Luke 24: 1-9 CEB
Very early in the morning on the first day of the week, the women went to the tomb, bringing the fragrant spices they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. They didn’t know what to make of this. Suddenly, two men were standing beside them in gleaming bright clothing. The women were frightened and bowed their faces toward the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He isn’t here, but has been raised. Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee, that the Human One must be handed over to sinners, be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words. When they returned from the tomb, they reported all these things to the eleven and all the others.
Palm Sunday is the celebration of Jesus entering the City of Jerusalem the week of Passover. Passover is a huge celebratory time for those of the Jewish faith because it is a time to reflect upon their delivery from the Egyptians led by Moses as they headed to the Promised Land. After being enslaved for 430 years by the Egyptians, the people of God were headed to freedom and the land God had promised to their ancestor, Moses.
The night before they left Egypt God sent the final plague which would change the mind of Pharaoh to set God's people free. The Death Angel would pass over each home striking the firstborn of every family including the animals. The only sign needed for the Death Angel to pass over a home was the blood of a lamb on the doorposts. That blood sacrifice that covered the entrance to the home was the only prerequisite required.
After this night, the blood of a lamb was brought to the temple in Jerusalem each year and sacrificed for the sins of the people during the celebration of Passover and the remembrance of this night. Lambs were most commonly purchased in Jerusalem upon arrival by those that traveled great distances. The most spotless of lambs possible were purchased and given to the priests so the ritual of sacrifice could be carried out for the sins of each family.
Can you imagine the amount of blood that would run throughout the streets of Jerusalem if each family gave a lamb for their sins? And yet on Palm Sunday, Jesus, the perfect, sinless Lamb of God, entered the City of Jerusalem for the final time as he prepared to give his life a ransom for the sins of the entire world. No longer would each family have to give a lamb to be sacrificed because the ultimate sacrifice has been given. But blood was shed, my friends. The precious, sinless blood of Jesus.
This week, remember what Jesus did for us and spread the good news of what we gain from his offering. When breath leaves these earthly bodies we will each take a walk through the valley of the shadow of death and we will fear no evil, because Jesus will be with us....he is one casting the shadow so we are not harmed by death, but will accompany us in walking victoriously into the Light of Heaven....our eternal home.
God's blessings on a week of remembrance and celebration....
Cookie & Gary
Gary and I want to thank each of you for all the well wishes as we celebrated our anniversary today. We took the day and went downtown Pittsburgh to take in the City on a sunny, cloud free, blue sky day.....it was amazing, delightful, full of exercise as we walked all over the City. We are blessed beyond belief.....God is good and we look forward to many more years!
Treadmill: a device having an endless belt on which an individual walks or runs in place for exercise or physiological testing
Synonyms: drill, grind, groove, lockstep, rote, routine, rut
Thought for the Day: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24
Exercise. Now that’s a motivating term to either get you up and moving or have you sigh and sit back down in your comfy chair saying, “been there, done that, don’t need it anymore”. Truthfully, we all need exercise regardless of our age. There will always be some form of movement beneficial to stay healthy and in shape.
In an attempt over the years to bring health to my bones, I have joined step classes, jogged, walked, had memberships in gyms, hired personal trainers and, like probably most of you, bought equipment so I could exercise whenever I wanted to. Enter the treadmill, another of those items we purchased in order to workout at home. Just ask me how that went!
After purchasing said equipment for workout purposes, it became tiresome to walk for an hour and not go anywhere. I tried watching Price is Right for an hour and although it was entertaining, I found myself asking Bob Barker when in the world would his hour be over! Another drawback…I didn’t have anyone to share my pain! It’s lonely on a treadmill with no chat partner and I’m a pretty social individual. Out the door the treadmill went along with VCR exercise tapes, and various other equipment. These days I walk on our neighbor trail. At least I get to breath fresh air and say hello to those walking in the opposite direction.
