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Wake up!


Talking. Tasting. Speaking.

The tongue is a tricky little member of the body. While it can be used for good—words of encouragement, salvation and praise—it can also be used for evil. Insults, sarcasm, and lies are right on the tip of the tongue. Left to its natural self, the tongue cannot be trusted. Thankfully God has provided a way.

“The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of the learned, that I may know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4

Why has God given us the tongue of the learned?

So we will know how to speak a word of encouragement to those who are tired.

Tired of the circumstances.

Tired of dealing with marriage problems (It wasn’t supposed to be this hard was it?).

Tired of that nagging sin problem.

Tired of getting kicked when down.

Just plain old tired.

But there is a catch:

We gotta show up to hear from Him so we can speak His words. Every morning. Why every morning? Because everyday we are going to run into people who need the kind of help that only comes from the Creator of the universe. Someone who doesn’t know Jesus is depending on you today for the help they need. Our words don’t change hearts, lives or souls. Only God’s word has that kind of power.

The connection.

There’s a connections from the ear to the tongue. We meet. He speaks. We hear. We speak.

. We miss out and so do those we do life with.

Read this same verse in the NASB:

“The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.”

Wow. I want a tongue of a disciple.

What would the tongue of a disciple say? Words of faith. Words of truth. Words of love. How does a person listen as a disciple? They seek sound teaching, laying aside lesser things in order to choose better things. They pick out their Master’s voice over the babble of a thousand voices, leaning in to catch every word.  What do disciples listen for? Opportunities to share the gospel, commands from their teacher, and occasions to learn.

Next Steps:

  1. Wake up! Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual and open God’s word.
  2. Pick out! Pick a few verses that speak to you, write them on note cards and memorize them!
  3. Listen in! Go to  Oneplace.com and subscribe  to a few podcasts that interest you. Listen on your way to work or when you are running errands.

Have a blessed day!

all rights reserved. copyright 2017.

 

 

 




Measure Up

Ok, so where’s this verse been all of my young life?

In my 40 plus years of Bible reading, I’ve NEVER read this Scripture before. I am just saying.  Is God just funny like that, or have I been blind all these years (ever seeing, but never perceiving)?

12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12

Guilty as charged for longer than I care to admit. I have wasted time, talent, brain cells, resources and decades of my life comparing and measuring myself to others and ALWAYS coming up short. Coveting their talents, gifts, clothes, businesses. For crying out loud, even jealously envying the ministries of other brothers and sisters in Christ. Never smart enough, talented enough, wise enough, quick enough, fun enough, popular enough,

just never enough

Blessed is she who believes what God has said is true.

What has He said to us? Read these next words slowly—Out Loud:

I am called, I am chosen,  I am gifted,  I am forgiven,  (oh, say that one again) I AM FORGIVEN!  I am loved, I am redeemed, I am restored, I am anointed I am adopted, I am released, I am protected, I am equipped, I am powerful in Christ, I am a warrior, and my enemies will be defeated before me. I am His beloved child.

That’s who you are. That’s who I am. God says it in His Word, so it’s the truth. Let’s stop listening to the lies of the enemy and trying to measure up against the world.

Nothing but the truth.

, and ONLY THEN will we become all we were created to be.

Knowing God’s truth is the key that opens the door to abundant life.

We must  keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.

But measuring ourselves against Jesus… isn’t that a tall order? Yes, and it reminds me of my sons. When they were young they constantly measured themselves against the grownups of our family. Charting their progress at each family event by measuring themselves.  The first benchmark was my itty-bitty five-foot-nothing mother. The kids were thrilled when they passed-up Grandma, but they weren’t willing to stop there. They locked eyes on their 6’2′ grandpa. He was a worthy measure! Same thing with Jesus. Why stop short by comparing ourselves to our friends, our fav sports persona or rock star? Let’s aim higher and lock eyes on the Most High.

