He Reigns!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

In Excess

Evildoers are snared by their own sin, but the righteous shout for joy and are glad.
~Proverbs 29:6

Who inspires you? A parent? Grandparent? Your pastor? A celebrity? We are influenced every day but usually, we filter out influences that aren't good for us. But sometimes, those influences can be sneaky. Have you ever been out with friends and followed what they were doing when normally, it's not something you would do? For example, if everyone in your group is drinking, do you drink with them? We all want to fit in and be part of the action, but it's not always good for us.

"Do not follow the crowd when it does what is wrong; and don’t allow the popular view to sway you into offering testimony for any cause if the effect will be to pervert justice (Exodus 23:2)."

Today's world is all about following the crowd and perverting justice. Our world is full of excess in every area, and if we read even one news article a day, we see just how devastating this attitude is. Black Friday is a perfect example. What used to be a way to get great savings is now a free for all to have everything.

Over indulgence marks society like a plague. The quest to have more; to have the best, biggest, brightest, most expensive things we can buy is a disease that has infected every level of society. From infants who have every toy imaginable to grade school kids with IPhones, to teens with SUVs, to parents who are in debt up to their eyeballs but continue to indulge. And it doesn't stop with monetary items. We are gluttons in every area of life, which explains why we are also the fattest  country with high rates of obesity related health problems.

"They are headed for destruction! Their god is the belly; they are proud of what they ought to be ashamed of, since they are concerned about the things of the world (Philippines 3:19)."

That is not to say it is wrong to have nice things. God does not say we have to be destitute to be godly. It is excess in anything that draws us away from God and into the world. We are to seek the kingdom of Heaven first (Matthew 6:33) and then we can seek the things we want. However, if we seek God first, seeking that intimate relationship with Jesus, we find we our satisfied with what we have and don't need, or even desire the things of this world.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Go Along To Get Along

But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego —who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.
~Daniel 3:12

In our world today, it seems like everyone just conforms to whatever is going on. No one stands their ground; no one stands on their own two feet; no one stands up for their beliefs; and no one has any convictions. Everyone just goes along with whatever is popular whether or not it's right. The world today is swayed by emotion rather than logic.

"Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap (Galatians 6:7)."

In chapter one of the book of Daniel, he and his friends had been brought into the Babylonian king's service. Their names had been changed, their style of dress had been changed, and they were to be fed food offered to idols. They had gone along with everything the king ordered until it came to the food. As Jews, under the Torah, to eat the food of idols was a sin. Even under penalty of death, they refused to go against the Law. And, in chapter three, when the king ordered everyone to bow down and worship the golden idol, again they refused. The Law was clear, "You shall have no other God's before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God (Exodus 20:3-5)." They refused to bow before the king's idol under penalty of death, which the king carried out by tossing them into the furnace.

Standing up for what we know is right can be difficult. Especially when there's people laughing at you, calling you names, ridiculing you, or when the penalty can be imprisonment or even death. However, the end game is what matters. Everything we do here on Earth is taking us to the end game; and everything we do here on Earth will be judged by righteousness according to the word of God. We have to do the right thing in all circumstances. Even the little things that seem to go unnoticed by others is noticed by God. There is never a right time to do the wrong thing, and there is never ever a wrong time to do the right thing.

"Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. (John 14:23)."


I have been away due to carpal tunnel surgery on both hands but today, I'm back to posting. Thank you for understanding.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Not Of This World

"For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people."
~2 Timothy 3:2-5

There is a saying, 'the more things change, the more they remain the same,' and I think that is absolutely true in the world today. There is so much going on in the world, it's hard to wrap our minds around it. People are totally out of control. We see young people in the streets rioting, killing each other, reaking havoc over things that seem to have no consequence in everyday life. They have absolutely no regard for other people's feelings, no respect for themselves or for others, they have no self control, they are boastful, lovers of self, lovers of this world, lovers of the things of this world; they call what is good evil and what is evil, good. I actually have to turn off my phone, shut down the internet and not read social media feeds because it's overwhelming.

The Bible tells us that our deliverer is coming (Psalm 18:2, 2 Samuel 22:2). Our deliverer is Jesus Christ, and He's going to set things right. The Bible tells us that no matter what happens in life we are not to fear anything or anyone. Jesus Christ is returning for those who love the Lord and keep His commandments. For those who do not walk in the ways of this world, our reward will be heaven.

The world seems to spin out of control from time to time, but the thing we have to remember is that God is always in control. God is not sitting on a recliner with His feet up, with the doors and windows closed ignoring everything that's going on. He's an active part of the design of the world and everything going on in it. We have to keep that in mind and not let the things of the world come between us and doing right. We have to keep in mind that we are in this world, but we are not of this world (John 17:14-16). We are children of the Most High and no matter what other people do, we have to depend on God and what we know to be true of God. And what we know to be true of God is that He is never changing. He is the same yesterday today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

So, while we have to live in this world, we don't have to concentrate on it, we don't have to be a part of it (John 15:19) and we don't have to let it bring us down. Our God is higher than any other and so are we. That is not to say we are better than other people, but we are in a better place, and our hope remains strong. Our hope remains firm (Romans 5:1-3). We do not have the same kind of hope that other people do, we have a heavenly hope. We have a strong hope. We have an unfailing hope. And that is what separates us from this world.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3-4)."

"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)."

Monday, October 23, 2017

Don't Be Worthless

'This is what the Lord says:
“What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves." (Jeremiah 2:5).'

Have you ever noticed how people tend to follow familial patterns? Alcoholic parents produce alcoholic children; drug addicted parents produce drug addicted children; criminals produce children who also commit crimes; and the list goes on. Conversely, we often see successful parents producing successful children. Sometimes the opposite is true and successful parents may have a child who becomes a drug addict or criminal; and criminals can produce children who become successful, but generally,  children follow the path of their parents.

We see throughout the Bible how people who knew God rejected righteousness and turned to worshipping idols instead. Generation after generation, no matter how many times God intervened in their lives, the people were quick to forget God's goodness and turn to pagan practices.

Today's generations haven't changed much. Even with the abundance of God's word available to us through books, TV, computers, churches, radio, and the Bible produced in nearly every language known to man, we are still much like our Old Testament ancestors.

"Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, "Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets." However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not believe in the Lord their God. (2 Kings 17:13-14)."

The consequences of following our own ways instead of God's leads not only to destruction in this life, but have dire eternal consequences as well. We see society running rampant, calling what is evil, good and what is good, evil. We have sacrificed our very souls to the gods of this world in the name of freedom. However, that type of freedom is actually slavery that wraps itself around our throats and chokes the life from us.

True freedom comes from a relationshipwith Jesus Christ. It is only through a right relationship with our Lord and Savior that we can know freedom from sin and death.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)."

Christ died so each of us can be absolutely free from the darkness of this world. When I think of the sacrifice He made on the Cross, I feel so blessed to live in a time where no matter what is going on around the world, I am free sin and death.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Don't Be A Fool

Don't Be A Fool

"The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior."
~Jeremiah 23:5-6

The land of Israel was sinful and no matter what God did for the people, they continually fell into sin. This went on generation after generation until finally, the time was right and this prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Yet Israel refused to accept that Christ was the Messiah they had been waiting for. And so it goes today.

