Why Simple Acts Will Make You Humble Yourself

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: 2 Kings 5 GW; Mark 6 GW

Simple acts require humility.

Namaan, commander of the Aramean king’s army, had a skin disease.  He learned Elisha, God’s prophet, could heal him.  Naaman went to Elisha’s house, who sends a messenger out with these instructions (in other words, Elisha didn’t personally greet the king):

“Wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River, and your skin will be healthy and clean.”

 (2 Kings 5:10 GW)

Kings have egos; Naaman was no exception.  First, he’s offended that Elisha didn’t come out of his house and greet him.  Secondly, the instructions Elisha sent weren’t grand enough for him.  Plus, Naaman thought the water was dirty.  As a king, he had expectations of something much more majestic.  Naaman started to leave until his servants talked him into staying.

Guess what?  Naaman bathed in the Jordan River and became healed.  But first, he had to humble himself to do a simple task.

Simple acts have huge rewards.

Naaman’s simple act healed him from a skin disease he had far too long.  Once he submitted himself to God, he found relief.  Submission came by way of dipping himself seven times in the Jordan River.

We can find healing the same way.  Whatever the issue is you’re struggling with today, give it to God.  Place it at the foot of the cross with humility.  Ask God for instructions of what you are to do, then do them.

Instead of bathing in the Jordan River, God may prompt you to call someone who needs to hear your voice.  Perhaps He will have you bake a cake for your neighbor.  Or write a note to someone you need to ask for forgiveness.  Simple acts have eternal ramifications.  Even though you might not see the results here on earth, one day, you’ll know the truth.  Your most minor acts of kindness had the most significant impact for the Kingdom.

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Lord, thank You for the reminder; working for You is done in submission.  Forgive us for expecting grand gestures instead of simple acts.  Help us today become more sensitive to Your Spirit’s promptings to do Your will.  Let every action we do reflect Your love to the world.  Give us conviction of what we are to do and the courage to do it.  As always, the glory is Yours.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

What simple act is God prompting You to do?

Why Divine Solutions Will Make You Believe in God

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: 2 Kings 4 GW; Mark 5 GW

God’s solutions are unpredictable.

Elisha, a prophet, is visiting a widow.  In dire straits, a creditor is threatening to take her two children as slaves for payment.  The only thing of value the woman has in her home is a jar of olive oil.  Elisha has her borrow empty containers from her neighbors, then go into her house and pour oil into them.  She obeys, doing precisely what Elisha says until she ran out of containers.  When the jars ran out, the olive oil stopped flowing.  God provided enough oil for her to pay her debt and have some leftover for her family.  God’s divine solution in her life came in jugs.

Divine solutions are God’s unpredictable answers to life’s circumstances.

Our insurmountable problems are opportunities for God to shine.  We have to get beyond our unbelief to experience God’s solution.  Life doesn’t happen the way we think; it happens the way God does.  Just like God provided for the widow, He’ll provide for you.  Collect empty jars; God is going to fill them for you.

Trust and obey.

When you don’t see an escape from your troubles, trust and obey.  Search the scriptures and find out what God says.  Then apply His promises to your dilemma.  God’s promises for guidance and help is a good starting point:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

Ask God to make your paths straight.  Seek His divine solution to your problem, then wait for God to act.  Instead of thinking you know what God will do, wait expectantly for Him to surprise you.

When God tells you to line up your jars, get them ready.  God doesn’t disappoint; your jugs will overflow with His blessing.

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Lord, how grateful we are for Your divine solutions.  Forgive us for telling You how we think You should solve our problems.  Instead, help us rely on You for answers.  As we lean into You today, submitting to You, straighten our paths.  Fill our jars with Your blessings as we wait with expectation for Your unpredictable answers to our struggles.  In You, we trust completely.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

What divine solution are you waiting on today?

Why Jesus Light Will Make You Shine Brightly

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: 2 Kings 23 GW; Mark 4 GW

Light in lights out.

God’s presence in your life won’t go unnoticed.  Jesus’s light burns eternal.   Following Jesus is a process that begins with a decision.  Once you decide you’re giving your life to Jesus, the Holy Spirit takes up residence within you.  His presence will prompt you into becoming a new creation in Jesus.  As you do, your light will shine brighter than you can ever imagine.

What is an example of God’s light? Maybe a cat made out of towels.

During my last hair appointment, I shared it with a friend who is an RN. She told us the story of two nurses trying to comfort an elderly patient. The sweet lady was confused about her whereabouts and kept asking for her cat. Trying to calm their patient, the nurses made a cat out of towels that the lady could sit and pet. Their efforts worked; God’s light shone through them as they brought comfort to another through towels.

God’s prompting helps us to love others better. Just like the nurses went the extra mile for their patients, Jesus went the extra mile for us. Following Him means daily trying to love God and others.

Small actions have Kingdom consequences.

No matter how small the kindness, our actions have a ripple effect.  A couple of years ago, a group I was in spent a month doing “Random Acts of Kindness.”  We gave out business cards I nicknamed “Scatter Cards” because their purpose was to scatter kindness wherever we went.  To this day, I wonder about the lives impacted by one intentional month of service, lives I won’t meet until heaven.

We never know how our actions impact others.  As we draw closer to Jesus, our love of people will intensify.   Loving people for Jesus is how your light will shine brightest.

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Lord, thank You for shining Your light into our lives through Jesus.  Forgive us for hiding what we have found in You.  Today, let Your love shine through us brighter than ever before.  Each day that You give us, help us to love others better and better.  As we seek You, let us find You.  Fill us with Your Spirit, prompt us from within, help us represent You well today.  In all things, the glory is Yours. IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

How are you shining your light today?

Why Closed Minds Will Make You Miss the Miracle

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: 1 Kings 22 GW; 2 Kings 1 GW; Mark 3 GW

Closed minds can’t see the truth.

Today’s story is about a man who had a paralyzed hand.  Jesus was in the synagogue with the Pharisees (religious leaders); they were not happy He was healing on the sabbath.  Jesus knew the Pharisee’s minds were closed; therefore, they missed the miracle that He performed.  Instead, after witnessing the man’s hand restored, they left to plot and kill Jesus (Mark 3:1-6 GW).

Not only did the Pharisees miss the miracle, but they also angered and hurt Jesus. Closed minds aren’t receptive to new ideas and concepts.  If we don’t think new possibilities exist with Jesus, we’ll never find divine solutions.

When Jesus healed the man’s hand, He performed a divine solution.  The Pharisees clung to their laws; they discounted what Jesus had to offer.  Closed minds kept them from experiencing what Jesus had to offer.

Open your mind to Jesus.

Our relationship with Jesus is one of heart and mind.  We must open ourselves up to what Jesus has to offer.  In order to embrace Jesus’ influence in our lives, we have to realize; His ways are not our ways.  We can’t put Jesus in a box and expect Him to act the way we want.  Jesus doesn’t work that way.  

God didn’t send Jesus into the world so He would conform to our image.  Jesus came so we could become like Him.  Our ways don’t work.  Jesus has the divine solution we all need, whatever the circumstance.  When Jesus moves in our lives, He does so on His schedule, not ours.

If you don’t want to anger and hurt Jesus, open your mind.  Don’t get trapped in religious rhetoric.  Take Jesus out of the box, look for His divine solutions.  Embrace the miracle, don’t miss it.

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Lord, thank You for working in our lives every day.  Forgive us for closing our minds to Your miracles.  Today give us a new mindset, one that embraces Your work in our lives.  Help us to open our thoughts to new possibilities found only in You.  As we seek You today, don’t let us miss Your divine solutions to our problems.  Give us a fresh vision for our lives, direct our steps, don’t let us miss what You’re doing.  All glory is Yours.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

How open are you to God’s divine solutions in your life?

Why Healthy Thinking Will Make You Have Healthy Actions

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Psalms 94 GW; 1 Kings 21 GW; Mark 2 GW

Thoughts precede actions.

Jesus knows our thoughts.  In today’s scripture, Jesus forgives the sins of a paralyzed man, brought by four friends for healing.  The men made an opening in the roof to lower their friend to Jesus.  When Jesus sees their faith, He forgives them.  

But, as usual, religious folks didn’t agree with Jesus’s actions:

“Some experts in Moses’ Teachings were sitting there. They thought, “Why does he talk this way? He’s dishonoring God. Who besides God can forgive sins?” (Mark 2:6 GW)

Jesus knew their thoughts; He knows ours as well.  What we think determines what we do.  The four men in today’s story thought Jesus could heal their friend; therefore, their actions reflect that belief.  But the “experts” thoughts were not in line with God’s.  Without them saying a word, Jesus knew what they were thinking.

Manage your mind.

If we let our minds wander, they can go to dark places.  In the blink of an eye, our thoughts can get us off track.  But we also have the power to choose what we think about each day.  Spending time with God will help us align our thoughts with Him.  When we do, our actions will reflect our faith.

Meditating on scripture is one of the best ways to think healthy thoughts.  When faced with a life situation, find a scripture that addresses it.  When I worked in retail, I lived with the fear of layoffs.  To manage my thoughts and not allow myself to get off track, I mediated on Phil. 4:19:

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

When my thoughts tried to derail me, this scripture reminded me, God is my provider.  He gives me everything I need.  Healthy thoughts led to healthy actions.

Manage your thoughts.  Fill your mind with God’s word.  Let healthy actions come from correct thinking.

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Lord, thank You for loving us, the good, bad and ugly.  Forgive us for letting our minds get the best of us.  Help us manage our minds by filling them with Your promises.   Let us recognize any unhealthy thought patterns we have and get rid of them.  Instead, help us think healthy thoughts that lead to healthy actions.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

What unhealthy thoughts do you need to get rid of today?

Life with Jesus Will Make You Have a New Beginning Every Day

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: 1 Kings 20 GW; Mark 1 GW

God’s mercies are new each morning.

Life with Christ is a process.  Believing and accepting Jesus into your life is the start of a new adventure.  Each day, as you pursue God, He’ll reveal new truths to you.  Some realities are more challenging to accept than others.

When I think back over some of the interactions I’ve had in my life, I cringe.  Why?  Because God shows me my part in the problem.  Things God reveals to me, I’ve been quick to judge and wrong about my judgment.  My selfishness impacts my relationships.  Poor communication harms friendships.  When God feels distant, I’m the one who moves away, not Him.  The list is endless of the way God’s presence in my life changes me every day.  His Spirit within me nudges me daily when I get off track.  And each morning, God’s mercies are new:

“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 ESV)

Today is a new beginning.

No matter what the mistakes of yesterday, today is a new day.  God forgives you; forgive yourself.  Start fresh today.  

As a person who is in a lifelong battle of the bulge, each week, I step on the scale. My WW leader taught me this valuable lesson.  No matter what the past week entailed, today is another Day One.  In other words, each week is the opportunity to wipe the slate clean.  But I have to forgive myself for my failings to move forward. If I’m stuck in the past, I can’t move ahead.

Jesus came to give you a new beginning.  In Him, you can find new life.  Each day is an opportunity to change and become a new creation in Christ.  Let the past go, embrace new life with Jesus.  Today is Day One.

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Lord, thank You for giving us a clean slate every morning.  Thank You for a new life in Jesus.  Forgive us for not forgiving ourselves.  Help us today to accept the mercy You offer and to give ourselves a Day One.  Let us release the sins of yesterday, help us overcome them today as Your Spirit guides and directs us.  To You goes all the glory.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

What do you need to forgive yourself for today?

Why Doing Everything With Love Will Make You Think

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: 1 Kings 18-19 GW; 1 Corinthians 16 GW

Actions of love require thinking.

Love is a verb that requires intention.  You have to decide to love God and people.  Putting others before yourself isn’t natural.  Part of the human condition is innate selfishness.  If you think you’re not selfish, you’re kidding yourself.  God created us with free will and the right to choose how we live our lives.  We can follow Him or not; God doesn’t force us to love Him.  However, God’s desire for us is to do everything in love.

Before we do something, we have to think about doing it.  Therefore, if we pre-decide we’re going to do everything in love, we’ll ponder our motives.  We’ll ask ourselves tough questions:

  • What is my intention with this statement?  
  • Am I trying to build up or tear down?
  • Will what I’m doing hurt this person?

Just taking the time to ask yourself these questions will help you become known for your love more than anything else.  

Love is the end goal.

One day, your life will end.  God is clear; He has numbered our days.  The mortality rate is 100%, we all die.  When that day comes, what do you want people to say about you?

I want people to know I loved the Lord, and I did the best I could to love people.  Each day, I try to do better than the day before.  Some days are easier than others.  But I know one truth, without God, I can’t love at all.

God does everything in love.  Even if we don’t understand His actions here on earth, we can ask Him all the questions that don’t make sense to us when we move into eternity with Him.  But until that day, we have to trust God’s motives are ones of love.

Decide today to do everything in love.  Pre-decision will help you stay the course.  God’s love for you will help you succeed.

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Dear Lord, thank You for Your love.  Forgive us for the times we don’t love.  Help us today do everything in love.  When tempted to tear down, remind us we’re to build up.  Let us become known for our love.  In all things, the glory is Yours.  Through You, we can succeed at loving others.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

How can you do everything in love today?

How God’s Kindness Will Make You Kinder

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: 1 Kings 17 GW; 1 Corinthians 15 GW

Kindness breeds kindness.

Divine moments come with kindness. The randomness of the action at the perfect time tells you it’s from God.   No earthly explanations exist; credit can only go to God.  When these moments happen, they soften our hearts and make us want to share the gift with others.  Our kindest actions begin with God’s kindness towards us.

One of the kindest people I ever met was a divine appointment.  My husband and I were camping and needed propane.  We stopped at TAC RV on the border of North Carolina and Virginia.  While my husband was filling the tanks, I went inside the store, where I met Crystal. Ironically, we attended the same church in Virginia but had never met.  She had on a t-shirt from the church, which started our conversation.  I will never forget her taking out her phone and friending me on Facebook right there and then.  Her kindness touched my heart that day and has never stopped.

