Being PRESENT in His PRESENCE

DSC_2200I’ve been pondering distractions lately.  Watching people in stores, restaurants and at the pool or in cars and noticing how distractions divide our attention. Often the people we are with become second when we are distracted.

Statistics show traffic accidents on the rise as well as accidental deaths and injuries all  due to a “lack of focus”. My friend posted a sign they posted in the work place about personal cell phone usage because her employees were more focused on their phones than their customers.  In several instances employees playing a game on company time actually suffered accidental injuries in the workplace while they were rushing to capture a fictional creature.

My friend Beth was the victim of serious car accident due to a DSC_0248distracted driver who was texting.  Both legs and pelvis were broken and she spent days in the hospital and months recovering all because the other driver was distracted.

When parents are distracted often the kids pay the price for it.  I know how quickly a child can scamper when we are distracted by something.  As a young mom I thought the kids worked as a team.  One would distract me so the other could climb on the table or out the door.

DSC_0904Distractions cause our communication to suffer.  Trying to chat with my husband while he’s watching  Golf, is never productive. Striking up a conversation with me, when I’m proofreading or writing is also bound to result in frustration for both of us.

Many of our distractions are manmade and the result of choices we make. We choose to fill our boredom or our gaps with a distraction instead of allowing solitude or silence or focusing on what’s in front of us.  A man who makes his living in the tech industry and Google gaming sees the danger in distractions.

“I’d argue that what’s happening is that we’re becoming like the mal-formed weight lifter who trains only their upper body and has tiny little legs. We’re radically over-developing the parts of quick thinking, distractible brain and letting the long-form-thinking, creative, contemplative, solitude-seeking, thought-consolidating pieces of our brain atrophy by not using them. And, to me, that’s both sad and dangerous.” -Joe Kraus  Partner at Google Ventures.

One of the scary things about this quote is that it was mentioned in a speech he gave in 2012.  Four years ago.  Also frightening was his take on “solitude-seeking, thought consolidating pieces of our brains”.

Where do we find God?  What does the Bible say about seeking alone and quiet time with God?

DSC_0903“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16)

 

I believe distractions are not only costing our personal relationships but also our heavenly ones.  Our Connection to the Creator is causing a shift in our spiritual lives as well.  It is more about the culture shaping us than us shaping the culture.

Are we missing messages and missions God has for us because we are too distracted to connect with him?

POINT TO PONDER: What can you do today that can help you to increase your quiet time with God and make it distraction free?

We will be discussing this during our Retreat “HOPE: An Anchor for your Soul” get details here: http://kissedbythecreator.com/?page_id=406

Catch us on #HOPEscope every Monday – Friday at 7:15am on www.periscope.tv  (search Connie P. Shoemaker or kissedbycreator)

SCARS

Scars

FullSizeRender (1)She sat down beside me in the dining room, running her fingers over a scar on her leg. “I love scars,” my 15 year old announced. I sat silently waiting for my deep thinker’s epiphany to tumble out.  She pointed from scar to scar and explained the memories they evoked.  She said, “Scars tell stories”.  From bike chains to dog fangs, spills and falls, she shared the cause of each.  The tales were part of my fair skinned girl’s story.

Scars make us wonder, they make us notice. Scars matter.  At the Dairy Queen a lady stood at the other window.  She was flawless from head to….ankle.  Her ankle bore the scares of what appeared to be several surgeries and her strappy blingy sandals did not hide them. I wondered if she was a runner or soccer player or if she injured her ankle skiing or biking.  What was the story behind her scar?

The scar conversation with my daughter weighed heavily as I pondered about the unseenIMG_1384 scars in our lives.  The wounds inflicted on our spirits, on our souls, on our hearts, on our minds.  We all carry unseen scars that are perhaps to painful to share about.

The scars on my child’s legs and hands are evidence of healed wounds.  What about unseen scars?  Have they healed or has the world picked our scabs so much that our unseen wounds continue to fester and weep? Does she have unseen scars?

Unseen scars manifest themselves in various ways.  People who lash out harshly, judge unjustly, withdraw, overmedicate, hibernate or live in fear might be the walking wounded, nursing scars that have yet to heal.
100_5805Recently, I encountered one of the wounded whose unseen scars compelled them to behave irrationally. The confrontation left me reeling and contemplating a well crafted, scathing and justified retort until my eyes fell upon a scar on my hand.  Swallowing the words and stuffing my anger, the path of peace seemed to be more important than proving my case.  Pondering the unseen scars that led to the raw anger gushed out took the focus off my wounds and put it on their unseen ones.

