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

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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

 

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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“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

 

Joy Comes In The Morning

Joy Comes In the Morning

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“Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time on and forevermore.” Psalm 113:2

Something horrible, something unimaginable has just happened! All the signs had been there, but somehow you refused to acknowledge them. But, here you are walking and talking about it in the aftermath. How could this have happened?

There are many situations in life that take place like this:-you know that unless you change, you will one day self-destruct. Yet, somehow you are powerless to do anything about it. Perhaps it is because you are having too much fun or making too much money, or so-n-so expects it of you.

But, then something happens and you think you have lost it all. The day is black and filled with clouds that erupt into a violent storm. You think all is lost, this is the end for you. Then the next day you awake and find that the sun is shining and the air is clear. All at once there is a glimmer of hope and a chance at a new beginning. Without the storm you would have never found it.

That, too, is the story of Jesus. The people humiliated him, spat on him, and tortured him. His friends, his disciples, who watched in great horror and for fear of their own lives, did nothing. Their friend, Jesus, the one whom they loved was being treated like a criminal. The mob cried,” CRUCIFY HIM, CRUCIFY HIM.” (Luke 23:21) And the weak leader, even though he couldn’t find any good reason to sentence him to death, did so. It was the beginning of the end.

The day that Jesus died, the sky turned black. The light of the sun was blocked out and the darkness ruled—but only for a time. His mother watched him die and his beloved disciple, John, stood beside her. Grief and sorrow covered them like a heavy blanket as they watched the soldiers bring him down from the cross and lay him in the tomb—it was the end. Was it?

The Psalmist wrote a thousand or more years before, words of encouragement for times like these. He said, “…Weeping may linger for the night; but joy comes in the morning.” (30:5)

The morning came and the grave was empty. The evil could not hold the Lord Jesus. It could not keep Him in the darkness; the sun was shining. They were soon to discover “HE IS ALIVE!” A new day is dawning—only believe.

Just as the disciples discovered after they invited Him into their house, Jesus is walking with you, also, as you venture into a new beginning inviting Him to come along. A new beginning that wouldn’t have been possible without an ending—as violent as it was, this new beginning will be new, exciting, and blessed. As Leo Tolstoy once wrote: “You cannot have a beginning unless you have an ending.” (The Beginning of the End, 1896)

Travel on trusting in the Lord, for He is beside you all the way. He has said, “I will be with you until the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:20) and the writer of Hebrews pens His words, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) This is the message of the cross.

Dear Father, thank you for showing me the way; for never giving up on me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

 

Read Luke 24:13-35

 

Recruitment

Recruitment

black and white donkey head on a grey wooden fence nearby green grass field

“Go on home! The Lord will not let me go with you.” Numbers 22:13

Balaam, a prophet of God, was recruited by those who wanted to rid the land of the Israelites. He was offered money and power if he would just curse them. Balaam was told by God that he couldn’t go. But, with the offer of power and recognition he could not resist, so he tested the Lord God until he was finally given permission to go, but with the understanding that he was only to do what God told him to do. It was almost as if God said, “All right if you want to go so bad—go! But, you are not to curse the people, because they are blessed by Me.”

Balaam’s eyes were clouded with the promise of power. He could not see the angel of the Lord blocking his way. He was intent upon going with the enemy and performing a curse upon the people of God in exchange for money and power. He had transgressed; God rebuked him for his transgression. Even so, God put words into the donkey’s mouth and made them audible so that Balaam could hear them. Then his eyes were opened to the presence of God and His commands. Balaam fell down on his knees before the angel of the Lord.

There are times in our lives in which we are recruited to do what we know as wrong. At first you may stand firm, but with repeated offers, you give in. Even so, God does not give up on you. He sends his messenger to intervene and turn your face back to Him. He will use any means to wake you up.

Donkeys cannot talk. Yet, Balaam heard the voice of the one he was riding. Drastic situations call for drastic actions. Balaam could not see the far-reaching effect of what he was to do, but God could. This drastic situation called for the drastic act of Balaam’s donkey speaking to him.

Are you being recruited by the Evil One to do something that is against Gods will? Is it something that does not fit in the scenario of all things good, perfect, and loving? Then listen for God’s voice coming from unexpected places. He, and only He, will lead you along the path of righteousness.

Dear Lord, lead me in Your righteousness along the path you have ordained even before I was born. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 2 Peter 2:15, 16

Read the account of Balaam in Numbers chapter 22