For generations, the Bible has been available to everyone, yet there is only a remnant who believe it is the word of God and follow Jesus Christ because of it. The world today is no different than it was in the days of the Old Testament. Lawlessness, poverty, war, pain and sorrow continues to this day. Our technology has improved but our hearts are as sinful and destructive as they were in Jeremiah's day.

We bow before the gods of this world, we follow our own lusts and desires, we sacrifice our children through abortion, the foster care system, and abandon them to the streets. We ignore the poor and homeless, we do not tend the widows and orphans, the sick and the dying. We call good evil, and praise evil as good. We are a sinful, godless people.

"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one (Psalm 14:1-3)."

It is difficult for me to look at the world knowing the answer to all of our woes is at our fingertips. It is difficult for me to look at the world knowing what Christ went through on the Cross for each one of us. We certainly don't deserve His mercy and grace, yet He freely gives us both out of His unending, undying love for us.

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19)."

It is not God's desire that we should live this way. He does not want us living in sorrow and shame but rather in fullness and joy through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9). In Christ is life, joy, peace, happiness  and love (John 17:3, Colossians  3:4).

Don't let the devil rob you, know Jesus as your Savior and know what living life really is.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Pray For Our Nation

"If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned."
~Jeremiah 18:7-8

The 2016 presidential election was one of the most contentious that I can remember, and the outcome was one of the biggest upsets the Democratic party has ever seen. I believe the reason was prayer. The previous eight years had divided this country on many levels and set race relations back at least five decades. Many were preparing for civil war in the event of Hillary Clinton's victory. It turned into such a mess, I doubt I'll live to see it straightened out - if indeed it can be straightened out.

However, one bright spot emerged during the presidential campaign...more people than ever before were on their knees praying for God to take control. And more Christians than ever before got out and voted. Prayer changed the direction we were headed. Prayer moved the heart of God.

"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14)."

We cannot stop praying for America. We cannot stop seeking God on behalf of our nation or our leaders. No matter how anyone feels about the current administration, we must continue to pray. America has had a rough go since 9/11, and the past year has been fraught with disasters on every level - racial tension, riots, protests, police killings, mass murder, hurricanes, drought, fires...and the list goes on. But the answer to those problems, and to all our personal problems, remains the same - prayer.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8)."

The promises of God are the same now as they were yesterday, last week, or a million years ago. God can be moved to change through our prayers. Often throughout the Bible we see countries in dire circumstances because the people turned from God to follow their own desires. After disasters befall them and they realize God has left them to fend for themselves,  they returned to God. They prayed and God answered.

We are no different. America, founded on biblical principles has fallen far from the plans of our forefathers. We have turned our backs on God and He has left us to our own perverse desires. But it's not too late. There is still time to change our country and our lives through prayer.

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19)."

"...The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective  (James 5:16)."

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you (Jeremiah 29:12)."

Friday, October 6, 2017

When Will It All End

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
~Matthew 24:29-32

Rumors abounded in September 2017 that the "Rapture" was going to occur, first on the 9th & then on the 23rd. Obviously, it didn't happen, and it's not going to. At least not for a while.

We cannot know the exact day or hour, but we can know the times. The Bible is very clear that Jesus will return after the great tribulation, which is the final 3-1/2 years of the 7 year period known as the tribulation. When will the tribulation begin? 

The Bible tells us there will be signs we can look for. One of those is the peace treaty between Palestine & Israel. Once this occurs, the final 7 years begin. Currently, President Trump is working on that very thing. He calls it the "biggest deal" of his life. And as the master of the Art of the Deal, he would know. He has brought the leaders of Palestine & Israel closer than ever to a peace deal that could be signed at any time.

One other sign that could occur at anytime is what the Bible calls the "6th Trumpet War," or what we fear may happen - WW3 - which I believe began with 9/11. It just hasn't gone global yet.

But the important thing to remember is that while we may see these things happen in our lifetime, we have to be ready to stand before God Almighty every moment.

"But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ (Luke 12:20)."

We are not guaranteed tomorrow. We have seen friends and acquaintances who were living their lives only to be killed in a car wreck, have a brain aneurysm, or die some other way unexpectedly. We see random killings on the news every day, and we all know someone who died from cancer or another disease.

We go about our lives rarely considering today may be our last on Earth. Only God knows the number of our days & the number of our heartbeats. (Job 14:5; Psalm 139:16) I want to be here to see the Lord's return but I also know that may not be His plan. But either way, I know I am ready to see my Savior face to face.

While we will all face God at some point, it won't be a great meeting for a lot of people. For some, it will be everlasting damnation. And not just for evil people, some professing Christians will also receive bad news on that day.

“'Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven' (Matthew 7:21)."

Live as if today may be your last. Make sure you tell those you care about that you love them, make sure your affairs are in order, but above all, make sure your heart is right with God.

I may die tomorrow. I may live to see the Lord's return. I don't know, but I do know that no matter when my last breath escapes my body, I will be glad to step from this life into life everlasting.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Respond In Faith

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
~Isaiah 41:10

Depending on God for everything, in every situation is essential in our Christian walk. We all know that, yet we don't always do it. It's easy to say you give glory to God when things are easy and going your way but what about when they don't? Do you blame God when times are tough? Do you feel rejected by Him when you experience loss? Are you angry with Him when disaster falls?

Our response to all of life's events determines how we will get through any situation. If we fall apart, chances are we will take a very long time to recover. If we respond in anger, bitterness will fill our hearts. If we blame God, we will never see the victory on the other side.

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)." No matter how things appear, our faith that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will, is key to surviving anything.

Today my daughter Cassandra would have celebrated her 42nd
birthday. She died at age 16. There is nothing more devastating than losing a child. It throws life out of order. Our children are supposed to bury us, not the other way around. But our response to the death of a child will either make us or break us.

Often, the loss of a child results in divorce. Underlying resentment by one or both parents cause the division. It is our nature to lay blame, and spouses often blame one another. Loss can also alienate siblings, who have no way of processing their own feelings of anger, frustration, and guilt. The repercussions can be varied and devastating in their own right. But our response in faith has the power to not only heal us but give us a happier, healthier future.

"But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me (2 Samuel 12:23).” David understood the importance of the right response in faith. He understood who God was and believed God was faithful in every circumstance.

We choose how to respond. Our response will determine who we will be on the other side of any disaster. Our response in faith will strengthen us, and bring us out of disaster with a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God.

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! (Psalm 103:1)."

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

No Reason Why

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."
~Psalm 20:7

The attack in Las Vegas, like 9/11 & Oklahoma City, brings terror much too close to home, yet we see it around the world on a daily basis. We are naive to think we are immune or somehow untouchable by cowardly acts and insane agendas. As long as satan has some modicum of control, there will be no peace on Earth. Our trust must be in God alone.

I've been seeing a common thread this morning on social media. Now that the initial shock is over, people are asking why this happened. There is no answer to that question. There is no sane answer for insanity. There is no rational answer for the irrational. There is no understanding of the actions taken by someone who is deluded. We are trying to make sense of the senseless. And like 9/11 & Oklahoma City, in 15 or 20 years, there will still be no good answer for why.

The world has lost its collective mind. Everywhere we look there is terror and murder; horrific events taking place worldwide every single day. Is what happened in Vegas worse than what happened in London or Germany? No, but it happened here, in America, on our doorstep to people who were doing something we have all done. Going to a concert to have a little fun, what could be more innocent? The reality that it could've happened anywhere to any one of us is terrifying. But we cannot allow fear to win.

