Lately I’ve been noticing my backup car camera is covered with a film of haze which doesn’t allow clear sight vision when in reverse. However, it’s an easy fix. Either go to the carwash for a car bathe or take a rag, get out of the car and clean it. So, what have I done? You guessed it; I promptly forget about it until I once again put my car in reverse and look into the rearview mirror. The sheen of dirt hasn’t gone anywhere, and I haven’t made an attempt to remove it.
My person lesson? Dirt is everywhere. Although I have the ability to remove it from my car camera, my positive actions will not eliminate the dirt on the road. But my actions will eliminate the dirt on my car.
As a conclusion to the writing I began yesterday, I'd like to address the "what ifs" concerning our judgment of others. There is an insurmountable powerhouse of negativity surrounding our nation and its leaders. It’s become more than a sheen of dirt that can be easily washed away. This all-consuming destructive, damaging behavior has become a raging fire in which individuals not only judge the action of others, they’ve started picking up stones of hatred to devour anyone with opposing opinions. It reminds me of the scripture where Satan is referred to as a lion prowling back and forth throughout the earth seeking whom he may devour. That’s devour, my friend; not hurt, harm, nor cause a person to trip and fall, but devour…completely destroy until nothing is left. The verb form of the word is to “eat (food or prey) hungrily or quickly,” or “destroy completely.”
I Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
If you don’t believe in Satan, you haven’t been paying a lot of attention to the mess this world is in, friends. He desires God’s children to be neck and neck, as disagreeing children on a playground, to the point of fighting, pulling hair, swinging fists and name calling. And I’m sure he’s pleased as punch to see the alarming behavior in today’s society. We are dismantling one another, piece by piece.
What do we do as Christians? Pray. Seems simple to those who aren’t believers, but the power of prayer is effective, and God hears each word that drips from our mouths…good and bad. But I believe we should demonstrate love and forgiveness which is within our realm of possibility. We can love even though we don’t agree, and we can pray for our ability to forgive. Why? Because it’s what Jesus taught us to do. He was hanging on a cross having endured unimaginable pain and suffering and asked His Father to forgive those who has carried out torment because they didn’t know what they were doing.
When we listen to the continuous lashing out, insults, pious self-entitlement, regurgitation of past mistakes and self-righteous attitudes, the words WHAT IF rush to mind. WHAT IF those past mistakes and sins of others have been covered with the blood of Jesus Christ? WHAT IF some of the facts you are proud to expose are the result of misinformation? WHAT IF the person you are defending is lying?
Here's another way to look at it. WHAT IF the tables were turned and you are the one the entire world is watching as all your past sins, or regretful, accidental mistakes are being displayed throughout every outlet of social media? Remember, once the words are spoken, true or false, they can never be taken back or absolved into vapor. WHAT IF every single mistake you've ever made; whether in a high school yearbook, in a relationship or any sin you have ever committed was resurrected, blown up on huge screens and regurgitated regardless if it was the truth or another’s version of truthfulness. Matters not the damage done to your personal life or that of your family.
Are we really the ones to be judge and jury over sins? Is that our job this side of heaven? Didn't the Lord want us to love each other, help one another and point people to the Cross of Calvary? Wasn't that what Jesus told those gathered when He ascended into heaven? Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
Here's a thought to conclude. If you are without any shortcomings or sins, past or present, then pick up that stone and start to throw. Although you're probably thinking, but I've never done....and you start your explanation of how you aren’t as bad as those being mentioned in public office. I've got news for you, friend. Your sins are sins and believe it or not, Jesus died for them all. WHAT IF Jesus desires you to drop that stone and take the higher road.... that of forgiveness. WHAT IF through your expression of love the thrust of hatred and anger can be halted? WHAT IF you asked God Almighty to pour out His wisdom and discretion for future decisions so men and women of character, not a particular party affiliation, will be chosen to lead? WHAT IF we consulted the Bible for direction instead of social media? WHAT IF?
"Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37 NKJV
"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:32 NKJV
What if....how many times have we said those words in our lifetime? What if I'd made a different decision? What if I'd chosen a different path or career? What if I'd held my tongue instead of putting my mouth in gear never being able to retract those hurtful words? Regrets, that's what all the "what ifs" in life are all about. But we continue, in these human carnal bodies until Jesus returns, to forge ahead into the next "what if" situation.
Being in my sixties I believe I see the world through wiser eyes than when I was younger. I love the Lord Jesus with all my heart and I believe with everything in me He's coming back for those who believe on His Name. I also believe life on this earth is temporary and where we go after this life....well, it's for all eternity. It's up to each individual, through the awesome gift of free will, to make that determination for him or herself. But here's the thing; if you think it's all fantasy, that Christians have been drinking out of a fountain filled with red kool-aide, the miracles of Jesus were magic and there was no such occurrence of a resurrection; WHAT IF you're wrong? Are you willing to spend an eternity in a burning hell where there is no escape? No firetrucks, no EMS, no miraculous deliverance out of the pain and agony because you made up your mind before your last breath was taken. WHAT IF?
For me, I'm comfortable with my belief in a Savior who was born of a virgin, lived on this earth, died a cruel death in order to be the perfect sacrificial Lamb so that once and for all the blood of the perfect and innocent was shed for the remission of sins. My question is to those who don't believe in Jesus....what is going to happen to your soul? You know, the part of you made in God's image? What happens when your eyes close in death? Think it's not serious enough to consider? Or perhaps its scare tactics created by Christians? WHAT IF Christians are right? Are you willing to chance for eternity the lives and souls of your children on your lack of belief in a God who loves you and sent His Son to die for you? WHAT IF?
