Thursday, July 29, 2010

Am I a Jonah?

Jonah was given the gift of prophesy.  "The word of the LORD came to Jonah" (Jonah 1:1).  He was quite happy using his gift as long as he could utilize it where he wanted to.  As soon as God asked him to go to a different place (Ninevah) and a different people, he ran from God.

How many of us are like Jonah, at least for a time?  I loved my ladies' Sunday School class.  I loved teaching them.  I loved what I was doing, but God drew me away from there.  I was very comfortable sharing what God had taught me.  The fact is, I was very attached to my class.   For a time, I think I was very much like Jonah - I ran from God's calling.

God was calling me out of my comfort zone.  I love teaching women, but I wondered how will the couples' class respond to my teaching?  I didn't have to spend three days and nights in the tummy of a big fish, but I wonder if God had that ole fish ready for me.

Our gifts are from God.  "Each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that." (1 Corinthians 7:7)  They are to be used where and when He chooses and will often be out of our comfort zone.  We must surrender to God's call and then trust Him to provide,  Don't be a Jonah!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why Forgive?

Why should I forgive?  They really do not deserve it, do they?  They haven't asked for forgiveness or even admitted they hurt me or wronged me, so why should I forgive?  The answer is, because Jesus did.  "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing'." (Luke 23:34)

If we truly want to experience freedom in our lives, we must forgive.  Some of us need motivation to live out some of God's command.  Here is the motivation - "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sin." (Mark 11:25)

Forgiving others, especially those who do not deserve it, cleanses us from within.  Great freedom comes from allowing God to heal the hurt and help us forgive the one who caused the hurt.  Forgiveness brings release from negative emotions and the root of bitterness will find no place to grow.

Is it your desire to be more Christ-like?  When we forgive the undeserving, we may look more like Jesus than at any other time in our lives.  Ask God to help you forgive the underserving (aren't we all) and then experience the freeedom He gives.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Remember When

At our recent class reunion, there were a lot of conversations that began with "Remember when . . . . . ."  These words can be made in the form of a statement or a question.  How great to remember all the fun times we had together and to be reminded of some we had forgotten!

The Bible uses the word remember numerous times throughout Scripture.  Many times God is telling us to remember what He has done in our lives in the past.  "Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles and the judgments He pronounced." (1 Chronicles 16:12)  It is beneficial for us to remember what God has done in our lives through the years, so we can see His faithfullness.

Sometimes God wants us to remember something we did that was not pleasing to Him so we won't repeat the behavior.  God does not want us to remember something from our past to put us on a guilt trip but to keep us from taking the same trip again.  In Ezekiel 16, the Lord said  His people had broken His covenant, but He would remember His covenant (v. 60).  In verse 63, He told His people that they would "remember and be ashamed."  We need to remember bad behavior (be ashamed) and never repeat the behavior.

While it is fun to remember our high school years and reminisce with friends, it is of much greater importance to remember what God has done in our lives.  Remember your day of salvation.  Remember His faithfulness and provision in your life.  Take a trip down memory lane and praise Him for His faithfulness..

Saturday, July 3, 2010

How Are You Feeling?

How are you feeling about your life?  Did you know that how you feel starts in your mind?  "If we don't start thinking differently, we will never feel differently." (Beth Moore, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, page 71) 

Philippians 4:8 tells us "Whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, . . . . . . think on these things."  Be careful what and how you think.  It will change how you feel.

In Mark 12:28, a teacher of the law asked Jesus which commandment was the most important.  Jesus answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." (Mark 12:30)  It all starts in our minds.

Loving Jesus with all our minds will change how we think and how we think will eventually change how we feel.  Take a little inventory of your thought life.  What are you spending most of your time thinking about?  Is it true, honest, just, pure, etc.?

Let's change how we think by loving God with all our hearts, souls and minds and saturating ourselves with God's Word.  We will feel much better than when our thoughts are more focused on self.