Even in our darkest hours, God is in control. He has not left us, He has not forsaken us (Deuteronomy 31:6). The Lord is for us, not against us (Romans 8:31).

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33)."

The world is a crazy dangerous place, so we must place our faith, our very lives in the hands of God. If you don't know the Lord, or you aren't sure of how to have faith and trust in God, please send me a message. I am always available.

Some may trust in chariots and horses but the strong things of this world crumble before Almighty God. Put your trust in God and you will withstand the storm.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Eyes of Your Heart

“Now the natural man does not receive the things from the Spirit of God — to him they are nonsense! Moreover, he is unable to grasp them, because they are evaluated through the Spirit. 15 But the person who has the Spirit can evaluate everything, while no one is in a position to evaluate him.
~1 Corinthians 2:14-15

I remember the days before I knew who Jesus Christ was (unfortunately), and I remember thinking how silly it was for people to spend so much time in church. Going to church two or three times a week – who does that??? But after I received salvation, I came to understand why church was important. Not only did it become important to me, I couldn’t get enough. I went to church twice on Sundays, once on Wednesdays, once on Tuesday mornings for Bible study, and I went to worship services on Friday nights. I could not get enough of what God had to offer! The difference was, prior to my salvation, I saw everything through the “natural man” and not through my “spiritual man.”

What a difference salvation made in my life. It was as if blinders had been lifted from my eyes and I could see beyond the world around me. In reality, what happened was when I accepted Christ into my life, He made me whole again. He made me brand new (2 Corinthians 5:17) and I began to see things with my spiritual eyes, or the “eyes of my heart.” The old was gone and something brand new and exciting was before me. And it’s been like Christmas morning ever since. The excitement of who God is and who I am in Him never ceases to amaze me. His revelations in my life continue day to day as I study His Word, pray and worship Him.

We are limited people but we serve a limitless God. There is no depths to which He will not go to drag us out of the muck of life. His love knows no bounds. We are the most important part of God’s agenda, so much so, that He became human to die for our sins to ensure our place in Heaven with Him. He loves us so much, He went to extraordinary measures to have a personal relationship with us. And as if dying wasn’t enough to prove His love, He sent His own Holy Spirit to live within our hearts to teach and guide us. God is a wild man! He is wild about us!

“For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).” If we know nothing else about God, knowing this alone should bring us to our knees. The Creator of the Universe, of all that was, is or ever will be, created all that we see, and the things we cannot see, just for us. His love is so vast, so grand, so out of this world, I believe the expanding universe is the only thing that could hold it. That and the hearts of you and me.

“We love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).” Before He ever separated the light from the dark, before He created the Heavens and the Earth, before He grew a single blade of grass or put a drop of water in the ocean, He loved us. He loved YOU! And He continues to love us no matter what we do. God never turns His back on us, He never walks away from us no matter how sinful we are. He is always there for us. We are the ones who turn our backs on Him. We are the ones who grieve His Spirit because He doesn’t want any of us to go to hell (2 Peter 3:9). But it is up to us. We have to choose between the natural man and spiritual man. We have to choose between earthly life or heavenly life. We have to choose between Heaven and Hell. We have to choose to either follow the devil or follow Jesus. Choose well, your very soul depends on it.

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:14-15).”

Friday, September 29, 2017

Go Ahead And Dance!

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might, while wearing only a linen ephod (2 Samuel 6:14).”

Much of the Psalms written by King David are devoted to singing praises to the Lord for all of the good things He did. David could get himself into trouble, and he had a problem with sexual sin, anger, and a host of other problems we all face from time to time. However, David never failed to repent and praise God. Acknowledging our sin can be difficult, even for Christians, maybe even especially for Christians. I think some of the reason for that is the belief that once saved, always saved. This seems to give those who believe that carte blanche’ to do whatever they want without repercussions. Another reason, I think, is that Christians can be devious in their sinning. They don’t want anyone from church to see them coming out of a bar but they don’t consider staying out of the bar.

It can be easy for us to ignore the little sins and transgressions in our lives and tell ourselves “everyone is doing it, so what’s the harm?” After a while, the sins get bigger and the covering up of those sins gets easier as well. But eventually, God will allow the whole mess to come crashing down on us and we have to face what we have done. Sometimes, we get so out of whack, it’s easier to face God with sin, than to look our pastor or other church member in the eye and confess what we’ve done. We are prideful, sinful people. No wonder God repented for making man! (Genesis 6:6)

In the Old Testament, sins were covered yearly by taking an offering to the priests. They used the blood to wash the sins, and burned the carcass as an offering to God for the forgiveness of sins. It was a very intense procedure that had to be done just right, and if the priest did something wrong and entered the Holy of holies, he might come out dead. They even tied a rope to his leg so if he died, they could drag his body out. God was deadly serious about sin back then, and He is still serious about sin. But He also took pity on us, seeing how we just can’t stop sinning and needed more than a yearly sacrifice. So He became flesh and sacrificed Himself in the body of Jesus Christ on the Cross for all of our sins.

For me, knowing what Christ went through for me, knowing how it breaks His heart when we live a life of sin and misery, breaks my heart to think about it. I know the life I led was horrendous for me, and I know the person I was then broke Christ’s heart. The person who came to Christ asking forgiveness died that day, she was put to death in Christ Jesus and became a brand new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17) That alone is worth dancing about, leaping and shouting.

Confess your sins and move forward. Leave the dead to rot where it is. You have a new life in Jesus Christ and there is no reason to risk hell for anything. Tell the truth, shame the devil. Dance like David did and kick the devil in the teeth. You are a new creation and if that’s not worth dancing about, I don’t know what is.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Where Is God?

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness.”
~Lamentations 3:22-23

Where is God when you’ve prayed for over 30 years for healing and it doesn’t come? Where is God when the pain is so bad all you can do is cry? Where is God when your heart is broken into so many pieces that Humpty Dumpty looks whole? Where is God when you are crying out to Him in sheer agony? And what purpose does it serve to allow someone to live in writhing pain, whether physical or emotional? I’ve been asking myself these questions a lot lately.

I’ve come to a place in life where I have to depend on the Lord to get through life minute by minute. I have to depend on the Lord in order to get out of bed, to sit, to bend, to walk. I was born with a degenerative bone disease that has destroyed my joints, wrecked my spine, and causes so much pain, some days I literally lay in bed and cry. I’ve been seeing doctors for over 30 years, and I’ve had several surgeries, which I am grateful for. Even though there’s pain, I’m not in a wheelchair anymore. However, recently, I went to the doctor and was told that outside of injections for some measure of pain relief, there is nothing else that can be done. At some point, it will degenerate to where I will be in a wheelchair once again. Not the news I wanted to hear but also not completely unexpected either.

It’s difficult to understand when prayers go unanswered, especially when the Bible clearly tells us that by Christ’s stripes, we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). I probably pray for answers to my questions as much as I pray for healing. Why? Why? Why? Sometimes, that’s the only prayer I can pray. “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9). And it is but I still have moments when it hurts so bad, God’s grace and mercy feels very far off. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it shall be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).” I’ve been asking, seeking and knocking an awfully long time but healing has not come.

