Tag Archives: faithfulness

Alert and Ready

Watching the news still makes it difficult for me to believe there was no cheating and stealing in the 2020 election. For one thing, there are those desiring to give illegal residents voting rights. And what do we see at our border? We see people being allowed to pour into our nation illegally: people one can assume will vote for the party that is allowing it.

Then there is the fact that many are children who will be at least 16 in four years. Add that to a reported push to make 16 the legal voting age and it adds up to another means of cheating in my way of seeing it. Where there is visible cheating, you can bank on there being cheating in the shadows.

The human brain is not mature enough in most cases to connect actions and choices to probable outcomes and consequences until age 25. Those younger are more pliable and easily manipulated. Those pushing their agendas in the schools are using this fact to manipulate the child’s way of thinking and counting the cost of life choices. It’s all happening under our noses. So what are we to do about it?

  • Be alert to what your schools are teaching and take appropriate actions to protect your kids.
  • Use every opportunity to teach critical thinking skills.
  • Daily ask them what they covered in class and use that as a springboard for discussion.
  • Help your child develop their moral compass. I believe the Christian Bible is the best tool for that.
  • Be sure to make your voice heard by your area representatives, school boards, etc.

One thing God’s word says that caught my attention today is found in Psalm 37:34, which says, “Wait for the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land.” Waiting upon the Lord is active watching for what He is doing and where. It is being alert for areas of concern He wants us to address and be involved in. We wait in full readiness to take needed stands and fight for the future of our nation and our kids as we see Him moving in those things.

We may not start a war, but, by God’s grace, we will finish it.

Soaking in God’s Word

I have started a new journey, just absolutely soaking in God’s Word. Through the years, I’ve taken a book and focused on it for a month from time to time. This is the first time I have sensed I am to do this through each book of at least the New Testament of scripture. Doing so the way I am sensing God’s leading to do will take several years to complete and will truly allow me to soak up God’s word. I believe doing so will greatly benefit me.

I have thoroughly enjoyed Matthew and will finish it up the 31st. I’ll have read through and listened to it 10 to 12 times by month’s end, using several versions of scripture. It is taking me to greater depths of understanding and setting it securely in my heart and mind, which is my main goal as my aging brain does not memorize and retain as well as in younger years. I’ll skip to Acts starting February 1, kind of following my usual reading plan:

  • #1 Gospel, Acts-Revelation
  • #2 Gospel, Acts-Revelation
  • # 3 Gospel, Acts-Revelation
  • # 4 Gospel, Acts-Revelation
  • # 1 Gospel, Acts-Revelation
  • Genesis-Revelation

For this I will probably rotate, focusing on several letters, then do another gospel. I know I am to at least do the New Testament this way. Then we will see what the Lord leads to as I start Genesis through Revelations.

Whatever plan you use, I pray you get into God’s word daily, and feast on Him. Seek Holy Spirit to open the Word to you and you to it. Then begin. Trust in the Lord, and do the good He shows you.

“But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. [Deut. 8:3.]” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

To Greater Depths

Read Matthew 25:31-46

One purpose in Jesus coming in the form of a man was to clarify the deeper understanding of the intent of God’s Word. This passage in Matthew 25, is one of those greater depth teachings. To get there, we must look at the sermon on the mount. There we find several greater depth teachings in Matthew 5.

For example, in verses 21-26, Jesus reminds us we are not to commit murder. Then He points out that, when we tear a person down to the point that they loose all confidence, feel hopeless and helpless, and become dispirited, we have murdered them already.

In verses 27-30, He reminds us that we are not to commit adultery. Then He broadens that to stress that just looking at anyone other than our mate, with lust for them, is to commit adultery in our hearts. This kills the theory that, “It doesn’t hurt to look.” It does. Sin starts in the heart, then issues forth into words, deeds, and actions. “For from the heart flows the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23 KJV; Matthew 12:33-37; 15:17-20).

On He goes, covering divorce, the “eye for an eye” subject, and more, ending chapter 5 with the greater depths of love, that extends even to those who are our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48 NASB).

Then, in chapter 7, Jesus commands us: “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12 NASB). That leads us to our passage today, in Which Jesus tells those, who did well in their treatment of others, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40 NASB).

In my focus on the Gospel of Matthew throughout the month of January, those Words of King Jesus speaking to His sheep, shouted to me the greater depth of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (KJV). It says to me that I am to treat others as if they are Jesus in flesh. To do so, I must remember, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). So to treat others as Christ in my flesh wants to be treated, I must take every thought captive to make thought and desire obey God in Christlikeness. Only then can l, in Christlikeness, hope to receive Christlike treatment in return.

“… We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ …” (‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:3-7‬ ‭NASB)

The Christlike Response

“Departing from there, He went into their synagogue. And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse Him. And He said to them,

“What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand!” He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other.” Matthew‬ ‭12:9-13‬ ‭NASB

Jesus practiced great wisdom in His responses to people, especially to those He knew were conniving. As I read this in light of current events, it seems to me that we can learn a lot to help situations in our day. Jesus seldom gave a straight answer. He seemed always to respond in a way to promote thought and make a clear point.

In this passage is one such occurrence that I pray to remember when faced with some of the controversies of our day. Here Jesus responds by first pointing out a common, acceptable practice that reveals the hypocrisy behind the question posed.

As people of God in Christ Jesus, we are called and equipped to be His ambassadors, lights on a hill that help people see the way, the truth, and the life. We learn best how to be good in our roles by paying attention to the example set by Jesus, the Christ. May we have eyes to see, ears to hear, a mind to know, a heart to understand, and a willing – teachable spirit of obedience. And may Wisdom be in our mouths.

Night Watch

“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and (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, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)

I spent three hours crying out to God in the night: three hours seeking Him to hear my prayers, forgive my sin, and heal my land. In those three hours God made me increasingly aware of the repentance needed. Here it is:

God is God alone, there is no other. Do you believe this truth? Repentance acknowledges His sovereign, His Lordship, and my extreme need of Him. I can do nothing apart from Him. He is my first, most vital need and necessity. Because of Him, in reliance upon Him, I can proclaim, “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.” All the remainder of Psalm 23 is mine only when my life stands in agreement with Psalm 23, verse 1. The Lord, my Shepherd, meets my every need. Anything short of honoring His Lordship over me-mine is sin. Bow down.