The synonyms listed above for a treadmill seem to hit the nail on the head with my exercise experiences; they are rote, routine, put me in a rut and grind my body. Can you tell I’m…wait for it…a senior? Regardless of that admission I’ve found there are many avenues of life that put us in line with the treadmill terminology. Daily routines become rote and make us feel we are jogging in a place of solitude getting absolutely nowhere. But consider the portion of Webster’s definition regarding treadmill as not only a mode of exercise but used for physiological testing. Our minds and bodies work together in constant motion. What influences the mind will enviably result in the performance of our bodies.
This applies to our belief in God and His Son, Jesus Christ. If you have been a believer since youth, regardless of your present digits, your spiritual life can become stale, rote, routine and feel like you have fallen into a rut. How can one witness about the goodness of the Lord if your own personal belief is stuck treadmilling? The turnabout can be remedied by plugging yourself back into personal Bible study, group study, singing praises to the Almighty God or talking to Him through conversational prayer. We all know the benefits of worship and what better way to worship than to crank up the music that aligns our hearts and minds with the things of God? Of course, if you are still employed you will need earbuds, but fill your days with a constant reminder that God loves you and is wanting to fill each day with blessings.
If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, you can also experience the stoppage of treadmilling. Our Lord desires his children (and that includes everyone regardless of where you stand with him) to live a life of fulfillment. No one yearns to live in a black & white world without color. Remember when White Christmas and The Wizard of Oz were first colorized? How it changed our interpretation of those stories! We became more engaged because the color drew us in.
Once you give your heart and life to Jesus Christ and believe that he is the resurrected Son of God, your life will feel renewed, refreshed, rebooted and colorized. The blinders of unbelief will fall and a whole new mindset will emerge because the Holy Spirit of God will burst within your soul. The same Holy Spirit that hovered over the waters when the world was created and is part of the Trinity, will become a permanent house guest in your life. Although you might have moments of treadmilling, you will know exactly how to turn those times of rut and routine into vital moments of giving it all over to God. Allow God to colorize your life.
Treadmilling…it’s up to you.
Lord, thank you for the insights given when ordinary everyday items are brought to mind. I pray if there is someone reading this writing that doesn’t know what a great, awesome and mighty God you are, he/she will colorize their lives with your glory. May many come to know and love you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Outlook: the prospect for the future
Thought for the Day: For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. II Timothy 4:3-4
I’m a Cinderella girl. Ask anyone who really knows me, and they will vouch for that fact. I am my best version of myself experiencing sunny days, warm breezes, smelling freshly mowed grass, hearing night sounds and/or the sound of the ocean. Additionally, I want to read stories and encounter life situations with endings of happily ever after. That’s an outlook that keeps me positive and pressing forward; knowing attainment of the best version of me can be experienced even if I live in a world sending mixed signals.
When God formed us in our mothers’ wombs, we were equipped with an intricate mind. I believe we only tap into a miniscule fraction of that endowed intelligence. With that being said, there are individuals actively imploring their talents in the art of persuasion using that proficiency to convince others to be likeminded. How in the world do you think 918 people drank what has become known as Kool-Aid following their cult leader, Jim Jones, in Guyana? According to one article, Jim attracted his followers by sharing this goal, “Divine principles. Total equality. A society where people own all things in common, where there is no rich or poor, where there are no races.” Sounds like reasonable goals, right? But what happened when people began questioning those goals as the rules and guidelines became a bit muddy? What occurred as meals continually consisted of rice, gravy and wild greens and the people, even children were required to participate in working approximately ten tedious hours a day? Did they begin to wonder why towers were built overlooking their living situation? Was it built to keep others out or to keep them in?
When officials decided to take a closer look upon receiving complaints, Mr. Jones decided he could no longer keep his own little kingdom to himself, so he decided the next best thing was having them drink poison and die rather than surrender their way of life. His solution? Have everyone drink Favor Aid mixed with cyanide a dash of Valium. There were 304 children among the number of dead that were first given this “drink” by their parents they would not have to watch their children die. Those who decided not to drink were shot. Jim Jones shot himself instead of drinking his “solution”.
