Thursday, December 1, 2016, 04:01 PM
Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail…
Imagine that! Satan, the father of all that is evil in this world, even he is bound by the power of God. There is nothing that he can do without first asking permission from our Almighty Father…
Here we see that Satan has “demanded” permission…let’s stop right here and take a closer look at what some of these words actually mean…
To DEMAND is to ask for urgently. Satan was “urgently” asking for Jesus’ consent to sift Peter like wheat. Sifting is putting something through a sieve or some other straining device in order to separate the fine from the coarse particles.
Peter was, shall we say, “a coarse particle”…..he was a “shoot first and ask questions later” kinda guy. Satan knew this and his only goal was to sift Peter and to show his true colors. Jesus gave Satan the consent needed to do so.
The blessing here is that Jesus has basically told Peter not to worry because He has prayed for him…. WOW! Imagine that! Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, the Creator of all that is….He “prayed” for Peter. Why did He do that? So that his (Peter’s) faith would not fail.
Fast forward to “today”.
Did you know that our Lord prays for “you”? Well, ponder this no more….Jesus “does” pray for you, for me and for all of His children. Who can hurt us with that kind of power and protection?
I look at the trials in my life differently now. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that nothing comes against me that God does not allow…and the best part is that Jesus has and is praying for ME….Why? So that “my” faith will not fail!
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 04:00 PM
As I share in the heartbreak of my beloved daughter, I am finding that I have been learning MUCH!
There was a time when I thought that "hate" would be so easy for me to add to my collection of mixed emotions.....I thought that it would be okay. And now, when the opportunity has arrived, I can't find "hate" in my bag of mommy goodies.... Instead, I have found compassion.
I am learning more and more about "grace" every day. God has shown me His grace, and because of that and the fact that I am one of His children, I too should be showing grace to others as well. Not only when they are "good", but when they are "bad".
I am learning that God's love for me does not depend on my behavior; not on whether I am "good" or "bad". God's love is consistent.
I am learning that I should not be teaching my children and grandchildren that "my" love depends on "their" goodness...... Instead, I need to be showing them that no matter what they do, I will always "love" them....I may be disappointed in them; I may be saddened at the choices they make, but I will "always LOVE them".
So what's next? I shall continue to pray for the person who is breaking the heart of his wife and of his children....I shall continue to love him "anyway" and to show him that no matter how "bad" he is, God loves him and so do I....
Thank You Father for the lessons I am learning, and I pray that You will give me the strength to follow You in obedience to Your Word as I apply these lessons to my life...
In Jesus' Name....Amen.... /
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 03:58 PM
Everyone has their own style of doing things…I know women who when given the same exact recipe, all make it different. Why is that? Because they all add their own little something to it. They each have their own way of cooking and I promise you that just by tasting the results, I can pretty well know who prepared which dish.
We can see this sort of thing almost daily as we become more and more aware of our world around us. Take artwork for example…. Down through the ages, masters have created artwork that can be identified just because of “their style”, be it a brush stroke or a carving, they all reflect the one who has created it. This is seen not only in cooking, or artwork, but is also seen in everything from home design, landscaping to designing the cars that we drive…..
So what does each masterpiece reflect? Think about this for a moment and then let’s talk….how about the fact that they each reflect their designer?
What is it that “you” do that others see a reflection of?
Who’s reflection do they see?
Consider the “style” that you have been created to be. Your personality has been created by the “Master Designer” with the purpose to “reflect” Him.
In what ways does your personality and/or life style, reflect the One who created you?
Do others see His reflection in you?
If not, why not?
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 03:55 PM
On a trip into town, my husband and I passed by an apartment complex where we saw a couple of police cars and some people standing around. We were only able to view this scene for less than thirty seconds, however the result has made an impact on both of our lives.
You see, even though we both saw the same crime scene, we saw "different" things. He focused on the damage to the car....apparently the entire side had been pelleted with bullets.
As we continued driving down the road, he was explaining in detail what he saw; asking me what I thought about all the damage on the side of that car, and wondering what kind of gun caused it.
But I never saw the damage to the car....my focus was on the woman standing there with her hands cuffed behind her back. When I asked him what he thought may have happened with her, he simple said, "I never saw her."
So why has this seemingly insignificant incident made an impact on our lives?
The answer is this:
Here we have two people, viewing the same exact scene, yet both are seeing it differently. Our focus was divided....his on the car, mine on the woman. It brought my thoughts to the Gospels. Here we have four different men, all whom had walked with Jesus, all whom had seen the same things; however.....their focus was different.
What do you see when you look at Jesus?
What is your focus as you read His word?
What do you really see, when you see Him?
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 03:51 PM
Rain or shine, hot or cold, you can always find him “under a blanket”. It seems that he would just rather stay hidden all day and night long…coming out only when he is hungry or “nature calls”.
His life doesn’t show any outward signs of any kind of ambition at all, nor does this life style reveal what is truly in his heart. There are brief moments when he will join the rest of the family for a walk and there are times when he is happy to spend some time with the grandkids, but still, for most of his life, it’s always been this way.
Perhaps his “blanket” is providing some sort of ”comfort zone” for him…. perhaps he thinks that if he doesn’t come out from under it, then he will not have to face any “issues” that may otherwise interrupt his way of living….
Jake, our aging Dachshund, reminds me of a lot of “Christians”…you’ve seen them in church…. you’ve seen them in the work place…. why, you may have even seen them in your very own home! Shall we call them, “Under-the-blanket Christians”?
Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us that we are to keep quiet about our faith in Christ Jesus. Quite the contrary…Proverbs 28:1 says that the “righteous are to be as bold as a lion!” Have you ever seen a lion hiding?
Acts 4:29 shows us that we can pray and ask God to “speak His word with great boldness”…. Did you see that??? Not just boldness, but GREAT boldness!!
There is no way that we as Christians can serve God while under the blanket, no matter what the reason…we are expected to serve Him boldly and as we pray for “great” boldness, He Who is faithful, will provide.
What is it that’s keeping you under “your” blanket?
Isn’t it time to come out and to be the Christian that God has called you to be?
Why not ask God right now to fill you with His boldness as you live your life
“out from under your blanket”…..
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your light so shine before men, that they may see your
good deeds and praise your Father in heaven…
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 03:48 PM
Whenever we are out camping, I always ask God to show me HIM in a new way....well, yesterday, He did just that.....My wonderful James and I (and of course our Mollie!) were taking an evening walk and there was a dad and his daughter....she must have been about five years old.....she had training wheels on her bike, and her dad was helping to balance her as she peddled her way around the camping loop.
I noticed, as they passed, that he really wasn't even touching her bike but instead he just held his hand over the handle bars for that "just in case" moment should it arise....
I thought about what I'd just witnessed as we continued to walk....
As God spoke to me, here is what I heard Him say:
Sometimes in our spiritual life, we need to rely on "Training Wheels"....I am always there with you, "just in case" you lose your balance....and should you fall, I will be there to catch you......"
I asked God at that moment: "But Father, when can I get rid of the Training Wheels? Will I ever be able to just "go it alone"?"
His revelation to me is this:
There will always be times when we may forego the training wheels, and then there will be times when we need to use them.....relying on God is always the best way to go....so with that thought, I think I'll just keep my training wheels.....how about you?
Living By Grace,
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 03:44 PM
She makes her grand entrance into the room, all eyes turn on her as she relishes in all the attention she is getting. You have seen her….she is the person who loves being the center of attention…she is a “Here I Am” person, not really noticing the needs of others but instead only cares about those people and those things that affect her directly.
He walks into a room and immediately “are you comfortable?” he asks, “Can I get something for you?” Yes, he is a “There You Are” person….one whose whole existence centers on his love and caring for others; never bringing attention to himself but always remaining.
Jesus was (and still is) a “There You Are” person….He only wants to care for each one of us, to love us, to see that we are “comfortable” and that our “needs” are taken care of. But, do we allow Him to do that? Do we allow Him to fill those areas of our lives that only He can? Or, do we instead, try to do it all ourselves?
In Philippians 4:19,
Paul tells us…”But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ.”
Think about it…its time to allow Jesus to care for our “needs” as only He can….
© LBG Ministries 2001
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 03:42 PM
But the other criminal rebuked him.
"Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence?
We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.
But this man has done nothing wrong."
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom "
Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
Have you ever wondered why it is that
the very first person that Jesus took with Him to Paradise was a thief?
Not a family member……
Not one of the twelve apostles……
Now even one of the Old Testament saints!
It was a thief…a common thief!
Paradise: the abode of God.
A thief was ushered into the very presence of Almighty God
by none other than Jesus Himself!
So what is this telling us today?
What message do these words, recorded so many hundreds of years ago, say to us now?
They are saying that no matter who you are, no matter what you have done….
God Loves YOU!
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 03:39 PM
Have you ever wondered what “love” sounds like? Looking to the Bible for an answer, I came upon this:
In John 20 we see Mary returning to the tomb of Jesus, after His death, to express yet another action of love, to prepare His body properly for burial. Upon the discovery of the empty tomb she began to weep…and then it happened….she heard a voice, but she did not recognize it until she heard her name spoken…”Mary”….was all He said.
Was that the “sound of love”?
You decide. Of what did the sound of her name remind her?
Could it be that in that instant she remembered that Jesus had delivered her from the anguish of demon torment?
Could it be that the love she had seen Him show through many healings came to mind?
Could it be that with the sound of His voice she still felt the pain in her own heart as she watched what was left of His human body hang on that cross just a few days before?
Could it be that at the sound of her name coming from the lips of Jesus, she was reminded of His love for her?
Could it be that this is the “sound of love”?
When I think of Mary's response to her Master's voice, I am reminded of the example that Jesus so lovingly gives us about the sheep knowing the Shepherd's voice.
In all the "business" of today, I often wonder if we as a people really take the time needed to "listen".
I wonder…how are we listening for the “sound of love” today?
How do I listen for the “Sound of Love”?
In what ways do you listen?
© LBG Ministries 2001
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 03:36 PM
While cleaning out her garage, my aunt came across the saddle that my cousin and I used to ride in as children. That was forty years ago and time had obviously taken its toll on this once useful piece of equipment. I carried it home with the same amount of care that I give to my custom-made saddle that I now use.
My husband just shook his head in doubt as I began to work on my newfound treasure. It took several days, but with repeated applications of oils, the old saddle began to take on a new look. The leather was becoming pliable again and it appeared to have new life now.
Sometimes our lives can be just like that old saddle….dry and lifeless. How many times has someone shaken his or her head in doubt, possibly thinking that we were a lost cause? But, then the love of God begins to saturate our life; His forgiveness goes deep and before we know it, His grace has restored us to a useful life once again.
Just like that old saddle that had long lost all resemblance of what it used to be, with just the right amount of love and care it was restored and became useful once again….just like that old saddle, you can be restored too.