“Seek the Lord while you can find him.
Call on him now while he is near.”
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.
And in the midst of the furnace God is with us. He never leaves us. Last night I was with a family in the furnace of a lifetime. It’s a trial by fire to be sure. This is when they most need God’s presence, his care, his love. It’s in their furnace that they will see him. He is always with us, always caring for us….even in the furnace of trials.
But why trials? Why use the furnace to make himself known and seen? It’s because in the furnace no one can help us but God. As the king said to Daniel’s friends, “Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” The king has defined the test- Is there a God who can deliver from the furnace? Is there someone to help when the trials of life overwhelm? The answer from the furnace is “YES! I’m here with you. Don’t worry, I will take care of you.”
The God of glory is always with us working for our good and his glory. In the midst of your furnace God is with you making himself known to you and seen by the world. In the midst of the furnace all other distractions are burned away and we see the ever present God who is always with us.
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.
David said….. “Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope” Act 2:26
God loved man so much that he made a garden for him and provided all he needed…at that point, Adam had no need for hope. Right?
But then Adam fell – and he fell hard – so hard in fact, that we are still paying for it to this day! His mistake ushered sin into this perfect world God had created – and since God could not abide by sin, man became lost and without hope.
Yes there is hope for us – it does exist – but our hope is in Jesus Christ alone! Our faith leads us to wait for his return which means, we have nothing to hope for but Jesus Christ! This is not something we “wish” for like a birthday present…….
When I was young, I remember being asked what I wanted for my birthday. I shared my wish with anyone who would listen…but then I waited impatiently because I was never really sure if my wish would come true – sometimes it would, sometimes it wouldn’t. Of course, I was always encouraged to blow out all the candles if I wanted my wish to come true. I could never understand why my wish wouldn’t come true if I told anyone…….. Where did that come from?
Jesus did not die so we would need to “wait and see.“….nor do we need to search this world for his hope……our hope is the blessed assurance that he was raised from the dead and that he is coming back for us!
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
I remember being left at the babysitters and my mother promising to come back at the end of the day to pick us up. That was always a long day, because I was never quite sure if she was really coming back for us…but of course, she always did………
Satan has been trying to convince us that God is not coming for us….and by the looks of things more people are believing that every day!
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5
A lot of things offer us hope in this world, but because they are attached to this world, they will never be anything but short-term illusions because God does not intend for us to remain here and he paid the high price for our souls so we wouldn’t need anything else! Our society is designed as if this is our final destination! Don’t be fooled…..there is a force at work in this world intent on ensuring we never reach our true destination!
I remember having to live with relatives while growing up and how I would always hope for a place of my own…….
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2
As for our nation….Aren’t you getting tired of being told, “if we just get the right man in the white house or….”just a little more tax…..” or ……” with a little sacrifice ….” Can anyone tell me how long we’ve been fooling ourselves with this false hope? Why are people pushing Jesus aside while waiting for “something more?” It makes no sense to push aside the hope that has already been given us, in search of false illusions. Hasn’t our hope already been delivered to us?
I believe our hope first arrived the moment that Jesus Christ was born – but the hope that we can now be reconciled with God and have eternal life actually was given to us the moment he died!
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” John 19:30
Sin is still in the world – and always will be – so, does that mean there is no hope for man?
“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6
Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
In Christ alone my hope is found………
Visit Mark at Planting Potatoes.
My heart is amazed at just how big this world is and how technology can keep us in touch with those who have moved away from us. But sometimes, my heart is even more amazed at just how alone we can feel even though people are close to us physically as well as through technology.
We often feel alone when:
You’ve probably been there and felt as if your prayers were going no further than the ceiling. Let me remind you that not only does your Heavenly Father hear those cries, they matter to Him. He hears you and cares about what your heart is feeling.
The time you feel completely alone is when you typically withdraw and close your heart off to the world. Worse than that, you close your Bible and think; I don’t even know what to pray, so why bother and you let isolation MOVE YOU from your Father’s side.
God never moves from us. We move from Him. But, even when we stray, move or completely ignore Him…we are never alone.
What verses do you wrap yourself in when you feel completely alone?
Please leave them below and encourage those that are feeling completely alone.
2 Chronicles 13:12
And, behold, God himself is with us
2 Chronicles 32:8
With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles.
Deut 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
I remember as a little, tiny girl being afraid of those towering giants in my life. There were only two giant men that I took to early on without fear and they were my Father and Grandfather.
While I understand that not every man is full of care, compassion and concern for the women and children in his world and those that are quietly observing, (make no mistake, they are observing and retaining what they observe) I also understand that there are men that want to be a force for good in this world.
I applaud you and want to encourage you to continue to be a Giant!
Here are some ways we can all be Giants, but Men, please…. Continue to stand up and be HUGE!
Giant of Compassion – Men in particular usually have a hard time comfortably displaying their emotions and showing compassion isn’t always the easiest. I know that kindness is there, filling your heart…let it flow freely.
Giant of Love – Continue to love and allow yourself to be loved – even when love hurts.
Giant of Giving – Giving of what you have doesn’t always come naturally, but we can condition our hearts to be a giant in this area. Don’t focus on what you are giving, or to whom. Just give what you can and show others that there is nothing like it.
Giant of Laughter – With the weight of the responsibilities that you bare, sometimes it is just good to sit back and do fun things. Laugh daily and share freely.
Giant of Family – YOU head up the family, you are responsible, you direct, guide and shelter. Be there, be part of what goes on, share your heart with those in your family freely. Be authentic and in doing so, you will raise up giants of your own.
Giant of a Husband – Men if you are married, the best thing you can do is to continue to date and spoil your wife. Find out, if you’ve forgotten, what little things she adores and spoil her with them. Yes, we ladies need to do the same thing, but we gals are creatures of response and she will react. But, honestly…don’t do this just to “get” something in return….do this because you are a giant and are willing to do it because it is the right thing to do.
Giant of a Friend – Men, go and do some men stuff. Encourage each other and have fun. Take time to be a friend.
Giant of an Example – There are little eyes watching you and you won’t even realize it. You will cause someone, somewhere to remember something that you did…something you considered insignificant and yet, in that moment it was larger than life to the onlooker. You are always inspiring someone and being an influence. The question is, are you inspiring great things or are you inspiring a lackadaisical attitude?
Giant of Wisdom – You have experiences that no one else around you has. You can share what you’ve learned and those around you that are truly wise will learn from you. Share freely.
Lastly guys, remember, you are completely loved and adored by someone.
YOU ARE a giant in their eyes. Treasure that, protect that and use it.
Gals – you can be a giant to! I hope you will be.
Your turn! How can we be giants to those little eyes that are watching everything we say and do? Don’t miss your opportunity to be heard here.
Dear Dad, you are already a HERO, just because you are a dad… be the best influence you can be without guilt
Dear Dad, I know you are busy with work &providing for the family, but provide memories too
Dear Dad, I know we are all special BUT never, ever forget that you are loved & adored
Dear Dad, even when I think I know it ALL, YOU still be the parent. I’m too young to make big decisions.
Dear Dad, laughter is the best medicine, but never forget tears are healing
Dear Dad, Even though guys are macho, we still need to hear “i love you”
Dear Dad, I know you want to give me the best of everything, but make me be responsible for what you give me
Dear Dad, we love big squishy bear hugs
Dear Dad, help me to own my mistakes, don’t enable me or excuse my actions
Dear Dad, I love you
Dear Dad, help me to own my mistakes, don’t enable me or excuse my actions #FathersDay
— Marie Wikle (@spreadingJOY) June 17, 2012
Visit Marie at SpreadingJoy.
Our days seem to get so busy, our time escapes us and our hearts can be so heavy. During all of these times, we not only should pray, but praise.
I hope you will spend some time just thanking the Lord. Thanksgiving needs to be a daily thing for us.
I’m thankful for:
Spend some time thinking about all that you are grateful for. Dwell on it, wrap your heart in it and praise HIM for it.
Marie is the Founder/President of Spreading Joy Corporation, a Non-Profit dedicated to reminding others of the simple joy of giving. For more encouragement and a look at the little things that make life big, please visit her website http://www.spreading-joy.org
What does this look like in real life? Does it mean we never sin, never get angry, never say the wrong thing or stumble in our walk? What does it mean when the Lord talks of looking for hearts fully committed to him?
