“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures for eternal life, which the son of man will give you. For on him God the father has placed his seal of approval.” John 6:27 NIV
Why do we feel that we need to strive for all we need. We have a loving Heavenly Father who knows what we really need and wants to give it to us. He does a really good job of supplying needs for billions of people every day. All he asks is that we love him first and best. He wants a real relationship with us. He has also asked us to love others. We don’t need to worry or demand what we want. God has promised to give us our daily needs. This world has created people who are consumed with their needs or wants. To have more than everyone else. We are very self centered and self absorbed. Do we really need just to be happy? I have met homeless and poor people who are very content and thankful for what they have. I also knew a very wealthy man who lived poorly because it was more than what he needed. I don’t need a big fancy car, fancy clothes or a mansion. I have all I need and that makes me happy. Just having more does not make you happy. Things will not make your life. We should be going after things that truly bring happiness like peace and joy. God gives that freely to those who seek him. These are not worldly things but things that he has told us in his word that we need. First and foremost is a relationship with the one who has everything we need and can give us eternal life. This should be our top goal because everything comes from him. Then if we follow his commands and his ways he will meet our needs. There is something so rewarding about caring for others. Loving others is fulfilling. As we help to meet the needs of others we receive love in return and our needs are surprisingly being met. I am still so amazed every time I shower that my shampoo is always enough and never runs out. It has been that way for months. Praise God. Miraculously I don’t need much. There is so much joy in not thinking about it but seeing God provide. Do you know that God, the creator of the universe, has told us that Jesus has his stamp of approval and that he will be our everything. I can tell you how great Jesus is but who am I? God, the main guy, now he is everything and has everything. He wants us to know his son. He has given everything to him and he wants to give everything to us.
Do you want to strive or know the one who has everything you need?
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord you are serving.” Colossians 3:23 NIV
How do you know if you are where God wants you? It’s more how you react to where you are than really where you are. I know my brother always says there are no women in his town. “ Maybe I should move.,” he says. Well if you are following the Lord and keeping his commandments then he will bless you right where you are. If God wants you in a relationship then that person will cross your path. I do believe we can position ourselves where good people are. Like a church, a class on something you enjoy, or just getting yourself out where people are. I know myself, I never thought I would be living in a nursing home at 59. A friend of mine overcame a hard past, met God and then his past life got him in prison. It was not where he wanted to be but God still has a plan. I became a writer, yah who knew? I never liked writing as a teen. It was hard and I struggled. Now I know what to say and can’t type fast enough. The words I write are God’s words. They inspire me just as much as others. My friend always liked to encourage people and who needs more encouragement than a prisoner. I’m sure God can use him too. Last night I watched a movie about a teenage boy dying from a bad heart. He was waiting for a donor heart. His church, best friend, and girlfriend were doing everything they could to raise money and awareness of his illness. He got a heart and his body rejected it. Things were bad and his friends wished they could do something, anything because he only had two more days to live. That night there was a terrible car accident and maybe a possible heart. It proved to be a perfect match. The hard thing was that it was his girlfriend who died. God used her in death and God used her life. God only knows how we can make a difference in the world. He can and will use us wherever we are if we will let him. We don’t always necessarily decide where we are but we can always decide to let God use us. Right where we are and just how he chooses. We just need to be willing. The girl that died was in an accident. But with God there are no accidents, he knows the day and hour that you will die and he can use that to greatly affect people in your life. Both families were very close and were blessed to see this young man live even if their daughter got to go to heaven.
Won’t you give God your life to use in his way?
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV
Love is God and love is perfect because God is perfect. How far do we fall short in this area? I know I try very hard to show love but cannot help but think bad thoughts when someone does or says something I don’t like or that isn’t correct. I live in a nursing home so most people just can’t help the way they act. They don’t always remember things either. But no one is perfect but God. He is the inventor and creator of pure love and that is how he loves everyone. I know he has shown me such perfect complete love. He once told me he loved me like his son David and David was a man after Gods heart. But he loves everyone that way, unconditionally. Not just me, but everyone, everywhere, each and every day for thousands of years. Now that’s billions. We’re all his favorites. I watched a show last night about different women who overcame hard pasts to become courageous women of God. It was that overpowering great love of God that accepts us right where we are and showers us with love that we could never get anywhere else. But a love that is so strong that it can completely transform lives. A love that you can trust so much and want so much to be like. I don’t know if you have ever been a parent but there is no greater love than for that little life you helped bring into the world. As your child grows it just grows deeper. You would die for that life. Don’t mess with one of my kids or you will pay. A mother is like a bear protecting her cubs. With a fierce love. Our God’s love can not be equaled. Just look at the awesome world he gave us. The many different wonders we can only begin to explore. I know when I was married my husband felt safe if he never had to leave this country. I’ve missed so much. The fact that he let his one and only son go through so much at the hands of humans. Just so we could spend forever with him in paradise. It was the only way but what love. Lately I have been so blessed financially. I have very minimal money for disability so I am very cautious in my spending. My supplies like shampoo and soap just keep multiplying and I have used it for months. Or I will get a gift of something I really need. I wanted to buy a baby gift for a friend and I found out I had a large credit in my account so everything I needed was free. God always amazes me how all my needs are met. I am not the only one. I hear others tell me how he miraculously helped them and I get all choked up. Man he must be busy. I wish everyone could know the love I have found.