These individuals listened to a man who gave them an outlook that sounded to be a utopia, a paradise of freedom. Please be aware Satan is alive and is still wreaking havoc among us today. You might think, I’d never fall for the lies of Jim Jones. Maybe you wouldn’t, but a lie began in the Garden of Eden as Satan slimed around the forbidden tree. When we view life outside of God’s boundaries purposed for our good and desire to call your own shots, you are opening a foothold of evil proportions. Satan is quite skilled in the art of persuasion.
God is not a Jim Jones, my friend. God is not the tempter and He will never ask you to accept false information or be involved in activities laced with eternal damnation. God instead offers peace within your heart and eternal life beyond. If you are a believer you have been gifted with the Holy Spirit; God’s meter of truth. When you are exposed to false accusations regarding our Lord, your meter will instantly fill you with a discernment to know something doesn’t add up. The discretion of the Holy Spirit will urge to fact check with scripture questionable comments and teachings.
If you have children, be ever diligent to know what they are being taught. Challenge the curriculums, read their reports and homework assignments and for the love of all that is right, view their computers and what is being brought into the safety of your homes. If your children are in college, have conversations. Liberal professors take full advantage of sculpting minds that leave home at 18 years of age and deliberately begin to weave their own beliefs into a preset agenda. You might have raised them differently, but there are those who will inform your students they need a more progressive thought process, leave mom and dad’s old ways behind.
I end with a personal story. I went back to college when my son was 13 months old and over the next ten years I took part-time and full-time classes to obtain a degree in elementary education. During those years, known as a nontraditional student, I had classes with both young people and older folks like myself. One of those professors I will never forget, my elementary math professor.
Dr. Martin was a liberal thinker from day one. I don’t want to falsely describe the man because he possessed a great mathematical mind and had ways of teaching children equations that I used to teach my son. However, when he found out I was a conservative, born and raised within a few miles of Dr. Jerry Falwell, that was just the nudge he needed to begin investigating how far he could baptize me with his beliefs on evolution. Yes, he was a math teacher, but he just couldn’t help himself confronting a conservative who believes in creation.
One day I needed to meet with him concerning a math paper and he began again, this time in his office with no students or time limits, how could I possibly believe in creation. Of course, I was in my late 30’s, had a family, was on time constraints, and had much more on my mind than continually defending my position, but I ended the discussion this way. “Dr. Martin, we have discussed this issue several times. I believe in creation. You believe in evolution. It’s very plain from these discussions neither one of us is changing our minds. But I tell you what, you bring a monkey in here and place him in cage and when he begins to evolve into a full grown human, we’ll revisit the issue.” He never pursued the topic again.
Being challenged happens every day, in every walk of life. The question is, are you equipped for the challenges that often sound plausible and correct? Being prepared for an encounter that contests your beliefs is of utmost importance. Perhaps you have given your full attention to the phone in your hand, or with the busyness of life that you are leaving instructional opinions to someone who is not only influencing your outlook, but that of your children. Don’t be mistaken and think you have the ability to face these issues in your own strength. The only overcomer who can fill your life with a positive outlook guarding your heart and mind from partaking in the Kool-Aid of false teaching is Jesus Christ.
God, please give us insight to sense worldly challenges which sound correct but seek to persuade the making of bad decisions. Remove these encounters, dear Father, before we become insnared guarding our hearts and minds with the ability to walk away. Bind Satan and shine Your Light so brightly all can be revealed. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Bridge: a time, place, or means of connection or transition
Thought for the Day: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa, Florida is an incredible overpass. Although there are numerous bridges that can be noted as incredible structures stretched across large bodies of water, this particular one stands out to me. I have included background information on the construction of this bridge found on Google, of course, but it is very interesting because this passage was built after a tragic occurrence.
Here is the story: The Sunshine Skyway Bridge stretches 29,040 feet from St. Petersburg to Bradenton, Florida. That's over four miles, most of it across the mouth of Tampa Bay. It's an amazing sight, a shining compliment to the sunshine and seascapes of west Florida.
The history of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge begins with its predecessor, a steel cantilever bridge of the same name. The old bridge guarded over Tampa Bay for almost 30 years until May 9, 1980, when a terrible thunderstorm smashed the freighter Summit Venture into the bridge. Over 1,000 feet of the bridge collapsed into the water, killing 35 people.
The 1980 disaster was a major tragedy, and the state realized that a new bridge was needed. Demolition crews were brought in to safely destroy what remained of the old bridge. The supports were later turned into fishing piers.
The article continues with materials used to build the new overpass which was completed and ready for use in 1987 at a cost of $244 million and an obsession with safety.
Just important as bridge connectors are to unite point A to point B, so is the importance of a spiritual bridge that ties us to eternity. Due to the sins of the world, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to be the perfect, sinless spiritual bridge connecting us to God. Just as in days of old when lambs, as perfect as humanly possible, were taken to the tabernacle to be offered for a sins, a sacrifice was needed for the sins of the world. Once that one sacrifice was made, the need for the continuous offering of lambs would be needed no more. However, there wasn’t a sinless offering found throughout all the earth because, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” It wasn’t possible for any animal or human being to be offered due to sin and imperfectness.
Jesus, fully man and fully God, was the only sinless offering acceptable and willing to give his life. And the tragedy that happened? Jesus was falsely accused, brought before those who feared the angry mob, and when given the offer of releasing Jesus or an accused criminal, the crowd chose the criminal, Barabbas. Jesus was beaten unrecognizable, skin torn from his back, losing his life’s blood with a crown of thorns thrust upon his head, was made to carry a heavy wooden cross on his back to the place of his crucifixion. When he stumbled and fell, a man was pulled from the crowd to carry the cross the rest of the way to Golgotha. Nails were driven into his hands and feet, the cross thudded into the ground and he hung on that cross, dying for you and for me. Jesus Christ became the spiritual bridge needed by you and for me. This bridge gave victory over eternal death. This bridge made a way to the Father. This is the only bridge you desperately need to cross.
Let me give another example. If you have ever visited the Grand Canyon you will remember the sight of the immense divide between sides of that Canyon. Now suppose your loved ones are on the other side. You have a dire need to get from point A to point B, but there isn’t a connection found to make this possible. They are calling out to you, but you feel so helpless in this attempt.
But wait you see a bridge and you begin to run because this will finally allow you to cross to the other side. When you arrive at the bridge you notice it is wooden, in the shape of a large cross and has blood stains streaked all over it. Although you don’t really understand, you need to use this passage to get to the other side.
That’s the decision each of us must make at some point in our lives. We either believe that blood stained wooden cross will sustain us to the other side where the glory of God lives and those who have gone before are thriving spiritually or we stay put. One day the bridge will no longer be a transport. That day will come when death comes calling for us or Jesus returns first for those who have believed in him.
It’s up to you. Are you staying put or crossing the bridge built by Jesus Christ?
Father, thank you for sending Jesus. May we as believers be bold enough to simply tell the story of his life giving love that made a way for eternal bliss. May blinders fall from the eyes of those who don’t believe before breath leaves their human bodies. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Neighbor: being immediately adjoining or relatively near
Thought for the Day: The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood. John 1:14 The Message
There probably aren’t too many individuals in the world today that haven’t heard or remember seeing episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Fred Rogers, it is noted, “began each episode by changing into one of his trademark cardigan sweaters while singing the show’s theme song, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” He then addressed the topic of the day and in the process taught children how to get along with others, feel good about themselves, and cope with their fears.” Having an undergraduate degree in musical composition, Fred Rogers earned a divinity degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and was ordained by the United Presbyterian Church.
Rogers worked first for NBC in New York and then for the public television station WQED in Pittsburgh. In 1954 he began what became a seven-year run of writing, producing, and serving as puppeteer for The Children’s Corner; 30 segments of the show were broadcast on NBC in 1955–56. He then made his on-camera debut in 1963 on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Mister Rogers and in 1966 returned to WQED, where the show became Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The rest is history with his programming.
