The Difference Between Need and Want

Good morning friends. I hope you are well this morning. I am afraid the winter grays are upon us here in the midwest. At least that is how I see it. During the warmer months, the sun shines its light and warmth upon us to reflect the beauty of God all around us.  As the weather begins to cool, the cloud cover appears more often. But there is beauty there also, we just have to look a little harder to see it and feel it. The brightness of the sun is replaced by bright yellow and red leaves. Pumpkins and colorful gourds are in the markets and the corns is getting dry in the field to make food for farm animals. Proof that God is there to fill our needs. We have a needs for all things from God and He wants us to be filled with them.

Many people will not understand how much we need God in all things but those of us who follow Jesus understand just how important our need and His want for us in filling all those needs are tied together.

“Economically, they may manage; intellectually, they may manage; socially, they may get by. But down underneath the surface of rational man is a vacuum-a void that can be met only through Jesus Christ.” Billy Graham

Mankind will continue to believe he can fully fill his needs without Jesus, but the void God created in our inner most depths is to be filled by God Himself. The towers of Babel we try to build to fill that void will still crumble because He wants us to fill that area with Him. It’s kind of a simple hard task – we have needs and He wants to fill them. It’s simple because all we have to do is believe, but it’s hard because it’s a lifelong process. But He is ever by our side to meet any need. I think the trouble man has is understand the difference between need and want. We want a lot more than we need.

So let us reassess our needs today and enjoy God daily gift He wants to share with us.

Dear Father, help us to understand how you want to fill our souls with the beauty of your presence to fill our every need.

Have a blessed rest of the week and weekend and remember always the power of kindness. Kindness can bridge the concerns of a day and allow the waters of kindness to flow out to others in need.

Morning Encouragement

Good morning friends. What a beautiful day we have today after the dreariness of yesterday – although we needed the rain. At least we did not have the forecasted storms. This morning I am bringing you some encouragement from Billy Graham and Oswald Chambers. I read both of their devotion each morning and this morning their messages easily merge together. 

“Being a Christian is serious business. Many will believe intellectually about God but then live a life unworthy of Him believing He will save them in the end.”  Billy Graham

I am afraid it doesn’t work that way.  Our walk in the everyday day life reveals where our true priorities lay. While we may not walk as pure as Enoch did, we must take our walk seriously.

“The true test of a person’s spiritual life and character is not what he does in the extraordinary moments of life, but what he does during the ordinary times.” Oswald Chambers 

It can be a truly hard thing to walk as Jesus asks us to walk because He seems to walk ten paces ahead of us.  Remember, when Jesus was here on Earth, He was not doing His own walk but walking how the Father wanted him to walk. So, he fully understands how difficult it can be for us. He knows we can’t do it alone, so He comes along beside us in the form of The Holy Spirit to guide us as we go. 

It is the Holy Spirit that changes our mindset in how we see the world churning around us, giving us strength and courage to face whatever comes our way. And those times when we are fully in step with God, we feel a peace about us that even we can not explain. 

He doesn’t want us walking intellectually with Him, knowing all there is to know about Him. He wants us to walk willingly, heart to heart with Him and He will take care of all the rest. 

So, walk humbly with your Lord today and let Him see your heart and He will ease all of your concerns so that you can continue to walk beside Him at peace. And remember as you walk, share the kindness that He wants us to share. Sharing kindness adds another layer of Joy to your heart..

Always Be Kind

Morning Encouragement

Good morning friends. Today in the Mid-west it is a wet and gloomy day. No rain but just heavy humidity and gray clouds. It is a great day to visualize and understand the true joy of Christ. In my reading this morning in Jesus Calling, Sarah reminded us that joy is not dependent on what we see, what our circumstances are or how we feel. We can be on top of a mountain enjoying the beautiful sunshine or in the bottom of the damp valley surrounded by foggy gloom. Regardless of what is going on around us, we can feel the true joy of Christ.

