Encouraging, uplifting , positive thoughts rooted in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Category Archives: Direction

[Personal note:  Thank you for your patience over the last few months.  I resolved not to blog out of ‘duty’ and lately I had to give myself permission to miss posting without feeling guilty.   God bless you as you read. May you experience showers of blessings today! ]

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.   As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,  so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,  so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  Isaiah 55:9-11

While driving one day, I noticed what appeared to be dust coming rapidly towards me.  I contemplated pulling over, but before I could make a decision, my thoughts were shattered by the sound of heavy raindrops on the roof of the car.  At that point, I realized I had to pull over as visibility was now  very low,  but in a matter of seconds I had driven through the sheet of rain, and was now on the other side with not so much as a drop of water on the road surface!

In relating my puzzling experience to a friend, it occurred to me how much this situation represents what often happens in our lives. We often come across intense situations that take us by surprise, but soon they are over and we walk on to new experiences.  Sometimes the deluge is painful and hard to bear, but at other times, we partake in intense showers of blessings that we wish would last forever.  As we endure the showers for gain or pain, we are often so caught up in the moment that we are not always aware of how quickly these showers pass, yet the showers will not end until their purpose is achieved.

Thunderstorms are said to occur when the air gets very hot, or very cold. The showers appear at times to be inconvenient, but they serve the purpose of stabilizing the atmosphere.  God’s thoughts are higher than ours. We may not always understand the reason behind the sudden changes around us, but we can rest in the knowledge that no experience is wasted, and that our times and seasons are still in His hands.

Inventory/Introspection:  Do I find it easy to depend on God to walk me through the sudden downpours?

Personal Application:  I may not always know whether joy or pain await me, but I have the assurance that times and seasons are in my Father’s hands, and that He will be with me each step of the way.

Father, we are grateful that Your plans are perfect! Rain is necessary for growth and life, but too much or too little rain can have devastating effects.  Help us to be mindful of the times and seasons, and to trust that You have our best interest at heart whether You send showers of rain or allow intervals of pain. We trust Your hand.

Your Word says we should give thanks for everything  (Ephesians 5:15-20). We are thankful for the times when the storms pass quickly, and we barely catch a glimpse of them in our rear-view mirrors. We are also thankful for the times when You cause the storms to linger a while, because we know You are with us, and You will never leave us to walk alone. We trust Your guidance.

Help us to see You in our circumstances and to live knowing that You are more than able to see us through whatever we come across.  As You make the changes necessary to stabilize our situations, may we be quick to surrender our will to You and to give You the glory and praise, regardless. We trust Your love.

Amen

Blessings,

ann

 

Toni R  (c)

Except where indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

 

 

 

 


Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

A flock of about fifty geese hunkered down on a football field was a very unusual sight for me, so to satisfy my curiosity, I asked my colleague why the birds just sat there, as if they were immobilized and motionless. He responded that due to the high winds in the atmosphere above our level, the geese knew to remain on the field until the storm had passed; otherwise they could be blown way off course; become separated from their travelling partners; or even lose their lives. With the long flight to southern parts, and the way in which geese depend on each other in the flight routine, one mistake could result in a lost goose, and one lost goose could bring an end to the team.

The support of the flock is as important to the one goose, as the support of one goose is important to the flock. Serving God in isolation may seem the answer sometimes, but is serving by one’s self God’s design for His children?

Sometimes we feel strong enough to make it on our own, but it is much easier to snap one twig than a whole bundle of twigs. As the Bible aptly puts it, a cord of three strands is not easily broken…. When we are all grounded it is easier to stay together and support each other, but the one who has no one to support and encourage may lose his way.

Our Father is able to keep us in and through every storm. He takes care of swallows, and geese and us, His children. If geese do not fly into a storm, why should we?

Inventory / Introspection  Have I taken care to hunker down and hide under His wings when He shows me warning signs of storms ahead?  

Personal Application: My loving Father is able to keep me through the storms of life, but He also calls me to safety in Him.

Dear Father, we are grateful for your protection. You equip geese with what they need to ride out a storm, and wait until it is safe to fly. In the same way, we have the Comforter to lead and guide us if we choose to listen and obey. Help us to be on the watch for the warning signs You give us, and to be careful to walk where You lead.  When it’s time to hide under Your wings, may we run to You without hesitation. When it is time to soar, may we rise with the wind of the Holy Spirit.

