Saturday, November 27, 2021

Their Minds are Sweetly Occupied with Higher Things

Do you ever struggle with keeping your mind on higher things?  I know I do! Here is a great reminder.

Spurgeon's response to the quarrel between two women in Philipi (Euodia and Syntyche), "I am glad that we do not know what the quarrel was about; I am usually thankful for ignorance on such subjects; - but as a cure for disagreements, the apostle says, 'Rejoice in the Lord always.' People who are very happy, especially those who are very happy in the Lord, are not apt either to give offense or to take offense. Their minds are so sweetly occupied with higher things, that they are not easily distracted by the little troubles which naturally arise among such imperfect creatures as we are. Joy in the Lord is the cure for all discord." (Spurgeon) 

I love how he notes that those who avoid quarrels are because their minds are on higher things. 

Praying for a mind focused on higher things. I have learned over and over that when I am offended that I am the one who walked out of love. Choosing to love provides so much peace and gives room for all to grow. 

My prayer word this year is rejoice. It has almost been ironic at the moments God has reminded me to choose joy and to rejoice. 

Question for the week... Am I giving offense or taking offense and if so how can I edify God, the other or self in this situation and seek higher ground?

A good reminder from November 27, 2016.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Leading to Edification

“Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification” (Romans 15:2)


I remember the moment the mind shift was taking place in me. I was in my twenties; Greg and I were newlywed. Honestly, I was angry at God! Well, I was angry at Greg and letting God have it. Poor guy! We were in another of those early marriage spats. You know, the moment when you are yelling because they squeezed the toothpaste roll the wrong way. I quickly learned. Greg gets his own tube. I want to squeeze the way I squeeze my toothpaste! But the fight had nothing to do with the toothpaste, but with an unmet expectation that had not been clearly communicated. I cannot even remember what we were fighting about, but we were fighting again! UGH! I was reading my Bible and letting God have it because Greg wasn’t getting his stuff together! I was the master at telling God what Greg needed to grow up in. Sometimes, we can be masters at pointing out other’s faults. O God, forgive us! 

BUT GOD, kindly and graciously reminded me in my daily Bible reading that it was not about Greg. It is never about Greg. It is ALWAYS about me when it is a matter that I am talking to Him about in prayer. God wanted me to stop talking about what Greg was doing wrong and to start thinking about what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do to live right. UGH! SERIOUSLY! I thought to myself, “Can I not even whine in my prayers to You?” And again, God kindly reminded me that I could whine and tell Him all about my woes and worries, but that is where it must stop and then I must listen and obey. Why? Because God wants me to live my life so that I lead in edification! 

I am a bride. Can I lead? You betcha! I LEAD! It is as much my responsibility to lead as it is Greg’s and God was not going to let me off the hook! This morning I caught myself asking, what does it mean to lead with edification? God took me back to that memory of when He started teaching me this principle. If you would have asked me then if God was teaching me to live out a life that builds up, I would not have been able to see it. At the time, it felt more like God was tearing me down. But God grew me up in it despite me. 

The Greek word for edify is oikodome’. It means to build a house. Literally, visualize a house that is being built stone by stone. 

I once read that stone arches were used because of how they were so sturdy. Each stone was piled up on the other in such a way that the pressure caused them to provide support and stability that made them strong. The stones edified one another! It was in the stones leaning into each other that they were able to provide a beautiful archway that supported the infrastructure, and, in many cases, it weathered the elements and lasted years beyond the use of the entire building.

Greg and I had to learn to lean into each other as we faced pressure. We had to learn how to speak to one another in such a way that it built up (edified) rather than tore down. I needed to ask myself, “Do my words build my Greg up or do they tear him down?” He needed to ask it, too, but I am only allowed to talk and deal with my own sin. And y’all, I had much to learn and still do. 