Besides producing, writing the scripts, and serving as host, he wrote about 200 songs (including the theme song) for the program, some 1,000 episodes of which were broadcast between 1968 and 2001. The last original episode was taped in December 2000 and broadcast the following August; following the September 11th attacks in 2001, however, Rogers once again appeared on camera to record public service announcements aimed at informing parents how they could help their children cope with the events.
Fred Rogers was a gentle soul. His love for children and helping them cope with life’s various situations was his ultimate goal. Within all of his programs, songs, and his famous sweaters, Mr. Rogers loved the Lord and it permeated in everything he accomplished. He never preached, but you could feel the teachings of Jesus integrate every lesson and story Mr. Rogers and his family of companions told to the neighborhood audience. You actually felt a part of this neighborhood and wanted to live next door to Mister Rogers. Who wouldn’t desire the peaceful, calm attitude and loving nature of this man?
Why would I give so much attention to Fred Rogers in this devotional? Because Fred was a man whose nature reflected the attributes of our Lord; his calm demeanor, his loving nature, his concern for others and his emphasis on how we should treat one another mirrored the teachings of Jesus.
When I read the above scripture from The Message I couldn’t help but reflect on the one human being most of us saw, listen to, upheld with the greatest of respect and would have loved living next door. Then I began to wonder how we would respond if Jesus moved in next door? As he began demonstrating love toward others by doing kind acts of mercy, teaching lessons on how we should treat one another in a calm respectful manner, would he receive our utmost respect? I would assume we would. But Jesus, although doing wondrous acts of kindness and healing, had those who disagreed with him and ultimately falsely accused him.
Mister Rogers also was not treated respectfully by everyone. In fact, there are some who poked fun of his loving ways, soft voice and lessons that reflected goodness. But those of us who loved Mister Rogers openly and willingly received the valuable lessons he taught. Hopefully we continue to live as if this kind, gentle man was in our neighborhood. There aren’t many individuals like Mister Rogers openly proclaiming teachings regarding the sanctity of life and doing for others as we would want them to do for us being broadcast nationwide.
But there is One, Jesus Christ, who continually urges and nudges us to spread humble and gentle acts of kindness, not originated by Mister Rogers, but paid forward by him. Read through the pages of Jesus’ messages and within each one you will hear the voice of our neighbor, Mister Rogers. I'm assuming he used the same manual.
May we also pay those lessons forward.
Father, thank you for the life and work of Fred Rogers. I can only imagine the experiences and sights he is seeing in his eternal home prepared by You. May we follow the example he set here in the City of Pittsburgh and beyond by our actions, words of encouragement, and love freely given through our Lord. In whose name, I pray…Amen!
Let Go: to stop holding or gripping (something or someone)
Thought for the Day: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
Ever been a runner or jogger? Once upon a time long, long ago, I jogged. It was part of my daily routine to stay in shape and maintain my ice cream habit! Each time I tied up those sneakers and began to run I would often ask myself what in the world are you doing? But by mile 3 or so, the endorphins would kick in resulting in that euphoric feeling that comes from hitting the pavement and sweating. But if questioned on how much extra baggage would a runner strap on before beginning their quota, the answer would probably be none. Why? Because extra weight bogs down a runner. This visual picture from Hebrews serves as a reminder of those jogging days adding a valuable lesson; we have spectators watching as we lace up and jog!
Hebrews continues “… let us also lay aside every weight” What does that mean? Simply stated, we are in the race of life. Whether you are a jogger now or a has been like me, we continue (maybe at a slower pace, but vital participants in God’s eyes!) moving forward. I don’t know any jogger who would enter a race carrying extra clothing, water bottles or protein bars. In order to be a worthy contributor bringing glory to our Lord, believers need to lay aside all extra weight that will bog down your ability to thrive in the race.
The “sin which clings so closely” is whatever stands between you and God. Webster defines sin with these descriptions:
• an offense against religious or moral law
• an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible
• an often serious shortcoming
• transgression of the law of God
• a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God
If you are a non-believer you probably just took a deep breath. You are now assuming the majority of these definitions, as well as this entire devotional, does not apply to you. After all, Christians are the ones concerned about an offense against religious or moral law, a transgression of the law of God, and estrangement from God. These facts have nothing to do with you. You are a good person, living a good life, doing good things for others!
