What traps you?

It’s on! We officially declared war on the mice. Oh sure, we’re right in the middle of their environs, a wide expanse of cow pastures, and I don’t mind if they build condominiums and gated communities, and sold time shares, but do it outside. The inside is mine.

Peanut butter serves as the perfect bait, even the cheap store-brand. They don’t care; no gourmands among mousey pallets. At least with ours. So the Hub smeared nutty goo on several traps and set them in dark corners where we’ve seen, you know, evidence. If the past indicates the future, we’ll soon collect carcasses of the miniature furry kind. Oh, don’t be belly aching over cruelty to animals. They damages all sorts of things, and besides, it’s just plain yucky to spy one scurrying across freshly washed floors. And throughout 2017, we entertained our share of interesting guests, and I’m pretty sure mice do not qualify as ‘angels unawares.’

So if mice are so readily bewitched by a simple kitchen staple, what about you and me? What entices me, may not earn a second glance from you. What trapped us this past year is likely connected to what we consume – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

But we have choices, and most importantly, the Lord God Almighty has our back.

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it,” 1 Corinthians 10:13

What snares will you run from in 2018? Only you hold the answer.

“How blessed is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand in the pathway with sinners, or sit in the assembly of scoffers! Instead he finds pleasure in obeying the Lord’s commands; he mediates on his commands day and night. He is like a tree planted by flowing streams; it yields its fruit at the proper time, and its leaves never fall off. He succeeds in everything he attempts,” Psalms 1:1-3

Good words to live in the New Year.

“Holy God, Alpha and Omega, rip temptations from my sight, but if I must face them for greater good, grant mercy and grace to not only endure, but also to shine your love and light to show eternity’s clear path. To You.” Thank you, sweet Jesus, AMEN.”

Will you hand your temptations to God?

Keeping Eyes on Jesus and Saying No to all ‘Peanut Butter’ Offers, PJ

copyright (c) 2017 PJGover http://www.PJGover.com

 

Advertisements
Posted in Practical Christianity | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Christmas, Holy Christmas

“For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son . . .” John 3:16

“She (Mary) will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins,” Matthew 1:21

“But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness,” 1 John 1:9

“And do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments to be used for righteousness,” Romans 6:13

“For the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel from faith to faith, just as it is written, ‘the righteous by faith will live,” Romans 1:17

“But he answered, ‘It is written, Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God,'” Matthew 4:4

“Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory – the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father,” John 1:14

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” Romans 1:7b

“Holy Father God, through your authority may I be transformed through the peace and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and may I transcend all that seeks to destroy me by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you, Amen.”

May your Christmas be filled with happiness, but may it overflow with God’s Holiness!

God’s grace and peace to you and yours, PJ

copyright (C) 2017 PJGover

http://www.PJGover.com

Posted in Practical Christianity | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Still Cave-wandering?

One of my screen-savers is a photo taken from inside a cave looking out at crystal blue skies, calm ocean waters, and sandy beaches. The camera angle draws one toward the light of day.

Just as happens in life, you and I encounter points of cave-wandering which may appear as emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual distress. Or as the Bible indicates (Mark 12:30), if we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, body, and soul, then it seems we can suffer in heart, mind, body, and soul as well.

Suffering can consume us no matter how hard we try to avoid the ‘icky’ parts of our existence. Life is messy. We may feel lost and trapped with no clear path ahead. We scratch and claw at the walls of our darkness seeking to make things better. Searching to reconcile relationships, reframe past hurts, heal physically, experience peace with one another and with ourselves. We yearn for a way out and into something better.

There is hope!

Not only can we turn to the Light, we can know the Light, and the Light can direct our path!

John 1:4, “In Him (Jesus) was life, and the life was the Light of men.”

John 8:12, “Then Jesus again spoke to them saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life.'”

Ephesians 5:8, “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.”

Will you begin to see your ‘cave’ with purpose and hope, as Almighty God does? His way is often through darkness and into the light!

“Dear Holy God, let me comprehend my life with your greater purpose in mind. Bless me with insight, grant me encouragement, and strengthen me to walk into your grace, mercy, love, and light through your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you, Amen.”

It’s not easy, but as we choose His way moment by moment, those gradually can turn into hours, then days, week, months, and soon we’ll realize we’ve lived in God’s light for years.

Will you?

Escaping Cave-wandering and Entering God’s Light-walking, PJ

copyright PJGover 2017

http://www.PJGover.com

Posted in Practical Christianity | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Still Working the Old Skin?

A grey honeycombed-pattern snake skin twined around the Yaupon Holly and Coral Berry bushes in the north side flower bed. Spotting a discarded skin is not unusual in the country. Almost monthly snakes shed their outer skin as a natural process connected with growth, but the fact it was so close to the house was odd. And a little creepy. The skin was probably from a harmless chicken or rat snake, but is there really ever one that wishes no harm to creatures large or small? You won’t catch me verifying THAT fact.

Snakes do make a valid point, though. Each month is an opportunity to morph into something new and different. A fresh look. A new feel, and perhaps, novel behavior. Must snakes grow accustomed to the latest skin? Must they slither a few hundred yards to get it worn in like a crisp pair of leather boots?

Wouldn’t life be easier if we could somehow shed our shattered, shabby selves, and become something state-of-the-art, unique?

That’s exactly what God does for you and me through the Lord Jesus Christ!

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

So choose Him day by day, moment by moment.

