Dec 26, 2010

Start the New Year With a Fresh Heart


Before you launch out into the coming year, I’d like you to look back over the past year and check your heart for any unforgiveness that may be hiding there. Unforgiveness is like taking poison and expecting someone else to die. It makes us miserable.

Forgiveness is one of God’s minimum basic requirements. I simply say out loud (but to myself), “Susan I forgive you in the name of Jesus.” This little act of the will takes only a mustard seed of faith, and it will set you free!

Forgiveness may not change your emotions right away. Healing emotions is a process that takes time. It is just giving up your right to punish that person, leaving their fate in God’s hands.

Start out the new year with a fresh heart and a clean slate. Forgive!

Blessings,
Flowers
Come visit us at warrenfamilylife.com

Jun 20, 2010

Burnout


God may call us to a fast, but He never calls us to a famine. A fast is denying your needs for a limited time; a famine is denying your needs for too long.

Although He often calls people to fast, I can't find a single instance in Scripture of God calling someone to a famine.

Sometimes we are serving God when our lives are filled with good things, and sometimes we give so much we find ourselves in a state of emotional famine, more commonly known as burnout. There are two things to realize when you are in a famine. First, God will provide for you and restore you (Psalm 37:18-19). Second He didn't call you there.

There are various reasons we give too much. One of the more troublesome is described in Romans 9:31-32: "Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone ..." The stumbling stone is Christ. They didn't realize that righteousness (being a good person) comes from faith in Christ and His work on the cross and not from anything we do. They were working to be acceptable to God--something we still do today--and the result can be burnout.

Perhaps you are involved in a lot of things at work, but there is a new need with no one to fill it. You volunteer for "just one more thing" that gets your life off balance. Now you are staying up late working to fill that need and skipping meals. After a while you begin to lose interest in life and your job becomes drudgery. There isn't time to see friends or recharge. If this was just for a couple of weeks to do a special project you could consider that a fast. But if it is ongoing, you're in a famine and you need to find a way out.

If you find yourself burned out, ask yourself if you have created a personal famine. Renew your faith in Christ, receive his restoration, and start over again by walking in the Spirit instead of living by your own human efforts. Before you take on more responsibility be sure God is calling you. Prune away the things in life that are your own invention and follow Christ.

Blessings,
Flowers
Come visit us at warrenfamilylife.com

Mar 13, 2010

Simplicity in Prayer



Mother Teresa said, "We complicate prayer as we complicate many things."

So we simply come to Him in solitude and silence while He nurtures us. Our hearts are filled and we can then go out and nurture others.

We still our souls and listen for Him in the spring breeze, the twittering nightingale, the fluttering leaf, the gurgling creek. He speaks and we know what to say to the brokenhearted.

We still our souls and look for Him in the stars of the night, the break of the dawn, the dew on the leaves, the bloom of the rose. He appears and we know how to solve our most daunting problems.

Perhaps we light a candle, put on some soft music, and have coffee with Jesus. Or instead take off on a brisk walk. As we sink down into the present moment where God lives and the wind tousles our hair, His presence invades our emotions and dissolves our fears.

Dear Jesus,
Help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go.
Flood our souls with your Spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly that our lives may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through us
and be so in us
that every soul we come in contact with may feel your presence in our soul ...

~ Mother Teresa
Blessings,
Flowers
Come visit us at warrenfamilylife.com

Mar 7, 2010

Nurtured by God


We often think of our service to God as being the first priority. However, God is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything (Acts 17:25). Instead He glorifies Himself by serving us.

Read what John Piper says in Desiring God, p. 132:

Suppose you are totally paralyzed and can do nothing for yourself but talk. And suppose a strong and reliable friend promised to live with you and do whatever you needed done. How could you glorify your friend if a stranger came to see you? Would you glorify his generosity and strength by trying to get out of bed and carry him?

No! You would say, "Friend, please come lift me up, and would you put a pillow behind me so I can look at my guest. And would you please put my glasses on for me?" And so your visitor would learn from your requests that you are helpless and that your friend is strong and kind. You glorify your friend by needing him and asking him for help and counting on him.
In the same way, God is the Server and we glorify Him by allowing Him to nurture us. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45)."

So when you go to God for your quiet time, do not go as if you are doing something for God. This is to puff oneself up. Go as a child that needs to be nurtured by Him. Make yourself happy in His Word and presence! If you do, you will bear much fruit. After all, "this is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10) emphasis mine.

We instinctively go to God when we are weary or frightened or sad. He designed it this way. Just as the branch is nurtured in the vine and then bears fruit, so we are sustained and strengthened by God so we can tell a needy world how good He is.

Some other scriptures to ponder:
Jeremiah 15:16
Zephaniah 3:17
Isaiah 40:29
John 15:15

Being nurtured by God is primary. Try it and see how it transforms your prayer time and your life. Service to God is only the fruit of abiding in His love (John 15:9). For without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).

Blessings,
Flowers
Come visit us at warrenfamilylife.com

Feb 21, 2010

Disapproval


I used to be a real people pleaser. At almost 50, I'm largely over that, but a residue remains. When it rears its ugly head, I have a weapon now that gives me great comfort. It's Romans 8:33-34. The last part of v. 33 and the first part of v.34 read:

"It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns?"

