Open Doors

Followers of Christ should all know that God has an assignment or purpose for our lives. Jesus told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation [Mark 16:15]. That is God’s general-purpose for every believer.

But we also have a specific assignment or way God plans to use us to grow His kingdom. Some of us may know what that specific assignment is. While some of us are still trying to figure that out.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Those who do know what their God-given assignment is, the door to that assignment may be closed at the moment. What should we do while we wait for that door to open?

As I ponder this question, I’m reminded of King David. I had the amazing privilege of studying the life of King David last year with my bible study group. You can read all about his life in 1 Samuel 16 – 1 Kings 2.

In summary, David was the youngest of 8 sons. He was a shepherd. At a young age, David was chosen and anointed by God to be king of Israel. But he didn’t become king overnight.

David had to pass through many doors before he reached his ultimate God-given assignment.

He remained a shepherd for a while until God opened a door for David to service King Saul by playing music for him in his palace. The next open door was an opportunity to help King Saul and his country by killing Goliath.

The results of that open door led to his popularity and King Saul’s jealousy. Saul tried to kill David several times. David ended up running for his life and living in caves but he managed to attract a small army of men and became their commander. Another open door.

David and his army fought and won many battles along the way gaining him notoriety as a leader and a warrior. David also had a few opportunities to kill his enemy King Saul but he didn’t walk through that door. He wanted to do things God’s way and not take matters of becoming king into his own hands.

Between the time David was anointed to be king and actually becoming king was about 15 years.

David had to go through many God-ordained doors to prepare him for the ultimate door of becoming King David. God was preparing David for his assignment.

As we read about the life of King David, we also notice many open doors that were not God-ordained but that he walked through regardless. Such as the door that led to an adulterous affair with Bathsheba and doors that led to poor parenting decisions and division in his family.

But, the good news is that God used all of the doors that David went through, good and bad, to prepare him for his purpose and to change David’s heart and draw him closer to Himself.

And that’s the same good news for you and me today. God uses the good, the bad, and the ugly, for our good, the good of others, and His glory. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy.

Believe me, I know all about walking through wrong doors that have led to heartache, disappointment, and regret. But I’ve also seen how God can take all of my sins and mistakes and use them for a greater purpose.

Are you walking past open doors in search of the door to your God-given assignment? Are you waiting at the closed door to your assignment missing out on the open doors that God intends to use to prepare you for that assignment?

My prayer for you and for me is that our eyes will be open to all the opportunities God is providing to prepare us for His assignment for our lives. I pray we do not despise open doors and do not despair over the wrong doors we’ve gone through as we wait for our ultimate assignment door to open.

Isaiah 46:10-11 “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ From the east, I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.”

~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.

 

Too Good To Be True

Do you ever take time to actually listen to and watch commercials on tv or social media? They are all offering us something that they claim is sure to change our lives.

This anti-aging cream will take 10 years off your face. This pill will take 10 inches off your waist. This food will add 10 years to your life.

If you buy this car, this vacation package, this house, you will be happy. If you have this job, this education, these clothes, these shoes, you will be important.

If you take this drug, drink another drink, have more sex, eat more food, all the pain will go away.

Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is. How do I know? Because I’ve tried them. They only left me wanting more and never lived up to their claims.

What are we all searching for? The fountain of youth? A trouble-free life? Purpose? Happiness? Peace? Love? Hope? Security? Acceptance?

We are all searching for something that’s real and lasts forever. Some of us are willing to pay any price to get it.

What if I told you the most important things in life are not for sale? What if I told you that the most important things in life are free for you and for me? They’ve already been paid for.

We can live forever. We can have peace, love, joy, and purpose. There is hope. And it doesn’t cost us a thing.

God gave us eternal life. The definition of eternal is ageless, dateless, everlasting, immortal, imperishable, timeless, undying. Who wouldn’t want that? It’s ours for the taking!

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus gave us His peace.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

God gives us unconditional, complete, unchanging love.

No one will ever love us like our heavenly Father loves us. He is love. People can only give us as much love as they have in themselves to give. They can’t give us what they don’t have. Human love is imperfect but God’s love is perfect and nothing can separate us from it.

Romans 8:39 Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God gave us joy.

Joy is not happiness. Happiness depends on what is happening in our lives. So we can be happy one minute and sad the next. Happiness is fickle.

Joy doesn’t depend on what is going on around us. It has more to do with what’s going on inside of us. Joy is a calm consistent delight.

1 Peter 1:8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy.

God gave us hope.

Joy and peace are a result of hope. God fills us with hope. Hope is always looking forward and expecting better. God always keeps His promises and this alone is our source of great hope.

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.

God gave us purpose. Life without purpose is meaningless. Life without God is meaningless.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

All we have to do is accept the gift of forgiveness for our sins through Christ Jesus to enjoy all of the amazing benefits of the cross; eternal life, peace, joy, love, hope, and purpose.

You may think that this offer is too good to be true. It is the one thing that will ever be offered to you that is not too good to be true. How do I know? Because I live it every day and so can you.

It is so good and so true! 

How have you experienced disappointment in what the world has to offer? How have you experienced the amazing benefits of the cross that God offers? Share in the comments below!

~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.

 

 

 

 

 

Intentional Pain

Many of you know that 2 weeks ago I underwent my last breast cancer radiation treatment. Unfortunately, I recently had to return to my oncologist due to the excessive pain and burning of my skin.

The condition of my skin was worsening. I was told that it would get worse but in my mind, there was no way it should be this bad.

The oncologist said that yes my skin was worse than what most radiation patients experience but for my particular situation the condition of my skin was normal. He said that he intentionally wanted my skin to burn this bad and that I may be suffering now but I’d be thanking him later.

The statement my oncologist made really got me thinking about intentional suffering resulting in a better tomorrow for ourselves or for others. In particular, how God allows suffering for a greater purpose.

Noah endured over 100 years of hard work, ridicule, and opposition to build an ark that God told him to build in order to save himself, his family, and the animals from being destroyed in the flood [Genesis 6-8].

Through Noah’s intended suffering, God saved the human race and the animals and we are here today to read about Noah’s faith and be encouraged by it.

Joseph was hated by his brothers. They sold him as a slave and he was taken to Egypt. While there, he was falsely accused of rape and spent many years in prison. Later he found favor in the eyes of Pharaoh and was placed in charge of all of Egypt; saving the world from starvation [Genesis 37-41].

In Genesis 50:20 Joseph says to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Ruth, a Moabite, married into a Jewish family. Her father-in-law died, her brother-in-law died, and her own husband died. She had a choice to make. Go back to her Moabite family or go with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to a foreign country to start over.

Ruth chose to stay with Naomi. In a foreign land, she worked hard gleaning grain so she and Naomi could eat. That’s when she met Boaz. They ended up getting married and having a son named Obed; the grandfather of David [Ruth 1-4].

God intentionally allowed Ruth’s suffering so that through her David would be born. We are still learning many lessons from the life and faith of both Ruth and David. Not to mention, Jesus is in their genealogy [Matthew 1:1-17].

Jesus was born to die. He left His place in heaven, came to earth, and was born of a virgin. He lived a life of obedience to His Heavenly Father. His life and death were a sacrifice for all of us. Because of His sacrificial death on the cross, we have forgiveness of sins and eternal life [Colossians 1:13-14].

Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death, hell, and the grave. Through Him, believers, also have victory over death, hell, and the grave [1 Corinthians 15:54-57, Revelation 1:18].

Oh, that’s not all, Jesus then ascended to the Father where He sits at His right hand forever living to make intercession for us [Romans 8:34].

And not only that, He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell within every believer; filling them with the Spirit of the Lord, wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, and the fear of God [Isaiah 11:2].

God intentionally allowed Jesus to suffer for the benefit of the whole world.

