Shine Like Stars: Philippians 2:14-15

14Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky

Philippians 2:14-15 (NIV)

Our goal is to live without arguing and grumbling, no bickering, and become Children of God, blameless and pure. Being blameless requires diligent effort in a crooked, polluted, and warped world. To live in this way shows we are Christians, ready to carry God’s light-giving Word into the world. Then when we go forth enlightened, we will shine like stars in the sky.

14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.

Philippians 2:14-16 (MSG)

A diligent effort is required to live without arguing and squabbling. How are you doing at being blameless; do you shine like stars in the sky?

Prayer; Lord help us to be kinder, and gentler; to let go of arguing and complaining. Teach us go forward, blameless and pure in this sinful world. Let us shine in Your light, with love, and share your light-giving message. As the phlox bloom shine in the sun and brighten spring, let us shine in Your light and spread Your brightness to the world. In Jesus’ holy name. Amen


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Walk In Love: Ephesians 5:2

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:2 (ESV)

When we walk in love, or as some versions state, walk continually in love, we show we are followers of Christ. How do we walk in love? When we value others and treat all with respect and compassion. It is a Christ-like unconditional, unselfish, forgiving love; exemplified in our actions. To walk in love describes our actions, when we act like Jesus; we walk in love.

Our compassionate acts and loving deeds to others are considered a fragrant, sweet-smelling offering, to God our Father.

Wake Up from Your Sleep
5 1-2 Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

Ephesians 5:1-2 (MSG)

Do you walk in love showing love and compassion to others in your actions and deeds?

Prayer; Our Heavenly Father, teach us to walk in love. May our actions be Christ-like and our lives characterized by love, compassion, and forgiveness. Let others see that we are Christians by our love. Like the bright yellow open coreopsis flower glows in the sun, let us shine brightly with your love and glow with compassion. In Jesus’ name. Amen

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His Strength: 1 Chronicles 16:11

Search for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him.

1 Chronicles 16:11 (NLT)

This verse in 1 Chronicles is also in Psalm 105:4, David’s Psalm of Thanksgiving. He wrote this verse to celebrate the return of the Ark of the Covenant. To remind everyone of the importance of seeking the Lord and having a relationship with Him. We need to search for Him and listen to His way, not seeking our path but following His path for us. Our strength is found in the Lord; He is our hope, grace, and salvation. When our world is complicated and confusing, we can find strength like David did through our relationship with our Lord. Always search for the Lord and seek His strength. ⁘

When you are overwhelmed and confused, is your first response to seek the Lord’s strength?

Prayer; Our Heavenly Father, we come to you in praise and thanksgiving. Teach us to follow Your ways and seek You. Lord, when we are overwhelmed and uncertain about what to do, let us ask for Your guidance. Like the zinnia blossoms, seek the sun; Lord, let us seek You and Your strength. In Jesus’ loving name. Amen

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Just and Good: Psalm 33:5

4For the word of the LORD holds true, and we can trust everything he does. 5He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the LORD fills the earth.

Psalm 33:4-5 (NLT)

Psalm 33 starts with;

Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous ones; praise from the upright is beautiful.

Psalm 33:1 (CEB)

The following verses give reasons to praise the Lord. We can trust in Him, for the Word of the Lord is true; we can believe the truth of His Word (verse 4). We can rejoice because God loves righteousness and justice. He is good and wants us to be like him, moral and good. We should rejoice and praise the Lord for His goodness and unfailing love for us (verse 5). As His love fills the earth, let us rejoice and show love to all. ⁂

Our Lord is good, just, true, and righteous. He forgives our sins and loves us. Have you taken time to praise, rejoice and worship Him today?

Prayer; Our Heavenly Father, we rejoice in Your goodness, truth, and justice. We praise You for Your patience and forgiveness of us. We thank You for Your grace, mercy, and your unfailing love for us. Like the sunflowers grow and glow in the sunshine, let us grow in faith and glow with Your Son’s light. Amen

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Living as Children of Light: Ephesians 4:20-24

Radiate the Lord’s Light

Sunflower

20But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

Ephesians 4:20-24 (NLT)

Renew

Clematis bud

Our Plans: Proverbs 16:9

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.

Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

We often try to control and fine-tune our plans to the way we want. Forming plans for the future is wise, but often our plans are limiting; God can direct us to achieve abundantly more than we ever considered. In humility, we need to realize that God is in control and determining our steps. The best way to plan is to commit our way to God, trusting him to direct us. He will guide us on the correct path, the way best for us, in this world, and eternally.

We plan the way we want to live,
    but only God makes us able to live it.

Proverbs 16:9 (MSG) ⁘

When in your life has God changed your plans for the better?

