He Reigns!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Ease Your Mind

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." ~Romans 12:2

There was a time I conformed to this world. I was young and wanted to be part of the crowd. I wanted to have fun and be with friends, and make new friends. It's part of our human nature to want to be accepted, loved, wanted, and needed but that can be a problem when we don't have the right mindset. When we get involved with the wrong people, wrong activities, wrong frame of mind, we wind up in trouble. We often find ourselves doing things we shouldn't, heading down a path that can only lead to destruction.

"There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is death (Proverbs 14:12)."

I don't remember if I ever stopped to think where my friends and I were heading, whether I took into consideration the end result of my actions, but probably not. Humans tend to live in the moment, and especially when living a wayward lifestyle, we rarely stop to consider the consequences. In hindsight, I know if I had not come to my senses, the end would have meant death and eternal separation from God. I was on that wide path to hell (Matthew 7:13).

If we are to live right, to be accepted, loved, wanted and needed in a healthy way, we must renew our minds and be transformed by the Word of God. We are made in God's image, so why is it so easy to follow destruction rather than transformation? I think it's because our minds are filled with negative ideas and images from such an early age that we believe the garbage long before we find truth. And the garbage of this world is only getting more pervasive.

"While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18)."

"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2)."

Renewing our minds daily in Jesus Christ is how we avoid being caught up in the things of this world. It begins by accepting Christ as our Savior, and then by going to church, reading the Bible, prayer, and being friends with other believers. We can also stop reading and believing everything we see on social media. We don't have to inundate our minds with everything that is going on around us.

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-13)."

Read Deuteronomy 18-22

A Year of Blessings by Marie McGaha ©2018

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Attitude Is Everything

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."
~Philippians 4:8-9

Have you ever known someone who is always negative? I have known a couple of people who, for as long as I can remember, have never had a positive thing to say. Every social media post is a rant about how someone wronged them, spoke ill about them, or otherwise offended them. They complain about everything and everyone in their life. They are so unhappy, it feels as if they think spreading their negative attitudes around will somehow change how they feel. FYI, it won't, but it will make people not want to be around them!

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23)."

When we accept Christ as our Savior, we receive His Spirit, and the product is the above verse. We may not see that fruit all at once, but we should, at least, feel His peace, kindness, gentleness, and have joy. We may have to practice patience and self-control but the longer we walk with the Lord, the more evident the Fruit of the Spirit should be in our lives.

I have known a particular person for many years who is a pastor but if I had only known them through social media, I would not have been able to tell. As Christians, and especially as pastors, we are to model Jesus to the world. When we act like everyone else, why would anyone want to be a Christian? We are to be set apart from the world, and certainly, God holds us to a higher standard. Why aren't some Christians holding themselves to God's standard?

"If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless (James 1:26)."

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2)."

If our minds are not renewed by the Holy Spirit, the words we speak and write are not going to be honorable, pure or lovely like Philippians 4 tells us to be. When we continually pour negativity into the world, we are going to see more negativity in our lives. Jesus was not negative, He walked in the light of life. If we truly follow Him, we will follow His footsteps and walk in his light.

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29)."

Read Deuteronomy 6-8

A Year of Blessings by Marie McGaha ©2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Lord Is Righteous

"The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His works.The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him; He also hears their cry and saves them. 
The Lord preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy. And let all flesh bless His holy name forever and ever. My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh praise His Holy Name forever and ever."
~Psalm 145:17-21

I've been asked many times if God is so righteous, how can He let people suffer? Why is there starvation, disease, war, and a multitude of human sufferings? How can a righteous God send people to hell? In fact, those are some of the questions I asked many years ago.  The answer is easy but difficult. God didn't cause any of this and He doesn't send us to hell...that's the easy part. The difficult part is understanding that we, all of us, humankind, caused all of this and we choose Heaven or hell for ourselves.

From the moment Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden, it set things in motion, and as the Earth became more populated, sin grew exponentially. But we've always had the choice to follow God or live in sin. God doesn't want anyone to go to hell. It breaks His heart when we sin because He loves us all so much.

"The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.(2 Peter 3:9)."

Mankind has continually refused to follow God but God never gave up. No matter how we treat Him, blaspheme His name, deny His existance, or mock His Word, He is still waiting for us to love Him and live accordingly. In fact, His love is so great, He sent His own Son, Jesus, to take our punishment and die on the Cross so we wouldn't have to go to hell.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:16-17)."

One day, the Lord will return and make right all that is wrong. One day, we will all see Him, and one day, we will face eternity. There is only one way to Heaven, one way to avoid hell, and that is through Jesus Christ. The choice is ours.

"There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is death (Proverbs 14:12)." 

"Therefore, God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11)."

Read Deuteronomy 3:12-5:33

A Year of Blessings by Marie McGaha ©2018

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

No Greater Faithfulness

"He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark."
~Psalm 91:4

Have you ever felt like your faith was so low that you couldn't even muster up enough to say a prayer? I have been in that position. Sometimes, things in life go wrong and they can get us down. We get depressed, we get emotional, we begin to wonder why, why, why? But no matter how low our faith gets, we can always depend on the Lord's faithfulness being completely full. God does not waver, and His love and compassion for us is always full as well.

We were created by God for good works (Ephesians 2:10), and God doesn't make mistakes. We are called into His glorious light for good works and it is because of God's faithfulness that we have that opportunity.

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)."

