Monthly Archives: November 2017

Hatred


 

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.– Proverbs 10:12 (NIV)

Today’s commentary by Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org

When we are wronged the first reaction can be a desire for revenge—to make the offender pay for the pain they have inflicted upon us. But that only creates more pain and hatred in an ever-increasing circle. Godly love is willing to pay the emotional payment for the wrong done. It is not easy, but in the long run, only love can cover over the deeds and heal the heart.

 

 

 

Untrained Servants


I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. II Corinthians 11:6 NIV

Paul and the other apostles made it clear that Paul was untrained as a speaker. When he spoke it was of his personal knowledge and relationship with Jesus. I speak of my personal relationship with Jesus through my writing. I don’t have the first hand and physical knowledge Paul had of Jesus. Paul and the other apostles were plain everyday people passing the message on the best way they could. That is what they were led to do. Now days, people who look plain, ordinary and even boring are looked over. We miss the knowledge and love that lies in their hearts. Paul would have been overlooked by our modern standards for spiritual leaders. People look for talent to entertain, instead of content to touch their souls.You know the preachers that can yell the loudest and have the biggest cathedrals. By commingling my knowledge and understanding, I pray I am successful in my small endeavors. For me that means I would like some spiritual nugget I possess to grow into a boulder for someone else and be passed onto others.

Through your writing or speaking you can only hope and pray that someone’s heart is touched. Whether we are children’s writers, spiritual writers, anthology writers ,we all want to speak to or touch someone’s heart. That’s what writing is all about. We are untrained servants too and no matter what we intend to pass onto others,we need to do this with some knowledge in our genre. If we are intimidated by our lack of knowledge, we should keep searching and learning. I know this keeps me searching and learning in my spirituality and writing endeavors. Just like Paul, our way of communicating may not always be the most eloquent, but if it’s coming through with love and discernment, people’s hearts will be touched.

Lord help us to always to communicate our knowledge to the best of our ability. Help us to communicate and touch people’s hearts and spirits through prayer and love. Amen

Perfect Peace


You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.– Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

I’m finding it more difficult to find perfect peace, when so much terror and catastrophes are happening around me. I have gotten riled up because of politics on Facebook, about people on the news being displaced from their homes and livelihoods, and terrorists roaming among us. I always have felt protected in the US, but it’s getting more difficult to bring my Christian values into sync with worrying about my family’s future. Are you left feeling confused, angry, and constantly riled up by others opinions? Will we ever feel peaceful  again?

Looking at this verse it shows us that we can find peace from God, not in our mind. We need to trust in His love and care. Our minds are whirling with all kinds confusion. However, peace is God’s response to us, when we look to Him. God’s presence is in all of our circumstances. I  know my mind is prone to project the worst circumstances that can happen. If our mind is steadfast on God we are confronted with the fact that God is in control. Renewing our minds with this reality brings trust, and that trust opens our hearts to peace. Only God knows where our lives are moving. Not being in controls is difficult for all of us. We cannot live in the past or fear the future. We need to reach for God’s comfort and protection, whenever our peace is disrupted.

Lord give us an internal and eternal peace in your loving care for us. These are hard and fearful times and we need be assured of peace through it all. Amen

NATIONAL CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL DAY


National Chicken Soup - November 12

 

Today is National Chicken Soup for the Soul Day. Every year it is observed on November 12. Chicken Soup for the Soul is a publisher and consumer goods company founded in 1993 with its headquarters in Cos Cob, Connecticut. The first book and other titles in the series, were true stories written by ordinary people about their own lives. Their first book and many others soon became best-sellers. If you are a writer and have never submitted to this anthology, get writing. It took me many years to finally be accepted for their anthology. I have had two stories published. One in Devotionals for Wives and Thank You Mom. I submitted recently, but apparently wasn’t accepted. I will be working on a new submission next week.

