Friday, November 30, 2018

Perspectives

I love that the Lord gives me the right perspective on situations.  When I'm facing a challenge or an important decision in my life, I have learned that the best thing to do is to seek God's guidance.  Sometimes I am so frustrated by a particular challenge or problem that I literally push my arms upward toward Heaven and say out loud, "Lord, I give this problem over to you!  I don't even know what to pray about it!"  Then I trust Him and I watch to see what He does.  I'm always amazed.

We all face challenges, frustrations, and dilemmas, and our human perspective usually leads us to tackle these things from our own strength and push forward on our own.  After all, we are independent and capable and we can take care of ourselves!  Often, we wait until the problem or dilemma overwhelms us before we fall to our knees to ask God for help.

Why not make the decision to walk each day with God and ask for guidance and a right perspective each morning?  Our Creator is so much more capable than we can even begin to imagine, and He is the source of wisdom.  God knows everything and He holds everything in His hands.

Earlier this week, in one of my morning devotions, I came across these verses in Isaiah that really help me to have a right perspective:

Isaiah 40:12-15 (NLT):

12- Who else has held the oceans in his hand?
      Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers?
      Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed
      the mountains and hills on a scale?

13- Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord?
      Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?

14- Has the Lord ever needed someone's advice?
      Does he need instruction about what is good?
      Did someone teach him what is right
     or show him the path of justice?

15- No, for all the nations of the world
      are but a drop in the bucket.
     They are nothing more than dust on the scales.
     He picks up the whole earth
     as though it were a grain of sand. 

These verses make me realize that God is bigger than any big problem I may be facing.  They also show me that my problems and challenges might be less significant than I want to admit.  I am always amazed, however, when the God of the universe answers my prayers for wisdom and helps me with a particular concern that I've turned over to Him.  I experience His love and care for me, and my relationship with Him grows stronger.  My daily dependence on the Lord and recognition of my need for Him is the best perspective of all.

Devotion

How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!  Proverbs 16:16 (NIV)

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  Proverbs 2:6 (NIV)

Prayer:

 Lord, I thank you for every problem, concern, and challenge that you have allowed in my life.  How dare I complain, when those very concerns cause me to seek your grace and wisdom in my life?  I will follow you and seek you as my source of strength and wisdom to work through challenges, pursue and accomplish my goals, and have the right perspective in each step forward.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.


© 2018 Linda Lijewski





Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Running the Race

Sometimes I feel like my life is like running a race.  I have just enough time during the day to accomplish what I want (or need) to accomplish!  More and more I realize that what really matters, in addition to goal setting, is the way we run the race.

My stepdaughter, Brittany, played a lot of sports growing up – basketball, soccer, volleyball, and hockey.  My husband always said to me, “Brittany plays to win.”  Winning was her goal and she played in such a way that would lead her to win.  Her attitude and her style of playing stood out among other players who simply played, and who did not “play to win.”  Brittany was aggressive, determined, focused, and goal-minded in her sports games.  By the way, this has always been her approach with her studies, too.  She is goal-minded and she puts 100% effort in everything she does.  She plays to win!

How do we make sure we are running the race in a way that will get us the prize or win the game?  I believe that it has a lot to do with how we prioritize our time, how we plan our goals and dedicate our resources, and, of course, how we carry out our own self-discipline and action toward achieving the goals.  Our activities reflect our passions and our priorities, so if we are not making progress to win the prize (so to speak), then we may need to re-focus our passions and priorities.

Pray the prayer below and humbly ask God to change your heart and give you direction, and He will lead you onto the path and help you to run the race that He has planned for your life!

Devotion

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV)

And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.  Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)

Prayer:

Lord, give me a single-minded focus to run the race in the way that will honor you.  Help me to be self-disciplined to put you first in my life, and help me to keep my priorities in line with your priorities for me.  Give me wisdom to understand what it means to “run in such a way as to get the prize.”  I ask for wisdom, self-control, and self-discipline to accomplish what you want me to accomplish in my life, so that my goals align with your purpose for my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


© 2018 Linda Lijewski

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Be Ready!

