Hey you <3

There’s a world of hurt out there today, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Between lunch time and bed time yesterday, I received at least a half dozen prayer requests for hurting hearts.

Death…

Change…

Illness…

And for each need, I want desperately to offer words of hope and encouragement.

I want to pray effective prayers — prayers that have an EFFECT on the situation I am praying for.

I want to refresh the weary and mend the broken and yet I, myself, am broken.

So I pray…

Come, Holy Spirit, and fill in the gaps in my own heart…

Come and pour the oil of Joy over the places in me that are mourning this morning…

Come with power and take over me so that all they see is … You

May the Lord heal and anoint each of us to be His Hands and Feet so that we can abundantly minister to the lives we touch in His Name <3

 

 

 

The ultimate reset of Lent <3

I know a lot of the things I write seem to center around being in the car, but since I spend a good portion of each week IN THE CAR…well…that’s where I encounter a lot of God thoughts.

This past week, I was waiting to pull out of a narrow little side street that runs between the north and south bound arteries of the interstate that dissects our town down the middle.

Because of the position of a building on the corner, you have to sneak out pretty close to oncoming traffic to watch for your entry point into the flow.

On this particular day, as I inched out to gain my vantage point, a pickup truck was approaching to make the tight turn into the lane next to me. I could see him fighting his wheel to keep his vehicle between the edge of my car and the far curb.

I immediately felt awful and “in the way” of this driver, as I double checked the position of my car.

Was I too far over on his side?

Had I crept out into the main road beyond what is acceptable?

As I quickly assessed and took on as much blame as is humanly possible for a people-pleaser….complete with hand gestures and mouthed apologies to the driver of the truck, I realized…

most of the problem with his frantic wheel maneuvering seemed to come from the fact that he was trying to steer one handed so he could hold his cell phone up to his ear.

Yes, as he made a left hand turn, his right hand was completely useless for the endeavor to smoothly navigate the corner.

Even though our state passed a little old law a while back about hands free cell phone; this fellow…like a large number of other local motorists…ignore the law and continue to drive distracted.

It is frustrating when you are trying to do the right thing and people who are doing the wrong thing seem to wreak havoc on your day or week…or life.

So as I recovered from feeling guilty that I had somehow caused angst to another human, while also rejoicing that the corner of our car had not been clipped by a truck; I thought how much like life on planet earth this little incident reminded me of.

While I have certainly needed my share of grace for mistakes and for outright rebellion, my heart is set on doing the right thing each day. I rely on prayer and seeking God for choices and decisions, listening to the promptings of His Spirit in me. I make corrections along the way and continue holding my actions up to His standard as I move through the day.

But not everybody does this.

In the course of every single day; I will encounter, in person or through social and informational news, others who are doing what they want…the way they want… according to the basis of the standards they use.

And this is where I find I need to know Jesus most of all.

Because it is, in the way I RESPOND to those who think and live differently than me, that I will reflect who HE IS.

It is my own heart, held before the Lord, that I must focus on even as I live amongst the consequences of the choices made by others.

This coming week we will begin the season of Lent; the 40 days of preparation between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

I encourage each of you to prayerfully ask God how you can set aside some time each day to seek Him in deeper ways.

May God bless you and give you a path of preparation, examination and cleansing that will lead you closer to Him on this narrow road we follow.

I look forward to our journey through the weeks leading up to the celebration of Resurrection Sunday 2017, as we bring our hearts before Him and examine them in light of who HE says we are.
<3

Wide open spaces <3

Yesterday I talked about how the Scriptures are Truth and how Jesus our Lord validated the Old Testament…the Book of the Law.

We live in a world and a culture that not only rebels against the Law, but would rewrite it to suit preferences and desires.

We live in a climate that increasingly celebrates “freedom” from what is considered to be the restrictive, narrow-minded, legalistic, inhibiting-to-our-creativity Laws of God.

And yet.

IF we as followers of Christ believe that His Word is Truth…then we know that we know … that we know…

Obedience to God’s Law does not chain us up…but sets us FREE.

His Word and our obedience to it, lead us into

Wide

Open

Spaces <3

So meditate on these word pictures…from the WORD

Your boundary lines mark out pleasant places for me.

Indeed my inheritance is something beautiful. Psalm 16:6  GOD’S WORD Translation

 

He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. Psalm  18:19 ESV

There are more…many more …. but for today…one more <3

I will run in the paths of your commands…

for you have set my heart free <3     Psalm 119:32    

A quick hello

Tuesday has already gotten away from me…and miles to go before I sleep…

so here’s a quick thought as I neurotically recopy notes from my Bible Study for 2017 out of the pages of my regular journal..

into a separate journal…

because…

if a thing can be over-complicated, I will find the way to do it.

In light of all the “fake news” jokes and lack of trust in media, politicians, leaders and even our various text books over the years, I find this particular bit of information affirming and reassuring.

Jesus Christ, Himself, affirmed the Scriptures as truth …. T.R.U.T.H.

In Luke 16:17, Jesus said….And it is easier for earth and heaven to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void     ESV

One dot…on little pencil point on top of a letter i, in our language. As insignificant as that might seem if I were able to make a lower case i or j without that dot as I am typing….it cannot be removed.

My study notes point out the following:

*”Jesus confirms that every word of Scripture is given by God, every truth is to be held “inviolable”. That the Scriptures are “indissoluble” and “credible”.  *

inviolable = never to be broken, infringed upon (to actively break the terms of something) or dishonored

indissoluble = unable to be destroyed, lasting

credible = believable, plausible, convincing, persuasive, tenable (able to hold water)

Go ahead…back up and plug those definitions into what Jesus says about the Law..the Scriptures.

May we have ears to hear and hearts to obey.

Blessings on each one of you today as you honor the Word of God with your hearts and minds and lives <3

 

*NKJV Spirit-Filled Life Bible Jack Hayford/notes by 

The value of study

We are so blessed to live in a time where there is an abundance of study materials to help us dig into God’s Word.

Currently our church is doing a rather length and detailed study of the book of Matthew and to help us get more out of it, they are offering a study guide prepared for small groups but openly made available for individuals, families, couples or friends to work through together (info at end of this for those interested).

I did this week’s sermon follow up in my quiet time this morning.

The opening question got me thinking…

What is one of your favorite books and why? (Sunday School answer was eliminated by prefacing “…besides the Bible..”   <insert grin>

I know the answer that pops up just about every time I am asked this question…

and it is…

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

It is a book I read as a child and have read again as an adult and the wonderful way the words created images on the pages transported me into that world and impacted me so that the details are etched on my memory.

At the end of the book, a lost little boy who has become completely absorbed with evil and has evolved into an entirely unlovable stranger is found by his sister…

who chooses to look beyond what he has become and pours out love on him, choosing to look past this stranger and see the little brother she loved down deep in her heart.

Spoiler alert…

It works.

Which brings me to our study of Matthew….

because it is not just a story someone made up…

but a factual, actual, historical documentation of an even more dramatic rescue mission.

Where God fulfilled His plan from the beginning to love us back from the most unlovable and darkest places of earth and Hell….

through His Son…

Jesus Christ.

If you would like to study Matthew with us…the sermons are available on the FCC website

http://www.firstdecatur.org

The study guides are also available on the website under the “Grow Together” and then select the “Small groups” option.

Or you can get texts of the study guide by entering  text message FIRSTDECATUR to the number 245-87

So…

would love to sit down with you today…

ask you what YOUR favorite book was/is….

and then talk about Jesus….

Be blessed …. enjoy your President’s Day festivities…and I will see you tomorrow <3