EVERYTHING!!

When I graduated from high school years ago, the preacher presented a message for us as we were going out into the world as adults. I wrote those verses in my Bible then and have written them in the Bible I have carried for almost 40 years. These are verses that you probably know and perhaps have written on your heart.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

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Then another word came to mind: EVERYTHING.

All of my heart and ways includes everything in my daily walk with God, right?

So, what does Colossians 3:17 tell us?Slide3

This verse really challenges me! No matter what we are doing we should do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. Whether we are working, playing, cooking, shopping, watching our kids…anything and everything. That means when we go to work or mow the yard that we are doing it in the name of Jesus – to praise God. Don’t forget the ‘in word’ part either! Every word we say should glorify God. Every word…

Now what about the last part of that verse? Give Thanks. In everything we do? YES! What is there to be thankful about washing the fourth load of laundry? Well, are you blessed with a closet full of clothes to wear? Electricity to run that washing machine? A comfortable place to dwell in that has closets for those clothes? Loved ones to wash clothes for?

Speaking of housework and yard work and work-work… Look at what these two verses say:

  • I Corinthians 16:14 – “Do everything in love.”
  • Philippians 2:14 – “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.”

So all of our words should be said with love and our actions should be done out of love, right? Isn’t it difficult to grumble or argue if love is the motive for our actions?

Do you remember the Golden Rule? “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” (Matthew 7:12 NIV)

What does that verse mean to you? How to you want others to treat you? Are you willing to treat them the same way or even better? Let’s go one step further by reading Titus 2:7: In everything set them an example by doing what is good. Do we teach by example? Do we learn by example? What kind of example have you been today?

My challenge for us this week comes from 2 Peter 1:3 – “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”

Ask yourself: What needs has God given to you this week? This month? This year? In return, what are you doing to strengthen your knowledge of God and His Scriptures?

Let’s close this session with Hebrews 3:4. “For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” EVERYTHING!

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Ears to Hear

What is the job of the ears? Listening and hearing, right? I found two verses in Job that I thought were interesting because of comparison that was made.

Job 12:11 – Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food?
Job 34:3 – For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food.

When we place a piece of food in our mouth, our tongue determines if it is sweet, salty, or something else. But how do our ears test words? Could this refer our ears hearing words and testing them to determine if they are sweet, salty, or otherwise? What does it take to test the words that we hear? Do our ears ever need to test the words we hear that we speak?

Let’s move to the book of Psalms.

Psalm 115:6 – They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell.
Psalm 135:17 – 
They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths.

Do these verses mean that they physically cannot hear from their ears? Of course not. Just as Zechariah 7:11 says: But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. They chose to close their ears – to not hear and listen.

In Matthew 13:15, Jesus says:  For this people’s heart has become calloused;    they hardly hear with their ears,    and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears,    understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. How does a heart become calloused or hardened?

Sometimes children accuse their parents of not listening to them. Is that always true? Do parents sometimes close their ears to a child’s repetitive requests or whining? Think about God and that we are His children. How terrifying that God would ever close his ears to our requests. In Lamentations 3:56, we read: You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.”

In Proverbs 20:12, we read: Ears that hear and eyes that see – the Lord has made them both. So if God made ears that hear, how to they become closed? When people let their hearts become hard, their eyes also close to those around them and to God.

We need to remember that ears are a gift from God. God gave us ears to hear and eyes to see. But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. (Matthew 13:16)

My challenge for all of us this week is to remember that our ears and eyes are a blessing from God and to use them for the gifts that they are. Pay attention to what you hear and how you choose to determine how to use those words – and share those words with others.

You probably have figured out what the next post will be about: Face, eyes, ears, and next…mouths!

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Favor in the Eyes of God

Seek God_See God_Small

We’ve been talking about seeking and seeing God, but what does God see when he looks at you? What did God think when he looked at Noah? Genesis 6:18 says the he found favor in the eyes of God.

What are you doing to be honorable in the sight of God and man? 2 Corinthians 8:21 says “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.” What are you doing to be honorable in God’s house? What about your house and the world around you? What does Proverbs 3:4 say? “Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Isn’t that a great goal? To win favor AND a good name in the sight of God and man. Why is it important to have a good name with God and man? Do you think that takes a lot of work? What kind of work does it require?

When God appeared to Abraham as the three men, Abraham said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by.” (Genesis 18:3) Please, God, do not pass me by was Abraham’s urgent plea. Psalm 77:7 shows an entirely different scenario: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again?” What a terrifying thought! For God to never show his favor again on us!

Let’s look at a few more verses about eyes. Use your Bible to look up the verses and answer the questions.

  • Nehemiah 5:19: What does Nehemiah ask of God?
  • I Peter 3:12: Who are the eyes of the Lord on?
  • Proverbs 15:3: Where are the eyes of the Lord? Who is He watching?

