I recently saw a sign with a saying on it that read “Today is a good day for a good day”. My first thought was “Oh how cute!” But then, after thinking about it, I realized that most good days don’t just happen. Yes, you can say “Que sera sera” and hope for a good day. But in reality, it is you not karma, that will determine the outcome of your day. Maybe the events of your day are predetermined – I have to go to work, I have to go to a graduation party, I have a dentist appointment (ugh), etc. Some of those things you can’t control. But what you can control is your approach. And the approach that will open up windows of blessings to you is an attitude of gratitude! Be thankful! Why? Because it is the gateway into God’ presence. And when you are in God’s presence, it doesn’t matter what you have to do or where you have to go. It will be a good day!
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4 (NLT)
11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)
17 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NLT)
There is a song lyric that says “Your strength is found at the end of my rope.” How many of us have found ourselves in that position – at the end of our rope. This usually means that we have completely depleted our own strength, ability, patience or natural options. And it is usually at this point that we finally turn to God for help. Unfortunately, it often takes getting to the end of our ropes before we have that prodigal moment when we finally “come to ourselves”, or in other words, we realize our Father has already provided everything we need. Thank God that He is there when our rope runs out and we feel we are losing our grip. But we don’t have to get to that point. Our weak spots were designed to be strengthened by Christ! That is the plan and it works great! Allow Him to work in you. God’s grace IS sufficient!
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)
17 But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! Luke 15:17 (NKJV)
This coming Monday we celebrate Memorial Day in America. This day was first observed back in 1868 with a celebration commemorating those lives sacrificed during the Civil War and it was originally known as Decoration Day as the graves of over 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were decorated. In years since World War I, it has become a day to honor those who died in all America’s wars and, in 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday. There’s one word that sums up all those fallen – Heroes! And to that end, all those who have chosen to take up the cause to defend and protect the land of the free and freedom around the world are heroes. Each man and woman who does understands and accepts that it may require their ultimate sacrifice but they chose it anyway. Following is a quote from one who fought in Desert Storm. His chilling words of resolution capture the spirit of an American soldier. “I thought of my wife and children, I said a quick prayer for them and was ready to die.” – Intelligence Specialist Chief (Air Warfare) Mark W. Bell (Desert Storm). What we have in America is worth defending. Thank you to those who do. God bless you and God bless America, the land of the free and the home of the brave!
13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 (NLT)
During our prayer service this week we focused on two groups of people: those who hear the Word (of God) only and those who hear the Word and apply it to their lives. When the storm comes, those who heard the Word but didn’t do what they heard are devastated by the storm. But those who applied the Word to their lives, were able to stand firm through the storm. Both groups encountered the same storm, but the results are quite different. Unfortunately, storms will come. The Bible even tells us so. But it’s the Word that is put to work in our lives that will see us through those storms. One comment was made that many church-goers treat the Word as a spectator sport. They observe it from a distance but they don’t get directly involved. God’s Word is great to hear, but it’s in the doing that the benefits are reaped. So, what do you say – it’s time to get out of the bleachers and on to the field!
46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?
47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.” Luke 6:46-49 (NLT)
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. James 1:22 (NLT)
33 I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:33 (MSG)
Recently I was on a very long and arduous hike with my daughter. The hike was up the side of a mountain and parts were fairly steep. During and after these steep sections of the hike, I required a little break to allow my heart to rest from its supersonic pace. I often had the thought “I hope this is worth it!” But eventually we reached the top where I was greeted by an absolutely breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. All the sweat was worth that view. We just paused for a while to take it all in. Two people were not far behind and as they came to the spot where we were enjoying the beautiful view they went right past us and on their way down. I couldn’t believe that they didn’t take the time to enjoy the view. I said perhaps they had seen it many times before on previous hikes. Just as I spoke those words another man came up the path and said he had done this hike many, many times before and he never gets tired of seeing that view. Life’s path can sometimes seem long and arduous as well. But if we will take the time to stop along the way and acknowledge God, we will see that God has provided places of rest and beauty for us to recharge and refocus. Whether you’re on a well-worn path or a brand new one, His awesome presence will amaze you ever time!