I am told that when geese fly, they rotate the leadership position when the leader gets tired.  Geese know that the roles they play are not constant throughout the journey. Help us to remember that. Sometimes we will lead, other times we will follow, but we support and encourage each other to the glory of your name.

Storms and changes will come, but you remain steadfast and certain. Geese know not to fly into a storm… may we never knowingly run into danger either.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  


…“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,  and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,  and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.

… 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  Hebrews 12: 5 (excerpt)-11

 Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. Proverbs 15:32

The difference between discipline, correction and punishment may not always be apparent, so many times when the opportunities for discipline and correction presented themselves, we may, out of fear, run in the other direction, intent at not suffering one more blow. Our Father’s discipline is different. When God disciplines His children, it is so that we can become better and develop into what He wants us to become. His hand toward us is a hand of love, even if we endure pain while going through the process.

Paul wrote that he had learned be content in whichever state he finds himself. I don’t know many like Paul, but when we rely on God to take us what we need to go through, we will find our discipline journey to be much more bearable than when we face correction because of our own unwise choices.

As believers, there will be times when we don’t want to take the path He lays out, but it is important for us to bear the following in mind:

·         Discipline is a part of our growth process

·         If we are not disciplined, we are not legitimate children

·         Discipline is unpleasant, but yields righteousness and peace

·         Correction brings understanding

Discipline in the life of the believer is inevitable. We have to face it if we choose to walk with Him.

Inventory/Introspection: Inventory/Introspection: What is my genuine response to God’s discipline?

Personal Application:   If I disregard discipline, I despise myself, but if I heed correction, I gain understanding. (Proverbs 15:32)

Father, I do not always look forward to, nor do I enjoy discipline. If I could survive without discipline, I would likely take that option, but I know this is not your design for my life.   

I am thankful that Your discipline is bound up in love, and that Your actions towards me are to help me to live the life that will glorify You. As painful as my life experiences may be, You are aware of all that concerns me, and You have my best interest at heart.

I have not yet learned how to be content in any situation, but I know that I can get there with Your love. Help me to view my life from the lens of a loving Father Who only wants what is best for His children. Help me to understand that by allowing You to mold and break and shape me, I am moving closer to experiencing what it feels like to be totally sold out to You.

I will trust You to lead me in the path that will bring “a harvest of righteousness and peace.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann


Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  .

 


You have searched me, Lord, and you know me… Psalm 139:1

I was somewhat disappointed when a large glass bottle fell to the floor and broke into pieces in the middle of a project. I was already strapped for time and this would only slow me down, but I picked up the larger pieces, swept the floor, and went back to my project. Unfortunately, I missed a tiny sliver and later spent more valuable time extracting it from my foot. Had I taken the time to carefully sweep and re-sweep the floor, I may  have found the splinter, but in my haste to get back to what was urgent, I cut corners and ended up paying the price.

The tiny little piece of broken glass was barely visible to the naked eye, but it brought the entire body to a screeching halt once it pierced my skin.  Sin is sin is sin… ‘big’ or ‘little’ all sin is sin, and any un-confessed trespasses can interfere with the believer’s walk.  The bigger pieces of glass were easier to see, so I had no trouble disposing of those, but the tinier pieces needed additional lighting and greater patience to remove them all.

For some of us, it’s easier to confess the ‘bigger’ things, especially when others are aware of them, but we should take care to constantly seek God’s cleansing, as ‘all the things that are done in secret will be brought to light.”  As human beings, we don’t have the capacity to forgive sins, but the Holy Spirit will alert us when we have crossed the line. It is a good thing to ask the Lord to search our hearts and cleanse us fully of any wrongdoings, so that we can be free to do what He wants us to do, instead of carrying on in our own strength and suddenly be brought to our knees by the ‘little sin’ that we forgot to ask Him to take care of.

The little piece of glass was hidden from my sight, but nothing is hidden from our Father. He will see what is inside our hearts whether or not we ask Him to look. After, all, He has searched us, and He knows us!

Inventory/Introspection: What are the ‘little things’ that I need to ask God to work out of me?

Personal Application:   “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9

Father, we are thankful for forgiveness and the ministry of reconciliation. We make mistakes more often than we admit, but it is wonderful that we can trust You to heal the big cracks and the little splinters!