The bible says: “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,” Proverbs 16:32a  Being slow to anger doesn’t come naturally to me.  “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.” Proverbs 19:11

Ephesians 4:31 is pretty clear on how we are to handle others: “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.”  I’m still unsure of the fallout from the angry encounter but one thing is pretty clear when I pray about it.  “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” – Exodus 14:14.

“I see it on the cross
The nails You took for me
Scars can change the world
Scars can set me free”

Mandisa – “What Scars are for”

I see scars differently now.  I see them as reminders of healing and restoration. Like the FullSizeRender (2)scars Christ bore for us that we might be healed and restored. It’s the unseen scars, the scars still healing that I’m trying to focus on.  Scars tell stories.  When offended, I guess the important thing is to rest in our defense, the one the Lord promises.  To lay the offense at His nail scarred feet.  Let His scars change your world.

 

 

POINT TO PONDER:  Do your scars seen or unseen make you retreat or lash out?  Have you taken your wounds to the ONE who was wounded for us? His scars were for the sake of our healing and restoration what keeps you from laying them at his feet?

Catch us Monday thru Friday at 7:15am EST for #HOPEscope on www.periscope.tv Look for Connie P. Shoemaker or kissedbycreator   You can also watch replays on katch.me search for kissedbycreator .

 

Living Water

100_3515Vibrant. Brilliant. We eagerly scoop up the luscious looking stones in various colors and put them into our treasure bag.  “Look at this one Mom,” Hannah shows me a brilliant red stone and Rachel carries over a green stone.

Back at the camper we reviewed our finds and empty the treasure bags filled by the lake. Now dry, the stones looked dull and drab.  Ordinary.  Having lost their luster, we couldn’t even tell which stone was whose.  They looked nothing like the treasures we eagerly picked up along the lakeshore.

Before frustration and disappointment totally set in, I grabbed a bottle of water and poured itLake Rocks over the rocks in my hand.  Once again, the colors burst forth like fireworks on a hot summer night.  In my hand I once again held the colorful treasure now restored.

What made the difference?  It was the water.  Devoid of water the stones look like nothing more than driveway stones worthy of a toss. The water made them appear alive and vibrant and something to be treasured.  Much like us.

101_8383

“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” – John 7:38

It’s the Living Water or Christ in us that makes us appear vibrant and brings life into our souls.  It’s the Living Water that keeps us from leading a lackluster life. When we become parched, dry and distant from the Living Water, our spirit is rendered barren, and cracked.

Crevices are where things can hide or take root. Our spiritually dry fissures become places where the enemy can gain a foothold. These gaps take the form of looking the other way at sin, or justifying ungodly behavior. The dark dry places of our hearts are fertile ground for secrets and apathy.

“but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I 101_8292will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” – John 4:14

Immersing ourselves in the Living Water regularly is crucial to living a life that glorifies the Lord. When we are infused with His truth and His presence, our lives can’t help but reflect Him.  When we radiate His presence, people are attracted to HIM in us. His goodness and mercy and grace shine brightly in our lives.

We were drawn to the stones for their beauty.  It was their reflection in the water that caught our attention. Like the stones bathed in water lively sparkled and beckoned to us, a soul swathed in the Living Water becomes a beacon.

We weren’t made to be a lackluster, dry, stone that is cast aside or overlooked.  We shouldn’t want to be a treasure missed. We need to be saturated with His presence. We want to be a brilliant find, one that can point the seeker to the source of water that will never run dry.

POINT TO PONDER: What does your life currently reflect?  Are there places in your life that could benefit from a good dousing of Living Water?  Some creative ways to connect with your Creator were listed on the blog here:  Feel free to connect with me, I would love to share some ideas and encourage you.

Check out #HOPEscope the Weekday Show on www.periscope.tv at 7:15 am featuring quick devotion and prayer to start your day HIS Way!

