Monday, November 23, 2009

Top 10 Reasons Why I'm Thankful

The holiday season can either bring out the best or the worst in us. If we are stressed by the hustle and bustle of the busyness or miss a loved one who has passed on, it may not be our favorite time of the year. Then there are those of us who seem to have a spring in our step just knowing the holidays are here. Whether you’re looking forward to the coming weeks or not, I hope my “Top Ten Reasons Why I’m Thankful” list will spark an attitude of gratitude in you:

10. A tough day at work means I still have a job.
9. I live in a country where I can go to church and “worship” without fear.
8. I have a testimony which means that I have PASSED some tests!
7. Endless household chores means I have a family who I love and loves me.
6. Though I have experienced loss, I have also experienced God’s comfort and strength.
5. Each “holiday” means I have a “holy day” to celebrate a holy God.
4. The existence of trials in my life is an opportunity for me to trust God.
3. Friends who choose to be my family.
2. Family who choose to be my friends.
1. No matter what I have or don’t have, I have Jesus and in Him is all I need.

Proverbs 90:12 (NIV) says, “Lord teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Wisdom comes from knowing each day is a gift. So choose to be wise by being thankful. You will add not only joy to your day, but days to your life!

Happy Thanksgiving my friends!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wisdom from the Wilderness - Part 2

So we know that Jesus was "led" into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tested by the enemy. I don't think any of us like to be tested. However, it is a part of the growth process and God is always growing us up. Let's take a closer look at Jesus in the wilderness and see what wisdom we can gain from Matthew 4:2-4 (NIV):

"After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry."

Notice that Jesus fasted. He was not just praying, but intensely seeking God to the point He denied His own flesh for 40 days! A question to ask ourselves is, if we realize we are in the wilderness, how serious are we willing to seek God?

"The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."

The enemy tests Jesus' identity and submission to the Father. The enemy knew He was the Son of God (and Jesus did too), but he was trying to get Jesus to act out of His flesh and not by God's leading and timing. How often are we tempted to do just that when we're in the wilderness? We need to check our motives and heart to make sure that we are not doing things our way, but rather submitting to God's ways.

"Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

The definition in the Greek for "word" above is "rhema" which means "that which is said or spoken, an utterance." This is not just the written Word on a page, but the Word that comes to life in our spirit. It was that Word that was alive in Christ that gave Him the victory over the enemy as He said over and over, "It is written..." Jesus was basically saying that His food was to be in communication with the Father. The most important thing in our relationship with God is the ability to hear Him speak.

Pray this with me: Lord, give me a holy hunger that I will seek you more than ever before. Holy Spirit, may I hear You speak, obey Your leading and trust Your timing. Even if the process is painful, it is purposeful. Therefore, my mouth will sing Your praise!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wisdom from the Wilderness - Part 1

Have you ever made a decision or a move that you knew God wanted you to make, but after a while wondered "What am I doing here Lord?" I have and sometimes wondered if I had really heard from God to begin with. Those are the seasons that I call "Wilderness Wonderings". We feel like we're wondering with no clear direction or instruction on what's going on but yet we know God has us there.

Be encouraged, even Jesus was "led" into the wilderness:

Luke 4:1-2 says, "Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry."

Jesus was FULL of the Holy Spirit and followed His leading. He would then be tested and found true. May you gain some wisdom and strength in knowing that your wilderness experience (like Christ) is for a reason and for a season. You are being tested to trust God no matter what. If the Spirit led you in, He will lead you out when you are ready.

So do not despise the testing, but rather submit to it and learn what the Father by His Spirit is showing you. God is getting ready to do bigger things in your life and is making sure that you are tested and found true so that you can be used in greater measure to bring Him glory.