1 Peter 4:12-19

“Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner… So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust Him. He knows what He’s doing, and He’ll keep on doing it.” (v 12, 13, 19 MSG)

“…Keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for He will never fail you.” (v 19 NLT)

Father, thank You that all the “todays” I will ever face are days that You’ve already seen, known, and have prepared what I’ll need to make it through each one.  Thank You for Your refining process.  The hotter the fire, the purer the silver becomes.  The purer the silver, the better the surface shines.  It’s that shiny part that is also the most reflective.  May my life reflect the YOU in me.  May I stand before others as a mirror into which You peer and are seen by them from their vantage point.  It’s not the “I,” but the YOU in me that makes all the difference in each day as it unfolds before me, and as my life encounters the lives of others along my path.

Thank You that I can continually count on Your being with me, working in me and through me as You make me just like Jesus!  Amen.

1 Peter 4:1-11

“Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like Him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.” (v 1-2 MSG)

“…For if you are willing to suffer for Christ, you have decided to stop sinning, and you won’t spend the rest of your life chasing after evil desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.” (v 1-2 NLT)

Father, insert Your skillful hand into the wiring of my mind.  Disconnect, reconnect, reroute, rewire,–do whatever it takes to make my thinking processes to be like Jesus.  Remove what’s necessary so that there’s room to insert the essentials of the mind of Christ and the attitude of His heart, in order that I imitate (as far as is humanly possible in this life) the actions of His life among us.  Release me from the grip of my own desires and will, so that I can be free to do what YOU want.

“God has given gifts to each of you from His great variety of spiritual gifts, manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you. Are you called to be a speaker? Then speak as though God Himself were speaking through you. Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then God will be given glory in everything through Jesus Christ. All glory and power belong to Him forever and ever. Amen.” (v 10-11 NLT)

There are many gifts You’ve given me, Lord.  Direct me in using them to their fullest, so that Your kingdom may grow, so that lives may be moved closer to You, and so that YOU may be glorified.  Often I employ the various gifts You’ve recreated in me by Your Spirit or the talents You knit into my being as You created me.  Yet, You’ve when you prompt me with the simple message “use your gifts.”  Show me what You mean, Daddy.  Guide my hands, my feet, my words,…

Where there are risks to take and challenges to meet, let’s go!  Let’s do them together and watch the glory rise up to You.  Let’s catch glimpses of the hearts that will be drawn to You, drawn closer to Your side or into a relationship with You for the very first time.  Let’s do it, Lord.  Here’s my hand … I’ll walk with You as You make me just like Jesus, and use me to touch this world.  Amen.

1 Peter 3:8-22

In this passage, You map out how You desire me to live within the Body of Christ, within the world, and within the heart. (See v. 1-7 for “within the home” also.)

WITHIN THE BODY (v 8-12)
~Live in harmony with one another (v 8 NIV); be agreeable (MSG)
~Be sympathetic
~Love as brothers (NIV); be loving (MSG)
~Be compassionate
~Be humble
~No retaliation (MSG)
~“BLESS — that’s your job, to bless
~“Say nothing evil or hurtful
~“Snub evil and cultivate good
~“Run after peace for all you’re worth” (MSG)
‘Sounds like a father gathering all his kids and saying, “Just get along. Do whatever it takes to get along with one another and to genuinely love one another.”

Create in me, Daddy, an attitude toward my spiritual siblings that reflects Your heart. Help me to love no matter what occurs, no matter how I’m treated, no matter who it is. That kind of stuff comes ONLY as I daily surrender my will to Yours. So, here I am again, waving a white flag from my heart and offering to You the throne of my heart.

WITHIN THE WORLD
“…in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (v 15-16 NIV)

“Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that THEY’RE the ones who need a bath.” (v 15-16 MSG)

There’s a friend of mine who often says, “Your walk talks and your talk talks; but does your walk talk what your talk talks?” Setting You, Jesus, apart as Lord in my life doesn’t begin with my “talk.” It begins in my heart and mind, a conscious act of my will being brought under submission to Your will. That submission then affects my talk and my walk, so that what is both heard and seen when others observe my life shows up in alignment with Your Word and Your ways.

Prepare me for those encounters in which someone actually may ask me why I’m living the way I am or why I have the hope or assurance I have in You. Make that visible in my life and make me ready.

