God Sightings

God sightings…that’s what I call them. Times when people experience the touch of God in their lives. Maybe it was a provision. I spoke with a lady the other day who needed her yard cut, but she was short on the money this month to pay someone. A young man from our church stopped by her house and asked if he could help her out by cutting her grass. She was so blown away by the gesture. She told him she didn’t have the money to pay him right now. He simply smiled. His mom had told him he needed to get out from in front of the TV and go help somebody. So, that is exactly what he did.

Recently, Connie and I flew out to see our brand new baby granddaughter. Talk about a God sighting. There could be no greater miracle than a baby. I couldn’t hold her enough.

A friend of mine is moving and needed to sell his family home at just the right time to get a contract on his new home. The intricate timing of the two transactions seemed impossible. And just as the offer was accepted on the new house he was buying, an offer came in for him on the house he was needing to sell.

One of the members of the church I am privileged to serve received the beautiful news that her cancer was in remission. She had been through a great deal of pain with surgery and chemo. The overwhelming relief of hearing the news that the tumor was barely visible now and no sign of cancer brought us both to tears.

A homeless family finds a home…food is provided for 400 families…people coming to know Christ…children enjoying the lessons of the Bible…healings…sunsets…rain…fresh tomatoes from my neighbor’s garden…God sightings. God interacting in miraculous ways to show His love for His children. People acting on His behalf to help one another.

Now, more than ever, we need to recognize the presence of God in our lives and share it. I challenge you to spread the Word. God is very much alive and involved in every aspect of our daily lives – share your God sightings. You never know, you might just change someone’s life!

 


The Thorns of Your Heart

Mark 4:18, “Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” 

A few weeks ago, I cleared a spot just behind my house that is becoming overrun with thorny bushes & weeds. Connie and I marveled at how we hadn’t noticed it and then suddenly it seemed to be consuming our backyard with ugly, bristly brush.  Those thorns were so sharp, they pierced through my gloves as I pulled them out of the way. My arms were covered in scratches and my favorite pair of jeans received a tear.

This devotion came to mind as I took in the overwhelming task of getting this area cleaned up and cleared out. Thorns can quickly consume our lives – and I don’t mean the kind that was consuming my yard. Worries, obsessions over material goods and money, desires to live this way or that, can overgrow our hearts and minds pretty quick if we allow them in our lives. The seed sown among the thorns couldn’t grow because it was suffocated by the thorns – the distractions of life; the desires of the flesh; the lifestyles which are not inline with God.

It may be time to weed the thorny brush out of your heart and life.

I tossed all those branches in a nice big burn pile. I suggest you do the same.


Spicy Food

How often do our words singe someone?  In James 3:5-6 the scripture reads, “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

That’s a lot of power for a part of the body we rarely recognize. There is much talk about the heart, the lungs, the brain, the kidneys, but the tongue? However, look at what power the tongue has. And just as the scriptures say, the tongue may be small and insignificant but OH! how it boasts. Like a forest fire, the tongue has the ability to corrupt the whole body.

One of my prayers every morning is the ability to guard my tongue. I ask God to give me His voice – a voice that speaks words of value, admiration, encouragement, compassion, and kindness to those I encounter on a daily basis – my spouse, my children, my co-workers, the people I interact with at the office, in the church, on the street, anyone who comes across my path during the day.

My dad taught me the 3 second rule of response. Basically, before I speak, think it through for 3 seconds. It may make the person I am communicating with uncomfortable, but I’m sure it has saved me from the foot in the mouth disease many times. Consider what you are going to say, before you say it. In today’s society, we must consider texting and social media. When you are angry or out-of-sorts, hold those fingers back from blasting someone through email or texting. Words can hurt – not only the person we are viciously delivering them to – but also ourselves.

The only fire I want on my tongue is the kind that comes from eating too much spicy food – which I love, by the way.

What about you?


Investments

1 Peter 3:4, “but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

What qualities set you apart from other people? I had to fill-out a questionnaire recently. It was multiple choice with every question having the option “none of the above.” As I answered the questionnaire, it challenged me. Many of us spend a lifetime trying to develop certain attributes to better ourselves. We want to improve ourselves for our career, or athletically, or in our families, or in our appearance; but, in God’s sight, the most precious qualities are those that are like Him.

Another translation of the verse above reads, ” the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

When we develop within ourselves the qualities of a Godly, gentle spirit, it is worthy in God’s sight. The Bible tells us it is very precious to Him.

On my way to work every morning, I pass a house with a beautiful flower garden. There is not a weed in it and the variety of color is phenomenal. Hydrangea, irises, daisies, hostas, roses, the list is endless. To just sit on the porch of that house and enjoy it must be something. The bottom line is those flowers didn’t plant and water themselves. The time and attention to create such an atmosphere is more than evident…and to such is our lives.