Prayer; Our loving Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your love and patience. Teach us to open our hearts to You and to listen to Your direction. Help us to live in faith and trust You to determine our steps. Like the blossoms of the clematis are open reaching toward the sun, let us be open to Your guidance and reach out to You in faith. In Jesus’ holy name. Amen

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Power of God: 1 Corinthians 2:5

3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:3-5 (KJV)

Paul didn’t have dazzling delivery or lofty speech for the people of Corinth. Instead, he used the power of God; by speaking healing words of truth as the Holy Spirit directed. The dynamic speech of humans; can be enticing and cajole, but when based on the wisdom of men rather than the power of God, it is limited and falls short.

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.

1 Chronicles 29:11 ESV

Paul wanted to share his message of faith, highlighting Jesus’ love and salvation for them. He spoke with the power of the Spirit to encourage growth in understanding, faith, and appreciation of the power of God. ⁘

What do you rely on; the enticing speech of the worldly or the wisdom and power of God?

Prayer; Our Heavenly Father, open our eyes and teach us to be guided by Your wisdom. Help us to grow in faith and listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Like the small trumpet-like flowers of the lilac spread out in all directions, guide us to avoid the diverse directions of the world and follow the true direction, the power of God. In Jesus’ holy and loving name. Amen

I

Path: Isaiah 30:21

21 Your own ears will hear him.
Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
whether to the right or to the left.

Isaiah 30:21 (NLT)

As Christians, it is important to determine which way to go; which path to follow. We need to discern God’s plan for us to determine the correct direction to go. How do we know which path to follow? By trusting in God’s promises, following His Word, and listening to His voice, the voice behind us, to find our correct path.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

Worldly distractions can influence and divert us from His path for us. We need to keep our hearts open to God, seek His will and take time to listen to His direction. He will tell us which path to take. We may be fickle and disobedient, but God stays beside us, telling us which way to go. God promises never to leave us or forsake us. We can rely on His promise to be with us and to tell us the way to go, whether to the right or left. ⁂

When you are faced with changes, uncertain choices, and are confused about the path to take, who do you listen to?

Prayer; Our Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your guidance and direction. Teach us to listen to Your voice and follow Your path for us. Guide us by turning us away from worldly distractions and help us focus on Your voice. Like the Stella D Oro daylily flowers, bloom in all directions around the plant; help us to grow, blossom, and follow Your path. In Jesus’ holy and loving name. Amen

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Freedom: Galatians 5:13

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, but through love serve one another.

Galatians 5:13 (NET)

In the United States of America, today is Independence Day, causing me to think about freedom. Freedom through Christ. How are we free? By following the teachings of Jesus and by being His disciple; by believing in Him, and walking in obedience. We obtained freedom by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Through our faith in Christ, we live in freedom, freedom from the slavery of sin; our sins are forgiven. We belong to God; we are His chosen.

In freedom, we are allowed to make choices. Choices we will be held accountable for. Our freedom is not to be used as an excuse to indulge ourselves, but instead to serve one another in love.
As the Message bible version of Galatians 5:14 states: “For everything, we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.”

13-14It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.

Galatians 5:13-14 (MSG)

By God’s grace, we have freedom. Is your freedom as a Christian focused on self-satisfaction or on serving others in love?

Prayer; Lord Jesus, we thank you for setting us free from slavery to sin. We thank You for the freedom you have granted us through Your grace. Guide us to use this freedom to be more like You in our actions. As the Gomphrena, Fireworks pink blossoms with tiny yellow flowers spread outward in all directions; let us spread Your love outward to others, in all directions. Amen

Keep Alert: 1Corinthians16:13-14

13 Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NRSV)

Paul is informing the Corinthians that it is vital to keep alert and be vigilant against all evil. To cling to Christian convictions and trust the Lord’s direction. To be strong and courageous and stand firm in the faith, realizing that Jesus is our rock, our salvation our firm foundation.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Ephesians 6:10 (NKJV)

Paul continues after the four instructions; to keep alert, stand firm, be courageous, be strong, and adds a final instruction “Let all that you do, be done in love.” Highlighting that our thoughts, words, and actions are to be done in love.
We need to keep alert, watch for and avoid evil, and let love be our guide when dealing with one another.

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

1 Corinthians 13:4–7 (NLT)

Paul gives five instructions in 1Corinthians 16:13-14; keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be strong, be courageous, and let all you do be done in love. Do you try to follow these instructions?

Prayer; Lord Jesus, You are our rock and our redeemer. Teach us to keep alert, avoid evil, and grow in faith. Guide us to stand firm, be courageous, strong, and grounded in Your Word. Help us keep our thoughts, words, and actions centered in love. Like the allium flowers are centered together, reaching out in all directions, let us be centered in Your love and reach out, spreading love in all our actions. Amen

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