Sunday, December 28, 2014

Good Enough for God's Love

Do you ever feel that you are not good enough to be loved by God? Throughout the Bible we are told of God's love for his people. We are given assurance time after time by his guidance and the leadership he sends to save his people from disasters. We have "blessed assurance" that Jesus was born to save us from the sin that condemns us. We are celebrating the birth of the Savior God sent us...Jesus Christ the Lord. His love is stronger than any doubt we may have and we are assured of our adoption into the family of God through his son's sacrifice for us. Instead of doubting, place out hopes in Jesus and strive to be more like him and not focus so much on being like the world around us. Listen for his voice and tune out the conflicting messages from those who choose worldly love and living.
"My loved ones, we have been adopted into God’s family; and we are officially His children now. The full picture of our destiny is not yet clear, but we know this much: when Jesus appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him just as He is. 3 All those who focus their hopes on Him and His coming seek to purify themselves just as He is pure." 1 John 3:2-3
(The Voice)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Gift of Salvation

Salvation is God's perfect gift to us. It began with Jesus' birth. So we are celebrating salvation this Christmas. Salvation begins like an infant and over time it either grows within us or shrinks until we loose site of what the gift means to us. Who on your gift list either needs help in growing the meaning of their salvation or need to find it completely?

How can we give the gift of salvation?  One way is to live our lives in such a way that we are reflecting a positive Jesus so people will take notice and want what we have. We can invite our non-believing friends to attend Bible Study or church with us. Most importantly, we can pray for our non-believing friends that the Lord will come into their lives. We can ask him to use us to support his will in their lives. It is always God who brings salvation just as it is him who brought us Jesus. Salvation is brought to us through belief in Jesus as our savior. What a very special gift we can give through Christ.

"Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction." John 3:17 (The Voice)

"All we must do is to Believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and be saved. John 3:16

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Giving Comfort

How about another free gift suggestion. We really have a lot to receive and a lot to give. Who do you know who needs to be comforted? Perhaps a friend who has lost a loved one or has become an empty nester or who has just been diagnosed with a serious illness. What about the neighbor who just lost a pet they have had for many years. Have you visited a homeless shelter?

How often do you hear of or experience a situation where you can say, "there but for the grace of God, go I?" Yes it is by His grace that we receive comfort. In John's Gospel we are told that Jesus promised that he had to go away to join his father in heaven so the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, could come to mankind. We are to share this comfort with those who are in need. And of course,  be thankful. When we experience any affliction, think about the following:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Gift of Healing

  • News Fee

    Our next Heavenly Christmas gift is also an Easter present. The Jesus whose birth we celebrate this time of year, went back to heaven to live with the Heavenly Father on Easter.. His calling was to be God in human form and, after being hung on a cross, to go back to heaven for the forgiveness of our sins. What diseases and deaths are related to sin? What about sins like anger, jealousy, gluttony, greed, sexual misconduct, etch. What about cancers associated with smoking or murders caused by a moment of rage or jealously? What about diseases caused by over eating or wrong diets? What about car accidents caused by drinking? What about illness associated with environmental factors or those related to worry and emotions? The list goes on and on.
    Yet, where do most of us go to be healed? Sure we use doctors and all kinds of medical and non medical practitioners. But when push comes to shove, we are usually on the prayer chain or asking friends to remember us in prayer. The Bible is full of references to healing by Jesus, the Prophets, the Apostles, etc. So we know that we receive healing from Holy Hands and Prayer. What a gift healing is for the patient and family. I'm sure you have a list you are praying God's healing intervention for you or you for them, including our beloved animals who have many of the same illnesses we have. Good health is wished for Christmas and the New Year in cards and greetings. So lets not forget to present the gift of healing prayers and wishes to those on our Christmas lists this year.
    "So in life and in death he healed us. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds (stripes) we are healed." Isaiah 53:4-5

    Tuesday, December 9, 2014

    The Heavenly Gift of Forgiveness

    The 6th Heavenly Gift of Christmas is forgiveness. Jesus was our gift on Christmas Day from God. Can you imagine a love that brought his child into life just so he could later die a horrible death 33 years later so we could be forgiven and live in eternity with the father and son? Now that is unselfish love of the highest degree.
    What marvelous gift forgiveness is. It definitely mends fences and heals relationships. It blesses both the giver and receiver. How have you feltwhen you have forgiven someone? Did you feel a sense of relief? Did you feel a surge of love fill your soul? Did you feel you could hold your head up higher? Did you feel cleansed and refreshed? Who can you forgive this Christmas. Perhaps it is yourself.
    "Despite all your many offenses, He forgives and releases you.
    More than any doctor, He heals your diseases and He reaches deep into the pit to deliver you from death.
    He crowns you with unfailing love and compassion like a king." Psalm 103:3-4 (VOICE)

    Monday, December 8, 2014

    The Gift of Adoption

    Imagine that you are an orphan at Christmas. Right, you will get a lot of toys donated from various groups of loving people. But can those toys substitute for a loving mother or father? Imagine your disappointment as orphan after orphan is taken our for adoption and you are left behind. Are your own children like the orphan children...showered with toys and earthly treasures, but lacking in the deeper meaning of life?

    Think about  it. We have our imperfect earthly parents who provide for us in so many ways. Hopefully they will provide for us spiritually as well as physically. But we are blessed when we accept the heavenly father as our Lord. We become adopted sons and daughtersfor all eternity, not just our earthly years. We are forgiven of our sins and can live a much more joyous life. Accept your adoption. It is a gift from God. What about your own children. Have you shared them in their adoption? How do you  provide them this gift?

    "For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 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.[a] And by him we cry, “Abba,[b] Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children." Romans 13:14-16

    Saturday, December 6, 2014

    The Gift of Hope

    "Every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights." James 1:17
    Today's Heavenly Gift is one of my favorites. It is the gift of hope. Without hope we would live a very bland, sterile life. In fact I don't think we would be living at all. We would be walking around like zombies, with no direction, no feeling except profound sadness. What a miserable existence that would be. So many Christmas Cards list hope as a Christmas blessing. Wouldn't you agree?
    How do we give HOPE as a gift? One way is to be positive. If we think hopeful thoughts, we will be sharing our hope at all time. Encourage others, especially when they are experiencing negative times. Share our hope in the Lord. When we believe in and trust in him, we have hope. We are assured of his Love, compassion and forgiveness. We are assured of life everlasting. Sharing his message of hope brings blessings unmeasurable. Make me a blessing, Lord. Make me a purveyor of hope, hops in you, Lord.
    "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." Romans 15:13

    Friday, December 5, 2014

    Grace Abounding

    "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of lights" Ephesians 2:8
    Our 3rd Heavenly Gift is Grace. Grace, grace, amazing grace. We can't buy it, we can't sell it, we can only accept it. Grace is all about love, God's holy and unmerited love. Love that we don't earn. It's a free gift from God. Our only response is to accept it, to believe and to pass it on.
    What are some ways we pass God's grace along? How about sharing God's love? How about serving food to the homeless or taking them warm clothes in winter or helping them find shelter? What about praying for a delinquent child or troubled adult who is getting into serious trouble and helping with an intervention. What about leading someone to the lord? What about visiting a home for the elderly at Christmas. What about just showing unconditional love to your spouse or children? There are so many ways we can share God's gift of grace with others. I know you can come up with a million ways to express grace, especially this time of year.
    "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God," Ephesians 2:8 NAS

    Thursday, December 4, 2014

    Living the Spirit for Others

    "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of lights." James 1:17

    Second of God's Heavenly Gifts to us is his Spirit. We are so in awe of the work of the Spirit. It is indeed the light of the world and of our lives. The Spirit guides and directs us. It provides us wisdom and protection. It leads us to God the Father and God the Son. It is  our comforter, counselor and closest friend. It is ever present in our lives. It convicts us when we go astray and warns us when we face trouble. We can depend on the Spirit to lead us to God's peace.

    How can we give the Spirit to others. First is through prayer for wisdom for us and for them. When we listen to that still small voice and respond to it's message, we are often the voice of God to another. Prayer is our greatest connection to the Spirit when we want to help or encourage another. What are some ways you can gift another with the Holy Spirit.

    "No one has seen God at any time: if we LOVE one another, God abides in us and we in them. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us his Holy Spirit." 1 John 4:12-13

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

    God's Perfect Heavenly Christmas Gift...Jesus

    Worrying about finding the perfect gifts this Christmas season? Well, worry no more. Karol Ladd gave us the perfect gift list yesterday at her PCW Bible Study. It seems God has already given us the "perfect gifts." So how can we re-gift his "perfect" gifts this Christmas?
    "He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" Rom 8:32
    The first perfect gift God gave us is his son, our personal savior, Jesus.
    He sent Jesus to earth to live a human life, being born on Christmas Day. Think about ways you can give Jesus to your loved ones this Christmas day and every day of the year. In giving up his life for our sins, he showed us the greatest love we'll ever know. So when we give unmerited love or grace, we are giving Jesus example to others. When we show forgiveness, we are giving Jesus to others. What other ways can we give Jesus as a gift this Christmas.
    "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift" 2 Cor 9:15

    Monday, December 1, 2014

    Time to Remodel

        The confession we repeated in unison at yesterday's service still rings well as a great way to start today. "We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord; do not remember our sins forever. Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved." Isaiah 64:8-9, Psalm 80:3

       Right. We can always begin again. God can erase our mistakes just like the sculpture can reform the clay. However, the longer the clay sits, the more it hardens and the more difficult it is to be reshapen. Don't wait too long to return to the Lord. Why make it harder on yourself and deny yourself of God's unconditional love and favor any longer? Give him the remodeling job. All that is needed is  probably just a little nip or tuck, not a complete makeover.  He is waiting. Begin a new year in newness of life.

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

    Those Who Take From the Innocent Are Being Watched

    Tis the season for ill-begotten gain. We are constantly warned to lock our homes and our cars, don't leave purses and purchases where they can be seen, watch your credit cards, don't go into the mall alone, etc. etc. Here we are trying to prepare for our season to celebrate the birth of the Christ who came to bring us salvation and peace and there are those who ruin it by their selfishness and stupidity. Have you ever considered the thought they will get their just due or they will pay for what they have done? Ill-begotten gain is a NO,NO, whether it is money or stealing the joy of our celebrations. Even though their actions are still so painful to their victims, remember "God is watching."
    " my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; for their feet rush into sin, they are swift to shed blood. How useless to spread a net in full view of all the birds! These men lie in wait for their own blood; they waylay only themselves! Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the lives of those who get it." Proverbs 1:15-19

    Monday, November 17, 2014

    How Will You Spend Thanksgiving?

    Thanksgiving looms in front of us. I's a day our country sets aside to thank our founding fathers for discovering us and going thru the hardships they faced in their first year in this new country. How do you celebrate the holiday? Most folks I know spend it with family and friends, sharing their bounty of great food recipes. Or some will spend time at a shelter, bringing hope to those who are down on their luck. What about those who are incarcerated or those who are in the service. This is our American holiday. Our economy may still be down, but we are still considered a land of plenty. There is more to celebrate than the stores being open at the mall after lunch.
    Don't forget to thank the Lord for his blessings that we can always depended on and don't have to wait for him to open.
    "I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
    I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
    I will be glad and rejoice in You;
    I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High" PSALM 9:1-2.
    3 ``````````````````

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    Generosity is a Blessing.

    This is the season of thanksgiving and generosity, sharing our blessings. There are so many opportunities for us to give. As the year ends often we are needing tax write offs, so charities are requesting your help. Some churches have pledge drives during this time. Then there is the family Christmas list that must be fulfilled. Gifts for co-workers and friends have their list as well. It can become overwhelming and maybe even lead to depression when there just isn't enough to go around. Yet, we know that our generosity is usually appreciated. Generosity doesn't just refer to monitory giving, but what about our time and special gifts that can encourage and support others? What we give usually does come back to us. So lets give those good gifts with Thanksgiving. Our gifts come from God's love and generosity so we can spread his love around to others.

    " The same One who has put seed into the hands of the sower and brought bread to fill our stomachs will provide and multiply the resources you invest and produce an abundant harvest from your righteous actions.  You will be made rich in everything so that your generosity will spill over in every direction. Through us your generosity is at work inspiring praise and thanksgiving to God."2 Corinthians 9:10-11.

    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Who Do You Worship?

    How do you choose your heroes? What sets them apart and makes you want to follow them? Is it what they say? Is it what they do? Is it the way they look? How do you defend them when they make a mistake or get bad publicity?  Why do you believe their message?

    Think about the Apostles who were sharing the gospel. They were the leaders of the church and may have become heroes of the gospel to some. They were common men who worshipped a man called Jesus and were spreading the word about what he had done. People began to favor one or the other and started arguing who was best. They forgot that these men were only servants, carrying the message of Jesus.

    Do we sometimes forget that and begin worshipping the messenger instead of the one who is the message? Do you go to church to worship God or to hear the speaker? Do you attend so and so's church or do you attend God's church. Who is your hero?

    " For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?
     What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task."
    i Corinthians 1:4-5

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    Reviewing Thanksgiving

    Wow, Thanksgiving is almost here. How many folks celebrate the day gorging on fantastic food? Are you already planning the menu, reviewing your favorite recipes?  How many are reviewing what they are thankful for but forget to give thanks except on that day. What does Thanksgiving mean to you? What are you thankful for? Who do you praise?

    "Blessed be the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications.
    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. " Pssalm 28:2-3

    Let's do  thanksgiving every day and joyfully praise the Lord.  

    Monday, November 10, 2014

    Inheriting Hope

    When you think of inheritance, what comes to mind? Money, property, trust funds, family treasures, grandmother's wedding ring, grandpa's treasured gun collection? Why would anyone add "hope" to the list? Look around. We are celebrating our military heritage. A heritage that has brought hope to us that we have shared with others who had no hope. What does that mean to us? I believe "hope" through freedom is a huge inheritance they have left us that leads to Hope for the future of our country and peace. And with that we must include the hope we share in our savior...hope for our future through redemption. Hope keeps us achieving and learning. Wisdom to use what we are learning is something we must cherish as well as the hope. Wisdom comes from God.
    " God of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, Father of Glory: I call out to You on behalf of Your people. Give them minds ready to receive wisdom and revelation so they will truly know You. Open the eyes of their hearts, and let the light of Your truth flood in. Shine Your light on the hope You are calling them to embrace. Reveal to them the glorious riches You are preparing as their inheritance." Eph 1:12-13 (Voice)

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    Our Election

    Yesterday was a huge election deciding who will serve this country and the will of the people. We chose those who we felt represented our beliefs and would best lead our local communities, states and nation as our constitutions outlined.
    But, think about this. We are God's elect, chosen to do his will and support the development of his kingdom here on earth. Do we expect the same from ourselves as we expect from those we elected? Is our goal to unite us in him? What does God expect from his elect?
    "even as heichose us in himjbefore the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love  he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,  to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,  which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ  as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth." Ephesians 1:4-10

    Tuesday, November 4, 2014

    The Slightest Touch

    Are you timid? Afraid to ask for what your really want? Do you have this attitude with God? Remember the woman with the bleedng problem? She knew what she wanted and how to get it. She may have been timid, but she took the risk anyway. She touched the hem of Jesus robe and was healed. She didn't demand an audience with him. She didn't shout his name and push others out of the way. She merely touched his robe. Imagine stooping over and reaching where he was walking. She could have been knocked over and trampled by the crowd. But she didn't think about that. Her focus was on touching the hem because she had that kind of faith and belief. When we can go to him in the safety of our own home, in our comfortable chair, why do we hesitate to believe he is our healer? It doesn't take a lot of dramatics to get his attention. Just reaching out in faith and belief.

    " And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”  And He looked around to see the woman who had done this.  But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” Mark 5:31-34

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Recovery Mode

    Have you ever been so tired you just blankly stared into space or fell asleep standing up? How often do we push ourselves to the point of absolute exhaustion? At that point we are not doing ourselves or anyone else any good. So why do we get to this point?
    Physical exhaustion can usually be relieved by a few hours (or days) in bed and maybe some good nutrition. But what about mental and spiritual exhaustion? Ever been there? It's the same as with physical exhaustion. You push and push yourself to the breaking point. But how do we over come this? Well, God has an answer for us. Listen to what he says and seek his solution.
    " My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken" Psalm 62: 1-2. Put God first and pray without ceasing. He is always in recovery mode.

    Tuesday, October 7, 2014

    Scrub My Soul, Lord

    Ever fallen in the mud and felt like you'd never get it off of you regardless of how you scrubbed or what deterrent or soap you used? Ever feel that you've fallen so far away from your Christian living that you'd never get back on track? Relax. It's time to read Psalm 51.
    "Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
    scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
    Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
    set these once-broken bones to dancing.
    Don’t look too close for blemishes,
    give me a clean bill of health.
    God, make a fresh start in me,
    shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
    Don’t throw me out with the trash,
    or fail to breathe holiness in me.
    Bring me back from gray exile,
    put a fresh wind in my sails!
    Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
    so the lost can find their way home.
    Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
    and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
    Unbutton my lips, dear God;
    I’ll let loose with your praise." Psalm 51:7-15 (Msg)

    Thursday, October 2, 2014

    Righteous Rain

    "Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it." Isaiah 45:8
    Don't you just love this visual? Drip down. Not pour forth upon us. Not flood us. Just drip...slowly one drop at a time. I think of coming by drops meaning slowly and deliberately, allowing time to sink in, to be absorbed. Isn't this more permanent than coming all at once and then running off? Isn't this the way we want to experience God's word so we can keep it in our hearts and minds? Isn't this the Spiritual rain that we desire instead of the transient downpour that is soon washed away?
    Lord just like the rain we desire to end the drought we are experiencing to our soil and plant life, we need to receive a spiritual watering of our souls. We want one that will fill us slowly so it sinks in and brings forth fruit that bears your love and service. Bring on the predicted rains today and let us be receptive and accepting of your salvation and righteousness. We can not do it on our own. You are our watering can, our sprinkler system our rain cloud. Drip down upon us.

    Tuesday, September 30, 2014

    Back to Basics

    "Back to the Basics", used to be the cry for educational reform. Yet we are not teaching skills in language, writing, sentence structure and many other skills previously considered basic education. Did you know there was a correct order for washing dishes? That was part of my 7th grade curriculum. What about you? What was basic education back in your day?
    In this Psalm, David considers being taught knowledge and good judgement good for him out of trust for God's commands. Is this still important for basic Biblical education? Well, even though I use a dish washer, when I do hand wash my dishes, I still remember, "first the shining crystal, then the silverware." Whatever we learn as basic stays with us. What are some basic Biblical truths you will always remember? Do they earn you trust in God's commands?
    " Do good to your servant
    according to your word, LORD.
    Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
    for I trust your commands." Psalm 119:65-66

    Monday, September 29, 2014


    Have you ever stopped at a cosmetic counter when they were demonstrating make overs? They place a dozen or more jars in front of you and begin putting a gob here and a gob there and suddenly, you look so alive and fresh. You buy the whole lot of them, get home and don't have a clue what is in the jars or how to use them. After taking up space on your counter or in a cabinet, when they start to dry up, you finally get rid of them.
    What about those jars of clay spoken of in the Bible? Is it worth investing in them to improve our lives like the cosmetics? Will we let them just dry up and become useless? The difference is that we don't depend on those jars to produce the treasures of beauty. We know that our treasure is not in the jar, but in the power they represent. The power is from God through his son, Jesus, who he sent into the word to redeem us. Our power is from him and it never fades or fails us unless we hold back our faith. And we become beautiful as we become more like him.
    "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." 2 Cor 4:7

    Sunday, September 28, 2014

    Keeping the Law

    What is the job of the US Attorney General? Is it to uphold the Constitution? Is it to assure that our government does not infringe upon the rights of the people? It would be a good idea to find out exactly what this person is supposed to do for us because we will be seeking a new one and this position is supposed to be non-partisan...covering all of us. Perhaps our politicians need some advice from their constituents in following up what the function of this office should be.
    Human law and interpretation is certainly different from God's law. Humans seem tempted to find ways to get around the law and some become very proficient in the criminal ways. But there is a higher law...God's law. Perhaps it is easier to uphold because it is clearly stated and not laden with "lawyerese". But is it? How well do we follow God's law and why?
    "Never take your word of truth from my mouth,
    for I have put my hope in your laws.
    I will always obey your law,
    for ever and ever." Psalm 119:43-44

    Saturday, September 27, 2014


    FALL: A season of celebrations marked by homecomings. Three girls from nearby Grand Prairie High School have been honored recently in news reports and on the "Ellen" show for demonstrating love and compassion for a friend who had been the victim of bullying, Two had been nominated for homecoming queen and made a pact that whoever won would present her school's homecoming crown to the third girl. It was a demonstration of unselfish service and has made the whole country aware of the cruelty others can dish out and how that can be turned around in an unselfish act.
    Jesus demonstrated his love and compassion by sacrificing his life on the cross for us. The Bible promises us a huge homecoming celebration on the day that Jesus returns. Who will you be bringing along with you through your unselfish service and acts of love and compassion?
    "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." 1Thessalonians 4:16-17

    Friday, September 26, 2014

    My Action Thriller

    I don't know about you, but I serve a very active God, not a passive diety made of marble or stone. When I pray, I can tell it like it is and expect him to listen and them respond with some sort of action, and not necessarily exactly what I want, but what I need. How about you? Have you ever counted the action words in the Bible? Yesterday Karol Ladd posted this passage in her 22 day challenge on her Facebook site. It really struck me how much action was packed into this 7 verse passage. Strengthen, remove, teach, make...nothing mysterious or merely "christianese" about these words. Try scripture instead of movies for some action.
    Psalm 119:25-31
    "My soul cleaves to the dust;
    Revive me according to Your word.
    26 I have told of my ways, and You have answered me;
    Teach me Your statutes.
    27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts,
    So I will meditate on Your wonders.
    28 My soul [a]weeps because of grief;
    Strengthen me according to Your word.
    29 Remove the false way from me,
    And graciously grant me Your law.
    30 I have chosen the faithful way;
    I have [b]placed Your ordinances before me.
    31 I cling to Your testimonies;
    O Lord, do not put me to shame!"

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

    He Opens Doors

    Have you ever called the fire department to unlock a door at midnight? Well, I have added this activity to my list of dumb things I have done. We have push button door locks on bedroom and bath room doors and it's very easy to accidentally hit the button when opening of closing a door. They are what came with the house and we never changed them. We also do not have keys to unlock these doors. Last night I was trying to get to bed and had rounded up both dogs, closing them in the bedroom so I could finish what I was doing without them running back through the house and getting into things.
    When I finished and was ready for bed, I discovered I was locked out and the dogs were locked in, I called my handyman husband who had unlocked the doors in past accidental locks. He was in Las Vegas enjoying a steak dinner with his nephew and his fiance. He tried to explain how to unlock a door with a nail. I searched for the right sized nail in his vast supply of nails and screws. After several tries with everything I could find that could fit in the tiny hole, I finally gave up and called him back. He suggested I call 911 and they transferred me to the fire department which is only a few blocks away. The whole crew showed up about 10 minutes later and in 5 minutes had opened the door with a credit card. The dogs were delighted to be free again and I was thankful I could finish preparation and try to get a good night's sleep. The guys will get a large tray of my husband's chocolate chip cookies when he gets back and a letter of thanks and praise.
    However, as believers, we know where our true freedom lies. Many people are locked in their own worlds of disappointment and shame or big mistakes and focus their lives on themselves. But as believers we know who has the key to our lives and opens doors for us.
    "I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name." Rev. 3:8
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    Tuesday, September 23, 2014

    He Is More Than a Waterer.

    Summer heat in Texas means I must water the deck plants daily. Now that fall has arrived, I can slow that down. Or at least I can when we have rain. This year it came in spring and early summer, but ha been lacking the past month and that seems to be continuing. But I'm not complaining. It gets me out into nature early in the morning to enjoy the awakening of the world around me and to spend time with God in this beautiful setting.

    I am reminded that I am a wilted plant, dying from the heat or other seasonal difficulties. It's God who comes out to water me and give me nourishment and growth. Without God's word in my life, I would just wilt away. Reading scripture is turning over the soil and giving me a fresh foundation. Prayer is the water that keeps me looking upward so I can receive my "watering". The Spirit keeps me upright and growing in the right direction. Fellowship with other Christians help to provide my increase. I'm so glad I was planted in God's garden and just hope to continue to let him be the Master Gardener for my life.

    " Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working." ! Cor 3:6-8 (Msg)

    Saturday, September 20, 2014

    Shackled by Sin?

    Did you happen to see "12 Years a Slave?" We were shown how an innocent "freed man" man was put into the shackles of slavery by sinful men. It was a great example of how sin works and the devastation it causes in the lives of it's victims. It held our hero down until a man of honor came to rescue him.
    This is us when sin takes hold. We struggle, but remain shackled under it's yoke until we are rescued. And who is it that who rescues us from sin? Jesus Christ is always the right answer. But we must remember to be vigilant as Sin is always hanging around just waiting for us to slip back into it's clutches. Keep our focus on Jesus and stand firm in obedience to him.
    "For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery" Galatians 5:1

    Thursday, September 18, 2014

    Disappointment or Opportunity

    Have you ever been disappointed by a friend? Have you had a promise made to you broken? Have you wanted something so bad and prayed and prayed about it, only for it not to happen as you wanted it? Yes, we are disappointed by the people in our lives. Is it because we expect too much from them? Is it because we aren't on the same page so to speak?

    But God! That's a different story. He has promised to answer our prayers. How can we ever trust him? Well, get over it. God is trustworthy and faithful. He sees the beginning from the end. We don't see the danger and future disappointment in what we want. But he does. We just have to trust his ways and believe that "our Father knows best." When we lay our lives in his hands we are taking the higher road that will lead us to places we never thought of. His plans are much bigger than ours.

    For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts" Isaiah 55:8-9

    He creates opportunity out of disappointment.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    Spiritual Blindness

    Our dog, Krisi, has periods of blindness where she stumbles into walls and gropes her way around. She had cataract surgery about two years ago, but we know she will eventually go blind. By slightly increasing her prednisone (steroid) her vision will improve temporarily. Watching her get around reminds me of myself on those days when I am struggling with which direction I am going. I keep running into walls and seem very confused about where is am headed. Do you ever have those days?

    We can experience blindness in many forms, not just physically being unable to see. Spiritual blindness seems to be very prevalent today. People seek satisfaction from many resources, but as Christians, we know  to seek satisfaction through God's Spirit that lives within us. Our Peace comes through what we do not see. Too often what we see is disturbing or takes our focus to a wrong direction and away from the Father and Son

    "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

    Sunday, September 14, 2014

    The Eyes of Love

    Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”Matthew 22:37-40
    We all know this commandment and it is probably the most difficult to follow. We must love ourselves. So many have been listening to the opinion of others who are not loving and have sent us messages that we are less than what God has made us to be. Focusing on our appearance is one of our biggest negative messages and often keeps us from getting beyond ourselves so we can relate to others. I especially like the Message because is includes loving God with our intelligence. Our intelligence includes our thoughts and these are dependent on our beliefs and attitudes which in turn effect our behavior and responses to others. Learning is part of our intelligence.
    The message from God's word tells us we are made in his image and that God is good. So as we learn more about God, the father and God the son,
    we begin to see our image through them. As we begin to follow their word, our thoughts and behaviors change so we become more like them. Instead of focusing on our negative qualities, we focus on them. Then we will see ourselves and others through their eyes....the Eyes of Love.