Praying about these two verses, I told the Lord I feel as if “everyone” doesn’t include me. Isn’t my faith big enough? I know it’s the size of a mustard seed at least! So why has my asking, seeking and knocking gone unanswered? It hasn’t, not really. I asked for salvation and it was given to me. I sought the Lord and He is with me. I knocked on the door of Heaven, and I’ve been invited in. That is much more important than my physical condition. He provides for me the strength to get through each moment as it comes. He knows what I have need of at every moment of my life and meets me at each need. Dependence upon the Lord is an essential part of growing in Christ, of becoming like Him, and of looking toward the heavenly rather than the earthly.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song, I praise Him (Psalm 28:7).”

“Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress (Isaiah 33:2).”

And above all –
“I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being (Ephesians 3:16).”

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Grateful Heart

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18)."

Give thanks in ALL circumstances... Is that even possible? What about when things go wrong? What about in those moments when a loved one dies? Divorce? Loss of a job? Bills piling up? Or any of the other millions of things that can, and do, go wrong in life? Does God expect us to be grateful in times of distress? Simply, the answer is "yes." We are to be grateful in all circumstances, no matter what they are, how painful, distressful, or heartbreaking. 

It's not difficult to be grateful when everything is sunshine and roses but that is a different kind of gratefulness. Generally, when everything is going our way, we can get into a state of gratefulness that glorifies our own abilities. "I worked hard and look what I've accomplished." There's nothing wrong with being proud of hard work but we have to remember that our abilities to perform that hard work comes from God. And that, in essence, is the purpose of gratefulness -- to glorify God no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.

Christians are not exempt from hardships. In fact, I think we see more hardships because the forces of evil are hard at work trying to convince us that God is not for us, and that He is against us. But no matter what we have to deal with, putting our faith in God, and knowing that He will deliver us, gives us a grateful heart. God does not deliver us to hardships but rather, He delivers us through hardships. He doesn't take us to the edge of the cliff and wait for us to fall off; He takes us to the edge of the cliff and waits for us to take that first step in faith, and then provides solid ground for us to walk on.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him (Colossians 3:17),"

No matter what we are going through, giving thanks to God for all He has done for us, including our very lives, is essential to coming out on the other side better than when we went in. In 2010 my youngest daughter gave birth to her first child, a boy she named Drake. He was stillborn. Watching my daughter holding her dead baby just about crushed me. We knew when she was in labor that the baby might not make it, but we prayed and asked God for a miracle, yet God did not give us a living, breathing baby. Why? I have no clue. However, our response was one of gratefulness. "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21)." It was difficult to be grateful in that situation but God knows the end from the beginning. God knows what He's doing even when we don't. When we say we put our trust in God, and we confess that no matter what happens, we will continue to trust and praise Him, we might just have to prove it. 

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song, I praise Him (Psalm 28:7)."

Giving thanks and praise to God in all circumstances is not a heavy burden. It actually makes our burdens lighter, and lifts our spirits. No matter what we are going through, we can always find something to praise God for, even when we don't feel like it. There have been many times in my life when I've had my feelings hurt, or my husband and I have had an argument, or my children have gotten into a mess I can't help them with, or we've been flat broke, or any number of other things that made me just want to lay down and cry my eyes out. I didn't want to praise God. I didn't want to thank Him. I wanted someone to pet me and feel as sorry for me as I felt for myself. Be honest, it happens to all of us. It's our nature to feel sorry when something doesn't go our way. It's our nature to want to take credit when things do go our way. What's not in our nature is to give the glory and praise to God and thank Him no matter what -- but it's so essential that we do.

"I will extol the Lord at all times, His praise will always be on my lips (Psalm 34:1)."

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name (Psalm 100:4)."

"Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever (Psalm 106:1)."

Have an attitude of gratitude. No matter what is going on. No matter how you feel. And especially when you don't feel like giving thanks or praise -- begin your day with gratitude. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

You Were Chosen

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him (Ephesians 1:3-4)."

God chose YOU before the foundations of the world were even in place. Do you know how special that makes you? Before the God of the universe even created a place for you to live, He was thinking of you. He knew even then who you were going to be, what you would look like, and He created all the people in order to ensure you would be born right on time.

My life was filled with horrible situations. I was molested as a very young child, I lived with physical and emotional abuse, I was a drug addict, I've attempted suicide, I was raped... and while I know that it happened, I don't dwell on it because when I look back, all I see is God's footprints on my life. I was called to be His daughter, precious in His sight, and loved beyond measure. The devil tried to kill me, to make me give up, to be such a huge shadow in my life that I couldn't see God but the devil is a liar (John 8:44); he is a thief out to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) our lives. But he can't change God's plans for our lives.

God loves each of us as if we were His only child. He set the plan of grace and mercy through faith in Jesus Christ in motion before He ever decided to separate the light from the darkness. He had each of us in mind the entire time He was creating the heavens and the earth. Even knowing how we would fail, turn against Him, and choose death over life, He remained faithful in His plan for us. Before He became human and died on the Cross, He knew He would because His great love for us prevented Him from doing anything else. He knew His life would be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and even then, He knew we would still fall down. Yet, He could do nothing else but leave the glory of Heaven behind and die on the Cross to save us from ourselves.

"We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Ephesians 2:10)."

We are the jewels in Christ's crown. We are the reason for everything He has done since He said, "Let there be light (Genesis 1:3)." Comprehending that God, who had everything He could want just by whispering it into creation, wasn't satisfied with "everything" until it included you is a mind bender! He had the heavens in all their glory. He had Heaven in all its splendor, with the angels and heavenly beings, yet YOU were the one He wanted by His side for all of eternity. You were created specifically for God, by God, to spend forever with God! You couldn't be more special if you tried.

Look in the mirror and remind yourself that no matter what life throws at you, no matter how satan tries to destroy you, the Lord of all Creation holds you in His hand. Remind yourself that you are 'fearfully and wonderfully made' (Psalm 139:14).

"I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:18)."

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Fear Of The Lord

"He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure."
~Isaiah 33:6

People have lost the fear of the Lord. On one hand, fear of the Lord means a reverence and respect for who He is, what He has done, and continues to do for us. As Christians, that is what is meant when we say we fear the Lord-- we have the utmost respect for Him, for what He has done on the Cross, for His salvation, tender mercies, and loving kindness. But there's another kind of fear that people should know about. God says that He is a God of wrath, a Man of war, and when it comes down to the endgame, people should be in fear of God because their eternal souls are in danger.

"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)."

"The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9)."

According to these verses, God does not want any of us to perish. He wants all of us to repent and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. He wants each and everyone of us to spend eternity in Heaven with Him. But the simple fact is, it's our choice, not God's. He gives us the chance but unless we take that opportunity, we will spend eternity in hell.

The word repent means to turn around, change direction, walk away from whatever it is you were doing. In essence, it means change your life for the better. When we repent and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior, we are to follow Jesus. We are to read the Bible, go to church, and stop doing the things we used to do. Yet I see people who profess to be Christians who continue to post lewd and lascivious memes on Facebook, they continue to use foul language, they continue to dress in revealing outfits, they act exactly the way they did prior to their so-called conversion.

"Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving (Ephesians 5:4)."

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)."

Hell is a real place of torment and separation from God for eternity. A lot of churches these days don't preach Bible basics. They don't preach salvation, mercy, or grace. They certainly don't preach how to live according to God's Word and what will happen if we don't. And they will be held accountable for those people who were lost because of them. We will all be held accountable, whether we are Christians or not. The difference is, Christians will be held accountable for their deeds as Christians and rewarded; non-Christians will be found guilty for not accepting Christ as their Savior. But for those who claim to be Christians and sit in church on Sundays but live like there is no Cross the rest of the week, I think it will be worse for them. Imagine facing Jesus Christ and explaining how you knew what was right according to His Word, yet chose to ignore Him. It makes my blood run cold.

