Today ends the journey of 2021, but the journey itself continues. As it does I want to mentally stop and take some time to reflect on this past season. Yesterday was such an up and down day starting at 3:45 am to take our kids to the airport. At 10:15 am we drove through the snow storm so I could officiate the wedding of a dear friend who was marrying again after a long season of singleness. At 3;00 pm our grandson had a basketball tournament and then at 5:00 pm I needed to be at our church for Celebrate Recovery’s worship practice. It all happened and I simply wanted all of it to end so I could get home and sit down to relax.
At CR one of our leaders challenged the group to take time to set the goal/s for this coming year. I use to be very good at doing this and, for the most part, keeping them to some extent. However, as I began my time of devotion/journaling this morning I found myself asking Jesus what goal/s He had for me/us? It was amazing to listen to what I never expected to hear. He first reminded me He is my Redeemer. He has been my Healer as I’ve let go of trying to control what He healed. He reminded me that I am learning to rely more on TRUST and BELIEVING coupled with FAITH rather than relying on self-discipline. Christ’s greatest reminder was to take what the Serenity Prayer instructs: “Take one day at a time, One moment at a time, and then, accept any hardship as a pathway to peace. ”
I’ve never asked Jesus what my goals should be for starting a new year. I’ve always looked at this time for telling Him what I wanted to do and be for Him in the coming year. I’m going to build upon His Wisdom this coming year. What a REDEEMER we have in our Lord Jesus Christ!
I am very late getting this written today. I was up at 3:45 am to take our kids to the airport and when I returned I hit the bed again. However, after having my devotions and reading the the first chapter of I John I couldn’t help but write a note. I’ve always known John as the author who writes about Jesus as Light and Truth. What stands out this morning is that the Light and Truth of Jesus is so much more than I’ve always thought it to be. Jesus is Light, yes and Jesus is Truth, yes. This applies to our friendship with Him so that we can know, trust and believe Him fully. It also applies to ourselves. His Light shows us where He wants us to go and do as well as when we are to pause and wait. Along with this, He shows us what He wants surrendered within us–those dark places we have never wanted to admit were there. His Light reveals TRUTH and TRUST. We can tell Him the truth and trust His cleansing BLOOD to heal us when we never thought that could happen.
This is so true for me and I never want to do anything but PRAISE HIM for this! How Glorious our God, His Son and His Spirit are!
The days have been packed with activity since everyone arrived. Today will be no different. However, tomorrow morning at 4:15 am I’ll head to the airport to take the Oklahoma kids for their flight home. It is always bitter/sweet but reflecting on the enjoyment of everyone’s togetherness makes it all worthwhile.
II Peter only has 3 chapters in it. The second and third ones focus a good deal on appreciating God’s timing. We often want something and ask God for it to take place, develop, stop happening, etc. However, I often forget to ask God to redirect my thinking to His timing if I am out of sync with His Will. Today was a good reminder for me. As much as I may think something is right, I never want to step away from God’s perfect Will.
As I continue into II Peter I find him reinforcing our need to love and build close relationships. The difference in II Peter 1 is that the relationship is now with Jesus Christ Himself. I love how he is building on deception and listening to what man says rather than what God says in His Word and using God’s Word as our barometer to know if man’s word is from him or from God. Deception is something we always have to be careful about. And, it is extremely important that we are not part of the messengers of deception.
The first chapter of II Peter talks about God equipping us to know Him and to understand Him. He doesn’t want us doing this through other men, He wants us to do this through Himself. There’s nothing wrong with relating with man, we simply are not to take what man says as gospel. It has to align with God’s Word.
There are a million messages being thrown around presently in our world by mankind. I love how Peter is pointing us back to God’s Word as the final voice. We can only know this if we are in His Word and talk it over with God so His confirming Voice through the Holy Spirit can lead us into His Truth. There is a confirming peace which God’s Holy Spirit provides once we spend this time with Him. The last important point hitting me this morning is that during the time we are working through a confusing message, we can TRUST GOD in this interim. Having Faith & Trust are powerful opponents to deception.
