By Cindy Martin –
Would you believe me if I told you I was a long lost daughter of Queen Elizabeth’s, and that I was banished from the royal family because I slurped my soup rather than sipping it? I probably can’t fool you on with that lie.
Would you believe me if I told you I once handed Queen Elizabeth a bouquet of flowers, and as I curtsied she nodded her head and said thank-you? Is this the truth? It’s a bit more difficult to discern if this is a lie or truth, isn’t it?
Like this example, the messages we hear from culture, our family and friends and even those that whisper inside of us are often difficult to discern between truth and deception.
If you had her size, you’d be beautiful too.
Your marriage would be better if your husband treated you like that guy does.
You’ll never get that job; you’re not smart enough.
If your co-worker liked you, she’d invite you out for lunch.
The most dangerous lie is the one that is closest to the truth. But there are no half-truths. Truth is pure, which means it has no contaminants. Truth is 100% true. Satan, the Father of Lies, takes truth and injects it with a lie and this deception wreaks havoc with our souls and minds.
God calls us to truth. God is the author of truth and His desire is for us to be so familiar and submersed in truth that we can spot a counterfeit. Deception kills, destroys and tears down. Truth builds up, holds fast and gives life. Our ability to discern truth comes from a relationship with God and He infuses us with wisdom and truth.
PRAYER: Lord, give me a passion for truth and may I cast off anything that is deception. Help me to know the difference.
“Keep me from deceitful ways; I have chosen the way of truth” (Psalm 119:29 – 30 NIV).
P.S. I did hand flowers to the Queen, just as I described. That’s the truth!
By Janet Morris Grimes –
God has a universe at His fingertips.
I never really stopped to think about it in those terms. The world is so big. So busy. So diverse. Sometimes I think it has too many people with too many opposing beliefs. How can He possibly pay attention to all of us at one time?
But He doesn’t see it that way. It’s all part of the creation that He so adores. He knows us by name, and I think He thrilled when He gets the chance to prove it to us by using His own created universe to touch our lives.
God has a way of working through the details of our lives—details that He has lovingly worked out in advance because in His world, all things truly do work together for good, for those called according to His purpose.
All things work together for good.
In my own life, I’ve seen it happen numerous times. My current job is a position opened up for me at just the right time, after a period of years where I applied for countless positions in three different states.
When our daughter was a baby, money was extremely tight. I desperately wanted to buy a coat with a matching hat for her, but it was too costly. I said nothing to anyone about it, but prayed and hoped to find it later on a clearance rack at the end of the season. A week later, my mother-in-law handed me a bag in it with that exact coat and hat.
The gift meant much more because we could not afford it on our own.
When our youngest daughter was only two weeks old, a wicked ice storm caused power outages all over Nashville that lasted as long as three weeks. Our house was the only house on the street that maintained power throughout, something that even our electric company could not explain.
Logistics. What you need. When you need it.
God is the master of this. He is immeasurable. His universe, vast.
He adores you. And if you allow Him to do so, He will prove it to you in the most intricate and personal of ways.
PRAYER: Dear God, You are almighty. We are not. Thank You.
By Peter Lundell –
As we think back on the past year and look forward in the next, we may or may not be happy with the state of the nation we live in.
We are naturally concerned about a host of issues: social, moral, spiritual, educational, economic, environmental, military, and more. But societies throughout history have gotten both better and worse just as we see today. The Bible also describes how things will change for the worse in the latter days.
Join me in a reminder that if a person is a believer in Christ, he or she is wise to remember who is on the throne. It is not the president, or any prime minister, governor, or congressman. It’s Jesus.
“And He told Pilate—the highest government official around, who thought he had control over Jesus—‘My kingdom is not of this world’ (John 18:36), then added, ‘If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.’”
Jesus’ intent is not a heaven on earth, but an earth permeated by heaven.
For a true follower of Christ, the ultimate concern is not fixing any earthly country—and they all have problems. Rather we are to live and act as channels through which God’s Kingdom invades earthly ones. He is Lord over the nations, Lord over history.
