Middle Age Ramblings

Where I Share My Thoughts On This Journey Called Life

Archive for the tag “Jesus”

He Is Risen!

Today is Easter Sunday. It is the day on which we Christians celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. As I think about the events of that weekend some 2000 years ago, I am reminded of the raw human emotion in this story.

Think about that first Easter for a moment. The disciples were hiding. They thought they would be next to be killed. They feared for their lives and at the same time, they grieved because their leader was no longer with them. Just sit for a moment and get a picture in your mind of the scene in that upper room. The same room where they had just celebrated the passover.

It is no wonder that morning when the women who had gone to the tomb came bursting into the room with the news that Jesus’ body was gone that they felt apprehension. I’m certain that was much confusion and doubt in their minds.

Than Mary came running in with the news that she had seen Jesus! All of the confusion, the fear, the grief all came to a fever pitch.

We tend to be too rough on the disciples and their doubt. I would imagine that we would feel the same way if placed in the same situation.

Soon, however, Jesus would appear to them and put all of their fears to rest right? Hardly the Bible tells us in Matthew 28:17 that a few days later, Jesus appeared to them in Galilee. They worshiped, but some doubted.

People still doubt today! They don’t believe that a dead man got up and walked! Yet the evidence is clear. His tomb is empty!

We must shout it from the housetops. HE IS RISEN! Throw a party, celebrate! He is Risen, and I believe HE is coming again very soon!

 

Learning To Trust

One of the hardest lessons for me to learn in my Christian walk is learning to trust God in all situations. Not a blind trust, but a trust developed through experience. Yet, I need to be reminded constantly of the Father’s consistent working in my life.

I remember many years ago when my children were younger, we went through a tough time with my job. I was working for a major furniture manufacturer when business took a downturn. It got so bad that we were only working 3 days a week. I was out looking around our small town for  a second job and wasn’t finding one. I finally realized that God was trying to tell me to trust Him. To be patient and rest in Him. It was amazing to watch God work through other Christians and sometimes in ways that I couldn’t understand to meet our needs.

Proverbs 3:5-6 became very important in my life because of this season in my life.

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 paths. ESV

There are times in our lives though that we don’t think about past victories and we fail to remember how God has helped us in the past. Maybe we should follow more closely the commands that God gave the children of Israel when he told them to teach the children in their household the truths of God’s law and the way God helped them get to the promised land.

It’s difficult to learn to trust God completely. In our culture, individualism is encouraged. There is pressure to look out for number 1, ourselves, and not think about others. We as followers of Christ, must learn in these difficult days to trust in God for all of our needs. We must realize that God, not the government is the source of all we have. It’s difficult to learn. I’m still working on it, but god is faithful to remind me daily of all He’s done for me. I just have to listen.

Please share some of your experiences in learning to trust God in the comments below.

 

It’s Been A Crazy Week

Well it has been a crazy week. It all started last Friday afternoon when I got a call from my wife about three in the afternoon, which is odd for her. She told me she had just been laid-off from her job. That could have bummed me out, but all of a sudden a peace came over me and I knew in my heart that everything was going to be okay.

Things were pretty normal over the weekend. I still was not in crisis mode over this change that had come to our lives. My wife had a job interview on Monday, and we were very hopeful.

Then the bottom fell out as far as my work. Deadlines were looming and I couldn’t get anything accomplished. Then the computer system went down! This went on for two days! I was stressed out!

I have read all of this stuff about turning your problems over to the Lord. Let Him handle your problems, your stress and , your crisis. Let me tell you, that’s easier said than done.

The tough part was trying to not allow my wife to worry. In the meantime, she got a call offering her the job she had interviewed for earlier in the week. That was great! it took some of the load off my mind, but I still had not been really worried about her work situation. I knew it was under control. Nothing else was working right.

This has been an exhausting week. I’m glad it’s over. I’m also glad I made it through and didn’t hurt anybody. You see life happens and when life happens to a follower of Christ, we are automatically under the microscope. Everybody wants to see how we’ll handle the situation.

