Category Archives: Heavenly Father

Faith or Fear

A lot of what I’m sharing today I got from a sermon from my pastor Mike Erre called “Faith in an age of Fear”.  I was so impressed by it that I decided to share it and my thoughts on it with you my readers.

Matthew 6:19-34 are our verses for today.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moths and vermin do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where you treasure is there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body if your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light but if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you to much more valuable tan they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers in the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans fun after all these things, and you heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The passage starts about storing up our treasures in heaven.  This is more than just talking about money but where your heart is.  What is your main focus on things of this earth which will decay or the things of God which will never decay?

Then Jesus puts it another way talking about the eye being the lamp of the body.  During Jesus day an unhealthy eye was one who was greedy and cheap and miserly.  The healthy eye was generous, helpful and thought of as good.  The healthy eye would be carrying out God’s will while the unhealthy would not.  One is storing up treasures in heaven the other on earth.

Then He talks about the serving of only one masters either God or money.  How we can’t have it both ways it’s either or.  Either your heart is with God and that is where your treasure is or your heart is elsewhere with some other idol here on earth where moth and vermin destroy and thieves can steal.  Since we can’t take it with us it is important we make the right choice.

Mike Erre made a very good point that in America we see the don’t worry passage and think God is going to give us good things and supply all that we need.  But there are Christians who love the LORD that don’t have food or drink or clothes what do we do about that?

He believes and I agree with him that the don’t worry follows the other passages in the same train of thought.  Let me try and explain the grass of the field is thrown in the fire it is not all good for the grass.  In that day and age the birds of the air were used for sacrifice again not all good for the birds.  What they do have in common is that they don’t worry about their food or death or anything they just exist as God intended them to.

Verse 33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Could this verse in the light that bad things do happen to those that love God, actually mean by seeking his kingdom and righteousness that the things of the kingdom, peace in the midst of turmoil, faith in the face of fear, and joy in the midst of mourning are all ours to have?  Could it mean that there is an even more fulfilling and abundant life to be had than what we are told on this earth via commercials and peer pressure?  I believe the answer to be “Yes!”

I look with new eyes at the do not worry verses and realize that my hope is in God alone and whatever He has in-store for me His grace and mercy will be sufficient for me.

Lord God, let me walk boldly in faith and keep these scriptures ever present in my mind when I am tempted to fall away from a bold walk with you in my journey of faith.  I want to stand confident in Your power, grace, mercy and unchanging will. Lord help me to do just that and confront me when I falter.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

The Bottom Line

I can’t say it any better than Jesus puts it so I’ll just leave Matthew 6:25-34 to Him.

Here is the bottom line: do not worry about your life. Don’t worry about your life.  Don’t worry about what you will eat or what yo will drink.  Don’t worry about how you clothe your body.  Living is about more than merely eating, and the body is about more than dressing up.  Look at the birds in the sky.

They do not store food for winter.  They don’t plant gardens.  They do not sow or reap – and yet, they are always fed because your heavenly Father feeds them.  And you are even more precious to Him than a beautiful bird.

If He looks after the them, of course He will look after you.  Worrying does not do any good;  who here can claim to add even an hour to his life by worrying?

Nor should you worry about your clothes.  Consider the lilies of the field and how they grow.

They do not work or weave or sew, and yet their garments are stunning.

 Even King Solomon, dressed in his most regal garb, was not as lovely as these lilies.  And think about the grassy fields – the grasses are here now, but they will be dead by winter.

An yet God adorns them so radiantly.  How much more will He clothe you, you of little faith, you who have no trust?

So do not consume yourselves with questions:  What will we eat?  What will we drink?  What will we wear?  Outsiders make themselves frantic over such questions; they don’t realize that your heavenly Father knows exactly what you need.  Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too.  So don’t worry about tomorrow.  Let tomorrow worry about itself.  Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Qualities to Add to Our Life

It seems that God is trying to get a message through to me because similar messages are repeating themselves every time I turn around.

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:5-8

It is obvious to me that God wants me to increase my faith and to add these qualities to my life.  The qualities that He seems to be focusing on at this time are knowledge, self-control and perseverance.  I have an increasing hunger to get to know Him better and His will in my life.

It has become very obvious to me that I lack self-control.  The areas of my life that I lack it in so much is my eating and my sleep habits and making and sticking to a schedule for my life.  I need God’s guidance in these areas.

If I had more faith, knowledge and self-control I would naturally have more perseverance.  The more faith I have the longer I will trust God and persevere under trials.  With more knowledge of the Word of God, the greater my faith and the stronger my trust and my self-control.