WITHIN THE HEART
“Christ also suffered when He died for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but He died for sinners that He might bring us safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but He was raised to life in the Spirit.
“…God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only 8 people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. And this is a picture of baptism, which now saves you by the power of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Baptism is not a removal of dirt from your body; it is an appeal to God from a clean conscience.” (v 18-21 NLT)

How fantastic to think that Your awesome power that raised Your Son from the dead can take a simple element like water and use it as a key ingredient in the process You employ for saving our souls! When I stepped into the baptismal waters (well over three decades ago!) I didn’t take a bar of soap with me, nor was there a scrub brush. It wasn’t about washing away dirt from my skin. Rather, YOU used Your Holy Spirit brand soap to clean up my heart, leaving the old scum and muck behind in the water. You raised me up and out to walk in a new way, with a new set of clothes. Thanks for the wardrobe You provide as I dress for each day, anticipating Your work in me to make me just like Jesus. Amen.

1 Peter 2:13-25

“This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, THE KIND OF LIFE CHRISTI LIVED.
HE SUFFERED EVERYTHING THAT CAME HIS WAY so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step by step…
HE SUFFERED IN SILENCE, content to let God set things right.
HE USED HIS SERVANT BODY TO CARRY OUR SINS to the cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way.
HIS WOUNDS BECAME YOUR HEALING.” (v 21-24 MSG)ShepherdLamb

Instill Your humility in me. Rip away any hint of the pride that hinders my heart being truly a servant’s heart.
Thank You for carrying my sin to the cross. Thank You for making me free by Your choice to shed Your blood for me. Thank You for healing my heart and soul.
You have MODELED the life You desire for me.
You have FREED me from the life You never intended for me.
You have HEALED this life You’ve given me.

“YOU WERE LOST SHEEP with no idea who you were or where you were going.
NOW YOU’RE NAMED AND KEPT FOR GOOD by the Shepherd of your souls.” (v 25 MSG)

Thank You for seeking me out. Thank You for rescuing me when You found me. Thank You for naming me as one of Your own. Thank You for keeping me as part of Your fold.

You, Lord, are my Shepherd. You tend my heart and guard my life. You guide my ways and save my soul. Keep transforming this sheep into the likeness of Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God. Amen.

1 Peter 2:4-12

Carve the very nature, the very heart of Jesus into me, Lord

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“…you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a HOLY PRIESTHOOD, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (v. 5 NIV)

With the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, Father, You set in motion many changes to the way You relate to us as Your people, Your created and chosen ones.  In the past, You selected certain ones to serve in the roles of priest and high priest–those who made sacrifices for the sins of others.  But when Jesus came and allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross, He became both our High Priest (Heb 4:14-5:10) and the sacrifice for all sin, for all time, for all people (Heb 9:11-28).  That major change brought another as You began, with Him as the cornerstone, building “a spiritual house” in which Your people each serve as a priest, set apart to minister.

In this new priestly order, You bring a fresh perspective and new expectations.  First, every believer has immediate and direct access to You Each of us can approach You at ANY time for anything — no more barrier!  Second, each follower serves You personally Everything I do is a direct expression of my service to YOU.  Third, each of us ministers to others.  By serving the people I encounter, I’m truly serving YOU, allowing You to use me as Your means of touching their lives.  Finally, each person belongs to Your Spirit within us, so that we are each equipped to fill a particular role in Your kingdom.  You’ve designed me for a purpose in Your plan for redeeming the hearts in this world.  This passage reassures the fact that through Jesus, each one of us is able to worship and serve You in a manner that pleases You.

“But You are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you–from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” (v 9-10 MSG)

You have described in this passage the way in which You have designed Your Church, Your people, to be living. You’ve given us this purpose: “that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” You’ve used these phrases to describe us:

  • “CHOSEN PEOPLE” (v 9) –reminding us of Your immense love at work to bring us to Yourself
  • ROYAL PRIESTHOOD” (v 9) –(or “royal house”) Since Jesus is King, Your Church has the dignity of royalty because of her union with You. (Some versions say “body of priests,” which emphasizes the togetherness we have as we worship, interceding in prayer, and minister to one another.)
  • “HOLY NATION” (v 9) –shows that You’ve set us apart for Your use.
  • “A PEOPLE BELONGING TO GOD” (v 9) –reminds us of the price You paid through Jesus’ blood in order to set Your seal ownership on us.

“Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.  Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices, [though they accuse you of doing wrong (NIV)]. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when He arrives.” (v 11-12 MSG)

Thank You, Father, for calling me out of the dark life of sin.  Thank You for making me part of Your household.  Keep shaping me to be the kind of vessel that serves others and draws them closer to You.  Carve into my heart, my mind, my life, the very nature of Jesus.  Amen.

Ernestine’s Influence & Faith

Ernestine Graves Was Truly an Amazing Evansville Woman!Ernestine Graves

February 18, 1922 – October 11, 2013

Writings from Two People Whose Lives
Were Impacted by This Remarkable Lady

On a cloudy day in March, 2007, I met this friendly lady, who was in her mid-eighties then, while we were both attending the graveside service of a man who died tragically while he was homeless.  She knew him from her frequent visits to United Caring Shelter to serve meals or deliver donated clothing items.  I was aware of him through my job at the time with a homeless services agency, Aurora, Inc.06-30-06 ErnestineGraves

Soon after we became acquainted, Ernestine had learned about our work at Aurora and had connected me to the congregation where she worshiped then and with a small group of ladies from a former church family.  Her connections wrought speaking opportunities and led to others becoming aware of the kinds of needs that she regularly busied herself with meeting as she was able.  When she switched to a church closer to her home, she again connected me (as well as other homeless service providers) with an opportunity to speak. She also engaged people in that church family in her behind-the-scenes ministry to people who are homeless.U-Donate15

Nearly every Sunday (and even on other days), someone would find Ernestine to let her know they’d brought items for her to give away to people who are homeless. Even when her health dipped a bit a few years ago, she kept on going.  She found a simple joy in doing the simplest of things: sharing with others in need.  Plus, she would tell others of needs of which she heard, thereby, she often connected people who need things with people who had the things they need.051107-Ernestine-Brooke

Ernestine enjoyed a variety of things and had many interesting experiences.  She loved Indian food. She collected many nativity sets, some from various nations.  She served this country as a “Rosie the Riveter,” helping to build wings of planes during the war.  She was active in her neighborhood association.  Still, it was her generous nature and interest in others that stood out the most.

One of the basic definitions of “philanthropy” is “active effort to promote human welfare.”  That description so vividly depicted Ernestine Graves.  Her influence in this community was person to person.  She influenced many in this community: some to give; some to learn of needs in case they might one day choose to give or get involved; some to survive another day with things that were given; some to continue to have hope by knowing someone cares; and some she would never meet who would hear of her life and be inspired to follow her example.

by Kat Isbell, Owner, Kat KreationsMvc-019f

In 2007, Ernestine started bringing donated items to the House of Bread and Peace.  She would drop by there at least once a week after that with items that friends and family had given her, because they knew she would get them to people who were really in need.

The kids at the shelter could always count on Ernestine to bring new books, clothes, and fun items. The women at the House benefited from a variety of nice donations, like clothes, shoes, household items, and magazines.EGraves-sorting food

Ernestine made herself aware of the resources in our community and shared that information with any of us she met.  She did a great job of connecting people and agencies to the resources they needed. Through her efforts to help others, Ernestine not only provided items, she helped promote many social service agencies and showed her friends how they could be involved in the community.

Ernestine was thoughtful and friendly every time we saw her, and kept going despite not always feeling as energetic as she would have liked.  The House of Bread and Peace was very fortunate to have such an amazing woman supporting us!

by Sarah Wolf , Executive Director, House of Bread and Peace

Carrying on Her TraditionRose in Her Place2-101313

On the Sunday morning after Ernestine went Home to the Lord, a red rose sat in the place in the pew where she normally sat during morning worship.  The rose was placed there by one of her sorority sisters who had witnessed Ernestine doing the same for others in the church family when they had passed.

Thoughts on Her Faith 

 by Ernestine Graves           

A few years ago, the pastor where Ernestine worshiped asked congregation members to write their thoughts about their faith.  Below is an excerpt from Ernestine’s letter.EG-closeup

My thoughts are hard to put on paper these days. Could it be my age? You ask about my feelings of my faith. How are my feelings? They are just there—inside me, very quiet. My faith has always been in my doings, my everyday life—at work, at home, with family, at church, in my yard—close to God when digging in the dirt. His world is full of beauty, hope and also full of hurt and worry. I’ve felt close to God driving to Indiana University for my boys. Loving all the small towns and small wood churches I passed by. My faith is like air and food—it’s there—and I’m the better for it. I guess you would say it is just living.

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Ernestine Graves was a nominee in the 2009 Women of Influence contest hosted by the Evansville Courier & Press: www.courierpress.com/influence/ .  Her being featured in the article about that contest garnered the attention of Maturity Journal, which did a story on her benevolent life. She was a member of the Castalian Sorority at Evansville College.

Up until the first week of October, Ernestine was still out and about, driving herself here and there on her missions and visits.  On Saturday, October 5, 2013, she received word that she had acute leukemia and could have about three months to live. Her symptoms had been fatigue and lack of appetite, which continued. After the weekend, she began needing help to walk. Soon after, she was mostly in bed. By Thursday, October 10, she was admitted into VNA Hospice.  She was rarely conscious while there as her family members checked on her frequently.  By 2:00 pm., Friday, October 11th, she had left this world for her eternal Home. 

Obituary for Ernestine Christian Graves – published by Evansville Courier & Press (guest book on site will remain open until 11/14/13)

Obit-101513

If you knew, met or were impacted by Ernestine’s life, please feel free to leave a reply below.

1 Peter 1:17-2:3

Carve the very nature, the very heart of Jesus into me, Lord

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

IT’S WHO YOU KNOW

“Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, LIVE YOUR LIVES AS STRANGERS HERE in reverent fear.” (v 17 NIV)

Thank You for allowing me to call You, “Father.”  Yet I know that living the role of being Your child calls me to be different.  A child born by Your Spirit becomes different from those born through flesh.  You call me to live as a stranger in this world and to impact the lives I encounter as I go, anywhere I go.  Help me to do that today.

IT’S WHO KNOWS YOU

“Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacrificed blood, you know.  He died like an unblemished sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought … GOD ALWAYS KNEW HE WAS GOING TO DO THIS FOR YOU. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.” (v 18-21 MSG)

How amazing to ponder the thought of how You’ve had Your eye on me even before You created all things!  Your eternal presence is everywhere, at all times, outside the human time line, yet working within it as well!

You’ve seen where I’ve been, the side roads I’ve taken that led me away from Your will.  While I was wandering, You supplied directions or a road map or an unmistakable billboard — all to lead me back into Your ways.

Thanks for being so intricately involved in my life and so intimately acquainted with me.  I trust You, Father, with my heart, my mind, my life, my future.  Keep making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

1 Peter 1:8-16

Carve the very nature, the very heart of Jesus into me, Lord
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
PREPARE your minds for action, BE self-controlled. SET your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (v 13 NIV)

“As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, ‘I’m holy; You be holy.'” (v 14-15 MSG)

Lord, I submit my thoughts to Your will.
I submit my actions to Your will.
I surrender my concern for the future to Your will.
I desire to obey You, to not be conformed to the ways of this world, nor to the desires I had before knowing You.
Shape my life to be like Your life.
Infuse me with Your energy.
Ignite in me a blazing fire of holiness.
Make me like Jesus–no matter what! Amen!

1 Peter 1:3-7

Carve the very nature, the very heart of Jesus into me, Lord
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“In His great mercy He has given us new birth
INTO A LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
INTO AN INHERITANCE that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you” (v 3-4 NIV)

Thanks, Father, for this brand new life that You gave me through Jesus, made possible when You raised Him from the dead.

Thanks for what You have in store for me in eternity. Thanks that I’ll get to live in Your presence in a body that’s completely new and whole.

“PURE GOLD PUT IN THE FIRE COMES OUT OF IT proved PURE;
GENUINE FAITH PUT THROUGH THIS SUFFERING COMES OUT proved genuine.
When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold that God will have on display as evidence of His victory.” (v 7 MSG)

Thanks, Lord, for the times You test my faith. Thanks for making it strong and genuine. Keep it up, no matter what it takes. Make me just like Jesus. Amen.

1 Peter 1:1-5

Carve the very nature, the very heart of Jesus into me, Lord

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“God the Father has His eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus … God is keeping careful watch over us and the future.” (v 2, 5 MSG)

**YOU KNOW ME ** YOU SANCTIFY ME ** YOU EMPOWER ME **  YOU HAVE CHOSEN ME…

“Chosen ACCORDING TO the foreknowledge of God” (v 2 NIV)

** YOU KNOW ME**

Long before my birth, even before my conception, …one could even say, before my parents met, YOU knew me.  Life is linear for me, but not for You, Father.  I see each event as it comes and can look back on the past, while awaiting the future.  But for You, You see all eternity as “now.”  You can step into my world of time at any moment and still see the whole picture of eternity.