Eyes of the Lord.jpgWhat have you done to win favor with God and man in your lifetime? What are you doing daily? What do you do daily to help you stay focused on what God’s will for you is?

Feel free to share in the comment box below any words that can encourage each of us. (Comments will be reviewed before published.)

Eyes That Seek God

We ended our last conversation with the phrase, Seek God, See God. Our focus was on seeking God and God’s face. Let’s shift now to our faces and begin by looking at our eyes. I read a description of the eye that said it is the origin of sight. What kind of eye sight do you have? Jesus tells us that “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. (Matthew 6:22,23)

Are your eyes healthy? What do they see? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? (Mark 8:18) I John 2:16 warns us that: For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. What are we looking at and what are we taking the time to truly see?

What should our eyes be seeing? What should we be looking at? We need to open our eyes and see the beauty in the world around us. We should look for the needs of those around us and how we can improve and enrich their lives. We should be looking for those we can share God’s love with.

Eyes that seek God, we will see God.

Challenge: Read Luke 6:42 and then check your eyesight this week. What are you focusing on? God? Studying God’s Word? Your family? Your neighbors and co-workers? Yourself?

Seeking His Face

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine on us.  Psalm 67:1 (NIV)

I love the way the sunshine feels on my face when I close my eyes and can  feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. How much more glorious will it be to feel God’s face shine on us? In I Chronicle 16:11, David says to “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” ALWAYS!

Read Jeremiah 29:13 with me:  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. How do we seek God? With all of our heart. 100%.

Notice the words the are underlined: seek, find, heart, and all. How important those words are. Let’s focus on seek today and jump forward to the New Testament.

What does Matthew 6:33 say? But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.

What does the theme around these verses seem to be? Seeking God and His kingdom. How do we seek God? With 100% of your heart.

Let’s add another verse to this discussion:  Psalm 11:7 tells us the “For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face. What that says to me is that to see God, I must seek God.

Remember Matthew 5:8? Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

 

My challenge for you is to take time to find and read references to God’s face. My next post will be talking about eyes, if you want to find those verses in God’s Scriptures. 🙂

 

Reflecting on the Scriptures: Busyness

Busyness. What is busyness? One definition is when an activity is lively but meaningless. That’s how I feel sometimes. Life seems so busy but are the activities meaningful or meaningless – or a mixture of both? Recently, I have let busyness interfere with my studying God’s Word and writing to share from the Scriptures.

     Are you busy?
          Are you working?
               Are you idle?
                     What are you busy doing?
                          Work? Home? Kids? Church?

Let’s talk about work. How would you define work? Activity that is productive and meaningful. Is it more of a  performance of duty? Something you must do. Can you find joy in work tasks? (This sounds like the topic of another blog post!)

What does it mean to be idle? Inactive. Not working. Pass the time by doing nothing. Can you be busy by being idle? In other words, busy doing nothing.

Let’s look at verses from the Bible that compare being idle and working to help us reflect on what type of person we should and want to be.

Idle:

Proverbs 19:15: Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless go hungry.
What does shiftless mean? Dishonest? Idle? Lazy? How does laziness bring on deep sleep? Do you think it’s a peaceful sleep? When do you sleep the best – when you’ve been idle or when you have worked hard?

Matthew 12:36: But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every empty word they have spoken.
What kind of words? Empty words. Hollow words. How does it make you feel knowing that you will be accountable for every word you have spoken on the Day of Judgment? Does that make you think twice about the words you speak and how they are spoken?

I Timothy 5:13: Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to.

Wow! These are powerful words. Let’s break this verse apart.

  • They get into the habit of being idle. If you can let being idle become a habit, can you make being a worker a habit?
  • Going about house to house. This makes me think that they had nothing else productive to do and just wandered about. What did this bring about?
  • They become idlers and busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they shouldn’t. Gossip? Slander? Empty words?

I don’t want to reflect on my words and actions and discover that they show me as being idle and passing the time by doing nothing. How do we ensure we are workers and productive and not just busy with activities that are meaningless?

Work:

Proverbs 16:3: Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
Commit to the Lord and He will establish your plans. God is in control even though we sometimes try to limit Him by making our own plans thinking that we know best.

In Ecclesiastes 3:17: King Solomon said, “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.”
We will all be judged. Do you ever feel that some people who may be wicked or unfaithful never face consequences of their actions? But they will, won’t they. One day. With God’s judgment – not ours!

John 17:4: Jesus speaking to God says, I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
Can you say these words to God? I (insert your name) have brought glory on earth to you God and finished the work you gave me. What kind of work has God given you? How do you know? Are you searching for an activity that will glorify God?

Think about the words in Matthew 5:14. I challenge each of you and myself to be “…the light of the world.” Let’s have our words and actions shine just as that “town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Commit, be active, shine!

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