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth (Revelation 3:15-16).”

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Fury of God's Love

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved."
~Ephesians 2:4-5

I remember when my kids were babies and I loved them so much, and thought there was nothing I wouldn't do for them. I would die for them, I would kill for them, I would do anything for them. And I still would. Most parents feel that way I'm sure. We might say we would die for our family, but chances are, we're never going to have to prove that. In reality, there's only one person who ever died for humanity. There's only one person who ever died for you. There's only one person who ever died for me. That's Jesus Christ. He said that He loved us, and He proved it by dying for us.

The love of God is so far beyond our reach that we have a hard time understanding exactly what it means. We think of it in the love we have for our children, or our spouse, or parents, or friends. But the love of God is so far beyond what we can think or imagine. We have no concept of the far-reaching manifestations of the love of God.

God's love began before humankind was even formed on the earth. God's love for each of us was formed long before we were. And no matter what humans did, or how far they strayed from the Creator of all that they had, God continued to love them, provide for them, and to make a way for them to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. And when the law and sacrifices no longer accomplished that task, God Almighty made Himself human, left Glory to be born on Earth, and grow up the same way we do. But then His purpose, his provision for each and every one of us, culminated the day that Christ died on the Cross. I'm sure the devil thought he'd won but he hadn't seen God's endgame! He pushed His plan into the Heavenly realms when Jesus rose again on the third day.

"There's a wideness in God's mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God..."
(God's Love by Rich Mullins)

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we too, are caught up in that "reckless, raging fury." This is the kind of love that transforms the worst of human beings into something precious and sweet before God. This is the kind of love that changes lives, that brings alcoholics and drug addicts out of their addictions. This is the kind of love that brings men who have committed the most atrocious crimes to their knees in repentance before God. This is the kind of love that can change your life no matter what is going on in it. This is the kind of love that can keep you from repeating the mistakes of your past. This is the kind of love that transforms your past into a life worth leading. This is the kind of love that only Jesus Christ can offer each and every one of us.

"I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39)."

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Be Grateful

"I give You thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing Your praise; I bow down toward Your holy temple and give thanks to Your Name for Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your Name and Your Word."
~Psalm 138:1-2

The word 'grateful' is often translated as a feeling about something but the biblical meaning of 'gratefulness' and 'thankfulness' goes far beyond a feeling. It is actually translated in the New Testament as "giving praise." The word in the Greek is "eukharistos"
with its root being the word "Kharis," which means "Grace" particularly, "the Grace of God." It is much more than just saying "thank you" to someone for something that they have done.

Gratefulness is not about thanking God for anything that we have, it is thanking God for the privilege of knowing Him as Lord and Savior. Gratefulness is an attitude not a feeling. Gratefulness is how we wake up in the morning, to begin our day knowing that we are alive simply because of the Grace of God. Gratefulness is not just a feeling but rather, the absolute knowledge of Who Christ is, what He did on the Cross, and what He is doing in our lives. Gratefulness is having the attitude that no matter what goes on in life, God is in absolute control. So as we go about our day, in the back of our mind, praise continues for God, toward God, and about God, simply because He is God. Gratefulness is our weapon against the world. Gratefulness, coming from our heart, develops into our minds and produces praise and glory to Jesus Christ.

Once we understand 'Eukharistos' as being the fullness of God's Grace in Jesus Christ poured out on our lives, we begin to get a gleaning of who God is. This is knowledge that gives us power in Christ. This is transforming power. This is the kind of power that builds our faith to a point where we are absolutely convinced when we say to the mountain, "move", it will actually move. This is the power that gives us the ability to move past failures, and pain, hurt and hard feelings, hatred and all of those other horrible things that life teaches us. When we understand the absolute grace of God, it translates us into an absolutely grateful person, living out our gratefulness in the lives of others.

So begin each day in 'Eukharistos', in the absolute gratefulness of who God is, for what God has done, and continues to do in our lives each and every moment. Begin your day in gratefulness and watch your life transform.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Get Some Sleep

“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to His beloved sleep.”
~ Psalm 127:2

Sleep. We all need it, yet 1/3 of all adults sleep less than six hours per night when studies show we all need 7-9 hours per night. Unfortunately, I fall into the category of less than six hours of sleep per night… actually, six hours of straight sleep sounds like a dream because I usually get 3-4 hours of sleep. There’s a few reasons why I don’t sleep. The main one is pain. I am in an immense amount of pain all of the time but when sleeping, laying in one position for too long causes me to wake up. I also have furbabies who need to go out, and once they wake me up, I’m up for good. Another problem is light. As soon as it’s light outside, I’m awake. I remember the days when I could sleep. It was long ago and far away, but I do remember what it feels like to sleep and I often daydream about. To shut my eyes and drift off…

What is wrong with us? Why do so many of us fail to get enough rest when clearly, the Lord designed our bodies to need sleep? According to studies, caffeine is one of the biggest culprits. We love our coffee and we drink a staggering amount – 12 million pounds per year! That averages out to about six cups per person per day. Considering it takes approximately 3 hours for each cup of caffeine to wear off, we are probably still on a coffee high at bedtime, even if we don’t feel the jittery effects. Another culprit of sleepus interuptess is snoring. Not only does it affect the partner of the snoring sleeper, it causes the snorer to lose sleep. Snoring can deprive the brain of oxygen, which in turn causes the snorer to feel tired the next day. And then we have other problems, like changing schedules, stress, nightmares, children, pets, sirens, neighbors, traffic, etc. that all interferes with sleep. No wonder we feel like we need a nap! And to top it off, lack of sleep has some nasty side-effects:
• Sleepiness Causes Accidents. ...
• Sleep Loss Dumbs You Down. ...
• Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Serious Health Problems. ...
• Lack of Sleep Kills Sex Drive. ...
• Sleepiness Is Depressing. ...
• Lack of Sleep Ages Your Skin. ...
• Sleepiness Makes You Forgetful… To name a few!

We weren’t created to go without rest. It’s essential to our health, physically and mentally. God rested on the seventh day. He created the heavens and earth, and separated day from night (Genesis 1:5). “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from His (Hebrews 4:9-10).”

While I have yet to figure out how to get a good night’s sleep, I do know that during those sleepless nights, I have the opportunity to accomplish some spiritual tasks. Praying, reading Scripture, posting Bible study references on social media, are all good places to start. I suppose I could stop drinking coffee but…

Monday, September 11, 2017

Our Battle-Ready Warrior

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."
~Ephesians 6:12

I spoke on this verse on 60 Second Scripture on YouTube this morning, and I just wanted to continue it because 60 seconds doesn't give me enough time to really say everything that needs to be said about this verse.

As Christians, our battle belongs to the Lord (1 Samuel 14:47). And the way that we help Him fight that battle is in prayer, worship, and praise.

We see protesters running around the streets like crazy people, and we see protesters forming lines, standing in front of oncoming traffic. I am reminded of the story of Don Quixote, who had his head in the clouds, and his ideas of what was going on was really fantasy that overcame the rational mind. Humans get like that sometimes. The idea of what they want, or how they perceive life should be, overcomes the reality of how life is. That's not to say that things don't need to change, or that we cannot change the problems in this world, but there are ways to do it and there are ways not to do it; and then there are ways that just make you look like a crazy person standing out in traffic.