Today we ask that the Light of the world would search through all the dark places, and help us to be upfront and honest with the things You reveal to us. Some ‘splinters’ have been there a while, and every now and then the pain reminds us to take care of them, but we ignore them and move on. May we be honest to You today and allow You to do a full sweep, removing anything that does not glorify Your name.

We release all those who have caused us pain, and we are asking You to help us not to cause pain to anyone.

May we run straight to You the next time we fall, trusting You to perfectly clean everywhere, even when we feel we have done a good job of taking care of the source of our pain.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  .


But if I go to the east, He is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him; when He turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. Job 23:8-10

A little boy was quite unhappy at getting his hair cut, and he cried uncontrollably as the barber tried to complete the task. The crying eventually subsided when the father of the child decided to sit in the barber’s chair and hold the little one in his arms, soothing him as the barber worked.

In looking at the child resting comfortably on his father as he went through the uncomfortable process, I thought of how our Father carries us as we go through our difficult or uncomfortable situations. Just as the little boy’s haircut was necessary for good grooming, some of the fires we go through are necessary for us to grow and develop in Christ.

In the passage above, Job was responding to his friend Eliphaz the Temanite, after Eliphaz attempted to determine why Job was suffering. Job knew he had done nothing wrong, but unlike the little boy in his father’s arms, Job did not see God and felt like he was on his own. Still, he was determined to go through whatever God needed to take him through. At the end of the story, Job gets an understanding of who God is, and the fact that He can do whatever He pleases, and nothing can thwart His plans. After Job had endured his trials, God restored him and poured out multiple blessings on him (Job 42).

The circle of our Father’s embrace is a very safe place for us to be. Like Job, we may have to walk through valleys we don’t understand, but it is important to know that even though the trying of our faith develops perseverance (James 1:3), our Father will never leave us on our own! 

Inventory/Introspection: Do I allow my Father to hold and comfort me in the difficult times?  

Personal Application:   I will trust God, even when I cannot see what lies ahead.

Father, we are thankful that Your hand extends to the farthest depths and the highest heights, and that it doesn’t matter where we go, we are never so far that Your love and grace cannot reach us.

The little boy in the barber’s chair was able to go through the experience because his father’s arms were holding him. Those who witnessed what happened marveled at how the love and comforting words of a father brought peace to the troubled child. As Your children, we shout ‘Hallelujah!’, knowing that You care for us much more than anyone else ever could. Job felt abandoned, but he refused to give up on You. We know that some journeys in our lives are not what we desired, but like Job, we are certain that although we may not see You when we look around us, we know that we will come through “as pure gold” after You have finished testing us.

Teach us how to relax and allow You to embrace and comfort us as we encounter the unfamiliar.

We are thankful for the way You love and care for us. May we learn to love and care for others like You do..

Amen.

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


1 Kings 17:7-14 – Oil and flour miracle (Elijah)

13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” 15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.

2 Kings 4:1-7 – Oil miracle (Elisha)

3-4 “Here’s what you do,” said Elisha. “Go up and down the street and borrow jugs and bowls from all your neighbors. And not just a few—all you can get. Then come home and lock the door behind you, you and your sons. Pour oil into each container; when each is full, set it aside.”

 5-6 She did what he said. She locked the door behind her and her sons; as they brought the containers to her, she filled them. When all the jugs and bowls were full, she said to one of her sons, “Another jug, please.”     He said, “That’s it. There are no more jugs.”     Then the oil stopped.

In 1 Kings 17, God worked through Elijah to bring blessing to the home in which he had been fed. The widow had been making preparations for her last meal when she met Elijah. At his request, she used the last of her oil and flour to make bread for the prophet, and God rewarded her by providing her with enough oil and flour to last her throughout the drought. God fulfilled His promised as “…the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.” (v. 16) – We can conclude that the oil and flour did not stop flowing until after God sent rain.

A similar but slightly different miracle took place in 2 Kings 4:1-7. This widow had nothing but ‘a little oil’, and no way to pay her debt to one who wanted to take her children as slaves in lieu of the debt. When she sought Elisha’s help, he told her to borrow all the containers she could find.  She was about to see how God would miraculously stretch the little oil that she had. Her instructions were to “Pour oil into each container; when each is full, set it aside.”  The woman kept pouring, because as long as she had containers, the oil flowed. She was able to fill up every vessel.  The oil only stopped flowing after she ran out of jars!

