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

A World War

man kneeling in front of cross

 

“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15

There is no easy way to say this: World War III is upon us! In fact, it may have even started, and we go along living our lives as though there is no tomorrow and all is rosy. The fact is we are living as a horse with blinders on, all we can see is what is straight ahead and do not see what is sneaking up beside us.

Be careful at what you allow your eyes to see and your ears to hear. Test everything by the word of God. Do not let your emotions take over your heart. What feels good is not necessarily good. The Devil disguises himself. He looks like a sheep, but is actually a wolf, his intentions are to separate you from the One who can save you from a life of suffering. I’m sure you have heard; the way to destruction is filled with good intentions.

Almost every day, my husband and I sit in our Florida room in the mornings while having our coffee, and we look out at the pond that lies out behind our home. We see all kinds of wild-life. It is amazing to watch them, each one, in their own kind of beauty, are doing what God has created them to do.

The Great Blue Heron walks majestically looking for its prey; the Anhinga pops up out of the water and flips a fish that it swallows and when it is done “fishing” climbs up on the shore and spreads its wings to dry them. There are ducks, the Black-Capped Night Heron, the huge Sandhill Cranes, and of course, the squirrels. Each of these build their “home” and try to survive among the many dangers that threaten their lives.

Among those dangers is the Alligator that threatens all the life around him. We see him floating “innocently” across the water. He swims toward the shore and when he gets there, he allows just his head and eyes to show above the water. He watches and waits for his next meal to devour. He is very patient, and if he finds nothing, he swims to another spot. He knows that sooner or later some careless, unsuspecting, creature will become his next meal.

The Alligator represents the Devil that roams the earth in search of his next meal that will serve to inflate his already overly inflated ego. He presents himself as the harmless one who speaks the words that will puff up your sense of being, making you believe that you have the “world by its tail,” when in truth it has you! Beware and be on the look-out for false truths. The thief—the Devil—can only kill and destroy, but Jesus came that you could have life and have it abundantly.

So, my friends, be aware, but do not be afraid. You can be victorious in this life by reading God’s Word and transforming it to your life. Allow the Lord of life into your heart that you may follow His commands and live a life of love. Yes, even your enemies! For living in the confines of God’s love is the only way to win the war. Do not allow yourselves to be separated from your Creator and Sustainer of life, for He has already won the victory and wants you to be victorious with Him.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, I see You coming in the clouds—I want to be right there behind You—help me, O Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Further reading

John 8:44   Matthew 13:38   2 Cor. 11:13   Jude 6   John 10:10/6:63

2 Peter 2:1   Romans 8:2

Destiny Changed

people standing across glass building

 

“The fear of others lays a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is secure.”

Proverbs 29:25

Eighteen years ago, September 11, 2001, a horrific incidents occurred. The innocent people of America were attacked, without warning! New York City suddenly became a war zone; the Pentagon was attacked; and a plane full of people crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania—thousands of innocent lives were taken that day. Their lives were snuffed out and the lives of their families were changed forever.

The rest of us sat and watched, via television, the horrible and terrifying event in disbelief. As with all things, there is a ripple effect yet today, 2019, hundreds, perhaps thousands of others are facing residual effects from the dust and chemicals they inhaled as they were trying to save lives. This was an evil attack upon the citizens of the United States of America!

We must never forget. People’s lives—innocent people—were lost, let it not be in vain. Help us to remember, but also help us to move on, O Lord. We can become stronger and wiser if we seek your advice, Father—only you know the future—help us prepare.

We cannot let fear and/or anger take us over. That will accomplish nothing but more disaster.  You see, that is what these evil persons had in mind. Besides annihilating sweet, hardworking people, they hoped the rest would cower in fear behind closed doors. They wanted to cripple the nation. They do not understand that evil can never overcome good!

Those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, even remotely, have an excellent chance of being victorious, because God has already won the victory and God is good—ALLTHE TIME! In fact, I choose to believe, that this attack had the opposite effect of what was intended. Because of a number of incidences, people who had not believed or were on the verge of believing, had their eyes opened. Now God’s army has been enlarged and the enemy should take note.

