Thermometer and Thermostat

Years ago I heard a preacher comparing the functionalities of a thermometer and a thermostat to the Christian’s life. The thermostat adjusts the temperature when the temperature is at a particular value, while the thermometer only has the capability to measure the temperature.

In the sermon, the preacher was urging the listeners to be like the thermostat and play their part to make a difference in the world.

So recognizing the times that we are in (like the thermometer) we are called to be positive influences for God’s Kingdom (like the thermostat); and God has equip us.

It is comforting to know that we can go forward confidently in God’s power and make a difference for Him in this world today.

Feel free to comment below if this resonates with you.

Praising while Rebuilding

(Click here to listen to the podcast for this blog post)

‘And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD…’ (Ezra 3:10).

With the completion of the foundation, persons were ‘praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good …’ (Ezra 3:11).  The people were thankful to God for the progress that had been made.

But wait a minute, that was not all that was going on.  In the midst of the praises there was also weeping.

How could it be? The older men who had seen the previous temple ‘wept with a loud voice’ (Ezra 3:12). There was sadness that the new foundation did not show prospects of the magnificence of the first building.  I can imagine that as they wept that they thought of the glory days of times past and some even may have wanted to return to those days.  Yet in the midst of the weeping there were others who were just so thankful that they had reach that far; thankful that they had been able to rebuild a foundation on which they could move forward.

A few things came to mind as I read:

  • there would have been valuable things of the past that the older men would have cherished;
  • there were valuable things of the present that the persons praising were thankful for.

From the older men’s responses, there was pain and maybe even regret about the things and circumstances that would have caused them to have to reach the point of rebuilding a new foundation.  Thankfully, there were persons among the group who were able to hold onto the vision of the possibilities in God of what could happen with the new foundation; they were ready to continue the rebuilding process.

In this story there are lessons for us all. To:

  • be thankful for what we had in the past;
  • not forget the past, but learn from the past;
  • with God’s help be careful with the resources that we have been given, to avoid losing the important things;
  • not allow the pain from regret to prevent us from enjoying the blessings that God has for us today and tomorrow;
  • embrace the present foundation that God has provided and be thankful for all the rebuilding that God has been doing and continues to do in our lives.

So now, as you move forward, I encourage you to:

  • learn from the past and with God’s help seek never to repeat past mistakes;
  • lean on God’s wisdom and not your own;
  • in God’s strength cherish and embrace every opportunity that He has provided for you to build on, recognizing that ‘the foundation of God standeth sure’ (2 Timothy 2:19), the only foundation that cannot fail and will never need rebuilding.

In Psalm 34:1 we are told, ‘I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth’.  So let us remember at every stage of our lives to praise God continually, and not wait until the tasks are done or the goals are accomplished.

(Please note that Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.  Public domain.)

Be Blessed.

When it is Time to Climb

(To listen to the podcast for this blog post click here)

I had been picking the leaves from my moringa tree for a while.  When I stood beneath the tree, I was enjoying the ease of picking the leaves from the branches within my reach.  However, over time, I needed to tiptoe and stretch to pick the leaves.

When I looked up into the tree, I observed that there were many leaves outside of my reach while I stood beneath the tree.  So to reach the leaves on the higher branches, I would need to safely climb the tree. 

Then I thought, isn’t this similar to what can happen in our lives?  We can reach for the ‘low hanging fruit’ which of course is good, since we really don’t want any of the fruit to go to waste.  But because these ‘low hanging fruit’ are in abundance for so long, we may actually forget that there are other ‘fruit’ a little higher in the tree.  But to get to the other ‘fruit’ we would need to stretch ourselves, then we would need to climb beyond our initial comfort level.

As I thought about my moringa tree, the questions came to mind:

  • In what areas of my life is God calling me to go higher, to press on and to experience the growth that can only occur with me climbing and taking on new challenges?
  • What fears do I need to let go of to embark on the journey of growth?

The reassuring thing for me was that the leaves in the moringa tree were within my vision, within my view.  The only thing that separated me from getting to the leaves was climbing the tree.  Similarly with some effort, we will experience blessings from the growth opportunities right in our sight.

Let’s ask God to show us the ‘moringa leaves’ He wants us to go after today, for His honor and glory.  Let’s ask God in what areas He wants us to press on, like we are reminded of in the hymn ‘Higher Ground’.

So once again, my question to you is, what ‘moringa tree’ in your life do you need to climb today?  Remember with the vision in view, God provides the tools and strength for us to go higher.

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Dealing with Change

When we are experiencing multifaceted changes, our minds can easily go into overdrive – trying to cope and find ways to regain some form of regularity.

When things become unpredictable, it is natural and easy to feel helpless.  But we find the courage we need by being anchored in Jesus Christ, who does not change.  How are we anchored in Jesus Christ?  By daily spending time praying to God and prayerfully reading the Bible, asking God to reveal Himself to us.

In Psalm 46:10 we are told, to “Be still, and know that I am God…” (KJV). This Bible verse encourages us to look to God who is the source of our strength and who has the answers for all our problems.

Though there are many things outside of our control, as we depend on God, the Holy Spirit will reveal to us the practical things we can do. 

So as you reflect on your current situation, for each change that has occurred identify: the challenge(s) created; the solution(s) required; and what you can do now to face the challenge(s).  Then prayerfully start to put the actions into practice however small.

In the midst of uncertainty, when our focus is redirected to God, we experience assurance and comfort.

Diverted but not Distracted

‘Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ’  (Philippians 1:6, KJV).

In life we don’t know what important unplanned events we will face, so we always need to adopt a somewhat flexible approach. However we know that mentally this is not as easy as it sounds.

Who likes to be delayed?  Who likes to rearrange their plans? But in life, many time we face things that delay us from what we originally intended to do.  We desire stability and control of our lives, and it is not easy to accept that we don’t understand or have the answers for many things that happen around us. Delays are a reminder that we can’t predict our outcomes. Delays sometimes cause us to have to divert our attention to other things. But it is reassuring that we can depend on God who knows the future. God gives us the courage to deal with the challenges that are created from changes and not lose our way.

With all that has been happening these days, many people’s schedules and plans have been affected. It is a time of great uncertainty, and there are critical things to address at the current time.

Though we don’t know the future, there are still somethings that we can do now. It is important that we be responsible in how we deal with the unexpected health crisis and not add to the already difficult situation.

It is reassuring to remember that, irrespective of what we go through, God who created the world has not forgotten us.  God will finish the work that He has started in each of us.

Jesus heard the cries of Mary and Martha on behalf of their brother, Lazarus. Jesus did not forget Lazarus (John 11:1-44) and He will not forget us. Click here to hear the song Four Days Late.

Be Blessed