What to Do When the Devil Dogs are Nipping at You

19 Dec
Demon Dog

Demon Dog (Photo credit: Sam Cockman)

Anybody besides me feeling increased daily pressure?  For me, it feels like being haunted by regrets, mistakes, missed relationships, and discouraging revelations of my general lifetime cluelessness as a person.  But after giving in to a consistent urging to spend more time praying every day, I realized that a spiritual battle is raging all around me as well as inside of me.

At this point, I can relate my struggle with being chased by pit bulls who are taking bites out of me as I rush on.  Then suddenly I have stopped and knelt to pray.  As I lift my eyes to the heavens, acknowledge the greatness of God, and begin praying for needs of my loved ones, my city, my country, and the world, the noisy barking stops and the dogs are gone.  Turns out they were just shadows.

I may have dropped the ball on writing Daily Pep Talk this year, but I have read the New Testament through, one day at a time.  I’m in Revelation and have been getting a sober reminder that there is an end to the world as we know it, and it is coming.   Rather than getting sucked in to worldly trends and trinkets, there has never been a better time to get hyper-focused on being a person who prays to God and obeys his every prompting.

The world needs Jesus.  I think the real pressure that’s going on is an escalation toward God’s secret timeline when the Truth will be revealed and eternity for heaven or hell begins for everyone.  Knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior is what makes the difference in what our eternal destination will be.

Have you felt increased pressure, too?  What do you think it is?

The Beatitudes Versus the World

4 Jan
Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I read the Sermon on the Mount today.  As always, it’s especially uplifting to read Matthew 5:1-26.  I may not be the most dynamic example of  a Christian, but I do seek the Lord and what He cares about.  These verses remind me that friendship with God is enmity with the world.  Must be fewer people who are friends with God making an impact because not much in the world today points to Jesus.

 

If you read the Beatitudes with worldly success in mind, it seems that nothing in those verses would look good on the resume of someone looking to get to the top of the ladder of success.  God’s ways are certainly not the same as the world’s, which is why “Jesus freaks” like myself who want God to have His way are so often perceived as an oddity.  Not a complaint…just an observation.

“14 You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

Matthew 5:14-16

New Living Translation (NLT)

Snowball Effect

3 Jan

I’ve always noticed that when I make a grand step toward God, He answers my gesture with all kinds of evidence that He noticed.  My commitment to God’s Word for this year produced a growing hunger today — but not for a grilled cheese sandwich or my favorite Doritos.  Instead, I was flooded with a hunger to delve into more of God’s Word.  I really love the Truth.  For instance, when I read a story about the Bible but the story doesn’t get the facts quite right, it bothers me a lot.  The pure Truth is a lot more interesting than altered story details produced by inattention.

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For example, I read the story of Noah to Aubrianna out of her new Bible today, and the storyteller missed one of the most interesting things about Noah’s story.  It had never rained before — ever, in the history of the world — when he built the ark in the desert.  (When reading the story in a true translation of the Bible just now, I realized that it was through prior study that I learned this.)  So, anyway, Noah was trusting God for an event that had never taken place while being laughed at by the entire population of the world.  But because Noah was trusting in God and obeying Him explicitly, He was rewarded with life, not to mention that his family repopulated the earth!

I want to be sure and mention that part of the snowball effect I experienced today was better balance and productivity.  It was a full and satisfying day, and I do mean in the non-stomach type of way (which is progress).  Practically counting the hours until the new Bible arrives.  There’s no purchase that usually ever excites me as much as a new Bible, and that’s definitely true this time.

From my reading in Matthew today (virtually the same message Noah preached as he built the ark):

From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.[a]”

Matthew 4:17

New Living Translation (NLT)

 

 

2013 Resolution: Balance

2 Jan

Happy New Year!  Are you excited about 2013?  I needed and found something to get really excited about, and it’s linked to my First Love.  On the way to my mailbox is a new Life Application Bible.  I’ve had one before, but I think I gave it away.  This is a wonderful study Bible — some say it’s the best.  I’ll be reading all the way through the new Bible, though it will no doubt take me more than a year.  I want to do more than read.  I want to study and meditate and write about God’s Word.

I’ve just finished reading the New Testament through in 2012.  It was great!  I read it on my phone every morning before I do any solitary other thing and will continue to do that.  BibleGateway.com has handy reading plans, and there are several you can choose from, not to mention that you can read it in your favorite Bible translation.

The Word of God reminds me that the Almighty is so powerful.  I know that God gives me the grace to accomplish balance in my life, and that’s my resolution for 2013.  I want it to become a way of life.  Common sense dictates that I should have already achieved balance a long time ago, and it should already be a habit.

But I’m talking about a balance with everything.  Food, activities, what I do with my time, etc.

It’s important to me to spend a lot of time in the Word of God because I daily watch the news and other shows, almost none of which feed my spirit.  The most important part of balance is to allow God’s Truth to have an input in my life that’s more compelling than the input the world has on my mind and heart each day.

I also need to establish daily ways to get more exercise, since I work in my den.  I’m gonna feel so much better as I do a better job of achieving balance.  And I’ll leave a few notes on Daily Pep Talk every day about something from my Bible reading.

I’m going to wait and delve into the Old Testament when the new black Bible with ivory flowers and my name imprinted arrives.  Til then, I’m reading the New Testament.

What impressed me today from Matthew 1 was that there were 14 generations dividing the major moments in the history of God’s chosen people.  God is very orderly (as well as Creative), and He has chosen a time when life as we know it will forever end on this earth.  Every day of our lives impacts eternity in a positive or negative way, and eternity isn’t all that far from any of us.

 All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.

Matthew 1:17
New Living Translation (NLT)

 

 

The Solution to the Problem May Be Under Your Nose

25 May

I’ve had to miss work because my fingers and hands were experiencing excruciating pain.  And all that time, my computer was capable of talk-to-type technology!  I’m using it right now. No need to spend a dime, much less the hundreds I thought it would cost.

 

I’m talking and the computer is typing by itself. Awesome! — Photo by Vera Kratochvil

The answer was right in front of me, and I was completely clueless. I think many problems in life are the same way. Being out of shape, for instance, just requires more exercise. It’s a matter of deciding to do something. You don’t have to have access to a gym to get in shape. YouTube has lots of free exercise videos. Heck, you can just walk and get your body in shape.

The Bible says not to be worried and that each day has its own troubles. It also says that God will never give us more then we can handle. He always makes a way to escape temptation. That applies to overeating as much as it does adultery, don’t you imagine?

I think most of us go through life struggling with the day’s challenges, and we forget to really enjoy life. We get into a numbing, joyless routine.  All the while, the happiness we desire is within our reach every day. I can say this because I believe that true joy is in the Lord, and He is ultimately all we need to have overflowing contentment.

It’s a good idea to just open our eyes to what is already in our hands and be thankful that it’s enough for this moment.  There’s probably more in hand than we realize.

 

 

Deeply Moved by the Music

24 May

Every time my heart has a question or a complaint that I’ve repented of, God always answers.  Seriously, in the decades that I’ve been a born-again Christian, the Creator has consistently revealed His presence.

I’ve struggled recently because I moved and had to move again.  Home is the most important place to me, as only God understands.  And I murmur about living in a big city when I long to live in the mountains encompassed by nature, a longing which makes my earthly dad seem near.  Well, through American Idol of all things, God has reached into my heart and given me unforgettable assurance that I’m in the right place and God will change my attitude so that I embrace my place.

Phillip Phillips

 

Phillip Phillips, our new American Idol, sang his single “Home” last night, and pretty much everyone who heard it was blown away, based on the crowd’s roar and reviews, etc.  And for me listening to it was a spiritual experience, which seemed strange at first.

But then I became familiar with the words.  The song was like a conversation with God in which He took my hand and leaned in close to whisper powerful words of reassurance.  The words of the song follow (I don’t know yet who the writer is):

Home

Hold on to me as you go

As we roll down this unfamiliar road

And although this wave is stringing us along

Just know you’re not alone.

Cuz I’m going to make this place your home.

Settle down.  It’ll all be clear.

Don’t pay no mind to the demons —

They fill you with fear.

The trouble, it might drag you down.

You get lost; you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone.

Cuz I’m going to make this place your home.

I’m gonna make this place your home.

Grace-Filled Moments, Like Manna From Heaven

23 May

My daughter Maddie initiated a new morning ritual today, and what a slice of heaven.  She comes over each day with SirCalvin, my youngest grandchild, who I babysit; and then I bring her to work a bit later.  Today our new tradition started in which we sing a worship song with the kids, read a scripture passage, and pray.  Logan prayed a sweet prayer this morning, asking God to help him be a good student next year in 3rd grade and also asking God to bless his awesome 2nd-grade teacher to have a great class next year.

Yesterday my oldest daughter, Nikki, sent me information about an inexpensive talk-to-type product.  I’ve already ordered it, and it will make it possible for me to write without having to use my arthritic fingers.  The cost was under $30!  Based on reviews, it’s bound to be an excellent tool that works very well.  That seems like a miracle blessing to me.

And last week I let go of a job that didn’t pay enough but supplied steady income, when I could press through to complete the work (lately I couldn’t).  I’m so thankful that God replaced what was lost with good pay and plenty of hours.  I wrote my first piece for this employer today, and he was pleased.  God is so good, to supply my needs like this. Oh, and to top it off, this person is literally a top nutritional expert.  I trust that everything I learn will sink in and help me form new personal eating and health habits.

And the loved one I mentioned in Sunday’s post, the one at the bottom of the barrel – I heard from her and she’s climbing her way back up.  Potentially good signs of progress are there.

One of the best moments of the day was after I told Maddie that I was worried I alienated my reading audience with yesterday’s blog post.  She hadn’t read it yet, but I told her about my analogy.  Maddie told me that not to say it was to be guilty of the thing I was writing about – not doing something Jesus-related because of fear of rejection.  Also said she needed the motivation to be bold in her faith, which my blog supplies.

It’s like there’s a pin prick of a hole in heaven, and it’s directly over me.  All this outpouring of grace is even more fun than catching snowflakes on my tongue.

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