Wednesday, November 30, 2011
That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil; Where the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. (Heb 6:18-20)
The promise lies in the cross! Through baptism we repent of our sins, through Jesus' death and resurrection we are offered salvation! The sacrifice offered for our souls is not one to be taken lightly. The living God, himself, came to earth and paid for something he did not commit - sin!
Every one of us is born to sin. Our eyes were opened long before we were conceived. Whether we tell a lie, set a fire, cause the death of another - it's all sin. Our gossip, our sick humor, our insensitivity towards others - sin! Every moment of every day is an opportunity to ask for forgiveness. But remember, the clock continues to tick...
There is nothing that God cannot forgive! There is nothing that is impossible for him! He reminds us of that many times over. He caused the entire planet to be covered with water and destroyed the multitudes. He caused the Pharaoh's army to be swallowed up in the Red Sea. He tested Abraham's devotion to him by suggesting he offer his son as a sacrifice. He came to earth in human form to open the gates of heaven by allowing the crucifixion to take place. He raised men dead in tombs, he walked on the water and he moves mountains!
Many of the "mountains" that he moves are not realized by anyone other than the individual he moved it for. He orchestrates his symphony of life for us with such attention to detail, that it is almost impossible to not see his hand at work. The "coincidences" we see in our lives are "confirmations" of a greater purpose, a brighter tomorrow granted us through Christ! When we set our focus on God's plan for us, we will see those mountains move. Sometimes they move slowly, sometimes rapidly - but in either instance, they do move!!!
To walk in the shadow of greatness is a blessing. There is a peacefulness that surrounds you when you know that God's design cannot be measured, nor can it be touched. Know what you know!!! The pieces fall into place like the scattered notes on a sheet of music. Each note by itself creates only one sound - put them together and you have a masterpiece! So is the life he has laid before each of us. Let him do what he needs to do in you and those around you. Do what he commands you to do and you will be the person who when you put your feet on the floor in the morning, causes the enemy to tremble! Let him move mountains for you ~ he moves them for me!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that does good. God looked down from heaven on the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that does good, no, not one. (Ps 53:1-3)
Who am I to argue with God? When he wakes me up at 3am and knows that even though I say to him "don't worry, I'll remember" (which he and I both know I wouldn't have) and gives me a title to search out (and a private verse for myself). I scramble for a pad and pen to write it down so I can return the to slumber he gives me.
The purpose of this Psalm is to convince us of our sins. Why are some so bad? Because they do not fear God! Our bad "practices" come from bad "principles". The fruit of sin; to what it brings men, when their hearts are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." (Matthew Henry) God is merciful towards sinners who believe! He will save us from our own sins, that we may not be held captive by them. From this, the Redeemer, "and you shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matt 1:21)"
Is there a such thing as being "too bad to be saved"? Not as far as I can see. God has taken persecutors and turned their hearts! He has turned the hearts of thieves, murderers, prostitutes, liars, and atheists! When we come before him, what saves us from the fires of hell is Jesus! He wraps that clean robe around us and tells the Father that he "knows" us! We are chosen! We are loved! We are entrusted with spreading the Good News. It is for those who do not know the cross that we are to witness to. We can fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, but we aren't winning any souls for him there. We can draw our strength from those with whom we attend church. We can impart our own testimony to them when they are in need of strength, but their souls have already been claimed!
I often questioned God as to why I must go to work with those who do not know him nor fear him. The "unsaved" have a tendency to try to "draw you in" to their Godless world by means of tasteless humor, gossip, ridicule and anger. God had two purposes for that. The first was to open my eyes to what it means to have to struggle to put food on my table and pay my bills (allowing me to see my ex-husband's life as it were, not to mention showing me how greedy and selfish I really was) and the second was to afford me the opportunity to witness to the goodness that is God! Only then could I successfully climb down off that pedestal I'd placed myself on. Whatever I am, I am still a sinner! Yes, God's love has changed me but I still have a long way to go in the humility department.
My children hate it when I witness to them, and I've tried to temper that witnessing, holding back what the Lord has laid on me to do! They generally begin a conversation in which they are asking for advice with "Please don't tell me about what God says..." and reluctantly I don't. Why? Because I want my children to come to me. Guess what? God wants my children to come to him as well! He wants everyone to come to him! The unbeliever or unsaved cannot attain salvation through osmosis...yes, the basics of God can be absorbed in their minds, but to be saved requires the acceptance of Christ's death on the cross as the "saving grace" and not just saying the words! A sincere plea for forgiveness and an invitation to the Holy Spirit to begin his work is the beginning of God's fulfillment of his promise!
Take that next step in your walk with Christ! Reach out, even if it's just a little bit, test the waters if you must, but move forward in the work he has set before you! Have a little faith ~ he know's what he's doing, even if you don't!
Monday, November 28, 2011
Let all those that seek you rejoice and be glad in you: let such as love your salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified. (Ps 40:16)
God blesses us every day. He allows us to rise in the morning and pour that much needed cup of coffee, sit down and check in with our friends, read a few jokes and perhaps play a few games - all from the privacy of our home, most likely while still in our pajamas. We have a great deal more to be thankful for though...
"No griefs nor poverty can render those miserable who fear the Lord...The promises are sure, the moment of fulfilment hastens forward. He who once came in great humility, shall come again in glorious majesty." (Matthew Henry). No matter what happens in our "day", we have a promise that guarantees it to be better tomorrow. Giving praise to the Father is what our day should consist of. You may say, "how can I do that all day long ~ won't it get in the way of my work?" There are many opportunities throughout the work day to give thanks and to witness to the mercy of God. You'd be surprised at the number of people who will respond back to you with their own testimony of blessings bestowed on them.
Most of us interact with someone during our work day. The smile that you put on your face when you greet a fellow worker can be contagious! There is one woman who works the front end of the grocery store I earn my living in who ALWAYS has a smile on her face. I've yet to see her frown, or be anything but happy. No matter what kind of day I'm having, all I need to do is see her and I immediately smile back. She always has an uplifting word or two for me. She is one my reminders that God is good.
What I've learned about "people" is that there is a way into their heart and soul through two words ~ "Praise God"! Instead of using "that's great" or "I'm happy to hear that", try using a phrase that will open the door to the communication of salvation. If the person is "saved", you'll receive a blessing from a fellow in Christ, if they aren't, you may have opened a door for them to ask God into their heart! And don't be discouraged if you get no response at all, some people just don't know how to respond to that statement.
Reflect the light of God back out to those around you. Be a mirror for his perfect love; let it shine as brilliantly as his stars in heaven! In return you will be warmed by his love for you and he will be magnified!
Sunday, November 27, 2011
God will fulfill his promises to his people, and bring his threatened vengeance upon unbelievers. His judging the world, will for ever silence all doubting and reflections upon his justice! Yet, in spite of all our sins, our "past" and our sometimes selfish acts, there will be a verdict entered on our behalf ~ "not guilty". Not because we are such wonderful human beings, not because we gave to the poor, not because we deserve it, not for ANYTHING we have done ~ but because of what Christ did!
Jesus was born in the lowliest of places. He was laid in a feeding troth for animals. He was exiled from his hometown at an early age and forced to live among strangers. He fulfilled his obligations as a young Jewish boy, he worked at a trade then began to preach to his people the promises of his Father. He was not guilty of any crime, yet he was arrested, beaten, sentenced to die, nailed to a cross, drained of his blood, laid in a tomb and those in power thought they'd seen the last of him! His story had just begun.
Here we are some 2000 years later, with all the communication devices imaginable and yet there are people in the world who do not know who Jesus was! They do not know that this King of Kings died for them. They do not know that they, too, can share in the reward of eternal life.
If you give one gift this Christmas season, give someone the opportunity to know Jesus. Share the story of Christmas with someone who may not know that the reason for the season is not to bulk up the pockets of the retail executives. Tell someone that Christ was born, that he walked on the earth, that he died for them and that he will come to claim his sheep. Offer them a gift that they won't want to exchange, or return or get a refund on. No excuse is acceptable here. Call upon the Holy Spirit to enlighten you and you'll do just fine. Remember, when you stand before the Judge, and the verdict is read, will he say to you "I know you, I love you, I gave my life to save you, love paid the price for mercy, my verdict: NOT GUILTY!
Saturday, November 26, 2011
For with God nothing shall be impossible. (Luke 1:37)
How amazing is God? He created an entire universe from nothing, he filled a large rock with vegetation, water and fish, and roaming creatures, he created a man and a woman to share in the joys of life, and when they disobeyed him, he made a way for their heirs to inherit eternal life, he sent a part of himself to the earth to keep a promise, he continues to give us what we need to maintain life on this planet and he will send his son back to get us! And here we sit, afraid to have the faith in him that he wants us to have! He always works out the details. If he's told you he'll take care of it, why then do you worry?
One prayer. One request that has been promised me and in that time of waiting I become frustrated, I "second guess" his intent, sometimes I even "doubt" that which I know to be true. God speaks to us in many ways. He answers our prayers and he does, from time to time, give us "signs" to help secure our faith in him. His love changes us, making us into the person he needs us to be ~ IF we are willing to accept those changes. He also needs us to keep our hands OUT of his work sometimes! He doesn't need us to help him ~ he can do it all by himself, when it's his time! Whatever God has planned for me is not going to be gained by deception. Any interference from me could seriously undermine his plan. It is not my place to "physically" remedy certain situations. My job is to PRAY!!! There are many things at work in order for the "plan" to unfold. I am but one piece of it! Patience is a virtue I do not possess, but I am getting better at it!
Elisabeth was far beyond her years to conceive a child, yet she did! And not only did she give birth to a son called "John", she gave birth to one who would fulfill scripture, prepare the way for the Messiah who would, in turn, open the door to eternal life! That's pretty amazing!
Hold tight to your promises from God. Pray for the strength to continue to walk in his ways, pray for those who he's laid it on your heart to pray for, and let him work the plan he has for you! Be patient and be faithful! Don't give up on him...he never gave up on you!
Friday, November 25, 2011
And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come on you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35)
When people talk about putting "Christ" back in "Christmas", I wonder if they realize that to do that would require people to to not kill each other on "Black Friday"? We have become so obsessed with "bargains" that a day of insanity ensues immediately following a day of giving thanks! My oldest daughter has already posted that crazy people are standing in the rain all the way around the department store she works at and that there were two fights outside (most likely over a spot in line) and one inside - it's not even 7am yet! I don't think this is what God had in mind when he gave us our Christmas "gift"! And might I add that I do not miss being in retail, especially today!
Imagine, if you can, the fear in Mary when the angel appeared to her and told her she was going to have a child and he would be the Son of God! Imagine Joseph when he was told in his dream that Mary was "with child" and he should take her as his wife anyway, then to be told the child's name would be "Jesus"! I know that when I realized I was pregnant with my son, I "knew" how I got that way, but yet I wandered around saying to myself "it can't be" ~ "I can't be pregnant". Mary had no such encounter to cause her condition!
God chooses us for specific work. He knows exactly what he has for us, just as he knew that he had the "perfect" gift for us! He chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus, Joseph to be his guardian and John to be the one to "prepare the way". None of them asked for this gift , nor did they feel they were worthy of it. Instead, they accepted what God gave them and said "thank you" and proceeded to do the best they could with the situation laid out before them. Their "success" came as a result of their attitude; an attitude of love and devotion to God and a willingness to do what he asked of them!
How much better off we would be to take a lesson in acceptance and love from these three people. Sometimes the best gifts are the ones we don't deserve and never expected! We all have a "wish list" for Christmas gifts. If I don't get what's on it, I won't be disappointed. The ultimate Christmas gift was given to me long before I was ever born, it was chosen specifically for me and I would not trade it for anything! He IS the "reason for the season" because it is HIS birth we celebrate! There is nothing anyone could buy for me that could top that! So while you are wrapping all those wonderfully expensive items you've purchased, remember to wrap your heart around the greatest of gifts ~ Jesus!
Thursday, November 24, 2011
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thes 5:18)
A young Bible College Student has been visiting with our church this past week. He gave this verse last night at our Thanksgiving Service. He made mention of the fact that it seems that the only time most of the population of this country gives thanks for anything is on Thanksgiving!
We are commanded not only to "pray without ceasing"; we are commanded to give thanks. Again, the use of 'every thing' as opposed to 'everything' is significant! We all know it's easy to give thanks for the good times and the good things in our lives. We are to give thanks for the things we feel aren't so good as well. ALL that comes to us passes through the Father's hand first, so why should we not be grateful for the trials?
With each "trial" we grow. We become stronger and better "conditioned" to handle God's call on our lives. There are many things we could whine about and be "depressed" over. Our economy and the current job situation is taking its toll on many people. I'm included in those "many people". Yet, I rejoice!!! Had the elevator construction jobs in NYC not come to a screeching halt, had the pastor of my previous church not left, had I not lost my job, many "things" I have to be thankful for today would not exist! As a matter of fact, had all of those "things" not occurred, you would not be reading this post, simply because this site would not have existed. Giving thanks to God in hard times, giving thanks when it hurts, offering our pain and suffering to the King of Kings is what it's all about!
So, give thanks! Give thanks for the "fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel's veins"! The greatest of all gifts, something to always be thankful for ~ the salvation offered to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ ~ the guarantee of heaven, not hell! And remember to thank him for every thing else as well! Although you may not see the blessing now, it's there just the same! Mercy is not getting what we deserve; grace is what we get instead of what we deserve. Have a blessed Thanksgiving and rejoice! As you pass the dinner rolls around the table today, give thanks for something besides the food! Give thanks for the "Bread of Life"!
(please view the Worship Video for today)
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers (1 Thes 1:2)
In all of Paul's letters, he always gave "thanks" after his salutation. Whether he was thanking many or one, he was thankful for all who the Lord placed in his life. He was able to rejoice at the chains that bound him in prison, he was able to be thankful for the smallest of gifts given him, he was a man whom God saw fit to change and once changed, he spent the remainder of his life praising him and giving thanks to him!
We have so much to be thankful for. There is not enough time in the day to thank God for all he's done for us. I know that some days I can spend a long as two hours in prayer, other days I don't get but 20 minutes. But it's all good! I always remember to thank him for sending my Savior! I thank him for my family and friends. I petition him with a "prayer list" on which are many names. Some are in groups of names and I don't fret because God knows who they are. There is a "sheet" with prayer requests written on it from a retreat; there are listed also in my little "white" book a multitude of names of people I have never met, have never spoke with and know only by a thumbnail sized photo. There are family members of people I've worked with, parents of people I grew up with and leaders of this country. You are on that prayer list! There is also a prayer list stuck in the inside flap of that book from my church. Names without faces, but all in need of prayer. There are unspoken requests, there are spiritual requests, there are requests for healing and requests for salvation. I pray for my church and my Pastor and his family. I pray for other churches that I have attended and for that congregation.
When someone asks me to pray for them, I do! I don't leave the praying up to someone else because I am too busy ~ I used to do that - not anymore! I never had time to pray for anyone other than myself! I have found that in praying for others, thus taking my focus off of my own wants and desires, that the Lord blesses me! I don't really need to ask him for anything for me ~ he already knows what I desire. I've learned that to pray for someone else is a privilege!!!
Lift up your voice in prayer and in praise to the giver of so many blessings! Acknowledge that you are a sinner and that undeserving as you are, you are thankful! Pray for the needs of others and yours will be met! Pray with devotion, pray with thanksgiving, pray with humility, pray with joy! God loves to hear the song of our hearts!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request (Esther 7:3)
Most of us know the story of Mordecai. We've read (or hopefully will read) what happens to Haman and how his plan "backfires". At the urging of my Pastor, I've re-read the book of Esther. This particular verse spoke volumes to me!
God speaks to us through his word. Although most of the Old Testament is viewed as a "history lesson", but there's a lot to be learned about prayer and humility. And, once again, enter the Fear of God! Our most powerful, loving Father could show his wrath (nothing we wouldn't deserve), but instead, he shows us mercy and grace. He is able and willing to do anything, regardless of how impossible we may think it is, he wants to give us our hearts desire, even those things we hesitate to ask him for.
Unlike "spoiled" children, we are to keep going to him, we are to keep bringing him our requests. We are to keep talking to him and asking for his guidance and help. The more we walk in his ways, the more we need his guidance and the more we need the Holy Spirit to run interference against Satan. We will never be "worthy" of the the gift given to us, so what makes us think we can "take it from here"???
Know what you know about God's promise to you. Don't let Satan steal your thunder! Don't let him in to dance all over your heart and stomp out God's fire! Believe what you know! Have faith in what you know! God will take care of the small details ~ he always does!
Continue to praise him, continue to serve him. He's looking out for you! His plans for you are many and great and he's calling you out! Bend that knee of yours a little bit and the bucket of blessings just may fall on you!
Monday, November 21, 2011
I will be glad and rejoice in your mercy: for you have considered my trouble; you have known my soul in adversities (Ps 31:7)
My salvation, the most precious of all gifts God has given me, carried a high price tag! It was not something I could have afforded to purchase myself. It is a "one of a kind" gift, and only "one to a customer". It comes with "easy to understand" instructions, but "no assembly required". I don't know if it comes with a "return policy", I have never considered returning it. My devotion to Christ, on the other hand, is "battery operated". It needs to be recharged so that my faith can continue to grow. My faith "fits like a glove" and it does come in "all sizes". It was "made to order".
When it comes to advertising, we are all attracted to the items that will give us the best buy for our money. When I was younger, the "gimmicks" would usually pull me in, I'd purchase the product, then find out that it was not worth the price I paid, nor did it do what the commercial said it would. Today I am more skeptical about the things I buy. I make sure that what is being sold is, in fact, everything it is said to be. If not, I'm not wasting my money on it.
When I do find a "great bargain", I boast about it, brag on it and suggest it to others. As a matter of fact, I do that on a daily basis! I have found a bargain so great that nothing could ever replace it, it's "guaranteed for life".
I do rejoice in his mercy! I praise him and he blesses me! He has my whole life in his hands, every moment he gives me is praiseworthy! Sometimes the joy that fills my soul is overflowing! It is in those moments that I know he has called me by name and he hears my prayers. It are those moments that sustain me when I am in pain!
We do not deserve the gifts God gives us, but he offers them to us just the same. Our souls have been "washed clean" and the "colors (of his love for us) never fade"! Jesus is the "best deal in town"!
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Why shouldest thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man [that] cannot save? yet thou, O LORD, [art] in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; leave us not. (Jer 14:9)
Our Father in heaven has interrupted my morning post to bring you a very special announcement. I don't always "hear" the voice of my Creator, but when he very boldly gives me a message, I humble myself to it!
We all have feelings. We all (hopefully) want to be better today than we were yesterday. We struggle, we crawl, we climb, we cry, we laugh, we regret, we want, we live and we die. The images of our pain come crawling back to us in the dead of night. The mistakes we've made haunt us. The hurt we've caused others paralyzes us. The worldly desires that we struggle to let go of become the very chains that bind us. The "image" we want to portray to the world, the wanting to be in the spotlight, draws us away from our real calling. The one God chose specifically for us.
Some people will never open their eyes and see "the plan". Their jealousy cuts both ways. Not only does it hurt the one who is jealous, but it damages to the point of obsession the one they are jealous of! I don't have to worry about anyone stealing my thunder today, but I never really did ~ I never considered myself someone anyone would be jealous of. Everything I do is done for God's glory - not mine! He gives me the inspiration and let's me share the spotlight for a brief moment or two and then I step out. I sit and I watch others trying to "find themselves" ~ I'm very blessed - I know who I am and in what direction the Lord is leading me because I was open to receive his gift. I accepted it on his terms, not mine! To "be still" requires us to be patient. He will open the right door at the right time. Modest and clean living, devotion, simple as opposed to extravagant, focusing on what you have and being satisfied with it are all attributes of a Christian. Bigger and better comes in the next life!
Stop trying to outdo the guy next to you! Don't "vulturistically" look to take someone else's spotlight ~ find your own, answer YOUR calling, not the one someone thought was theirs and threw by the side of the road! Chances are they left it there for a good reason! Refuse to be anything but what God calls you to be!
(Did you know that vultures are scavenging birds, feeding mostly on the carcasses of dead?)
Saturday, November 19, 2011
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Phil 4:12-13)
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Sometimes it gets a little confusing, but God has a way of working things out to benefit everyone.
When we start a journey, we don't know how or where or when it will end. We have a general idea, we have a goal. Sometimes God changes that without consulting us, sometimes he changes it at our request.
Paul knew what it was like to be in chains, yet he still preached the message of hope and salvation. He knew what it was to be sick, and still he preached. He did not start out as a follower of Jesus Christ, he started out persecuting those who did. God changed his heart and Paul accepted the change. Through the strength given to him by his acceptance, he wrote to churches and saw many souls saved in the name of Jesus! He witnessed to all that was the Lord our God and gave thanks in everything. He knew the "secret" ~ it lies in Christ's shed blood!
Just as the Israelites smeared the blood of the a slain lamb over the door at the first "passover", the blood of Jesus has been smeared over our soul. We are his chosen ones. We will be spared from the fires of hell because of it! We are instructed how to live, what kind of life to lead, just as the Israelites were, and it is our responsibility to walk in the way that he has laid before us, without changing it. Remember, HIS way, not ours!
We CAN do all things through Christ, who gives us strength! That same blood that Paul wrote about still has the same power today that it did over 2000 years ago! It causes the blind to see and the lame to walk. It opens the door of hope and closes the door to eternal suffering! It is more powerful than any nuclear device on this earth. And once you have been washed in it, you are never the same!
No matter where I go in life, no matter what road I travel, the Lord goes before me! I follow where HE leads! For he knows better than anyone the desires of my heart and the longings of my soul! Trust in him, do for him, give to him ~ he gave it all for you!
Friday, November 18, 2011
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7)
When I don't know how to pray, or what to pray, I just praise and say "you know my heart". I knew a woman once to who came to me after I had voiced a prayer request and told me she wanted to know specifically what I wanted in my petition to the Lord. After about 10 minutes of trying to tell her, I just said, "just pray for God's will in this situation" and walked away very frustrated.
I have learned to be very specific in my petitions to God. The other thing I've learned is to be careful what I ask for. In both cases I had the prayer answered and it wasn't quite what I wanted, however, it was what I needed. Sometimes we aren't ready for that answered prayer ~ but God is ready to answer it. When that happens, we must dig deep into our resourses and move forward. On two separate occasions within the past year I have asked that God close a door "if it was his intention to not grant my request". Both times he has. In shock and dismay, I cried out to him "why"? Silly woman - you know exactly why! In the midst of the pain and the hurt, I found something so much better, so much more of a blessing than anything I had had previously. I am certain he will again shine through me in this current situation.
Being a follower of Christ is not an easy journey. It's fraught with potholes and road blocks, "do not enters" and "road closeds". The rest stops along that road are sometimes not up to our human expectations, but they are there. Sometimes we have a full tank and sometimes we run on fumes, but either way, we make it to the next stop by his mercy and grace. We have a goal, he has a plan. My goal is to arrive at my final destination without the baggage of this life. His plan is whatever he chooses to place on that road to help me get there in one piece.
Present your requests to him in the quietness of your heart and he will meet your needs. Know that if he doesn't meet what you feel are your needs, he will most definitely meet what he knows them to be! Be patient, be still and know. Take the time and enjoy the scenic view from the rest stop. Be well rested for the next part of your journey because another storm may be just around that mountain in front of you, or there just may be a rainbow when you get there. In either case, you are not alone and you are loved! (reprint 11/18/2010)
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (Phil 2:3)
Sometimes I have to read the NIV verson to understand the verse - Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
To say that I had a rough day yesterday would be an understatement. God closed a door on me. It was suggested to me that I dive into Philippians (which, of course, I did). I found some verses take on a whole new meaning last night, this being one of them!
No matter what anyone tells you, no matter how much they try to convince you otherwise - you know your own heart! There are times when we can almost (and I do mean almost) be convinced that we are all the things someone else sees us as. We question every single action and the motive for each action over and over again - convinced that there is something wrong with us. It never really occurs to us that it's the other person there is something wrong with!
God has in mind for us something so special, so perfect that we sometimes don't want to look for it, or risk finding it because it would require us to work. Accepting what is comfortable, what we know, what we become use to is so much easier, even if its the worst thing in the world for us! Sometimes we aren't willing to close a door, so God closes it for us.
I've never had a problem with the second part that verse. I have always placed others above my own needs, my own wants and looked on them as "better". The first part, I had to work on. We always want credit where credit is due. I've learned that all of what I do is noticed, not by anyone on this planet (or any other one, for that matter). What I do is for God's glory - his praises, not for any pats on the back, or accolades of appreciation. I give to God who gives to me. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes its not.
In everything you do today, do it for the glory of God. Give him all of you, not just the parts of you that are hurting. And don't forget to thank him for that hurt as well, it is there that our crowns are made. Hold on to the faith that Paul tells about in Philippians - the chains that bind us will also set us free! It's not your time to go home yet - there's still work to be done here! (reprint 11/17/2010)
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
In all things showing yourself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing soundness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. (Titus 2:7-8)
In everything we do, someone is always watching. I chuckle at those who complain about security cameras and traffic cameras! Hello??? If you aren't breaking the law, what's the problem??? Could it be that you are one of those consistent speeders, loafers on the job or shoplifters and that now you're crimes will be caught on tape and you may have to pay a fine, lose your driving privileges or even worse - spend a few nights in jail?
We are always under the watchful eye of someone whether we want to believe it or not. Everything we do is observed by someone. You can hide your sins from others, but you cannot hide them from God. He sees them all, from the smallest white lie, to the blasphemous utterings that come from your mouth! Yes, I am guilty! Yes, I am forgiven! But what I was will always follow me in this life. I will never be seen in some eyes as anything other than selfish, angry, crazy and destructive. That's okay, though - I'm not trying to impress them anymore. I walk a line that is sound and sincere, my actions are no longer called into question, simply because I avoid doing anything that will give someone something to talk about. I follow the rules today. I don't always like them, but I follow them just the same.
Every Christian is given general rules to live by. Seasoned adults should be sober (showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion, or prejudice); not thinking that the "decays of nature" will justify any excess... Faith works by, and must be seen in love, of God for himself, and of men for God's sake. Older adults can be easily irritated and constantly worry about some things. They need to be on their guard. Young women must be sober (again, showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion, or prejudice) and discreet; for many expose themselves to fatal temptations by what at first might be only want of discretion. The reason is added, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Failures to follow the path brings a discrediting mark to Christianity. Young men might often be eager and thoughtless, therefore must be serious and firm in their beliefs: there are more young people ruined by pride than by any other sin.
The example we set is the scale by which the world judges us. What we do, what others see us do, how we live our lives: it's all called into question by someone. We have become the models for our children and we in turn try to tell them they should know better. How can they when all they've ever seen are the "secret sins" we hide in the closet? The "do as I say, not as I do" pretense doesn't carry any weight worth vocalizing. The game of life is follow the leader, doing what those before us have done. If you truly want to play that game, and play it well, pick a leader who has led and exemplary life ~ chose to follow someone whose character is above reproach ~ choose to walk with Christ! Follow THAT leader and win!!! (reprint from 11/16/2010)
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit (! Peter 3:18)
Last Sunday evening, one of our youth suggested that we be on fire for God! I think his prayer was answered last night!
The thought that came across my mind was "I wish I had had the courage to stand before a group of people and tell all the things the Lord had done for me and how blessed I was when I was their age" and immediately following that thought came "... unless you become as little children".
The praise and testimony of our youth often carries more weight than they are given credit for! They have yet to be poisoned with the temptations and trappings of this world (to the extent that adults have been - simply because they have not be around as long) and they still have the capacity to love unconditionally. They have the opportunity to see what we have struggled with and how much better THEIR lives will be by learning from our mistakes. They sing, they lift their hands in praise without hesitation, they love and they honor God in such a way that I hang my head in my own shame. I want to be like them! I want to have a heart that is as open and joyful as theirs is, even when their world is coming down on top of them. I want that simple joy that they possess!
Knowing that God works miracles every day I'm alive may be just what I need to give me the courage to be "like a child". I am a sinner. I have been since the day I was born! And I will continue to be a sinner right up to the time he takes me home! I'm forgiven. I will make every effort to walk in his ways! Knowing that my needs will be met, that my Father in heaven is not going to leave me stranded here on earth, brings me to a place in life where I can be a child again! He will make a way for me to continue on doing what I do and doing it where I do it! I have no doubt! So I will continue to praise and worship my King and hopefully the life I build on his foundation will be of gold, silver and precious stones and not wood, hay and stubble (1 Cor 3:12).
Find the child in you today! Praise him like you did that day you realized you were his child! Don't let the enemy drain you of your joy and love for him! He's worth much more than the best of the best! He set the bar so high that no one could measure up - but all can pass through!
(reprint from 11/15/10)
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Deut 31:6)
Being gently nudged back into what the Lord has for you is often safer and more important than being thrust into by a catapult. It doesn't matter so much who reads what you write, but that you feel it when writing it. It becomes a journal, of sorts. Pouring your heart out for all to see sometimes makes you vulnerable, but most times, it makes you stronger, simply because it takes courage to do so.
God does not leave us stranded by the side of the road (even though it feels that way sometimes). He's right there with you, waiting for you to make your next move. Do you pick up the pieces of your broken life and carry them to the finish line or do you just sit there sobbing and muttering to yourself that you've lost the race???
It's been a soul-searching week for me. What I've discovered is that often God is silent, but without God, life is meaningless. Being courageous is not necessarily shown in our physical strength, but most often in our strength of character. What kind of person are you??? Are you the kind who crawls into bed, pulls the covers up over your head and prays that everything will just go away, or be fixed when you wake up, or are you the kind who looks at the situation, prays, and with God's help, puts the wheels in motion to accomplish the task that lies in front of you?
I am not a quitter. The fact that you are reading this tells me that you are not a quitter either. It shows that we have "courage" - the courage that makes us unafraid to go into the darkness and offer light. I will walk where God tells me to walk, whether it's my heart's desire or not - there is a purpose to it. He will illuminate my heart and lead me, in order for me to lead others. That's His plan. That at least one more person comes to know Him and all His works.
My faithful friends, God does have a wonderful plan for each of us. It may not be realized in this life. It may, in fact, be written on the walls of heaven, but it is written!!! Be of good courage and don't give up! God is waiting on you to pick up the baton and finish the race!!!
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Then I said, "Here I am, I have come--it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." (Ps 40:7-8)
Jesus portrayed this attitude of obeying and serving God (John 4:34; 5:30). He came as the prophets foretold, proclaiming the Good News of God's righteousness and forgiveness of sins.
We all want to do what is right, what the Lord would have us do. We pray and ask for guidance yet, often, we hear nothing. We go where we are led and often feel left alone to struggle. This does not mean that God has abandoned us.
Lately I've been feeling like I no longer have what it takes to serve the Lord in this capacity any longer, yet I still get up each morning and sit in front of this computer and wait. Maybe it's time to stop. Maybe it's time to change the format. All I know is that the words no longer "come" to me, there doesn't seem to be a "flowing" thought or verse that inspires me. This doesn't mean I no longer believe, nor does it mean I'm no longer a child of the King!
God shows his righteousness and faithfulness to his people in his offer of salvation. For a year and a half, I have faithfully prepared and posted words of hope and courage, words of pain and joy. David boldly proclaimed this God's righteousness to those around him. When we feel the impact of that on our lives, we cannot keep it hidden. We want to tell other people what God has done for us. Right now, I don't "feel" anything.
If God's faithfulness has changed your life, don't be timid. Since it is natural to share a good bargain with others or recommend a skillful doctor, then it should also be natural to share what God has done for you. Please keep me in your prayers as I try to discern what it is the Lord would have me do. I ask that our Heavenly Father would make it ever so clear to me, so that there would be no doubts, no hesitation and no room for misinterpretation of His will for me. God has blessed me with a gift that no longer seems to "work". My prayer is that He will show me the way...
Monday, November 7, 2011
God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. (Ps 68:6)
It was a time to sing praises to the Lord, whose presence brings great joy. With shouts of praise and the sound of trumpets, David and his people took the holy Ark toward Mount Zion (2 Sam 6:15). Only in God is there hope for the orphans, widows, prisoners, and all other lonely people. If you re among the ranks of the lonely or disadvantaged, join David in praise and discover great joy as you invite Him to be with you!
Loneliness is a terrible feeling. Although people will tell you that "you are never alone, the Lord is always with you", I doubt very much if they truly know what it means to be lonely. While in Tennessee, far away from my family and friends, God blessed me with a new family and a new group of friends. They were there for me. We shared holidays and laughter (most times, the tears would be rolling down my face). They took me in as if I were one of their own (sister, daughter). They included me at their dinner table and their family gatherings. I WAS family! They looked forward to spending time with me, and I with them. We shared joys and sorrows. We prayed together. Knowing I would not have that here made it very hard to leave. But God's plan for me did not include remaining there.
I don't know what it is the Lord was or is trying to show me, to teach me. I often get glimpses of what it might be, yet the full purpose of it has not been revealed to me. All I know for sure is that He wanted me here, so I humbly returned. Each day is a struggle, an uphill battle against the enemy. I fight to hold ground, slipping ever so slightly each day. It is in those times that I must turn my eyes towards heaven and call desperately upon the name of the Lord!
David praised God for His protection and provision. When we see God's true majesty, our response should be to praise Him. This was a song of faith since many of these benefits had not yet come true in David's time. It should also be our song of faith. We must continue to trust God because, in time, He will fulfill all His promises!!!
Sunday, November 6, 2011
November 3, 2011 - As he prepares to turn 93 on November 7, Billy Graham shares his hopes, struggles and prayers, and his gratitude for each of you.