Isaiah 53:10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.

What pain are you currently going through? Maybe, like Noah, you are being ridiculed for your faith. Maybe people think you are foolish as you obey God and walk in His ways day after day.

Maybe, like Joseph, you are hated or have been betrayed by those closest to you. Maybe your own family. Maybe you’ve been wrongly accused of something and are being punished for something you didn’t do.

Maybe, like Ruth, you have lost a spouse and with them your provision or hope for starting your own family. Maybe you’ve had to move to a strange place with strange people and strange customs. Maybe you have to work a back-breaking job every day to feed yourself and a loved one.

Have you considered that God has intentionally allowed your suffering for a greater purpose?

What do Noah, Joseph, Ruth, and Jesus have in common? They all obeyed God and trusted Him and His plan. And that’s what we have to do.

We have to resist self-pity and stay focused on God and His word. We have to keep moving forward and never give up hope for a better tomorrow.

Romans 8:18, 28 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

~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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey/Week 10

Week one of breast cancer radiation treatment is complete. A lot of you are wondering how I am feeling. Some of the side effects I have experienced this week are indigestion, dry mouth, tiredness, brain fog, and redness of the treatment area.

But in all of this, the most important thing to know is that God is working all things out for my good, the good of others, and for His glory [Romans 8:28].

The employees at the cancer treatment facility are very kind and friendly. Most of the other patients are also kind and friendly. However, some of them just want to sit, be quiet, and not be bothered, which is completely understandable.

I’m a pretty friendly person by nature. But believe me, it’s quite tempting to isolate yourself in this type of scenario. Sometimes misery doesn’t want company.

I’ve learned from experience that the only way to snap out of the self-isolation mentality is to put others before yourself. Which can be very hard to do when you are dealing with your own health crisis or any crisis for that matter.

Philippians 2:3b-4 Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Every patient in that cancer radiation treatment center is hurting; not just me. We are all fighting the same battle; some at different levels than others but a battle none the less.

There is a popular quote by Maclaren that is, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” That is so true!

We have no idea what people are going through. It’s so easy to make assumptions by what we see but in reality, we have no clue. That’s why it’s so important to be kind, no matter what we see. Yes, even when the other person is grumpy.

I think sometimes we take it personally and take offense when someone is unkind to us. Maybe instead, we should view it as an opportunity to show the love of Christ to them and pray for them. It’s all about perspective.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

I went into breast cancer treatment wanting God to use me to be a blessing to others. I was and am determined to not let my pain be wasted.

My daily prayer is that my eyes, ears, and heart will be open to recognizing opportunities to encourage others in some way. Not just at the cancer treatment facility but everywhere I go.

There is one woman that I notice daily in the treatment waiting area. She always sits alone. She looks so sad and so sick. She doesn’t talk to anyone unless it’s one of the employees. My heart goes out to her.

No matter how bad you think you have it, there is always someone that has it worse than you.

The Lord has put it on my heart to reach out to her. So far I’ve been able to talk with her and try to gain her trust. She’s even allowed me to pray with her. I’ve made it my personal goal to make her smile. I think I may have my work cut out for me. However, with God, all things are possible [Mark 10:27].

I know breast cancer is a horrible situation for me to be in, but if God can use me to help one person to know Him and His love for them, it will all have been worth it.

Matthew 18:12-14 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

The life God has given us is not about us. It’s about Him and it’s about others. We all have a purpose in this life. And our purpose may not be all sunshine and roses. It may mean going through tough times to get to the one who is lost so they can fulfill their God-given purpose.

God has a plan. Let’s trust His plan. Let’s allow God to use our difficult situation to make a difference in someone else’s life. Let’s put others before ourselves. Let’s be kind even when it’s hard.

One act of kindness can change someone’s life forever.

Titus 3:4-5 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.

~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.

 

 

 

 

 

From Ugly to Beautiful

Recently, I had the privilege of spending extra time with my lady’s bible study group. As we fellowshipped over gumbo and cake, the conversation somehow found its way to possums.

One of the ladies was very knowledgable on the subject. I don’t know that much about possums so I was intrigued.

She was informing us of their usefulness in that they eat bugs. More possums = fewer bugs/roaches in the yard which is always a good thing in my book. Not to mention that, depending on where you live in the US, possum may be considered a delicacy. Now, that type of usefulness does not interest me one bit!

The other ladies were commenting on the possum’s appearance and their consensus was that the possum’s ugliness was a more dominant factor than its usefulness. It was then that I made the statement, “So, although they are ugly they serve a purpose.” Everyone laughingly agreed.

Later, while driving home, I began thinking more about the possum conversation and the closing statement I had made. That’s when the thought came to me, “The ugliness in our lives serves a purpose just as the ugly possum serves a purpose.” Who knew that so much value could come from a short conversation about possums.

The ugly things in our lives can look like addiction, adultery, incarceration, divorce, abortion, sexual immorality. They can even look like anger, bitterness, envy, gossip, lying, stealing and hatred. Oh, and let’s not omit the ugliness that can be done to us such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, and emotional abuse, just to name a few.

I know that, in my own life, God has used the ugliness to reveal my need for Him. It also gives me a great sense of gratitude for His redemption and forgiveness. Not to mention that it keeps me humble and relying on Him and His mercy. Through the realization of His mercy toward me, I have been able to forgive the ugliness that has been done to me by others.

The ugliness in our lives is not only useful to us but God uses it to help others through us. It reminds us to be compassionate toward others who are going through some of the same things we’ve gone through.

Anyone can say that they understand your struggle or pain but until they have walked in your shoes it’s just not the same. We may have words of encouragement or wisdom that only come from having the same ugliness in common with another person.

We can tend to be ashamed of our ugliness and try to hide it behind walls that we have built to protect ourselves. Sure, we will be safe from criticism and judgment behind those walls. But it’s important to remember that the same walls that keep us safe also keep us imprisoned and defeated.

There is power in transparency and vulnerability. In our translucency, we are saying, “I don’t care what you think of me. I trust God to use the ugliness in my life to help someone else and to set me free.” This is truly a beautiful thing!

I tried to hide the ugliness for a long time until I met someone who was going through the same ugliness as I was. She was so open about it. I was shocked by her willingness to be exposed. Her act of bravery changed me forever.

She taught me that if I keep the ugly parts of my life hidden they are wasted but if I share them, allowing God to use them to encourage others, they become beautiful and meaningful.

Isaiah 61:3 For those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

What if the ugliness in the lives of the people in the Bible had not been exposed? If that were the case we would barely have a Bible at all.

For example, Paul traveled around having Christians put to death and imprisoned. David was an adulterer and a murder. Moses killed an Egyptian and tried to hide the body. Tamar dressed as a prostitute so she could get pregnant by her father-in-law. Simon Peter denied Christ three times in one night. Jonah had a problem obeying the Lord and wanting to do things his own way. Despite all of their ugliness, God used them to change the world and fulfill His purpose and His plan.

Who’s life could you change by revealing the ugliness in yours? Let’s be brave! Let’s make a difference! Let’s not allow the ugliness in our lives to be wasted. Let’s allow God to use it and turn it into something beautiful.

~Patrice Maguire

If you would like to accept Christ as your savior pray the following prayer:                   Dear God, I know I’m 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.

 

All are Valuable and All have Purpose

Recently on my morning walk, I was thinking about the 40 Days For Life Campaign that is taking place all over the country. I thought about what this world might look like if everyone valued ALL life of ALL ages.

What would the repercussions of a world that saw every person as significant and as having a purpose be? What if we took Matthew 7:12 seriously and did to others what we would have them do to us?

Would the murder rate go down? Would the rate of kindness go up? Would respect increase? Would there be less lonely people in nursing homes? Instead of hurting one another would we be helping one another and encouraging one another? Would there be more mercy and more generosity going around?

