A Needless Death

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Needless_Alley_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1282956August already!  How is your summer going?  Have you been doing life with Jesus?

When you hear that question, what do you think about?

When you hear that question, how do you feel about yourself?

Do you understand what it means to do life with Jesus?  Perhaps it is a new thought for you.  Perhaps you have questions about it.  Perhaps you carry a lot of baggage about it.

One of the very first things we need to realize about doing life with Jesus, is that it is about believing.  It is about faith.  If we get faith right, we get life right.

The Christian life is lived the very way it begins.  It starts with faith and it is lived by faith.

We begin the Christian life when we hear the gospel truth about Christ and believe it.  The moment we believe, we receive the Spirit of Christ.  We have new life by faith.

We live the Christian life the very same way.  We hear God’s truth about some area of our life and we believe it.  The moment we believe the truth, we receive the enabling work of His Spirit.  We are able to live in a new way by faith.

Just as we cannot earn our own way to heaven, neither can we live the Christian life on our own. To think we can is pure arrogance.  It suggests that Christ died needlessly. Galatians 2:21

When we live as though it all depends on us, we are declaring that Christ died needlessly.

We begin the Christian life when we rely on the work of Christ to save us.

We continue the Christian life when we rely on the working of Christ and His Spirit within us to transform us.

Declare your need of Christ – not just for salvation but for all of life.  Depend on Him. Do life with Him.

 

Teach Us to Pray

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As I tucked Brynlee into bed, I asked, “Do you want Mimi to pray with you?”

My granddaughter hesitated at first, and then she said, “Mimi, you can pray.”  As soon as I finished my simple prayer, Brynlee said, “I can pray, too.”

“Okay,” I said as I closed my eyes waiting for her to pray.

Then I heard her little voice say, “No, Mimi.  You say it and then I will say it.”

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On a particular day after watching Jesus pray, one of the disciples asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.”  Luke 11:1-13

Moms & dads, are you teaching your kids how to pray?  Your kids are watching you just like the disciples were watching Jesus. And you know they don’t miss a trick! So teach them how to do life with Jesus by talking to Him throughout the day.  Let them see you pray.

Maybe you don’t know how to pray. Start where you are.  Like the disciple, ask Jesus to teach you how to pray.

As moms and dads, we delight in giving good gifts to our children.  Our Heavenly Father delights even more in giving good gifts to us. So today, boldly ask your Heavenly Father to teach you how to pray.  And as you learn, teach the same things to the little ones that He has entrusted into your care.

On a side note, be ready to learn from your kids.  As I was praying and Brynlee was repeating after me, I evidently said something I had already said.  Brynlee stopped me and said, “Uh, Mimi, you already said that.”  Oh my!  I had to stop and ask myself, if I was praying thoughtfully or out of habit.

“Lord, teach us to pray.”

 

 

Don’t Miss the Opportunity!

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The volume and energy level in this house is about to increase dramatically.  The grandkids are coming to spend a couple days with Mimi & Poppi.  All the junk that had been thrown in the spare bedrooms has been taken care of.  The snack cupboard has been filled with lots of treats.  More water guns have been added to the pool ammunition.

convertible rideAnd Poppi has the convertible ready to go – one child at a time to a special treat destination of their choice.  And of course, Poppi might get lost along the way causing the ride to be longer.  And for the little ones, Poppi will be sure to point out the flying monkeys that he sees.

Having fun with our grandkids is the best!  I love their laughter. I love hearing their stories and jokes.  I love listening in on their conversations with each other.  I listen for my own enjoyment but I also listen for another reason.  I listen for an opportunity.

I have spent time this week thinking about each grandchild – their likes, their dislikes, their spirit, their personality, their concerns.  I have spent time this week praying for each grandchild.  And now I will listen for an opportunity to share my faith with each grandchild.  I’m not talking about sharing the gospel, or a Bible story or quoting a Bible verse.  I’m talking about a very comfortable, hardly- even noticeable opportunity where I can drop a little idea about doing life with Jesus into their bucket.

Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, had sincere faith that they shared with Timothy.  I want to share my faith with my grandkids.  This can be done a million different ways but one of the best ways is to simply share what God has done for me as I do life with Him.

