Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57   Entries 176-180 of 283
May 22, 2017, 5:00 AM

How do you handle a difficult situation?

How do you handle a difficult situation? Are you quick to take the easy way out? I used to find myself often thinking, “If I were already where I’d like to be in life, or if my children were super well-behaved, or if my work environment weren’t stressful having integrity wouldn’t be a constant battle.” Life is not perfect and neither am I. I have to ask myself; What if the circumstances in my life, the good and the bad, are meant to develop in me a character where integrity is always evident?


In the life of Joseph, we find a man who chose integrity in some rather hard-pressed situations. Joseph, known for his colorful coat bestowed to him from his father, had some older brothers who were quite jealous of his favoritism. Things only got worse when Joseph shared a dream he had. The vision would suggest that one day, they would bow down to him. Later, he would have another vision where not only the brothers were bowing, but his father and mother as well.


Insulted by the dreams, the brothers were tempted to kill Joseph but settled for selling him. Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, purchased Joseph. Can you imagine being given a dream of becoming a ruler, only to become a slave? He could have had a terrible attitude. He could have entered the house feeling sour, pouty and angry. Instead, Joseph kept his integrity and found favor with his master. Maybe he realized having a bad attitude could land him in a worse position than he was already in. By trusting God, his integrity remained, and Joseph obtained authority over all the household. 


Joseph was doing well enough in his new life until one day; Potiphar’s wife approached Joseph insisting on him to be intimate with her. He refused, but she did not give up so easily. Day after day she would confront him; day after day, he refused. Talk about personal integrity. Not only did he refuse Poitphar’s wife, but he reminded her of his authority over the household. “But Joseph refused. “Look,” he told her, “my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.” Genesis 39:8-9 He had responsibilities and took them very seriously. Joseph also took God seriously. We can hear it when he tells her that adultery is “a great evil and sin against God.”


Unfortunately, Potiphar’s wife decides to accuse Joseph of the very thing he had refused. She lies and tells Potiphar that Joseph had tried to be intimate with her and Joseph is thrown into prison. But even after being falsely accused, Joseph keeps his integrity. God grants him favor in the eyes of the warden who gives him authority over the other prisoners.


Throughout all the events in Joseph’s life, the Lord was with him, and he remained in the Lord. He entered every situation with confidence in God’s sovereignty and believed that what God had revealed to him in his dream would come to pass. Supported and carried in this confidence, Joseph was able to endure the difficult trials of his life; he was content through the process. You never heard him complain throughout scripture even when he had the right to do so. He was faithful to God, trusting Him through it all, therefore finding strength to keep his integrity in every situation.


Joseph’s story ends with him as second in command to Pharaoh. His family does indeed end up bowing to him. But still, his integrity is evident. Joseph doesn’t throw the past in their faces. He extends grace and kindness. The life he lived is an excellent example of what integrity looks like, especially when confronted with difficult circumstances. It proves that having integrity is both necessary and beneficial. Do you believe that by keeping your integrity the outcome will be more beneficial?


This is my Prayer: Father God, in times when leaving my integrity at the door may seem easier, help me to remember that staying true to You not only benefits my own life, but the lives of others. Lord give me the strength to endure all things with the right attitude.  Jesus help me trust that You are sovereign and are shaping me more into Your image.  In Your name, Amen.

May 21, 2017, 5:00 AM

How has God rescued you?

I’ve learned an important lesson over the years and that is that no one can’t truly appreciate being found until they come to grips with the reality of being lost. If you’ve been in church for any amount of time, you’ve heard about “those people” who are lost. Often, they are painted in a not-so-pleasant light – devious, sick, selfish, etc. They’re lost…and they love it.


“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10

But, that’s not how the Bible paints those that are lost. In Luke 15, Jesus tells three parables, each one having to do with something being lost. A lost sheep. A lost coin. A lost son. The sheep didn’t purposefully wander off. He just put his head down and began chewing on the next patch of grass. The coin didn’t jump off the table and make its goal to find the crack of the couch cushion. The lost son didn’t have a grand plan to squander his inheritance, he just wanted freedom.