Have you felt that love?
The Holy Spirit is the most understood part of the trinity but by the spirit we as followers of Christ receive the most power. Not just in our spirit but in every area of our lives. Everything that God wants for us is possible and the Holy Spirit helps. Let me explain. When Jesus was here on earth he was perfect. His life was to be admired and emulated. He explained to everyone that he had come to do the will of his father first and foremost. Whatever the Lord had for him he would do it. He spent many hours in prayer with his father for strength and wisdom. He was God made human and gave us a awesome example to follow. If he was perfect and we are just lost sinners don’t we need to do the same? After he was resurrected from the grave and before he ascended into heaven to his rightful place on the throne to reign forever, he told his selected few, the disciples, to wait for the power to come, which was the Holy Spirit. Waiting on the Lord is an important part of our power. After they had been locked into a room, out of fear, and had been praising, singing and praying the spirit came in power. The spirit came upon then in power and the began speaking in tongues as the spirit gave them utterance. When were born again into this family of God his spirit came to live with each of us forever. We have been adopted by God. Chosen. We are no longer alone in this hard, lonely, and corrupt world. We have an advocate that is with us to help us in every area of our lives. This power has been in me so much lately. I am overwhelmed by all he is doing in my life. The first area is prayer, this is so important for my relationship with God and strength. The more you pray the more effective you become. The more you pray for others , the more you get blessed when you see those prayers being answered. I may pray for something for months, but the greater that answer is when it does come. Time spent in prayer talking to God is never wasted time. When you are quiet and listening he can and will share so many great things with you. He gives me great things to write about, what to do in certain situations, and what to say to people. Just that morning he told me to listen to praise music and it helps so much. Lately it is so necessary with all our problems. Now I am filled with his power and am unstoppable. I don’t know how people who reject him and his power get through life in this difficult world. But it can’t be good. I’m so thankful for the power he has given me.
Do you want to know this same power?
“Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord. Zechariah 4:6 NIV
“But because of his great love for us, God, which is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,”. Ephesians 2: 4-6
Oh they love us! Jesus paid it all, just for us. He went into the pit of hell for every sin ever committed, his suffering we will never really realize. But he did it gladly for each and every one of his children. We may not acknowledge it but he hopes we will. When he raised his son back to life and seated him on the throne next to him to rule and reign forever we were included. You see the horrible debt was paid. Grace was extended to everyone who will accept it. It is not something we do but what he did for us. God looks at those who have accepted that grace with new eyes. He sees us as white as snow. We are heirs to his kingdom just like his son. We need to wrap ourselves around that thought. I can only imagine this throne room. As I say the Lord’s Prayer, as I like to say it each morning. I picture what it must be like. Oh, it would make an awesome scene from a movie. I can see the intense glow radiating in that room, all that glory must be overwhelming. I know when Jesus was transfigured here on earth it blew the disciples away. But also imagine everyone worshipping before them saints and angels all bowing down in humble adoration. This is my God. He wants me to come into his presence. Do you feel what an awesome privilege that is. We’re talking King of kings the one supreme God. Maker of everything. Oh I so want all he has for me. I love being in his presence. I can sit in my room with worship music drowning out all the nursing home noise and it’s just me and God. I listen to each song visualizing each word and I can’t help but cry tears of joy. This world we live in is not our home. We are destined for a much greater life. Oh we have 70-90 years here if we are lucky but what awaits us is just hard to imagine. This morning the pastor of our church tried to help us see how this short little visit to earth is. He described a fish being tugged out of the water. Flopping around on dry land and choking for air. It is not meant to be here, nor are we. We can do the best we can but sin comes and we keep flopping around. I kept hearing the song “This world is not my home”, my treasures are laid out somewhere beyond the blue. Someone else said it’s like taking a camping trip because we are roughing it. No mansions like heaven, and life gets messy at times. We go through different tests that cause us to grow. Now even though it’s camping I want s’mores, fishing, beautiful mountain grandeur and cool pine breezes. In other words I want a full and abundant life. Well I believe God does want that for me too. But I also believe you have to go after it. Go after his presence. It takes work but I’m in. The more time I give to him. The better it gets. I find my priorities really changing. It’s available and we are meant to have it.
