Tag Archive | New International Version

Busyness without abiding = wheel spinning

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you feeding your mind?

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

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

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

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

Romans 12:2 NIV2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.

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

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

Who are you trusting in?

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

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

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

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

Here are but a few…

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

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

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

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

and finally one of my favorites…

Psalm 18:2 NIV 2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;  my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,  my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

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

Keep your eyes fixed as you run!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News worth sharing!

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

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

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

Don’t sit idle!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Before you say I do

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Peter 3:9 NIVThe Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

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

Plug into the Source!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lay aside selfishness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer, access to the throne!

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

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

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

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

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

Where do we look?

Newspapers B&W (4)

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

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

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

Are you hiding from the Light?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is your Faith dead or alive?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everyone has a part in the play of life

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

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

Spring forward!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Honoring your word

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Staying close to the source!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Deeper Love brings greater change

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace is NOT dependent on our circumstances

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dare to pray specifically

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you reading the manual?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hebrews 4:12 NIV 12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Wow!  I love this verse. I have found when I wander away from reading God’s word I lose my sensitivity to sin and selfishness. There is incredible power in God’s word. When we read it daily we grow closer to the author and as we grow closer to Him, we see things in our lives that He sees. Things that others may never see but things He wants to deal with. Once exposed, we are able to bring these things to Him and ask for forgiveness and healing, thereby enabling us to be free to love and be loved and used for service.

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

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

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

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

The best Christmas gift to give

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas giving outside your circle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salvation Army-Giving Hope Today

Salvation Army-Giving Hope Today

He is NEVER late

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sound familiar?

Sound familiar?

Gratitude…take the time to say thanks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.”

Don’t ignore bullying

This morning  I watched a Youtube video of a beautiful 15 year old girl, Amanda Todd, expressing her hopelessness and sorrow prior to her committing suicide. What a sad, pathetic story of a young girl that made a few poor decisions and was verbally and physically beaten by others for it. The fact that other teenagers could and would behave so vile and merciless towards her is unbelievable. Where was their decency? Where was their compassion for another human being? It is hard to believe that with all the so called sensitivity training this generation is receiving in schools and various programs etc. that one person could treat another person so horribly.

We all know people that have been bullied. Coming from a home where my own Dad was a bully, I have always detested bullying. I can remember in junior school watching a girl in my class get poked and made fun of and finally exploding at the perpetrators because I couldn’t stand by and watch!  Bullies come in all forms and sizes.. some as abusive parents, some siblings, others as coworkers, fellow students etc..  Fortunately, most of those bullied  do not take their life in desperation. Most come through it but not without their share of mental and physical battle scars!

So as followers of Christ, how should we react when we see bullying? Should we walk away and pray for the person/persons or should we speak up? Should we ignore it and hope it will go away or should we speak up and out on behalf of those  being bullied? Many people choose to walk on past and somehow justify that perhaps that person did something to warrant it….

What does the Bible say about how we are to react to those who are in a position of weakness or vulnerability?

Jeremiah 22:3 NIV This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

1 Peter 3:8 NIV Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 NIV 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

These are powerful words and certainly don’t encourage indifference or apathy, but involvement!   In fact just the opposite, as found in Genesis 42:21 NIV 21 They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.” 

This was in reference to the way Joseph’s brothers mistreated him and later felt shame and believed the hardships they were facing was a direct result of their abuse of Joseph.  And finally Psalm 83:3 NIV Defend the weak and the fatherlessuphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

All of these verses are verses of action. When we witness bullying or abuse we are not to sit idly by and ignore it, we are to do what we can to help. This may be with actions, with words or with intervention of others such as the police but we are NOT to ignore the plight of the poor, weak, disheartened or oppressed. As penned by Edmund Burke, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men/women to do nothing.”

English: Bullying on IRFE in March 5, 2007, th...

 

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What more do we need?

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

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

Psalm 37:1-9 NIV 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David: Psa 37:4

A Call to THANKS giving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy THANKS giving everyone!

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

Signs of the times are everywhere..

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

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

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

Luke 12:35-40 NIV 35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”

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

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

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

Riot Police Surrounding Demonstration

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

From Fear to Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No man/woman is an island..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time to put aside spiritual laziness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Timothy 3:14-17 NIV 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures,which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

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

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

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

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

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

Faith and action go hand in hand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flat tire

Flat tire (Photo credit: Alicia Nijdam)

Peace is available during the storms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wenceslas Hollar - The Psalms

Wenceslas Hollar – The Psalms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who does God say we are?

When we look in the mirror in the morning we sometimes don’t like what we see. A little older, messier, crazy haired, or perhaps just plain tired. Too often we take that image of who we are and make it our identity. Nothing could be further from the truth. If we have accepted Christ as our Savior and become a child of God we have an identity that in our natural eyes we can’t see. It is our true identity however, as it is how our Heavenly Father sees us.  If we live out of our old identity we find ourselves never quite feeling like we measure up. We lack confidence and therefore often find it hard to love others due to our own lack of self love. It prevents us from accomplishing the amazing things God has planned for each of us to do.

It is time for the body of Christ to live  in our true identity. This identity can be found in the word of God. Thankfully God no longer sees us as we see ourselves and He wants us to live in our new identity. Christ died so that we could be made clean before our Father and walk in fellowship with Him daily. So how does God see those that have been born again into the Kingdom of God by accepting Christ?

If we don’t know, or haven’t really understood our new identity than it’s time we did. It will free us to become all that God wants us to be.  Here are some verses that show how the Father now sees us….

2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 3:16 NIV 16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

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

1 Thessalonians 1:4 NIV For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you.

2 Corinthians 5:18,19 NIV 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

And here is a beautiful description of who we are and how we can now live!  Romans 8:14,15 NIV 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

John 15:15,16 NIV 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.

God chose us. What an amazing realization! Not only are we His children but we are His friends!

Romans 8:37 NIV 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Ephesians 2:6 NIV And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 12:27 NIV 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Ephesians 2:19 NIV 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.

God no longer sees us as foreigners outside His family but has welcomed us as His children and His friends. We are seated in Heavenly places in Christ.  We have no excuse to go through life living out of our old nature when He has made us so much more in Christ.  It’s time to start identifying ourselves as God sees us and living a victorious life through Him.  The next time you look in the mirror and feel disappointment,  remind yourself by quoting any of the above verses of who you REALLY are in Christ. 2God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21    

Once we believe and live out of  our true identity in Christ, we are free to go out and help others without all the entanglements  of insecurity. We are free to accomplish great things!

I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!

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.

Spiritual Drought?

We are currently experiencing very dry conditions in our community. Lawns that usually are green and beautiful are currently looking very burnt and barren! Though we have had wonderful hot temperatures, which most of us Canadians are glad to experience in our short Summer season, there has been very little rain. It really doesn’t take long before that lack of rain shows itself in our gardens, lawns and our wells for those of us that live  in the country. It is rather amazing just  how short a time need pass before the lack of rain shows itself in our surroundings.

As believers, we too can experience dry barren times. The source of the trouble is often the same. We lack water. The water being the word of God. Without going to the Bible daily for refreshment and growth we begin to dry up. We too need daily watering to keep ourselves strong in body, mind and spirit. It is through reading our Bibles that we grow up spiritually. We begin to see things as God sees them. We are beautifully transformed by the word.

Ephesians 5:25-27 NIV “Just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

If you are finding yourself spiritually parched it’s time you drank from the well of the word. Get yourself into a daily habit of spending time reading your Bible without interruption. It’s vital for us Christians if we want to walk in the way God has called us to walk. We can’t make a difference in our homes, our towns or our world if we are dry and barren and have nothing to give.  In North America where  we still enjoy religious freedom we have NO excuse but laziness for not picking up our Bibles and being refreshed. Make it part of your daily routine and you will reap the awesome benefits and so will those around you!

Isaiah 40:8 NIV The grass withers and the flowers fall,  but the word of our God endures forever. ”

Feeling dry?                                                                                                                                                         It’s time to soak in God’s word.

English: Dry earth in the Sonora desert, Mexic...

English: Dry earth in the Sonora desert, Mexico. Español: Tierra seca en el Desierto de Sonora, México. Français : Terre asséchée du Désert de Sonora, au Mexique. Deutsch: Trockenrisse in der Sonora-Wüste, Mexico. 日本語: 乾いた大地、メキシコのソノラ砂漠にて。 Nederlands: Uitgedroogde bodem in de Mexicaanse Sonorawoestijn Polski: Wysuszona ziemia na pustyni Sonora w Meksyku. Português: Terra seca no deserto de Sonora, México. Русский: Высушенная земля в пустыне Сонора, Мексика. 中文: 墨西哥索诺兰沙漠干枯的土地。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the Heart to the Mouth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Words

Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

The Price of Entitlement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 15: 9-17 NIV “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit —fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Acts 5: 29-32 NIV 29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead —whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

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

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

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

What are you feeding on?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 12:2 NIV Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.

2 Corinthians 10:4,5 NIV The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

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

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

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

Cover for a NIV Bible

Cover for a NIV Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In EVERYTHING give thanks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you belong to Him remember…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forget Me Nots

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.

A Reliable Hope

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

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

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

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

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

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