Biggy Size Me

Paul and Barnabas handpicked leaders in each church. After praying—their prayers intensified by fasting—they presented these new leaders to the Master to whom they had entrusted their lives. – Acts 14:23 (MSG)

In our “biggy-sized” American life today, most of us know little of hunger – literal or figurative. The concept of “fasting” is hardly ever heard except in the context of fad diets, political statements, or as preparation for uncomfortable medical procedures. Food today is not just nourishment, but a substitute to fill all the empty spaces that nothing else can satisfy: comfort, self-esteem, purpose. We eat because we’re sad, we eat because we’re bored, we eat to hide our shame, anxiety or pain.

The practice of fasting is one of the most ancient of ways to clean out our lives, break down defenses, clear our minds and to focus outside the immediacy of our physical body to matters of the soul. As with anything, fasting can be abused, misused and applied for all the wrong reasons, but presented as a gift to God – offered in humble submission – we can expect powerful transformation in our lives.

Sue Breland, Worship for One Journey Through the Cross©

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Miracles

This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him. – John 2:11 (KJV)

A “miracle” is defined as an extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers. Jesus majored in miracles, interacting with the natural world in ways that our small minds cannot know or understand. To believe that mankind has the capacity to comprehend the inexplicable nature of the universe is arrogant and foolish. It is often the greatest scientists who know the most about how little we know. Albert Einstein said, “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; or you can live as if everything is a miracle.” When you have experienced the life transforming love of Christ, you have known the most amazing miracle of all. You can believe in that.

Sue Breland, Worship for One Meditations of Inspiration & Encouragement ©

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Joy

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

After days of sorrow, despair and disbelief following Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus returned to say cheer up! All is well and exactly as planned. Ours is a God that inhabits the best things in life and wants us to enjoy His bounty. We can respond by sharing His joy and His abundance with His contagious love, demonstrating how in even the most difficult of circumstances, the joy He brings can overcome it all.

Sue Breland, Worship for One Journey Through the Cross©

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What Was He thinking?

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you… – Jeremiah 1:4-5 (NKJV)

What was God thinking when he created you? He was thinking thoughts of love. Before you existed in this world, you existed in His heart. When He made you He was thinking of how much He loved you, and He has not stopped thinking about you ever since.

Sue Breland, Worship for One Meditations of Inspiration & Encouragement ©

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Cruising With Jonah

The Lord gave this message to Jonah: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord… – Jonah 1:1-3 (NLT)

Jonah got a message from God – and it didn’t come in a bottle – its intent was crystal clear. However, Jonah had another itinerary in mind. He thought he’d just cruise some place God wouldn’t find him, or at the very least, put Him off until a more convenient time. Big mistake.

First, there is no place that God won’t go looking for us and secondly, there is always a consequence to choosing our own map over His travel plans for us. Jonah could have gone fishing, but ended up fish food instead. Go with God or your final destination may be some where you really didn’t want to go!

Sue Breland, Worship for One Meditations of Inspiration & Encouragement ©

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Teach Me Lord

…Since they had no root they withered away. – Matthew 13:6 (NKJV)

Jesus told his disciples that not everyone would understand his parables. It was not that they could not intellectually understand them, but rather, their hearts were closed to what Jesus was saying. If we approach them with the conviction that we already know the answer, then we, too, may look but not see, listen but not hear or understand.  God’s word can only take root in a receptive heart that is ready to believe and willing to submit. Are you teachable and eager to learn God’s truth?

Sue Breland, Worship for One Meditations of Inspiration & Encouragement ©

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The Joy of the Lord

…This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep. For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law…do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:9-10 (NIV)

The Israelites had returned to rebuild Jerusalem after their exhile in Babylon. They stood in the sun all day listening to the reading of scripture which they had not heard in many years. When they heard what God expected of them, they wept, because they were convicted of their sins. But Nehemiah reminded them that God would forgive them and the joy that comes from receiving such a gift would sustain them. God is still in the forgiveness business. So rejoice!

Sue Breland, Worship for One Meditations of Inspiration & Encouragement ©

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Press On

“But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14

In this scripture, Paul states -” But one thing I do”- notice that he does not say -but one thing I think I will do, or but one thing I plan to do, or one thing I may do. He firmly and confidently makes a very strong and committed statement- ” But one thing I DO” And that one thing is –  “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” What a great challenge for us today. What will you do?

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Free Membership

And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” then He adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. – Hebrews 10:15-18 (NIV)

Before Jesus gave Himself as the final, perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin (for all time!), serving God required a long list of rules, training and regulated sacrifices. Only certain people could read His Word and even fewer were allowed to enter into His presence in the temple. He must have seemed unreachable to the average person like you and me. But Jesus changed all that.

He became the bridge, the brother, the friend that we needed – and not just for the Jews, but to anyone, everyone, that needs a Savior. We were released from the requirements of membership, the price of admittance, and granted VIP status regardless of what we really deserve. The gloves are off; we’re free to love, free to soak in His Word, free to fall at His feet and hear Him speak to us. We’re unhindered – unhampered – unimpeded and grateful for freedom in Christ!

Sue Breland, Worship for One Meditations of Inspiration & Encouragement ©

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Salt

You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. – Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT)

At first glance, “salt” and “light” would seem to have nothing in common – but in Jesus’ day they were both critical to life. As the source for preserving food, people no longer had to depend on the daily availability of food, so it literally changed the economy of civilization. A light source was also imperative to survival; not only evil lurked in the darkness, but real physical dangers that could easily bring death – wild animals, thieves, falls resulting in fatal injuries or infection.

These everyday realities were well understood by the people, and Jesus conveyed their importance to the kingdom through His analogies. Christians of today need to understand that we too are still critical to the world.

Sue Breland, Worship for One Meditations of Inspiration & Encouragement ©

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