sparowe: (Compassion)
[personal profile] sparowe

Love Everyone Differently




Unfortunately, sometimes we try to love others as if they are all the same.

You’ll find that not all people need the same thing from you. One of your children, for example, may need more of your personal time than another does. One friend may need more encouragement on a regular basis than another. Some people just need different forms of love.

Respecting individual preferences and opinions is also very important. Selfish people expect everyone to be like they are, but love respects the differences in people. If God had wanted all of us to be alike, He would not have given each of us a different set of fingerprints. I believe that fact alone proves we are created equal, but different.

We all have different gifts and talents, different likes and dislikes, different goals in life and different motivations. A loving person respects and encourages the differences in others.


sparowe: (Fell)
[personal profile] sparowe

Unresolved Guilt

 
Today's MP3

What kind of person does unresolved guilt create? An anxious one, forever hiding, running, denying, or pretending. As one man admitted, “I was always living a lie for fear someone might see me for who I really was and think less of me. I hid behind my super spirituality but this lie was exhausting and anxiety producing.”

Unresolved guilt will turn you into a miserable, weary, angry, fretful mess. In a psalm David probably wrote after his affair with Bathsheba, the king said, “When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat” (Psalm 32:3-4 NLT).

As the apostle Paul told Titus, God’s grace is the fertile soil out of which courage sprouts! “God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation is available for everyone!” (Titus 2:11, 15 MSG).

Read more Anxious for Nothing

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[personal profile] sparowe

The Grace of Christ

 
Today's MP3

Guilt sucks the life out of our souls. Grace restores it. No one had more reason to feel the burden of guilt than did the apostle Paul. He had orchestrated the deaths of Christians—an ancient version of a terrorist. Yet, Paul gave his guilt to Jesus, period. He surrendered it to Jesus! As a result he could write, “I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us” (Philippians 3:13-14 TLB).

What would the apostle say to the guilt-ridden? Simply this: Rejoice in the Lord’s mercy. Trust in his ability to forgive. Cast yourself upon the grace of Christ and Christ alone!

Read more Anxious for Nothing

sparowe: (Casting Crowns)
[personal profile] sparowe

God is Sovereign

 
Today's MP3

Many years ago I spent a week visiting the interior of Brazil with a longtime missionary pilot. Let me just say, Wilbur and Orville had a sturdier aircraft! I could not get comfortable. I kept thinking the plane was going to crash in the jungle and I’d be gobbled up by piranhas. I kept shifting around, looking down and gripping my seat—as if that would help. Finally the pilot had enough of my squirming. He looked over at me and shouted over the airplane noise, “We won’t face anything that I can’t handle. You might as well trust me to fly the plane.”

Is God saying the same to you? Examine the truths which sustain your belief in God. Make sure one of them is etched with the words “My God is sovereign!” Then, be anxious for nothing!

Read more Anxious for Nothing

sparowe: (Prayer)
[personal profile] sparowe

God Will Come Through





Anytime I am having difficulty trusting God, I remember things He has done for me in the past and I am reassured that He will do it again.

I have kept journals for forty years, and I ran across one recently from the 1970s, when I asked God to provide me with a dozen new dishtowels. Dave and I had no money to purchase them, and since I was just beginning my journey of trusting God, I approached Him as a little child and asked for them.

Imagine my elation when a few weeks later, a woman I was barely acquainted with showed up at my door and said, “I hope you don’t think I’m crazy, but I kept feeling that God wanted me to bring you some new dishtowels!” I got so excited that she was shocked until I explained to her that I had asked God to provide them. That is one of my vivid experiences with the faithfulness of God, and there have been many others through the years.

In the Bible, we read that when David needed to kill the giant, Goliath, and everyone was discouraging him and telling him that he would fail, he remembered the lion and the bear that he had previously killed with God’s faithful help. His faith was strengthened and he went on to slay Goliath. (See 1 Samuel 17:34-36.)

I want to encourage you to take time, perhaps even right now, to make a list of some of the times you have experienced God’s faithfulness in your own life. I can assure you that it will feed your faith and enable you to trust God more easily for the current needs in your life.


sparowe: (Fell)
[personal profile] sparowe
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age...