“True Joy is a by-product of living in God’s presence.” Sarah young.

We are creatures of habit trying to gain our happiness from the things we see instead of knowing or understanding who is standing right by us, that we may not see. God’s presence in our lives not only breaks through the gloomy clouds but can reflect from us onto others as we go through this life.  And there is no limit to the love He wraps around us for us to give also to others.

And although we don’t like the trials, the trials can give us perspective, understanding and hope. And Romans reminds us that “hope does not disappoint”. It strengthens our faith to survive the trials.

The Holy Spirit is ever present reminding us of His constant love even though we may be hurting from the effects of this world. That pain is not forever, but His love is. He speaks of His love all through His Word, and He showed us His ultimate love by dying for us when we didn’t deserve it. So when you face gloomy days, remember the light reflecting off of His face, just for us. He is always close by.

May you feel His love and Peace engulf your possible gloomy times. Know that the brightness of His love will melt that gloom. Embrace it and remember to be kind. Giving kindness, even when not deserved, can show others the beauty of God’s love.

Always be Kind

An Evening Encouragement

Good evening friends. This is coming a little later in the week than normal but I still wanted to send out an encouraging hug even though late. For we all need hugs from time to time. Pastor’s sermons for the last couple of weeks have been on Ephesians 6. A wonderful series to assure us of God’s protection that is there for us to use.  After Sunday’s sermon on the Breastplate of Righteousness, I spoke with him on how I knew intellectually I was not righteous but yet we are told to be righteous as He is righteous.  But his series shows us how Jesus’s righteousness is given to us because of His love for us when we follow His lead.  It got me to thinking about the word righteousness – what does it really mean?  The dictionary says it is the quality of being morally right. A Christian layman’s definition is simply standing right with God.

I saw that there were over 520 scriptures in the bible that talk about righteousness, therefore it is important and I need to pay attention.  But my evening devotion Tuesday night talked about another object of righteousness, a crown of righteousness. 

God’s righteousness is there for all of us who love Him. So when life’s trials seem to have run over you like a bulldozer, know that God knows your heart. He has promised a reward that none of us deserve but because we love Him and are eagerly waiting for His return, he has a crown of righteousness to give us. The righteousness we have is not our own by what we do but is the righteousness of Jesus Himself that He has passed on to us. 

When life may seem to be going fast and difficult for you, he wants you to reach up for His hand and He will walk with you through any trial you may face and bring you peace.

May you have a peaceful evening and remember tomorrow to show kindness wherever you can. Kindness given to others creates fertile soil for more kindness to grow.

Always Be Kind

A Quick Morning Encouragement

Good morning friends. In life, we use analogies to help us create mind pictures in understanding a purpose that is beneficial for us. Kind of like Jesus using parables to help people understand His teachings. In today’s devotional with Oswald Chambers he stated :

“God’s purpose is not simply to make us beautiful, plump grapes, but to make us grapes so that He may squeeze the sweetness out of us.” Oswald Chambers

In other words, God’s purpose for man is not to develop us into wonderful people but to show how wonderful we can be when we allow His purposes to come out of  us.
So, be a grape today and allow the sweetness in you to flow out to others.

And remember to be kind. Its the sweetest attribute of Jesus.

Is Our Christianity Like Water on a Duck’s Back?

Good morning friends. This morning I bring you needy ducks. As I walked close to the river at the park, I saw them coming. Running as only ducks can do knowing people may have something they want. I stopped and watched them come closer.

As the braver ones up front stopped within two feet of me, they waited expectantly, softly quacking and muttering. This reminded me of how expectant some people can be of a church or Christianity as a whole. Only to stop short, mutter softly, not understanding what the real gift is that could be given.

I had nothing to give these ducks so pretty soon they turn their backs to me, complaining as they go and slowly waddle back out of the sunlight to the shade of the trees.