    Friday, September 12, 2014

    Standing By Your Abuser

    Rice wasn't very nice. Do you agree? The media are really having a field day since Rice was thrown off the field, so to speak. Everyone has their opinion of the fairness of the league's decision, but seeing the video definitely was a "gasping" moment. And we wonder  why she married him and stuck with him.  Just like Hiliary when Bill was accused of his "sexual sin"...these women "stand by their Man. Is abuse the same as a "sexual sin"?

    Is it because of their power? Is it because they have money? Is it because they experienced this in their homes of origin? Do they accept beating as an expression of love or sexuality? Is it because they enjoy the notoriety? Each situation has it's own story. We are so reminded of our command to forgive and the 70 times 70 rule. But when is enough enough?

    "Stay on good terms with each other, held together by love. Be ready with a meal or a bed when it’s needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it! Regard prisoners as if you were in prison with them. Look on victims of abuse as if what happened to them had happened to you. Honor marriage and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between husband and wife. God draws a fine line against casual and illicit sex. " Heb 13 1-4

    Where will you draw the line? How long would you "stand by your abusive man."

    Thursday, September 11, 2014

    God Bless America

    Today we celebrate the memory of one of the greatest tragedies experienced on American shores. Last night our "commander in chief" announced that we are still in danger of attack and outlined his plans for protecting us. This morning I focused on scriptures about faith and security, not from government, but from the God in whom we trust. Although we are warned of danger, we who believe have a higher calling for our security.
    " For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39
    This is our assurance and what gives us security that all things do indeed work together for our good. So my song for today is "God Bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her through the night with the light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam, God bless America, my home, sweet home."

    Sunday, August 31, 2014

    Are you part of the harvest?

    Labor Day. This is the day set aside to honor the American worker. It is celebrated by sales, malls open, cookouts and end of summer vacations. I can remember when everyone had the day off. School didn't start until after labor day. But things change, don't they? At least we don't parade our battle ready equipment around like some countries do.

    There are many battles going on. Not just between nations, but between people, families, churches. The biggest battle is the one that goes on between satan and God's people. What does it mean to be a laborer in this battle? Where is the fight? For some it is in our minds as we struggle with what Paul called our inner man or old self. But what about the battle outside ourselves? Have you joined the ranks? Are you a fighter or a pacifist? Will you take a stand or take time off? Does your battle belong to the Lord? It's harvest time.

    "Then Jesus went throughout all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were bewildered and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” Mt 9:35--38

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

    Trust in God's Word.

    Has someone ever broken a promise to you? Especially someone you felt very dear to? How did that make you feel? Did you find it hard to trust that person again? Did you project that distrust onto others?
    The world may be changing, God's word is unchangeable. We are still heirs to his kingdom and his love. In him, we find refuge from all the ills of the world and it's lies and suffering. We who live in the free world are so fortunate to be living his blessings now. He remains our refuge and our strength. Let's continue to trust in him and honor his word in our lives and be thankful.
    " In the same way God wanted to demonstrate more clearly to the heirs of the promise that his purpose was unchangeable, and so he intervened with an oath, so that we who have found refuge in him may find strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us through two unchangeable things, since it is impossible for God to lie." Heb 6:17-18

    Friday, August 29, 2014


    Jake, the new fur faced family member woke us up before dawn running around the room like a mad man. We expected this behavior when it was lightening, not just raining heavily. And pour rain it did. It was like a cloud burst. "Thank you Lord, I won't have to get up to water this morning as I has planned. Thanks so much for listening to the weather men and honoring the rain forecast. The wet soil will bring growth to the plants."
    The Bible speaks of raining down righteousness. What a lovely visual. There is definitely a drought of righteousness in the world. What would happen if we suddenly experienced a cloudburst that brought salvation to all? Then I could say, "Thank you Lord for filling all of us humans with your righteousness and salvation that will bring peace to the world and the whole world will grow in your grace."
    “You heavens above, rain down my righteousness;
    let the clouds shower it down.
    Let the earth open wide,
    let salvation spring up,
    let righteousness flourish with it;
    I, the Lord, have created it.

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

    Godly Fitness

     Do you know anyone who is addicted to physical fitness training? It is very important that we keep our bodies fit. It keeps our minds alert and active, too. But it is also as important that we are trained in values related to godliness? The results of our physical training end when our life ends, but the godly values we uphold take us on through the life to come. Continue to work on bodily fitness, but do not neglect godly fitness. This includes the values of loving others as God loved us, fitness of mind and spirit to read God's word, to live according to God's word and to spread God's word. What training do you need to add to your fitness routine?

    "Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;  for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." 1 TIM 4:7-8

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    What Does God Really Want?

    Martha and Mary. Close friends of Jesus. One sister was a doer and one a worshipper. Yet, he loved them both. Have you ever, like Martha, compared what you do for the Lord with what others are doing? Do you wear yourself out serving on committees, teaching, volunteering. Have you had to skipped worship because you were doing work at the church, like setting up for a program? Does the church you attend constantly ask for more offering, more giving or make you feel guilty that you don't do enough? Have you ever just quit going to church because you felt you couldn't keep up? Is this what the Lord wants...more money, more of your time and talents, you over looking your other responsibilities, your feeling guilty that you should be doing more? What does the Lord really want for you?
    "He has told you, O man, what is good,
    and what the Lord really wants from you:
    He wants you to promote justice, to be faithful,
    and to live obediently before your God." Micah 6:8
    How well are you doing these things?

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

    Wait for the Lord

    Like a lot of folks, I've spent some time in depression, but never enough to consider suicide. That still small voice inside seems to stop me from going deeper. Something always comes up that reminds me that life is worth living, regardless of how lousy I feel today.
    I once sat on a park bench with a loaded Colt 45 between myself and an acquaintance. I don't know why she reached out to me. She had the means and the mindset and I strongly suspected she was capable of pulling the trigger. As I sat with her and listened to all her reasons, I was shaking and praying. I let her talk. When she said something that I thought sounded like a flicker of hope, I recounted it to her and tried to get her to explore that idea. We prayed together several times. Thankfully God intervened. He is always there to intervene if we will just wait for him and give thanks for his saving intervention.
    "Why are you depressed, O my soul?
    Why are you upset?
    Wait for God!
    For I will again give thanks
    to my God for his saving intervention." PS 42:11

    Monday, August 25, 2014

    Good News Monday

    In the past, Monday has been referred to as Blue Monday, but it can be a very exciting day. When I was in junior high school and learning "hand work", I embroidered a set of t-towels with words describing what was expected each day of the week. Monday was "Wash Day" and the picture was a line with clothes hanging from it. What words do you use to refer to your Mondays? What task do you assign to the first day of the normal work week?
    God wants every day to be spent honoring him. If his word has not been spread, how can the people believe and rejoice in him? So how will you describe and picture your Mondays? Can the word be FAITH?" Will you embroider foot prints to represent your feet going out to others? How about adding an ear for listening or a megaphone for speaking out. You might want name Monday "Good News Day.
    "As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." Romans 10:15-17

    Sunday, August 24, 2014

    Anger: Blessing or Curse

    "He was so angry he was turning purple." "She as so angry she shook the table." "I was so angry, I could feel my blood pressure rising and I was getting a headache." "When I'm angry, I just have to throw something.""She was so angry she took her petition before the city council and got speed bumps put down to avoid another injury on that block."

    Anger is an "all over" reaction. We have physical as well as emotional responses. Some of the physical responses can have serious consequences. Anger can cause us to do things we might not do such as shoot someone or break something valuable. It is one of our strongest negative emotions. Yet, it can also be motivating such as when it becomes righteous indignation and prompts us to take a positive action with greater feeling. When did your anger work for good?

    God allows us to be angry,  with a warning. "Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life." Ephesians 4:26-27 Msg.

    Saturday, August 23, 2014

    Rescued from the undertow

    I was caught in an undertow. I was swimming as hard as I could to get out of it, but it seemed futile. I knew I needed to swim with the shore and saw people waving at me. Was this my time, even with all these people watching me?  Suddenly, a strong arm caught me and the person attached to the arm pushed me into a wave. Choking up water and struggling to catch my breath, I landed in shallow water steps from shore.

    I had been rescued! PTL. Although exhausted, I profusely thanked the life guard and the people around me. Was it them who saved me or was it the Lord? We know the answer to that. Although the life guard  had thrown me into that wave and guided me to the shore, God had his arms around me. The life guard was just there because it was his job. He got praise from the crowd. But my praise went to the Lord who is my real life guard and rescuer.

    "I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms—
        I’m celebrating your rescue.
    I’m singing at the top of my lungs,
        I’m so full of answered prayers." PS 13:5-6

    Friday, August 22, 2014

    I'm Sticking With Him

    "I've got the joy,joy,joy,joy....Where?...down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart to stay." Remember this song? It's not just for the children and teens, but for us as adults as well. Often we forget that the joy from God fills our hearts and minds with love and peace. If we are feeling sad, frustrated, angry, anxious or any other of the negative emotions that come from outside ourselves, we can go to him day or night for guidance and deliverance from what holds us back and keeps us from feeling that joy in our heart. Stick with him....he's a good thing.
    " Day and night I'll stick with God; I've got a good thing going and I'm not letting go. I'm happy from the inside out, and from the outside in, I'm firmly formed. " Psalm 16:8-9