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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, February 29, 2012

God of Comfort

In Elyse Fitzpatrick's book Overcoming Fear, Worry and Anxiety she says the following. "He (God) worked in mighty ways through Abraham and Sarah in spite of their weaknesses, and He can do the same through you and me."

Sarah struggled with fear and how to work God's blessing into her childless life. He promised a child to her and Abraham, but many years passed, and nothing happened. She did like most women do in this type of situation, try to figure out a way to 'help' God along in the process. She rationalized. "Perhaps God really meant for Abraham's child to come through my handmaid Hagar." But the results of this union didn't bring peace, joy, comfort, or contentment to Sarah.

Sometimes we mess up in our own lives. We make wrong decisions and choices, or we just feel the affects of living in a sin-filled world. Perhaps the key to repentance, is being able to let go, and move on to what God is calling us to do, despite what we currently see. I like what it says in 2 Corinthians 1:2-7. "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort." 

May you rest in His comfort today.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Single-Minded Focus

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Luke 10:41-42a 

I came across this passage this morning while reading my various devotional materials. It was a reminder of how often we get distracted, or stressed out by things going on in our life. We stew and fret. But in this verse, Jesus said to Martha (and is also saying to each one of us), we only need to be focused on one thing - or more importantly, one person - Jesus Christ. Sometimes it's a continual battle not to be distracted, 'worried and upset about many things'. God is calling us to so much more than this.

"I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12b-14 

I'm pressing on toward the goal of continually abiding in Christ Jesus.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Freedom

In my anguish I cried to the LORD,
   and he answered by setting me free.
The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.
   What can man do to me? 
Psalm 118:5-6 

I've been thinking this morning about freedom. Sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in the worries and concerns of this life we experience on planet Earth. So many things demand our attention. But God calls us to put a lid on the worries and concerns and instead focus on the 'one thing.' Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

Sometimes He asks us to give up good things in our lives for something that is better. Jesus Christ is the one thing we should be pursuing. It is Him we should follow, and when we have wholehearted abandon to Him, we experience freedom and His peace.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mornings with Jesus 2012

Mornings with Jesus 2012 put out by Guideposts is a delightful devotional from authors: Judy Baer, Gwen Ford Faulenberry, Tricia Goyer, Sharon Hinck, Keri Wyatt Kent, Erin Keeley Marshall and Camy Tang.

I find this devotional to prompt thought-provoking and soul-searching in my own life as I read each entry. Often I'm called to examine my own life. On February 16th Keri Wyatt Kent used the scripture, "He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me." Psalm 18:19 Keri talked about a time in her life when she was questioning God, and seeking His heart about a certain matter. Sometimes as Christians, we forget that it's all right to ask God questions, and to try and discern His heart. We don't always receive an answer right away, but He does promise to provide His peace when we choose to trust in Him. We can take comfort in the fact that He delights in us.

I highly recommend this devotional, and find it will be one I can reread in the future too. If you are interested in purchasing it, check this out: http://ow.ly/8BbyO

About the book:
"Be still and know that I am God.” is one of the most beautiful verses from the Bible, but it’s not easy to practice in this busy world. Mornings with Jesus will help you do just that—“be still” in Jesus’ beautiful and powerful presence. For those who are seeking a deeper experience in their relationship with Christ, Mornings with Jesus offers a fresh perspective of who Jesus is (the Healer, the Son of God, the Comforter, the Good Shepherd) and what that means for day-to-day life. With a warm and friendly voice, 365 short devotional writings on the character and teachings of Jesus encourage readers to greet each day by drawing near to Him and inviting His presence into their day. Spend time with Jesus at the beginning of each day and experience His nearness and peace in a new way throughout the year. Each day’s selection includes: • a Bible verse • an entry based on Jesus: His words, miracles, and parables; His wisdom, compassion, and comfort; His mystery, power, divinity, and humanity • a “faith step” that will inspire and challenge readers to apply the day’s message to their lives.

Check out the blog tour at: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13452857
* This book was provided free for review by Guideposts.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mornings with Jesus 2012 Book Giveaway

Thank you to all who entered the contest via a comment here or on my facebook page. The winner of the devotional is Susan. Congratulations.

Next week I'll be posting a review on this great devotional book. Leave a comment on any blog post between now and Monday, February 20th for an opportunity to win a free copy of this book.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Word for the Year

Over the course of the past several weeks I've heard/read various resources that mention the idea of having a word for the year to camp out on. What exactly does it look like? I take it to mean intentionally focusing on a certain area or concept throughout the year and to see what you can learn in the process, and what God desires to show you. So after much thought, prayer, and consideration I have decided to proceed, and the word God has been impressing upon my heart is 'peace'. With that in mind I ordered the following materials from Amazon.com to aid me in my quest.

  • Peace: Overcoming Anxiety and Conflict (Fruit of the Spirit Bible Studies) by Jack Kuhatschek
  • Free From Worry (Women of the Word Bible Study) by Janet Wise
  • Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety: Becoming a Woman of Faith and Confidence by Elyse Fitzpatrick
  • Anxious for Nothing: God's Cure for the Cares of Your Soul by John MacArthur
 I'm working my way through a Bible study by Calvin Miller entitled Peace. I also am on the hold list at my public library for Debbie Macomber's new book entitled One Perfect Word: One Word Can Make All the Difference. 

The past several days in my daily devotions, whether Bible ready or in actual devotionals, there has either been a verse about peace, or it was the topic of that day's devotional reading. Ever feel that God couldn't make something anymore clear because you keep getting hit with it wherever you go? :) I'm looking forward to what God has to show me about peace in 2012.