Too often I see people coming to the church to get out of a jam. The church will do what they can only to see the previous pattern of this person’s life repeat itself. Some will get so disgruntled that they go back to the dark shade of the trees without truly understanding the benefits God can give them with His light.

“God uses the reaction of your life to your circumstances to fulfill HIS purpose as long as we continue to walk in the light.” Oswald Chambers

We as a church, not necessarily the church we attend, but Christ’s church, must be willing to allow our light to shine thus so, for seekers to see it, want it and learn to walk in it. Oswald Chambers reminds us that it is the work that God does through us who understand this light that counts for the kingdom. Now that our churches are trying to reopen from this virus, it is that much more important for our light to shine. Not just for those we know who already understand the light, for we all who enjoy seeing it as well, but especially for those who are seeking the light. If we can show others how to quench their thirst with the river of light instead of the darkness of the shade trees, then they can be refreshed and encouraged.

As our churches and lives begin to reopen, allow God to work through you to help refresh others, giving everyone some much needed hope of survival in this life. Let’s let our light shine, showing all how to reach up for Jesus’s open hand. It is there waiting to be grabbed as He is anchored with the Father. Their love together can calm any fear, soothe any hurt and encourage you beyond measure. Reach up for His hand.

And as always, I remind you to be kind. Kindness comes from Christ, so let our kindness be a light to someone needing it.

Its Only Gonna get Worse

Monday’s I usually send out a post for an encouraging word to help us all have a little brighter smile for the week, knowing we do sincerely care for each other. But tonight I am asking you to remember we are at war. Not a war that you can see with guns, tanks and such, but a war that is even more devastating…spiritual war.

Tonight, I feel we are at war in all of our churches, so I am sending this out to any Christians who understand the true love of Christ.  We know Satan is busy lying and deceiving, trying to take down any followers of Jesus as he can. We see it everyday on the news but I saw something today that broke my heart and it reminded me that we are indeed in the midst of a spiritual war. What I saw is not important, so no need to ask.  It is just a reminder that Christians are being singled out and that it is only going to get worse.

We, as Christians, MUST stand firm TOGETHER, holding each other up, praying fervently for our pastors, our leaders and our churches. We have seen amazing answers to prayer recently in our church, so we know how well prayer works but I ask you tonight to go strongly to the Lord to pray for pastors, our church leaders and our church congregations and against those who seek to destroy them.

Again, we must be vigilant in prayer. A question from the sermon this past Sunday was “what is prayer” – prayer is nothing more than communicating with God. It does not have to be done in a special way but it does have to be done sincerely and it needs to be done often. The more we tune into the Lord, the more power we have to resist the evil schemes even when we don’t realize we are being attacked.

So I ask you tonight, pray for your church leaders, your pastors, your churches. By all of our prayers, they will be strengthened.

And I close with a reminder of the spiritual gift of kindness. Kindness has the ability to turn away meanness.

Always Be Kind

An Encouraging Word

Good morning. Hope you are well this morning. I am bringing you thoughts from several sources this morning in hope that it makes you feel the love and peace of Christ. I think there are times we all struggle with “Am I doing this right, am I following Jesus the right way today?” Or maybe it’s just me and my ADD. Sometimes my mouth opens and…good grief where did that come from? Pastor’s sermon Sunday really showed me how easy it is to get off track, even as Christians. 

Some so-called Christian leaders even advocate the working out of a system of morals, ethics, and religion that would bring together all the religions of the world. It cannot be done. Jesus Christ is unique. Billy Graham

I am rereading the Left Behind series and finding that since it has been so long since I read it the first time, I forgot about a lot of the inner details of the books, so it’s almost like reading it for the first time. I ran across a statement that hit closed to home as one believer was trying to explain the difference between religion and Christianity. It said “…religion is man’s attempt to reach God, while Jesus is God’s attempt to reach man.”

