Copyright

Please note that all posts are copyright. Do not reprint in whole or in part without permission of the author. You may refer to one of my posts in your own writing; simply include the link(s) so readers can be taken directly to my work. Thank you, and enjoy! ~Susan

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Z is For...

  Good morning! We’ve made it, minus Q-U, through the 7th annual A-Z Blogging Challenge! For those who are interested I will post Q-U next week, all being well.

Today we welcome the final letter of the alphabet. Z is for Zeal

The Bible offers this instruction:
Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. (Proverbs 23:17, NIV)
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. (Romans 12:11, NIV)
Another word for zeal is enthusiasm:
“You have certainly done wrong, but make sure now that you worship the Lord with true enthusiasm, and that you don’t turn your back on him in any way. (1 Samuel 12:20b, TLB)
He [Jesus] died under God’s judgment against our sins so that he could rescue us from constant falling into sin and make us his very own people, with cleansed hearts and real enthusiasm for doing kind things for others. (Titus 2:14, TLB)
As you can see, we are to be zealous for the Lord in our respect for, worship, and service to Him. We are also to put a spirit of fervour into our service to others. I wonder how many of us have that level of commitment.

King David, famous for being a man after the Lord’s own heart, had the kind of zeal for God that all Christians should emulate. He had this to say:
Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. (Psalm 69:9, NLT)
Is this the kind of zeal you long for? God is zealous both for His name and His people. He is passionate about you and me and comes after us like a shepherd for his lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7).

[Note: nowhere does it say that in our zeal we are to persecute people of different viewpoints and faiths as some religious extremists would say and do. God has never been about religion; He is all about relationship and has given us the free will to choose. If you are interested in knowing more about this, please visit http://peacewithgod.net/]

...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 1:1b-2a, NIV)
Today’s Prayer: God forgive us for our lack of zeal, enthusiasm and passion.  Help us to see and repent of our lukewarm condition. Indwell us with Your Spirit that we might be on fire for You as once we were. May the world see our passion for You and wonder why. And may we be ready to give an answer for the faith we have.
***
Don't forget to check out the other bloggers in the A-Z Blogging Challenge

Friday, 29 April 2016

Y is For...



Y is for Youth
There are some very famous Bible verses on the subject of youth. Probably the best known is this one:

Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. (Colossians 3;20, NLT)

Hmm, wouldn’t that be nice if put into practice?  God’s Word acknowledges that obedience isn’t inevitable behaviour (remember the story of Adam and Eve?), but requires some teaching/correction/ discipline on the part of parents:

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline [correction administered with godly wisdom and lovingkindness] will remove it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15, AMP)

I love how the Amplified Bible puts it. The discipline isn’t excessive or abusive, it’s given from a place of wisdom and love. Parents who correct their children this way often say that it hurts them more than those on the receiving end and it’s true. As Hebrews 12:11 says

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (NIV)

In a completely different vein, the Bible addresses youthful believers:

Don’t let anyone make fun of you, just because you are young. Set an example for other followers by what you say and do, as well as by your love, faith, and purity. (1 Timothy 4:12, CEV)

At times as I’ve watched my own children, I’ve thought ‘and a little child shall lead them.’ I know this is out of context from Isaiah 11:6, but it resonates. Just because someone is young doesn’t mean they don’t have something of value to offer their elders. The old saying that ‘children should be seen and not heard’ is a fallacy – don’t believe it! Instead encourage your children to follow God’s ways and don’t be surprised when they set an example for you and for others.

When we become adults, though, or when we reach the ‘age of understanding’ (which some believe to be 12-13 or 20, and my husband and I believe to be that point when the prefrontal cortex is fully developed), we ought to think and act accordingly.
It’s like this: when I was a child I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I became a man my thoughts grew far beyond those of my childhood, and now I have put away the childish things. (1 Corinthians 13:11, TLB)
Is it just me, or is anyone else appalled when they see grown-ups (usually men) hanging around aimlessly or riding around on skateboards and modified bicycles with nothing more profitable to do with their time? Perhaps it is how they were raised or what they were taught, but let this be a reminder to hold our children to higher expectations, believing that they are more capable than society would say. I highly recommend Alex Harris’s books, Do Hard Things and Start Here, for young people and for parents who want to give their children and teens the best possible start.

Today’s Prayer: Thank You, God, for parents who raise their children according to Your Word. What a difference they can make in our world! Thank You for children who are able to set a godly example for others. Help us to encourage them in Your ways. Give both children and parents wisdom to accept and mete out correction as it is needed and teach us to put away childish pursuits when we become men and women.
***
Don't forget to check out the other bloggers in the A-Z Blogging Challenge

Thursday, 28 April 2016

X is For...




Like many other A-Z’ers, I imagine I’m not alone in cheating with the letter X today. It’s always a tough one.

X is for eXcellence

The Bible encourages us to do our most excellent work, not to slack off and get a reputation for laziness and shoddy results. Of all workers, we should put in the best effort, winning the admiration of our employers. Not for our own glory, but for His as we reflect Christ and point others to Him. Ultimately, it is God we are working for anyway.

In all the work you are given, do the best you can. Work as though you are working for the Lord, not any earthly master. Remember that you will receive your reward from the Lord, who will give you what he promised his people. Yes, you are serving Christ. He is your real Master. (Colossians 3:23-24, ERV)
Work hard so God can say to you, “Well done.” Be a good workman, one who does not need to be ashamed when God examines your work. Know what his Word says and means. (2 Timothy 2:15, TLB)

Elsewhere the Bible tells us that we’re to focus our thoughts on what is excellent: 

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8, NLT)

What we think about affects us more than we may realize. Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s father put it this way: 

Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. What we think, we become.

It all begins with your thoughts, so make sure they are of an excellent nature!

Today’s prayer: Thank You for this reminder to focus on those things that are worth our attention. So often we waste our thoughts on negativity, criticism and the troubles we see around us. Teach us to retrain our thinking and to meditate on Your Word. May the words and actions that flow from our thoughts be those that enable us to form good habits and become people of excellent character. And may we bring glory to Your name in all our ways.
***
Don't forget to check out the other bloggers in the A-Z Blogging Challenge

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

W is For...



 W is for Wisdom
 

God doesn’t want us to be ignorant; He wants us to be wise.

God’s laws are perfect. They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light.  (Proverbs 19:7-8, TLB)
So ever since we first heard about you we have kept on praying and asking God to help you understand what he wants you to do; asking him to make you wise about spiritual things  (Colossians 1:9)
I love how this verse ties in with what we talked about yesterday:
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere.  (James 3:17)
Beautiful, no?

And how about this, which is attached to a promise?
Don’t be conceited, sure of your own wisdom. Instead, trust and reverence the Lord, and turn your back on evil; when you do that, then you will be given renewed health and vitality. (Proverbs 3:7-8)
God is always happy to answer prayers for wisdom, and couldn’t we all use a little more?
If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it.  (James 1:5)
Today’s prayer: Thank You, God, that You are always willing to give wisdom to those who ask for it. Make us wise people who make the right choices and respond appropriately in every situation. Make us wise about spiritual things. Help us to seek Your wisdom for life’s big decisions and to follow You always. May we be in Your Word and a people of prayer.

***
Don't forget to check out the other bloggers in the A-Z Blogging Challenge