Ginrich's Devotional Blog

May 31, 2010

Focus

 

Mt 16:23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men

 The pastor asked, “What is your focus?’  That has been asked before.  Jesus told Peter his focus was not on the things of God, but on the things of men.  It is very hard to keep our focus on the things of God.  Our world is full of distractions.  It is so very important to start our day with our focus on God and ask Him to help us keep our focus on Him throughout our day.  When our focus is diverted away from Him, we miss out on so many opportunities to allow His Holy Spirit to flow through us to those around us.  We miss out on so many blessings.  We create even more problems for us.  I’ve suggested a little book quite some time ago.  It is “Practicing the Presence of God” by Brother Laurence.  He lived in a monastery and did the dishes but everything he did was unto God.  That book left a big impression on me.  You might think, that was easy for him, he didn’t have distractions.  Maybe he didn’t have as many distractions as we do but I’m sure he had his own distractions.  We need to take responsibility for our focus.  It is possible to focus on God while attending to the tasks at hand.  It is mostly an attitude problem.  Do we do things because we have to, because it’s expected of us, or do we do them as unto God?  Take some time to meditate on this and ask God to show you how to live in this world while keeping your focus on Him.

May 29, 2010

Three-ring Cicrus

 Lk 10:40-42  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

 I have a Mary nature in me but was raised to be a Martha.  I have a very high sense of commitment to finish any job I start (trained that way).  So often I find that finishing the task at hand conflicts with things that come up which are more important.  Sometimes I manage to note the difference and turn my attention on the more important but many times there is a battle within me.  I finish the task grudgingly because it is keeping me from what my heart tells me is more important.  Every been there?  The past several months have been a multiple ring circus. Yes, that’s more than 3 rings.  I won’t enumerate because I’m sure you have your own circus around you.  The days I remember to start off the day giving it to God and asking Him for wisdom and direction for the entire day run much smoother.  Indecision on where to turn my attention lasts for only a moment as I remember to ask God for His desire for my time and attention.  It is so very simple.  It is we who make it so very complicated.  Let us determine to simplify our lives with prayer.

May 27, 2010

Healing Broken Hearts

2Co 7:6 But God, who comforts the downcast, Ps 73:26 My flesh and my heart l may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 2Co 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

What do we to do when our heart breaks? We have lost someone or been hurt or rejected. Scripture is full of verses that deal with the broken heart. When our heart is crushed or broken we must look to God for He alone is the healer of broken hearts. So many become embittered or angry with God. They ask, “Why didn’t God prevent this situation?” Out of His love for us, He gave us freedom choice. He is not responsible for our choices nor are we responsible for the choices of others. Their choices might hurt us in a mighty way but God did not cause the pain. We must put aside our bitterness or anger and look to God. We must allow Him time to heal our broken hearts. This kind of healing takes time. Do not be discouraged. Wait on the Lord and He will heal our broken hearts.

May 26, 2010

Suicide

Scripture reading: Philippians 1:19-26

               A senior in the high school shot himself and died.  He considered it a solution to his problems.  It is a long-term solution to a short-term problem.  Sad to say many make this very wrong and selfish choice to end their problems.

            .  To commit suicide you are taking control of you own life.  You are telling God He has no right to you.  You are saying you do not trust your Creator. When feelings of this nature give rise, it is important to take control in a different way.  Don’t take control of your life — leave that with God.  Take control of your will — God leaves that with you.  Stand on what God says over what your emotions are telling you.

            Don’t condemn yourself for your feelings.  Feelings are temporary and not always based on reality.  Release your feelings to God.  Talk to Him.   Talk to a friend.  As you release these emotions your feelings will change and the reoccurrence of them will gradually become less frequent and less severe.

            We cannot see the future.  Our physical time here on earth is a speck of dust in relation to all eternity.  Only God can see all time and judge what is best.  I know it is hard.  Sometimes you are so very tired of your situation.  Trust others who have been there.  Trust God to see you through it.  Allow Him to touch you through others and through His Spirit.  It takes will and determination to turn your thoughts away from the negative when that’s all you feel. The more you exercise positive thoughts, the more blessed you will be.

            Stay in there brother, sister.  Keep your eyes on God and allow His full control of your life and timing.  When the time is right for you, God, and your loved ones, He will call you home in triumph — not in defeat. 

            Stay sensitive to others around you.  If someone is depressed or seems troubled, reach out to them.  Let the talk it out.  Call in professional help if necessary.  Most importantly, pray.

May 25, 2010

Fire Out

 

Ac 2:1-3 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them

 Last Sunday was Pentecost Sunday.  Many churches don’t celebrate, let alone mention it.  It is the celebration of Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit came down as a rushing wind and flames of tongues lit on each of the disciple’s shoulders.  Our minister wondered if some people witnessing this wanted to put out the flames of fires.  Today’s churches are doing just that.  They are putting out the Holy Spirits’ flames of fire.  People today don’t want to have anything to do with things they don’t understand.  They don’t want to deviate from the norm of their accepted cultural behavior.  They are afraid of offending anyone if the speak out about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  We are grieving the Holy Spirit by not allowing Him to speak and work through us.  This is evident by the spiraling drug, alcohol and crime rates in our country.  It takes courage and the conviction of faith to be bold.  It takes courage and the conviction of faith to stand up for what we believe.  I am continually reminded of the young high school girl in the Columbine High School shooting who stood up when the young man burst into the library and asked if anyone there was a Christian.  She stood up and said, “I am a Christian.”  Immediately he fired his rifle and she was with God.  That is courage and the conviction of faith.  We normally do not face such dire circumstances yet we still do not stand up.  Let’s all start to stand up and speak out.