Our ordinary abilities will never worship God unless they are transformed by the indwelling Son of God. Oswald Chambers

I remind you today of how very much we are all loved and all God really wants from us is that we follow him. When we go all in with that, He give us the riches of the world, not as the world gives but as He gives us through His love for us.

And as always I close with a reminder to be kind. It show the beauty from the inside.

Always Be Kind

Morning Encouragement

Good morning Y’all. Such a funny contraction “y’all” stemming from the possible laziness of the southern language. In a world that quickly moves about with people moving from place to place all over the world,  we run into many forms of different sayings stopping periodically asking “Where are you from?” But it’s great to know that regardless of where we are from or where we go, the Bible is always the same. The versions may change but the message is the same. We just have to read it often enough to make sure we understand what it is saying. And as we read it, sometimes over and over, we get an entirely new meaning of what we read the last time we read that section. I guess that is what makes it the living word of God.

Those who do not read the bible think we believe that the Christian life makes us free from adversity and trauma. But Oswald Chambers reminds us that the bible teaches us how to deal with the craziness that life throws at us. 

God does not give us overcoming life— He gives us life as we overcome. The strain of life is what builds our strength. Oswald Chambers

When we step out in faith on the teachings of the scriptures we are strengthened and nourished by God to be able to withstand the sometimes hard onslaught of life. We become overcomers.

Be encouraged today that even though times may be hard, we have a Savior teaching us His ways, holding our hands and sometimes carrying us to a peaceful place where we can be comforted from the turmoil of life around us. Stay in His word and find the strength, love and peace He gives us. 

Have a great day and always remember to be kind. Kindness is a gift from God to share on those who need it…and we all need it.

Always Be Kind, even to those who are not.

Faith Hope & Love, Encouragement & FOTD

Faith, Hope and Love are to me the top attributes to the Christian faith. Today I want to tie that in with flowers and Cee’s Flower of the Day as I show off my sunflowers, again.

When my sunflowers started growing, because I am on the quirky side, I gave them names. Some got a name change due to how they bloomed and some remained true to their name. First we have the King and Queen. The King was the first on the scene, planted by the local bird population. King kept his name due to his flower being the largest of all at 9.5 inches (214.3mm) across. While his height was less impressive, King still stands 4.5 feet (1372mm) high. He looks to be on his way out but he actually is just about fully ripe. If you look at the top you can see the seeds starting to show their heads. Soon he will be a feast for the birds.

The King

Queen is much more flamboyant and beautiful as any queen should be. While her blooms are much smaller at 6 in (152mm) she does showoff with14 blooms and she stands at 8.5 feet (2591mm).

The Queen

As beautiful as these two are, the three that guard my gate as I go in and out have been named Faith, Hope & Love. Faith is closest to the gate to refresh me as I go in and out. Hope is furthest from the gate but like his namesake, he is strong, protective and holds the three together. Love is in the middle radiating his name by reflecting his beauty with leaves larger than my hands together.

Faith, Hope & Love

These three have yet to show their flowers but their stature is quite impressive. Hope, on the far left, is 9.5 feet (2896 mm) tall showing 10 buds to share his smiles with those who see them. Faith, on the right, is a little taller at 10 feet (3048 mm) and seems to have only 1 colossal bud, which is fitting for our faith should be large and strong to carry us through any crisis we face. Love takes over the center position which is fitting as love should be centered in who we are and how we are. Love is also the tallest and the largest at 12.5 feet (3810mm) tall. Its stalk is so large that I can barely wrap my fingers around it. Love has more than 12 buds thus far and I still see buds forming because it is still growing. This is how our love should be – strong, with multiple buds and height to be seen from afar.

I am a firm believer that God shows His beauty of faith, hope and love in all things that he creates for us to enjoy and learn of His caring nature. So look at nature with a different eye and let the fullness of Christ fill you with its various forms of beauty.

And in closing, I always like to remind us all of the power of kindness. Kindness can calm, soothe, encourage and give hope for almost any situation. So remember to always be kind.