I didn’t do so good this week. Don’t be so surprised. If more of us who follow Christ were honest and open about our sins, maybe, just maybe the world could see less of us and more of the Jesus who saved us, and who continually picks us up and cleans the mud off of us when we fall.

Please share your experiences below.

 

How To Read The Bible More Effectively

In my last post, I talked about three things you can do to help you live a more focused life. The first thing I mentioned was reading the Bible every day. I thought in this post, I would give everybody some things that has helped me down through the years with Bible reading and study.

I know there are many Christians who attend a church from time to time, but who never pick up the Bible and read it. If you are a person who does that, you are missing out. There is no way you can find God’s direction for your life without knowledge of the truths in the Bible.

Some of you are going to say  that you don’t have time to read. I have found out that I don’t need to miss my time in God’s word. I have become convinced there is more to this life than just sliding through life barely getting by. the only way to be truly successful in life is to find your place and direction for living from the Bible.

Let me give you some ideas of mine that will help you as you begin to read your Bible each day as part of your plan to find direction or focus for your life.

1. Pick up your Bible and read it! I know that seems redundant, but read it! You can’t learn these truths by osmosis.

2. Schedule a definite time each day to read, preferably the same time each day. If you have to schedule it into your calendar or planner do it. Whatever you have to do to get the habit of reading the Bible daily started.

3. Pray before you begin reading. Ask God to open your mind to see the truths found in His Word.

4. Meditate, or think about what you are reading. Engage your mind into the process.

5. Keep a journal in which you write down the reference for that day and some of the things you observed out of the passage you read.

6. Keep it simple at the beginning. Don’t think you have to read a chapter or more each day. Sometimes I just read a small section of a chapter or some days even one verse.

7. Review what you have read several times during the day. Meditate on what you have read.

If you have never been a daily Bible reader and you don’t know where to start, let me give you some suggestions.  If you need some thing practical and down to earth, try the book of James. If you want to learn more about the life of Jesus try Luke or John. If you are looking for practical advise for life, try the book of Proverbs. In fact, one thing I like to do in Proverbs is when we start a month that has 31 days in it, I like to read a chapter in Proverbs everyday.

That gives you a few suggestions on how to read the Bible. I’m certain there are many other suggestions that others may have.

What are some suggestions you may have for reading the Bible more effectively? Share them in the comments below.

 

How To Live A Focused Life

What is focus? One definition of focus is ” a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding”. Another definition is simply direction. I know so many people who are drifting through life without any focus or direction. they are not living, they are just existing. there is no excitement or fulfillment in their lives I have experienced those times myself. I am now trying to find my direction in life. I’m 54 years old. You are never to young or too old to develop focus in your life.

Michael Hyatt in his eBook,  Creating Your Personal Life Plan, said ” I have met few people who have a plan for their lives. Most are passive spectators, watching their lives unfold a day at a time.” That’s the first two sentences in the book. I came to realize that I too had no focus, no plan for my lie. I was just trying to survive each day.

Let me give you three things that I am using in my life to help me regain my focus. They are:

1. Read the Bible every day

2. Pray often

3. Read books that help you regain focus

I try to read my Bible every morning when my mind is fresh. Before I read I pray and ask God to speak to me through the words that I read. I also ask him to show me His plans for my life. I ask Him to show me things I need to change in my life. I used to do this often, but I realized that I had gotten “busy” and gotten away from an everyday routine of reading. I believe that is part of the reason I lost focus.

I try to pray often. Sometimes I just talk to God out loud.  Sometimes I write my prayers in a journal. It depends on the situation and where I am as to the form this prayer time takes as I go through my day. Praying keeps me focused on the goal, which is the “prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”, Philippians 4:13 NKJV.

Finally, I have begun to read other good books to help my regain my focus. These are not only books by Pastors and Bible Teachers, but also books written by everyday people who have focused their lives and risen above a life of just getting by.

