Monday, July 25, 2016

Devotional: Re-framing Our Perspective on Chronic Illness


Galatians 4:13
 ...but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time;

Do you know someone who has a chronic illness and feels discouraged, thinking maybe God doesn't have a place of usefulness for them anymore?  Or maybe you are that person?  I know it's easy to feel like our usefulness for God's kingdom is limited or non-existent when we are dealing with chronic health issues.

Paul, in his letter to the Galatians is writing because they have slipped back into the legalism of the Jewish religion, instead of maintaining their liberty in Christ.  He is reminding them of how it was that he first preached the Gospel to them.  He says it was because of a bodily illness that he first had the opportunity to preach the gospel to them.


We don't know all the circumstances surrounding this occasion, or do we know for sure what Paul's bodily illness was.  We do know he had problems with his eyes.  He says in verse 15 of this chapter,
..."I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me". 


The illness he suffered with and the circumstances surrounding the first time he preached the gospel to these people is not important.  What is important is the fact that God used the Apostle Paul mightily, and He used Paul for His glory BECAUSE of the physical illness he suffered from.

Sometimes we need to re-frame our perspective. Have you ever thought of re-framing your physical illness or disability as the platform that God has given you to be able to share the gospel with others?  You are useful to the kingdom of God!  

Monday, July 18, 2016

Devotional: In Christ, All Lives Matter


There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
Galatians 3:28-29
Lately, we have been hearing a lot about the Black Lives Matter movement. Sadly, it has been filled with violence,  hate, and people and officers have been killed as a result of this movement.  

But that is not the point of this devotional.  Our verse above basically says that for those who are in Christ, it doesn't matter who you are, Jew, Greek, slave, free, black, white, brown, yellow or red, if you are a Christian, you are all one in Jesus Christ and heirs of the good things God has promised to those who are His!  

In Christ Jesus, all lives matter!  It's plain and simple.  Therefore, "while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." (Gal. 6:10)  "And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary." (Gal. 6:9)

Let us remember as Christians that all lives need to be treated with dignity.  Remember to do good to all men while we have opportunity.  If all people could take these words to heart and do them, there would not be a reason for movements like Black Lives Matter.  But we see movements like this that spawn violence because we are a fallen people and don't practice what the Bible teaches us about getting along with others.  May we seek to live our Christianity out in a way that is pleasing to God and brings glory to His name.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Devotional: What if Righteousness Came Through Obedience to the Law?



I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.  Galatians 2:21
So, what if righteousness came by being obedient to the law?  What if you could be saved just by obeying all the rules and laws in the Bible, your church and country?  

If that were the case then what would the purpose of Christ's death be?  He died to save us.  If we could save ourselves by obeying the law, then his death is meaningless.

Would it even be possible to obey all the laws and rules perfectly?  No!  So it would be impossible for anyone to save themselves anyway by obedience to the law.  That means no one can be saved except by the death of Jesus Christ in our place.  He fulfilled the law perfectly for us.

Take some time today to meditate on this wonderful fact and thank God for your salvation.

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Monday, July 04, 2016

Devotional: No Longer I Who Live, but Christ Lives In Me




I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  Galatians 2:20


When we are saved, our old life is crucified with Christ and He lives through us.  It's the only way we can live the Christian life for God's glory.

The cool thing about this verse is that it shows us that it's not our strength that does this.  It is the strength of Jesus Christ living through us that makes it possible.  This is why He gets all the glory.  If it were up to us to obey rules and laws in order to be a Christian, we would fail miserably, but Christ already did that for us and then He lives His life through us as we yield to Him.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Devotional: Let Endurance Have It's Perfect Work

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:4
 
The photo above is that of my daughter (far out ahead) and her boyfriend behind, hiking toward the goal and joy of summiting the mountain they were climbing.   When my daughter climbs a mountain, she is so excited to go that she wears her friends out in her joy to get to the top.  Her endurance (patience) of the climb results in great reward in going as far as possible to the top.
 
This verse above comes on the heels of verse 2-3 where James tells us to consider it all joy when we encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces patience.

The idea of patience is endurance. The New American Standard Bible says, "Let endurance have its perfect work..."

The fact that the verse says "let" endurance have its perfect work, indicates to me that it is possible for us to fight against it.

When we encounter trials we are to count it joy because then we have the chance to let the testing of our faith produce in us this endurance  or patience.

How might we fight against allowing endurance to have its perfect work in us?  The opposite of endurance is resistance, idleness, laziness, apathy and timidity.  If we are not enduring or being patient, then we are resisting what has come to test our faith.  We can also resist by not taking action.

Climbing a mountain is not my idea of fun.  I resist the idea of pushing forward to get to the top.  You might call me idle or lazy.  Perhaps even apathetic to the idea of climbing a mountain. I have no endurance or patience for it.

Endurance is active not passive.  It's always moving forward not backward. When trials come your way to test your faith, endurance (patience) is what propels you on in your faith to keep " looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)

Jesus is our example.  He endured the cross but looked forward to the joy of sitting down at the right hand of the throne of God when He was finished.  We too are to endure with patience the testing of our faith while looking forward to hearing, "Well done thou good and faithful servant" at the end of our time here on earth.