Moms and grandmoms, the summer has begun.  Diligently look and pray for opportunities to share Jesus with your kids and grandkids.  Shape their thoughts. Make the most of this opportunity!  You’ll blink twice and the summer will be gone.  And if your kids are in school, someone else will be shaping their thoughts.

I Don’t Know!

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Because I love hearing what little ones are thinking, I asked my little group of 3-5 year olds what they knew about Jesus.  I barely got the question out of my mouth, when little Aliyah said rather loudly and proudly, “Not much!”

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If I asked you what you know about Jesus, what would you say?  Would you list off what you know or would you admit that you don’t know much and have much more to learn?

What if I asked you a different question?  What if I asked you how much grace and peace you are experiencing today?

Do you know that knowledge is directly correlated to the amount of grace and peace in your life?  2 Peter 1:2 explains that our knowledge of God & Jesus multiplies our grace and peace.  The word ‘knowledge’ in this verse is not merely factual knowledge.  It is experiential knowledge.  It is knowledge that is put to use.  It is knowledge that is acted upon.

  • Mere head knowledge produces arrogance.  1 Corinthians 8:1
  • Experiential knowledge produces love.  2 Peter 1:7

We could easily spend a week looking at the first eleven verses of 2 Peter to see how this experiential knowledge unfolds in our daily lives.  Peter explains it so clearly.  Peter, the one who denied Christ, learned how to do life with Jesus.  And he wanted to be sure others knew how to do the same before he died.   2 Peter 1:14

We only choose to do life with Jesus when we realize we ‘don’t know’.  Today, acknowledge you ‘don’t know’. Choose to spend some time learning from God’s word and then put it into practice.  Your life will be richer for it.

Do life with Jesus today!

The Sting of Past Hurts

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Doing life with Jesus every day is so down to earth and practical. That’s one reason it is a must for me.

Yesterday, my husband asked me a question about something. For him, it was just an innocent question. For me, it was a question that brought to mind some past hurts and I felt the sting all over again.

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Past hurts can cause present pain. I wish that was not the case. I wish I was completely over it. And the fact that I’m not completely over it, also bothers me.

I opened the Word of God this morning. I wanted some grace. I needed some grace.

1 Peter 5:5-11 was part of my reading today. It was the very grace I needed. It reminded me to clothe myself in humility and to cast my cares on the One who cares about me and for me. It reminded me to stay firm in believing God has my best interest at heart. It reminded me that God is at work in me. He will perfect me, confirm me, strengthen me and establish me because He is the God of all grace.

So I will do life with Jesus today. I won’t try to do life by myself. I will continue to trust Him with my heart. I will ask Him for His help. I know His grace will be sufficient for me.

What are you struggling with today? Don’t try to do life in your own strength. Do life with Jesus today.

It’s Not about You!

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My life is not turning out the way I thought it was going to.  Is yours?

Yes, I make choices that impact my life.  But as an almost ’60something’, I realize so much of this crazy thing called ‘life’ is beyond my control.  Sometimes things turn out the way I expect and other times, I’m completely baffled.

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Psalm 139 clearly states that God has a specific plan for my life. He knows my beginning, my ending and everything in between.  He knows my thoughts and my words even before I say them.  He knows where I am going and what I am doing.  He knows what I am planning to do today and He knows what He has planned for me today.  And somehow in His Godness, He takes my choices and writes the story of my life – the very life He designed for me even before I was born.

We see this same principle in the life of so many Bible characters.  They made choices. Others made choices that impacted them.  And God used it all to write His story!

  • Joseph and his brothers
  • Moses and his parents
  • Rahab and the spies
  • Esther and her people

And the list could go on and on.

God is writing His own story!  He is the main character in each and every story!

It’s not about me.  It’s not about you. It’s about Him!

Some might say this diminishes our life story.  I would argue that it elevates it. We are all part of something bigger and grander than ourselves. We are part of His amazing story. The more we embrace this truth, the more we experience rich meaning and lasting purpose in life.

So when my life doesn’t turn out the way I thought it was going to, I remember I am part of His story.  He is the Author.  He is writing His story and I’m honored to be part of it.

