Encouraging Words

“Do not be afraid or discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8b

GOD’S WORDS AND WORKS

There is not one of us who does not need to hear some encouraging words from time to time. Think about it! Perhaps, you have been facing a health challenge; a financial set back; a job loss; have lost someone who was very important in your life; or have to face someone whose strength of character seems overpowering—these are some of the times when you and I need an encouraging word. Or, perhaps, we would be the ones to speak those words which would embolden another to face the challenges before them.

God knows the times in which we live. We need to listen, block out all the noise, and hear His encouraging words—“Do not be afraid or discouraged.” Don’t listen to the lies the evil one is trying to tell us. Those lies only serve to instill fear in our hearts. But, we have a Higher Power who tells us that He is with us and never will He leave us. Our undying faith in the God who created us and in His Word, will dispel all fear. It is this faith in which fear does not have a chance.

Fear is our human frailty, but it can be overcome when we hear, not only with our ears, but with our hearts that God is with us and actually goes before us. He may allow something devastating to seemingly be in control, but, if so, He has a reason. And “God will work all things for good for those who love Him.” (Romans 8:28)

Let’s look at Moses and Joshua for a moment. Moses was born a Hebrew, brought up by the Pharaoh of Egypt, had to flee Egypt because he was angered by an Egyptian who was mistreating a Hebrew slave and killed him; Moses fled Egypt and lived in the land of Midian; he married one of the daughters of the Priest of Midian and then after 40 years, God called him to bring His people out of Egypt and lead them to the Promised Land.

Moses was apprehensive about this call that he was receiving from God. But God, assured him that He would certainly be with Him. (Exodus 3:12) Over and over again God had to speak to Moses and reassure him that Moses should not be afraid, He would be with him. Moses was encouraged over and over again, the Lord indeed was with him.

Moses came to the end of his life when he reached the border of the land God had promised. He had lead this stiff-necked, complaining bunch of people forty years through the desert and now, he had to hand his staff over to Joshua to complete the journey into the Promised Land.

Joshua heard the words of the Lord, “Be strong and courageous; don’t be afraid or terrified…for it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) Over and over again Joshua had to be told “Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for I am with you.” (Deut. 31:16, 8, 23. Joshua 1:6; 10:25)

Is this age we live in any different? NO! First of all, we are still a stiff-necked and complaining people. Second of all, these words are for now and forever. Whatever it is you are facing, you are not facing it alone—God is with you. Even when everything seems out of control, God is still in control. It is a beautiful thing when you can open up the eyes and ears of your heart and give everything over to Him. He knows the future and He has planned your way into it. It is when we keep fighting and insist upon our own control that everything is out of control. That sounds like double-talk, I know, but if you really think about it, you will agree. So, hear the words of the One who created all things, “Do not be afraid and do not be discouraged.” Hear not a discouraging word.

Let us pray

Dear Lord, help me to remember that you go before me and prepare the way ahead for me. Help me to gain confidence not in my own footing and ability, but in Your guidance and protection. Thank you for always being a few strides ahead. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

(Prayer by Eryn Lynum; All God’s Creatures; a Guideposts publication)

© Rev. Betty A Beach-Connell  2020, 10/20

His Spirit LLC

OLD AGE

“They will still bear fruit in old age…”  Psalm 92:14

Yesterday, according to the calendar, was Grandparents day. It made me think of my grandparents who are at home with the Lord. I remember the huge sugar cookies my Grandmother always baked. I’d walk into her home and the fragrance was awesome. No matter what time of the day it was, she always offered me one, saying, “Don’t tell your mother.”

Then there was Grandpa. It seemed like he was a huge man to a little girl like me. He was a lion on the outside, but a kitten on the inside. I loved climbing into his lap as he sat in his overstuffed chair in the living room, by the window, smoking his pipe. His lap seemed so safe. I snuggled down into his comfy body. The two of us would just sit there. When we are young, we automatically think that they will be with us always. But, that was 80+ years ago, now all I have is my memories.

Many children waste precious time being with their grandparents. There is so much to do in this lifetime that we do not think any farther than this moment. We go through life like “chickens with their heads cut off!!” If you have ever seen that you would know what I mean. My dad raised and butchered chickens for us to eat—and for the eggs they would produce. I’d watch him as the axe came down and the chickens’ head and fell to the ground. Then he would lay the rest of the headless chicken on the ground and, wouldn’t you know, that chicken would flop around all over the place! That is what many do though out their lifetime—wasting precious moments.

This is where I am today—in my old age. But, God’s word tells me that even in my old age, He will not abandon me. (Psalm 72:18) I will still be able to bear fruit. (Psalm 92:14) Even when I am old and gray He will be with me. (Isaiah 46:14)

I read a story about an 88 year old woman who was very beautiful. She was very meticulous about her appearance. Then one day she fell breaking bones in her neck. Of course, she was hospitalized and then, in rehab, and had to wear a Martian-like brace on her head and neck. She worked hard at her re-habilitation. One day she looked at herself in the mirror. She was horrified! She said, “I look terrible! I need to go to the beauty shop!” Her daughter made the appointment and took her. Next she wanted her nails done and her make-up. What she said next resonated with me and perhaps it will with you. She said, “I might seem old and rickety, but I’m still me.” (Strength & Grace 365 Daily Devotions, September 7, by Pat Dyson)

Now, I am a grandparent who is old and gray. I’m a little less agile and little un-kept at times, but I am still the same on the inside and have much to offer my children and grandchildren—if they would listen.

Don’t miss any time that you could spend with your parents and grandparents. Each moment is precious and one day all you will have is your memories.

“Even when I am old and gray, God, do not abandon me. Then I will proclaim Your power to another generation. Your strength to all who are to come.” Psalm 72:18

Father, thank You for bringing me through all the circumstances and situations of my life. I continue to rely upon Your wisdom, even now, in my old age. There is much yet to do. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I pray. Amen

Forget About It

“For I am about to do something new.” Isaiah 43:19

two people standing near seashore

 

“Look I am doing a new thing,” shouts the Lord to Isaiah and the people of Israel. “Do you not see it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Relationships are key to leading a full and rewarding life, but they must be right relationships. Also, some relationships are down-right destructive to your character and your spirit.

A young, not-so innocent, young lady fell in love. She got married and began what she thought was going to be a story-book life. However, a few years and two children later, it started to turn sour. She wanted to hold onto this relationship—for better or for worse, after all, she had made a vow on her wedding day. Two more children came along and life grew more and more tense. She was living in a hell she had not signed up for. Oh, she was not a woman of perfection, and probably if she were honest, added flame to the raging fire. Did God have a reason to allow this to happen?

Sometimes our eyes are blinded to everything but what we see right in front of us. Circumstances are so dire that they are always at the forefront of our lives. It is true God has a plan for your life. Jeremiah writes: “…I know the plans I have for you…They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (29:11) Look to the Lord—call upon Him and He will answer you.

God does not want us to be in relationships that do not honor Him. Jesus, who was God born to us, gave up His life so that we could live a resourceful, righteous, re-committed life for Him. You and I must be in relationship with Him above all other relationships. He will lead us into right relationships that will honor Him. Even as we fought to hang onto one that brought harm to us, God will bring us back and set our feet on the straight and narrow path that leads us home.

So our Lord and Savior leads us, His Holy Spirit guides us to the beautiful life He has promised. Put your blinders on, look straight ahead—do not look back. For this is the day the Lord has made and you must be glad in it—(paraphrased Psalm 118:24) for He is doing a new thing…do you not see it? (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Dear Lord, I want to have friends in my life that You want me to have. Help me to release the people You are leading me away from. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

“Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.” Jeremiah 33:3

Isaiah 43:18   Psalm 32:8   Proverbs 4:25

Hearing Visions

The year 2020 reminds me of vision. When a person has 2020 vision they are able to see clearly. Therefore, I believe the New Year 2020 is the year of vision. Those who open their heart and hear the Word of the Lord will have 2020 vision. This is the year that great things will happen for those who open their eyes and ears to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Will that someone be you?

 

The following meditation is entitled “Hearing Visions.”

 

img_8532

 

“Blessed is the man…his delight is in the law of the Lord…”

Psalm 1:1, 2

 

As I look out through the windows of our Florida room, I see God’s creation in all its glory. There is water, wild life, flowers, and trees. The trees stand straight and strong at the edge of the water, where they have been for many years. They provide shade, sustenance for birds and bees, and a place for squirrels and birds to nest and rest. But, without the water that feeds its roots and the sun that provides the vitamins it needs, that tree would not be able to stand.

The same is true of you and me. We need strength to give us life. Oh, yes, we need bread, vegetables, water, etc. to provide our bodies sustenance, but living on just what we put into our mouths gives us only survival. We need the Word of God to give us life abundantly.

In the Old Testament we read about the Hebrews who were running wild at the foot of Mt. Sinai where Moses left them under the charge of Aaron so he could go up the mountain to confer with God. When he returned he found them out of control—they had collected all the gold jewelry, threw it into the fire and made for themselves a golden idol. They refused to worship the Lord and went in anarchy—they were not paying attention to laws set down by God and they were in a state of confusion and chaos. (Exodus 32:25ff)

The Psalmist tells us that a man is blessed when he puts his delight in the Lord and meditates upon it day and night. (Psalm 1:2) Paul told the Roman church that without a preacher who depends upon the Lord and speaks truth to the people, they cannot hear the Word. (Romans 10:14) And the Wisdom of Solomon tells us: “Where there is no vision the people perish, but happy is he who keeps the teaching.” (Proverbs 29:18 MEV)

Now having said all this, look at our world today. Is there confusion and chaos? Are our leaders looking to God for answers on how they should lead the people in the land of the free and the home of the brave? Are our preachers preaching the Word? Are they being held accountable for what they do and say?

You see “seeing visions” isn’t about dreams or daydreaming. “Seeing visions” is about hearing the Word and living in the truth of it. Without such a vision you will be thrown into a life of complete confusion. The people in Moses’ time longed for something that they refused to accept and tried to make it for themselves, in doing so, they caused themselves great suffering. The same will happen to you when you do not, refuse to, or cannot, hear the vision of a life abundant that God has planned for you.

Read God’s Holy Word—seek a Bible preaching church—put into practice what you see and hear.

 

Dear Lord, this world is in great turmoil—we long for Your peace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Proverbs 29:18   John 13:17   I Samuel 3:1   Amos 8:11   James 1:25

THERE’S A BABY ON THE WAY

“…she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:18c

jesus christ figurine

Many of us know the joy, accompanied with a certain amount of stress, that accompanies a baby on the way. There is nine months of expanding discomfort and in the last moments (or perhaps hours) pain. We can envision all this for Mary. But, for her there was much, much more.

We are once again anticipating a baby on the way. This baby was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit who came upon the Virgin Mary. This in and of itself, is hard to wrap our minds around! There is no way to do it but by faith, and trust, and belief in God.

Mary was young, too young we might say, to have a baby. But, here she was—not married, although betrothed (engaged) to Joseph. How would he react? The scripture tells us that he, too, was visited by an angel of the Lord who prepared him and commanded him to stand beside Mary, “having no marital relations until she had borne a son.” (Matthew 1:18-25) This angel also told them the baby’s name—Emmanuel (which means God with us).

Think of it!! God came to earth in the form of a baby whom we call Jesus, who was born to give Himself up to death that you and I might live! He lay there in the manger surrounded by his mother and earthly father, Joseph. If anyone really knew who this baby was I believe it was the animals that lay there in the cold and hay with Him. This Jesus was not born of the blood, or the flesh, or of the will of man, but of the will of God. (John 1:13) He came that you and I might know and understand the love that the father has for us. But, still some turn their backs on Him, which is illustrated when the Innkeeper told Mary and Joseph that there was no room for them in the Inn—”Go to the stable!” he said.

December 25th is the date man has chosen to celebrate the birthday of Jesus the Messiah. Let us offer the gift that goes on giving—ourselves. Turn the lights on in your heart that the true meaning of this day, when God came to earth and dwelt among us, will change not only this one day, but every day to come. May you experience the joy of walking with Jesus—the baby that was borne to die to save your soul. He ultimately gave Himself up for you—and is our Greatest Gift.

 

Let us pray

Dear Lord, Please help us to

 Listen like the shepherds…

Rejoice like the angels…

Seek like the wise men…

Believe like Mary and Joseph…

And live all year long

With the peace, joy and love

Christ came to give.

AMEN

PEACE ON EARTH AND GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN!

 

Believing In What Is Not Seen

woman covering her face with corn leaves

“Unless I see…I will not believe.” John 20:25

 

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity—God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. These three make up the God-Head. Together they created the world and all that is in it; (Gen.1) together they minister to all those who believe. But, there is a problem! Many are like Thomas and say, “Unless I see, I will not believe!” What a shame; what a loss.

The fact is, if you believe you will see. You see, believing is seeing. Now I know, you will say, “How can that be?” Well, look around you. Someone was supposed to be at the World Trade Center when it was attacked in 2001, but for one reason or another didn’t make it and their life was spared. Another, didn’t get the job they wanted, but found out 6 months later that the company went bankrupt. Another, retired against his better judgment, but shortly after he retired, there was a fire that would’ve wiped out his job without retirement pay. There are many decisions that may be made that are not necessarily one we want to make, but turn out to be the best for us. Why? Could it be because there is something to this Holy Spirit thing?

I wonder what the Lord has planned for you who believe today. Are you willing to follow the path that He has laid out for you? The Psalmist writes, “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will be glad and rejoice in it.” (Psalm 118:24) And, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Luke writes, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (1:37)

The Holy Spirit makes it possible to see God. He came upon Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God—who was named Jesus—and who would become the Savior of the world. (Luke 1:35) John quotes Jesus as saying, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (John 20:29 b) It takes faith to believe. You must believe to have faith.

Let us ask the Holy Spirit to teach us His ways. And to help us to see how He moves in our life and in the lives of others. Let us see His wisdom, grace, kindness, patience, mercy, and truth. Look for the positives in life and let go of the negatives.

Dear Lord, make me to know Your ways and teach me you paths. In Jesus name I pray. Amen

Isaiah 55:8   Psalm 18:30   Deuteronomy 32:4   Romans 12:3   Revelation 15:3 b   Psalm 12:6   Psalm 25:4

Heart To Mouth

woman wearing pink long sleeved shirt ad white drawstring bottoms

“For it is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly.

1 Peter 2:19

 

Our bodies are a work of genius by the Creator Himself. Think about it, each part is intricately formed having a particular function for the wellness of the body. Each part is separate, but all of them work together. If one part insists on going on its own, the rest of the body tries to compensate until the “selfish” part gets back on track. So to, the Body of Christ, known as the Church, made up of believers. Faith sets the believer apart from the unbeliever. Like sheep we go astray, but the Shepherd always brings us back. Isaiah writes: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (53:6)

“So, what does this have to do with my heart and my mouth?” you may ask. The answer is it has everything to do with them. Sometimes your mouth says things that come right out of left field. And your heart says “Where did that come from?” The writer of Proverbs (said to be Solomon) says, “My child, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways!” (23:26) And James writes, “but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God.” (3:8, 9)

Therefore, whatever is in your heart, dictates what comes out of your mouth, unless you allow other people, or take on idols other than God and His Word to influence you. Then you give your tongue free reign. You must remember that God has chosen you and loves you. John writes the words that Jesus spoke to His disciples: “You did not choose me but I chose you, and I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (15:16) And, that includes a heart full of faith and love.

So, brothers and sisters, if you lack anything and your mouth seems to be running away with itself, ask the Lord to come into your heart and remind you of what is important. Remember, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Heb. 3:16)

This is my prayer for all of us:- “Now may the God of Peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you compete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom, be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20, 21) “Christ in your heart is your only hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27 TLB)

 

O Lord blessed be this day that my heart is right with You. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

I Peter 2:23   Isaiah 53:7   I Peter 1:18-19   Isaiah 53:5

Psalm 119:176   John 10:11

By the transforming power of the gospel people and situations change. May your heart be transformed.

The Open Door

opened brown wooden french door

“…I have set before you an open door…”  Revelation 3:8

 

Did you ever wonder about the meaning of words? Words can be very fascinating! A word could be pronounced the same although spelled differently and the meaning is totally different. Then there are some words that there is no doubt as to their meaning and how they are spelled.

However, a word such as “door” could have more than one meaning depending how it is used. The first image that comes to mind is a moveable structure used for opening and closing an entrance, but it can also be a symbol—which can be easily overlooked. As a symbol, it symbolizes the transition and passageway from one place to another, perhaps as moving from a place of hopelessness to hope.

You haven’t been able to open the door, you don’t have the key—you’ve looked and looked and cannot find it. Then one day almost miraculously, you look and there is a crack in the opening and light is coming through. Cautiously, you lean forward and peak through. You give the door a little push and it opens a little farther. There are people in there and a strange sound comes forth. It is the sound of their voices—there is music and laughter and singing and much chitter-chatter, you want to join them. But, to walk through this door you must have faith—that is the key.

I saw a young—twenty or thirty something—young lady. She entered the hall and asked if she could sit at a certain table. When she was told, “Of course,” she sat, smiled, and the people at the table introduced themselves. However, the music was too loud to be able to carry on a conversation. This young lady seemed to want to blend in with the crowd. Soon she was mouthing the words of the songs. The Spirit began to work and she forgot about herself and allowed the Lord to fill her with His Spirit. This young lady had walked through the door from a hopeless to a hope-filled life. You see, Jesus is the door—He is the open door. You, too, can come in and sit and dine with him—all you need to do is believe.

Don’t be afraid to open the door. Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart, asking you to open it and let Him in. (Revelation 3:20) Unlock the door, have faith, and never look back. Forget about what lies behind and press forward to what lies ahead. (Philippians 3:13, 14) Each door that opens will bring you closer to the life for which God has created you.

Holy Scripture as quoted in “If I Live,” by Terri Blackstock, published by Zondervan; “If I Run Series” Book 3

Seek God’s kingdom first (Matthew 6:33); love because you’re loved (John 13:34); overflow with hope by trusting in God (Romans 15:13). “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Dear Lord, remind me daily—every moment—that You love me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Have faith until you believe, then have faith because you believe.

 

“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved…”

Acts 16:31

Also,

John 4:24   2 Corinthians 3:17   Psalm 34:8

In Forgiveness You Will Receive

 

blue purple red and yellow heart printed poster

“…Not seven times…seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:22

How many times have you ever heard someone say—or perhaps you yourself have said—“I can never forgive them?”  My heart breaks when I hear those words. Why? Because that person has put themselves in a prison that will only reap bitterness until he/she forgives. It will be a sad and dark life in which they see no beauty, no light for the future.

Several years ago an Amish community suffered a terrible loss. Someone came into one of their school houses and killed eleven of the students, after which, he killed himself. It must have been a horrific scene, as you can imagine. And, the children who witnessed all of this must have been traumatized! Yet, the Amish people forgave this man and even, helped his wife and family through their grief. A testament to the way of life the Lord Jesus has laid out for those who follow him.

So when you hear someone say, “I cannot forgive,” know the first thing that person needs to know is that God loves them. They need the Lord! They are lost in their grief. It is not that this horrible thing that has happened should go without punishment. It is about forgiveness that will release them from the burden they carry that should not be theirs to carry in the first place—it is the Lord’s burden and He will be the one to judge and punish. Another very important thing, when you forgive you are not condoning the person’s evil deed—you are releasing the burden you have been carrying and putting it where it needs to be—in God’s hands.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells a story of the “Unforgiving Servant.” A king wanted to settle accounts with his servants. One was brought to him who owed an enormous amount which he could not pay. The king ordered the servant, his wife and children, to be sold. But, the servant pleaded with the king to have patience with him and he would repay what he owed. So the king forgave him. But, this same servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him money and demanded that he pay him what he owed!

When the king heard what happened, he sent for the unforgiving servant and sked him, “Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?” (Matthew 18:33) The king sent, the unforgiving servant away to be tortured until he paid.

The scripture goes on to teach us that if this is what our Heavenly Father will do to us if we do not forgive as He has forgiven us. Our Father has forgiven us much—seventy-times-seven, we are called to repent of our sins and forgive those who sin against us. Only when you understand this can you live a blessed life. For you see, you cannot give away something you do not have.

 

Dear Lord, help me forgive as You have forgiven me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

God is rich in mercy and grace, but He is also holy and just, so those who refuse to forgive should not imagine that God would welcome their unforgiving hearts into His kingdom. (The Jeremiah Study Bible, pg. 115, note Matthew 18:35)

Matthew 18:21-22   Luke 17:4   Colossians 3:13   Psalm 103:10, 13

 

The Wrong Focus

 

“To set the mind on the flesh is death…” Romans 8:6

person playing on light

 

So many of us are rushing around tending to all the facets of our lives. There is home, work, and family—to say nothing of meeting all our desires. All of us have the same amount of time in a day—24 hours. But, some of us seem to run out of time.

The one thing that overrides everything else—or so it seems—is money. And when the pot gets big enough we call it, wealth. For that “money” has afforded us many material blessings. I use the word “blessings” in the worldly sense, for it seems that it has been with us since the beginning of time. It is the one thing that raises us up, one above the other—or so some think.

Here is the disaster that encompasses the world since the beginning of time—wealth corrupts our focus, if we allow it. And we celebrate too often or we fill our bodies with mind altering drugs and alcohol. It seems then you can think of yourself as accomplished only to find out when you awake, from such a state, that you are not only in the same place, but even a little lower. It becomes a vicious cycle. But, still there is hope.

Let’s get back to those 24 hours I mentioned earlier. Where is the time you’ve spent with God? Could that be what is missing and causes you to fall into the trap of discouragement? Take note of time. Don’t let it march by without spending even a few moments with God. The richness that He can give you through His love is much more valuable than all the riches of the world. You will not need drugs and alcohol to make you feel important. Instead of being filled with spirits, you will be filled with His Spirit.

Don’t worry you can do it! All you need do is decide.

The Psalmist writes, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (37:4)

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” (37:5)

The Psalmist also tells us, “…do not fret over those who prosper in their way…it leads only to evil.” (Psalms 37:7, 8)

All you must do is pray and do what is right, then the Lord will supply all your needs.

Trust and obey—there is no other way. And for those of you who have found your way—reach out and touch someone who needs you.

Dear Lord, help me find my way to the life you have promised me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

Romans 8:5   I Corinthians 2:15   Galatians 5:22   Luke 21: 34-35   Romans 13:14

Galatians 6:7-8

The Open Door

facade of an old building with a huge arched wooden door

“…I have set before you an open door…”  Revelation 3:8

 

Did you ever wonder about the meaning of words? Words can be very fascinating! A word could be pronounced the same although spelled differently and the meaning is totally different. Then there are some words that there is no doubt as to their meaning and how they are spelled.

However, a word such as “door” could have more than one meaning depending how it is used. The first image that comes to mind is a moveable structure used for opening and closing an entrance, but it can also be a symbol—which can be easily overlooked. As a symbol, it symbolizes the transition and passageway from one place to another, perhaps as moving from a place of hopelessness to hope.

You haven’t been able to open the door, you don’t have the key—you’ve looked and looked and cannot find it. Then one day almost miraculously, you look and there is a crack in the opening and light is coming through. Cautiously, you lean forward and peak through. You give the door a little push and it opens a little farther. There are people in there and a strange sound comes forth. It is the sound of their voices—there is music and laughter and singing and much chitter-chatter, you want to join them. But, to walk through this door you must have faith—that is the key.

I saw a young—twenty or thirty something—young lady. She entered the hall and asked if she could sit at a certain table. When she was told, “Of course she sat, smiled, and the people at the table introduced themselves. However, the music was too loud to be able to carry on a conversation. This young lady seemed to want to blend in with the crowd. Soon she was mouthing the words of the songs. The Spirit began to work and she forgot about herself and allowed the Lord to fill her with His Spirit. This young lady had walked through the door from a hopeless to a hope-filled life. You see, Jesus is the door—He is the open door. You, too, can come in and sit and dine with him—all you need to do is believe.

Don’t be afraid to open the door. Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart, asking you to open it and let Him in. (Revelation 3:20) Unlock the door, have faith, and never look back. Forget about what lies behind and press forward to what lies ahead. (Philippians 3:13, 14) Each door that opens will bring you closer to the life for which God has created you.

Holy Scripture as quoted in “If I Live,” by Terri Blackstock, published by Zondervan; “If I Run Series” Book 3

Seek God’s kingdom first (Matthew 6:33); love because you’re loved (John 13:34); overflow with hope by trusting in God (Romans 15:13). “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Dear Lord, remind me daily—every moment—that You love me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

Have faith until you believe, then have faith because you believe.

 

“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved…”

Acts 16:31

Also,

John 4:24   2 Corinthians 3:17   Psalm 34:8

The Wrong Focus

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“To set the mind on the flesh is death…” Romans 8:6

 

So many of us are rushing around tending to all the facets of our lives. There is home, work, and family—to say nothing of meeting all our desires. All of us have the same amount of time in a day—24 hours. But, some of us seem to run out of time.

The one thing that overrides everything else—or so it seems—is money. And when the pot gets big enough we call it, wealth. For that “money” has afforded us many material blessings. I use the word “blessings” in the worldly sense, for it seems that it has been with us since the beginning of time. It is the one thing that raises us up, one above the other—or so some think.

Here is the disaster that encompasses the world since the beginning of time—wealth corrupts our focus, if we allow it. And we celebrate too often or we fill our bodies with mind altering drugs and alcohol. It seems then you can think of yourself as accomplished only to find out when you awake, from such a state, that you are not only in the same place, but even a little lower. It becomes a vicious cycle. But, still there is hope.

Let’s get back to those 24 hours I mentioned earlier. Where is the time you’ve spent with God? Could that be what is missing and causes you to fall into the trap of discouragement? Take note of time. Don’t let it march by without spending even a few moments with God. The richness that He can give you through His love is much more valuable than all the riches of the world. You will not need drugs and alcohol to make you feel important. Instead of being filled with spirits, you will be filled with His Spirit.

Don’t worry you can do it! All you need do is decide.

The Psalmist writes, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (37:4)

 “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” (37:5)

 The Psalmist also tells us, “…do not fret over those who prosper in their way…it leads only to evil.” (Psalms 37:7, 8)

All you must do is pray and do what is right, then the Lord will supply all your needs.

Trust and obey—there is no other way. And for those of you who have found your way—reach out and touch someone who needs you.

Dear Lord, help me find my way to the life you have promised me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Romans 8:5   I Corinthians 2:15   Galatians 5:22   Luke 21: 34-35   Romans 13:14

Galatians 6:7-8

The Book of Life

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“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

 

The Pastor listened to the voice of God when preparing for the message he would give. It was the right thing to do, but at the same time, he felt it was risky. He leaned totally on the strength of the Lord. And even if the congregation may throw rotten tomatoes at him, or run him out of town on a rail, or chastise him at the next board meeting, he committed himself to deliver the message, although it be with fear and trepidation.

He began with a question: “Is your name in the Book of Life?” Eyes opened wide; people squirmed in their seats; it seemed as though everyone was holding their breath. Many of them had no idea what he was talking about; those who knew smiled to themselves and said, “Finally, now we are getting some place!”

The Pastor began by talking about Paul and his journey from the Pharisaic life to living wholly and completely in the Lords’ presence. He talked of Paul’s conversion while on the road to Damascus to “do away” with those Christians who were a threat to Roman rule. (Acts 9) He told them about how Paul was imprisoned after turning his life over to the Lord, even so his heart was so filled with the Holy Spirit that he and fellow prisoner, Silas, sang hymns and prayed through-out the night. (Acts 16) As a result an Angel of the Lord threw open wide the prison doors. The jailers were filled with fear for they knew if the prisoners escaped they would be killed. But, Paul and Silas and the others turned a bad situation into a good one as they witnessed to their captors who wanted to be saved. Paul told them, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved; you and all your household. “ (Acts 16:3) At that time their names were recorded in the Book of Life.

The pastor now turned his message directly toward his congregation. “How about you?” he asked. “Is your name in the Book of Life? Are you securely grounded and ready for the Lord when He comes again? Are you ready to sit before the judgment seat: For, you see, the Lord IS coming again! He is coming to judge the world. And, whether dead in the grave or alive you will be judged! Those who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ and have done everything in their power—O, we do stumble from time to time—but that is the meaning of the cross—“Forgiveness”—to follow the will and the word of God will be saved, when your name is written the Book of Life.”

“Now can you answer my opening question, is your name recorded in the Book of Life?”

As the Pastor looked over his congregation there was a deafening silence.————————————– Finally after 2 or 3 minutes, the Pastor spoke again—“You have an opportunity at this very moment to secure your salvation on judgment day. If you haven’t yet, then come present yourself at the altar and ask Jesus to come into your heart, ask for forgiveness, and turn away from that which has been keeping you prisoner. The prison doors are open waiting for you to walk through.”

What a glorious day in the life of that church, for the altar had standing room only!

 

Dear Lord, thank you for the knowing that my name is written in the Book of Life. I love you, Lord and long to see you face to face. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

 

Rev. 20:12   2 Cor. 5:10   I Thess. 4:17   Daniel 7:10/12:1   Psalm 69:28   Phil. 4:3          Matthew 16:27   Romans 2:6

The Covenant

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably upon his people and redeemed them.” Luke 1:68

women s in gray turtleneck sweater pointing white contract paper

I’m sure you have signed a contract within your lifetime. That contract bound you and the provider to a certain time frame and a certain provision. Whether it was for a cell phone, a mortgage, or a car or job. You promised to uphold your end by paying your price and the provider’s promise to provide the service. If either one reneges it is a breach of contract.

While a contract is an agreement between parties, a covenant is a pledge…you seal a covenant while you sign a contract. A contract is a mutually beneficial relationship while a covenant is something you fulfill. A contract exchanges one good for another, while a covenant is giving oneself to another. Therefore, God has pledged Himself “to be with you always even to the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:20) and He has sealed His covenant with His blood.

In order to enter into this covenant, or be a recipient, we must believe that Jesus is the Son of God and obey His commands and walk in faith. God, in order to save His people from annihilation, came to earth and dwelt among us.—He named Himself Jesus. (John 1) Jesus made himself known by living among the people and teaching them the precepts of God. He chose His disciples who would learn from Him and spread God’s word through-out the world as they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Then He died at the hands of those He was trying to save. His blood flowed from His body that anyone who comes to Him, now and forever, will be saved and enter into the covenant that says, “God is your God, and you are His people. And, He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5)

Even when walking through the desert—those times when it seems all is lost—especially then, God is walking with you and may even be carrying you.  He is saying to you “Do not be afraid—be strong—be courageous I am with you.” Take refuge in the shadow of His wings. His Holy Spirit will come and save you. But, you must never give up. Do not just sit and wait; continue to make the effort and listen as you pray. All is not lost, success is just around the corner. God has a plan which He will not desert. It is a plan that promises success for His people—His children—those with whom He has made His covenant—which is a promise that cannot be broken.

This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Lord, I know you hear the prayers of Your children. Help them to hear Your answers to a successful life. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Psalm 105:8   Luke 1:72   Hebrews 6:17-18   James 1:17   Matthew 26:28   Jeremiah 31:33b

A Symbol of Forgiveness

“Father, forgive them…” Luke 23:34

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Confession time! After all my years, 28+, of preaching and re-searching the scriptures, I have had my eyes opened! The Cross is not simply about Jesus dying for all of us—it is about forgiveness. It was the greatest example on earth of someone being humiliated, tortured, and put to death in the cruelest, meanest way possible, and yet, some of his last words were “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) Christ held no animosity against those that put Him to death—or tried to, for you see, no one can kill God—“He is, was, and always will be. His is the Alpha and the Omega.” (Rev. 1:8)

Jesus’ exclamation is not only for those who tortured Him and nailed Him to the Cross, it is for you and me—everyone. No one is excluded from His Holy words, “Father, forgive them.” Our Holy God recognizes that believing in Him, His power, His ever-presence is a process. It consists of hills and valleys and sometimes seemingly unsurmountable mountains. It is not until you get through and are on the other side, that you realize there was “Someone” who was helping you, otherwise you couldn’t have made it through the storm. Slowly your eyes are opened.

Paul finally understood all of this. He was blinded by the light of Christ (Acts 9) and saw through the blackness in which he had been living. He was never the same again. Instead of killing Christians he began calling others to Christ. He encouraged those who knew and believed Jesus to continue in spite of any rejections they may suffer. Paul knew, he had been there, the place of darkness without Christ as Lord and Savior. And now that he knew, the magnitude of forgiveness, he committed himself to follow his Savior’s lead.

Paul preached about overcoming evil with good. He said, to the church in Rome, the mega center of cruelty. “…if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink, for by doing this you will pile burning coals upon their heads.” (Romans 12:20) In other words, “Forgive them.” They will be mystified and will not be able to understand what is happening. It will take all the wind out of their sails! For you see, they are driven by the Enemy who wants to rile you into sin. By the way, this is sin of which you have already been forgiven because of the Cross! So not fall for the Enemy’s tricks!

I urge you, right now, at this very moment, throw off that grudge you’ve been carrying, “forget what is behind and strain forward to what lies ahead,” (Phil 3:13) for it is a new day, a new beginning, God is doing a new thing within you, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19) For those who have forgiven much will be forgiven even more—the Cross has made it so. Thank you, Jesus.

Dear Lord, help me to forgive and forget. You are Lord overall and will stay true to Your promise to save me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

Matthew 5:44   Acts 8:60   Romans 12:14, 18   I Corinthians 4:12   I Peter 2:20-21   I Timothy 1:13, 14

 

So, whenever you see a cross be reminded to forgive as you have been forgiven.

 

Wait Patiently

“Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him,” Psalm 37:7

One of the hardest things for some of us is to wait and be patient. I mean, you know what to do and when to do it—right? And sometimes, you just want to do it and get it over with! If only we could have the faith that Ruth seemed to have when she said to her mother-in-law, Naomi, “Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”(Ruth 1:16) (Please take a moment and turn to the book of Ruth and read her story) And in the Book of Proverbs we read this: The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.” (16:9) And, I know, O Lord, that the way of human beings is not in their control, that mortals as they walk cannot direct their steps.”  (Jeremiah 10:23)

Again, the Psalmist cries out, “Be still and know that I am God!” (46:10) And, Isaiah writes, “…those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…” (40:31) I encourage you to look up what has been referenced herein and prayerfully consider and take into your heart what you read. Ask the Holy Spirit to rise up within you and give you wisdom and understanding.

You could probably surmise by now, that I struggle with the waiting game. I tend not to have patience, but I am a work in progress. You see, I know the steps I must take to reach my goal. And some of them I could just as well skip over. But, you see, there are things that I cannot see and if I waited and had a little patience, my God would most assuredly make my way clear! He has promised that if I wait for Him that I will, “mount up with wings like eagles, [I] shall run and not be weary, [I] shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Now, I do not know what your path is; every one of us can only know their own. But, I do know this, God has a plan for you and me (Jeremiah 29:11-12) and He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) so “do not fear, for [God] is with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God.” (Isaiah 41:10)

You see, the scriptures that I have noted (and there are many more) are not just stories of people from long ago, they are your story, as well; and they are my story. God who came to earth in the flesh (John 1) and called Himself Jesus—“is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) He has engraved you on the palm of his hand,( Isaiah 49:16)

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so do not fret, for when you do it is an invitation for Satan to tell you lies that you may act upon. Simply trust in the Lord and lean on His understanding (Proverbs 3:5, 6) for He will direct your steps and take you safely to the goal He has set before you.

I hope you will covenant with me to read and re-read this meditation until the Holy Spirit has written upon your heart that “all things are possible with God.” (Matthew 19:26)

Father, take my life and let it be consecrated with thee. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

Romans 12:2   Hebrews 10:36   Romans 8:25   Psalm 37: 7-9   Ruth 2:12

 

Know Your Enemy

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“Beloved, do not believe every spirit…” I John 4:1

 

Discernment is a word that appears many times in the Bible. Unless we know what it means it is just another word used to fill in some space. But, when you understand that when you have discernment, you have sharp perceptions and make right judgments. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit given to those who believe in the Son of God, Jesus, and have faith and trust in Him and His Word.

In order to know who your real enemy is you must have discernment. There are many false prophets and teachers who think they are mightier than God. These persons tell you things that you think you want to hear. However, what they tell you is like a new toy that you would give to your child. It entertains them for a while, but soon the newness wears off and you find the toy in the corner and your child is playing with the box. Without discernment this liar of all liars will lead you down the path to eternal destruction.

But, do not fret for “greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.” (I John 4:4b) If you know God then you can discern your enemy. The problem is we forget to ask God to lead us through the maze of the world. We forget to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 7:7) We forget to pray. (Ephesians 6:18)

When you receive Jesus into your heart, you also are releasing the mighty power of the Holy Spirit who gifts you with many gifts among them is “discernment of spirits.” (I Cor. 7:7-10) If you have a sense that something isn’t quite right, it probably isn’t—back away—test what you are seeing/hearing by asking God and reading His Word. You know what they say, “If it seems too good to be true it probably is.”

The strong man is a wimp in the face of God. Do you remember the story of David and Goliath? (I Samuel 17) The Israelites were in battle with the Philistines. There appeared a giant named Goliath and none of the Israelites felt they could stand up against him, except a young lad named David. David slew Goliath with a sling shot and a stone and finished him off with a sword. Why was David able to do this? David knew his enemy and was able to stand up against him because the power of God was within him.

You, too, can be victorious over whatever giants are before you in your life. Be filled with the Holy Spirit and in God’s time the victory will be yours. Trust in God and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in every way and He will direct you on a path that brings you safely Home. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Dear Lord, help me to know right from wrong and give me the courage to choose the right. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

Mark 3:27   Matthew 16:19   John 20:22b, 23   I Corinthians 12:7-10

The Sovereignty of God

 

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“The Mighty One, God, the Lord speaks;” Psalm 50:1

My mother always kept her hands busy—creating. She knitted, crocheted, made ceramic pieces, fashioned beautiful, delicate objects out of goose eggs; made articles out of clothe using her sewing machine; embroidered; and made delicious meals. Can you imagine any one of these objects what she made with her ery capable hands, saying to her…”What are you doing?” or “Why did you make me this way?” In doing and creating all these things me Mom, was in charge and maintained control over them all.

To be able to have a better understanding of the infinite, we must delve into the finite. Understanding our mere creations makes way for us to understand the sovereignty of God. The word sovereign means “supreme being”—one who reigns over all. The book of all truth—the Holy Bible—begins by telling us in no uncertain terms that “God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1)  And, John, writes, ” He was in the beginning…and all things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.” (1:3) Yet there are many who refuse to believe or accept the sovereignty of Almighty God.

Jeremiah tells us that God has a plan; that plan is for our good and our success. (Jeremiah 29:11) All of us are but a hunk of coal and only our creator can make us into a diamond someday. However, there are spiritual forces that try to stir us down the wrong path. The Evil One, ole-sloo-foot as I call him, instills in us a sense of fear. He makes us second guess and destroys our confidence in the Lord. He makes everything nebulous and destroys the clarity of God’s voice. When you feel confused please know that feeling is not of the Lord. It is a tactic used by Satan to keep you from the peace of God that passes all understanding. (Phil 4:6-7)

I’m hoping that you will stand with me in declaring the sovereignty of God to all the world. We do not need big crowds or stadiums full of people—one person at a time is all it takes. Then that person tells another of the peace and love that can be experienced by proclaiming the sovereignty of Almighty God—the Creator of the world and all that is therein. Then another and another and soon all the world will know, proclaim and be saved. Praise be to God!

Dear Lord, I give myself to you—help me disclaim all fear and confusion and proclaim Your strength, power, and love through Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8

Make the Call

0127180827“No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” Romans 10:11

 

“Let anyone with ears listen!” These are the words of God from Genesis to Revelation in one way or another. They are recorded through-out the Old Testament especially Jeremiah, Psalm, and Isaiah. God calls to all of us to listen to His still, small, voice. “Be still and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10) He speaks to you.

In a world filled with so much noise and chaos you wonder, “How can God hear the soft murmurings of my heart?” Maybe more importantly, “How can I hear God?” God doesn’t shout; He doesn’t raise His voice, yet a heart in tune with His Spirit hears as though He were the only one speaking. His voice is in the gentle wind; it is in the flower blooming from a tiny bud; it is in the birds of the air and the baby birds in the nest; it is in the sweet sounds of the baby in your arms. All you have to do is call upon Him, seek His face, then sit back and listen.

Jeremiah writes, “…call upon Me and Pray to Me, and I will hear you.” (33:3) It is up to you to make the call. The calling numbers are—“Lord I need You,” or, “Lord, I want to hear your voice,” or “Lord, fell my heart with Your Spirit.” Whatever you need He will provide—in His time. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven,” therefore, God has a plan—a blueprint made out for your life and He will provide what you need at just the right time. Meanwhile, listen and wait upon the Lord. But, do not hesitate to make the call.

 

The other day I needed to call someone to deliver a message that may not be received very well. I was hesitant to make that call. My pride was getting in the way of my common sense. Finally, I picked up the phone and with shaky fingers dialed the number. Actually, I was secretly hoping that no one would answer, then I could just leave a message.

black and gray telephone booth

The phone rang and rang, until finally someone answered. After exchanging our greeting, I  stated the reason for my call, all the time thinking the worst. There was silence. I gulped. Then I heard—“I am so glad you told me. I will see what I can do.” I gave a sigh of relief, for I had been holding my breath. The call ended and I smiled to myself saying a little prayer of thanksgiving to God.

I think this same scenario takes place when we need to call upon God. He is always waiting to hear our voice—a voice crying in the wilderness. Maybe it’s time for you to make your call to your Heavenly Father who loves you.

Dear Lord, I want to be filled with Your Spirit. Make me humble in Your sight. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

John 10:27   Jeremiah 33:3   Psalm 50:15   Isaiah 55:6   Jeremiah 29:12   Acts 2:21

Unlikely

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“…that whosoever believeth in him…” John 3:16 KJV

I have a reoccurring dream in which I see on my dresser four individual creatures which are an “unlikely” group. They sit there quietly and seem almost alive, in fact, I even find myself talking to them AND THEY ANSWER ME! When I awake and try to remember who or what they are, I can’t. The last time I had this vision, a friend heard me talking and asked, “Who are you talking to?” And I said, “These on my dresser.” My friend looked at the images I was pointing at, then back at me, and laughed. And now I can’t even tell you who the four are, but I can tell you who they represent.

These four are an unlikely group, in other words, they don’t seem to go together—they are so different—different species in fact. Yet, they are perfectly peaceful with each other. They accept one another for who they are and what they were created to be. They fit together like pieces of a puzzle and, like the finished puzzle, create a beautiful picture.

Before I went to sleep last night I asked the Lord to make clear to me what He wanted me to do to reach people for His glory. I believe that God uses this reoccurring dream to speak to me, only I never paid attention before, or maybe, I hadn’t asked the right question. Anyway, last night or it was probably early morning, I heard His answer.

In my dream I was asking the creature on the end what I was supposed to be doing. He answered, “Write!” “What should I write?” I asked. “Tell them that just like the four of us [five if you include me] who are all so different, they too can get along and enjoy each other’s company. They can be blessed by the gifts God has bestowed on each one. And together they can make beautiful music that will touch God’s heart—tears will trickle down His face.” So, the next time you see it rain that will be God’s tears because someone, (maybe it’s you) has touched His heart.

Jesus died, shed his blood, to take away the sins of the WORLD! Not just certain individuals—but “whoever believes in him…”! Whether you are black, yellow, red, or white—or short, tall, fat, or thin—or rich, poor, or even destitute, Jesus died for you that you may come to him, pour out your heart, and be blessed by him.

Jesus not only died, but he rose and lives yet today. He wants to live in your heart if you would invite him in. But, remember when you do, it will not be the same ole, same ole. Your life will change—for the better. You will have a responsibility to live according to the Word of God.

But, don’t worry living according to the Word of God will not be a burden because it says “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) In other words, once you say “Yes” to God your wants will be what He wants for you and He promises to supply all your needs. (Psalm 23)  He may take you into unlikely places, but “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

See, it doesn’t matter what those four images are that sit on my dresser, because they represent all of creation. Furthermore, God will give us His message through the most unlikely sources, if we will listen with our heart.

Dear Lord, I pray that these words will touch the hearts of many, or even one. May they glorify You in every way. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek me and find me, when you search for Me with all your heart I will be found by you…and I will bring you back from captivity. Jeremiah 29:11ff

The Tea Room

“…grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…”

 2 Peter 3:18

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Photo by Emre Can on Pexels.com

Have you ever felt like you’ve stepped out of the chaos of the world into a perfect place of peace? Well, that is just what happened to my husband and me. The awesomeness of feeling, AND knowing, the hand of God guiding you is an overwhelming sense of being.

Wisdom, otherwise known as the Holy Spirit, is continually urging and guiding believers to a place of peace. Stepping into the little tea room in the midst of the surroundings of a chaotic world could have happened only by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I have been reading a book series about a tea room in Maine. As I walked through the door of this real life tea room, I felt like I was walking into the pages of the book. Everything about it reminded me of the stories I had been reading. And the funny part about it is, when I shared my experience with my husband, he said he too felt like he was there, even though, he knew nothing about the book, except what I had shared with him.  Experiences such as this can only be orchestrated by the hand of God through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

We live in a chaotic world, but tucked in amidst the chaos are small pockets of peace. As you, the believer, experience these vignettes, you are being given a glimpse of heaven. If you ask the Holy Spirit to take you one step at a time to a place of peace, you will recognize it when you are there. God promises to answer the prayers of all who love Him and obey His will.

After this awesome experience there is no doubt in my mind that God will deliver me from the confines of this world to a place of heavenly peace, in His time my job meanwhile is to share my Godly experiences with you that you might come to recognize His presence in your life.

Brothers and sisters, we cannot remain silent! We must take the risk and share with one another. Yes, even the world, that they too may have the knowledge and wisdom of God the creator of heaven and earth. For you see, “…the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits…” (James 3:17) Therefore, be filled with “new wine” and God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, will give you the “peace that passes all understanding.” (Phil. 3:13) Claim God’s promise that He will never leave you nor forsake you. (Heb. 3:5) Walk with confidence believing “The Lord is [your] helper,” saying, “I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” (Ps.27:1/Hebrews 13:6)

Dear Father, thank you for giving me glimpses of my heavenly home. Keep my faith strong as I pass through Your creation. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

Proverbs 1:20   James 1:5/3:17   1 Peter 1:22   1 Corinthians 2:6

Pray–Listen–Obey

“Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication.”

Ephesians 6:18

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“Do not be afraid—I am with you.” We read these words over and over again through-out scripture. But, I actually heard them! I had been struggling with a health issue for a few months; it was now time to go have the test that would show exactly what was going on. Ole-sloo-foot had me convinced that the outcome would not be good. Everything that I did during these past few months was tainted with fear. I seemed to be helpless to overcome it. Satan had slipped in a crack in my armor.

During this time of my struggle, God never left me. He was true to His promise that He would be with me always even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20) But, I was so controlled by fear that I could not hear His still, small voice. The Psalmist cries out, “O that today you would listen to his voice!” (95:7b) And, finally God got my attention!

The night before going for my test I heard a quiet voice saying, “Do not be afraid, I am with you.” I sat up and took notice, but still that “fear” kept niggling at the back of my mind. “What if we get caught in traffic?” I thought. “What if we cannot find the right building?” fear said to me. “What if we are late and cannot have the test?” the attacks kept coming.

Again next morning I heard the quiet voice again “DO NOT BE AFRAID—I AM WITH YOU” This time, every time “fear” started to erupt, I heard the words of the Father assuring me that He would lead us through the maze that lie ahead. Confidence began to eradicate fear. The battle was about to be won!

Through-out the day we were guided from one place to another. The Lord God placed caring and helpful people before us, and He gave us confidence and wisdom to ask the right questions to help us find our way. Oh, and the test? It wasn’t a death sentence—as “fear” wanted me to believe—but, it was a light in the darkness, and a sign of hope.

When facing uncertainty put your eyes upon Jesus. Open up your heart to your Creator and Savior, tell Him your problems. But, also be quiet and listen for God will answer your prayers. Then, however, there is one more step, you must obey what you hear. The Father will never tell you something that is not for your good. “Do not be afraid, for I am with you,” He says. God is not the author of fear. When you walk in the Spirit of the Lord, there is peace. (John 14:27)

Father, keep me safe beneath your wings. May I always come to you for guidance. Let me listen and obey Your still, small voice. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

“The Lord loves those who hate evil. He guards the lives of his faithful; he rescues them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 97:10

 

THANKS BE TO GOD!

 

2 Cor. 12:9   Daniel 7:25   2 Cor. 2:11   Eph. 6:10, 11

The Fork in The Road

“…he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.” Ephesians 1:4

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When you and I were children we did things from time to time that displeased (to say the least) our parents. And, consequently we were punished. That punishment cleared the air and we were able to return to our loving parent/child relationship. I know some of you may not have such good memories of your childhood, and some of those memories may be distorted because of your own stubborn pride. God’s word says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

The Wisdom of Solomon transcends all time, so do not say, “That was written centuries ago and doesn’t apply now.” Things in the world may look different today, but pride, anger, and fear still run rampant among us. They are seeking a haughty spirit to inhabit. Our only defense is belief in the Lord Jesus, faith, hope, and love. And as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “the greatest of these is love.”

I read about a young girl who felt unappreciated by her parents. She felt shoved aside because her brother had an illness that would eventually take his life and her parents had to give him more attention. One day she became so angry—her anger took her over—she ran away from home. She wound up on the streets of NYC hooked on drugs, pregnant, and eventually in jail. This young lady was only 16 years old! Her pride gave her a strong sense of self and she forgot who she was—a child of God created to love and be loved!

Our lives follow a path and sometimes when it comes to a fork in the road, we take the wrong one. It is painful. I remember when I was a child how painful my legs became from time to time. And my Mom would always say, “You have growing pains.” The same thing happens as you grow spiritually—there are “growing pains.”

Paul puts it this way, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) Do not let anger, a false sense of pride, or fear of being rebuked rule your life. It is too precious to waste and you are too valuable to your Creator. He has chosen you to go and bear fruit that will not waste away and rot. (John 15:16)

So when you come to that fork in the road, choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19) The Father will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5) He has vowed to be with you, “to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b) So love the Lord your God, obey him, and hold fast to him for “it will mean life to you and length of days.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

 

Dear Lord, help me to know myself as You know me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

1 John 1:9   Psalm 35:5   Proverbs 28”13   John 15:16

Hang On!

“And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be My people.” 

Leviticus 26:12

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How many times in life are we told to “hang on”? I mean literally!?! We need to hang on when on a ride at an amusement park; when riding a horse; when caught in a storm; or when riding on the back of a golf cart. What may happen if you do not? If you allow yourself to swing and sway? I know you know—you will certainly fall off!

The same is true for our spiritual lives as for our physical ones. Our God is faithful. He will keep all of His promises He has made to those that believe. No matter how hard the Enemy works to disgrace Him and those who are faithful to Him, it isn’t going to happen! He has said since the beginning of time “I will.” There is no greater truth in all creation than God’s Word.

It is evident that the spiritual war is cranking up. The lies have seeped into the government of the United States and other nations. But, if those whom the people have elected to represent them, think that they can erase the Spirit of God by removing His name from all their oaths and speech, they have another think coming. In the end “I will” will be victorious! And those who have advocated for the removal of His name, have just signed their own death warrant!

We need to “hang on!” The “we” being those of us who have signed on to become a member of God’s army. Even as I write this, I know that my declaration will put me under attack. But, remember you are not under attack–the attack is under you! O also know that if we are one among the people of God nothing can separate us from the love of God. “Not hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword…will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 35, 39)

It is time, O people of God, to stand up, stand firm for “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) Put on the whole armor of God so that you will be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph. 6: 10, 11) For, you see, our fight is not against our government or nation or committee, it is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. But this is a battle that they—the evil—cannot win—God has already won the victory. So hang on, don’t let go, God will come and save you. His word is true for He has said, “I will!”

 

Dear Father, have mercy upon what You have created. Let the hands of justice fall and those who believe to be saved. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

2 Cor 3:17   1 Cor 6:16   Romans 14: 7   I Peter 2:5   Jeremiah 31:33   Ezekiel 37:26, 27   Zechariah 8:8

 

Just Passing Through

Just Passing Through

“…live peaceably with all” Romans 12: 8 b

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At one time I had a friend who always said, “It is okay, I’m just passing through.” This friend has passed through and is now at home with the Lord. She was a humble soul, not much to look at, but a beautiful spirit. She would go around town and clean up all the trash that thoughtless people threw on the sidewalks and streets. At the beginning of each day you would find her at the post office greeting everyone who came in saying, “Good morning. Have a beautiful day.” This was Helen, a true child of God.

Those of us who have become believers, are also just passing though. We are on our way to the Promised Land. You remember, however, that not all those who were led out of slavery to the Egyptians, made it into the Promised Land. They fell short of their promised blessing because of their disobedience. They were impatient and full of complaints. Therefore, the same fate is in store for believers who have not followed the commandments, they may see the Promised Land, but not be allowed to enter.

Then there are those who think they have a lot of time. They want to “enjoy themselves” as they say. “The Lord will be there tomorrow, I can come to him then.” The problem with that is tomorrow may never come. “Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2) It is true these people are just passing through, as well, but to where? Not to the Promised Land of eternity with the Lord, but into the pit of fire.

God sacrificed his own Son so that you and I might be saved from this world. Jesus took all our sins—past, present, future—upon himself that we might be cleansed with his blood and become citizens of heaven. You see, believers are not citizens of this world, but of heaven.

If you are not, get in a Bible believing and preaching church. Speak to a Pastor, Christian friend, or counselor—attend a Christian group or class, learn about the new life that awaits you as a believer. Your troubles will not fade away, but you will be able to tap into the source of strength that will get you through unscathed. Passing through is not always easy, but it is always rewarding for with each trial and tribulation you will emerge stronger on the other side.

One day when the Lord calls me home, I look forward to seeing Helen again. Maybe I will even sleep on her couch for a while like she used to mine. For I am in the world today, but I am not of this world—I am just passing through.

Dear Lord, as I pass through this world and all its eccentricities I want to always remain faithful to you—with Your help, Father, I will. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

Romans 12:14   Matthew 8:15-17   I Peter 4:8

 

What Do You Have?

What Do You Have?

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“What can I do to help you? 2 Kings 4:2 NLT

In the Old Testament books of 1 & 2 Kings, we read about two women who both have similar problems. Elijah in 1 Kings 17 and Elisha in 2 Kings 4, were confronted by widows who were overwhelmed in their poverty. They came to Elijah and Elisha seeking help. Both of them couldn’t see beyond their meager resources. They were consumed by their complaints and could not see what they had.

Elijah spoke to the widow at Zarephath. He asked her for some bread, but the widow replied, “I do not have a single piece of bread in the house.” (1 Kings 17:12) She was preparing a meal which she thought would be her last meal. But, Elijah wanted his piece first. This sounds strange, does it not? Taking the bread out of the widows’ mouth!

There is a lesson connected to this story for all of us. And that is, when you give out of your poverty you will be blessed and receive far more than you ever expected.

Now, Elisha in 2 Kings 4:2, was confronted by a widow also. This widow’s husband died while he was serving Elisha and she thought because of that, she deserved his help. Elisha listened to her complaints and then with one sentence turned her in a new direction. He asked, “What do you have in the house?” (2 Kings 4:2) She told him she had nothing except a flask of olive oil. Elisha helped her to see she had all she needed. He sent her out to gather jars from her neighbors and then to fill them with the oil she had. The very little she had turned out to be sufficient to meet her needs. She filled the jars and sold them. Now she had money to pay her creditors and to live on.

Both of these widows had eyes only on what they didn’t have. Elijah and Elisha asked a simple question which helped them out of their distress. This question pertains to us, as well. We need to ask ourselves, “What do I have?” When we concentrate on what we do have rather than what we do not have we then look at our lives positively instead of negatively. It opens up our heart and allows God to speak to us. For you see, “With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) Yes, things may be tough, but it is only for a season. God will lift you up out of the mire and set your feet upon the rock. (Psalm 40:2) ”…he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.” (Psalm 91:3)

So maybe you need to answer the question also, “What do you have?” What has God already provided? Make a list and refer to it from time to time. Spend some time with the Lord each day, reading His Word; in prayer; and listening. God is as near as your next breath.

 

Dear Lord thank you for the richness of your blessings. Let me focus on what I do have, rather than what I do not have. To You be all glory and honor. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

2 Kings 4:2   I Kings 17:12   Matthew 14:20

Mistakes

Mistakes

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“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your hearts desires.”

Psalm 37:4 NLT

Dear Reader, have you ever made a mistake? I know I have made many during my lifetime—and probably will make many more. Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes we make mistakes without realizing; sometimes we know but shrug it off; and sometimes we know immediately, but it is too late to take it back. When you come right down to it, a mistake is a mistake. Mistakes are inevitable, but there is hope.

There is only One who is perfect, that is, Jesus Christ. He is the one to come to when you realize your mistake. He is the one who can erase it and give you strength to move past it. He will set you on solid ground once again and steady you as you continue your journey. (Psalm 40:2)

When you understand a mistake has been made acknowledge it, turn away from it, and ask forgiveness. This happened to me just today. I told something that was not true. Before I knew it the words were out of my mouth and there was nothing I could do to hold them back. I counseled myself saying, “You were just trying to protect someone.” However, at that moment I forgot that God is faithful and would’ve protected me. It is always better to tell the truth, because the truth will set you free.

You see, I have been a little lax in my conversations with the Lord. I told myself that I needed to do this or that and didn’t have time to devote to reading, meditation, and prayer. W R O N G!!! And you know what happened? This little white lie made a crack in my armor and allowed the Enemy to creep in—I do mean “creep in” because he is a venomous snake.

But, this too shall pass. Because you see God has spoken through His Word. He says, “[My] delight is in those who fear [Me] those who put their hope in [My] unfading love.” (Psalm 147:11)

You, too, can get past your mistakes. Come to the Lord asking forgiveness, repenting of your sin, and then, stay in communication with the One who can lift you out of the pit of despair and set your feet on solid ground. (Psalm 40:2)

Believe—have faith—trust in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Put on the whole armor of God and do not allow any cracks to form. (Ephesians 6:10-20) Begin again and be renewed by the Holy Spirit of God. This is the first day of the rest of your life, live it in the freedom of the truth.

Dear Lord forgive me for forgetting to put you first in every aspect of my life. Erase my mistakes and let me start anew. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

The rest of the story…

As always God has a plan. After I had confessed my sin to God and received forgiveness from Him, I received another phone call from the person I told the little white lie to. I told him that I had not told the truth and asked his forgiveness—he forgave me. Case Closed.

 

Psalm 37:23   Deuteronomy 30:3   I Corinthians 1:19   I Samuel 2:9

 Psalm 40:2   Psalm 147:11

Who Am I?

Who Am I?

“Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. I John 4:4

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I am sure that I am not the only one who has mouthed or thought these words—“Who am I?” In this thought, we may begin to doubt our purpose for being. And, if we do not catch hold of it, fear will begin to seep in. Our nerves will become jangled and the ruler of this world will begin to taste what he thinks as victory. But, the truth is, Christ has overcome the world. And I am reminded that I am a child of God, and as such, nothing can harm me because I have made the Lord my refuge…no evil shall befall me, no scourge can come near my tent. (Psalm 91:9, 10) You see, I, and all who have been forgiven and have made the Lord a place in their heart, are children of God, and as such are under the protection of His wings.

Some of us have had our identity stolen by those who are agents of the evil one. But, we must remember, as horrifying as that is, it is only the identity that the world gives us. And, it does not define who we are. Our real identity can never be stolen, as long as we remember, who we are in Christ. When we profess Jesus as Lord of our lives nothing can be taken away that identifies us likewise.

Isaiah says it like this: “No weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper, and you shall refute every tongue that arises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication is from me, says the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17

If this is where you are today—feeling persecuted, encroached upon, or are crying, “Isn’t there anyone to help me?” be assured there is!  Remember our struggles are not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the authorities, against the cosmic powers…against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places…therefore take up the whole armor of God…stand firm” (Ephesians 6:12, 13) You see, everything may be taken away from you—everything that is, but the steadfast love of God. Do not fear. He will come and save you.

Easter, the day we remember and celebrate the great sacrifice our Heavenly Father made for us when Jesus allowed himself to be put to death, taking upon himself our transgressions that they be removed once and for all, is coming near. This is when Satan works the hardest to get his foot in the door of our heart. So I encourage you all the more to put on the whole armor of God and stand firm because God has promised that He will defeat and conquer the enemy. In fact, God has already won the battle, He will destroy His creation, the Devil, and all who follow him.

I am rejoicing through my struggles, because it tells me, that I am a true child of God. I am thanking God for His affirmation, may you, also! Who am I?—“the aroma of Christ to God.” (2 Corinthians 2:15)

 

Dear Father, thank you for making me Your own. I will stand firm in Your love and be courageous. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

2 Corinthians 5:17   Isaiah 54:14, 17   John 12:31   Isaiah 50:7, 8

John 1:12, 13

A Change of Perspective

A Change of Perspective

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“…I make your enemies your footstool.” Luke 20:43

How is it some can look a cloudy sky and see only the dark clouds? While others can look at the same sky and see the blue sky surrounding those very same clouds? We can do the same with the activity of our lives. We can see our trials and tribulations as problems as we struggle through them, or we can wait on the Lord for He has proclaimed He will make “our enemies as our footstool.” (Luke 20:43, I Cor. 15:25, Ps. 110:1, Eph.1: 22-23) The difference is our perspective.

As a member of the church, which is the body of believers, you were given dominion over the world. The Lord God promises to make your enemies as your footstool.

Today I was reprimanded as Jesus spoke to me through my morning devotion. He said to me, “You are not under attack, the attack is under you.” For it was not long ago I made the statement—“We are under attack.” We were undergoing a series of mishaps. There is a whole list of things that broke or malfunctioned which had to be taken care of immediately. These things were distracting us from our daily prayer, study, and reading of God’s Word, and anything else that we were called to do for our Lord. My perspective was out-of- wack.

As a faithful believer, I have been given authority over any attacks that the Enemy may decide to throw at me—as are you when you make your vow to follow Jesus.

As Paul writes to the believers in Rome, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:12) Therefore, there is nothing ole-sloo-foot can do that has the power to overtake you when you believe in the saving grace of Jesus Christ our Lord. So, from now on, let you and me change our perspective and view of the glass as half full instead of half empty. For there is no doubt in my mind that when I put on the full armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20) God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit will be victorious over anything the Enemy may want to do to us who believe. I pray that you and I will, from this moment on, change our perspective, for God has made the Enemy our footstool.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Luke 20:42, 43   Ephesians 2:6   Romans 14:11   Acts 2:34/Ps 110:1   Ephesians 1:22, 23   I Corinthians 15:25

God’s Phone Number

God’s Phone Number

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“Call on me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you.” Psalm 50:15

I think I could say with surety that if I asked you the phone number of a best friend or member of your family, you could tell me. Those who are close to our hearts occupy a special place in our memories. Do you know God’s phone number? Do you know how to get in touch with him? Perhaps, you haven’t called upon him lately. Well, if that be the case, there is no better time than the present.

God’s phone number is 537-3333 AKA Jere 33:3 which says, “Call upon me and I will answer,” not only that but, “and will tell great and hidden things that you have not known.”  Positive assurance from God is that if we will ask him, he will tells us remarkable secrets which we have not known. He will prepare you for whatever is to come. Those who come to Him shall be saved.

Recently, a tornado hit a small town in Alabama. The residents were given only a few minutes warning before the deadly winds struck. It wiped out the whole town, some lives were lost, but many were saved. There are many disasters that strike our lives, but we can survive if we call upon God for his protection. He and He alone knows the future. Joel writes, “…everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved…” (2:22)

Just as many were saved when the destructive tornado hit, so too, you who have heard God’s call and answered him. Matthew writes, “Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” (7:7) Even so, we must “wait upon the Lord (Psalm 27:14), be strong and let your heart take courage; “wait for the Lord.”

It seems that the United States, indeed the world, is in crisis. There is a rising crescendo of violence and war. It is written that something good comes out of all things. In this case, it will be that many will cry out to the Lord—He will answer—and they will be saved. Maybe it’s time that you dialed God’s phone number. Or, maybe it is your daily practice, if so, do not give up for everyone who calls upon God through Jesus, will be saved. There is a battle going on—a spiritual battle between good and evil. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:14)

Dear Lord, blessed are you. Thank you for answering when I call upon you. I shall not forget your mercy. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Jeremiah 33:3   Genesis 18:17   Deut. 4:7, 29   Psalm 50:15   Isaiah 55:6, 7

Forgiveness is a Weapon

Forgiveness is a Weapon

“And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deed,”

Hebrews 10:24 NRSV

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To forgive or not to forgive, that is the question. Many, at this very moment, are living in an abusive relationship. Some, however, have been able to escape from an abusive spouse, adult child, or even a workplace. If that is the case you may wonder, “Now what?”

I was one who decided I couldn’t live another moment not knowing whether or not I was going to get punched, slapped, or ridiculed. It took one last frightful night to convince me that I needed to take myself, my children, my dog, and whatever belongings we needed, and “fly the coop!” “But, where do I go from here?” I thought. (You can read this whole story in my book, “Embracing the Call,” the story of an imperfect woman who met her perfect God.)

The truth is I wasn’t able to move forward until I had forgiven him. O, I was living life making accomplishments, but it wasn’t until many years later when I had forgiven him, that I truly began to live. You see, forgiveness is not about condoning someone else’s actions, it is about setting yourself free. The Lord wants to relieve you of this heavy burden that you are carrying. You see, it is not ours to carry—the Lord God has said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay…” (Romans 12:19)

If you are in this kind of relationship, believe me, I know how you are suffering. The Lord calls out to you saying, “Come unto Me and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

As we journey through this life we commit many sins, intentional and unintentional, but God forgives us over and over again. It must be true, otherwise we would not be able to see and enjoy all the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us. “What blessings?” you ask. “All I see is my pain!” Exactly, ask God to open your eyes and your heart that you may be able to see what He is providing for you.

Forgiveness is the greatest weapon we have in our arsenal. The enemy cannot fight against it. He doesn’t know what to do with it—it is not in his program. So, if you want to chase the Enemy away, forgive. You will be doing the same thing as if heaping burning coals upon his head.

Jesus teaches us to forgive as he has forgiven us. Also, “IF you forgive others…your Heavenly Father will forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14) You can do it—God will give you strength, if you ask Him. Jesus is standing at the door of your heart, waiting patiently for you to open it. (Revelation 3:20)

Dear Lord, thank you for forgiving me—help me to forgive others who have hurt me so that I may live in freedom under your yoke. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

Matthew 18:22   Matthew 6:14   Ephesians 4: 31-32

Boot Camp

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“…let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature…”

 James 1:4 NRSV

When men and women make the choice to enter the United States military they must first go to a place known as boot camp. This is a military training camp with strict discipline. There are many different kinds of boot camp among which are fitness boot camp, prison boot camp, computer boot camp and, of course, military boot camp.

The boot camp teaches great discipline and obedience. There is nothing easy about it. Some people complete it and some do not. It is altogether different than what was expected or even what one has experienced previously. But, at the completion the person has become new and ready to meet the demands of life.

What about a spiritual boot camp? The disciples were in one that lasted 3 years. At the end they were expected to carry on the work of the Lord. They all completed the course, save one. Judas Iscariot could not meet the challenge of standing up against the Enemy—he joined him. The remaining 11 were equipped with the armor of God. Nothing could separate them from the work of the Holy Spirit who had breathed life into them. Now they stood as a mighty army against the foe.

Boot camp is hard, but at the end you will feel the strength of the Lord. As you meet the trials and tribulations you will count it all joy (James 1:2) because you know that God is working on your behalf. Through each trial, hardship, and disaster, God is there with you. At the end you will be stronger and the strength of your character will make you mature and complete lacking in nothing.

So, hang in there. It may be a tough go for a while, but the sun will shine again in your life. Graduation day is coming. You will put on the whole armor of God. In your hand will be the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-18) Never cease your prayers. You are now a part of God’s army. The Holy Spirit has breathed new life into your once dead soul. Count it all joy, my friends. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) Let joy reign when you are surrounded by many troubles and tests. “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything.” (Philippians 4:6) You are not alone.

Dear Lord, thank you for reminding me that nothing can separate me from your love. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Romans 5:4   I Corinthians 15:33   Hebrews 1:3   Ephesians 6:11

The Image

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“God created humankind in his image…male and female he created them. “ Genesis 1:27

We are bombarded with many images in our day to day existence on this earth. They come at us from all sides—a continuous stream. We see the sky, the clouds, the waterfall; the precious little face of a child, the bird in flight just to name a few. If asked to describe what we see, it seems our words cannot do them justice.

The question is have you seen God? You might answer, “No one can see God!” Well then, have you seen Jesus? Again your answer might be “No. How can I see Jesus?” Well, I want to tell you I have seen Jesus—in the face of a baby reaching out to hold her parents hands and then closing her eyes in prayer.

Many paintings have been made of the face of Jesus. He may or may not look like those paintings. But, I want to tell you it really doesn’t matter, because when you look in the eyes of a believer you have seen Jesus. God created humankind, male and female, in His image, therefore all humankind—you and me–are the image of God.

Our sin distorts and makes it impossible for others to see Jesus in us. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden they became unable to see the beauty of each other from the inside. All they saw was their nakedness. Now, I’m not saying that once you become a believer and obey God’s word you can walk around in the nude! What I am saying is it doesn’t matter what the outside of you looks like, for everything is beautiful in the sight of the Lord. The glow from within will be all someone will be able to see.

We are made white as snow by the washing of the blood of Jesus. He sacrificed his humanity because of the love God has for us. God made us in His own image. God suggested that “we make humankind in our own image.” (Genesis1:26) The words “we” and “our” suggest that someone else was with Him. That someone else was Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God spoke to Moses and the Prophets. Jesus was born and lived, died, and rose again. The Holy Spirit continues God’s work in us for Jesus and he would not leave us comfortless, but would send the Comforter known otherwise as the Holy Spirit. The Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are all part of the Godhead that lives and reigns in you and me and comes to life when we turn from our wicked ways, asking forgiveness of our sin, and obey God’s word. Then the image of God can be seen through your words and actions.

Think about the times you have seen God. Then commit yourself to live the life in which others may see the image of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in you.

When we all get to heaven we will see Jesus, meanwhile we can see his image in each other here on earth.

 

Dear Lord, make me the person you created me to be. May I live that others may see Your image in me. In Jesus’s name I pray. AMEN

Genesis 1:26, 27   Ephesians 4:24   Colossians 3:10   Mark 10:6

 Matthew 19:4

Unity

“How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!”

Psalm 133:1 NRSV

top view photo of boat near airplane

A few years ago news of a passenger plane coming down in the Hudson River in New York City shocked the nation—the world. Pictures were shown on televisions across the country of a plane floating in the cold water and passengers standing on its wings. Unbelievable! But, it was true!

The pilot was deemed a hero for bringing that plane down safely. He could very well have crashed right smack in the city. But, he maneuvered this huge plane, filled to capacity, down where no one outside the plane would be affected—and where there was help near-by. It surely was a miracle!

The second miracle was that everyone survived. This could not have happened if all those people had not worked together. If they had not stayed calm and helped one another out the door of the plane onto its wings, which is where the camera showed them standing, waiting to be rescued.

Unity seems to be a lost art in today’s world, at least, every day unity. Why is it that we come together during tragedies such as the plane crash I have just described—or something like the Twin Towers in New York City being destroyed by terrorists—or school shootings like Sandy Hook and the Parkland school—or fire, tornadoes, hurricanes, mudslides—why is it these are the times when unity comes about? Why can we not enjoy unity and harmony on a daily basis?

Paul addressed this unity in the letters he wrote to the churches that had been formed under his watch. The seven churches referred to in Revelation (2&3) were also on the hook for their disunity. They—and we—have forgotten our first love, which transcends all humanity. One day we will all have to stand before the judgment seat of Almighty God and give an account of who we are and what we have done. At that time there is no sense of lying or misrepresenting your words and actions. Because God already knows it all.

Unity doesn’t mean joining in a mob or gang or protest march and everyone believes and acts the same. It is not about agreeing with everyone else’s ideas. It is, however, having a sense of responsibility for each other. Which, incidentally, is how everyone survived in the plane crash I described earlier. But, responsibility is also becoming a lost art.

Unity, responsibility, and connection are foreign to many people. We must remember the importance of maintaining the connection with our fellow man to ensure a thriving community. In the Bible, God encourages us to take care of each other while obeying the Word of God.

Don’t wait for a tragedy to happen to bring you into unity with those around you. Strife and stress are the enemies of unity. They are instruments of the Enemy, but they can be overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within you. And you can tap into that power by reading the Word of God, keeping the communication lines open between you and God through your daily prayer, and reaching out and touching someone in perfect harmony.

 

Dear Lord, give me a revelation of unity—a deep revelation of how vital unity is—that will change my perspective. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

Genesis 13:8   I Corinthians 1:10   Colossians 3:14   Romans 13:8

Strongholds

 

“…divine power to destroy strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10: 4b1210171402a

There are many strongholds that keep us prisoner, not allowing us to live life abundantly. You may not be aware of strongholds that keep you captive. Some are very subtle and you have grown use to them being there—they have become a way of life for you and not realizing that you are being robbed, you have allowed them to define who you are. But, don’t you see you have been “fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) by the Lord God.

It was the stronghold of fear that kept the Hebrews from entering the Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb stood firm in the Lord, therefore, they took on the leadership to lead these rag-tag Hebrews to the fulfillment of their journey.

Joshua was filled with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. He heard God’s voice saying to him “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1: 9) Fear is a mighty stronghold, with it the Enemy has you paralyzed.

There are many other strongholds. Paul addresses them in the 4th chapter of Ephesians—they are anger, pride, evil talk, bitterness, gossip, silly and vulgar talk, greed, fornication, lies, drunkenness, holding a grudge, etc. In other words, anything opposing God’s will, which is disobedience to His word, is a stronghold. It separates you from all that is good and holds you hostage to an unfulfilled life. But, these rebellious thoughts can be captured and overcome by turning to God through Jesus Christ.

Paul says in Ephesians 6 that you should put on the whole armor of God and clothe yourself with your new self. (Ephesians 4:24) So be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. (Ephesians 6:10) The war is not in the world, but in the Spirit. Evil can take your mind captive and make you think it is right. Grab hold of the golden ring, which is the Word of God, and never let go. Do not allow the lies of the Enemy overtake you. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid for I am your God (Isaiah 41:10) and, “Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary…” (Isaiah 40:31) These are words that God is whispering to your heart. Those who have ears let them hear.

Just as the walls that surrounded Jericho fell because of Joshua’s faith which he had also instilled in the Hebrews (Joshua 6), you too, will be able to break down the walls of the strongholds that are keeping you from all that you have been created to be.  Leaning on the Lord allows all the walls of your stronghold to come tumbling down.  Freedom is on the horizon for you.

Put on your new self and stand firm for God has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Wherever you are, He is—call upon Him—step out being clothed in the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10—20)

 

Dear Lord, keep me from succumbing to the strongholds that seek to keep me from You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

2 Corinthians 10:3-5   Ephesians 6:13   Jeremiah 1:10   Hebrews 13:5

ALERT

 

person hands woman girl

Hello Church,

I feel that something very significant needs to be said, even though, we may not want to hear it. I think everyone is able to acknowledge its existence. We need to get our heads out of the sand…we are not Ostriches.

Whether we like it or not we are in a battle—a spiritual battle. Paul writes in Ephesians, “…our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 MEV) Indeed, Satan has taken a foothold on all of creation.

One thing is very evident, we need to gather together in prayer to the One who holds the keys to heaven. Surely you can see the battle taking place. The question is which side are you going to be on? To not acknowledge the gravity of the situation is to be on the side of evil. All you need to do is look around you. People are shooting each other; they are coming together in mobs because of their frustration; our government is divided and would rather be seen as right than do the job they were elected to do, they fight like a bunch of children who haven’t grown up yet; and maybe worst of all, Satan has infiltrated the church causing divisions within them. Divided we fall, but united we stand.

The word Satan is not heard in very many churches today. We need to be aware of his presence. Do not give him room to work his wiles. He will charm you and court you and con you, but DO NOT fall for it. More is needed than to sit in the pew on Sunday. We need—I’ll say it once again—to gather together in prayer. We need to stop being ashamed of being seen praying in public. We need to teach our children the power of prayer at an early age. What a shame, for some that has already been lost.

Do not be afraid and do not be discouraged. Put on the full armor of God—live according to the truth; make sure your heart is right with God; spread peace not unrest; stand firm in your faith; guard your mind with the Word of God and in your hand carry the mightiest sword of all the Holy Bible. Then wrap it all together by praying in the Spirit for yourself, your family, and the world.

Remember these words spoken to Solomon conditioning him against the evil that is to come and giving him the prescription for surviving…God said,” If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 MEV)

GET BEHIND ME, SATAN!

Thank you for listening…now let’s get busy and do something about this!

 

The Seed

“…he chose their seed…even you above all people, as it is today.” Deuteronomy 10:15 KJV

I have been reading the stories of the great men and women who came before. The stories of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Deborah, Ruth, Esther, Sarah, Anna, etc. I began to think about the fruit they produced. This fruit also produced fruit and continues to produce fruit to this very day. The seed of Abraham and all the others continues to live today. God didn’t create for a time, but for all time!

For instance, the seed that caused me to grow came from my father. My father’s seed came from my grandfather and his from my great-grandfather. It didn’t begin with the name of Seaman [put your family name in here] that seed was passed down from generation to generation and will continue to do so for the rest of time, as we know it. Hopefully it will produce more good fruit than bad. But, all of us have a few “skeletons in the closet” as we like to say.

I remember when my Dad, who was a farmer, prepared the seed for planting. He picked out a seed that didn’t look right and threw it aside. The reason being was that seed would not produce good fruit and might even effect the good seeds around it. The same is true of people. We need to be cognizant of those around us. We need to choose our friends and close associates wisely. We cannot expect to win someone to the ways of goodness, for almost certainly the bad will overcome. That is why my father threw what he determined was a bad seed aside.

The seed of Abraham and the other chosen ones is still reproducing to this day. But it is not a given that you will live in the goodness of that seed. You must choose…choose your friends, your life partners, and the surroundings in which you live wisely. Remember, it is by your fruits that you shall be known, not by the words that come out of your mouth. If you have to tell someone you are a Christian, then you are not.

Take time to know someone before making a choice. But most of all, take time to become acquainted with God and His Word. For if you “Delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) And, “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him and he will help you.” (Psalm 37:5)

What you need to decide is whether you want to produce good seed or bad.

Thank you Lord for helping me understand my legacy. Father, help me make my choices wisely. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

With God all things are possible—without Him you are left to fend for yourself against the evil that has infiltrated the world.

Hope

“For you are my hope, O Lord God.” Psalm 71:5 MEV

Hope entails waiting and waiting, patience and patience takes faith, and faith is an established conviction concerning things unseen. The writer of Hebrews put it this way, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Heb.11:1) Paul concludes his chapter on love with these words, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love…” (I Cor. 13:13)

Hope has a past, a present, and a future. You hoped for… You hope for… And you are hoping for… [You fill in the blanks] When we have our feet planted firmly on the ground we are immovable and unstoppable no matter how hard the winds blow or how high the waves become. This doesn’t happen just because you are stubborn or stuck in your ways. This happens only when you are grounded in the Lord. The Psalmist writes, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) MEV

When you are well grounded in the Lord and the truth of His word, your hope is built on Him. Matthew recorded in his Gospel the words that Jesus spoke to the crowds that had gathered on the Mt. of Beatitudes. His voice floated out over the people who had followed him and wanted to learn from him. He told them how to build on a solid foundation. You see if we build a life without a solid foundation it cannot stand against the storms that are bound to come. But if our foundation is solid—if it is built on the word of God—it will not only stand, but will thrive in spite of the storms of life. He told this to the people in terms they could relate to—a house built on sand cannot stand, but a house built on solid rock will be secure. (Matthew 7:24-27) Through all the trials of life, faith built on the “solid rock” gives the believer hope.

close up photo of arranged stones

Edward Mote wrote these words in 1834. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand.”

You will be secure, because there is hope, you will look about you and take your rest in safety.” Job 11:18

Dear Lord, “Come and show me your mercy, as you do for all who love your name. Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.” (Psalm 119:132, 133) In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Prayer Warfare

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.” Ephesians 6:18 N L T

My husband was preparing himself for surgery. I was nervous about whether or not he would have problems dealing with the effects of the anesthesia. The words of some were beginning to sink into my psyche. They were telling me horror stories of those who were elderly and didn’t survive. I was definitely in a weakened state and needed someone to hold me up in prayer and my husband, as well. On the outside I appeared strong, but on the inside I was weak.

There were many subtle attacks made by the evil one who was having a field day while our spirits were down. Small things began to happen, nothing earth-shaking, but nevertheless, upsetting. (1) The garage door stopped working and we couldn’t get our car out—so we had to cancel our eye appointment in Tarpon Spring. (2) The ice cube dispenser was stopped up—not a big deal, but in the middle of everything else, it felt like it. (3) The computer lost its WIFI and my husband had to figure out what to do. [What would I do without him?] (4) We lost the garage door remote and had to order another. Later we found it in the pocket of a vest my husband had been wearing—we had a good laugh.

Throughout this whole ordeal we immersed ourselves in prayer, giving glory to God for every moment. Satan thought he had us but we refused to let fear control us. After all, God is our protector—He has our back. Prayer was, is, and always will be the greatest Weapon against anything ole-sloo-foot wants to throw at us.

Paul’s concern for the church is emphasized in his letters. (By “the church” I’m referring to believers). In his letter to the believers in Ephesus, he emphasizes unity of man to God and man to man [mankind=man & woman] in which there are disciplines to follow (4:1-16). He also writes about purity (4:17-31); forgiveness (4:32); and walking in the fullness of the Holy Spirit (5:1-21). With this, relationships must be in order (5:22-6:9). Then we must put on every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in times of evil. (6:13).

Whether we like to hear it or not, doesn’t change the fact that we are involved in spiritual warfare. Satan has every believer in his cross hairs. We must not step away from our communication with God. In the morning at noon time, in the evening remember to have a little talk with the Lord—and then stop talking and listen to His words. Before you read your daily Word ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand and discern what it is you need to know to accomplish His will for your life.

Del and I were able to overcome the darts that were thrown at us because we remembered that God was in control and believed in Jesus and trusted that even though things look dark for a while, the light would soon appear again. How did we know this? By reading God’s Word and diligent prayer.

Pray for yourselves, but also pray for all believers for we are in the midst of a spiritual war. Our prayer keeps our connection—our relationship with God secure.

DO NOT BE AFRAID. BE STRONG. BE COURAGEOUS

“Pray in the Spirit always with all kinds of prayer and supplication. To that end be alert with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”

Ephesians 6:18 M E V

belief bible book business
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Dear Lord, hear my prayer. I want to stay close by your side where there is safety and peace. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

God’s Army Approaches

american back view burial cemetery
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“Come from the four winds O breathe, and breathe on these slain, that they may live…they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.” Ezekiel 37:9, 10)

Last week we witnessed a phenomenon! Who ever heard of waking up in the middle of a cold night to go outside (in my bathrobe) to look up at the sky? But, that’s exactly what my husband and I did! And we saw it happening right before our eyes—the moon was almost completely covered and it was red like blood. There were millions of stars twinkling as though with joy! You can read about this in God’s word. What does God want us to understand?

Perhaps, this–in an evil world following the will of God is not easy, but in the end it will be the only thing that will save you.

The activity in the heavens which we witnessed, must serve as a warning to all who do not know the Lord, and to those who do, but may be growing weary in well-doing. You may be shaken by human tragedy, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunami, extreme cold, wars, uprising, and separations. You may be sick and tired of a government that seems more bent on having its own way than serving the people they were called to serve. But, in all of this the eventuality is, God will be victorious and those who remain true to Him will be called up to be a part of His Great Army. When God breathes life into you, you will live and be victorious—to God be the glory. The moon may be covered with blood but you will not, because the light of Jesus Christ will be living in you.

Finally in the last days God will destroy every religious, political, and educational institution that humanity has built apart from God. So hang on to your faith for the ride is about to become even bumpier. The wind and waves will become stronger and higher. In order that you will not go down with the ship—hang on to the One who can save you. No matter how bad it gets, how dismal the future from your vantage point looks, your God will come and save you.

There will be another blood moon. And maybe this time we will look up and see, in the darkness of the heavens, a light shining brighter and brighter may be the Lord Jesus Christ coming to save all those who have not abandoned their faith for some brief comfort in the world.

God’s army approaches…will you be ready to be a part of it?

Dear Lord, through it all I believe you will never leave me. Forgive me, I repent of my unfaithfulness. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Rev. 6:12    Joel 2:10    Matt. 24:29    Rev. 16:18

A Better Way

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…” I Timothy 6:10

woman reading a book
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A young woman seemed to achieve the impossible.

She married very young and birthed a beautiful, baby boy. But, things did not go well and she divorced, becoming a single Mom. Shortly after, her son was diagnosed with cancer. The next 6 years were almost more than she could handle, but she, and her son, survived—even more, they began to thrive.

This young woman pulled herself up and made a decision to go to nursing school, during which time she remarried. She was newly married, caring for her sick son, and going to school—a marvelous feat, indeed.

After getting her degree, she began to apply what she had learned firsthand through caring for her son, and her schooling. She became an excellent nurse—one who really wanted to help her patients. It wasn’t just a job, but she served with compassion. Life was great! She was doing something that really mattered and she was being paid well for it—very well.

She bought things she could never have afforded before; she and her husband even built their own house, but there was something very important missing. Her life became all about her and what she had achieved on her own strength. She had forgotten to give God the credit. The world said, “You earned it, enjoy it!” And as a result, all she had obtained began to fall away and crumble before her eyes—even her health failed.

The seeds that were planted within her, by the Christians around her, had fallen upon thorns. The world choked out every good word she heard and every good deed she had seen. As it did she became resentful and angry. She abused her body with alcohol. She laughed much too much covering up the sadness, hurt, and sorrow she felt in her soul. She did, however, have glimpses of God’s love, but it didn’t last because she allowed the world to once again choke it out.

But, you know, God doesn’t give up trying. He is still calling her (and you) to follow Him. He is calling you to flee from the things of the world and follow after righteousness. He is calling you to bear fruit that emphasizes His love. He is calling you to have faith for the best is yet to come. He is calling you to have patience for where there is no way He will make a way. He is calling you to love as He has loved you.

All the hurts, sorrows, and struggles the world has put you through can be turned into peace, love, and joy when you turn your life over to God. Jesus died on the cross willingly—He gave up His life for you and freed you from all your sin—therefore, it is possible to start over, no matter your age or what you have done.

Now is the day of salvation and a better way. God wants to bless You, but first you must turn your face upon Him.

Dear Lord, help me make that all important move and fall into step with You. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

I Timothy 6:10, 11   Matthew 13:22

“…those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

(C) Rev. Betty A Beach-Connell, 2019

The Last Day

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“…encourage one another…” I Thessalonians 4:18

 

Today is the last day of the year two thousand and eighteen. People are preparing for big celebrations. There will be parties; people crowded into Times Square to watch the magnificent glass ball drop; and fireworks displays heralding in a new year. We evaluate the past year and look forward to a new one—a new beginning. We make “new year’s resolutions” that seem to fizzle out after a few days. After this night of revelry—which is only a fuzzy memory for some—we awake to a new day of same ole, same ole.

Preparing for the “last day” may take several days, weeks, or even months of planning. Sometimes we start the planning during the celebration of the present last night. It takes a lot of effort to get to the point where you may not remember anything that has happened. Or at the very least, awaken so tired that you can hardly navigate the first day of the New Year. So much energy spent to have the time of your life that you don’t even remember!

The Bible talks about the “last day,” as well. This day, it tells us, “will happen in a moment, in a blink of an eye” (I Corinthians 15:52). Not unlike the night I have described, there must be preparation. However, this preparation takes much less effort on your part in order that you will be ready to participate in its joy. Yet, many have refused.

There will come a time when all the parties, fireworks, and splendor of the glass ball will pale. Nothing will compare with what is to come. Even though, we do not know the time of it’s coming we should not grow into a state of complacency, for even if we pass from this life before “The Day,” we will all be received into its glory by the God of Glory Jesus, if we have recognized our sin (Romans 3:23); repented (turned away from) and believed (Acts 3:19 & Mark 16:16); and began to serve and follow Christ (Revelation 2:10,11). This is the preparation for the greatest celebration known to mankind.

The butterfly goes through a great struggle before it comes into its beauty. So too, for the Christian. But, the butterfly does not give up. It believes that the struggle will be worth all the pain and heartache that it takes to achieve what God has called it to be—a beautiful, carefree creature that gives everyone who sees it great joy. You are that butterfly—maybe still in your cocoon—but, nevertheless, God has destined you to live in His glory that others may be encouraged, also. You see, God does not desire anyone to perish, but for all to be brought to a place where we can share His glory. This IS the day of new beginnings!

“This is the day of new beginnings, time to remember and move on, time to believe what love is bringing, laying to rest the pain that’s gone.

Christ is alive, and goes before us to show and share what love can do. This is the day of new beginnings, our God is making all things new.”

Words: Brian Wren, 1978; alt. 1987 (Rev. 21:5)

Music: Carlton R. Young, 1984

U M C Hymnal (1989) pg. 383

Read Isaiah 43:19

Heavenly Father, I may not understand how everything will work out, but I trust You. I don’t see a way, but I know You will make a way. I have faith that at this very moment You are touching hearts, opening doors, and lining up the right breaks and right opportunities. Things may look dark and bleak now, but I have faith that my dawn is coming. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

I am looking forward to whatever is in Your plan for me!

A Blessed New Year to all!

I Thessalonians 4:16   Matthew 24:30   I Corinthians 15:52

(C) Rev. Betty A Beach-Connell 2018

 

The Visitation

The Visitation

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“…an angel of the Lord appeared to him; Gabriel appeared to her; and an angel of the Lord appeared to them…” Luke 1:11; 1:28; 2:9

One of my favorite songs is: “Angels Among Us” by Alabama. The words of the chorus is: “Oh, I believe there are Angels among us/Sent down to us from somewhere up above/They come to you and me in our darkest hours/to show us how to live/to teach us how to give/to guide us with the light of love.”

The song begins by telling a story of a little boy walking home from school on a cold winters day. He took a short cut through the woods and lost his way. It was getting late and he was scared. He thought he was all alone, but he was not—God sent an angel to guide him home.

When he got home, he told his mother about the old man who had taken his hand and led him through the dark woods to safety. His mother couldn’t see the old man, but the little boy knew in his heart that he was an answer to his prayer.

Zechariah, Mary, and the Shepherds felt alone and in the dark, also. When you read their stories in the scripture, according to the Gospel of Luke, you will see that they were never alone, God made sure His Messengers were on hand to guide them through the dark, frightening times.

You see, God has a plan! It is a plan to bring hope, peace, and love to His creation. It is a plan that will not fail. It began long before the world was created and it includes you and me. Believing in Jesus, the Son of God, and that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary, a virgin, brings a shining light to a world of darkness and chaos. Just as that old man appeared to the little boy lost and afraid in the dark woods, an angel (in some form) will appear to you. I know, because my husband and I have experienced the visitation of an angel!

While traveling through a city, that we were unfamiliar with—we lost our route. We drove down several streets, seemingly going around in circles, driving through dangerous neighborhoods. Finally, we stopped at a gas station to ask for directions. My husband went inside hoping to find someone who could help. I sat in the car with the doors locked, praying. It seemed like forever, but soon my husband appeared—there was a disheveled man right behind him!

Del got in the car and said, “We have help! He is going to lead us out! We are going to follow him!” God sent His angel, in the form of a disheveled man and his wife in a black car, to bring us forth from the dark woods and be safely on our way home. There are angels among us—do not be afraid!

Do not be lost in a cold, dark world. Believe in God. Believe in Jesus Christ. Believe in the Holy Spirit. Believe there are Angels all around you to light your way through the “dark woods” of life to the clearing of peace, joy, and love.

Dear Heavenly Father, you light up my life with song. Help me to see the angels whom you send to light my path. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Luke 1:11 & 13   Luke 1:28 & 30   Luke 2:9,10,13

(C) Rev Betty A Beach-Connell 2018

Jesus is Better Than Santa

IMG_5488Santa lives at the North Pole; Jesus is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh; Jesus rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year; Jesus is an ever present help.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited; Jesus stands at your door and knocks.

Santa makes you stand in line to see him; Jesus is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap; Jesus lets you rest in His arms.

Santa asks, “Little boy, little girl, what is your name?” Jesus knew our names before we did.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly; Jesus has a heart full of love.

Santa offers “Ho,ho,ho”; Jesus offers health, help, and hope.

Santa says “You better not cry”; Jesus says, “Cast all your cares on me for I care for you.”

Santa’s little helpers make toys; Jesus makes new lives, mends hearts, repairs broken homes.

Santa may make you chuckle; Jesus gives you joy.

Santa puts gifts under your tree; Jesus became our gift and died on the tree.

There’s really no comparison.

Jesus is the reason for the season.

(C) Rev. Betty A Beach-Connell  2018

The Twelve Days of Christmas

According to folklore, the song “The 12 Days of Christmas was written to help young believers learn about their faith. Although no evidence proves that claim, some say the popular carol contains these codes:

The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ.

Two turtle doves are the Old and New Testaments.

Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.

The four calling birds are the four gospels.

The five golden rings are the Law: the first five books of the Old Testament.

The six geese a-laying represent the six days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming represent the gifts of the Holy Spirit: prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership and mercy.

The eight maids a-milking are Jesus’ eight Beatitudes.

Nine ladies dancing are the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The 10 lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.

The 11 pipers piping stand for the 11 faithful disciples.

The 12 drummers drumming symbolize the 12 statements of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.1224171810

 

The Song

The Song

book music music book musical notes
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

“Serve [worship] the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing.” Psalm 100:2

 

Songs, music, convey a message that can be understood through no other media. Our hymnals contain hymns which are poems set to music. For each hymn you will find “Words by…and Music by…and the year it was composed. In our Bibles the largest collections of poems, which were set to music and sung by the Israelites, is the Book of Psalms, each identified as written by David, Asaph or the Sons of Korah.

The Psalmist writes, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart sad? Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you…” (42:5) He sang his song. Mary sang a song of praise because she knew her baby was a gift from God. Her soul sang His praises, even though there was great controversy swirling about her. (Luke 1:46ff) Zechariah, being filled with the Spirit sang praises to God on the birth of his son, John the Baptist who was destined to prepare the way of the Lord. (Luke 1:67ff) The angels sang and filled the sky with song as one of them was informing the shepherds of the birth of the Christ child. (Luke 2:14) And, Simeon sang a song even as he knew his death was imminent. His soul was glad because he had seen the savior of the world. (Luke 2:29ff)

You and I can sing a new song in the midst of any situation. Whatever is happening in your life, you too, can sing a song, because no matter what, Jesus is with you. We celebrate His birth over and over again because we need the reminder that through Jesus, our God came to earth that we might live a life abundant. The baby Jesus is the promise of God that He will even sacrifice Himself that you might live. Now that is something to sing about!

As you sing the Christmas carols this year, allow your heart to take in the love that God has for you. If you do, you will brighten the corner where you are and your soul will emanate His presence. As the stable was aglow, even though it was devoid of earthly light, so too will the darkness fade away and you will walk in a halo of light that will enlighten your path.

“He is born, the holy Child, play the oboe and bagpipes merrily!

He is born, the holy Child, sing we all the Savior mild.”

He is Born—Words Trad. 19th cent. French carol Anon

Music 18th cent. French carol; harm. By Carlton R. Young, 1988

United Methodist Hymnal, pg. 228

Dear Baby Jesus, God my Father, Holy Spirit, fill my cup to overflowing with your love. Let me look upon all you have created with the same eyes of love that I look upon the Baby lying in the cradle.  In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Luke 1:46ff   Luke 1:67ff   Luke 2:14   Luke 2:29ff

The Heart of Christmas

The Heart of Christmas

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“Let the little children come to me…” (Mark 10:14)

I can’t help but think about the mothers, fathers and children huddled at the border of the United States. Also, I think of those who have lost their home due to a hurricane or fire and are living in tents. There may be some who are birthing a child at this very moment and they have nowhere to lay their heads. Just like Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus.

In my heart I know that God will watch over them. He will take care of them. He will send Angels to call for them and He will supply all their needs. (Ps. 23) He will also protect them in the presence of their enemies. He will bring all the little children to Him. Remember how Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” (Mark 10:14) It is for sure and for certain that the Word of God is true and He stands behind His promises.

As Christmas approaches I pray that all believers will unite in prayer for all the little children of the world. May these children and youth bring a revival of peace and joy and unity to the world! May a calm come over the governments and give them a new heart towards peace.

Lord, you know we can’t go on much longer the way we are. People are angry, frustrated, and even confused. They are listening to false doctrine and being led astray down a dark and dead end path. There may be only one way and I shudder to think about it. Save us Lord. Turn our hearts toward You and Your precepts. Help us to remember Your command to love one another as You have loved us before there is no other way, but to start all over again as with Noah (Genesis 6-9) and Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19:24/Isaiah 1:9/Romans 9:29)

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be. With God our creator, children all are we. Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now. With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow; To take each moment and live each moment is peace eternally; Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

Words & Music by Sy Miller & Jill Jackson © 1955

Wishing you one and all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

(C) Rev. Betty A Beach-Connell  2018

 

Eyes of My Heart

“…open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.”

 Acts 26:18(Holman CSB)

Have you ever thought about your heart having eyes? Your heart does much more than pump blood through-out your system, it houses the Holy Spirit of God. When you open the door of your heart and invite Jesus and the Holy Spirit in, you have then opened the eyes of your heart. A blind heart or a shut up heart cannot see that which the Lord is calling you to do. You cannot see someone in need. And because you cannot see, you also cannot hear the cry of the needy. We cannot find the path that God wants us to take. We stumble as if in darkness. There may be a flash of light from time to time, but when it goes out, we are blinded to the great opportunities God has planned for us. Yes, we have eyes in our heart.

Without the eyes of your heart being open you cannot see God! Let me warn you, when the eyes of your heart are closed it gives your mind a chance to be in control. When there is no communication between your heart and your mind there can be trouble. It is to your mind that Satan speaks, and makes whatever he says sound good, but all he speaks is lies.  Without being grounded in the love of God and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, we leave our hearts open to temptation. But, Satan cannot control or infiltrate the heart in which the love of Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit indwells.

You cannot buy the protection of the Holy Spirit. No amount of money, gold, or silver will ever be enough. He wants your love, your willingness to serve the Father and the humbleness to give God all glory and honor. As it is written in the Book of Acts when Peter confronted a Sorcerer, “May your silver be destroyed with you, because you thought the gift of God could be obtained with money! You have no part or share in this matter, because your heart is not right before God. “(Acts 8:20, 21; Holman CSB)

There are times when the eyes of our hearts are closed. But, do not be discouraged. God is waiting and will minister to you when you speak to Him sincerely in your prayers. Hear Him now as He speaks to you, “Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20, Holman CSB)

Michael W. Smith recorded a song entitled: “Open the Eyes of My Heart.” The words are:

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord/Open the eyes of my heart.