It can be easy to falter in the face of day to day life. We each have our own struggles in life, and on top of that, we are faced with worldwide struggles that we can neither control or fix. From the outside, life can seem hopeless but when we are led by God's Spirit, we have His hope within us. 

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23)."

No matter what life throws at us, no matter how difficult a situation may seem, or how hopeless we feel, we can depend upon the Lord to carry us through. His faithfulness never fails.

“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 (Lamentations 3:22:23)."

Numbers 34-36
Deuteronomy 1:1-3:11

A Year of Blessings by Marie McGaha ©2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

Shut Doors

"And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them."
~Acts 16:6-10

Have you ever wanted to do something but no matter how hard you tried, it seemed as if everything that could go wrong did, and you wound up accomplishing nothing? I'm an idea person. I have a million ideas a day. In fact, I begin sentences with, "I have an idea..." so often, my husband cringes! 

I imagine my tombstone will read:
          Marie "I Have An Idea" McGaha

I have a lot of good ideas. But sometimes, my ideas sound better in my head than when I actually say them. And sometimes, my good ideas don't turn out like I planned. And sometimes, even my good ideas fall flat. It's discouraging but it also makes me stop and consider why a good idea failed.

"The steps of a man are established by the Lord when he delights in His way (Psalm 37:23)."

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6)."

As in the above verse from the Book of Acts, Paul attempted to go to certain areas and preach the gospel, but he was stopped by the Lord. We aren't told why he was kept from going to the other places, but we see how Paul's footsteps were directed by the Lord to Macedonia instead. Paul could have been stubborn, refused to heed God's direction and gone to his original destination. But what might the outcome have been?

Have you tried to do something you wanted to do in spite of warnings from friends or family? I imagine if Paul had gone his own way, there's a number of things that could've befallen him. He could've been attacked for preaching the gospel; imprisoned, or killed. In Paul's day, preaching the Messiah to Jewish believers wasn't always well received.

Not every idea is good for us. Not every plan is going to work out. We must pray and seek godly counsel before we jump into anything, no matter how great we think it will turn out. God shuts doors for a reason, and even though we may not understand why, we can be assured it's always for our good and His glory.

"All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up (1 Corinthians 10:23)."

Numbers 26:35-29
1 Chronicles 7:20-29

Weekend reading: 
Numbers 30-33

A Year of Blessings by Marie McGaha ©2018

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Guard Your Mind

"A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back."

~Proverbs 29:11

You've heard that a mind is a terrible thing to waste, but it can also be a dangerous place to hang out. Have you ever had something happen that probably wasn't a big deal but you dwelled on it; or obsessed about something you said; or what someone else may have said about something you said or did until it had grown in your mind and you became depressed, anxious, or angry?

Our minds are a playground for disaster if we don't understand how to control our thoughts, or how to deal with those thoughts when we do have them. It is normal for us to replay events in our minds, especially if we are in a position to influence others. A person who gives an important presentation to executives for instance may replay the event, and instead of remembering the great points they made, they remember everything they 'should have' said instead. 

Dwelling on these types of thoughts can lead to self-criticism, condemnation, and depression. We can wind up paralyzed into not wanting to go forward, or face those we think we've let down because we think we have failed. But this is a trick of the devil, who wants us to fail completely. 

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)."

Everything we do, every move we make, every word we say, begins in our minds. It's there that we must exercise godly wisdom and control. I often tell my children and grandchildren, "Just because it's in your head, doesn't mean it has to come out of your mouth." And just because it's in our heads, doesn't mean we have to act or dwell on it. Not everything we think is good for us.

"If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:  that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,  and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:21-24)."

Our minds are a terrible thing to waste on thoughts that defeat our growth and progress in life. We have to control what we think about ourselves, believing what God says about us instead of what the world says. 

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm (Ephesians 6:10-13)."


Numbers 22:1-26:34
1 Chronicles 7:13-19

A Year of Blessings by Marie McGaha ©2018

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

An Inconvenient Truth

"Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
~Psalm 139:16

I have given birth to seven children, which was a miracle considering I have also miscarried that same number of times. Each loss of pregnancy was heart-wrenching and devastating. I feel the same way about every child that is lost due to abortion. I believe abortion is murder and the worst kind of murder. It's the murder of an innocent baby, no different than if someone puts a gun to a toddler's head and pulls the trigger or wraps their hands around a six year old's neck and squeezes the life from them. In fact, I think the same people who perform abortions might be outraged over someone murdering an innocent child. Yet, about 3,000 innocent children are murdered daily in abortion clinics nation wide.

In spite of that, I do not want to stand on my soapbox and scream, "Ban abortion!" I remember the days before Roe v. Wade when back alley abortions killed women, and when women tried to perform their own abortions with knitting needles and coat hangers. No one should die because they feel they've made a mistake they absolutely cannot live with.

On the other hand, I believe in the sanctity of life, and that we are all created by God. "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you...(Jeremiah 1:5)." We are created in God's image, and we are loved beyond measure by Him. So what is the answer?

We live in a fallen world and until that changes, there is no solution that will please everyone. Ultimately, I would like to see abortion clinics close because there is no reason for them. I would like to see abstinence prevail so there are no "unwanted" pregnancies. I would like to see hearts and minds turn to God and away from the lusts of this world. 

"Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28)."

Jesus is the answer. No matter what question we have, Jesus is the answer. No child should be murdered because they are an inconvenience. There are alternative decisions that saves lives. 

"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these' (Matthew 19:14)."

Read Numbers 19-21

A Year of Blessings by Marie McGaha ©2018