Thoughts on Today's Verse...

Grace is not about excuses for our sins, but about a deep-seated thanksgiving for pardon and a life-changing commitment to say "No!" to all that is evil, corrupt, and wicked no matter how alluring or how pervasive they may be in our culture.

 

My Prayer...

LORD, God of Jesus, my Abba Father, I praise you for your costly grace and love demonstrated to me in Jesus. Now galvanize my commitment to say "No!" to all those sins that required my Savior's pain and humiliation. Through your Spirit, form in me a righteous lifestyle that is self-controlled and is reflective of your righteousness. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

 

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today's Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.


YMI: ODJ -- 11 September 2017

Sep. 11th, 2017 04:41 am
sparowe: (Glory)
[personal profile] sparowe

ODJ: RESPECT FOR ALL

September 11, 2017 


Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king (v.17). 

READ: 1 Peter 2:1-24 

On several occasions, Facebook has allowed me to find someone to shuttle supplies from the United States to Uganda for the ministry I direct. Instagram has served as a launching pad for dozens of us to serve children in need, and Twitter has provided a glimpse into the uplifting work friends are doing around the world.

While each social media platform can produce positive outcomes, other content found on them can trigger negative emotions. As divisive comments enter our social media feeds, we can be lured into debates that lead to strife.

Instead of compelling us to treat others respectfully, as 1 Peter 2:1 exhorts, strife often provokes us to make disparaging and regretful comments. But “Christians are called to be merciful, as the Lord has been merciful to us”, writes my friend Sean Martin. “Digital communication can discourage that emotion, though. It’s as if the digital screen blocks our view of the Imago Dei [image of God] in each individual. We are called to affirm the dignity of each person, even those on the other side of the aisle. We are called to honour everyone (1 Peter 2:17). We promote righteousness, but only as sinners whose only hope is Christ’s perfect righteousness imputed to them.”

We follow a sinless Saviour who’s never mistreated anyone. “He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered.” Instead, “He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly” (v.23).

As we draw close to Jesus, who “personally carried our sins in his body on the cross”, He will help us overcome the temptation to lose sight of people’s dignity and also help us “live for what is right” (v.24). He provides the words and tones that will honour Him and bear fruit for eternity.

—Roxanne Robbins

365-day-plan: Luke 22:1-13

MORE
Read Matthew 5:43-48 and consider Jesus’ radical instructions to love and seek the best for even your enemies. 
NEXT
Why is it easier to be disrespectful of other people when you’re not in their presence? How does respect for others reflect our respect and honour of God? 

YMI: ODJ -- 10 September 2017

Sep. 10th, 2017 06:59 am
sparowe: (Bible)
[personal profile] sparowe

ODJ: WORDS OF LIFE

September 10, 2017 


Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them (Ephesians 4:29). 

READ: Prov. 10:11-14,18-21 

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” This witty, humorous saying has been popularly attributed to both Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain. Three millennia earlier, Solomon, the wisest man of his time (1 Kings 4:29-34), gave us this take: “Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent” (Proverbs 17:28).

Writing of the bane of using too many words and the virtue of becoming a person of wise speech, Solomon cautions us, “Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut” (10:19).

Our speech reveals who we really are. It’s through our words that we’re deemed to be a wise and God-honouring person or a foolish and evil person. A wise person is careful and timely in speech, speaking pleasant words that instruct and encourage others (Proverbs 10:20-2115:4,7,2325:11). A godly person “thinks carefully before speaking” (15:28). “A truly wise person uses few words” (17:27), whereas “the mouths of fools are their ruin; [trapping] themselves with their lips” (18:7). If we keep silent, we’ll avoid saying the wrong thing and will even be thought to be wise (10:19, 17:28).

Jesus said that our words come from our hearts and reveal if our hearts are good or evil. “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart” (Luke 6:45). He warned that we’re accountable “for every idle word [we] speak” (Matthew 12:36). But in Jesus, we also have the perfect example of speaking words of life. May He give us what we need to follow His way with words today!

