Being Thankful!

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17 NIV

When we understand how God does things–not necessarily how we do them–and remember to thank Him for all things, He never lets us down.

Many are the plans of man, but only what God has planned will work. I see that so often in my own life that I know I should never be concerned about anything and what the end result will be. But human nature–such as it is–always leans upon one’s own understanding of how things should be instead of allowing God to guide. However, when we know–He’s in charge–and allow Holy Spirit to speak to us–and we listen–all things really do work for the good of those who love The Lord.

When we allow The Word of God to guide us in all things–loving one another, showing compassion towards all, providing all things honest in the sight of all–as His chosen people, we see His results for all we do.

For the past year, I have served in a volunteer capacity with our school’s Band Boosters as the treasurer. With the help of the past treasurer–who is a real jewel and treasure all by herself–we managed to do all we needed to do and enjoy success with our fundraisers. Last night was the culminating event–a celebratory banquet–recognizing the accomplishments of our school bands and honoring those to whom honor is due. Though we had a rocky start in the planning, God showed us the way and the event was a delight for all who came.

I am usually not a pessimist–more a realist–and I wasn’t sure how things were going to turn out, but I decided to trust God and I said, “Whatever You want it to be, Lord, that’s what it will be.” And it was! I am so grateful and thankful to be His and for His love!

Sometimes, we miss the practicality of applying The Word to our lives and as a result, we miss receiving God’s best in our lives. Moments like last night, remind me that we should always apply The Word to our lives in all situations and there is nothing–absolutely nothing–we could ever experience, plan or do that is not covered in The Word.

Glory to God! What a blessing to rest in His peace and know joy in the midst of confusion of chaos and uncertainty, He is right there! Thanking God for all things–whether I understand them or not.

He Gives, He Holds, He Guards!

For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, and for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Proverbs 2:6-8 NIV

Why anyone would not want to serve a God that is loving, giving, and caring is beyond me, but there are a number of people who yet deny His existence. I can only imagine what their lives are like without Him in it to guide them.

All the wisdom, knowledge and understanding is given by Him by those who are willing to receive. Though some scientists think they have innate knowledge, many have come to realize they are yet unable to explain our existence without resorting to understanding Creationism. But with all the scientists are able to accomplish, I give thanks to God who has given them the wisdom, knowledge and understanding of how to do things, where to look, and the ability to explain their findings to others. Whether they acknowledge the presence of God in their lives and what they do or not–it is the gift of God that allows them to discover what He has created.

Our God holds success in store for the upright–those who are determined to live according to His Word–no matter what. In the 21st Century, as in times past, trying to live according to God’s Word becomes more difficult when those appointed to uphold laws simply change them to go along with the status quo or popular opinion. When people call good evil and evil, good–we know we are in for a rocky ride for the rest of our days. But for those who dare to defy–popular opinion and laws opposed to God’s Word–He holds their success in store for them and nothing the enemy has planned will succeed against them.

He guards the way of the just and protects the way of the faithful from every evil plot of the enemy. He is just and all His ways are good and when we are faithful to obey Him at all times, even in the midst of chaos and confusion of political rhetoric and correctness, He will protect us.

There are groups of people–many of them–with multiple names and so-called causes in support of the marginalized, but all influenced by the enemy’s desire to destroy mankind. the real problem is they don’t even understand what force is behind their causes–especially when their causes are to support people living in opposition to God’s Word. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out–whenever a group of people choose not to live according to God’s Word and cannot get attention–they cry foul and those who think they are fighting for the rights of someone are actually fighting for the rights of people to live in opposition to God. They can choose to live any way they want to live, but it doesn’t mean they have a right to change what God has said is wrong. They can say it, but they can’t change the consequences and God is faithful to His Word.

