Tag Archive | Jesu

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!

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

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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.

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

Deeper Love brings greater change

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faith like a child

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Matthew 18:4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 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.”

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

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.

It’s time to put aside spiritual laziness

As Christians we need to daily be refilled with God’s wisdom. We can make poor decisions that may have disastrous effects by making decisions based on  feelings alone. When we operate without God’s wisdom we often lack good long term judgement. Perhaps the reason so many Christians are fumbling from one bad situation to the next is because they don’t feed themselves daily on the word.  Instead, they run from one person to the next asking for help and guidance.  I am sure we have all done this at one time or another but it is a really foolish way to go through our walk.

God will not give us a pass for laziness when it comes to falling into sin or our love waxing cold. We are to be diligently seeking Him and to do so requires we get into the Bible regularly. Anything less is asking for trouble.  Some would rather have a t.v. preacher pray for their problems instead of getting on their face before God and seeking answers from the only one who can truly bring about the BEST result. We have an obligation to keep our hearts and thoughts right before Him and the only way to do this is through studying His word and praying.

There are Pastors worldwide overwrought with burdens from their parishioners who should be seeking God for their answers and not running to their Pastor every time they have an issue.  This isn’t to say we shouldn’t go to our Pastors when we need advice, prayer or counselling.  That is why God has anointed some for leadership but we are NOT to be running to them or anyone else because instead of seeking God ourselves we have chosen to be lazy and want someone else to get on their knees before God and seek His wisdom on their behalf!

Unless we are a new believer, we need to put away the milk and start eating the solid food of God’s word for ourselves. We need to be daily spending time with the “lover of our soul” and not always asking someone else to do it on our behalf.  We need to grow up!  It is each of our own responsibility to keep our walk with God right. No one else can do this for us. Then, as we come together collectively as a body, we are able  to worship and pray in power and might. Each one contributing out of what God has given them.

There will always be situations where we need the intercession of others. It is a blessing and privilege as a Christian to have each other to turn to when in need.  However, this shouldn’t be our daily routine.  Let’s put away spiritual laziness and wake up to our own spiritual responsibility.  When we do so, we are a mighty collective force!

1John 2:27 NIV 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

Psalm 119:18 NIV 18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 NIV 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures,which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 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.

Joshua 1:8 NIV This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Psalm 119:105 NIV 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

And finally…. 2Timothy2:15 NIV 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Commit yourself to spending time studying and in prayer daily and watch how God will give you the wisdom you need to walk your journey of faith and be a blessing to others!

James 1:5 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.

Faith and action go hand in hand

If we really believe Christ is who He says He is and that He willingly suffered great agony and  laid down His life for us to have salvation and  intimate fellowship with God than we need to act like it!  When we think about all that He has done for each of us we can’t ignore the fact He did this for each and every man, woman and child born. Knowing this we need to live our lives demonstrating the great love He has shown us to others. We need to wake up every morning and ask God what we can do this day to show His love and mercy to others. There are so many walking wounded looking for help in a world that can only offer temporary relief. You may be the only way they see Christ on any given day  and therefore it’s so important we live our lives of faith demonstrating that wonderful love. There are several Bible verses telling us of the importance of not keeping our faith to ourselves but actually living it out.

James 2:14-26 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.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.

Titus 3:8 NIV This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

Hebrews 6:10 NIV 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

It’s pretty safe to say that both faith and works go hand in hand. By faith in Christ we are redeemed and joined in the family but we are not to be selfish and keep it to ourselves. God desires that we reach out to others and love them as He loves them. We are to be obedient to the things He tells us to do. Sometimes that can be something as simple as helping someone on the roadside change a tire. Other times we have an chance to pray with someone needing a touch from God or for salvation.  The opportunities are endless!

Our first responsibility is to stay in close communion with Christ through prayer and reading the word.  Then out of that sweet relationship we are to carry out anything and everything God asks us to do. If we try to do works without a  relationship to Christ we  are than simply being religious and God despises religious behavior. For example Jesus Himself said in Mark 12:38-40 NIV 38 As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

When we do stay in close communion with Christ we can’t help but want to do for others. It flows naturally out of the love He has shed abroad in our hearts!  If you find yourself unmotivated to serve others or share your faith it’s time to do a heart check and see just how far you may have wandered from that sweet intimacy God offers. Spend the time it takes in prayer asking for God to reveal whatever it is that you have allowed to come between the two of you and once you have confessed it before Him ask Him what it is that you can do today to demonstrate  His love to others.

Hebrews 13:16 NIV 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Flat tire

Flat tire (Photo credit: Alicia Nijdam)

Peace is available during the storms

Yesterday my hubby and I visited a Doctor for a current health issue we are dealing with.  When I looked around in the waiting room I couldn’t help but feel sad for others there that may not have God in their lives, having to deal with a crisis without Him. Too many people struggle through situations without the peace that He promises and offers to us when we rely on Him.  It’s a peace that is supernatural.  In our natural minds, everything cries out to worry when we come across a situation in life that we don’t understand, didn’t expect or can’t resolve on our own. As believers, however, we can turn to God and ask for His wisdom in our decision making, and His peace and assurance to carry us through the ordeal.  He doesn’t DISAPPOINT!

If we find ourselves in such a situation, we only need to look to His word for our source of help. The Psalms alone, have so many awesome verses to claim during times of need..

Psalm 46:1,2 NIV God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

Psalm 121:1,2,3 NIVI lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber. 

God cares not only for the sick in body but the sick in heart.. Psalm 34:18,19 NIV 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted 
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 107:13-15 NIV 113 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.14 He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. 15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

and finally Psalm 71:1-3 NIV sums it all up.. In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;  let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me.Be my rock of refuge,to which I can ALWAYS GO; give the command to save me, for YOU ARE MY ROCK AND MY FORTRESS.

If you are a child of God through Christ,  it’s time to take Him at His word.  He will be there for you during your difficulty and see you through!  He promises and He cannot go back on His promises.  Numbers 23:19 NIV 19 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

Hebrews 6:17,18 NIV 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.

Wenceslas Hollar - The Psalms

Wenceslas Hollar – The Psalms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Basking in His Love

There are so many blessings that come from being a child of God.  We have His protection, His provision, His anointing on our life and His guidance in our daily walk. The greatest thing we have, over all these things, is His love and what a love it is! In our busyness of life we often forget just how much He loves us. Let’s reacquaint ourselves with that love by His words to us….

The ultimate demonstration of God’s love for us came through the birth and death of His son on our behalf, 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.  

The King of the Universe loved us so much that even the price of His own precious Son was not too much to offer in order to restore fellowship with us. Let’s hope we NEVER take that for granted.

Here are some other verses to meditate on, illustrating an awesome love from an awesome God…

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Ephesians 2:4,5 NIV 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.

A beautiful promise for anyone seeking God, Proverbs 8:17 NIV 17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

 1John 4:9,10 NIV This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

 Job 34:19 NIV 19 who shows no partiality to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of his hands?

And one of my favourite verses, Psalm 86:15 NIV 15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

 1Peter 5:6,7 NIV Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  

We don’t need to carry around our anxieties and worries but can lay them at His feet and He promises to take care of us.

 Zephaniah 3:17 NIV 17 The Lord your God is with you,the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

This verse sums up just how very precious we are to Him, Romans 8:37-39 NIV 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 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.

There is literally  nothing or no one that can separate us from God’s love!!! No circumstances, no persecution, no individual, NOTHING can separate us from His love through Christ.

When we really grasp just how much He loves us and cares for us we can understand the importance of the following command,

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. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Bask in His words of love to you until you understand just how deep that love is and then  go out and love one another as Christ would love.

From the Heart to the Mouth

How many times during the day do we speak without really thinking first? Sometimes the conversation is quite innocent. What do you think about this weather? How’s your family? etc. etc.  No harm is done. It is just polite conversation that we use to engage with others.

Not all conversation is so innocent. We have all, at one time or another, gossiped or criticized others or repeated something we knew we shouldn’t, often without even thinking about what we were going to say before it slipped out! Our mouths are  capable of bringing encouragement and blessings to others or harm and destruction.  Wars have been started over words and wars have been ended by words. Our mouths have a lot of power behind them!  It’s been my prayer that God would daily remind me to use my words more carefully. To stop and weigh my words before spitting them out.

There is so much negativity around us. I like to follow the news but seldom is there anything edifying or uplifting to be found. It is usually full of wars, disasters, abuse and crime. Good news is hard to come by! The world is full of individuals that focus on the negative in their lives.  We all know people like this. They are the walking wounded that seldom have anything positive to say about their own lives or anyone elses. I’m not referring to people that are going through a difficult period and need encouragement here. We all need this from time to time but there are those who through their own confession have NOTHING good to say about anything or anyone. They are trapped in a cycle of voicing their woes and then experiencing exactly what they voice.

The Bible tells us that, But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.” Matthew 15:18 NIV   What we say out loud is just an example of what is going on in our hearts.  If you find yourself being critical or negative on a regular basis it’s time to do some self examining.  Our negative words can be an overflow of bitterness or unforgiveness from inside us. If so, it’s time to get on our knees and confess it before God and ask for God’s forgiveness and also by an act of our will we need to forgive others we may be holding a grudge against. If we don’t deal with whatever is causing our negativity we will go around causing unnecessary hurt and damage to others by our words.

Just as we have the potential to cause pain to others with our words, we also have the ability to bring love, blessings and encouragement into their lives.  I know when I have gone through really difficult days and someone has called with a word of encouragement it’s been so uplifting.  Believers need to take serious God’s word and the importance it places on the power of our spoken words.

Proverbs 18:21 NIV 21 The tongue has the power of life and death.

Proverbs 13:3 NIV Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, 
    but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

Ephesians 4:29 NIV 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Proverbs 16:24 NIV 24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,  sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Colossians 3:8 NIV But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

Matthew 12:37 NIV 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Start fresh…ask God to help you guard your tongue and think before speaking. There are many people out there needing a kind word.

Words

Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

The Price of Entitlement

Sadly, we live in a world where a great many are growing up with an overblown sense of entitlement. Many adult children have rejected the idea that their parents raised them and that as adults they should now support themselves and stand on their own two feet. Instead they believe their parents should still be funding their lifestyle and bailing them out of any mess they should get themselves into. They spend little or no time with their parents just enjoying their company and when these parents get  a call from them they know that it comes with a request or demand! These kids shun responsibility and instead expect others to foot the bill for their needs and greeds. Though it would have been much easier to deal with this type of behavior when their children were young, it’s never too late to turn the tide and put their foot down. The longer a parent enables this type of behavior the longer the enabled will continue  to drain them of emotional and financial resources.

Though most of us parents really enjoy helping out our adult children out of love, we should never feel that continuing to do so, while the adult child is not contributing, is a loving thing to do. Our ultimate goal as parents is to raise children to become functioning, self supporting adults that will eventually contribute positively to society. Blessings and support we give to our adult children should be out of our free will and not out of a guilt ridden sense of duty. When we see them working hard and taking care of themselves and their loved ones we often want to do what we can to support that. If we ,as parents, are able to give of our time, our resources or financially and we see them actively working towards this on their own than it is a pleasure to offer our support! However, if we see them living a selfish, irresponsible lifestyle it would be foolhardy to enable that lifestyle to continue. There comes a time for everyone to finally grow up!

In our walk with God we too can become like that adult child who looks to our Heavenly Father  to intervene and bail us out of messes we have gotten ourselves into by our selfishness and irresponsibility. Some look to God like  Santa Claus. They spend little or no time in His word or in prayer with Him yet cry out to Him with a list of demands and expect Him to meet them without any of the responsibility of obedience to Him or His word.

As believers, we are able  to come before our Father and make our requests known.  Not on our own merit but thankfully by the price Christ paid for us on the cross. Through our belief in Him and what He has done for us, we are given a special entitlement to the throne of God. However, we are not to behave as though that price came cheap!  The Bible has much to say about our part in maintaining an unstrained relationship with our Father. That part involves our coming to Him through Jesus our Savior and walking in obedience to His word. If we are His children and understand the price He paid for our salvation and freedom we should want to walk in the way He has called us to walk. A way that keeps us in close fellowship with Him. A way that keeps our heart right before Him so that when we do come to God with our requests these requests are  not rooted in selfishness alone. He loves His kids and promises to hear our cries. He also requires that for our relationship with Him to be maintained we hold up our end of the relationship. He would not be the wonderful Heavenly Father He is  if He did all the giving and required nothing of us in return. It would  be no different than the parent who raised their children to believe the world revolved around them and that they could make demands of everyone and yet nothing would ever be required of them. In other words a bunch of brats!

The Bible offers wonderful verses for us to hide in our hearts! Verses that remind us of our responsibilities as a child of God.

James 2:17 NIV 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

1 John 2:3-6 NIVWe know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,”but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him:Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

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

John 15:14 NIV 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

Luke 11:28 NIV 28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

John 15: 9-17 NIV “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. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit —fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Acts 5: 29-32 NIV 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.”

And finally Psalm 119: 1-8 NIV sums up the way to walk…  Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek Him with all their heart—they do no wrong  but follow his ways. 
You have laid down precepts  that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! 
Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.

Those of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior are by grace entitled to come boldly before His throne. This is an awesome fact but let’s not neglect to spend time with the one who offered us this grace! Let’s keep our hearts right before Him by spending time in His word. Though God knows we will mess up from time to time and loves us anyway, let’s not take our entitlement for granted. Let’s walk as He’s called us to walk!

Romans 12:10 NIV 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

What are you feeding on?

We live in a culture where we are constantly being educated about how to take care of our bodies.  TV offers multiple shows with advise on what to eat, what not to eat, when to eat, when not to eat etc. We probably have more information today on what foods are best to fight colds and cancer and what foods to avoid to prevent obesity. Having said all that, many continue to eat at the wrong times, eat the wrong foods and struggle with the consequences that follow. Diabetes is on the increase, obesity is a problem that plagues North Americans and children are being diagnosed much more frequently with things such as ADD, ADHD etc. Unless we live in a remote location without access to outside media we have all the information we need to change our eating habits yet many of us continue to choose to consume things that may eventually negatively affect our health.

In our walk with Christ we see the same thing. God has given us all the instructions we need to keep our hearts right with him.  The Bible is full of instructions on how we can avoid spiritual traps. The information is readily available to us but unless we are reading the Bible daily and actively applying it to our lives we remain stagnant in our faith. This spiritually cripples us as we are not living the life God has created us to live. We tend to fall into areas of sin that we know we should be avoiding such as gossip, selfishness etc.

Just as the information is readily available on how to care for our bodies by what we put into them, the information is readily available on how to care for our hearts by what we put into our minds. God will not supernaturally inject all this wisdom into our heads! We have to read it and by his grace, apply it in our lives.  Christ came to give us an abundant life. A life that He can use to reach out to others.  If we ourselves are stumbling along in laziness by neglecting to read His word we will never accomplish what He has planned for us. Some one out there needs our help and we need to shrug off idleness and get into His word and align our lives to live according to His word.

Here are but a few scriptures emphasizing the importance of  what we put into our minds that will affect our hearts.

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

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.

Romans 12:2 NIV 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 10:4,5 NIV The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.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.

This verse is  one of my favourites. After spending years not reading the Bible as often as I should, this verse written by David means so much to me now, Psalm 119:11 NIV 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

All of these verses emphasize the importance of God’s word in our lives. Without delving into His word we are not able to renew our minds. It is by His word that the renewal comes.

The next time you feel like sitting in front of the tv and snacking on something you probably shouldn’t be eating anyway, pick up your Bible and feast on God’s word.  It alone will bring about permanent positive change and won’t even pack on a single pound! 🙂

Cover for a NIV Bible

Cover for a NIV Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In EVERYTHING give thanks

When trials and challenges come into our lives, we believers in Christ are often found complaining as if we are surprised that unpleasant things could be happening to us. I’m not referring to things that have come about as a direct result of sinful behavior or purposeful disregard. I’m referring to things that are often beyond our control. An example would be miscarrying or losing a child.  A cancer diagnosis etc.  Things that we ourselves have not brought about for the most part and have little to no control over.

Our first line of defence should be to go to God and seek His help. We also should get our church body to pray. Sometimes God chooses to perform a miracle and bring about perfect supernatural healing.  Most of us have known someone or of someone who has experienced this. Other times God allows us to go through the trial without supernatural healing or visual intervention. He is working no less on our behalf than if He had performed a physical miracle.

He knows our heart and knows the best way for us to grow. So than, should we have to walk through our trial or wait on our answer and not receive an instantaneous response with what attitude should we walk through it? .We can grumble and complain like others that don’t have the confidence of their Heavenly Father looking out for them, or we can do what the word of God tells us to do.  Put our trust in the one who created us and give thanks! Nowhere in the word does it say to give thanks in the good times and gripe in the difficult times. We are given very specific instructions that we need to be reminded of frequently…

Colossians 3:15 NIV15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be THANKFUL.

Can God’s word be any plainer than this?.. Phillipians 4:6 NIVDo not be anxious about ANYTHING, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, WITH THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God.

Colossians 4:2 NIV Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and THANKFUL.

Psalm 106:1 NIV Praise the Lord. Give THANKS to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

1Chronicles 23:30 NIV 30 They were also to stand every morning to THANK AND PRAISE the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening.

Psalm 35:18 NIV 18 I will give you THANKS in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you.

And why should we always have an attitude of thankfulness and not grumble?   Because as Psalm 9;9,10 says, NIV The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10 Those who know your name TRUST IN YOU, for you, Lord,  HAVE NEVER FORSAKEN THOSE WHO SEEK YOU.

Grumbling and complaining never accomplishes anything helpful, in fact it may hinder our answer from God. It certainly hindered the Israelites when they were walking in the desert! (Exodus 16)  Before you open your mouth to complain, remember we have a Savior that was willing to lay down His life for us and provide a way for our salvation. We have MUCH to be thankful for! Not only did He die for us but He walks with us daily.  If you are walking in God’s will and He has permitted challenges in your life you can be sure He will see you through them.  In EVERYTHING give thanks!

Psalm 113:3 NIV 3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.

If you belong to Him remember…

Some of us have short memories.  Mine certainly has been getting shorter the last few years! 🙂 Maybe it was turning 50, maybe not but  there are times when I wish my memory was better.  I often head downstairs to get something and find myself standing there looking around and wondering what on earth I came down there for….I have found it necessary to make lists or use my blackberry calendar more often these days if I want to be sure I don’t forget something important. I’ve read several articles over the last few years and apparently memory loss can begin as young as 20 years.  I am referring to mild memory loss, not the dementia type.  I also have read that the more children a woman has carried, the more memory loss she will suffer. Something about hormones and I don’t really understand all the details.  I will claim both, I carried four babies and I am now over 50 so I have an excuse or so I will claim anyway!

There are some things I do not ever want to forget! Here are just a few of the awesome promises in the book of Romans that God has given to us that He intends for us to cling to and claim! They are worth hiding in our heart!

 Romans 8:28 NIV 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.     

What a beautiful promise this is! “That in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  If you are a believer and have accepted Christ you have been called according to His purpose!  This means WHATEVER comes into your life God will work out for your good!  This offers a huge amount of comfort to us!  If we are believers and our serving him, nothing can touch us that He hasn’t allowed or that He will not work out for our good.

And secondly, 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.

We have been bought with a price!  A price that is so precious that absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus! If we walk in faith we don’t have to live in fear of losing that relationship.  God has saved us and intends fully to keep us in His family!  His Son paid too high a price to let us go!

Next time you find yourself forgetting something, remind yourself of these two verses.  When we apply them daily our lives will be transformed!

Forget Me Nots

A Reliable Hope

Most of us have things we are waiting on in our lives. A circumstance we want to see resolved. A heart change in a loved one. A health issue we are going through and trusting God for. If we have committed our circumstance to God and have put our trust in Him we can rest assured He will not only see us through it but that as we go  through the circumstance we will grow. We serve a God that hears our prayers and is faithful to His own. We don’t have to fear while we wait on our answer.  We can rest assured that He will never allow anything to come into our lives that we cannot bear in Him.  Hebrews 10:13 NIV 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.

It isn’t blind faith that we have, it is real faith. The kind of faith a child has in a loving parent. They know that no matter what is going on around them, their parent will take care of them and do everything in their power to protect them. Our God is even more reliable than the best parent out there. We can even have joy as we go through our trials because  we know not only do we not go through them alone but that as it says in Romans 8:28 NIV 28  We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.

So when storms come, and they will come we have reason to hope. Not blind hope but real hope. We can rest and put our faith in Him and know that the one that loved us enough to send His son to die for us will not leave us helpless or hopeless. His word is His promise to us and His word is  full of hope.

Psalm 71:14 NIV 14 As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.

Romans 15:13 NIV 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 31:24 NIV 24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

Importance of Fellowship

There are so many things that keep us busy these days.   Jobs, family, volunteering and too many other things to list.  It doesn’t take too long before we can get bogged down with responsibilities. To keep on the right track and to keep joy in our lives we need to have a good prayer life and time spent in the word. These are two basics that keep our spiritual feet firmly on the ground. Along with these two things we also need fellowship. God didn’t create us to be islands. We need one another. We need the support of prayer and conversation from other believers. In the New Testament church, the apostles worked along side one another and encouraged each other as the need arose. This need hasn’t diminished but because many of us work outside the church the need is vital to have the support of believers to keep us walking right.

This past weekend we held our church picnic at our home and it was great to spend time having fun with our brothers and sisters in Christ. There was no drama, no discord just a group of people that love God having a blast with one another. When we get to know each other better we are better equipped to pray and help one another.  We live in a world where many live and look out for themselves. In the church we need to be sure we don’t allow that to become our lifestyle.  God has called us all to serve.  If we get too bogged down we are not fit to help anyone. Having fellowship is vital. Whether it be a picnic, a potluck or a prayer meeting, we need one another.  It can help recharge our spiritual batteries and remind us we are not lone wolves but we are a body, a body that serves and encourages one another and that reaches out and serves our families, our communities and our world.

1Peter 4:9 NIV  9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Romans 12:10 NIV 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Galatians 5:13 NIV 1313 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Make time for fellowship.

We choose how we go through trials!

Recently there has been a flood of friends and family facing trials. Some are health concerns, some financial and others in relationship conflicts.  There is no way of going through this life journey without coming up against one if not more of these. Christians are not exempt of difficulties and trials.  Some of us in our early years in faith believed we would be protected by a spiritual bubble that would prevent difficult, hurtful things from knocking at our door.  This belief wasn’t based on anything scriptural but a naive belief that because we chose to serve God He would not allow anything “bad” to happen to us. Early death, sickness, financial hardships and all the other struggles out there would somehow pass us by. If we believed enough, these things would move on down the road and away from our doors.

This naive belief is based on our own lack of knowing God’s word and the words of Jesus to His followers.  God never promised that life would be sunshine and rainbows every day.  He never promised we would not struggle through difficulties.  He never promised we would not lose a loved one long before we thought it was their time to go. In fact Jesus warned us in John 16:33 NIV “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.” 

I personally have had to deal with some great losses in my life.  When we lost our son Daniel, at age 20 in a car accident I grieved daily for about 3 years before I could really accept he was gone.  Though he came to Christ as a young child and I knew I would see him again, I missed his smile, his crazy humour, his lovely face and his presence in the family! I still have days where I feel such deep grief over the fact that he won’t ever get to have a family, raise children and live out some of his dreams.  I did however, have to get to a place where I trusted that God had his reasons for taking him home. He may never reveal them to me but even that is now okay. He knows so much more than I can ever know about the future.  We can choose to grow bitter and angry and decide that because things didn’t go the way we expected them to go we will no longer walk with the Lord.  There are many people out there walking down that dark road.  Choosing that road will just lead to more discontent and bitterness.

When dark days come most of us will have a time where we pull inside ourselves, wallow in sadness and grief for a time but then comes the time for us to look to God.

Psalm40:1-3 NIV 1 I waited patiently for the Lord;he turned to me and heard my cry.2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire;he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.3 He put a new song in my mouth,a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.

I believe in counselling and it did help me a great deal to talk to a counselor while I was working through my grief after the loss of our son, but even the best counselor cannot bring about the heart deep healing that only Jesus can.  As we choose life, choose to move forward and allow God to heal those deep wounds we move out of our deep grief and into a place of acceptance and peace.  Throughout our journey trials will continue to come and with every trial we have the choice of how we will walk through it. We can look to God knowing the truth of Romans 8:28 NIV 28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,”  or we can remain wallowing in our grief and bitterness.  I choose life!

I choose life!

No Battle, No Gain

It should come as no surprise to those of us who follow Christ that we will be presented with daily challenges.  These challenges can come in many forms.  There are life circumstances that we may face that are beyond our control, people we may encounter, health concerns etc.  If we were born on this Earth we WILL face battles in one form or another and at times from various forms at once!  Though they are never enjoyed, they are to be expected from time to time.

Without the battle there will be no growth.  That’s just the way it is.  Just as exercise increases our physical muscles, trials increase our spiritual muscles.  The key is in remaining obedient even when we would like to do anything but…  The victory is always sweet when we do so. Some battles are for a day, some for years and some still for decades but there is always something to be gained by each and every one.

Ephes 6:12 (KJV) 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

If Jesus promised we would experience trials, we can be sure we will but  remember and claim, John 16:33 (KJV)
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Though our trials often  roll in like a storm cloud we are to take them to Jesus and stand firmlyon His word.  He will never disappoint!    2 Corin 10:4 (KJV) 4For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.