 

Hearts Before Hands

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Photo taken by my son, Matthew Rockwell, after the Nepal earthquake.  His compassion has moved him to form Nepal Grassroots Recovery.  Check it out on Facebook.

You have a tender heart. You see a need and take action.  You have compassion.

You have a closed heart. You see a need BUT take no action.  You lack compassion.

Why do you lack compassion?

  1. You don’t have enough time.
  2. You don’t have enough resources.
  3. You don’t know where or how to begin.
  4. You don’t want someone to take advantage of you.
  5. You don’t want to enable bad choices.

Are these valid reasons or mere excuses?

  1. The Good Samaritan stopped what he was doing and made time to help.
  2. The Good Samaritan used the resources he had available at the time.
  3. The Good Samaritan took the first step, and then another and then another.
  4. The Good Samaritan gave without thought of repayment.
  5. The Good Samaritan gave without thought of worthiness.

Compassion is first a matter of the heart.  Is your heart tender or hard?  When you see a need, do you desire to help?

You cannot meet every need you see.  If you think you can, you are not really seeing the people around you.  You have limited amounts of time, energy and resources at your disposal.  But that is not an excuse to do nothing.

Instead of thinking about what you don’t have, think about what you do have.  Are you generous with your time?  Are you generous with your resources?  or do you spend all your time and resources on yourself and your family?  If you’re not generous with what you do have, you’ll never be generous with what you hope to have.

An open heart leads to open hands.

It is never convenient to serve others.  It always takes time and resources.

So as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Colossians 3:12

Compassion is a Choice

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A life of compassion begins with seeing.  But seeing isn’t compassion.

Seeing forces choice.

  • See and be moved vs. see and be unmoved.

Jesus saw the distressed people and was moved to provide.  Matthew 9:36

  • See and open your heart vs. see and close your heart.

The Good Samaritan saw the half dead man and went to him.  In sharp contrast, the priest and the Levite also saw the half dead man but they chose to pass by on the other side. Luke 10:32-34

  • See and run toward vs. see and run from.

 The father of the prodigal son saw him and ran to him.  But the brother of the prodigal son was not willing to go to the house and join the celebration.  Luke 15:25-28 

Once we see, we are forced to choose.  We can open our hearts or we can close our hearts. But choose, we will.  Choose wisely today.  Ignoring what we see is a choice in and of itself.

 

 

I Desire Compassion

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I was recently asked to speak at Good News Bible Church about compassion.  As I contemplated what to say, I realized my concept of compassion was a little fuzzy.

Compassion feels like a warm fuzzy kind of word.  But what does the Bible teach about compassion?  Is it a feeling?  Is it an action?

Compassion matters to Jesus.  He would rather have your compassion than your sacrifice.  Jesus said, “But go and learn what this means:  I desire compassion and not sacrifice,”  Matthew 9:13

Seeing Precedes Compassion

  • Jesus saw

Seeing the people, Jesus felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited, like sheep without a shepherd.  Matthew 9:36

  • The Good Samaritan saw

But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion.  Luke 10:33

  • The father of the Prodigal Son saw

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.  Luke 15:20

The first step toward a life of compassion is seeing.  Are you too busy to see?

Let me encourage you today to see the people who are all around you.  Lift your eyes up and look – really look!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve Been Praying for Years!

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I’ve been praying for my loved one for a very long time.  Sometimes I wonder if my prayer will ever be answered.  I get discouraged and lose heart.  And then I don’t pray with the same intensity.

Discouragement comes from faulty thinking that says “God isn’t answering my prayer”.

Faith thinking says:

  • God is love.
  • God is fully aware.
  • God is able.
  • God hears my prayer.
  • God is at work.
  • God’s ways are not my ways.
  • God draws people to Himself.

I take comfort in the fact that God loves my loved one even more than I do.  God understands the innermost thoughts and motives of my loved one.  God knows exactly how to draw my loved one to Himself.

I take comfort in the fact that God loves me even more than I do.  God understands the innermost thoughts and motives of my heart.  God knows exactly how to draw me to Himself.

So I will keep on praying, entrusting my deepest concerns to my faithful Father.

So I will keep on praying, taking the weight off me and giving it to the One who can handle it.

So I will keep on praying!  I will bring delight to my Father’s heart!  Proverbs 15:8