We are on the Right Path…When we are Thankful

Over the years that I have gone hiking in the mountains, the most basic thing is to be on the right path. There have been a few occasions, when I didn’t and I had to turn around and hike back to the right trail. Some times we can get off track in our thought life too. Frustration, anger, jealousy, worry, selfishness, etc.. can leads us down the wrong path in a hurry. This leads to a bad attitude and a lot of other things we need to avoid. It is time to get back to the right path in our thought patterns.

One of the things I strive to do each is day is… to be thankful. Not just in general, but thanking God for specific and even little things. I have found that it is an essential part of experiencing God’s presence. By focusing on what we do have instead of being discouraged with what we don’t have, it changes our perspective in a positive and God honoring way. Psalm 100 teaches us that we are to enter into God’s presence with giving thanks and praise to God, who guides and provides for us. The question is.. are we letting God guide us or are we just kinda doing our own thing and assuming He will bless it? There is a big difference between these two attitudes. In that same psalm, it teaches us that “Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He that has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:3). What a great reminder for us to realize that

He is worthy of our respect and trust on a daily basis. Thanksgiving should be an everyday attitude, and a path we should follow, regardless of our present circumstances. When things are really tough, we can be thankful for His strength and grace to endure, when things are going great, thank Him for blessings. Happy Trails and let’s stay on the right path where God leads us to His very best for us…

“Thanks be to God, who always leads us to victory through Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 2:14

How to Grow Stronger in Your Faith

One of the greatest joys of my life as a Christian, is to study some of the awesome promises in the Bible. I have found great encouragement by taking time to meditate on these Scriptures. In my personal Bible Study, devotions, or quiet time, I have a journal that I use to write down my thoughts as I read the Scripture. Sometimes, I like to study a particular verse in order to better understand it. Then I may read it in several translations just to get further insight and meaning. This is easier to do than you think. With the present technology we have, you can use it to study a Bible verse from various translations. Biblegateway.com is my personal favorite. You go there and simply type in the verse of Scripture and it will allow you to access a lot of different english translations instantly. For example, here are my notes for Psalm 62:8…

TRUST GOD MY FRIENDS, AND ALWAYS TELL HIM EACH ONE OF YOUR CONCERNS. GOD IS OUR PLACE OF SAFETY.

PSALM 62:8 (CEV)

TRUST GOD.

-Trust in, Lean on, Rely on, and have Confidence in Him at All Times. (AMPC)

-Confide in Him at All Times. (DARBY)

-In Every Situation put your Trust in God. (ISV)

-Trust in Him Absolutely. (MSG)

– Have Faith in Him in All Circunstances. (VOICE)

– My Safety and Honor Rest on God. (CJB)

ALWAYS TELL HIM YOUR CONCERNS.

-Tell Him All our Problems. (CEV)

-Tell Him All your Troubles.” (GNT)

– Pour out your Heart before Him. (KJV21)

-Pour out your Longings before Him. (TLB)

-Lay your lives on The Line for Him. (MSG)

– Open Up your Heart to Him. (CJB)

GOD IS OUR PLACE OF SAFETY.

-My Strong Rock and Refuge are in God. (ERV)

-God is our a Safe Place to be. (MSG)

-The True God Shelters Us in His Arms. (VOICE)

I take time to go over this verse slowly, phrase by phrase. I thank and praise the Lord that I can trust in Him in every situation, that I can tell Him all my concerns, and that He is a strong place of shelter in the storms of life. I may study that one verse for several days. We don’t need to rush through reading the Bible, but instead understand and apply as much as we can in order to absorb as much truth as we can. Dr. Howard Hendricks, said: “There is no question that Belivers need to sit under the teaching of God’s Word. But that ought to be a stimulus and not a substitute for getting into it for ourselves.”

When we meditate on Gods Word and take moments through out the day to think about it, something great happens. It calms our spirit and gives us a quiet confidence. It gives a sense of purpose and peace like nothing else. It keeps our attitude right. Also, it will help our faith and relationship with God to grow.

This Little Light

This photo gives the illusion that I am holding a little lighthouse in my hand. It is really standing at a distance behind me. It just looks like it is small. This lighthouse is actually One Hundred Sixty Feet tall and was built in 1876. Later, construction of jetties to improve the Charleston harbor, caused erosion around it, so that now it is surrounded by water.

