Archive | January 2013

It’s time to start digging!

John 1:1 NIV 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:1 NIV 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

I love the word of God. This year as I make my annual trek through Genesis to the Book of Revelation, I am seeing so many beautiful gems that I have overlooked in the past! God’s word is exciting, it’s jarring, life changing and what I love the most about it is how it reveals God’s heart towards His people.

Being a parent that raised  5 children, I can’t help but see the  Father heart of God in the Old Testament as He watches His children using their free will to often ignore  the prophets of old and waddle through stages of  idolatry, spiritual laziness and blatant rejection of Him and His laws. It makes my heart hurt to read how He always provided a way for repentance and return and yet His kids chose and often continue to choose rebellion and suffer the consequences,  just as we have all done at some point in our lives.

 Exodus 34:5-7 NIV 5 Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD , the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 “keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

From Genesis to Malachi, God unceasingly calls His children back to Him, offering restoration and peace. Though there has always been and will always be a remnant that remain close to God, the masses would rebel believing life with their idols and philosophies would somehow offer them real peace.

Without reading the Old Testament through we would miss just how the birth of Christ in the New Testament beautifully fulfills the prophecies of  old. How God prepared the perfect plan of redemption for man, not only for the Jew but the Gentile also.  It was a simple plan of redemption where the ultimate perfect “lamb” would be sacrificed once and for all, thereby allowing every man woman and child an opportunity for salvation by believing on Him and following Him. His Son provided and continues to provide the only way to the Father.

  Acts 4:10-12 NIV Then know this, you and all the people of Israel: it is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone. 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven, given to mankind by which we must be saved.

As we read through the book of Mark to the book of Revelation we learn even more of the heart of God as we get to know His Son. As we soak ourselves in the treasures of His words and life, we ourselves are changed.

 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

If you are not spending time reading your Bible, your life will reflect it. It is a supernatural book offering life changing results. It’s critical that we spend time every day hearing from the lover of our soul, lining ourselves up with His awesome plan for our life! What you start as an act of discipline will soon become a treasure hunt as you delve into His words of life.

 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker that does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Are you hoarding the gospel?

The Good News is to be shared.

The Good News is to be shared.

I am amazed at how awesome our God is….Amid struggles of any kind, ailments and diagnoses HE offers peace. Peace that is impossible for anyone who doesn’t know Him and spend time with Him to understand. I know many people right now that are being soaked in prayer and our waiting on God. Resting in various circumstances without wringing their hands or complaining. Just resting, knowing that the lover of their soul has it all under control. Knowing that He will not allow anything to touch our lives that we cannot handle with Him.

I would like everyone to have the same peace. To have the same help in times of trouble. To have an ever present friend who will never leave them or forsake them.

When we see a hurting world of people trying to duke it out on their own it makes us long to share the love of Christ with them.  If we have His love shed abroad in our hearts we can’t help but want to when we know how much sweeter life is with Him, despite our circumstances.

Most of us enjoy sharing some  of the beautiful things in our lives with our friends, coworkers and acquaintances. When our child marries, when we become grandparents, a new house etc.. Though none of these things have the ability to make a huge difference in the life of the one we are sharing with, we all have the need to share. We are created to have fellowship with others. What is more beautiful than the love of Christ in our lives?

Maybe it’s time we stop hoarding the gospel and start sharing the gift that keeps on giving? It’s hard to watch people struggling through life and not want to help. We need to do what we can for others in need and then share Christ. The gospel isn’t for a select few but God desires that ALL would come to Him.  Just as the Chinese proverb says, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for today, teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” We need to tell others of God’s love for them and let them know that they can go right to the source. They have direct access to the Father through Christ.  They don’t need to spend their entire life counting on and being disappointed by others.

We serve a God that loves us so much He sent His precious Son to die for us. A God that will never leave us or forsake us. A God that is our strong tower in times of trouble. Our healer, deliverer and most of all a constant friend. How can we keep Him to ourselves?

2Peter3:9 NIV The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Mark 16:15 NIV He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel, to all creation.”

1 Corinthians 1:17 NIV For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel-not with wisdom and eloquence lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

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“Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry? Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die? Could a fireman sit idle, let men burn and give no hand? Can you sit at ease in Zion with the world around you damned?”~Leonard Ravenhill

Are you a diamond in the rough?

Recently I read an article about the natural process of creating diamonds which prompted me to do a little research about them. According to wikipedia our word diamond was originally derived from the  ancient greek word  adámas, meaning unalterable or unbreakable.  

The following description is taken from “How Do Diamonds Form?” at http://www.whiteflash.com/about-diamonds/diamond-education/diamonds-how-do-they-form.htmn

 “If you look at the chemistry of diamond, it is pure carbon. The different arrangement of the carbon atoms makes it a unique gem. Diamonds have been considered precious since ancient times and is popular for their strength, hardness and purity. But only in the hands of a master diamond cutter does a diamond’s sheer beauty become apparent. 

Diamonds were formed in the earth thousands of years ago under extreme heat and pressure. This extreme heat and pressure in the earth transformed the carbon into crystals and turned it colorless. Although diamonds formed deep in the earth, volcanic activity is what brought them to the surface. Hence, these volcanic pipes have diamonds in them. Over time, as some other minerals mix with carbon the diamond may takes on color.  Most diamonds have some hint of yellow or brown in them.  Others that did not mix with minerals are colorless.  Some diamonds undergo dramatic changes to vivid or unique colors.  These are very rare and valued more than normal diamonds.”

Isn’t it amazing how something so beautiful can come out of carbon put under extreme heat and pressure.  Sound familiar?

Our walk with Christ will be spotted with times of extreme heat and pressure.  1 Peter 4:12,13 NIV 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.

It is  through the times of heat and pressure that we grow the most. We learn to lean on God in ways that are not possible at any other time. These difficult times and circumstances  often cause  us to get to the end of our own efforts and finally truly look to our Creator for answers He has longed to give us.

If you are going through a time of extreme heat and pressure right now, look to Christ for your answer. Lay your burden down at His feet and allow Him to change you and possibly your circumstances. Don’t despise the trials that come your way. Instead, yield them to the lover of your soul. Your faith will grow as you see His hand move in your life in ways only He can do. As your faith grows, so will your character. You will become stronger in faith, harder in your determination to serve Him and purer in your thought life as you yield yourself to Him and His will for your life.  Allow the master diamond cutter to make you into a thing of beauty, reflecting His image.

Romans 12:1-2 NIV 12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.

1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Deeper Love brings greater change

For many years I  believed that the solution to battling my sinful nature  was to try and rid myself of it by doing works that would go against my natural feelings or tendencies. I would do the things I didn’t want to do, knowing that they were more in line with God’s word. This type of striving proves pretty futile pretty fast! 🙂

Striving will never stop our sinful nature from rearing it’s ugly head. We will just begin to work harder and faster as more and more things pop up and we will exhaust ourselves and quite frankly become fed up with our walk of faith. Sadly many in the body of Christ are doing exactly as I did. Still trying in some way to be deserving of what Christ did for us on the cross.  It’s impossible! Jesus paid the price for our sins because He loves us. The Father sent Him because He loves us. the Spirit of God leads and guides us because He loves us. We will never be able to earn our salvation. IT IS A GIFT!!!

Ephesians 2:8,9 NIV For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-this is not from yourself -it is a gift of God, not by works so no one can boast.

So how then do we put to death this nature of ours that so often shows itself in the most unflattering ways. We need to realize that we will never be able to do this on our own. It is only by surrendering our will and heart to the lover of our soul. We need to learn who He is by reading His word. We need to spend time in fellowship and prayer with Him so we become intimate with Him.  As we learn of His true nature and His unfailing, fathomless love for us we will begin to fall in love with the only One that will love us at all times despite where we came from or what we have done! Through seeking Him daily and spending time with Him we allow Him the opportunity to bring about the heart changes we need through the sweet working of the Holy Spirit. As our love for Him grows, we no longer desire to hold onto the things that previously bound us. In some cases there will be need for prayer from the body of Christ for the breaking of strongholds if we are unable to get past a particular sin. If and when this is needed, we need to reach out sooner rather than later for prayer as it will keep us from living out the purposes God has for our life. Most of us at some time have needed outside prayer for strength in our walk and there is an awesome power that comes from united prayer! However, if we are spending time in His word and in prayer daily we will not   need to be continually  running to this person and that person looking for our answers.  As we spend time with Him, He will begin to show us areas of our life that we need to change and the Holy Spirit will empower us to bring about those changes as we yield to His promptings.

If you want to have that intimacy with Christ you MUST spend time in His word and with Him in prayer. As with any relationship, love will only grow if you spend time with each other. He longs to spend time with you. He truly is the lover of your soul. Regardless of your background, life experience, depths of sin you have found yourself in, He longs to have a relationship with you.

John 15:9-17 NIV “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.  When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!  This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.  You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.

In 2013, set your desire to spend more time with the lover of your soul. Fall deeper in love with Him and let Him bring about those changes you have been striving to accomplish without success.

Faith like a child

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Matthew 18:4

  While enjoying my morning coffee, I was thinking  of a day I spent with my awesome granddaughters this past summer.   We set out early and spent all day  together having a blast. We went to the Peterborough zoo.  We started out by checking out the animals, one by one and ended the day at the water park. The girls loved it. Though the zoo is small and relatively simple, it was fun.

 What came to mind was an incident that took place in front of the deer cage. The girls ran from one cage to another and raced on just ahead of me to see the deer. Suddenly they stopped and pushed their faces up to the fence.  I could see them chatting about something when I finally caught up.

They both turned to me and said, “Grandma we need to pray, we need to pray!” I wasn’t sure what had just happened in the matter of seconds so I asked them what we needed to pray about. They quickly pointed to a deer, favoring one leg and limping about in the cage. “Ohhhh I see,” I responded.  I told them we could pray later but they insisted we stop and pray right there on the sidewalk in front of the cage. Here they were at 4 and 7 years of age and it was their first response!

So we prayed. Right there with people walking past us. I was so proud of the two of them. They saw something hurting and wanted to do the only thing we could do, pray! They didn’t postpone what could be done right then and there. Simple but beautiful!

Lord let me keep life simple and bring everything to you sooner rather than later!  Let me trust in you as little ones do!

Matthew 18:4 NKJV Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 11:25,26 NKJV At that time Jesus said, “I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children. yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

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Be RELENTLESS in prayer

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Ephesians 6:18 NIV 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 

A few months back I was in prayer and I believe the Lord gave me a word. The word was that I was to be RELENTLESS in prayer.

So what exactly does that mean?  I looked up the word in the Oxford Dictionary and here is the definition..

Relentless:
never stopping or weakening, harsh or inflexible.

Keeping this in mind, during one of our evening Church services, I was asked to pray for a gentleman in our church that had been suffering with bursitis. I did as asked and remember saying , “Lord, we don’t ask this because we deserve it but simply because of the price Jesus paid we are able to come before your throne and ask and you will hear our prayers.”  The gentleman had been in pain for a long time and been unable to lift his arm due to the pain and therefore it was really limiting his physical abilities. At the time we prayed I believe God heard our prayer but we didn’t see any instant miracle. The next day when I was driving to work the Lord reminded me that I was to continue to pray for this man. I was not to relent until I no longer had the burden of prayer for him. So I did. I held him up in prayer during my morning prayer time for about a week and a half and then the burden was gone.  I no longer thought about it or prayed about it but believed I had done what I was to do,and left the rest to Christ.

A few months later I was leaving the Church and this gentleman approached me and took me aside. He mentioned he wanted to talk to me about something. He asked if I remembered that I had prayed for him for his bursitis problem?  I let him know that I did. He had no way of knowing that the Lord had told me to continue to hold him in prayer until the tug of prayer for him was gone. He then told me that that Sunday he went home and didn’t feel any different, the pain was still there.  Then he said about a week later he noticed that when he went to do something physical he had not been able to do prior, because of the pain and reduced mobility, the pain was completely gone! He began to move his arm all over and realized the bursitis was gone! Needless to say he was thankful to God and relieved!

I learned a valuable lesson that day. Christ could have healed him instantly but He didn’t. He had given me the word that I was to continue in prayer until the prayer tug was gone. I did and it would seem that the bursitis was healed around the same time I no longer felt the tug. I don’t know why this gentleman wasn’t healed instantly but I do know that I obeyed the Spirit’s leading and continued to pray until I was released of that prayer. Perhaps the lesson was something both myself and my brother in Christ were both to learn. We are to be RELENTLESS when it comes to praying a matter through until we no longer have the burden to pray.

I have since wondered how many prayers are not answered simply because we get lazy and don’t press through?  If you are praying for a job, lost loved ones, a difficult marriage etc. go to God and ask for His Spirit to guide you as to how to pray and then do so relentlessly. If you offer or are asked to pray for someone else and you agree to do so then do it!  Don’t neglect to fulfill the responsibility because you don’t receive an instant answer, persevere. George Muller had  it right when he said, “It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray; but we must patiently, believingly, continue in  prayer until we obtain an answer.”

I am not suggesting you pray RELENTLESSLY for things that don’t line up with the word of God. Regardless of how often and how much you pray, if it goes against the nature of God or His word, being relentless in prayer will not get you your answer. James 4:3 NIV  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.  Be sure that what you are asking for is in line with God’s word and His nature and then be bold.  The word of God says in James 5:15 NIV And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned they will be forgiven.  We were able to boldly ask God to heal our brother because His word says so.  Be sure what you are praying for is not something against God’s laws or against another.

When you bring your needs, or the needs of others before God make sure what you are asking for lines up with the word of God and if it does pray it through. As followers of Christ, our walk is not one of instant gratification. There are times the Lord requires us to persevere. While you wait on your answer don’t grumble and complain but remain steadfast and thank Him for what He is doing and what He is going to do. Make 2013 your year to be RELENTLESS in prayer and then thank Him for the answers as they come!

Hebrews 6:11-15 NIV 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. 13 When God made His promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for Him to swear by, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, ” I will surely bless you and give you many descendants”. 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

Romans 12:12 NIV 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer

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Peace is NOT dependent on our circumstances

523671_314457205336545_557872178_nI am so thankful today! Once again, God has kindly given us the desire of our hearts and my hubby has received a clean bill of health six weeks post prostate cancer surgery. I am thankful for the clean PSA reading today but for much more than that. I am thankful for the incredible peace God gave us both during this entire challenge.  From the time we received his diagnosis until today we have had an unnatural peace. Not the kind that comes from knowing we WILL get exactly what we have been praying for (which was full recovery) but the kind that comes from knowing the ONE who will provide the answer. God has kindly restored my hubby’s health. We are very thankful and happy that He has.  However, should He have allowed the cancer journey to go on further I believe we would still walk through the journey in peace. We are learning to believe His promises and trust the lover of our souls. There is nothing that touches our lives that we can’t trust Him with. This  journey has allowed us to lean not on our own understanding but to trust Christ with every aspect of the journey. As we turned to Him and sought His guidance He provided us with a wonderful surgeon/oncologist recommended by dear friends.  He has provided financially during the last six weeks so as we have not had to miss paying a single bill.  He has provided Mike with a quick recovery and physical strength. He has given us a new compassion for people diagnosed with a life threatening illness. He has put wonderful people in our lives that have and are continuing to deal with a cancer diagnosis and we are blessed to be able to pray with and pray for.

Though it would have  been nice to have my hubby home for six weeks under different circumstances, we are thankful that during  the last six weeks  we have been able to spend more time together than we have in years! The word of God says the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Difficult circumstances will come our way from time to time but I am so grateful that NOTHING is too big to surrender to Christ. He is available to us 24/7.  He not only meets our needs but provides for us in so many ways far beyond what we could imagine.

If you are going through difficulties give Christ the opportunity to give you a peace that passes all natural understanding as you wait on your answer. Give Him the chance to provide for your needs. As a follower of Christ walking in His will, these are promises for YOU. He is no respecter of persons. What He will do for us, He will do for you! Read the Bible and learn of His promises to His kids.  Lay your fears, worries and anxieties at His feet and ask Him to give you the peace that passes understanding. Ask Him for the wisdom you will need in decision making as you go through your difficulties and finally take Him at His word.

John 14:27 NIV Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.

Psalm 9:9 NIV The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Philippians 4:6,7 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God 7 And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Knowing the One who holds our future and how very much He adores us, gives us the confidence to trust that He is working out His plan for our life, regardless of what comes our way. Therefore there is NO reason to fear whatever that may be but instead we can bring all our needs to Him in prayer and rest in the peace He give us .

P.S.  If you don’t know Christ, the author of true peace,  perhaps it’s time you meet the one who died for you. He died for your sins and mine and through His death and resurrection He offers us a restored relationship with God the Father.  By calling on His name and confessing our sins, we are able to enter into a wonderful life changing relationship with Him. There is no sin too big that God cannot forgive you of when you come to Christ. He longs to have an intimate relationship with you. He wants to be the ONE you turn to in times of need. Through salvation in Christ, not only are we promised an eternity in Heaven but we are promised fellowship with Him as we walk through this journey here on earth.

John 3:16 NIV For God so loved this world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but  have everlasting life. 

May 2013 bring you into a closer walk with Christ,  the lover of your soul!

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