [Psalm 139:13-14 (GW)]

Forgive us, Lord, but sometimes we don’t feel so “amazingly and miraculously” made. No matter how blessed we may be, sometimes we look around and feel a bit short-changed in the looks, smarts, health or talent departments. Some people seem to have everything put together perfectly while we seem so flawed and disjointed. Other people’s lives look so exciting and glamorous while ours, on the other hand, seem rather drab and commonplace. Give us grateful hearts, O Lord, for the way you made us and the lives you gave us. Help us be the best we can be with the gifts we have been given.

Who do you think you are to talk back to God like that? Can an object that was made say to its maker, “Why did you make me like this?” A potter has the right to do whatever he wants with his clay. He can make something for a special occasion or something for everyday use from the same lump of clay. [Romans 9:20-21 (GW)]

You’ve Got Mail!

Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” [Psalm 27:7-8 (NLT)]

Last night, I discovered a “hot spot” in the city park, making it even easier to keep in touch with the world. Of course, I discovered it when I furtively checked my email during a band concert. With our smart phones, IPads, and computers, we are rarely out of contact with our friends and acquaintances. Most of us check our email (or Facebook page) several times a day. Do we check in with God nearly as much? I know I don’t!

Prayer is more than a ritual; it is building and maintaining a relationship with our Lord. We talk, text and email our friends all day long, so why do we spend so little time talking with Him? We don’t need a hot spot to check in with God! Today, every time I check my email, I’m also going to check in with God to see what He has to say to me!

It’s not enough to splash a little prayer on in the morning or to run through a sprinkler of God’s mercy now and then. It’s not enough to double our spirits in an hour of worship on Sunday or to dash into a drizzle of teaching every month or so. Our souls need to soak in God’s presence. It’s no luxury, this time we spend in the healing waters of God’s grace. It’s neither excess nor indulgence to immerse ourselves in communion with our creator. It’s a spiritual necessity if we want to become the people God has created us to be. [Penelope J. Stokes]

His Voice is Powerful!

The voice of the Lord rolls over the water. The God of glory thunders. The Lord shouts over raging water. The voice of the Lord is powerful. The voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars. The Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon. [Psalm 29:3-5 (GW)]

Oh Lord, if your voice is so loud and mighty, why do we seem to have such difficulty hearing you? Is it because, sometimes, you also speak in a whisper? Help us to listen for you at all times and in all places.

As the Lord was passing by, a fierce wind tore mountains and shattered rocks ahead of the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire. But the Lord wasn’t in the fire. And after the fire there was a quiet, whispering voice. [1 Kings 19:11b-12 (GW)]