Joshua 24:13 - Credit To My Lord (Bible Journal)
"I gave you land you had not worked on, and I gave you towns you did not build—the towns where you are now living. I gave you vineyards and olive groves for food, though you did not plant them (Joshua 24:13 NLT)."
Today's Scripture, along with recent Crossroads Anywhere messages about grace, remind me of how lucky I truly am. I can claim that I have my family, career, talents, hobbies, and blessings from hard work and persistence, and while that isn't completely untrue, it isn't the full picture. God put my loved ones and opportunities into my life, designed me to enjoy the things I enjoy, and gave me the grit and abilities I have to achieve the goals I sought (and still seek). Everything has been given to me by God, and at times I get prideful and full of myself, forgetting this. I try to thank God when I do think about good fortunes when they occur, but I can always do better.
Thank You Lord for everything - yes everything that fills my life up. Thank You for the reminder that I need to give credit where it is due. Please help me to be more aware of all that You have done and continue to do for me, and please help me to improve at showing my gratitude. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Romans 9:30-32 - Being Better Through Him (Bible Journal)
"What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path (Romans 9:30-32 NLT)."
Kyle Ranson's recent message through Crossroads Anywhere ("The Good News About God's Wrath," also wonderfully available on the Crossroads Church podcast) helped me to realize a painful, but important truth - I'm really not as nice as I paint myself to be. I tend to want to do what I want on my own, and I can get annoyed when I get interrupted from that "me time" that I have headcanon told myself I deserve. If things aren't going the way I want, I can get grumpy pretty quickly and internally complain, justifying it as harmless because it is in my own head, yet the negativity no doubt creeps out and affects those I have been entrusted to love and care for. Thankfully like Kyle's message and today's Scripture reflect, we aren't expected to be perfect, let alone good, all on our own. With God's help we can be empowered to be better people - we just need to accept our flaws, and have Him work though us to make us the best we can be for those that He has put in our lives to bless.
Lord, thank You for the game changing reminder and humbling lesson that I'm really not all that great, but though You I can be so much more. Please keep helping me to acknowledge my shortcomings, and please work through me to not stay stuck in them, but to be a more patient, generous, kind, and attentive person through the help of the Holy Spirit that can work through me if I allow it. Please help me to let this happen. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Romans 10:3 - Relying On God’s Plan (Bible Journal)
"For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law (Romans 10:3 NLT)."
Today's Scripture and various church podcasts I have been listening to have given me reminders of the importance of relying on God’s way, not my way. It isn't wrong to follow rules that are designed to keep ourselves and others safe and respected - we actually should do that. But it won't lead to salvation, as we are all going to fall short at some point if we haven't already (spoiler alert: we all have fallen short, and will continue to). We need to rely on God’s plan to be covered for breaking His laws, and the punishment for our law breaking has been paid through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus, if we accept that gift. Even after that acceptance, our natural desire to satisfy our own needs is still going to hinder our attempts to do the right thing, no matter how much we say we can handle it ourselves. If we trust God to not only save us through His Son's work, but to also help us change for the better by helping us to accept our weaknesses, and hold onto faith that He can help us to improve, then we'll have much better efforts at following some of those good laws, and so much more.
Lord, thank You for Your lessons through Scripture, the teachers You have sent, and the Holy Spirit that is here to guide us towards positive change. Please help me to keep learning, growing, and changing for the better with the resources You provide. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Softest Landing Pad
Floating through the day with a numb mind and drooping heart.
Not a thing in sight that could lift my spirits.
Roadblocks, ungrateful people, and dark clouds of sour feelings follow me.
Just when I think there is no hope for the day I see her.
My mother, sweet as honey, and inviting as a blanket in the cold
She wraps her gentle, enveloping arms around me.
The rest of the world simply melts away.
Nothing matters, not today, not tomorrow, not the sorrow I've been feeling.
Through her eyes, in her world, she sees things brightly.
And in that moment, as she holds me like a child, I see the world that way too.
Hopeful, cheery, kind and good.
This is how Jesus makes me feel.
Since I was a child, I have felt his presence.
Holding me in his arms, soothing my worries, and loving me through it all.
Hate In The Name Of Love
The person I see as someone long gone. A Jew who spread the words of love and acceptance. His followers have rusted my view. They have concocted a most repulsive potion of hatred and discrimination in his name. It leaves a bad taste, my eyes burning and my nose flowing. I can't help but wonder where they found all that hatred in the teachings of a man who preached love thy neighbor as thyself. Do they hate themselves that much?
If so that's incredibly sad.
my comfort, my strength, my quiet place
sometimes i feel lonely
not in a way where i could not go be somewhere
or even maybe call someone
lonely by nature
sometimes i separate time to just sit and talk to Jesus
not in a way where it's a conversation
but it is my most un-lonely times in my life
sometimes i feel emotions that only happen in these quiet times
not in a way where it is unexplainable
or even unnatural, but it is not really being alone
i am never alone
sometimes i cry
not because i am sad
but because i am loved
i am undeservedly loved
sometimes i laugh
not because anything is funny
but because i am seen
i know i am seen by God
sometimes it is not about prayer
not a word
just sitting with Jesus
my comforter in me provides
sometimes i think about the hell my life has been
not because of any one reason or fault
and the whole time he was with me
i chose not to make things right
sometimes i think about the future
not knowing what to do
because really, i am alone
all my family is gone
and i get lonely
so i separate and have time with Jesus
to reconnect with those emotions
not because they are not always available
i just make my life better by choosing to keep experiencing it
Truth is blinding and lights up darkness without anyone's permission
and in the past I've used an analogy
thinking that I was witness to some truth derived from sitting quietly
(which was an attempt to kill some part of me that I now have been forgiven for)
like staring at the sun.
But this time it is not that it is overwhelming in an intensity brought on by a sense of vastness, but glory
which the darkness can't comprehend and neither can my mind
The one above all
I ran down the stairs whith such
I then went hurtling skipping three stairs thinking that my skull will rupture.
I thought that was the end and the last time I will see the bewitching trees over yander or the swathes of light,
Sound being expunged and the darkness of closed eyes, I fell with fright.
I prayed as I fell and hit the ground with the thud of the head and the splash of a tear,
My mother flummoxed on what to do, only time I saw in her eyes the patent fear.
I could feel the ruddy blood in my mouth with the faint taste of salt,
I realized that I made my loved ones affraid and it was all my fault.
After one hour of searching there was no medicinal provision,
I then looked in the mirror and could not believe my vision.
I was fine and there was only some blood in the jaw,
No blood anywhere else only my tooth got chipped and I stood there in awe.
This made me understand his role,
He was the saviour of my soul.
He cannot be seen or can be heard,
He is busy but even in the brevity of time strikes with his saving wings which he raps around us like a bird.
To me he is someone who works from above,
Showering us with blessings of luck and love.
He is a force of nature and the one who yanks the sun to make way for the moon,
Even if you dont believe in him, he will find you and help you soon.