The way to achieve a Godly spirit comes with a price. We have to cultivate, water, weed, fertilize, and replant. Day by day, week by week, and year by year, we have to invest our time in His word. We have to strengthen our hearts through prayer and meditation on those things that are important to Him – not what we want to focus upon – but what He wants us to focus upon.

Are you cultivating a Godly spirit which brings grace and pleasure to those around you? If your spirit were a flower garden, what would be growing in you?


Spread the Good News

Acts 6:7, “So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”

Many of us operate under the assumption that in order to change the world we have to do great and mighty things. The truth of the matter is: a simple act of kindness in the name of Jesus; a loving gesture displaying Christianity; an understanding word to honor Him can start a rippling effect.

How we interact on a daily basis influences others. Have you ever had your day interrupted by someone’s rudeness? Maybe you were grabbing breakfast on your way to work and the person in the car in front of you bought your meal. Or you are dropping your children off at school and someone holds the door for you. Maybe you are running 10,000 errands in a small amount of time and someone offers to help you. The way it makes me feel in turn causes me to respond to others in similar fashion. And the rippling begins…

Words and actions cross our paths every second of every day. Did you ever stop and think how your words and actions are impacting others?

I once read a church billboard which said, “Always testify to the goodness of Jesus Christ and when necessary use your words.”

Sometimes I see someone acting out in a loving way to another person and I think, “I know that makes God smile!” Other times I see someone acting in an ungodly way and I think, “I bet God is wishing he or she would just sit down and hush.”

As Christians we have a higher calling – to spread the Good News of Salvation through Jesus Christ – with our words and our actions. When we do so, the ripples start and make such a difference in the lives of others. Try it! You never know how God may use it to benefit His Kingdom.


Be Still

Psalm 37:7, “Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.”

1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Romans 8: 16-17, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Be still in His presence for you are a special possession of God’s. Make your mind like a still pool of water, waiting to hear from Him. Allow Him to interject His thoughts into yours. A crowded mind is too full to hear from our Father.

As you face today, know that God has already seen every detail of your day; He knows the struggles you will face; He knows the pressure you will be under; He knows the heart aches, the challenges, the obstacles, and even the joys. Because you are chosen to be His, He will take care of it – if you allow Him to do so. You are His heir – a co-heir with Christ.

Do not wear yourself down with worry, regret, fear, and anxiety. Can you cope under the pressure of the day? NO! Not by yourself. That’s why you desperately need God. With Him, not only can you cope under the pressure of the day, you will overcome the pressures of the day. See, God is on the winning team. If you are on God’s team, you are a winner.

Communicate with Him. Give Him control of your day. Remember, God isn’t in a hurry. He has always been here, and He will always be here. He is outside of time. Sometimes I think the more I push Him for an answer, the longer it takes to get one. He wants me to wait on Him and be still so that I hear what He needs me to do. When we get in a hurry; when we are overwhelmed with worry; we cannot hear God’s answers for us.

Take the time today to be still; to be available; to know you are His special possession and He has called you into His wonderful light.


God’s Standards

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

This scripture is the first of the beatitudes and comes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. In this sermon, Jesus makes nine statements regarding “who is blessed.” The word Beatitudes comes from the Latin word “beatus” meaning, “blessed” or “happy.”

What does Jesus mean when He tells us “poor in spirit?” If you substitute the word “humble” for “poor,” you’ll understand. Simply put, Jesus is telling us to be humble in our spirits by realizing our dependence on Him. We must acknowledge our own sin; our emptiness; our poverty. We cannot be proud in our hearts, thinking we do not need God. Humbleness starts with the recognition that we cannot exist without God and He is the Commander of our lives.  When we are humble before God, it creates a bond that cannot be broken; a relationship that gives us the life God wants for us.

Arrogance does not exist in a person who is “poor in spirit.” Arrogance over-rides God and puts Him as a secondary source of strength and puts one’s self as a primary source.

How do you become “poor in spirit?”

1. God’s standards cannot be reached by you and me. We need Jesus.

2. Full and total repentance. Our sins lead to death; our dependence on Jesus Christ, the Son of God, leads us to life eternal. There is NO other way.

3. Acknowledgement of our spiritual worthlessness without God. We are nothing without Him. We can do nothing without Him.

4. You cannot save yourself. Only Christ can give you salvation.

Who in the Bible had this attitude?

1. Gideon: Judges 6:15,  “‘Pardon me, my lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.'”

2. Peter: Luke 5:8, “When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’”

3. Jesus: John 5:30, “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”

The best explanation is summed up in Ephesians 2:7-9, “in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”


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