It’s the same in my Lord’s Model Prayer. Matthew 6:9-10 says, “Our Father, who is in Heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” As we bow ourselves to these truths, honoring Him as Father God, our only God, being above all, in all, and over all, worthy of honor and glory; and as we, in honor of His great Name, desire His will over our own wills, all the rest of that model prayer is ours to possess, for the remainder of that prayer guide is His will – His righteous provision for us, the sheep of His pasture. Bow down to His sovereignty. Bow to His will done His way, even and especially when we don’t understand it. (Matthew 26:39-41)

Repentance begins by acknowledging the Lordship of God alone as my God and Shepherd, recognizing my dire need of Him.

Father God, being God, my Lord, I can do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5), not even to truly and fully repent. In my typical attempt at repentance, I look at what I do and don’t do from my limited understanding of God’s Word and will, and I believe in acknowledging and deciding to turn from those things that I have successfully confessed as sin. But that only scratches the surface of the cup that is me. True and full repentance comes from the positive of what I know and acknowledge about God. What I believe true of God, am I living that out in life’s situations? Am I trusting Him because I believe? Here is what God led me to and revealed to me in those three hours of crying out.

My greatest good is as filthy rags before our Holy God (Isaiah 64:6). I cannot begin to be good, for only God is good. I cannot possess good apart from Him. Even Jesus, the perfect Lamb that takes away the sin of the world, in the days of His flesh, told those who addressed Him as good teacher from our fleshly understanding of goodness, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18).

Only God is good. Any true good in me comes as a gift from the Father of Lights, with Whom there is no variation or shifting of shadow (James 1:17-18). In repentance, I must acknowledge and accept that I possess no good apart from Him. That knocks a lot of stilts out from under me, forcing me to seat myself fully on the solid Rock of God’s grace – His merciful grace to me.

God looks for the righteous lot. He addresses many promises to those who are righteous. But I am unable to be truly righteous apart from Him. God’s Word tells me that one of His good gifts to me is the fact that He makes me the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. He is my righteousness. Repentance comes to Him fully surrendered to that Righteousness. Claiming any good, any righteousness apart from Him, that is sin. Bow down.

By the same right, when we seek Him truly trusting and surrendered to that righteousness gifted to us in Christ, living in and walking that righteous fruit out into our days, we can know His promise is ours. Watch for it. (Romans 3:21-26, Philippians 3:7-11)

We, who belong to God through Christ Jesus, are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.” God empowers us to walk in this truth. Are we fulfilling this purpose? Bow down; “for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)

“Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”” Bow Down. Only from a humbled heart toward Him can we draw near to the throne of His grace.

“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:5-10)

We draw near to God as we submit ourselves to all we know and believe true of Him, His ways, and His will. That submission automatically puts us in resistance to the devil, where, in the voice and authority of Christ, we can say, “Leave me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” (Matthew 4:10)

Draw near to God today, through the veil of our Savior, and intercede with Him in the authority given those fully surrendered to God’s will done God’s way. Draw near trusting He will hear our prayers, forgive our sin, and heal our land.

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near WITH A SINCERE HEART IN FULL ASSURANCE OF FAITH, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:19-25)

Confess His Word

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” ~ Joshua‬ ‭1:8‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Believe, and confess The Word of God over your lives and situations today. It makes a difference in one’s ability to weather the storms, walk in victory, pray with hope’s faith, enter God’s Rest, and find contentment despite circumstance.

When our son graduated High School and decided to move off, not only to another house, nor even to another city, but to another state hundreds of miles away, God helped me to let go and trust Him through 2 Samuel 7:14-15. God’s faithfulness has walked with him and I still speak it over him today.

When my husband was diagnosed with the highest stage of prostate cancer in 2016, God gave me-us Acts 17:24-28. About a year and a half later, finding it in the bones, his doctor said he had not seen anyone in his condition live longer that 1.5 years. That was nearly 2.5 years ago. We stand on God’s Rhema Word to us every breath of the way, trusting he will not leave us one second before God’s plan for him is finished. It gives us strength to persevere in hope for each day.

God does give us life and breath and all things. He determines our appointed times and the boundaries of our habitation; and He does so in order that we may “seek God, if perhaps (we) might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’” (Acts‬ ‭17:27-28‬ ‭NASB)

God uses His word to lift our heads, strengthen our trust muscles, empower life in us, and make us stand. Let His Word be in you. Speak it. Believe the truths for life found there, and have BLESSed days.

Power in Suffering

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God” — 2 Timothy 1:8

People in China are reported to pray for the US to experience persecution. They believe we don’t know it, and, indeed, we do not know it as overtly as they know it. But I believe persecution is from Satan, and he is sly and cunning in his attacks.

We experience it every day as he assaults us through a society that denies Jesus in us; through worldly philosophy set to destabilize our faith and the practice of it; and through the battle waged in our own minds.

The overt persecution is, to me, easier to recognize the challenge of our need to stand against it, because it is “in your face” visible. You know it’s persecution requiring a determined response. The tactics used in America are covert. We don’t often realize it until we fall to it. Thus we pray for power to suffer for the gospel according to the Power of God.

In the Wait

I see the signs signaling the nearing of Christ’s return, but still all I see clearly, He called “birthing pains.” In history, we see that, to each generation, there have come times that made them sure the clouds would part “any day now.” And yet, we wait.

This is what I know. Until we see Him in the clouds and make that joyful flight, we must live lives made ready for Him, and we must be a voice warning against paths that lead away from Him. We must be His witnesses, His ambassadors, His light on the earth. We must speak the truth, the way, and the life; bear the fruit of His essence; stand firm fully clothed in Christ; and keep our lamps alight, seeking to walk and live in the fullness of His Spirit. We must BE as He is, doing the work of His Kingdom on earth until He calls us home.

Take courage. Jesus is near and will be right on time. Are we ready?

God Told Me, “Be Still”

Part 1: that I may know God.

“Coastlands, listen to Me in silence, And let the peoples gain new strength; Let them come forward, then let them speak; Let us come together for judgment.” – Isaiah‬ ‭41:1‬ ‭NASB

God used this verse last evening to instruct my heart to “be still and know Him” so my strength may be renewed.