When you have a goal, you should prepare and watch for opportunities.  “Luck” is what happens when preparation meets opportunity!  (I wish that were my own quote, but it is attributed to Roman philosopher Seneca.)

A great example is Rudy Ruettiger, the subject of the movie "Rudy" (see my blogpost dated 4/10/16).  Rudy prepared and did everything he possibly could to reach his goal, and he was prepared when the opportunity came to “dress” for a Notre Dame football game.  When he actually got on the field, he was ready!  He was as aggressive and determined as he had been for the previous four years in practice.  He made a big play in the last few seconds of the last game of his senior year, and he was carried off the field by his teammates!  I bet he was so glad he was ready for that game!

Another inspiring example is my own sister, Laurie.  Years ago, she had a goal and a desire to have her own company.  When the opportunity came, she was ready!  She set up the company and began running her own business from one day to the next.  She was able to do that because she was prepared and had planned ahead, and she was ready for the opportunity when it arrived.

In addition, Laurie really inspires me because she turned disappointments and any regrets she had in life into a book!  She is the author of "Beyond Regret - Living Your Life Purpose in Spite of Past Choices" (Silver Path Resources, 2015).

Yes, preparation is the key.  Good intentions get us nowhere, unless we are willing to turn them into action.  Intentional action begins with the first step, and steady action keeps growing and accumulating, making us prepared for opportunities.  Then, we are ready when “luck” knocks on our door!

Devotion

Those too lazy to plow in the right season will have no food at the harvest.  Proverbs 20:4 (NLT)

Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.  Psalm 119:89 (NIV)

Prayer:

Lord, you want us to be prepared for opportunities.  You don’t want us to be lazy and sluggish!  You have purposes for our lives, and you want us to be prepared when circumstances change, sometimes suddenly.  Today, I pray that you will help us to prepare, turn our good intentions into action, and move us forward toward our goals.  Only then will we be ready for opportunities that you provide at just the right time!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


© 2018 Linda Lijewski


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Psalm 139

It’s easy to get discouraged.  I had that kind of week.  I tossed and turned and had trouble sleeping.  When I get discouraged, my goals fall by the wayside.

I seek the Lord in the early morning hours to pray for His guidance, wisdom, strength, and joy.  After praying for my family, friends, and others, I turn over my worries and concerns one by one to God.  I earnestly seek His direction and leading for the day.

I ponder the greatness of God.  He is the Master of the universe.  He is the Creator of all things!  Does he care about my little problems in the vastness of space and time and the universe, which are things that I cannot fathom?  Does He love me, even when I don’t feel loved?  My morning devotion today pointed me to Genesis 16:7-14.  In verse 13, Hagar called God, “the One who sees me.”  That verse really helped me.  Then I read all of Psalm 139 out loud.  “Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?”  (Verse 7)  “Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely.”  (Verse 4)

God, our Creator, knows everything and He sees everything.  My strength is renewed!

Discouragement sometimes comes without warning.  Be willing to pray about it.  I believe that a good spiritual meal of prayer and Bible study will help you push the discouragement aside.  Some fresh spiritual renewal can be just what you need to begin again and move forward with your goals.  It may even help you to get a good night’s sleep!

Today, read Psalm 139 out loud!

Devotion

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.  Psalm 139:9-10 (RSV)

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.  The world and all its people belong to him.  For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.  Psalm 24:1-2 (NLT)

Prayer:

Lord, you have shown me that you are there when I seek you.  You are there even if I don’t seek you!  In times of discouragement, I have experienced the reality of receiving strength, peace, and joy from you.  I thank you, and I ask for these blessings for those who need encouragement today.  May they be led and inspired by you to build a foundation of daily prayer and study of your Word.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


© 2018 Linda Lijewski