I read this verse and am convinced he can’t be talking about me. The desire is there to be fully committed, but my life tells a different story. My life is messy, smelly at times with sin, I get frustrated, say the wrong things….frankly this verse can’t be talking about someone like me….but then I realize that he’s looking at the heart.
If God just looked at my life he would pass by without a second glance. I’m a mess. There is nothing of the material saints are made of in my life, nothing that would tell you I’m a godly man, very little of a holy life for others to see and evaluate.
In fact, if I were under close scrutiny to evaluate my life and determine if I were a Christian I think I would fail the test. Fruit rejected. Life a waste. Failure.
But then I reread these words…God is looking for hearts fully committed. I so want to be that person, that fully committed one. Can my heart be fully committed and my life an utter mess? If God is looking for fruit, I fail. If he’s looking for a heart that wants to please him no one wants that more than I.
How do I reconcile this paradox? How do I bring together a heart that wants God with all that is in me and a life that wanders, choices that are messy, a life that doesn’t look much different than the world around me at times?
I don’t know. I only know this…when his eyes pass my way he will see a messy life, but a heart that truly wants to be fully committed to him. In the mess of all of this all I can do is trust him to help me follow my heart’s passion for him.
I’m fascinated by this short, simple verse. It’s a prayer of Paul for those suffering in Thessalonica. I would have prayed “May the Lord direct your minds…” but Paul prays for heart direction. There is a knowing of the heart that the mind cannot comprehend. There is an assurance of the heart that the mind cannot grasp. There is a relationship with God of the heart that the mind can only dream about. In this time of rest and sabbatical I have been seeking the face of God. It’s a passion I acquired from David the king. He pursued the face of God. I can only imagine what that looks like because, in truth, it’s a heart quest, not a quest of the mind.
One of the things I find as I get closer to the face of God is his love and joy in my presence. He really loves me! He likes me, he really does. He’s glad to see me. Personally. I feel so inadequate to even be in his presence, unworthy, imposing on his time and attention, but he loves me. As my heart is directed into his love I begin to see myself as he does. I see the me he sees and it brings the same response that Jesus had to the love of the father….steadfastness. As Jesus prayed in the garden, steadfast in his decision to obey the father because of the father’s love for him and for us, he went to the cross steadfast in obedience because he knew the father loved him. I see I cannot walk in steadfast obedience until I know the father’s love. It’s his love that gives me the ability to be steadfast in Christ.
We all go through difficult days, days that challenge our commitment to faith, but the love of God will bring us to a steadfast walk that can only be known to the heart. The mind would say you are crazy, but the heart knows the Father’s love and that makes all the difference.
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.
The eight blessings included in Matthew 5:3-12 from Jesus during His Sermon on the Mount…
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Dear Lord Jesus
As big as my problems are
As big as my fears are
As big as my doubts are
Help me to remember that YOU are bigger
As big as my dreams are
As big as my needs are
As big as my desires are
Help me to be reminded every day that you are bigger
Help me to be reminded every day that you know what I need
Help me to be reminded every day that you want us to live abundantly
Help me to be reminded every day that you are in control
Help me to be reminded every day that you see every tear…and they matter
You see my fearful heart and it matters
You know when I’m discouraged and it matters
Help me to keep trusting you when I don’t understand
Help me to keep following you when I can’t see where the next step is going to take me
Help me to remember just how great YOU are, just how mighty you are and just how much you LOVE me
Don’t let me forget these things; keep them close to my heart, so when the fear pops in and the tears flow I know instantly that YOU have me.
You’ve got me and you are going to keep me….. and it all matters to you.
In Jesus name Amen
This was originally published in Tell It On the Mountain Online Magazine. Click the name of the magazine to see it and other amazing articles. Thanks @DeMacb for allowing me to submit to your Magazine
I hope that my list of resolutions will inspire you to boldly resolve to make resolutions that truly matter.
Doing this will inspire you as well as those around you.