Through the miracle of technology, God is graciously allowing me to proclaim the Good News in several countries this year—three of them where I never had the opportunity to lead a Crusade.
I will turn 93 in just a few days and am thankful to the Lord that not long before my birthday, I was able to complete a book I’ve been working on for some time.
The book is called Nearing Home, and it’s about how to prepare for and face the challenges of growing old, and how to finish well. I’ve written down lessons and insights I wish I had learned earlier in life, because I have come to realize that although I know how to die, no one ever taught me how to grow old.
Even as I look forward to seeing Jesus Christ face to face, and to being reunited with Ruth, my parents, and a host of friends who have now gone on before me, God continues to give me time on earth. My failing eyesight keeps me from reading as I once did, and my physical stamina is low, but I have more time to pray. I talk to the Lord about the needs of family and friends, and about the work of evangelism that God has called us to at BGEA.
The Bible says, “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations” (Matthew 24:14, NIV), and that is what I pray for. It fills me with gratitude to know that God is using our ministry—through modern advances in communication—to reach more people with the Gospel today, in more countries, than ever in the history of BGEA.
God has allowed me to preach in person in over 185 countries during my lifetime, and I would like to preach again, but for now don’t have the strength to stand before an audience.
However, through the miracle of technology, God is graciously allowing me to proclaim the Good News in several countries this year—three of them where I never had the opportunity to lead a Crusade. Instead of a stadium, the My Hope project uses tens of thousands of home gatherings held simultaneously throughout an entire nation.
Christian families invite their nonbeliever neighbors and loved ones to watch evangelistic broadcasts prepared especially for a particular country. The programs have my Gospel messages carefully dubbed into the local language. Other programs have a message from Franklin. After each broadcast, hosts share their own testimony with the guests and invite them to turn to Jesus Christ in repentance and faith.
In Haiti recently, over 100,000 people made decisions for Christ as a result of My Hope. During December we are doing a similar evangelistic outreach across the African nation of Zambia, a land where I last preached 51 years ago, and in Portugal and Spain, European nations where God never opened the door for me to preach in person. Please pray with us that many will “put [their] hope in Christ” (Ephesians 1:12).
God is also blessing us with other wide-open doors for ministry.
Many thousands of individuals from all over the country and the world have reported giving their lives to the Savior Jesus Christ as a result of our new Internet evangelism (learn more at SearchforJesus.net).
And starting this year, we are reaching children around the world through a specially developed evangelism and discipleship program called The Greatest Journey. We believe we will see more than 3 million children using this wonderful material that not only teaches them the Scriptures and how to follow Christ, but also equips them to share Him with others.
I’m grateful that I have lived long enough to see these things happening. God says in the Bible, “Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance” (Psalm 2:8). Some refer to that as God’s own prayer request. He wants every nation to turn to Him. Join me in continuing to ask Him.
At this Thanksgiving season, I am especially grateful for each of you and for your support in prayer and financial gifts.
May God bless you,
Saturday, November 5, 2011
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. (Ps 103:13-14)
We worry and we fret over things we have no control over. Life tends to happen. No matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, sorrow will enter our lives. We will be tried and tested like gold in the furnace, we will be perfected and molded and what is melted away will be discarded. All that remains is what has value.
We are fragile, but God's care is eternal. Too often we focus on God as Judge and Lawgiver, ignoring His compassion and concern for us. When God examines our lives, He remembers our human condition Our weakness should never be used as justification for sin. His mercy takes everything into account. Trust Him. God will deal with you compassionately.
Each of us, in God's time, must die. There is no escaping it. Our human bodies will be returned to the earth we were formed from and in that moment, we see that what we are here, means nothing. But we no longer remain in the grave, we go on to receive our eternal reward. For some of us it will be beautiful, painless and comforting. For others it will be an eternal nightmare, an absence from God, our Creator, who called to them and they refused to answer.
How do I know? Because I know God! He is an all-knowing and ever present deity that has shown Himself to be both beautiful and desirable. He is my Creator. He is good and generous, great and sovereign. He is holy. He is loving and faithful, merciful and forgiving. He is powerful. God is willing to reveal His will, His law and His direction to each of us. He is righteous and just. He is love!
Take comfort in knowing that if you have yet to answer His call on your heart, there is still time. You still have the chance to make the change! You still have the opportunity to be welcomed into His waiting arms. Right now, there is still time! Don't risk putting it off until later! Seek Him now! He's all you'll ever need!!!
Friday, November 4, 2011
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” (1 Peter 3:13-14)
Too often we see peace as merely the absence of conflict. A quiet reflection of life in a manner that is comfortable - without disturbance, without pain. We try to "keep the peace" in our homes or our lives by suffering quietly, doing nothing to aggravate someone, or agitate a situation. We cave into the demands of those who have "earthly" power over us (our parents, the law, and others in positions of authority). We become puppets for them and their desire to control causes us to fear them.
Throughout my life I have been "blamed" for things I did not do, have been found "guilty" (by my peers) and manipulated by the "cults" who bost of being sanctioned by God, yet have no use for His word (and have written their own). I have been labeled and stamped with the words "defective" and "denying" by people who preach acceptance and offer options. There is only one true God - His presence in your life changes everything! Jesus' saving grace poured out makes all things new - literally! Jesus' healing mercies reach down and right what others claim to be wrong and they dispute His power. Why would anyone in their right mind want to continue to associate with that band of demons?
Life itself is hard enough without having to be told that a door swings both ways and then once on the other side of it, it is nailed shut, trapping you inside. Jesus holds the key to all doors! He frees those who ask and condemns those who do not. There is no "other" God, the higher power is the highest power! He is stronger than the will of man and greater than any self-help group. Rely on Him, not those who will mislead you, abandon you and lie to you to draw you in to their culture. They are not changed, they were a facade of change, still bitter, still angry, still painstakingly ugly.
The answer to all your needs lies in one book - it's a big book that contains all the tools you need in this life. It holds the secret to healing and the path to righteousness...it's been translated into over 450 different languages. It's been around for over 2,000 years. Those numbers can't be touched by anything or anyone. (Yes, once again - it's the Bible - the word of God.) Don't allow a society of people who refuse to acknowledge the power of the God of Heaven and Earth to cause you to lose the part of yourself that belongs to Him! Look to Jesus to guide you, call on Him when you are unsure - He's there 24/7 and there's no waiting. Do not fear the things others fear... they do not know the Lord!!!
Thursday, November 3, 2011
For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. (Matthew 24:5)
It is not as important to know when (exact time and date) as it is to be prepared. Living God's way consistently, being ready is much more logical (if you want to impose logic on anything spiritual). The disciples had asked Jesus for a sign of his coming and of the end of the world. Jesus' first response was that they "take heed that no man deceive you". When we look for signs, we become susceptible to being deceived. There are "false prophets" with counterfeit signs of spiritual power and authority. Focus on Christ and His word. Look at Christ!
There are many who preach the Word of God. There are many who are humble and pure in heart and do it for the Lord, and not for the notoriety or the accolades that often comes with it. There are those, too, who do too much. And then there are those who put their own "spin" on things, denouncing other very qualified preachers simply out of jealousy (yes, I did just use that word) and their own twisted desires to reinterpret and denounce certain forms of praise. Praise is praise - if you are praising God, it doesn't make a difference if you do it in your jeans or in a three-piece suit. It doesn't matter if your hymns were written 200 years ago or are on the Billboard Charts. I have heard some "TV Evangelists" who preach the word of God and I've heard some I wish I had not. I've heard some sermons in church that made me sit up and ask "is he for real???"
All religions have their own "rules" and quasi-interpretations on the Word of God. Some of their stuff makes me wonder if they've even read the book. I look to the Bible to answer those questions. I look to the commentaries (not just one, although I do like Matthew Henry's writing style) to help me discern what is written. I sit and listen for the Lord to enlighten me (which, He does). I don't generally stay in one place too long, simply because I am still hungry for His word. Being fed spiritually means to be nourished by His word, not sitting stagnant waiting to die. We all need nourishment in one form or another. We need to be open to the teachings of God as well as it's interpretation. We need to be listening.
So, open your ears and your heart to the Word of God. Don't be deceived by those who preach only joy and heaven for all. Don't allow yourself to fall into the trap of "religion" - fall into the waiting arms of Jesus! Let Him guide you, left Him show you, let your heart find comfort in His word and not anger or anxiety. He's a loving God - let Him love on you a little. You deserve it! Be careful, though, there are those who will try to deceive you - more than you know!!!
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (2 Cor 4:16)
"It is easy to lose heart and quit. We all have faced problems in our relationships or work that have caused us to think about giving up. Rather than quitting when persecution wore him down, Paul concentrated on the inner strength that came from the Holy Spirit (LASB)".
I get that way sometimes. I sit in front of a computer and stare at blank screen waiting for the Lord to move me. I do not take a day off. Even when I have a "guest writer", I still have to get up and post it to each of the blog spots and to my web page. Some mornings I have all I can do to crawl out of bed and do that. My "paid" job is physically demanding. Most days I work a ten-hour shift. I do this because I like having a roof over my head. I do this because this is what the Lord has chosen for me. I like what I do, and yet I am tired. I face all the same problems that other Christians face. I am not exempt from them, nor am I exempt from wanting to quit and being persecuted for doing what I do (the Lord's work). It is in those times that I, too, must concentrate on the strength that comes from the Holy Spirit.
To know that God has a plan for us is one thing. To sit patiently and wait for His timing is where faith comes in. When will He move His mighty hand over my life and make it better? When will the exhaustion end? When will I realize all that He has for me? Only when we have completely surrendered all we have to His care, can we hope to see all that He has for us.
"Don't let fatigue, pain or criticism force you off the job. Renew your commitment to serving Christ! Don't forsake your eternal reward because of the intensity of today's pain. Your very weakness allows the resurrection power of Christ to strengthen you moment by moment (LASB)".
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
I commend to you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That you receive her in the Lord, as becomes saints, and that you assist her in whatever business she has need of you: for she has been a succorer of many, and of myself also. (Rom 16:1-2)
Phebe was known as a servant (the Greek word used here is often translated "deaconess") and a helper. She apparently was wealthy and helped support Paul's ministry. She was highly regarded in the church, and she may have delivered this letter from Corinth to Rome. This provides evidence that women had important roles in the early church. Cenchrea, the town where Phebe lived, was the eastern port of Corinth, six miles from the city center.
This verse sheds new light on the role of women in the Church of Christ. For quite some time, I've been under the impression that the role of women in Christ's church was to sit quietly, instruct children and other women and pretty much, take a back seat. Additionally, the 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, (Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted to them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also said the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.) is not an order for women to refrain from and ignore their gifts from the Holy Spirit. It does not mean that women should not speak in church service. It is clear that women prayed and prophesied in public worship. It is also clear that women are given spiritual gifts and are encouraged to exercise them in the body of Christ. Women have much to contribute and can and should participate! The purpose of Paul's words was to promote unity, not to teach about women's roles in the church.
We, today, have many spiritually gifted women who write and preach the word of God. They are servants, just as the men are, spreading the Gospel of Christ. If God's word is shared, if people come to know the Lord and Savior through their words, how can that be "wrong"? Go where God sends you, teach what has been taught to you, preach the word of God! Offer the same salvation to others that has been offered to you!