Lord help me to add to my faith, if that means by experiences that are uncomfortable that need to be gone through, I’m ready to do whatever it takes to increase my faith in You that we might be closer.  Help me to live a a life of goodness.  Give me a thirst for Your Word that I might have ever increasing  knowledge.  Lord, help me to develop the Fruit of the Spirit self-control.  I long to be pleasing to You and not let You down.  Please let me develop perseverance that I might withstand under trials and peer pressure, so that I might be pleasing to You and mature in the faith.  Lord, help me to develop godliness that I might be a good representative of You.  Give me brotherly kindness that I might help to bring unity to the body of Christ.  Heavenly Father give me love for that is the most important quality of all.  Give me the love that You have for those who know You and those who don’t know You.  I want to love as You love, unconditionally.  Thank you for loving me enough to answer my prayers.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

What Should People Be Saying About You?

In Proverbs 27:21 it says,

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.

When I read this I got to thinking, what kind of life am I living?  Yes I get some very nice words for my blogs on occasion but is that enough?  What is God calling me to do?  I’m to be a light at the top of a hill.  A beckon that guides the way.  That is something people are grateful for and may even praise.  Not that I am anything of myself without God and ultimately all the praise goes to Him.  But am I causing people to praise Him?  I fear not.

I want my works to withstand God’s testing.  I want my Heavenly Father to say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”  I don’t want to be one that makes it as just one who barely made it through with what little effort put in burnt in the flames.

Lord, make me a powerhouse for You.  I want to hear the praises rise to glorify You and cause people to come to You by the droves.  Lord, give me a fire that burns within me that cannot be quenched.  Cause me to call those who don’t know You to You.  I want to be used mightily of You.

I know this is going to take work on my part and I’m ready to go into the hidden areas of my life and release them to You for healing and renewal.  I give You every part of me, the horrible parts of my past, the things that scare me about the present and the hopes and dreams and fears of my tomorrows.  They are all Yours Lord.  I put them and leave them at the foot of the cross.  Help me not to return to them unless You need me to to learn and grow, other than that I release them to Your mighty power and wisdom.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Happy Father’s Day

As we honor our earthly Fathers for all the wonderful things they have done for us.  Maybe he would blow bubbles with you.  Perhaps your’s like mine would take you out on outings as a kid that was code for once the shopping was done we were going to Thrifty’s for ice cream.  May be he played ball with you and taught you all about sports.  Perhaps he would swing with you.  Maybe he had many business trips but would always bring home a gift for you to remind you that he had been thinking of you the whole time.

Or perhaps your dad was absent or worse yet abusive with either his words or deeds or both.  You may have nothing but bad memories of your father and the idea of celebrating this day is more than you can handle.

Perhaps your like me and your father is no longer a live and this day is just a reminder of what you are missing.

May I encourage you that we can honor a Father that loves like no other!  He is there for the hurting and wants to ease your burden.

I know there are a thousand questions for those of us who have been abused and/or witnessed abuse that we could ask our Heavenly Father, “Why would you allow that to happen to me?”

All I know is His ways are higher than mine and His thoughts higher than mine.  I’ve come to a point that there are things that I will not understand this side of heaven.  I’m alright with that.  There is so much that He has done for me that I can trust in His love and honor Him this Father’s Day as the awesome Father that He is!

Please take a step of faith with me and no matter what kind of earthly father you have and honor our Heavenly Father.  For He is at work, working all things for our good.  That is something we can praise Him for and there is oh so much more.  His grace, mercy, love, righteousness, justice, majesty and glory.  He offers that grace to all who will accept it, and merciful on those who call on Him.  He lives to love us.  Where would the world be if He weren’t righteous?  His majesty humbles us and puts us in right standing with Him.  His glory is to shine through us to bring others to Him.  What more could you ask of a Father.

How about one that keeps track of every tear ever cried and hurts that you hurt.  He wants to take that hurt away.  And replace it with His love and forgiveness.  Two very powerful attributes.

He wants to fill the emptiness that human fallible fathers could not fill.  That is why He wants us to turn to Him so strongly.

While you’re honoring your earthly father take some time today to consider honoring your Heavenly Father.  If that means giving your life to Him because you have yet to do that then ask forgiveness for your sins, thank Him for what Christ did on the cross for you and decide that you are going to live differently from now on.  Get into the Word of God so that you know how to live, and find a growing church body to be a part of.  If that means recommitting your life to God so be it.  Get in right standing with Him and do all you can to not fall away again.  If you are in good standing with God praise Him for all that He has done for you and all that you may have taken for granted.

Have a blessed Father’s Day!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Remember What?

Have you ever found yourself in a place of gratitude where you feel like thanking God for His forgiveness?  Have you started listing sins for which your grateful that He has forgiven you for?  I know that I have in the past and it wasn’t until today’s devotion that I realized that He had no idea about what I was talking about.

Am I saying that God has a memory problem?  Heavens no!  What I am saying that our awesome God chooses to not remember.