11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11 (NIV)
14 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14 (NIV)
20 Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. Acts 3:20 (NLT)
Last week our Food For Thought was all about being the leader. But believe it or not, not everyone wants to be the leader. And not everyone is called to be the leader. There are many people who like being the worker bee, helping to accomplish a particular job or goal. “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it!” Without these people, no place of business could function. No organization could function. No church could function. Without those who are willing to get in the thick of things and do the work, no matter how many people are giving the orders, the job would never get done. Do not under-value yourself if you don’t have the desire or the calling to lead. You are very valuable and more important than you will ever know and you are most likely where God wants you right now. Do whatever job before you with the best of your ability and in the spirit of excellence, whether you are at the top or the bottom rung of the so-called corporate ladder and just see where it takes you!
6 For no one on earth—from east or west, or even from the wilderness— should raise a defiant fist. 7 It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall.
Psalm 75:6-7 (NLT)
23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23 (NLT)
1 Peter 5:6 (NLT)
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Colossians 3:23 (NLT)
As a child, have you ever played “Follow the Leader”. It’s a simple game where you line up behind “the leader” and you follow him/her around and mimic what he/she does. If you fail to do so, you are out of the game. The very last person remaining becomes the leader. This game might be very simple, but it has a good lesson. Good leaders don’t just give orders. They become an example to those they are leading. This concept can be carried into many aspects of life, but one especially is parenting. Our children mimic what they see us do and what they hear us say. Our every move is being observed. And by our every action and word we are teaching our children something, good or bad. And, as in the game, our children will grow up and become the leaders. Will they be passing on the good or the bad that they have learned? And if it is not your children, watching you, someone else is. Let’s make sure what we are passing on will produce something good in someone else.
16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:16 (NLT)
12 Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT)
33 Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NLT)
6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)
This weekend we celebrate the most important events of the Christian faith – The death of Jesus on the cross and His triumphant resurrection from that death three days later. This was God’s plan of salvation – His plan to bring His people back into a relationship with Him that is unhindered and completely free. No more offerings, no more sacrifices, no veil in between God and his people. Every barrier between God and us was obliterated away and Jesus, as he endured the horrors of the cross, received unto Himself what should have been ours. What a price He paid for our redemption. God’s plan of salvation was almost complete. Oh, God’s part and Jesus’ part was complete. But salvation is a gift and like all gifts , before it becomes yours you must accept it. So our prayer for this Resurrection Sunday is that you have received this wonderful gift of salvation that Jesus so freely gives for you. The one who died for you is King!
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:10 (NLT)
9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. Romans 10:9-10 (NLT)
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. Isaiah 53:5 (NLT)
Here are a few phrases for you to think about whether they have ever come out of your mouth: “He made me so mad!” “Now that’s one more thing I have to worry about!” “That really makes me upset!” Well, how did you do? Have any of these words been uttered through your lips? Most likely, your answer is yes on all three counts. However, can things or even people really “make” us mad or “make” us worry or “make” us upset? Or do we allow it? Jesus told us in John 14:1 not to “let” our hearts be troubled. And we know He wouldn’t ask us to do something that was impossible. He says it again in John 14:27. What is even more telling is that Jesus even warns us we will have trouble in John 16:33! Just because we are Christians, that doesn’t make us immune to trouble. Jesus is our victor, our peace giver, our overcomer – He’s our everything. So if our hearts are troubled it is because we are focusing on the problem and not the answer. Guard your heart! And you do it by trusting in and only in God! He’s the only source of PERFECT peace!
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” John 14:1 (NLT)
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 (NLT)
” I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NLT)
” Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)
Most of us would like to think that we have everything under control. Everything, of course, being our lives and all that affect it. People often feel most secure when everything is not only planned but goes according to that plan. When things that are out of our control rise up to interrupt our plan, we get frustrated, anxious or even panicky. This is the exact reason we should come to the realization that God’s plan for us is far better than ours. Nothing happens that is not already foreseen in His world. If we settle within ourselves that our lives are His and we surrender to His direction, it takes so much of the pressure off when things don’t seem to go according to plan. Because God knew ahead of time about that obstacle in our path. He is not only the light that shines on our path, but He is also the mountain mover. Don’t attempt another day according to your own plans. Each morning, thank God for His plan for your day and surrender to it and He will either redirect you around your mountain or He will remove it!
9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9 (NLT)
105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105 (NLT)
20 “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20 (NLT)