UpLIFT

Joy to the World

12/13/2019

Are you familiar with the popular Christmas song, “Joy to the World”? The lyrics include earth receiving her king, sins and sorrows not growing, and Christ ruling the world with truth and grace. But, as is often the case, we sometimes sing words and we’re not deeply thinking about the context. Case in point is “Joy to the World.” Although it is thought of as a song about Christ’s birth, it’s really a song about His second coming. Second coming? What’s that? Just like the Bible prophesied Jesus’s first coming as a baby who would one day die for our sins; the Bible also records Jesus coming again to earth, but this time as reigning King. It is then we will no longer have sin and sorrow and Christ will rule with truth and grace. Yes, we will continue to gladly sing, “Joy to the World,” at Christmas, but now with deeper meaning and anticipation of Christ’s second coming, also.

I’m Your Huckleberry

05/15/2019

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Are you familiar with the saying, “I’m your huckleberry”? Last summer, my husband and I visited Glacier National Park. Right outside the park, we stopped at a restaurant that had every imaginable huckleberry item. Huckleberry pie, huckleberry pancakes. Huckleberry syrup. My husband insisted on buying me a purple shirt that said, “I’m your huckleberry.” Doing a little research on exactly what that statement meant, I discovered that to be one’s huckleberry is “to be just the right person for a job.” When I thought about that definition, my mind quickly raced to Jesus. He, as God’s Son, is the only One who could die for our sins, return to heaven, and empower us to live the Christian life. If you’re looking for the right One to follow, that person is the Jesus Christ. There’s no one more right for this life and the next than Him. 

Heavenly Father, thank You for Jesus Christ, the perfect and only One who could satisfy our sin debt and give us life eternal. 

Missing Buttons and Spiritual Practices

05/01/2019

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Reaching to straighten my collar, I felt a button that was loose and made a mental note to take care of it. Later, looking in the mirror, I noticed that not only did I have a loose button, but that I’d also lost one.  Sometimes, in the busyness of life we don’t notice things that are slipping or have accidentally fallen off. Just like my buttons gradually loosened, so our spiritual commitments can gradually become less firmly established; such as gathering with other believers each week to worship and pray. Are these commitments important? Yes, Hebrews 9:24-25 says, “let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”  Gathering to worship and serve with other believers is important. What might we need to look in the spiritual mirror and reattach that has fallen aside?

Heavenly Father, thank You that through spiritual practices we can grow and become more transformed into your likeness. Help us take spiritual practices seriously and not let them fall aside. 

Weight Training for the Spirit

04/24/2019

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Years ago I joined a class at a gym but didn’t venture into the weight room. Deciding it was finally time, I was shocked to discover how weak my left arm was compared to my right arm. A trainer suggested I use a weight at home to strengthen my left arm. In other words, strengthen what is weak. What holds true for the body holds true spiritually. Hebrews 12:12 tells us to “strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble.” Hands speak of what we do. Knees speak of our walk. In other words, are we doing what God tells us to do? Are we walking by Christ’s Spirit? If not, what can we do? Psalm 119:28 says, ”Strengthen me according to Your word.” When we read the Bible, we’re strengthening our spirit. Second, pray. Ephesians 3:16 explains that the more intimate we are with Christ, the more we experience His strength in our inner man.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the encouraging words in Your Word that tell us we can strengthen areas of our life that are weak. We ask now that You strengthen us so we are increasingly strong in our faith.

Turn that Frown Upside Down

04/17/2019

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Did your mother ever tell you, “Turn that frown upside down”? My mother did – typically when I was moping because she told me to do a better job of cleaning my room. Earthly parents aren’t the only ones to notice our face. Our Heavenly Father notices our countenance. In Genesis 4:6-7, God confronted Cain. “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?” Then He warned Cain, “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? But if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door and it’s desire is for you, but you must master it.” Our face is a reflection of our heart, and our heart is either fully loving and obeying God or rebelling against Him. Perhaps we need to look in the mirror today and see what our countenance is telling us about our heart. 

Heavenly Father, we confess that sometimes our downcast spirit is because we aren’t following You. Please forgive us. Set our heart on course to follow You so our face reflects our peace with You. 

