Walking Partner

Walking Partner

I might just be the queen of allowing my feelings to get in the way of facts. I have a habit and a history of seeing my life’s circumstances in light of my emotions. However, a lifestyle in which my life’s circumstances are instead viewed by applying the Light of the World’s illumination is a goal I am praying about and pursuing.

Taking stock of what is happening through God’s lens instead of a “how I am feeling today” lens is valuable. And it is necessary. It helps us to confidently react based on the way God helps us see our situation, instead of allowing our emotions to dictate our response.

If I wake up each day and make a conscious decision to spend that day walking in God’s presence, I am much more likely to desire to live in a way that pleases God. One way that will be exhibited is that I will be more likely to react to challenges in a better manner. I will run my reactions through a filter of, “What is a Christlike approach to handling this situation?” rather than an “I handled that impulsively…how do I go back and fix what I did wrong?” filter.

When I think of walking with someone, I realize it is a conscious decision that takes action on my part. I have a walking partner. Years ago, we used to walk more often, but now because of busy lives, our walks have become a once-a-week commitment. We do not just “happen” to exercise together. It requires us to set our alarms, get out of bed a little earlier than usual, and don our exercise gear and walking shoes. Walking with God also requires a conscious decision…it does not happen by chance. We make a choice to take the steps toward God that prove our desire is to be right by His side. That is the best choice we can make each day. It is a choice that grants us an improved mindset and an increased sense of peace.

How beautiful it is to serve a God who is eager and willing to walk through this life with us step by step and to shed His light on our lives.

 

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 ESV

(This is my May contribution to Devotableapp.com –  a website full of encouragement!)

It’s Not About You

It’s Not About You

Hello! This was on devotableapp.com as my monthly contribution yesterday, March 21st. I’d love for you to take a few moments to read it and tell me what you think!

If you are not excited to go to your church on Sunday mornings, the church is not necessarily doing church wrong…maybe you are.

Church isn’t about you, or me, or any of us. Sure, we receive amazing benefits from going to church, such as being fed by the Word of God, fellowshipping with others who love the Lord, and learning more about our Savior, but again, it is really not about us.

Church is about God. It is about what we can give to a perfect God, not about what we can get from a congregation of imperfect people. It is about worshipping a God who is so-much-more-than-worthy of the “sacrifice” of getting out of our comfortable bed and possibly putting up with some aspects of the service we find annoying. And yes, I will say it: When we go to church, we will most likely encounter irritating people, so it might just be time to decide that pleasing God is more important than trying to avoid being offended by someone’s conduct, lifestyle, or personality.

Read the rest at:

https://devotableapp.com/daily-devotion-its-not-about-you/

Mary’s Song

Have you ever thought about what would have been going through your mind had you been in Mary’s position when the angel appeared to her in Luke 1? Undoubtedly, she had a vision of her future home, her future family, and all of the possibilities that awaited her as she was getting ready to wed Joseph. We would most likely be safe in assuming that she was quite excited to raise children with the man she loved. However, we would also most likely be safe in assuming that part of her excitement hinged on their firstborn child arriving at a later date and arriving under ‘normal’ circumstances!

Suddenly, the angel jolted Mary out of her blissful daydreams, and she realized she was pregnant before marriage in a way that nobody would believe! This pregnancy was going to cause tongues to wag, well-meaning people to nag, and her energy level to drag.

Mary’s immediate response is the question, “How can this be?’ After the angel answers by assuring her this news is indeed all God’s plan and she is in the center of it, she again responds immediately. This time it is a statement: “Let it be with me just as you say.” The Living Bible’s version of her mature reply is, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to do whatever he wants. May everything you said come true.”

I am amazed by Mary’s answer to the angel. She trusts her Lord unwaveringly! And eight verses later, she proceeds to proudly praise the powerful presence and plans of her Lord to her cousin Elizabeth, and I am amazed again!

In some Bible versions, Luke 1:46-55 has a title such as, “The Song of Mary,” or something similar. It is peculiar because verse 46 starts off her “song” with the words, “Mary said,” and I cannot find a Bible that says differently. The words in those verses are so lyrical and so beautiful that they are considered to be a song, even though she did not sing them!

In those ten verses in Luke, Mary’s beautiful words have the potential to stop us in our tracks, especially if we take a moment to think about who spoke them and what her situation was. Mary’s spirit rejoiced in her Lord and her soul glorified Him at a time when she could have been throwing a self-pity party. When I am presented with unexpected circumstances, my natural reaction falls incredibly short of the reaction of a teenager who was given news that could be described as not just unexpected, but also earth-shattering and life-altering!

Friends, we can make the choice for our spirits to rejoice and our souls to glorify our Lord no matter what predicament we find ourselves in. Let us pray for a “Mary-like” trust; a trust that is immediate, unwavering and believes the Lord’s plan is the best plan.

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Too Weary or Worried to Worship?

Too Weary or Worried to Worship?

Do you ever walk into your church service begrudgingly? Maybe your week didn’t go as planned, or you just received bad news, or you are engaged in a seemingly never-ending battle with a person or condition in your life.

Do you ever choose to stay in bed instead of walking through those sanctuary doors? Maybe avoiding the potential unwelcome greetings or “hey, how are yous” seems more inviting than facing them and having to possibly come up with a phony reply or worse yet, answer honestly!

Many Sundays, I am the worship leader in our church. I am expected to help ‘usher’ the congregants to the throne of the King of the Kings in a time of worship and song. Sometimes I am not ‘feeling it.’ There, I said it. Sometimes I have had a bad week, or I or one of my family members have suffered a huge disappointment. And openly worshipping God is not number one on my priority list. There, I said that too.

I realize that I sound like I sometimes worship God based on my life circumstances instead of basing it on Who He is. That would be true at times. It is also something I am working hard to remedy.

I shared the following on my Gwen Thielges Writing and Music Facebook page a few months ago: “Something I’ve experienced through leading music in our church: When things are going ‘right’ in my life, and I go to church with praise on my tongue, it’s easy to be in front and encourage a congregation to lift up the name of Jesus in song. When things are not so much ‘right’ in my life…it’s hard. But it is always, always rewarding. It never fails that God speaks to me through the worship time on those tough mornings and gets my heart prepared for the rest of the service. He reminds me of His faithfulness, His plan, and the fact that He sees me and hears me. And most of all, I’m reminded of His love. If God cares that some insignificant-feeling, middle-aged mama in North Dakota is feeling down…then my friend, He cares about and loves us all! And He wants us to know that we know that we know that we are loved beyond description. I just want to encourage you this morning to sing a song of praise whether you ‘feel’ like it or not. You’ll be blessed. God WILL show up.”

May I encourage you to do better with this than I do? I am not saying we should worship God even when we do not ‘feel’ like it just because He will show up. I am saying we should worship God even when we do not ‘feel’ like it simply because He is worthy of our worship, adoration, and gratefulness no matter what!

He has a master design for our lives. Our disappointments, battles, and scars somehow add to the beauty of the tapestry He is weaving in our lives – something that can only be done by a God as awesome as our God is. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” What a promise to remind us that He is working in the lives of those who love Him through all the details. It is a reminder that we can trust Him through the difficult times for results that bring glory to Him. We can trust Him enough to say, “I choose to put my eyes on You, God, rather than on my life’s circumstances.” When our eyes are on Him, we can’t help but notice that we are in the presence of a God who deserves enthusiastic, extravagant worship.

Let us remember that worshipping our Heavenly Father is an all-the-time opportunity, not just a 20-minute Sunday morning opportunity right before the sermon. Psalm 29:2 says, “Honor the LORD for the glory of his name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.”

May our lives show Jeremiah 29:13 to be true, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

Come, let us seek Him with our whole hearts and worship Him through the weariness and worry. He is worthy. Bonus: He WILL show up!