Pressing On!

Pressing On!

For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. James 1:11-14 NIV

Running from problems never solves them, but staying put–in the middle of whatever life brings–determined to get through it with your head held high–is what perseverance entails.  A press–with fierce conviction–that victory is indeed at hand will keep you going.

We cannot allow the trials that come upon us to deter us when we know that God only wants what is best for us. His plans–are always designed for us to receive His best and when we don’t , we must be able to look at what we do and determine how to change it so we will receive from Him.

Making a mistakes as a child of the Most High is not a problem for God–not learning from the mistakes and to keep repeating them becomes a problem for us. He expects us to make mistakes, but He also expects us to learn from them–and to keep moving forward.

The reason many people never get ahead is because they get stuck in a rut–doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result because they were not interested in doing a little self reflection or to seek God for wisdom in knowing how to live life victoriously. Picture this–going around in circles–encountering the same challenges and enduring the same defeats. A student who never studies for tests in school and keeps failing the tests--should figure out that they are not going to pass a class with failing test grades. And this is the reason many students end up dropping out of school because they did not learn earlier in life that there are certain protocols that must be acknowledged in order to be successful in school or any other venue.

Preparation time is never wasted time. If we don’t adequately prepare to do anything, we’ll never know greater success in doing anything. It’s like the Boys Scout Creed–always being prepared for anything that comes your way.

I’m looking forward to a debate that my students are having and I’ll know by how they present themselves who prepared for it and who didn’t. It’s not enough to have an opinion about things without having sufficient support to document why you think what you think. Even though my class debate could hardly measure up to the political debates that are coming up, if we are attentive–listening to each candidate during each debate–we’ll know who spent time preparing for it and who didn’t. Again, opinions without support mean nothing when there are no facts to back them up.

No matter who does better in my class, they will be encouraged to press on–thinking about what they did and how they would change it to make it better and then they’re going to write an essay about the experience. One would hope–that after the first political debate–a similar exercise will take place–reflection and introspection--about what did or did not work and changes made for the next round. Rather than hear a lot personal attacks, I pray we’ll all hear substantive responses regarding the issues with viable solutions rather than nonsensical rhetoric.

After the final curtain has dropped on the political arena with the debates, we must all consider what was said and press on–determined to see victory in our lives–knowing that God has the final word in all things.

 

Fighting The Good Fight!

Fighting The Good Fight!

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I Timothy 6:9-12 NIV

How do we measure progress when we’re doing something for the first time? What standard becomes our benchmark? We’re still determining our direction with our boot camp.

What we didn’t anticipate is a change in our scheduling that makes this attempt almost futile. I say, almost because I’m not one who gives up easily at the first sign of adversity. Unexpected events have taken me away from home during the crucial hours of our scheduling and that has thrown everything off course. But still we muddle forward. Leaving written instructions for someone to follow without being in their presence is not the same as being right there.

While we’re learning how to adapt our methodology and accomplish our goal, I get a better glimpse of how God views us. Though He has set out the guidelines for us to follow in His Word, if we are not totally cognizant of His presence–at all times, we veer off track.

This then, is how we fight the good fight of faith. We must remember at all times, He is a very present help in our midst and we must look to Him for direction in all things. ALL things–every little thing–and never take Him for granted because He knows when we’re faltering in our own wisdom and when we allow Him to guide us–we cannot go wrong.

So, instead of relying upon my memory for the first breakfast of this boot camp, I should have consulted Him–who would have reminded me to look it up and all ingredients would have been included. Had I consulted Him about the week of our plans, He would have provided me with insight as to what else would occur in our lives.

What to do, what to do! Adjust–all plans and determine if there is a need for continuation for another week or even for the next month–one day at a time. I’m waiting to hear but I will continue to provide the necessary building blocks that will ensure my grandson will thrive and be able to resist the temptations that are bound to be put before him.

Lord, though we know to seek Your wisdom in all things, sometimes we think we can handle the minor details without You. Thank You for bringing us back to the realization that You are our focus and without You, involved in all things, we can do nothing. Thank You for reviving us and strengthening to continue the good fight–every day!

Is This America?

But your iniquities have built barriers

between you and your God,

and your sins have made Him hide His face from you

so that He does not listen.