 

Hand crafted by God

 

It was Palm Sunday when the photo of my soon to be 21 son came onto my phone.  My eyes were drawn to Jacob’s hand. Attempt 2 at china photo The one that was boasting a thumbs up on a 12,000 foot peak. In China.  China?  How did my little boy go from lying on the floor and playing with Matchbox cars to a Man on top of a mountain half a world away.  How did his chubby little fingers turn into the strong man hand that found its way to China?~Time.

cross in palmEarlier that day, because it was Palm Sunday, I was contemplating the hands of Christ.  Now I know that Palm Sunday is really about the branches…from a palm tree.  But my wordsmith mind was busy juxtaposing the whole vine and branches and nails in the palm and what must it have been like for Mary.

Mary, the mother of Jesus and the first holder offolded hands Jesus’ hand.  Her son too found himself on top of a mountain.  I wonder what she thought. When she received Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh as baby gifts did it plant a seed of knowing or did the whole trajectory of Holy Week take her by surprise? Culminating by weeks end with the raw groaning pangs of seeing her little boy’s palms brutally pierced and bleeding.

Her boy was innocent.  He was falsely accused. Her hands were tied, his fate was in the hands of his Father. I can remember going to bat for my son when he was falsely accused and standing up for him in his defense.  Mary didn’t have that chance.

101_9456Pontius Pilate washed his hands of Jesus which sent him to the cross.Palm Sunday forced my thoughts back to the hands.

God’s hand shaped and formed universe and he breathed life into all of humanity.

For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. ~ Isaiah 66:2

thorns

The hand of God punished.

“You who have forsaken Me,” declares the LORD, “You keep going backward So I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you; I am tired of relenting!” ~ Jeremiah 15:6


The hand of God saved and protected.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”~ Isaiah 41:10

His hands Healed.

Hands in fountain“Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” ~ Matthew 8:3

His hands offered proof.

“And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” ~ John 20:20

From His beginning and from ours we have been in the palm of His Hand.  He goes with us, he will never leave us.  He never lets go of us.  He was pierced for our transgressions.  He was falsely accused and willingly executed on our behalf.  When life becomes a handful, remember who is really holding it all together.

Point to Ponder:  Has there been a time when you truly felt the hand of God in your life? How did you know it? What did it feel like?

Leave a comment about how you knew and felt the hand of God guiding you.

Those who comment AND sign up on the email list (top right) will be considered for a drawing of a special Kissed by the Creator token crafted by the hand of God.  Totally Genuine and Nothing Artificially Added.  Prizes will be awarded on April 15th!

Enter Today!

 

What I learned at Camp

Seneca Chapel1.Bring several warm layers even in April

2.The “Heavenly Storehouses Laden with Snow” can pour out…even in April

3.Don’t forget the sleeping bag or the camera.

4.Camp food is tasty –  don’t start a diet before you head out.

5.Women Rock at Paintball.

6.Lack of outward appearing response has no bearing on INWARD Impact – YAY God!

7.A Zipline can make your age 40 + body, feel older the next day.

8.God not only calms the storms in your life, but your stomach as well.

9.Audiences love a good Super Hero story…especially when it involves BAT GIRL!

And the best thing?

10.GOD SHOWS UP AT CAMP!

 

This weekend was the Anchor of the Soul:  Women’s Retreat at Seneca Hills. Anchor Prop I continue to be blown away by the awesomeness of God and how he can take willing and broken vessels who serve and pour into them until they overflow on others.

We explored who God is and How he loves us.  We examined how the hurts we go through grow us. We looked at things that can harden our hearts which hinders our relationship with God and we learned about how essential hope is to our prayer life and how to be a hope giver.

We UNTIED the knots in our lifeline which keep us from being tethered to the Anchor of our souls and we became UNITED with the only sure thing to keep us from drifting in this crazy mixed up world.

Several ladies came to the true and life saving knowledge that they are daughters of a King.

We sang, journaled, prayed, pondered…did zumba, PraiseMoves and Paintball we ate and learned how to eat Biblically…we shared…we cared…we chatted…but most of all…we worshipped.Worship at Seneca

It was a memorable weekend. Thanks be to God!  If you were there comment on what you took away from the weekend.  Hope to see you again soon!

If you missed it.  Learn how you can schedule the An Anchor for Our Souls Retreat for the women at your church by leaving your query below.  We look forward to serving you!

 

Under Fire…

Unfathomable.

Photos and descriptions of the fires devouring the Colorado landscape are incredibly overwhelming.  Watching the force of the fire knocking things over before it reaches its hot fingers out to engulf all that is in its path.  Witnessing the devastation in the wake of the walls of fire and watching the depth of despair in all those who have lost due to the devouring wave of flames is heartbreaking.

It’s with incomprehensible sadness we observe the gripping saga of our friends in the west.

As I prayed for the firefighters, the people in the towns awaiting orders to evacuate, I felt the word Hell seared upon my soul.  The scene and those who have experienced the wildfire’s wrath have described it as “hell on earth.”  It prompted me to ponder Hell.

I wait anxiously to learn if my friends in Colorado Springs have anything left to return to at all or if their home and possessions fell victim to the indiscriminate path of the destructive fire.

One of them has been working with the fire fighters at the base camp where the toll on these brave warriors has been immense.  From flora and fauna to wild life to townsfolk, nothing has been left unscathed. 

But for most of these people, life will go on.  It will be a long road of restoring what the fire destroyed…but for those who end up in Hell, there will be no second chances.  Sadly what we are seeing in Colorado could be an eternal reality for those who don’t know about the message of salvation.

Just like the firefighters working tirelessly to save people, pets and property…we should have a compelling urgency to rob Hell of victims to engulf in despair. Each time I see the flicker of a flame on the news, I pray “God use me”.

Years ago, my best friend’s dad was severely burned and scarred.  She said there wasn’t just a physical transformation as he adjusted to a life of scars, she said he was spiritually transformed as well.  “Dad was never the same after experiencing the burning of his flesh.  He said it gave him just a taste of what Hell might be like and inspired him to try to reach more people with the Life saving message of eternity with Jesus,” she explained.  These recent fires are igniting a passion in my heart for the same.

I am sure this post will be challenged by people who wonder if there really is a hell.  It’s not a gamble I am

www.lindajackmanphotography.com

willing to take.  My prayer for Colorado is Rain and Restoration. My prayer for the unsaved is to Find Salvation. My prayer for myself is to be courageous to reach those whose future is destined to be charred by the choice of unbelief.  Will you join me?

Point to PonderIf you thought hell was even 1/10th of the intensity of a forest fire, would you wish it on anyone?  Is there someone in your life you’d like to share Jesus with? I pray you have wisdom, courage and the words that will change their heart.

(Photos on the page except the one at right were from a Colorado Friend’s Facebook Page)

The letter

It was an ordinary day two weeks ago when I stopped to pick up the mail. I opened the box and saw a large cardboard important looking envelope it was addressed to my son.  In my heart I had the feeling that life would never be the same.

Jacob and me at my nephews wedding in October

 I looked at it in there – looming large. Knowing that once it was pulled out, then opened, everything would change. I pulled it out with the bills and other junk and I sat in the driveway. I cradled the envelope in my hands.Office of Admissions, shouted the return address in the corner. 

I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw my eyes over flowing with tears.  Tears of pride and joy but also tears for what used to be, when in my arms, I was cradling that sweet baby boy…not his ticket out of here.

Flash forward to this week when preparing for a speaking engagement that utilizes scripture, I was looking for an illustration to make the Bible meaningful to my audience, something they would relate to.

At 3:47am on the morning I was to speak, I got the nudge. No, not from my husband, from my Father, my Heavenly Father who seems to like to speak to me at this time of the morning…before coffee Lord?

Our mission Trip in San Luis Mexico

He laid on my heart, that His Word – the Holy Bible –  is very much like Jacob’s acceptance letter from the admissions office.  Jacob’s letter mentioned how special he was, how excited they were to extend him the invitation and what steps he needs to take to accept their offer. (The letter to his parents a few days letter mentioned what it would cost)

The Bible tells us how special we are. (“What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.”  ~ Psalm 8:4-5) To say nothing of the fact we were worth dying for.

The Bible tells us how excited God is about giving us the chance to enter His Kingdom. (“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.”  ~ John 3:16)

The Bible tells us how to accept God’s offer of admission to His family. (“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  ~John 14:6 NIV)

Recently our community was rocked by the tragic death of a vibrant, healthy, active, adorable 17 year old girl in a car accident. I watched my son grieve his first loss of a peer. I saw him change a little having tasted the bitterness of grief and the loss of someone his own age.  Listening to the classmate’s family speak, they have a peace.   Their peace comes from knowing that their daughter ACCEPTED the invitation. She read God’s letter to her and she accepted the offer of admittance.