In the first story, the oil and flour stopped running when the rain came. That was a God-act. In the second, story, the oil stopped flowing only after the woman ran out of jars. While God is not at all limited in what He can do, He chose to allow the oil to flow as long as the widow had somewhere to store it. His blessings and goodness are infinite. It is impossible for us to contain all He is able to provide for us, but we can place ourselves in positions where He can fill us over and over again.

In both cases, the women were asked to do what defies logic, but they obeyed anyway. God could have carried out both miracles without input from either widow, but He chose to involve them in the process. There may be times when we seek His help, and He may ask us to step out in faith and do something to ‘help our miracle along.’ Trusting His words mean we will do what He says, even when it doesn’t make sense to our natural minds.

Inventory/Introspection: What resources do I need to pour out so that God can miraculously replenish?

Personal Application: Some of His instructions seem easier to follow than others, but I can choose to walk in obedience and trust, knowing that He is giving me an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than I am.

Father, we are thankful that You can use the little that we have to do what seems impossible.

The widows found themselves in need, but you used the ‘hardly anything’ that they had to bring them their miracles. Sometimes you ask us what’s in our hands, like you did with Moses in Exodus 4:2. At other times, You work with what we bring to You, as you did with Gideon (Judges 6). You are “the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.” (Romans 4:17), and we know You don’t need us to perform miracles, but we are thankful that You choose to involve us. Help us to trust You even if we don’t see the blueprint.

In Genesis 22, we see that Abraham was willing to give back to You the miracle You gave to Him, and Noah built an ark because You told him to – even though he had probably never seen rain (Genesis 2) … May our obedience be no less as You call us to experience greatness in You.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann

Toni R
(c)

Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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 12:1-2

Children are taught that square pegs do not fit into round holes, but that doesn’t stop them from trying. Some have managed to fit the pegs into the holes, but not without significant damage to said pegs and holes.

As children of God, we do know that we are called to live a life of holiness, but sometimes we find ourselves making adjustments as we try to fit into situations that were not meant to accommodate us. Sometimes the adjustments may be blatant and obvious, at other times they are subtly deceptive and we may find we keep moving the boundary lines inch by inch, until we are miles away from where we need to be. The people we hang out with, the books we read, the music we listen to, the television programs and movies we watch, and the policies and platforms we vote for should reflect the Christ within us.

Christians are not called to a life of popularity. We are called to follow Christ. Our primary goal should be to live the life that pleases Christ, even if it does not sit well with the crowd. In James 4, we see that friendship with the world makes us God’s enemies. If we choose not to stand for “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable … excellent or praiseworthy”  (Philipians 4:8),  we might find ourselves nursing wounds that come from trying to fit into what He has called us to separate ourselves from.

Inventory/Introspection: What are the little things that could cause me to subconsciously or unconsciously move His boundary markers?

Personal Application: Standing up for Christ means that sometimes I will stand out. It can feel like a lonely place, but I have His assurance that He is with me and that He will never leave me. When I stand up for Christ, I am never standing alone.

Father, we are thankful for Your Word and the guidelines You lay out for us to follow for our own good. You love us so much that You have prepared a way for us to live eternally in You. (John 3:16) 

The consumer nature of our present world makes it easy for us to access ‘things’. Some are beneficial and good for us, others can lead to sin in our lives. Help us to be aware of the little things that can become issues later on. Your Word shows that a little yeast affects the whole dough. (Galatians 5:9) A little compromise can affect our own Christian walk, and when we are weak, we can also put our brothers and sisters in Christ at risk by introducing them to practices and possessions that can cause them to grow weaker in their faith.

Help us to walk as Christians, even if we become like square pegs that cannot fit into the world’s expectations of us. We have no desire to be battered and beaten up, so help us to remain true to the ‘shape’ that we are supposed to be. We have no reason to find friendship with the World. We are Yours, and we are thankful for Your unfailing love.

May we never forget who we are as we go about our daily lives. May Christ be our focus whether we are simply choosing a book to read, or electing a leader. We do not need to cut corners or seek favours from man in order to be successful in Your eyes. We have no reason to compromise if we trust You to take care of whatever concerns us, be they large, small or in-between.

