The Smell Test
Once upon a time, before Covid-19, when you were grocery shopping, did you ever smell cantaloupe or peaches to determine if they were ripe? I remember the first time I saw someone hold a cantaloupe close to her nose. After she placed it in her basket, I decided to try the smell test. The first cantaloupe had zero fragrance. I returned it and reached for another one, wondering if the smell test was bogus. But as I held the second one close to my nose, I was pleasantly surprised. It had a sweet aroma. That evening at dinner, I wasn’t disappointed. Its taste matched its aroma. The Bible says Christians are a fragrance of Christ to God and to others. In other words, as we connect with people, they get a whiff of either the sweet presence of Jesus or a whiff of our anxiousness, impatience, or sin? How can we become a fragrance of Christ? We can daily focus on a character trait of Christ and pray He fill us with His nature. If you’re not already getting 365 Days of Praise – Beyond Ourselves, subscribe here. Be a sweet aroma of Christ to others.
Why Did I Do That
Have you ever done something and immediately afterward you said, “Shoot! Why did I do that?” That happened to me the other day. I’d tackled a stack of papers that had accumulated on my desk – you know – the to-dos, notes to myself; as well as important papers like bills. I was quite pleased with the amount I’d shredded. Then, after writing out a check and looking for the self-addressed envelope, I realized I’d shredded it, too. My haste had made waste. It caused me to stop and think about how I handle my days. Am I busily running around but wasting time that could be spent with my Heavenly Father in prayer and meditating on the important truths in the Bible? If you, like me, don’t want to get to the end of your day and life only to realize you wasted precious time that could have been spent in prayer and Bible reading, then delve deep in the Word with “How to Live by the Divine Nature” or “Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion.” As Jesus pointed out to busy Martha, His presence is “the good part, which shall not be taken away.” (Luke 10:42)
Heavenly Father, forgive us when we busily run through our day without making time to sit in Your presence to study Your ways and to pray. Help us wisely choose the good part of each day – You.
Are You a Fisherman
“Are you a fisherman?” someone asked after I’d shared that my husband and I’d fished on our vacation. “Yes! I love to fish.” “So do you fly fish,” my friend questioned. “I do,” I replied, noticing by his, “hmph” that he was a little surprised. Then, I decided I needed to clarify. “Well, I like to catch fish, but I really don’t take the fish off the hook. And, I need someone to tell me what bait to use.” The more I thought about it, I wondered if I should even say I’m a fisherman. That caused me to realize that sometimes we use the word “Christian” rather loosely like I rather loosely said I’m a fisherman. What does it mean to be a Christian? Well, certainly not just showing up at a church building. Christ defined His followers as those who born of His Spirit and follow His teachings. If you’d like to know more about what it means to be a Christian, visit debbietaylorwilliams.com where you’ll find the blog, “Am I A Christian?”
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spite. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.'” John 3:7-8
Good to the Core
A few mornings ago as my husband headed out the door, I said, “Hey honey, want an apple to take with you? I was really surprised when he looked at me and said, “No! Those apples are horrible.” Hi. I was shocked. Organic. Firm to the touch. I decided to try it for myself. I took a bite and ugh, he was right. It was mushy on the inside. You know, it’s really not how we appear on the outside that counts as much as whether or not we have good on the inside. There’s only one person who can make us good on the inside and that’s Jesus. He provides transformational goodness as we repent of sin and yield to the Holy Spirit.
“First clean the inside of the cup and dish and the outside also will be clean.” Matthew 23:26
Eyes in the Back of Our Head
The other day my daughter shared with me that when her son was little, he started looking through the back of her hair. His little fingers were combing through it, separating each strand. She said, “Logan, what are you doing?” He said, “I’m looking for the eyes in the back of your head.” Haha, he was so accustomed to her being able to know what he was doing even when she wasn’t looking at him, that she’d kiddingly explained, as many of us parents have, “I can see you. I have eyes in the back of my head.” Well, we certainly wish we had eyes in the back of our head so we could watch out for our children and warn them if they were getting into something they shouldn’t or were about to hurt themselves. No, we don’t have that capability, but there is someone who does. Our Heavenly Father. He watches out for us and over us. Spend some time today thinking back over the many ways God has watched out for you, then thank Him with a grateful heart.