. However, the Bible does state in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Believer and non-believer stand side-by-side, maybe in different lanes, but in the same race and we’re lined up at the same starting point. We are all sinners looking for victory, peace, contentment and the answers to life.
Call out to Jesus and ask him to answer the questions that are probably popping left and right into your mind right now. Jesus supplies endurance to the finish line; He brings hydration (living water), he brings protein (the Bread of Life) and he lifts through forgiveness all sin (extra baggage) ever committed. Not only will Jesus erase our baggage of sin, doubt and confusion as we learn to trust and obey in him, but he will carry us when we become weary and worn all the way to the finish line.
My friend let go of whatever it is that is holding you hostage to a belief that Jesus Christ cannot possibly be the Messiah. He is. Pray and ask him to show you. He’s not hiding, he’s in full view and he’s waiting for you.
Thank you Jesus for each day and the ability you give, regardless of our age, to endure the race of life set out before us. May we live each day as it is our last and never disappoint others as they examine, study, or scrutinize our lives. We pray we will be worthy. In Your Name, I pray, Amen!
Transform: to change in composition or structure; to change the outward form or appearance of; to change in character or condition, convert
Thought for the Day: Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
When my son was a youngster he enjoyed immensely playing with transformers. Although the transformer would begin as a truck, in a matter of seconds Nicholas would manipulate the parts of that truck and a superhero would appear ready to defend the greater good! Of course, as with all toy makers, you can’t have superheroes without bad guys, so the companies began making transformers that turned into evil forces. I shouldn’t be surprised because when I was a kid cowboys were the rage, and the color of hats was an immediate sign of good versus evil. That sign quickly informed audiences of ulterior motives lying underneath those hats.
Lessons on good and evil Jesus taught on numerous occasions except for one difference, in a world of good and evil everyone deserves mercy and grace; but be very careful. When witnessing or living out your belief in the Lord do not conform to the ways of the world. Although that sounds like beware of the color of hat someone is wearing, Jesus is reminding his followers it’s not always a sudden conformation to the ways of the world. It’s more a desensitizing process. You might think you are following the right people to the right places, when actually you have been desensitized to the warning signs and are lethargically following.
It is very easy to become like the frog who gradually heats up in a pot of water. Often that frog doesn’t realize the water is getting hotter and eventually will boil taking his life because he has become too complacent to jump out before it’s too late.
Remember when the word “damn” was used at the end of the movie Gone With The Wind? It was an astounding jolt to moviegoers. Why was that language being used on a screen for countless people to hear? Was it a surprise because people never heard this word before? Probably not. The jolt factor had to do with the surfacing of the terminology out in the open which has led to its commonality. In fact, now a common four letter word I won’t even pen in this devotional is being used as a daily part of our language. No one cares to hear it, but people aren’t shocked by its usage. Where did it begin? I recently read that after going through months of negotiation with the censorship board who considered the word damn to be a serious profanity, the line was incorporated into the movie, Gone With The Wind, and in 1939 the transformation of acceptable language began. Fast forward to 2021, eighty-two years later, and many frogs have been found dead in the water.
Jesus desires that we all become stellar witnesses and carry his message of hope, fulfillment, blessings and eternal salvation to unbelievers. However, he was very well aware that conformity to the mindset of the world is a real threat to the believer. How can we transform our minds to sift through what we are being told as truth and hold onto the plumbline that God has provided for us; the lifeline that leads to eternal life?
According to scripture, keep centered in the Word of God by reading and studying what is offered, have conversational prayer each day and stand unashamedly on the foundational truth that Jesus Christ is resurrected from the grave. The scripture from Romans tells us to test and approve what God’s will is for our lives. Is what you believe and live for every day, what you teach your children and defend as justice and truth in line with the gospel of Jesus Christ? Are you truly comfortable with what you believe to be the absolute truth, and are you willing to hang on to belief when breath leaves your body leading the way for your children to follow?
