Thursday, March 22, 2012

Got Strength?

God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10)

Even the most inspired Christians can, from time to time, find themselves running on empty.  The demands of daily life can drain us of our strength and rob us of the joy that is rightfully ours in Christ.  When we find ourselves tired, discouraged, or worse, there is a source where we can draw the power needed to recharge our spiritual batteries.  That source is God. 

God intends that His children lead joyous lives filled with abundance (John 10:10) and peace (2 Thes 3:16) but sometimes, abundance and peace seem very far away.  It is then that we must turn to God for renewal.  When we do that, He will restore us (as long as we allow Him to).

Today is literally brimming with possibilities.  Every day is, whether we realize it or not. In addition, every day God is working in us and through us.  Our job is to let Him do his work without interference.  Yet we are imperfect beings who, because of our limited vision and faulty belief that we must have control, often resist God's will.  And often, because of our stubborn insistence on squeezing too many activities into a 24-hour day, we allow ourselves to become exhausted, or frustrated, or angry, or discouraged, or any other feeling that you can fill in the blank with.

Are you tired or troubled?  Turn your heart towards God in prayer.  

Are you weak or worried? Take the time - or more accurately make the time - to get deep into God's Holy Word.  

Are you spiritually depleted?  Call upon fellow believers to support you and call upon Christ to renew your spirit and your life.  

Are you overwhelmed by the demands of the day? Pray for the wisdom to simplify your life.  

Are you exhausted?  Pray for the wisdom to rest a little more and worry a little less.

When you do these things, you'll discover that the Lord always stands ready and is always able to create a new sense of wonderment and joy in you.  He will renew you.  He will recharge you.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on His law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season,
and whose leaf does not wither
Whatever he does prospers.
(Psalm 1:2-3)

I pray today that you will go to God and tell Him of your troubles, fears, worries, and exhaustion.  I pray that you feel a peace that passes all understanding and that you will allow Him to work within you.  Let Him give you strength.

Many blessings to you this day.  God loves you and so do I.

Pastor Jim

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Breaking Away

Don't criticize one another, brothers.  He who criticizes a brother or judges his brother criticizes the law and judges the law.  But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor (James 4:11-12)

From experience, we know that it is easier to criticize than to correct; we understand that it is easier to find faults than solutions; and we realize that excessive criticism is usually destructive, not productive.  Yet the urge to criticize others remains a powerful temptation for most of us.  Our task, as obedient believers, is to break the twin habits of negative thinking and critical speech.

In the book of James, we are issued a clear warning: "Don't criticize one another, brothers" (v 4:11).  Undoubtedly, James understood the paralyzing power of chronic negativity, and so must we.  Negativity is highly contagious: we give it to others who, in turn, give it back to us.  Thankfully, this cycle can be broken by positive thoughts, heartfelt prayers, and encouraging words.

As you examine the quality of your communications, can you honestly say that you are an encourager and not a critic?  If so, keep it up.  But if you are one of those people who is occasionally (or frequently) overwhelmed by negativity, and if you pass that negativity along to your neighbors, it is time for a mental housekeeping.

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7)

You can use the transforming power of Christ's love to break the chains of negativity.  Think positively, give heartfelt prayers, encourage others, and above all else, ask Jesus to guide your every word that it may be pleasing to him.

Many blessings to you this day.  God loves you and so do I.

Pastor Jim