We choose to be non-conformists as far as following this world is concerned. We will follow only You.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann

Toni R
(c)

Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.  St Matthew 18:15-17

Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. ” Proverbs 20:26

A seasoned camper knows how to keep a fire going even while it is raining. I am told this takes great skill and that one careless mistake can result in the loss of fire – often a heat source as well as a food source.   A well-built fire can last for days as long as it properly cared for. While fire is good, it can also be destructive, but thankfully, one of the best ways of putting a fire out is to starve it.

A gossip is somewhat like a fire – it can live only as long as it is being fed.  As Christians, we daily face opportunities to feed or starve that which can cause division among us. If we are hurt, we tend to cry out, but we need not share our brother’s transgression with everyone we come across. We do not need to develop the skill of keeping strife alive. If we starve the gossip, the quarrel will end.

The examples laid out in St Matthew 18:15-18 give us clear direction as to how we should proceed (in love),  if we feel we have been offended:

  1. Put the fire out before it starts – Go directly to the source of the problem. We are instructed to go and speak with the one who hurt us, and seek resolution at that level. If the brother or sister is willing to listen, the flames will die and a relationship would have been restored. If that doesn’t work, we move on to step two.
  2. Diffuse the flame – Refuse to fight fire with fire. If our attempt at a one-on-one fails, then we are encouraged to “take one or two others along.” Sometimes those who stand on the outside have a better perspective than the players on the field.  Good Christian counsel may help in loving restoration, but sometimes the one who caused the pain may not be open to teamwork. In such a case, we move to step three.
  3. Utilize your firewall – Get the family on board.  If the offender still refuses to listen, we need to tell the church. If there is still no change, we are told to ‘treat him as you would a tax collector or a pagan.’ The reference to the tax collector or a pagan is understood to mean one who does not know Christ. In that case, we are not to toss the one who erred aside to sink or swim, but we are to lovingly treat them as a sinner who needs to come to repentance and acceptance of the love God offers.

Some transgressions seem easier to forgive. Maybe we measure these by the pain we have been caused, or by the number of persons who are aware of the damage, or by the willingness of the offender to seek forgiveness. The notes in the Scripture did not tell us what to do for each category of sin … it simply told us what to do if we are wronged.

As long as we live and breathe, there will be opportunities for us to offend others, as well as opportunities for us to be offended. We get to decide whether we fan the gossip flames, or use the Christ-approach to put the fire out.

Inventory/Introspection: How have I fueled or extinguished a fire that was unfairly lit against me?

Personal Application: I will allow Him to teach me how to apply the principles in Matthew 18: 15-17 and Proverbs 20:26 when I come across fires that have potential to damage reputations and harm relationships.

Father, at one point or another we have knowingly or unknowingly offended our brothers or sisters. Please forgive us and help us to make the right steps towards restitution. If we have kept unforgiveness in our hearts against those who have knowingly or unknowingly caused us pain, we lay it at Your feet and humbly ask Your forgiveness.

Your Word shows us clear direction we should take if another has offended us. Help us to remember this the next time we find ourselves facing pain caused by the thoughts and actions of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We who are Yours are one body. If one part hurts, the body is weakened. Help us to look out for each other, and to deliberately weaken and extinguish any malicious acts that would cause pain to any of your children. Help us to avoid gossiping, and to disallow others from using our ears as dumping grounds. If we are approached to be the “one or two others” who are asked to help put a fire out, give us wisdom to speak as You would.

As the fire dies without wood, so will the strife end if there is no talebearer.  May the words we speak encourage and uplift others to the glory of Your name.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann

Toni R (c)

Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


 “But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 
When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.” Ruth 1: 16-18

Ruth had experienced some very low lows with Naomi. Naomi had lost her husband and her two sons, one of the sons was Ruth’s husband. Naomi felt that hanging around would not help Ruth, so she encouraged her daughter-in-law- to move on and start over a new life. Ruth’s decision to say may not have been an easy one: although she was a widow, she still had life ahead of her, but she responded with the words above.  Staying with Naomi  led to Ruth’s meeting with Boaz, who provided an opportunity for her to start over and have a better life.  (Ruth 2:5-23)
Like Ruth, situations confront us on a daily basis. The right decision in the right moment can be the difference between poverty and prosperity.

