Back to Basics

Sunday I had the privilege of serving my local church by helping at the Fall Festival. It was fun! I was assigned to the face painting table.

Thankfully it was really simple. I didn’t actually have to know how to paint. There were stencils with special crayons to use and the rest was temporary tattoos. Most of the tattoos were emojis. The kids loved them!

Even the adults were getting into the fun, myself included. I searched all of the emoji tattoos at our table to find the perfect one for me. I found the red heart emoji. You know the one.

The funny thing is that there was only one. There were duplicates of all the other emojis but only one heart emoji. Strange!

However, this did not deter me from claiming it for myself and applying it to my hand. What does that say about me? LOL

Later that evening the Lord began to reveal things to me about that whole heart emoji scenario.

The heart is the universal symbol of love. Love is the one most important thing according to God and His word.

1 Corinthinthians 13:13 And now these three remain faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

God is love.

1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

God is love, therefore He can’t help but show love.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We are to love others. Even our enemies.

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Luke 6:27 “But to you who are listening, I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”

We are to love ourselves.

Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

You may be thinking, “This is so basic. I already know all about love.” You may be right; you and I may know all that the Lord has to say in his word about love. But the question is, are we doing it?

As I watch the news and scroll through social media, I dare say the answer to that question would probably be a resounding, NO! And I’m not talking about the world, I’m talking about professed followers of Christ.

John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”

Maybe we just need a reminder of how to love God, one another, and ourselves.

John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

So, let’s get back to basics-Jesus’ one new commandment; Love God and love people; including ourselves.

Let’s not just know about love; let’s do it! The world is watching!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey/Week 5

The question I get asked most often these days is, “How are you feeling?” This is a legitimate question considering my recent health issues. If I could use one word to describe the way I feel lately it would be “tired.” I’m tired!

During my last doctor visit, I asked, “Why am I so tired every day?” She said it’s because I’ve had 2 surgeries within a span of 4 weeks. My body is trying to heal and recover. Makes sense!

I think that when we are going through a health crisis or any type of life crisis we will not only be physically tired but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually tired. After all, we are a 3 part being; spirit, soul (mind, will, and emotions), and body. When one area is suffering, the other two may suffer as well.

A health or life crisis can certainly make us feel as though we are in a battle. We battle negative thoughts and emotions. We battle the feelings that try to keep us from spending much needed time with the Lord; nourishing our spirits with His word and with praise and worship. Our body is fighting to be well. It’s A battle! And it can wear us out!

I love the account of Moses, Aaron, and Hur in Exodus 17:10-13. Joshua and the Israelites were fighting the Amalekites. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. Moses’ hands grew tired, so Aaron and Hur took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it.  Then they held his hands up so that his hands remained up till sunset. As a result, the Israelites won the battle.

When we are facing a crisis, it’s essential to have family and friends that will help us. They may help in practical ways by driving us to an appointment, helping us clean our house, or cook us a meal. They may also help by keeping us encouraged and positive and by praying with us and for us. Family and friends in a battle are priceless!

During these past 5 weeks, my friends and family have really reached out to me. They have been so encouraging. They have been praying for me and offering to help me. I am so very grateful for the family and friends God has placed in my life. They have definitely made this difficult time a lot more bearable.

As great as everyone has been to me and for me, there is nothing like running to my heavenly Father in a time of crisis. He is my safe place. My refuge. My hiding place. He is my rest. He comforts me in a way that no one else can. He speaks to me through His word. His word is healing to me; spirit, soul, and body.

Psalm 16:1 Keep me safe, my God, for in You I take refuge.

Psalm 32:7 You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Isaiah 66:13a As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.

Psalm 107:20 He sent out His word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave.

I’m reminded of a time when my middle son was very young. When he would get tired of walking or just needed cuddles, looking up at either his dad or me, he would raise his hands up high and say, “Hold you?” He would say this over and over until we would pick him up and hold him. That is such a precious memory for me.

I believe that is what our heavenly Father wants us to do when we get tired and weary. He wants us to go to Him like little children, look up at Him, and raise our hands up high, and say, “Hold you?” He wants to hold us, carry us, and give us rest.

What battle are you in today? Is it a battle for your health? Your marriage? Your children? Your very life? Are you tired and weary?

Allow the friends and family God has placed in your life to help you and keep you lifted up in the battle. Then run to the Lord, raising your eyes and your hands to Him, ask Him to hold you. He alone can provide the rest, comfort, and healing that your spirit, soul, and body needs.

Deuteronomy 1:31 “There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always Hungry Yet Never Satisfied

Can you imagine being physically hungry and eating everything in sight yet never reaching a point where you are satisfied? That would be a horrible existence!

Yet there are people all around us with this disorder. It’s not their bellies that are empty. It’s their spirit’s that are empty.

Do you know someone who never seems to be satisfied in life? They don’t like their job so they acquire a different job but they remain miserable. They don’t like their spouse so they trade them in for another spouse only to find that the misery followed them into the new marriage. Or they find a house with the property they have always wanted but once they own it they are still dissatisfied, longing for more and better.

Does the song, I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, come to mind?

I think we could all say we know at least one person that meets this description. Maybe it’s you.

A lot of people are searching for something to fill the emptiness inside of them. They acquire possessions, relationships, money, education, and status only to find that those things never completely satisfy the longings within.

So dissatisfied with life, some turn to drugs, alcohol, or sex for satisfaction. Discovering that these things only give them a temporary fleeting sensation.

Still, some try and try to find the one thing that will completely satisfy them until they exhaust every possible means of gratification. Not finding the one thing, they often end all possibility of finding true satisfaction with suicide.

Micah 6:13-14 Therefore, I have begun to destroy you, to ruin you because of your sins. You will eat but not be satisfied; your stomach will still be empty. You will store up but save nothing because what you save I will give to the sword.

In this verse, we see that our lack of satisfaction is a result of sin. Sin destroys and ruins us. It leaves us empty.

But wait! There is hope!

There is only one way to truly be completely satisfied. Jesus! He even said so Himself.

John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

John 4:13-14 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Are you longing for more in life? Are you in a constant state of dissatisfaction? Do you continue to accumulate things only to find that you are constantly hungry for more?

Will you partake of the Bread of Life today? Will you drink the Living Water that wells up to eternal life? Will you go to Jesus today? Will you choose to believe in Him?

There is no other way to complete satisfaction. Jesus is the only way!

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Miserable Manna

Do you ever feel discontentment in life or in relationships? Do you ever find yourself being critical of the people that are closest to you; the ones you love? Do you find yourself murmuring and complaining about the imperfect things around you, in you, and in others? I do!

Recently, due to my own complaining and discontent, the Lord revealed something to me about the manna that God provided for the Israelites while they were in the wilderness for 40 years.

Every day, except the Sabbath, the Israelites would wake up to fresh manna on the ground; miraculous food from heaven.

The manna was God’s daily provision for Israel. It was the same food every day. The same routine every day. The same miracle every day.

At first, Israel was excited about the miraculous food from heaven. Then, over time, they became used to it. They expected it to be there every morning. They began to take it for granted and then complained about it. They no longer appreciated God’s daily provision; His daily miracle. They eventually called it miserable manna.

Numbers 21:5 They spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food (manna)!”

The thing that they, at first, had been so excited about and appreciative for was now detestable and miserable to them.

God gives us daily provisions; daily miracles. We once were excited about them. But now we have gotten used to them. We expect them to be there every day. We take them for granted. We no longer appreciative them. Now we complain about them.

We complain about our spouses and children because they are imperfect or unlike us. We complain about our houses and automobiles that have to be cleaned and maintained regularly. We complain about having to mow the lawn, about the heat, the cold, the rain, the lack of rain. We complain about our jobs, our clothes, our food. The list goes on and on.

These are all things we, at some point, had probably prayed for asking God to give us.

We can all look around us and see God’s daily provision.

If we didn’t have to walk 5 miles to get a bucket of dirty drinking water, thank God! If we can walk, see, hear, speak, or think, thank God! If we have food, clothes, a roof over our head, a job to pay our bills, and friends and family to love us, thank God! If we were able to go to church this week without fear of imprisonment or death, thank God!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Are you feeling discontented today? Are you complaining? Look around you! What has God given you? What is His daily provision for you? What have you taken for granted? Who or what did you once consider a miracle but now consider detestable and miserable?

