Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.
The seasons and days fly by faster every year. This week I prepared and celebrated Thanksgiving, which very quickly turned into Black Friday, then Small Business Saturday followed by Cyber Monday tomorrow. So, I decided to give today a name too….. Spiritual Sunday!
Today is the perfect day to slow down as we begin the advent season, to focus on preparing and celebrating the birth of Christ Jesus. Spiritual Sunday would be a great day to share your journey to the manger with someone. Walks are always better with someone beside you.
This year give a gift under the tree that will change a life. Give a gift that will not wither or fall, but one that will stand forever. Give the gift of God’s word. If you or someone you love would like to read through the New Testament in 365 days, I would be thrilled to share my book “Walking in the Word, A Daily Journey Through the New Testament” for only $10 a copy. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Spiritual Sunday
1 Corinthians 7:15 God has called us to live in peace.
The biblical word for peace is shalom. Theologian Tim Keller explains, “Shalom experienced is a multidimensional, complete well-being – physical, psychological, social, and spiritual; it flows from all of one’s relationships being put right – with God, within oneself, and with others.” The Bible begins with Adam and Eve in the garden, a place of complete peace. It ends in heaven, another place of peace and wholeness. It’s the messy stuff in between that makes it hard to find peace some days.
We celebrate Thanksgiving this week. You may not experience shalom around the table with family and friends. God can make peace out of our pieces. I pray this year may bring peace to your home.
Peace is not the absence of something. Peace is the presence of Someone – a God who loves you and cares for you. A God who is peace.
Luke 22:39-44 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
This is football at its finest! Following Augustana University’s win to advance them to the playoffs the entire team took time to pray together. These young men were celebrating their narrow one point win over Winona State with their fans and families, but when coach called, they all met in the end-zone, took a knee and prayed.
Jesus knew the importance of prayer. He gave us wonderful examples of what prayer life should look like. Jesus’ prayer life was not a passive act of praying in the pews. Instead, Jesus prayed to the point of sweat droplets hitting the ground.
In today’s world, instead of taking punches at teammates or politicians, let’s use our energy to pray. Take a knee this week as you spend time talking to Jesus. Thank him for his wonderful examples of prayer.
Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
November is a great time to reflect on life’s blessings with an attitude of gratitude in preparation for advent. Below are a list of verses to walk you through the month. Just one verse to begin or end your day with an attitude of gratitude.
Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
Last night we fell back into daylight savings time. We gain an extra hour in our day today! How will you spend the hour you have been given?
I want to live a life where people can tell I’ve spent time with Jesus.
Galatians 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Visiting an apple orchard is one of my favorite fall outings. Last week we strolled through acres of apple trees sampling as we walked. Here was an orchard loaded with rows of apples trees, each with their own unique tastes. I bit into sweet apples, tart apples, firm apples, soft apples and everything in between.
We serve one God… our Lord Jesus Christ. We are his followers, yet we are all unique. The fruits of the Spirit we share with the world are done so in our own unique ways. I share love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control differently than anyone else. I have been created uniquely for a special purpose. You have been created uniquely with a special flavor to be shared with the world.
After walking the entire orchard and tasting enough apples to leave with a belly ache, I went into the apple hut to ask the ladies to put together a bushel of apples for applesauce. They knew just the right apple variety mix to make the perfect applesauce. You and I are the perfect mix for sharing our fruits with others as we respect the uniqueness of the fruits we share!
Deuteronomy 2:1-3 Then we turned back and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea, as the Lord had directed me. For a long time we made our way around the hill country of Seir. Then the Lord said to me, “You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.”
The Israelites wandered through the hill country for 40 years, just outside the promised land. Instead of turning to God, they made poor decisions based on their personal wants and desires. During those 40 years, the Israelites faith was strengthened. Moses encourages them to remember where they have been as they continue to move forward into the promised land.
When I look back on my life, I am ashamed at how much time was wasted on the pursuit of my personal wants and desires. When I turn north, God leads me and fulfills my every desire.
When we remember where we’ve been and learn from those mistakes and failures, we are ready to move ahead with humility and wisdom as companions to our faith. Spend your week turning to the north!