Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Peaceful Life...


2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 17

   "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
   For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;"

What a great passage of Scripture! There are so many important truths in this short little chapter, but this is the one thought that stood out to me today.

Things will happen in my life that can be troubling and perplexing, yet I need not despair or feel forsaken. If I can truly trust One more powerful than I with the circumstances in my life, then I can live with inward peace no matter the outward circumstances.

If anyone had circumstances they could complain about, it would be Paul, the author of this second book of Corinthians. Yet, he called his problems a, "light affliction, which is but for a moment!" How could he walk through tough circumstances with this attitude? He was trusting One who could see the 'big picture' in his life.

What a great comfort to know I can walk through life holding hands with the One who knows every circumstance, emotion and hurt in my life. He can give me the inward peace and strength to walk through each event in my life with joy!

Thank You for this truth, God. I truly LOVE walking through life with You!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Not in word, but in Power"


I Corinthians 4:20
"For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power."

It seems that God reminded me through this verse that it matters not what I can say. After many years of living the Christian life, I can learn just the right things to say that make me sound 'ultra-spiritual.' These words are spoken for the glory of man and have no lasting affect on my life and the lives of those I influence.

What matters most is whether or not the power of God rests on my life. The old hymn quotes, "All is vain unless the spirit of the Holy One comes down." My dear sweet great grandmother, Ruby Byrom, used to sing this sweet hymn, "Brethren We Have Met to Worship." What a dear sweet saint she was and what a great truth she sang!

God, I invite you into every area of my life no matter how small it may seem. I need You as the center of all I do. Thank You for this great reminder You sent my way!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Not Quick to Judge...


I Corinthians 4:5
"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God."

Isn't it amazing how we always seem to know the intents of the heart in others around us?! We certainly act is if we do so often, I know I am guilty. But, the truth is, I cannot possibly know all the thoughts and intents of man's heart around me, even though often they may appear to be as open as a book.

Hebrews 4:12 reminds us that only the wisdom of God can see through the exterior of a man to really know the 'thoughts and intents of the heart.'
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword...and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

I cannot judge man's intents; I ought to leave this in the hands of the Lord. I have enough to worry about in keeping my own walk with God as it should be. Thank You, God, for this reminder not to be quick to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart in others around me.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Giving No Offense...


II Corinthians 6:3 "Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:"

This small verse packs such a POWERFUL truth!

As a Christian, I ought to be willing to let go of anything in my life that might cause another to stumble or walk away from the ministry of Christ. There may be things that I do not believe are necessarily sinful, but they might cause someone around me to take offense towards God and blame the ministry.

I believe God makes it obvious in His Word that there are areas where He does desire for me to take a stand; but I need not be offensive in my demeanor towards others. I believe God is reminding me here that I must be willing to let go of some menial things, some that I might enjoy, if they might possibly be  a stumbling block to another Christian who is watching my life.

If I truly want to be used of God, I must care more about the influence my life has on others than I do about my own selfish wants and desires.

Thank You, God! This is a great reminder to live my life today one step above reproach.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sanctification...What's that?



This is the Dictionary definition...

Sanctification - To make holy; set apart as sacred; consecrate. To purify.

I Corinthians 1:2
"Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus,"

Paul seems to be commending these Christians, as well as us today, and encouraging us to be sanctified (or set apart--different).

Yes, I think it is important that we as Christians are able to easily converse and identify with any person we meet. I think we ought to be constantly working on our "people skills" and our ability to carry on friendly conversation with all those that cross our paths.

However, the word "sanctify" is mentioned 65 times in the Word of God. Apparently it is very important to God that we as Christians live a life set apart from the "norm."

In today's society, we are attempting to bring our churches, religious standards and lifestyles down from God's level to the world's level. When people walking into our churches feel they are in the same atmosphere as the rock concert they attended the night before...how is this set apart or sanctified?

Thank You, God, for reminding me the importance as a 21st century Christian to rediscover the word Sanctification in my daily life and not be embarrassed about it! What a privilege and great responsibility to be an "advertisement" for God.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Confident and Willing...

II Corinthians 5:7-8 "(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."

Confident and Willing...These 2 words are so often left out of the description of a life of faith and yet are so key to its existence in our lives.

Without a confidence in God and a willingness in our hearts, it is next to impossible to have abiding faith in our Christian walk especially one that is lived by trust and not sight. We cannot always "see" God's way; we often have to walk on in faith--trusting His promise to lead us.

Do I really confidently believe in the power of God and the truth of His Word in my heart? Am I really willing to do whatever God wants me to do with my life and go wherever He wants me to go?

I, like Paul, must be a Christian with a strong confidence in the existence and power of God and a true willingness to do what He wants in order to truly live my life by faith and not by sight.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Trying Times...


II Corinthians 4:17 "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;"

The trials we face here on earth may seem extreme to us as we are walking through the valley of sorrow. However, God gently reminds us here through Paul's letter to the Corinthian people that our affliction is light and temporal in view of eternity.

Have you ever put together a very large jigsaw puzzle? Aren't there always some strange looking pieces that don't seem to fit anywhere? It is almost impossible to figure out a large puzzle without the big picture on the outside of the box.

My son enjoys putting puzzles together; but sometimes he needs the help of a parent to figure out where a funny-shaped piece fits the picture. In the end, every piece is needed to complete the picture.

Our lives can be very similarly compared. There will be moments (or pieces) in our lives that look strange to us and do not seem to fit. We would love to just toss them out of our lives altogether. However, our "Dad" up in Heaven can see the big picture. He knows what pieces are needed to make the picture of our lives complete.

We must learn to trust that God's ways will actually create a far more beautiful picture for eternity than we could ever hope to create on our own.

This is an easy truth to write, but a much harder one to live by! Thank You, God, for this wonderful reminder today!




Thursday, April 26, 2012

Can We Have Joy or Not?


II Corinthians 2:1-3 "But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all."

I refuse to believe that we as Christians "in this day and age" cannot have joy because of all the religious oppression and negativity!

It seems God is reminding us through Paul's writing in this passage of Scripture that we are often the ones who "squelch" our own joy.

How?

...By speaking of so many negative things with other Christians. We discuss every problem known to man and then we wonder why our joy is affected. We are depressing the very people who can help make us happy! Just because something is true does not mean we always need to discuss it.

God offers so many promises that should add eternal joy to our lives! However, it seems God is reminding us here that the level of our joy can be affected by the things we choose to dwell on and talk about with those around us.

God, I need the building spiritual fellowship of other happy Christians. Therefore, remind me today to find the positive in every situation and spend more time talking about it! What a great reminder You have given me this morning.



Monday, April 23, 2012

The Right Kind of Spiritual Leadership...


II Corinthians 1:24 "Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand."

Being a spiritual leader is such a huge responsibility. Men, women and young people are trusting us to help them with their future decisions. However, according to this verse that Paul wrote to the Corinthian people, it does not seem that God has called us to be spiritual dictators.

According to the words Paul penned here, it is not the job of the spiritual leader to attempt to have dominion over the faith of the follower. Our job is to be "helpers of their joy" so they can "stand by faith!"

God's words in Hebrews 11:6 come to mind, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him:"

If we teach our followers to obey God "because we said so," we have failed! That is not faith. According to God's Word, we are to teach them the truths of God through evident joy in our own lives. This in turn will help them have the faith to choose to stand for God on their own.

I am reminded of the old saying, "Give a man a fish; feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish; feed him for a lifetime."

It is so important that I teach my followers how to make the right choices in life rather than trying to make all of their choices for them.

WOW! Thank You, God, for reminding me of this great and needed truth in my life!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hate?


Proverbs 8:13 "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate."

Hate is a strong word that the world wants to do away with. It is, however, a biblical concept, IF it is used God's way. God NEVER asks us to hate people--He only asks us to hate the sin and evil that hurt people's lives.

If we loathe sin for its consequences we will be much less likely to give in to Satan's temptations than if we live life with an indifferent attitude.

Is it wrong to hate?

Well...God asks us to "hate" several times in the Scriptures. He NEVER asks us to aim our hate towards people. Leviticus 19:17a "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart:" God loves every man.

He does ask us to hate sin and evil so we will not fall prey to Satan's temptations. God does not recommend living life with an indifferent attitude!

Thanks, God for this truth.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

DESIRE!!


Proverbs 18:1
"Through DESIRE a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom."

Ahhh...the words of my junior high Bible teacher, Mr. Bass, ring through my mind."

"What's the key word, class?" he would say.

"DESIRE!" we would answer loudly, knowing if we did not repeat the word with gusto he would make us say it again.

This was usually the dialogue to start our class every single day for an entire school year, actually 2 school years--7th and 8th grade. We usually repeated these words several times each class period.

We may have thought him to be a bit odd, but I bet any junior higher that went through his Bible class could tell you the "Key Word."

Back then I thought him to be quite the eccentric; however, according to this verse he was RIGHT!

The first ingredient to growth in any area of our Christian lives is DESIRE. We have to "want to." Do I want to be a better mom? Then I have to have enough desire to get out of bed in the morning to read my Bible and spend time with God to glean wisdom.

What an amazing truth found in 2 little words, "through desire." Please, Holy Spirit, convict me when I even begin to lose my desire to please my Lord!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Getting vs. Finding


Proverbs 10:13a "In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found:"

While reading Proverbs 10:13 during devotions this morning, this verse in Proverbs 3 came to mind.

Proverbs 3:13 "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding."

God tells us that our lives will be happy if they contain wisdom and understanding. Something that I never really noticed before is the difference in words that he always uses for obtaining wisdom and understanding.

His word says several times that we must FIND wisdom, but we must GET understanding. That would lead me to believe that we cannot obtain wisdom on our own. We must find it through God's mind. (Philippians 2:5 "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:")

Understanding, however, is our responsibility to obtain. We ought to be constantly working on expanding our spiritual understanding in all areas so we can be a better help to those we influence with our lives.

If we are searching for and working to GET spiritual understanding to our lives, according to Proverbs 10:13 we will FIND wisdom!

 It takes teamwork. We must do the "getting," then Godwill help us with the "finding!" Understanding begets wisdom.

Thanks, God, for adding this truth to my day!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why Am I Always Fighting?


Why do we struggle so much with our fleshly desires? Doesn't it seem like that just when we get ahead spiritually, we fall 2 steps back? I think God explains it well in this verse...

I Corinthians 15:46 "Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual."

The natural man came first and, "afterward that which is spiritual." While we are here on earth we will always have to battle the emotions and desires of the natural man. There is nothing wrong about the feelings and desires themselves; but rather, what we choose to do with them can determine whether or not we make right or wrong decisions.

BUT...God didn't leave us hanging in this chapter! It seems these verses give us the answer to victory over the temptations and desires felt by the natural man...

I Corinthians 15:57-58 "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."

It would seem that our victory comes through our labor for the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are "always abounding in the work of the Lord," we will have the strength to stand against those inner feelings, desires and temptations.

This is a daily battle. The victory, God says, comes "through our Lord Jesus Christ." If we want daily victory in our daily battles, I guess we better get to know the Lord Jesus Christ!

Thanks, God! What a great truth for me to start my day.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guard Your Heart...


Proverbs 4:23 "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

This has been my life verse since my mom challenged me to find one during a difficult time at the end of my 9th grade year of high school. Thanks, Mom! The reminder God gives in this verse has been such a help to me over the years.

Every decision we make is influenced by the condition of our heart. How desperately important that we constantly guard our heart against the wrong influences.

I believe every person will experience times in their lives when they feel they have let their hearts drift a little from God. If we want to be a good "guard" over our heart we must be careful not to let time pass without confessing this to God and fixing the problem. If we do not immediately address complacency in our walk with God, time will quickly pass and our hearts will begin to become increasingly more cold and hardened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

We must daily ask God to help us "keep" or guard our hearts!

Thank You, God for this reminder today. I LOVE reading Proverbs!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Are you for real?


I think it is okay sometimes as a Youth Worker to let your young people know you are "for real" and have areas you struggle with just as they do. They need to know you face temptations and weaknesses also. (To some extent...Be careful not to disclose private information, especially regarding your family. They don't need to know all of your business and personal life!)

I recently listened to a podcast from Ministry 127 by pastor's wife, Mrs. Terrie Chappell. "A Life in Balance" http://ministry127.com/resources/podcasts/episodes/a-life-in-balance-terrie-chappell. She was so down to earth and honest about her own life and short-comings as she talked about organization. I found it so refreshing! I could relate to her on so many levels which challenged me to make some changes in my life as well.

I will start...Hello, my name is Helen and I am an email hoarder! Ha! Seriously, I have kept years worth of stuff in my inbox. It would have taken me MUCH more time than I have available to sort everything into folders. Are any of you like that too?

Today, I finally decided it would be best to just "Select All" and "Delete." This was one area I needed to unclutter my life. I have now created folders for different emails that contain info I have to keep. All other emails will be deleted after they are read.

Let's ask God to show us what areas we need to "unclutter," re-think or simplify in our lives.

Let's also ask God to give us the wisdom to be a "for real" role model for the young people in our lives, whether it be our own children or those we influence through our lives!


Will What I Say Affect What I Do?



I Corinthians 15:33 "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners."

I find it interesting that God used the word "communications" here rather than speech. He knew in the future how many different means of communication we would have access to! This verse of truth covers ANY way we communicate with others...letters, texting, emailing, Facebook, phone calls, etc. It seems this would even include our body language, facial expressions, reactions to others, etc.

If our communications become evil, they will begin to affect our manners, or the way we act.

Every moment of my life is important and may have a large influence on others. Every little text, email, note, expression is SO important.

Thank You, God, for this reminder to keep you in every single area of my life today!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Good Deeds Without Love...


I Corinthians 13:1-3 "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."

All the good deeds I do, all the knowledge I possess, all the good intentions I can muster will profit nothing without charity, or true love.

I John 4:7-8 says, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."

If God is love, and without love our life has no profit, then it seems God is teaching us to include Him in every single area and relationship of our lives. If we leave him out, all the good things we can do are empty and fall short of their potential.

It is still important for me to do good no matter what spiritual "temperature" my life registers. However, those good deeds will not make a lasting impact on a person's spirit without true love which comes ONLY from God!

Is love the motive for everything I do, or do I serve God out of obligation?

Thank You, Lord, for this reminder today to include you into every minute of my day. I love You!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Church...For better or for worse?


I Corinthians 11-17-18 "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it."

According to this passage of God's Word, when a church gathers together to serve, it ought to be a building experience and not a display of selfish and prideful feelings.

It seems it would behoove us occasionally in our ministry to stop and re-evaluate why we go to church and serve in our ministry.

It seems that we as Christians start with the right intentions for God. But often, after years of service, our heart's desire leaves and we are simply going through the motions. We still do what we are supposed to do, but without the passion, drive and desire in our heart to please God.

When we continue in a ministry for self-image rather than a desire to please our Saviour, chances are we will become a bitter and discontented Christian.

Thank You, God, for the reminder this morning to put the right motive back into my service for You!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Created to be...


I Corinthians 11:7-9 "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man."

Man was made in the image of God, but a woman was made to be the glory of the man. Satan tries SO HARD these days to "dethrone" women from this lofty position. He tries to make us as women feel that we are "too smart" to follow the footsteps of a man, when in all actuality we were created for that purpose! If we were created to be the glory or help meet for a man, doesn't it only make sense that this would be the most fulfilling and happy way for us to live?

It seems God teaches us that He calls a man to a ministry, but he calls a woman to a man. Of course, a single lady would have a different purpose for serving God with her life. However, when we as women have our own "agenda" for our lives, we will take away a little bit of our potential as a help meet to our man. God has a plan for that man; God's job for us as wives is to "help him meet" that plan!

What an honor; what a privilege is mine. I get to help Daniel Callaghan fulfill God's plan for his ministry! In turn, I get to live a happy fulfilled life by following God's plan for me!! Truly it is a wonderful and happy thing to live for God!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lending a Spiritual Helping Hand...


I Corinthians 10:23-24 "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth."

Paul was a grown man who, in actuality, could have done anything he wanted. He could have rationalized adding many things to his life that were not necessarily sinful or wrong.

However, Paul realized that a wise Christian will look past the present to the effects of the future and the affect our decisions may have on the life of another.

To edify means to instruct or benefit, especially morally or spiritually; uplift.

Before we decide to do something we should think about whether or not it will uplift or benefit our life and the lives of others around us.

Verses 31-33 say, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved."

EVERYTHING I do should bring glory to God. It shouldn't just qualify as "not being bad," but it should bring glory to the name of God.

The mark of a mature Christian is making our decisions based on whether they bring glory to God and build others rather than searching for a reason to justify that our actions are not wrong.

Before making a decision, I must ask myself the question...Does it build my life AND the lives of others around me?

Thanks, God, for this great reminder today!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's not all about me!


I Corinthians 9:16, "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"

I have no right to glory or boast about my service for God; it is of necessity as Paul says. In other words, I owe everything to God.

Why is it then that I feel the need for praise and recognition when I serve Him?

God, please help me to remember that I am simply paying back what I owe in my service for You.

Let us serve God in all humility as unto God and not for the laud of men.

Thank You, God, for this reminder!