I’m certain there are many other ideas that some of you have used to regain your focus. Please share those below in the comments section.

 

The Calm After The Storm

I’m sitting here in my office at home, looking out the window because it is a slow day, I noticed something.It’s quiet around here today! Normally, I have the radio playing here in the office, but not today. I mean it is quiet around here. Not just in my house, but outside as well.

What’s so important about the quiet today? Yesterday was much different. It was stormy where I live in North Mississippi. I’m talking high winds, lots of rain, thunder, lightning, you get the idea. Not today!

Today the sun is shining, there is very little wind, it’s just an AMAZING day! When I look at the beautiful day God has given today and I remember how stormy it was yesterday, it reminds me of how God watches over us. How even in the darkest of times in our lives, there is always a time of refreshing. A time to draw near to Him and be refreshed from our struggles. I believe it is important for us to take advantage of these times to refresh and recharge ourselves for two reasons.

First, it is important for us to recharge physically. Most people I know don’t take enough time to rest their physical bodies. I’ve known of many people and you probably do to, who do not get enough rest for their physical bodies. there is a whole library full of examples of what happens to our bodies without ample rest.

Second it is important for us to recharge spiritually and mentally. I group these two together rather than separately because I feel they go together. That’s part of the way God designed the human body at creation. There are several instances in the Bible where Jesus goes up the mountain, or to some other place to pray. These were times of spiritual and mental recharging that prepared Him for what lay ahead of Him.

I believe we all need to make it a point to get adequate rest, both physical rest as well as mental and spiritual rest.

What are your thoughts? What are some ways you rest? Do you feel it is important to have times of refreshing?

A Life Of Enthusiasm

 

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, Colossians 3:23 HCSB.

 

I see too many Christians, including myself sometime, with no enthusiasm at all for life. I know life is hard especially for Christians, but it is possible to live life with enthusiasm!

First of all, I want to be clear about what I’m not talking about. I am not talking about having a wish so, hope so religion. I also am not talking about having a religion of name it and claim it, or anything like that.

When I talk about living a life of enthusiasm, I am talking about living a victorious life in Christ! A life of faith,  believing that He is in control of all things and that He has what’s best for me at heart. God placed none of us on this earth haphazardly or without thought. Each one of us has a purpose. It’s up to us to prayerfully seek to follow God’s will with our lives. When we do that we live life with an enthusiasm that comes from serving God!

I know this verse from Colossians comes from a passage on servant master relationships, but I think it also applies to what I’m saying here. Even when life throws us a curve ball, God gives us the ability to handle whatever life throws at you. I remember when I started playing baseball I enjoyed hitting. That is until the pitchers I played against got old enough to start throwing curveballs. I was in trouble because I never could figure out how to hit a curveball, but God will help you hit life’s curveballs.

I try to pray several times a week and ask God to help me live life enthusiastically. Believe me I’m not there yet, but each day is a new adventure of learning how God intends for us to live down here in this sin cursed world. When we live this way, people take notice and will soon want to know what makes you tick. That will give you the perfect opportunity to tell them about Christ! Allow Jesus to live enthusiastically through you and watch the difference it makes in your life!

 

Keep A Hand Over Your Mouth!

Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD;

 keep watch over the doors of my lips.    Psalm 141:3 NIV

I was reading and meditating on this passage the other morning when God called to my mind another passage from the New Testament.

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19-20 NIV.

It is very hard to follow these 2 verses. At least it is for me. When I was a boy, I was very hot-tempered and high-strung. That God, I have gotten better by his grace, but I still have trouble sometimes speaking when I really shouldn’t.

The point is this. Like the Psalmist, we need to learn to “set a guard over our mouths.” I played some football when I was in high school, and I can tell you that there was many times I was thankful for  the face mask on my helmet that protected me from bodily harm.