No one gets lost intentionally. Neither does anyone fall away from God overnight; it’s something that happens one choice, or one step, at a time. We settle for second best and cheap imitations. We don’t guard our hearts and, before we know it, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life entices us. We fail to see all those wants and desires that we have as our heart shouting for connection with its Creator.


Attempting to navigate this world on our own has caused all of us to get off course. This means there is no “us vs. them.” At one time or another, we’ve all lost our way. The only difference is that we have become aware of our surroundings. We noticed that we had been going around in circles trying to find fulfillment, hope, love and peace in all the wrong places. We also know our rescuer – the One who made it His mission to seek and save the lost.


Now, as believers, we are called to join the search party and point those who are lost to where freedom is found. Not because we are better or worthier, but because thanks to our encounter with God’s grace we recognize where hope is found. How has God rescued you? If you are not careful, where are you most prone to wander to find fulfillment and love apart from God?


This is my Prayer: Father God, thank You I once was lost and You found me.  Jesus help me to never forget the great rescue story You’ve told with my life.  Lord remind each day that everyone I come in contact with today You gave Your Son for in order to rescue them. Jesus I want my life to point those who have lost their way to the life-changing hope I have found in You. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

May 20, 2017, 5:00 AM

The grace of God redeems all things including our bad decisions and our mistakes.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10


There are crazy people out in the world and you’re one of them too. This is so true!  We are all crazy in our own unique ways. With all the graduation events going on I been thinking about and remembering my days after graduating from high school. I had a plan, I knew what college I was going to and what I what I thought I want to do.  But I really had no idea what I was doing or where I was going with my life.  I was scared and nervous even though I wouldn’t let on.  One of my biggest fears was that I would embarrass my family.  I mean this was real life and it felt like I was on my own. 


As our live progressed as adults, we begin to think things like this to ourselves:

“I have to get into a certain college or I won’t ever get the job I want.”

“I have to look a certain way and wear a certain brand of clothes to be accepted by the cool families in my neighborhood.”

“My life will never amount to anything until I get married and have kids.”

“God can’t use me because I’ve been divorced.”

“I’ve made too many bad decisions and there’s no way my life will ever amount to anything.”


Did you catch the underlying theme that resides in these statements? They are all about us. It’s very easy for us to become self-centered and move the focus from Jesus Christ onto ourselves. This is a recipe for disaster. When we take our focus away from Jesus, we feel that we are not good enough or strong enough to make a difference in this world. What are you placing your focus on more than Jesus?


If you want to be on the fast track to feeling lonely, focus on yourself more than Jesus. We are created as human beings to be dependent on each other. Sometimes we try to navigate this mad world by ourselves and make decisions on what we think is best. Instead of relying on our limited perspective, we have to filter all of our decisions through the lens of Jesus if we want to live in freedom. In what ways do you trust yourself more than Jesus?


God says, “Do not fear because I am with you and do not be dismayed for I am your God.” When we feel like our world is falling apart, we can experience peace by standing firmly on this promise. God is with us and God is for us! The grace of God redeems all things including our bad decisions and our mistakes. So when you feel like giving up and throwing the towel in, remind yourself that our God has the power to help you get through the tough seasons in life. If you’re feeling lonely, know that God is with you and He loves you so much. With Jesus at the center, we never have to feel lonely again. Who can you talk to about your personal struggles? God is always listening.


This is my Prayer:  Father God, please help me to focus more on You. Lord provide me with a peace and focus that is center on You. Jesus give me courage to talk to You about my struggles. Help me to make You the center of my life instead of myself.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

May 19, 2017, 5:00 AM

Where are you winning an argument about the issues but losing a relationship?

Just the other day I was having a talk with one of the youth in my church. He was telling me about a great theological argument he was having with a friend.  Really he was probing me for information to help him win the next argument he was planning to have later that evening.  I remind him that you never really win an argument, because you can win an argument while losing the relationship at the same time. That is what happens when the issues on the table matter more to us than the people around the table. Pride can cloud our judgment. Our insecurities can fuel our response to those that disagree. The need for control and our desire to simply be right can drastically influence our approach to how we address the critical issues this world faces.


