One Day At A Time: Do Not Worry

A few weeks ago during one of our many snow storms for this winter, there were only a few people in attendance at our church that particular morning, so my husband suggested that we all go to breakfast at a local restaurant. While there, the topic of living one day at a time came up. When we live one day at a time, we are living in the present moment. We can not undo what happened in our lives yesterday and we can not control or worry about tomorrow–we can only live one day at a time.

Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV) says: “Therefore I tell you: do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body; what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all its splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith. So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

There is a beautiful song that has been recorded by such artists as Merle Haggard and Cristy Lane, which depicts a prayer to the Lord to help us to take one day at a time:


VS.1: I’m only human, I’m just a woman/man
Help me believe in what I could be and all that I am.
Show me the stairway I have to climb
Lord, for my sake, teach me to take one day at a time.

CHORUS: One day at a time, sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m asking from you.
Just give me the strength to do every day what I have to do.

Yesterday’s gone, sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine
Lord, help me today, show me the way one day at a time.

VS.2: Do you remember when You walked among men
Well Jesus You know if you’re looking below, it’s worse now than then.
Cheating and stealing, violence and crime
So for my sake, teach me to take one day at a time.

This song is a reminder that we need to pray and ask God to help us live in the present–one day at a time. May the Lord bless you as you seek Him daily for His direction in your life and help all of us to stop worrying and begin trusting Him for all things.

Blessings on you,

Becoming A Disciple of Christ Through Discipline and Self-Control

“Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

I grew up in a household where this scripture was not practiced; however, God had His hand on my life and used other Godly people as “mentors” to influence and encourage me in my walk with the Lord.

In December, 2013, our 15-year old dog, Buddy, died and we adopted a 9-month old black-lab mix, Toby, from our local Humane Society. Even when we use repetitive disciplinary commands, he doesn’t always listen, especially when he is excited. He often forgets those commands and continues to:

. jump the outside gate, even with ropes above it
. jumps up and barks at the front door at every little noise
. jumps on our bed and/or couch to chase the cat

He needs to be reminded of the word “no” when he misbehaves but he also needs loving reassurance when he behaves well. Sometimes our lives are like that when we desire one thing and the Lord has something else in mind for us.

Discipline creates self-control in every area of our lives, but we need to learn the basics as stated in Proverbs 22:6. Other scriptures (NIV translation) that mention self-control and give us guidelines on this issue are as follows:

. Proverbs 16:22: “Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.”
. Proverbs 25:28: “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”
Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
. Titus 2:11-14: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeems us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
. II Peter 1:3-8: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15, known as The Great Commission, is a command given to Christ’s disciples: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV) For the disciples, this command took a great deal of discipline and self-control on their part; but because of their love for Christ, they followed Christ’s command. However, many of them suffered and were martyred for their beliefs and experienced excruciating deaths.

The fates of many of Jesus’ disciples are listed below:

1. Matthew: Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound.
2. Mark: Died in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.
3. Luke: He was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.
4. John: He faced martyrdom when he was boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death and was sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos.
5. Peter: He was crucified upside down on an X-shaped cross. According to church tradition, it was because he told his tormentors that he “felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus died.”
6. James the Just: The leader of the church in Jerusalem, was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death.
7. James the Great: Son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to lifetime ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem. One of the Roman guards watched as James defended his faith and as he was overcome with conviction, he declared his new faith and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.
8. Bartholomew: Also known as Nathaniel. He was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed our Lord in present day Turkey. He was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.
9. Andrew: He was crucified on an X-shaped cross in Patras, Greece.
10. Thomas: He was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the sub-continent.
11. Jude: He was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.
12. Matthias: The apostle chosen to replace traitor Judas Iscariot and was stoned to death and beheaded.
13. Paul: He was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters became the foundational doctrines of Christianity and form a large portion of the New Testament.

The disciples were martyred for their beliefs and preaching the Salvation message. We may never be martyred for speaking the truth, but our lives should exemplify His truth in our actions toward one another. It is not about “living up to certain standards”–but it is about allowing God to “be our standard.”

John 13: 34-35 says: “A new commandment I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (NIV) This is what being a Christian is all about.

Blessings on you,

Reading: “The Power of a Praying Wife” and “The Power of a Praying Woman” by Stormie Omartian

Step, Step…Run, Run, Run – 5K Walk

“Do you know that in a race, all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” I Corinthians 9:24 (NIV)

Ever since I was in my early 20’s (wow, that is a long time ago), I have always exercised in one way, shape, or form–trying everything from the “step workout” to the trampoline, as well as using a number of walking DVD’s by a popular walking instructor. In one of her videos, she guides you through the “cha cha” which is a simple: step, step…run, run, run routine. It increases the intensity of your workout two-fold.