Have you ever struggled to love? I hate to admit it but my flesh shows a good deal in this arena. I’ll do my best to be friendly and not have someone know I don’t care that much for them, but to love them? I Peter, in the concluding two chapters talks about loving our brothers and sisters in Christ. Regardless of who they are and what brought them to us, we are to love them. It is so easy to love some–those who align with you and your thinking and have similar tastes and love humor, etc. However, flip that coin over and loving becomes a whole new thing.
God really challenged me to take a good look at my behaviors in this area of my life. I’ve asked Him to open my eyes and my heart to see others the way He sees us. I need to know my downfalls here so I can surrender them to Jesus and love His Way.
The journey does continue whether one is fully in it or not. Our home has so much going on within it, it’s difficult to stay connected. Yet, it is joyful to simply watch the interactions between all the grandkids–mostly good interactions too. When all of this has come to an end and the kids go to their own homes we will breathe a deep breath, relax a moment and wish it could have continued just a little longer!
God is AMAZING. Creating family units is such a solid way to live our lives staying in close relationships with those God placed in it. If we keep God at the helm then our influences with one another are focusing ourselves and them to our One True GOD!
And it is here–Christmas Day–The birthday of our King, Lord, Savior, Friend. How dramatic this should be, yet how humbling it truly is to know that Jesus Christ not only came to save us, but He did so in a manner which wipes away every last sin on earth if we only allow Him the opportunity to do just that by turning our lives over to Him. His birth–this day’s celebration, has been given so many other meanings. Yet, in the Christians’ heart, there is a burning desire to make this day all about Him. May we honor our Christ child today and give to Him all the Glory and Honor mankind can generate for He is Worthy of all PRAISE!
In the midst of the Christmas flurries, there is still the need to assemble as we did last night for Celebrate Recovery. My Oklahoma daughter joined me with our worship and sang at the conclusion, Ave Maria with another young man who has become part of our team. It was not only beautiful, but so worshipful. Everyone loved it and I could sense The Spirit’s pleasure at the same time. We know that our “hurts, hang-ups and habits” don’t leave us because its Christmas; but, one thing is for sure, a time of genuine worship does, for a moment, replace any of these with a thankfulness to God the Father for His Blessed Gift–His Son Jesus! How much I thank Him for this!
Early this morning there were noises which awoke me earlier than I intended to arise. However, I could tell I wasn’t going to go back to sleep so I got up and came out to see what was causing the commotion only to find everything very dark and quiet. I wasn’t sure what this was about so I simply came into my study to have my devotional time. It was then that I understood. Some of my family are early risers as I am and I always look forward to the conversations we have which are more intimate than when everyone is together. This family time however should never interfere with my intimate time with my dearest Friend–Jesus. It was at this point that I understood why I was up so early.
I never think that I am important to Jesus. I just think how important He is to me. It is a moment like this morning that I am reminded that He loves the time we have together just like I do. This is true for each one of us too. Jesus came to earth not just to save us from the sin we could never escape, but to also live with and in us as we recognize Him in this way. How intimate and wonderful our Savior is!
Today all of our kids from Oklahoma arrive and our family will be all together for the next week. I’ll pick them up from the airport later in the afternoon so the family fun will begin with everyone coming for dinner. It is now 19 for dinner each day and mostly 19 for lunch depending on who is doing what. It is always a fun-filled time and we love it.
This morning’s focus has been on the tongue. James talks deeply about the power of the tongue. He also talks about teaching which certainly hit me. Be careful what we say and be sure what we say is wisdom which comes from God above. I look back onto my life and I can reflect on the power of what someone said to me. My goodness, the power of dad’s messages and voice has taken almost my entire life to overcome. I forget this all started with dad’s tongue. Weeks before dad died I had confronted him (from the push of my counselor at the time) about what he had said to me over the years of growing up. His response was, “Earn, I have told everyone I know how proud I am of you. I guess I forgot to tell you.” That has been almost 20 years ago now and the power of that message still circulates through my mind and emotions. It doesn’t replace all the destructive statements I heard as a child, but it does level the playing field.
I can recall statements I’ve made which I’ve wanted to take back. My prayer warrior talks about praying blessings over people. This I want to do not only in prayer time, but also in real contact time. God is a God of Love and so I want to use my tongue to pass this along.