The noise of a hotly contested election entering my thoughts, mind, and heart had me flustered and distressed with everyone else. This instruction is vital to any hotly contested issue. We cannot reach peace and unity until we listen: to one another, yes; but, more importantly, to God’s opinion, His judgment, His instruction. That, of course, took me to:

“Be still, (cease striving), let be and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!” – Psalm‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭AMPC‬‬ (NASB)

The purpose given in Psalm 46:10 for stillness is to know God. We cannot please Him or rightly represent His interests on earth when our hearts and minds are so caught up in the noise that we can’t hear Him, so as to know Him. Being still enough to hear God through the noise means we must deliberately cease striving for our own understanding and desires long enough to discern and know Him, how he would have us respond.

I have this cool Bible app one of my sweet granddaughters put me onto, The Literal Word app. It links each word to it’s original language from the New American Standard version of scripture. In it, two defining parameters of this stillness catch my attention. One is to be quiet. We must still our thoughts, emotions, sensitivities, anger, fear, etc., so we can hear God and others to truly know them.

The second word is “sink”. As I considered that, my mind went to movies where someone has fainted or been knocked unconscious, or incapacitated in some way requiring another to carry them. You know the best, most trusting actors by the way they sink into the arms of the one carrying them. They give their entire weight to the part: arms, legs, and head limp and bobbing with every move.

That’s what God wants me to do right now: to trust Him enough to sink my entire being into His capable arms and let Him bear me up to carry me through these days.

How about you, Love? If we are to truly hear God so as to know Him that we might rightly and truly represent Him, thus exalting Him, we must trust all we are and all around us to Him.

That doesn’t mean we never say or do anything in response to the noise. It means we speak and do, think and pray, out of this position of complete trust in God, rested with full assurance in Him, in this place that enables right and true hearing, and that stands us on the firm foundation in strength and power.

“For we who have believed enter that rest, …” – Hebrews‬ ‭4:3‬ ‭NASB

Bless the Lord Written 10/2/18

BLESS The Lord

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.” (Psalms‬ ‭103:1-2, 20-22‬ ‭NASB‬‬ )

BLESSed: Happy, fortunate, to be envied, that’s the way the Amplified Bible (Classic version) defines “blessed”. When scripture calls us to “bless the Lord”, it is telling us to be one in whom He finds happiness, joy, rejoicing. To be one that takes part in His sense of being fortunate. To be a cause for His being envied. Here, in these verses that tell us to bless The Lord, we find instruction on ways we do that.

First, in verse one above, we see that BLESSing God requires all our soul. By way of reminder from previous posts of late, our soul includes our mind – the way we think, the thoughts we hold to; our will – the choices we make, our stubborn resolve; and our emotions – the full gamut of them. All that we are, leaning into God with full commitment to Him, desiring to bless our Holy Father.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits” (vs. 2).

We bless our God when all that we are remembers all His benefits, being rightly influenced by all we know and trust of Him. This blessing from our soul remembers all He has done for us as expressed throughout scripture; it believes and trusts all He does to and through us in our here and now lives as promised to those who serve Him; and it endures to the finish out of faith in His promises for our future / eternity.

“Bless the LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word!” (Vs. 20)

We bless the Lord when we believe His Word, receive His Word, and act upon it in wholehearted agreement with God.

“Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will” (Vs. 21).

We bless the Lord when, out of wholehearted love for Him, we choose the life of a bondservant, constantly ready, willing, and able to do His will, out of wholehearted trust in Him, who equips and makes us able. We do His will despite personal hardship, sacrifice, or loss. We give all for Him, who gave all for us.

“Bless the LORD, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul!”

We bless the Lord as we recognize ourselves as a work of His hand, being wholly “confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NASB‬‬). He is blessed when we remember that we are the works of His hands and we surrender to His work in and through us through all places, seasons, times, and epochs.

We are a work in progress, Beloved, and He’s not finished with us yet. So set yourself on the eternal and keep set, knowing God’s perfecting work draws you closer to completion day by day. We do this realizing that His work in and through us reveals Him to others, making us a light to the path of those seeking to find and know Him.

“All things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:15-18‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

Rejoice Always

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~ 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16-18‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Finding things to pray about is not hard. There is always something going on in us, through us, or around us to ask God to tend. Finding things to pray about is easy. It only requires us to open our eyes.

Rejoicing always? Giving thanks in all things? That appears way harder than it is because our eyes are too readily opened to and focused on the need. Rejoicing always, with thankfulness in all things, requires us to make our eyes glance at the problem, then focus on the Lord, and, with that focus, to OPEN OUR HEARTS.

We open our hearts to God, so we may know how great He is and how He loves us. We open our hearts with faith that trusts His faithfulness and His purposes. We open our hearts to the greatness of His name – expressive of His character, His nature,M; to the assurance of His truth, and the power of His word. When our eyes focus on these things with open hearts to our God and His grace sufficient for us, rejoicing with thanksgiving in the midst of EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE is easy.

Look up, Beloved, and open wide to Him who loves you, knowing that He truly cares for you personally, affectionately, and watchfully. Now, REJOICE!

Feasting on Jesus

“As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.” — John 6:57-58

“Eat” here can also be translated “gnaw”. To truly learn of Jesus and feast on Him in nourishing, life giving ways, we must be like a dog with a coveted bone. This “eating” requires persistence, focus, time, and energy. Chewing on Jesus is to meditate on who He is and what His being means for our living. We gnaw on the truth of His being until we get something to chew on that is digestible; and we make that part of who we are.

In Matthew 11, AMPC, Jesus says, “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” (Matthew‬ ‭11:29-30‬ ‭AMPC‬‬)

This describes feasting on Jesus as a benefit to life. Note that the benefit is such that, when we grasp it into our lives, Jesus becomes a bone to tempt others to covet Him for themselves. They, too, desire the benefit of chewing on Jesus. The exciting thing about our Jesus bone is that we can give Him away to others without losing our own. Make Jesus an appealing truth to gnaw on.

That said, this month on Ponderings (FB) is a call to apply the truths shared as prayer thought for schools: teachers, students, staff, and parents, wherever possible. As I write about gnawing on Jesus, I recognize that all learning requires gnawing on the subject matter. I pray that teachers can so love the subjects they teach, that they can cause it to be a bone so appealing, that the students will desire to gnaw on it too. And may one of the bones found in our schools be Jesus.

The Vital Need of the Rod of Discipline

“Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod And rescue his soul from Sheol.” ~ Proverbs‬ ‭23:13-14‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The word “rod” used here is an “offshoot”: a twig. My Aunt says it should be 6-8 inches long, no bigger around than your pinky finger. It is used on small children who have no concept of time and need immediate consequences; and is meant only to sting. As the child gets older, parents often graduate to wooden spoons. The rod grows with the child until the method of discipline changes to meet the child’s way of learning.