At present, there are a lot of crazy people standing out in traffic. We see it all over social media, we see it on the news, and we see it online. We make jokes about it because people are really good at laughing at others, and some of it is so farcical that there's nothing you can do except laugh. The problem is, laughing  and making jokes doesn't help anything.

We are currently in a fierce spiritual battle. I see it every single day and it includes all of the things that are going on worldwide. We have a war that has been going on for 16 years, we have storms spinning out of control and wreaking havoc everywhere, we have fires burning out of control, and to top it off the crime rate is through the roof. And it seems that police are stretched to their limits, and aren't allowed to enforce laws without being accused of bigotry and racism. People can no longer speak freely about right and wrong, or mention God without being labeled a racist, or a hater. Common sense has gone straight out the window and lunacy prevails.

It can be easy to get caught up in physical battles against the things that we see going on around us. Those things affect our lives, they affect our loved ones, they affect our finances, and they surely affect our sanity. But as Christians, our battle is not against the people that we see doing these things, and it's not against the police, it's not against the law makers, it's not against Congress, and it's certainly not against the president. The battle that we are fighting is against spiritual darkness.

Jesus Christ has the victory won already. Jesus Christ defeated those principalities when he died on the Cross and rose from the dead.

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place (2 Corinthians 2:14)."

Christians were never meant to be part of the physical battle going on around us. We have always been meant to join with Jesus Christ and battle with Him.

'O give us help against the adversary, For deliverance by man is in vain. Through God we shall do valiantly, And it is He who will tread down our adversaries (Psalm 60:11-12)."

We are told in Ephesians 6:10-18 how we are to prepare for battle. We are told to put on the "belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God."

We are to rely solely on Jesus Christ. In the beginning was the Word and that Word is Jesus Christ (John 1:1). He was and is, and is to come (Revelation 1:8). So the next time you're facing battle, pick up your sword, the Word of God, get on your knees and let the Lord battle for you because in Him is certain victory.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Happy Birthday!

Join The Celebration!
Marie Is Celebrating Her Birthday With a Dual Book Release!

The Root The Shoot The Fruit - was originally a Kindle Special released earlier this year. It is now in paperback with added content!

SHINE HIS LIGHT Lessons In Life - is a collection of Marie's writings from her Facebook page, Daughters Of The King, which also appear on this blog.

Both books will be released on October 1, 2017 and are available for pre-order with an exclusive offer. By pre-ordering, you will receive a special discounted price and a gift from Marie.

For more information on ordering, email shinehislightbook@gmail.com

Thursday, September 7, 2017

I Know Why

"For behold, He who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is His thought, who makes the morning darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth—
the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!"
~Amos 4:13

I have always loved moonless nights when I could lay on my back and look up at the stars. I remember when I was a kid we'd go down to the school yard and lay out sleeping bags and blankets on the Merry-Go-Round and watch the stars. Sometimes they would move and we thought they were UFOs but we were kids. Man has looked up into the stars and wondered what was up there, & what was beyond them since the beginning of time. Galileo, DaVinci, all of the great philosophers and artists looked up in the sky and wanted to know how the heavenly bodies came to be & what was holding them in place. I suppose scientists could give an answer as to how the stars got there, and what's holding them in place. I'm no scientist, but I wouldn't have a problem telling them they were wrong because I know how they got there, and how they stay in place - God Almighty and nothing else (Psalm 33:6).

The Lord created the heavens and the Earth with such care. He made the Earth separate from anything else that is in the sky. He made it absolutely perfect because He knew exactly what humans would need to survive on this planet. Then He made humans from the dust of the earth, and made all of it compatible with the rest. It is the most intricate symbiotic relationship there is. Consider a woman who carries a child from conception to birth. That didn't happen by accident. The relationship of one individual creating another individual with nothing but an umbilical cord to ensure life and health is a miracle.

There are a lot of things in life that I don't understand. There is a lot of things in life that I would like to change. But there is one thing in life that I have a complete understanding of and that is, God is in control. I know Who created the heavens and the earth. I know Who put life into motion. I know the God of the universe. I know that my life means something because He created my life. I know that He still walks on water. I know that He still holds the Earth in His hands. I know the stars stay in the sky because He tells them to. And I know that each person who is reading this has a specific place in this earth and has a specific calling from God because He also created you. He created your life. He put you on this planet for a purpose. And He is calling you now to fulfill that purpose.

"And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6)."

Your life was created for more than getting up, drinking coffee, breathing, going to work, coming home, and doing it all over again. Your life was created by God, for God, to be used by God. Your life was created so that those around you can know Jesus Christ.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11)."

Look at the stars in the heavens and see what God has done for you.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hope Springs Eternal

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
~Lamentations 3:21-23

Alexander Pope said, "Hope springs eternal in the human breast..." I'm sure it does, otherwise, we'd have given up long ago. However, I am more inclined to put my hope in something much more sure than myself - my hope is in the Lord (Psalm 39:7).

Hope is described as an aspiration, desire, wish, expectation, ambition, aim, goal, plan, design; but it's also described as "a feeling of trust." This is the hope we have in Jesus Christ because we are:

“Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ… (Titus 2:13)."

There's a lot of things to hope for in this world. We hope for good relationships, we hope for our children to be healthy, we hope for our lives to be long and full, but none of these things are within our control. We have that hope because the alternative is much too horrible to even think about. But when our hope is placed in Jesus Christ we don't worry about those types of things or their alternative. When our hope is placed in Jesus Christ, we know that our place is secure. We know that Jesus Christ has the very best plan for our lives, and we do not have to worry about the future no matter what may happen.

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

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Stop Clanging

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."
~1Corinthians 13:1(NIV)

There's a saying I like, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way," and it's especially true for today's world. Everything around us is in chaos -- natural disasters and unnatural disasters, which is a lot to deal with but on top of that, we have people with no real focus shouting at the top of their lungs, causing discourse, distress, & discouragement for no apparent reason other than to hear the sound of their own voices. They are, in essence, clanging cymbals. They are not acting in a loving, respectful way, and their only purpose is to disrupt the lives of those around them.

Our world is out of order in a serious way. Chaos is all around us, and it seems we barely have time to take a breath before the next disaster occurs. But God's world is one of order, love and freedom. He created everything according to this order, including us. So why does it seem everything is out of order?
Simply put, fewer people act out of love. In the above verse, we are told whatever we do without love is a loud, annoying noise. So the converse would be true as well, everything done out of love for one another would be music to our ears.

So many today seem to react to situations and people, instead of acting in a manner that shows love. However, the Bible commands us to act in love no matter what is going on around us.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:34-35.)”

Following Jesus takes strength of character, and the resolve to be like Him. But once we decide to follow Him, that strength and resolve comes from Him. "I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)." Jesus Christ is our source for all things: strength, comfort, hope, love and the ability to rise above the things of this world that tries to drag us down.

Our evil behavior alienates us from God (Colossians 1:21), but because of what Christ did at Calvary, we have the opportunity to be reconciled to Him (2 Corinthians 5:18) simply by humbling ourselves before Him. And what a truly wonderful world it would be if everyone of us would stop being a clanging cymbal and start being a beautiful song in Christ.

Friday, September 1, 2017

What Is Love?

