Greater Good

“But the greatest among you shall be your servant.” Matthew 23:11 NASB

As I skim through social media, it occurs to me that the “greatest” among us today are about as far from being servants as we could imagine. Spoiled, cosseted, and overpaid celebrities from Hollywood, sport venues, and certain financial and political arenas are being toasted and held up for worship as the experts on life. It’s as if they are the gods we should look up to, and that we should follow without question. Many of them certainly act like they are above all human laws and morals. It’s all about lust. Lust for control, for sex, for the almighty dollar; it’s all about power. As Christians, our guide, our Law Book, is the Bible. It is very clear on idolatry, lust, and temptation.

“You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.” Exodus 20:3‭-‬4, Deuteronomy 5:6-7 NASB

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:15‭-‬17 NASB

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.” James 1:13‭-‬14‭, ‬16 NASB

So, Greater Good. Servanthood. It’s different for every person. How does it look for you; on you? It’s not for everyone to wash the feet of others (figuratively at least, if not actually), although I believe that unless you’ve done it, you’ll never understand true servanthood.

Sin v. Virtue

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 NASB
“Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad.” Psalms 105:3 NASB

January 2, 2020 – Looks like we all survived the New Year festivities! What about the dreaded New Year Resolutions? How are we doing with those? Many years ago, I made the decision not to make resolutions anymore. Honestly, I think that one of the best resolutions that anyone can make is to take life one day at a time. If we aren’t spending our time looking over our shoulders for pursuit from our past, or fretting about the future, how much time would it free up for us?

The best ones of all?

“Rejoice in the LORD always; again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 NASB
“Glory in His Holy Name; Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.” Psalms 105:3 NASB

We can focus on which of the seven ‘deadly’ sins we struggle with (for me, that would be all of them) – pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth – or we can put our focus on the LORD and the seven virtues Jesus modeled so faithfully for us – prudence, justice, temperance, courage, faith, hope, and charity.

If we focus on these virtues and on rejoicing in the LORD always, don’t you think everything else would fall into place? The enemy will fight us on this, and he’ll fight hard, because he doesn’t want us content in the LORD. He’ll throw roadblocks and ‘bricks’ at you, but know this:

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the Love of GOD, which is in CHRIST JESUS our LORD.” Romans 8:38‭-‬39 NASB

Yes, it’s hard right now, but our eternal life with our LORD will be worth it! HALLELUJAH and AMEN!!

Reflections on Life in 2019

This past year is not how I expected my life to be at this point. My plan was to be contentedly – if not happily – married, retired and living on a small farm, traveling, and living a comfortable life with family and friends close.

God, apparently, has something different in mind!

Single for the past 10 years, widowed since 2001, unemployed for since April 2016 except for a little part time work….. NOT the way I saw my life!

A year ago I moved 35 miles to be closer to my Oklahoma family; Mom, sister, nieces, and their families. We have other family (4 more siblings and their families!) and it’s the most I’ve been involved with my immediate family since my college years. It has been a huge blessing to be this close for the past year. Since moving, I’ve been attending worship services with my Mom, and what a blessing that has been to me, too. Being able to participate regularly in corporate worship is something that we don’t give enough credit to, and hearing the teaching of God’s Word is incomparable. If you haven’t been attending church regularly, I can’t recommend it strongly enough. We need it in order to focus on the important things in life. I want to be like Simeon, for I have, too, seen the LORD’S CHRIST, Who is JESUS:

“Now LORD, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your Word; For my eyes have seen Your Salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A Light of revelation to the Gentiles, And the Glory of Your people Israel.” Luke 2:29‭-‬32‭ NASB

There is insanity in our country’s capital, and the liberals and socialists are attempting to overrun this great nation we live in. Every day, the news is full of murder and mayhem. Christians and conservatives have become the ‘whipping boys’ of society, and political correctness is making it difficult to speak without offending someone. At times, I am filled with hopelessness and despair at everything that is going on. In spite of all this, and even though I still don’t know what plan God has for me and my life, I have HOPE.

Happy 2020.

Living On The Incline

“Christianity is lived on an incline, and if you’re not moving forward, you’re slipping backwards.” – Tauren Wells, God’s Not Done With You, a 10-day devotional on Bible.com.

“Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.” When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.” Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed.” Matthew 26:69‭-‬74 NASB

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17 NASB

It’s a slippery slope we live on; so easy to fall into envy, greed, jealousy, lust, gluttony, pride, anger, laziness…..

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He [Jesus] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8‭-‬9 NASB

Now is a good time to concentrate on the positive. It’s also a time when many of us make resolutions for the new year. I quit making them, at least publicly, because I never kept them. Actually, there is one that I have made, and it is the same one as this year comes to an end and we go into a new year. Spend as much time as possible in study, prayer, and meditation. I believe that when we put God first, everything else will fall into place. Not always how we want, or think it should be, but according to God’s Will.

“The righteous cry, and the LORD hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:17‭-‬18 NASB

Pray always. Whether in your quiet place, or a church building, or walking down the street, it’s simply having a conversation with the LORD. He always hears us.

“But JESUS Kept Silent …”

“… And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the Living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the Right Hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” ” – Matthew 26:63‭-‬64 NASB

What a powerful statement!

Jesus never bragged about Who He was. He stood silent when He was accused of being seditious against the government, and in fact, He never called on His followers to overthrow the government. He was tried and convicted on hearsay, so that He could stand before us, and die for us, on the cross. Could you – can you – stand by and be accused of crimes and keep silent? Do you? At work or school, at home, how many times have we defended ourselves, rightfully or wrongly? Especially when working around kids, a very common phrase we hear is “but I didn’t do anything!” I have defended myself many times (right or wrong), and I’m sure I will many more times in the future.

But Jesus kept silent….. The only truly innocent person to ever live, when accused, kept silent. The God of the Universe, Creator, Son, Living LORD Who calls Heaven home, showed us how to live and how to turn the other cheek. He was born for that moment. No argument, no grandstanding, no yelling. What a wonderful example for us to follow as we move into a new year.

A Time of Thanks

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8‭-‬9 NASB

Christmas is coming. What are you going to be grateful for? Jesus, the reason we even have something to celebrate, or how much “stuff” you get?

Defender

You may have noticed I haven’t posted in a few weeks. For a moment, I let the worries of the world overtake me. For many people, and for many reasons, this most beautiful season is also the most difficult. Could be that a loved one isn’t present for a variety of reasons. It can be because of a lack of funds or other inability to serve people we love. Depression hits hard. Despondency is widespread.
Psalm‬ ‭42:11‬ ‭AMPC‬‬ declares, “Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my countenance, and my God.”

Francesca Battistelli and Steffany Gretzinger were singing “Defender” on the radio as I read this verse this morning:
When I thought I lost me
You knew where I left me
You reintroduced me to Your love
You picked up all my pieces
Put me back together
You are the defender of my heart

Then I heard “Casting Cares” by Finding Favor:
When fear feels bigger than my faith
And struggles steal my breath away
When my back’s pressed up against the wall
With the weight of my worries stacked up tall
You’re strong enough to hold it all

God’s Word answers my fears, our fears, and His musicians sing the words I/we need to hear. HE is the Defender, our Strength and our Deliverer. HE takes care of the weak, the frightened, the lonely. HE is always here with us, if we just open our eyes, our hands, and our hearts to Him.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:28‭-‬31 NASB

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