Tag Archive | God

So Just Who is Jesus Christ?

 

Whenever we feel the least bit uncertain that He is able to be all we need Him to be regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in, we may just want to review just a sample of who He is!

John 14:6 NIV Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”

Advocate with the Father

Alpha and Omega

Ancient of Days

Anointed One of God

Author of Life

Beginning and the End

Beloved

Beloved Son of God

Bread of Life

Bridegroom

Bright and Morning Star

Carpenter

Cornerstone

Christ

Counselor

Creator of everything

Deliverer

Emmanuel

Eternal

Eternal judge

Everlasting Father

Faithful One

First and Last

Firstborn

God

God’s Anointed

God’s Only Son

Good shepherd

God with us

Great I AM

Healer

Holy

Help in times of trouble

Holy Messiah

Holy ONE of Israel

Intercessor on our behalf

Jehovah

Jesus Christ

Jesus of Nazareth

Judge

Just and true

King of Israel

King of Kings

King of the Jews

Lamb of God

Light of the world

Lion of Judah

Lover of our soul

Living bread

Living water

Lord of all

Lord of glory

Maker

Master

Mediator

Messiah

Mighty God

Miracle maker

Most High God

Nazarene

Omnipotent

Only begotten of the Father

Our Passover lamb

Physician

Power of God

Prince of Peace

Prophet

Propitiation for our sins

Rabbi

Redeemer

Resurrection and Life

Righteous One

Revealer

Rock

Root of Jesse

Sacrifice

Savior of the world

Seed of David

Servant of the Lord

Shepherd

Son of David

Son of God

Son of man

Son of the most high God

Teacher

The Way

True Vine

Truth and Life

Unchanging

Wonderful

Word of God

Word of Life

Worthy of all praise

He alone can draw us, redeem us, change us and enable us to serve!  He is our beautiful Jesus! Put your trust in Him for He is more than enough!

 

 

 

Busyness without abiding = wheel spinning

There are times when we feel like our lives are stagnating. Though we may be incredibly busy, we just don’t see ourselves moving forward in any particular direction. This is often a time of personal spiritual reflection. A time for us to seek the face of God for direction. My prayer is that during this time we will not jump into more “spiritual” activity. Instead, use the time to get deeper into the Word of God and spend more time talking to the lover of our soul.  Though busyness can make us appear very spiritual, if we are not doing what God has called us to do in the right spirit, we are just spinning our wheels.  He longs for us to abide in Him, leaning on Him for His strength and guidance as we do His will.

If  you find yourself feeling rather useless right now, begin to seek His face. Talk to Him, read His Word and ask for direction at the beginning of each day. He doesn’t want us doing “His deeds” without Him. He wants relationship. He wants our attention. He wants our love and devotion. It is through abiding in Him and His Word that we are to live out our lives. We are not to do what we deem our spiritual duty, checking in with Him once in a while for approval. We are to seek Him daily and allow Him to use us for His service as He leads, all the while obeying what we know to be His will.

Jesus himself, told us of the importance of remaining close to Him. It is out of that abiding that we will bear spiritual fruit for His Kingdom.

John 15:4-5 NIV 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

If you find yourself just trying to stay busy (even doing “His deeds”)  in order to cover the emptiness inside, perhaps it’s time to get plugged back into the source. Spend time with Jesus today. Let Him know how you are feeling. Ask for direction. Ask for a renewed love and increase in faith. He longs to give us good gifts!  Spend time in His Word. It is a love letter to each of us from God Himself. When we come to Him with a sincere heart He will not ignore us! He is faithful to answer! He has been waiting to hear from you.

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” ~Francis Chan

Sharing the gift that keeps on giving

When I was a teenager I remember singing a song with the following words, “Signs of the times are everywhere. There’s a brand new feeling in the air. Just keep your eyes upon the Eastern sky. Lift up your hands, redemption draweth nigh.”  Lately, I can’t help but notice that there really is a brand new feeling in the air. It’s a feeling of urgency. It’s a new surge of evangelism being shot into the veins of God’s people.

There are prophetic signs everywhere we look. Surely the Lord’s return is not too long off. What prophets of old have been foretelling us through the scriptures for years, are now unfolding before our very eyes. Along with that there is a new surge of evangelism rising up.  Young people are being drawn to Jesus. Old people are coming to or being drawn back to Jesus. The people of God are being directed to live lives of commitment that sometimes appear radical in order to follow Christ!  It is a beautiful thing!  However, there are still millions upon millions of people that don’t know Jesus or are dabbling in sin.

Let’s take a minute to remember all that Christ has done for us, and all that He wants to do for others that still don’t know Him as Lord and Savior…  Ephesians 2 NIV  2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Though I have never felt the call of an evangelist, even I have been feeling a stirring deep in my spirit to share the gospel with others as never before. Sharing the gospel is not just for preachers and evangelists. It is for everyone who follows Christ.  Jesus said in John 14:6 NIV “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  If we believe Him, and we do, than how can we not share this with others that we know and love.

I am certain of one thing, Christ did not call us to keep the gospel to ourselves. To live fulfilled lives in Him, with little regard for the tens of millions of others who are being sucked into the pit of Hell. We in North America, have often become comfortable and complacent in our walk with Christ. My prayer is that God will stir up the gift of faith that is in each one of us and that we will seek Him for daily direction in ways we can share the love of Christ daily with others. Not in deeds alone, but in sharing His word for it is by the hearing of His word that many are saved.  Romans 10:17 NIV 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Lord, I pray that throughout this year,we will draw closer to you than ever before and that you will give us a burden for those around us who need to learn of you. Keep us from falling into a state of comfort where we hoard our faith in you as others around us die in their sins. Stir up the gift of faith in us and a deeper love for others so that we may fulfill the purpose that you have called us to. As Jesus said in John 13:34,35 NIV 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  If we love others as Christ loves them, we will not be able to ignore their need for Him.

What are you feeding your mind?

The Word of God says Jesus is coming back for a church without spot or wrinkle. I want to be part of that and I expect all followers of Christ do too! So why is it we see so many in the body of Christ  more concerned about watching the next big game, or episode of their favorite tv show than they are about being ready for our Kings return? We need to be like the virgins with their lampstands and be ready! Sadly we have allowed our minds to become too preoccupied with  temporal things and have shelved eternal things, thinking we can always get back to them.

I feel a stirring in my heart that I need to lay aside the things that easily distract me and move into a deeper walk with Jesus. I have spoken to many people lately that have that same stirring. So how do we go about doing that? We need to start by changing what we are feeding our minds. If we haven’t been reading our Bibles it’s time to get back to doing that. It’s our love letter from our Father and without it we will not grow spiritually. We need to humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness for putting anything and or everything before Him. We need to renew our minds on truth.  Our walk with Christ is a journey from glory to glory. In order to grow more like our Savior we need to spend time with Him in prayer and spend time in His Word renewing our minds.

As much as I like to watch and read current news, I realize though it  informs me of the troubles of the world,  it can’t offer any real solutions. And though I like to educate myself on issues like health, food, gardening etc.. I need to bear in mind that these things too are temporal. Good to know but if I am spending more time on them than time with the lover of my soul, my walk with Him will begin to suffer.  The things we spend the most time feeding  our minds on are the things that will grow and flourish within us. What we feed grows and what we neglect dies that’s why it is so critical to keep our minds set on eternal things. Otherwise, our walk with Christ will suffer greatly and our growth will stop. We will find ourselves stumbling around in the dark wondering what happened? We lose our peace, joy, spiritual discernment and so many other things that God freely gives us when we don’t abide in Him.

If you find yourself in that place now, cry out to Jesus. Ask Him to forgive you for putting anyone or anything before Him, confess your sins to Him. His Word tells us that,  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. ( 1John 1:9)  He longs to have fellowship with you again! Get back into the Word of God. Just as your body needs food daily, so does your spirit. Begin to renew your mind on the things of God through His Word. Aim to spend less time on the temporal and more on the eternal, where the fruit born is eternal.

Romans 12:2 NIV2 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.

2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Phillipians 4:8 NIV Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Who are you trusting in?

The Lord reminded me this week that our hope is to be in Him and in Him alone. Others will from time to time disappoint us, reject us, abandon us, wound us, despise us etc. but He remains faithful and true. As followers of Christ we need to keep our hearts open and close to Jesus.  He will never disappoint us.  For even in our times of discouragement He provides comfort and rest if we look to Him.

People can be fickle and at times unreliable but He is not. He never changes. He offers mercy and grace to us all when we come humbly before Him, regardless of our sin. He provides us with strength when we go through trials and tribulations, as we abide in Him.

If you have found yourself feeling sad and discouraged as a result of disappointment, run to Him. He will provide the rest and peace you need. Just as we ourselves will stumble from time to time, so will others. When we look to others for our joy, happiness or security we set ourselves up for a great fall. Just as only Jesus can provide salvation, only Jesus can provide true joy, happiness and security.

David had such a grasp on this truth as is evident in so many verses in the Psalms.

Here are but a few…

Psalm 118:8 KJV 8 It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

Psalm 37:5 KJV 5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.

Psalm 28:7 KJV 7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth;  and with my song will I praise Him.

Psalm 56:3,4 NIV 3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.4  In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

and finally one of my favorites…

Psalm 18:2 NIV 2 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.

Remember we are all pilgrims on this journey of faith. We are being changed from glory to glory and will continue to be until we go on to be with the Lord. In the meantime, we will stumble and so will others.  You will disappoint others and others will disappoint you from time to time. So let’s put our trust and faith in the One that is worthy of both!

Keep your eyes fixed as you run!

Hebrews 12:1,2 NIV Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Hebrews 12:1,2 NIV Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

As we follow Jesus we are all participants in a race. It is a race that requires us to  keep our eyes on the finish line. Our finish line is Jesus. He is to be our focus. As long as we look to the right or to the left we will get easily waylaid but if we keep our eyes on the lover of our soul we will grow stronger in grace and be able to complete the race  and hear the wonderful words, “Well done thou good and faithful servant!”

There are so many distractions along the way. Distractions that cause us to forget about the race and stop moving forward. These can come in many forms; dabbling in sin, busyness, rebellion, anger, bitterness but they all accomplish the same thing. They remove our eyes from the finish line.

As times moves on and the Lord’s return draws even closer we need to encourage one another to stay on course. To not allow anything to come between us and our relationship with Christ.

We need to take to heart Paul’s words in Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Anything that we allow to come between us and Jesus will slow us down and eventually may even take us out of the race entirely. If you have gone off course, humbly ask the Lord to forgive you. He will extend mercy to the humble!  Get back into reading the Word of God.  It is the map God uses to keep us on track. Get involved in a church where the Bible is preached and the Holy Spirit is moving and you will find yourself enjoying the benefit of others encouraging  you as you run the race alongside them.

Is your prayer life lacking?

 I have come to really enjoy my prayer time. I love spending time talking to the lover of my soul. It is no longer a chore or done out of a sense of obligation. It is done out of love and a longing to spend time with God. The change began to take place when I began to spend more time reading my Bible and realizing just how much I am loved!  Without that time in God’s Word, I would still be praying out of a sense of duty but it is because of the life His Word has breathed into me, I am now aware that my prayers are not said in vain but through Christ, are direct words shared with the Creator of the Universe!

The more time I spend soaking in His Word, the more I love to spend time talking to Him. It has opened up the line of communication between me and my Creator! It is abiding. As we read the Word, we become convicted of things in our lives we need to get rid of or surrender to God. As we shed these things and align our lives with His Word, our intimacy grows. Gone is the shame and separation that so often keep us from being able to boldly go before His throne. Through our faith in Christ, we know we can ask for forgiveness and be cleansed and renewed and move forward in what God has in store for us. The more we learn of Him, the more we long to be like Him!

Abiding is the secret to seeing our prayers answered. Why? Because when we abide in Christ, we no longer ask for things that are outside the will of God, not only for us but for others. As in any relationship, you must spend time getting to know another before you can really share anything of  depth. You wouldn’t share a deep hurt or wound with a complete stranger, or ask for their help if you didn’t know them. You wouldn’t feel you had the right to expect from them when you didn’t know them and hadn’t invested anything in a relationship with them. It is the same with our relationship with God. If we don’t read His Word and learn of who He is and what  He has done for us, than we really don’t know how to approach Him. We may throw up an occasional prayer now and then but won’t really spend the time with Him that we need to in order to cultivate intimacy.

In the book of John we read the words of Jesus 15:1-11 NIV 15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you.No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

If you are lacking a desire to pray, get back into the Word of God and reacquaint yourself with God and His awesome love for you that He willingly demonstrated through Jesus.  Spending time in the Word of God will increase your faith and give you fresh revelation of who Jesus is and how much He loves you!  As you begin to fathom just how great that love is, you will long to spend more time with Him in prayer, praying things in line with His will for you and others!

“If you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ.” C.H. Spurgeon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

News worth sharing!

I know I am not alone in noticing the exciting changes in the Church. By church, I don’t mean my church only but the body of Christ in general. It appears so many more believers are getting serious about their relationship with Christ. The atmosphere is changing. There is a deeper hunger for more of God and less religion, pomp and pretense!

In our church, sometimes the presence of God is so precious that people don’t want to leave. But leave we must! We are very blessed to be able to corporately meet in prayer, fellowship and worship but God does not want us to hoard Jesus. He wants us to share the gospel so that all men and women everywhere have an opportunity to come to know the lover of their souls! The Bible confirms this in 1Timothy 2: 1-7 NIV 2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

It’s important that we meet regularly and be taught by our Pastors and pray with and be encouraged by our brothers and sisters in Christ but let’s not forget the gospel is the “good news” and news is to be shared! Ask the Lord today how you can be used to share the good news. There are so many hurting, broken people that need Christ and if we don’t share the gospel with them, who will?

Keep it simple!

The Gospel message is simple. It is a message of God’s love demonstrated to us through Jesus. Jesus, who willingly laid down His life for us so that men and women everywhere could be saved. By believing in Jesus and asking Him to forgive us for all our sins, confessing Him with our mouth and being baptized we are given a NEW LIFE.

Romans 10:9-10 NIV If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Acts 2:38 NIV  38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


Over the years men and women have complicated the simplicity of the Gospel with all kinds of man made traditions. But it is a simple message of love that requires our hearts turning to and yielding to Jesus Christ, our Savior and King. The message is complete in the Bible. We are not allowed to add to or take away from the Gospel message. It needs neither!

If you find yourself frustrated or confused about your faith, begin by reading the Bible again. Ask God to bring you fresh revelation of His Word.  Perhaps its time you and I spent more alone time in reading His Word and less time asking others for answers we need to be finding ourselves. Fellowship is wonderful, but is no replacement for the time each of us should spend learning of the lover of our soul through His love letter to us, the Word of God.

The time we spend in God’s Word is never wasted time. It is life changing. It is supernatural. It has the answers to life’s challenges and difficulties. Simplify your life, and get back into His Word. It will give you a clearer picture of what is important and what needs to be put aside. Untangle yourself from religious  dogma and embrace God’s love that has been bought and paid for by Christ. That is the gospel that is preached in the Bible. That is the gospel we need to share with those who still don’t know.

Where YOU lead, I will follow?

Ephesians 3:1-6

Ephesians 3:1-6

Our walk, as followers of Christ,  is not always a walk of comfort. In fact, often when we are obedient to the voice of God we are lead into situations that can be challenging or difficult. I couldn’t help but see this truth demonstrated over and over in the book of Acts. When the Holy Spirit would lead Paul or Peter somewhere or to do something for God,  persecution would shortly follow.  They never found it surprising or the result of a bad decision! It was a direct result of obeying the voice of God. Our brothers and sisters in Christ in many countries around the world understand this. It’s what they live and face every day. Somehow many of us in North America have come to believe that if doing something for God involves discomfort or hardship it can’t be of God because God wants us happy and comfortable. We need to reacquaint ourselves with the Word of God and what being a follower of Christ really means.

Though God promises joy and peace, He does not promise we will not go through hardships because of our faith. In fact the Word of God says we should expect it.

Peter tells us in 1Peter 4:12-14 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. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

Jesus tells us in the book of John 16:33 NIV 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

Paul taught in the book of Romans the value of suffering for our faith, Romans 5:3-5 NIV 3 5 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Joy and peace are not dependent on comfort and ease, they are gifts from God Himself and are available regardless of our situation! Though Paul faced incredible hardships and persecution for his faith, he did not grumble or question God. He counted it a blessing to be worthy to suffer for Christ. Let’s take a look at some of the persecutions he faced, yet was still able to bless God through!

2 Corinthians 11:23-33 NIV 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. 33 But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.

All of the difficulties and persecutions Paul endured strengthened His love and reliance on Christ. He did not become bitter and resentful. He knew there was nothing more important than to follow the path Christ had set out for him.  If any question whether God really wanted Paul to have to endured these trials or whether they were the result of his own bad decision making you need to read the book of Acts…

Acts 16:7-40 NIV When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to 11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.

35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36 The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”

37 But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”

38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.

When Paul obeyed the Spirit of God, people came to Christ! They saw the power of God moving through him and saw that his love for Christ far outweighed comfort and ease. He suffered greatly but as a result God used him mightily to further his Kingdom! Not only did Paul not grumble while he endured persecution but both he and Silas were praying and singing! After they were released from prison they met with fellow believers and encouraged them!  No moaning or complaining! There’s was not a ministry of comfort and ease!

We also see Peter and the apostles suffer for their obedience to the Spirit of God in the book of Acts.  We see Peter thrown in prison, the opportunities it presented and the amazing outcome in Acts 4:1-24 NIV 4 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4 But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.

5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”

8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 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.”

13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”

18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.

23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.

We don’t hear them asking God why He allowed them to be thrown in prison? They knew that by following the leading of the Holy Spirit, Christ would use them in ways they may not understand but that the results would be furthering the Kingdom of God!

Again we see Peter and the apostles following the leading of the Spirit, the amazing results for the Kingdom of God and the persecution they endured because of their obedience in Acts 5:12-41 NIV 12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.

17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.”

21 At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people.

When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin—the full assembly of the elders of Israel—and sent to the jail for the apostles. 22 But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” 24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were at a loss, wondering what this might lead to.

25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.

27 The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”

29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered.38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.

Once again, we see them thrown in prison, flogged and still they rejoice to be counted worthy to suffer for Christ!  Sadly today some believers won’t  attend church if there isn’t air conditioning in the Summer, or the music is too loud, or they can’t find parking close enough to the building!

Today my  prayer is that we followers of Christ will heed the voice of the Spirit and obey God. That we will be so full of the love of Christ that we will follow His leading wherever it may take us despite the cost! Lord change our hearts and help us to  live out Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Amen

Don’t sit idle!

Some days my heart hurts for this world we live in. I watched the news and heard about the British soldier slaughtered on the street in London. He wasn’t in battle but simply walking down the street when he was approached and slaughtered by a raging terrorist who felt justified in killing him  because he wasn’t of the same faith. Today, I heard of an attempted plane high jacking from Pakistan to England, that thankfully it was thwarted but could have ended in tragedy. Again, an attempt to take the lives of others who don’t share their extreme ideology…

Anyone that doesn’t see the evil in this world we live in has to be wearing blinders. There are wars and rumors of wars all around us. Governments are involved in corruption on so many levels and refuse to admit or take any responsibility for their actions. One country feels the right to annihilate another because of a difference in beliefs. We hear stories of parents killing their children and children killing their parents, abuse in homes, schools, churches and so much more…

So what is the answer to all of this mess? Do we just resolve ourselves to the fact there is nothing we can do? Do we live in our own little bubble and refuse to help and make a difference? Do we harden ourselves by ignoring others and moving forward without a thought for their difficulties?

As Christians, God has called us to a world such as this.  We are men and women with the tool of prayer at our disposal. We are men and women with the answer. Christ didn’t come to save the “found” but the lost! We have the good news and we need to share it with a dying, messed up world.

Luke 19:10 NIV 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Matthew 20:28 NIV 28 Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.                                                              

Luke 5:32 NIV 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

When you see destruction and heartache all around, take the time to ask God what it is you can be doing to make a difference? There is always something we can do! Pray, pray for the lost, pray for the hurting, the broken, the rebellious, the bitter, your enemies and then do something to demonstrate the love of Christ to another!

It’s important that we don’t sit on our hands and moan about the state of things without getting down on our knees and praying! Prayer is the thing that will usher in the most change.  It is a mighty and powerful weapon that is at the hands of every follower of Christ!  Even the most frail, limited body can pray and therefore is capable of bringing about huge change in this world of ours!

When you have done that ask God how you can serve others?  What can you do to be the hands and feet of Christ?  Ask Him to put people in your life that need to hear the GOOD NEWS and when He does, share it!  Ask Him to provide opportunities where you can minister love and compassion to others and when He does, do it!

We are only limited by our indifference!  Determine to make a difference in this world. Determine to help others by sharing the good news. Determine to not sit back and watch but get involved in doing Christ’s work here while you still have time and while you are able.

Psalm 145:18-19 NIV 18 The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him;  He hears their cry and saves them.

 James 2:14-17 NIV 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Acts for today!

Luke 24:49 NIV 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Luke 24:49 NIV 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

My method of studying the Bible is to read it through front to back over and over again. It takes me months to do it but I find reading it in chronological order helps me to understand it so much better. There is so much of the New Testament we really don’t understand without reading and being familiar with the Old Testament such as the meaning and value of sacrifices, covenant etc..

Recently I finished reading the book of Acts. I love this book. It is a power keg! I decided instead of moving on to Romans I would reread it. Every page demonstrates the Father’s love for His kids. When Christ rose again He did NOT leave us comfortless or powerless to live out a life of blessing and anointing.  Through the Holy Spirit we are enabled!

Acts 2:1-21 NIV 2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘In the last days, God says,     I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy,     your young men will see visions,     your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women,     I will pour out my Spirit in those days,     and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above     and signs on the earth below,     blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness     and the moon to blood     before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls     on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

The Spirit of God was promised to God’s sons and daughters and that promise was first fulfilled on the day of Pentecost! He has not reneged or removed that promise. The Holy Spirit is necessary and available to every follower of Christ today! It is through God’s Spirit that we are wooed to Christ and it is by that same Spirit we will move and operate in our giftings as we serve Him. The same giftings and blessing that those men and women received on the day of Pentecost are the same giftings and blessing that we can receive today!

So how do we go about being filled with the Spirit?  The Word of God tells us just that….

First we must repent of our sins and confess Christ as our Lord and Savior. Water baptism should follow according to the Word of God and then we are simply to have another Spirit filled believer lay hands on us and pray.

Acts 8:14-17 NIV 14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

If you are a follower of Christ and you have not had pray for the baptism in the Holy Spirit than maybe it’s time you did. God has called us to a life of service and when we do it in our own strength and power we do it in vain. The Father’s gift is for each of us and will perfectly equip us for the calling on our lives!

Before you say I do

I love being married. I am thankful that Mike and I have been able to date to share 34 years together. It hasn’t always been easy. We have had many great days and we have had some incredibly difficult days during our marriage. We don’t always agree on everything and I’m sure never will. We have been tested, tempted, tossed and turned but the one thing that has remained through it all is the commitment we made before God. Though we were young when we married, we knew from the Word of God that it was a very serious commitment. When times have been rough, we honored that commitment. Today, I am so thankful we did. We are able to see the fruits of that now in our life as we are able to enjoy our grown children and grand children as a couple.

I am convinced that the reason we have been able to make it to date, is before we married we were both committed to Christ. When we were first introduced, I had recently come to Christ and was very involved in my church. Though he had been raised in the Catholic faith, he was not attending church. He was however seeking a deeper walk with God. While dating the one thing God impressed upon me was that if he was not willing to make a commitment to Christ, I was not to continue in the relationship. At a Billy Graham Crusade that year, he did make a commitment and the rest is history. In our early years, we attended bible studies together and both grew in our faith as we saw God answer many prayers. It was the teaching we received and prayers of those early days that sustained us when we hit a few rocky paths. And we did hit rocky paths!  With the busyness of raising five children, Mike working long hours and often away and all the rest of what life throws at you, we found ourselves drifting apart and becoming quite resentful of one another. It just seemed that we were both kept so busy doing what we needed to to get by that we neglected our time with God and with one another.

Through it all, God continued to woo us back into intimacy with Him. As we drew closer to Him we were able to put all the rest in perspective. Spending time in prayer and getting back into His Word gives us clarity in our thoughts and hearts enabling us to forgive past hurts and resentments and move on to the future.

Of this I am sure, had we both not been committed Christians, both to God and to each other, when we married, we would never have lasted to enjoy the time we now have together. Both life and marriage can be difficult at times. However, I wouldn’t trade any of the those difficult times. As we have surrendered to God’s will, He has taken those difficult times and used them for our good. He has strengthened our bond together. He has given us an empathy and understanding we would never have had had we not experienced some of the hard times we did. Most of which were the result of our own disobedience or selfish behavior! 🙂

For Christians looking for a future marriage partner, I would suggest two things. Be sure the person you are going to commit your life to shares your commitment to Christ. The Old and New Testament are full of warnings to those who are wanting to link up with non-believers. It doesn’t usually end well.  2 Corinthians 6:14,15  NIV 14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

Secondly, stay close to the lover of your soul and He will give you the wisdom you need in choosing your partner. Feelings alone are NOT sufficient to sustain a long term relationship. They change, they rise, fall and sometimes even fade. It takes more than romantic feelings to keep any couple together long term.

James 1:5 NIV If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

To those already married, that have since come to Christ, pray for your spouse. God will honor your prayers! He is faithful and longs to give you the desires of your heart! He loves your spouse more than you do and wants to have a relationship with him or her.

1 Corinthians 7:12-16 NIV 12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

2 Peter 3:9 NIVThe 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.

There are so many people being wounded as a result of a broken marriage. Sadly, Christian stats are almost as high as non believers. If we walk in obedience and honor God’s Word before we say I do, it will give us much better odds of our marriage lasting. Too often believers compromise on their choice of partner out of fear or impatience. It starts by dating outside our faith. If we honor God’s Word and obey Him in choosing our marriage partners we stand a much greater chance of having His favor and blessing over us when we need it most. Marriage is wonderful and challenging all at the same time. Why not start out on the right foot?

Plug into the Source!

  Do you find yourself getting frustrated when you have to wait for something or someone more than just a few minutes? I know since using a blackberry and working online all day, I have become so accustomed to having answers right away. If I need to check our bank account I can do it anywhere right from my phone and see the results within seconds. When I am curious about a name, person or just about anything I can google it and immediately up pops my answer! I have found myself becoming quite dependent on instant access.

In our walk, as followers of Christ, we too can have instant access to the King of Kings. When Christ died on the cross, He became our Way to the throne room of God. He made a sure way that allows us to come to Him at anytime and anywhere. In fact, He longs for us to stay in fellowship with Him as we move throughout our day and into our nights. Unlike our gadgets, He never breaks down, is always accessible and loves us beyond measure!  It is an awesome thing to know that we are never alone!

Why not spend a little less time with your electronic gadgets this coming week and spend more time with the lover of your soul? When we seek Him for answers they are always right and true! When we trust Him, He will never break down or disappoint! When we need His help, He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother and will be there for us. (Proverbs 18:24 NIV)

If you are not enjoying a close walk with Christ, confess your sins before Him and spend time with Him getting reacquainted. There is no replacement for the love and joy that comes from your relationship with Him. It will sustain you through any of life’s curves and bumps! Unplug your gadgets and spend some real time plugged into a conversation with the lover of your soul!

John 15:4-5 NIVRemain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Matthew 6:6 NIV But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Phillipians 4:6 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Lay aside selfishness

If we were to believe many of the “self help gurus” today, we would be convinced that it  is not only emotionally healthy but  in our best interest  to put ourselves and our desires first. After all doesn’t everyone deserve to be happy, regardless of what pain and suffering our actions may cause others?  Sadly, doing just that has produced so many of the problems we are currently dealing with in society. Selfish ambitions and desires have often replaced care and concern for others,  including our own family members. How many marriages and families have split because one or both partners decided they no longer liked the restrictions of monogamy or grew tired of pouring themselves into the raising of and nurturing their children. There are so many lonely kids growing up in homes where they are considered an after thought. Just check out the Children’s Aid Society  or Child Services stats. In most cases, the family problems started with one or both parents choosing a selfish desire over their loved ones.

I’m not advocating that anyone should stay in a dangerous or unfaithful marriage. That’s a decision each person has to make for themselves but I am suggesting that most of the problems come about as a result of our selfish desires and ambitions.  We begin to look for greener grass elsewhere instead of investing and improving our own relationships or situations. Decisions are made on feelings alone, which at best are fickle and at worst can be downright dangerous.

As followers of Christ, the Word of God has lots to say on the matter of selfishness. If we are to love as Christ loves, we have to learn to surrender our selfish ambitions and be willing to line ourselves up with the Word of God. We shouldn’t be tossed to and fro by our emotions. We need to regularly be reading the Bible and staying close to the lover of our soul. When we neglect to do either we begin to surrender much too easily to the whims of our emotions.  Acting on emotions alone will have us riding an emotional and spiritual  roller coaster.  Too often, we see  Christians compromising their walk with Christ  as they act on their feelings. It not only impedes their walk  but the fall out wounds the entire body!

Here are just a few words from the Bible on selfishness….

 James 3:13-17 NIV  13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.                                                                                                                                                                                        Psalm 119:36 NIV, David knew the importance of what he was asking of God when he said, 36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.

We serve a mighty God, who loved us enough to send His precious Son to redeem us. Let’s put aside selfish ambition and walk worthy of the calling God has put on our lives or as Paul penned in Hebrews 12:1 NIV  Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Prayer, access to the throne!

As followers of Christ we have so many fantastic blessings! Our salvation has been bought with the high price of the shed blood of God’s own Son. When we think on this alone, we begin to realize how much God loves us! How Christ paid the ultimate price for us to be able to be in intimate fellowship with the Father! One of those fantastic blessings is the ability to go to God in prayer. It’s important that when we come to God in prayer that a few things are considered….
If you are seeking God for an answer to prayer, first off ensure that what you are asking lines up with His will by making sure it does not go against His Word. He will never go against His nature or His Word. Isaiah 55:11 NIV 11So is my word that goes out from my mouth, it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

If your prayer request lines up with His Word then be sure that you have come before Him with a clean heart. If you have unconfessed sin or bitterness against another you need to confess it and make it right. The Word of God tells us that we are not to come before God with unforgiveness in our hearts towards another or He will not hear our prayer. Mark 11:25 NIV And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins.

If we know that are prayer lines up with God’s Word and have come to Him with a clean heart than we are to come expecting and believing. James 1:5-7 NIV 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

It’s important we never forget, that one of the amazing privileges of being a child of God is that through Christ we can come boldy before the throne of God and make our requests known. Through the blood of Christ being shed for us, when God sees us He sees us as covered in the precious shed blood of His Son. It allows us to ask boldy from a Father that loves us and has made a way for us to come into His presence with complete confidence.   Hebrews 4:16 KJV16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

God longs for us to have intimacy with Him and through Christ, we have direct access to the throne of God. Take full advantage of one of our greatest blessings! Don’t waste another day without spending time in prayer!

Where do we look?

Newspapers B&W (4)

Newspapers B&W (4) (Photo credit: NS Newsflash)

On a work related trip to Ireland last week I realized that no matter where you go you will inevitably see mans inhumanity to man. Though the trip itself was wonderful, we stopped to visit one of the replica Famine ships. These ships were also referred to as “coffin ships” due to the large number of people that would die while travelling from the Emerald Isle to Canada or the U.S. all while attempting to escape poverty and starvation in their homeland. Men would ask them to give up their land in order to provide them with a ticket on one of these “ships”, with the promise of a new future. The 2 week trips were treacherous with deplorable conditions and of course many would not make it due to the spread of illness. The poorer passengers were considered steerage and basically nothing more than cattle.
While away, we heard over the news about the Boston Marathon bombings. Watching footage brought home again one doesn’t have to look far to find demonstrations of hatred. As it turns out, two young men with a skewed ideology of hatred towards others, decided to kill and maim as many innocent bystanders as they could.
So what are we to do and think when we see these things around us? Should we just surrender all hope that things will ever get better? Do we begin to toughen our skin and just not expect anything better while we walk the earth?
NO! We are to keep our eyes on the lover of our soul, Jesus. As we look to Him and His Word we will be encouraged, knowing though things can look rough down here, this is just our temporary home. Not only that, but through His Spirit, He will show us things we are able to do while we occupy here, to demonstrate His love and mercy to a dying world. Every day provides new opportunities to do so!  So set aside discouragement and look to Him for direction! He has work for all of us to do!

Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV 1 Do you see what this means – all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running – and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. 2 Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.

Are you hiding from the Light?

Jeremiah 23:24 NIV "Who can hide in secret places so that  I cannot see ?" declares the Lord. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 23:24 NIV “Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.

I am thankful to God for His patience with me.  I am so grateful that He is slow to anger and kind. That He longs for fellowship with each and every one of us.  I can remember at one time believing that whenever I screwed up in my walk with Christ, God would be angry with me, so I would find myself avoiding Him for a while. I would steer clear of  the intimacy of prayer as it would require my having to come clean and fess up.

Before too long however,  I would miss our fellowship. I would toss up the odd prayer but with no real expectancy due to the fact I knew there were things between us putting up a barrier from intimacy. Eventually I would cave and come before Him with a heart of repentance and fess up. The peace and freedom that would follow was amazing. I’m not sure why I ever thought things would get better on their own!

I am thankful that I no longer try and hide anything from Him. He sees all, knows all and it is a complete and utter waste of time allowing any sin to remain between us.  When I screw up now, I don’t waste the time  I used to fessing up. It keeps the lines of communication open with the lover of my soul. It allows for instant access and freedom in making my requests known when I come to Him with a need for others or for myself.  If you have drifted from intimacy in your prayer life, perhaps it’s time you tear down the  barriers.

If  you have sin in your life you have been holding onto, hoping neither God nor anyone else will see it,  it’s time to get rid of it!  Don’t waste another day without intimacy with the King of  Kings.

The Word of God says in 1John 1:9 NIV If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and will cleanse us of ALL unrighteousness.

Let His light shine  into all the dark areas of your life. Don’t allow anything to keep you from coming boldly to the throne!

John 3:19-21 NIV 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light,  so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Is your Faith dead or alive?

James 2:26 NIV 6 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

James 2:26 NIV 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

As a follower of Christ, we are called to be actively working and moving in line with our faith. Though we are not saved by works, less anyone should boast, once saved through the blood of Christ we are not to be idle. God did not save us to sit around and do nothing to further His Kingdom. He also did not save us to keep the gospel and our blessings to ourselves. Each and every one of us that has been redeemed needs to do our part.

James 2:14-26 NIV 1What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Does your life reflect that you are one of His children? Are you actively fulfilling your part in the body of Christ? If not, what is your excuse? Too tired? Not enough time? You may miss a t.v. program or sports event? Self pity? There are so many opportunities to serve and there is really no excuse for any of us to not be actively serving in one capacity or another. Perhaps you can help out a neighbor in need, cook for someone that is recovering, support church events by helping out, serve in the church using your giftings. We are ALL given giftings and they are not given to sit on. If you haven’t found out what your giftings are ask God. He promises to give to liberally to all who ask!

If you have become so comfortable in your idleness than it’s time to check out a few more verses…..

2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The change can start with your reacquainting yourself with God’s word. The Word will not only guide us but transform us as we begin to walk in it and live it out! We need to be into the Word daily. Five minutes a day is better than once a month!

James 1:23-25 NIV 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

This is a case of applying the Word of God in our life. If we are students of the Word, we will begin to operate out of faith and not feelings alone! When we operate on feelings alone we can be tossed to and fro and really accomplish very little. Reading the Word grounds us  in what is truth and helps us to cast aside things that would otherwise trip us up!

Colossians 3:23-24 NIV 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

As we begin to read the Word and then apply it to our lives, it is important to remember that whatever we do, we do for Christ. Whether you are a floor sweeper, stay at home mom or dad, cab driver or travel agent like myself, we need to live out our faith in a life of excellence to Christ.

Is it time you stopped making excuses for yourself and got back to loving and serving God in more than just words? Jump start your heart by daily exposing yourself  to God’s Word and than applying it and as you ask for opportunities to serve, God will surely provide them for you!

1 John 3:18 NIV 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Everyone has a part in the play of life

 The past several weeks we have been working on our church play, “The Sounds of Love.”  Practices have made our Sundays even busier than usual. As with any project, there is always work leading up to the end result.  Sometimes the practices times have been inconvenient, sometimes they have gone on longer than expected and they will continue until the play has been performed. With all this effort our hope is the end result will be as wonderful as it promises to be. This morning I was thinking how similar prepping for our play is to our walk of faith.
First off, we had to hear the story. Without knowing the overall story it would be impossible to know what the play was about and where each of us characters fit into it. As followers of Christ, the Bible is our “story line”. It is God’s inspired word that tells the beginning from the end. It also provides us with our identity as children of the Most High God.
Isaiah 46:10 NIV 10 I make known the end from the beginning,from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”
Secondly, we needed a director. Without direction from someone that knows each and everything about the play from beginning to end, we would simply be stumbling about trying to make our own way, depending on our own understanding as to OUR interpretation of the play. Clearly, as believers, the director in our lives is God. Without God’s direction and wisdom, most of us have and would continue to make a mess of our lives.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;6 In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.
Thirdly, there needs to be a producer.  In the case of our church play, this would be the church itself.  Someone willing to pay for the price of the production. Absorb the costs in order for the goal to be accomplished. Without question, in our walk of faith this is Christ.  Sinless, yet willing to lay down HIS life as the ultimate price for our sins!
1John2:1,2 NIV 2 My dear children I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin we have an advocate with the Father-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
Fourthly, we need to study our lines or parts. If we don’t know the words or actions required we get lost and so the story gets lost on the audience. Clearly, this is the same in our walk with Christ. We need to be reading the Bible. Without knowing our position in Christ, we can easily be rocked to and fro and not be  the “beacon” to others we are called to be.
2 Timothy 2:15 KJV 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
And finally we need to perform our parts. If even one of us doesn’t carry out our roll the message of the story gets lost. We each have a part to perform and we are to do it to the best of our ability, relying on our director as we do. As we walk out our parts we fulfill the purpose of the overall story. In our walk with Christ, each of us has a roll to play in sharing the gospel. No one is insignificant in God’s eyes and He has created each of us with a purpose. If you haven’t found your purpose yet, ask God. He promises to equip each of us with giftings and they are available for the asking!
Romans 12:4-8 NIV 4For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Don’t spend your time on the sidelines watching others perform their rolls. Find out what God has for you and perform your roll gladly, leaning on Christ for wisdom and direction and you do!

Spring forward!

ECCLESIASTES 3:1 Spring to me is a time of new beginnings!  I love to garden and Spring gives me the opportunity to first  plan out my garden, start my seedlings, ready the soil and eventually plant the seedlings and seeds into the ground.

Just as Spring is a time of new beginnings for our gardens, it too can be a season of new beginnings in your walk with Christ. Easter brings us face to face with the One who willingly died for us. The One who provided a way of adoption into the family of God. Why not use this Spring as a time to get closer acquainted with the “lover of your soul?” Spend time in God’s word daily. Make everything a matter of prayer as opposed to worrying and fretting over things of which you have no control anyway. Spend time worshipping the One who created everything instead of worshipping His creation.

Why not determine to let go of some of the things in your life that are holding you back from moving forward in your walk with Christ? This will not happen unless you determine to do so!

Thankfully, God’s mercies are new every morning. It is never to late to get closer to our Creator. Pick up your Bible and read it! It is a supernatural book that will help you to grow into the person God designed you to be. Instead of looking to others for prayer, begin to seek God on behalf of others! If you’ve never fasted, perhaps it’s time to do so! As you lay aside distractions you will find yourself desiring more and more God’s presence in your life.

Spring is an awesome time to stir up the gift of faith that is in you and move forward. Don’t look back on the old cold days of winter, but move forward in joy and boldness without excuse!

Phillipians 3:12-14 NIV 12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Honoring your word

 We live in a world of glib promises and unkept vows. Somewhere in the last hundred years people have lost the importance of keeping their word and honoring their commitments. Sadly, we’ve all done it. We have made promises that we either chose not to or couldn’t keep for one reason or another. There is a cost of course that follows. Other’s learn not to depend on us. We disappoint people and oftentimes by our neglecting the commitment made, force someone else to carry our share of the load.

As followers of Christ, it is so important that we honor our word and our commitments. When we say we will do something we need to follow through and do it. When we commit to something or someone, we need to ensure that we don’t purposely disappoint others by not taking that commitment seriously. Our word should be much more than shallow conversation.

We serve a God that’s Word is infallible and one hundred percent reliable and His Word has much to say about how His children speak in truth and honor their commitments. If you commit to taking on a responsibility, do it. If you give your word, honor it. Otherwise, your word is a lie and lacks honor.   We’ve all been hurt by others and their lack of follow through. When you speak, be sure to consider your words carefully and not dishonor your testimony as a follower of Christ.

Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about giving our word….

Numbers 30:1,2 NIV 30 Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: “This is what the Lord commands: When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.

Matthew 5:33-37 NIV 33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Zachariah 8:16 NIV 16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts.    

Psalm 89:34 NIV34 I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered.

Numbers 30:2 NIV When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.

Matthew 5:33 NIV33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’

If and when we disappoint others by not honoring our word, we need to apologize. If we have not kept a commitment or vow before God we need to repent of it and through Christ we can receive a clean slate!  Before we speak we need to consider our words and our commitments so as not to put undue stress and pressure on others to have to carry out our commitments. Let’s remember that in God’s eyes, our words should mean something.

Staying close to the source!

Madoc-20130225-00132[1] I enjoy learning as much as I can about Biblical prophecy. So much of what the media has portrayed over the last several decades is just bunk. Before I came to Christ I remember watching movies that would touch on the subject, demonstrating God pouring out his wrath in various ways but never told anything even close to the real story.

It is a subject that brings fear to a lot of people. Fear that motivates them for a while to seek God, but over time they lose interest and move away from anything resembling  intimacy with Him. Anyone that is seeking God just to avoid His wrath in days to come, is missing the most wonderful thing about Him. They are missing a relationship of love and intimacy that only He can offer. When we come to know who God is, through Christ, we begin to see Him as the loving Father He is and understand that He always desires our fellowship. Fear can draw us to Him but only LOVE will keep us walking with Him.

As we learn of who He is through reading the Word of God, spending time in prayer and spending time in His presence, it slowly begins to sink in how NOTHING can separate us from the LOVE of God.  NOTHING! Paul said it beautifully in the book of Romans….

Romans 8:38,39 NIV 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If you are finding yourself fearful of the things you see on the news and it is causing you anxiety or stress, realizing many of the things  coming to pass have been prophesied, take yourself back to the Word of God. Rediscover through Christ, how very much He loves you and what He did for you!  When we know how much He loves us, we can than trust that He will never give us anymore than we can handle.

1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 

As a young believer, I remember feeling incredible fear at times when I would read or see something on the news that had been predicted to happen in  the latter days. It used to cause me a lot of anxiety and I would lose sleep over it. I would dwell on all the possibilities of what could result and how it could affect me, my loved ones and friends.

Today, though it upsets me to see things that are going on; mans inhumanity to man, abuse, mistreatment, hatred, wars etc., I no longer fear the future. I am sure of one thing, Christ will never leave me or forsake me. He has seen me through many trials and will continue to be with me as I complete my journey here.  He is faithful and true.  His love for me is available every morning! He hears me when I cry out to Him. He walks with me through every minute of every day! What He does for me, He does for all His followers. He is no respecter of persons but loves us all equally.

When we take our eyes off of Him and focus on the outward things around us only, we become a slave to our fears and emotions. So while we wait for His return, let’s spend more time with the lover of our soul. As we remain in close intimacy with Christ, fear departs!

1 John 4:18 NIV For there is no fear in love, But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Our Myopic vision

imagesCAJQJQ9X God has a plan for each of our lives. In order to fulfill that plan we need to spend time in His presence, in His Word and allow ourselves to be obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Our walk, as followers of Christ, is a walk of relationship and just as in any relationship if we don’t spend time with the other person we really don’t learn who they are and what they are expecting of us.

I was reminded this morning how easy it is to take our eyes off the things God wants for us and put them on our circumstances and thereby making very poor choices as a result. I know I find myself at times thinking that this “difficult thing” can’t be what God has for me or for a loved one, only to realize that I was using my “natural” thinking and that God has indeed allowed certain things I would deem “difficult”  to further His Kingdom. It really isn’t all about me or what I want for myself or others.  I would certainly do some things differently, if it were up to me.  :/

With my reading this morning I realized how similar Peter’s thinking was at times…..

Matthew 16:21-27  21From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 22Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” 23But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me Satan! you are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” 24Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  25For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  26″For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  27″For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”

How many times do you catch yourself insisting God intervene in a difficult situation for someone or for yourself for that matter and when He doesn’t react immediately and according to your wishes you pout and whine? We need to remember that His ways are not our ways! He happens to be the Creator of the Universe and has an edge in the wisdom department over and beyond us!

We need to be mindful that at times,  God allows circumstances we don’t understand to happen or continue because of His ultimate purpose.  His timing is perfect.  Jesus rebuked Peter because his insistence that Christ would not be killed was based on his “natural” desires only. He wasn’t looking for nor did he see God’s plan in action at that time.  And as we all know, if it were not for Christ’s death on the cross there would be no sacrifice,no resurrection and therefore no means of salvation for you and I!

When we pray for ourselves or others we can boldly come before the throne of God, through the blood of Christ and make our requests known. We should not however, insist that it be done our way and in our time. God loves us and when we are walking and abiding in His will and presence we can ask with confidence however, we cannot demand our way.  When I look back  to earlier  times in my life, I am thankful for many of the prayers God refused to answer. Prayers that were prayed out of selfish ambition and desires that I now realize, had they been answered would have taken me from the path God has prepared for me. A path that isn’t always easy but is a path of deeper growth and intimacy with Christ.

If you are walking with Christ and are seeking answers to prayer that appear to be on hold, don’t allow your heart to grow discouraged or bitter. His ways are far above our ways. Unless He tells you no, allow God to work out the details and learn to trust in His perfect timing and Lordship.

Proverbs 19:21 NIV 21Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Whose voice are you listening to?

John 10:27 NIV “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

Through Christ, God has provided the door to our salvation and made us joint heirs. He has also provided the means by which we are to continue to walk closely to Him. This is what He desires. In order for us to be able to do this we must have a steady diet of the Word of God. It is through the Word of God we learn truth and are able to distinguish what is of God’s will and what isn’t. It is our anchor. Along with the Word of God, He has provided the Holy Spirit to first woo us to Christ, to convict us of sin, empower us, equip us for service and to direct us in our daily lives.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NIV But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 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.

John 14:26 NIV But the advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Romans 8:11-15 NIV 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors-not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out “Abba, Father.”

The Holy Spirit dwells within us and leads us in the ways of God. He draws us to Christ and He keeps us close to Him as we yield ourselves to His sweet leading.
The majority of our difficulties come when we begin to allow His voice to be drown out by other voices. When we yield to thoughts of fear, temptation, unjust anger, bitterness, resentment etc. we are choosing to listen to a “foreign” voice. When we entertain thoughts of self defeat, self hatred, discouragement and giving up, we are not hearing the voice of the Spirit. We are hearing the voice of the accuser of the brethren who would love nothing more than to destroy our fellowship with God, our peace and ultimately our life.
The Holy Spirit will bring conviction of sin in order that we can repent and thereby restore our intimacy with God, but He will never attempt to destroy us or who we are in Christ. We are required to test the spirits that we are hearing from. If the voice we hear inside our head is telling us anything that is contrary to the word of God than it is never the Holy Spirit.
Too often Christians walk around in discouragement because they are listening to the accuser’s voice telling them they will never be good enough for God, that God can’t love them after what they just did etc.. Though the Spirit of God will definitely bring conviction when we sin, it is for the reason of repentance. Once we have repented and turned from the sin we are free. The word of God says in

1 John 1:9 NIV If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness!

Any thought, feeling etc. that would follow telling you otherwise is not of God!

To live a victorious life in Christ, we must be immersed in the word of God, it is our truth. Without it, we are subject to being tossed around like rag dolls spiritually and emotionally as we often yield to thoughts and feelings that are not from God. As we daily immerse ourselves in the word of God we are able to quench the fiery darts that are shot our way by holding them up to God’s word.

1 John 4:1-4 NIV Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 by this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard was coming and is now already in the world. 4 You are of God little children and have overcome them because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Romans 12:2 NIV And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

2 Thessalonians 5:21 NIV Test all things; hold fast what is good.

Without renewing our minds in the word of God we lack the discernment required to “prove that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” If we are to test and prove what thoughts, feelings etc. are from God we have to have a standard to hold them up against. Without studying His word, it is virtually impossible. We are left listening to, justifying and accepting those thoughts as truth. This is why many struggle in their daily walk with Christ. They are trying to do it on their own, unable to hear the voice of the Spirit, and instead yielding to their own voice or the voice of the “foreigner.”

Paul reminds us we are not to walk in the flesh but to be led by the Spirit in the book of Galatians. If there is any question as to which voice you are listening to, you need to ask yourself, “If I follow through with this thought what/where will it ultimately lead me to?”

Galatians 5:16-25 NIV I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries,and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, 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.

If you are struggling in your walk and finding yourself making poor decisions that end up leading to guilt and further separation from the lover of your soul, you need to spend time in God’s word daily. Renewing your mind will strengthen your walk and help you to challenge and take captive thoughts that are not of God. The battle starts in the mind and when the mind is renewed so is the life. When your thoughts are a mess, so is your life. Ask Christ to give you a new love and hunger for His word and with the power of the Holy Spirit He will begin to transform your thought life.

“Our thinking is like a football that may bonce off in any direction. This can be very treacherous indeed, especially when our thinking, emotions, and wills get mixed together. The only thing that can tame our thinking and help us find a proper path to tread is the Word of God. If our thinking is seized by the Word of God and we begin to pursue a life of obedience to His Word, we then begin to pursue a life of obedience to His Word, we then begin to bear fruit for God.”~Dr. David Yonggi Cho

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.

~~~~~~~~~

“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

386796_10152017011765444_650072240_n

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.

418594_10152017009050444_563566797_n

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!

524889_10151284196931530_1402771718_n

Merry CHRISTmas!

Luke 2:11 NIV 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.

Luke 2:11 NIV 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.

Isaiah 9:6,7 NIV For to us a child is born,to us a son is given,and the government will be on His shoulders.And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Matthew 1:18-25 NIV 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus,because He will save His people from their sins.”22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel” (which means “God with us”).24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus.

Hallelujah!!

 

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Praying that each of us will grow closer to the “reason for the season” in the coming year!

Blessings,

Lorraine

Dare to pray specifically

John 14:13,14 NIV 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

John 14:13,14 NIV 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

I am seeing so many prayers answered lately. I am a little overwhelmed from time to time with just how incredibly loving and faithful God is when we pray according to His will. As I have committed myself to walking closer to Christ, my prayers have changed. In the past I would often pray with selfish motives. I need, I want etc. etc… Now I find myself praying more for others and in the process God has been taking care of all my needs. The word of God says in 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. That verse sums of a great deal of my past prayers. Does it mean God does not want us to bring our needs to Him? NO, He desires that we bring our needs before Him. Phillippians 4:6 NIVDo not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. As we grow in our faith and intimacy with Christ, we find ourselves giving things over to Him much faster and easier than we used to. This frees us up to pray and interceed for others!  The focus is no longer on our own needs and wants but on the needs of others around us.

One of the things that I have begun to do different in my prayer life is to pray specifically. I used to pray general prayers, perhaps because I would often pray with unbelief and if I wasn’t too specific than I wouldn’t really get disappointed if I didn’t see results. However, spending more time  in God’s word and prayer has given me a boldness to pray specifically. I trust God to hear and answer my prayers because it goes against His very nature to ignore His children. When we are walking in His will and we come to Him in the name of His precious Son, He cannot ignore us. There are too many scriptures to list them all but here are but a few to illustrate this.. John 14:13-14 NIV 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Hebrews 4:16 NIV 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Matthew 7:7 NIV “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 18:19 NIV 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

We serve a mighty God that hears the prayers of His children and delights in answering those prayers. If there are areas of your life that are keeping you from walking in that intimacy with Him, confess them and be washed clean in the blood of Christ. It enables you to come before your Father.  Don’t let sin or an ongoing pattern of behavior keep you away from the lover of your soul. The word says in Psalm 37:4 NIV Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  He longs to hear and answer our prayers as we yield our lives to Him and walk in His ways.

I now have the confidence to come before the throne praying specifically without fear of disappointment! As I delight myself in Him, He does give me the desires of my heart!  Does this confidence come from my “righteousness or goodness” thankfully NO because on my own merit I fail miserably in both. This confidence comes from understanding who Christ is and what He has done for each and every one of us. The high price He paid on the cross enables us to have fellowship with the Creator of the Universe and all the privileges that come along with that!   What is available to me is available to everyone who accepts Christ into their life! Acts 10:34-35 KJV 34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:35 But in every nation he that fears Him, and works righteousness, is accepted with Him.  

Delight yourself in Him and take Him at His word! Trust Him to hear and answer you as you pray specifically. He is faithful to His word!

Are you reading the manual?

I am not a techie person.  I have a blackberry but know that there are many applications it offers that I have no idea how to use. Because I have not spent time reading the  manual, I am not able to fully utilize my blackberry and all it’s applications. I get by with what I use it for but I know I am not using it to it’s full potential. In order to operate anything at it’s full potential, we need to educate ourselves on it’s capabilities, how it best functions, and the  safety requirements etc.

Our walk with Christ works much the same. In order to walk out our faith victoriously we need to spend time in the word of God. It is our manual, so to speak. The word shows us our potential in Christ, how we are to walk in the Spirit and how to avoid the spiritual snares and pitfalls along the way.

If we choose to accept Christ and then coast through life without growing in our faith, we limit what God is able to do for us and through us. Instead, He has a better plan for each and every one of us. We are to grow in our love for Him and as our faith increases, we are able to be used by Him to love and reach out to others and demonstrate Christ’s love for them.  Neither our love nor our faith will grow without spending time in our Bibles.  The Bible is full of verses emphasizing the importance of God’s word.  Let’s look at just a few of them….

John 1:1 NIV1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.    God is His word. When we study God’s word we are learning of Him!

2 Timothy 2:15 KJV 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  We are all required to study the word of God. Through learning the scriptures we are able  discern truth and keep ourselves from falling into sin and the shame that follows.

Psalm 119:105 NIV 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.  A lamp for our feet gives us illumination allowing us to see where we are at and a light on our path gives us illumination for where we are to go. This is an apt description of how reading God’s word will not only show us where we are currently at spiritually but  also gives us a clear direction to walk towards. It will keep us from stumbling around in the dark!

Hebrews 4:12 NIV 12 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.  Wow!  I love this verse. I have found when I wander away from reading God’s word I lose my sensitivity to sin and selfishness. There is incredible power in God’s word. When we read it daily we grow closer to the author and as we grow closer to Him, we see things in our lives that He sees. Things that others may never see but things He wants to deal with. Once exposed, we are able to bring these things to Him and ask for forgiveness and healing, thereby enabling us to be free to love and be loved and used for service.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  This verse says it all. The word of God is the foundation of our faith. We can stand on it with full confidence! If we read it, apply it and walk in it we will be equipped for every good work!

If you want to fall deeper in love with Christ, grow in faith and be used by God it is vital that you study His word. Make 2013 your year to spend time daily not only in prayer, but in your Bible. It is a supernatural book and it will bring about supernatural results in your walk with Christ!

Psalm 119:16 NIV 16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

Psalm 119:16 NIV 16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.

The best Christmas gift to give

As followers of Christ, we are so blessed to live under God’s mercy and grace through Christ. We are given access to the throne of God. We are provided for and given the wonderful gifts of the Spirit to move in. We are the King’s kids. What a privilege and blessing. Nothing is too difficult or challenging for God to hear and answer on our behalf.  Do we deserve it? No, but we have been adopted into the King’s family through Jesus, thereby making us His own. We are truly blessed and highly favored!

My hope is that I will not take that for granted as I have at various times in the past. I want to remember daily, just what Christ has done for each and everyone of us willing to invite Him into our lives. He is no respecter of persons. What is available to me is available to everyone else that asks Christ into their lives.  John 3:16 NIV 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

This Christmas season I want to share the “good news” with others. There are so many hurting, broken people that are looking in all the wrong places for help to their problems. I want my life to demonstrate the love of Christ to those around me. I want to be able to help others in a tangible way but most of all I want to let them know that the same God that loves and cares for me is available to them. The only real solution for this hurting, broken world is to lead them to the One that is able to do all things. Though we can help and be a blessing, there are things we are not equipped or able to do. This is where God excels, in miracles!

Remember this Christmas season that the gospel is only good news to those that hear it! Share the love of Christ this year with those who are looking for answers. After all, He is the answer. Though He came as a baby, He now reigns as the King of Kings and  is available to all that seek Him. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 NIV For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. 

During all our gift giving this season, let’s not forget to share the one gift that truly keeps on giving, the gift of Christ to a dying world.

1 Timothy2:5,6 NIV 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

1 Timothy2:5,6 NIV 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

Christmas giving outside your circle

The Christmas season is upon us again. The stores are packed with shoppers trying to find the perfect gift. Christmas trees are decorated with every imaginable color, and Christmas music is heard everywhere you go. It’s an exciting, yet somewhat stressful time for many families. For those with loved ones or friends that they are able to share the holidays with, it is a happy time. It offers an opportunity to get together under joyful circumstances and enjoy each other’s company. Most of us love to be able to have all or near all our loved ones around us for a short time again.

Sadly, there are many others that look at the holidays as a time that emphasizes their loneliness. We usually don’t have to look far to find someone that doesn’t have family or close friends to share the holidays with. This can be due to relocation for a job, a family split, addiction, a falling out or multiple other reasons.  Why not reach out to someone this Christmas season? There are so many great ways to reach out…perhaps invite someone outside the family to Christmas dinner, donate to the Salvation Army, adopt a foster child through World Vision, help your Church with an Outreach dinner for their community, purchase gifts for struggling families, give to your local food bank..  There is no end to ways that you can be a blessing to others during this time of year.

Even though times may be tighter for some of us right now, we still have so much to give. If you can’t afford to give financially, why not offer your time?  Read to the elderly or visually impaired, bake an extra dozen cookies to share with a lonely neighbor. Just take a look around your neighborhood and see where you may be able to meet a need.

For too long many of us have made Christmas a time of meeting our own needs. Though there is nothing wrong with sharing and giving to those we love, the opportunity to give to others outside our inner circle provides us with a blessing greater than anything we will feel or receive from any gift under the tree.

The Bible has many verses on giving…why not take this  Christmas season to live them out?

Proverbs 11:24,25 NIV 24 One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.25 A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Luke 6:38 NIV 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Acts 20:35 NIV 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

Romans 13:8 NIV Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

Truly, some of the happiest people I know are the most giving people. Stinginess does not bring happiness. It may thicken a wallet or bank account but it does not bring real joy. Giving does!

As Christians we can be a blessing to others because we serve a God that has done and continues to do so much for us!  Through Christ we have open access to the Creator of the world. We are continually watched and loved on by Him.  So this Christmas season remember Ephesians 2:10 NIV 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Go out and be a blessing to others and do good works! 🙂

Salvation Army-Giving Hope Today

Salvation Army-Giving Hope Today

He is NEVER late

We live in a rushing world. We rush to work, rush home to get dinner going, rush to the babysitters etc.. Seldom do we do things at a comfortable pace. Many of us our busy with our  jobs, family, cell phones, tv, internet and  electronic gadget and games! We move constantly, seldom taking the time to relax or unwind without filling that time with some type of distraction.

When we text, email or facebook message someone we are often annoyed if they do not respond immediately. We expect instant answers and responses.  People expect to be able to reach us through one means or another just about any hour of the day or night!  If we need information on anything we google it and receive info often within seconds. Waiting patiently has become a thing of the past.

When we spend so much of our life in high speed mode, it’s not surprising that we often come to God wanting instant answers. In case you haven’t discovered it yet, God does NOT work on our time schedule. 🙂 As we read in Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Oftentimes, it is our arrogance and selfish nature that demand instant gratification with regards to our prayer life. We think we know how best to resolve a situation and basically tell God what He needs to do to bring the resolution about. Thankfully, He seldom does things as we expect.  He knows so much more..including the beginning and the end of things. He knows the heart of the people we may be working with, He knows the overall situation and circumstance and isn’t just interested in our interests but all His kids interests. He looks at the long term results of our character and what He wishes to accomplish in and through our lives. It is out of love for us that He  may delay an answer or deny us our request. He will NEVER respond to our prayers contrary to His word. He will NEVER respond against His very nature. He WILL respond at the right time with an answer that demonstrates His love and His nature, even if that response happens to be NO. Just as a loving parent at times will withhold something from their child knowing it is not in their best interest, so will God withhold from us anything that is not in His best interest for us. We are changing from glory to glory daily and part of that is becoming more Christlike in our character. Answering all our prayers in the way we want them answered could prevent this!

One of the most dramatic examples of God’s perfect timing in response to prayer can be found in the book of John. We read the story of Mary and Martha and their sick brother Lazarus.  John 11:1-44 NIV 11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” 28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. 32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.35 Jesus wept.36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” 

There were so many ways Jesus could have answered Mary and Martha’s prayers prior to Lazarus’ death. All it would have take would have been for Him to speak the word and Lazarus would have been healed. His will however, was to allow him to die and be resurrected thereby increasing the faith of the witnesses and glorifying God even more!  His ways are NOT our ways!

The more we spend time in God’s word and in prayer, the more we come to understand how very much God loves us!  The more we understand this, the more we are able to trust Him, even when He says no or not now. It is never out of cruelty but always out of  love. God is the Creator of the Universe, the Ancient of Days, the Great I AM, the Alpha and Omega and we must remember that when we come before Him.  He will not be manipulated or strong armed into doing things our way or else. Instead we can come before Him, through Christ,  and make our requests known and then trust that He who ALWAYS looks out for our long term best interest, will answer our prayer when and as He sees best.

2Peter 3:8-9 NIV But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 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.

Sound familiar?

Sound familiar?

Gratitude…take the time to say thanks!

Though 2012 has presented some pretty large challenges, I am learning to recognize the movement of God’s  mighty hand in each and every one of them! His intervention has surpassed my biggest expectations. Though He has allowed some challenges to come my way, He has more than revealed His love and mercy along the way. For those who love Christ and follow Him, we have so much to be thankful for.

We are NEVER alone. We have an advocate that makes our needs and requests known to God the Father, on our behalf. He often brings answers before we have even learned to format the question!

We serve a mighty, loving and incredibly merciful God who loves to meet the needs of His kids. During my husband’s hospital visit for prostate cancer surgery, I saw God’s hand in so many details. From hearing about the wonderful surgeon from dear friends to having our financial needs met and surpassed, He has been with us and before us every step of the way. Mike’s recovery so far has been amazing! Though it will be some time before he is back to his old self, he has already achieved some incredible mile stones of recovery.

Am I surprised, frankly NO. I am learning that God always exceeds my expectations, despite the trial or challenge faced. He has provided us with a circle of great friends and family that have been supportive before, during and since his surgery. Prayer has been felt and we have already begun to see the results!

I am grateful and want to publicly thank God for all the beautiful ways He has demonstrated His love to us during 2012! I want to remember to thank God daily for all the ways He takes care of me and mine. For all the prayers He has answered and continues to answer that have come from my lips. He is so faithful and deserving of our thanks! I want to be like the Samaritan in Luke 17:11-19 NIV 11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”14 When He saw them, He said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him—and he was a Samaritan.17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then He said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

If you are currently in the middle of a trial look to Christ to walk through it with you. Ask for His guidance and wisdom in your decision making and for His hand to lead you through. Give Him your needs and He will be there for you. He is no respecter of persons and offers His love and mercy to all who seek Him. As you lean on Him, remember to give thanks along the way. Don’t be like the nine ungrateful cleansed lepers. Take the time to daily thank Him for all that He has done, is doing and will do in your life. As the word says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV 18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV 18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

From Fear to Freedom!

2 Corinthians 3:17

2 Corinthians 3:17

The past few weeks have made me more aware than ever of a “peace that passes all understanding.” There have been so many situations and circumstances that have arisen that would have simply turned me into a nervous wreck in the past. It was not all that long ago that I would worry about things that were about to happen, things that had happened and quite frankly things that never happened! 🙂

I am learning that there truly is a peace that Christ offers that cannot be explained. When we walk with Him we can have complete trust in His provision and ability to walk with us through any circumstance. Since June when we received my hubby’s diagnosis of prostate cancer, God has given me a peace that has exceeded anything I could ever imagine. We have been married for 33 years and I can’t even imagine my life without him. Without the peace and assurance God has given me, I would have been worried sick.  I have not. God has revealed His love and provision for us throughout this entire journey. From hearing of a wonderful surgeon from friends to providing for  our financial needs while he is to be out of work, God has met and exceeded all our needs. He is soooo faithful to His kids!

On top of the cancer diagnosis and surgery etc.. we have had some other family issues that God has moved in. Again, He answered our prayers! While on this life journey we will all go through difficulties. Some bigger, some smaller but eventually we will all have to walk through them. Today I went for my first mammogram. A few years ago I would have been worried about the results. Today, I went in and came out thinking, there literally is NOTHING that happens in our life that Christ will not go through with me. I am expecting the results to be absolutely fine, but if not, I have already learned first hand that my God is sufficient to see me through any situation!

He has freed me from fear. When it tries to rear it’s ugly head I just remember all the times and ways in which Christ has answered my prayers and met my needs and I am no longer a slave to fear but to freedom!

2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Related Articles:

From comforted to comforter

Have you noticed that when you are walking through a trial or difficult circumstance in your life you long to talk to others who have gone through the same or a similar journey as yours. Regardless of the type of trial, we really want to hear from others that have gone down the same road before us and how they coped and worked through their circumstance.  I remember when we lost our son Daniel in a car accident at the age of 20, I avoided talking to people that had pat answers and armchair solutions to my grief. I wanted to talk with other parents that had lost a child. They knew my suffering firsthand. They had walked the same road I was walking and had come through.

When my husband was diagnosed with cancer a few months back I found the same need. I wanted to talk to other people who had received the same diagnosis, and had worked through the treatment and come out the other side. They understood our questions and our concerns. We have been blessed to have friends that have shared lots of great information with us and been extremely helpful in understanding the road ahead. Their words have been invaluable!

God understands our need for help and comfort at times like this. Regardless of the nature of our suffering, we have an inner need for comfort and sharing during difficult times. Throughout my life, He has always provided believers that I could turn to for help and comfort when I needed it the most. People who had come through similar trials and challenges.

You may wonder from time to time, why we have trials at all?  The Bible contains many of the  purposes of trials in our life. Some of these reasons can be found in Romans 5:2-5 NIVThrough whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

As long as we are on this side of Heaven we will have trials. One of the things I am grateful for is the opportunity to see and feel the comfort of Christ during these times. He comforts us during our time of need and then allows us to comfort others with that same comfort He offers us. He offers us comfort as One who himself suffered deeply and willingly for us!  His words of comfort are not easy platitudes but are words from One who knows the pain of trials and suffering firsthand!

This is so beautifully described in 2 Corinthians 1:3-6 NIV Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

Though we don’t enjoy trials and times of suffering, we can choose to allow Christ to move mightily in us and through us during them. A day will come when because of our perseverance, character and hope through first hand experience with both of these, we will be able to offer the compassion and comfort of Christ to those in any trouble.

2 Corinthians 1:3-6 NIV 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Will His praise always be on your lips?

Hand raised in worship

Praise and Worship are some of the ways we let God know just how much we love Him. They allow us an intimate and/or collective way of expressing  thanksgiving, admiration and adoration to our Heavenly Father and Jesus our Savior.  And let’s not forget that  there is power in worship. We see one example of this in 2Chronicles 20:22 NIV22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. God actually intervened and rescued His people from their enemies when they praised and worshiped Him.  The word of God says that God even inhabits the praises of His people as we see in Psalm 22:3 KJV3  But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.  

There are so many tangible ways for us to praise and worship. Scripture is full of examples and ways to do so.  Let’s take a look at some of them…

Ephesians 5:19,20 NIV 19  Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 9:11 NIV 11 Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.

Psalm 150:4 NIV 4 Praise Him with timbrel and dancing, praise Him with the strings and pipe.

Psalm 47:1 NIV Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.

Psalm 134:2 NIV 2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.

If you are a follower of Christ, you have every reason to worship and praise the Lord regardless of your current circumstances. He has redeemed you and set you free from a life sentence! He has and will transform your life from something broken to something beautiful! He is the faithful ONE that you can always count on!

If you need reinforcements in your walk, take the time to praise and worship the King of Kings. Just as God set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated, as they began to sing and praise, we can give Him the opportunity to show Himself in our lives when we take our eyes off our difficulties and circumstances and instead turn our eyes and hearts to Him in praise and worship!

Praise and worship is not just something we do when our lives are running smoothly, we are to enter into praise and worship despite our circumstances! Instead of grumbling to yourself or others, turn to the ONE that can actually change things. The ONE that intercedes on our behalf!

Remember the words of David (a man after God’s own heart)  from Psalm 34:1 NIV I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.


Trials=Opportunities

Sometimes the beautiful, sweet things God does on our behalf overwhelm me. Just in the last two weeks I have seen God’s hand move so wonderfully in my life and in the lives of those around me.  He has answered so many prayers for myself and others. He has given water in dry places, He has healed people we have prayed over, He has provided financially for needs that seemed impossible. We serve an awesome, loving God that delights in the prayers of His kids. As we yield our lives to Him, He never disappoints.

Since my husband received a cancer diagnosis in June, God has been taking care of so many details in our lives. I have no fear of the future. He is in this journey with us every step of the way. He has given me a peace that I cannot even describe. He continues to take care of our present and future needs, sometimes with great precision. We were told we would have trials and tribulations in this world and that we are not to be surprised. James 1:2-4 NIV Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  

 Every trial is an opportunity to see the mighty hand of God work in our lives. I believe this to be true. I have seen it many times in my own life. We don’t wish to go through trials and we don’t choose them but when they come, and they will come, we are able to witness our Heavenly Father’s beautiful hand in even the finest details.

If you are going through a trial right now, don’t look to the right or left but look to Christ for peace that only He can offer, and ask for God to make Himself known in your trial. When we seek Him, He will always been found.   Here are a few verses to consider…

Psalm 112:6-8 NIV Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever . They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.   We don’t have to stress or worry about our circumstances. As followers of Christ, we have One looking out for us at all times. One who answers often before we even ask. One who will never leave us or forsake us.

Matthew 6:31-33 NIV 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Seek Him and trust Him and He will not disappoint you. In fact, you will begin to see His beautiful hand move in your life in ways you could never imagine.  We serve an awesome God!

Trials and Tribulations

Those who hope will soar!

We believers in Christ have so much to be thankful for. There is no one like our God! When we turn to Him, He  meets all our needs. His promises are forever and His word is true. One of the most beautiful promises we have can be found in Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary,and young men stumble and fall;31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

In a day and age where most of us are far too busy for our own good we have ONE we can run to. We don’t have to try and recharge our own batteries with positive thinking and bogus crystals!  We have the real deal..we serve a living God that never lets us out of His sight!  Not only that but all He asks is that we turn to Him and He will replace our weariness with strength and replace our weakness with His power. Our hope is NOT in vain. Our hope is in Jehovah Jireh, our Lord and provider.

We must learn to put our trust and dependency on the ONE who is able to make a difference. Too many run to and fro to this friend or that friend, to their Pastor or neigbour, or to a relative wanting quick  answers and easy solutions instead of seeking the lover of their soul. Our Savior,healer, deliverer and comforter is waiting for us to turn to Him. Matthew 11:28-30 NIV 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Today, instead of turning on the t.v. or radio or picking up the phone for comfort, turn to Jesus. He longs to have fellowship with you. He loves you enough that He willingly laid down His life for you to be able to have a relationship with Him. Lay your troubles and your weariness at His feet and allow Him to wrap His arms of comfort around you as you spend time in His presence and in His word. As you put your trust in Him, He will renew your strength!

I have seen eagles here several times, but thi...

Isaiah 40:31 NIV But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Let’s NOT become weary

Often when we come to God with a prayer request we would like to receive our answer immediately. This does happen but I have found in my life that often the answers do not always come right away. God, at times, allows us to go through a time of growth or stretching before we receive our heart’s desire. This period of waiting also weeds out those who are looking to our Heavenly Father as a Santa Claus type provider instead of “He who rules over the nations.” Psalm 22:28.

He is the lover of our soul and ultimately knows what is best for us. He also knows when and if He will  answer our prayers with a yes, a no or perhaps a not now. I have received all three at various times in my walk. I can’t say that I always appreciate waiting on my answer but I can say that I trust the ONE who answers to know what is best for me and mine.  I am always so pleased when I receive an immediate answer but I am learning to be content when I don’t. It is quite simply a matter of trusting the ONE who truly knows me and everything about me. As we read in Psalm 139:1-4 NIV You have searched me, Lord,and you know me.You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.

So for those times that we have to wait on God for our answer, just how should we spend our time waiting? Galatians 6:9 NIV  tells us, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

As you wait on God to answer the cry of your heart, spend your time wisely. Seek His face, read His word and continue to do all He has shown you to do up until this time. Don’t waste time demanding your way but serve God and fulfill the ministry He has provided for you whether that be with your family, your church or your community and remember, “For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we DO NOT give up.”

What more do we need?

I was reading Psalm 37:1-9 this morning and what an amazing word it is!  Though David penned it centuries before us, every word can be applied to our lives today. As followers of Christ, it is every bit as true to us today as it was to David during his lifetime. God has NOT changed. He never will. That is a truth we can take to the grave.

Spend a few minutes today meditating on each verse. Then apply each one to your present situation. These are powerful words of truth and hope. If there was ever a time in history that we needed large dosages of both it is now….

Psalm 37:1-9 NIV 

Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in Him and He will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for Him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
   but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

To sum up DON’T FRET OR ENVY OTHERS, TRUST IN GOD AND DO WELL. DELIGHT IN GOD AND HE WILL GIVE YOU THE DESIRES OF YOUR HEART. COMMIT YOUR WAYS TO HIM. BE STILL AND WAIT ON HIM. REFRAIN FROM ANGER AND WRATH AND AGAIN DO NOT FRET AS IT LEADS ONLY TO EVIL!!

Looking around us can at times be overwhelming. The view isn’t always pleasant but God is still on the throne and in control. Christ is still making intercession for His church and will continue to do so until the day He takes us home.  We will  inherit the land!  Take Him at His word and put your hope in the One who never fails or disappoints.

David: Psa 37:4

A Call to THANKS giving

Another Canadian Thanksgiving is upon us. Most of us are looking forward to spending this weekend with our loved ones. We will likely enjoy a wonderful turkey dinner together and spend time talking and sharing over the course of the weekend. We will also enjoy an extra day to play hooky on Monday.  🙂  There are extra groceries to buy, menus to plan and perhaps baking to do.  It’s quite easy to get caught up in all the preparations for the weekend and especially for our Thanksgiving dinner.

This Thanksgiving, why not try and keep God as our focal point. After all, it is His awesome provisions that allow us to celebrate Thanksgiving in the first place. We all have so much to be thankful for. We still live in a country where we are allowed so many freedoms. We can hold differing political opinions, attend church and walk in freedom on the streets without fear of being shot or imprisoned. Let’s not take it for granted.

This Thanksgiving, keep a heart of gratitude while you’re preparing or enjoying. The word of God tells us how important it is to give thanks to God for all things. Most of all, remember the price Christ paid for our freedom. That alone is enough for our hearts to be overflowing with thankfulness.

Both the Old and New Testament are full of verses reminding us of the importance of thanking God  in all and for all circumstances and situations in our lives. Even those times of difficulty and stretching.  Here are a few…

1Chronicles 16:34 NIV 34 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;  His love endures forever.

Psalm 30:12 NIV18 I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you.

Psalm 95:2 NIV Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.

Ephesians 5:20 NIV  20 Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:28 NIV 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  

My Thanksgiving hope for us all is that we will never take for granted all that God did for us when He allowed His son to be offered up on the cross, “ But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57 NIV

We serve an amazing, loving God that spared no expense in offering us a way back to intimate fellowship with Him through Christ. Don’t leave Him out of your Thanksgiving celebrations.

Happy THANKS giving everyone!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Signs of the times are everywhere..

In my teens I used to hear about how things would get worse before Jesus returns.  Back then, when I looked around it was difficult to  to imagine some of the Bible verses actually coming to pass. Things in the world were a little crazy but peace still reigned, at least in my neck of the woods. There were difficult financial years and wars going on afar but North America still seemed like a haven for peace. All that has changed in the last ten years or so. There has been an increase in wars, famines and incredibly unpredictable weather conditions worldwide.  Things are heating up here in North America. Our religious freedoms are being attacked daily. Our leaders seem to lack leadership and seem as confused about what to do as the rest of the population.

All that being said, should Christians panic and worry. NO. We have been warned that all these things and plenty more would come to pass. It is not a surprise to anyone that has studied God’s word. Should we give up on the goals and purposes God has put in our hearts. Absolutely not!  We have been born for a time such as this.  It is all the more important that we live as God has called us to live. Serving and growing in his grace and wisdom. No man knows how much time we have. It could be 10 years, 20 years or 50 years. It really doesn’t matter. The important thing is that we fulfill our God ordained purposes. It is vital that we ask God for continued wisdom and direction for each and every one of our lives and that we stop wasting time! We need to be basking in Christ’s love and soaking in His word. After all, we know how it all ends.

If you have been getting spiritually lazy and not seeking God on a daily basis, it’s time to put aside your laziness and get on your knees before Him. Get back into the word of God and encourage yourself with His wonderful promises. Let’s look at a few of them..

Luke 12:35-40 NIV 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.Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”

1John 2:28 NIV 28 And now, dear children, continue in Him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at His coming.

1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 NIV16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. And finally.. Revelation 3:3 NIV Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

If you find yourself growing weary with the increase in worldwide craziness take heart and remember we already know how the story ends. God is not surprised nor stressed about any of this. He is still on His throne and continues to extend His love and mercy to everyone that cries out to Him. Our Messiah didn’t die in vain and offers an eternal peace and joy for any that call on His name!!

Riot Police Surrounding Demonstration

“Signs of the times are everywhere, there’s a brand new feeling in the air. Keep your eye upon the Eastern sky. Lift up your hands, redemption draweth nigh.” From the song “Redemption Draweth Nigh” by Gordon Jensen

Prayer DOES change things!

I was thrilled this weekend to hear that Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani was released from an Iranian prison after three years of imprisonment.  Pastor Nardarkhani had been  charged with apostasy and was given a death sentence for being a Christian in Iran and for refusing to recant his faith in Christ. I and thousands of other Christians, worldwide had been praying for his release. Thanks to the International Christian Concern organization, his plight was made known to tens of thousands of believers. Through facebook and Twitter his name was kept in the public eye.  The pressure they kept up and their monthly reminders for prayer had many of us interceding on his behalf.  I have no doubt whatsoever that God heard our prayers and answered!  Not all of our brothers and sisters in Christ will be released from their plights as it’s not always God’s will. Obviously God has a bigger purpose for Pastor Nardarkhani being a free man.  I do believe, however, that the fervent prayers of righteous men and women helped to accomplish this!

God calls each of us to intercede on behalf of our brothers and sisters. Our prayers can make all the difference in the world. When I was reading my devotions last night, I was reminded again of the beautiful power in collective prayer. It is found in  Acts 12:1-11 NIV 12 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”

Wow, what an answer to the cries of the church! Similarly, the odds of Pastor Nardarkhani being released from an Iranian prison were very slim. It was the obedient response of the church to pray unceasingly on his behalf that brought about his release.  I am sure Pastor Nardarkhani would agree!

When you have a need go to God in prayer and watch His hand move in amazing ways to bring it to pass.  Jesus promised that we would not only do things He did but that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we would do even greater things.  John 14:12 NIV 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Through Christ, God has provided this amazing tool that allows us all to  boldly come before His throne with our requests. He hears the prayers of His kids. Collective prayer offers a special promise.. Matthew 18:19 NIV 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. What an awesome promise from an awesome God!

Keep prayer as a mainstay in your life. Don’t allow anything to come between you and your intimacy with God. Pray for others. If you want the support of many, ask others to pray for you and or your situation. Too often we don’t see results in our lives because our prayer life is lacking.

Leonard Ravenhill was a true man of God. An Evangelist and author, he spent his life focusing on the importance of prayer and revival.  His words still ring true today,“No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing, the people who are not praying are straying. We have many organizers but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few slingers;lots of pastors, few wrestlers;many fears, few tears;much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors;many writers but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.”

Prayer: James 5:16

Prayer: James 5:16

From Fear to Peace

I am a bit of a news junky.  I do like to keep up with what is going on in the world politically, socially and economically. There was a time in the past, when I had to stop watching the news. It would upset me a lot. I would see stories of children being abused or murdered, injustices worldwide, wars etc. and get so overwhelmed with the wickedness in this world that I would be upset for days afterward. I used to hear rumors of wars and see news articles about things that I knew were forerunners to the Lord’s return but instead of looking forward to it,I would worry about how it would affect my family, friends, unsaved loved ones etc.

I no longer watch and fret. I now watch and pray. I see how much closer we are to seeing many of the predictions in the book of Revelation and the book of Daniel come to pass but instead of reacting out of fear, I now react by using the signs as a springboard to pray for the people I love and those who need God in their lives. Fear tends to paralyze us. It keeps us on an emotional roller coaster. When things around us are going well, we feel good but when things around us are difficult we are tense and edgy and lose all our inner peace. I now think of the difficulties in life as opportunities to see God’s awesome hand move in my life or the lives of those around me.

As Christians, God provides us with a peace that truly does pass all understanding. When we stay close to Him, He replaces worry with trust and fear with peace.  I really am so thankful that though things around us can be turned upside down, God promises to go with us through the turmoil and see us through to the other side.  Let’s look at a few of the promises we have to take hold of…

Psalm 119:165 NIV 165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. 

Isaiah 32:17 NIV 17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;  its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.

Psalm 29:11 NIV 11 The Lord gives strength to his people;  the Lord blesses his people with peace.

and finally Romans 5:1 NIV 5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you are lacking  peace in your life and are struggling with fear, it’s time to look to God’s word for the truth of who you are and what you have in Christ Jesus. 1 John 4:17-19 NIV 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.19 We love because He first loved us.

The peace that passes all understanding is not just for a select few. God promises it for all believers. If you’re struggling with fear, ask God to show you through His word, promises of hope and peace. They are there for the taking.

A member of the Free Syrian Army takes positio...

Psalm 27:3 NIV Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear; 
though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.

No man/woman is an island..

In the garden of Eden, God said it was not good for Adam to be alone. It is the same today, we need one another. We have been created for fellowship. If we neglect spending time with others we can become lonely and bitter. The majority of us love to get together with family and or friends and spend time talking, laughing and just sharing life. It can be like a tonic that rejuvenates us!

As Christians it is just as important that we spend time with  fellow believers. God has equipped us all with different gifts and strengths that are made to be shared. We can gain so much from one another. When dark times come, it’s great to know there are other people not only praying on your behalf but available when you need an encouraging word. Then there are times when we may need some fine tuning in our thinking or actions and who better to receive it from than another believer who has your best interest at heart.

We are so fortunate to have a second family that is there to build us up in our faith, encourage us, correct us when we are going off the tracks and to share the amazing things God is doing in our lives.  No wonder the scripture says in Hebrews 10:25 NIV 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

If you’re not currently attending a church where you can use your strengths and  gifts and receive the benefit of the strengths and  gifts of others it’s time to find one.  God knows the need we have to give and receive encouragement and therefore warns us not to stop meeting together.  There are so many benefits that come from gathering together with fellow believers.  Here are just a few verses that demonstrate some of them…

Acts 15:32 NIV 32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers.

Colossians 3:16 NIV 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

1 Peter 4:8-10 NIV Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 

For anyone that doesn’t have a Church family, I would encourage you to pray for direction in finding one.  It can be such a great blessing in your life, both in giving of yourself and in receiving from others!

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.~John Donne