Don’t you want it too.
“…you do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you have wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on pleasures.” James 4:2-3 NIV
Whenever you need something come before God. Even though he knows our needs before we ask him, does not mean that we don’t need to ask. The Lord loves to answer our prayers when we ask. If it is important to you, it’s important to God. Do not think that you are bothering God, or that it is too petty to bring to him. Everything that you tend to worry about or get anxious over is important to give to God. It is important to be specific with God. Tell him what’s wrong but you don’t need to tell him how to fix it. Remember his ways are not always ours. He may not do things exactly how you think it should be done, but his ways are best. He knows us because he designed us. Just because he doesn’t answer immediately or the way we prefer does not mean he isn’t listening. He will always answer. In his time, in his way, and always what is best for us. If it’s not for my best, I don’t want it. I trust him. I don’t always understand why someone isn’t healed, or they die, when I had been praying for them. Like when my grandson died before his fourth birthday. I wanted him healed so badly. I prayed for him every day, but he died. Sure it would have been great had he been healed. But was that the best thing for him? Or was that just best for me. Sure I miss him and his family misses him but, so many things tell me he is better off. He has a perfect body and no pain. All his Tay-Sachs friends are there with him and they are perfect too. His Grandpa, who always wanted grandkids, but died too soon, and his great grandpa are with him. He is with Jesus. There is something I have learned about prayer. I have always asked God if I can be a part of what he is doing in our world. I want to make a positive impact on our world. He showed me how I can do that by praying. Praying puts me in miracle territory. Whenever you pray for needs then you are apart of the miracle when those needs get met. In my prayer life I have seen so many prayers get answered in unique and special ways. This has brought boldness to my prayers. When I see great answers I get excited and want to pray more. It is a privilege to come before God and to see his answers.
Do you know someone who needs prayer today?
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
As we leave 2019 behind it is a very good time to take a quick look to our past. Do we have regrets and disappointments we need to leave behind. Things we did or didn’t do. Things we don’t like about ourselves. Maybe I have been mean, negative, and angry. Have I had bad habits and behaviors that need to change. What can I do that will make life better? Sometimes we get so stuck beating ourselves up over what is already done and gone. We can’t change yesterday but today is a brand new day. We can start all over. You are never too far gone. Even when you are at the very bottom and things seem hopeless, you can look up and dream. What would make you better? Make life more fulfilling? Imagine that and what it looks like. I like what someone said the other day. Take a rubber ball and throw it as hard as you can at the ground. What happens? The harder you throw it the higher it bounces back. That’s us. When life slams you down bounce back. The harder you are slammed, the bigger your comeback can be. There is one large key. We can’t do it alone. But there is someone out there that wants to help. Will you let him? All you have to do is ask. You also need to be willing to try. Just one day at a time. I like lists so I write things down. At the end of the day what things did I do or not do. Just being able to check things off is my motivation. I take my list to God each morning. He is the one wise enough, rich enough, strong enough, and powerful enough to get it all done and he wants it more than me. He wants us to grow and be blessed. It might take work but who can not suck it up for one day. Tomorrow we can work on tomorrow. If this was your last day on earth wouldn’t you want to make it count? When you have regrets you need to take them to Jesus and ask him to forgive you. But don’t stop there. Leave them there. He has totally wiped the slate clean and it shines brightly. Don’t try to take that big black boulder back. That makes no sense. It doesn’t exist anymore. When Jesus hung on the cross the criminal next to him had many regrets. Some quite big. But he gave them all to Jesus. Jesus told him, “today you will be with me in paradise.” No chance to make any more mistakes. Just perfection and joy forever.
Do you want to accept the one who can help you?
