Suffer

Psalm 119:50 My comfort in my SUFFERING is this. Your promises preserves my life.

Dictionary definition of SUFFER—Experience or be subjected to something bad or unpleasant.

SUFFER—Oh boy, who hates to SUFFER? This is something I’m sure none of us volunteer for, and yet, there seems to be plenty of it to go around and around for all of us. Most of us have, at one time or another, experienced something bad or unpleasant, such as sickness, loss, failure, betrayal, not anyone goes unscathed. Trouble finds us no matter how careful we try to be. John 16:33 Jesus says, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world.” This scripture feels like little comfort to us when everything seems to be falling apart all around us, when we feel smothered by trials and challenges hitting us all at one time from all sides. Perhaps one trial at a time we could handle, but not multiples. That’s when we finally realize without God we can do nothing.
Romans 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” Isn’t it interesting how this ancient scripture covers so many of the trials we face even today? In John 16:33 JESUS offered us His peace, letting us know that when we face trouble, while believing He has overcome the world, we will prevail. This world can be a cold, harsh place, but it is up to us to remember JESUS has overcome it all. And who are we in JESUS? We are His brother or sister, that’s who!
In James 1:2-4 we are told, “Count it all joy brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Be joyful in our trials, really? This is a hard concept to obey, but Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” It was never God’s intent for us to SUFFER. Remember Adam and Eve were meant to have a perfect life until—- God is not the source of our SUFFERING. The devil, our sin nature, and the world around us is the source. And so at times we wonder, “Where is God?” In Psalm 34:19 we are told, “ The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”
Many people are misinformed. They think that those who believe in God receive a free-pass from trouble, which is not true. We live in a fallen world. Our peace comes from the Lord, not the world. 1 John 4:4 “The Spirit that lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” We can always fall back on God’s promise that He is greater than the greatest evil. God always wins! ALWAYS! No matter how bad things may get, no matter how evil or frightening, remember to always turn to God. He is the source of all good things. Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you, when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego Daniel 3:19-23 were literally thrown into the fiery furnace, BUT— they not only survived, but had a heavenly messenger come out with them, and had a better life after than they had before the fire. There is a lot to think about in this scripture! We too, have our high waters and fires to go through, but never alone. God, not only helps us through them, but if we let Him, our lives will be better for it. He is the maker of everything good. Thank You for the peace You offer, that You will never leave or forsake us, and for Your deliverance from our troubles. No matter how hard things get, with You all things are possible. Help us to remember this important truth. Praise Your Holy Name.

Wait

Lamentation 3:25 The Lord is good to those who WAIT for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.

Dictionary definition of WAIT—Stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens.

WAIT—Are you kidding right now? WAIT? No way!! I’ve WAITED long enough. After all, this is an express line!! I’m in a hurry for an appointment that I’ll be late for. What about while driving down the road and someone in front of you is poking along? Grr! Temper flares in us prompting us to say something like this, “If you can’t drive, get off the road.” Then there is this one. I’ve been praying, and praying, believing and expecting, but where is God anyway? Does any of this sound familiar? It does to me, although I try very hard to be patient and WAIT, but my human side gets the better of me at times. What does God want us to think about WAITING?
Psalm 27:13-14 says, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! WAIT for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; WAIT for the lord!”
Most of us hate WAITING! We want what we want now! It seems that at times God has other ideas. Because God sees all, and knows all, He always knows what is best for us. Perhaps the WAIT is to save us from some danger, or to teach us to trust Him.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your path.”
Ok, so I guess if I’m late for that appointment, God has it all figured out. Perhaps, there really was danger on the road up in front of me that I had no way of knowing about. We don’t know, nor never will know, why we must WAIT. We have to sit back after doing all we can and WAIT on the Lord. Micah 7:7 “But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will WAIT for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”
Our world is such a noisy busy place, and so much is expected of us all the time that we can’t help but grow exasperated when one more time we have to WAIT. Sometimes it feels like “the last straw.” This is why we need to focus on God’s Word. There is no way that we can stay patient all the time, but God’s Word can help us stay focused on Him and not this world. Sure, it take practice to remember whose we are, and who God is to us, but He is the answer. Isaiah 64:4 “From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides You, who acts for those who WAIT for Him.” As we struggle with the WAITING, and we will at times, remember this Psalm 25:4-5 “Make me know Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I WAIT all the day long.” When we feel our patience slipping, think on these words.
Colossians 1:11 “May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience and joy.” You see, the Lord has it all worked out for us. It’s up to us to open our hearts, minds, and souls to His glorious loving patience for us, as He fills us with His patience, if only we accept it. Psalm 130:5 says, “I WAIT for the Lord, my soul WAITS, and in His Word I hope.” We also need to remember what Romans 8:25 says, “But if we hope for what we do not see, we WAIT for it with patience.” And Psalm 33:20 “Our soul WAITS for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.” Yes, He is our help and our shield! Yes, we need to keep praying, keep expecting, keep hoping, and keep the faith, and WAIT for God’s timing. Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And let’s not forget that with God all things are possible, yes, even the things that seem to us to be impossible. Thank you Lord for Your Word to help guide and focus us through our WAITING. Please help us to remember who You are to us, and who we are to You, and that with You nothing is impossible, even WAITING! Praise Your Holy Name.

Choice

Joel 3:14. Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.

Dictionary definition of CHOICE—An act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.

CHOICE—Our lives are overrun with CHOICES. How many are good ones? Because there are so many every day, we are bound to make some mistakes along the way. God’s Word tells us in Proverbs 16:16 “How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be CHOSEN rather than silver.” Wisdom more valuable than gold or silver! In this world we tend to think of gold and silver as most valuable. God has other advice for us. Wisdom will help us make better CHOICES.
Proverbs 13:20 “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Very strong words I’d say, but necessary for our well being. CHOOSE wisely who we spend time with. Walking with the unwise WILL bring us harm. OK, we say, that’s what we want, no harm and making good CHOICES, but how do we do that?
James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Ever have something happen to you and your inner self wants to retaliate, get even, or revenge, as well? Even though that seems to be a natural instinct, Psalm 25:12 says, “Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will He instruct in the way that he should CHOOSE. God will help us make good CHOICES if we follow His commands. First CHOICE, what does God have to say to these feelings of ours? In Deuteronomy 32:35 He says, “Vengeance is mine and recompense; their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them.” God doesn’t need any help from us. He can handle whatever needs to be done. Our CHOICE is to listen and obey His Word. In Deuteronomy 30:19 God tells us “I call Heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curse. Therefore, CHOOSE life, that you and your offspring may live.” God has given us the ultimate CHOICE to make. Let’s CHOOSE wisely. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these.” Even when we are challenged with life’s trials, we still need always ask ourselves, what does God have to say and what does He want? We may have to pause to set aside our fears, and anger, but CHOOSING God’s way will ALWAYS lead to life. If we let Him, He will lead us to all good things. The storm may rage all around us, but we are on the winning side if we stay close to God. Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Seek God FIRST, He is our answer, now and forever. Be still, listen for His still quiet voice. He is our God. He offers us all that we need. Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
CHOOSE wisely! Thank you Father for your faithful help with our CHOICES. We sometimes falter and need to be reminded of who You are and who we are in You. Thank you for standing by us in all of our decision making. Praise Your Holy Name.

Center

Hebrews 12:2 Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the Cross, scorning it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Dictionary definition of CENTER—The point from which an activity or process is directed, or on which it is focused—the middle point or part of something.

CENTER—Some places have a Town CENTER where people gather. We’ve heard it said that the grandparents of a family are the CENTER of that family and when they are gone there is no place left to gather. The worldly CENTERS may come and go, but our Heavenly CENTER JESUS Christ, will never vary. The world we live in is an ever changing place, often leaving us bewildered and feeling alone, but we need only look to JESUS, our perfect CENTER, where we are never alone. John 1:12 “But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”
Our CENTER is stable, dependable, and loyal. It is our challenge to remember who’s we are. 1 John 2:24 “As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.” What exactly have we heard? Have we listened to false teachers, or what the world says. Perhaps that families fall apart when the grandparents are gone. They were the “glue” that held the family together. Now we feel adrift with no anchor. Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” This scripture is astounding, to think that God in His infinitive wisdom and His love for us, speaks to us through the ages. It speaks directly to our deepest concerns about things of this world. We become so convinced that our family, or things of this world are our CENTER, we need to be reminded of who our CENTER really is.
1 John 5:20 “We know also that the Son Of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in Him who is true by being in His Son JESUS Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” There are those who will remain bereft looking for their worldly CENTER, but we have a choice. According to 1 John 5:20 Jesus has “given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true.” This is a stunning gift, understanding, something that many are missing. It then becomes up to us to share that understanding of Jesus with others.
Matthew 17:5 “While He was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”
How much clearer could God make it? How priceless His words to us are! Listen to JESUS, follow Him, He is our CENTER, our everything. As we live our lives for Jesus, we are examples for others to follow. We can lead others to Jesus, to a new understanding, if they choose to. No matter their decision, we continue to recognize JESUS as our CENTER. Romans 8:34 “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the One who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” WOW! Not only do we have our CENTER but He intercedes for us. Thank you God for Your marvelous gift of Jesus, Your Son. Help us to remember He is our CENTER. Please open doors for us to share our understanding of Jesus with others. Praise Your Holy Name.

Navigate

2 Peter 1:3 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.

Dictionary definition of NAVIGATE—Plan and direct the route or course of a ship, aircraft, or other form of transportation especially by using instruments or maps.

NAVIGATE—Since recorded time, we have learned to NAVIGATE through whatever means available at that time, such as stars, sun, moon, compass, maps, and currently often our GPS. Without NAVIGATION of some sort, being lost would be our constant condition. After Jesus was born, three kings journeyed to see the new babe by following a star. Today many of us turn on our GPS, punch in our destination and we are able to find our way with no fuss, no muss. Imagine how difficult it must have been for those kings, traveling only on clear nights, when they could follow the star. But God not only wants us to NAVIGATE successfully here on earth, but spiritually as well. He has provided us with our spiritual GPS, the Holy Spirit, backed up by His Word, to help us reach our spiritual destination. Psalm 37:23 “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him.” Pretty interesting that God addresses our emotional attitude. Our delight in God helps us find our way. God wants us to be focused on Him, our way maker. Our GPS, the Holy Spirit, in John 16:13 puts it this way. “But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” You see, we have had our own personal GPS long before the world invented it. The kings, trying to find JESUS, had more than the star to guide them. It didn’t matter if the clouds hid the star. They found their way through the guidance of God. In Exodus 13:21 when the Israelites were in the wilderness “The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light that they might travel by day and by night.” God shows us the way. We need never worry or be afraid. Psalm 37:23-24 “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the lord holds them by the hand.” I don’t know about you, but I hate the feeling of being lost, not knowing my way home. Ever been on a road trip and can’t find your way? God never wants us to feel lost! He provides us with NAVIGATING skills to lead us to Him and our heavenly home. In John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In Matthew 7:13 we are given specific instructions, “Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” In 2 Peter 1:5-9 God gives us through Peter instructions of how to enter through the narrow gate.
“For this 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.” This scripture is our spiritual GPS helping us to NAVIGATE this world that we live in. Remember that we are to be in the world but not of it. John 17:16 Jesus said, “They are not of the world even as I am not of it.” We trust our GPS’s to get us to our destination. Right? Perhaps at one time we trusted our maps over the GPS. It was too new to us, but over time and practice we now rarely use a map. So it is with our spiritual GPS, God, the Holy Spirit, and JESUS Himself. Over time and with much practice, we will trust our spiritual GPS over ourselves to guide us on the right path.
Proverbs 3:5,6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy path.” Great news! Thank You Lord for all the ways you help us NAVIGATE our way to You, if we will only follow Your divine guidance.! Praise Your Holy Name.

Community

Romans 15:5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus.

Dictionary definition of COMMUNITY—A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common, a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

COMMUNITY—How many times in our lives have we felt being in COMMUNITY to be comforting? Perhaps through family, school, work, and neighborhood. We learned very early in our lives that being in COMMUNITY is very essential to our well being. We do not stand alone, ever. Ecclesiastes 4:12 “One can be over powered, but two together can put up resistance.” We can be torn apart by not living in unity. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans 16:17 with a warning and a way to avoid division. “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause division and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught, avoid them.” But God, what if the person we need to avoid is a family member. Perhaps a close neighbor, or someone at school or work. Following Paul’s instructions can get pretty tricky. Romans 12:10 says to, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” WOW!! Another challenge. Psalm 133:1 says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” The unity of a COMMUNITY might begin with us. But we might say, “Why me, God?” “Why always me?” 2 Corinthians 13:11 puts it this way. “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” So as we struggle in this world to create peace and COMMUNITY, there is a COMMUNITY we can always turn to, and that is the “COMMUNITY of faith.” 1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, and He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” And Galatians 6:2 tells us to “carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” We well know that Jesus said in John 16:33 that “In this world there will be trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.” God never assigns us anything without His Heavenly help. Jesus died on the Cross to help us with our many earthly challenges, one of which is living in COMMUNITY. Jesus told us in Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” So, we start with a COMMUNITY of three and keep adding. Romans 12:5 “So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Even if our earthly COMMUNITY has those who cause division and obstacles, with JESUS we can help find a way to bring unity to the COMMUNITY. 1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” Let’s be honest here, overcoming division and obstacles can be too challenging for us without the help of Jesus. That’s why we need His divine ability and humble heart to fill us with His kind of love and grace. Heavenly Father thank you for the gift of COMMUNITY. As we gather together, we reflect You and Your forever faithfulness. We praise Your Holy Name.

Maturity

Ephesians 4:13 Become MATURE, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Dictionary definition of MATURITY—Of or relating to a condition of full development

MATURITY—My, my, now that’s something we can say we are, can’t we? MATURE, right? We’ve grown and have developed from babyhood to adulthood. In our education, jobs, and experience in life, we have MATURED, as well. Even in our relationships, with both struggles and joys, we have MATURED. We have also watched and been a part of others’ MATURITY. Perhaps our children, nieces, nephews, or friends children watching them with delight. It’s a joy to watch MATURITY develop in each and every one of them. Yet there is a MATURITY that we may not have thought of. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:20 “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking. Yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be MATURE.”
We do not often consider or think we are IMMATURE, but God warns us to guard our thinking. 1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child, when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
Yes, we gave up childish ways, but perhaps, our thinking has not MATURED to God’s ways. 2 Timothy 2:22 tells us to, “flee youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, and love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” A pure heart!! How does one acquire a pure heart? Colossians 2:2 “That their hearts may be encouraged having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself.”
God’s mystery, Christ Himself, is the way to a pure heart leading us to MATURITY, which comes from thinking not like a child.
Ephesians 4:14 “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.” Our thinking is much like the seed we plant. As we are nurtured, fed and loved we begin to think with a MATURE attitude. God knows that our MATURITY is a process, just like the seeds we plant in our garden.  We watch, water, and feed. If we harvest too soon, the fruit will be flat, tasteless, but if we wait till they are MATURE, they will taste just as God intended. Flavor will burst in our mouths and bring a smile to our faces. Do not rush these precious seeds, they need their specific time to MATURE, and so do we. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” We must not worry about our MATURITY. Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” God knows how to nurture, feed, and encourage us, just as we do the seeds in our garden. As we begin our path to MATURITY, in God’s garden, little by little we will begin to produce sweet, tasty fruit which brings a smile to God’s face. Philippians 3:15 tells us what a great gardener God is, as He watches, teaches and loves us. “Let those of us who are MATURE think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.” Thank you God for watching over Your garden. We need never worry about reaching MATURITY with You as our Gardner. You have thought of everything!! Help us to produce the fruit that will please you.
2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior JESUS Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
Praise Your Holy Name.

Repent

Acts 3:19 REPENT therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.

Dictionary definition of REPENT—Feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin.

REPENT—WHY??? If God knows all, sees all, then why do we need to verbally REPENT? How important is it, really? Proverbs 28:13
“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
In Revelation 3:19 “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and REPENT.” So, I guess, it’s very important to God that we REPENT, even to the end.”
“Confess our sins and obtain mercy” Proverbs 28:13. Who doesn’t want and need mercy? Think of the many times we are aware of a sin. Perhaps a lie, oh, it’s just a little white lie, we say. Or something we have repeated that can only be called gossip. Most of us don’t rob or kill, but we do manage to sin. Some of our sins seem so inconsequential that we don’t even recognize that they exist. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
And Mark 10:45 says, “The Son of man came to give His life as a ransom for many.”
1 John 1:8-9 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” JESUS is our ransom! Through Him we are bought and paid for and our sins are forgiven. God wants us to come to His throne REPENTING.
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach REPENTANCE.” God is patient waiting for us. We don’t REPENT for God’s sake, but for our own. Sinning injures our soul, and we need divine treatment of healing. The Lord pleads with insistence, love, and persuasion that we REPENT. In Luke 13:3 Jesus says, “No, I tell you, but unless you REPENT, you will all likewise perish.” Admitting our sins helps to change our minds and hearts leading us to do what is right instead of doing what is wrong. This attitude brings us closer to God. We look at ourselves differently, as well as those around us.
Luke 15:10 “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who REPENTS.”
Imagine, we bring joy to the angels of God when we REPENT. REPENTING keeps us humble, and brings us closer to Jesus, the One who forgives unconditionally. We need never feel defeated, because once again we sin, even when we try not to. Our precious Savior is ready and able filled with love and forgiveness for us. Father in Heaven, we praise and thank You for Your patience with us, waiting for us to REPENT. Please, heal our souls with Your divine touch, that teaches us to think and feel differently, which brings us closer to You. We Praise Your Holy Name.

Acceptance

1 Timothy 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full ACCEPTANCE. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

Dictionary definition of ACCEPTANCE—The action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.

ACCEPTANCE—We spend our lives looking for it! That interview for a job? We thought it went well, but will I be ACCEPTED? We may get the job, but will I be ACCEPTED as one of the team? Found a lovely house in a great neighborhood, near good schools, but will the bank ACCEPT our credit? Fabulous, the bank said “yes”!! Next we think, will our neighbors ACCEPT us into their community? And on and on it goes!! We have a great need to be and feel ACCEPTED. It’s a significant part of our lives, and very necessary to our well being. However, there is One we never need wonder about.
1 Peter 2:9 tells us, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
This scripture is beautiful. Imagine chosen, special possession, no longer in darkness. And, as if all of this isn’t wonderful enough, in Isaiah 49:16 God says, “I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” And in Luke 12:7 “We are told “Indeed, the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid you are worth more than many sparrows.” And listen to this, Romans 2:11
“For there is no partiality with God.”
And 2 Corinthians 8:12 “For if the readiness is present, it is ACCEPTABLE according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.” In our world to be ACCEPTED, we need to fit in, in some way, but with God, because He chose us, we no longer need to think the same way. He has our name written on the palms of His hands, He numbers the hairs on our heads, He shows no partiality, He ACCEPTS what we can offer Him. I don’t know about you, but even though the world still has it’s standards to deal with, our hearts can rest peacefully knowing that our Heavenly Father sees us as His own. Being a possession of the Most Holy, God Himself, is an honor, one that can fill us with a knowledge that only knowing God can provide. He says in 1 Peter 2:9 that we have been “called out of the darkness into the light.” We now need to spend our time praising God instead of thinking about worldly ACCEPTANCE. Give all our fears, worries, needs, to Him who chose us to be His. Romans 5:17 has very comforting words to share with us. “Death ruled like a king because Adam had sinned. But that cannot compare with what JESUS Christ has done. God has been so kind to us and He ACCEPTED us because of Jesus. And so we will live and rule like kings.”
And so, we finally get to the root of our ACCEPTANCE, Jesus, our brother. We are special and ACCEPTED through Jesus. Praise You JESUS for all You did for us on the Cross. We are now a royal priesthood because of You, our Lord, ACCEPTED, left now to share You with others so they, too, can walk out of the darkness, into the light.

