Wednesday, July 31, 2013

~ "Oh, the Lord is good to me..."

The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD. (Proverbs 21:31)

When we wake up in the morning, look at the clock and realize we have but one hour to do what generally requires two, which of those things do we neglect?  For far to long it was the time spent in His word.  Not anymore.  

All our preparation for anything we do is useless without God.  We need His help and we still must do our part and prepare.  Just because God knows how things are going to turn out doesn't mean we are not responsible for doing out part.  It's very easy to sit back and say "no matter what, God's will will be done".  We have to be prepared for what it is He wants us to do.  Often we pray for things yet fail to do the footwork necessary to achieve them.

Today was looking like one of those days.  "Which old post can I re-post this morning?"  None of them!  If I take a moment, the Lord will provide me with the verse and the words to go along with it.  He has given me a great wealth of choices - they are in the Bible.  All I need to do is open it and read.  The thoughts will come and there will still be enough time to do what needs to be done.  Everything else in my day is cannot be anywhere near as important as sitting and spending time with Him - even if it is only for a few moments.  Without Him, I am nothing.  Without Him, I have no purpose.  Without Him, the enemy...well, the enemy doesn't get to win today because I have put on the armor this morning and have already won, regardless of what he hurls at me today!  

Even though the sun has yet to shine it's brilliant light over the horizon, I know it will because God promised it would.  My faith in Him assures me of that.  I know that Jesus will stand beside me today and lift me up when I'm falling apart, comfort me when I am afraid and hold me when I feel alone.  My faith in Him assures me of that as well.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

~ "Plowing the field..."

For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. (Jer 4:3)

So what do we do with our "fallow ground"?  

Jeremiah was telling the people to break up the hardness of their hearts.  Josiah had tried to turn the people back to God but they continued to worship their idols in secret...hardened hearts!  Jeremiah told the people they needed to REMOVE the sin before God's word could take hold!  

So, how do we remove the sin?  We pray.  We fast.  We abstain.  It doesn't happen over night.  The longer your "habit" has been in place, the longer it will take to change it.  It's a battle of the mind.  Continue reprogramming until it becomes the habit.  We aren't going to discuss smoking because we all know that I've tried and failed numerous times.  We'll go with something a little simpler...breakfast...

Most people eat breakfast.  I am not a breakfast person. I do (or rather did) not eat until lunch time.  I survived on a gallon of coffee.  Not a great way to start the day (and no, I will not blame Folger's, even though they are the best part of waking up).  I began small.  I started with Carnation Instant Breakfast.  It has nutrients and sustained me a little better than just the coffee.  After awhile, I added a banana.  So now I have my coffee, my milk and a banana.  The next step (which will begin next week) will be cereal.  It may sound trivial, but it works with everything.  

Removing sin from your life is not something you can do all at once.  It's the effort you put forth.  You don't get it right all the time or every time.  And more often than not, in the beginning, it requires a concentrated effort.  Sometimes I have to literally FORCE myself.  The end result is worth it.  

God knows we aren't perfect and will never be.  God knows we will sin until we take our last breath.  That's why he sent us Jesus!  But without the effort, without the WANT to rid ourselves of what He hates, we continue to be like those who worshiped their idols in secret.  Ask Jesus to guide your steps, to hold your hand (or drag you by your feet, if necessary). His love for you is real!  Let Him show you the plan God has for you!!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

~ "So...I found this church..."

And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. (John 8:9)

Yes, the verses 1 through 11 are very key to sin and forgiveness, but this one stands out for me as I sit here and write.  Yesterday's sermon touched on every verse but the testimony of a young, paraplegic before it, spoke volumes!  From his wheel chair, in his slow, distinctive voice, the Lord God spoke directly to the congregation.  His words were about a conversation that took place the day of his birth, as he was pronounced dead.  The conversation was between Satan and God.  Satan told God that "this one would never sing His praises, never worship or shout hallelujah, never offer testimony to anyone".  God's response was "oh, yeah, let's just wait and see".  Needless to say, I was humbled in the presence of God at that moment!  

The preacher was visiting (as is what always seems to happen to me when I go to a different church).  His words were very clear and to the point.  There was no fire and brimstone, no damnation for all eternity - there was love - the love of God!  He spoke about those who try to do everything..."you cannot be all thing to everything" (in other words, let God lead you to what it is HE wants you to do).

He also took us to Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."  Yes!  He was already intimate with us before we were conceived, before we were born, before sin touched our lives.  If we could just let go and just praise Him, how joyous that feeling would be. But we've become obsessed with appearances and pier pressure.  We've become more interested in the new baby over in England (a Royal) than we have with our very own, personal royalty!  Yes!  We, too, are royalty!  We are the sons and daughters of the KING!  

He left us with one, very important thought to ponder:  "Sound travels at 1126 feet per second; our faith needs to catch up!"

I'm sure I could have stretched this out with a week's worth of posts, but the spirit of God was awakened again and I wanted to share it all with you!  He'll give me something to write about tomorrow - I have no doubt!

May God's grace and mercy carry you through the day!  May He bless you as only He can!  May He give you the courage to get out of the way of danger, but not out of the way of duty! Lift your hands in praise to the Father who created you, to the Son who redeemed you and to the Holy Spirit who enlightens you!  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

~ "A day of worship..."

And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath (Mark 2:27)

It doesn't matter if it's Saturday or Sunday.  Those of the Jewish faith worship on Saturday (the last day of the week).  Most Christian faiths worship on Sunday (in commemoration of Jesus' resurrection).  The point is to take one day and do nothing but rest and focus on God.  When we do this, we are restored both physically and spiritually.  As in the time of Jesus, "sabbath" laws (or Christian Doctrine, in some cases) have become more important than the sabbath rest itself.  The definition of the word sabbath is "a day of religious observance and abstinence from work".  So, in fact, most of us could rightly call our day of worship our sabbath. 

One of the things I miss about Tennessee is that Sundays were truly a sabbath.  I'd arrive early at church, have my "biscuit and gravy", socialize with my church family, attend Bible study, attend the worship, socialize a little more afterward, go home and REST for a while, and return for the evening service.  I was re-charged for the week!  Wednesday evenings was a smaller worship service, similar to the prayer meetings I attended in the basement of an African American church in the late 70’s, but not quite the same.  Those prayer meetings were what brought me to Jesus and allowed me to be born again.  There was nothing but praising and singing and lots and lots of love!  I often miss those days – that feeling of acceptance, of love and joy.  I’d walk away from those meetings filled with the Holy Spirit! 

If you aren’t happy where you are, if you do not walk away with the spirit of God within you, find a place where you can!  If you aren’t comfortable in your church, then maybe it’s not the one for you.  Keep looking.  There are plenty of them out there – all different faiths and denominations.  Keep in mind one thing, though.  If it is not based on the word of God (the Bible), if it’s made up of rules and regulations that you cannot find in the Bible (or seem to be stretching or loosely interpreting it), that, too, may not be the place for you.  If you truly are in touch with Jesus, you’ll know.  I’ve attended all types of “churches” – different sects and different denominations.  One church had me bored to tears and falling asleep in the pew.  Needless to say, that was not the one for me.  Some of the “new age” or “non-denominational” churches I attended seemed unfocused – no rhyme or reason to their teaching or methodology.  Only one church I attended in all my years of life made me feel welcomed, wanted and accepted, but even at that, man’s hand in God’s work (egos and power struggles) managed to turn away many long time congregants. 

So, I’m headed back to finding a church that revives my spirit.  I’m not looking for the “perfect” church because, let’s face it, on this planet, nothing is perfect!  I want to worship and praise, not worry about silly rules and regulations laid out by a group of men (otherwise known as Pharisees) designed to set me up to fail and threaten to send me to hell if I don’t abide by them.  I’m looking for love: the love of Jesus...the love of fellowship in HIM (not in who has the best dressed family or who drives the most expensive car).  I’m looking for a place that will allow me to raise my hands in praise, shout “AMEN” and sing hallelujahs to my heart’s content!  It’s time!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

~ "When all is said and done..."

Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity. (Ecc 11:10)

Here it comes again - the anxiety.  Only today and tomorrow left of my vacation.  It has been a wonderful week - filled with absolutely nothing but time to talk to God (and watch some old movies).  Where I was supposed to be and where I ended up are entirely two different places...but God knew where I needed to be, so that's where I am.  Yet, here I sit in anticipation of things to come (again).  I've forgotten how to live in the moment and put all things in His hands.  That will take time - more time than I think I have!  But I'm working on that...

In Ecclesiastes, King Solomon offers us some very insightful pieces of advice.  This verse, as written, reminds us that everything we do matters.  Every word we utter, every step we take, every thought that we bring into being matters.  Many of the choices we make are irreversible (believe me, there are many I wish I'd thought twice about).  They stay with us for our lifetime.  What you do when you are young DOES matter.  Our physical, moral and spiritual decisions made in haste (when we were young and restless) can and will haunt us when we are old (trust me on this one, folks - I am currently paying that price).  

With all that said, it does NOT mean that we cannot overcome our ghosts and demons of the past.  We can turn the page into a new chapter in life, but we can NEVER get back (nor take back) what has already been done.  We can ask for and receive forgiveness, we can re-train ourselves to walk in His ways, we can learn and teach others by our mistakes, but we will always carry the scars of those earlier times with us.  It is human nature, we cannot escape it. Those of us who have regrets and have had "second thoughts" will always have them.  The trick is to learn to live with them.  I'm sure that Peter didn't beat himself up for denying Jesus for the rest of his life.  He knew what he had done and learned to live with it and moved forward and became one of the greatest examples of God's forgiveness.  Judas, on the other hand, couldn't get past it.  

So, where do we go from here?  Forward!  Do your very best to remind the enemy he doesn't win.  Remind him that you belong to God, that Jesus will stand beside you no matter what!  Remind him that all things ARE possible through Jesus.  Remind him that you have been chosen.  Remind him that you have a King who loves you and forgives you.  And when all else fails - remind him of his future!  

Friday, July 26, 2013

~ "Happy Birthday, Mikhaela Grace..."

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? (John 3:4)

It wasn't until two years ago this morning that i grasped the reality of this verse. We tend to think that being born again is a simple, painless accomplishment that hurls us into our afterlife. We accept Christ, we are born again.

The most beautiful things in this life, do not come to us easily. They are a continued work in progress. As I stood with my son, my daughter-in-law, and her mother that morning, I witnessed the birth of my granddaughter. Yes, perfect and beautiful! It took over nine months of shaping and growing within her mother, another 12 hours of labor, some of it hard, some of it easy - but painful all the way. It took about 10 minutes of concentrated effort on my daughter-in-law's part for Mikhaela Grace to enter the world! God's perfect miracle!  And in these past two years, that child has brought me more joy than I ever imagined possible!  

Our walk of faith is not an easy one. Being born again is not just something you do. It is the very real and very painful realization that we are nothing, sinners destined for the grave. Without the hand of Jesus leading us, we cannot enter. Without the Father's forgiveness we cannot proceed. We are but infants; we know nothing about that which the Father has in store for us. Our rebirth is often as painful as our natural birth was. We, too, must suffer through the trials of life that bring us to the foot of the cross. We, too, must be pushed beyond our own limits in order to rely totally on Him. We, too, must be cleansed and wrapped tightly before being placed in the hands of our capable Father. He then holds us, lovingly whispers to us in gentle tones, and tells us that we are loved. From that point on, we grow. But our growth will not come without pain, it will not come without sorrow and it will not come without loss. 

Our tears of pain will become tears of joy and utter disbelief at the beauty of the life within us, the revealing of the life that awaits us and the struggles we will face from the time we accept Christ until the time He walks us into Paradise! We are chosen, adopted into a very well-to-do family! There is no greater honor! We are accepted as "chosen". We are loved as equally and as generously as the nation of Abraham! There is no birth certificate that bears our name, but there is a witness to our re-birth! He will attest to our heritage! He will validate our adoption! In Mikhaela's case, she has an opportunity that not many have. You see, not only does she have the opportunity to become a "naturalized" child of God through her acceptance of Jesus, she goes before the Father as one of the offspring of Abraham! She is directly descended from one of the twelve tribes (as is her mother, her grandfather and her great-grandparents). 

It does not matter what events bring us to the foot of the cross, it doesn't matter what horrors we face in this life, it doesn't matter how much or how little we suffer in order to reach that cross. Our pain and suffering can never compare to the suffering of our Savior as He took the nails for us! In His blood we are cleansed. Through His resurrection He breathes new life into us! The sorrows of our hearts are known to Him and He will comfort us. He will not abandon us to fend for ourselves! We are His! He feels our pains, shines brightly with us in our joys and will one day, take our hand and lead us safely into the waiting arms of our Father!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

~ "Back to the basics..."

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:15-17)

It was suggested in a friend's blog yesterday the best avenue to reading the Word of God is to start in 1 that's where I started this morning.  It is a relatively short book (only 5 chapters), but packed in those chapters is a model to live by.  For me, at this time, I need to go back to the basics. I need to remember the simple truths about God and my faith.  You could simply re-title this book of John as "How to be a Good Christian" or, to steal from a chapter in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous "How it Works"...("Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path...").  In either case, John lays before us the foundation of the love of God and what it is we should do.  The answer is quite simple, really.  It brings to mind those memorized questions and answers I was taught in grammar school (the ones I had to learn for Confirmation - all 100 of them) but actually explains the answers (explanations I was never given).  I'm sure somewhere, someone I went to school with has them tucked away (and it would not surprise me if they were still being used today).  The first question was "Who is God?" - the answer was "God is a supreme being, infinitely perfect, who made heaven and earth."  That answer is just a tip of the iceberg!  God is so much more!!!

God's love is so great, that He has created in us a place for Himself.  He has given us both body and will die, the other will live on into eternity.  It is THAT part of us that He inhabits.  It is THAT part of us that we must make every possible effort to nurture.  Yes, we need to take care of our mortal body, our flesh - the instrument that houses our soul, yet in that nourishment, we must remember that our spiritual nourishment is just as important!  Without food, the body dies.  Without God's word, the soul becomes open to those seven deadly sins written about in Proverbs 6 (and contrary to some of the answers given in Yahoo Answers, they are not a) "not in the Bible - Catholic doctrine", b) not "from a short story by William Shakespeare or Geoffrey Chaucer called "The Canterbury Tales", or c) a "list compiled by Catholic theologians during the early medieval age".) And yes, some of those answers given terrified me!!!  Those seven things that are detestable in verses 17-19 ("A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren") are a solid foundation of what to strive NOT to do.  

So, what do we do?  Well, quite frankly - we can do nothing other than continue to praise God and ask for forgiveness.  All our good intentions fall under the free will given us by the Father.  We must do our very best to ask for His strength to walk in the light of Jesus Christ.  We can pray for the courage to be obedient to His word, even when that means that we may be shunned by others, looked down on as if we were idiots and lose face as being a pillar in a community of sinners.  I think I would rather be a follower of Jesus than a pillar of salt.  

These past four days have given me the opportunity to reclaim "lost ground" and remember who I am and where I came from (and enough insight to know that I don't want to return to that place of "earthly delights".  My reward will be much greater (and last longer) than any other treasure here in this world.  So therefore, I choose to NOT love this world and all that it in it!  I choose to love God and praise His name (and quite loudly, at that).  I choose to be one of HIS followers, not a puppet for those who do not fear Him and do not worship Him.  I choose to belong to Jesus' group of misfits (who are, in fact, not misfits at all, but Saints).  I choose to be His obedient servant, no matter what the cost.  After all, the price He paid is far greater than any reward I could possibly receive on earth.  

Now it's time to step up and stand firm!  Now it's time to BE as opposed to uttering words with no meaning..."abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming." (1 John 2:28).  I choose Jesus!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

~ "Be prepared..."

Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ (Matt 25:41-43)

Judgement.  Someday soon, we will all be judged.  There is a place for each of us in the afterlife.  All will go before God; some will have Jesus to speak for them, others will not.  Will our judgement come as a result of the lives we've led here on earth?  Will our judgement be righteous?  Will our judgement be negotiable?

Jesus points out, in these verses, that we are to be the constant givers.  We are to exclude no one from our circle of friends.  We are not to pick and choose.  We are to always be willing to help our fellow man, regardless of what we think of him.  If you remember, Jesus hung out with the thieves and prostitutes (and the dock workers).  He walked with the sinners.  The rich and powerful weren't willing to give up everything they had to follow Him.  The politicians and the high priests thought they knew better than He was.  Though innocent of what they were accused of, His disciples spent time in jail.  Some were murdered in His name.  Most were laughed at by the authorities.

People wear a facade...especially when they are hurting.  We need to be able to look past that exterior and see their pain - the one that fills their heart!  When we ask the question "are you okay", do we REALLY want to hear the answer, or do we expect to hear "I'm okay" so that we don't have to do anything further?  When we ask "do you need any help", what excuses to we make when we don't hear "no"?  Are we willing to go those extra steps for our family and friends?  Are we willing to reach out and offer the assistance they need?  Are we willing to feed, give a drink to, comfort, clothe or visit our family and friends in THEIR time of need or do we wait until it's convenient for us to do so?  Are we willing to lay down everything to be the support system they need?

Our judgement will be righteous.  We will have to answer for all those things we failed to do (and for a few that we did and shouldn't have) - it's just the way it is.  You can't plead temporary insanity or no contest in God's court.  There will be no plea bargains.  There is something you can do now.  In Jersey, it's referred to as PTI (pre-trial intervention) - roughly stated, it is an opportunity to plead guilty, pay your fine, do your probation and get a clean slate.  You can only use it once and it's only for first time offenders.  In God's court, it's referred to as repentance.  In God's court, there is no limit on the number of times you can repent.  In God's court, there is always forgiveness (up until the time of your death).  In God's court, your slate can be wiped clean each and every day.  But...don't think you can just say the words and not mean them - remember, He knows your heart - He knows when you mean it and when they are just words uttered.  You can fool some of the people some of the time...but you cannot fool God!

Life up your voice in praise and offer the genuine repentance for your sins.  Let Him lead you by the hand and take you to a place that is peaceful and warm...where you will not hunger, will not be thirsty, will never be alone and will always be loved...His presence!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

~ "Fake people..."

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. (Isa 29:13-14)

It's very hard to be on the outside looking in (again).  But where would you rather be?  I know, from experience, that being part of a group of people who seem to be "popular" is not necessarily the place to be.  What we are really looking for when we pursue these relationships is acceptance.  What value do you place on your afterlife?  Is it an after thought?  Do you want so badly to be part of a scenario in this world that you are willing to throw away all you have in the next?  

No, I cannot "lose" my salvation. I am saved.  That's written in His book.  I don't worry about that.  I know my name is there.  What I do think about (quite regularly) is how I've slipped from where I once was.  What is it that has taken me from that totally devoted person who read His word daily, sang his praises on a regular basis, looked to the cross for strength and accepted without question all the pitfalls encountered?  The answer is very plain and simple.  My heart has been hardened (yes, there is another devotional about hardened hearts, but this one is new - so read on)...

When we place ourselves in the mortal world, when we strive for things of lesser value than His mercy and grace, we become part of the mortal world.  We no longer offer praises, we no longer find strength in His promises and we no longer go to the cross for strength.  We go inside our own minds, in our own perceived knowledge for the answers to our problems.  We continue to seek out what we know is NOT His will for us and find ourselves treading water without any life boat in sight.  We say the words ("the wisdom of wise men shall perish") and we begin to question everything and trust no one ("the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid").  Our accomplishments mean nothing if they are not a blessing from the Father.  We become hypocrites ("with their lips do they honour me") and liars.  We do not fear our Creator nor do we thank or praise Him.  We begin to fall away from all that we know to be righteous and good.  We become lost - again!

So how do we safely return to that place of peace and grace?  We begin again.  We start out small - simple praises and distancing ourselves from what we know has brought about this change in the first place.  Can we cut ourselves off completely?  Not really.  We must continue to be an example of His love for all.  We make the choices that will please Him.  We stand up for the principles that He has taught us.  It's not going to be easy (He never said it would be), but it will be worth it.  If we choose our path in accordance with the one He's laid before us, we can't go wrong.  

So make that decision.  Make that choice once again to FOLLOW - not to lead.  Find your way back to what you know to be HIS will for you (not your will hoping He will follow you and give you what you think you want).  His love is sufficient!!!  Let it be!!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

~ "Jesus calling..."

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts2:2-4)

Do you see a glimmer of hope in your darkest days? I am sure the Apostles had some pretty rough times. They're emotional ups and downs before and after Christ's crucifixion, their reacquaintance with him after the resurrection, then his ascension to his kingdom, then Pentecost - when the Holy Spirit came and anointed them! And we thought we had problems! 

As we are reborn into Christ's family, we share a special gift. We may not be aware of it, but it is there! Jesus asked us to spread his word, he sent the Holy Spirit to enlighten us! We are never alone - we always have them! We have the Father who created us, the Son who died for us, and the Spirit who lives in us! From the moment the Spirit touches our heart, we have unlimited resources to preach his word to others. He will put the words in your mouth that you need to speak, he will guide you to where you need to be in order to do that and he will comfort you in times of doubt, pain, and grief. He is that "still small voice" that says it's okay, that you're not alone - he won't let you go! 

Knowing what to do is easy, it's the follow through that is hard. Walk a different path and let the Holy Spirit lead. Reach out to others and give them something to hope for. Give them back a piece of their faith by your actions and your words. Don't let the enemy in! He'll try to keep knock you down and hold you there. But know that you will be lifted up and kept safe because you have been chosen!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

~ "Change..."

For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6)

He is always the same. God never changes. From the time he created the earth and its inhabitants, to the present day, he remains exactly as he was and always will be - a loving, merciful King!

Unlike many religions, that "evolve" to fit the changing times, God is steadfast and consistent. His laws, his "rules" remain the same. What was true 4,000 years ago is still true today - what was wrong 4,000 years ago is still wrong today - the mercy and grace he bestowed on our forefathers and the generations that have come before us, he still offers to us today. He is the great "I AM". 

The book of Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament. His writings remind us (just as they did the Jews) of our willful disobedience. Like them, we have shown "contempt for God's name, offered defiled sacrifices, led others into sin, broken God's laws, called "evil" good, kept God's tithes and offerings for ourselves and become arrogant." (LASB-KJV) Yet among the wretched, there were and are a few faithful followers, and God did and will shower his blessings upon these people. But not all will see the light, nor will they repent and without that there is no Kingdom for them to inherit.

God calls us to be true to his word, to be faithful in our giving, to be strong in our beliefs and to not waiver. His "church" is not a building, nor is it a certain denomination - his church is built on Christ and his sacrifice and those who believe and follow will inherit. Anything that is in direct disagreement with God's commands is not of God! Again - God remains the same (as do his laws and his commands to us). If your "religion" keeps changing the rules to meet the changing times, my suggestion to you is to "run for your life!!!" 

Be very aware that the enemy wanders freely in some denominations. The praise to God is so overshadowed by the worship and praise to idols and false gods that it becomes impossible to believe that God is even present there at all (but since God is everywhere, he must be there). Salvation and the answer to prayers comes from God through Jesus - by no other means. When you die, you are either in or out - there's no "praying you into heaven", there's not a period of penance nor is there a measuring stick you are compared to - if there were - you wouldn't "measure up" - none of us would! 

Give to God what rightly belongs to him: your prayers, your praise, your tithes and your soul! Help others along the way, but do not stop and be convinced to take a detour down their path. Make the effort to have them come with you - to follow Christ! Never stop offering them the way of the cross, never give up! They are worth it - we are all worth something to God, otherwise he would not have sent Jesus to pay the price! And it's not a "buy one - get one free" deal ~ you can't get it for someone, they have to ask for it themselves. Offer them the coupon that entitles them to "eternal life", the coupon that "conquered the grave" - the one that expires upon their last breath - offer them Jesus!

Friday, July 19, 2013

~ "Our Father's love..."

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:34)

I have a select number of extremely close and understanding friends.  Some I have had for many, many years, some for just a few, some I've not yet met (in person, that is).  They each have special gifts.  Some are listeners, some are advisers, and some just make me laugh.  They do not judge me.  They encourage me to continue to move forward.  They remind me that God has a bigger plan than this life.  

My life right now, as I mentioned last week, consists of sleeping and working, with little time left for anything else.  They continue to hold me in prayer and ask God to enlighten me.  Some days that is easier said than done.  Our human design causes us to reach for a better day, a brighter day.  "Maybe tomorrow will be better" is a phrase that often comes across our lips.  Matthew reminds us (as Phyllis reminded me) that each day has a sufficient amount of evil in it.  There are always temptations and there is always evil (for now, anyway).  In Jeremiah 5:26, we are also reminded that there are evil people in the world as well.  People just waiting to pounce on their prey.  The only thing that can protect us from all this evil is the one, righteous man who freed us from our sins and the sins of others...Jesus!

I hold Him close to my heart.  I struggle to find my way back to what I know to be true.  I continue to walk the steps of the drunk (two steps forward - three backward) in my feeble attempt to be obedient.  He knows my pain.  He knows your pain.  He will NEVER be too far away to hear your pleas.  He has your best interest at heart.  

Don't allow the enemy to take what is rightfully yours.  Don't allow hate and lies to infiltrate your world.  Be honest and open, but remember that people lie.  Trust God and His angels for they are the only ones who truly "have your back".  Forgive and move forward, all while praising God through the rough patches.  He has not forgotten you, has not betrayed you, has not left you - He's right there with you waiting for you to ask for strength to do what it is He has for you to do.  Don't doubt that - for that, so often, is all you really have - that guaranteed love from your Father above!  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

~ "A new day in HIS hands..."

Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sits on the throne shall dwell among them. (Rev 6:15)

He shall dwell among them...what an awesome thought! To not only be in the presence of my God, my Creator, my Master - but to have Him right there - for me to see!!! We see the wonderful miracles that are God everyday - in each thing created - from the tiny insects to the sun and the stars - to gaze upon His face will not even compare to any of the wonders we have been privileged to enjoy!

Right now, I am sitting at a kitchen table...the first day off I've had since the 4th (and the few days before that I was "ill"). I've been in Pennsylvania since March of 2011. The joy of seeing the faces of my loved ones these past 2 1/2 years has been, for the most part, a blessing I can't describe. There are times, though, that I long for the comfort of the "southern hospitality" I came to know and love.  Reading today's verse (the first in a long time) I can only imagine the feeling when I finally get to meet Jesus and my God! 

It will only be one day off before another stint of long days begins again. Spending time with family gives me the opportunity to laugh a little; to hold me over until the next respite comes. It makes me pause and praise God once again. I am tired and worn out, exhausted and apprehensive - yet every day I manage to say a few words to my heavenly Father (not always a praise, not always a thank you - but I still manage just the same).

God's blessings continue to come, in spite of our human compulsion to sin. His forgiveness is constant and His presence is felt no matter where you are. He opens our eyes to what pleases Him and what He finds distasteful on a daily basis (and often we fail to walk away out of fear and lack of trust in Him - which is kind of where I am right now). He helps us to hold on and find our footing when we are sliding on the ice and in danger of falling. He understands the temptations of the enemy and reminds us of a day when there will be no more. Perseverance and faith become the most prevalent of all our tools to battle Satan. Our strength comes from God and from knowing the victory that lies ahead of us. We can't lose; yet we are terrified of what may lie ahead in our mortal life if we choose to let go of what we KNOW He's telling us to let go of (very confusing to be in my head right now, so I remind you, once again - GOD HAS A PLAN!!!)

Let God's love for you continue to warm your heart and light your way! Let Him change in you what he needs to change for your reconciliation with Him to be complete! Allow Him to open a door that no other being can open and offer you that perfect gift! Accept it now, cherish it now and move into the next day with a confidence ~ a day filled with mercy and grace! Move into His new day for you!