7.23.16

Happy Saturday to you!

Back to the Basics

Many of you may ask, “What’s the importance of reading the Bible? Really, what is the big deal?” A lot of you say to yourselves, "The Bible is a man made book. I can find God for myself without ever reading it." The truth is God can get your attention without presenting you with a bible. He can confront you on your way to the club. He can quietly speak to you through the sweet spirit of a friend. Nevertheless, the Bible is God’s word and He speaks to us through it. If we never take time to access the Bible and study it, we miss out on major insight into who God is and how He feels about us.

Want to know God’s stance on violence, read 1 Chronicles 22 or Isaiah 1. Want to know God’s perspective on the poor, read Deuteronomy 15:11, Proverbs 28:27, or Isaiah 41:17. Want to know about God’s love for people, read John 3:16, Ephesians 2:4, or 1 John 4:10. The Bible is filled with stories of persons, flawed like you and me. They had strengths and weaknesses, moments of excellence and times of defeat. They lived in times similar to ours and had the same questions about God that we have.

Here's an awesome fact about God: He never thinks it beyond Himself to meet us at our level and reveal His nature to us. In every generation, He shows His expectations of mankind. He shows His disapproval of hatred, injustice, and sin. Yet, He also shows the greatness of His love. To understand God’s love, you can’t just read this blog, or listen to a sermon, or buy a book written by a theologian or a motivational speaker. You have to read the written word of God. Get to know Him for yourself. Today is a great opportunity!

Own a Bible? Open it today and read a verse, a chapter, a book. Don’t own a bible? Ask a friend to borrow his or access one from the library. Download the Bible app on your phone or read the bible via the Internet. When you have questions, don’t just ask your friends or loved ones. Pray this simple prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your Word. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to study and learn more about you. Right now, I do not understand everything written in the holy scriptures. Please grant me knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and insight. Reveal to me all that I need to get from your written Word. Help me to not only understand your Word, but give me the ability to teach the Word to others. Let this all be done for your glory.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Love,

CompassionateLee

2 Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15 and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

7.16.16

Happy Saturday to you!

So many things are vying for your attention right now. You are aware that the demands of your relationships, your work, and your personal interests have become center stage. Simultaneously, your time in God’s presence has taken a back seat. Instead of your usual hour of prayer and meditation, before getting ready to leave the house, you spend the minutes walking to your desk thinking a quick prayer. Remember when you would allow yourself one or two hours after work catching up on your favorite TV series? Now, you stay up nights binge watching TV and missing out on praise and worship. No, this may not be your exact situation, but the similarities are very close. So, what can be done to remedy the problem? Are you supposed to stop enjoying family time? Are you supposed to give up television altogether? Are you supposed to decline the promotion that you’ve been waiting on for years. No, that is an extreme response to an (honestly) serious dilemma. 

The first step is to express gratitude to God. Without the Holy Spirit, we would be unaware of the increasing distance between God and ourselves. We would not feel the conviction necessary to make changes. So thank God for the awareness of our need for Him and for the desire to rebuild relationship. Next, we have to fight against the distractions that keep us from prayer, worship, and bible study. Are you noticing that your phone always rings just as you start to pray? Are you recognizing that you are getting to bed later and waking up later, missing out on an extra 30 minutes of time before work to read your bible? Are there issues on your job, or in your relationships, that are depressing you and making you withdraw from corporate worship with other believers? 

When you recognize the problems, take a stand and don’t give in to your emotions or your habits. Do not allow a TV show that will replay (or be accessible through DVR) to keep you from your set times of prayer. Do not get up so late in the morning that you have to rush out of the house without eating breakfast and studying your Bible. Do not skip out on corporate worship on Sundays or Saturdays because a colleague was disrespectful or unjust to you on Friday. Fight for your relationship with God. You know those relationships that mean the most to you. Imagine how you would act if they came under attack? Would you say, “Oh well…that relationship is over”?  Or, would you try to implement effective ways to bring healing and hope and unity and peace back into the relationship? 

Well, your relationship with God is most important. Of course, some days you will be stronger than others. In your weak moments, remember that you are not relying on your own strength. It is God who strengthens you for good works. So, lean on Him with all your might. Seek God first, forever. Make God your first priority and your life will be blessed as a result. I want you to remember this: nothing in this world will ever compare to the love God has for you. Cherish that love and stop taking it for granted.

Love,

CompassionateLee

Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, 2 and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving. 5 Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be associated with them. 8 For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— 9 for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. 10 Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,“Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

7.9.16

Happy Saturday to you!

I hope you take a moment to check out my July 4th post on the issue of violence in our world. I want to hear from you! Do not forget to let your voice be heard in the comment section. Today, I want to encourage you to never despise your origin. God placed you in the generation and within the lineage that is suited to your destiny. All that you are and all that you have come through is useful to your purpose. The way you look, how you speak, and how you view our world is necessary. We need you here—seeking God and learning of Him. 

Why is that so important? 

The only way to appreciate the beauty that is you is to know the One who fashioned you. It is God that will help you to understand why He allowed you to be born in an orphanage in Ohio instead of a mansion in Florida. It is God that will help you to understand why you were accepted into this college and not that university. It is God that will help you to understand why you have such a thick Russian accent yet be called to complete your life’s work in Ethiopia. 

Learning to be content with who you are and the life you’ve been given starts with knowing God. He is the One who will help you to make sense of it all when life gets overwhelming. Your moments of clarity will come more frequently and gratitude will flow easily from your spirit. 

One day soon you will be able to say, “I love God. I love who I am in Him. I am grateful to be me.” You will mean it with all sincerity. What a gift!

 

Love,

CompassionateLee

Psalm 16:1 Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” 3 As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble, in whom is all my delight 4 Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names upon my lips. 5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage. 7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8 I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure. 10 For you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit. 11 You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

7.4.16

Happy Monday to you!

We live in a world filed with natural wonders. Throughout the nations are amazing landscapes and breathtaking bodies of water. Indeed, it is a blessing to behold Earth’s beauty. Yet, the Earth is also full of atrocities. People slaughter each other mercilessly. Sorrow is normalized and apathy is rampant. This is not the will of God no matter what any person says. Violence and destruction grieve the heart of the Creator. He hears every cry and takes all injustice personally . In this post, I do not offer all of the available solutions to end violence or bring forth world peace. Rather, I lend my voice with many others as a reminder. 

We must teach our communities the value of each individual. We must endorse a yearning for peace and a devotion to love-based action. Simultaneously, we must abhor violence and denounce the destruction of human life. Certainly, love-based action requires rigorous and consistent training. As individuals, we must learn how to love God and how to love ourselves. Then, we must learn to love each other as ourselves. It’s a life-long effort. However, devoting ourselves(completely) to this effort leaves no room for devotion to hatred or violence. 

For every person reading this post, this is a wake up call. Your thoughts, your words, your behavior should oppose violence. Understand your influence, your power, and your authority. For the glory of God and for the good of generations to come, respond to the call. Choose love.

 

Love, 

CompassionateLee

Genesis 6:5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth. Genesis 8:1 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided; 20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done. 22 As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” Genesis 9:8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.

7.2.16

Happy Tuesday to you!

Complements: The Wedge

Row 1: 1/2/3

Row 2: 1/2/3

Row 3: 1/2/3

Love,

CompassionateLee

Proverbs 4:25-27 Let your eyes look directly forward and your gaze be straight before you. Keep straight the path of your feet, and all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.