It’s Your Choice ~ Words Worth Remembering Week #17

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…
But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:15b-16

God has been talking to me about choices lately and brought this verse to mind recently in my time with Him.

My first reaction was to say, “Yes, Lord. I choose You. I serve You.”

And He replied something like, “Are you sure?”

It reminded me a little bit of the conversation He had with Peter in John 21 when He asked three times if Peter loved Him. I imagine Peter losing patience with the Lord a little by the third time to think that Peter didn’t love Him. Hadn’t Peter walked with Him all those years? Peter even tried to keep the soldiers from arresting and killing Jesus. Of course Peter loved Him!

Was Jesus really asking Peter simply if Peter loved Him, or was it whether Peter chose to love Jesus more than other things in his life? Did Peter love Him more than his zealous pride? Was Peter willing to forget about what the other disciples were doing or who was the most important to Jesus and love Him more than all else?

Thus God’s question to me.

choose-god

He wasn’t questioning whether I serve Him but instead whether I choose to serve Him over other less significant things.

God has a mission for me. A role for me in His kingdom. Do I choose this role over selfish desires? Am I choosing to use my ‘free’ time in a way that will please the Lord or do I waste it on things that have no significance?

Do I choose to serve Him or my own whims and ideas?

Do I even think about whom I’m serving or how I spend my time?

How about you? What do you choose?

Whom do you choose?

blessings and peace to you as you choose and serve this weekend.
Paula

Follow The Leader

It’s one of the most iconic images we all know and love…

ducks-in-a-row

The image is one of trust. These ducklings instinctively know their mother will only do what is best for them and will take them to where they need to go as safely as possible. She will teach them to swim and to fly, show them how to find and identify food and to know a predator from a friend. She might have to push them to do things that frighten them because she knows they can and the result will be what’s best for them.

What about us? Who do we follow?

Society would have us follow those who are rich or famous. The suggestion of following in the footsteps of someone who has ‘made it’ even comes in some Christian circles. There is occasionally a notion of promised wealth and happiness if a certain formula is followed. Unfortunately even some Christian leaders pick and choose from God’s word to create a message that people want to hear and willingly follow.

Consider for a moment this photo:

ducks follow chicken

While I found it adorable it also caused me to pause as I considered that this is not a great example of leadership. While the chicken has much to offer these ducklings, chickens cannot fly (for extended periods of time) and HATE water. She will not be able to teach these little ones to swim or to fly away from those who wish to harm them. In a sense (if you will forgive the pun) she is teaching them to be sitting ducks.

So how do we know who we should follow?

As Christians Christ is our leader and the ultimate example for us to follow. Through Christ we have also been given the Holy Spirit to lead us when we are uncertain of what God’s word is saying or if we are on the right path. The first place we should go is to our knees to seek God’s will for us and follow His direction.

Thankfully we are not alone on our journey. God has given us advisors to walk with us and at times lead or even  push us when we are stuck. They can help us see what we cannot and get us turned around if we are headed in the wrong direction.

In the Bible Paul gives us the ultimate identifier of a good earthly leader. He was bold enough to say:

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.     1 Corinthians 11:1

In all that Paul did his aim was to follow Christ. Those who followed him knew that he would not intentionally lead them astray because his eyes were set on Christ and his guidance from the Holy Spirit. When we see this in those we follow we can also be assured they are good leaders.

What kind of leader are you?

Before you say that you are not a leader, look ‘behind’ you. Is there anyone following your example? If so, then you are a leader. You may not stand before large groups of people or teach a class but if you influence anyone you are a leader.

Hopefully we can stand with Paul and boldly encourage others to follow us as we follow Christ and His example. We won’t be perfect (we are human after all) but when we aim to point others to Christ our leadership will be sound.

I am thankful for the good leaders and advisors that have been placed in my life and I hope those who follow me will see Christ in me.

I pray that each of you have the same aim.

blessings and peace to you today as you follow your Leader!
Paula

It’s All Good ~ Words Worth Remembering Week #16

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.  Psalm 34:8

bagel

OK…so this verse has nothing to do with the bagel & coffee I had for breakfast…or does it? This Psalm was written by David after he had been captured by one of his enemies. He had acted insane and so he was released. This verse is taken from the middle of David’s Psalm of praise and thanksgiving to God for delivering him from one of his enemies.

So it got me to thinking. When is God good?

It’s easy to recognize the goodness of God on a morning like this when I’m sitting on my deck enjoying a beautiful morning and a yummy breakfast.  But God is still good when it has rained for 6 days straight and all I have for breakfast is cold cereal.

It’s easy to recognize the goodness of God when your my loved ones are all around me and we’re enjoying time together. But God is still good on Father’s Day when my dad is with Him in Heaven instead of here having coffee with me.

The second part of this verse is the part that seals God’s goodness for me. When I take refuge in God and give all my cares to Him I begin to see His goodness in the midst of things that don’t go the way I want them to. Praising God is easy for me when the sun is shining and I see blessings all around me. Some days I have to take refuge in Him and call on the Lord to show me His blessings in the midst of sadness, physical pain or a grumpy mood. When I do, I see that there is good then too.

Whatever today brings for you, take refuge in Him and allow yourself to recognize the goodness of God. In the happiness and the sadness I’m certain He’ll show us…

It’s all good.

blessings and peace to you today!
Paula

It’s Not Complicated

Sometimes I make prayer so complex. I look for formulas and methods to make sure I am optimizing my prayer life.

But the truth is, it’s not complicated!!

1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us “Pray without ceasing”.

But is that possible? We can’t stay on our knees all day..or keep our eyes closed.

praying

So let’s look at it from a different angle:

When something exciting happens, what do you do? Do you text or call someone or post it on Facebook?

If something makes you sad or angry you probably find someone to vent to.

When God is the one you tell, you are praying!

But does God really care if you can’t find a parking space or someone hurts your feelings? Isn’t God too big to deal with every little detail of each of the billions of people on the earth?

Well…

When you really care about someone could they tell you anything that would be insignificant to you?

Is there anything you wouldn’t tell your closest friend because you think it’s not important enough?

When you care about someone, what is important to them is important to you.

just_hugging_stick_figure_decal

 

God created us. He cares about us so much that there isn’t anything we could say that would be insignificant to Him. When we hurt He hurts. When we are excited, He is excited.

It seems so simple, but really it’s not complicated.

Praying without ceasing is as simple as carrying on a conversation with God throughout our day. Concentrated times of directed prayer are important, but as you draw closer to Him you will find your conversation carrying on through the day. You’ll talk to Him as you drive to work and as you walk the dog. You’ll vent to Him when you encounter a frustrating person and thank Him as you soak up the sunshine on a summer afternoon. Before you know it, you’ll be talking to Him all day…praying without ceasing.

and you’ll see…it’s not complicated!

 

blessings and peace to you…
Paula