There are several reasons why it took the Israelites 40 years to make an 11-day journey through the wilderness on their way to the promised land. Complaining is one of them.

It’s hard to be discontented and critical while thanking God for His daily provision. Go ahead! Give it a try! Before you know it, you will have joy in your heart, a smile on your face, and a song on your lips.

Let’s ask God to open our eyes to see His goodness and love towards us? Let’s ask Him to help us be grateful for His daily provision and miracles. Let’s choose to praise instead of complain.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Specific​

Recently my husband and I adopted a cute little black kitten. We named her Gabby. She was only 6 weeks old when we adopted her.

Soon after bringing her home I made her an appointment with our favorite veterinary clinic to have her examined and vaccinated. They wouldn’t see her until she was 8 weeks old. I went ahead and made her an appointment and waited.

The date came to take Gabby to her first Vet visit. I had a certain idea about how the visit would go. But when Gabby and I got into the examination room, to see the Vet, my expectations all went out the window. Nothing went the way I thought it would. It really threw me off.

Apparently, when you make an appointment with a veterinary clinic, you have to request a specific Vet if you have a preference. I just assumed that the Vet of our other two pets, Miela and Autumn, would be the Vet of Gabby as well. Umm…no.

Word to the wise; never assume anything.

I think we can be that way in our prayer life as well. We assume that, because God knows what we need, we don’t have to bother praying about our needs at all. Or we may pray about them but we pray general prayers instead of specific ones. Then we are left wondering why things aren’t going the way we thought they would or the way we expected them to go.

God says in His word that we have not because we ask not, James 4:2.

Yes, God knows what we need, but like any good Father, He wants to be asked because that is part of being in a relationship. We don’t ask strangers for things we need. We ask those we trust for things we need.

God wants us to ask Him for what we need because it shows Him that we believe He can take care of us and wants to take care of us. It shows God that we know He loves us and is trustworthy.

Matthew 7:9-11 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if He asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!”

Not only should we ask our heavenly Father to meet our needs, but we should also be specific about those needs when we ask.

I’m reminded of an incident in the Bible where Abraham was growing old and he wanted his son Isaac to have a wife before he died. Abraham sent his servant to a specific town to find Isaac a wife.

The servant left in search of Isaac’s wife. As he drew closer to his destination, he prayed to God. He specifically prayed for success in finding a wife for Isaac. He even went as far as to pray that, upon his request, the perfect wife for Isaac would draw water from the town well for him to drink and then she would offer to give water to his camels to drink. This was how he was to know which girl was to be Isaac’s wife.

The Lord answered the servant’s specific prayer. The girl, Rebekah, did exactly what he had prayed for; she not only gave him a drink but offered to give his camels a drink as well. When God answered his prayer, the servant bowed down and worshipped God and thanked Him for His kindness and faithfulness [Genesis 24].

Are there things that you are in need of? Do you ask God to meet those needs? Are you being specific when you ask?

Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

We should always pray specific prayers remembering that God knows our hearts.

James 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Also, we should always pray specific prayers according to God’s will. The easiest way to know we are praying God’s will is to pray scripture. This is where technology comes in handy. We can google about anything these days; even scripture. I do it all the time!

1 John:14-15 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of Him.

So, don’t be like I was in assuming I was going to have what I needed without specifically asking for what I needed. Pray, asking God to meet your needs. Be specific when you pray. Find a scripture pertaining to your specific situation so you can pray according to God’s will. And always pray with pure motives.

He’s our good Father. He is faithful and kind. He wants to take care of us and meet all of our needs. He’s just waiting for us to ask Him.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Mirror Mirror

How much time do you spend looking into a mirror? The amount of time we spend in front of the mirror will determine what we see.

If we are in a hurry, we may quickly glance at ourselves in the mirror, just before heading out the door, not seeing flaws and need for improvement. But, when we have more time, we may spend a little longer looking into the mirror, noticing every flaw and therefore make those much-needed improvements.

The mirror never lies! It always tells the truth!

The Word of God is like a mirror.

