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"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." Matthew 5:14-15

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45-46

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

End of Year Thoughts - Part One

The past week or so, my thoughts already have been ruminating over the past year and looking ahead to 2012. I've been praying in regards to the New Year and what and where my focus should be concentrated. It's hard to believe how quickly 2011 has gone by and soon will be coming to a close. I pray God uses me in a mighty way in the New Year. The next couple days will be spent in prayer and reflection as I continue to see His will for 2012. What ways do you hope God will use you?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Great Squeeze - A Modern Day Parable

A parable of fruit bearing.

            Two men were eager to produce a batch of wine to send to the stores. The first wine maker bought the latest and greatest wine press. He chaffed, waiting for the grapes to ferment. Finally they were ready. He dumped all the grapes into the wine press, overlooking the stems and some spoiled fruit, figuring it wouldn’t make a difference in the taste. He cranked the press as hard as he could, to make sure not one drop of juice remained in the fruit. When the beverage was bottled, he took a glass and sipped on his accomplishment. The man grimaced, surprised at the bitter taste.
            The second man pulled out an old wine press that had been passed down through his family for generations. As the grapes fermented he picked through them with care, removing stems, dirt, and rotten fruit. Only the best remained. He poured the succulent berries into the basket press, and manually applied pressure to the fruit, being careful not to crush the seeds. Once the process was completed, he poured a glass of the wine and took a sip. He smiled at the delightful flavor.

"Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:44-45

What words and actions have been overflowing from your heart (and mouth), especially when you are stressed or under pressure?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

For I Will Yet Praise Him!.....Food For Thought

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
   Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
   for I will yet praise him,
   my Savior and my God. 
Psalm 43:5
This topic continues to be on my heart...praising God. It's easy to praise God when things are going the way we desire. But what about when we face those rough times - the death of a loved one, a child who chooses to go in ways opposite of our faith, an accident, health problems, etc. 

Over the weekend my husband and I were discussing this truth. So often we breathe a prayer of "Thank you Lord for a green traffic light, thank you for allowing me this promotion...." But sometimes I can't help but wonder if the things we count as the Lord working, is more so our own selfish thinking. What if we're praising God for a green light, when another Christian is coming from the opposite direction and they have the red light? Do they grumble and complain about having to stop, or do they too choose to thank the Lord.

Ephesians 5:20 instructs us, "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Today during our Sunday School class a couple received word that there house was on fire. They left in a hurry, and we all started praying. It turned out to be a false alarm, their chimney was pouring excessive smoke from their wood stove, but everything was all right. One our way home from church we stopped to check on them. We all commented about "Praise God it wasn't anything other than having to deal with a broken window from where the firemen had to break in to check on things." Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful they didn't have any issues. But it made me think. How often do we praise God in the good times, and forget to also praise Him in the bad times? It's often those struggles which draw us closer to God.

So, how are you doing on the journey of praising God in all circumstances?