His Righteousness

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God’s righteousness is like the mighty mountains.
Psalm 36:6a

The grandeur of a mighty mountain range makes us seem so small and insignificant in comparison. If we were to stand next to a mountain, we would look like a tiny little speck. This simple verse in Psalms reminds us that there is a vast difference between God’s righteousness and our own. It’s easy to think that our righteousness is good enough to please God and maybe even get us into heaven, but the Bible is clear that all have sinned and come short of God’s glory. Thankfully it’s not our righteousness that saves us – it’s God’s. The Bible says, “God made him who had no sin (Jesus) to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  2 Corinthians 5:12

God knows that our righteousness could never be perfect or “good enough,” that’s why He sent His perfect Son to offer His own life on our behalf. It’s amazing to think that the One who created the mountains – the One who is completely righteous – has given us His righteousness through Christ. The apostle Paul, who was a pretty stellar guy, wrote to the Philippians, “Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”

Paul went on to say, “I want to know Him.”

What about you? Do you want to know Him? No matter where you are at right now, His arms are open to you.  Seek to get to know the God of the Bible.

I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 61:10

If you want to chat with someone about a relationship with Christ, please go to chataboutJesus.com right now.

POPM- 2015 The Power of a Positive Mom, Revised and Updated

By Karol Ladd

Photo by Adam Patterson on Unsplash

True Positive: Day Six – Faith

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Our belief system impacts our overall attitude toward life. When we operate from the belief that a loving, creator God cares about our lives and listens to our prayers, we live with a hope and peace that surpass normal understanding. More than that, through faith in Christ we live with a sense of forgiveness and grace that God has bestowed on us, and we in turn extend a similar forgiveness and grace toward others. Living faith of this nature creates in us a deep and abiding love and joy which can’t help but elevate our attitudes in life.

Even secular psychologists site that faith practices can elicit positive emotions such as joy, tranquility and compassion. It’s one thing to believe in the God of the Bible with our minds, but it’s another thing to lean in with our lives and trust His unfailing love for us. One of the ways we strengthen our faith is by reading His Word and spending time with Him in prayer (which we will talk about tomorrow). Consider how Paul encouraged the Roman believers’ faith, and notice the peace and hope that come as a result:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5)

 

Ask God to strengthen your faith in Him today.

Faithful and True

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Know therefore that the LORD your God is God;

 he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations

of those who love him and keep his commandments.

Deuteronomy 7:9

 

Faithful, and loyal; our Lord God keeps his promises to His people throughout the generations. He can be trusted. Perhaps you have felt the pain of a disloyal friend or unfaithful spouse or back-stabbing co-worker. The pain can run deep when you feel as though you have been betrayed. Our hearts long for someone we can believe in, someone we can trust, and someone who will be faithful through thick or thin.  The Lord your God is that faithful One.  We can place our lives into His hands for He will never abandon us or leave us. We are His beloved and His faithfulness is sure.

He is the ultimate promise-keeper. He loves you. He does not promise a perfect life or that your pathway will be challenge-free, but He does promise to be with you and be your strength through those rough times.  As His beloved followers, He will never leave us or forsake us. Take a moment right now to thank Him for His great faithfulness and dwell on His faithful love throughout the day today.

This is an excerpt from Karol’s devotional Pursuing God in the Quiet Places.   On sale this month for $5! Perfect for holiday giving or stocking stuffers.

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Faith Built in Darkness

A photo by Todd Quackenbush. unsplash.com/photos/Nk5rSNq13sM

“In the northwest corner of Harvard Yard stands a building as massive as the man whose name it bears. At six feet, four inches and nearly three hundred pounds, Phillips Brooks, A. B. 1855, S. T. D. 1877, was an outstanding figure of Harvard’s Victorian age.,” reads the Harvard Magazine.[i] It goes on to say, “What was the secret of this man’s remarkable life and influence? Brooks wrote in 1891, ‘…These last years have had a peace and fullness which there did not use to be. I am sure that it is not indifference to anything I used to care for. I am sure that it is a deeper knowledge and truer love of Christ…I cannot tell you how personal this grows to me. He is here. He knows me and I know Him. It is no figure of speech. It is the realest thing in the world.  And every day makes it realer.’”

A pensive clergyman and author, Brooks experienced a depth of faith through the struggles of life. He wrote, “I often hear people praying for more faith, but when I listen carefully to them and get to the essence of their prayer, I realize it is not more faith they are wanting at all. What they are wanting is their faith to be change to sight. Faith does not say, “I see this good for me; therefore God must have sent it.” Instead, faith declares ‘God sent it; therefore it must be good for me.’ Faith, when walking through the dark with God, only asks Him to hold his hand more tightly.”[ii]

Isn’t that an amazing perspective on faith?  Even in the gloomiest moments of our lives, God does not leave us. When the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah was at his lowest point, he was still able to rally his faith and find his hope in God. We will all face discouraging moments especially as we stand up for what is right. But even though Jeremiah faced rock bottom emotions, he knew he could look up and find his hope in the Lord. He waited on the Lord through the troubling times. In his book of Lamentations, Jeremiah wrote a powerful commentary of hope rising up from despair.

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord

 

Allow Jeremiah’s words to be your strength through troubling times. When you feel alone. When you feel like no one else is listening. When you feel like you have made a mistake. When you feel rejected by your own people…may Jeremiah’s words be your comfort and reminder to keep your eyes on the Lord and wait patiently for Him. He does have a good plan. We may not see the fruit until we stand with Him in eternity, but let us remain faithful to the message He has given us no matter what the cost.

This is an excerpt from Positive Leadership Principles for Women 

[i]www. Harvardmagazine.com/1996/05/vita.html

[ii] Jim Reimann and LBE Cowan, Streams in the Desert (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008)  May 1 entry.

What’s Growing in The Garden of Your Mind

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Every spring, my husband Curt creates a beautiful arrangement of flowers for our table on the back deck. He always chooses a lovely variety of plants that simply make me smile when I look at them. Isn’t it amazing how colorful flowers can lift your spirits?  I can’t help but draw a simple analogy for us personally – just as Curt has a choice of what he will plant in the garden, so each of us has a choice of the thoughts we will allow to grow in the garden of our minds.

Neuroscience now tells us that the brain is able to think new thought patterns and shift from old destructive thinking. That’s good news!  We don’t have to stay in the rut of thinking thoughts of despair or anger or bitterness. We can choose to shift our thinking and plant new healthy, hope-filled, life-giving thoughts instead.

This may be a new discovery for science, but the apostle Paul wrote about these same concepts thousands of years ago. In Philippians we read, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Obviously, Paul seemed to understand the power of the mind. He wrote to the Romans, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

We can be transformed by the renewing of our minds! So let’s get rid of the weeds of fear, doubt, bitterness, unforgiveness, anger and despair, and replace them with faith, hope, love, grace, joy and strength.

Gardening is not easy. It takes hard work and constant care, but the end result is a beautiful bouquet which is a blessing to others and brings glory to the Father. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can change our thinking. Just as it takes 21 Days to form a new habit, it takes about 21 days for neurons to form new pathways.

Let’s begin our gardening by recognizing the negative thought patterns that need to go, and begin the process of asking the Lord to give us faith-filled thoughts, through the power of His Spirit and the reading of His word. This is another reason why I believe scripture memory is so powerful, because it fills our mind with what is true and good. (Click here for a short video on Scripture memory).

Let’s each ask the question personally, “What am I allowing to grow in the garden of my mind?”

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Romans 15:13