Beyond marriage, I am grieved by so much that happens around me. I hurt when I see two people not able to talk about COVID vaccines without ripping apart the other person. It is as if we have forgotten how to build up. We are no longer leaning in and helping each other to be stronger. Greg read this verse to me this morning and it is a great reminder because it applies to how we react and interact with each other. “Be careful that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Corinthians 8:9). We don’t want to be the stumbling block. And it seems that this issue is becoming a massive stumbling block. How can we lean into each other and help support each other in our decisions? 

It grieves my heart when I hear people getting nasty over politics. History reminds us that politics and division will always be there, but it is the one that loves that can change the course of history. We need to live by ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:31). 

Do I lead to edify in these situations? Sometimes, I have to stop myself midsentence and choose to do a redirect! Not because I am avoiding or running away, but because I love the person more than I love my opinion. I need to lean into them to make us both stronger and this provides stability. What can I learn from them? How can we use this pressure to help us get stronger and make us more stable as we support each other? How can I be a servant in the moment and make it less about me and more about understanding them? 

Jesus commanded us, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them. It shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…” (Matthew 20:25). 

If I am leading to edification then I am thinking about the other person’s heart, their mind, their soul, and yes even their spirit! I have to ask myself, “Am I a giving instruction that is helpful, useful, kind? Am I saying it in a way that builds up? Can I see that the way I am communicating is designed to improve, instruct, encourage, and bless? 

How does leading to edification challenge you today? Are you willing to pause and ask God how you might need to shift in tone, word, deed so that you lead to edify? 

Today, I will be asking myself, how am I leading to edification? 

Shalom y’all!

Saturday, November 6, 2021

A Prayer to Pray When You Hear of Wars and Rumors of Wars


How do I live in prayer and worship during seasons of war? 

I turned to King David to see how he prayed since he was known as the man after God's own heart. David recognized that the LORD's training was continuous. It never ends. It does not matter if it is training the hands for a physical battle or if it is training the hands for a spiritual battle the LORD will train His warrior for the battle. We must remember that our physical battles and our spiritual battles are opportunities for spiritual strength to be trained and revealed. We do not face either one without the LORD's preparation if we are His child calling upon His name. 

Consider reading Psalm 144. 

Do you see that David used praise as a weapon of war? 

Do you see how David spends more time talking about God rather than the enemy? 

In what ways might David's Psalm be a sacrifice of praise? 

How does this Psalm show that David feared the LORD and not man? 

My Rock and My Fortress (Psalm 144 Of David) 

1 Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; 2 he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. 3 O Lord, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him? 4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow. 5 Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down! Touch the mountains so that they smoke! 6 Flash forth the lightning and scatter them; send out your arrows and rout them! 7 Stretch out your hand from on high; rescue me and deliver me from the many waters,from the hand of foreigners, 8 whose mouths speak lies and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood. 9 I will sing a new song to you, O God; upon a ten-stringed harp, I will play to you, 10 who gives victory to kings, who rescues David his servant from the cruel sword. 11 Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, whose mouths speak lies and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood. 12 May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace; 13 may our granaries be full, providing all kinds of produce; may our sheep bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields; 14 may our cattle be heavy with young, suffering no mishap or failure in bearing; may there be no cry of distress in our streets! 15 Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord! 

What character traits of God do you see? 

How can you pray these character traits over you, your family, your nation? 

What character trait do you cling to right now and why? 

What do you learn about David? 

What do you learn about the enemy? 

What do you need to do based on what you discovered? 

In case you did not know, the word foreigner here does not mean nationality! It references the person or people that reject God and the commands of God. This person or people groups' actions are traitorous. They are liars and deceivers with both their words and actions. This person or people group cannot be trusted and does not respect the sanctity of life. These are the ones that David is asking God to scatter.

Friday, November 5, 2021

His Life is in Your Hands

Have you ever been crushed by someone’s words? Have you known someone who gave you life by what they said? 

Today’s devotional, written by Tara Rye,  reminds us of the power of our words. 

Read it here: