A Heavenly Summons
Have you struggled with your thoughts or emotions lately? Illness, the economy, and cultural issues can wear on even the most committed Christian. It’s easy to wish things were like they used to be and to have little hope for the future. But that’s not to be our mindset. Rather, the Lord summons us to pray for our families and leaders. Are you unsure your prayers would make a difference? If so, commit 1 John 5:14-15 to heart. “And this is the confidence that we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests for which we have asked from Him.” Friends, it’s time to raise our voices in faith. Find tips for how to pray and verses of faith in my journal, Prayers of My Heart, here or at Amazon.
“Are you wearing a mask when you go to the store,” a friend asked. I quickly replied yes. “Whew,” she responded. I’m not sure what her response would’ve been if I’d said no, but she seemed relieved. Wearing a face mask is a government recommendation to help stop the spread of a physical virus. But, are you aware of God’s spiritual mandate to stop the spread of sin? Yes, Ephesians 6:10-18 says to put on God’s armor of truth, righteousness, peace, and faith and to take the sword of Spirit which is the word of God. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve trained ourselves to put on a mask to stop the spread of a virus. Are we putting on our spiritual armor to prevent the spread of sin? Learn how to armor up in my book, Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion.
Our family has had several dogs but one was particularly clever at communicating what she wanted. She would go to the door, which was her way of saying, “Heh, get up from your desk. I need out!” Then, she’d turn and go to the kitchen hoping for a treat. She could certainly communicate. I learned what she wanted by her small prompts. In the same but much more important way, Christians can learn God’s prompts. Jesus explained in John 16:12-14 that He would send the Holy Spirit to guide us. What a gift! How can we learn the Holy Spirit’s prompts so we walk in the ways He’s leading us? We ask God to help us learn His voice. We evaluate our thoughts and actions in light of Biblical truths. Learn more about how to know and follow God’s voice and prompts in Listen UP.
I So Messed Up
Looking at the nail holes in the wall after rearranging pictures, my mother’s suggestion came to mind. “Use toothpaste to fill holes.” However, after filling the holes I realized I had messed up because her walls, unlike mine, were white. The toothpaste fillings were worse than the holes. Have you ever messed up on matters of far more importance? When we mess up, as in sin, guilt can consume us, but it’s not where God wants us to stay. Instead, Psalm 32:5 tells us how to move from guilt to grace. “I acknowledged my sin to You; and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’; and You forgave the guilt of my sin.” In whatever way we mess up, we can acknowledge our sin to God, turn from it, and embrace His grace. Learn more in my book, The Plan A Mom in a Plan B World at Amazon or debbietaylorwilliams.†
Bite Into This
Recently I reached into my briefcase to grab some papers but instead grabbed a squishy apple that I’d packed for a snack but forgotten to eat. Making a mental note that good intentions aren’t enough, I thought of Psalm 34:8 that says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” The Bible is like an apple, wonderful for us, but only if ingested. How can we ingest the Bible? Like we do an apple. We take it in our hands. We bite off one verse at a time. We chew on it to digest how it applies to our life. The result? We experience its transformational benefits. An apple can go bad. A Bible can be taken from us. But if it has been internalized, no one can take how it has transformed us. Looking for something to bite into? Enjoy these tasty spiritual resources.
Heavenly Father, thank You that we can taste and see how good You are. Transform us with every bite we take of Your Word. We love you.
22 Degrees – The Importance of Clarifying Information
22 Degrees. Winter Storm coming. How could that be, I wondered, glancing outside at the beautiful day. Double-checking the weather, I realized it was for a state where I’d spoken, not where I live. Contemplating my reaction to “22 degrees” was a reminder of how easy it is to draw wrong conclusions. Could that be why Jesus said in Matthew 5:23-24 that if a Christian has something against us, we’re to go to them and be reconciled; why He says in Matthew 18:15 that if we think a Christian has done something wrong, we’re to go to them privately rather than gossip about them? “Go” is the keyword in both cases. Rather than draw wrong conclusions, be a Christian who follows Christ’s counsel. Find more insights in my book, The Plan A Woman in a Plan B World at debbietaylorwilliams.
A few days ago I had a reality check. Was the woman in the mirror really me? What about you? Have you ever had a reality check about yourself, but rather than do something to correct a bad habit you continued in it? Is there help available to those of us who want to change? Yes. In Luke 24:49 Jesus said He would send the Holy Spirit who would clothe His followers with power from on high. Talk about power dressing that affects not only us but our relationship with God and others. God knew we needed supernatural power to live out our faith. If you’ve not liked something you’ve seen about yourself lately, read Galatians 5:13-26, a great spiritual mirror. Then, pray to God to fill you with power from on high to walk out your faith. Find more tips in The Plan A Woman in a Plan B World and The Plan A Mom in a Plan B World.
On the Fringe
“Sit back. Don’t do anything. It sounds like you’re on the fringe.” Years ago my sister said that to me when I was about to do or say something I’d regret. David gives similar counsel in Psalm 37:7-9, saying, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evil doing. For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.” Choosing to not fret or be angry is not a lack of action. It’s taking the right actions – praying, waiting, trusting God. If you’re on the fringe, journal your thoughts and prayers in Prayers of My Heart Journal and trustingly wait for how God will provide.
You Ain’t Seen Nothin Yet
Have you ever attempted to describe something magnificent but no words sufficed? Certainly the apostle John must have felt this as he attempted to describe the ascended Lord Jesus Christ whom he saw. Revelation 1:12-16 records his attempt. ”someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” As good as John’s description, no doubt, we haven’t seen anything that can be compared to the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you ready to meet Him? If not, visit debbietaylorwilliams.com/meet-jesus.
“Baooon!” Requests and Thanksgiving
“Baooon! Baooon!” With a worried look, our two-year-old grandson turned his face toward me then pointed to the ceiling. “Baooon!” he repeated, pointing to his blue birthday balloon that had drifted to the vaulted ceiling. “I’m sorry, but Mimi can’t reach it.” “Baooon!” he determinedly pointed, fretfully looking at family members. Then, I noticed his daddy leave the room and return with an extension rod. Soon, the balloon was in my grandson’s hands and he was grinning ear to ear looking at his father. Are you fretting today? Are you looking for others to help you? Sometimes our Heavenly Father is the only One who can help us. Look to Him. Call on Him. If you don’t know what to pray, pray whatever is on your heart. You can also find “Prayers for Different Occasions” to help you get started. Whatever you pray, know that your Heavenly Father is listening and cares deeply for you.