In the world, but not of it…

 

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Can’t help it…I do love the Midwest <3

I am catching up with a couple of my devotional readings that are too big to lug in a suitcase or carry on. Last night I read several days from one I received for Christmas called, Sparkling Gems from the Greek by Rick Renner; Harrison House Publishers.

The writing for January 27th is based on Hebrews 12:1. In this passage we are encouraged to lay aside anything, including sin, that is distracting us or inhibiting us from completing the work God has called us to do.

Renner points out in the writing that in the translation from Greek, the writer is pointing out that our environment can be a deterrent to our fulfilling the purposes God has for us.

So not only our sin can set us back, but our environment can as well.

He urges believers to be very intentional in leaving situations that are causing their faith to waiver.

Now this is a very individual thing; thanks be to God!

Depending on the gifts and talents, and the way God has wired us; one believer can be in a situation that strengthens his faith, while another in that same situation would be in danger of being led astray.

It all is a matter of the purpose God has for each individual.

It is up to each of us to determine if our environment is drawing us nearer to Christ or pulling us further away.

In the Hebrews passage there are two forces described at work on our faith: one is the great cloud of witnesses and one is the sins and circumstances (or environment) of distraction and hindrance.

What is spurring you on in your faith or what is hindering you?

These are important questions to ask, because in the end…it is your faith that will matter.

I took some notes on ways to pray for myself and for those I love in regard to holding fast to faith, and wisdom to be in places that nurture that faith:

* Pray for an environment that will keep faith alive and strong

* Pray for open eyes/enlightened minds/tender hearts that will recognize the relationships and places that need to be avoided so that faith will not be negatively affected.

* As these environments, settings and relationships are revealed; pray for strength to make the right choices and courage to make the breaks where they are needed.

* Pray for wisdom to avoid these people and places.

We can not hide from the world, but we must guard our faith and be strengthened daily in our walk so that we can be Christ IN the world.

It takes humility to recognize that I simply do not have the strength to face the temptations of certain situations and courage to avoid them. Yes, Jesus is my strength, but He is also my Shepherd and I need to follow Him.

God promised to provide a way out from all places and relationships that would tempt me away from Him, but I must look for the exit sign and take it.

God bless you as hold fast to faith and as you intercede for others in the Body <3

Simple words of blessing, bless…

Unlike these fellows…

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We saw as much as you can see in a day, walked miles and ate much.

At the capitol building….

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the guard who searched my purse, bedecked in cowboy boots, hat, weaponry and badges looked me in the eye as he handed me back my belongings from the scanner and said “Have a blessed day”…

Oh, thank you, I did …

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Such a simple thing this guard did, in the line of his work.

What a difference it made to me to have a blessing spoken over us as we toured this new hometown of John’s.

Our words can be flowing rivers of living water

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poured out on those around us to refresh and breathe life into their day.

May God bless you as you speak forth words of blessing on those you encounter  <3

 

 

Just as I am

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Good morning and….

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Yes, I am visiting our son who has just become a Texan in 2015.

So I am sitting in my room mulling over yesterday and looking forward to exploring his new home town with him today.

While the sermon was on seeking wisdom based on James 1, one of the things that stuck with me was a line from one of the songs…can’t for the life of me remember the name OF the song…but the line was “All I am is yours…”

As the music and the teaching and the marvel of God washed over, and I sang those words; I wondered…just what ‘all I am’ is…

cause it seems the answer, at first is, not much.

And that is the truth. I really didn’t bring much to the table when I came to Christ.

And all that I am…all that is worthy…all that is good and right and true…well, is what is His in me.

All the good parts of my life are because of what Christ has done…in me, with me, through me, in spite of me…

All I have is not only what I give to Him but all the bounty-beyond-what-I-could-think-to-ask-or-imagine…all…ALL…IS…HIS <3

Now let’s go explore Austin….

Can we talk?

The phone will ring and a little voice on the other end asks, ” Lola, can we talk?”

“Sure!”

“Ok…we call you back!”

Click….

And in a few minutes I am engaged in what even little Graham knows is the next best thing to being right in the same room … Face Time!

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One night we ate our dinner together.

This morning….

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I watched him watch his show.

Because it’s all about being together.

Moses knew that when he told God there was no way he could go on if God didn’t go with him….

In Exodus 33:11 we are told that Moses had FaceTime with God.

“The Lord would speak to Moses face to face as one speaks to a friend.” NIV

At one point, Moses asked several times for the assurance that God would go with them as they wandered around the desert – how else would people know that they belonged to Him. And even after God assured him, Moses repeated his request.

Jesus promised to be with us always to the end of the age.

And sometimes, often…I wish I could have that Face Time by sight and not by faith.

Like Graham, I want that tangible, visual PRESENCE….

But you and I walk by faith and not by sight…

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Rest assured today, if you have asked Jesus Christ into your heart….His Presence is WITH YOU….so talk to Him, be near Him, believe that He is there…because He is <3

 

 

 

The Ultimate Joy Jump

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I am just shaking my head at how fast the month of January is zipping by. I think the warmer days and sunshine have helped a LOT!

We have already accumulated a fair share of extracurricular fun this year including taking in an Illini basketball last weekend. While we still are not ready to discuss the score, the half time show was AH-mazing…..the Fire Cracker Jump Rope team.

Between 20-25 sparklers hit the gym floor jumping rope in every conceivable manner including sitting on their bottoms…I know. They scurried around like ants and from where we were sitting they all looked identical in size and ability.

We could thoroughly enjoy the whole thing in one panoramic shot, because not one of them really belonged to us.

Now if one of those little ones was ours, whether by blood or heart…well…we would have zeroed in on finding that one and that would have been our whole focus.

This is where I just marvel at the magnitude of our God.

As a parent, He hones in on each one of us….all at the same time…watching us do our thing, caring for us, correcting us, training us. And He is able to do that with every single one of us. He sees our individual efforts as you and I progress through the routines of life.

But He is also watching over the whole big picture as well; how you and I interact with each other and function out there in and with the world. He is working out His plans – His big story through our little ones.

The intricate ways that our lives weave in and out from the inside out…this matters to Him.

Big picture. Little picture. All in perfect focus. All the time.

And this makes me…oh I am so sorry, but I can not help myself…(say it with me)….Jump for Joy <3