The point is, the rod is not a bat or something big enough to do mortal harm. It is strictly for discipline and training, and is vital for life worth living. Those who spare the rod, hate their child, showing lack of care for the type of person they become (Proverbs 13:24).

Another meaning for “rod” here is “authority“. I know many today who just want to be their child’s friend. A friend does not have the authority of a parent. They are equals, piers. They can influence, but have no real authority, so such parents wonder why, when the chips are down, their children do not possess respect for their parental role.

Training children to respect our authority as parents influences their respect for all other authority figures, even their ability to bow to God’s authority. Children need parents to be parents. Those who spare the rod, hate their child, showing lack of care for the type of person they become.

“He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” ~ ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭13:24‬ ‭NASB‬‬

That’s worth repeating!

“O Lord, our Lord, Your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. You have taught children and infants to tell of Your strength, silencing Your enemies and all who oppose You.” Psalms‬ ‭8:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Did you see it? Did your heart thrill? Like mine!

Look at the victory given to us here, through this truth about God’s victory that forms a weapon given our mouths. As we “tell of Your strength,” we silence “Your enemies and all who oppose You.”

God’s enemy attacks Him through his assault against God’s people and our faith to believe and trust Him. When we STAND, stubbornly set to trust God’s strength, speaking that believing faith from hearts set on Him, we enter His victory!

Praise the Lord!

God’s Story In Each Tear

“Tears are not our weakness. They represent everything we’ve endured to get to where we are right now, and maybe they ultimately speak of a truth that nothing else can.” Brian Hardin

Psalms tells us that God collects our tears in a tear bottle (Psalm 56:8). Tears through the ages have been collected as treasured memories. Happy tears, sad tears, angry tears, frustration, repentance. Whatever brings tears marks time in our lives, and, like women of old, God collects them. They are signs of all it took to make us as He is.

God cares, Beloved. He sees all. He has purpose in it all. He is working a good plan. And one day, He will pour those tear bottles out on the altar of sacrifice, a fragrant aroma of His glory established in you. So rest all with Him. Tell Him about it, let it rest secure at His feet and in His special bottle, made just for you. Enter your Rest and have a BLESSed night.

Beginning quote From, Sneezing Jesus by Brian Hardin

Choose Healthy Breeding Ground

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” James‬ ‭1:19-20‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I don’t know about you, but in this season of discord with riots, business closures with COVID, inconvenience of shut downs and lock ins, I have been tempted to anger more than ever, that I can remember. On FB, I was too often using this response to posts: 😡.

God reminded me that anger and it’s stress are breeding ground for all sorts of sickness. He instructed me to change 😡 to 😢, grieving my sin and the sin of our nation before Him, surrendering all to Him. Following that instruction has helped my stress level, stopping up the flow of unrighteous anger, and increasing trust in God. Refusing anger over things out of my control has increased umpire-peace in me.

If you are struggling as I have, join me in standing against unrighteous anger, resting by faith in God, and, with surrendered spirit, shining of His strength in our troubled society today. “Hangeth thou in there, O Baby,” and have a BLESSed day. (Kay Arthur)

Call Me “Sheep,” But Recognize My Shepherd.

Lately I have seen posts calling those in face mask compliance, “sheep”. To me that is a compliment, not by the way intended, but from the standing of my knowing Him Who is my Shepherd, God, King, Lord, and Savior.

When I choose to comply with national, state, and city leaders, it is because I TRUST MY GOD, taking Him at His Word. When I choose to wear a mask in public, I make that choice out of the love my God calls me to walk out in His name.

My God’s word tells me that He controls the heart of kings-governing officials as a river flows at His bidding, for His purpose. He tells me to obey the dictates of those leaders – as long as it does not go against the Law of God – and to pray for them in their oversight.

I hear people making their decisions from what they believe is the heart purpose of those they believe are pushing their will on us. I don’t know the hearts of any, not even my own fully, so I cannot judge the heart of another. But I KNOW my God is trustworthy, so I choose to believe Him, knowing that when it comes time to take a stand one way or the other, I will not be following the opinion of man, but the dictates of God, my Rock on whom I stand. Thus, I continually advise to prove truth. Do not be swayed by the he says-she says, conspiracy theorists that fail to produce undeniable proof of their truth.

I choose to wear a mask in close quarters because I choose to love my neighbor as my God loves me, to my own hurt. Wearing a mask actually puts the wearer at greater risk, unless they have sufficient supply to change them out every 30 minutes or so. The good of a mask is to slow a breath/sneeze/cough and lesson it’s trajectory, so those nearby will be less likely to be reached by my germs. Even still, while masked, I should sneeze/cough in my elbow. But if a sneeze catches me by surprise, a mask helps me love you. So when I wear one, I choose to wear it for you. I CHOOSE. It is my right to do so.

People are correct that we are under attack. We are being assaulted and effected by two spirits that come readily to mind.

One is a spirit of rebellion. It is what turns a peaceful protest into a deadly and destructive riot. That is the spirit that pits the “my rights” movement over that of obedience to God in trusting the heart of kings to Him and obedience to do what is best for those around me out of a love that flows from Him, for others. It is the sound of a spirit of rebellion that saddened me when a nearby sheriff-hopeful voiced refusal to comply with state regulations. A spirit of rebellion looks to be against man made rules, but it truly stands against our ability and willingness to trust God and His plan.

The other enemy spirit I see working in our lives is that of fear. Fear is the biggest enemy against faith that trusts God at all times. When fear grabs us, we lose sight of God, His will, and His way. All our desire turns to self-protection, “my rights,” and “my wants”.

I choose to follow the Spirit of peace. In the AMPC version of Colossians 3, we are told that peace from God is an umpire, leading us on the path of His desire. I trust God to direct the heart of our governing officials because His peace tells me I can. I trust God to protect me while I choose to love you to my own detriment, because He gives me peace to know that as His desire for me. Follow peace.

Yes! I am a sheep, resting peacefully at the foot of the throne of my Shepherd-King. Demanding your right of choice while belittling me for practice my right of choice is between you and God. May He bless and keep you as only He can.

Ashes to Beauty

“BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” ~ Ephesians‬ ‭4:26-27‬ ‭NASB‬‬

With everything on the news and in my newsfeed on issues troubling our nation today, I find myself tapping 😡 a lot. Lately, the Spirit of God has stopped me doing that, for fleshly anger is said to give the devil opportunity to use me to make things worse and to dishonor my God.

There is a righteous anger, but often in that flash of anger, I am not concerned with insult to God, but my own sense of insult, based on some pride of personal possession. So I find myself clicking 😡 and immediately God tweaks my conscience and has me change it to 😢 or 😭 as I grieve the sin and shame seen and lift it to the throne of grace.

I saw a post and read other items in the past two days that lead me to recognize anew that God is doing something. Even in these evils, there is purpose planned by God. Throughout scripture, time and again, we see God move to use things in life to reveal decay, remove the cause, bring healing, and improve life.

I don’t know what God is doing in our days and through all this mess. Yes. I find my heart facing the east and watching for Jesus. This is definitely end time prophecy at work. But there have been evils in each generation that had God’s people facing the east, yet, we still wait. No one knows the day or time of His return but the Father, alone. These type issues cause hearts to be alert and make ready, and they should, for one day soon, those clouds will part.

What I do know now is that each challenge of the past led to a victory that brought good changes. Beauty came out of the ashes. So watch for Jesus, yes. Make sure your lamps are ready, absolutely. But live each day to be a part of the beauty, rising up.

I am watching and praying with earnest expectation and hope to see the beauty of the Lord in the land of the living. I am refusing anger and choosing repentance, trusting God’s word, “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, will forgive their sin and will HEAL THEIR LAND.” (2 Chronicles‬ ‭7:14‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

Am I ready to fight the good fight, if need be? You better know I am. But if a fight comes, it will not be done in anger wrought in my own flesh mind and heart. By the grace of God, it will be fueled by desire for righteousness, done in love for God, this nation, and family, and it will lead to the beauty of a better and stronger life while awaiting the Day of Christ.

In Christ

This is what I understand from scripture, as I believe the Spirit has revealed it to me.

I can do nothing apart from Christ. In the Spirit, I am one with Him, His death, and His resurrection; thus it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. By His power I kill the flesh with its passions and desires, giving Him full sway in my life. By the Spirit working in me, I possess the mind and thoughts of Christ, being a woman after God’s own heart, rightly representing Him, doing the works of God in the power and authority of Christ. Without this life and possession of full understanding of it, I am impotent. But in Him I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

All things are possible for me because nothing shall be impossible with God. I am fully perfected as the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, while still being perfected until the day of Christ, as I continue to grow more and more into who I am in Him. Thus, as He does, I do.

He is the head of the body in which I live, seated at the right hand of the Father in Christ. By His power, I am all God created me to be. Without Him, I miss the mark. By Him, I bow to His authority, walk in His ways, and accomplish His purpose. As the Father and the Christ are one, so I am one with them in Christ, by the power of the Spirit. He is the Vine. I am a branch, abiding through life in Him. To God be the glory, great things He has done.

(John 15:1-8; Galatians 2:20, 5:24; 1 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 1:6; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 2:4-7; John 17)

Selah

Pause, Ponder, Pray, Praise, Practice His Presence

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalms 1:1-2 NASB

The Selah moments in scripture are calls to practice Psalm 1:2. It is opportunity to meditate on what one just read. Meditation is only truly effective when done so as to place within our hearts the truths of God for use in living Him out into our daily lives. If the Selah does not change us and direct us, it is wasted.

Psalms are chalked full of Selah pauses, but the Spirit of God also calls us to “Selah” – stopping us at some passage we need to understand in facing the day or a situation in life. We must be alert to God’s call to Selah: pause-ponder-pray-praise-practice so as to put on Christ.

One such moment happened to me while reading in Isaiah. In chapter 46, the Spirit of God tweaked my heart as I read verse 25. I recognized that sensation and noted the verse, but continued on. God’s Spirit wouldn’t have that. He kept drawing me back to it, 5 times, 6 times, until I finally stopped with a “What? What, Lord? What are you trying to show me?” That is the day I learned that forgiving as God forgives means forgiving “for my own sake,” so my effectiveness in fulfilling the purposes of God in relationships is not hindered or stopped by bitterness, anger, or such show-stopping issues as a desire for vengeance.

Selah moments are vital for spiritual growth and commitment to following God through life’s challenges. Selah moments grow us in areas significant for things coming into our lives. Selah moments empower knowledge of God and His ways, making us more like Him.

When God inspires a Selah moment: Pause and reread it; Ponder what is said; Pray for understanding of what God desires to teach you and how it fits in your day; Praise God for truths revealed and for His love in teaching you; Put on Christ by putting the truths revealed into Practice. Write it down or bookmark it to revisit it until satisfied that our Spirit-Teacher is finished instructing our hearts. This is Selah.

We are going to spend some time looking at the Selah moments in Psalms. And I may share some personal Selahs with you along the way. The goal is to fine tune our seeking after God through the ministry of The Teacher. God sent His inspired, Living, Life giving Word to teach us about Himself and His ways. Selah, pause and calmly think on that. Are you an effective student of God’s Word under the tutelage of His Holy Presence?

Join us on Facebook at Darlene’s Ponderings, Prayers, and Praises

The Respect of Submission

“Women should be silent during the church meetings. It is not proper for them to speak. They should be submissive, just as the law says. If they have any questions, they should ask their husbands at home, for it is improper for women to speak in church meetings.” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭14:34-35‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

From my understanding of this situation, there’s a reason Paul made this proclamation here and in Ephesians, which is near to Corinth and under the same influences. These women came to the church out of those who worshipped the goddess, Diane (Artemis). They were not used to being submissive. They were business owners, governing leaders, scholars and teachers, and priestess prostitutes, lauded in the worship center.

They were used to being heard and listened to. So, when they didn’t agree with what was being said or done in the business meetings, and when they didn’t understand these strange ways, it is my understanding that they would holler out their opinions and argue with their mates, disrupting and causing chaos in the meeting.

Note also that, reportedly, straight out of Judaism themselves, they still sat with women on one side and men on the other. Imagine the chaos!

Paul gave this mandate, along with the wearing of a head covering in likeness to Jewish tradition, to help the women learn to let their men lead; and so the men, who often were subservient to the women in the Corinthian society, gain their voice.

Also in my understanding, submission is not subservience. The submission God calls us to as women flows out of respect. Respect for God understands the purpose of family and church hierarchy. It obeys God’s call of submission for that purpose, to protect the hierarchical positions and provide for peaceful relations that function well in society. You can’t force true respect or submission. These are heart issues, only changed and made complete under the influence and direction of God’s Spirit.

Coming out of a home that didn’t practice godly submission, and being greatly influenced by women’s lib, it took me a bit to understand God’s way for the family. I have a voice with my husband and the church, but I have learned to trust God to use my influence while still recognizing the leadership responsibilities and authority He has placed in my husband and those who lead our churches.

We all are responsible before God for our role in our life positions. The husband respects the wife by listening and considering her insight and wise council, while seeking God’s will in his decisions and leadership. The wife submits by respecting the husbands final decision and prayerfully helping him lead out of a position of surrendered trust in God and His ways. The church, being a family-oriented organism, functions in much the same way for the purpose of peaceful, organized efficiency.

Know God. Know His Ways.

“O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭34:8‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The following quote, penned by Joyce Meyer, excited me. What an important life pursuit! You know, if you have read much of my writings, that my greatest desire is to KNOW GOD (Philippians 3:8-11, AMPC). And you know that I believe watching for the fruit of God’s character in those professing Him is the proof of our words. But this takes me deeper still.

Joyce writes, “It’s important that we know God’s character. Why? It gives us discernment. If we don’t know the character of God, how can we ever know who is from God and who is not from God? Here are three character traits of God that help me stay in tune with who He is and what He is doing:

“1. Justice: God is a God of justice. That word justice is so awesome because it means that He will always make anything that’s wrong right. This helps me to not worry when I am mistreated because I know God will bring justice. It’s who He is.

“2. Goodness: God is good, this fact never changes. And He’s good all the time, not just once in a while or when things go your way. Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (NIV). When things are bad, I find great encouragement in God’s goodness.

“3. Holiness: God is holy and righteous, and He desires to make us holy, pure and clean, free from the defilements of sin. To be honest, it has helped me in my walk with God to realize that whatever He does is right, whether I like it or not. This helps me to stay in sync with Him.” (End quote)

To view our circumstances through the knowledge of and the trust we have in all we know of God’s character is vital to our ability to find that peace that passes understanding, which is vital to our ability to trust Him and enter His Rest, where wisdom and direction for life resides. Now, that’s not new thought to me. But somehow the way she states it takes me to a place of realizing the need of a more deliberate effort in accomplishing this practice.

So here’s the deal: read Joyce’s insights. Think about the character of God you rely on most. Tell us about your top go to in God’s character, when seeking to understand your situation and receive His wisdom. What is there about The Father in that trait that helps your understanding and emotional response? Now, if you have looked at the current crisis in your life, how does this truth about God help you? Does it change you viewpoint and focus? Does it change your emotional state? Is there new instruction for the path ahead in this truth you believe of our God? Feel free to share here and encourage us, but do share somewhere with someone, and be God’s lifter of heads.

Joyce Meyer: Promises for Your Everyday Life – a Daily Devotional: Day 40 • Devotional

True Forgiveness: an Agapé Love Action

“If you never forgive yourself how can you forgive others. Just a thought.” (Aleshia Beth Barnett)

“Forgiveness being a love action: how can we love others when we can’t love ourselves.” (My thought-reply in response)

Pictured is a post from a dear friend, daughter to one of my best friends, who struggles as I have. I know many who have struggled to love through forgiveness. Her statement took me immediately to what God has taught me that has delivered me so mightily, setting me free to love as He loves.

With her permission, stemming off her ponderings, I share with you this freedom that is yours in Christ. Only Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit, can give this love to and through us.

Here’s my advice to those struggling to forgive self and others: Learn of God’s love. Not only so you can rest in Him and in His presence, free from the fear of eternal punishment, but because THAT is the love He places in us and causes to flow through us. So we should learn all we can to know His love and seek daily to grow strong His image of Love in us.

God’s Agapé Love is the only love strong enough to equip us to forgive our enemies and do good to them, as God desires; and His gift to us in the Spirit is the only love by which we can truly forgive self and those we love, the way we want and need to. To get there, ask the Lord to open your spiritual eyes, ears, mind, and heart to believe, receive, and possess this gift. Then work through the following passages. May God bless you, in the power of His love to and through you. By the living power of God in Jesus, The Christ. Amen

John 15:1-17 NASB

Abiding: God in Christ living through us by the power of the Spirit in us and us possessing Life in Him by the work of His Spirit in and through us, is vital.

Galatians 5:16-26 NASB

Bearing the fruit of God’s image, being as He is by surrender to the work of the Spirit in us, is vital.

1 John 4:7-21 NASB

Being Love, as He is Love in us, is vital.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 NASB

Note the actions of love listed that require forgiveness. Understanding what Love looks and acts like is vital.

Luke 6:27-36 NASB

Being Love depends on who “I” am and what “I” desire to be, not on what others do to “me”. Committing to this truth and walking it even toward one called “enemy” is vital to our obedience in rightly portraying God’s image in us.

Romans 12:9-21 NASB

It is vital to realize that Love fulfills the Law, trusting God to be God toward us and those we love, even when they hurt, steal, kill, and seek to destroy us, being enemies to us. Love is first toward God, trusting His Love to do right in all that concerns us.

A little footnote here, for those who might wonder: Love should prevail even in war against those who, as an enemy, would force a fight. We do so, going to the fight out of love for those we fight to protect. And we do so, out of love for God as a people who stand for right as God sees it.

We fight against an enemy for righteousness sake. And we do so as guided by Love, not out of vengeance, hate, bitterness, and anger, but desiring righteousness and trusting God to handle the consequences to those who wish us harm, on whom our weapons of war fall.

Choosing to be love as He is Love, even in war, protects us from hate, bitterness, and anger, that harms self, by destroying God’s image of Love in us. Love: true, deep, abiding Love that forms our “who” to be as He Is, is vital for all occasions.

Chosen For This Hour

Johnny and I went out yesterday for some needful shopping. I was struck by peoples expressions and demeanor. Many returned my smile, some returned my greeting, but most were somber, others obviously frightened, and one in particular looked a combination of these plus hopelessness. And, people, COVID hasn’t hit us here yet. We have no known cases in our county. What must it be like in areas of high impact?

My challenge to us, wherever we are, is be the light of hope: smile, speak greeting, behave as normal as possible. But also, watch expressions and demeanor. And pray as you passerby, stopping to pray, in social distancing manor, with those in need where opportunity presents itself.

We are chosen for this season. There is a purpose for us living in this time of history. There is something in us that God wants to use. He put it there. He planned it. This historic event is no surprise to Him, so He strategically placed each of us in positions of influence according to need. Be as He is: His image bearer. Be His representatives in this hour. “What would Jesus do?” is a good question to find answer for in our here and now living. Be Christlike. (Acts 17:24-28)

I ask You, Father, to inspire our fire for You, that we would shine in uplifting ways. Inspire our hearts to pray for those we pass. Grant courage to speak to needs we see. And place faces in our hearts for those we are assigned in prayer. Lift us up, Lord, and empower us to be uplifting. In Jesus, PEACE. Be still.

Trust in The Lord

And Do Good

Do you truly trust God as Lord of all, Beloved? It is times like these days in which we live that truly test the caliber of our faith, belief, and trust in God and His word to us.

In these days, the questions we must personally ask ourselves are these:

* Do I truly believe that God is working an eternal plan that includes me? …and that even things meant for evil against me, and bad things that come at me are sifted through God’s capable hands for His purposes in my life and ministry to the glory of His beautiful Name?

* Do I truly believe that God knows what He is doing, and that He has a good plan that includes me, personally and intimately?

* Do I truly believe God’s promises and that they are for me, personally: that He is with ME and for ME; that He never leaves nor forsakes ME; that He cares for ME affectionately and cares about ME watchfully, looking after every minute detail of His good plan for ME; that every challenge He allows to touch MY life carries opportunity for ME to be His witness, His ambassador in the World – His Light, shining in the darkness around ME?

* Do I trust, as Jesus did, that not one breath will leave MY earthly body before the time He has set for ME?

* Do I believe that not one enemy, even a viral one, can have its way in MY life, apart from God’s watchful care as the Potter who forms ME and the Goldsmith who tends the heat and clears the dross from MY life and being?

* Beloved, do you believe and trust God’s Love for you through Jesus Christ, our Lord, and that He is preparing an eternal dwelling where you – personally – will join Him for all eternity? Do you trust that God sees and honors the righteousness of Christ imputed to you? Have you possessed that blessed sacrifice as your own gift from God Almighty who loves you that much?

If you can answer “yes” to all these truths from and about our Holy Father, Jehovah-Ishi (The Lord our Husband), then enter His rest and face this day with the strength of His supply to you for such a time as this. If you cannot answer yes to any of these facts, I recommend a visit with a godly, Christian friend you trust to help you receive and grow your faith in God during these days.

“Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; Do not fret ….” ~ Psalms 37:7 AMPC, NASB

“Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our High Tower and Stronghold). Selah [pause {Rest yourself in Him, acknowledging and trusting His care for you}, and calmly think of that]!” ~ Psalm 46:10-11 AMPC {Darlene’s understanding}

The Source of Bold

“… The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out BOLDLY. …” – ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:5-9‬ ‭NASB‬‬‬

God hardens Pharaoh to go after Israel just as He has successfully built them up in their faith and empowered them to go into their freedom BOLDLY. It is common for the enemy to attack us just as we get our BOLD going strong. Two things I see happening here:

One, God is not finished coming against the pride and arrogance of Pharaoh. God knows the heart of man and does all necessary to make Himself known in truth. Pharaoh was believed to be a god. He believed it of himself. The One and Only is making sure he and the people with him know that Pharaoh is not GOD.

Two, God is making sure His people know they can trust Him and warning them to not let their boldness become arrogance. We must be like Joshua and Caleb who put trust in God. Failing to do so, we will be like the other spies sent out by Moses. We will see the good of the land, but the formidable enemy will cause us to doubt God and be overcome by fear.

Arrogance has two sides. On the one it puts too much faith in self. On the other, it fails to know and trust God as the only sure source of bold victory. God chooses to use us to bring victory in life. But He expects us to realize it is Him by whom we are given every resource for victory.

Father, as we grow in our trust of You, we can stand and move with bold assurance of Your care and supply. Help us remember the foundation of our bold is You, in all Your glory and splendor. Like Your servants, Joshua and Caleb, may we be found in Your Presence, focused fully on You – Your power and supply, that we may walk boldly into the victory that is established by You. In Jesus, amen.

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭33:9-11‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Read Numbers 13-14, especially ‭‭Numbers‬ ‭14:5-9‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Prophets Still Today?

“Indeed, the Sovereign Lord NEVER does anything until he reveals His plans to His servants the prophets.” (Amos‬ ‭3:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

There are many who believe that God no longer has prophets today. They believe the prophet made law and are no longer needed as God’s law is complete.

What I see is that the prophet was used of God to REMIND people of law and warn them when they are living contrary to it. They warned the people of things coming to them because of sin: their own or that of others. And they instructed them in the righteous path.

I believe that still is God’s way today, not only because I believe His Word and that “never” as used in our focal verse means “NEVER”. I also believe because God has told me what was coming our way more than once, and it came. I believe because He also used me to warn others, instruct their response, and lead them in prayer, thus strengthening them to face the day of the fulfillment of God’s Word.

One of my first experiences was warning for my husband and his friend he carpooled with to work. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but I knew something really bad was coming to them and I tried to get them to stay home. Of course, being the faithful worker he is, my husband went to work with the warning to be alert and warn his friend as well. By 10:00 AM, hubby called. A piece of heavy equipment dropped its load, knocking his friend from his perch, breaking his back, and plummeting him to the ground many feet below.

Two weeks before the Oklahoma City bombing, knowing devastation was coming, God had me calling people to pray, telling them that the Spirit in me was weeping, bitterly. These experiences grew me to discern and trust God’s Spirit, instructing me. Then His instruction became more clear. I.e.:

Before 911, God told me a disaster would hit the US, reaching from New York City to Washington DC. It would devastate this nation and, indeed, the world. And that the damage would be likened to an earthquake (which I heard a reporter, standing on the rubble, liken it to). When He led me to warn people and call them to prayer, I experienced His truth that, “The lion has roared—so who isn’t frightened? The Sovereign Lord has spoken—so WHO CAN REFUSE TO PROCLAIM HIS MESSAGE?” (Amos‬ ‭3:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬). We prayed for two years.

I have had other such experiences since 911, but not as big.

I was raised in a religion that believes God no longer has prophets. God patiently worked with me to trust His Spirit’s instruction and warning of things to come. He taught me to know that when He tells me to speak, it is on Him to prove my words. But if I refuse obedience and fail to warn those He sends me to, their harm is on me. I dare not refuse to proclaim God’s warning and instruct God’s people when He calls me to do so.

Beloved, God still works as He did in Holy Writ. That is what our Bible is, the story that teaches us who our God is and the way of God with those who believe. It is up to us to decide whether we believe and trust His ways, and whether we will obey Him when He warns us. To refuse to believe God still has prophets is to slam the door in His face and fall to sin. We, as His warriors, must be ready to be His voice of warning, instruction, prayer, trust, and truth.

“Then (Jesus) said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.”” (Luke‬ ‭10:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

Always Remember Me

“I appreciate and commend you because you always remember me in everything and keep firm possession of the traditions (the substance of my instructions), just as I have [verbally] passed them on to you.” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:2‬ ‭AMPC‬‬)

Our 1 Corinthians verse is Paul, speaking of his appreciation for the Corinthians church and their respect for him as a leader in the church. They always think of him and his teachings so as to give honor to him as their leading model by following his instruction and example.

The verses before this one reveal this truth:

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I DON’T JUST DO WHAT IS BEST FOR ME; I DO WHAT IS BEST FOR OTHERS SO THAT many may be saved. And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:31-34‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

The hierarchy of the church and the hierarchy of the family are alike. The heads of each are supposed to be leading examples of Christlikeness. They set the tone and give direction to the rest of the body.

As I read the words of Paul in chapter 11, verse two, I thought, “That is the desire of every man and woman in their mate. They want to be appreciated. They want the things that are important to them to be in the considerations of the other.”

I.e.: a husband who sees as important their preparation for the future, such as saving for retirement, appreciate’s when his wife is frugal and thoughtful in the way she handles household finances because she understands his need and desire and has adopted it as her own. At the same time, the wife appreciates when her husband remembers their now needs and does not focus so much on future planning that he cuts them short on their needs or does away with all present life comforts.

Just as the church should be unified in working together toward common goals, so should the family. It requires that we always keep each other in mind and heart so our decisions help the function of the whole. Each realizes that what one does effects the reputation and life journey of all others in that family body. For this to occur, communication is vital. Look at Paul’s words again.

“I appreciate and commend you because you ALWAYS REMEMBER ME in everything and KEEP FIRM POSSESSION OF the traditions (THE SUBSTANCE OF MY INSTRUCTIONS), just AS I HAVE [VERBALLY] PASSED THEM ON TO YOU.”

In the family, this communication is not just statements that proclaim my way as law. It is a discussion that comes to common understanding. In the example above, the husband instructs the wife on his intent to make sure they have a retirement portfolio that will provide for their elder years. The wife agrees with her husband’s lead and intent, but should feel free to express her concern that present life needs and reasonable comforts not be neglected. Together they come to an understanding of the plan and the need to work together toward a common goal: they possess the goal, each considering the sensibilities of the other, consulting together often on big needs and changes made, as they do their part in bringing their goals to pass.

When we achieve such unity of heart, mind, and purpose, what joy it is as we walk it out together.

Also read 1 Corinthians 10:1-11:2.

Great is Your Faithfulness

“The LORD ’ S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-23‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

As God is with us, so we are to be with our mates. Trust is vital to this BLESSed union.

Faithfulness begins with our thoughts toward each other. I have found with my husband that his every decision considers its effect on my life and future. He has long worked to set things up so that, if he goes Home to our Lord first, I am provided for and protected. I try to do the same for him.

Directing our thoughts to keep our mates in their rightful position in our lives and to establish and secure their futures is vital. It goes beyond keeping ourselves for them, alone. It considers their every need and our role in meeting it. This goes for you who are single, awaiting the revelation of your life partner from God. Your faithfulness to that mate starts now as you keep yourself for your future mate and do all you can to prepare a place and a future for that union.

Do an inventory of your faithfulness toward your mate, Love. Where do you need to adjust your thoughts and actions so as to increase faithfulness to them?

Value Your Mate

“For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.” (1 Peter 3:5-6 NASB)

It has long been recognized that a man’s greatest need from wife and children is respect and honor. A woman’s greatest need is affectionate love and a sense of security. And both need a sense of value. I believe that is why Peter calls women to an attitude of submission that trusts God’s use of her husband in his care for wife and family, not giving herself to fear, but praying for him. And, men, your wife’s need is why Paul speaks his instruction to you in Ephesians 5.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her…. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but NOURISHES and CHERISHES it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.” (Ephesians 5:25-30 NASB)

To cherish your wife is to value her. One very important way you value her is by listening to her counsel and considering her opinions. It is much easier for a woman to respect and follow the lead of her man when he helps her know her opinion is important, valued, and added to the basis for important decisions.

I cannot tell you the times my husband has let me know that my opinion helped him adjust course to a better decision. And there have been times he has changed my understanding or took a course of action I quickly saw was the better path choice. We work as one with God leading the way and it has grown a strong trust between us.

So, wives, we walk without fear by trusting God to direct our husbands, even if that direction goes against our opinion. Remember, your faith is in God, trusting Him to lead your man; and your prayers and encouragement should resource his success as a spiritual leader of your family.

A nurturing husband not only feeds his wife the affection, love, and appreciation she needs, but it also means to help your wife become her best and most productive self: helping her achieve goals that grow strength and ability in her, making her a capable person, secure and equipped for life. It does not keep her out of the loop, but makes sure she knows what is going on and why, so if anything happens to you, she can carry on in confidence.

In reality – though true, godly love flows unconditionally from who we are and respect is expected to be given as unto the Lord, these must flow freely both directions to work properly. The wife is not commanded to love her husband because the act of love comes easier to the female species. A man is not commanded to respect the wife, because respect is more readily expected and given as protocol by the male species. But both male and female need and desire love, respect, security, and to be valued.

Determine today, Beloved, to lift one another up through these practices toward each other and enjoy a strong marriage that will last forever and glorify God. If, however, your mate is not as God intends toward you, your concern is to be the mate God wants you to be while praying for your mate to be His ideal toward you. Don’t set your sites on your ideal (what you think that should look like), but God’s, asking Him for eyes to recognize His answers to your relational needs. Like me, you may well be amazed at the glory you find in your mate.

(1 Peter 3:1-2, 7-9 NASB)