For your hands are defiled with blood

and your fingers, with iniquity;

your lips have spoken lies,

and your tongues mutter injustice.

No one makes claims justly;

no one pleads honestly.

They trust in empty and worthless words;

they conceive trouble and give birth to iniquity.

They hatch viper’s eggs

and weave spider’s webs.

Whoever eats their eggs will die;

crack one open, and a viper is hatched.

Their webs cannot become clothing,

and they cannot cover themselves with their works.

Their works are sinful works,

and violent acts are in their hands.

Their feet run after evil,

and they rush to shed innocent blood.

Their thoughts are sinful thoughts;

ruin and wretchedness are in their paths.

They have not known the path of peace,

and there is no justice in their ways.

They have made their roads crooked;

no one who walks on them will know peace.

Therefore justice is far from us,

and righteousness does not reach us.

We hope for light, but there is darkness;

for brightness, but we live in the night.

We grope along a wall like the blind;

we grope like those without eyes.

We stumble at noon as though it were twilight;

we are like the dead among those who are healthy.

We all growl like bears

and moan like doves.

We hope for justice, but there is none;

for salvation, but it is far from us.

For our transgressions have multiplied before You,

and our sins testify against us.

For our transgressions are with us,

and we know our iniquities:

transgression and deception against the LORD,

turning away from following our God,

speaking oppression and revolt,

conceiving and uttering lying words from the heart.

Justice is turned back,

and righteousness stands far off.

For truth has stumbled in the public square,

and honesty cannot enter.

Truth is missing,

and whoever turns from evil is plundered.

The LORD saw that there was no justice,

and He was offended.

Today’s scripture reading is from Isaiah 59:2-15 HCSB

There is nothing left for me to say other than please read the entire chapter and then pause, and think about what it says.

May The Lord have mercy upon us and wash our hearts thoroughly with His Word, creating in us a desire to please Him, more than man!

Alive When Dead!

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4,5 NIV)

People have written books about the walking dead, made movies about the walking dead, the zombies who were dead brought back to life, the vampires who were immortalized though dead, and yet all these created terror in the hearts of those who knew they were dead.

When we were the walking dead because of our sins due to lack of knowledge, God’s love for us was so great, that He came and took upon Himself our spiritually dead lives and quickened us to become alive–not as a terror to people, but as a testimony of His grace and mercy. What a difference!

Most Believers should be able to make a distinction in their lives between what their lives were like Before Christ and what their lives are like After Christ. I call this my–BC time and my AC time. In my BC time, I thought I was living–doing what I wanted to do, without much regard or consideration to others–especially those who attempted to tell me anything about The Word. However, when I reached the bottom of the pit (my Damascus Road), and could no longer enjoy the simple things I loved to do–buying new books, I had no other book in my house but the Bible and my love of reading motivated me to read it, not a great desire to understand it was God’s Word.

I read on the bus going to work, during my breaks, on the way home and at home during my leisure time. The more I read, the more I felt something changing in my life. The more I felt the change, the more I wanted to change, until eventually, I reached the stage of my life where God could speak to my heart and I heard and understood and obeyed. Hallelujah! I had no idea that I had been the walking dead until I understood the life that God wanted me to live!

While I understand the reticence that some may have in accepting The Bible as God’s Word, I encourage all to re-think where their lives are and know that if there is even the slightest possibility that “you are the walking dead” because of a life lived in opposition to God, get into His Word and enjoy the newness of life that He has planned.

There is nothing like knowing “the better life” that God has for us. Know that provision has been made for us to be “alive when dead” with Christ Jesus because of God’s mercy and grace and now is the time for us to receive it and be glad!

I am so thankful for the BC time because it gives me greater appreciation for my AC time–living life with Christ in the midst is so much better than living without Him.

Mirror Mirror!

What do you see when you look in the mirror?  Do you see what God sees?  Do you see the fearfully and wonderfully made creation He sees, the reflection of His image?  When God made all things, including you and me, He looked back at His creations and saw, ” it was very good” (Genesis 1:31 NIV)!  Now, take another look in the mirror.  No matter how you see yourself, start looking for “the very good” that God has already put in you and flow with it!