I resolve to make the best of whatever comes my way each day
I resolve to smile daily, even if it’s through tears
I resolve to encourage my family to be their best, even when the worst is flooding our world
I resolve to enjoy the success of others and encourage them to keep pursuing their passion
I resolve to treat others the way I want to be treated, no wait… BETTER than I want to be treated
I resolve to be kind to those who are the meanest
I resolve to listen to my heart and not feel guilty for doing things for myself
I resolve to do what I can with what I have and enJOY it
I resolve to read a book a month (or listen…as I love audio books)
I resolve to be a positive force
I resolve to use my strengths without worry about how my weaknesses may come across
I resolve to allow my heart to sing freely
I resolve to find beauty in the Ordinary
I resolve to laugh daily….regardless (hey, if I’m gonna cry often, I may as well laugh even more)
I resolve to hug freely
I resolve to say thank you to someone daily
I resolve to learn from my mistake
I resolve to face difficulties with courage
I resolve to let those in my world know just how important they truly are
I resolve to continue to be Matthew 5:16
I resolve to be compassionate
I resolve to let the hurt & disappointment that surrounds me to make me more determined
I resolve to keep taking the next step, even when I can’t see the path
I resolve to love, and do so freely
I resolve to celebrate the good, forgive the bad and enjoy the moment
I resolve to change what I can, fix what is wrong & find the good in the rest
I resolve to reflect on the blessings of the day at the end of the day
I resolve to celebrate small victories and push onward through challenges
I resolve to be content with what I have, while striving to improve where I can
I resolve to not allow circumstances to dictate HOW I live
I resolve to not allow guilt to eat at my heart
I resolve to stop and smell the roses when I’m near them
I resolve to believe that I’m enough and not compare myself to others
What are some of your resolutions?
Please encourage others by sharing them below.
Visit Marie at SpreadingJoy.
In our day to day life, we try as often as we can to shop from vendors both in our local neighbors and online that we believe make the best attempt to represent Christ. On this page, we attempt to list just a few of those for you.
Feel free to submit your favorites via the comment box below!
PUNJAMMIES™ are made by women in India rescued from forced prostitution seeking to rebuild their lives. Proceeds from the sales of PUNJAMMIES™ provide fair-trade wages, savings accounts, and holistic recovery care. Please support International Princess™ Project as we bring hope and a voice to those who have none.
With every pair purchased, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.
As of September 2010, TOMS has given over one million pairs of new shoes to children in need around the world.
CharityUSA owns and operates the GreaterGood Network Stores, where every purchase gives back to a worthy cause, at no extra cost to you! A portion of the purchase price of each item you buy goes to your choice of these important causes:
This morning, as I sat at coffee waiting for one of our men I couldn’t help overhearing (yes I listened in) a man at the next table say to his breakfast partner, “I’m a good person….”
There was more to his statement, but this one sentence caught my imagination. I’m sure this guy really is a nice person, trying to be good, but I wondered and wished I could ask him, so what does it mean to you to be a good person and why does it matter? What is the purpose of being good? Why did he need to say that to his friend this morning?
I wonder about these things because his statement made me immediately think about a young man who came to Jesus and basically said the same thing, “I’m a good person, what else do I need?” Jesus’ response probably stunned him when he replied, “No one is good but God alone.” From that came an encounter that left this young man depressed.
Why do we want to be good? What’s is our purpose in “being good?” Who are we trying to impress? Are we just trying to be accepted by others or do we think there is some merit in our goodness? I wonder how we measure our goodness. Compared to Hitler we are all pretty good! What or who was my breakfast friend comparing his goodness to? What was his measuring stick? Why does he want to be good?
I wonder about these things because I really have no illusions of being a good person. It’s funny that a pastor like me would say such a thing, but it comes from a perspective of really knowing my own heart and knowing my potential for evil. There is nothing I couldn’t do under the right circumstances. I have no illusions of goodness as far as I’m concerned. I know my heart and nothing good resides there so I have to find my acceptance somewhere else. I have to find it in someone else. That’s the very reason I’m a Christian! Knowing that I’m not good and can’t be good I am depending on someone else to be good for me, to accomplish what I can’t.
You will never hear me saying, “I’m a good person.” I’m not! Only in Jesus Christ do I find a goodness that puts me right with God. On my own I have no inherent goodness to offer to God. I’m so glad Jesus made my acceptance before God possible because in me is no good thing! So, from a brief comment this morning at a table near mine, I’m most grateful for what Jesus has done for me to make me acceptable to God. Praise be to God for his indescribable gift!
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.