Wednesday, December 21, 2016

all in the details

As the holidays are here and we are busy preparing, I have noticed that we spend a lot of time on the details. We are detail oriented people.  We have to have the details just right. For those decorating their homes, how many hours did it take to get the details just right. I know I placed my little nativity on the mantel in just the right way, the ornaments  are hung correctly and each decoration placed in the right spot. I have watched how a gentlemen spent quite some time making sure all the details of his car were just right.  He washed and polished, then cleaned every crevice. Each detail important.

I realize God also views details as important. He organized and created each and every detail of this world when he created it.  Have you looked at some of the plants and animals he created?  The detail in the patterns and perfection of the creation is amazing. His prize creation is us. He spent extra time on creating us in His image. He took time to form us with his hands, not just speak us into existence. He then bent over his precious creation and breathed life into man. As I read through the Bible, I discover how God orchestrated details for each individual and cared for them using great detail. He cared about the details for them.  The whole Bible is a retelling of details that point to the coming of Christ and His importance. The details intertwine and wrap around one another in an intricate pattern that speaks of the love God has for his precious creation and His ultimate plan to speak love to us.

God shows us that He cares about the details of our lives.  So many times, we might not realize that God is working for our good.  In Romans 8:28 it says: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  He is making sure the details, whether big or small, are working in our favor.  It is so easy sometimes to get caught up in seeing what is going wrong. We can focus on a bad situation, cry and bemoan how nothing ever goes right. We might even question God's love for us.  Have you ever asked God, "Where are you when I need you?"   He is still right there working on the details of our lives. He cares about our details just as much as He did when he set this whole world in motion, when he gave plans to Noah for the ark, when he orchestrated David's life and even when he met Saul on the road to Damascus.  He knows our details better than we do.  He even knows the number of hairs on your head, (Luke 12:7).  He takes time to keep count of the hair on your head, he very well has time to work on your details. He knows what your heart needs, he knows what you need physically and he really knows what you need spiritually.  He is preparing what we need. He cares for sparrows and we are of more value than sparrows to God (Matthew 10:30-31).  

I realize that as we are receiving from God, we also need to be obeying Him.  He asked us to care for the widows and orphans (James 1:27). He asked us to love one another (1John 4:7-8). He asked to bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2). He asked us to care for others, pray for others (James 5:16). We are to follow the example of our heavenly Father and care about the details of others.  Christ asks us to serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13).  Service to someone else is caring about a detail in their life.  Do they need food?  Do they need clothing?  Do they need a listening ear or prayer?  Do they need a shoulder to cry on or a friend to spend time with?  These are all details that God gives us the ability to meet for others.  We can share the gospel, be friendly, be the one who holds a grieving mother or provide for the basic needs of others.   God has not called us just to receive blessings, but to be a giver of blessing to others.

I love the story of Tabitha, or Dorcas, in Acts chapter 9.  She is described as a woman full of good works and a tremendous giver. When she died, all the people she had cared for came to Peter and began to speak and testify of her life of service. How she made them clothes, fed them and understood that by caring about their details, she was ministering to them about God's love.  Peter was moved and prayed for her. She was brought back to life.  Her story is one of service and giving to meet the details of others.  When we see the details that matter to others, we can care for them the way God intends.  When we become that arm of comfort, that giver of security, and the friend that loves, we are extending the love of Christ to others. That is the purpose of the body of Christ.  We will be fulfilling our purpose of sharing the gospel with others. We will be fulfilling our purpose of loving one another and bearing one another's burdens.  We will truly be living as part of the body of Christ. As we pray for one another, lift up another, give to one another and truly care about a detail in someone else's life, we are representing Christ in the best way.

He will truly be able to say as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to me. How beautiful it is when we are in unity with the gospel and about our Father's business.

Matthew 25
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

arise and shine

I just finished reading through Ephesians and found many wonderful nuggets of wisdom and important aspects of living for God. The writer, the Apostle Paul, poured into this letter much advice and directives for those in the church at Ephesus. He answered some questions that many of us still have today. How does God expect us to live this life? How are we to live as Christians?  One thing that really stood out to me was contained in chapter 5 of Ephesians. This is an important detail that I found Paul expressing. We are to live wisely. 

Ephesians 5:14-17  
14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
    rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

How do we live wisely?  By understanding what the Lord's will is. The Message Bible states verse 17 as:  Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.  This is a grand and serious challenge.  We, as Christians, often take the stance that we are doing good as long as we pray a little, read a bit of the Bible, attend church regularly and give once in a while to those in need. These are all good things, but are we living in a manner that is wise and careful. Do we make the most of every opportunity? Do we understand that evil is around us and ready to take advantage of every opportunity that we do not take?  Do we realize that it is foolish to not understand the will of the Lord?  There is a rule of opposites in the statement in verses 15 and 17. Unwise is the opposite of wise and foolish is the opposite of knowing God's will. 

How do we understand what the Lord's will is so we do not live foolishly?  I guess that comes down to the careful and wise part.  We would be wise to pursue the heart of God. We would be wise to pursue a deeper relationship and understanding of God. We would be wise to spend more time in prayer and in study of God and His Word. We would be wise to put God first. We would be wise to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. 
(Matthew 6:33) When do this, He takes care of us and adds to us the things we need for daily living. He meets our needs and provides for us.  

In Luke chapter 12: 35-37, Jesus advised his disciples to be watchful.
35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.  

We need to be ever watchful, if we are going to be obedient and ready to act when we hear God's voice. We need to be listening and ready to act when He speaks.  This scripture context is about the coming of the Bridegroom, or the return of Christ for His Church, but the principle can apply to our daily preparedness to do the work God has prepared for us. His will is that we are ready to act and be His body: arms to love, hearts to care, mouths to speak, feet to walk and do. Have we made time to be in tune with Him before we even walk out the door so we can hear His voice, His spiritual unction to act?  Do we hear him say, "Pray for that person."  or "Give them what the need."   We need to be 'dressed and ready" to act when he speaks. That is His will. When He asks us to do something, we need to hear Him and act upon His directive so we can accomplish what He wills.  
1 John 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 
We can know truth when we follow the anointing and leading of the Spirit of God. We can find Him and know His will.  We must be ever watchful and awake to the Spirit of God that dwells in us.  We must not be complacent in Spiritual matters.  
We have read and quoted "Pray without ceasing." (I Thessalonians 5:17) many times. We have a knowledge of the Word and a knowledge of what needs to be done, but we aren't always careful to do it.  I think about many things in our lives that we know need to be done, but are often easily put aside and ignored until it becomes relevant. How many kids hear their parents tell them to do something but keep playing or doing their own thing until the parents make it very important to accomplish the chore or job given by getting louder or taking away privileges?  The threat of punishment or loss of privileges makes accomplishing the chore of utmost importance.  I can think of several things around my house right now, that I have put off or haven't done but know I need to get done.  Those jobs will become really important before long when they demand attention.  I don't want to be a follower of Christ who waits and ignores the small things that God is asking of me.  I don't want to miss out on opportunities to be used of God, because my agenda was too important or I was too busy with my own ideas to hear His voice until He has to make it so loud we have no choice to listen.  I do not want to give evil a chance to take away my opportunity to let Christ shine.  

If we are careful and wise in the way we live by understanding His will, we will be ready to accomplish many things for the Kingdom of God. We will be ready to speak, ready to act, ready to love those we come across. We will be the hands and feet of Christ to this world around us.  We will respond more to voice and the Spirit promptings that will cause us to act to change the little things around us and eventually make the big difference that the Church is supposed to make. Each part of the Body would be listening and acting and living in wisdom. This would make the difference to the world. This would be accomplishing the great things of God in this world. This would be a different church all together. 
We can understand the parable of the talents in Luke 19 that when we are faithful in the small things, we can be given more opportunities to be faithful in bigger things. 

So  this scripture that began with “Wake up, sleeper,  rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” makes a lot more sense. The people of God needs to awaken and rise.  We need to be dressed and ready to do His will.  Christ will shine on us when we are ready to go and do His will. We need and understanding of His will so we are not living foolishly and in an unwise manner.  Take advantage of every opportunity that will allow Christ to shine. 


Saturday, November 5, 2016

finding strength

I always find encouragement when I read Psalms. There are so many verses that speak to being human, being in need of a Savior, and in need of hope. I find there are verses that speak to my soul, to my heart and lift me up when I need strength, hope, faith, and endurance. I am always amazed that I can turn to Psalms, start reading and find God speaking to me, to my concerns, and to my heart.
Psalm 18 has always been one of my favorite, especially when life seems to want to overtake and overwhelm me. I can find strength and hope in knowing the Lord is my strength. He will uphold me and carry me through.

Psalm 18:1-2

I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

David was human just as we all are. He faced real troubles and real emotions. He endured many struggles and consequences of his own faults. He was still the apple of God's eye. God loved him, blessed him and strengthened him. David was able to find strength in the Lord.  In 1 Samuel 30:6, when he felt alone and abandoned by everyone around him, He strengthened himself in the Lord.  Many times, I feel like that is why Psalms exists. We can read these beautiful words to find the strength God has for us to remain faithful and strong. He does not leave us alone. He is always there. We can find Him in His Word, when no one else is there.  

God promises us in His word that he will strengthen us and lift us up. We need to trust Him in His promise.
Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

We can find strength in God's word, We can find hope.  All we need is to turn to Him, turn to His word and allow Him to perform His work in us. He will provide the strength we need to endure. 

Then, we can say, just as Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

the poem of prayer

Psalms 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It  contains 176 verses. It is written as an acrostic poem. It is beautiful. The messages contained in this chapter are also deep and amazing. It is written as a prayer of one who delights in God and in following His ways. The words and depth of this beautiful poem carry great meaning even for us today.
I was reading this chapter and I began to read it aloud.  I wanted to hear the beauty of the poem and hear the meaning behind it.

Verse 136 stood out to me:

Rivers of water run down from my eyes,
Because men do not keep Your law.

The sorrow that overwhelmed the writer as he knew others did not follow God's law and seek after God. He realized that they were out of God's will and were sinful. He realized the consequences were dire for these folks.  I asked myself, "Do I cry over those who do not know God?"  Do I find that a great concern?  I need to. God is not willing that any should perish. When we seek the heart of God, we will find His concerns will be our concerns as well.
God seeks to save all who need it. He wants us to be used of Him to accomplish His will.

Other verses speak of the desire to understand and seek after God's law. Basically, the writer wants to do the will of his heavenly Father and be found righteous before Him. He is desiring to display his deep love for the One who created him and who loves him most. He wants to meditate on God's law or precepts. He wants to think on the things of God, obey the ways of God, live the ways of God, and please God. Do I desire these things as well?  Do I allow my soul to cry out to the Savior for deeper depths with Him?

Throughout this chapter I find a call to the Lord for deep personal changes and a relationship with a Savior who loves. I find a cry to God to move on those who do not know God and who go against the law of God. This writer has deep conviction and concern for those who are not with God. He desires a change.

Verse 126 says:

It is time for You to act, O Lord,
For they have regarded Your law as void.

Yes, this is a prayer for God to move and bring about salvation or changes for those who do not know Him. This chapter calls me to desire more and find greater delight in God and His Word.

I find in this chapter an example of many parts of our faith walk God wants us to desire to have and pray for:

-deep personal desire to follow after him
-prayer that is deeply personal and seeking God not just for self, but for others
-a grave concern for the lost souls
-a great desire to be righteous and holy before God
-a bond of love between Savior and saint
-a desire to share the gospel with others
-a cry for God to lead and guide throughout each day and in life
-a strong desire to learn all you can about God and His will for your life

There is so much in this chapter, I cannot seem to move on from reading it again.
This prayer poem may become my own. I may weave into my heart's desire and into my prayers the desires to delight myself in the Lord. I will ask Him to be the light unto my path. I will ask Him to act when those I see are falling from His path and need salvation.
I will call on Him to make me who He wants me to be.
I will cry out "You are my portion, O Lord!"

Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

my God is real

It is so good to know God is real, alive and moving!  I am saddened to think there are some who don't know this precious truth. God is there and He is my best friend. Just like it says in Proverbs 18:24, there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  He is always there when I speak too Him, I know He cares and listens. He answers and let's me know what I need.

I can tell you how God is real. I hear Him and see the results of His mighty power. He has performed miracles that we have prayed for. There are two babies living and thriving right now because He answered prayers. Doctors gave little hope, but God said Yes to the miracles.

When God told me that my husband would be at His current job another year, sure enough, Not a week later, my husband was told that the company will be laying off most of the employees over the next year.  I could not have known that would happen in advance, but for the voice of the Lord.

I see God moving and changing people. I hear many testimonies of God healing, leading, guiding, and protecting. He is bringing salvation to this world. He is calling His people to awaken and stand firm in faith. We may look around, just like Peter standing on the raging water with fear and doubt may try to overwhelm, but we can look to our Savior. We have Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. He has already overcome the world.

John16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

We have a great hope and no need to be fearful. We do not need to doubt. God is real, moving and causing His will to move forward through His people. The knowledge of Jesus, my Savior is my most precious treasure. The relationship I have with him is what sustains me and gives me my very life.  I cannot ever deny Him nor walk away from the very giver of truth and life. He is my everything.

I can sing " my God is real, He's real in my soul. my God is real for He has washed and made me whole. His love for me, is like pure gold. my God is real for I can feel Him deep in my soul!"

I pray That others may know and come to the great knowledge of truth that God loves them, and He is real for them too.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

setback or redirected

Sometimes we have setbacks when we are working toward a goal. You know, you set a goal, make a plan, and get busy working toward that goal, when all of a sudden, something happens to mess up the plan. Oh so frustrating!  I have had setbacks happen many times and I feel like I have one now. But, as I began to pray about it, I felt like God was asking me, is it really a setback or is it a redirection?

God may be redirecting us, because He knows something we may not know.
We all have heard and read Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I think we get off track sometimes and He redirects us to get us back on the path.  Sometimes, the "setback" or redirection is part of His plan.  Our perspective is that it is a negative event meant to derail us and throw us off, when in God's plan, it is meant to protect us, guard us, and keep us in His plan.

I heard a dear missionary, Sis. Elizabeth Tolman, testify many years ago about a time that her son was driving down a road in Mexico, when she felt God tell her they needed to stop and get off the road. She told her son to stop and get off the road.  When they got back on the road, up ahead they came across a serious accident where a truck had veered into their lane and would have hit them.  What may have seemed like a delay, or setback, protected them.

I think back to 2008 when I had a car accident that put me out of work for 3 months, in a wheelchair.  I saw it as a setback.  I was frustrated. My husband would take me over to my parents house every day after I was out of the hospital since I could not care for our small children alone and he had to go to work.  I was frustrated. But I got to spent every day with my mother for the last two and a half months she was here on this earth.  I look back now and realize, that was a true blessing in disguise.  I got to be with mom everyday, talk with her and have some great times that I would not have had had I been working and busy.  It was really God giving me a blessing.

About a month ago, my husband and I had attempted to hire someone to make some repairs on our gutters. It was quite a bit of money. When the time came for the work to be done, the person called and tried to reschedule, then said they would call later that day.  They did not call back for two weeks.  We were a bit frustrated with this development. In the meantime, my husband was told that  the company he works for may be laying off 200 plus workers, including him over the next few months meaning his income will be changing. We realized that maybe God kept us from spending some money that we may need later. When the repair person finally did call, we told we would not be requiring his services. We trust that God is protecting us and our financial situation and the work will be completed in a different way.

So, now that I am facing what feels like a little setback, may be God redirecting me for His purposes. He knows and sees a whole lot more than I do.  I may make plans and may think I know what will be done or what I need to do, but He knows better. I just need to choose to trust Him, even when life appears to throw a setback at me.  Proverbs 27:1 says Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.  We can't really now the future anyhow, so trusting God with it makes a lot more sense than trusting my plans. He can keep us on the right path and going the right direction.  We just need to know that what might appear to be a setback, may actually be a blessing for us. God has it all prepared and He will guide us, when we listen and trust He is truly looking out for us.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Monday, September 26, 2016

whose report will you believe

Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

Obadiah 1:1 [ The Coming Judgment on Edom ] The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom (We have heard a report from the Lord, And a messenger has been sent among the nations, saying, “Arise, and let us rise up against her for battle”):

I have to ask whose report do you believe?  I was thinking about all the different reports I have been hearing lately.  There are so many bad things going on and so many receiving bad reports about health, jobs, family, etc.  On Facebook, so many people are focusing and re-posting so many stories about crime, rumors, hate, and horrible events.  
While it is good to be aware of the things happening around us, it is also detrimental to focus on those bad things. If all we are thinking about and seeing is the bad, then where is the goodness of God in your heart?  God has the answer for all these situations. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is Alpha and Omega, beginning and the End. He is our Rock, our Shield and our Salvation. He is the Healer and the Way-Maker.  He is and should be our Everything.  

So when the doctor may have a bad report, God has the good report. When the boss may have a bad report, God has the good report. When the news has a bad report, God has the good report.
Whose report will your believe?  I choose to believe the report of the Lord!

His report is the one that counts.  His report may even seem impossible to man, but His report is the one I want. His report is the one that will keep us, protect us, heal us and love us.
His report is what I will believe! Rather than become overrun by the bad things and bad reports, we can find hope in the good report of the Lord. I will think on the goodness of Jesus and what He has done for me.  I will shout "Hallelujah" and I will praise Him in spite of the circumstances. He deserves every praise and He is worthy.
His report is good!
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  

Sunday, September 18, 2016

ignite the vision

I have been reading in Chronicles and I was truly blessed and intrigued by the accounts of David and Solomon.
In I Chronicles chapter 17, we see David desiring to build a temple for the Lord. He has a great burden on his heart that God needs to be honored. He wants a permanent building in which to place the ark and a place to make sacrifices.  If he was going to build a great house for himself, God also needed a great house in which to reside.
But Nathan the prophet hears from God and relays the message to David. David cannot build the house because of the blood he has shed. The building of the house will fall upon the next generation and God will greatly bless his son to do this wonderful thing for God.
David did not become disheartened or angry. Instead we can read that he poured into the preparations for his son to be able to accomplish his dream of building the temple. In I Chronicles chapter 22 we read about all the preparations and supplies he gathered. He made arrangements for more supplies and workers. The greatest preparation, however, was sitting down with Solomon, his son, and passing on to him the vision and dream of building the great temple of God.
He explained to Solomon what he had been preparing and why it was important. He explained what all the supplies were for and what needed to be done. He explained that while he desired to do this thing, God had told him he could not and that his son would receive the great blessing of building the house of God. God would bless Solomon for this endeavor. David ignited the passion and vision in Solomon and Solomon went even further than David even dreamed.

Now, Solomon could have just nodded and smiled. He could have decided not to follow through. He could have done the job half-heartedly, but David passed on his vision and dream to Solomon.
Solomon not only used the supplies his father, David, had accumulated, he added more. He hired skilled artisans and laborers to build the best. He caught the fire of the vision his father had.
David was able to teach and explain his dream and vision is such a way that Solomon not only understood it, he also had that same vision and dream.  Solomon's temple was amazing.

Sometimes, we, as parents, have great vision and dreams for our children. Sometimes, we want to see great things from our lives and eventually for our children.
For me, I realize that my parents instilled in me values and dreams. Some they may have wanted, but only realized in me and my siblings. My parents both came from hard working families. Families that did not have a lot but they loved God and and loved each other. Their parents did not go to college, but wanted more for their kids. Both of my parents eventually went to college well after becoming adults and having kids. But they made a way for me and my siblings to further our education. They taught us from a young age that education was important. We went a little further than our parents. We may still struggle and we may still have financial concerns.  But, we are hopefully going a little further than they did.
They set up for something better. My parents ignited a passion and a desire for more than they had even dreamed. They always told me I could go to college. I went not only for my bachelor's but for my master's as well. My siblings also went to college. My parents were proud of us and are proud that we have become successful in our chosen fields.

David did not get mad at God. He prepared for his son to be successful.  He set up what he could to make things better for his son and for the next generation.
Shouldn't we do the same?  My husband and I try to instill in my children that they can grow up, go to college and follow the dreams God has placed in their hearts and minds. We talk to them often about preparing for the future. We try to save up some so we can help them achieve those dreams. I want them to be even more successful than me. I hope they listen and learn from my mistakes and achieve the dreams they have. I don't want them to be afraid of the dreams they have from God.

More importantly, we try to instill in them a love for God and the need and importance of a relationship with Him. Most importantly, we tell them that we want them to know God for themselves. We want them to follow after Him and know Him. We try to show them that prayer works, that the Word of God is precious and important, and that the Body of Christ is alive and active. We want them to seek Him first  and be a part of His Body.
 I recently read some studies that talk about how a parents priority of church attendance or lack thereof will affect the children's priority of church attendance. If a parent is not faithful or skips church because something else came up, then the kids will not see church attendance, or God, as a priority. It is a matter of actions speaking louder than words.

What we speak through our actions will speak louder than anything else.
David showed Solomon his vision, not just by telling him, but by the preparations and dedication he had to the vision. What we show our children and the preparations we make for their spiritual well-being will speak louder than anything else we say. Are we showing them that spiritual matters are most important by participating in and maintaining a spiritual walk that displays God is number one in our lives? Do we set them up for a future full of answered prayers and testimonies they can recall that tell of the goodness of God when they need to remember?  Have we shared our dreams and visions of the path God has set us on so they will continue to walk on that same path into eternity with Christ?  Lord, I pray we have.

I guess I can also apply this to the church body.  Sometimes, a pastor or a church leader may see a great vision for a local assembly. That leader or leadership needs to understand that they need to nurture and share that vision and dream with those that will follow them. God may intend for them to ignite the fire of passion and vision in the next generation. They may not get to see that vision come to full fruit under their watch, but the next generation will be the ones to move forward into the great plans that God has set forth. The leader may ignite the fire, but the next generation may be the ones to set it ablaze into something even bigger. God can use the next generation to start the revival, but they need to be ignited. What we do now, as church leaders, prepares the next generation of church leaders. Those that will follow today's leaders, need to be ignited by the dream and vision that God has placed on us. They need to take that dream and vision and make it their own. Then, move that dream and vision beyond what we see into what God placed in their hearts as well. The church leaders of today need to teach the next generation, not just by word but by deed, that God has a great plan and a great vision for His Body. Let's ignite the next generation to move forward from the past into the great plans of God and prepare them to work in the realms of we see can come, we may be laying the ground work by praying and instilling the dream in the next generation.  We may dream the dreams, but the young will see the vision.

“And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.

‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.

Monday, September 12, 2016

you are not a useless appendix

I was thinking about who God places each of us in the body of Christ and we are all important. I then got to thinking about the appendix. About 10 years ago, my husband became very sick, the sickest I had ever seen him. I had to get the neighbors to help me get him in the car. I was 6 months pregnant, had a scared three year old, and he was so weak and sick he couldn't hardly stand. I got him to the emergency room and they quickly diagnoses appendicitis. Finally about 3 o'clock the next morning, he was in surgery.  When I asked about any effects of not having an appendix, the doctor said it was a useless organ.  We didn't need to worry about it. So recently, I began to wonder why it is useless. Is it really useless? God placed it in the human body and there has to be a reason. So I googled it.

Many have assumed it was useless. Many have even claimed that the appendix is a left over from an organ that has evolved away through evolution.  It has been explained away by man’s understanding or lack of understanding.
However, Researchers and immunologists are now finding out the appendix does have a purpose.
1.It is a “safe house” for beneficial bacteria when recovering from diarrhea, dysentery, cholera.
2. It is placed in the perfect place for this function, right at the connection of the small and large intestine.
3.It has been identified as an important component of mucosal immune function /part of the lymphatic system as it may help in regulating pathogens and may even produce early defenses that prevent deadly disease that infect the colon and get the lymphatic system’s B and T cells to fight the viruses and bacteria. It helps immune responses occur.

SO, what does this have to do with us spiritually?
Many times people have fallen into the trap and lie that they are useless as Christians.  They may question their purpose and what God has for them to do as part of the body.  Knowing that you have gifts is important, but understanding and realizing that you have been been placed in exactly the right place for the purpose God has for you is very important. God has purposely and carefully placed us and makes sure we are useful in the body of Christ.

I Corinthians 12:12-27

We are all members of one body and we are all necessary and needed for the body to function effectively and properly.
In verse 18 we can see and understand that God sets the members as it pleases him. We are placed by God for his purpose.
Verse 22 shows that members that are seen as feeble are necessary. The appendix may have been seen as feeble, but it is actually necessary. It is useful and if you ever contract cholera or dysentery, the appendix plays a vital role in recover.  Sometimes, the Body of Christ needs those members that are faithful and waiting to burst forth with their talents in the face of troubles and sickness to bring about the healing and help in the Body of Christ.

Spiritual Application
You are not useless to the body of Christ
Store up the good in your own life to be ready
God has set you where it pleases Him and for a purpose
you are there as a defense to help the body of Christ

The appendix is always preparing and storing up for the time of need. It is a "safe house" of good bacteria. We can be a "safe house" of the goodness of God. We can prepare for the "sick" times by filling up on the goodness of God.
We can be preparing and storing up through our daily prayer and reading so we can be ready and able to take our stand. When the enemy attacks, we are ready for him and can defend and attack back using the scriptures and the prayer that we have been faithfully storing up.
There is an awareness that something is happening in the body and early defenses are taking place. That is awareness and getting ready to fight early.

The appendix pours the good bacteria it has stored up into the body.  We should help bring about healing for the body of Christ by pouring love, peace and joy into other members.

John 6:63 Jesus words were spirit and life, so should our words be spirit and life

Proverbs 18:21 Power of life and death are in the tongue. We should pour forth life and praise.
Psalm 98:4  Breath forth in song, rejoicing and praise

In 1 Peter 2:9 we are described as a special possession, chose to declare the praises of Him. Our calling as a child of God is to declare His praises.
One of the most .important purposes of a child of God is worship. We can worship and change our attitudes and even change the situations. God inhabits the praises of His people. He moves and operates when we praise. He will hear our praise and come to answer. When we praise in any circumstance we face, we are bringing forth His presence and talking about His goodness.

Bring forth Good for the body meas to support and edify one another. We are told in many places to care one for another and work together in unity.

Galatians 6:1-2 Bear one another’s burdens
James 5:13-16 if any sick pray for one another
Ephesians 4 Paul wrote about being part of the body
v.1-3 unity and part of the body in one hope of your calling
11-16 we are equipped, a part of the whole body
16-effective working by which every part does it’s share
God needs an effective body working together in unity. He does not want his body to be sick. Sickness for the body of Christ comes from sin and lack of unity.
There is a warning at the end of Romans chapter six to guard against those things that destroy
Don’t become an inflamed appendix. Verses 30-32 tells us guard against those things that destroy the body, backbiting, hurting one another and all that other stuff that comes from sin.
Galatians 5:25-26 tells us bear fruit of the Spirit and not live by the flesh, (conceited, provoking and envying each other).
We cannot give sin the opportunity to bear it's fruit of death (Romans 7:5,8)and have it's passions loosed on the Body of Christ. We need to guard against sin, keep it out of the body and pour into the body the good things or the good fruit.   Sin will take opportunity if it is given a chance. We are to be ready and aware so we can put a stop to sin before it has a chance to cause illness our individual lives and thereby making us ineffective or even cause us to bring destruction in the body of Christ. That would grieve the Holy Spirit. We can recognize we are actually very important to the body of Christ. Each member is there to edify the Body, help the Body, and work in unity with the Body for the purposes of God. We are all called to be a part and do our share in helping the Body of Christ grow in love.

Every member is placed by God to please Him and for an important purpose
Every member of the Body is called  to worship and to protect the body
Every member should be ready and prepared Be a “safe house” full of the ability to pour out praise and good report. A safe house that will help protect and edify the body
Every member should be aware and ready to spiritually defend the body in spiritual warfare (prayer, fasting, interceding, etc) when the enemy attacks

Sunday, August 28, 2016

called to praise

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 
1 Peter 2:9

This is one of those times, that I am sure God is trying to tell me something.  A portion of this verse has been resonating in my soul, heart and mind.  While I have read this many, many times before, this time God is showing me something important. As I was reading one day about three weeks ago, this scripture stood out like never before. It was like a light illuminating the words,

God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him

I read it over and over.  The realization that God chose me and sees me as a special possession was nearly shocking to me. My heart was understanding what my mind has already known for a long time. Then the realization that we are called for the purpose of declaring his praises began to sink in.  My purpose is to declare his praises. My purpose is to declare his praises. YES!

I went to revival service and the whole message was about who you are in God's eyes and what He purposes for you, to get the vision of what He has for your life.  I just could not get over how amazing God is.  That service turned into an amazing service full of healing for some serious needs and God's power falling on those present. 

This particular verse has popped us several times, each time as I have began to forget, just in time to remind me that God's chose me for the purpose of declaring His praises. I believe that is why he spoke to me a couple of years ago to even write this blog. I can declare His praises to anyone willing to read this. I can tell them that God is calling them to also declare His praises. Our purpose is to declare the mighty work of God who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. He has shown His mighty hand and we can declare how good and wonderful He is to us. That is our testimony.
We are made overcomers by the word of our testimony. Testimony is declaring our personal encounters with our Savior.  It is sharing the good news about what He is doing for us.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Revelation 12:11

Declaring His praises is also what we will be doing for eternity in heaven.  We will be there forever, together getting to praise Him, worship Him eternally in His very presence.  We may as well begin now to praise Him.  Make the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts acceptable to Him. (Psalm 19:14).  May we speak about him, think about him and bring forth the praises of our God.
May I truly understand this calling in my life. May I ever declare the wonderful works of God my Savior. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

hearing through the word

Have you ever read a verse that you may have read and heard many times before, but this time something just jumps up, slaps you and gives you a huge revelation into something?  This is what happened Sunday morning. I was reading my bible and part of this verse suddenly meant a whole lot more to me that it ever had.

2 Peter 2:9 NIV
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

I have read this verse many times and heard it preached about.  I have read it different versions of the Bible, but today I heard God speak as he showed me that I am a special possession. I am chosen, holy and called.  Not just called, but called out of darkness for the purpose of declaring His praises.

Now, I have known this information and have even spoke these words but this time, there seemed to come a power with it.  There seemed to be a greater purpose behind God wanting me to understand that I am His possession, called to declare His praises.  My spirit within me leaped with joy and anticipation.  I felt excited and amazed and couldn't wait to get to church.  I can tell you our service was amazing and getting to worship and declare His praises as part of the worship team became so much more purposeful and awe inspiring. God moved and blessed.  I felt God call me to pray for a couple of people.  I believe with all my heart that their needs are met. God is doing great things and when we seek Him, he is found. His word holds the truth He wants us to understand and He will reveal it.  It is alive and powerful and provides the current we need to be the powerful church.  We need to plug into the current and get His word in us.
Hebrews 4:12 says:
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

When we submit to His word and allow it to penetrate and change us, we become more like Him and understand His purpose in us.  God is wanting to do great things in His people and He is calling His church to arise.  We need to get into His Word, let it get into us and begin to allow the Holy Ghost to operate in His will.  Thank you God for the reminder that I have the ultimate purpose of declaring Your praises.  That will be the exact thing we will get to do for eternity and we may as well get started on it now. That invited His glory to shine and allows His presence to be manifest.  It allows us to become more sensitive to His presence and voice. If you want to hear from God, read His word, praise Him, and listen. He will speak .
Romans 10:17  So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Our faith will grow by hearing the Word of God.  This is awesome.  Get ready for praising, get ready for acts of faith that demonstrate the power and majesty of God. Jesus said in John 14:12 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 

That is happening when we get in tune with Him and allow the Holy Ghost to move and operate. When we understand our true purpose as His holy, called, special possession, chosen to do good works and declare His praises.  Wow! I am excited to see what God is going to do.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

he speaks peace

One of my favorite paintings that I have ever come across is called "Peace Be Still" by a painter named Chris Hopkins.  I remember the first time I saw it.  I was in a christian book store looking for something and when I walked around a shelf, I looked up at this painting and absolutely stopped in my tracks.  I stood there for several minutes before going to find my husband to show him the painting.  I stood there and stared at the face of Jesus, then at the faces of the other people in the boat.  This painting depicted the story of Jesus calming the storm, but instead of the 12 disciples in the boat, there were people from maybe today.  Some women and men, who looked terrified, fearful, and hanging on for dear life. Then there was Jesus standing tall in the very front of the boat with his hand raised, a calm, yet authoritative look, that seemed filled with compassion as the wind was blowing his white robe.  The storm was obviously strong as the boat was being lifted up on a high wave and the sail looked tattered. Each face was turned toward the sea in front of Jesus as if wondering what would happen.  I stood completely and utterly enveloped by the emotion this painting captured. I wanted to buy this painting, but at the time I was but a poor graduate student and newly married.  We were broke and barely able to pay bills.  It cost way too much, but I have never forgotten this painting.  I think it is because it spoke directly to me heart.

Jesus calms our storms.

In Mark chapter 4 we can read the story about the disciples and Jesus getting caught in a storm. Jesus was sound asleep and wasn't worried at all. The disciples woke him up as they trembled with fear from the severity of the storm.  Jesus spoke to the storm, it calmed and then he questioned them as to why they were fearful and lacking in faith.  You see, Jesus was in the boat with them.  If they had understood exactly who he was at the time, they would not have had to fear.  There was nothing going to be able to hurt or take Jesus' life until he was ready to lay it down on the cross.  That storm may have come up and become quite menacing, but they were perfectly safe in the presence of Jesus. They were fearful and afraid and Jesus spoke to calm the storm. The bible says there was a great calm.

Mark 4:39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

Jesus speaks to our storms when we come to him and trust him even in the most menacing of circumstances.  I can count many times when storms have risen in my life and when I cried out to Jesus, he spoke to the storm.  He brought peace either to the circumstances or to my heart. I could be at peace even when the storm raged.  The word peace is actually mentioned 397 times in the New King James Version.  It is used often to speak of peace offerings, making peace, living peaceably and when God gives peace.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Peace comes from God in times when we should not have peace. Peace is a gift and a sense of knowing that God is with you and taking care of you even when it seems overwhelming.  I remember when my son was born.  I remember feeling completely overwhelmed as his birth turned into a traumatic moment.  His heart rate kept dropping, the midwife became very concerned and after several attempts, pulled him from the womb.  He was limp and blue, and we quickly realized he had a cleft lip. As fear gripped our hearts, the NICU team grabbed his little body to work on bringing life to my little boy.  My mom, husband and I breathed prayers as tears flowed.  Soon we heard the little cries from our little boy.  They told us they were taking him the NICU and would test his cord blood to determine how much oxygen he had been getting. They were concerned that he had been oxygen deprived and may possibly have brain damage.  My soul cried to God. I remember asking God to let my little boy be ok and heal him.  After taking care of me for a couple of hours, they finally put me in a wheelchair and I got to go see my little baby boy.  The doctor that was in charge of him said his oxygen came back just fine and he was perfectly healthy.  We would need to meet with the cleft palate team and figure out feeding issues.  He would be facing surgeries, but he was fine.  God was with us.  He heard our prayers and we knew God had answered.

There have been many prayers over my little boy.  As I had to calm him before a surgery and after, as we heard bad news about the success of a surgery, as we found out he had a cholesteotoma growing in his ear, God has been faithful.  Each time, I have cried to God for peace and help through the storm, He has answered.

Today, my little boy is trusting God for himself. He has determined that God is going to heal his soft palate. He has told the surgeon that he is waiting for God to heal and he will not do the invasive surgery again.  God is moving and there is a healing in the process.
Having a deficient soft palate does not allow the palate to close properly during speech and even during eating. My little boy has had some difficulty with saying certain sounds and with food sometimes leaking into his nose.  One thing he has always wanted to do, but couldn't, was whistle. He could not get the palate to close and get the air to flow for him to whistle.  He was prayed for one Sunday in June by our church and he continues to pray every night for God's healing. He thanks God every night for his healing. After that prayer at church, the next day, he realized he could get out a little whistle.  It was airy and rough, but it was a whistle. He was so excited.  Then in July, he went up for prayer again.  As we were driving in the car after service, we heard a loud clear whistle coming from the back seat. We thought it was our daughter.  My son said, "I whistled!"  We had to turn around and watch him whistle in amazement!!! He could whistle so clear and loud. He began laughing and smiling.  We can't get enough. He walks around and every so often, he just has to let out a whistle.  While that may seem small and trivial, it is a promise of healing to my little boy.  He has asked and determined that God will heal him in the midst of a great storm in his life.  He is asking for the impossible and believing that with God all things are possible.  He has a peace from God that reigns in his heart.  I have found that as I pray for him, I am finding that same peace.  I realize that Jesus has spoken peace to the storm and to our hearts.  The doctor may think we are crazy and many other people may think so too, but peace spoken by Jesus says, "Trust in me to heal."

I have felt peace in many times that fear should have been there.  Jesus speaks peace.  When we face storms in life, we can pray and talk to the Peace-speaker.  We can trust Him to say, "Peace, be still!" and know that peace will be there even when it seems impossible. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

train them up

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6
I was thinking about this verse this morning as I was thinking back over this week.  I have two children and I do desperately hope and pray that I am training them well. I make sure they are in church, youth groups, go to church camps, they have bibles, we pray with them and speak about trusting God with them.  We have tried to live by example in front of them.  I have tried to do what my parents did.  You see, I was raised to love Jesus and know Jesus as my Savior.  I want to do the same for my children.  I want them to know Jesus for themselves.  But, I know there are no guarantees. I pray for them everyday.  As a parent, I am concerned for their future, not just in this life, but for eternity.

Yesterday, during the Sunday lesson, the teacher mentioned the little girl who spoke to Naaman about Elisha in 2 Kings chapter 5:2-3
And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” 

This little girl was pivotal in the healing of Naaman.  She told of the prophet back in Israel who could bring about the healing for Naaman.  This little girl was a captive in Syria, taken from her home in Israel.  Here she is serving Naaman's wife and  family.  She has every right to be angry and bitter. She could have even held back the information about Elisha and God's healing power.  But, she didn't.  She must have been taught to love her enemies. She must have been taught to trust God even in the worst of circumstances. She must have been taught that God can heal. She must have seen or heard Elisha teach and prophecy. She must have had parents that had done their best to train her up in the way she should go.  

I cannot imagine being her parents.  Here they have this beautiful little girl.  They love her as any parent would. They watch her take her first steps and do all those great things babies do.  They would tuck her in at night. They may have told her all the wonderful stories of their ancestors from the Torah. They may have told her how God delivered them from slavery in Egypt. They may have told her about King David and the mighty victories he won. They may have taken her to the temple. They may have taught her to pray and trust God.  Then, the enemy from Syria swept through and began defeating them. The King of Israel was killed. The enemy soldiers swept through. Her father may have died in battle. We know for sure that this little girl was taken to be a servant in Syria and ended up in Naaman's house. He may have been the one who took her.  Was her mother taken as well or did this little girl have to see her mother killed as she tried to hang on to her little girl or other children? If her mother was left alive, did she worry over her missing daughter? Did she fear for her safety and imagine all the horrible things she was going through? There was not going to be a rescue.  This mother had to trust that God would take care of her child. She had to hope she had taught her enough about God that her daughter would trust in God. She did not know what would become of her, but she knew God could be with her.  She taught her child that God would be there. 

These parents had instilled in their daughter enough for her to know that God could heal. She was able to move forward and love her masters enough to care about Naaman's health and share about a way he could be healed. She became a witness in a strange land of God Almighty and what He could do. Even when she could have hated them and gave up, she became a light of God. She became instrumental in the healing power of God. She became the missionary. I do not know what happened when Naaman came home and was healed. We know Naaman went home with his servants rejoicing and made perfectly clean. I am sure his family rejoiced to see him healed. I can only imagine that just maybe his family became believers in the God of Israel. They may have put aside the idol worship.  Maybe this little girl lead them and taught them more of who the true God is. She was placed in a situation through horrible circumstances that allowed her to be a light of God.  

I wonder if her parents ever told her that God would use her someday.  I wonder of they ever told her to trust God no matter what happened. I wonder if they told her that God would be glorified even when things didn't go the way we plan. This little girl remembered what she was taught about God and she was used for His glory. Isn't that what every Christian parent wants for their children?  I know I do. My husband and I do not know what will happen with our children. But, we can trust God with them. We can trust that He will keep them and be with them even when we cannot. We can teach them all we can now and point them in the way they should go.  We can trust God to speak to their hearts when it really matters and help them remember who He is when they need Him. We can pray for them and place them in God's hands. We dedicated them to God after they were born.  Yes, they may make different choices than we made. But, I know God is my Savior. I know my children have experienced God for themselves. They have both made that important decision to repent and be baptized. They have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. They have witnessed God's healing power and God answering prayers. I can trust they will not forget and God will remind them as they grow up and leave home. If they are not with me, I pray they remember the lessons and remember to trust in God. When they are old, they will not depart from Him and someday, we will all be able to worship God Almighty for eternity.  Isn't that really the ultimate goal?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

where is your security found

Have you ever seen the TV show about people who hoard? They keep EVERYTHING!  It is hard to imagine someone keeping everything including trash to the degree that some of these people shown do.  It is seen as a mental disorder. One of the biggest things they talk about it a feeling of security. Usually on the show there is a psychologist there to help address the underlying psychological issue. It seems so sad and shocking to see the turmoil and fear it gives the person to let go of even the smallest piece of what we would consider trash. This may all seem to be an extreme, but how many of us hang on to things?  I can tell you I have a couple (maybe a few) things I really don't need. I guess in some ways there is a feeling of security that comes from having "stuff."
Growing up, my mom ALWAYS wanted to make sure she had a full cupboard of food. She stockpiled canned goods. She hated to think of running out of food.  This turned out to be a good thing when my dad, along with an entire steel mill of people were laid off for about 6 months.  There were very few jobs available and we may not have had much, but we had food. Her stockpile dwindled down to near nothing but we did not go hungry.  She never let it get low again.  When she passed, we all laughed as we were cleaning and found about 20 bottles of flavored extracts, most of which were mint flavored.  She had enough cans of beans to feed an army.  I think this stockpile created a sense of security for my mom.  She felt that as long as there was food in the house, she could provide for her family and those that were hungry.

Security is  something we all seek. We want to feel safe and secure. We like to believe we have resources and the ability to provide for our family.  That in itself is a good thing.  There are times when our security is threatened and this creates great insecurity, turmoil and uneasiness. How many times have I worried about paying a bill or affording something that was necessary? How many times have I tried to figure out how to save up money for something only to have another debt arise?  How many times have I heard others discuss financial struggles and woes?  Insecurity also comes from other areas as well.  Insecurities come from relationships or lack thereof. Insecurities come from inner self-image issues. Insecurities come from beliefs about who you are and what might think or say about you. We all seek security in many areas of our lives.

It really hit me this morning, that we try so hard to find security when God can provide it all along. I always know and believe that God provides and I pray for needs and situations, but how often I allow myself to worry.  Worry boils down to feeling insecure.  It actually reveals that I may not fully trust in the fact that God provides.  He is called Jehovah-Jireh.  Jehovah Jireh translates as YHWH will provide. He is my provider. In Genesis chapter 22, we read where Abraham was told by God to sacrifice his promised son, Isaac.  He willingly obeyed, yet the whole time reassured Isaac that God will provide. He kept saying God will provide the sacrifice.  In the end, his faith proved well what God can do. The ram was provided and Isaac was not sacrificed. In Genesis 22:14 it says, "And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”"  God tested his faith. God provided for the need.

We also can read of the widow who came to Elisha in 2 Kings chapter 4. She had a great need. She knew Elisha was a man of God. She wanted to God to move for her need. She owed a great debt and feared for her sons being taken and sold to pay the debt. Elisha gave her a plan. Collect many pots and use what she had, a small cruse of oil, and start pouring into the many pots. God miraculously caused the oil to flow until she ran out of pots to fill. She was able to sell the oil, pay the debt and had money left over.  What an amazing miracle of God's provision.  She found security when she turned to God for an answer. Her situation was hopeless and caused great insecurity, but she believed and trusted that God knew what to do.

We cannot find true security without trusting in God.  I found a big reminder of that this week.  I was concerned about our finances this week. We had some things in mind that are going to take money we don't have to do. They are important things, and really need to be done. Of course, there is no extra money for these things and I had no idea how we would have the money or resources needed. I prayed and talked to God for a couple of days about the situation and I heard Him remind me that He is Jehovah-Jireh, my provider. I heard him tell me that He already had to answer of the way.  I figured I better diligently check the mail.  That was not where the answer came from.  The next day, the money was provided in completely different way than I could ever imagine and is what we need to take care of the issues at hand.  My God provides in mighty ways. I look back at the day when God spoke and gave me peace about it.  He did tell me that it was on the way.  He did tell me not to worry.  He did answer in a great an mighty way.  God knows our needs and takes care of His children.

Jesus spoke on this very issue in Matthew chapter 6:25-34
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

We have a great big God who loves us and is always ready to provide. Why do we worry? Why do try to stockpile and become fearful of the 'what-ifs?'  God does not leave his children and he does not ignore their needs.  David said in Psalms 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.

We have no reason to allow worry into our hearts when we know God. It actually says we have little faith when we worry.  Faith and trust in God should be our attitude and worry should never have a place in our hearts and minds.  God is asking us to step out in faith and trust Him to provide all of our needs. Not just a few here and there, but ALL of our needs. He takes care of His children. I need to really trust that and know that God is already meeting my needs.  He never fails and He never ignores. He never lets me down.  I thank you, God, for your provision. Thank you, God, for your reminder that You are a Good Father who provides for his children. Thank you, God, for all you have provided and will provide. Rather than seeking security in things, we need to find that God is our security. He is the One who holds us, carries us, and provides for us.  Our security should be found in Him and in Him alone.  There is no reason to fear or worry when we know the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. There is no reason to fear, but every reason to feel secure and safe.  He is Jehovah-Jireh.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

what does God expect....

This week has been one full of horrific events. The news is full of terrible incidents of murder, shootings, and horrific criminal acts.  Many people are debating who is at fault and who or what is to blame. It is racism, is it authority figures, is it lack of respect?  The list goes on and on.  On Facebook, there is post after post of who hates who.  There are reports of rallies and protests in many cities.  Acts of violence, hatred and fear are obviously making sure we are divided and looking over our shoulders. What are we to do in times like this?  Darkness and evil acts are charging forth into our world. Where is the light? As a christian, I turn to the Word of God and find out He had a lot to say about this.

First and foremost, I read Ephesians chapter 4.  It is entirely about how we are to live and relate to others. There is a call for unity, for us to apply spiritual gifts and be a new man in Christ. It also speaks of not grieving the Holy Spirit. This is the part of scripture I will use here.

Ephesians 4:30-32
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

That last verse says it all. It tells us us to not hold grudges or be separated, but instead, we are to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving.  The key, however, is in the statement, "even as God in Christ forgave you."  Here is where we find a condition.  We first need to understand that we are forgiven by Jesus.  He came to seek and to save the lost. He makes a way of escape for all who sin.  He does not want us to be bound by sin and given over to our sinful nature. When we accept Jesus and repent of our sins, we are forgiven of our sins. We are supposed to turn around and apply this forgiveness to others. 
This shows that we are different and changed by Jesus Christ who is in us.  When we are hateful, grudging, spewing forth evil sayings and causing division, we are not acting in accordance to God's will.  Galatians 5:19 tells us these acts are works of the flesh.  We, as Christians, are to bear the fruit of the Spirit, not works of the flesh. We are to be kind, forgiving and tenderhearted toward one another. All others, not just those we look like, act like, or even just those we like.

Galatians 5: 22-26
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

As we can see here,if we were all bearing the fruit of the Spirit, it would have a completely different affect than works of the flesh.  So I can say that this week, much of what we are seeing is works of the flesh.  It is evident that Christ would be ashamed of such things as we have witnessed this week.  I believe God is grieved by such horrific acts that go completely against His will. The works of the flesh have been evident and displayed in full form. The fruit of the Spirit of God needs to be developed and brought forth.

Now, I know some will say that I am holding non-Christian people to Christian standards here and I shouldn't expect that of people. But here is the way I see it. I am going to do so because God's standards are the ultimate law by which everyone will be judged at some point.  We will all face God's judgement whether we believe it or not. We are all held to His standard. Unfortunately, many do not realize this fact or even believe it. Many people have turned their backs of God and on His law. Many have denied He exists and even mock those that do believe.  Those that do say they believe have often not really spent time in the Word of God to understand God's law and His standards. They do not understand that their life should reflect the changing power of the blood of Jesus Christ. That the fruit of the flesh should be replaced by the fruit of the Spirit.  We have backed down and stepped aside out of fear of offending and out of lack of understanding who God is.  We have a lack of faith to take a stand.  I feel ashamed to say that there have been many times I have not spoken up or stood up based on the Word of God when I knew I should have. God forgive me. On top of that, most of our laws and morality are based upon the standards of God whether we recognize that fact or not. That is a whole other discussion.

I am going to speak directly to those of us who call ourselves Christians. Are we living the Word of God and meeting His expectations? God is expecting His church to be His light, His hands and feet, His voice to this world. God is expecting His people to shine in the darkness that so permeates this world. To be the light, we must first be in the light. Moses went up on the mountain into the very presence of God and when he returned, the people of Israel made him wear a veil because His face literally shone with the glory of God. There was evidence of Moses spending time with God.  That makes me ask: Is there evidence in my life that I have spent time with God? Does His glory shine through me and from me because I have been spending time with my Savior?  What about you?  Are you spending time in the presence of God so that His glory is shining forth from you?

The church, God's people, have a responsibility to be the light of the world. To be a light, we must be showing evidence of spending time with God.  We must be in His Word, spending time in prayer and fasting, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. We must be about our Father's business. 
This enemy, Satan is pushing and making great strides as he has caused great division and hatred to reign this week.  He laughs with derision and glee at the violence and hateful speech that is spewing forth out of the mouths of even those who call themselves Christians. We need to put aside those things of the flesh that are taking us deeper into darkness and get in the light of God.
 We need to drop to our knees and call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to change us and make a change in this world. Prayer and time with God is the only way we are ever going to defeat hatred and fear that is rearing its ugly head.

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 

Are we ready to really fight hatred? Are we ready to really fight violence? Are we ready to really fight evil?  The only answer is to live as Jesus Christ has called us to live. We need to be that light that pierces through the darkness. Only then, can true love, forgiveness and kindness permeate into society.  Only then, can the words of Jesus take full effect and be evident. Only then, will people find out that God is love and His people live it and represent God's love.  Only then, can we truly do what Jesus commanded. Only then, can this dark world experience true hope and true light.

 Matthew 22:36-40
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Are we ready to really be the light that shines in the darkness?

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Here in these verses in the Word of God, we have the answer for the evil in this world. Here in the Word of God is the Will of God for people to love Him and love one another.  Isn't it time for His people to become this answer for the world and shine the light? It is time to apply the Word of God and live it out in this world. Let's work on that individually and corporately. I believe and I know obeying God's word will make all the difference if we really do it. I guess I can come to the conclusion that God expects His people to be the light of the world that shines brightly. He expects His people to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving one another. Lord help us all to meet Your expectations.