“The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:8
When You’re Sad or Mad
Are you ever sad or mad? Of course, we have times when we’re sad or perhaps mad. Our world is a challenging place. That’s why we’re wise to be proactive with our emotions. Just like we have daily physical routines, we can establish mood routines. For instance, when you wake, open the spiritual door and greet God, “Good morning, Lord. Thank you for this day. Fill me with Your Spirit.” Those simple words help us be mindful that our Heavenly Father is with us, our life has purpose, and we choose Christ’s Spirit to reign in our life; sure joy lifters! If you have Prayers of My Heart journal, read the verse at the top of the page in the Notes and Prayers section. Write it to help hide it in your heart. When you’re mad or sad, write your feelings to God. Quietly sit in His presence. Record the thoughts He brings to you. Read your Bible. Discover the joy of His Holy Spirit ministering to you from the inside out.
Have you joined the movement yet? What movement? The movement of Christians who are standing against letting fear consume them. The movement of Christians who are saying, “Yes, Covid-19 has turned my world upside down, but God is with me to help me get through it.” The ones who are saying, “Yes, it’s hard to stay at home and self-isolate, but I choose to use my time wisely. Several years ago, I was going through a hard time. As a heaviness was coming upon me, I sensed the nudge to pull my car off the road and park. Then another nudge to “Look up at the heavens.” As I did, God reminded me that I wasn’t alone. He was there for me, and He was all-powerful to take care of every need I have. Our world is going through a hard time. This is an opportunity for us to say, “Yes, life is hard, but, ‘Lord, You are….” Join the movement. Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion will remind you of the many ways God is with you and sufficient to meet the demands of each day. Be a witness for Christ to those who don’t know Him. Model to your family that this is where a relationship with Christ makes a difference.
Deer in the Headlights
Have you ever felt like a deer in the headlights when you realized you forgot to pray for someone? That happened to me several years ago. A person thanked me for praying for them. I was ashamed that I’d forgotten to and resolved to never again let that happen. The next morning, I asked God to show me a way to record prayer requests for those who asked me to pray for them and also go back and thank Him for His answers. In the quiet of the early morning hours, the word “spreadsheet” came to mind. Put the names of the people you pray for regularly across the top of the paper each week and designate a friend column for additional requests. Do you wish you had a better way to keep up with your prayers? If so, visit debbietaylorwilliams and click Prayers of My Heart. You’ll find prayer and journaling tips to rejuvenate your prayer life so you don’t forget to pray for someone.
When Whims Aren’t Good
Can you imagine if God ruled by whim, by ever-changing emotions and laws? What if on a whim, He decided to not be forgiving? Or, decided to forgive one person, but not you? What if God’s standard of holiness changed every year? Thank goodness that is not who our God is. Psalm 99:4 says He loves justice. He has ESTABLISHED EQUITY. That is why the psalmist says, “Let them praise Your great and awesome name; Holy is He.” (Psalm 99:3) Yes, that is why we praise our great and awesome God. He is not a God of whim, but rather, a God of equity.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You don’t rule by whim, but rather with equity. We love and praise You!
Do you remember the first time you saw someone talking out loud but there was no one around the person? The first time I saw someone do that, I wondered if he was okay. Then I noticed he had cordless buds in his ears. What seemed strange then is now common. Technology has advanced to the point we can talk to anyone anywhere from the ocean to the air. The more time we spend talking with someone, the better we know their voice. Prayer is no different. Ephesians 6:18 tells us to pray at all times. In other words, we’re to keep our spiritual earbuds in and on. We’re to pick up and answer when God calls and not be like those whom He reprimanded in Jeremiah 33:3, “I called you, but you did not answer.” How open is your line of communication with God? Do you recognize His voice when He calls? If you want to know God’s voice better, check out, “Listen UP”: How to better discern God’s voice at www.debbietaylorwilliams.com.