May 24, 2010

Fanatic

Ps 47:1 –9  Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. 

How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth!

…….. God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth.  Sing to him a psalm of praise.

….  He is greatly exalted.

 We travel a lot and visit many churches.  As I look around many of the churches and see people sitting with somber looks, barely singing or participating actively in the liturgy, I wonder how they would react if Jesus appeared in the church in a physical form.  Sometimes it seems to me they would just sit there.  We are told in the Bible to be animated in our worship.  The only body position not mentioned in scripture is sitting.  We are told to bow, to kneel to stand and raise our hands, to lay prostrate, to shout words of joy and praise, to clap our hands and to play all sorts of musical instruments in praise and celebration and worship and thanksgiving to our God.  No wonder church attendance is declining in this nation. So many of them are so very passive.  Let’s have the courage to obey what God says rather than be concerned that others might consider us a fanatic.  Let’s open our bodies and our mouths and praise our God.

May 23, 2010

Other Sheep

Jn 10:16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

 Sometimes I like to use my imagination.  This verse can me so many things.  It is most likely referring to the gentiles in the world – all the people who are not of Jewish origin.  But it could also mean some of God’s creations in other galaxies.  We have God in too small a box if we limit Him to just our known world.  It makes sense to me that He created much more.  I’m sure He created others in His own Image at other places.   I wonder if they, like our human race, disobeyed His first command and allowed sin to separate them from Him.  Jesus might be implying this.  I wonder if He had to go elsewhere and stand in place of the sins of others.  Interesting question.  I would appreciate comments on this.  Mostly remember, God is bigger than even our wildest imaginations could think.

May 22, 2010

Old Age

Isa 46:4 even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

My brother’s grandson is graduating from the Air Force Academy this weekend.  It is hard to believe.  My brother’s son was our 3-year-old ring bearer when we married.  Time passes so fast.  Things change so very much so very quickly.  How comforting it is to know that God never changes and will always sustain us through every phase of our physical life on this planet.  As I age I find the floor is further away and gravity is stronger against me on the way up.  Yet, when I get on my knees to pray He is always there, listening.  When I get up, He is always there sustaining me with His strength and power to be a witness to Him.  When I have a problem, He is always there with the answer.  How marvelous is His grace throughout our entire life.

May 21, 2010

Speck in My Eye

 

Mt 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

 When I preach a sermon or write devotion, I am preaching or writing to myself.  All my subjects are things God has dealt or is dealing with me.  Usually, the reason we can see someone else’s fault is because we have had or do have that fault ourselves.  Preparing writing or a sermon helps me stand back and look at the issue.  Right now I am preparing one on the fruit of self-control.  I substituted for a teacher this week.  In the cafeteria one day someone next to me got my favorite ice cream in cone.  It was hard to watch her enjoy the ice cream but I knew it was not part of my food plan for the day.  In one of the high school classes later that day a student passed out my favorite chocolate candy.  I said “No thank you.”  I was so proud of myself when I got home.  I was good in self-control.  Later that night as I was cleaning the kitchen I notice a grandchild had left the top off the chocolate chip cookies.  I tried to put it on and realized why it was off.  There were three cookies too many for the top to close.  Now, I could have taken out a sandwich baggie and put the extra cookies in it.  I should have done that.  But, alas, I have in to my favorite cookie and ATE ALL THREE.  Where was my self-control I was so proud of?  Pride really does go before a fall.  I hear you laughing.  It sounds like you’ve been there also.  Self-control is a fruit, which must grow.  It grows by being practiced.  There is a saying, “practice makes perfect.”  I know of no saying how long it takes.  When we mess up, it is time to ask God for forgiveness, forgive ourselves and get back into practicing.  Each time we will see improvement.  Hang in there with me.  Let’s all grow the fruit of self-control in all areas of our lives:  food, money, time management, entertainment, exercise and all other areas of our lives.  We all have access to all of the fruits of the Spirit: (Gal 5:22-23) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law

May 19, 2010

Children

 

Pr 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.

 II substitute teach at the school behind our church.  The first time I had a confrontation with a junior high boy with a bad attitude.  He quickly learned to respect a substitute teacher.  Several months later he appeared at our church and came to the youth group.  Since that time I’ve watched him change.  Today as I was eating with other teachers they commented on how much he has changed and what a good and nice student he has become.  It is so very important for us to get the youth of our country into our churches.  Many of them are from broken homes or in bad family situations and have no one to train them in the ways of God.  Jesus said, in Mathew 18:5,  “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”  Let us be sure to give time to the children around us.  Reach out to them to show them the love of God.  Encourage them.  Teach them in the way they should go.  That will put a smile on the face of God.

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