Archive | February 2014

In His Grip

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Do you remember when you were little and your daddy held your hand from way up high and you walked with him?  You couldn’t see the path ahead, but you trusted where you were going because your daddy was leading you, and he would never put you in harm’s way.  You had no doubt you were completely safe and loved as you walked by his side.

At least that’s how you felt.  Truth is- something could have happened to you or your daddy any of the times you walked together.  Perhaps for some of you, it did.  For others, memories of daddy don’t faintly resemble a loving, hand-in-hand scenario: you may have endured years of neglect or abuse, perhaps been abandoned, and you have no idea what a loving father looks like.

Well, God tells us EXACTLY what a loving father looks like in Psalm 121:

“He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand; 

the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.”

Our Heavenly Father gives much more than a feeling of security… He gives His Promise to those who trust in Him!  Not only does our Father God hold our hand and walk with us every moment of our lives, but we can trust that He makes our paths straight, keeps us safe from harm, and absolutely NEVER lets go!

Now,… feel your right hand being held by God:

“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.” [Psalm 73:23]

Then look up… lean in to your Daddy:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” [Proverbs 3:4-6]

As you walk confidently with Him, relax in His loving Protection:

“If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.  For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;” [Psalm 91:9-11] 

Finally, rejoice in your Father’s Promise that He will never ever leave you!:

“As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  [Joshua 1:5b]

just as Jesus told His disciples:

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”    [Matthew 28:20b]

> Know that God walks with you hand-in-hand every moment.  Trust where He leads.  Lean in to His Loving Provision.  You are in His Grip- His Perfect Fatherly Care!

 

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Hunger Pains

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“Come close to God, and he will come close to you.”  – James 4:8a (AMP)

Think about how many times you eat a meal or snack throughout the day,… how many times you have a glass of water or something to drink.  Just as God made our physical bodies to need continual nourishment throughout each day, He made our spirits to need continual nourishment too.  We would surely suffer the consequences if we only ate breakfast Sunday morning, then didn’t eat again until the following Sunday!  Do we think that we will not suffer spiritual consequences for only meeting with God on Sunday morning, and then not again until the next week?!

God desires our presence each and every day of our lives.  He desires us to draw near to Him, to meet with Him as often as possible throughout our day- whether it is in a church building, moving through the aisles of a grocery store, sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or in a passing thought while navigating a problem at work.  There is NO condition to where or when we meet with God…He is always there waiting for us!  Waiting to see us move towards Him, waiting to listen to us, waiting to love on us, waiting to give us wisdom and strength!  But He will not force Himself on us. ~ God waits patiently for us to turn our eyes and our hearts to Him…then He showers us with blessings we can find nowhere else.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  – Matt 11:28-29 (NIV)

Did Jesus mean in His Words above for us to come to Him just once?, or once a week?, or once a day?  How often are we weary?  How often do we need God’s rest?  Is there a limit to the number of times we need God throughout the day?, a  limit to the number of times He desires to bless us?  Can you hear Him say, “The more, the better!”?  

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” – Isa 26:3 (NIV)

Kuwn is the Hebrew word for steadfast, meaning to be established, be stable, be secure, be enduring, or (Hithpolel) to be restored.  Keeping our minds steadfast on God means establishedly drawing near to Him for restoration throughout our day– trusting in His Peace and Provision each and every moment.

Lord God, prompt my heart to draw to You throughout my day! I need Your restoration, Lord- not just once or twice, at breakfast or lunch, not just on Sundays, but throughout my day, every day of the week, every day of my life.  Just as my body needs continual nourishment, my spirit needs nourishment too, Lord.  Come close to me as I come close to You- Your Promise.  Remind me of Your Unfailing Love.  In Jesus’s Name, Amen!

AUTHOR REQUEST:  Please LIKE, REBLOG or COMMENT at bottom of post…I would love to hear your personal response and/or questions!  If you feel someone else could benefit from a post or from this blog, please SHARE with others in your social media circles- this blog is intended to bless and encourage as many as possible!  Thank you and God bless you!!

Sex, Work, and High-Speed Cars

imageSounds like a man’s blog, doesn’t it? …missing something about food, though! What do these words bring to mind? ….3-2-1- That’s right!- the PERFORMANCE-DRIVEN mentality.

Of course, being performance-driven isn’t limited to these things, nor is it limited to the male gender.  Today, we nurture top performance from the earliest age in both boys and girls.  New moms barely have bragging rights anymore when their little go-getter walks at 8 months.  Even the youngest baby boomers recognize the advanced technological know-how and creative ascendancy of today’s youth.  The bachelor degree has been replaced by masters and doctorates in socio-economic value, and the Guinness Book of Records’ spine is breaking with Olympic-caliber one-uppers in every imaginable category.  Darkening the performance-driven mentality is the cancerous number of professional athletes whose health and reputations have nose-dived by use of steroids and other drugs.

So what are we to take from all this?  Aside from using harmful substances to increase our performance, should we not try to be the best we can be?  Shouldn’t we put all we’ve got into accomplishing our goals?  Shouldn’t we strive for excellence?  Absolutely!  God Himself tells us that in whatever we do, work at it with all our hearts [Col 3:23a].  God tells us to have a mindset of excellence [Phil 4:8b].  WHY?… so that we will be all that He created us to be!, lest we think it is to impress Him!  We may impress each other, even ourselves with our accomplishments, and advance beyond our dreams.  Others may even see and treat us differently.  GOD DOES NOT.  We cannot impress our Creator- He knows all we are capable of, having shaped us with His own hands.  He does not see us differently, nor treat us differently.  He has seen us at our worst, and in those moments He did the most unimaginable thing- He handed us the Gold Medal!  God has witnessed us weak and lazy, and empowered us by HIS Strength; He has mourned us ill and suffering, and brought life to our bones!

My question is this: Is it possible that our earthly, performance-driven mindset has disengaged the Insurpassable Excellence of God’s Grace in our lives? Do we secretly think we must perform for God to love us?  How good would a mortal have to be to win points with God anyway?  How many good deeds get us into heaven?  How many degrees?  What’s the minimum income or I.Q.?  What scope of fame is required?  How many Facebook friends, or blog followers?

God’s answer:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”  [Eph 2:8-9]

We may break records on earth through a lifetime of hard work, perseverance, blood, sweat and human tears, but here is how God says we win the Greatest Medal:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength”  [Isa 30:15a]. 

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”  [1 Cor 9:24-25]

Paul now reveals the Performance-Driven Power of God’s Grace:

“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” [2 Cor 12:7b-10]

Far beyond sex, work and high-speed cars, our greatest performances on earth come in our weakest human moments according to Paul’s words above- when and only when we start the ignition of trust in Christ’s Power!

Help me, Lord, to trust in You, that I may run the race with complete confidence in Your Performance through me- not my own!  That Your strength would shine through me in my weakest moments!

In Jesus’s Name, Amen!

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My Father’s Valentine

imageIt’s  Valentine’s Day and I am thinking about love.  Immediately, a little more than two handfuls of people come to my mind- my husband, my sons, my parents, my brother and a few very close relatives and friends. I contemplate to myself, “Why do I love these people?” Again, something immediately comes to mind…. can you guess what? Take a second to think of those people in your life that you love.  I wonder if you arise at the same answer as me,… or if I am unique here!  I would love to hear your comments.

I confess that when I consider WHY I love who I love, the common denominator is disconcertingly clear: they all give me something!  They give me love, they give me comfort, they give me encouragement, they give me a sense of purpose, they give me a feeling of security, they give me approval, and if I am totally honest, some even give me a sense of superiority.  Wow!!- Is this REALLY love? Do I love to get things for me? — If none of these people gave me ANY of the things I’ve listed…would I still love them?  – Or dare I ask the bigger question- Would I still love them if they TOOK things from me???…What if they took my joy, took my self-worth, took my reputation, took my possessions, took my well-being, took my dignity, took everything they could take from me? Could I honestly say that I loved them?
Picture this scene of a man and a crowd, if you will:
 
“They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.”
“And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.  It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews.  They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.” [Mark 15:17-20, 24-32]
And in the Man’s response, I witness Love:
“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  [Luke 23:34a]
Can I even grasp this kind of Love? …Could I ever hope to love this way myself?
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” [John 15:13]
Could I give my life for my friends?- to those I claim to love?
Could I love my enemies this way?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” [Matt 5:43-48]

To what lengths have I gone to demonstrate my love, even to those who love me? Do I dare align my own definition of love with God’s?–

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Rom 5:7-8

No, I dare not.  My definition falls far short.
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]
Lord, I thank you for demonstrating what love really is to me. Help me, Father, to love as you do- unconditionally, humbly, mercifully, selflessly. Not to receive in return, but to give without expectation.  Not because I am loved back, but because Your Love lives in me.  By your power I can do all things! In Jesus’s Name.  Amen!
(Bold and underline mine)
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Getting What I Want

image“You can’t always get what you want, You can’t always get what you want, You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need!”
Can anyone read that without hearing Jagger’s cool, distinctive vocals in their head?! I even hear the London Bach Choir coming in with their “Ahhhh”s!

Whether Mick Jagger was talking about love, sex, politics or drugs in his famous lyrics, he was expressing an essential human truth- there is a difference between our human DESIRES and our human NEEDS…though we might not get exactly what we want, if we try, we might just get what we need! I remember challenging my boys when they were young and were appealing to me about something they didn’t have and “needed”… Mom:”Okay, Is that really a need,…or maybe a want?” Of course everything seems a need when we’re young!…even sometimes when we get older!! But it got them thinking about the difference. Then they starting listing things they NEEDED to live- like oxygen, sunshine, food and water. It became clearer and clearer that most of what they thought were needs were really wants they could live without. We even began talking about the things we want, and if they’re all even good for us! How do we know? So many things seem like they will satisfy, but in the end they don’t deliver what we want OR need (another Stones song!)

Well I don’t know, maybe like I heard my boys appeal to me about what they “needed,” God heard me this morning appeal to Him about something I “need”! Believe me, I know God has blessed me with so many “things” in my life…EVERY good gift I’ve ever received is by His Hand. He wants to give me the desires of my heart, but this morning I heard Him say, “I AM ALL YOU NEED.” Beneath those Words was the clear message, “I want to be the DESIRE of YOUR HEART.”-

“Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
(Psalm 37:4)

God satisfies as nothing on earth can-
“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
(Isaiah 58:11)

“[He] who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
(Psalm 103:4-5)

And if it’s not already clear,…
“…my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
(Phil 4:19)

I suppose if God put His own twist on the Stones song, it might sound like this-
“You CAN always get what you want, You CAN always get what you want, You CAN always get what you want, and you don’t have to try, if you just realize, I AM ALL YOU NEED!”

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Sorry, I’m Busy. (Buried Under Satan’s Yoke)

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I recall several years back my dear cousin Juli up here visiting from N Carolina- we were sitting at my parents kitchen table together catching up on our lives, and naturally arrived at the subject of busyness. I will never forget Juli taking a pen and writing out the following acronym:
B. – Buried
U. – Under
S. – Satan’s
Y. – Yoke

Wow. It never hit me so hard that busyness is far more than a psychological/mental issue with physical consequences,.. it is most importantly a SPIRITUAL issue. It’s easy to view things from the limited perspective of our visible, somewhat controllable lives, but let us never forget there are spiritual forces at play above every earthly event in our lives. The Devil delights in nothing more than robbing us of time with our Savior! He knows if he can disconnect us for any amount of time from our Energy Source, not only will we suffer the physical (and other) earthly consequences, but better yet we will suffer spiritually- as being “unplugged,” we are stumbling through the dark instead of walking in the Light. Then we become a toy in his play chest for all things bad to happen.

Sleep is well known for its healing, restorative effects on the mind and body of the human. God designed it that way. Eight hours of sleep is critical for most of us to live healthy, productive lives. Without it, we become sluggish, inattentive, forgetful, stressed, ill. No drug is going to make up for lost sleep and good rest. Our bodies need it to be replenished each day. While sleeping, blood flows to our muscles stimulating cell growth. Our minds and bodies are rejuvenated for another day of life!

Imagine what robbing us of SPIRITUAL rest can do…the Devil is well aware! If God designed our physical bodies to require good rest to function well, what does He require for us to function well spiritually? The answer is TIME WITH HIM! There is no other source of strength than spending time with Jesus Christ to restore our spirits and our walk with the Living God! We need to COME to HIM each and every day for restoration of our souls and Divine Strength for a new day. Listen to Jesus’s Words in Matthew 11:28-30:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Feeling tired and worn out??? Yes, get your needed sleep! But don’t ever allow yourself to be unplugged from your TRUE Energy Source! Nothing is more important than spending time each day with Your Father who is granting you the day you have in the first place. Come to Him, sit with Him, listen to Him. You will never have a PEACE like this- only the Father can grant it!

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AUTHOR REQUEST:  Please LIKE, REBLOG or COMMENT at bottom of post…I would love to hear your personal response and/or questions!  If you feel someone else could benefit from a post or from this blog, please SHARE with others in your social media circles- this blog is intended to bless and encourage as many as possible!  Thank you and God bless you!!

The Choice Is Yours

imageI was thinking in my quiet time this morning, that the Soul is not the Choice. The Soul has been accounted for by God- each and every one- the blood ransom paid by Christ. God would desire that every soul CHOOSE Him! The Choice, however, is ours- given as a gift of free will by God Himself.

Observing the big picture, the Choice to sin (do wrong in God’s eyes) is not really what separates us from God- for God has reconciled us to Himself through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ…He has done the work of paving the Way to heaven by His Own Hands, by His Own Mercy, by His Own Love.

>What really separates us from God is not acknowledging this Truth.

Denying that He is Who He claims to be and that He has gone to the most unimaginable length to save us. To be handed the gift of Eternal Life by God Himself, and hand it back unopened, is to separate oneself from God forever. And yes, you will go on sinning without concern-you are human.

To accept God’s Gift of Eternal Life, however- to open that package and receive it- is to accept fellowship with God forever! You will not intentionally go on sinning, for God indwells you now!- you are human and will fall, but it will concern you when you do and you will run back to Him trusting in His Mercy and Guidance as your Father! You have accepted His Gift of Salvation- repentance is a staple of your life. You are becoming more and more like Him as time goes on- being molded into the image of His Son! What a beautiful thought!

Acknowledging I am a sinner in desperate need of God’s Saving Grace is the key…the key to humility, the key to submission before Him, the key to wisdom and everlasting life! The work has been done for me! The Path cleared by God! All praise and thanks to Christ the King! All glory, honor and praise belong to Him, now and forever!!!

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AUTHOR REQUEST:  Please LIKE, REBLOG or COMMENT at bottom of post…I would love to hear your personal response and/or questions!  If you feel someone else could benefit from a post or from this blog, please SHARE with others in your social media circles- this blog is intended to bless and encourage as many as possible!  Thank you and God bless you!!