October 15- Let It Be

And Mary said, Yes, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say. Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38

Have you ever made a decision you believed was right and then suffered persecution from those you loved? Let’s go a step further. Have you ever prayed to God for guidance and He directed you but your loved ones didn’t believe you? This type of situation seems to be pretty common throughout human history. Mary, the mother of Jesus, embodies an amazing attitude in this scripture. Can you imagine being engaged to the love of your life and then finding out that you have been chosen by an unseen God to carry His Child? How in the world do you explain that to the man you are to marry, let alone, to your family?

This awesome, wonderful, and mysterious blessing could have cost Mary her very life. In finding out about her pregnancy, Joseph would have had every right to bring her before the people as a public disgrace and have her stoned to death. She was fully aware of all the implications. Yet, in the uncertainty of her future, she had enough faith in Yahweh (God) to answer his messenger Gabriel, “Let it be with me just as you say.” She was surrendering her will to the plan God had for her life.

Things in this world haven’t changed all that much when it comes to God’s plan versus man’s plan. And maybe you are struggling this very day with some issues in your life that have no easy answers. This is a good time to embrace the resolve of Mary and say to God, let it be with my life as you say. What you and I need is not a guarantee of understanding, but an unwavering peace that says our lives are going according to His plan. So what if it doesn’t make sense! If we have His Word on it, and there is peace in our heart after we’ve prayed about it, let it be!

Lorenzo

October 13 -That’s Why We Pray

Luke 11:1-3 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name,  your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread.”

We watched a movie the other night about a little boy going through a serious trial.   Everyone told him to pray. He heard the word “pray” over and over, but it didn’t really make much sense to him. So, instead of trying to figure it out, he decided to write a letter to God. He began to write Him a letter almost every day. He talked to Him like He was a friend who cared and someone who could help. He then began to develop an amazing sense of peace to which others were drawn. He began to see answers to his “prayers.” His confidence grew and everyone around him was affected by his trusting demeanor. Lives were changed because this little guy decided to talk to God.

 

I think prayer is a perplexing thing for most of us. It is one of those very important things that nobody knows much about. Yet, we talk about it all the time. “Pray for me, I need to get a job.” “Oh, we really need to pray for so-and-so, their mother is in the nursing home.” It can almost be an overused catch-all word that translates “Help me!”

 

Jesus talked about prayer many times. The Bible has hundreds of references to it. When Jesus taught the disciples the answer to their question about how to pray, He basically says, “Talk to Me. Get by yourself. Listen part of the time or you’re monopolizing the conversation. Be thankful for the everyday things. Talk to Me like you would a trusted friend, a friend Who has the power to change the circumstances. Most of all, be ready for Me to change you!” The next time someone says “pray for me,” or you need some prayer yourself, try writing your thoughts in a letter to God. Put a date on it and refer back to it. Be real, but be respectful. Cry if you need to, He hears that too. Most of all, get that Bible off the shelf and read. He’s been talking to you all the time, it’s all there in black and white.

That’s why we pray. “The greatest tragedy in life isn’t unanswered prayer, its unoffered prayer.” (quote by Adam Clarke)

Jennifer

Biblical Meditation: Psalms 54:2 Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth.

 

October 12- The Measure of a Moment

Make the most of every opportunity. Colossians 4:5 

It seems like much time is spent on things that are limited in their ability to weather the test of time. Somewhere along the way I picked up the phrase, “Is this duplicate-able?” (That’s technically not an official word.) This word reminds me to invest in those things that will carry on long after I’m finished with whatever it is I’m doing at the time.

The other night there was a sporting event on the television I really wanted to watch. But as I watched I couldn’t help thinking about other things I could be doing with this precious block of time that would have true significance in the grand scheme of life.

I am not telling you what to do concerning your TV, cable, or favorite sports team, for that matter. What I desire to communicate is that each of us should aim toward making the most of the time we’ve been given. Don’t waste moments you can’t get back doing a whole lot of nothing. Make every moment count. One day each of us will stand before the One who gave us our lease on life. We will give an accounting of how we spent His time, tools, and talents. He’s gracious, but He also rewards faithfulness. So, make the moments of today count for tomorrow.

February 16 – Not Such a Dirty Word

Wise discipline imparts wisdom; spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents
Proverbs 29:15
Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did—they’ll turn out delightful to live with. Proverbs 29:17

Discipline: Education; instruction; cultivation and improvement, comprehending instruction in arts, sciences, correct sentiments, morals and manners, and due subordination to authority. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

This little “D” word is so often misused and totally misunderstood. If the truth be told, even when we aren’t trying, we are “disciple-ing.”

Our actions, or lack thereof, educate, instruct and cultivate the lives round about us.

So why not focus attention on the ways of wise counsel, mixed with self-disciplined examples?

Kids, co-workers, or kinfolk don’t care how much you know…until they know how much you care.

Lorenzo

August 29 – The Cause of the Effect

For the Lord shall be your confidence, firm and strong, and shall keep your foot from being caught [in a trap or some hidden danger]. Proverbs 3:26

I don’t ordinarily take a fancy to reading instructions. Though times of avoidable catastrophes have influenced me otherwise, I still had to make myself stop and read the “how to” manual for our garden tiller when we bought it.

What a sad commentary that is when almost every single time I have made myself stop, look and listen to the wisdom of the ones who made the doggone thing, the thing worked as designed.

But stubbornness and laziness takes on a pride unique to the individual. Then the derelict twin brothers, assumption and presumption take center stage on a not so funny comedic routine. The end result is usually a blame game toward the manufacturer. If that’s not insanity, I don’t know what is.

That’s why today’s Proverb requires a backwards look at the proceeding “instructions.” Otherwise it looks like all the doing is randomly up to God. Here’s my part of the “cause and effect”:
My son, let them not escape from your sight, but keep sound and godly Wisdom and discretion, and they will be life to your inner self, and a gracious ornament to your neck (your outer self). Then you will walk in your way securely and in confident trust, and you shall not dash your foot or stumble. When you lie down, you shall not be afraid; yes, you shall lie down, and your sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden terror and panic, nor of the stormy blast or the storm and ruin of the wicked when it comes [for you will be guiltless], Proverbs 3:21-25 AMP
It is up to me to not let wisdom and discretion escape me. My part is small in comparison to God’s, but still, it is required.

May today find us nose deep in the manual, mining out the wisdom and discretion. Then, when it’s time to do some “tilling,” the acts of “brother assumption” and “brother presumption” won’t be necessary.