James 1:23-25 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like, But whoever looks intently into the perfect law (God’s Word) that gives freedom, and continues in it-not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it-they will be blessed in what they do.

Sometimes we glance into the mirror of God’s Word by reading a quick scripture or two or a short devotional, on our way out the door or before our day becomes hectic, never recognizing that God is speaking directly to us about us or our circumstances. We basically check it off of our “things to do” list.

But then there are times when we look intently into the mirror of God’s Word by making time to study it and meditate on it, hearing God speak directly to us about us, therefore, noticing our sins and need for improvement.

For the past 8 months, I have studied the lives of Joshua, Ruth, Hannah, Samuel, Saul, David, and Solomon with my Bible study group. While intently looking into the mirror of God’s Word, these 8 months, I have found flaws in myself and sins in my heart; such as pride, greed, timidity, and selfishness. Just to name a few.

The mirror of God’s word never lies! It always tells the truth! And the truth is usually hard to face and very painful.

The good news about the truth of God’s word is it sets us free.

John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The word of God changes us from the inside out. The more we study it, meditate on it, and practice it, the more we are transformed into the image of Christ to live victorious lives.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Do you look intently into the word of God and practice it daily or do you merely glance at it every now and then, if you have time? Sure, what you find, by intently looking into God’s word, may be hard and painful to face, but it is necessary in order to be set free.

Being a doer of God’s word is impossible without the power of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:16-17 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so you are not to do whatever you want.

Let’s make time to study God’s word. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us to be hearers and doers of God’s word. Let’s allow the word of God to set us free. Let’s allow God to transform us from the inside out; making those much-needed improvements resulting in resembling Christ and living a life of victory.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord, give us a greater desire to spend more time with You and to study Your word. Help us to face the truth we see in Your word so that we will be set free from sin and it’s destruction. Help us to hear and do Your word through the power of Your Spirit. Transform us from the inside out so that we will resemble Christ more and more each day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dishonest Gain

I recently had a dream that has come to be very enlightening to me in two ways. It both revealed hidden sin in my heart and warned me about a choice I was going to have to make later on.

In my dream, I was confronted with a decision to either tell the truth or mislead someone important into believing I had done something that I had not done in order to gain notoriety and recognition. I’m sad to say that I decided to mislead the person to gain notoriety and recognition.

When I awoke, I immediately remembered the dream. Then the words “dishonest gain” came to mind. I knew that the Lord was revealing a hidden sin in my heart.

There have been times when I have had the opportunity to give God the glory for something He had done for me, in me, or through me, but instead, I excluded Him and took the glory for myself. That is an example of dishonest gain.

Of course, once my sin was revealed to me, I confessed the sin to God, repented, then went about my day.

I had the dream on a Sunday night. By Tuesday morning I had another opportunity for dishonest gain.

I could choose to compromise the truth, just a little bit, to receive a much bigger refund than I was already receiving due to a discovered error in my favor. Right away I remembered my dream and knew the dream was not only a revelation of sin but also a warning that temptation to sin was coming.

I not only told the person “no” refusing to bend the truth, but I also told the person why I was choosing not to compromise the truth. I even told the person about my dream.

I was very careful to give God the glory for my honesty and not take His glory for myself. I think it’s fair to say that I have learned my lesson about dishonest gain, for now anyway. I tend to be hard headed.

Dishonest gain is basically taking something that doesn’t belong to you or something you didn’t earn. It’s personal gain by dishonest means. It’s rooted in pride and greed.

It is prideful and greedy to think that I deserve God’s glory, or money, or anything else that I didn’t earn or wasn’t given to me. If I have to lie to gain money or possessions or omit God to gain notoriety and recognition, then that’s greedy and prideful. That’s dishonest gain.

Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

Psalm 10:4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek God; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

Yikes! That second one really hurts!

How about you? Are there times when you exclude God, therefore, taking the glory for something that rightfully belongs to Him? Have you taken the credit for something that was done by someone else, in order to get a promotion or a pat on the back?

Do you take office supplies from work thinking you deserve them or that it’s not a big deal? Do you bend the truth, just a little bit, on your taxes or in a business deal in order to get a bigger check? After all, no one will find out.

God hears all, sees all, and knows all. He knows what’s in our hearts and in our minds.

1 John 3:20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.

If you are guilty of dishonest gain, you can do what I did, when God revealed the sin of pride and greed in my heart; you can confess your sin to God and repent asking God to forgive you. Repent means to turn away from. You can turn away from that sin.

Ask God to help you see the importance of honesty. Ask Him to help you understand the destruction of pride and greed. Ask Him to forgive you today and to help you, through the power of His Spirit, to turn away from the sin of dishonest gain.

Matthew 7:7-8 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collateral Damage

While sitting in a grocery store parking lot, talking to a friend on the phone, an interesting scenario unfolded before my very eyes. I watched in shock with wide eyes and open mouth, marveling at the nerve of some people.

After loading her groceries into her car, lady number 1 parked her shopping cart in front of her car but very close to the person’s car who was parked in front of me, lady number 2. She then got into her car, backed out and drove away.

The lady to my left, lady number 3, who was waiting for lady number 1 to get out of her way, pulled forward running the shopping cart into and dragging it along lady number 2’s car. Wow!

Unbeknownst to lady number 2, while she was blissfully getting her grocery shopping done, she had also managed to become the collateral damage of two people that were determined to get their way despite the harm that might cause someone else, an innocent target.

Then I thought to myself, how often, in my rush to have my way or say, do I create collateral damage? Am I leaving scars on other’s hearts, emotions, minds or spirits with my thoughtless words, attitudes or actions? Am I so focused on me and my schedule that I’m neglecting the hurting and needy around me? In my right to freedom, am I recklessly causing division? Are you?

I’m reminded of an incident in the Bible where King David observed Bathsheba bathing on her rooftop one night. He thought she was very beautiful and decided that he had to have her. He found out that she was married to Uriah, one of his soldiers, but he was so focused on what he wanted, that that important little detail didn’t phase him.

He had Bathsheba brought to him, they spent the night together, and soon after, she finds out she is pregnant. Oh oh! Her husband is away at war, fighting for David by the way, so David has to come up with a plan to cover up his adulterous sin.

He has Uriah brought home from the war, in hopes that he would go to his house and sleep with his wife and therefore be assumed the father of Bathsheba’s child. Well, Uriah did not go to his house and therefore did not sleep with his wife.

David then goes to plan B which is to have Uriah killed in battle. His plan was successful and now King David was free to marry Bathsheba and none were the wiser of his little scheme.

Except David forgot one little detail, God sees all and knows all. He hadn’t gotten away with anything. As punishment for his sin of adultery and murder, his and Bathsheba’s baby died and there would be discord and calamity in David’s household for the rest of his life [2 Samuel 11-12].

In David’s rush to get his way, who were his collateral damage or innocent targets? Uriah, the other men that died in battle with Uriah, Bathsheba (now a widow), David and Bathsheba’s baby, and David’s other children. All because David wanted what he wanted and didn’t think about the damage it might cause to others.

Of course, no one died in the parking lot that day, due to the shopping cart incident, but the fact still remains that an innocent target suffered damages due to other’s selfishness.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” And in Matthew 22:39 He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Let’s avoid creating collateral damage today. Let’s be more focused on those around us and less focused on ourselves, schedules, and to-do lists. Let’s choose our words more carefully and therefore causing less division and pain.

Let’s go out into the world and treat others the way we would like to be treated. Let’s love others as we love ourselves.

Wow! What a wonderful world it would be!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Thing

In a recent conversation, a person commented to me on how she has difficulty participating in prayer in her bible study group because it is done differently this year compared to last year. Therefore, she isn’t participating.

So, because this person likes the old method of praying for the other ladies in her group, and doesn’t like the new way, she is unwilling to participate in prayer for them at all. She is missing out on the benefits of being prayed for and the blessing of praying for others.

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

In this instance, the expression, “Cut off your nose to spite your face,” comes to mind.

How often do we do that very same thing?

Maybe we get a new worship team with new worship music at our church and we struggle to adjust because we miss the old worship music or old worship team. So we don’t participate in the worship or we show up late for church skipping it altogether because we don’t like the changes. Therefore, missing out on the benefits of praise and worship.

Psalm 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.