Ephesians 4:23-24, “be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

Colossians 3:1, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

If you are a Christian, you ARE a new creation. Now live it!

Romans 6:4, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

“Holy Almighty God, let me soak in your word, absorb your wisdom, and flourish in your newness of life, light, and love. Thank you, Amen.”

How will you choose to live this week?

Dumping the Old, Donning the New only through Jesus, PJ

(c) 2017 PJGover

 

Posted in Practical Christianity | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Ready to Reroute?

We recently encountered heavy stop-and-go traffic on the Interstate before we realized a  multi-car accident blocked most of the north and sound-bound lanes. We worked our way south, past the pile-up, and traffic returned to posted speeds.

However, the opposite side of the freeway remained packed tight mile after mile until traffic eventually thinned and the north-bound drivers were too far from the accident to realize they would soon be forced to grind to a screeching stop, and wait. Maybe for hours.

If only they tuned into the radio or somehow checked online, they could get the word and prepare by moving to the right-hand lanes, detouring, or even exiting.

Isn’t that like life? We aimlessly motor along in life’s north-bound lane completely unaware of hazards up ahead. We may end up in the snarled traffic of difficult relationships or unreasonable people. We may be crushed in the pile-ups of financial or health challenges and job changes, or delayed in what we thought would happen.

Sometimes we wish someone would communicate to us on what the future holds. We want to be prepared, but how?

Get out of God’s way.

Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.”

Trust in God.

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Live through God.

1 John 4:9, “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through him.”

Someone did communicate with us! God sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory. . .”

Although we don’t know the future, we can prepare. We can tune into God’s Word, heed his wisdom, follow his way, and pray. We can join the flow of traffic in community of fellow believers. And we can be flexible and open to reroute as we follow God.

Will you choose to travel life with God?

“Dear Lord, keep me tuned into you day by day, moment by moment. Thank you, Amen.”

Not Ashamed to Tailgate the Triune God, PJ

copyright 2017 PJGover

Posted in Practical Christianity | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Believe God?

From the lavender, orange, and gold smudged long and low across the western horizon to the red and pink dappled skies of an early Ohio morning, I reveled in the breath-stealing artistry that marks our days. From the gentle lapping of ocean waves against a wooden Charleston pier to a boat bobbing on crisp cool waters of Lake Michigan, I glimpsed God’s authority and majesty. And from Colorado pine-covered mountains shrouded in fog to the raw desert beauty of cactus-coated foothills of West Texas, I witnessed God’s hand of creativity and variety.

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands,” Psalm 19:1  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” Genesis 1:1

These days of global turmoil and national unrest it’s easy to over-inflate humanity’s place. We lose sight of the One Who Created and Controls All. Our hearts and minds stay trapped in an endless loop of terrible news and changes that seem in opposition to Christian beliefs. We wonder, “Is Christianity still relevant?”

Yes! Then how are we to live? Cut through the muck of destructive thought and rhetoric and return to God’s simplicity:

“For God so loved the world. . . ”

In the same way a mother and father feel compassion and possess the fierce instinct to protect their baby, the sovereign Lord of the Universe feels and acts toward you and me.

“. . . that He gave His only son. . . ”

His compassion doesn’t stop with a feeling, but God follows through with action by providing you and me with the gift of His very child.

“. . . that whoever believes in Him. . . ”

Yes, we are called to make a decision. Do you believe the God of All Time – Who Was, Is, and Is To Come (Revelation 4:8) – actually cares for you? Do you believe He really sent the Lord Jesus Christ to stamp out the harmful and lasting effects of your sins?

“. . . shall not perish. . . ”

What’s this? Through faith you will not be eternally separated from God, so you and I need not drown in despair of living day-to-day in an upside down and hostile world.

“. . . but have eternal life.”

Do you believe God loves you enough to provide for you forever? Because he does!

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life,” John 3:16

“Dear Holy Father, please snatch me from the world’s grip of sin and sorry and lift me up into the heavenly places. Thank you, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Choosing God and Rejecting the Rest, PJ

copyright 2017 PJGover

 

 

Posted in Practical Christianity | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Knows Your Future?

I’m enjoying views from the eighth floor of a high-rise in downtown Chicago. Below me lies a series of paths that dissect geometric shapes of elaborately landscaped urban green space with floral pops of yellow, lavender, and fuchsia. Hotel guests stroll or jog among the islands of nature. The strollers pause occasionally as if to soak in what is normally rare in any big city, while the joggers seemingly rush through. But both can only focus on immediate surroundings simply because head-high shrubs and towering oaks prevent long views.

By virtue of my bird’s-eye perch I see what they cannot – entrances, exits, shaded areas, sunny spots, benches and tables, hazards brought by overzealous sprinklers, and where leisure walkers, serious exercisers, and maintenance workers might meet – all points of logical choice and likely diversion.

It reminds me of how God must view our lives. Our journey forms a kind of pattern, and God possesses full knowledge of our smooth paths and rough patches, and obvious routes and unseen obstacles. God truly knows me and my future! And that fills me with comfort and joy!

“Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go,” Joshua 1:9

“Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength,” Nehemiah 8:10

“For I know the plans I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul,” Jeremiah 29:11-13

“Dear Lord God, you know my start, my finish, and all my in-betweens. Forever clench me in your divine hand of grace, love, and truth. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.”

“For we live by faith, not by sight,” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Will you live likewise?

Trusting the God of Long Views, PJ

copyright 2017 PJGover

Posted in Practical Christianity | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment