Wednesday, December 23, 2015

forgot where to look?

I hate to admit it, but I was feeling rather sorry for myself today when God took the opportunity to remind me, or smack me, about how truly blessed I am. I had spent the morning grumpy and even took some time to whine about stuff to God. I was going to my appointment, when I saw someone who definitely was going through one of the toughest struggles of his life. He had survived a terrible accident and was now in the long fight of recovery. His family was with him, waiting patiently and helping him.  I almost immediately heard God, "Do you really have all that much to feel bad about?"
I had forgotten to keep my eyes on the One who blesses me beyond measure.  I had forgotten to keep my thoughts and my mind on Him.  I had forgotten to keep my faith and trust in the Savior and Giver of Life.
I began to think about Peter standing in that boat on a stormy sea.  He saw the same figure as the others walking out on the boisterous water.  Yet, even in fear, he was the only one who said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” When Jesus said, "Come," he stepped out in faith and began walking on that water.  When he began to see, feel and hear all those waves raging about him, he began to be afraid.  You see, he got his eyes on the circumstances around him.  He was looking around rather than right at the One who told him to come out there.
Do we often forget to keep our eyes on Jesus?  Yes, I think we do. Peter was just a human like me and you.  He knew that walking on water was impossible.  He knew that he was in a dangerous situation.  He was doing something miraculous, yet his mind got distracted by the situation around him.
I definitely allowed myself to get distracted by the situations and circumstances.  All I really needed to do was keep my eyes on the Source of my faith.  So, just as Peter cried out, "Lord, save me!"  I began to pray.  I prayed for forgiveness for being selfish and doubtful.  I prayed for this dear man and his family.  I prayed praise to God and thanked Him for reminding me of how blessed I really am.
I also remembered that Jesus took hold of Peter and took him to the boat.  Jesus then said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”   (Matthew 14:22-33)
Why do I doubt?  Doubt can very much cripple me in my faith.  Doubt is the opposite of faith.  I am disappointed in myself for doubting.  I know God can do anything.  It says, "With God all things are possible."(Matthew 19:26) I had just quoted this verse on Sunday.
I know I need to cry out just like the father in Mark 9:24, Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
Doubt disappoints God. He wants us to have faith.  For without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)
James 1:6 says But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
I do not want to be tossed about. I want to stand steadfast and firm.  I want my faith to be unwavering, even when it appears I should lose hope.  I want to keep my eyes fixed on the One who is greater than all things. So I pray that even when circumstances or situations try to distract me, my eyes will be straight ahead, looking only at Jesus. May I cry out, Lord, help my unbelief, when I feel weak.  May I trust only in Him. My circumstances are never too big for God.  He calmed a storm. He can calm my storms. He can even calm me. I am so grateful that God took time to remind me today, to get my eyes back on Him.  May we all find ourselves "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

then he smiled at me

So the Christmas carols are playing and many are beautiful, some are fun, some are full of meaning.  I do love many of the Christmas carols.  There is one that always makes me cry, Little Drummer Boy.
I know it is not necessarily biblical, but I get swept up in the idea presented.  If you don't know this sweet song, it is of a little boy who comes along with the wise men and wants to present a gift to the baby Jesus.  He has nothing but talent to play his drum and asks if he may play his drum for Jesus.  He then plays his best for Jesus.
The line that always hits me is the last one, "Then he smiled at me, me and my drum."

I begin to think about Jesus smiling at me.  Can you imagine that Jesus is smiling at you because you have presented your best to him?  How truly amazing it would be to see His face smiling at us. Do you think perhaps he smiles often because of you?  Have you presented Him your best talents, your best of yourself?

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,

Whatever we do, should be done with our best attitude and best effort for God.  I have often reminded myself that even the most mundane and difficult should be done as if I am doing them for God.  I remind my children that we should do our best in all things because it is for God.  I often forget that.  Do I take shortcuts, ignore things I know I need to do, or even refuse to have a good attitude when I have to do that one chore I hate?   The answer is a resounding yes. Does that cause God to love me less?  The answer is no.  He still loves me and He still blesses me.

Just like parents love their children even when they leave a mess in their room, or shove the mess under the bed.  We still love them, but there is nothing like knowing a child has tried hard to please you or have done their best at a task.  It does make a parent smile.  That child, in turn, is full of pride and pleasure knowing their parent is pleased and smiling at them.  That is why I want to see Jesus smile.
I want to see Jesus smile because he recognizes that I love him so much in return for what He did for me.  I want him to recognize that my heart is finding joy in pleasing Him.  I want Him to know that I choose to do my best for him because I love him.

Matthew 25:23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

There will also be a time when we will stand before God and he will make a judgement.  I want to hear him say "Well done."  I want to hear the joy and pride in His voice as he invites me to enter into the joy of my Lord.  Can you even imagine????  I think that will be the most joyous event ever!!  I want to be with him for eternity.  I want to be with my Savior forever.

Doing my best here doesn't earn that place in heaven, because His gift of salvation comes through a repentant heart and I cannot earn salvation.  Doing my best is an act of demonstrating how my I love Him and appreciate the ultimate sacrifice He gave in order for me to have that gift of salvation.
I want to show Him how much I love him.  I will try to remember to always do my best for him .  I will remember every time I hear Little Drummer Boy.  I will remember when tears well up in my eyes and I once again think about that smile.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

beware brain eating amoeba

The other day I heard about a brain eating ameoba called Naegleria Fowleri.  This ameoba travels in dirty water and will invade a host, or human, through an opening such as your nose, mouth or an open wound.  This amoeba will then travel through the body to begin eating away at the brain.  At first, you will never know it is there. It is silent and unnoticed.  There will begin to be symptoms that can be thought to be caused by other things.  There may headaches.  There may be twitching muscles.  But often, by the time doctors determine the amoeba is there, it is too late. The  amoeba has eaten so much of the brain tissue that death is imminent for the host person.  A seemingly healthy person will be destroyed from the inside by this tiny amoeba.
Why do I tell you this? Well, I have realized that seemingly healthy christians can be eaten from the inside but what seems like a small thing.  A small sin can sneak in.  A small thing can find an opening in the armor and work its way to our soul.  It will begin to eat away at our soul. There may not be any signs at first.  When symptoms begin to show, it can be put off as something else.  When in reality, if left unchecked, a small sin can slowly destroy a christian life from the inside.

What do I mean? Take bitterness for example.  A small amount of hurt can become bitterness. Bitterness can grow into hatred. Before you know it, relationships are destroyed and a person's soul is at stake.
Hebrews 12:15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

Several years ago, there was a man attending our church. I will call him RH.  Now RH was a good church going person who loved to sing about Jesus.  Unfortunately, RH had a terrible root of bitterness. He had had a disagreement with some of his family members years earlier and he would never let it go. He would not forgive them. He hated them for what they had done.  He would not move past it.  When RH became elderly and sickly, he had no family to help him.  He was taken care of by people sent by senior care.  Some of these people took advantage of this situation. He was not well cared for and became a victim of neglect. His care provider basically moved herself and her family into his home, left him in his hospital bed and trashed his house.  When he became very ill, he was taken to the hospital where he died. My father, who was his pastor at the time, tried hard to help him, but he was a stubborn old man.  When he died, his family would not attend his funeral.  He had no friends to come and no one but the pastor's family to attend his funeral.  His unforgiving heart, had become so full of bitterness and hate that he had destroyed about every relationship he ever had.  Mostly, he had allowed one hurt to destroy his life.  He died alone and miserable.
There are many sins that can sneak in and seem harmless, but if left unchecked, can become the seed of destruction for a christian life.

Romans 13:11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

Romans 1:24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.

Paul described, in his letter to the church in Rome, many of these sins that can bring destruction to a soul. He was concerned about the little things that were becoming big things.  He described how God gave such men over to the uncleanness and lust in their hearts. Lord, have mercy on us.  I hope I never get myself into the position that God gives me over to my sinfulness.

In Joel 2:2 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
God wants all of our heart to be cleansed and be His. He wants to be the master of our heart. He warned against allowing sin to creep back in to keep us clean and pure.

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.

1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,

We need to be obedient to the word of God and heed the warnings of God.  We need to be made pure and clean.   I want to see God and I want to stand blameless before him.  He is calling his children to be pure and blameless. He is seeking us to allow Him to fully deliver us from our sinful nature.  We need to keep that sinful nature in check and keep it obedient to the Word of God. He wants to preserve us and keep us from harm and destruction.

Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

God's plan for us is so much better than what we choose on our own.  When we choose to allow hurts, disobedience strife, lust, etc to gain a foothold, or eat away at us, we are choosing destruction.  God does not warn us away from such things to make our lives miserable or boring.  He is trying to protect us, keep us and provide joy, peace and safety.   Just like a good parent warns their children away from danger, he warns us.  God is a good God and he wants only the best for his children.  We need to heed the warnings he has given in his word.  Do not allow an amoeba of sin to take hold and eat away our soul.  Stay in touch with the Savior and he will give us the warnings we need so we can be a strong and healthy soul growing in safety from sin and destruction. God bless and please pray that God reach into our hearts and remove any root or hidden part that is holding out for our destruction. May we all be purified completely in His time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

link to a powerful message

A powerful message from David Wilkerson titled God's Wonderful Love
it really makes you examine your ownself

Sunday, November 22, 2015

a broken angel

I have, well, had a little statue of an angel in the flower bed by my back door.  She was really cute. I really liked coming home and seeing that little angel statue sitting in among the flowers.  The other day I got home and she was laying down on the ground.  I reached down to pick her up and found her broken in half.  When she fell over, she broke. I realized as I felt sadness about my statue, that I had been feeling broken for sometime.  This little broken angel reflected how I have been feeling.

Life can get the best of us sometimes. Stressful times at work, struggles to meet all the demands of life and all the things that come with being part of a family can sometimes weigh on us.  Sometimes, we hear news that becomes a weight or even knocks us over. The past few weeks have felt like there has been a bombardment of terrible news and bad situations that keep coming.  I don’t know about you, but I sometimes carry those weights and burdens around.  I am the personality type that always wants to fix things.  I struggle when I cannot fix things. I wish I could fix certain situations, but alas, I am but one woman and I cannot.  However, I do know that God can fix everything I cannot.  I forget that fact sometimes.  I become burdened down and even feel broken at times.  I admit that I have felt broken.
As I went in the house thinking about my broken angel, I realized that God is the strength we need at all times. He said to cast our cares on him for He cares for us.(1 Peter 5:7 and Psalms 55:22)   He also said His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:30) He is the strong tower we can run to and be safe. (Proverbs 18:10) He takes on all of our  cares and struggles.
We can come to the Lord and He will take everything we carry and everything that can break us and give us strength to go on.

I Chronicles 16:11 Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually.
I forget sometimes that His strength is all I really need. He is stronger than I could ever be. He reminded me that afternoon, that He was just waiting for me to ask for help.  He was waiting for me to call on Him and give everything that was weighting me down and  causing me to feel broken to Him.  He was wanting to help the whole time. I began to talk to the Lord and remind him of the things that I found troubling.  The struggles and the situations that I want to change, but can’t, of the people that need Him, more than they need me, that I need Him.  I needed His strength.
Psalms118:14 The Lord is my strength and song. And He has become my salvation.

I have felt the weights lifting and a feeling of peace and joy taking hold of my spirit. Those heavy burdens do not have to be mine alone to bear. He is a very present help. Psalms 121:1-2 says: I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

God is my help. God is my strength. He is always there and ready to provide us the strength to walk through fire and every situation that comes our way.  He does not leave us and He does not forsake us. He is always stronger and more powerful.  He is God. He is good. He does not leave us when we need Him. I am so thankful for the strength He has given me in the hard times. The situations that were weighing so heavily on me haven’t changed yet.  They are still there and I still pray about them. However, I feel stronger and I know that I have strength from God to move forward through those situations.  I do not have to be beaten or fall broken under the weight.  He has it and He will carry it for me.
Psalms 18:1  I love You, O Lord, my strength.

I can sing and praise God because He is my strength in the face of adversity, in the face of pain and struggle, His strength is always there.

I love this song. I could sing it all day.  Sometimes I do.

You my strength
Strength like no other
Strength like no other
Reaches to me

You are my hope
Hope like no other
Hope like other
Reaches to me

In the fullness of Your grace
In the power of Your name
You lift me up
You lift me up

Unfailing love
Higher than mountains
Deeper than oceans 
Reaches to me

Sunday, November 15, 2015

my God is real

The other day on facebook, I saw a post that atheism is temporary because someday every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.

For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”
Romans 14:11

I am troubled by the thoughts that there are those who do not recognize the truth of God.  There are those who deny His existence, His power and His Word.  I am troubled by the realization that these individuals will one day face God. They will recognize the error of their decisions to deny God. They will be condemned to an eternity without God in hell.  That is disturbing, but that is the word of God. It should be disturbing to us. God is real and eternity only has two options: heaven in the presence of God, or hell where God is not present.
I, personally, choose to have a relationship with the one true Savior, Jesus Christ. That is the only way we will face the best choice for eternity.

But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 10:33

God is real. There are so many that do not believe this fact. They will even consider the statement of God's existence to be a fact as laughable. I know there are those who consider religion to be a fairytale and the talk of God or gods to be stupid and outdated.  There are those who believe the Word of God to be erred and false.  They consider it to be a story made up by a bunch of men.

So, considering all these men, are they correct?  NO!  I declare them to be in wrong.  They are in grave danger.  I am greatly burdened by the knowledge that these people are in terrible danger for eternity. Do we as christians understand the gravity of the situation? No, many of us don't.  We talk about it and plan outreach, but do we understand that the point of the Great Commission was to pull souls from the pits of hell?  Do we understand that our purpose is to bring glory to God  by living and preaching the gospel so others would be saved?
I heard a 'preacher' one time say that he was fine as long as his family was saved. He wasn't concerned about all those sinners out there.  Seriously????  Has he even read the Bible????
We are to be bearing fruit. Fruit is bringing forth new life.  New life is salvation, new souls adding to the Kingdom.

Colossians 1:9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

The Apostle Paul understood this aspect of living for Christ. He understood the truth of Jesus Christ and he preached the gospel.  He understood that God intended for all to hear the gospel and he wanted to reconcile all things to himself.

Colossians 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

He is burdened for the lost.  God is not willing that any should perish.  2 Peter 3:9 says: The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

He has commanded His people, His body to reach out, to preach the gospel.  We are to be His hands, feet, arms, mouth, body and heart.  His heart yearns for the lost souls.  If we are to understand the heart of God, we are going to yearn and desire to see souls saved.  He is bothered and concerned for those who don't know him, those that haven't heard of him and even those that deny him.  He knows they are unrighteous.  He knows they are full of sin.  He knows their faults.  He knows, yet he still loves them so much that He died on the cross for every single soul that has ever or will ever walk on this earth.  Every single soul was intended to be His.  Sin has destroyed faith, belief, and trust in the one true God.
We the church, should be the light shining to show the world that God is real, He's alive, He is on the throne and searching for every soul to come to Him.

The church has fallen asleep and complacent.  The church has failed over the past years to be that light set on hill and never hidden.  We are to be a beacon of hope and faith.  We need to come back to our first love and be about our Father's business.  We need to burn with passion for the work of God.
We need to be like the prophet Jeremiah who described the word of God in his heart like fire shut up in his bones.  He could not hold it in. He had to preach it.  He had to speak it.
We need to have the love of God for souls so powerful, that it is like that fire.  We would love them so much, we are willing to speak the gospel, pray for them, yearn for them,  seek for them,  labor for them.   We should have the power of God operating so strongly in our lives, that miracles and wonders would be evidence to those wondering if God is real.  The power of God should be so real in us, that there is no one who could deny God when they even get close to us.   It was said that people were healed just be getting in the shadow of Peter walking by.  People would lay out their sick loved ones just hoping for his shadow to pass over them.  People flocked to hear Jesus and see the mighty miracles.
God's power is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Hebrews 13:3
He said he will draw all peoples to himself. John 12:32  He wants to draw people, entice them,  cause them to want Him.  He desires to have all people believe, before it is too late.
Are we prepared as the body of Christ to perform the works to which  He has called us?  We are not to be complacent, or lukewarm.  He will spew out the lukewarm.  The time is getting short and it is time for the body of Christ it awaken,  arise and move in the power of God Almighty.  It is time to gather in the sheaves that are white and ready for harvest.  It is time to feel the burdens of the heart of God.
For the time is coming when every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

not our way, but His

Have you ever noticed that God asked great, crazy things of the prophets in the Bible?  

I was reading in Isaiah chapter 20 this morning. Just look at what God asked of him in this one instance:

20 In the year that Tartan[a] came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, and he fought against Ashdod and took it, at the same time the Lord spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and remove the sackcloth from your body, and take your sandals off your feet.” And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.
Then the Lord said, “Just as My servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. Then they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation and Egypt their glory. And the inhabitant of this territory will say in that day, ‘Surely such is our expectation, wherever we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria; and how shall we escape?’”

Do you realize that God asked this man to go around naked and barefoot for three years!!!!!
He used that as a way to prophecy to Egypt and Ethiopia.
I don't know about you, but I would be hard pressed to follow that command.  Isaiah must have been ridiculed, mocked, and humiliated. What did people think of him or say to him?  I really wonder.

There are so many times we think we know what God would want us to do.  Do we really?  Do we really understand and hear the voice of God and His commands?  Would we obey if we think it is outlandish or if it something we deem as crazy?

This makes me think of the basic commands we already know he has given.  Am I willing to completely give myself over to those basic commands?  You know the ones that say things like:
Love your enemies.
Do good to those who hurt you.
If they ask for your coat, give them your cloak too.
Forgive 70 times 7.
Love one another, forgive one another.
Go forth and preach the gospel

Romans 12:1-2 says I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

He asks us to present ourselves as a living sacrifice.  He states this is only the basic or reasonable thing he asking. It is not over the top, crazy or even above average.
It is average.  I can say I have yet to completely understand my reasonable service. I have yet to be just the average follower in God's eyes.  His average follower that he asks for is given over wholly to His service.  Not just what I think He wants, but completely obeys the commands of God in spite of personal comfort, or opinion.
Isaiah did not question the command of God to strip down and run around naked for three years just so God could make a point.  He obeyed.  That is what God is asking for: obedience.  Obeying without question, obedience to the reasonable requests he makes of us.

1 Samuel 15:22 says So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

God wants obedient children, not just sacrifice to make up for our disobedience.
He is eager to use us for the kingdom of God, but we must be willing vessels. We must be obedient, even when it may not make sense to us.
Does God always make sense to us? The answer is 'no.'  We are merely humans, the creation, while he is the Heavenly Father, the creator.
We may not always see the big picture, but He does. We may not understand why we are asked to do something in particular. It may not even look like it was effective or accomplished anything, but God knows what the purpose is.  His plan will go forward and He will use us if we are willing.

Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

Let's really learn to hear the voice of God and obey. He knows what He is doing.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

I know who holds tomorrow

I was thinking about a song my mother used to sing, I Know Who Holds Tomorrow.  I am so glad I know who holds tomorrow.
YouTube link: I know Who Holds Tomorrow
Jeremiah 29:11 says For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  God has plans for us and He wants to give us hope.  He is our hope and we can trust that He will only bring us what is good and right for us.  We may go through difficulties and trials because we are living in this world. We are human beings and we are subject to illnesses, troubles and strife.

Psalms 31:24 Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord.

Psalms 42:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.

We can find hope and peace in our Savior.  I will never forget listening to my mother singing this song. She had such a beautiful voice. When she sang, she was praising God in song and prayer. She meant the words of this song.  She knew that Jesus held her tomorrow and he was holding her hand. My mother prayed every day, sometimes, I think all day long.  She had a relationship with her Savior that went beyond just attending weekly services, and saying a blessing over her food. She had a relationship that extended into her every day activities, her words, her actions and her thoughts. She talked of Jesus as a  dear friend and One whom she loved. She knew Him intimately. She knew Him for she talked with him and spent time with Him. When she faced difficulties with her health, she knew she could turn to him for the help and healing she needed. When she was worried about her children, or family members, she ran to the Lord in prayer. When financial struggles came, she prayed. When good times came and blessings poured down, she praised God for the blessings. When she failed, she poured out her heart to her Savior.
I am forever influenced by the example of her faith. I am forever imprinted with the understanding that the Bible on her nightstand lay open because she was reading it and studying the Word.  I am here because of her prayers.  I am given a legacy of relationship that I need to develop and live as well.  Just because mom knew Jesus doesn't save me.  But because she knew Jesus, I saw what He could do.  I saw the healings, answered prayers and the evidence of a true Savior.
I know who holds tomorrow and who holds my hand.  I have experienced my Savior, Jesus, as he forgave my sins when I repented. I experienced his Holy Spirit coming inside my soul and filling me up with His love.  I know when He speaks to me. I don't always  take the time to listen, and yet He still loves me and speaks.  He is leading me and guiding me.  I can look back and see the times that He has answered my prayers and poured the blessings down. I am blessed.  I can sing from my soul to the One who gave me life. I can sing to my Lord and praise Him for his blessings.  I can hope for a good future because He holds it in His hand.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

plowing time

The other day, I sat on my porch and watched a very large tractor plow the fields across the road. The farmer carefully followed a path to plow every inch of that ground and even went back over some areas. I have had the privilege of getting to see that field provide crops over the past couple of years.  Corn, soybeans, and wheat have all been planted and harvested.  It struck me how after the farmer had gone through and harvested the corn, he brought in a plow to turn under the left over corn stalks. This day, he was running that plow over that ground again to prepare it for the coming winter and prepare it for next spring.  Next spring, he will plow it again to remove the weeds and to prepare that ground for seeds.

It brought to mind the parable of Jesus spoke about the sower planting the seeds and some seeds fell by the wayside, some on the rocky ground, some fell among thorns, and some on the good ground.  (Mark ch. 4) How does the ground become good ground?  It is prepared by a good farmer.
To become good ground, we have to be plowed and prepared to be good ground. We have to have the rocks removed and the weeds destroyed.  Coming to repentance is the start, but our hearts are not always in the best condition.  Weeds try to sneak back in and grow.  Rocks or hardened areas of our heart still need to be softened.  God will work on us and keep plowing to soften our hardened hearts.  He will keep pulling out those weeds that choke His word and keep His will from growing.  We don’t always like these times.

How often do we go through times of ‘plowing’ and feel like God has brought us trials and allowed terrible things to happen?  We might feel like He is not there. We might feel forsaken.  We might even whine and cry about why this is happening.  But God is doing something that is for our good.  Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

We go through times of ease and times of hardship. We go through joy and pain.  We go through sufferings and time s of plenty.  But all is part of life and can be times of growth, times of preparation, and times of rest.  Ecclesiastes 3:1.
Sometimes we need to recognize that God is preparing us for something.  We may be in a struggle or a time of rest and feel like we aren’t doing much for Him,  but He sees what is coming.  He may be preparing us to face a battle.  He may be preparing us to be strong for someone else.  He may be preparing us to receive a great blessing. He may be preparing us to move in closer and deeper in relationship with Him.  In 2008, I had a bad car accident and was injured badly,  I did not understand and it was  hardship. I was off work for three months.  I stayed with my parents  for a few weeks so mom could take care of me for a while.  I was in no condition to care for my own family.  Two months after that accident, my parents left on a vacation to minister at a friends church and then visit family.  That Sunday night, my husband spoke about how God gives us strength to go through the fire.  He spoke about how God carries us and will be our comfort.  It was an anointed message that filled me with joy, peace and strength.  That very next morning, the call came that my parents were involved in a collision and both my parents were in bad shape.  Within the hour, we knew mom was gone and with Jesus. Dad was facing surgeries with a broken back, hand and ankle as well as a head injury.  God was so good. He had prepared me by giving me a time of rest to spend with my mom and dad before she was gone.  I got to spend time with her and have those deep conversations that we needed to have.  God prepared me. He gave us a message to strengthen us before the pain.  He carried us for the next few weeks in the palm of His hand as we prepared a funeral, helped dad and adjusted to life without mom.  God may have allowed a time of plowing just so I could go on. He knew what was coming and knew I needed to slow down and take some time to be with my mom.  I am ever grateful for those two months I got to spend everyday with my mom and dad. I am grateful for my dad still being here.

When the plowing is going on,  God is at work doing what he knows will bring us into a place to be good ground. We will receive the word of God, it will be planted and grow. We will bring for the fruit that he has purposed in our lives.
Psalms 51:10 can become our prayer.  “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right spirit within me.”

He will make us like that tree is driven by the wind and beat by the storm but our roots will remain firm in Him.  We will be grow and bring forth fruit.
Don’t despise the time of plowing.  It isn’t to destroy us, it is meant for our good.
He is creating in us, a soft, compassionate, good heart that receives His Word, allows it grow and become planted, rooted and grounded.  A heart that will not waiver will not be swayed, and will not turn from the truth of God’s love.

I pray, Lord, plow my heart, make it good ground.  Good ground that you can use for your purpose. Help me not despise the times of plowing or the times of rest.  Help me know it is for my good.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

beware the bitter root

 Luke 6:45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

What is in your heart is what comes out of you.  It is what you speak of and act on.  The things of your heart motivate and control you.

About three years ago God showed me the following:
I saw a man in with arms outstretched.  I saw a thing that began to take root in a heart of a man. It was as a small thread attached to heart and burrowed in and out. This vine-like thread began to plant itself to suction from the life of the man. This thread began to grow and gain strength. It became longer, wrapping around the man, enclosing his arms, legs and body. The vine trapped him and held him. When the man wanted to reach out to hold his family, to serve another, to do anything that God was asking, he was unable to accomplish much and as the vine continued to grow, he was less capable and more trapped.
I felt great concern and began to sorrow for the man. I identified with him. I asked God “what does this mean?” “Help him!” God again spoke to my heart. “Bitter roots begin slowly, taking deep roots. Then wrap around a person, slowly taking away their ability to reach out in love, to deeply care and to do the ministry asked of them. The ability to be an effective light of God, effective sharer of God’s love, and effective worker for Christ has been slowly taken.”

Bitterness destroys a man or woman and the relationships they have.  Bitterness causes anger, hatred and depression to thrive. Feelings of hurt and suspicion take precedence. This is exactly opposite of what God wants for his children.  I have found several verses that speak to this very thing.

Acts 8:22-24
22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”

· Romans 3:13-1513 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.”[a]“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[b]14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[c]15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

· Ephesians 4:30-32
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you

· Hebrews 12:14-15 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

· James 3:13-1513 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic

I know there are times that is would be so easy to allow hurt to take over and live in it.  I find I may find bits of this in my own heart.  I may choose to not talk to someone because of the hurt I feel they caused. I may avoid that hurt again. I am allowing hurt and unforgiveness to dictate to me how I should act.
I am a bit disappointed to myself that I have allowed my heart to harbor any hurt or bitterness.  This is actually described as poison. I do not want to partake of this poison.
God has called us to get rid of all of this.  We must forgive, really forgive.  Not for the other person, but for our own well being.  I recently listened to a missionary speak of a young lady who forgave the very people who had abused her, prayed for them and brought them to Christ. That is getting rid of all bitterness and true forgiveness.  I hear people say this alot. "I forgive them, but..."  I have even uttered that very phrase.  True forgiveness carries no conditions.  It does not hold back on love and compassion. Jonah went to Ninevah and preached his doomsday message.  He sat on the hillside to watch the destruction and gloat.  When God responded with mercy and forgiveness, Jonah was angry.  God reminded him that he was no more worthy of mercy and yet, God had shown him mercy.  He reminded Jonah that God is just and God is love.  God is faithful and willing to forgive those who repent.  He is not willing that any perish.  His main goal for sending Jonah with the message was to bring them to a place of repentance.  He accepted them back, had compassion on them and completely forgave them: unconditionally.  He did not forgive with a but at the end.
I am tired of bitterness dictating my life.  I am tired of finding it lurking in the corners of my heart to be stirred up at the slightest bit of hurt, strife or discontent.  I want to have a so full of God's love and compassion that there is no room for any other thing to fit.  I want a heart that dictates true love from God to control my thoughts, words and actions.  I must get rid of any bitterness, rage, anger, slander, brawling, any form of malice.  I must be kind, compassionate and forgiving.  I must have a heart that is filled with God's love only . Lord help me cleanse me heart and fill it with only you. Remove any thing that can produce a root of bitterness.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

do you know who you are

I have talked with some people this week that have caused me to really think about who I am. I am a daughter, wife, mother, sister, cousin, friend, speech therapist, etc. But, there is an identity that is more important than any of these: I am a Christian.  This week many things have made me think about what that means. Saying I am a Christian should imply many things. This identity should supersede all others. It should permeate everything I do and think. It should be reflected in my actions, thoughts and daily life.

What does it mean to be a Christian?

In Acts 11:26 it says, "And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch."
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Christian as " one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ."
Most people interpret 'Christian' as meaning 'like Christ.'

So, I am going to go with the idea that to be a Christian means that someone is going to reflect Christ in their daily lives and activities.  A Christian will be someone who acts like Christ and follows  His teachings.

If I am a Christian, I will do what Jesus Christ taught, follow His commands, and have a life that shows who He is.

How do I show Christ in my actions?

My actions should reflect Jesus.  There are a lot of people who claim to be Christians.  There are a lot of people who think they know what a Christian should act like.   I remember in high school, there was a boy who would tease me and give me a hard time about being a Christian.  If I said anything in defense, he would say something like, "Christians have to turn the other cheek, so you can't say anything to me."  There was some truth in that statement, but he had it all wrong. He had a view of Christians as weak, weak-minded, self-deprecating and unable to think for themselves.  He completely misunderstood what it means to be a Christian.
I have heard a lot of people question a person's christianity based on one action or one statement. I have heard a lot of people say things like, "If they are really a Christian, they would ........"  You can fill in the statement. I am sure you have heard many of these statements or even said them yourselves.
I am realizing that most of us have preconceived notions about christianity.

What does the Bible say about a Christian?

Well, we know that to be born again we must repent and accept that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He came to call the sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:13). We know that Peter preached “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" in Acts 2:38.  We know we need Jesus to cover us in His sacrifice of blood for salvation.  That is only the birth and beginning.   Our lives should then be changed and different.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Paul wrote the following about how we live out that faith.
Romans 12:9-21

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”[b]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

If we go through the writings of the New Testament we would find a lot of descriptions of a Christian life.  It should bear good fruit, do good, be kind, be filled with love and have power from God.
I can find a lot of Biblical descriptions we need to achieve.

How do I achieve these descriptions in my life?

It comes down to really knowing Jesus.  If I don't really know Him, I cannot be like Him. I cannot just pretend I am like Him.  I can't just be like Him on Sundays.  I cannot go through life and just hope that that one time I repented will be enough to claim I am a Christian.  It cannot even be a ritual of daily Bible reading that should define my Christianity.
My Christianity should be defined by a relationship that is dynamic and growing.  My relationship with Jesus should be the ultimate definition of who I am.  I love Him because He first loved me.  He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. He is my Savior, Protector, Provider, Healer, Friend, Lover, and Giver of my life.  He is the One to whom I turn with joy and pleasure as well as with trouble and pain.  He should be the One I think of every moment, the One I talk to, run to and seek.  My relationship with Him should define me. It isn't enough to just say I am a Christian.  It isn't enough to just talk about Him.
I need to live in Him, breathe Him, think of Him, love Him.
When I got married, my relationship with my husband became a definition of who I am. I took his name and became a wife. I choose to do things for my husband because I love him. I choose to do things because I am a wife.  I redefined myself as a wife by how I think and choose to live because of the relationship I have with my husband.
This should also happen as a Christian.  Our relationship with Jesus should be reflected in our lives. It should define us, change us and permeate everything we do.

There was a skit I remember from my teen years about a Christian being put on trial to find out if there was enough evidence to convict them of christianity.  I hope that there will be overwhelming evidence in my life to convict me.  Not just my verbal claims, but my everyday life.  My choices, my words, my actions should all reflect Christ.  I want to be known as a Christian.

Is Jesus operating in my life, making the changes necessary to bring about His work in me?  Is the power of the Holy Spirit flowing in me and through me so that those around me feel His presence and know that God is there?  Do others recognize that I have the kind of relationship with God that my prayers are effective?  Do I reflect the love of God to those around me?  Do they even feel conviction of the Holy Ghost because of His presence in me?  Does the very environment around me change because I carry the presence of God with me?

It is time to allow Jesus to demonstrate who He is through us.  It is time we understand who we are in Christ.  We are blood-bought, power filled, children of God.  We have been purchased by the blood of Christ and filled with His Spirit to be a light to a lost and dying world. We are the royal, chosen priesthood and we have been given authority in God to speak life, destroy the enemy and heal the broken.  We have Jesus Christ in us and it is time to walk in this life with all the purpose for which .He has called us. I am a Christian.  I am to be like Christ. I have hope and life more abundantly.  I can walk in that knowledge and never be ashamed of this fact.  I can live to bring glory to my Savior Jesus Christ. I am to be a reflection of Jesus Christ in this world. I am His and He is mine. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus loves me and I belong to Him. He has poured His Spirit into me and I have His power operating in my life.  I can do all things through Christ Jesus.  I know who I am in Him.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

all my ways

In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:6

I have known this verse most of my life.  I am very familiar with it.  I have quoted it, memorized it, read it and spoke it. I find it to be easy to say, it is quite another to actually understand and live it.  I am asking myself, “What does it mean to acknowledge Him in ALL my ways?”  Do you know?   I have a lot of ways. I am busy and do a lot of stuff.  As I list it in my mind, I am thinking really wondering if I am acknowledging God in all my ways. I am a mom, wife, speech therapist, coworker, sister, daughter, friend, Sunday school teacher, shopper, cleaner of the bathroom and house. I have a lot of roles and jobs that I do.  I realize I may not always perform these many activities as always acknowledging God. 

So what does it mean to acknowledge God in all my ways?  
God has answers for that as well in His Word. He gave scriptures such as:

Rejoice always; Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than men, Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers. Psalms1:1

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

There are many more verses. Many verses that address our daily activities, daily lives and daily thoughts. Our thoughts should mirror God’s thoughts. Our actions should mirror God’s actions. Our ways should acknowledge God. As I go throughout my day, I need to keep my mind focused on the purpose He has for me, not just the task at hand.  How can I bring glory to God as I do this task?  If it is a daily chore, could I be taking this time to pray or praise God?  If I am with someone, should my words be encouragement and uplifting or words of gossip and frustration?  If I am working on my job, does my performance reflect the integrity and faithfulness of God?  Have I portrayed Christ as I go through my daily routines, stores and in encounters with those I meet?  Do they feel God’s presence as I come by or have I gotten so lost in my own frustration and self-promoting thoughts that I have forgotten to keep His purpose as my goal?  I may have missed an opportunity to pray with someone, touch a heart, or change a life by not keeping my focus on the right priority and fussing over a small detail like why the store not longer has that cake mix I wanted. Does complaining about circumstances at work change them or does it diminish my faith in God?  Do my words bring about praise or shame to God?  

Rather than getting bogged down in frustration and complaint, shouldn’t we rather take that moment to speak life even if it is to our own soul?  Wouldn’t that bring glory rather than shame?  
Our words and deeds need to speak life rather than bring about discord and shame.  
We can speak and act in ways that acknowledge the awesome glory of God, His power and His love.  We only need but choose to put aside words of discord, actions of pride, and thoughts of self.  We spend so much time worrying, feeling, and thinking about so much when we really ought to spend that time focused on the One who gave us life; The One who sacrificed for our salvation; The One who is waiting to direct us into His best ways. He has the ultimate plan already laid out.  

We only have to look and listen.  He is trying to show us and teach us what he wants. His Word is so important. It tells us how to live. He will direct our paths. He will give us more understanding, more compassion, more joy, more peace, more love than we ever thought possible if we truly give everything over to Him.  Isn’t it about time we really acknowledge God in all our ways.  

Psalms 119:105  Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

the troops are ready

“The troops have been made ready. The troops are ready. They are waiting  for orders to go.”

Last Sunday as we were praying and worshipping, the presence of the Lord moved through our service.  I heard the voice of the Lord speak. “The troops have been made ready. The troops are ready. They are waiting  for orders to go.  Pray”  
This week I have prayed on that and asked the Lord what He meant.  I went to the Bible and found myself in the book of Daniel chapter 9.  Daniel had been reading the books and words Jeremiah had given and was moved to pray and fast.  Verse 3 “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:”
This prayer goes on through verse 19. He really prayed for the mercies of God, for God to fulfill His word and move for the nation of Israel.  In verse 21 we see that the angel Gabriel came to him and began to speak to him.  Verse 23 really stands out to me. “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, consider the vision.”
When Daniel began to pray, the command came forth.
This tells me that when we begin to pray, heaven moves. God gives command to his angels concerning us. He gives command and the angels go forth.

We can read in 2 Kings 6 about Elisha and his servant facing an army.  The servant was afraid, Elisha answered, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”  He prayed for the servant’s eyes to be opened. When he looked around, he saw that the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. God moved. The oncoming army was struck with blindness.  The were subdued at the mercy of Elisha.

Psalm 34:7 The angel of the Lord encamps around them  that fear him, and delivers them.

I am certain God is telling us that when we pray, he is able to give the command. He is able to say “Go forth! Go forth!! Go forth!”  “My child needs an army to move!”  He dispatches the angels of heaven to perform in the spirit what we cannot do. He sends the messengers and the armies of angels to fight the battles and win the victory.  He is waiting to hear from us.  He is waiting to hear us cry out against the enemy. He is waiting for the prayers to come. We always hear the saying, “Prayer changes things.” This is truth. Prayer opens up the heavens, brings forth the charge, sends the angel army. Heaven moves when we pray.  James 5:16 says “- The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  Prayer is effective. Prayer is how we find victory. Prayer is how we bring on the fight.

If we want God to give the command, “Go forth!” to the angel armies, we need to engage in prayer, fasting and making supplications before the Lord.  Send the troops, Lord.  Send the troops.  They are ready to go. It reminds me of an old song that says, ‘When mama prayed, heaven paid attention.’  I want heaven to pays attention when I pray.  I want to know the troops receive their orders when I pray.  Thank you Lord for showing me that my prayer is powerful. My prayer brings about a spiritual move that can only come because of my prayer.  Prayer brings the command: Go forth!

Friday, September 18, 2015

stay on the path

 This has really been on my mind the last few days, so I will write about it. 
When I was a little girl, I had a very vivid dream that I have never forgotten. In my dream, I was walking on a beautiful, white sand path. The sand nearly glowed it was so white. It was fine, soft sand. I was following behind my mother and my grandmother was in front of her.  Behind me, I was aware that my siblings were there. On each side of the path, there were dark, thorns and brambles.  There were dark, tiny serpents in the brambles attempting to reach me.  When the serpents would touch the white sand, they would hiss and jump back as if it stung or hurt them. I was feeling very frightened, especially since I fear snakes.  My grandmother looked back and said, "Stay on the path and they cannot hurt you."  I immediately understood and looked at that beautiful path. 

Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. Psalms119:105
When I awoke, I knew immediately, even as a child, that God had given me that dream.  My grandmother and mother were both strong Christian women.  They were prayer warriors and studied the Word. They did not back down on the importance of knowing Jesus as their personal Savior and having a deep personal relationship with Him. They were shining examples in my life. 

Righteousness will go before Him, And shall make His footsteps our pathway. Psalm 85:13
I understood that God was showing me that there are spiritual things that are an enemy.  There are things of this world and of the enemy of our soul that are trying to steal, kill and destroy.  I understood, then, that I needed to look at the examples laid out before me by my grandmother and mother, as well as those in the family of God to stay strong on in faith, to live the life God has purposed. I needed to trust in the Word of my Lord and know that His path leads to life, joy and peace.  Staying on that path of righteousness can only bring good things, peace and light. 

Uphold my steps in Your paths, That my footsteps may not slip.Psalms 17:5
I am thankful that I have never forgotten that dream.  When I think of that dream, I remember to keep my focus on Jesus. I remember not to be afraid of the things of this life. I remember that joy and peace come from serving God. I remember that I can be blessed when I walk in the understanding of who God is and His purpose for me. I may sometimes get my focus on the cares of life. I may sometimes forget to keep my eyes stayed on Him.  But he reminds me.  I am thankful for the reminders. I am thankful for the examples God set before me.  I pray I can live up to their expectations. I pray I can live and walk in that path. I do not want to stray from it.  I do not want to turn away.  I want to live it and be an example to the next generation and to the ones around me.  May God keep me and make me the kind of example He needs me to be. No matter what comes our way, God is always our protector, our provider, our peace, our comfort, and our everything. 

You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess. Deuteronomy 5:33

Saturday, September 12, 2015

am I a fool?

Am I fool?
I hope not.  The Bible has a lot to say about fools and what  a fool is. I looked up fool and came up with 182 uses of the word fool or foolish.

Psalm 53:1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.
A fool denies God. A fool is full of self-pride. A fool is vile and corrupt.  A fool goes against wisdom and instruction.  They are rebellious, wicked, harmful to others, lack wisdom, and shameful.  Look in Proverbs.  It describes a fool many ways and warns of being a fool, being around a fool or listening to what a fool says.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Believing and fearing God is the beginning of knowledge. If we are to even have knowledge, we are to begin with God. True knowledge is knowing God. There are those who may disagree with this.  But knowledge without God as the source is useless and foolish.
Proverbs 12:15 The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.

A fool is going to assume they are wise. They are going to assume they already know truth. A fool is going to assume they might even be wise enough to determine God's very existence or His goodness, justness, righteousness, etc.
I really truly do not want to get into the thinking that I might even know better than God. Do I question God at times?  Yes. Should I?  Probably not.  According to His Word, He is always faithful, always just, always good, always has our best interest in mind, always knows all things and always loves us. Always!  Why do I think I can even begin to doubt that?  I am a foolish human that is why.

I am a fool at times.  I do not want to stay a fool.  I do not want to find myself doubting God.  I do not want to find myself in the position of denying God or denying His power.  I do not want to ever question His love, His faithfulness, His righteousness, or His authority. Life gets the better of me at times.  When I am frustrated, overwhelmed or confused, it is easy to wonder about God.
I think that is human nature.  However, if we truly rested in Him and knew Him in that deep intimate relationship that He has proposed to us, we would not find ourselves in the position of ever wondering or questioning.  We would immediately go to Him and trust that no matter what, he is still loving, faithful, just and righteous.

I do not ever question my husband's love and faithfulness.  If someone were to try to point out a questionable moment, I would believe in the love and faithfulness of my husband above all else.  I have a deep intimate relationship with him and I know him better than anyone else in this world.  I have faith in his love for me and in his promises to me.

Shouldn't it be the same with God? Shouldn't we trust him most because we have developed such a deep, intimacy with our God that nothing would sway our faith in who He is?  That is why He chose to describe His church as a bride.  That is the deepest intimate relationship on this earth that even comes somewhat close to describing the intimacy He desires to have with us.  Oh to be in deep intimacy with my Savior. Oh to be in arms of the One who can hold me closer than I ever dreamed. Oh to be able to hear His breath and feel His heartbeat.  That is intimacy.
Growing up, I always remember a picture on the wall of my great-grandparents.  It was hard for me to figure out which one was which.  They looked so similar to my young mind. There is the saying that as you grow in marriage, you become more alike.  I can say my husband has influenced me. I can say I have influenced him.  He has helped me and encouraged me to be more bold, to stand up for myself when I need to, and to not be so shy.  I have helped him to see things differently, to see himself as a valuable and to see that he is a strong person.  This influence comes from spending time together, sharing our lives and thoughts, through intimacy.  Time with God, sharing our lives and thoughts with God and intimacy with God will bring about changes in us. He will influence us, change us and help us become who we are supposed to be in Him.

Lord lead me to that place of deep intimacy that keeps me grounded in faith, unshakeable on a foundation of truth, and deeply devoted to you in understanding of who You are.

I John5:20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Lead me away from being a fool into understanding what is true.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

a little mouse in the house

I am embarrassed to say it, "There is a mouse in the house!!"  I really don't like a mouse who thinks he can sneak in here and chew on things. We found a hole in the bag of frosted mini wheats and knew immediately we have a mouse!  I cannot stand the thought!  My husband immediately put out traps.  I guess this goes with living out in the country.  But I don't have to like it. He has to go!!!
A mouse is a tiny little thing.  Generally, they go unnoticed. Most people don't realize they are there.  The damage they do is little and can be hidden. We may not even realize what a mouse has done. But they chew here and there, and dig into tiny places.  They get into little nooks and crannies yoy may not even realize were there.  Before you know it, some important has been ruined, maybe a wire to a lamp or a whole bag of food. You can choose to accept this and do nothing or you can trap them, fight them, get rid of the little creatures ruining things in your home.

This applies on a spiritual level.  We all have little things sneaking into our spiritual lives. We may not notice them right away. We all have little things that come in and eat away and chew in the nooks and crannies of our heart. We may see little evidences in our attitude or how we react to situations. We may even get glimpses in our response to the move of God. But those little things can be hidden away for a while. Unfortunately, little things become big problems.

Have you allowed something little like doubt, fear, hurt, pride, covetousness, frustration, to come into your heart and hide in the nooks and crannies?  These little things can turn into bigger problems like, turning away from God, depression, bitterness, becoming a hater of others, becoming a thief, or becoming one who sows discord in the body of Christ.

Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

A little bit of something can affect your entire walk with God. A little lie, a little hurt, a little pride, a little fear or doubt can change how you think, feel and how your respond to God's voice.
All it takes is feeding those feelings to bring about larger changes. Before you know it, a doubt can become a heart and mind that no longer believes.  Before you know it, a little hurt can become crippling bitterness that ruins relationships and can destroy a church body. Before you know it, a little fear can become debilitating and crippling to a life lived in love and peace.

Most often, we don't even realize the little things that are creeping in and hurting ourselves. We might recognize them in others, but no ourselves.
Matthew 7:3-5
 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

This does not bode well for us.  We are first needing to take a look at our own hearts and minds. Examine ourselves. Ask God to examine us and show us anything that is causing a problem. Second, we need to root it out, fight it, and allow God to do His work to remove it.
When we do not deal with our own hearts, we are not allowing God to mold us and make us in His image. We are hindering God's will and plan. He wants to make us whom He wants us to be.  He wants to do so much more, but little things are chewing and eating away at His plan, keeping it just out of reach.
Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;

1Chronicles 28:9 “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.

God knows and searches our hearts. He already knows our thoughts and intents. He is well aware of the little things that are keeping us from truly serving Him. He knows what we are holding back.
He will bring it to light and show us our needs, if we just ask and listen.  God does not want hindrances in our lives. He wants us to be pure and holy. He wants us to be filled with His Spirit. He wants us to be righteous.  1 Peter 1:16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

My prayer is Psalms 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
I want to please God, not disappoint him. Please, Lord, search my heart, let me not hide the little things. Clean them out and remove them so they do not ruin my life in you. Let me not be deceived by little things.
p.s. The little mouse got caught and removed from this house. Thank you to my husband.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

life is precious in His sight

When I started this blog, I had determined in myself that I would do my best to stay away from politics, topics of the day etc., and stick to the things God was revealing to me.  About 3 weeks ago, I felt very compelled to talk about Nehemiah's reaction to hearing about a terrible situation in Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 1

4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
5 And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:

 I knew God was speaking to me about my own responses to a grave situation in our world, but I did not want to put it out there. I must admit my own fears of rejection and fears of confrontation have often gotten the better of me.  But today, I was reading in Jeremiah chapter 1 and God reminded me that He wanted me to speak what was in my heart. In Sunday school this morning, the scripture first mentioned and discussed were the very verses in Jeremiah chapter 1 that had spoke to me this morning.
God spoke to Jeremiah and told him his was being sent to speak to nations. Jeremiah was afraid and felt he was too young and inadequate.  God reminded him that It was God who would do the speaking and He would keep him.  So, I feel compelled to write what I know God has been speaking to me.  I feel compelled to put it out here for others. I am not saying I will speak it to the nations. It may be only a handful of people who may ever see this, but it is in my heart.

Throughout the past few weeks, we have been given access to videos of the doctors and leaders of Planned Parenthood speaking of the sale of fetal tissue for gain.  These little babies are being dismembered and discarded. These videos have brought an atrocity into the national spotlight. Abortion in itself has been brought into a national discussion.
 I am going on record and stating that the heart of God is grieving over the unborn children that are being slaughtered daily in the name of convenience, in the name of greed, shame and selfishness. I am stating clearly, that the sale of these little bodies is absolutely disgusting and heartbreaking.
I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is displeased by this and these actions grieve our Heavenly Father.
As I watched the videos, my reaction was to cry. I cried over these children who will never know what the sun feels like. They will never get to feel a hug or be held. They will never laugh or play. They were destroyed by a system that says it is ok to destroy life. The last video I watched showed an actual little body.  It was perfectly formed down to every finger and toe. It was to be cut apart for harvest.  I could not finish this video.  My soul was crushed. My heart ached for this child. I began to ask God what could I ever do to change this?

I had the privilege about 23 years ago to hold my tiny little cousin. She was born at 6 months along with her twin whom had passed after birth.  My little cousin was so tiny, she fit in my hand. She was fighting so hard to live. She was about a week old and fighting. When we sang Jesus Loves Me to her, her vitals would improve and her heart would beat strongly. She was beautiful. She survived for nine days. I will never forget holding that precious little child in my hands.  Life is life from the moment it is conceived.
God told Jeremiah in chapter 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee.
Job 31:15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

God says life is there before we are born. His Word is truth and we cannot change it to our own liking.
In Luke 1:44, we read about John in the womb leaping at the greeting of Mary.  He knew before he was born that she carried the Messiah. He was a living child.

Each child is fearfully and wonderfully made.(Psalms 139:13) Even those who were conceived out of sinful actions, mistakes and even those from rape.  I have seen many stories of women who chose to keep their children, and not one has said it was negative.  Every one of them shared the blessing of that child.

I have grieved with loved ones and friends over a miscarriage. Miscarriages are often dismissed in our society, but those children mean so much to their mother.  They were alive, loved and valuable. Those little lives lost were precious. I have listened as my sister mourned the loss of her baby.  I have wanted so badly to offer words of comfort to my friend as she held out hope that the next dr visit would reveal that her baby's heartbeat was still there.  I cannot even pretend to understand.  Life was lost.

I think about when I found out I was pregnant. I loved going to the doctor for one reason only.  I got to hear my baby's heartbeat.  A heartbeat is the evidence of life.  It is what the doctor listens for first. That is life.  A heartbeat means life.  I had gestational diabetes with my first child.  While that was difficult, it also meant I went to the doctor 3 times a week to be monitored.  I got to sit and just listen to my little girl's heart. I got to see her moving and wiggling.  I got to see her grow before she was even out of the womb.  I fought hard to eat right, monitor my sugar, and cried through giving myself shots (I really hate needles) all so she could be healthy.  I know she was a live little being.  I saw her living. I saw and heard her heartbeating.  There is no doubt that life was there. It was no longer about what I wanted. It was not about my choice to do what I liked or eat what I wanted. It was about another living being that needed my best.

I understand there are girls out there that feel they have not choice. I understand they are afraid. I understand a baby brings difficulty and even shame at times. I understand having a baby changes everything.  I understand a woman may not feel prepared for this child. I understand this child may not fit in the plan you had or wanted. BUT, God does not make mistakes when life is created.  He has a plan for each and every life. When mistakes are made, we need to recognize and understand there are consequences that go with it.  However, making more mistakes does not erase the first mistake.  There are better choices for those little lives.
Abortion is sin. It is destruction.  It is murder. It destroys lives. It leads to guilt and depression. It causes more emotional scars than I can even fathom.
Please choose life.

As a follower of Christ, Jeremiah described what our reaction should be to this terrible atrocity.  Christians should be falling to our knees in anguish and mourning. Fasting and praying should be our response.  Christians should be driven to the throne of God over these babies and women who need Him.  We should be finding His will.  God reminded me that my tears over these babies is what is needed. My heart should be grieved by what grieves Him.  He wants His body to respond as He would. He needs us to fast and pray.  He needs us to move in His love and pour love into these women who are feeling trapped, scared and fearful.  He needs His body to be His hands and feet.  He needs His body to wrap arms of love around these women and show them that He loves them, that He loves that little child and He wants to bring forth life, not only of the child, but for them too.

My heart weeps. I pray that God would reveal to me His heart. I pray for these little lives. I pray for these mothers to hear God calling to make a different choice.  I pray for the providers of abortions that God would convict them and show them the grave error of their ways. I pray for those who go about the business of dismembering a little body, that they would be stricken with grief over the life they just so casually discarded.  I pray that God intervene and bring about a change in our society that life would be valued even in the womb.  That life would matter no matter how tiny. That God's perspective of a life would be the only perspective that makes sense.

My mother had a tiny plastic baby that was the size of a ten week old baby. It was about 2 inches long and was perfectly formed. That always amazed me.  She kept it up in a dish on her bookshelf. I would look at that little plastic baby and realize that God created life in the most amazing way.  In His image. Genesis 1:27
I feel it is time to respond as Jeremiah responded. It is time to fast and pray. It is time to seek God's face in this matter. It is time to find what He wants His people to do.  Yelling at abortionists does not work. Threats are not going to help anyone. Waiting for politicians will not change the hearts that are involved. Only God can do what is truly needed. His body needs to respond to His will and guidance and take action, first,  in the Spirit through prayer and fasting.  After that, only He knows what we need to do.  I need to find out what that is.  Do you? Do I have the strength to act when He says act?

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.