—K.T. Sim

365-day-plan: Matthew 25:31-46

MORE
Read Matthew 12:36 and consider what “idle words” you’ve spoken recently. 
NEXT
Who might you speak “good and helpful words” to this week? (Ephesians 4:29). How do your words reflect who you are? How do they reflect on Jesus? 
sparowe: (Casting Crowns)
[personal profile] sparowe

God is Able

 
Today's MP3

What will happen if your job disappears? Or your health diminishes? Or the economy takes a nosedive? Does God have a message for his people when calamity strikes?

He certainly had a word for Isaiah. The prophet wrote, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. . .above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: The whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:1-3).

God calmed the fears of Isaiah, not by removing the problem, but by revealing his divine power and presence. Rejoice that God is able to do what you cannot do! Your anxiety decreases as your understanding of your heavenly father increases!

Read more Anxious for Nothing

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[personal profile] susannah posting in [community profile] christianity
How easily we get hurt, or hurt ourselves, and retreat into a protective hard shell. It's very understandable.

Yet God longs for us to open our hearts to healing and the touch of God's love. We can't do it ourselves. It's a work of grace.

Deep in our innermost place, God waits for us, day after day, all through our lives. Longs to comfort, reassure us. Longs to touch us with love and forgiveness and acceptance. Longs to open us up.

Being a Christian is opening our hearts and letting God in. It is also opening our hearts to others - not keeping God's love just for ourselves, but sharing it, letting it flow, just like God shares with us.

Open your eyes, open your ears, Jesus is trying to touch your heart. Open your mind, open your life, Jesus is wanting to show you. His grace is all you need, and in your weakness you'll have strength. Please don't be proud, please don't pretend, Jesus can see every need you have. Weakness is hard, failure is real, but Jesus can give you your freedom.

Jesus just longs for us to let down our defences, and let him touch our hearts with his gentle, powerful love. Longs to heal us where we hurt the most. Longs to open our hearts, and be there, be there with us.
sparowe: (Casting Crowns)
[personal profile] sparowe

Believing in a Sovereign Lord

 
Today's MP3

Control freaks are easily frustrated. We can’t take control because control is not ours to take! The Bible has a better idea. Rather than seeking control, relinquish it. Peace is within reach, not for lack of problems, but because of the presence of a sovereign Lord.

Rather than rehearse the chaos of the world, rejoice in the Lord’s sovereignty, as Paul did. From prison he wrote, “The things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ” (Philippians 1:12-13).

In the innermost of his being, Paul was a man who believed in the steady hand of a good God…protected and preserved by God’s love! He lived beneath the shadow of God’s wings. Do you?

Read more Anxious for Nothing

sparowe: (Casting Crowns)
[personal profile] sparowe

Rejoice in the Lord!

 
Today's MP3

If anyone had a reason to be anxious it was the apostle Paul! Envision an old man as he gazes out the window of a Roman prison. Half-blind, squinting just to read. Awaiting trial before the Roman emperor. His future is as gloomy as his jail cell.

Yet to read his words, you’d think he’d just arrived at a Jamaican beach hotel. His letter to the Philippians bears not a word of fear or complaint. Not one! Instead, he lifts his thanks to God and calls on his readers to do the same. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).

Paul’s challenge is a decision deeply rooted in the confidence that God exists, that he is in control, and that he is good. Rejoice in the Lord—always! You can’t run the world but you can entrust it to God!

Read more Anxious for Nothing

sparowe: (Father)
[personal profile] sparowe

God Oversees Your World

 
Today's MP3

It is not God’s will that you face every day with dread and trepidation! I have a childhood memory that I cherish. My father loved corn bread and buttermilk. About ten o’clock each night he would meander into the kitchen and crumble a piece of corn bread into a glass of buttermilk, stand at the counter and drink it. Then he would make the rounds to the front and back doors, checking the locks. Once everything was secure, he would step into the bedroom I shared with my brother and say something like “Everything is secure, boys. You can go to sleep now.”

I have no inclination to believe that God loves corn bread and buttermilk, but I do believe he loves his children. He keeps everything secure and oversees your world! By his power you will “be anxious for nothing” and discover the “peace…that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:4-8 RSV).

Read more Anxious for Nothing

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