It was a beautiful morning walk to see this lighthouse. We were at Folly Beach, South Carolina, which is known as the Edge of America…being the further most point on the East Coast. Linda and I really enjoy having fun exploring places like this, especially those that we have never seen before.

To see the Morris Island Lighthouse at Folly Beach, you drive to the end of East Ashley Avenue. From there, it is about a mile walk round trip down an old beach road and through an area that is now a wildlife habitat for shorebirds and other critters. It is a pretty place with beautiful trees, salt water marsh, and palm trees.

Lighthouses have always fascinated me. They have been been described as … beacons of hope, symbolizing guidance, trust, and protection.

When you think about it, we all need lighthouses in our lives, that are true sources of faithfulness, guidance through the storms of difficult times that we encounter. I think about how God provides that for us during those challenging circumstances. He often uses special people to help us in the midst of troubled times, some we have known for a long time, others we didn’t know before the storm. God in His infinite grace and mercy, specifically places them there just when we need them the most. Often times as we look back after the storms of our lives, we are amazed how God knew just who and what we needed the most at key moments, in getting us through it all.

Jesus said “ You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world… If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I am going to hide you under a bucket do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Shine! “ – Matthew 5:14-16 (The Message)

May all of us use the the life lessons we have learned to help others, and to be a little light… to help and encourage others.

“It’s a…Definite Maybe”

Are you finding yourself overly committed by too many things? Is your personal schedule overbooked and you feel like you never have enough time? Have you said yes to something or someone and then later wished you had not done so? I have experienced that a lot through the years. There are so many things demanding our attention and time in today’s world. We have a responsibility to take control of our time by living by priorities and not just pressures.

Josh Billings has said that “Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying Yes too quickly and not saying No soon enough.” It is wise to take time to consider the possible ramifications and consequences when asked to commit to something instead of just being impulsive by hastily saying yes. We are more prone to fall into this trap, when we are tired, stressed out, and not thinking clearly. The Bible describes it this way…“ What a shame – yes, how stupid! – to decide before knowing the facts!” – Proverbs 18:13 (TLB). It is important to have time to think about how these opportunities will effect our responsibilities, such as our job, relationship with our family, and other obligations.

One way to create some additional time instead of reacting too quickly is to respond by saying something like: “Let me take some time to consider this, and I will get back with you soon.” It may be something you really want to do, but you are not sure if you can due to some possible schedule conflicts. In that situation, I like to respond with one of my favorite sayings… “It is a Definite Maybe”. This way, you are affirming your interest but at the same time being honest and realistic. We are living in a day when, things can change in our daily lives quickly, so it wise for us to be more flexible when possible.

So the next time you feel pressured into doing something, .. even something you would like to do but you aren’t sure that you can, just say … “It’s a Definite Maybe.”

Fall is a Reminder that it is Time to Let Some Things Go

Fall is a reminder as the leaves are turning colors and the trees are letting them go, that it is okay for us to let some things go too.

We need to do, so that we can continue to grow in the future. We need to let go of bad habits and attitudes. Destructive thought patterns such as jealousy, bitterness, selfishness, obsessive worry, etc…letting go of these this will free us up to experience a renewal in our attitude and outlook in life.

This is also a time to refocus on the most essential priorities in our lives. Socrates wisely stated that…“The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building on the new.” A positive way to approach this is to concentrate your time and energy on the the relationships and things that matter most. It is interesting that in the mountains where I like to hike, you can see things so much more clearly when the leaves have fallen off the trees. The view and the horizon is much more defined. The same is true, when we simplify our lives in a healthy way. We can see more clearly and define what is really most important. Max Lucado, describes it this way, “The most powerful life is the most simple life. The most powerful life is the life that knows where it is going, that where the source of strength is; it is a life that stays free of clutter happenstance and hurriedness.”

Our faith is vitally important, regardless of the season. One of my favorite songs is “You Got A Friend” written by Carol King and recorded by James Taylor. It emphasizes the importance of having a friend you can count on, not matter what is going on in your life. You and I will never have a better friend than Jesus. He is like some of the words of that song…

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall,

All you’ve got to do is call,

and He will be there,

You’ve got a Friend.

Jesus is a friend for all seasons. More than anyone else, He can help us let go of the things we need to let go and help us to continue grow stronger and better in the future.