In all Your majesty and awesome nature, You gazed at Your masterpiece of creation … dipped Your brush of life into the palette of humanity, and purposefully painted me into Your work of art.

“Chosen … THROUGH the sanctifying work of the Spirit”  (v 2 NIV)

** YOU SANCTIFY ME**

Since the moment You placed me in Your creation, as Your Holy Spirit, You’ve been at work in my life.  You orchestrated the influences in my life which would shape me and draw me to You.  You were at work when I was child who was taken to Sunday School.  You placed Bible teachers in my life who ignited my interest in Your Word.  You stirred within me an eagerness to learn and know it.  You had godly examples live their lives before me.  By Your Spirit, You moved me closer and closer to Your heart as You sanctified me — making me holy, setting me apart from the world.

“Chosen … FOR obedience to Christ and sprinkling by His blood” (v 2 NIV)

** YOU EMPOWER ME & YOU HAVE CHOSEN ME**

When You sacrificed Your Son, You did it to make a way for me to be with You.  Also, You chose that avenue to show the extent of Your love for me.  Then, You let me know that the way that I show You that I love You is to obey You (John 14:15, 21, 23)

You cleanse me of my sin by Jesus’ blood that He willingly shed for me.  You call me to follow Him, making Him the Lord of my life — the One with the final word on how I live my life.  You empower me to obey You.  Whatever You command me to do, You supply the strength, discernment, wisdom and resources to do it.

Thank You for choosing me to be Your daughter.  Thank You for continuing to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Allow me to be still–be still as I again realize that I’m sitting in the warmness of the palm of Your hands–the very hands that will gently unfold Your perfect will for everything in my life.” — K. Troccoli, My Life Is in Your Hands, p. 152.

James 5:13-20

Jesus, be my FIRST Love always
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
MOVING THE HEART & HAND OF GOD (v 13-16)

“Make this your common practice:
CONFESS your sins to each other and
PRAY for each other
SO THAT you can live together whole and healed.
THE PRAYER OF A PERSON LIVING RIGHT WITH GOD IS SOMETHING POWERFUL TO BE RECKONED WITH.” (5:16 MSG)

Father, thank You for the “open-door policy” You have with Your children. You allow me to step into Your presence and talk with You about anything. Sometimes You prompt me with what to pray about, and many times You’ve allowed me to see Your response to our conversations.

Often, I’ve heard folks express “Prayer changes things” or “Prayer works.” Oh, but, Father, it’s much more than just “prayer” doing something! “Prayer” is an act of communication with YOU, our Sovereign Lord. It’s not that act that “changes things” or “works,” like some fix-it solution personified. It’s more like the “The Lord changes things…” or “The Lord works … when we pray [talk to Him].”

How wonderful that You hear the cries and sighs, the laughter and shrieks (of glee), the moans and groans of Your created, chosen and adopted ones! Thank You for welcoming my voice and hearing my prayers. May I be like Elijah–human, yet earnest in conversing with You and seeing the fulfillment of our chats.

BEING THE HEART & HAND OF GOD (v 18-20)
“My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.” (5:19 MSG)

Forgive me, Father, when I allow the stress of my work, the emotions of day-to-day, the relationships in my life, the things in my possession, or whatever may come to divert my attention from the role You’ve called me to here on Your earth. When I became Yours, You handed me a mission: “make disciples … or … introduce others to Me and teach them how to follow Me.” Draw my focus back to that aim.

Too often, I leave that activity to “as I have a chance.” I don’t go out into a day with the intention of obeying You in this command in the foreground of my thoughts or plans. My mind and agenda are often WAY too filled with thoughts and notes related to what needs to be accomplished that day to meet deadlines, responsibilities, guidelines, etc. How I need You to continually redirect my focus!

Tune my heart to beat like Yours–to see the spiritual needs around me, to be consistently motivated to be Your hand to touch those lives. Make my vision, my touch, my motivation to be just like Jesus, as You use me to reveal Him to others each day. Amen.