Far too often, we’ve taken things that are true and made them about us. This has only created more chaos, discord, and distrust to take root in our mad world. There’s no point in having strong views if we only have them so we can put people in their place.  As long as we continue to focus on the issues and ignore what’s at the center, nothing will ever change. The madness of this world isn’t going to be solved because we simply won an argument. Our emotions cannot serve as a driving force in how we respond to the world around us. Scripture speaks of envy and selfish ambition serving as the source for the conflict we experience. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. James 3:16


Falling for the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes keeps us in a loop of continual dissatisfaction and discontentment. Our hearts will remain restless until we find something to support our trust. This restlessness influences our perception. Our eyes go searching for something that will provide us security. What we see awakens something in us. The more we see, the more we want. The more we want something the more prone our eyes are to see it. Unfortunately, we’ve been looking for security in all the wrong places. We’re living in a way we were never intended to live. God created us for Himself and He’s not going to give that up. “For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.” Ephesians 2:14

Clarity doesn’t come in the midst of the chaos. Processing what we believe requires us to be quiet and still. We’ve got to carve out a time and space where we can silence the noise and reflect on God’s truth and the impact it should have on our life and relationships. Grace comes by submission to the Truth. We must surrender what we know to be true to Him who is the Truth. How do you have strong views about something without putting yourself in the center or putting someone else in their place?


This my Prayer: Father God, winning an argument means very little if I lose relationships over it. Lord give me the eyes to see the people on the other side of the table. Teach me that issues are important, but they matter less than true connection with others. Jesus help me to serve others, even those I might disagree with and not see eye-to-eye as you did. In Your name,  Amen.

May 18, 2017, 5:00 AM

How is God’s power completed in your weakness?

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10


Today we want to turn our attention to the words of Paul found in 2 Corinthians 12. Take a moment and reread the passage. God’s grace is sufficient. His power is made perfect in our weakness. In the midst of life’s obstacles and issues, the sufficiency of God’s grace should serve as a great source of comfort.  We could spend weeks on the sufficiency of God’s grace in the midst of our weakness.  This principle provides us with a foundation for our faith and serves as the hope of our transformation.  It reminds us to lean on His grace in our weakness, for this is exactly where His strength is found.


Think about why God said this to Paul.  This was an answer to Paul’s prayer.  What question did Paul ask that prompted this response?  Did Paul ask about grace?  No.  Paul pleaded with God three times to take away his thorn. Remove the obstacle. Correct the interruption. Lessen the pressure.  God answers Paul’s request by saying, “My grace is sufficient.  My power is perfected in your weakness.” Not exactly what Paul was hoping for in the midst of the circumstances he faced.  He wanted relief, but God gave Him strength. Don’t miss this.


The fact that God’s grace is enough becomes a treasure because it brings strength.  We fall short when we look for relief instead of strength.  God graciously answers in a way that changes us instead of creating a way that makes life easier. When we think of grace, our minds tend to gravitate towards a picture of a mountaintop experience where we are filled with the love of Jesus. We are saved so we can now relax, put everything on autopilot and wait for our comfy place in heaven. We’ve got God’s grace so we are good to go.


However, God isn’t done with us at salvation. No, at salvation, God is just beginning to mold and shape us so we reflect His heart. We are unfinished products. We are works in progress. If God wants us to be conformed into the image of His Son then His grace can become a bit uncomfortable. But, look at Paul’s response.  He embraces this truth; I will speak of and rejoice in my weaknesses that God’s power might be seen. Where are you looking for relief rather than relying on God’s strength?  How is God’s power completed in your weakness?


This my Prayer: Father God, I will trust You when You don’t answer me according to my request.  Jesus I will rejoice in the fact that You offer me Your strength instead of simple relief.  Lord give me confidence in the fact that You use everything to bring about Your life in mine.  God thank You for Your patience with me and teaching me to hear Your voice.  I do not want to miss a single opportunity for You to be seen in me.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57   Entries 176-180 of 283