All are valuable!

Luke 12:24 Consider the raven: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

All have a purpose!

Romans 9:21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purpose and some for common use?

What if we not only saw other people as valuable and having a purpose but we also saw ourselves as valuable and having a purpose?

Would we talk differently? Would we dress differently? Would we behave differently? Would we be more careful about what we put into our bodies? Would the suicide rate go down? Would we be determined to find out what our purpose is and persevere to fulfill it?

Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

What if today, every parent and every teacher taught every child that they are valuable and that they are here for a purpose?

Would there be less bullying? Would there be less lonely children on the playground? Would their grades go up and their bad behavior decrease? What would the next generation look like? What greatness would transpire?

It has to start with you. It has to start with me. Let’s treat all people the way we would like to be treated. Let’s not only tell people they are valuable but let’s show them they are valuable.

Let’s stop blaming and pointing fingers for how we feel about ourselves and take responsibility for knowing our own value and purpose. Let’s make today one of the most important days of our lives and find out what our purpose is and start walking in it.

~Patrice Maguire

 

Who’s Side are You on Anyway?

We all seem to be picking sides. And we’re angry about it. We are siding with a particular political party, or a particular race or a gender. We are either on one side or the other. Pick one! It’s as if we are all against something or someone. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

There is a third side to consider. Its God’s side. God isn’t on one particular side. He wants us to be on His side.

Joshua 5:13-14 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”

As members of the Body of Christ/Christians, we don’t get the luxury of picking a side other than God’s side. We are not here to represent a political party, a race, a gender or even ourselves for that matter. We are here to represent the Lord and Him only. The very word Christian means Christ-like.

What does it mean to be Christ-like? We can find the answer to that in John 17:

  1. Jesus was here to glorify His Father.
  2. He gave eternal life to all.
  3. He brought the Father glory by finishing the work He gave Him to do.
  4. He revealed the Father to us.
  5. He gave us the word that the Father gave Him.
  6. He prays for us.
  7. He protects us.
  8. He gives us joy.
  9. He sanctifies us.
  10. He has given us the glory that the Father has given Him.
  11. He unifies us.
  12. He has made the Father known to us.

Judging by Christ’s behavior, are we Christ-like? Maybe it’s not so much what we are saying and doing but how we are saying it and doing it.

Are we glorifying God? Are we sharing the gospel? Are we fulfilling the purpose that God has given us? Are we revealing God in us through His Holy Spirit? Are we speaking God’s word? Are we praying for others? Are we protecting others and their reputations? Are we bringing joy into people’s lives? Is their evidence that we are being sanctified? Is God’s glory shining through us? Are we bringing people together? Are we making the Father known in our behavior and speech?

As we can see there is no way to be biblically Christ-like and still choose a side other than God’s side.

Let’s choose God’s side! Let’s represent Him! That is our purpose!

Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

~Patrice Maguire

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden Gems

In March of this year, we purchased a small house on fifteen acres of land. Some of it is cleared but most of it is wooded. We really enjoy living here. We are discovering that this property has many hidden gems.

Every season the land seems to produce a different berry or fruit. Most of it grows wild on the property. So far we have discovered blackberries, dewberries, beauty berries, and now muscadine. We also have deer. We didn’t know we had any of these things on the land when we purchased it but we love the surprises.

As I was on my morning walk around the property today, I was thanking the Lord for all of the food that He has provided for us here. Then He reminded me of a scripture in John. John 4:32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” Then I thought, “Yes, that’s exactly what I was thinking. There is food on this property to eat that I never knew about.” Then I remembered verse 34 in which Jesus went on to say, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.” Now that’s a whole different way of looking at food!

I began to ponder that scripture and ask myself, “Is my food to do the will of God and to finish His work?” Then I thought about the purpose of physical food. Food sustains growth, it provides energy and it nourishes. It is vital in order for our bodies to survive on this earth. It also satisfies our hunger. Does doing the will of God and finishing His work sustain my spiritual growth? Does it energize and nourish my spirit? Is it a vital necessity for me? Do I hunger for it? These are a lot of important questions for me to think about.

