Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. ~ Matthew 5:6 NIV
This is the time when women are scrambling to find their summer clothes, and some, like me, wish they had used more discipline in eating during those long pandemic months! It is pretty obvious that what we eat will have an impact on how our body looks. What we eat spiritually will have an impact, not only on our spirit, but on our body, soul and relationships with God and others. So, what will we be eating spiritually this summer?
Along with the warmer weather, not only do our clothes change, but our habits can as well. The outside beckons, our friend calls to have lunch now that it is safer, we even plan trips. It is so easy to “save for later” our time with God and the Bible. So, just as we brush our teeth as we start the day, and again before we go to bed, let’s be intentional in setting aside some specific time to talk to God and listen through his Word. Jesus sent his disciples out two by two. There was a good reason for that. Let’s not only have a specific plan, but someone to hold us accountable to it. Who will “walk” with you this summer?
You may not have set a summer spiritual goal yet, but the Holy Spirit has! Just like a good trainer, he knows exactly what you need and when. Ask him to show you what it is, then choose to cooperate with him. Writing down what you learn or what you are hearing every day is a good idea. That way, at the end of the summer you will be able to celebrate what God has done, what you have learned and how God has used it to grow you.
Spiritual hunger for more of God creates the perseverance to develop and stick to the habits that will keep us aligned with God’s purposes. Let’s ask Jesus for a hunger to know and understand him better. If we do, the Holy Spirit will be delighted to help. Let him stir up in you more hunger for God’s love, peace and joy that can only become yours through Jesus. It’s a recipe for an exciting summer!
Dear friends, be blessed as you commit to a plan to grow spiritually this summer. May you trust that the Holy Spirit has the best plan, and choose to follow it. Be blessed as God’s Word comes alive to you and you understand how it applies to your life each day. Be filled with the truth and love that will set you free from fear and doubt, and enjoy God’s summer gift of peace and joy as you hunger for more of him. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ May 26, 2021
Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. ~ 2 Corinthians 13:11 NLT
You may have found, as I have, that during the pandemic it has been really difficult to plan ahead. There has been so much uncertainty. Paul’s second letter to the believers in Corinth starts with compassion and comfort, reminding them that our Father God is the God of all comfort. This is clearly a people, like ourselves that have been traumatized and challenged. How do they/we move ahead? What goals can they/we set for the future?
Above we find Paul’s last words of admonition addressed to his “dear”, his beloved, friends in Corinth. First, be joyful! They will be filled with joy as they focus on who their God is, what he has done for them, and what he has promised their future will be. We can and must do the same. Thankfulness leads to joy. We have so much for which to be thankful. Let’s focus on that as this summer begins. God’s joy is our strength and shield.
Grow to maturity. We will have many opportunities this summer to return to former activities and passions. Will they help us grow spiritually? Will they align us with God’s desires and plans? Let’s grow in our knowledge and understanding of God and grow closer to him so we can enjoy the pleasures and privileges of being loved by him.
Encourage each other. We cannot grow to maturity in isolation. We need the encouragement of others and their accountability to keep us from wondering off God’s chosen path for us. Who do you have in your life who need words of encouragement, affirmation of their worth and approval of their godly choices? Who will help you keep pointed towards God?
Live in harmony and peace. There is still a lot of contention and anger out there. We have a choice to become peacemakers by refusing to get drawn into discussions and accusations that only bring division. Let’s focus on what we agree on and obey the One who calls us to unity.
THEN the God of love and peace will be with you. Here’s the reward. If we do these things, says Paul, God will be on our side, living with us. His love and favor will surround us as a shield. (Ps.5:12) We can soak away the wounds incurred by living in this fallen world in his compassionate, soothing presence.
Dear friends, be blessed with confident hope as you enter this summer. Decide to do these simple admonitions Paul gave his beloved friends, and enjoy the presence, pleasure and sharing in the purposes of God. You can do it! Be blessed as you grow more beautiful in the Lord. Be filled with his love and peace. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ May 19, 2021
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. ~ Hebrews 4:13 NLT
There is something special about mothers. I have seen grown men cry as they sing about them. Have you ever thought how God must trust women since he chose to make them life-givers, and the source of nurture, comfort and care to his most vulnerable and valuable creations? What an honor!
Some of us feel that awesome responsibility soon, realizing that to do the role justice is almost impossible. We try our hardest to be all our children need, and discover we fall short, especially as we compare ourselves with who we think are doing it perfectly. But the truth is we will all fall short of perfection, no matter how hard we try.
At our monthly meeting in May Monica called our attention to Jesus’ mother Mary. As we thought of her as an ordinary woman, like ourselves, I began to realize that God, being sovereign and able to do whatever he wants, had a reason for choosing her. He looked over all the young Jewish women in the perfect time for Jesus to arrive, and chose her. Then it dawned on me. He is everywhere, all the time and nothing is hidden from him, past, present and future. When he chooses a parent for one of his precious children, nothing about it must be random.
Wow! That means he chose my parents. I was not an accident. Then he chose my children. Poor things! Nothing random about that either. He knew all the mistakes I would make. Then he gave me a choice. Would I turn to him and trust him with my children and teach them to trust him too? Because if I acknowledged him as God, he would use all of the messes for our good.
I would not need to be perfect, just faithful, persistent and committed to them and to God. Then he sealed the deal by giving me the Holy Spirit to turn to for guidance, wisdom and to keep me growing in my relationship with him. It gave me comfort to know that he had never left me on my own to strive to be a good mother. He was and is always cheering me on!
And this applies to all of us, wherever he has called us and to whatever role he chose to put us in. We can allow the weight of that call become a burden as we carry it by ourselves, or we can turn to God and trust that he wants to work in us and through us in that place.
Dear friends, be blessed as you trust that you are chosen to be in whatever arena to which God has called you. Be blessed as an influencer, encourager and life-giver in your workplace, school, church and family. Nothing is random in God’s economy. God has chosen you to be there. Seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you use all the gifts he has given you to love God and others and bring his Kingdom to that place for as long as he keeps you there. Be excited to be one of God’s chosen. Because whoever he chooses, he promises to bless. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ May 14, 2021