January 2009

Seeing through clear lenses

Story of the day:  Seeing through clear lenses

     Emotions can tend to distort our vision.  We don’t always see things clearly when our emotions are running high.  Bill Crowder writes in Cracked Lenses:  “I started wearing glasses when I was 10 years old.  They are still a necessity because my 50-something eyes are losing their battle against time.  When I was younger, I thought glasses were a nuisance–especially when playing sports.  Once, the lenses of my glasses got cracked while I was playing softball.  It took several weeks to get them replaced.  In the meantime, I saw everything in a skewed and distorted way.

     In life, pain often functions like cracked lenses.  It creates within us a conflict between what we experience and what we believe.  Pain can give us a badly distorted perspective on life–and on God.  In those times, we need our God to provide us with new lenses to help us see clearly again.  That clarity of sight usually begins when we turn our eyes upon the Lord. 

     As we turn our eyes to the Lord in times of pain and struggle, we will experience His comfort and hope in our daily lives.  He will help us see everything clearly again.”

Quote of the day:  Author Unknown

“Focusing on Christ puts everything in perspective.”

Bible verse of the day:  Psalm 141:8

“But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord;  In you I take refuge; Do not leave my soul destitute.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray that I can see any situation that I endure through clear lenses.  I pray that my emotions do not distort my vision causing me to see things unclearly.  I pray to always focus on You and all that You have planned for me and my family.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

September 2008

On the same page

Story of the day:  On the same page

     Dr. Tony Evans, a pastor in Dallas, Texas writes:  “There was one assignment in seminary that I’ll never forget.

     A professor known for his high standard asked us to write a paper.  I took this challenge seriously and set a goal to impress him with my knowledge of the subject, my research and writing.  I was going to give every effort to this so there would be NO way he couldn’t give me an “A”.

     But when I got the paper back, I was stunned to see an “F,” marked at the top.  I was confused, even angry.  I couldn’t comprehend why he just wrote off my efforts like that!  Then I saw his comment, “Great effort, but you answered the wrong question!”

     It wasn’t that I didn’t work hard or that I wasn’t sincere about the assignment.  I simply missed what the professor wanted from me.  As the old saying goes, “We weren’t on the same page.”

     That experience–although I failed the assignment–gave me one of the greatest lessons I have learned, one I continue to share with Christians about living for God.

     Many believers are working hard at the Christian life–coming to church, reading their Bible, saying prayers and trying to live better each day–but are ultimately failing because they are answering the wrong question.

     It’s not that they lack sincerity or honesty or the drive to please God.  But the real question to ask is, “Do you understand what God is asking of you?”

     Ultimately, God’s purpose in you is not about trying harder; it’s about the image of Jesus shining through your life.

     If I could only give you two verses from the Bible to help guide you along your spiritual walk, I would start with the encouraging words of Romans 8:28 (KJV), And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.  We get excited about God’s promise to work through the good and the bad in our lives…but we often miss the fact that He is working for His purpose.  That purpose is found in Romans 8:29 (KJV), For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  (That’s you and me!)

     We can dream up a lot of purposes in our lives and ask God to bless them, but they might not have anything to do with His purpose in our lives.  It’s God’s priority to make a whole community of people who look just like His Son.

     That is His purpose, His driving force and the only assignment He grades.  It’s the only place He’s going; if you’re not going there, you’re not on the same page as God.  You can spend a whole lot of time trying to get God to bless your “page” when that was not God’s purpose for you at all.  And since He’s the “Professor” and we’re in His class, He gets to make the assignment!”

     The good news is that we ARE equipped to make the grade, complete the assignment and hear a “well done” at the end of the journey.  That’s because when we gave our lives to Christ, God put His DNA is us.  We have been given the ability to carry out the assignment…to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, and to reflec that growth as we live out our lives for Him.  His main assignment is to see us conformed to the image of Jesus, and live life as He intended.”  Are you on the same page?

Quote of the day:  Pastor Jeff Burke

“It’s not a lifestyle, it’s my life.”

Bible verse of the day:  Luke 22:42

“saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for teachers and preachers that bring  us messages so humbling, yet powerful.  I thank You for Dr. Tony Evans and the things that He has shared with us today.  He says it best, “I pray to be more like You every day, not by the things I am doing, the promises that I make to be better, or the will power that I think I have, but by Your Holy Spirit that lives within me.  Father, I pray that Your purpose becomes my purpose and that is to be conformed to the image of Christ.”  I thank You for this day and Your Will to be done.

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

April 2008

Our attitude is contagious

Story of the day:  Our Attitude is Contagious

     I love to laugh,  and although I may not feel like always laughing or smiling, my attitude is very contagious so I must be aware of it.  My family can tell right away if I have a good attitude or bad attitude just based on my facial expressions.  “If you’re upbeat and optimistic, people tend to emulate you.  But, if you fall prey to cynicism or pessimism, others will also.

    How will you direct your thoughts today?  Will you obey the words of Philippians 4:8, by dwelling upon those things that are true, honorable, and right?  Or will you allow your thoughts to be hijacked by the negativity that seems to dominate our troubled world?  Have you become so overwhelmed and preoccupied with the concerns of this day that you fail to thank God for the promise of eternity?  Are you fearful, angry, bored, worried, confused, bitter, or pessimistic?  If so, God wants to have a little talk with you.

    God intends that you experience joy and abundance, but He will not force His joy upon you; you must claim it for yourself.  So today and everday hereafter, focus your thoughts and your energies upon ‘whatever is commendable’“(Family Christian Press), and remember that your attitude is contagious.

Quote of the day:  Barbara Johnson

 “Developing a positive attitude means working continually to find what is uplifting and encouraging.”

Bible verse of the day:  Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praise-worthy- meditate on these things.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I first of all want to apologize for anytime that I have allowed my attitude to effect others in a negative way.  God as much as I always want to be happy, sometimes it doesn’t always happen.  I pray that during these times, I am able to recognize this and can push through the way that I am feeling and remember that my attitude, whether bad or good, is very contagious and can have a lasting effect on others.  God, prepare my heart for the times that I am fearful, angry, or upset so that I can pray to You about them and they can be lifted.  I give all that I am and have to You and while dwelling on things that are true, Your peace will be with me, which in turn changes my negative attitude to a positive attitude and effects others in a positive way.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen