Thoughts to Ponder: Follow The Leader

Yesterday I witnessed birds flying in a straight line following the leader.  It fascinated me about how they all look alike.  They were going the same flight speed, and they were the same distance from each other.  When the leader changed direction, they followed behind with no hesitation.  It was beautiful to watch as they soared in the sky with such elegance and obedience.

We can learn something from the pattern of these birds.  The longer we are in friendship with someone, we begin to be like him or her.  They may influence us in a positive or negative way.  Just like the birds, they followed the leader’s commands without giving it a second thought.  They trusted and believed the leader would not lead them in harms way.   Sometimes our friendships can destroy us by following the wrong leader.

As Christians, we are to be obedient to God’s Word, and our lives should resemble how Jesus lived here on earth.  Those who follow our lead depend on us to make the right choices, and it is vital we live a righteous life.  We either lift our followers up to God, or we put them in danger.  As leaders in the church body, we impact others by our actions and words.

The next time you see someone following your lead, check your motives to see whether or not your actions are from God.   I encourage you to go in the direction God calls you to so you lead others by example.  Be the leader that God calls you to be and stay strong in your faith as you lead others to Christ!

Resurrection faked?

My Weekly Featured Blog comes from Mustard Seed Budget Ministries. It is called “Resurrection Faked?”. The blogger made excellent points to prove Jesus’ resurrection was real and is still real to us today! The blog is more of a teaching. It is a good read!

Mustard Seed Budget

Jesus facebook status resurrected

If you say the resurrection was fabricated, then you must prove:

  1. The disciples had a motive. Usually people make elaborate lies for fame or money — or to cover wrong-doing. But the disciples got persecution and poverty. They lived on the run.
  2. The disciples were incredibly clever to devise the story. The Bible record states the contrary: They (the Jewish leaders) perceived Peter and John were unlearned and ignorant men — Acts. 4:13. Outside of the Bible, Josephus mentions Paul and his academic background. The omission of mention of the disciples is telling. They were fishermen.

If you say the resurrection was fabricated, you are confronted with the fact that the disciples all died for the lie. This would be very strange. You must look at these facts:

  • The Roman Empire (not all died at Roman hands) always gave people the chance to recant and walk free. But the…

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Complacency

Today, I will be talking about a topic everyone has experienced.  We all have been complacent for something we lack or want. We all have felt the stirring inside us for something more.  Complacency can make us feel incomplete in Christ.

Complacency is defined as a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like.  It can also be defined as a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s accomplishments.  Complacency leads to mixed emotions and believing in satan’s lies.  Lately, I have been complacent.  This is a topic dear to my heart.  I allowed the devil to win a few battles rather than allow God to intervene in my current situations.  I have felt defeated, alone, incomplete, and unworthy.  I have let complacency take over my thoughts and actions.  I was unaware of what the devil was doing until now.

Complacency can be tricky.  When we think we are making ourselves better, we are only walking away from God and His plan for our lives.  The Bible warns us about being complacent.  It is not of God.  Proverbs 1:32 warns that those who turn away from Him are complacent, and their actions will destroy them.  In Revelation 3, it states we are not to be lukewarm in our faith, but we need to be on fire for God (vs. 15-16).  Complacency jumbles our thoughts and makes us lukewarm in our faith.  In this state of mind, our faith wavers and our emotions drive our actions.  An unwavering faith is not complacent.  A person with a strong faith will know who he or she is and walks in the confidence of Christ.

If we are fully walking with God, there is no need to be complacent with where He has us in our lives.  Complacency tells us we need to rush God’s plan and do life our way.  Complacency makes us question His will for our lives, and we slowly lose our faith.  It is satan’s trap, and we all need to be aware of His schemes.  We need to realize the devil wants us to feel defeated and worthless.  God’s purpose is to bring hope and faith into our lives.  We remain confident in Christ when we put our trust in Him and do not question His motives and His timing.

 

What is your question in this life?

My Featured Blog for this week is by The Living Message of Christ. The post is called, “What is Your Questions in this Life?” We all have questions for God. What is yours and are you bold enough to ask God?

The Living Message of Christ

Do you go around asking or just wondering about life and all of its do’s and don’ts? Have you seen all that there is to see, for you at least or do you still seek out the next curve or over the next hill? Do you still question why the wind blows or where does the sun go at night? How does the grass know when it is time to come back in spring? How do the flowers and trees know when to begin to bloom again?

These questions have been answered by science, to an extent at least. The sun doesn’t go under the Earth and come out of a cave in the East during the night and even today few people can tell you where the wind actually comes from or blows to. Yes, we have weather vanes which can point out the directions for me for the…

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The Story of the Cross

In the book of Luke (Luke 23:32-38), it tells the story of the cross.  This story is one-of-a-kind.  Jesus was God in human form “and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himselfby becoming obedient to death–even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8).  If Jesus was God in human form, then he would have felt the same pain we would have experienced if we were tortured and nailed to the cross.

Jesus was blameless.  He did not deserve to be beaten beyond recognition, mocked, and nailed to a cross to suffer a long agonizing death.  Even in His suffering, He had compassion for us.  While He hung on the cross, “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’” (Luke 23:34).  Imagine dying on a cross and being mocked by the people who used to love you.  Would you still have compassion and love for those people?  Probably not.  God’s love is much deeper than ours.

