Tuesday, December 31, 2013

As the Year Ends, Don't Raise a Toast, Raise Your Ebenezer

1 Samuel 7:12:  Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, "Till now the Lord has helped us."




 
As I read and study the Bible , I am struck by how many times in the Old Testament the nation of Israel turned away from and back to God.  That is the situation in the 1 Samuel text quoted above, and in honor of Israel's return to worshiping the one true God, Samuel took a stone and and called it "Ebenezer" because "Till now the Lord has helped us."  Thus, one of the names of God is "My Ebenezer".  Ebenezer means "stone of help."

The Lord has certainly been my stone of help this year.  It has been a year of change for me and my family, and none of the changes have been small.

In April, after a long 18 months away, my son came home from spending time in a wilderness boys' camp due to a period of anger and rebellion towards my husband and me.  Although we have some inkling what caused the anger, it still isn't clear to us why he felt he had to react in the way he did, and we are still coping daily with snippets of rebellion and anger.

In June, my daughter moved to  Nashville to start a doctor of physical therapy program at Tennessee State University.  Having her live so far away and seeing her in between long interludes has been difficult simply because I miss her.  She and I have always been close and spent a lot of time together, but as I look toward the future, I see her asking me less and less for advice and finding her own way.   It causes me to wince when I think about it, but I suppose all mothers and fathers do that when their children leave to make their own way in the world, and begin their own families.

My husband is dealing with stress of several kinds and in ways that I don't feel comfortable with, and it is very difficult to see how it is affecting him, especially as he is aging.  To be beset with major financial changes at age 62 is hard when you have always been used to having money and doing what you want with it.

And last, but certainly not least, the challenges of having Parkinson's Disease and undergoing deep brain stimulation surgery has really put my faith to the test. 

But God has been my refuge, my strong tower, my hope, my Savior, my friend and my Ebenezer this year...my stone of help!  Strong and mighty is He who holds the framework of my life in His hands - stronger and mightier than the one who rules this age, stronger and mightier than anger, rebellion, fear, and loneliness; more dependable than money, jewels, silver or gold; and strong enough to carry me through surgery, recovery and learning how to live with disability, The Lord God is my Ebenezer!

I lift Him up today and everyday because I love Him, need Him and desire Him and all that He imparts to me by way of His holy spirit.  I could not make it through such tough testing and daily living without Him.  Looking back, I know that until now, the Lord has helped me everyday of my life.   He has been there through the right and wrong, the fear, the dread, the laughing and smiling, the tears and every time that there has been hope for a new day; holding my hand and cheering me on, advocating for me and calling me forward through the race of life which is, no doubt about it, hard.  I am running this race with His help and so today, I lift my Ebenezer for the year 2013.   God Almighty, My Ebenezer.

Lord, you know my heart, I don't always show it, but you are the center of my life.  Never a day passes without thinking what you think, without a prayer of some sort, without looking to you and your Word about what to do and how to do.  Thank you, God, for choosing me, loving me, saving me and bringing me to this point in my life where I realize that without you, my life is meaningless.  I thank you for the old year and all you have taught me, and I look forward to the new year which will, no doubt, bring about changes and challenges that I know I could not face without you.  None of us know where we will sitting just 12 short months from now, but I pray that nothing with separate me from your love, including my will, my pride and my ability to sin.   Forgive me for the things I did in 2013 that did not bring you glory and inspire me to do everything I do in 2014 to bring glory and honor and praise to your great name.  I don't know who will read this, Lord, but for each and everyone who passes by, I pray that you will are or will become the center of their life, to the praise of your glory.  In Jesus' name.   Amen.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Mary Pondered All These Things in Her Heart

This is a blog I wrote several years ago, and I thought it worth re-printing with just a few modifications:

You know how it is, moms, when our children do things, we store them up in our hearts to take out over the years, to review and cherish because our children are so precious to us.

Mary was no different from you and me in that way, but her child certainly was different, and I am sure, he gave her many things to hold in her heart that were very different from the ones our children give us, didn't He?

I imagine that many of you are like me during this season, reading the first three chapters of Luke. It seems like I do that every year, and each year the story holds just a little more in it that speaks to my heart as a mother and a child of God.

As I meditated on the Christmas story this morning, I paid particular attention to Mary.  Maybe it's because my own children are getting older and living their own lives,  and when you add to that the fact that I've put a whole lot less of the meaningless into the holiday the last five years, less focus on food, fun and shopping and more attention to God's Word, His Son, and living a godly life, but the words, "and Mary pondered all these things in her heart" spoke to me.  What exactly does it mean to "ponder"?  The online dictionary defines it as:  To reflect or consider with thoroughness and care; to meditate on over time.

Imagine having angels show up at the birth of your child, or shepherds who left praising God and spreading the word that your child was a special child, the redeemer of mankind!  That's one I'd want to pull out and ponder now and again. 

Imagine being the mother of the son of God and watching Him grow up, learn to talk, say "mama" and "papa", take his first steps, lose his first tooth, tie his shoes and other ordinary things? If we as mothers of ordinary, everyday children store up their lives in our hearts, think about how Mary must have felt knowing that her son was the Savior of the world. Every thing he said or did must have made an imprint upon her heart and mind.


Imagine losing your child for three days and finding him in the Temple teaching the teachers and adults; you're in a tizzy, and he calmly tells you that you had to know that he would be about his father's business!  That's another one I'd have to think about.
Isaiah 53:3 says that Mary's son was a "man of sorrows", men "despised" him, "rejected" him, hid their faces from him and gave him no value. How does a mother hold that in her heart?   I certainly know from experience that when my children are sad, but really not just feeling sad, but living with sorrow day and night, or when other people make them feel unwanted and don't see their value, it gives me great pain in my own heart! Strong's Concordance states that the word "sorrows" is translated from the Hebrew word makove which means physical and mental pain and sorrow of the soul.  Yes, Mary's son was all those things, but think about the pain this must have brought to Mary's heart?

Then there's the Wedding at Cana in John 2:1-10. The wedding host runs out of wine and Mary goes to  Jesus and tells him about it and he tells his mother that it's not time yet for him to do miracles and reveal himself.  She tells the servants to do whatever he tells them to do and as a result, the wedding host ends up serving the best wine last when it is customary to serve the best wine first before everyone is tipsy and don't know what's what.

John tells us in his gospel that if all the things Jesus had ever done were written down that there would not be enough books to hold them!!!

As we celebrate his birth today, whether it's in quiet contemplation or boisterous family gatherings, let us ponder anew the miracle that occurred that day in Bethlehem. God became flesh and dwelt among men, lived with them, loved them as friends and family, and died for them and us.

Yes, God himself saw our helplessness and cast off all about himself that was holy, godly, and supernatural, and became a "man of sorrows", "bruised for our iniquities", and "wounded for our transgressions" so that we might be restored to our intended relationship with God the Father.
  
Everyday is Christmas as far as I'm concerned. Emmanuel, God With Us, Prince of Peace, King of Kings, Jesus Christ, Y'eshua, Messiah came and paid the price so that we might be set free from sin and its consequence...death!

Take the time today to ponder in your heart, like Mary, the many things that have been written about her son in the Bible (the one and only source for truth)!

May God bless you in the new year with his presence, his peace and his love and grace.

Monday, December 9, 2013

God Incarnate







It's weird to think that millions of Christians are celebrating a holiday that many, many other people celebrate who are not Christians -- and they are celebrating in the same manner...lots of bling and blitz, and gifts, and food and drink, and parties and fancy clothing and so forth and so forth and so forth.

Anyway, God has been calling me away from all this overindulgence.  It's really not the kind of worship He wants, and it gets me in debt and takes my focus off of Him, which really doesn't give Him any glory.

Yesterday, though, at church, the message my pastor shared stopped me dead cold in my tracks when he spoke about what Christmas really means, really means, not just the famous Jesus' birthday line:  God Incarnate - God in the Flesh. 


The God of all creation decided (the moment He knew that man would not be able to live without sinning) that He would take on human flesh and be born to a woman; He'd live a sinless life and give that life as a sacrifice to pay the price for every individual who ever lived on this planet.
 
When He chose Mary as the woman through which He would work this miracle, He changed her life forever!  He changed it by choosing her in view of her purity and virginity and changed her life from a youth with a more or less carefree life (of course, she had chores and responsibilities similar go all other young Jewish girls) to a woman with a questioned morality.

I can hardly think of something that changes a person more profoundly than giving birth and having a child to parent and raise to maturity, and, she had to be changed everyday of his life due to living in such close contract with one who was sinless and perfectly holy.
  
John 19:25 tells us that Mary was standing at the foot of the cross.  As I contemplate being the mother of the one who was crucified, I feel sure that there was no more life-changing moment in her life as that one.  To see your child naked, bleeding, beaten, mocked and nailed to a cross - who could bear it?  Then, to know that it was God's plan for his life and it was done for the world, including yourself; well, that surely would make you look at your life, your sin and everything else in a much different light.

We ALL, like or not, admit it or not, SIN.   The price of sin is death.  He paid the price on that day in Jerusalem when He went to the cross willingly and died.

When you believe that He is/was who He said He was/is, proclaim it to the world and do as He said by picking up your cross and living a life similar to the one He did (a life of denying yourself, loving others and serving them), His sacrifice is accounted on your behalf and you are restored to your original, right relationship with God.  Then begins your quest to "work out" your salvation with fear and trembling (but that's another post).

God Incarnate is what is truly being celebrated, and when you look at what God Incarnate is, you realize this is something that should be celebrated everyday of your life, not in a buying, eating, drinking, partying frenzy.

I am going to re-print here a portion of The Omega Letter from November 30.  It is written by Pete Garcia and is entitled "Conspiracy Theory" (the sub-heading is "The Original Conspiracy") and I feel it is very valuable information to take in:


The Original Conspiracy
This is the part of the brief that the skeptics will laugh and point and say how silly I am that I believe in a real Devil. This is the part of the brief that even the John Stossels and Glenn Becks of the world conveniently leave out. Not saying they don’t believe in a real Devil, but they can’t state it publically for fear of losing what credibility they do have.  Since I don’t have any credibility, save Jesus Christ, I’ll just state the obvious.
If you believe the Bible is true, and you accept that there is a real God, real Jesus, real angels, real Biblical events, etc. Then why do so many have a hard time believing the Devil is also real? Not only is he real, but he has been real busy. From the first book of the Bible (chronologically), we have an account that dates to the time around of Abraham—2000 B.C.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?”  So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”  Job 1:6-7
All the way to the first century A.D., the Apostle Peter tells us to…
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8
These two verses reveal to us some important aspects that we need to bear in mind.  First is that Satan is not omnipotent. He can’t be everywhere at once. Secondly, Satan doesn’t sleep, doesn’t stop, he is always restless, always going about seeking to kill, destroy, and attempt to thwart God’s overarching plan. Satan has known since the Garden of Eden and that God had a plan afoot; a plan of redemption for mankind, and certain destruction for him. This is why the Bible revealed God’s plan progressively to over 40 different men, from different countries, and differing professions, and spread out over 1,600 years, to keep this plan as cryptic, yet specific as possible.
Now as a Christian, reading the Scriptures some 2,000 years later, I had always assumed that Satan really knew who Jesus was. But the more I study it, the more I’m willing to bet that Satan had his eye more on John the Baptist, than on Jesus as the likely candidate for the One who would destroy him. Maybe John was a decoy of sorts. He was meant to be a distraction, not for man, but specifically for Satan. It is why from before his birth, John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit and Jesus wasn’t until His baptism at around the age of 30. It’s why John devoted his life to the ministry of God long before Jesus officially began His. 
Maybe this is why Jesus asked His disciples who men thought He was…and they gave a myriad of answers except Peter. Maybe this is why Jesus said of John;
“Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”  (Matt. 11:11)
Maybe this is why the Kingdom was preached publically in parable form, not only fulfilling the prophets, but to keep the plan moving forward undetected.  The Apostle Paul understood the delicate nature of Christ’s ministry.
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  1 Corinthians 2:7-8
Assessment
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Ephesians 6:12
The real conspiracy is not at the political level, but the spiritual one.  It is fought by influence and coercion, through spiritual fear and blackmail.  Satan and his legion have known since Christ’s resurrection that they have already lost the war.  Satan saw the religious system that God gave the Jews through Moses which was possibly the most complex and strictest ever created.   The last thing he expected was that God Himself would become a man, and allow Himself to be killed to permanently bridge the gap between God’s unapproachable righteousness, and man’s incurable depravity.
They would have never killed Christ if they had known what it would mean…permanent liberation for mankind from hell and death.  This is why Jesus kept His true identity hidden and only revealed it to certain people at certain times.  Remember, Satan is not omnipotent so he couldn’t be everywhere at once.  Jesus knew when and where He could reveal this, without revealing it to the one who would attempt to spoil the plan of redemption. 
I pray that this year, you will put away your credit card, pull out your Bible and get to know the One who came and whose short 33 year life changed the world like no other man...the man named Jesus...God Incarnate!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What Does the "New" Man Look Like?

In Ephesians 4:22-23, we are told to put off  "your old self" - the self that that belongs to your life before Christ came into your life - the self that that is corrupt because of its deceitful desires; and we are urged to be "renewed in the spirit of your minds" and to "put on the new self" which is your self which is created after the likeness of God.

What do you look like now?  From my reading of verses 24 through 32, your life should look like  this:

( 1) Your life has a likeness to God;
( 2) You are righteous;
( 3) You are holy;
( 4) You are truthful;
( 5) When you are angry, you do not sin and you take determined strides to put to right whatever has caused you to be angry;
( 6) You are vigilant in not allowing the devil to find and take a stronghold of any place in your life;
( 7) You have honest work/employment;
( 8) You share with others who are in need;
( 9) No corrupt talk comes forth from your lips; you build up; you don't tear down; you are grace-FULL;
(10) You are conscious of the Holy Spirit indwelling you and you treat Him as an honored guest;
(11) You are not bitter.
(12) You do not exhibit wrath or anger and you are not hateful or slanderous (talking down about others).
(13) You ARE kind, tenderhearted; You FORGIVE as God, in Christ, forgave you.

Go ahead, take the test.  Grade yourself.  This test alone is enough to show us WHY we need a savior.  This is what we're supposed to look like after we have asked Him to forgive our sins and take control of our lives.  Without Him, there is NO ONE who passes this test,  and quite honestly, even after one has asked for forgiveness and given their life to Christ, these are HARD things to do every minute of every day of every week of every year of your life.  We are not perfect and not until death or the rapture when we receive the promise of our inheritance, will we ever be perfect and completely like Him.
 
Paul said just a few verses earlier that followers of Jesus are not to walk as the pagan gentiles walked - in the futility of their minds.  They had been darkened in their understanding, and alienated from God because of their ignorance and their hardness of heart.  They had become callous and given themselves to doing whatever felt good and were eager to practice every kind of impurity.

Look the list over during your prayer time and use it to ask for forgiveness or for God's Holy Spirit to help you achieve His goal for your life.

He is our helper, our comforter and our role model.  As you read this list, and if you are not,"in Christ", can you see why you would want to be His?  This is a life of victory, love and hope.  To be in Christ is to be an "overcomer" and a winner in the game of life  - not according to the rules of this world but according to God's rules!


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Serving God with What You Have

I would like to share this mighty word that I heard on Focus on the Family on Friday.  It is an anointed word from Dr. Lori Salierno about serving God with what you have no matter how small to be used for God's purposes in something much bigger than ourselves.  It's short and powerful.  I hope you will listen to it.  You will be blessed.

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.aspx?ID={C99820B3-5E6C-4342-92B2-67AAED836367}

Then, if you will, won't you take a few minutes to listen to this wonderful song about our heavenly Father's many and varied names and attributes.




This month of Thanksgiving will culminate in one of the most egregious days of gorging ourselves on food and spending the day in front of the boob tube watching football.

Perhaps these items will cause you, like me to spend the month thanking God for everything.  I will be sharing my 30 days of thanksgiving with you.  Here are my first three:

Day 1: To have people in my life who really care about me. Never was it shown more than when I had my surgery in June. To my husband, my daughter, my son, and three of the best friends found anywhere plus all my once removed friends and family I can never say thank you enough for your prayers, TLC and encouragement. You all make life worth living.

 Day 2 of Thankfulness: I am thankful for my body. It's not perfect, not beautiful and certainly not what the world thinks of as in shape today, but it has been with me since the day of my birth and will see me through until the day of my death. It is working much better now, and I am thankful that I can walk and talk and see and hear and taste and touch. I will take time to thank God for this body that He gave me and I will take time to take care of it for it is a holy place that God has taken up residence in.

Day 3 of 30 Days of Thanksgiving: Where would the world be without hope? I am so thankful today that Christ did not leave us without hope. He IS our hope and He is our peace. He is at work in the lives of believers every single day. He is working out ALL things for our good because we love Him and are called according to His purposes, and His purposes are ALL good because He is all good. I don't know where I would be today without His hope and His peace. It makes this crazy, mixed-up, man-centered world worth living in. Do you need peace, have you given up hope? Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever, is the answer.

 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ummmmm Ummmmm; Delicious





I love food, and if I'm not mistaken so do most other people.  I love to cook and I love to feed people and make them feel good, especially my children and my husband. 

News articles that I have read indicate that the United States is country filled with people who love to eat and that we have become obese.   We eat too much and move too little. 

The life of a Christian is one of self-control.  The Lord wants us to be able to control our actions, even down to how much we eat.  Even food can become an idol and the exercise of eating, idolatry. 

This is an area in which the Lord has been seeking to bring change to in my life.  I have struggled with loving food too much for many years, and only as recently as last April brought changes in my life situation which caused me to re-evaluate my eating habits and my need to drop some weight.  As I have written about before on this blog, my son was diagnosed with Ulcerative colitis.  It has been shown that people who have inflammatory bowel disease, i.e., Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's Disease are benefited when they eat a diet which does not include grains, sugar, milk and starches, like potatoes; basically no carbohydrates.    This is known as the G.A.P.S. diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome).  It was developed by a neurologist who had a child who had ulcerative colitis.  She was told by physicians that there was no cure for this autoimmune disease.  However, after placing her daughter on this diet for two years, she was cured of the disease and was slowly re-started on all the forbidden items at least to some extent.

It is quite weird, isn't it, that God gave us appetites and food and spices and an inquiring mind and an ability to figure out ways to make things delicious and what do we do but turn that into an idol and spend so much more time figuring out what to eat, when to eat and where to eat than we take to read His Word and spend some time talking to Him.   

Psalm 34:8 tells us:  Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusts in Him. 

I have tasted the Lord's goodness in my times of Bible Study, and I come away like a child looking in the window of a store that sells the most delicious baked goods -- always with my mouth open and rounded in  awe!   He feeds us with words of promise and words of love, sometimes the taste is bitter when  He speaks to us about sin and wrongdoing.  It is rich and dwells in our bodies a long time.  It sustains us and gives us life as we strive to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  It can warm you up like nothing else and when your pride runs amok and takes control, it can cool you off like someone pouring a glass of ice down the back of your shirt!  Just like with real food, it can be cool and creamy, warm and soothing and it can be sweet as honey and as nourishing as the most vitamin-enriched protein.  Sometimes within one dish you can taste things that are bitter, sour, sweet, and smokey.  It is multi-dimensional, ultra healthy and life changing.


God's Word is delicious. Oh, please, won't you taste and see that the Lord is good?








Wednesday, October 16, 2013

In Self-Defense

Have you ever noticed that when a person is under fire, or condemnation or accused of wrongdoing (actual or perceived) that the immediate reaction is to defend one's self?  That is our natural man inclination.  However, we are told in Luke 23:9:

Then he (Pilate) questioned with him in many words; but he (Jesus) answered him nothing.

 Jesus did not defend himself to the High Priest.  He allowed the Pharisees to accuse him of anything and everything that they wanted, and uttered not a word in His own defense.

I know that when I am accused unjustly for whatever reason, my immediate reaction is to defend myself.

This is a very hard thing to accept, but Jesus wants our lives to resemble his as closely as possible.  He is, after all, the way the truth and the life.  His instructions to us in Matthew 16:24 include these words:  "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me".  So when we think that He wants us prosperous, think again; when we think He wants us to have homes and money and vehicles and all the other things that wealth affords us in the life, think again.

We are not promised healthy, happy, successful lives.  If the Son of God could not expect to have the best of health, wealth, position, and long life, what makes us think we should expect those things?  We are never to react out of a selfish desire to defend ourselves, we are to react in ways that will surely disarm our most vengeful enemies:  by turning the other cheek,  by not only giving our coat,  but by also giving our sweater.  If  we are asked to walk a mile on behalf of someone, we should be willing to go two.

Think about this for a minute:  If Jesus would have defended himself before Pilate, what he if he had been turned loose and not crucified?  Mankind would have had no hope, no peace and no one to pay our atonement.  We would have been condemned to death and eternity in hell.

So quit acting out of the defense mode and switch instead to the disciple mode by taking up your cross, denying yourself and following him.




.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What, Then, is Happiness?

It's a beautiful morning in SW Ohio, the temperature is mild, the humidity is bearable (and has been all summer), the sky is blue, the birds are chirping, I'm drinking my coffee and eating Trader Joe's Coconut Cookie Thins for breakfast.  Why, then, are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  (Psalms 42:11)

I am feeling a great sadness within me this morning even though my circumstances are heavenly.  I am still dealing with the aspects of living with a battery operated brain, yes, but they are doable.  My son is home and back in school, and that is excellent.   My husband's business is picking up (thank you, Lord).  I have wonderful friends, family and acquaintances that I wouldn't trade for all the gold in Fort Knox (if there's any there).  I have a home and very little debt.  I have food and water and clothed like the lilies of the field.  I am blessed beyond measure, and I am content, but oh, the pain this world brings.

It brings the pain of a friend who had an allergic reaction to her medication - medication required to help her cope with the pains of Parkinson's Disease, and for other people other diseases and illness, it brings the pain of  people dealing with loss due to death or other circumstances like divorce and even abandonment, it brings the pain of people starving, people suffering due to war or threats of war, all the woes of men, and if you are a believer in Jesus and have the Holy Spirit living within you, you feel their pain and are moved by compassion to do something for them...something like prayer, or funds or some kind of physical effort.  For many of those we help in those ways, we feel uplifted because in serving them, we find out that they have hope because they, too, have Christ to give them hope.    Then there are those that have no hope, no joy, nothing to look forward to, and then the pain that I feel for them is crushing.

Life, in and of itself, is not happy.  We live moments of happiness, but for the most part, life is hard.
Happiness is elusive.  Psalms 42 ends with David crying out to God asking "Why are you cast down, o my soul and why are you in turmoil within me?"    Then, apparently, the old light bulb appears and he speaks to himself, saying:  "hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God."

That, then is the takeaway from my musings this morning, life is hard, and even in the best of circumstances, we may find happiness elusive; but the joy of the Lord truly is a believer's strength.  Because of Jesus, we have hope beyond and out of this world which brings joy in spite of whether or not we have anything to be happy about.  Joy, hope and confidence in the one who is leading you, can do a lot to bringing about a smile on one's face, a bounce to their step and assurance that tomorrow (whether it's spent here or there) will be a better day.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Praising God No Matter What

I went to my friend Elizabeth Prata's blog The End Time this morning to catch up with what she has been posting about.  I watched this video:

Praise You in the Storm

The Lord spoke to my heart as I listened, and I became aware that I have not been praising God properly during this time of trial in my life, nor have I been thanking Him for the things He has been showing me during the trial.

Ephesians 5:20 tells us:  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We don't grow during times of ease and leisure when all is well with our world.  We grow in our times of trouble and testing.  We don't run to God and depend on Him for comfort, strength and wisdom in our times of ease, but we certainly do in our times of trouble.  That's where He meets us and shares our burden; He carries us through it, never leaving us nor forsaking us.

So, my friend, REALLY, if you are having trials and testing, PRAISE GOD!  He loves you as a son or daughter and is disciplining you; helping you to grow in reliance on Him.

I have been going through testing, literally one right after the other now for the past 13 years.  I have failed in some of the tests to do what I know the Lord wanted me to do.  But one thing I have learned is that God is determined to purify those who claim Jesus as their savior, and if we fail in a test, that means we're going to get another one to make up for the one we messed up.  He is determined to bring us to that place where we are less and less and Jesus is more and more of us and we look more and more like He did.

As I sit here in the silence, I realize that He is nearby and He knows my every thought, He knows what I'm writing and that I finally(!) get what He's doing.  Every test or trial I must lay back in His hands, not holding on and let Him carry me through it.  I must trust that He won't drop me, leave me, or let me down.  He's not letting go of me and I; I must not let go of Him.  He is my lifeline, the one who gives perfect advice and perfect peace.   As I rest in His hands, I must thank Him for being my rock, my hiding place and my sure foundation, and acknowledge that this trial is not the end of me, it's the beginning of being more like Him if I let it be.

Oh, God, I recognize your hand at work in my life.  I believe in you, but help whatever parts of me haven't gotten on board yet and remove any disbelief I may still have.  I trust you, remove all the barriers I have still within me that make me want to be in control.  I want to be like a little child, trusting you completely with no reservations.  You are everything, I am a vapor.  Everything belongs to you, including me.  I was created for you, so take my life, Lord, and let it be always, only, all for you.

Monday, July 15, 2013

What is Meekness?

Since my surgery, the Lord has been teaching me about meekness.  I thought I would pop up from the surgery, get the device programmed and four weeks later be out on the golf course, driving my car and doing the shimmy in my post-surgery high heels.  What was I smoking?

In truth, since the surgery, I have been clinging to God with all that I am, praying for strength, praying for patience and endurance.  It is ever so hard to adjust to having a machine attached to the body.  I pray for each and every person on the face of this earth who rely on oxygen machines, pace makers, or any other type of mechanical device made by man to make their quality of life better.  God bless you, all of you with His wisdom and perseverance.

The adversary wants to destroy those who love God.   He wants to steal our happiness, kill our witness and destroy our lives.  He plays with our minds.  He feeds us lies.  He  whispers in our ears.  He accuses us constantly.  What is our part in this?  We are to steadfastly read God's Word, impress it upon our hearts and minds, to know who God is and what He's like and what His promises are to us.  We are to stand against the enemy, in full armor, deflecting his shots at us.

That, after your body has undergone a surgery which leaves you feeling like you've been hit by a Mack truck, is a challenge.  You are weak, your mind is clogged with anesthesia and uncertainty and you feel like a little kid who needs constant assurance and comfort from his or her mother.

One lie the adversary has been so confident in using is "You don't really know God.  You aren't saved.  You didn't even trust Him enough to heal you.  You had surgery.  You trusted in doctors.   God doesn't know you.  God doesn't hear you anymore.   Face it, you aren't a Christian."   Oh, Lord, how he has used these accusations against me.

But the Lord IS faithful,  He is true and good and beautiful and He NEVER leaves us or forsakes us.  His Word is true.  We can believe what He promises to us, and we must live a life of faith for without faith, we cannot please Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Everyday I tell myself, "nothing will happen to you today, Kim, that God has not ALLOWED.  God allows Satan to test us, to try us, to BUILD OUR FAITH.   Understanding that God is in control of EVERYTHING; everything good, bad, ugly, beautiful or otherwise that happens to us and if we love Him and are called according to His purpose, they all work together for OUR GOOD.   He, alone, is sovereign.   We must accept everything that comes from His hand because He is wiser, He is gentler, He is everything that we are not and in the end, He is in control.  We accept His wisdom, His generosity, His goodness, His allowing Satan to tempt us or try us with meekness.  It's not that we roll over and play dead or like a limp noodle; but that we understand that He is working to make us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ, and that it's all for our own good.   That is meekness.  

I had purchased the book Like Silver Refined by Kay Arthur several years ago meaning to read it, but it sat on my shelf, untouched until the other day when I was looking for a book to read during my devotion time.  God surely caused me to save this book to read during this time in my life for it is exactly what I need to hear right now, and I can't seem to hear it enough.  It's like I have to keep putting this message into my mind in order for it to sink in, set its roots down deep so nothing can ever pull it out of my mind.  God is God.  I belong to God.  He made me according to His will.  He has a plan for me and it is not a plan to hurt me, but for my good.  He wants the best for me, and each and every trial He allows into my life is meant to bring it about.

As I recognize all this, I am commanded by His Word to "GIVE THANKS ALWAYS FOR ALL THINGS UNTO GOD AND THE FATHER IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD, JESUS CHRIST." Ephesians 5:20

Dear Friend, are you, too, experiencing lots of trials and tribulations in your life?  Then be encouraged as you count it all joy in accordance with James 1:2-7 because the Lord is bringing you to the perfection that He requires; lacking in nothing.  Truly, knowing that God is the one who is orchestrating all the things that are going on in my life right now is the only thing that keeps me going.  Satan can tell me all he wants that I don't know God or that I am not God's daughter, but I have determined that I will run this race in faith for the length of my life.  God, himself, will have to tell me I don't belong to Him.  I know whom I have believed upon, (Jesus Christ) and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to him until that day when in joy and tears, I will see Him face to face in all His glory! 

Romans 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Now This is Warfare!

Since my surgery, exactly four weeks ago, I have been under attack from the adversary.   He's sneaky - that one.  He always strikes you when you least expect it and when you are at your weakest.

It's hard to explain to others how one feels after this kind of surgery - well at least how I have felt.  There have been very emotional periods when all I want to do is cry, there have been times when I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time and then there have been the "dark" times when I have sensed that my mind was under attack.  I am usually a pretty positive person (with the exception of telling people that we are at the end of the age; and then people tell me I'm "so negative").   During the trial and error period of programming the DBS system, I have been totally "off" which I had never been prior to the surgery.  "Off" meaning I am overtaken by tremors, my mind is blank and it is hard for me to focus.

It was during one of my first "off" periods that I felt a darkness coming over me and my thoughts went very negative.  I thought that God was very displeased with me for having the surgery, I thought about how if something went wrong I would have to undergo more brain surgery, and then I would not give permission to more surgery,  I thought about how complicated this had made my life for other illnesses that could possibly pop up, I thought God did not love me because I was no longer made in His image because I have this "thing" inside of me, etc. 

I recognized the hand print of the enemy on these thoughts, and immediately called my prayer partner.  The Bible tells us that Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy.  He must have heard me praising God in the OR (so they tell me), or reciting my scriptures, or thanking God with my family and friends afterwards in the recovery room and decided he was going to put a stop to that.   Anyway, I heard in my mind "Didn't I tell you he would do this?"  "He wants to steal your joy, kill your witness and destroy you."  So, I did as the Word says and resisted him.  He did, in fact, flee from me and I was at peace the rest of the day. 

I have had this happen now many times since I came home, and quite frankly, it was getting to me. As a matter of fact, it had me questioning my salvation and whether I had had this surgery performed without God's blessing and if He would forgive me for it.   Last night as I was reading scripture, the Holy Spirit led me to Ephesians 6:13-17 where it talks about spiritual warfare and putting on the whole armor or God.   I was reading through the verses and then reading the accompanying commentary when my spirit lit up and I rejoiced.

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

God showed me that every day, no matter what I do, if it brings glory to God, Satan is going to attack the one bringing God such glory and that every single day, I need to put on ALL of the armor of God.

 First the belt of truth.  This is a knowledge of the truth of God's Word.  I believe the Bible is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.   The belt of truth holds all the other pieces of armor in place.   Next, the breastplate of righteousness, which represents holy character and moral conduct which comes from knowing the truth and attempting to be an effectual doer of the word and not just a hearer of it.  Third, the preparation of the gospel of peace.  These are shoes on our feet that make us eager or willing to take the fight to Satan even though he is a powerful opponent.  The shield of faith means taking God at His Word and believing His promises (which I was not doing, and which the commentary says will "protect one from doubts induced by Satan).    The helmet of salvation which  is the assurance or certainty of salvation, which again means that I must trust God to keep His promises.   And last, but certainly not least, the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  

Friends, we must consciously take up the armor everyday for IF we are doing the Lord's bidding in glorifying His name, taking the gospel to others and lifting Him up so that all men are drawn to Him, then we are a sure target for the adversary.

I am so thankful today for God's amazing love for me, for the fact that I cast my cares upon Him, and He answered me.  He showed me that no matter what, I must trust His promises and depend upon
 Him to complete what He has started in me.  

Dear Lord, thank you so much for loving me, for hearing my prayers and answering them!You are Almighty God, and I say with the Psalmist, "Who am I that you would be mindful of me", I am as a mist, a vapor, a flower, here today and gone tomorrow..  Yet you take the time to reassure me that I am yours and you are mine.  I bless you today, Lord!  May you be glorified today in my life.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!




Sunday, June 23, 2013

...My Help Comes From the Lord, Maker of Heaven and Earth

There are some pretty frightening roads that we have to travel on our journey through life.  I can remember praying to God about it one day while I was driving alone on a very dark road in the country.  I remember telling the Lord how this world is so big, and scary and there seemed to be so much darkness in it and that "if I didn't have you to travel it with, I would really be scared".  The Lord has been showing me just how true that really is.

Twelve or so years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease at age 43, and I spent the next twelve or so years doing everything I could do to alleviate the symptoms and perhaps slow the progression of the disease.

In the past year, my progression has been swift and devastating, and the Lord began to open my eyes to what my future might look like.  I was once again taken back to that dark, lonely road of so long ago, and how frightening the road ahead looked without Jesus by my side.

Three weeks ago, I underwent Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery.  This is a surgery in which the doctor puts an electrode in your brain and a battery pack in your chest which works to stimulate the brain and alleviate and or lessen your symptoms.  I was scared stiff; having never had any kind of surgery and my only hospital stays having all been related to having my children.  However, the surgeon gave me a list of people who had had the surgery and encouraged me to call them.  I spoke to about five out of a list of about 15 and fully all five of them said it had made living with PD so much easier and that they would do it again and wished that they had done it sooner.  Only one of the candidates was a woman, and she was the only one who mentioned "depression".

When I first began exploring the possibility of having the surgery performed, I prayed (day and night) that God would lead me in the right direction and that if I were not to have the surgery performed, that He would close the door solidly and without question.  I stepped carefully on because of how frightful the surgery was to me.  I passed all the preliminary tests which are administered to see if you qualify for the surgery.  I received good news about my insurance covering it, and found no reason why I could not do the surgery.  I prayed still that God would close the door and one day in studying the book of James, I came to this verse of scripture:

James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

I felt that if all that were said about the surgery were true, then this was surely a gift from God to those who were able to have it done.

My surgery was scheduled; the time flew by and lo and behold, I found myself on the Sunday before the surgery preparing for myself for what would come.  All the arrangements were made:  my son would spend the day with one of my very best friends, another of my best friends would come from her home to stay with me for two weeks to help take care of my family, and my other best friend became my partner in prayer and chief cheerleader.  My husband and I got a hotel room fairly close to the hospital and spent the night before there so we would not have to fight the rush-hour traffic in the morning.  I was not allowed to take any medication after midnight and no food or water from that time.

Because of what happens to the body when no medication is taken,  the day is pretty much a jumble but some things have perfect clarity.  Like the moment I woke up in the OR while the surgery was being performed and talking to the Lord about staying with me and I remember reciting the 23rd Psalm over and over.  I felt the Lord with me.  It was a very long day.  The surgery ended up beginning around 3:00 p.m. and lasted about five hours, and every time I was conscious, I was aware of quoting scriptures that I could remember and talking to the Lord.

The Psalmist says:

A Song of Ascents.

121 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

I have been shown that in a very special, wonderful way.  I hope to share in the coming days how He has been with me since the surgery.

 Thank you, Lord, for the precious gift of life.  Help me never to squander it.  Lord, I pray that today I can glorify your name, and bring honor to you.  Lead me, I pray, by your spirit to whom you will and do not let me pass by without doing what you want with me.  I am yours and you are mine.  What greater gift could there be for mankind?  Bless those who reach out with your hands to those in need and give comfort, love and peace.  In Christ's name I pray.  Amen.


Monday, May 20, 2013

What is Love?

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. - 1 John 3:16   (YouVersion for Ipod)

What does it mean to "lay down one's life for our brothers and sisters" and who is "our brothers and sisters"?

In order to find the answer to these questions, we must give time to meditating on the things of God for us to really understand what is expected of us by our Father.

Many times, I have found as I am reading God's Word, that I am just cruising through it.  Hey, I did my 30 minutes today, Lord.  What a good girl I am.  Not!!   God's Word is deep and has lots of hidden layers and requires time, energy and devotion to ascertain the message that God has for each one of us on this particular day.  I am convinced there is a message which is not readily understood for each believer in Jesus Christ on any given day.  It's how God speaks to us, individually and corporately. 

As I read the above scripture this morning, it hit me over the head like a ton of bricks.  Real love (agape love) is when you want the very best for another person and you are willing to die in their place in order to see that they get it.   God's Word is telling us that we OUGHT to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters - and he (John) is not talking about our siblings, although I am sure that they are included. 

He's talking about all our brothers and sisters who believe in Jesus Christ and that He is who He said He is - the only begotten Son of God - God Incarnate, who came and walked the earth, lived, breathed, was tempted in every way that we are and NEVER allowed Hinself to participate in the temptation to sin.  He became a threat to the established, good-ol'-boy Jewish legal system and so they had to kill Him to perpetuate their "the way we've always done things" mantra, or the "you're not what we have been expecting" mindset.  ...and so, He died on a cross and took on the penalty for sin for EVERY person who ever walked on or will walk on this earth, WHICH IS DEATH, and then, He rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven!

You know that person who irritated you in worship this morning because they took your parking space...yep, it includes him.  Lay down your life; it's not yours anymore. 

You know that woman who's always forwarding emails about God - the ones that take up too much time and you don't know how to tell her to stop...yeah, her too.
 
And that one liberal (or conservative) man or woman who gets your goat everytime you post something political on social network sites, well, yeah,....them, too.

What does it mean to lay down your life because we know that it doesn't mean that we ACTUALLY/LITERALLY die for each and every brother and sister?

I've said many times on this blog that I AM NOT A BIBLE SCHOLAR, but I am a Bible student, and so my interpretation on this is that we are to lay it down, let it go, don't sweat the small stuff, forgive and do your best to forget and CARE about the unseen, unknown reasons why doing so will be the best thing for the other person.   I also think a small touch, an encouraging word and a prayer on their behalf (later when they're not around or maybe right then with them if it's possible and desirable).

Too many times I catch myself speaking unnecessary, unkind, impatient, unloving words when I should just be turning those thoughts and statements over to the Lord.  One arena in which I am very impatient is driving.  (Real estate agents think they are professional drivers and that everyone should listen to and adhere to their driving knowledge.)  First, let me say, I am not a speeder.  BUT  I do drive the speed limit.  So if someone is poking around in front of me without any clear reasons of why, I usually will politely speak words like, "get going, Mister", or "nice turn signal, lady"!  You know what I mean, right?  I've become especially sensitive to this since my son rides around with me a lot, and well, I am his role model.  So I do it quietly and politely (most of the time), but really, is it at all necessary?   I don't really know what is going on; maybe they have something going out on their car, maybe they're ill, maybe they're sad, it COULD be anyone of a million reasons.  So, I should just GET OVER IT. 

When one looks at this scripture in the light of brothers and sisters who ARE REALLY CLOSE TO US, this puts another entirely different spin on things because generally (it is said) we treat those we love the most the worst!

...makes me blush with shame when I reflect on some things I have said or done.  (May God and my victim forgive me)


 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

What is Your Story?


One of my favorite contemporary Christian musical artists is Matthew West.

The Story of Your Life was released on October 5, 2010. The first radio single was "My Own Little World", and the second radio single from the album was "Strong Enough".   Matthew recently did a concert in my church, and I picked up this CD.  

During the concert, he told us how he was getting ready  to start working on his next CD when he decided that he was tired of writing stories about "his" life and put a call out on Facebook for people to send him "their" stories.  He was bombarded with stories from people about their lives, the problems, the blessings, the agony and the ecstasy, so to speak.  The whole CD is comprised of songs he wrote based on letters he received from people about their lives.   He also wrote a book about the project.   Every song on the CD speaks to my heart, but the song "The Story of Your Life" is an especially heart touching, encouraging song.   You can listen to the song HERE.

 
"Story Of Your Life"
Matthew West

 
Is this the end?
Or only the beginning?
The second chance
You never thought you'd get

The question is
Will you do something with it
Or spend your days
Lost in your regret

This is the story of your life
You decide
How the rest is gonna read
This is your chance between the lines
To redefine what kind of legacy you leave
This is the story of your life
And it's a story worth telling

Breathe in deep
Feel your heart still breathing
Let's go see the reason you're alive
Oh, you are here
and love is up to something
So take your fear
and leave it all behind

This is the story of your life
You decide
How the rest is gonna read
This is your chance between the lines
To redefine what kind of legacy you leave
This is the story of your life
And it's a story worth telling

This is the joy
And it's the pain
And all the pages in between
Your finest hour
Your weakest moment
It's where you've been
It's where you are
It's where you're going

This is the story of your life
You decide
How the rest is gonna read
This is your chance between the lines
To redefine the kind of legacy you leave
This is the story of your life
Go tell the story of your life
Cause it's a story worth telling
It's worth telling

Is this the end?
Or only the beginning?
 
 
And so that is where this Resurrection Sunday finds us.  Are we at the beginning or at the end?  The marvelous gift offered to us by God Almighty through His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, Y'eshua HaMasiach, is a 100% new beginning, a fresh start, a new life.  The Lord tells us in Matthew 11:28-30:
 
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
 
This is the story of your life, and YOU get to decide how the rest is going to read.  Will you continue on in your own strength, messing up, blaming yourself, beating yourself up, putting your head down and butting up against the wall again and again and again.    ...or will you lay it all at the foot of the cross and let Him carry the burden for you?  Will you trust Him?  Will you let Him direct your life story the rest of the way? 
 
Romans 10: 9-17
 
    For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, "Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed. " 12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They all have the same Lord, who generously gives his riches to all who ask for them. 13 For "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." 14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" 16 But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, "Lord, who has believed our message?" 17 Yet faith comes from listening to this message of good news -- the Good News about Christ.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 







Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Faith that Endures




I believe that God created everything from the smallest of the small to the largest of the large and everything in between.  My God is greater than anything else that lives or moves or breathes on earth or in heaven.  God currently holds sway over the whole of creation, He always has and He always will. 

I realized one day when I was reading the book of Job that God IS in fact in control of EVERYTHING that happens on earth and in heaven.  Once I recognized that, I also recognized and came to acceptance of the fact that nothing is going to happen to me each and every day that God has not already given His stamp of approval to, and anything that does happen to me each and every day is a direct result of God either giving it to me (He's the giver of all good and perfect gifts) or He has allowed the Adversary to bring upon me.

Job 1: 6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, "From where have you come?" Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it." 8 And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?" 9 Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face." 12 And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.   

I used to think that just because God's ways are higher than ours, that there was no way to understand why God allows certain things to come into our lives.  However, as I am studying the book of James, I have learned that God allows tests and trials in our lives to perfect our faith in Him.
 
1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.


The study I am using for the book of James was written by Kay Arthur of Precept Ministries.  In her weekly lecture, she tells the story of how silver is refined, how the silver is put into the fire and the impurities a/k/a "dross" come to the top and are removed from the silver, and then it is put again into a hot fire and more dross comes to the top and is removed and each time this happens, the reflection of the one doing the refining becomes more and more discernible and recognizable as the silver becomes more and more pure, and once all the impurities have been removed, the refiner sees his perfect reflection looking back at him from the silver. 

James 1:2-8 tells us that we are to count it as "joy" when we encounter trials because the testing of our faith produces steadfastness (also translated as perseverance,  patience and endurance).  Steadfastness, if we allow it to complete its work, will cause us to be perfect and complete (all our parts in place), lacking in nothing.  That's a pretty high calling...perfect and complete, lacking nothing; a state of being I can hardly contemplate. 

James 1:12 tells us that if we are steadfast through the trials and tribulations of this life that eventually we reach a state of approval whereupon we will receive a crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.
 
1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
It's hard, really hard, to put ourselves into Job's place and realize that when bad things come into our lives that God is allowing them to happen and that we are to be joyful about it.  It is hard to be humble and accepting of God's refining.  We just want to be accepted and loved and treated like we treat our pets, like good little people because we have believed in the gospel, but God wants more than that from us.  He wants us to shine like the brightest silver; He wants us to shine like the brightest light, He wants us to look like Him.

So everyday I get up, I read my Bible, I pray and I think, "Nothing is going to happen to me today that God does not want to happen", and you know what?  There is freedom in that.  It makes it so much easier to look a trial or a test in the face and realize that God wants me to sit still and know that He is God, He wants me to wait on Him, He wants me to acknowledge Him so that He can direct my path and He wants me to be steadfast - believing in Him for who is He, what He is and what He promises in His Word.   He is God.  He is good, and He has a plan for me; not to harm me, but to prosper me and re-make me in His image.  He promises to go before me and make a way for me to get through the trial.

When we can look at difficulties and trials  and tests that we encounter in this manner, well, at least for me, even the most difficult trials, the death of a loved one or the loss of one's health or job, can be endured in a much more accepting, even-tempered, faithful manner.   It is easier to keep the faith if you know that the trial or test is to build your faith. 

Plus, He promises to give you wisdom to know how to get through the trial and possibly why the trial was sent if you only ask Him in faith, believing that He will answer you.  And here's a scary thought, if you don't have faith, you might as well not ask because the one who asks without faith is double minded in all his ways, and should not expect to receiving anything from the Lord!

The farther I walk on this road to redemption, the more I know that we are so poor and little minded and yet we think we are so grand and able to do whatever we want.  We think we can sit down and say our little memorized, rote prayer, rote grace, list of thank yous and gee, haven't we done well today?  But God is a god of perfection.   He wants us to be perfect like He is perfect...thus, the trials.

I know that the trials of today are nothing like the trials of what is yet to come in this world that is quickly passing away, and so I pray that God would find me worthy of escaping the things that are coming, but should it be required, I ask that I would not love this life so much that I would bring shame to His name and myself if my life is required.   I pray that by His holy spirit I would make Him proud of me; that I would be steadfast and true and faithful to Him.

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary; pure and holy, tried and true;
With thanksgiving, I'll be a living sanctuary for You.

This is my prayer today.



Thursday, March 7, 2013

Chavez, Ahmadinejad, "No Jesus", & Demoniacs

My last post contained links to various bloggers and my thoughts that we are approaching the end of this age.

Continuing in that theme, I would like to say a few short words about some news articles that caught my eye today.



First, I'm sure that anyone who reads any news at all has seen that the Dictator of Venezuela, Huga Chavez, has passed on to eternity.  Being born in the 1950's and growing up in the age of the "Cold War" with Communist Russia, et al, it is quite startling to me that the press corps of the United States is praising Hugo Chavez as though he were one of the great humanitarians and political figures of this era.  When did this happen?  When did press of the "land of the free and the brave" become supporters of Communisim?  I found this article to be quite humorous though in how Mr. Chavez did not want to die.  If I were a betting woman, I would bet that He was not quite settled about death and life in the hereafter.

Hugo Chavez Did Not Want to Die..He Sacrificed Himself for His Country

In the next eye-opening article, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran (one of the most repressive governments in the world), Radical Islamist and hater of Christians, has stated that Mr. Chavez will be resurrected with Jesus.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Read it for yourself.

Iranian President - "Chavez Will Be Resurrected with Jesus"

Next in the lineup...The Seattle Times ran the following article which says that the City of Longview, Washington, (United States of America!!!) City Council has banned invoking the name of Jesus Christ in Council meetings.  Apparently the Mayor was advised by the City Attorney to enact removal of prayer and the use of Jesus' name in order to avoid being sued and costing the citizenry a lot of money. 

"Christ" Banned From Longview Invocation

The next two articles are from Orlando, Florida and New Britain, Connecticut.  Both are stories about individuals who are either fighting demons or fighting like demons. 

Lady Takes Baseball Bat to Church Statute in Fight Against the Devil

and

Man Goes Berserk With Ax At Dunkin' Donuts

and last but not least, a couple of articles about our country's leadership:

President Has Authority to Use Drones Against Americans on American Soil

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul's Filabuster Re President and Drones

and a couple about our country's economic situation:

The Last Time the Dow was Here

Wake Up America

Taken individually, one might shrug their shoulders and go on, but when read together and meditated upon and prayed about, it is very easy to see that we are living in a VERY troubled country!   It is very hard for me to verbalize how quickly and how dramatically life in the USA has changed in just 20 short years. I say 20 years because I can relate so well to that time period being an adult, above average intelligence, a successful independent contractor/Real Estate Sales Agent involved in the financial and business systems of the country and also as a wife, mother and believer and follower of Jesus Christ.

I saw how the internet changed the business world, I saw how families (including my own) were falling apart, I saw the church failing to preach the true gospel and instead of standing up for the things that Jesus taught, joining hands with the world and embracing the "prosperity" gospel, the "politically correct" position on sin such as "the way, the truth and the life", "there is only one way to the Father" and the veracity and accuracy of the Word of God...The Bible.

I saw adultery proliferate, dishonesty in business,  (especially) politics, and medicine/pharmacopia explode, homosexuality (which was only whispered about in my growing up years) became the latest "in thing" and liberals and hollywood adopted it as its next social crusade thanks to Ellen DeGeneres. 

I witnessed an alarming increase in the number of stories of mothers murdering their children, pedophilia grew so prevalent that I was advised as a real estate agent to advise my clients about Rachel's Law and as a mother had to become pro-active in knowing if there were any living around me.

...and music, well, music became rap and head banging music and "grunge" and alternative, and well, wouldn't we give anything just to go back to rock 'n roll? 

Yes, the 60s and 70s were filled with drugs, sex and rock 'n roll, but even in the worst situations, did it really come close to comparing with what we see today?  I've read stories about people having sex in the most unbelievable places, and just about weekly (and sometimes daily) there are stories about teachers (men and women) having sex with their students -- it's become commonplace.   Not to mention the drug wars in Columbia and Mexico being so severe that news reports often have stories of dismembered victims and mass murders/shootouts.

It boggles the imagination to think about what the next 20 years holds.  I, personally, do not wish to be around if what I imagine will be happening is IN FACT happening. 

I have sinned in my life (a lot and some really shameful things, in fact) and I am heartbreakingly aware of how dark and evil the human heart is and what evil it can perpetrate.  I often think of that old adage, "there but for the grace of God go I".  Reading the news today sat heavy upon me and it struck me again just how far removed from God the United States has become.  Surely, God,  who knows everything, has seen this (if my puny little human eyes can see it)  and if a nation has no loyalty to God, blasphemes His holy name and pushes Him out of its workings at every opportunity, it leaves me wondering just how long we have until something really horrific happens here as God removes His protective hand from a people who no longer want, need or seek Him.

My friends, as you read this, I pray that the Spirit of God is speaking to you, calling your name.  If you have not surrendered your life to Him, reach out; call out His name - Jesus, Yeshu'a, Yahweh, Alpha, Omega, Savior, Jehovah, The One True God - tell Him you believe in Him, that He came, lived and died for your sins, that He was resurrected and now sits at the right hand of God the Father.  Ask Him to forgive you and lead you and to give you His wisdom, and He who gives to all generously and without reproach is faithful to do as you have asked.  Then, follow Him for the rest of your days, as many or few of them as you may have. 

Time is passing away quickly and the days that are left here on this earth are not offering anything that satifies the human soul, only He, God Himself, can do that for He made you and me and when He did, He made a spot that nothing else can fill but Himself.   May God give you peace as we live through these dangerous, troubling times.