Share your heart.

Crystal’s kindness stems from her heart devoted to the Lord.  God gifted her with an extra measure of grace.  Every conversation I have with her, I walk away amazed at the kindness that naturally flows from her.  She helps me become more graceful, which in turn, helps me become kinder.  Crystal donated a kidney to a stranger; she doesn’t limit her kindness.  God’s presence in her life overflows to all.

Let God’s kindness in your life flow to those around you.  Don’t let fear stop you from sharing your heart with others.  Just like Crystal shares her heart willing with those God places in her life, share yours too.  You never know how kindness to a stranger will impact their lives.  One day in heaven, you may find out.  But until then, relish in God’s compassion for your life.  Let God’s love for you soften your heart, then share it with others.

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Lord, in all things, You go first.  Your most extraordinary kindness is Jesus.  Thank You for sending Him for us.  Forgive us for not always choosing kindness.  Soften our hearts for the day ahead, let Your love lead the way in our lives.  As we interact with people today, let kindness define our conversations.  In all things, let us represent You well, especially Your kindness.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

Who has impacted your life with their kindness?

Why Disorder Will Make You Realize God Isn’t In Control

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: 1 Kings 16 GW; 1 Corinthians 14 GW

God doesn’t confuse.

Disorder is a “state of confusion.”  God brings peace.  Anytime life is racing out of control and chaos is reigning, the devil is in its midst. 

“Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV)

Satan wants to steal the joy God gives you.  Peace that surpasses all understanding is from God.  The devil will do anything to steal God’s serenity from you.  God will never bring you confusion; He gives you calm.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  (James 4:7 NIV)

Years ago, I was working on a church production for Easter.  As part of the stage crew, we were producing the Resurrection story.  One particular night, everything was going wrong.  Amid the chaos, a friend realized we hadn’t prayed.  We were doing the work on our might, not asking God to help us.  I will never forget the peace that ensued as soon as we asked God into the mix.

Don’t forget God.

In the busyness of life, we often leave God behind.  Before your feet hit the floor, the day is already hectic.  Raising kids, caring for spouses, working all have a way of pushing God to the side.  Before you know it, you’re at the end of the day, not once thinking about God.  

Just a few minutes can change the tone of the day.

Seeking God isn’t complicated.  He hears all prayers, knows all hearts.  And God wants His peace to reign in your life.  God doesn’t want you living in confusion.  God’s purpose for your life is to have life and have it to the full.  

Live life to the fullest today by including God in your day.  Let His peace lead the way.

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Lord, thank You for creating order in a disorderly world.  Forgive us for trying to manage the chaos without including You.  Help us remember You today when the world gets crazy.  If life is confusing, remind us, that’s not You.  Let Your peace reign in our lives today and always.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

When have you experienced God’s peace in chaos?

How Speaking Without Love Will Make You a Clashing Cymbal

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: 1 Kings 14-15 GW; 1 Corinthians 13 GW

Words spoken in love aren’t offensive.

When we use harsh words, it’s like clashing cymbals to the hearer.   Speaking with love means thinking about the other person first.  Instead of saying whatever is on your mind, you stop and think about how it will sound to the other person. 

“When someone repeatedly uses words to demean, frighten, or control someone, it’s considered verbal abuse.”  Ann Pietrangelo, Healthline

Words do matter.  What you say affects people, whether you believe it does or not.  One of the first statistics I learned in my coaching career involved words.  When I speak to a child, they retain 80% of what I say.  However, I only remember 20% of the words I use.  Learning this information made me more aware of the words I use.  Instead of focusing on the negative, I highlight the positive.  If my words aren’t encouraging and uplifting, I don’t say them.

Check your language.

Before a word leaves your lips, ask yourself a question.  “Is what I’m about to say uplifting and encouraging?”  If the answer is no, don’t say the words.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29 NLT)

For Lent this year, I gave up swearing.  For every slip, I paid $1 to the swear jar.  At the end of the 40 days, I had accumulated $161, which I donated.  As much as I watch my language, I still have work to do.

We all do.  Only Jesus mastered the language of love.  Each day, we have an opportunity to try again. To the best of your ability, speak all things in love.

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Lord, thank You for giving us guidelines of how we are to speak.  Forgive us for using harsh words that demean and criticize others.  Help us today to monitor our comments.  If what we’re going to say isn’t uplifting and encouraging, don’t let us say it.  Let the Holy Spirit prompt us from within when we’re about to say something verbally abusive.  Close our mouths when our words are like clashing cymbals to the hearer.  Let us today speak all things in love.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

Is your language uplifting and encouraging?