Tuesday, December 31, 2013

20 Rules of Wisdom

To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity; To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion, A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my son, your father's instruction And do not forsake your mother's teaching; Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head And ornaments about your neck. Proverbs 1:2-9

As we enter a new year, here are some thoughts that might help us navigate the year ahead successfully.

20 Rules of Wisdom
1.           God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.
2.           Dear God, I have a problem, it's me.
3.           Growing old is inevitable, growing UP is optional.
4.           There is no key to happiness. The door is always open.
5.           Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted.
6.           Do the math...count your blessings.
7.           Faith is the ability to not panic.
8.           Laugh every day; it's like inner jogging.
9.           If you worry, don't pray. If you pray...don't worry.
10.       As a child of God, prayer is kind of like calling home everyday.
11.       Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.
12.       The most important things in your home are the people.
13.       When we get tangled up in our problems, be still; God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot.
14.       A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.
15.       He who dies with the most toys is still dead.
16.       We do not remember days, but moments!  Life is moving too fast – so enjoy your precious moments.
17.       Nothing is real to you until you experience it, otherwise its just hearsay.
18.       It's all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again.  Just be sure to flush when you are done.
19.       Surviving and living your life successfully requires courage. The goals and dreams you're seeking require courage and risk taking. Learn from the turtle, it only makes progress when it sticks out its neck. "We are continually faced with great opportunities disguised as unsolvable problems."
20.       Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."

Reading over these I could not help but notice myself thinking, “I know that.”  Amazing isn’t it how much we know but fail to apply?  Maybe this year I will remember to think these thoughts before I act so I can learn less by experience. 

Scripture to Claim:
For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. 
Proverbs 2:6

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Prayer for a Friend

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. Philippians 1:3-5

There are many times when we hear someone say, “I’ll be praying for you”.  It is really good to know that we have those who truly care about our life situations enough to lift our need to God.
How do you pray for a friend?  Do you struggle for the right words or wonder exactly what to ask for?  Possibly this prayer will give you a good start on sharing your petition to God for your friend.  You will discover that praying this prayer will bring specific life situations of your friends to mind.  Your interest will turn into encouragement and strengthen the bond between you and your friend.

Taking time to pray for another may be one of the greatest gifts you can give.  Here is a prayer that you can make your own.  In the place of the word “friend” or a pronoun for them, put their name and see how many times you call their name to God.
A Prayer for a Friend
Father, I ask you to bless my friends reading this right now.
I am asking You to minister to their spirit at this very moment.
Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy.
Where there is self-doubting, release a renewed confidence in Your ability to work through them.

Where there is tiredness, or exhaustion, I ask You to give them understanding, patience, and strength as they learn submission to Your leading.
Where there is spiritual stagnation, I ask You to renew them by revealing Your nearness, and by drawing them into greater intimacy with You.
Where there is fear, reveal Your love, and release to them Your courage.
Where there is a sin blocking them, reveal it, and break its hold over my friend's life.
Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise up leaders, and friends to support, and encourage them.

Give each of them discernment to recognize the evil forces around them, and reveal to them the power they have in You to defeat it.
I ask You to do these things in Jesus' name.

Scripture to Claim:
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, Ephesians 6:18

Sunday, December 29, 2013

I’m Hooked on a Feeling

Jonah 4:1-11
Jonah is pouting.  He is angry at God because the fire of judgment didn’t fall. No earthquake, no invading army, no revolution, no fire from heaven.  Jonah’s anger was evidently not something that suddenly occurred. It had been building over a long period of time.  It had turned into something much worse...resentment.
Resentment means to re-feel.
When a person is directing resentment at themselves it appears as remorse.
When I have unresolved resentment I have:
  • Hidden Feelings
  • Hidden Hatred
  • Hidden Attack
How does Resentment affect our lives?

  I.     Resentment Destroys Our Peace - Jonah 4:1 

Bitterness is more readily equated with hate while resentment is
equated with hurt. 
Latent resentment can trigger active bitterness.

II.     Resentment Causes Whining Jonah 4:3-4 

Focus on your Healer and not your hurt.

III.     Resentment Creates Drama in Life Jonah 3:5-9 

Doing God’s work in man’s power is a sure path to resentment.

IV.     Resentment Claims Our Focus Jonah 4:5 

Resenting someone is a way of never leaving that person.

Choose what you remember from your past carefully. 
Your peace is at stake.

V.     Resentment Drains My Strength Jonah 4:6-8

Getting a good education sometimes means learning lessons
you would never choose to learn.
When our pleasure is more precious than God’s mission, beware the worm!

VI.     Resentment Warps My Values  Jonah 4:9-11

He invites us to look at the world through His eyes, in light of His character, with His purposes in mind.
Warped values come from selfish interests.

VII.     How to Overcome Resentment

Identify the source of the resentful feelings.

Admit exactly how you feel.

Identify the “hot buttons.''

Realize that resentment is often a result of jealousy.

Recognize jealousy is often a byproduct of one’s insecurity.

Pride is the core of resentment.

Develop a new way of looking at past, present and future.

Fully forgive the one who hurt you.

Friday, December 27, 2013

I’m Expecting!!

Submitted by Kerry Patton
“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:18

How uncertain those first hours and days must have been for Mary.  She has just been told by Gabriel that she is to bear a son, born of God, not of man.  A revelation that when her husband to be heard, could have brought her public humiliation, or even death by stoning!  And yet, because Joseph learned in a dream that the child was of God, he was honorable, and raised the child as his own.  Yes, Mary was expecting!  But we might agree that it wasn’t what she expected…if you know what I mean. 

What was Mary expecting?  Well, obviously she was expecting a baby.  But she must also have had mental and emotional expectations too, although only Mary could tell us that for certain what those were.  We know that she was betrothed (engaged) to a man named Joseph.  It seems reasonable to think that she would have expected him to love her, to provide for her and protect her, and that together, she and Joseph would raise their children in the faith of their forefathers.

I would tend to think that the very LAST thing Mary expected was to bring the Messiah into the world.  She seemed as surprised as anyone to learn of the plan of God for her.  I don’t think she expected that her baby boy would be able to heal with a word or a touch, or to raise the dead, or turn a few loaves and fish into a feast for five thousand!

We do get a glimpse into Mary’s expectations when we find her in John chapter 2 at a wedding when the wine runs out.  She has by this time witnessed her baby boy growing into a full grown man, and no doubt seen many amazing things as God worked through him.  She comes to him and effectively asks him to do SOMETHING…whether she does so with her words, or her countenance…to which Jesus replies: “Woman, why do you involve me?  My hour has not yet come.” And yet, he is involved, and the resulting action is literally miraculous.  Wine from vases of water. 

And finally, I don’t think that Mary expected, as she heard Gabriel announce her pregnancy, that she would stand on Golgotha and watch the son she bore die on a cross for the sins of all humanity.  And yet, that is the story isn’t it. 

Here’s a question… Are you expecting?  No, no.  Not in the maternal sense.  Do you and I have expectations about what God might do in us?  One of the key things Mary did when the angel came to her was she effectively said “Whatever God has in mind, I yield to him.”  That is the key - yielding ourselves to whatever.  I think sometimes, we cannot even fathom what God might do in us, through us, and to us to accomplish his will in and on this world.  But it is my hope that we will all be “expecting” very soon.  You know what I mean.  May God fill us with new expectation of what he is going to accomplish. 

Almighty God, I give myself to you.  Work your will in me, through me, and to me.  Be it so done unto me, according to your will.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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