"What is love?
Baby don't hurt me
Don't hurt me
No more..."

In 1993, everyone was asking "What is love?" and, for Haddaway, it became a gold record, but the Bible has never had a problem answering that question.

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10)."

This is agape love. This is sacrificial love. This is love that knows no bounds, no ends, no parameters whatsoever. This is love that goes on forever and ever.

This is the fantasy love that when we were little girls, we dreamed of being princesses, and our prince would come and sweep us away on his mighty stallion, and we would live happily ever after. Then we grew up and we weren't princesses, and when our Prince did show up, he didn't have a mighty stallion, and he didn't have any money. He was just a normal guy, but we didn't find that out until after we married him.

Life has a way of knocking fantasy out of us, and knocking reality right smack into our faces. And reality can be a very rude awakening. But no matter how rude life can be, no matter how many smackdowns life gives us, there is always that one constant that is not a fantasy, and that is the Creator of all reality, Jesus Christ.

The Bible addresses love more than any other subject: God's love for us, our love for God, our love for one another.

"And He said to him, 'You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 22:37-39)."

Love is not something that human beings came up with on their own. The idea of love, what love should be, how we should love one another, and the different forms of love are not man-made ideas, no matter how we've managed to pervert those ideals. The love of God is something that preceded even the creation of the world. The love of God is something that takes a long time for us to even try to comprehend because it is so far outside of our purview.

We have a very limited view of what love is. We have a very skewed view of what love is. And we have a very perverted view of what love is. But biblical love is very clear and very precise. And it is also a command from God.

"'And you shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these (Mark 12:30-31).”

The love of God is a sacrificial love. And that is the kind of love we are to have for one another. When we act in love, when we act in that sacrificial form of love towards our friends, our family, our children, our co-workers, our neighbors, the people in other cars on the road, the people who cut in front of us in line at the store; when we act in the love of God towards everyone we meet, we are fulfilling the Commandment of God. When all of our speech, and all of our actions, are out of that sacrificial love, then we fulfill God's commandment.

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great and you will be sons of Elyon, for He is kind to the ungrateful and evil ones (Luke 6:36)."

This is the test. How do we treat those who are evil, unkind, ungrateful, slackers, lazy, those that we consider the dregs of humanity? In God's eyes, prior to accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we were like those people, yet He loved us. Unconditionally. So much so that He willingly left the glory of Heaven, took on human form, and died on the Cross.

"(Love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5.)"

Love God. Love others. Love yourself.​

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Try, Try, and Try Some More

"But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
~1 Kings 19:4

Life is hard. It's hard for all of us. No matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, we all get discouraged and feel like we want to quit. The same is true in 1 Kings 19 as we read about Elijah. He was tired. He was ready to give up. And he was ready to die. Why? Because he felt like he had failed. He had done everything that he felt like God wanted him to do yet the two people, Ahab and Jezebel, that he wanted to see turn their lives around, turn their lives over to God, and change their evil ways, did not. Instead they ordered Elijah to be killed.

When we have prayed about something, and believe that God has given us an answer, it's easy to get discouraged when we don't see any fruit from our labors. When we pray for something and we don't see an answer, or hear from God about what the answer might be for that prayer, we can get discouraged.

Being discouraged can cause us to give up. Being discouraged can cause us to be depressed. Being discouraged is a natural emotion that we all experience at one time or another, but it can also be
an emotion that causes us to cave in and give up.

We have to be watchful, and alert as 1 Peter 5:8 tells us, "because our adversary the devil prowls around like a lion seeking whom he may devour." Negative emotions can allow openings for the enemy to come in and magnify the things that we perceive to be wrong in our lives. And many things do go wrong in our lives.

We're going to lose jobs. We are going to lose friends. We are going to watch loved ones die. We are going to see our children get into trouble. We are going to be broke, living paycheck to paycheck. And all of this will happen probably while we watch others around us prosper. It's easy to be focused on our circumstances, and to get discouraged about the things that we don't see, rather than the things that we do see.

God never promised that we would not experience loss, sorrow, or discouragement in our lives. That's part of being human. But He did promise that He would always be there no matter how rough it gets.

"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33)."

Looking at our circumstances instead of looking at the One who is in control of our circumstances diminishes what Christ did on the Cross. If we say that we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, yet continue to look at the circumstances and problems that we have in the world around us, then we are lying to ourselves and we are lying to God.

Being strong and courageous is not something that we just hope for, it's an order. We are commanded to be strong and to be courageous no matter what we are facing.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9)."

We may not face the same type of enemies that Elijah or Joshua did, or the types of battles that fill the Old Testament. We may not face the types of problems that Paul did in the New Testament, facing imprisonment for the things that we say or do, at least not yet, but we still face every day life. And every day life is messy and full of trouble. It always has been and it always will be.

Our part is not the battle itself, because God handles the battle for us. Our part is in how we face the battle, and how we stand while going through the battle.

"Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand (Ephesians 6:13)."

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Watch Your Mouth!

"A man is not defiled by what enters his mouth, but by what comes out of it."
~Matthew 15:11

"Watch your mouth, young lady!" My mother didn't put up with sass from my siblings or me. One verbal warning was all it took because my mother didn't mess around. We knew one more word would mean we'd get our mouths slapped. In those days, we understood those warnings were to teach us respect for our parents and others.

The verse above isn't just about disrespect, it's about our eternal souls. Verse 18 goes on to say, "the things that proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and those things make the man unholy."

We speak from the abundance of our hearts. What is in our heart is going to come out of our mouths. Whether those things are good or bad, people know us by the words of our mouth. We see it on the news and we see it on Facebook, and other social media every single day. The things people post on social media are the things that fill their hearts. The Bible tells us, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks (Luke 6:45)."

Even the memes we post that we may think are funny, or in some other way amusing, are often crass and off-color. I often see people post Bible verses, and then the next post will be something that has a four letter cuss word in it, and they think nothing of doing this.

"From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, these things ought not to be so (James 3:10)."

Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, He will come into our hearts and guide us by His Holy Spirit. However, the caveat to this is that we have to let Him be Lord and Savior. The Lord wants to clean us up on the inside so that our hearts are pure and right before Him. Because one day we are all going to stand before God Almighty, and we are going to answer for every word that comes out of our mouths (Matthew 12:36).

"Let no no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who listen (Ephesians 4:29)."

It seems to me these days, more and more people are just interested in hearing their own voices without paying attention to what they are actually saying. Our words make a difference. Our words can build up and our words can bring down. Our words can cut like a knife. Our words can make people happy or they can make people sad.

We teach our children not to bully and not to say hateful things, yet we do not even think about the things we say to our spouses or to our friends in front of our children. We complain about hatred in the world, yet we do not even consider the hatred that is coming out of our own mouths.

We have a lot of problems in this world but every single one of them can be traced back to the problems we have with ourselves. As  part of the human race, we need to clean up our own act. But as part of God's family, we need to practice what we preach.

"Let your conversation be gracious as well as sensible, for then you will have the right answer for everyone (Colossians 4:6)."

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Wives, Submit! Really?

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord."
~Ephesians 5:22

This is probably the most unpopular verse in the Bible for women, and one of the most abused by men. What does submitting to your husband mean? Is this just a way for men to control women? Before you decide the Bible is anti-female, let me assure you, it's not. In fact, this verse doesn't mean what most people think it does, and it is most definitely not intended to be used as an excuse for men to run roughshod over women.

