A person's words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook. Proverbs 18:4
The tongue can kill or nourish life. Proverbs 18:21
Have you ever heard it said that there is an expiration date on the human voice? By this, it does not mean expiration due to death, it means that at some point the human voice is no longer at peak performance and begins to change, loses its vibrancy, is not as strong.
I have a job which allows me to hear over 100 voices a day over the telephone. I hear strong voices, belligerent voices, sweet voices, calm voices, angry voices. I often try to guess the age of the person speaking. It seems true - as the years go by, the voice is not as strong, it loses its physical vibrancy.
How is YOUR voice? No matter how old you are, is your 'voice' still vibrant - not only physically but emotionally and spiritually? Are your words confusing to follow, hesitant and halting or are your words carefully chosen, expressing exactly what you mean in a forthright manner? Are your words rasping, grating and unkind with a hint of gossip or back stabbing or are your words kind, gracious, gentle and life giving in every situation?
Isn't it amazing that at this time in history, our 'voice' can go out via emails, texting, voice mails, skype - worldwide. God has much to say about how we use our 'voice'. Here is just a sampling:
The godly speak words that are helpful…. Proverbs 10:32
The words of the wise bring healing. Proverbs 12:18
A gentle answer turns away wrath…. Proverbs 15:1
Gentle words bring life and health…. Proverbs 15:4
The godly think before speaking. Proverbs 15:28
He (God) loves those who speak honestly. Proverbs 16:17
From the wise mind comes wise speech. Proverbs 16:23
Heavenly Father, please give me the grace and courage to use my 'voice' to honor You in all circumstances. In Jesus' name. Amen.
May God give you MORE AND MORE GRACE AND PEACE as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. I Peter 1:2
When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace in Nebuchadnezzer's day (see Daniel 3:8-27), do you ever think about what they must have been feeling? Dread, anxiety, fear, panic? Of course, they probably did. They were human. They, like us, had human emotions. When we are faced with a fiery trial, we also initially may feel dread, anxiety, fear…and then we are reminded that GOD GIVES MORE AND MORE GRACE AND PEACE in any circumstance in which we find ourselves…as we come to know progressively and more intimately our heavenly Father's loving care and His Son, Jesus.
It doesn't say in God's Word that God gives us more and more anxiety, fear, dread and panic as we face our own fiery furnaces. No, GOD GIVES MORE AND MORE GRACE AND PEACE…even in the midst of difficult circumstances, day by day.
Do you remember Daniel in the lion's den? He was placed right in there with them. Being human, he must have felt tremendous fear. (See Daniel 6:19-23). God gave Him MORE AND MORE GRACE AND PEACE even while he was in that place.
As the year draws to a close, what is it that YOU fear and dread? Is your anxiety building with every passing day or can you accept the fact that God will give you MORE AND MORE GRACE AND PEACE as you come to know Him, your Maker, as you stand in the furnace and walk right past the lions?
My prayer for each of us as we enter this season: MAY GOD GIVE YOU MORE AND MORE GRACE AND PEACE. May you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
'Reflections of God's Glory' copyright 2012 by Dawn Ulmer firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to share.
"Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. " II Corinthians 4:16
It seems that everywhere we turn, there are people who are suffering deeply. A woman who had blood clots in her lungs and almost died, was hit by a truck as she was recovering. She is again recovering. A man who suffers from pain every day now has additional pain as a bone infection is being fought and his mobility has huge boundaries…again. A woman fighting cancer…. A family whose child has disappeared right under their noses…. A man who loses his house. A woman who loses her job of many years. On and on it goes. Look at your own life. With what do you struggle? Chronic pain? Acute heartache? Depression? Chronic Headaches? Through it all, God assures us that the "inward man is being renewed every day".
I don't know about you, but in the past few years, that truth is what I cling to. No matter what the outward circumstances, I can trust God when He says that our inward man is being renewed every day. Family heartache, physical hindrances, job reversals - it happens to each of us. Yet, we can cling to the fact that, in our spirits (where the Spirit of God dwells), all is well as we are renewed each day…becoming more and more of who God created us to be - more whole, stronger, more loving, kinder, more patient. What is amazing is that He can use the outward to renew the inward person.
Yes, sometimes - many times - it is painful. But this we KNOW, because God also said in
I Cor. 4:18:
"For which cause we faint not…. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is worth a far more exceeding and weight of eternal glory."
Let's not faint. Let's keep our eyes fixed on God who promises us so much good here (even if only in the inward man) and hereafter.
Heavenly Father, please help me. Please give me the sense that You are renewing me every day in that part of me which will live forever. In Jesus' name. Amen.