There are plenty of times that I forget that I’m here on this earth to do the will of God and His work. In other words, I forget my purpose. What happens when I forget my purpose? I can get greedy, offended, selfish, controlling, deceptive, manipulative and just plain mean. The list could go on. I have to remind myself regularly that I’m not here for my own personal gain. I’m here for the gain of the kingdom of God. This life and this body are temporary but the things of God are eternal. When I’m doing the will of God and finishing His work I’m making an eternal impact that will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Hidden gems!

How about you? Could you say that your food is to do the will of God and to finish the work He’s given you? Or is your food to do your own will and to finish your own work? Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your  heart will be also.”

~Patrice Maguire

 

 

Lacking Humility

Have you ever felt annoyed by someone who just can’t seem to get it together? They always seem to be going through some sort of crisis and they are always asking for prayer. You may find yourself saying things like “This person is supposed to be a Christian. What is their problem?” Well, don’t feel too bad, I do it too. In fact, I just did it today.

This summer I have been studying the subject of faith. This afternoon I was studying Romans 14:1-3 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not condemn the one who does, for God has accepted him.

The way I study the bible is I read the passage then reflect on it and then respond to what I’ve read and reflected on. My response is usually in the form of a prayer. As I was praying, the Lord showed me that I was guilty of judging others whose faith may be weaker than my own. He has accepted them, therefore, I should accept them. Besides who do I think I am?  I go through plenty of my own crisis and often need prayer and ask for prayer. Who knows maybe someone is annoyed by my seemingly weak faith.

Ultimately it’s basically all rooted in pride. God’s word says in Proverbs 16:18 that Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. And Zephaniah 2:3 says Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger. Obviously, God is not pleased with my pridefulness and lack of humility.

So it’s with a repentant heart that I ask the Lord to forgive me and to help me to do unto others as I would have them do unto me (Luke 6:31). I am thankful and honored for the privilege to intercede on behalf of others. It is part of my purpose. And I will do it with a humble and loving heart. After all, isn’t that what the Holy Spirit is doing for me and for you right now? Romans 8:27 And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

~Patrice Maguire

 

A Brief Moment in Time

I know you’ve probably heard about the thief on the cross. But have you ever really thought about him? What was his name? What kind of life did he live? Did he have a family? How old was he? We know so little about him.

What we do know is that he was a thief and his crime was serious enough to require his execution. We also know that he had a conversation with Jesus before he died. Luke 23:42-43, Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Several years ago I was going through the hardest thing I had ever endured. It involved one of my children. One day over the phone I was having a conversation with my pastor at the time. We were talking about my son and his situation and he said something to me that I will never forget. He said, “God had to get the thief to the cross.” Those words were life-changing for me. Those words changed my perspective on the whole situation. It was no longer about consequence due to some bad choices my son had made but it was about God’s plan.

God used the thief on the cross to teach me about how far He will go to find the one sheep that is lost. And that’s when I started including these words in my prayers for my lost loved ones, “Lord, get them to the cross whatever it takes.” Those words are still so hard to say but with eternity in question, they are necessary.

So I’ve said all of that to come to this conclusion. We know one more thing about the thief on the cross. He had a purpose. For a brief moment in time, he fulfilled that purpose. Still to this day people are talking about the thief on the cross. He is being mentioned in sermons all over the world. A thief!

We all have a purpose. God used the thief on the cross to change my life, change my perspective and to change the way I pray.  Who’s life will God use you to change? Who’s perspective will God use you to enlighten? Who’s prayers will God use you to influence? You don’t have to have a platform or be a pastor or a famous person. All you have to be is available and willing to be obedient. It can be something as small as a short conversation. What may seem small to you could mean everything to someone else.

Philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

~Patrice Maguire