The Bible is God’s invitation to you.  It speaks of your value and your worth.  If you are struggling with wondering who you are and how you fit in, read his letter to you.  I recently heard the quote: “God is the only author who is present every time his book is read.” – want to connect with God? Read his letters. 

POINT TO PONDER:  If you’ve read the Bible, what chapter or verse do you feel was written especially for you and why? If you’ve not read the Bible lately, why?

Earthquake: Did you feel it?

Within minutes my twitter and facebook feeds were full of tremor talk about the Earthquake that hit the East Coast today, August 23, 2011.

Questions like “Did you feel it?” “Any Damage to report” “Where were you during the quake?” were cluttering my screen.

As my rocking chair gently shook, I had no idea that the sensation was an earthquake. We live near an airport and often the vibrations of infrequent turbo jets cause a slight tremor.  An email from my husband and subsequent seismic sleuthing yielded the answers to “What was that?” A 5.9 Earthquake located in Virginia was felt by my friends as far south as South Carolina, and as far north as New York.  One friend in Columbus reported the eerie sensation as well.

It caused me to ponder power, friction and vibrations.

According to the US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY site: An earthquake is what happens when two blocks of the earth suddenly slip past one another. The surface where they slip is called the fault or fault plane. The location below the earth’s surface where the earthquake starts is called the hypocenter, and the location directly above it on the surface of the earth is called the epicenter.

I immediately cued up my Netflix to watch a documentary on Earthquakes. It was awesome. Did you know that seismic waves can travel more than 15,000 miles per hour?  That is way faster than a bullet.  Did you know that in 2010 more than one quarter of a million people perished in Earthquake disasters?

Watching the footage of the devastation wrought by Earthquakes last year in Haiti and Chile was quitePhoto Marco Dormino/ The United Nations United Nations Development Programme disturbing.   The power unleashed actually lifted the coastline of Chile.  The magnitude of the quake essentially altered the length of our day albeit by hundredth of a second, but it was THAT powerful.

While scientists have studied for 50 years the how and why’s of earthquakes, they are very clear about the fact that predicting when one will occur with any accuracy at all is still impossible.

So what does the Bible say about Earthquakes and when they were recorded?  There are about 17 mentions of earth shaking and rock shattering events. One of my favorites was recorded in Exodus 19:18 when Mt. Sinai shook prior to Moses receiving the 10 Commandments. Perhaps God was ensuring he had Moses’ full attention. That event is mentioned again in Hebrews 12:18-21.

When God was speaking to Elijah at Mt. Sinai in 1 Kings 19:11 he used an Earthquake to show Elijah who had been hiding in a cave that God didn’t have to use a mighty voice, but simply could reveal himself in the still small voice that followed.

And my all time favorite was right after the death of Christ. In Matthew 27:51-54 it said as Jesus died on the cross, the curtain of the temple was torn and rocks were broken. That quake and the circumstances surrounding it made the soldiers realize the man they crucified was truly the son of God.

While there were several compelling verses, the two below spoke to me.

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.  ~ Mark 13:8

Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire. ~ Isaiah 29:6

Now in my limited research it is obvious that God used earthquakes to get the attention of people he was trying to communicate with.  Many big Biblical events are punctuated with earthquakes. (At least 17 times)

So it made me wonder about the latest earthquake. It hit the East Coast which is not a real hotbed for seismic activity and on its heels ironically (or perhaps not) comes Hurricane Irene.  If God is truly the same unchanging God of yesterday, today and tomorrow, what is he trying to communicate and to whom?

Point to Ponder:  Is there someone left on your “to do” list for sharing the gospel?  Has God been impressing upon you a mission or a direction he’d like you to go?  Heed his punctuation.  Go!  and Do!

Lessons from the Wilderness

(thanks for your continued patience during our do-over of the Kissed by the Creator site)

I am in the middle of teaching a 12 week series on Connecting with the Creator through his creations.  This week as I was preparing my discussion on The Wilderness Speaks, I became keenly aware of the words that describe physical wilderness.  Words like: desolate, barren, lonely, deserted, dangerous, wasteland and void.  Words that at certain times in my life, described my journey through a spiritual wilderness.

Tanzania

In preparing and reading about the impact of Wilderness(physical) in the lives of people throughout Biblical history, it struck a chord that the physical wilderness journey taught similar lessons that would be valuable during sojourns of spiritual wilderness.