'Reflections of God's Glory' copyright 2012 by Dawn Ulmer email@example.com
Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and asked God's blessing on the food. Breaking the loaves into pieces, He kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples to give the people. They all ate as much as they wanted and they picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. Five thousand men had eaten from those five loaves. Mark 6:38-44
Sometimes, don't you feel like you are running on empty? There seems to be no more energy to complete the task, project, class or day. There seems to be no more love to pour out. Your patience is worn thin. You don't know what to do about a situation. You are on empty.
Yet this account of Jesus feeding the five thousand with an abundance left over just screams to us - take what little you have of energy, time, resources, love, patience….as you use it, He will multiple it!
God doesn't want us to just squeak by, He wants who we are and what we do to be overflowing in His abundance.
As spring arrives, let's take the little we have and are and ask God to multiply it so that it overflows as a blessing to others. As we do so, we will be in awe of God, a God of abundance.
Heavenly Father, please nudge me in the direction of giving my little. Please open my eyes to see how you abundantly multiply it. In Jesus' name. Amen.
But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
are like trees planted along riverbanks, with roots that reach deep
into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by
long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green and they go right on producing delicious fruit.
In January, the dentist informed me that a molar needed to be removed. I decided to wait until I had some vacation days to have it taken care of….six months later….in June. As February turned to March, I noticed that my joints ached from head to toe. Not one prone to headaches, I noticed one appearing daily. It was painful to bite down to chew food. Even drinking water was painful.
After wondering what was wrong, suddenly I realized that it was the tooth which was causing problems. As realization struck, I immediately called the dentist's office. Within days I was scheduled to have the tooth removed. Gone was the tooth. Gone were the aches, pains and headache. Renewed energy surged. All I could do was to thank God for showing me what was so toxic to me…and giving me the courage to do something about it.
What a good lesson this is for me. Do you, like me, tend to ignore dealing with a toxic problem or person? Instead of ignoring a toxin, I was seeing how important it is to take it to God in prayer for His wisdom in dealing with the situation.
Sometimes we are to follow Jesus' teaching by turning the other cheek:
You have heard it said, 'An eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also, and if any one sues you and takes your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Matthew 5:38-41
At other times we are to follow the behavior He modeled for us:
Jumping up, they mobbed Him (Jesus) and took Him to the edge of the hill on which the city was built. They intended to push Him over the cliff, but He slipped away through the crowd and left them. Luke 4:29-30
In your life, is there something or someone causing you pain? If so, recognize the source and ask God to give you wisdom in how to walk with Him through the situation. He will show you!
Heavenly Father, please show me clearly what to do or not do in the situations and with the people in my life. In Jesus' name. Amen.
'Reflections of God's Glory' copyright by Dawn Ulmer firstname.lastname@example.org
And may He so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. I Thessalonians 3:12
Do you remember the construction site I talked about in a previous 'Reflection' - you know the one, about God building YOU? First came the bulldozers and then came the re-building. Then it was you showing up at the site to be a partner in the re-building.
As time has gone by these past few weeks, I have enjoyed watching the building rise from the dirt. I have been disappointed, however, in the 'results'. Plain cinder block walls were raised with few, if any windows. I wondered WHO designed THAT? It was serviceable but not very pleasing to the eye. I was reminded of our lives sometimes - everything is in place - home, job, family, duties….yet there is a lack of sparkle and beauty.
Then one day about two weeks ago, everything changed. Isn't that like our lives sometimes, too? There is sameness, responsibility, duty…….and then God sends change.
Two weeks ago, I noticed that in the front of that sturdy gray block of a building, some steel beams were placed….there would be windows, doors, a pleasing view inside and out! I envisioned BEAUTY! Isn't that just how God works in our lives, too? We think our life is 'done' - we are living it day by day but without much sparkle…and then God steps in and says that He isn't finished yet. There is MORE to come. There is more BEAUTY to be added to us and our lives. We don't quite know what it will all look like but by faith we KNOW it will be GOOD.
I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to seeing what that building will look like….and what my life will look like. The Plan is drawn up, re-building is going on in each of our lives. Let's not forget to show up at the site to be a willing participant!.
Heavenly Father, thank YOU that You are at work in our lives and You are SO creative and kind that we just KNOW it will be good. Thank you, in Jesus' name. Amen.
'Reflection of God's Glory' copyright 2012 by Dawn Ulmer email@example.com
When we are in the midst of trouble, sometimes our own voice, even a voice calling out to God for help, drowns out what He is trying to tell us.
Is your voice louder than God's voice right now?
You say: I'm so worried about everything…and everyone!