James 4:13-5:12

Jesus, be my FIRST Love always

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hello, Father!  Thanks for another day in Your presence, another chance to watch You at work in, through, and around me.  My hours and days are graciously held in Your sovereign hands.  It’s by Your will that I have awakened today, that I have embarked on another day’s agenda.

“ANYONE, THEN, WHO KNOWS THE GOOD HE OUGHT TO DO AND DOESN’T DO IT SINS.” (v 17 NIV)   Shape my will so that I respond in obedience to what You reveal to me to do.  I desire to be a willing vessel in Your hands.

In verses 5 – 11, it really looks like Your trying to get through to me the message: “Be patient” … Patient for Your return … patient and standing firm … Patient without grumbling against others around me … Patient in the face of suffering … patient and persevering through whatever … all because You, Lord, are “FULL OF COMPASSION AND MERCY.”

Here am I, take my life, and make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

James 4:1-12

Jesus, be my FIRST Love always

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Let God work His will in you.” (v 7 MSG)

MOTIVES THAT MALIGN (v 1-3)

Father, You know my heart even better than I know my heart.  Cause my motives to move more in line with Yours.  Scoop out the selfish stuff and fill me up with Your selflessness.  You’ve said, when You were here as Jesus, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24 NIV).  I do want to follow You.  Help me with the denying self and the cross bearing.

TIES THAT BIND (v 4-5)

“…friendship with the world is hatred toward God?  Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God?”

Father, if there are ties to this world that I have that are binding me to it and keeping me from You, please make me aware of them and help me to sever them.  I want a thriving, growing, fulfilling friendship with You … whatever it takes.

CHOICES THAT THRIVE (v 6-10)

As I move forward in my growth in You, Lord, and away from misaligned motives and ties, guide me toward choosing actions that allow my relationship with You to grow deeper and richer:

  • SUBMIT myself to You, to let You work Your will in me.
  • RESIST the devil; to yell a loud NO to him and watch him scamper.
  • COME NEAR to You; to say a quiet YES to You and You’ll come near to me.
  • WASH my mind; to quit dabbling in sin.
  • PURIFY my heart, my inner life–no double-mindedness allowed; no “playing the field” (MSG)
  • GRIEVE, mourn and wail; allow me to hit bottom, cry my eyes out.
  • CHANGE my laughter to mourning; “The fun and games are over.”  Make me “serious, really serious” about following You.
  • HUMBLE myself before You, so You can lift me up. Remind me daily to “Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.” (v 10 MSG)

…as You reshape my heart, my mind, my motives, my choices to be just like Jesus.’  Amen.

A Fish Story of Life-Changing Proportions

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Text Version:
A Fish Story of Life-Changing Proportions
The saying goes, “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.”
What if the process went like this … ?
GIVE a man a fish, which can PROVIDE a NEED & SECURITY
TEACH the man how to use a fish, which can SUPPLY INSTRUCTION & KNOWLEDGE
TRAIN the man to fish, which can FOSTER a SKILL & COMPETENCE
EMPOWER that man to give a fish to someone else, which can INSTILL OWNERSHIP & SIGNIFICANCE
Then, how different might our world be?

© 2002, 2010 Kat Kreations – artist/designer/author http://www.katkreations.org

James 3:13-18

Jesus, be my FIRST Love always

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“…TO BUILD A REPUTATION FOR WISDOM: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts.” (v 13 MSG)

Work into me, Father, the kind of wisdom that comes from You:

PURE — Clean me up. Remove the impurities that flow through my mind and out my mouth or thought life. Scour, rinse and repeat as needed.

PEACE-LOVING — Tune me in to the frequency of peace as I interact with people; thank You for the peace between You and me.

CONSIDERATE — Guide me in taking thought for the situations of others.

SUBMISSIVE — Help me not to push for my way; help me to submit to the authorities You’ve placed in my life.

FULL OF MERCY — “not giving what is deserved” –like You do toward me most every day.

FULL OF GOOD FRUIT — Bring forth the kind of fruit out of my life that makes a difference for You in this world.Songs-Blessed Life

IMPARTIAL — Help me to see others as You see them; help me to accept differences in people I encounter.

SINCERE — May all that I say and do in Your name be done with an attitude that’s genuinely reflective of my heart as it belongs to You.

Let’s do today, Lord.  YOU fill me up–especially with Your wisdom as You make me just like Jesus.  Amen.