Tuesday, December 20, 2016

When's Your Expiration Date?


With my job, there is a report I review monthly for the hospitals in our system that shows patients who have readmitted.  Part of that report shows where they went when they left the hospital - home, nursing home, etc.  One of the options, so to speak, is listed as "expired."  At first this bothered me; it felt very impersonal.  I thought, "We're people, not gallons of milk."  However, a couple weeks ago when I was working with the report again, this verse came to mind:
And as it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment. Hebrews 9:27
 That got me digging and then I found this verse too:
Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth?  Job 7:1
It made me realize we DO have expiration dates.  God has our days numbered and knows exactly how many days we have on earth.  We don't know our expiration date, and that is why it is so important to heed the Holy Spirit's calling when we hear it.  He is calling to each of us to accept Christ.  Are we listening?  Are we heeding His call?

That verse in Hebrews describes what will happen to us.  We will reach our expiration date and then we will stand before judgment.  Not for our works or our own righteousness, for they are but filthy rags before the Lord. (Isaiah 64:6)  God will look for the blood of Christ to be applied to our life, and that's it.  That will determine where we spend eternity - with Him in Heaven or without Him in Hell.

As we wind up this holiday season with Christmas quickly approaching.  Think about that baby in the manger and what He really came for so many years ago.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Joy


This is the third week of Advent - Joy.  While looking for a graphic to post on our church Facebook page, I came across the one above.  It hit me because yesterday I was speaking with a colleague who also traveled the journey of infertility.  We talked about how difficult it was, but continuing in faith and finding something in the midst of it.  We couldn't really describe it.  She used the word "contentment", but I think we both knew it was more than being content.  Then this morning, I saw this and knew what it was we were trying to describe - it is joy.  Joy does not equate to happiness; oh, quite the contrary.  We both spoke of the indescribable sorrow we have felt, but in the midst of the deepest sorrow, you can still find joy.  Joy then does provide contentment and peace in the situation because joy does not come from ourselves.  It only comes from the One in whom we have faith - Jesus Christ.

So during this Advent season, ponder on what you can find joy in during difficult times. Ponder while you're waiting for an answer on the One who has the Master plan for your life.  Think on the Child in whom's arrival we're preparing to celebrate, and why He was sent here.  



Monday, August 1, 2016

Planted

Bro. Larry Hufhand preached at our church this past Sunday.  He has been doing a series for us about Psalm 1.  This Sunday he focused on verse 3, and a word jumped out at me.  It was the word "planted".  Let's see what verse 3 says:

He shall be like a tree, planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper.

This word struck a cord with me because according to the Dictionary, planted is a verb that means "To place or set (seeds, for example) in the ground to grow."  That is a very intentional act.  If you are the "blessed man" that is being talked about in this first chapter of Psalms, and you can deduct if you think you fall into this category by reading the first two verses, you have been intentionally placed in the spot you are in right now by God to serve a specific purpose.  This should be very encouraging!  Sometimes we go through trials that are not of our own doing, but we can always know that there is absolutely a specific purpose behind it!  That is pretty awesome to know!

Now, what sometimes happens is we don't like where God plants us, so we uproot ourselves and move to where we think we should be.  Been there, done that, and hope to not do it again because it never works out.  We need to bloom where we've been planted!

So as we go through our week this week, let's take a look in the mirror to see if we are living a life God can bless.  If we are, then praise God for where He has planted you.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Wait Upon the Lord

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Came across a devotion about this verse the other day, and it mentioned something that I was never aware of but became a golden nugget.  The Hebrew word used means change, not renewed!  That was an amazing revelation to me.  Those that wait on the Lord actually have their strength changed.  It changes to become that of the Lord’s strength, not their own.  It is transformed!  How amazing is that?

This was so encouraging to me because there are quite a few things in my life that are in “wait mode”.  One prayer is waiting for hearts to be changed and softened.  A few others I don’t understand why, but trusting God has a plan.


If you are in wait mode right now, find great news in this verse.  God not only has a plan, but if you wait on Him, He will reward you with His strength.  Then whatever we’re waiting on is sure to bring Him all the glory!  So wait.