National  Chicken Soup for the Soul Day is a celebration about us! It’s about our life stories and how to celebrate ourselves. As they say everyone has a story. Some are funny, some are sad, and some exciting. Whatever yours is, write it down and send it in. You never know. You may be pleasantly surprised, I was. Today, use #ChickenSoupForTheSoulDay to post on twitter, Facebook, and any  other social media that you nay use.

King David’s Strength


In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain. For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.– Psalm 11:1-2 (NIVIt is easy for me to lose perspective when I feel threatened. So many unseen forces are threatening our country and world today.  At certain moments, I have trouble remembering that God is in charge. In these scary times what the world needs to see are a people who look danger in the face and proclaim that God is over all that is happening. I am getting better at squashing those feelings without losing the knowledge I have to be vigil.  This scripture shows me how even though those around King David told him that he was easy prey and should run for the hills, David responded that God was his refuge. This is what being a witness of Christ is all about. I can only pray I will always place my trust in God. God doesn’t want people whose hearts melt at the first thought of danger. Do you fall apart every time a news alert comes across the TV? I don’t know about you, but I get immediately frightened for those going through the horrors perpetrated and the anguish of their families. However, King David is right God is our refuge. There is no place to flee, except to God. Almost every country is under attack from evil terrorists. Moving won’t do any good. Moving closer to our faith and prayer is the only place we have to go. Be like King David and say “In the Lord I take refuge. Lord, be our Refuge and strength. Like you were David’s refuge and strength, give that to our leaders. Remind us and them to turn to you in prayer. Calm our hearts in times of  fear and uncertainty. Thank you for being there for us. AMEN

Neither To Young Or Too Old


But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. – Jeremiah 1:7-8 (NIV)

What a great follow-up on my post from last time. I am quick to disqualify myself to be used by God, but reading this scripture let me know God uses those who feel the least qualified. This allows Him to display His glory and mercies through us. I guess that means I qualify, because I feel so unqualified. I am a Christian and I have gone through enough unhappiness in my life to understand what people are going through. I’m beginning to understand I am qualified because He uses my inadequacies.  Through all my confusion, He will have His words touch those that need a particular message. He’s got my back.

Do you feel like you are not mature enough or smart enough? Those are not the requirements that God is looking for.  What ever disqualifications you or I may put on our service, He is there to help us. He  only wants us willing to obey His direction. You know that little nudge you feel to help and you talk yourself out of it, that’s when He needs our help the most. Remember if it is beyond your comfort level, you are the person best qualified for God’s plan. We just need to go where we’re sent, say what he asks, and not to be afraid. He is always with us and will rescue us. 

Lord, thank you for using us as we are. Thank you for helping us conquering our fears, rescuing us from our mistakes, and becoming what you call us to be. Amen

Spiritual Grounding


At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. – Luke 10:21 (NIV)  

It scares me, when I sit down to write a devotional. There are so many implications in each Scripture. I know no matter how much I study or learn; my dependence is on the Father to open my heart to understand each Scripture. I’m still not sure. I have to remind myself prayer and study go hand in hand. If I don’t study and pray my writing is just an exercise in intellectual vanity. Prayer without study produces spirituality with no grounding. Both are necessary for what is placed in my heart. I accept that someone else may read the verse and find a different meaning for them and that’s okay. It’s how the scripture touches each of us.

No matter what we write, we need to be careful where we lead one another. I always think about the fact that long after I’m gone, my words may still be there. I don’t want them to haunt me, I want them to be good words that make a lasting impression. We may mean well, but unlike speaking our words aren’t spoken. People can’t see our facial expressions or hear the inflection in our voice. Without those additions our words can wound or send someone in a direction we didn’t plan. Words are powerful. If you’re ever on Facebook, you can see how that happens every day. Putting prayer with our writing is an asset, not an annoyance.

Father, if we need prompting, prompt us. We give our writing to you and want to please you. Help us to do that each time we put ink to paper or fingers to the keyboard. Amen

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