GOD says: Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let our requests be known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
You say: I'm afraid of losing my job, being downsized or being physically unable to work in the coming years.
GOD says: But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things (food, drink, clothing) will be yours as well. Matthew 6:33
You say: I'm petrified. Medical test show that something is terribly wrong.
GOD says: Do not be afraid. I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine. Isaiah 43:1-3
You say: I am so angry…how can I ever forgive…..
GOD says: Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times? No, Jesus replied, but seven times seven. Matthew 18:20-22
You say: I am so depressed, so sad.
GOD says: Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a watered garden, like an overflowing spring. Isaiah 58:10-11
You say: I don't know what to do next.
GOD says: If any of you lack wisdom, ask God who gives all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. James 1:5
What are YOU saying right now? What is GOD saying?
He is speaking…are we listening?
'Reflections of God's Glory' copyright 2012 by Dawn Ulmer firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to share any and all Reflections.
Have you ever been in a check-out lane at a store and the cashier needs to call a supervisor to over-ride a transaction? The supervisor appears, does something special with a key and all is good to go again.
Perhaps you've been struggling with a decision you need to make in your life. Or you are seeking God's wisdom in a matter at home or at work. All the while you are praying, "Thy will be done!" You are leaning toward making a decision....but then...
Do you ever notice how God sometimes over-rides our decisions or life direction? All of a sudden things change...sometimes in a direction we never intended or thought about. He appears. He has the key. His plan unfolds. We walk ahead, knowing that God changed the direction of our lives.
The key, it seems, is to have one's heart declare as Jesus did:
"Not my will but thine be done." Luke 22:42
Can we trust Him enough to let Him use the over-ride key in our lives? YES, absolutely!
Heavenly Father, Thy will be done. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may discern the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
Most of us know about flipping a house. In case you don't know what flipping is, a person buys a house at a low price, renovates it - the walls, carpets, fixtures, appliances, landscape - all of it, until it doesn't even look like the same house anymore. Then, the house is sold for a profit because it is so valuable.
Have you ever thought of flipping your thoughts -- taking old broken down thoughts to God's Word and renewing them for eternal value?
Think about it - what are your first thoughts of the day…during the day….before you go to bed at night? Do they sound something like this:
- Another day...I dread even getting out of bed.
FLIP TO: Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
- How can I possibly live another day in this house with these people?
FLIP TO: Do everything with love. I Corinthians 16:13 Read I Cor. 13, also.
- How can I go to that job one more day?
FLIP TO: …be strong and immovable…always work enthusiastically for the Lord for you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. I Corinthians 15:58
- I don't like the reality of getting older.
FLIP TO: The righteous flourish like palm trees…they grow strong…. Even in old age they will still produce fruit, and remain vital and green. Psalm 92:12-14
How can I possibly care for my children/elderly parents and maintain my sanity?
FLIP TO: I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these, you do it to Me. Matthew 25:40
How can I afford to live?
FLIP TO: …your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him. Matthew 6:8 Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33
Too often we just repeat the same thoughts again and again, going around in circles, never really going to God for the renewal of our thoughts and the solutions to our questions and pleas and problems.
As we flip our thoughts and have them renewed by God's words to us, He will clearly direct our thoughts so we can live in His peace.
Heavenly Father, please help me be more aware of my thoughts. Please lead me to Your words about each situation I find challenging, puzzling, hurtful or even good. Please help me listen to Your words for me. In Jesus' name. Amen.
The godly people in the land are my true heroes. I take pleasure in them. Psalm 16:3
A hero is defined by Webster as a person admired for his or her great qualities - a person of great strength and courage.
Who are your heroes? Look around, they are all around us - the godly people who "serve (God) regularly, doing what needed to be done each day." I Chronicles 16:37
The worker who faithfully shows up and does his or her job day after day
to the glory of God.
The student preparing for the tasks God gives now and in the future.
The grandparents who surround their grandchildren with prayer.
The medical missionary team which faithfully serves in a village in Africa
although there has not been a convert in 30 years.
Those battling cancer and other illnesses, bringing glory to God at times
of intense weakness.
A husband and wife team who go into an assisted living home to share
scriptural teaching and music.
A pastor who shepherds his flock faithfully.
A woman who worked in the grocery store deli, graduating to bagger as
she reached her 80s, enjoying the ministry God gave her.
A husband who loves his wife and a wife who respects her husband.
There are godly heroes everywhere. May we join together in saying:
May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory, flying banners to honor our God. Psalm 20:5
Heavenly Father - please open my eyes to the godly heroes around me. Help me cheer them on. Please help me to be a hero, too. In Jesus' Name. Amen.