Discernment

Ephesians 5:15-17 Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Dictionary definition of DISCERNMENT—The ability to judge well. The quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure-insight-perception.

DISCERNMENT—This word, when reading the dictionary definition, sounds pretty scary, and yet, it is something we do daily, many times, without any thought. As parents, teachers, leaders of many kinds, first responders, doctors, nurses, etc., we are expected to make decisions, many times snap decisions. Right there on the spot, DISCERNMENT, that may have reverberating consequences. In the scripture
Ephesians 5:15-17 tells us just how to handle these challenging decisions with DISCERNMENT of what God’s will is. What is His good and perfect will? Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Let’s clear up what “the fear of the Lord” in scripture really means. We humans tend to shy away from something we are afraid of. This phrase refers to a specific sense of respect, awe, and submission to God, but not of being afraid of Him.
Proverbs 1:7 says the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” and wisdom is to depart from evil. We must avoid evil or anything that lures us to do evil or wickedness. And, boy, are there times of temptation. But then we are reminded in Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Because we realize we can be lured into wickedness, this scripture’s warning takes practice to put into action in our daily lives, because we have been taught and trained to trust our own decisions. There is available DISCERNMENT and wisdom from the Lord that goes beyond looking at the outward appearance of a matter. Because He sees, hears, and knows more than we do, why not take His leading? When we call on Him, He will answer and give us peace. Let’s not let others pressure us into decisions without God’s peace.
1 John 4:1 says “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
In today’s age of tolerance, discriminating DISCERNMENT can be viewed as being judgmental, but JESUS taught in John 7:24
“Do not judge by appearance, but judge with right judgement.” And where does that right judgement come from, but from God.
1 John 4:3 “Every spirit that does not acknowledge JESUS is not from God.”
1 John 4:4 The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
Those who belong to Christ are still threatened, even now, and must resist pressure while DISCERNING God’s perfect will. Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may DISCERN what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
God sees all, knows all, Isaiah 11:2-3 “He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear.” So we, because we are in Christ, have the DISCERNMENT available that we need, when we ask, for all of the decisions we are expected to make on this worldly plane. God’s wisdom is made available through the Holy Spirit and God’s precious Word. Even though we often need to make judgements, some of which are highly important, we need to call on God and He will answer us.
DISCERNMENT according to His will is but a prayer away. Philippians 1:9-10 “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all DISCERNMENT so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be sure and blameless for the day of Christ.” WOW!!!! Prayer has already been said over us. How wonderful. Our God thinks of everything!! But that does not mean that we should not pray. Yes, indeed, pray unceasingly, for God wants to hear from us. Thank You Heavenly Father for all that You offer us, if only we accept it. Father, please, remind us daily to call on You for DISCERNMENT so that all of our judgement and decisions, large or small, will be led and approved by You. Praise Your Holy Name today and always.