“I am the vine; and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit ; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV
This verse has so much to say about our walk with God. Who God is and how he sees his awesome plan for us. God is the one who made us and he is apart of us. We were never meant to be apart from God. Our need of him is so very important in every aspect of our lives. If we want to be all that we can be then we need to cooperate with him. He does know what is best. He has great plans for us. To be a people for himself that will bear much fruit, this fruit is the characteristics and traits that will further his kingdom. We will be loving, joyful, peaceful, long-suffering, gentle, good, meek, temperate, and faithful. These are the fruits he desires to see in us. He uses the example of a grape vine for good reasons. If God is a grape vine then we are connected to him and will produce fruit like his. Grape vines produce grapes. We can not on our own decide to produce some other fruit such as tomatoes. We are to be more like him each day. He decides what we need to be and what is best for all. We also need to stay connected to him. He is our power source. When we do what we want and not what he has asked us to do we will be week, and ineffective . We need to spend time with him. A relationship with him is very important. Anyone you have ever had a relationship with is first, important to you. You spend time together, sharing, the good and the bad together, and grow closer to each other. Another thing about a vine is being connected, always, every day. If you are not connected to him, his vine, you are disconnected. If you are disconnected you will die. It may be a slow, miserable death, but with no nutrients you will die. When a vine dies it is cast off and burnt up. You don’t want to be cast off or dead do you? You will not be very productive if you are dead. As I was reading my Bible today I was in Deuteronomy. The Israelites had just spent forty years wandering in the wilderness and the whole time God provided for them. They were brought out of Egypt in such a mighty way. Even when they faced their first struggles God was strong. Splitting the Red Sea so they walked right through, in the mud, no! The walked on solid, dry ground. He provided water when they needed it, food for thousands of men, women and children. They demanded meat and God sent them quail. Their clothes and shoes held up for forty years and did not wear out. During this time they married and raised families. He kept them safe and strong. Because there were more people after forty years and all the original ones died in the desert. Only Joshua and Caleb remained from the original bunch. When they came into the promised land God fought for them. No matter how big or how strong their enemies were, they did not stand a chance. But he warned them to leave certain people alone. Because he had already blessed them, such as Esau’s family and Lot’s family. Those who God has blessed shall remain blessed.
Do you want to be one of God’s blessed people?
“How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I am awake, I am still with you.” Psalm 139:17-18 NIV
God delights in us, his love for us will never fail. He made us for greatness on purpose and he thinks about us continually. When you have something like that on your side you have hope. This is a difficult life we live. We need someone who loves us unconditionally that will always be there for us. Even though we won’t always be there for ourselves. We are not perfect like God. We can get mad at ourselves , put ourselves down, and even lie to ourselves. God will not. You can not be happy until you have this unconditional love God gives. I see so much complaining and anger from people. People can be very selfish, thinking first and foremost of themselves. They even expect others to fulfill them and make them happy. Of course they can’t and it only angers people. There is something inside us from the time we are born that is searching for that unconditional love. Even if we find that for a time with a loved one, there will come a day when they will let us down and prove to be imperfect. Someone can love you but it is not their job to make you happy. Only a perfect God can do that. He wants to do that. But we do have to come to him first. Until you are finally loved unconditionally by God and following him. Doing his will, his way, you can not be truly happy. Until you are it is going to be difficult to get along with others, who are like yourself, imperfect. I am a very happy person and care very much about the people I come in contact with and try to be pleasant and helpful. But I wasn’t always that way. Things could easily bother me and upset me. I knew God all of my life but I didn’t really know him. I made it very personal in 2013 when I began to search for the Lord with my whole heart. The more I read my Bible and prayed the better I got to know him and how much he loved me. For the last year I have been reading a daily devotional called, ‘Letters From God’ by Ivan Tait. I love this book because it tells me some of the many thoughts God has for me and it is so empowering. Knowing how God sees you and all he has for you can fill you. The more love I get from God, the more love I have to give others. When you love God and yourself you can’t help but love others. God says to love others as yourself. But what if you cant love yourself? Until you know how unconditionally you are loved you can’t. You will try to earn that love and no one but God can give it.
Do you know just how much God loves you?
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 NIV
This morning in my quiet time this verse just jumped off the page. Life can be hard and scary at times. I’ve had times when I just felt confused. Was I going the right way? Couldn’t I just have a clue? Before I had my stroke I stopped trying so hard I just wanted to satisfy myself. I stopped caring about doing the right thing. It was my time. I had gotten away from the Lord and Satan had me convinced that I wasn’t wrong. I deserved it. It was a very selfish time in my life and I am not proud of it, but I was so deceived. I now know how easily that can happen. Not spending time with the Lord and in questionable pursuits had hardened my heart and I was not seeing clearly. I really feel my stroke was what saved me. God grabbed my attention and said, “What are you doing?” Well after a massive stroke I was flat on my back, unable to speak, move, or even open my mouth. I had plenty of time to think. That was such a dark time, but now I can see again. It is so important to stay plugged into God so the power does not go out. I never want to go there again. I have been seeking the Lord so earnestly for the past few years and my life is so much better. People all around me chat about this problem and that problem like it’s normal and I feel so blessed and lucky. This morning it began to make more sense. Jesus really is light, and if you really are walking in the light you can see clearly. When you are doing everything you can to grow with Christ by praying, reading the Bible, going to a good church, listening to praise music, and really focusing on doing things that lift you up. For me that was no tv except Pureflix, Christian books, Bible studies and podcasts, even religious games and staying away from non edifying things. I had to immerse myself in God for a time. Now I enjoy it so much I can’t stop. Now I am flooded with light and my life has never been more awesome. I still have problems and concerns but when they pop up I can hear that still small voice telling me which way to turn and that’s so special. Try this, do that, and they work. The light of life is great.
Do you know how much easier it is to walk in the light?