In other words, God, the Creator of the universe, justifies me--declares me innocent and acceptable by the blood of Christ. So what is the opinion of a mere mortal? That opinion is a puff of steam--dust--even if I am the one condemning myself! God accepts me; who is he that condemns!

So when someone disapproves of me, I say over and over to myself, "God is the one who justifies. Who is he that condemns? ... God is the one who justifies. Who is he that condemns?" And it comforts me. Then, satisfied with my Creator's approval, I turn the situation over to Him.

Blessings,
Flowers
Come visit us at warrenfamilylife.com

Feb 18, 2010

Is My Pet in Heaven?


My cat, Beetle, had lived eight years and had fought for his life for eight days. He was not going to win. A tumor blocking his liver function was claiming the victory. The vet was gentle and assured us Beetle would feel no pain from the injection that would take his life. In seconds, Beetle went from being a creature with personality and emotion, looking me in the eye, to a limp bundle of fur. That moment, I knew that Beetle didn’t just disappear. He lived on.

There is strong Scriptural support that animals go to Heaven when they die—not proof, but evidence. Of course, animals are not in need of redemption like humans, so they're not going to be born again by faith, but they groan because of the fall and look forward with eager anticipation to our glorification (Romans 8:22-23).Would they look forward with eager anticipation to something they will never see or experience? I don’t think so.

Animals were first created to be our companions (Gen 2:18-19) and were not eaten by man until after the flood. God saw that Adam needed a companion, so he created the animals before He created Eve. In the Garden of  Eden, humans did not eat animals nor did they eat each other. Before man’s fall, there was no death.

In Numbers 22:28 where Balaam’s donkey speaks it reads, "Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth ..." It doesn't say, "And the Lord spoke through the donkey." God simply opened her mouth and she said what she wanted to, revealing real emotions, real thoughts, and even spiritual insight (e.g., she was afraid of the angel).

In the Hebrew, the word translated "living creature" is the same word translated in other places as “spirit.” It is even translated at times as the “Holy Spirit.”

In Ecclesiastes 3:21 it says, "Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?" This Scripture implies that, even if we don’t know where it goes, animals have spirits just like we do.

Also food for thought: Jesus returns from Heaven on a great white horse.

However, for me, the clincher is in 1 Corinthians 15:39-44 where the Bible talks about the resurrection body. It says that there are many types of flesh or bodies (v.39 NRSV: “Not all flesh is alike, but there is one flesh for human beings, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.” I particularly like The Message: “Just as there are different kinds of seeds, there are different kinds of bodies—humans, animals, birds, fish—each unprecedented in its form.” Then ... v44: NRSV: “It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.” —emphasis mine)

I believe that I will see Beetle in Heaven one day. You, too, can take comfort in the evidence Scripture gives us that animals live on.

Blessings,
Flowers
Come visit us at warrenfamilylife.com

Feb 14, 2010

Lowly worms



Do you ever feel a vague sense of guilt or shame? A sense that you’re sinning, but you don’t know exactly how? A general feeling of being worthless and unacceptable before God, a lowly worm? If you do, you can be sure of one thing. Those feelings aren’t from God.

I can’t recall any example in Scripture of God convicting an individual of being a generally rotten person.

He always put His finger on a specific sin or sins. God gives us something tangible that we can deal with. When God convicts (convinces) a believer of his sin, it can be a very painful process. But it’s always with encouragement and hope—a way out. In the life of a believer, the sense of condemnation is never from God (Rom. 8:1). He always shows us something clear and concrete that we can understand.

Unless God clearly puts His finger on an area of our lives He wants to work on, we can confidently disregard that feeling of wrongness and guilt. It’s a lie. Yay!

Blessings,
Flowers
Come visit us at warrenfamilylife.com

Feb 8, 2010

Scorning the Shame


Jesus absorbed evil on the cross. Look at Isaiah 53:

  • Jesus was despised and rejected (Isa 53:3)
  • He took up our infirmities (Isa 53:4)
  • He carried our sorrows (Isa 53:4)
  • Jesus was pierced for our transgressions (Isa 53:5)
  • He took the punishment that brought us peace (Isa 53:5)
  • He was crushed and suffered (Isa 53:10)

Jesus took on evil, but he scorned the shame (Hebrews 12:2).

He scorned the shame.

Jesus embraced evil, yet singled out shame and scorned it.

What does that mean? To be honest, I don't know exactly. To scorn means to "to reject, refuse, or ignore with contempt or disdain" (Dictionary.com). At the least, this Scripture tells us that we have no business wallowing around in shame! As imitators of Christ and people forgiven by God, we must reject shame! Don't allow it to take root in your emotions or thoughts!

I would really appreciate your comments and insight regarding this post.

Blessings,
Flowers
Come visit us at warrenfamilylife.com

Jan 1, 2010

What Jesus Saw


Imagine holding a large gathering in your home. You've made preparations and everything is just right. People are mingling and there's quite a crowd.

Suddenly there is a terrific noise overhead. Debris rains down, and you look up to see a blue sky surrounded by the ragged hole of what used to be your roof! Is it a terrorist attack? No. Someone has torn a hole in your roof to get in. What would your reaction be? Shocked? Outraged? Furious?

That very thing happened to Jesus, and his reaction was unexpected. He praised the hole-makers—for their faith! (Mark 2:1-5)

Jesus looks past our actions into our hearts, and sees the good there. That is good news!

Blessings,
Flowers
Come visit us at warrenfamilylife.com
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