  I want to see You/I want to see You.

To see You high and lifted up/Shinin’ in the light of Your glory

Pour out Your power and love/As we sing holy, holy, holy.

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord/Open the eyes of my heart.

I want to see You/ I want to see You.

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Lord, open the eyes of my heart that I may see glimpses of Your truth everywhere. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

A Prophesy

“When the Lord first spoke to Hosea He said to him: ‘Go and marry a promiscuous wife and have children of promiscuity…’” Hosea 1:2

Many years ago there was a young woman who had been abused and a victim of unfaithfulness. It almost destroyed her. But, she went on to eventually marry a fine upstanding man, but again became a victim of the urging of a little excitement outside of her marriage bed. Fortunately, she became aware of her wrong doing. She sought forgiveness from the Lord, whom she had come to know and love, and from her husband. They both forgave her and she was blessed with many years of serving the Lord.

This young woman had turned her life over to the Lord. And now, she was determined to follow Him. She learned, through many years of not “getting it right,” through trial and error, by trying to live life in her own way; she learned that without God there is no real life—“everything is vanity” as the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote. She also learned as Paul wrote, “…all things work together for good of those who love God; those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

But, I have opened with a scripture from Hosea and you might be wondering, “How does this fit?” For years I have wondered the same thing. What does Hosea (a prophet of God) being told to marry an adulterous woman have to do with who God is?”

Well, you see, this is an allegory which means that it is a story which has a hidden meaning usually pertaining to morality. So while on the surface the story of Hosea and his unfaithful wife, Gomer, and ultimately his forgiveness, is really about God and His chosen people, Israel, their bowing to other gods and finally their humble understanding of who God is which led to God’s forgiveness.

We cannot leave this on the doorstep of Hosea and Gomer. For you see, once again the scriptures speak. “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man [or woman] of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16) So, this holds true for us today, for as the writer of Hebrews wrote, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) and promises to “never leave you or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

This also speaks loudly to our nation which is in the midst of moral decay. We have turned away from the teachings of God. We have turned to their own ways and do whatever feels right to us. We are all being pulled down into the pit with the idolaters and unbelievers. We cannot let ourselves be fooled by the feel good words of the liars. We must measure everything according to the Holy Scriptures and follow the teachings of Jesus—no matter what—for in the end our reward will be great! Moses told his people to “choose life” so that you and your descendants may live, love the Lord your God, obey Him, and remain faithful to Him. For He is your life…” (Deuteronomy 30:19b, 20a)

There is no much to learn about life from reading God’s Word. Read it with an open heart and mind, not as you would a history book, but allow it to speak to the inner workings of your soul. When you confess your allegiance to God by realizing that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) which includes you and me, and that, “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23) and then, remember Jesus’ words from the cross, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do,” (Luke 23:34) we become renewed. For even when we were dead in Christ, God forgave us all our sins. (Colossians 2:13) There is a way, you see, only one way—Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Him.” (John 14:6)

The young woman I told you about? It is a true story. One which I know personally and can attest to every word as truth. Life is a learning and sometimes it leaves some scars, but God is the Great Physician and covers our wounds. Praise The Lord!!

Dear Lord, thank You for saving me. I am not perfect, but with You beside me, I pray that I might be able to make a difference for Your honor and glory. In Your Precious name I pray. Amen

Humble Yourself

“Father, give me the share of the estate I have coming to me,”

Luke 15:12

A young son came to his father and asked him to give him the money that he was saving for him. His father agreed and the young son left his comfortable home to go out on his own. He soon spent all the money and was so destitute that he wanted to eat the feed that was given to the animals. Then he remembered, “My father was good to me; he fed me; he put a roof over my head. I have gone and thrown that all away because of my pride of wanting to do it myself!”

This is the story of what has been entitled “The Prodigal Son.” A prodigal is someone who is wastefully extravagant. The son or daughter leaves his or her parents to do things that they do not approve of; ultimately they see the error of their ways and seek forgiveness.

This story has an older brother who stays at home and helps his father. He is jealous of his younger brother, but his father tells him how much he loves him and he will never leave him.

Now, the father, who is the epitome of love. He loves his young son, so much he is willing to let him go knowing that the teachings of his childhood will bring him through. The fact is, each one of us must learn our own way. The path to righteousness (right living) cannot be taught—we must experience life ourselves.

 The father also loves his older son. I can’t imagine that he was happy with him when he came in from the fields whining that his father was giving a party for his brother who left home and squandered all his money on raucous living! “Dad never gave me a party!” he said. Yet, his father left the party of the younger son to meet his eldest son in the midst of his rage. He told him, “Son, I know you are upset because I have done this for your brother. But, please know that I love you today, tomorrow, and always. You will always be my firstborn whom will receive all I have.” I can imagine that after that he invited his son to come and join them. Also, that the brothers became friends again. The scripture doesn’t say this, but God never does things half-way.

This is a parable about pride and humility. Solomon in his wisdom wrote in the book of Proverbs, “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) But, as humans we have only so much power and wisdom on our own—usually after suffering many wrong decisions—we must turn ourselves over to a higher power—to God the Father. We learn that all He requires of us is to “act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8) And, in God’s “Amazing Grace,” He receives us back into His arms.

In the words of a song by Robert Byron Hudson: “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord/And He shall lift you up…/Up into Heaven/He shall lift you up.”

This is God’s amazing grace, that He receives us as His children even after we have turned our backs on Him. So, ask for forgiveness and repent of your sin and He will lift you up. Nothing you have done is so bad that God will not forgive, receive you into His family, and make you His own.

“Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me

Once I was lost but now I am found

Was blind but now I see” (John Newton, 1779)

Dear Lord, humble me in Your sight and make me a blessing to someone each and every day. In Jesus’ name. Amen

The Prodigal

“When he came to his senses…” Luke 15:17

The young son/daughter was used to living impetuously. Everything on the spur of the moment. He/she did and said anything that came to mind without thinking. This works sometimes, but more often than not, it doesn’t. What you are actually doing is digging a hole for yourself and pretty soon it is almost impossible to climb out. Therefore, you think that you need to get away to a place where there are no constraints.

You pack all your things, take whatever money you may have and head out to a far country. Things look good for a while. You feel free. You are happy. You make many friends. For a while you can actually see what God’s creation looks like—then the need to be accepted and loved overtakes you. You have found it in your new place of employment, but that doesn’t seem to be enough. You found it in the place you are living, but still, it isn’t enough. Pretty soon you are craving more and more. It becomes an insatiable appetite.

The Prodigal Son, in the “Parable of the Lost Son,” found in Luke 15:11-31, is a teaching about the living of an unrighteous life. The fact is, this young man had to take himself with him along with his money and possessions. “Himself” is the one thing he neglected to pay attention to. Whatever he was unhappy about at home, he eventually became unhappy about out on his own. There was no peace inside him because he had not made peace with God.

I have heard someone say, “All I want is peace.” That person may never find it. At least, not until they look inside themselves and fill that gaping hole with the love and presence of Jesus Christ. His love is so great that, when you realize it, you will be able to climb out of the valley you have created for yourself and stand upon the rock atop the mountain.

 I think the most important words in “The Parable of the Lost Son” is: “When he came to his senses,” (Holman Bible Luke 15:17) or “When he came to himself,” (NRSV Luke 15:17). You see, he didn’t go home because he was hungry and ran out of resources—although this was the impetus—but he went home because he came to the awareness that he was wrong and from deep within came an urge for a new beginning. He needed to tell his father he was sorry and ask for forgiveness. He needed to be redeemed.

So in fear and trembling the Prodigal headed toward home. He was surprised and overwhelmed to see his father running towards him, and when they met, his father threw his arms around him and lavished him with love, for this son of his was lost, but now had been found.

Our Heavenly Father is sitting on the porch waiting for you to “come to yourself” and come to Him. He is watching and waiting. When you do come to understand that your salvation is within you, you will also acknowledge that you are a sinner in need of your Father’s love, grace, and mercy. When you do, you will have peace in your soul. A new beginning is on the horizon—NO!—it is right there ready for you to live it! Do not neglect to love and worship the author of all life—Almighty God!

Say out loud—“I don’t know what to do Lord, but You do.”

                                    Then you will understand:

“Where there seems to be no way, God will make a way.”

Dear Lord, hold us close to Your heart. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit. May we experience peace beyond all understanding. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Praise God, Even So

Photo by RODNAE Productions on

He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.  Job 1:21

Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17

And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. Genesis 45:5

Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster befall a city, unless the Lord has done it? Amos 3:6

Giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20

Lord, You mean we are to praise You no matter what? Right now we live in an angry world. I don’t think many even know why they are angry. We have unruly protests, police killings, lootings, angry words being tossed about, I could go on and on. People are losing their homes and lives due to fires and violent storms. And then there is the Covid-19. We may ask, “God why are You allowing all this to happen? But, actually we should be praising You, for You know the future and are getting us ready for it. According to Job, James, Joseph, and Paul, we need to be praising You even in the face of all our troubles, because You have a plan and are teaching us so we will be ready.

Friends, what do you think? Are you ready? Do you have oil in your lamps?

Dear Lord, send Your Holy Spirit into our hearts. Give us singing in our soul, for one day we will be coming home. Make us ready, Lord. In Your precious name I pray. Amen

Even a Cup of Water

“…and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42

“…Truly I tell you, just as you did to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25:40

“For God is not unjust; He will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for His sake in serving the saints, as you still do.” Hebrews 6:10

Photo by

Who are the little ones? Perhaps, the elderly man who has difficulty walking and is struggling to get his groceries from the cart into his vehicle. Or, maybe it is the young man checking us out at the grocery store with a look of sadness in his eyes. Or, maybe we are the “little ones” who received help from a passerby who lifted a heavy watermelon into our golf cart.

We offered to help the elderly man and he immediately began to tell us his tale of woe. He had dropped a 5 gallon pail of paint on his foot, it had gotten infected—he needed someone to talk to.

Then the young man with the sad eyes, needed to hear a word of appreciation. When my husband finished talking to him and we both asked the Lord to bless him, he was smiling.

Finally, the man who helped us. We allowed him to help us and we received a welcomed blessing, parting with a feeling of peace.

Actions do speak louder than words. As we depart from our homes to go out into the world, perhaps it would be a good thing to whisper a prayer asking God to lead us to someone who needs a word of encouragement today.

Dear Lord, you are God the Great I AM! Let me remember each and every day, that this is the day You have made and make me glad and rejoice in it. (Psalm 118:24) In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

The Tempter/Temptation

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity…Then the tempter approached Him…”

 I Corinthians 10:13a/Matthew 4:3a

Temptations are everywhere. The tempter also is everywhere. We need to be on guard at all times and in all places. Paul writes to the church at Ephesus, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.” (6:11) Paul goes on the say that our battles are not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of darkness and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. (vs. 12)

My friends, these words are not only for “those people” in Ephesus in AD 62, but for all people in all times, including today! We need to take heed and beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Temptations come in all sorts of forms. They come disguised as work, friends, food, riches, prominence, all sorts of risks, and even fun. Anything that can get your mind off God, Satan will turn on his charms and tempt you. He will even use relationships. We need to use as our example of resistance the words of Jesus– “Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” Matthew 4:10.

We need to put on the full armor of God—truth like a belt; righteousness like armor on your chest; sandals of peace on your feet; always put on the shield of faith on your chest—(protect your heart); on your head the helmet of salvation (protect your mind); and in your hand the sword of the Spirit (God’s Holy Word, the Bible). Then cover it all with skin—prayer for all the saints (believers). (Ephesians 6:10-20)

Doing all this will keep the tempter at bay. But, be assured he is waiting for a small crack in your armor to enter in. Be on your guard. Live in the fear of the Lord, obeying His commands and spending time with Him every day. Even if temptations do overtake you there is nothing God cannot overcome. His word says, “…He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it. “ (I Corinthians 10:13b)

Lastly, Paul writes to the church at Corinth—and to you and me—“Whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall.” (I Corinthians 10:12) You may like to have fun, there is nothing wrong with fun, but it can also become an idol and turn your face from God. And at this point, it is a disguise to use up the time that you should be spending with God. “Do not have other gods beside Me. Do not make an idol for yourself…” (Exodus 20:3, 4a) says the Lord.

Dear Lord, make me obedient to Your Word. Show me how You want me to live my life. Honor and glory are Yours, Heavenly Father. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

Memorial Day

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend. For many it is beach-time or bar-be-que-time. It is time for fun and sun and relaxation. But, it is much more than that! It is a time to remember. Remember all the men and women who gave their lives, so that we have the freedom to do those things afore mentioned. Just try to imagine what it would be like if they hadn’t sacrificed their lives and allowed the enemy to overtake our land! There would be no beach-time or bar-be-que-time or fun-time or family-time—none of the things we enjoy in our freedom. We must pause to remember!

The same is true of our Lord who gave His life on the cross, so that, we could be saved from the Enemy that seeks to destroy our freedom to love God and one another. We must pause our fun-time to worship and praise His Holy name. We must remember that He lived and died and arose to give us abundant life.

Remember and be filled with joy, peace, and love. There is no other way to be happy in Jesus. He formed us and gave us gifts—talents—to use to love and honor one another and bring glory to His name. As Paul wrote to the church at Philippi—which is still true for us today…

I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 ESV

DO NOT FORGET—REMEMBER

AMEN

Angels Among Us

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them…Then Elisha prayed: “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha…Are not all angels spirits in the divine service, sent to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?”

Psalm 34:7   2 Kings 6:17   Hebrews 1:14

Receiving bad news is never a pleasant thing. For me it takes time to process the message. I usually am shocked and respond negatively. Lately, though I am able to process the situation and send a prayer up for discernment. At least, that’s what I know I should do, but am not always successful. What I need do is ask God for wisdom and understanding and a way to cope with whatever the bad news may be in a positive and mature way. Sometimes, He will remind me that He has it covered and I need to be patient while He works in the solution. Patience is not my strongest suit. It just might be, however, that I will learn something new about myself and about God’s presence in my life.

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.”

Psalm 37:5

Love Personified

“I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ…Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent…And this is His commandment, that we should believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us.”

Philippians 1:6   John 6:29   I John 3:23

Father, everything with You begins and ends with love. You created us, in Your love, to be in relationship with You and love You with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. You have commanded us to love one another in the same way. In this way, we can give testimony to Your love and plant the seed of salvation within their heart. Loving others personifies Your love and brings honor and glory to Your name.

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit I pray. Amen