Tag Archive | Lord

Our beautiful compassionate King!

In our world we see people doing all kinds of evil things in the name of their religion. On a daily basis we hear of people being beheaded, persecuted and murdered by all kinds of vile methods for not converting to radical Islam. People trying to force another by violence to adhere to their twisted ideology. Amid all of this, I am so grateful that we who are followers of Jesus Christ serve a Savior and Lord that does not require that we use violence to draw people to Him. He requires love! How awesome is He! He tells us to let our light shine, He tells us to let the world see His love for them through us! He tells us that when we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick and give water to the thirsty we are doing it to Him!  Matthew 25:31-40 NIV 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

In the book of Mark we see our beautiful Lord and King healing the leper after being moved with compassion. Mark 1:39-42 NKJV 39 And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.40 Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 4Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.

Jesus, the Son of God, the Holy One, the King of Kings was moved with compassion! What a beautiful picture of our Jesus! A King who feels for the cast offs of society and is moved to save, heal and deliver them! A King who does not see class distinction. A King who does not wish any should spiritually perish! A King that is moved with compassion!

Today let the reality of the character of Jesus sink into your heart. Ask Him to give you a heart of compassion for those who are lost, sick and bound. Ask Him to guide you in reaching out and sharing the good news with those who so desperately need to hear it! Let His love and compassion shine through you this Christmas season!

How’s your fruit?

As followers of Christ we are called to bear fruit. The fruit we bear is a direct result of being firmly attached to the vine, thereby able to receive nourishment. In our walk with Christ, if we wish to produce good fruit we must stay firmly attached to Jesus, our true vine and continue to receive the nourishment of the Holy Spirit. Both are necessary for us to produce fruit that is pleasing to God.  Acts 2:38,39 NIV “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Without the Spirit of God within us we are unable to produce fruit that will please our Father.  Regardless of what good works we do, they will be done in the flesh and will have no spiritual benefit whatsoever. However, when the Spirit of God lives within us we have the ability to produce fruit that will have long lasting spiritual affects! He has equipped us to produce good fruit that will draw others to Him and enable us to fulfill the purposes He has for our lives.  Galatians 5:16-26 NIV 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Jesus told us that we will be known by our fruit. Matthew 12:33-37 NIV 33 Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 3A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The good fruit we produce is a direct result of being led by the Spirit of God and not by good deeds done in the flesh. Our flesh is incapable of doing anything that will please God. Our flesh, no matter how well intended it may be, will never be able to please God. It is only those things done as we abide in Christ and are led by the Spirit that please God as we see in the book of John.  John 15:1-17 NIV 15 I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you 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. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. “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.

In order to produce good fruit for the Kingdom of God we MUST remain close to the true vine (Jesus) and the gardener (God the Father). This can only be done by spending time with them in prayer, after all  how is it possible to maintain a close relationship with someone when you refuse to spend time with them? It is also vital that we spend time in the Word of God. Our Bible is God’s Word to us! It is God breathed and essential for our growth as we see in 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.

Just as any fruit that has been cut off the vine will eventually wither, so will we wither spiritually when we are apart our true vine, Jesus!  Without our attachment to the vine, our fruit will not only wither but eventually rot! Jesus warned us of the importance of producing good fruit. One day each of us will have to give an account for the fruit that we did or didn’t bear. It is a stern warning that each of us should take very seriously!

Matthew 7:16-23 NIV 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

If you find yourself drifting from your intimacy with Christ, our true vine, ask Him to forgive you and get back into spending time with Him in prayer and in studying His Word. He longs for you to spend  time with Him. He longs for you to produce good fruit for the Kingdom! He has called you and equipped you to do just that! Don’t allow anything or anyone to sever your branch from the vine!

Blessings!

There are periods that we forget that in the pursuit of fruit, that if we just abide in Him, then fruitfulness is a guarantee.~Francis Chan

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Are you due for a maintenance check?

For the past several weeks our home computer had not been running very smoothly. There were many delays when trying to pull up pages, pages freezing and programs refusing to open.   Though I knew it needed to be done I just  kept putting off running a maintenance check. Today I did it. It was very necessary. It has cleaned up a number of issues. I couldn’t help but think it is similar to our need for a spiritual maintenance check every now and then.  When life gets hard or too busy and we find our intimacy with Christ lagging, our thoughts become negative and confusing and  too often we turn to other things to fill the emptiness we are sensing. We may turn to facebook, online games, tv or other sources of quick fix comfort when what we really need to do is spend time in our Bibles and talking to the lover of our soul!

There is no substitute for time spent with Him. Other time fillers cannot bring about the change we need in our hearts. They cannot restore our joy or peace. They cannot prepare us for what He has in store for us today or tomorrow. Only spending time in His Word and in His presence in prayer can do that.

If you find yourself spiritually running on empty, turn off all your gadgets and get alone with your Bible and Savior.  Nothing will fill that emptiness you are feeling but Christ. He made us that way!.  Ask Him to restore your joy and peace. Read His Word and learn of Him and His beautiful, enduring, patient love for you. Let His words of life change you, recharge you and give you the hope you need to be His ambassador here.

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.”

Psalm 9:9-10 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.

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

Lord, we come before You and ask that today You turn our hearts back to You. Remind us to seek You when we are spiritually dry and not look to fill our time with worthless things and activities. Restore our joy and peace today as we lean into You and read Your Word. We love You Lord and long to grow into the people You have called us to be. Fill us today with vision for today and the future. We ask it all in the beautiful name of Your Son Jesus, Amen.

 

Do I need MORE to be content?

Lately I’ve been enjoying watching some of the home  renovation programs on t.v.  They tend to inspire me to do creative things in and around my house. I’ve also found, however, that they also create a bit of discontent within me. I find myself wishing we had more expendable income so we could do more. At times, I also find myself becoming discontent with what I have. Though we don’t live in the lap of luxury, we have more than most in this world of ours. We have loads to be grateful for! We have been blessed with so much inside and outside our home.

I know there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve things in our lives. Change can be a good thing. Some change can makes our lives easier, more comfortable etc. However, the changes that we want are not always possible. The timing may not be right, the finances may not be there, the person may not be ready etc.

The Lord has reminded me, once again, that I must learn to be content with what I have and with the things I cannot change right now. If I allow my discontent to grow, I will find myself envying others and being resentful to those around me. God hasn’t called me to a life of selfish indulgence but to a life of service. When I focus on what I don’t have and not on what I should be grateful for, I become a grumbler. Grumbler’s never accomplish much for the Kingdom!  Just read Exodus 16 & 17.  If it had not been for Moses, these grumblers would probably still be wandering in the wilderness!

I don’t want to grumble, instead I want to live as Paul learned to live.

Ephesians 4:8-13 NKJV 

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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. 

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

I am learning. It is a progress but I do want to learn to be truly content in any circumstance. Not because it makes me more noble or holy. Simply because it is what Jesus calls me to do. When I walk in contentment I am usable for the Kingdom. When I grumble and complain and keep my focus on me me me, I make myself insensitive and unavailable for service.

Lord, for those of us who struggle with discontentment from time to time we ask for forgiveness. Please  open our eyes that we may see all that we have to be grateful for! Give us a heart like Jesus. A heart that desires to do your will. A heart that is content in all things. A heart that is yielded to the Holy Spirit. We ask it in the beautiful name of Your Son Jesus. Amen



His timing is perfect, mine not so much!

Do you ever get tired of waiting on answered prayer? Do you wonder why God hasn’t responded immediately or at least soon after you made the request? God’s timing is perfect. It doesn’t always feel like it to us, but it is. He knows the beginning from the end and He will answer us when the time is right.  I used to get so frustrated waiting on an answer to something that seemed so simple for the Creator of the Universe to do. Why did He make me wait?  Thankfully I am a bit better at the waiting now.  😉  I have learned that His timing really is perfect. There have been too many answered prayers in my life that have often happened at what seemed like a minute to midnight, for me not to have learned I can trust Him completely! I have also learned that if I submit to Him during those times of waiting He will use that time to make me more like His Son. It is during those times that I learn patience and often long suffering. These two fruits of the Spirit are seldom,  if ever, developed in times of comfort.

If you are waiting on God for an answer, submit yourself to His timing. Keep seeking your answer but while you seek, know that His timing is perfect. Also know that He is trustworthy.  Here are a just a few verses that you may want to memorize for those times of waiting…

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

Lamentations 3:25-26 NIV 25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,to the one who seeks Him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Isaiah 64:4 NIV Since ancient times no one has heard,  no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.

Psalm 27:14 NIV 14 Wait for the Lord be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

Habakkuk 2:3 NIV For the revelation awaits an appointed time;  it speaks of the end and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;  it will certainly come and will not delay.

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

Psalm 33:20-22 NIV 20 We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.21 In him our hearts rejoice,  for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lordeven as we put our hope in you.

And finally one of my favorites…

Psalm 27:13-14 NIV 13 I remain confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Father, we ask that you help us trust You and remain steadfast in our walk with You while we wait on You for our answer. Just like millions before us, You will answer our prayer in Your time and according to Your will. Please use this time of waiting to grow me more like Jesus. Help me allow the Holy Spirit to move in and through me during this time and not grumble or complain.  Thank You Father!  I ask this now in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

HE alone is the WAY

After chatting with a new Christian yesterday, I once again realized the  absolute importance of studying the Bible. If we Christians don’t know the Word of God we are vulnerable to falling prey to all types of false doctrine. We not only run the risk of being lead  astray but also run the risk of leading others astray. We are followers of Christ and therefore must know our bibles. Our bibles are the basis of our faith. It is in the Word of God that we learn of who God is, who Christ is and who the Holy Spirit is. We also learn what Christ has done for us. If we call our self a Christian, it is impossible to separate ourselves from the source of our faith, the Word of God. If we do, than we are Christians in name only.  The young woman I spoke with yesterday was stunned when I told her that the bible tells us Jesus is the ONLY way to Heaven.  She said she had no idea that was true.  When I mentioned that as a follower of Christ we believe the Word of God and that I wasn’t making it up, the Word of God is very specific about Jesus being the ONLY way. If you believe there is any other way to salvation than you  cannot call yourself a Christian because the definition of a Christian is a follower of Christ and a believer of His teachings.

It was Jesus Himself who told us in John 14: 6-12 NKJV  6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

The Old Testament foretells of  the coming of the Messiah and the New Testament tells us of His arrival. Both are full of Christ. It is so important that if we have made a decision to follow Christ that we learn of Him and know what He has done and continues to do for us! If you are believing anything other than what the Word of God says about Christ  and His position as Savior, Lord and coming King, than you are either mislead or you are ignorant of His true identity and you need to spend more time in His Word.

Let’s look at just a few verses that tell us just who He is and what He has done..

Acts 4:8-12 NKJV 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: 9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

James 10:1-18 NKJV 10 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All whoever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

1 Corinthians 15:1-28 NIV 15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. 9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed. 12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.27 For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

Romans 3:21-26 NIV 21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

These are but a few of the many verses in the Bible telling of salvation through Christ alone. There is NO OTHER name by which we can be saved. It is a truth we must know and share with anyone new in the faith or seeking God. Despite the fact it may not be politically correct in the times we are living, it is God’s truth and as a follower of Christ we must share it with those who ask and those who are seeking the truth. It is only through salvation in Christ that they will receive all the promises of God!

Father, thank you for Jesus. Thank you for salvation and the opportunity to be adopted into your family through faith in Christ! Please draw us closer to You and give us a hunger for your Word, the Bible, so that we may learn of You and the incredible love You have for each one of us. Keep us from falling prey to false doctrine as we search the scriptures to learn of You and of Christ our precious redeemer, Lord and King. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“Following Christ isn’t something that can be done halfheartedly or on the side. It is not a label we can display when it is useful. It must be central to everything we do and are.” ~Francis Chan

Why wait?

 I have noticed a pattern in my life. When I become restless for something or some situation to change and I act out on my own to change it, it seldom works out for good. I know I am not alone in this. Too often we respond to our situations with impatience and irritation. We want to see quick results. We want instant gratification. We want, we want…and when we try and force the issue it does not usually end well. Sadly we followers of Christ sometimes forget that without God’s approval a lot of the things we desire and want to force are not the best things for us. Most of us know believers that got impatient waiting on a godly spouse and decided to accept someone that gave them the attention they were craving. One thing leads to another and they end up marrying outside their faith. Ten years down the road they cry out to God, “Why is my marriage such a mess?” We’ve all been guilty of rushing ahead of God’s best for us in one area or another. Though some situations are much more serious when we do this, such as marriage, all situations are more difficult when we rush ahead of God’s will.  Our emotions can often be the driving force that set us on a path outside of God’s will. Hasty decisions seldom bring about the best results. God has created us to have fellowship with Him. He has made a way through Christ, for us to be able to come before Him morning, noon and night. He longs for our fellowship with Him. When we stay close to Him we are much more inclined to wait on Him for our answer. It’s when we take our eyes off of Him that we begin to stress and get impatient for results. The scriptures are full of verses petitioning us to wait on God. To lean on Him for direction, guidance and for all of our needs! Let’s take a look at just a few of them.. Lamentations 3:25,26 NIV 25The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,  to the one who seeks him;  26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Psalm 33:20-22 NIV 20  We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. 21 In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You. Psalm 37:9 KJV 9  For evildoers shall be cut off;  But those who wait on the Lord,  they shall inherit the earth. Psalm 25:5 NKJV 5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me,  For You are the God of my salvation;  On You I wait all the day. Psalm 40:1-3 NKJV 1 I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. —Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord. I personally love this verse, Psalm 37:34 NKJV 34 Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it. And finally a verse we should all put to memory,  Isaiah 40:31 NKJV But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. The one thing we can be sure of is that we will never regret waiting on God. What He has for us is far better than anything or anyone we could ever gain through impatience. He has our long term benefit at heart. He knows the future. He knows who and what we need in our lives. If you are in the process of making a decision that could affect your future ask God for wisdom. Ask Him for direction. Ask Him to open doors He wants open in your life and to shut doors He wants closed. Seek His will in the matter and then wait on His answer. Rushing ahead without consulting God will not give you the result that is best for you in the long term. It may gratify you for the short term but God’s will in the matter will bring the best long term results! Lord, please remind us to look to You as our source for everything. Teach us to wait on You instead of running ahead with our own plans. Give us a heart that loves You more and more and trusts You in all things. In the name of Jesus, Amen  “Stand still” – keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.” ~Charles Haddon Spurgeon

This love doesn’t come natural!

John 15:35I am so glad that Jesus loves me. His love has transformed me and will continue to do so till either I go to be with Him or He returns. This is a promise from Him for everyone of us that are followers of Christ.  2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NIV 16 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.  

It is truly awesome to know that He will never give up on us.  He will continue to change us more and more into His image. One of the ways I have found Christ changing my heart is in my attitude towards others. Through the Word of God and His Spirit moving in my life, I am discovering that many of the things I used to feel and believe are no longer applicable. He truly does transform us and sometimes we don’t even realize when it is happening until we find ourselves seeing a situation from a different perspective than we ever did before. There were times in the past where I would take a haughty attitude towards others and their messed up lives. Christ is melting my arrogance and hardness towards others. It is a slow procedure but it is definitely happening.  My prayer these days is that God would break my heart with what breaks His heart!  It is too easy to get settled into an attitude of judgment and arrogance towards others.

I am not suggesting turning a blind eye to sin but I am suggesting that the only one worthy of  judging another’s heart is Christ. People that don’t know Him as Lord and Savior are not lead by His Spirit and until they are they will not behave in ways that bring glory to His name. They need Jesus and we need to tell them. What they don’t need is us pouring condemnation on them in anger or bitterness. God’s Spirit is more than capable of wooing them to Jesus. It is through sharing the good news,  prayer and  demonstrating the love of Christ that people will be won. Treating them like lepers or with bitterness will never draw anyone to the lover of their soul. Our focus should be on doing what comes the least natural to us and that is loving like Jesus does!

I want to share several scriptures today to encourage you to live a life that glorifies Christ. Though these are only a few verses, they are powerful ones and when we take the time to meditate on them and ask Christ to help us to walk them out they will bring about the kind of change in us our fellow believers and the world needs to see.

James 2:12 NIV 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

This is an incredibly powerful verse for us all to remember!

Matthew 18:21-22 NIV 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.  

This is certainly not a popular teaching today!

  Luke 10:25-37 NIV 25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

“Go and do likewise!”  Jesus used this parable to demonstrate to a man determined to live by the letter of the law that he was to show mercy, just as we are!

Romans 12:17-21 NIV 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:  “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;  if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

And finally I will finish with  1John 3:15-16 NIV 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children,let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

When we find ourselves looking down on others in judgment, we need to examine ourselves and ask Christ to bring about the change that will result in our living as He lived, loving as He loves and allowing  us to each be a light in this dark world of ours. It is the fact that Christ died for us while we were sinners that demonstrated His amazing love! We didn’t have to clean ourselves up first. He took us just as we were. Thankfully He doesn’t leave us as we were but continues to change us from glory to glory! Just as He longs to do for all those who have yet to know Him as Lord. For those of our brothers and sisters in Christ, be an example and a source of encouragement. Love them as Jesus loves them. Rebuke when necessary but don’t allow any bitterness to spring up in your heart towards them.  We fail in our walk with Christ when our love is limited to those who we deem worthy. We are to love those, who at times appear very unlovable! Ours is a higher calling. Let your life demonstrate the love of Christ to others. By doing so, we are demonstrating our love to Him.

John 13:35 NIV 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

“That world outside there is not waiting for  another definition of  Christianity, it’s waiting for a new demonstration of Christianity.” ~ Leonard Ravenhill

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Are you using your freedom for good?

  I love the summer. In Canada, we seem to wait so long for it to arrive and when it does I try and enjoy every minute of it as I know it will only be for three months and then the cooler temps will come. I love watching our vegetable garden grow, our flowers bloom and all the wildlife I see on my way to and from work. Yesterday I saw a deer and a rabbit on my way to work and a few snapping turtles and squirrels on my way home. I am blessed to live in this free country where I can enjoy a job of my choice, my family has freedom to make choices of their own and I am able to worship God freely and openly. Our freedom is an awesome blessing.
I am also aware that with this freedom comes a responsibility to help out those who don’t have this freedom. There are people all over the world that are happy to have a cup of clean water and the tiniest bit of food even once a day. There are brothers and sisters in Christ, all over the world, that have absolutely no freedom to openly read their Bibles, have fellowship or worship God. There are brothers and sisters world wide that are currently suffering enormous persecution for their decision to follow Christ. Some are imprisoned, some have lost their jobs and families for standing up for Christ, some have died because they have refused to recant their faith in Christ.

My prayer is that this year and each and every year ahead, should Christ tarry, I want to become more like Christ and use my hands and feet to help those in need. It may mean sharing produce from my garden. It may mean helping another in need with chores. It may mean interceding for another in prayer. It may mean sending financial help to others in need. It may mean sharing the gospel with those who haven’t heard. There are so many ways, we who are free, can be working for Christ and fulfilling the great commission.

Lord, from this moment on, let me never take for granted all that you have provided for me and mine. Let my heart be sensitive to you and obey you when you impress upon me to do your labor here, regardless of the form it takes.
Let me be your hands and feet in the world I live in!

Matthew 25:35-40 NIV 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

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

1 John 3:17 NIV 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them,how can the love of God be in that person?

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Keep your eyes fixed as you run!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer, access to the throne!

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

Whose voice are you listening to?

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

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

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NIV But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Galatians 5:16-25 NIV I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries,and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 and those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

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

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

It’s time to start digging!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you hoarding the gospel?

The Good News is to be shared.

The Good News is to be shared.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~~~~~~~~

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

Merry CHRISTmas!

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

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

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

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

Hallelujah!!

 

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

Blessings,

Lorraine

Dare to pray specifically

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

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

I am seeing so many prayers answered lately. I am a little overwhelmed from time to time with just how incredibly loving and faithful God is when we pray according to His will. As I have committed myself to walking closer to Christ, my prayers have changed. In the past I would often pray with selfish motives. I need, I want etc. etc… Now I find myself praying more for others and in the process God has been taking care of all my needs. The word of God says in James 4:3 NIV When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. That verse sums of a great deal of my past prayers. Does it mean God does not want us to bring our needs to Him? NO, He desires that we bring our needs before Him. Phillippians 4:6 NIVDo not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. As we grow in our faith and intimacy with Christ, we find ourselves giving things over to Him much faster and easier than we used to. This frees us up to pray and interceed for others!  The focus is no longer on our own needs and wants but on the needs of others around us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He is NEVER late

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2Peter 3:8-9 NIV But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Sound familiar?

Sound familiar?

Will His praise always be on your lips?

Hand raised in worship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Trials=Opportunities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trials and Tribulations

Those who hope will soar!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s NOT become weary

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

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

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

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

What more do we need?

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

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

Psalm 37:1-9 NIV 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David: Psa 37:4

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.

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.

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.

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.

Our Great Physician

When we believers get sick, often we do the same thing non believers do.  We try and deal with our sickness with the medical profession alone. Though doctors, nurses and all the other workers in the medical field are very necessary, we have another resource that many of us neglect to consult. That would be the Great Physician. There have been many times in my life that I went and sought out medical attention before I even consulted God. God has been reminding me lately, through His word, that our first place to turn should be to Him. He not only desires us to come to Him in good times but also in times of difficulty or illness. My desire is that I will grow to the point where I will seek Him first before looking elsewhere.

Any time I have sought God for help He has never ignored my request.  Answers have come in many different ways but He has never left me without help when I have asked Him for it. NEVER. He promises to hear the prayers of His children. He may use medical professionals in our journey of healing or He may not. My desire is that I go to Him first and ask for His guidance and healing. How He chooses to bring that about is up to Him but I want to seek Him first not last. There is an awesome promise in James that we need to remember.

James 5:14-16 NIV James 5:14-16 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another,that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

What a beautiful promise!  My desire is to seek Him first and not as a last resort.

Exodus 23:25 NIV 25 Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you.

Psalm 103:2,3 NIV Praise the Lord, my soul and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.

1Peter 2:24 NIV 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

Rise up and do something!

We live in a dog eat dog world. Many believe that in order to get ahead we have to climb our way to the top. Bashing others is common place if it means making ourselves look superior. The squeaky wheel is often the one that gets the attention therefore being loud and boisterous gets results. Reality tv shows abound with self absorbed, selfish people that brag about their dysfunctional lives and demand others give them the attention they feel they are due. It’s pretty crazy out there!

God did not create us to be legends in our own minds!  He created us to love and serve Him and to love and serve others.  Philip2:4ESV Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  We don’t have to look far to see needs all around us. Though we can’t fill every need or help everyone out there, we certainly can start in our own backyards.

Some of us have family, friends, acquaintances or co workers  that need our prayers. Intercession is something all of us can do and it is at the heart of bringing about change and help to others. It is helping in a way that man cannot help by calling on God and opening  the door for Him to begin to work. Perhaps if we do this first, rather than as a last resort when man’s ways fail we will begin to see positive changes and answers far quicker. Galatians 6:2 ESV Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

There are  many local charities that are already doing a great work helping others. Perhaps we can volunteer our time or our resources to help them out. For example, the Salvation Army has locations in most communities and they sure help others in very tangible ways. They provide food, clothing and other resources that many wouldn’t have without their help. Prov.19:17 ESV Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Perhaps if we have an ailing neighbour we could volunteer to make a meal or meals, cut their grass or help out with any other chore they may need assistance with. Babysitting is another way of helping out. In this tough economy many people have had to relocate from their hometowns to find work and therefore don’t have family around to help out when they really need a sitter.                          Luke 10:27 ESV And Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Sometimes something as simple as opening a door for someone with a disability or with their arms full can make their day a little lighter.  A kind word can go a long way when someone if visibly upset.  There is no limit to ways we can reach out.  The only thing limiting us is often laziness.  James 2:13 ESV For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

I am committed to spending less time on the couch and more time praying and doing.  Time is short and there are many things that need to be done before Jesus returns. It’s time to rise up and do something!

Hebrews 13:16ESV Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Learning to help early in life. 🙂

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!

Hurry Up and Wait..

Most people today live a very hurried and busy lifestyle.  Many of us have full time jobs and multiple responsibilities outside our homes along with the many responsibilities of the home and family itself. Whether we are single, married, with or without children or grandparents wanting to be involved in the lives of our grandchildren we are busy people. On top of this some of us our involved in activities/committees etc. at our churches.  Life is very very busy.  When we need something we can go online, pick up a catalogue or drop into a store and purchase it.  When we need information it can be found quite simply by typing in a request on our keyboards or dropping into a library.

We have become accustomed to living fast and receiving fast. When it comes to our relationship with God it is not always so.  I am learning to hurry up and wait… There are times when I bring a need or a desire of my heart to the Lord and He answers it within a day or so. There are other times when He chooses not to.  He is all knowing and all seeing.  I am NOT.  He always answers our prayers correctly. Sometimes the answer is quite simply NO, other times it may not come for days, weeks or even years. How we spend our time waiting on our answer is critical.  I believe the Lord is pleased when we rest in knowing He has it all under control. Fretting and stressing while we wait does nothing to see our prayer answered any faster. Resting and trusting gives allowance for our faith to grow. Abiding in His word and His love while we wait allows us to grow even closer to the lover of our soul.  It does NOT come natural for me to rest and trust but I am learning that it really is the only way to respond. Recently God has put people in my life to remind me of this very fact. Our vision is so limited and we cannot possibly know one iota of a fraction of a percentage of what God does and therefore are really in no position to try and force God’s hand.

He loves us.  This is something we can bank on! He is faithful. Another absolute. Therefore when we find ourselves growing impatient and annoyed at not seeing our prayers or desires answered when WE WANT them answered it is time to trust, rest and abide in His word.  He will never disappoint!

Isaiah 40:31 ESV  “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Psalm 37:34 ESV “Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.”

Psalm 62:5,6 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

The Poison Pill of Bitterness

I don’t think any one of us can go through life without being tempted to hang on to feelings of resentment and anger towards another. When I was younger I resented my Dad for being the ogre that he was during our childhood. He didn’t nurture he demanded.  He was very abusive towards my Mom and towards us kids.  Did it hurt? YES!   At the age of 10, my parents divorced.  For quite a few years I was both hurt and very angry about the whole situation.  Why did this happen to our family?

As a teenager I would often get upset and feel disappointment about the way things would turn out.  People would not always live up to my expectations.  NO surprise there as that would have been an impossible task.  Then when I married young and started to have a family I would often feel disappointed that we were having to struggle financially when others seemed to be doing very well.

There are many reasons or excuses that we can use to hold onto anger and bitterness.  The bottom line is not one of these excuses will help us deal with the poison that builds up in our hearts and minds when we do.  Bitterness is poison!  As long as we hold onto it and embrace it we will never move forward in our lives.  We will continually see everything and everyone through the tainted glasses of bitterness.  We in turn will poison those around us with our mouth and actions.

There is only ONE solution to bitterness and that is forgiveness.  Nothing else works!  As most of us know, seldom can we forgive in our own strength.  We keep resurrecting the memories of what has been done to us.  We must make a tangible effort to come before God and ask for forgiveness for carrying around this poison within us and ask Him to take it away.  It is at first, an act of will.  Feelings don’t have to be involved.  We do it because not only does Jesus say we must but also because He knows when we do it will free us!!!!

I love the quote, “Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die!”  This is so true.  Bitterness will keep us bound up in anger and hurt and until we release it to Jesus we will never move forward in ways God desires us to move.  Releasing it will bring FREEDOM!!

FREEDOM!

Heb.12:14,15″Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” 

Matt.6:14,15″For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

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