Or maybe we get a new pastor with new messages and new programs at our church but we can’t receive what God has to say or is doing through him or her because we are stuck in the past with the old pastor and his old messages and programs. So, maybe we stop going to church at all or we cause division with a negative attitude and negative words.

Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Sometimes we can get so stuck in tradition, a routine, or a preferred way of doing things that we miss what God is doing in the here and now.

God says in His Word that He is doing a new thing and that He is making all things new. God is all about new and change.

God never changes. But He is always providing us with the opportunity for change and newness. And He is always offering us an opportunity to be part of the new thing that He is doing.

Isaiah 43:19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Revelation 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new! Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

God is wanting us to perceive that He is doing something new. That means we need to be aware of the changes that He is making and the different way He may be working to make those changes in us, in the people around us, or in our circumstances.

If we are not perceptive of God’s new way of doing something, we will miss the blessing of the new thing He is doing.

When Jesus was on the earth, the religious leaders struggled with receiving His message because they were stuck in their religious rituals and traditions. They did not want to give up the old way.

They had been waiting for the Messiah their whole lives and when He was standing right in front of them they didn’t recognize Him because He was different.

Jesus had a new message and a new way of doing things. The religious leaders didn’t like it or Him so they killed Him.

Let’s not kill the opportunities God is placing in front of us just because they are different. Let’s remember that God is doing a new thing and making all things new, including us.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Let’s not cut off our nose to spite our face. Let’s take advantage of all that God has for us.  Let’s take advantage of all that God wants to do in us and through us. Let’s be part of the new thing God is doing!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you a Prisoner?

Recently I took a trip to visit my cousins. Before leaving to return home, on a Sunday morning, I attended church with them.

During the sermon, the pastor told a story about a time he had visited a prison to play a softball game with the prisoners, have lunch with them and minister to them.

He mentioned that during the worship and ministry time with the prisoners, he marveled at their freedom. They didn’t restrict their worship or their joy for fear of what others might think. They were completely free! It’s what I like to call “reckless abandonment.”

Having visited a loved one in prison, hearing the pastor’s description of his prison experience brought me to tears. I was flooded with distracting memories of someone I love with all my heart, in an orange jumpsuit, shackles, and chains.

Thankfully, the pastor made the statement that redirected my focus, “Those men were locked up for life with no hope for parole and they were freer and more joyful than people that are outside of visible prison walls.”

The prisoners were physically captive but spiritually free. As a result of their spiritual freedom, they had unexplainable hope, peace, and joy.

There are people walking around today with sadness, anxiety, and anger on their faces, on their tongues, and in their hearts. They have no hope, no peace, and no joy.

But if you ask them if they are free they would say, “Of course I am free!” “I can do what I want when I want and where I want!” They would think that your question was silly. But is it?

Jesus said in John 8:34 that everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Slaves are not free!

Romans 6:16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

So we have two choices, we can choose to be obedient to sin or obedient to God. One leads to death and the other leads to righteousness, holiness and eternal life [Romans 6:22].

I don’t know about you but if I only have two choices in whom to obey, sin or God, obedience to God sounds like a much better deal. Not to mention that hope, peace and joy are included in the package.

Romans 15:13 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.

I’m reminded of an incident in God’s Word where Paul and Silas had been severely flogged and wrongfully imprisoned. Their feet were fastened in stocks. Then around midnight, they began praying and singing hymns to God [Acts 16:23-25].

How could men who had just been severely flogged/beaten, thrown into prison, with their feet in stocks, pray and sing hymns at midnight? They had to be in horrible pain. How were they able to move beyond their pain, suffering, and disappointment to praise and worship?

They were free on the inside! They had a hope, a peace and a joy that was not a result of their circumstance but instead a result of their faith in God.

A true sign of someone who is set free from a life of slavery to sin is hope, peace, and joy.

How do we get this freedom from sin?

Jesus said in John 8:31-32 That if we hold to His teaching and are true followers of Him then we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Jesus is the truth that we need to know in order to be set free from slavery to sin. He is the only way to eternal life. He is the only way to hope, peace, and joy.

Don’t go through life shackled and chained by sin having no hope, peace or joy. Choose to know the truth! Choose to know Jesus! Choose to be free!

John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.