So, why wouldn’t we Believe God? I can’t answer that question for anyone but me. I Believe and Obey and am determined to live according to His Word, not the dictates of man. He gives–and I receive all the knowledge, understanding and wisdom He wants to give. I patiently wait for the success I know He holds for me because of my obedience and I will not fear–anyone or anything–as I stay on the path of faithfulness–honoring Him in all I do.

 

On The Journey–Nun!

On The Journey–Nun!

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

I have sworn and confirmed
That I will keep Your righteous judgments.

I am afflicted very much;
Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.

Accept, I pray, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD,
And teach me Your judgments.

My life is continually in my hand,
Yet I do not forget Your law.

The wicked have laid a snare for me,
Yet I have not strayed from Your precepts.

Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever,
For they are the rejoicing of my heart.

I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes
Forever, to the very end. Psalm 119:105-112 NKJV

The 14th letter and stanza–gratitude for God’s Word in the direction our lives take.

How is God’s Word a lamp for our feet and a light on our path?

When we consider how paths were lit before streetlights or lamplights were invented, foot lamps were used along a public path, set into the ground so people could see where they were going or any hazard in their way.

God’s Word is indeed a light–it illuminates truths so we can see where we’re headed if we don’t obey and when we obey. In God’s Word, we discover when we’re on a path that may be hazardous to us, if we pay attention. When I remember what was said to Joshua, I can see how the writer has come to this conclusion. “If we keep God’s commandments, whatever we put our hands to will prosper and we’ll have good success.” On a path to success, if we obey, we’ll make it and if we don’t, we won’t.

Have we made a commitment to keep God’s Word–primarily to love Him and everyone else? If we love Him, we’ll always do what is right and pleasing in His sight; if we love others, we’ll not do things that could harm them. This is the commitment to keeping God’s Word!

And when we have made that commitment to keeping God’s Word, we can better handle the attacks by the enemy. Unless our lives are threatened, we don’t have to worry about stooping to the level of the enemy; we just speak God’s Word over our lives and pray for our enemies that they will become enlightened by God’s goodness. For we know–because of the testimonies given by others and how God sustained them, even in the midst of adversity–that He will do it again. He is the same God–yesterday, today, and forever and we can count on Him.

Have we totally submitted our hearts to God in keeping that commitment alive? Have we opened our hearts to receive all the love He has for us so we’ll have more than enough to pour out on others?

If we have no love in our hearts, we certainly cannot hope to have love for others. We cannot give what we do not have. Before we can keep His Word, we must receive His Word and all the love that comes with it.

What The Wise Get!

Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you. If you are a mocker, you alone will suffer. Proverbs 9:8-12 NIV

The wise person will always seek one is wiser than they are to instruct and guide them–not only in spiritual matters, but in everyday matters. For it would be foolishness to seek understanding from one who has not demonstrated understanding of how God works and His plan for all.

In every area of business–no matter how big or small–the successful person or business does not gain success simply because of who they are or what they know on their own, but because of wise guidance–by those who have traveled the path before and know the way.

If we do not know where we’re going, we cannot lead others anywhere. This is true in business and in the church. If there is no plan to succeed, failure is the only option.

A business plan includes anticipatory results–a budget and a timeline to implement all activities. A good business plan will also include the possibility of not meeting goals and will always provide a contingency plan.

Wouldn’t life be so much easier for many if we just had a contingency plan? That is not to say we should anticipate failure, but that we should consider other options to ensure success. In order to get from one destination to another–we have to be prepared for the detours so we don’t get stuck in one place.

Knowing there will be detours in our lives--the unexpected challenge or obstacle–we should always have a back-up plan and a back-up plan for our back-up. This is what we need to do to move forward in the natural.

On the spiritual level–we need Holy Spirit to direct us at all times. If we truly relied upon Him, He would warn us of those obstacles and we would know that a plan of escape has already been planted in our spirits, so we will not fail–but succeed.

Now, the measure of success is a matter of perception and perspective. I learned a long time ago to see my success as having accomplished all that I set out to do. And all of my success–is because of who He is, not who I am. Going back to school as an older adult and getting on the Dean’s list–was all because of Him. Even when I was tired and couldn’t see straight–studying–He gave me strength and courage to keep going. As a result, not only did I complete a BA, but continued to an MA and now, have completed all coursework for a Ph.D–considered by academia–an ABD.

It is because of Him–that new dreams are becoming a reality and He is paving the way for things I had not even considered–because I am always seeking Him for direction; I know all will be well.

The same God–the only wise God–is ready to pour out His wisdom upon all who seek Him. The wise indeed get wiser when they are willing to learn. When we learn of Him and from Him, we know true success in all areas of our lives.

Come and See His Great Works!

“Shout for joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are Your deeds! So great is Your power that Your enemies cringe before You. All the earth bows down to You; they sing praise to You, they sing the praises of Your name. Come and see what God has done, His awesome deeds for mankind!” (Psalm 66: 1-5 NIV)

After a sea-tossed night, twisting and turning in bed, trying to remember if everything has been done to assure a successful day, I woke–remembering those things I forgot to do and now must find a way to do before the first session begins. And before I could panic, I remember hearing God say before I fell asleep--“I’ve got this!”

I had been telling people all week, “God’s got this” no matter what happens–what people do or don’t do. So, His reminder again this morning set me straight and got me going–energized and ready for the day–so I can say, “Come and See His Great Works!”

Because of vandalism to one of our banners, I now have to “re-do” some work, but I will and it will all work together–for the good of the event that raises funds to support our band.

This week has not just been about preparation for our fundraiser, but the experience has taught me lessons–life lessons–that I won’t quickly forget.

Trust God–not people for people will let you down.

Prepare for the worst, but always expect the best--when we belong to Him–His best is always better than our best.

Stay focused on what He can do, not yourself–no matter how much we know, our knowledge is limited, while His is infinite.

Start early–doing whatever needs to be done--from the planning to the preparation to the actual doing. Late starts result in confusion and something being left undone.

Give thanks and sing His praises no matter what happens.

Breathe–deeply–and know that He who created our very beings, knows how to settle us and calm us before the enemy has time to plant his seeds of doubt.

Know that God loves us and His love will sustain us when we remember that all we do–is all about Him and bringing Him glory, not ourselves.

This list could go on–but I’m getting an early start for final checks and getting ready to see what Great Works He does throughout this day!

Invest Time In Doing, More Than Watching!

“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. Sow your seed in the morning and at evening let your hands not be idle for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4-6 NIV)

Does anyone remember the old adage, “a watched pot never boils?” It is not entirely true, but what happens is that while a person is watching the water, it seems to take forever to start boiling. The fact of the matter is–when water reaches a specific temperature–usually 212 F or 100 C (depending upon altitude and purity of the water), it will boil–whether we watch it or not, but the principle here is–since we know it will boil, why watch it?

When we plant seeds into the ground–planting anything–will it grow any faster if we watch it or can we tell what is going on beneath the soil when we cannot see it occurring?

Even though we cannot see (without technology) how a body is formed from conception to birth, we know–given time (unless something impedes the growth), a baby will be born. We didn’t have to watch it to make it happen.

Children, once they reach a certain age (puberty), and as long as they are brought up in a nutritionally sound environment, they grow by leaps and bounds and even if we are watching, we miss some of the subtle changes and often, we are amazed when it appears that a child has grown overnight.

The same is true of our obedience to God in order to see the promises fulfilled. When He inspires us to do something, we have no need to “watch” it, but just to do and have faith that what He has put on our hearts will succeed. If He has planted the seed, He will water it and it will grow. However, we must be certain that the seed was planted by Him and not our desires, without consulting Him.

This is what I’ve learned about my own investment of time in writing. I did not understand “why” the Lord spoke to my heart and directed me to write–explaining scripture–and blogging it daily. I did not understand why–at certain intervals in my composition of books–He stops me and has me to write something expounding on His Word–for publication. As long as I do what He is telling me to do, I know He will fulfill every promise made and honor every request I’ve put before Him.

I love watching how many people are reading my books, but sometimes–when the numbers decline (and they do), I tend to get discouraged–momentarily. And then, just like a loving parent–He reminds me that the outcome of my writing–the gift He has given me–is not about me, but it’s all on Him. I don’t have to watch the sales or how many clicks the books are receiving. I just have to write–exercising the gift He has given me. In the fullness of time–whenever that is–His promise will be seen and I don’t have to know how He accomplishes all that He does; I just have to believe it.

The million plus readers we’ve petitioned Him for are coming to past–growing daily. Now, I just have to continue to write, totally trusting Him to speak to the hearts of all He would have to read what I write, and enjoy the efforts of my labor when it’s harvest time. Glory to God! I’ve only seen the beginning of the harvest to come, but I know when it’s time to gather it in–it will be all that He planned from the beginning of time.

So, let’s not waste our time in watching (trying to understand) to see how God will bring things to past (ministry, families, careers, etc.) but trust that He will and keep doing what He’s told us to do. 

When We Fail, Who Do We Blame?

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.” (Proverbs 16:18, 20,21 NIV)

The Word provides us with much insight about wisdom and pride. Not only through the proverbs, but through James who says, “If any lack wisdom, ask of God who gives liberally and won’t upbraid (find fault with) us for asking” (James 1:5 paraphrased) It would appear from this simple statement that James understood all that was said about wisdom through the insight given to Solomon and other sages.

Wisdom is referenced as a  female in several places, but the female reference is also used to warn against adultery and other folly.

A wise person receives correction and instruction from wise counsel. Only a fool rebels against correction and instruction.

But who is wiser than God? No, not one human being is wiser than God. God gave Solomon wisdom and Solomon shared what God had given him, but he never assumed he was wiser than God.

Proverbs 4:5-9 NIV

vs. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.

vs. 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.

vs. 7 The beginning of wisdom is this: “Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

vs. 8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.

vs. 9 She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.”

When we ask God for wisdom–insight to solving problems and addressing issues, we must not only hear what He says, but know how to apply what He says. For instance, we can obtain information and not know what to do with it and if we don’t know what to do with the information we have, what good is it?

If we establish guidelines and protocols to ensure order in all that we do, yet we do not follow the protocol and chaos erupts, what was the point of establishing the guidelines in the beginning?

Many motivational speakers, successful corporations–large and small–understand that without a sound plan and adherence to the plan–success is not possible.

Jesus tells us in another passage of scripture that,”a wise person considers the cost of building anything before they start to build.”(Luke 14:28 paraphrased).

On the flip side of exercising wisdom is the conduct of a fool who allows his pride to rule. And there is much said about fools in Proverbs,

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7 NIV),

“The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” (Proverbs 15:2 NIV)

“The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not upright.” (Proverbs 15:7 NIV)

“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.” (Proverbs 15:18 NIV)

What I’m taking from all that is said about wisdom, knowledge and fools, is that if we don’t know God or know how to seek Him when making decisions, we set ourselves for failure because we allow our pride to keep us from seeking Him.

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22 NIV)

Herein is the heart of the matter. When we think that our plans can succeed without wise counsel or consideration of all involved in the planning, our plans are doomed to failure. Though they may appear to succeed for a moment; the final outcome tells the whole story.

The difference between success and failure of any entity or individual lies in the ability one has to set aside pride (the “I” mentality) and to seek wisdom from wise counsel. If we do not think we need to heed wise counsel and instruction, then our failure is our own and we must look within to determine how we change the course of events.

Are we wise enough to seek God today for every decision we make or will we allow our pride to cause us to fail? We are the only ones who can make that decision for God does not make anyone do anything.

I pray God’s wisdom will overflow into your hearts today and pride will never be the reason for failure in any area of your lives.