Monday, January 30, 2012

Seek God First!

"But seek first His Kingdom & His righteousness & all these things will be given to you as well."
Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
The more we earn about who He (God) is, the more we learn how to give Him first place in our lives. But what are "all these things"? Paul tells us in Galatians:

"But the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, & self control"
Galatians 5:22-23a (NIV)
But God gives so much more!

By giving God first place - putting Him first in your life - He can turn seemingly hopeless situations into abundant blessings & give you peace & joy. I've seen it happen in my own life. I've seen Him turn a pretty selfish individual, who had put God at almost the end of the "go to list", into the Christian woman that i am today. I'm not perfect, by any means. But i look back & i wonder how i survived my life before. The only answer i have is that God spared me. Only His grace is the reason that i'm still here.
One of the lessons that i learned from this journey is that by giving God first place in our lives, He takes care of "all these things". The things that we want, or that we need. If we remove ourselves from the process, we stop insisting that we do it our way. Instead, we learn to listen to God & what He wants; what He thinks; what He would do.
One thing that i've tried to achieve over the years is organization. Those reading this who know me are probably chuckling right now. I've always said that if i ever got it together, i wouldn't know what to do with it. And as most of us who sell handmade items, i always have a lot on my plate. My mind seems to be constantly running. "I need to do this, this, & this."  But last week, i learned to give all this to God too. To ask for His wisdom to prioritize & the energy to get done what needs to be done....not what i want to get done....what needs to get done. And you know what? I'm not overwhelmed & stressed any more. Thank You Lord!!!
As we learn to give God first place in all things, He will give us "all these things", including the blessing of a peaceful, ordered life that we crave. Today, ask God to help you put Him first in your life in all your say & do. Ask Him to help you quit worrying about all the things that need fixing or taken care of. Ask Him to help you trust Him in all these things. Praise Him & tell Him specifically how you will give Him first place.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Who's on First?

It's hard to believe that there is only a week of January left. So....How are those New Year's "resolutions" going?  My New Year's "goals" are starting a bit late this year--mostly because i was sick for about 2 1/2 weeks. I became pretty frustrated during this time of nesting & resting on the couch. Mainly because i had things planned for this time period. However, i was reminded of how to make God laugh....tell Him your plans. Life is like that. Isn't it?
But i am so thankful that God is a God of new beginnings. Have you ever noticed that we can always start over? Each day is a new beginning for us. A chance to start over, every day. The key is to know where to start.
"But seek first His kingdom & His righteousness, & all these things will be given to you as well."
Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

God wants to do amazing things in  our lives. He even tells us:

" 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you & not to harm you, plans to give you hope & a future.' "
Jeremiah 29:11
So why wouldn't we want to give Him first place in everything. Especially the new beginning of each day that He gives us. Before we jump into all the activities of our day, seek Him first. Don't get caught up in the business of life, before you spend time with our Father.
When i put God in first place in my life, i know that i become more obedient. I know what's right for me to do, or say,.....or be. So, who's in first place in your life? 

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Fragrance of Christ

It's been a strange winter, so far, in the Midwest. We've had above seasonal temps & not really much snow. Don't get me wrong, i'm not complaining. But i must admit, that i'm ready for spring temperatures already. In January, i always look forward to the time where i can open up the windows & let the fresh air in & the stale air out. In the meantime, i'll burn my candles for my aroma therapy. (Which by the way, i go some very nice ones from my hubby for Christmas.) It always helps me. I love to take a deep, relaxing sniff & go "ahhhh".
What are some of your favorite fragrances? Baked apple pie, freshly brewed coffee,  a pork roast in the crockpot? It's funny how different scents can bring a smile to your face or a special memory to mind, & in turn, can make us feel more positive.
Did you know that we are to be a fragrance of Christ?
"For we are to God, the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved & those who are perishing. To the one, we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God."
II Corinthians 2:15-17 (NIV)
So in our relationships, we need to strive to be a fragrant aroma that reflect Christ. Check your mirror & try on these positive attitudes --thankfulness, humbleness, generosity, graciousness, kindness, & cheerfulness. Is there something not quite fitting correctly? Ask God to do the alterations. He'll fix & shape our attitudes & actions to reflect His character.

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:"
Philippians 2:5 (NIV)

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 is Here!!!

Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a joyous Christmas & was able to celebrate the coming of a new year with friends & loved ones. As we have celebrated the advent season & Jesus birth, we also celebrate & look forward to the day when He returns for His people.
With the beginning of a new year, we make resolutions - well, some of us do. Personally, i try to make goals for myself instead. That way, i don't "break" anything. =) But do you notice how at the beginning of a new year, there is so much talk of dieting, organizing, cleaning, etc. - at least it seems like it to me. Maybe that's my conscience bugging me. But it does seem like everyone is giving advice about something or another. Let's face it, we have access to more information than probably the next 10 or more generations, will use.
But with the complexity of our lives, we need instruction that is not only practical, but spiritually guided.
"The Proverbs of Solomon son of David of Israel:
for attaining wisdom & discipline;
for understanding words of insight;
for acquiring a disciplined & prudent life,
doing what is right & just & fair:"
Proverbs 1:1-3 (NIV)

Wow! That sounds like what we need to carry out & "keep" our New Year's resolutions &/or goals.....wisdom, discipline, do what is right & just & fair.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." 
Proverbs 1:7a (NIV)

It took me quit a few years to grasp the meaning of "fearing" God. It does not mean that we should live in terror of Him. Fear is actually another word for reverence or worship. It suggests that when we acknowledge God for who He is & offer Him the worship & praise He deserves, we learn from Him an attitude of humility & awe, not dread & fright.

The person who fears God, who worships Him daily & honors Him has nothing to life....or in death.
"Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of His name;
make His praise glorious!"
Psalm 66:1-2 (NIV)