Something Beautiful

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message…

“..Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.” ~ Matthew 26:10, NIV

I am completely crazy about cool jewelry, so when the Lord prompted me to take off my favorite necklace and give it to the woman who had just admired it, I tried to pretend that I didn’t hear Him.

“It’s mine, God!” I reasoned. “It isn’t replaceable! Why would ask me to do that?”

My self-plan didn’t like the God-plan that was laid out before me. God was asking me to give up something that meant a lot to me so that another woman could be blessed. It seemed crazy. Unnecessary. But, in this instance, through the strength of Christ, I chose to obey even though I didn’t want too. It hurt. It cost me big. I felt the loss.

God softened my childish heart, however, as the woman wept at the Lord’s blessing. As I silently confessed my selfish thoughts, God poured a deep joy into my soul. He showed me that my sacrifice was an act of worship to Him. Blessings boomeranged right back to my heart as I humbly thanked Him for allowing me to participate in His moment with her. It was a beautiful thing.

There are just some times I’d rather give gifts that don’t cost me too much. But that’s probably something that only I wrestle with, right? (Kidding.) It’s hard to be open handed with things that we hold dear, isn’t it? Some of us struggle with an unwillingness to give away material things or money. Others of us hold tight to our schedules, affections, positions, jobs or our availability. Still more of us hold tightly to our children, grandchildren, spouses, friends, parents or other people in our lives that we want to keep a tight reign on.

The Bible addresses this issue and shows us a beautiful picture of surrendered devotion in Mary of Bethany. The offering she poured out onto the feet of Jesus was worth a year’s wages. She lavished her costly perfume, her attention, her affection, her time and her worship on Jesus because she loved Him. He was her Savior. Her Friend. Her Hope. The Healer who had miraculously brought life back to the stench of death that had fallen on her brother Lazarus.

“While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Matthew 26:6-13, NIV)

The Message paraphrase says it this way:She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. (Matthew 26:10)

When I read this story, I’m compelled to wonder: when God looks at my life, does He see a beautiful thing? Does He see me do anything that is wonderfully significant for Him?

What do you think He sees when He looks at your life?

Does He see a beautiful thing?

When we open the hands of our lives to God’s presence, to His service and for His glory, rest assured Godwill see a beautiful thing. When we obey God’s promptings and listen to His voice that whispers to our soul, He fills us with peace, satisfaction and His beauty.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

The Art of Community

Thank you Today God is First for today’s message…

I have a friend who spent three months living in Israel with Jewish believers. During one of their conversations the Jewish man noticed how often my friend came to visit him only to discuss a project. He turned to my friend during dinner and admonished him: “You western Christians! You always seem to need a program or an event to get together. Why can’t you fellowship with one another just because you love each other!?”

My friend was convicted by his assessment. They began to talk about how Jesus modeled love for the disciples and how they simply hung out together because of their love for one another. “A new command 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” (John 13:34-35).

Jesus often spent unhurried times of fellowship with the disciples. They shared countless meals together. It is often during such times we get to know others at a deeper level.

Love for one another is one of the greatest signs of faith in Christ. However, the pace of life often contributes to a life being lived for the next event instead of a relationship rooted in the love of Christ.

How many relationships do you have in your life that would allow you to fellowship simply because you cared for one another?

Have a ThirtyOne-deful day!

 

The Power of the Tongue


Today’s message is from Mary Southerland

LORD, help me control my tongue; help me be careful about what I say ~           Psalm 141:3

Our son and daughter-in-law and their four children recently moved to Kansas City and are living with us until they find a house. The conversation around the dinner table each night is always quite animated as Lelia and Jaydan, the nine-year-old twins, give a play-by-play account of their day at school.

During the middle of dinner last night, a rare moment of silence occurred. It did not last long. Lelia looked at me and said, “Mimi, do you know what the strongest muscle in the human body is?” I stopped to think about the question before offering several answers that Lelia quickly dismissed as wrong. “I give up!” I said. With her blue eyes twinkling and a big grin on her face, Lelia said, “It’s the tongue!”

Okay. I had to do a little research. The correct answer to Lelia’s question all depends on how you define strength. And the tongue is not really one muscle, but a conglomeration of eight different muscles.

When it comes to versatility, the tongue is indeed powerful. Its combination of elasticity and forcefulness gives us the ability to speak, eat, sip, swallow … the list is quite impressive.

According to Scripture, the tongue may very well be the strongest muscle in the body. In fact, God has a lot to say about the power of the tongue and the words we speak. Words are power tools that, in the right hands and used correctly, can build and encourage. In the wrong hands and used incorrectly, words can destroy and defeat.

Unless strained through discipline and holiness, words can impart false perspectives and untruths. But the right word, spoken at the right time and in the right way can bring order in the midst of confusion, light on a very dark path, and wisdom for questions that seem to have no answers.

I believe God gives us spiritual radar so we can assess a situation and speak the right word for that circumstance. In fact, Paul writes, “Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone” (Colossians 4:6). We just need to check the radar screen before we speak.

Solomon also offers great wisdom concerning the use of words, “Whoever controls his mouth protects his own life. Whoever has a big mouth comes to ruin” (Proverbs 13:3, GWT). In other words, if we do not learn to use and control our tongue, it will use and control us.