I will remember their sins no more.  Hebrews 8:12 RSV

Think about that the God of the universe chooses to not remember our sins!  What a wonderful gift!  Once we’ve asked forgiveness it is done over with, finished!  Never to be mentioned or seen or heard of again!

He didn’t have to do that but that is His grace in action.  He loves us enough to offer us the grace of forgetting.  Not forgetfulness, because that isn’t a gift that’s a defect.  No His grace is the act of forgetting.  A choice He makes each time we ask forgiveness for a sin.  Now that’s a loving God and Father.

Our own fathers may have been great dads but this grace of the act of forgetting our sins is something that didn’t happen.  It’s not their fault it didn’t happen, it’s not human nature to choose to forget.

In fact it’s something that we normally don’t even choose to do for ourselves even after we’ve asked forgiveness of our sins.  If God can forgive and forget shouldn’t we?

Let’s take this a step at a time.  Do you find yourself asking forgiveness for the same sin over again and again?  I’m not talking about doing the same sin.  I mean the exact same sin as if you weren’t forgiven the first time you were asked.  If you are, stop your unbelief and trust God at his word.

I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.  1 John 2:12

His name is Jesus. Once you’ve accepted what Christ did on the cross for you, asked forgiveness for your sins, you are His child.  As His child you can see in the above verse that your sins are forgiven.  It doesn’t say that you need to ask again and again. Once is sufficient.  Only when we’ve sinned again do we then need to repent or ask forgiveness again.  Then do our best to live a godly or righteous life.

Now about forgetting, we remember them so that we can learn from them and not repeat them.  That doesn’t give us the right to beat ourselves  up over them.  It is of no benefit and only harms us.  We must forgive ourselves !  Learn from our errors and don’t perpetuate them by beating ourselves  up over them.  The only one that pleases is Satan.  Surely it is not our goal to please the enemy.

As the Bible says don’t give the enemy a foothold.  I know in context it is talking about anger but isn’t that a part of beating ourself up over sin?  Aren’t we angry with yourself?  We need to cut ourselves  a little slack.  We are human, we are not God.  That means that we are going to sin from time to time.  The important thing is that the moment we become aware of the sin, we ask forgiveness of it, and do our best not to repeat it.

We have an awesome God who loves us enough not only to forgive us but to forget as well.  That is something to praise Him for!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Seeing From God’s Perspective

Max Lucado has some very interesting things to share on this in his devotional, “Grace for the Moment Volume II: More Inspirational Thoughts for Each Day of the Year”

God Sees What We Can’t

“No one is like the LORD our God, who rules from heaven.”  – Psalm 113:5

On a trip to the United Kingdom, our family visited a castle.  In the center of the garden sat a maze.  Row after row of shoulder-high hedges, leading to one dead end after another.  Successfully navigate the labyrinth, and discover the door to a tall tower in the center of the garden.  Were you to look at our family pictures of the trip, you’d see four of five family members standing on the top of the tower. Hmmm, someone is still on the ground.  Guess who?  I was stuck in the foliage I just couldn’t figure out which way to go.

Ah, but then I heard a voice from above.  “Hey, Dad.” I looked up to see Sara, peering through the turret at the top.  “You’re going the wrong way,” she explained. “Back up and turn right.”

Do you think I trusted her? I didn’t have to.  But do you know what I did?  I listened.  Her vantage point was better than mine.  She was above the maze.  She could see what I couldn’t.

Don’t you think we should do the same with God?

Max Lucado makes a great point here.  It seems to be so simple to let God who sees all from heaven and knows all to give in to His perspective or still small voice calling us to “Back up and turn right”.   But in comes choice and pride and the voice, “I know what I’m doing.  I can do it.  I’ll do it by myself.”  We sound like toddlers attempting to exert our rights.  But just like the toddlers parents that knows what’s best for him or her so does our Heavenly Father knows what’s best.

The toddler is in a hurry to be like the parent without listening to the parent.  It doesn’t work for the toddler and it doesn’t work for us.  We must bow down to God’s perspective.  He has a greater vantage point than us.  Not only is He looking from the vantage of Heaven and the present but eternity future.  He can see the whole picture while we can not.  After all He is God, we are not!

Any time we try to put ourselves in the place where God should be we sin and we will find that life will become as difficult as trying to go through that maze in the dead of night, difficult, confusing, near to impossible to navigate, scary, worrisome, anxiety causing and a host of other miserable things that are unnecessary if we just listen to God and follow His leading.

We need to put our pride aside, leave the toddler stage and mature to at the least young adults that will not only listen to the whispers of the Lord but in obedience follow that guidance.  Once we’ve done that we are well on our way to living the abundant life God has in store for us.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart

Gallery

God’s Lessons In Humility

I have a trainer that spent an hour with me today in the pool, trying to get me to learn how to kick properly, breath without drinking the pool, and the right way to use my arms.  At the end … Continue reading