I think that is what this verse is saying to us today. Keep a hand over your mouth. Be slow to speak even when we are right. We live in a society where many different people are shouting at the top of their lungs. We as followers of Christ need to slow down, think about what we have to say, then speak. Only then can we show the world a difference that only Christ can bring in our lives.

His Love Never Stops!

I was reading Psalm 136 and God began speaking to me about thanksgiving. Not the day, but the act of giving thanks. Verse 1 of this Psalm says:

“Give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good,

  for His steadfast love endures forever.”  ESV

I like the way the Message paraphrases that last part of the verse. It says: ” His love never quits.”

The Psalmist then goes on to list several reasons why Israel was to give thanks to God. For instance, they were to give thanks because God is the one true God. Also He is the creator of all things, verses 4-9. He is the deliverer of Israel, verses 10-21. Finally He is their provider and sustainer, verses 22-26.

As I read and God dealt with me I began to see that many times I run in to spend a couple of minutes with God in the morning before my day starts. I pick up my Bible, or sometimes use the Bible app on my smartphone, read a few verses and think about what I’ve read for just a couple of minutes. I then say a quick prayer asking for a few things like protection for my family, and success on the job that day, if I even pray at all. Boy that was hard to write. Then I jump up and head off to my job and my days activities.

God was showing me through this Psalm,  which is actually more like a responsive reading, that He expects us to give thanks to Him for all things of life. I spend too much time when I do pray asking and not enough time giving thanks for the things God has given me or that He has done both in my life and the lives of those around me.

I realized that I had become too  busy. I had allowed the world around me to squeeze me into its mold instead of focusing on God who gave me this life. I am trying to look for different times in my day when I can spend some time in  the Bible and prayer. It’s hard to rearrange my life and slow down after doing it this way for so long, but I’m making progress.

I’m also trying to become more thankful; taking fewer things for granted. One thing we are doing at church on Wednesday night when we take prayer requests is that we take praises as well as requests. When my wife prints the bulletin for Sunday services, she lists the praises first, then the prayer requests. It has amazed me to watch God work in the lives of our people at church just like He’s been working on me. We are becoming a more thankful people. another amazing thing is the praise section of the bulletin is almost as big as the request section and is growing. Having the bulletin with me for a week gives me something to focus both my praises and my requests.

GOD is good! All the time! His love never stops!

 

 

 

Time to Clean Up!

It was a beautiful day here in Northeast Mississippi! I got outside in my yard for the first time since last fall and decided to do some yard work.

It has been unusually warm for this time of year so the grass has already been growing fast. Really fast!

Before I could start to mow, I had to do some clean up work. There was limbs in the yard, my fault for letting them pile up. And there were a lot of dead leaves, again my fault for letting them pile up.

After I got all the limbs pick up and carried to the street for the city to pick up I was worn out! I had not even started to mow yet!

Later, after I had finished the yard and was cleaning up myself the thought occurred to me that so many times I  put off cleaning up my life as well as my yard.

The yard is easy, it’s just a matter of doing it. I must make up my mind that I am going to get it done so our home will look clean on the outside. Sometimes it’s not so easy in my life. For instance it’s easy sometimes to put off dealing with the sin in our lives.

It’s not just the wrong things that we do that  displeases God, but also the things that we forget to do. the things that God asks us to do. Sometimes I find that I have more problem with those than the “bad” stuff.

It’s so easy to get in a hurry in the mornings and forget to pray or read my Bible. There are other things that I struggle with as well that I’m not going to list here, but you get the idea.

It’s true that Satan does everything he can to get us off the path that God had placed in front of us, but it’s our responsibility to make sure that when we get off the path, we go to God, confess our sins, and ask for His forgiveness.

Our Father is so good to us! He is always ready to forgive us and cleans us if we will ask Him to. God’s grace really is amazing!

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1John 1:9 NKJV

Father thank you for your marvellous grace that you so freely give to us without question. Thank you for your love that you express to me daily even when I’m dirty and need to clean up. In Jesus name amen!

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