Keep Your Foot on the Pedal

04/10/2019

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Do you often fall for temptation? I seem to be a glutton for it.  Temptation reminds me of a sign I saw one day when approaching a small town that boasted it was the “playground of the area.” As I drove into the city, however, I didn’t see that anything that matched the alluring sign’s description. Satan is a lot like that sign. He places temptation before us and boasts it will give us pleasure. But if we’re wise, we’ll act on 1 Corinthians 10:13 that tells us “no temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” In other words, we’re to keep our foot on the pedal and take God’s escape.

Heavenly Father, forgive us when we keeping walking into temptation instead of stopping, turning, and taking your way of escape. Help us be more mindful of what we’re doing and walk more closely by Your Spirit. 

 

Why Doesn’t Your Skin Fit Your Face

04/03/2019

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Tammy, age 4, was with her mother when they met an elderly woman. Tammy looked at the older woman’s wrinkled face and asked, “Why doesn’t your skin fit your face?” While we may laugh at the child’s innocent question, we can understand why she might ask such a question. No doubt, her mother had explained when trying on different size clothing that if they sagged, they didn’t fit. The woman’s saggy skin didn’t appear to fit her face. The Bible speaks of things as fitting or not fitting a Christian. Ephesians 5:1 and 4 say our character needs to fit Christ’s character. We’re to imitate God and walk in love. Immorality, impurity, greed, filthiness, silly talk, and coarse jesting don’t fit a Christian. How can we be sure our thoughts and actions fit Christ’s? We can check ourselves in the mirror of the Bible. We can change to fitting behavior if we’re sagging in sin. 

Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us Christ’s righteousness to wear. Remind us to daily wear it, not our old saggy sins.

Is Your Warning Signal On or Off

03/27/2019

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Beep Beep. Driving down the highway, my car signaled a warning to me that I had veered from the center of the lane.  I love the beeping feature on my car. What’s interesting though, is I can turn it off. Why would a driver not welcome an alert? Because if they’re veering regularly, that beep can become annoying. When a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit becomes a warning signal in our spirit. We can either welcome His alerts or stop them by choosing to not read our Bibles or pray. What if we crash and want to get back in the center lane of His will? We can pray, ask forgiveness, and read the Bible. We can ask Him to be our guide. Galatians 5:16 says, “Walk by the Spirit.” In other words, walk by God’s prompts and alerts. 

Heavenly Father, thank You for “overs” as we learn how to go through our day paying attention to; not ignoring, the warnings of the Holy Spirit. Our heart’s desire is to stay in the center lane of Your will. Teach us. Help us!

Are You Spiritually Dry

03/20/2019

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Have you ever tried to get something to work to no avail? Recently, I experienced that while trying to get an old Palm Printer to work. I did various things to get it to print and finally decided the roller must be out of ink. However, when I took it out to replace it, I noticed ink all over my fingers. The problem wasn’t a lack of ink. The problem was it was dry due to lack of use. You know, sometimes we can become spiritually dry due to a lack of reading our Bible and praying. What can we do if that happens? We can go to Christ who describes His Spirit in John 7:37-39 as living water that flows in believers. If you’re a Christian, but feel spiritually dry, go to Jesus. Repent of sin that may be blocking the flow of Christ’s Spirit in you. Ask Jesus to fill you with His Spirit. Pour over the words of the Bible and let them pour through you.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the flow of Your Holy Spirit who dwells in us. Fill us with a fresh supply of Your presence so when we’re squeezed, You come out. 

Take Your Wife and Flee

03/13/2019

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A young child, Ben, was listening to his dad read in Genesis 19:15 where an angel told Lot to take his wife and flee out of the city, but that his wife looked back and turned into salt.” Little Ben was concerned and asked, “What happened to Lot’s flea?” Yes, Ben didn’t understand the word being used was FLEE, not FLEA. Although humorous, it’s a good reminder to us to verify teachings we hear with what the Bible says. Why? Because we, too, can be mistaken about what we hear or stances we take. Jesus gives a warning about this in Matthew 22:29. He says, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.” Jesus’s words are a good reminder for us to study the Bible to know what it says.