Monday, June 27, 2016

What a Friend

The past few months have definitely been a testing time.  It is a tough pill to swallow when you’ve had people in your life for several years, and you realize that the relationship you thought was there was not.  It is not reciprocal to the level of care or love you have for them.  I realize I’m not the only one this has happened to.  Everyone has had relationships that have ended up broken, and it stinks.  It hurts, and you have a tendency to want to be not very nice about it.  Well, as my mom always told us growing up, “two wrongs don’t make a right”.  We need to move on and be better.  What I cling to, though, is a very dear Friend that will never leave me or forsake me.

The Bible tells us in Psalm 9:10 “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who trust you”.  Isn’t that great news?  If we trust Him, he will never forsake us!  That is so comforting.  Also look in John 15 where Jesus refers to the apostles as his friends.  We have that same ability today – to be Christ’s friend.  If we keep his commandments and read his Word, we are His friend.  What a better friend could one have?

So as you go through the week this week, know that if you trust Him, He will always be with you.  If you haven’t trusted Him as Lord and Savior, why not start today?  It is very simple.  Pray to God admitting you are a sinner and asking forgiveness of your sins.  Then tell Christ you trust Him to be Lord of your life.  That’s all it takes.  After that, find a home church to support you and guide you in your new Christian walk, and take time every day to pray and read your Bible.  After all, you have a new Friend!  You need to really get to know Him!


Have a blessed week!


Friday, June 17, 2016

Trials

Was reading in first Peter today and a little gold nugget popped out at me.  Take a look at this:

Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.1 Peter 1:6-7


Praise God for our trialed or tried faith!  Look at this passage grammatically, especially verse 7.  Our tried faith is much more precious that gold…not just any faith – tried faith.  Faith that has been through the fire and has come through it still bringing praise, honor, and glory to Jesus.  That is the faith that is highly valuable to God, so the next time you go through the valley or a deep trail, just know to stand strong and keep your faith.  When you come through the other side, your faith will be stronger and highly valued by God.

Have a glorious Friday!


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Relocating


This past summer I saw this sign down in Nashville, IN.  It really made an impression on me.  I thought, “That’s where I want our camp to permanently reside.  Camp Joy.”  You can see by the sign it's been around for a long time - since the beginning.

At church we learned this acronym:

Jesus
Others
Yourself

To have true Joy, you have to focus on these three things and in this order.  My problem was my Joy was thrown into a word scramble.

For a while (too long), I've been living in camp O.J.  Trying first to please everyone else and finding time for Jesus too, but sometimes he’s second to pleasing everyone else.  There are several problems with this camp, and that’s why I finally decided to move. 

First, you cannot please everyone all of the time.  In fact, there are some people you can never please.  Also, trying to people please is not pleasing to God.  Our primary focus should always be on glorifying Him and knowing Him more intimately.  The extent of our responsibilities to Others is to love them as ourselves, forgive them as God has forgiven us, and extend to them the lovingkindness that God has shown us.

Second, when we try to people please, it always removes Jesus from the top spot.  Thus, JOY turns into OJY or even just OJ.

Thirdly, you cannot eliminate the Y.  Yes, you do need to focus on Jesus and Others first, but you have to take care of yourself.  When you remove the Y, it affects your self-care, emotional health, motivation, and esteem.  Plus, too much O.J. ends up making you very acidic – bitter.  How is that glorifying to God?  How can that be a great testimony to others?  It can’t be, so I knew I had to get out!  Seeing this sign reinforced it.  It was as if God said, “Hey, why don’t you join me again in Camp Joy?  You've been in Camp O.J. too long.”

So here I am slowly moving back in to Camp Joy.  You’d think it would be an easy move, but it’s not.  Bad habits are hard to break, but I’m getting there and asking for continued Grace and Lovingkindness along the way.

Do you reside in Camp Joy or do you find yourself residing in a different camp?  If you reside in a different camp, take a good look in the mirror and start today making the changes necessary to relocate with me to Camp Joy.  I guarantee it will be the best move you ever made!

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads.  They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.  ~Isaiah 35:10