"When we are in times of difficulty and distress, the important thing is not that we get out of it but what we get out of it."
Thought for the Day: “Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord.” Psalm 25:7
Regret, now that’s a word that often haunts and follows individuals today. So much time and energy is spent on the sorrow and anguish of foolish past actions or possibly non-actions when we were nudged to do otherwise. We’ve probably all experienced life events we wish would afford us a do-over, or at least an intervention allowing us an overview of how that particular action or event will be seen in the future. The age-old comment that the past has 20/20 vision is so true.
However, reading this verse of scripture this morning I realized that when we have asked forgiveness of our past actions, sins, shortcomings, God separates that shame as far and the east is from the west and through His love, He chooses to remember it no more. He won’t be the one bringing it up to the forefront of your mind when you least expect it. He won’t be the one nagging you to return to the scene of the crime urging you to possibly experience it again. He won’t be the one causing a reoccurrence of your failure in order to test your ability to react differently.
No, there is another force at work in the world today that wants nothing more than for you to continue to be stuck in the mud of remembrance, hurt and the fiascos of life unable to move forward towards a future of hope and forgiveness. Don’t allow the prince of this world to discredit what your Father in Heaven, through the blood of Jesus Christ, has made available. Lay every disappointment and every regret at the foot of the Cross of Jesus Christ. He died so that we might live victoriously. Will we sin? Yes. Will we be perfect followers? No. Can we experience victorious living today that places regret in the past? Absolutely. And when that regret ever is remembered you intentionally pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to remove what has already been forgiven.
If you’re stuck in the mud, your feet covered with shame, guilt, unhappiness, distress; whatever emotion you are feeling, ask the Creator of the Universe, the One who made you in His image to take it all away. He’s waiting with a clean slate. Why delay?
Thank you, Jesus, that you go before the Father with our every request. I pray if someone is reading this blog and repeating this verse of scripture, they will ask for your intervention, love and forgiveness for past regretful events. At times, Lord, we need to forgive others when they have not responded as we thought was appropriate but aid us in realizing we are not responsible for anyone but ourselves. May today the mud be washed off the feet of those in need by the hands of the One who washed the feet of the disciples. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
I have often written about my mom who currently resides in a nursing home in Virginia and has increasing dementia. When Gary and I visit throughout the day she will ask who I am. It's a very interesting condition, but the earliest of memories for Mom are tucked away in the recesses of her mind and reveal themselves in clear detail. For instance, lyrics to songs she learned as a child through young adulthood; names of individuals she knew in school and some gentlemen she dated; all the stanzas of hymns and memorized Bible verses.
Mom's favorite verses from the Bible are found in Proverbs 3:5-6. We continually repeat them with her or aid her in attempting alone. She still does very well, but the last time we were visiting I asked Mom if she wanted to say the 23rd Psalm. She agreed and then she began. Gary and I were stunned at her memorization of that chapter in the Bible. Clear as a bell, she spoke every verse. The same happens when Mama prays. Although she is repetitive her prayers are spot on.
As I've tried to come up with an explanation other than the earliest of memories being tucked away ready for recall, I have come to the conclusion the Holy Spirit of God which was planted within my mother when she accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior is communing with God. The Trinity is at work. The Holy Spirit is taking Mom's requests before a Holy God and is being heard clearly without the dementia factor. Even disease of any type cannot prohibit our prayers from reaching the throne of grace and mercy. Now that's a wonderful, comforting fact for us as Christians, isn't it? Regardless of what happens to these finite minds, if we know Jesus as Savior the Holy Spirit will always be available to present our prayers to the foot of the Cross.
That's a great thought for today! Have a wonderful weekend, friends!
It would be nearly impossible for me to describe the love I have for my husband. Reaching our 39th wedding anniversary in a month, Gary and I have enjoyed incredible celebrations, joys, storms, highs, lows and everything in between. That happens when you have been the best of friends and partners enduring life side by side.
But as much as I love Gary and as much as he loves me, we adore our Lord and Savior. On Valentine's Day we are reminded of those we hold dear and love with all our hearts....sometimes with flowers, some with candy, some with dinner out or possibly a call or card.
This year I wanted to reprint I Corinthians 13, a passage of scripture that Gary's sister, Amy, read at our wedding. The love our Lord God has for us cannot be matched or surpassed. He loves us so much He made a way for us to spend eternity in His presence.
May God bless you and your loved ones,
Cookie and The Sounding Board Teaching Ministries
1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
It's been raining here in Pittsburgh off and on for days. Although I consider this weather forecast better than continual snow, I do enjoy the sunshine. Usually on days like this I grab a book and read. However, I have a bit of writing and studying to complete today, so I needed a quick pick-me-up....laughter!
As I strolled through previous material in my "devotional thoughts" folder, I found these quick one liners that slid the cloudiness over to the side and lightened my day. I do hope it does the same for you!
A few reasons to smile....
On a display of "I love you only" Valentine cards: "Now available in multi-packs"
Brochure for mountain cabin rentals: "Lovely honeymoon cabin...sleeps 8"
In a Maine restaurant: "Open 7 days a week and weekends."
On a plumber's truck: "We repair what your husband fixed."
On another plumber's truck: "Don't go to bed with that drip tonight."
Seen on a billboard along a highway:
"Caution: Objects in the mirror may have flunked driver's education."
I love billboard messages from God. I can't remember when they first begin to surface, but these one liners make one stop and think about God, even if it's brief. Hopefully, these are thought provoking statements that will last a little longer than a moment...God loves you so very much!
"Tell the Kids I Love Them." - God