“The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.  Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”  So King Darius put the decree in writing.
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Daniel 6: 7-10

Daniel chose not to take on ‘City Hall’, but to pray to the only One who could bring his deliverance. Like Nehemiah and Hannah, he recognized that help could come, but He needed to pray. Later we see how Daniel’s decision cost him a night in the den of lions, but God kept him safe. Daniel’s position on the matter resulted in change. Having seen how God delivered, the King later “wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth”. In this letter he  declared: “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.” (Daniel 6:25-28)
Daniel did not need to make a case for praying to his God. He simply prayed, and God responded.

And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.”
But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her.
But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. Genesis 39:7-12 NKJV

Joseph had led an interesting life. He had moved from the position of the favorite child to the child despised and tossed in a pit, and then moving on to experience favour in Potiphar’s house. Unfortunately for him, his master’s wife had plans to lead him into sin. When confronted, Joseph did not stand his ground or fall to His knees in prayer. He chose to run!  Running gave him an opportunity to avoid sinning, but it landed him in prison. Despite losing his freedom, Joseph chose to trust God, and later experienced deliverance and was restored to a higher place. (Genesis 41)
Running may give us immediate relief from those with evil intentions, but this does not mean the end is ‘around the corner’. Sometimes running from one experience presents more opportunities for us to trust God’s hand.

Just like Ruth, Daniel and Joseph, we are faced with situations on a daily basis. How we respond has much to do with how well we come out on the other side.

Personal application. If I trust myself to chart my destiny, my ship will run aground. I may run when I should pray, or stay when I should run. I am making the decision to trust God to lead me in the right direction.

Father, we are thankful that You are in the midst of every situation we face. We are grateful that we have no need to hunt solutions, because You have already seen the answer for every situation we will ever face! We want to do the right thing in the moment. Please help us to determine the right moments in which we need to stay, pray,  or run.

We know that if we trust You, it will all work out in the end. Sometimes the end seems long in coming, but we are grateful for Your protection and Your covering. We are thankful that You never leave us to figure life out on our own, and that we can trust that You have our best interest at heart, even when we can’t see what lies ahead.

Amen

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
1. Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
2. “Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,   Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers,    and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. Psalm 91:1-6

Daylight  comes early at this time of year. Birds chirping, warm sunlight and a fresh morning wind herald the new morn. In the early morning stillness, there is opportunity for reflection. This seems the perfect time to pause and think on the faithfulness of our Father in allowing us to experience another day. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

The hours go by and the noonday sun shines down with great brilliance. The heat feels somewhat unbearable, but somewhere He provides ‘cool waters’ where we can refresh our weary hearts.  Opportune time to give Him thanks for protecting us from ‘noonday plague’ and blazing heat. You will not fear.. the plague that destroys at midday. Psalm 91:6

As the day draws to a close, some of God’s creatures settle in to sleep, while others prepare themselves for the night shift.  Before long, darkness falls: crickets chirp, the silence grows, and stars dot the dark sky.  As another day draws to a close, we probably find ourselves with time to pause and reflect on the faithfulness of our Father for having taken us safely through another day. In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

Twenty-four hours come and go so quickly.  We often become comfortable in our routines and move through the motions without fully realizing that another day has come and gone.  Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, but how could we make the most of the next twenty-four hours?

Inventory/Introspection: How do I respond to the times of change? Am I always aware that He is handling the times and seasons?

Personal Application: I will work towards achieving balance in whatever I do. I will take the time to experience the changes as they happen and will do my best not to rush through the moments.

Father, we are grateful that there are so many sights, sounds and smells that speak of Your wonder in creation. You are amazing and we thank You for allowing us to experience a day in its fullness.   We are grateful that You make provisions for our safety in the morning, noon, evening and night – and the times in-between. Nothing escapes You!

As You give us days, we give them back to You. May we be mindful to take the time to see You in every hour of the day, as we go about our daily lives. Our various schedules may not be exactly the way we want them to be, but we are thankful that times and seasons are in Your hands and that You are able to redeem the times and refresh us when we grow weary.

We praise Your great name and we offer thanksgiving for our days ahead. Show us how to spend our time doing what brings You the greatest glory.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.