"We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."

2 Corinthians 4:7

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First Things First

By: Jane L. Fryar

Imagine you've moved into a new house or apartment. What would you unpack first? Probably not the Christmas tree ornaments or the shoe polish or the outfit you wore in a wedding a decade ago.

In Matthew 6:31-33, Jesus urges us toward a first-things-first lifestyle. Then he identifies our "first things" for us:

"Seek first (God's) kingdom and his righteousness," our Lord says.

What would it mean to seek God's kingdom first? We see the answer-in perfection-as we reflect on the life of our Lord Jesus: loving God by loving people.

This was no syrupy, soap opera love. This love went way beyond expectations to care for those in need. This love told the truth, never mind the consequences. This love refused to be manipulated. This love took our Lord into uncomfortable situations, and it created unlikely relationships.

What's more, Jesus' love was by no means cheap. In the end, he paid the ultimate price, an unimaginable price. Jesus' love-his love for you and me-cost him his life!

Our Savior died for those times we focus on ourselves rather than on him. He died because we choose to chase after second and third and fourth things. He died for our cowardice in "being nice" when real love would "be honest". He died for the times we've done what was convenient rather than what was best for the other person.

And now, Jesus calls us, his forgiven children, into his own first-things-first lifestyle. We may feel timid about stepping out into that kind of risky, self-giving love. But we can do it, knowing we will never walk alone. He walks right beside us, filling us with peace and leading the way

We can lay aside our worries about every detail, right down to what we'll eat or drink or wear. He promises, "All these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33). It's an all-inclusive promise by our ever-loving Lord!

Dear Jesus, you love me, and you'll never stop loving me. It's amazing! Be my first thing and my only thing as you teach me to love others...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Comfort ABLE

Are you comfort able? Not comfortable, but comfort-able. Are you ABLE to comfort others?

Years ago I read a book by James Dobson called, "When God Doesn't Make Sense". He suggests that when a person is going through a difficult circumstance allow them to find their own "silver lining". Going up to a person in the thick of their difficulty is not the time to try to help them see the BRIGHT SIDE or quote Romans 8:28 reminding them that God works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. While Romans 8:28 is absolutely true, spoken at the wrong time, can really hurt.

It's difficult to see a person that we love so much HURT so deeply. Many times I am guilty of trying to "fix" the hurt rather than listen to the person who is hurting. Listening seems to come easier for some, but I think there is a reason God gave us two ears and one mouth. Maybe He is trying to say that we should listen a whole lot more than we talk. Now I know you are probably laughing out loud because no one likes to talk more than me. Talking is the way I work though my emotions, but God has been convicting me that I need to talk less and listen more.

I remember going through a difficult time when God used a friend to comfort me and my friend never said a word. I was having some medical issues and I was overcome with fear. As I spewed out all my fears my friend simply put a hand around my shoulder. Not one word, not one question, not one piece of advice. Just listened and kept that arm around my shoulder. I remember feeling comforted as I realized that I was not alone.

So many times I want the "hurting person" to hurry up and get better and I compulsively offer unsolicited advice, cook a meal, buy a gift, or tell a similar personal experience. While these activities are not always bad or the wrong thing to do, sometimes a person just wants to be heard.

As Christians, we know that God is our ultimate source of comfort and He comforts us through His Word & His Spirit; however, He also wants to work through His children to be a physical expression of His comfort. Sometimes we just need someone in the flesh, putting their arm around us!

Paul shares this truth in 2 Corinthians 1:3 &4, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."

The word Paul used for "comfort" comes from the Greek words meaning "call alongside."

Will you answer the call to come alongside another?

Let His Comfort make you ABLE!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fill My Cup!

I can still remember the sweet sound coming from the white radio that sat on my mother's kitchen counter. I had to be four years old or younger because I was at home with my mother while my brother was at school.

The sound was a beautiful woman's voice singing,"Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up Lord. Come and quench the thirsting of my soul." I was intrigued by those words and found myself staring at the radio thinking that those were absolutely the most beautiful words that I had ever heard.

"Fill my cup, I lift it up.....quench me."

While I really did not know what all that meant, and to this day I am still learning, I believe it was then that God's Spirit began wooing me.

Shortly before I entered Kindergarten I knelt beside our brown couch with the family Bible opened up to John 3:16 as my mom read, "For God so loved Cheri....."

I had approached her and told her Jesus was asking to come into my heart and I knew I had sinned and needed forgiveness.

While I did not know the doctrine of Lordship, I knew that Jesus was my boss and I sought to obey Him.

There have been many twists and turns and ups and downs on this journey with Jesus; however, HE HAS NEVER LEFT ME.

There have been times that my cup has seemed completely empty and I have had to confess to Jesus that I have been trying to fill it myself or had emptied it by trying to serve others without coming to Him to be filled.

BUT GOD in His tender love and mercy always welcomes me back as I sing that sweet song I heard long ago, "FILL MY CUP LORD, I LIFT IT UP LORD....Come and quench the thirsting of my soul."

Praise be to God who fills my cup, quenches my thirst and satisfies my soul!