This past Saturday, I was privileged to compete in a 5K walk and was accompanied by a friend and her daughter. When we arrived and parked the car, a woman approached us asking if her daughter could walk with us since she and her son were going to run the 5K. Both my friend and I agreed and we were in for a treat. The young girl was 10 years old. Her grandmother was supposed to walk with her, but she had surgery recently so she was unable to do so. She told us about her family history and was quite a “chatty cathy” walking along side both us for most of the time. While talking with her mother, I found out that she was originally from the area and even participated in a youth program at a church where my husband and I knew the pastor. You can say that was a coincidence, but I say it was definitely a “God wink.” The mother had prayed for the Lord to bring the right people along to walk with her daughter and He guided her to us.

Towards the end of the race as we made our way to the time clock, we were greeted by well wishers and supporters who encouraged us to “finish the race.” While we waited for the awards’ ceremony to begin, we enjoyed snacks and drinks provided to all the runners/walkers.

By age category, names were called and medals were handed out to those who had won the 5K run, 5K walk, and 10K run. I was totally surprised and humbled when I heard my name called as 2nd place winner in my age category. People around me applauded while I received my medal and had my picture taken for the website and/or newspaper. It felt awesome. I was not expecting to win anything that day, but felt I had already been blessed by agreeing to walk with the 10-year old girl. But God had other plans and rewarded me accordingly. The excitement on my friends’ faces was truly a blessing.

I believe that “the steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23) and He wants us to finish the race no matter how long it takes. Life hands us challenges every day. We just need to hand them over to the Lord and ask for His help. He is there beside us and wants the very best and blesses us immensely as we trust Him.

If you feel you are in a race that you can not finish, just keep going. You will reap unexpected blessings along the way as long as you keep your eyes on the prize.

Blessings on you,

Reading for March: “The Power of a Praying Woman” and “The Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie Omartian

“Grace” by Max Lucado (CL/PG Series)

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God.” Hebrews 12:15 (NIV)

Do you ever question the meaning of life? Do you feel you have wasted years of your life? Or, that you have simply made poor choices in your past?

In “Grace” by Max Lucado, one of America’s beloved Christian authors, he explains that it doesn’t matter if you have “made a mess” of your life because God uses one word to vindicate us: Grace.

He further explains that people often try to explain grace: the bank gives us a “grace period”, musicians use a “grace note”, preachers explain it, and hymns proclaim it–to name just a few. Many of us have a “wimpy” grace or a different perception of what grace entails for our lives. The question we need to ask ourselves is: Have we been changed, shaped, or strengthened by grace? When grace happens, we receive a new heart. The author calls it a “spiritual heart transplant”.

He further states that when grace abounds in our lives, Christ abides in us–He lives in us–and to be saved by grace is to be saved by Him.

The author guides us through various scriptures about grace as well as several insightful chapters dealing with a “grace-shaped life” to his riveting final chapter of “when grace happens”. A reader’s guide is provided at the end of the book so that you can explore the chapters more in-depth.

Note: This is my final book review covering a 10-week period, and I trust that you have enjoyed the twenty books that have inspired and encouraged my heart in my walk with Him. May you be blessed in your walk and may you be a blessing to someone today.

Happy reading and blessings,

Week 10: “When God Winks At You” by Squire Rushnell (FI Series)

Extraordinary events happen in our lives every day. Do we just attribute them to coincidences or do we consider that they are “blessings in disguise” from God?

In “When God Winks At You” by Squire Rushnell, a former television president and CEO, he uses stories as told by everyday and famous people to explain that there is no such thing as luck, but that there is a God who does “little things” in and through us as well as other people in our lives to communicate His love for us.

As we walk on our journey in life, God gives us “signposts” along the way to show us that He leads and guides us–through the choices we make–in the direction He has planned for us. Sometimes there are bumps along the way, but these signposts reassure us, chart our path in life, and help us to increase our faith and belief in Him.

God absolutely knows about our every desire, hurts, failures, and triumphs; and when He “winks” at us, He encourages us to trust Him “fully.”

This book will inspire and encourage your heart as you reflect on the many times that God “winked” at you, but you did not recognize it at the time. After reading this book you will gain new insights and hopefully you will understand that He was with you and is currently with you on this journey throughout life by the “little things” that you experience in your every day walk.

Happy reading and blessings,