The story of Moses in the Old Testament, leading the Israelites through the desert is fraught with tales of their give and take relationship with God. The consequences of their disobedience, repentance and reconnecting with God read like a travel log. Their time in the wilderness was a time of trial and testing. God met their every need in the wilderness from raining down manna to rocks springing forth with water.  It was also during the time in the wilderness that God issued his Commandments, guiding their moral lives. Basically the only way to have needs met is to be in a position of need.  The Israelites would not have been able to fully appreciate the promise land without first experiencing the desert.

I pondered a recent descent into a spiritual wilderness or valley, where I wasn’t seeing a burning bush or getting messages carved in stone, let alone hearing His still small voice. During that wilderness experience I was both disobedient and repentant and though it didn’t seem like it at the time, my needs were met.  There is no way I could fully appreciate the blessings that came from that valley if I hadn’t walked the barren ground.

Another poignant trip to the wilderness recorded in the Bible is that of Jesus where he fasted for 40 days then successfully endured and withstood the temptations of Satan.  Matthew 4:2-3 says “And after He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights He then became hungry. And the tempter came to him and said, “IF you are the Son of God, command these stones become bread.”

Temptations happen in the wilderness. They seem to come when we are at our weakest.  Satan waited until Christ was hungry to tempt him and he tempted him with what HE was thinking about – food.  How often do our temptations come about what is filling our thoughts?

The danger of this temptation wasn’t asking Jesus to miraculously make bread because Jesus did go on to create bread for the multitudes.  The danger of this temptation was that Satan’ proposed this to question Christ’s authority and identity.

Spiritual wilderness can often challenge our identity in Christ because after all we are not “feeling” it right? Satan will use our time in the Wilderness to test “whose” we are and what we are made of.

If our call is to be “Christlike” then it goes without saying that we will not only find ourselves in the wilderness, but we will find ourselves tested and tempted during those times. 

Jesus faced off Satan by quoting scripture. He used a passage from Deuteronomy 8 to refute the first temptation.

 “It is written, Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word

that proceeds from the mouth of God.”(Matthew 4:4)

Jesus’ response to Satan was an indicator of what he really relied on.  He relied on God, his Father not a temporary fix – food or bread.  We can’t ever underestimate the value of relying on God even when we aren’t “feeling” it.

Satan continued to tempt Jesus during his stay in the wilderness but what happened at the end is the good part. “Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him (Matthew 4:11)

In both accounts, the wilderness was a place of transformation.  Change happened.  The Israelites were free and received their promised land and Jesus was launched into his ministry.

So while in the midst of the Wilderness it doesn’t seem like God is moving, the results are often seen when we emerge – changed, transformed and ready for…

Point to Ponder:

Have you been sojourning in the wilderness or perhaps just returned, what did you learn?

Fool’s Gold (Guest Blogger)

Guest Blogger: Pastor Chris Gibbs of CrossWay Church

“You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8).

In the late 1840’s, the Gold Rush was in full swing. Everyone was eager for the certain riches and wealth, prestige and success that would come from discovering the life-changing powers of gold. What many people found, however, was not gold, but was pyrite, knows as “fool’s gold.” They found this with excitement, abandoned their search any further and went about to trade this “treasure” in for the life-change they were dreaming for. To their great disappointment, they found that what they had only “looked like” what they were really seeking. They had settled for a fake.

The Pharisees, like many in our current society, were more focused on the the disciples of Jesus did not fit into their traditional and “acceptable” mold. They had traded seeking the face of God, the true gold, for seeking the praises of men, and judging every man against the standard of appearance. They judged Jesus’ disciples’ hearts based on how they followed traditions, rather than how they followed God. They equated godliness with appearance, ritual, and tradition.

It is so easy to get caught up in the trends and styles and leave the commandment to worship God alone. He IS the true gold. Everything else is a fool’s copy. Styles are not my god. Traditions are not my god. Opinions of people are not my god. Jesus IS my God. I live my life to honor Him. He is the One who matters to me and how I live each day.

If we live each day this mindset, we will live blessed with Jesus. He is more valuable than gold, silver, and precious rubies. Our minds and hearts must be set on Him. Be encouraged today to seek Him, not to settle for anything less than the One, True, Living, and Loving God!!

You can read more here http://www.chrisgibbs.net/

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