Just as living in fear is not the answer, neither is living with a heart filled with anger. Both will lead you down the road of desolation. Instead, put your energy into traveling the road that leads to your Eternal Home. Protect yourself—yes, but do not walk in a manner that says, “We will make them pay!” God will have vengeance upon them, in His time. (Romans 12:19)

Let us live in this beautiful land that God has created for us in peace as much as it is possible—“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good! (Romans 12:21)

Father, only You know the future—help us prepare. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Read Psalm 91:14, 15/Psalm 94:1

Also,

Proverbs 29:11   Romans 12:18, 21   I Peter 2:21, 23   Isaiah 53:7

Continual

 

“…we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. Acts 6:3, 4

 

There is a story about a woman who was a widow and was persistent about her needs as she came before the judge. However, the judge kept denying her petition. But, because of her continual asking he eventually gave in—the widow’s needs were fulfilled. (Luke 18:1-5)

There is another story about a crippled man who sat beside a pool for 38 years. It was believed that each day as the waters were disrupted those, who were able to get in the water as they stirred, would be healed of their infirmity. They believed it was an angel of the Lord that stirred the water. The man’s act, of day after day being brought and placed on his mat beside the pool—his continual search for healing, brought to him a visit from the Lord Himself. (John 5:2-15)

Mary, the sister of Lazarus, continually sat at the feet of Jesus, even though she was chastised by her sister, Martha. Also, another Mary, the Virgin Mary, continually kept herself pure and was honored by being chosen to birth the Baby Jesus—the Christ Child—an honor given to no other. (Luke 10:38-42/Matthew 1:18-23)

And what about Noah? The continuation of the building of the Ark, even though there had been no rain, nor was there any in sight, had saved he and his family when the rains did come. (Genesis 6:14-22)

These stories that are found in the oldest and most possessed book—the Holy Bible—are not just for entertainment, but are there to teach us about life. From them we can learn what our life is with God as part of it, and how it is without Him. The continual reading of His Word—of praying that your heart and mind will be enlightened with wisdom and understanding, and loving God and your neighbor, will lead you down the path which God has planned for you. (Jeremiah 29:11)

God calls you and me to continue on our journey. The storms will come, but as God is your refuge and fortress, He will deliver you from all harm. He will command His angels to guard you. Many will fall around you, but the snare of the pestilence will not harm you, neither shall you be afraid, your God will come and save you. (Psalm 91)

Continuation means that you will not give up. Again and again you must make your requests known to God. He will answer you at the right time in the right moment. You will have everything you need—and then some—in God’s perfect time.

Continue on—continually be in prayer, reading His word, and be ready to do His Will—the continuation of sharing the love that God has planted within you, will bring healing to your soul.

Thank you, Lord, for continually loving me.

Dear Lord, please place your love in my heart and wisdom and understanding in my mind—without ceasing—as I continue my journey. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

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CONTINUE IN WELL-DOING

Matthew 7:7   Numbers 23:19   Romans 11:29

Spend Time

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“… apart from me you ca do nothing.” John 15: 5 c

There are 24 hours in a day—60 minutes in an hour—and 60 seconds in a minute. Seven of those 24 hours make up a week and 52 weeks make a year. I have lived 80 of those years that are made up of 52 weeks each which equals 4,160 weeks, 29,120 days, and 1,747,200 minutes. Wow! That is a lot of time! How much of it have I spent with the Lord?

Just like you, I imagine, I have spent multiple hours on myself, and the rest of the time on my family. In those years I probably spent zero time with the Lord. But, looking back He has spent ALL of His time with me. There is no other explanation for the fact that I have lived 8 decades. When it is put like that it is a  l-o-o-o-n-g time!!!

God’s total purpose in sticking it out with me—and you—was to bring us to a place where He could make us hear His call upon our heart. When that happened to me—in the middle of my third decade—it was the moment I was set free and realized I no longer had to carry the heavy burdens all by myself. Jesus came into my heart and forgave me of all the time I had stolen from him. I began anew. He was doing a new thing with my life—things that I never thought possible. I could not make up the time I had lost with Him, but I could, and I did, spend time every day in His presence. You may read the whole story in my book entitled, “Embracing the Call”—God can lead you to places you never imagined.

All of this is to say, God longs for you to spend time with Him—quality time—not just give Him a lick and a promise, but just 5 minutes of your time is worth an eternity with Him. For as the Psalmist writes, “…a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past…” (90:4) And the writer of Hebrews writes, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

We have divided up the time that has been allotted to us by our Creator, in such a way that is meaningless to Him. And by doing so, it has become a stumbling block to our peace. I encourage you to give every moment of every day to the worship of our Lord. Include Him in everything that you do, every step you take, and every word you utter. A new day has begun! When you do you are in Christ and have become a new creation. The old has passed away and everything—EVERYTHING—has become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) God has begun a new thing. Do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19, 19) Spending time with God and His Word is never wasted.

 

Dear Lord, I want to recognize Your presence every moment of every day. Walk with me. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN

 

John 15:4, 5   Deuteronomy 4:9   Luke 12:34

 

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