Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Think Beyond Yourself

Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in our thinking be adults (1 Corinthians 14:20, NIV).

Haven't you met people who thought the world existed to meet their needs? And haven't you, at times, been one of those people?

Some have had all they longed for handed to them by Mommy and Daddy. The clothes, schools, networks, jobs--all, with more piled on, were offered endlessly. No demands, no responsibility. If Jared failed, Mommy would come behind him hushing his cries and doing her best to keep the teacher's wrath at bay. If Jessica fell down, Daddy would soothe his princess to a fault so she didn't have to pick herself up and keep running.

Others didn't. They had to scrap and work hard for everything. They easily concluded that they deserved to call the shots and enjoy the perks no matter what. After all, nothing was handed to them on a platter. Rejection and loss were companions they learned to ditch, and their temptation might be to do what they want, when and how, without concern for others. That is, only if it suited them.

But if we are to grow up, regardless of where we fall on that continuum, we have to become God centered. We discover that means thinking like Jesus. God's Word challenges us to seek not our pleasure primarily, but God's. Like Jesus did. When we start responding to God's desires for us, instead of wallowing in self-centeredness, we speak the truth about our situation. That opens a door to a life changing perspective.

In hardship, we can discover fresh intimacy with the Lord. His presence transforms us as we realign our thinking according to God's revealed Word. We grow into adults--worshipping adults. And others will come along to worship.


Read 1 Corinthians 14:12 - 25.

Has The Lord been alerting you to self-centered thinking that's begging to be replaced?

What specifically needs to be addressed, and what kind of help will you need in making that transition?

One consequence of mature obedience to God is others might be drawn to worship
(Verse 25: So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, "God is really among you!")

Monday, January 6, 2014

Holds Your Hand

For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

I had no idea I had blockages. The cardiologist's plan to cut my artery and send a camera through my arm after an prolonged episode of atrial fibrillation was both a relief and an anxiety.

 A cousin sent me Isaiah 41:13. I figured God had sent it to me for a reason, and started meditating on it.

It gave me fresh encouragement. I needed God and He took the initiative to hold my hand. He used  a familiar promise but in a new way. The doctor planned to go through my right wrist and the Word promised me God would hold my right hand. God's Spirit had taken hold of my hand before. Several times. Now He would help me again.

When I was nine years old, I realized God wanted a personal relationship with me. With time, His Word became increasingly alive to me and knew I could count on what He said. Precious words that I had encountered before came back to steady heart and hand. I focused on what was true: God's hand had taken hold of mine! God up close, personal--my little hand covered by His eternal one.

Once when our then five year old daughter was ill, our routine bedtime prayer was punctuated by her little voice, Mummy, I can feel Jesus holding my hand!  At the time I marveled. I didn't know if it was her imagination or a special gift. God used that memory to fan my faith. God was holding my hand. Yes, even my right hand--roadway to my heart.

So when I fear, I squeeze Jesus' hand and ask Him to remind me that His hand holds mine. He can replace fear with faith, and anxiety with peace. And I breathe more easily knowing He's with me all the way.

Now that's comfort and power. And I'm holding tight.

For Your Consideration

Read Isaiah 41:13 slowly, and read it several times. After each reading, listen to how the Holy Spirit might  address your needs. 

If you knew the Lord was actually holding your hand and looking into your eyes, what fear would He ask you to release to Him? What help could you ask for?

Enjoy His love for you and rest in His desire to meet your needs as you face a New Year.