The Edge

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I was spending the morning at home cooking for a friend who recently had a baby. I found myself uncomfortable with the time I had on my hands while I waited for the meal to cook. It is so seldom to have free time. I prayed, “God, show me how you want me to spend my time this morning.” Without a pause, I heard my heart call out, “Spend it with Me!”  “Of course!”, I thought. As I walked down the hallway towards my bible and looked out the front door, I saw a newspaper hung up in the thorns of our rose bushes. We don’t even subscribe to the newspaper! There I was,  on my way to the bible and in just seconds the world had caught my eye. I found myself starting to divert my focus from spending time with God to going out to get the newspaper. “I never get to just sit and read the newspaper.”, I thought as I tried to justify the tempting change of plans. Surly, if “the newspaper” had been my choice, I would have gotten tangled up in more than the thorns from that rose-bush that day.

You must be thinking . . . big deal if you chose the newspaper. That won’t get you into any trouble.  Satan wants us to believe that too. However, it occurred to me that most sin starts small, but if we continue to make the same choice it will build slowly over time and then we are in so deep it is just easier to keep going down that path than getting back on the right one.

Staying with it—that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved. All during this time, the good news—the Message of the kingdom—will be preached all over the world, a witness staked out in every country. And then the end will come. Matthew 24:13 (The Message)

The more times I choose TV and the computer over bible study, the easier it gets to leave God behind. The more we tell a little lie here and there, the easier it gets to do it. The more we spend time and talk with someone of the opposite sex instead of our spouse, the more likely we are to fall victim to adultery. We must be careful and not fall into the trap of believing that telling a lie is a better sin than committing adultery. As people, we rank sin, but God does not!

When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.” Matthew 26:40

We are all on the edge in one area of our lives. What area of your life needs a little more margin? When we continually choose the world over our Lord and Savior the easier it is to fall prey to the sins of the world. We have to choose God. We have to choose to stay in His Word so that we can stay in His will. He didn’t warn us of things to be controlling and keep us from having any fun. Like most parents, He teaches and guides us through His word in the hope of keeping us from  pain, sadness and destruction.

And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed. Mark 6:56

Be Bold

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And don’t forget to pray for me. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out. Ephesians 6:19-20 (The Message)

This week, it’s short and sweet. I want to encourage you to be bold and specific in all your prayer requests. Be bold in taking action for the Lord. Be bold in sharing His good news. Be bold in proclaiming His word.

Don’t just tell someone you will pray for them – grab their hand in the grocery store or parking lot and pray with them right then and there. Take advantage of every opportunity Christ places in your path this week to reach His children and share His love.

Blessings!

Training

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My son and I were spending some time in the school library and found a book on insects.  A large beetle with two big pincers caught his eye. As we began to read, we discovered that the male beetle was very weak so you didn’t have to worry about him hurting you, but the female was strong so you should look out for her. I could tell he was having a tough time digesting this beetle fact. I must not have done a go enough job explaining how it was possible for a girl to be stronger than a boy because later that evening (out of the blue) he said, “Mommy, when I grow up I want to be a beetle trainer so I can teach all the boy beetles to be as strong as the girl beetles!”

I giggled, but it made me think about the importance and responsibility we have as Christians. Shouldn’t we place a high priority on teaching and training others in Christ so they can grow stronger in their relationship with Him? We all have spiritual gifts. Not all of us can be bible study teachers, give speeches, sermons or divinity school graduates, but we don’t have to be. Living my example can be the best way to teach and share God with others around us.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 1 Corinthians 12:27

Have you thought about what you are teaching others as you interact with them each day? Have you considered what your spiritual gifts are and how you could put them to use for God’s glory? It isn’t always easy and it is certain to take you out of your comfort zone. When I open my heart to the Holy Spirit, there is never a day I go before God and I’m not humbled and in awe of all He has enabled me to do. I pray the same for you.

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 2 Timothy 2:1-2

Raw

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Your best friend breaks your confidence, your child goes off to school, you receive the phone call you have been dreading from a family member, your career has been halted due to downsizing, your husband breaks his marriage vows.  When distressing things happen we often feel numb.  The reality of the situation has to sink in, but after time we turn from numb to raw. We can begin to feel as if we have been unnaturally or painfully exposed. How we treat this agonizing and sometimes excruciating emotional wound is important to ensure proper healing?

but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing. Luke 9:11

The pain from these raw wounds will begin to take over your life if you don’t allow God in to begin the healing process. This can be difficult because many times we blame God, we are mad at Him or ignore Him because we don’t understand why He would allow this to happen. Like you, I have experienced painful things in my life.  After time, God revealed many lessons through this pain. I now refuse to let any of the pain and suffering my friends and I have endured go to waste. I have promised the Lord and those I love that I will cling to the lessons learned from these experiences.  I will not forget the lessons, the pain and the good that eventually came out of it.  We must defeat the lies of Satan. He will tell us we deserved it or that God is punishing us, but with God’s shield we can experience His healing, His grace and His truth.

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (The Message)