One last comment. When my husband and I visited two different cities and walked through well-known places frequented by countless individuals, we felt this overwhelming sense that we were not supposed to be there. It was a heaviness that the only way I can express it, there must have been forces of evil in these places. What was it that gave us this feeling to vacant the area and never return? The Holy Spirit of God who was planted within us when we gave our hearts and lives to Jesus and believed his is the Son of God, protected us and revealed to us this is not the place for you.
I’m not a special person, folks, I am a child of God and a believer in His son, Jesus Christ. I pray we will be aware of drifting away from the truth of God’s plan for our lives. Conformity to this world might surface in false teaching that sounds correct, advertising that is self-promoting or big government that wants control. But you, Lord, are the Way, the Truth and the Life. Wake us up before it’s eternally too late.
Thank you, Father, for transforming my mind each and every day. May I never fail you. Amen.
Control: to have power over, rule, to exercise restraining or directing influence over, regulate
Thought for the Day:
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. II Timothy 1:7
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. Psalm 25:28
Control, now that’s a word for you. Everything I read, view and experience in the world today deals with someone or something that wants, needs or is trying to gain CONTROL. It appears by definition from Webster control can be viewed from two perspectives; a person can have it and implement it as a power tool or said person can possess it and restrain from using this component for the greater good.
As a writer often you need to be totally transparent (a word I’ve heard used often in today’s current events) in my own life and experiences, so here goes. I’m a southern girl and everyone that has ever come in contact with me will know that fact within a couple of minutes. I can introduce myself and when asked where I’m from, I will promptly answer, “I currently live in Pittsburgh, but I’m a native of Virginia.” Boom. No doubt where this girl originated!
After hubby and I got married and had lived in Idaho Falls for almost two years, we were transferred to Pittsburgh's home office for DOE, my husband's employer. After initially meeting and dating in Virginia, I falsely assumed we would, after a few transfers here and there, end up in my beautiful home state and raise a family. Unfortunately, it didn't happen the way I planned. Due to hubby’s rise on the career ladder, we discovered Virginia wasn’t even an option. Control over the situation? Didn’t have any. Prayers to God? Didn’t seem to work towards a change of address. My mindset? My way or the highway and God needed to get onboard.
May I mention playing tug of war with God isn’t a great tool to implement to get your way. I consequently went into a depth of depression that wasn’t on my agenda. I needed assistance mentally to back into the game of life and realize God had a different plan than the one I had carved out. That entire experience still tugs at my heart and makes me sad. But the point to highlight, I did not have control over this issue. As I entered what was referred to as Talk Therapy, after several sessions the therapist revealed I possessed a fear surrounding control. Evidently it had been part of my mindset for years. The feeling of a lack of control led to anxiety attacks I was experiencing because who wants to feel unable to be in control of any situation? My dire need to move my family's location revealed my desire for total control over the state in which we would raise our family. Was my desire wrong? No, but there were others involved with this decision. I had built my control and desire as the central factor in the issue.
But through therapy and my faith in the Lord, I learned that He, God, is in total control. The power I possess is to restrain from the feeling I have control over God. As I submit my inability to control everything that happens in life, He will guide and direct my steps each and every day. Control is a misnomer and those that think they possess it will either lose it or use it unwisely because control is a misleading term. Control it seems today is getting one’s own way and using that influence to dominate or manipulate others . Truthfully, it takes more control to wield restraint than to contrive techniques of domination. We need to give it all to God because He's the only one in control!
Lord, protect our hearts and minds as Satan tries daily to persuade individuals that contentment comes through complete control over others’ opinions and thought processes. We realize that You, God, allow our paths to travel in directions we never saw coming because there are valuable lessons to be learned along the way. Fill us with contentment and restraint knowing Your Will is for us to live victoriously as we travel towards our eternal home. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Judith "Cookie" White is the founder of The Sounding Board Ministry. She is the author of two devotional books which are available on this site.