We compare ourselves to Him, and take hope in the fact that if we are in His word and His word is in us, we are being transformed into the image of Christ. Day by day, piece by piece, chunk by chunk, blow by blow, from glory to glory until we look like, talk like, sound like, act like, love like, live like Jesus.  Amen.

That’s how we measure up. By the Book.

Amen.

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One Things

Welcome to a new year.

2017 brings new opportunities to use our gifts, develop our skills, deepen our walk with Christ,  and impact the world for Christ. On TV the other morning, two ladies shared their New Year’s resolutions—lists of things they wish to achieve in 2017. Good things. Worthy things. Resolutions are good, but they are often forgotten by January 2nd, when the busyness of life sets in again. But what if we tried one thing? One new thing, one old thing, one important thing, one critical thing to focus on for one year. Most of us can handle one thing. Below is a list of one things to spark your imagination:

One Things:

  1. One word: I love the One Word movement. Simple. Quick. Effective. Follow the link to choose your One Word for 2017.
  2. One podcast: Listen to one Christian podcast a day. I love Breakpoint, Insight for Living, Turing Point, and Joyce Meyer Ministries. One Place is a good place to find Christian podcasts.
  3. One prayer: Commit to pray for one important thing every week day this year.
  4. One habit: establish one new good habit, or evict one old bad old habit.
  5. One relationship: Work on one important relationship,  partnership,  friendship,  or courtship.
  6. One study: start or join one Bible study group this year. And. Finish. It.
  7. One project: Focus on starting or finishing that one important project you’ve been dreaming about.
  8. One hour: Devote one hour a day/week/month to prayer, ministry, Bible study, exercise, volunteering, studying etc.
  9. One composition: Listen to one excellent piece of music a day. Start with Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi and Debussy. Enter a name in a Youtube search bar and listen for free!
  10. One book: Read one excellent book a week. Please click on the link to find a few good books and get started! 10 Books Every Christian Should Read

It’s not too late to try one thing.

Take a moment to pray and ask God to show you what He wants you to focus on in 2017. Let me know what one thing you are going to work on this year. Leave me a comment below. I’d love to chat with you!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

 

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The Lights of Christmas

The Lights of Christmas

In the dusk of a December evening, my car crunches down the icy roads. I look forward to this every year. I used to drive with two excited kids in the car. Munching cookies. Caroling our hearts out. A Christmas tradition long kept. Now my sons are grown and gone so I keep the faith by myself. Still excited. Still blessed by the lights of Christmas.

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:15-17

It’s like a treasure hunt.

Who still believes? Who still keeps the light of Christmas burning in their heart, twinkling on the eaves and door frames of their houses? Sparkling displays of an inner faith of the Immanuel King, born in a manger in the dark of a winter eve.

Dark streets offer no hope.

No lights. No love. No life. Where is Jesus in this darkness? Those who have no Christmas lights of their own can only see from afar the lights of their neighbors. Reflected glory. Borrowed joy.  Maybe Christmas lights burning strong, true and beautiful will cause others to ask, wonder, reflect and accept.

Light your candles. Trim your trees. Maybe the people asking why the lights? will then ask why the cross?

In him was life,and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” 1 John 1:4-5

Merry Cross-mas.

Merry Christmas.

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copyright 2016




The Crosses of Christmas

At Christmas, our hearts turn to thoughts of Jesus.

crossesWe think of the newborn King swaddled in rough wool, laying in a manger. We ponder the cradle. But what about the cross?  What does cross have to do with Christmas?

‘Cross the continent,

Miles away, in the land of Persia, the Wise men readied supplies and treasures to cross over hazardous terrain to reach the feet of Jesus. Doubtlessly many troubles crossed their path as they journeyed to Bethlehem. Across  political lines and racial boundaries they trekked. Sacrifice, labor and love marked their journey as a star led them to the Light of the World.