Proverbs 34:13 offers a very clear directive to “keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.” The word “keep” indicates an action on our part. We decide. We choose the words we speak. That means we must guard our hearts and our minds.

We choose what is allowed to take up room in our mind. It is literally the idea of a guard standing at the gate of the city, stationed there to keep watch. He is there by invitation only. If we want to live right and speak right – we must think right.

Godly responses come from the heart. If there is something wrong with our words, then there is something wrong with our heart. The truth of Proverbs 16:23 is profound in its simplicity, “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth.”

A judge utters a few words and a guilty man is taken to death row.

A friend speaks a word of encouragement and a desperate heart finds hope.

A mother lashes out with angry words and the light in her child’s eyes is gone.

A wife offers a word of forgiveness and a marriage is restored.

A gossip makes a phone call and a reputation is destroyed.

A teenager says “no” and changes the course of her life.

Yes, the tongue is strong and powerful as are the words we speak. Let’s choose today to speak words of life.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Faith – Take Action

Sundays are again for me a day of rest and reflection (or at least that is my goal) .  It is a time for me to recharge my battery for the week ahead – mentally, physically and spiritually.

The other night, I was asked “what do you have faith in?”.  The question was asked during a discussion about the medical profession and how we have faith in others yet little faith in those who love us.  It reminded me of a devotion from one of my Celebrate and Connect meetings. Thirty One’s bi-monthly consultant meeting/ training.

Hebrews 11:1 

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen.” 

What does faith mean to you? 

  • Faith in Electric Company. Proof? Flip the switch! Faith confirmed. Can you all agree with me unless you FLIP the switch it’d not going anywhere for you?
  • Faith in the Water Department? Proof? Turn the nozzle! Faith confirmed.  Can you all agree unless you turn on the faucet water will not drip from the spout?
  • Faith in your Car Keys? Proof? Turn the key in the ignition! Faith confirmed.  Can you all agree unless you put the key in the ignition and turn the key your car will not go anywhere?
  • Faith in that alarm clock? Proof? It woke you up this morning! Faith confirmed.  Can you all agree with me unless you SET the alarm, it will not wake you up?

Faith without works is dead. We can all have faith…but unless you work to get what you want…it’s dead.

I ENCOURAGE you all: Let’s FLIP our SWITCH. TURN ON our Faucets. Put the KEY in the Ignition. & SET our alarm clocks.  We CAN GET INTO ACTION in our business and make our dreams come alive.

God has a plan for you and no matter who your Higher Power is or what you call him – you need to do the footwork.  What does faith mean to you?  What do you have faith in?  Are you ready to follow the plan of your Higher Power even if you don’t know what the results will be?

As for me, I will reflect on my faith today so that I can hopefully listen and act on God’s plan for me in the upcoming week.  Rest, Recharge and get ready for the week…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

You’ve Got the Gear for Great Things!

Sunday’s have been a time when I shared messages from others but today, this touched my heart and I felt as if I wanted to share personally with you.  The post I read started like this:

Pretend with me for a moment. Let’s say you are on an island in the Pacific. Pick an island, any island, but make it a tropical, lush, and beautiful one. You walk out onto the porch and see some equipment laid out just for you. You know what it is, and you know what it’s for. You’re excited! You’ve always wanted to do this, but never had the right gear.

You slip into a black sleek wet suit, zip up the front closure, and most likely marvel at the way it holds everything in. Then you squeeze your feet into squeaky black flippers. I know they’re tight, but go ahead and wiggle your feet in. Next, you strap a heavy oxygen tank on your back. One arm. Now the other. Finally, you slip a facemask over you nose and eyes, and place a mouthpiece between your lips.

But rather than heading out to the ocean to explore the marvelous coral reef, vibrant fish, and swaying flora, you turn around, go back into the house, fill up the bathtub, and settle in.

I know it sounds silly but think about how many times you may have done the same thing. God has blessed us with many gifts and talents yet how many times do we run from the abundant life to stay in our comfort zone – living in mediocre faith.

I have done it many times.  Always being behind the scenes, not wanting to step out in faith.  Letting fear and doubt keep me from experiencing all God has planned for me.  The truth is, we all have the gear we need, it is just up to us to jump in.  Experiencing our pre-ordained opportunity (destiny).

How many time have you had the argument with God, telling him the many reasons you are not the right one for the job (or the opportunity or the calling)?  I know I have.  Lately, my argument surrounds my memory issues and how I am “not good enough”.  Yet, when I stop and embrace the challenges (actually blessings), I am amazed at the abundance in my life.  I need to take time with God each morning, not just talking (praying and asking) but listening to what he has to say.  The message may not always be clear (brain fog has me struggling) but God’s message will come through one way or another.

I let fear keep me from God’s abundance.  I let the comparison game keep me from stepping out of my comfort zone.  I let the inner gremlins dance in my head and question my faith and my ability to know what God wants me to do.

Many are suited for great things and didn’t even know it.  As a result, they live a life never experiencing the many blessings God has for them.

Here’s my question for you today: What will you say to God when He calls your name or taps you on the shoulder and says, “Now’s the time?”

Perhaps today is the day.  Will you JUMP in, walking in faith or will you retreat within your comfort zone?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!