In everything that God does, there is an order. There's an order in the church -- Christ is head of the church, a pastor is second-in-command, followed by the associate pastor, and then any others, such as deacons or whatever an individual church calls their support ministry. Every person in a church is subject to their pastor, who is subject to God. However, the pastor is also subject to his congregation in the sense that if a pastor is stepping outside of biblical parameters for his position, the church body has a responsibility to say something to ensure the integrity of the church.

As a whole, society is built on the same order as the church. We have a government that is responsible for the nation, with individual state governments, county governments, city and local governments that are all responsible for the people of that area. Each of us are subject to local, state, and federal laws. All of these are designed to keep peace and order for the citizens, and to ensure our individual liberties and protection as human beings.

But order and peace begin within the home. Without biblical order in the home, we find that the family begins to deteriorate, children become unruly, and we see that happening more and more. Women are becoming the heads of households, and are single parents raising and trying to support their children on their own. This was not God's design for the home.

God's design is for a godly home, where parents are devoted to Jesus Christ, and put Jesus as head of their own lives first. In a godly home the husband is the head of the family. This does not mean the husband is to dominate his wife and children, but that he is submitted to, and under the rule of, Jesus Christ. It means he is responsible for his family's support, care, and welfare, and he answers to God for his family.

A man is to "cleave" to his wife (Genesis 2:24). In other words, they are to be glued together. They are to be "one flesh" (Mark 10:8), and are to consider their bodies as belonging to the other spouse (1 Corinthians 7:4).

As the husband submits himself to Jesus Christ as Lord of his life, he is under the protection of God. In the same way, when women submit to their husbands, they come under his protection. When it's storming out, we put on our jackets and get out the umbrella to be protected from the elements. In the same way, when we submit, we come under the umbrella of the protection of our husbands who are under the umbrella of protection of God.

This is why it is so important to make sure that we marry a godly man. We are to wait for the Lord to bring us our husbands. But even men who are in the church are not always what they seem, so we have to enter into these relationships with prayer, godly advice, and the assurance that the person we are about to marry for life is truly the person God wants us to marry for life.

"Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14).

In the same way, men must choose their wives through prayer and godly counsel because "It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife (Proverbs 25:24)".

Monday, August 28, 2017

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?"
~Luke 12:25

We worry. A lot. People worry about their spouses, kids, jobs, bills, their health, car repairs, getting someplace on time...and the list goes on. In fact, studies show we spend nearly seven years of our lives worrying!

According to WebMD, excessive worrying causes a host of physical and psychological problems such as high anxiety and social disorders. Anxiety releases cortisol and triglycerides into the bloodstream, which raises blood sugar levels. In turn, these stressors can cause irritability, headaches, naseau, muscle tension, short term memory loss, digestive issues, coronary artery disease, and even heart attacks. So instead of solving anything by worrying, we actually create new problems.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? (Matthew 6:25)."

Jesus tells us not to worry about our daily lives because there is much more to life than our physical needs. Our spiritual lives need to be fed much more than our physical.  'Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty" (John 6:35).'

Our lives, apart from Jesus become unmanageable. We begin to worry about things that we either can control, cannot control, or try to control. Our worry leads to anxiety and anxiety leads to more and more stress, which leads to depression and on to a host of physical and mental ailments, until eventually, worry has taken over our lives, yet our lives have not changed.

On the other hand, a life that blossoms out of our relationship with Jesus Christ is free from worry, free from stress, and free from anxiety. Our health flourishes, our lives flourish, and we have all that we need both physically and emotionally.

In this world there is enough trouble to last a lifetime -- several lifetimes -- and worrying about it isn't going to change any of it. When we truly believe that God is in control, then we will know that there is nothing here to worry about and we will have peace in our lives that can only come from Jesus Christ.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27)."

Friday, August 25, 2017

Soul Ties

"Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
~1 Thessalonians 5:23

The words "soul ties" does not actually appear in the Bible and it is a concept that has come from the human mind. However, there is enough biblical evidence to back up the idea. When we join ourselves to another person, especially sexually, we become tied, in an emotional sense, to that person, even after the relationship has ended.

God created us to be with one man or one woman, depending on our gender, for the rest of our lives. We were not intended to have multiple partners. We were not intended to go from person to person looking for the "perfect" relationship, and we were not intended to have multiple sexual partners prior to marriage.

We were intended to keep ourselves pure physically and emotionally, so that when we meet the one that God prepared for us, we would come to that person the same way that the church will come to Jesus Christ -- without spot or wrinkle.

We continue to have emotional attachments to a person that we've had a relationship with even after the relationship ends. Whether it was a one-night stand or a short-term relationship, there is no ending of the emotional tie that remains in our minds and hearts even years after it occurs.

When sexual intimacy occurs between a man and a woman a soul-tie is created. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24)." We become one with the person that we have sexual intimacy with, and along with the sexual connection comes an emotional connection. It's much easier to sever that fleshly connection then it is to sever the emotional connection. And we see the disastrous results years later.

Not only do these connections last for years and cause emotional upheaval for us, it is passed on to the next generation. Children who are born out of wedlock by fathers who are absent suffer emotional problems that come from the absence of that parent.

1 Corinthians 6:16 warns us against casual sexual encounters -- 'Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”'

Sexual immorality is one of the leading causes of divorce. It is, in my opinion, the leading sin in the world. We see sex glorified in movies, TV shows, commercials, music, and videos. Everything around us is based on sex, and we are being enticed to buy products using sex, or enticed to go to certain places using sex in the advertisements. Everything in this world is based on sexual enticement.

However, the Bible tells us to "Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body (1 Corinthians 6:18)."

So much of our heartaches comes from what we do with our bodies. So many diseases are a transmitted because of what we do with our bodies. But the Bible tells us that our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit and we are to treat them as such (1 Corinthians 6:19).

We were designed for Heaven not for hell. The lies of satan abound in this world but the truth of God remains the same and is available for us in His word.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Obey Your Parents

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
~Colossians 3:20

It's a different world than the one I was raised in. When I was growing up there were rules and we followed them. There was no doubt about what would happen if we disobeyed mama or daddy. And I raised my children to obey and to follow the rules, and to hopefully become good citizens of the world. But things are no longer that way. Daily, we see parents and children who are at odds. We see parents who say they cannot control their children. We see children who are arrested for violent crimes at very early ages. We see more and more children being introduced to the penal system. We see teen pregnancy on the rise, teen drug abuse, teen violence, and more teens totally out of control. And these are the future adults of the world.

What has happened to our children? The same thing that has happened to the adults in this world. We took God out of the homes, we took God out of the workplace, we took God out of the schools, we took God out of the government, and now we are living with those dire results.

We are incapable of governing ourselves, our land, or our children without the word of God. An ungodly government leads to ungodly citizens. Human beings were never meant to live apart from God. We were created in God's image as part of His grand plan. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they brought sin to all future generations. Unable to cope with the sin problem, God sent us the solution -- Jesus Christ.

Whether or not we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior has no bearing on the fact that He is there for us. If we want to see our land healed, our families healed, our children under control, our marriages healed, and our lives on track the way God intended them to be, we have no choice but to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Ephesians 6:1-3 says, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land."

The promise of a good life begins in childhood. We must have godly parents to raise godly children. And if we are going to have any hope for peace, and a future for our grandchildren, we must all turn to God so that He can heal our land.

"...if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14)."