Let endurance have its perfect work in you and remember that it's not passive, it's active.  Keep moving in your faith and remain focused on the joy ahead of you!
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Monday, June 20, 2016

Devotional: Tender Merices



James 5:7,12

 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Do you ever find yourself wishing the Lord would hurry up and come?  I know I do.

As I watch the news each day and see all that is wrong in the world and our nation, it makes me anxious for the Lord's return.  As I see loved ones suffer and die from horrible illnesses and as I deal with my own physical issues, I find myself wishing the Lord would just hurry up and come take me out of here.

I bet you have had your times of feeling this way too.  But James tells us to be patient while we wait.  God has His time table just like the farmer who plants a crop, He waits for just the right time to harvest.  God isn't ready to harvest yet.

Look to those who have gone on ahead of us and the trials they patiently endured.  See how God was tender and merciful toward them. He will be tender and merciful toward you and me as well as we wait for His return. We may endure hardships in this world, He will go through them with you and in the end God will greet us with tender mercies.

Even now, God gives us tender mercies each day.  Today take some time to sit down and write down some of the mercies God has showered upon you even in your hardships.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Prepare Your Mind for Action

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Restraining Grace of God


I don't think our pastor or most of the people at church had heard the news about the Orlando shooting before coming to church today. However, the sermon was very applicable to the situation. From my notes:

----What makes men to differ is the restraining grace of God. David wanted to slaughter Nabal and all his men, but God restrained him. If God did not restrain you and me from doing evil we would slaughter others.

When we say, "Who would do such a thing?!"  It's just a way of building up our own righteousness in comparison to others."----

Ouch.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Trip to Walla Walla & Other Stuff

Nathaniel and I had a good trip to Walla Walla to pick up a bed that my mom had borrowed during my dad's illness.

On the way over a Sheriff come up behind  me and put on his lights.  I was sure I was in some sort of trouble but didn't know what I had done.  I pulled over and he went on around me and passed the guy ahead of me and stopped the pickup ahead of him.  Don't know what he did.  He wasn't speeding. 

That little scare got me wondering where the important papers were that they always ask about and if they were up to date.  When I got to Dayton I pulled off and rifled through the glove box and the center console.  Finally found them.  I traveled a little easier after that.

Arrived at my mom's and Blayne Barnhart, her friend, was there waiting for us so he could help load the bed up.

Then the four of us went out to eat at the little cafe on the Odd Fellows Campus. $2.50 per person, all you can eat buffet.  Nathaniel cleaned up.

Blayne gave us the grand tour of the building.  They have a really cool library with antique furniture. Would love to curl up in there to read!



After our tour, Blayne went on to other things and the three of us went back to Mom's apartment. 

I asked if she wanted help going through any of Dad's things.  We went through quite a few things, consolidated the things she wanted to keep all into one three drawer Rubbermaid and I took the stuff she doesn't want along with the empty Rubbermaid home.  I will donate the stuff that we don't want.  I may keep the Rubbermaid chest.  Will at least wait to give it away until I know for sure I don't have a purpose for it.

It was a good day. Nathaniel drove all the way home. Nice break for me at the wheel.  

The Lord is good. 

Monday, June 06, 2016

Building Yourselves Up On Your Most Holy Faith



Sunday, June 05, 2016

Sunday

This has been a good day.

Enjoyed a good sermon at church and fellowship.

We came home and went next door to help celebrate our neighbor's son's graduation from highschool.

Came home and continued writing the book of Galatians and writing my thoughts on it.

Was starting to write a new devotional to put in the que when the doorbell rang.

It was the internet tech guy to fix our internet.

He installed a new dish on top of our house.

While we were without internet, I started reading a book on the Civil War.

Once our internet was back up, I finished my devotional writing.

Sarah is now at evening church where she goes on Sunday nights.

Nathaniel has been at the neighbor's house all afternoon.

Rick is watching a movie.

And I am thinking about eating something.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Starting a New Journible



I'm excited to start this new Journible. I recently finished James through Jude and it was a very profitable exercise. In case you don't know what a Journible is,, you write out the scriptures on the right hand pages and then you write your insights and applications of the scriptures on the left hand pages. When you are done you have a keepsake journal you can refer to later as well as something that can be passed down to future generations for their benefit.  I highly recommend it.


Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Returning to My True Passion Again


Some years ago I used to write devotionals that I emailed to people and posted on my blog.  Well, life got busy and I stopped writing devotionals for the most part and my email list went away.  In the mean time, I have continued my personal devotional times, I just have not made it a habit of sharing what I have been learning.

It is my passion to be of encouragement to others through my writing, so with that in mind I have decided to start up my devotional writing again.  I would be honored if you would want to receive these each week in your inbox.  You can sign up on my blog by entering your email address in the box at the top of the right column and clicking subscribe.

I will begin sending the weekly devotional on Monday, June 6. I hope you will join me!


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Farewell, Dad, Until We Meet Again In Heaven

1For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
6Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.  Romans 8:1-10


"Today we wipe our tears with Kleenex, but on that day God will wipe away all our tears."~Tim Counts

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4