“4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7 NIV
One summer I had an extraordinary gift and experience. Many years ago I had worked with a man that was an exceptional mentor to me in the workplace. I was very green in working within a large corporation and he showed me the ropes, especially in a politically charged and highly competitive setting. He was gracious and kind. He was a light in the darkness for me.
I lost touch with him for several decades and then we reconnected at a reunion. He was five years into an incredible fight with leukemia. In the few weeks I had left with him, he continued to teach me. He lived this passage in Philippians 4 each and every day: through pain and through a failing body — in grace and beauty. He left behind an incredible legacy of unselfish love and great wisdom with many family and friends. He lived and died being a light for me and for many, many others; including future generations.
I had the incredible opportunity to tape our sessions together. As I listened to them and edited them for his family, I experienced a wide range of emotions – from tears to belly laughs! He was so very special. He was a gift to me. I will forever be thankful that God placed him in my path. I am so thankful that I was able to give just a little something back to him in the midst of all the kindness that he had shown me.
Lord, thank you for showing me the power of gratitude and serving others.
“1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge. 3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them. 4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.” Psalm 19:1-4 NIV
This gave me pause. When I look at the beauty of the sky, it does speak! When I look at stars and pictures of the universe, it overwhelms me. It speaks volumes without a word. God, Creator of all, You are a Mighty God!
Then I paused again. You made me too. Is it enough to be exactly what You made me to be? What stops me? If I can simply be exactly what You made me to be, can I speak volumes without a word? That is a humbling thought.
What influences me otherwise? What do I put ahead of that objective on a daily basis?
Lord help me. Take my heart. Make it new. Make it into that beautiful expression of You all over again. I pray that others can see You in me without speaking a word. I ask these things in Jesus Name.
“23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23-24 NASB
Work looks a little different for everyone. Whether an artist, musician, attorney, welder, doctor or counselor – we all have a job to do. So, I ask myself the question, “What have I been given to do that I need to see to completion?” This goes beyond occupation. We have been given different gifts and talents that extend far beyond the workplace. I have to pause and reflect sometimes about whether or not everyone sees God in me regardless of setting: work, church, social, sports, dinner, political, etc. Am I using the gifts and talents I have been given?
It is my prayer that God will help me to conceive the vision for His work and that all things will be completed to His satisfaction. I pray that my work will be an imitation of His work – strong, beautiful, graceful and excellent. I am so very thankful for His clear instruction, divine grace and mercy. With Him all things are possible.
“Teach us to number our days so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 NIV
Number our days. That could be interpreted as living each day like it is our last. But even then, what does that mean? For me, it means perspective. How do I live my life from the perspective of what it looks like in totality. I have had seasons of selfishness and opportunistic pursuits. As I am getting older, I am starting to consider more thoughtfully and intentionally what I want to do with the days I have left. It does not feel like retirement! I feel more of a sense of urgency in accomplishing things that make a difference. I have a desire to tuck into God more closely so that His wisdom governs how my days are spent to accomplish His desires instead of my own. I have put more selfish things aside as I focus more on Him. It’s invigorating. It’s renewing. It’s just not about me anymore. I am filled with excitement and anticipation of how God will use my days.
Father, I pray that Your will, not mine, will govern my remaining days.
Embed from Getty Images “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction.” Exodus 16:4 NASB
There have been times when I have gone through tests, different types: relationships, financial, career, integrity. Some I have endured better than others. Some I have had to repeat. The best are the ones where I tuck into God, trusting Him and looking to Him for direction. It’s still hard. This verse in Exodus really sums it up for me. Am I truly able to accept God’s provision daily and walk in His instruction? Am I able to live one day at a time? Can I rest in it? Peacefully? Joyfully? Abundance is not always about material things. What is a life of abundant faith?
It is a day to day journey. Wisdom Hunters “Soul Food” devotional (October 23, 2014) stated “Abundant life is for the faith-hearted.” Not the faint-hearted. Not the well-organized. Not the wealthy. Not the poor. Not the intellectually superior. Faith unlocks miracles of the spiritual realm. It is the same today as it was for Jesus. He walked away from communities of little faith. He flourished in the lives of those willing to take even one step in faith.
That gives me hope. If I can just take that one step of faith…
It’s a day to day journey, one step at a time, in faith.
Father, I stand in faith. Faith in Your power, Your promises, Your plan. In You I have hope. In You I am strong. Thank you for Your undying love! In You I find abundance. Help me be more faith-hearted every day!
Embed from Getty Images “Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!” Ecclesiastes 9:4 NIV
I love the Bible. The history and examples are so rich and engaging. The insight and revelation that comes in reading it blows my mind sometimes. It’s like the pages come alive and touch my heart and mind. Truly a renewing of the mind that I need on a daily basis.
The examples of those that have gone before give me hope. They teach me. They offer inspiration and encouragement. Sometimes they make me laugh out loud. Like this scripture. If anyone is having a pity party, check out this verse! Are you living and breathing? Then don’t waste any of it! Be glad and hopeful! It brings to mind the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail…”I’m not dead!” And I’m thankful!
No matter how bad things may seem, I have life. I don’t even mean this life. While I am very thankful for each day that I live and breathe in this world, I am even more thankful for the eternal life that Christ offers. If even a glimpse of the love and care are demonstrated in His sacrifice, then what is yet to come is so incredibly beautiful that I have to simply accept it in awe. I can’t wrap my head around it. I can only tingle in anticipation. Any temptation to fret or worry or be anxious will be gone. Any inkling of self-sufficiency will be gone. I will simply be at an eternal concert rocking the house in praise and worship. That will be my full-time job! So I better start practicing now.
Father, thank you for Your life everlasting! I am no longer dead. I am alive in You!
Embed from Getty Images For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” 1 Peter 1:23 NIV
Imperishable: not subject to decay; indestructible; enduring.
So as Christians, we are born of the imperishable Word of God. In the beginning was the Word. “And God said” gave birth to the universe! Jesus Christ was the Word of God in the flesh. So we are not subject to decay. We are indestructible. We are enduring. How often do we really walk in that? That sounds like pretty powerful stuff to me!
I love how in Jesus Christ we are made whole again. We are not subject to the decay of this world. In our spirit, we are made perfect in Him. If I could embrace Him fully–with all my heart and all my soul and all my mind–I believe all that power would be manifested physically too. So that is my hope! It is my hope that my heart, soul and mind will so completely belong to Jesus that His power can flow through me and trust that it will only be used to accomplish what God desires. That His power can be manifested to bring heaven, His imperishable Kingdom, here on earth. Evil will be put to rest. Wars will cease. His peace and love will reign.
Father, thank you for giving me a rebirth of the imperishable kind. Thank you for Your everlasting love and redemption. Thank you for giving me Your Word in Jesus. I pray that I share Your Words with others so they too can be born of an imperishable seed.