‘Cross the town of Bethlehem,

the shepherds watched over their flocks in the fields and valleys.  Not a star, but angels crossed paths with the herdsmen.  The messengers of God heralded the Good News.  Through the silent night, the shepherds crossed the town in search of the tiny King.

‘Cross the wilderness,

Joseph led Mary to Bethlehem. The young couple couldn’t leave town quick enough.  Many believed they had crossed a line. But Joseph and Mary knew. They KNEW the One who called them. And they followed.

‘Cross the temple she saw them.

She saw Him. Even if her old eyes failed, the Spirit within her would have recognized HIM anywhere. Quickly, she crossed the courtyard of the temple. The aged and newborn. Cross generations of time, a widow meets her Savior.

The cradle. The cross. Christmas.

We can’t have one without the other.

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

Action Points

  1. Cross the continent and pray for another nation this Christmas. Choose a nation that is in the news or go to Voice of the Martyrs and find a nation in need of prayer.  Like the Wisemen, how can you reach across the continent with the message Christmas?
  2. Cross your town and share the love of Christ with those in need. Google search charitable organizations in your town such as Salvation Army,  Samaritans  or a local soup kitchen. Like the shepherds, how can you cross your town to share the love of Christ this holiday season?
  3. Cross your church and look for the tired, the discouraged or the lonely. There are many walking wounded in our own congregations. Like Anna how can you reach across the pews of your church and share the love of our Savior this Christmas?

Merry Christmas.

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Copyright 2016




Double Doppel

doppel“It must have been her doppelganger,” Erik said as hammered down a bite of his Detroit-style pizza.

“Her what?”

“Her doppelganger.” The word seemed to hang in the air, frozen between us.

“Doppelganner?”

“ganger.”

“Spell it, please.”

“d-o-p-p-e-l-g-a-n-g-e-r.”

“Wow. I’ve never heard that word before, ” I replied as I munched my slice.

I am a word-a-holic.

I like word games, crossword puzzles and magazine vocab quizzes.  Etymology is fascinating. I want to know everything about a new word, such as where it originated, who coined it, and when it was first used.  As we weaved through traffic en route from Buddy’s Pizza to the Henry Ford Museum, I asked Erik to repeat the word several times in hopes of making it mine. Doppelganger. Doppelgranger. Doppelganner. I struggled with the syllabification.

At the museum, I took off for the American Style and Spirit exhibit and Erik bee-lined to a collection of boring machine parts. As I stood gazing at the beautiful gowns (circa 1920’s), a woman approached and asked me if my name was Carrie. I told her no, my name is Mary. Her response:

“Wow! You have a doppelganger named Carrie.”

Not kidding. What were the odds?

Doppelganger. Doppelganger.

Doppelgänger: [dopuh l-gang-er; German daw-puh l-geng-er] Noun, a ghostly double or counterpart of a living person.

God wants us to have a doppelganger—Jesus. Think I’m kidding? Read the following verse.

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:29

Jesus is our doppelganger. Our twin. Double. Doppelganger. We are to be conformed to His image. Thankfully we are not responsible for the transformation—God is. He uses every circumstance, good and evil, to sculpt our character. A piece here. A rough edge there. Constant hammering and chiseling until finally, boom bam, we look like, sound like, act like, think like Jesus.

Do people accuse you of looking like Jesus? Do strangers walk away from an encounter with you asking who does she/he remind me of? Oh, yeah, Jesus!  If you are like me, the answer is often a big NO. Let’s take a few Action Steps!

Action Steps:

  1. Pray and ask God to conform you heart and soul into the image of Christ.
  2. Hide God’s Word in your heart. It is the main tool God uses to transform us. His word is a “hammer that breaks rock into pieces.” Jeremiah 23:29
  3. Watch what you allow into your mind. Sinful things shape the heart as well.
  4. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you think before you act or speak. Ask yourself, Is this what Jesus would say or do?
  5. Thank God for how He is working to change you from the inside out to be like Jesus.

Jesus is our doppelganger.

Have a blessed day!

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