The less we cheer or fret about things on earth and the more we think and act as believers who love and change others, the better we’ll be at “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Imagine the possibilities. What would they look like in your life?
PRAYER: Lord, let me not succumb to those voices that seem to shout, ‘The sky is falling!’ Let me rather look to You, to Your heart, to what You are doing in the world. And may I be always focus on Your kingdom above all others on earth….
“Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’
‘Is that your own idea?’ Jesus asked, ‘or did others talk to you about me?’
‘Am I a Jew?’ Pilate replied. ‘It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?’
Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.’
‘You are a king, then!’ said Pilate.
Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me’” (John 18:33-37, NIV).
By Cindy Martin –
The cards and presents have all been opened and the decorations are put away for another year. New Year’s resolutions to quit this or start that are aplenty. My determination to drop a few pounds has me heading for the gym.
On the treadmill, as I finish selecting my program, entering my age (sigh), weight (bigger sigh) and time, immediately across the screen scroll the words KEEP HANDS ON SENSORS FOR HEART RATE. Any attempt to take a drink from my water bottle or skip to the next song on my IPod instantly results in getting beeped and the flashing reminder to KEEP HANDS ON SENSORS FOR HEART RATE. I see the STOP button but my pride and insatiable desire to multitask to efficiently use my time keep me from using it. After all, I should be able to take a little sip or make a few little adjustments without consequences.
I learn from a veteran treadmiller that there is a way around this annoying little feature. If you select “Random” as your program you are not required to KEEP HANDS ON SENSORS FOR HEART RATE. I enjoy my new found freedom and the anticipation of not knowing what’s coming next – just taking it as it comes. I tell myself that the safety risks are insignificant.
As my mind settles into a more contemplative mood and I reflect on my relationship with God, some striking parallels came to mind. My “I’ll do it my way” of approaching the design of the treadmill is often the way I approach God. I want all the benefits of the time we spend together, but I want it on my own terms. I don’t want to have to “stop” in the midst of my busyness to drink in the life-giving presence He offers. I want to make random adjustments on the run. I resist keeping my hands on the sensors of His word and His Spirit because I don’t always like what they reveal about my heart. All the while, I do so at the risk of my own spiritual health. Psalm 46:10 aptly reminds us of our spiritual Trainer’s words to us, “Be still and know that I (not you) am God.” (KJV)
The next time I’m at the gym, I think I’ll choose a different program (probably “Fat burn”!) and KEEP HANDS ON SENSORS FOR HEART RATE.
AUTHOR QUOTE: “It’s hard to fill a moving bucket!”
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 KJV).
By Peter Lundell –
I often ask people how long their New Year’s resolutions last. Typically they seem to crash and burn sometime by the end of January. So life goes on as it did before.
Positive change must be addressed every day. It happens not by achievement but by habit.
I encourage people to chuck resolutions in favor of what I call “growth commitments” that I establish for each year. I’ve done annual growth commitments since 1986 that have led to major growth and changes in my life, which also makes my wife happy.
Think primarily in terms of personal character growth, not just paying off a credit card or losing weight. Those are fine, but if you relate them to deeper issues of character growth, you’ll go much deeper with the whole commitment and attain more overall results than you would otherwise. Go ahead and have other goals. But if you keep the growth commitment to one main thing, simply expressed, you will do well.
Two keys make it work: 1—Keep it simple and short, then write it on a on a small piece of paper (or PDA), and put it where you’ll see it daily, like on a mirror, in a wallet, as a bookmark, or whatever works for you. 2—Pray it, incorporate it into time you (hopefully) spend with God each day. And do it all year long. When you write it down and keep it where you’ll always see it, you enable yourself to consistently pray it.
Doing this accomplishes two other things: You bring God’s response into it, and you reorient your own thinking around the commitment. Change your thinking and you’ll change your behavior—especially if you seek God’s blessing each day.
What would your 2013 growth commitment be?
“Lord, my life is in Your hands. In this coming year mold me into your image and grow me beyond who I am now….”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 29:11-13, NIV).