If you were nailed to a cross, after nearly beaten to death, you would be in extraordinary pain.  This kind of pain cannot be fully described in words, because it was so intense.  No other man on earth has experienced the level of pain that Jesus endured.  In addition to suffering on the cross, Jesus must have felt the ultimate rejection by the ones that used to love Him.  These people in the crowd, mocking Him, were those that used to follow Him and believed in His miracles.  I cannot even imagine experiencing this kind of rejection.  In the midst of all this chaos, Jesus did not condemn us or even reject us for our actions, but, instead, He forgave us.

While Jesus was taking His last breaths on the cross, His final words were “it is finished” (John 19:30).  “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split” (Matthew 27:51).  When those words were spoken, we had access to God.  Jesus paved the way for us in the most tragic death.

Jesus replaced the rituals of burnt offerings in the Old Testament by giving Himself up as a burnt offering.  In the Old Testament, the people in the Bible would ask God for forgiveness for their sins by sacrificing an animal, in specific terms, to honor Him.  Burnt offerings was a sacred ritual.  Leviticus 1:10 says “if the offering is a burnt offering from the flock, from either the sheep or the goats, you are to offer a male without defect.”  Jesus is perfect in every way!

One of the most popular and memorized Scriptures in the Bible is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  The agape love expressed in this Scripture is not something we can wrap our minds around.  It cannot be explained why someone would sacrifice himself to save the world.  This proves God’s love is unconditional, with no strings attached.

The cross symbolizes hope and forgiveness.  Jesus paid for our debts by dying on the cross.  The cross becomes just another story.  The meaning of the cross becomes numb, and we forget what it represents.  We should never let the story of the cross grow numb in our hearts.

APPLICATION:

  1. When you read the story of the cross, what emotions do you feel and why?
  2. Do you feel that Jesus dying on the cross was enough for our sins?
  3. Has the cross become numb to you? Is it just another story?
  4. CHALLENGE: The cross is a story about redemption. God sacrificed His son to have a relationship with us. I encourage you to evaluate your relationship with Christ. Ask God to show you areas that need to be strengthened to have a better relationship with Him.

 

 

 

Weekly Blogging – Thoughts to Ponder

Once a week I will put a thought, quote, or Scripture that you can ponder.  It will be something that inspires you.  I know sometimes we want an easy read and be encouraged.  These posts will be short and to the point.  It will be less than a minute read and you can go on about your day without spending a lot of time reading posts on my page.  I will continue writing devotionals once a week.  The “Thoughts to Ponder” posts will be an addition to my weekly blogging.

Stay encouraged and have a wonderful weekend!

Being An Encourager

My 4th Featured Blog for this week is from the Everyday Encounters With The Creator. It is called, “Being an Encourager.” Let’s strive to encourage others today! Let’s make someone’s day better by complimenting him/her.

Everyday Encounters With the Creator

happy

I received a call recently from a lady who had looked my number up in the phone book. She told me she reads my articles in the Herald-Standard and she felt that the Lord wanted her to share her devotional reading with me because she thought it was for me. I was amazed both that she went out of her way to encourage a stranger and that people still use phone books. But this is not the first time someone has looked me up and called to encourage me.  People stop me in Walmart and tell me they recognize me from reading my articles.  I’ve received cards in the mail, too.  It doesn’t happen all the time but when it does it is always so refreshing to see people going out of their way to be a blessing to someone they don’t even know.

It got me to thinking about how…

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Let Your Insides Out

My 3rd Featured Blog for this Week and the Last One I Will Post for Today is from the Fulfilled Christian Life blog. It is called, “Let The Insides Out.” It talks about our insecurities and how they make us who we are. I related to this post, and it encouraged me on who Christ is in me. Maybe it will encourage you in some way.

A Fulfilled Life for Us

Who are you behind the masks you wear? Do you wear your feelings on your shoulder for other people to see who you really are? Do you try to act one way when you really feel another?

Or have you learned that it does not matter what other people think about you? Are you free from the tyranny of their opinions? Do you let your insides out?

Our fears and insecurities define who we really are inside. Due to our spirit and soul, we may have a strong spirit, but a very wounded soul. We appear strong, yet most of us are really weak.

When people reject us for our weaknesses, we feel worthless and damaged, which increases our fears and insecurities. We feel too vulnerable and build walls around our heart.

My former husband disdained the inner me. My adult children tolerate the inner me. My current husband dwells…

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Saved From What?

My 2nd Featured Blog for this Week is from the Connecting Dots…to God blog. It is called, “Saved From What?” It talks about how Jesus saved us from our own sin. It talks about Palm Sunday and how the crowds loved Him. Then they turned on Him when Jesus did not do what the crowds expected. It is a great blog worth reading.

Connecting Dots...to God

Palm trees from stocksnap

Jesus rode in to Jerusalem, 2000 or so years ago, to a “very large crowd” shouting:

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

The crowd had thrown their coats and branches on the ground, and they welcomed Jesus with shouts of “Hosanna,” which means “save now” or “save, we pray.”  They made such a fuss that the Pharisees asked Jesus to shush up his disciples, and they were told by Jesus that if the crowd kept quiet then the rocks would have to cry out.

Matthew tells us that the “whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?‘”

The crowd likely saw Jesus as the long awaited Messiah, or at least they hoped that was the case.  They were correct, but what they expected the Messiah to do and what Jesus actually did…

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