Tag Archives: grace

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.

Making Criticism Constructive

“Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:17‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Words that seem harsh toward us can be a #selah moment that makes us better, or and angry, fuming moment that makes us bitter. The choice is ours to make.

When taken to the Lord for His opinion and understanding, He shows us truth that either leads to positive, godward change; or that lifts our countenance so we stand firm in confidence.

Take every thought captive to God. Let Him transform thought and understanding, renewing our minds, and leading us to surrender all we are to Him as a holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. In this way, we always seek to please Him, entering His Rest for a glorious life.

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)

Seeds of Unforgiveness

“Festering” of anger is caused by unforgiveness. Bringing old hurts to new situations is a symptom of unforgiveness. Unforgiveness breeds hate. Forgiveness, “for one’s own sake,” choosing to forgive for the sake of one’s own freedom from resentment and hate, is healing and promotes healing conversations for healing of relationships. One cannot relate well and press forward from insult without forgiveness.

Our world is aflame with hate because of refusal to forgive past insult and deal with the issues of this season and this generation. Those who bring the sins of the parents to peace talks stab old wounds with the bloody knife of old issues. We feed hate, and love dies.

“… You have wearied Me with your iniquities. “I (God), even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:24-25‬ ‭NASB‬‬

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

At His Feet

“Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.” ~ Psalm 123:2

If I am learning nothing else in this season of life, I am learning to keep laying the issues of life at the Feet of Him who keeps us. Only as I lay the burdens down can I get up under the portion of the load I am supposed to carry.

Laying at His Feet that which is too heavy for me leaves it to Him who can bear it. If it seems I don’t care, it is only that I am finally learning to discern what is mine to carry, what is yours, and what must remain at His BLESSed, most powerful Feet. He faithfully cares for all that is His alone to bear.

Psalms‬ ‭123:1-4‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Darlene Ingram Davis (c) 5/12/19

“I” am We are “I”

Pastor Chan speaks of something I fully believe, God is doing something wonderful in His Church, His people. I agree, and I believe that whatever God is about to do in His people, His Temple, His Church, it will require a unity beyond our comprehension in our current state.

When I was a young Christian, God spent years growing my understanding that He, the Father-Jesus-the Holy Triune Presence, is in me. Then God began to reveal a greater truth. As God is in me, each “I” of us is in HIM. In Him, we are ONE. Whether or not I understand it, this is truth: God is in me. I am in Him. We – He and each “I” – are one.

Now God is growing me strong in the reality that Jesus is alive and living through me. It is a truth I can bank on as I trust and rely on His faithfulness, me being fully dependent on Him. As I surrender myself to this unity, His power is released to empower Life in me: deeper, more focused, and much more deliberate, filled with eternal purpose. Imperfect me being continually perfected by God as this eternal becomes my reality.

In this COVID challenge, when we are physically separated, I sense a greater connectedness than ever before. God is up to something and He is making us ready to act as His ONE. Step back in your mind to look at the whole. Hands pumping, feeling the heartbeat of God coursing through us, vitally aware of each cell, every membrane of His Body, alive with anticipation as the very mind of Christ prepares His command to the whole. See it?

God lives in “me”. “I” live in Him, and He lives fully through “me”. The all knowing, all sufficient, eternal Power present in and through us, connecting us beyond imagination, this is the reality we must grasp if we would be ready in the unity needed for that which is coming.

Be sure to watch this video by Francis Chan: Before I Created You I Knew You

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.

The Path of the Sons

“And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judging in Beersheba. His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice.” ~ 1 Samuel‬ ‭8:1-3‬ ‭NASB‬‬

As I read this passage today, I am struck with the number of times we see this throughout scripture. A godly, God fearing, leader of God’s people lives his faith before his family. Despite their example of loving service, their children fail to follow the path of their fathers.

How does it word it? They “did not walk in his (the parents) ways.” This tells me the parent was successfully following the path God laid out for them, setting an example worthy of a child’s attention, but the child refused.

Moral: Every child must make their own choice. Do your best to show them the way. Cover them in prayer. But like the horse, though you lead them to Living Water, you can’t make them drink. They have to want it for themselves. And they have to want it wholeheartedly.

Father, we long for our children to desire You and walk in Your ways. We cry out to be godly examples. But the fact remains, it’s You alone who draws them. May they hear the Call and willingly follow. In Jesus, amen.

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}

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)

Perfect Love

“… We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. …” (‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:14-21‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

Perfect love casts out fear. My God loves me so much, He made The Way for me to come to Him boldly, as a child bursts through to reach her daddy. Through Christ, this sinner made clean can approach His throne and touch the Holy of Holies. I am safe in God’s love.

In like fashion, my husband has loved me so much that he has put me at ease with him. I don’t fear coming to him with anything, because his love for me has proven me safe with him over and over again. I never had to hide clothing purchases, fear telling him of things going on in my life, or feel he would stay mad at me forever, because he made his love safe for me. And I believe he feels the same safety net in my love for him.

Love. God is love; and marriage is the first place where that image of God should be visible in life.

Our Mission is Freedom

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and speak to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, “LET MY PEOPLE GO, THAT THEY MAY SERVE ME.” (Exodus 9:1 NASB)

We who truly and fully profess and possess Christ are already saved by grace through faith. It’s not a result of working to please God and each arn salvation. If someone is telling you that you must work to earn salvation, and work to keep salvation, they are a false teacher. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Him. Thus, we don’t have to work and keep working to get and keep saving GRACE. It’s a gift freely given us because Jesus paid the price. Once we truly receive it as ours to fully possess, it is forever.

Now our salvation is worked out for all to see by walking in the gift of freedom to serve and please God, living as His righteous and true representatives, loving God and others in Jesus Name. We are set free to serve Him alone as our one true and only God of gods, Lord of lords, and King of kings.

It is not a hard work we do, for God has put His Spirit in us to make us as He is, living out of who we now are in the power of His supply. I,e.:

  • God is good, and all true goodness seen is Him expressing Himself to the observant. By His gracious supply, we are freed to be and do good in serving and living for Him.
  • God is Love. He loves out of who He is, thus our “do” or “not do” does not stop His love. All true love coming to us and pouring from us is Him. As He lovingly transforms us, He restores us to His likeness so that we are free to love as people who are love as He is Love. Thus, we prove ourselves to be His.

By His grace, as we trust Him, we work out our salvation by walking in the freedom to be as He is and do as He does, free to serve God in the power of His supply. And we have the mission to help others receive and possess this freedom as their own. So go forth in faith, believing, and prosper this day as you carry out your mission for King and Kingdom. As we get into marriage and family through February and our role as God’s Warriors through March, remember that OUR MISSION IS FREEDOM!

Ephesians 2:8-10; John 14:6; Philippians 2:12-13; Romans 5-6.

Deuteronomy 30:11; Romans 12:1-3; Galatians 5:18-25; 1 John 4:7-21.

The Mighty Mustard Seed

“When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They *said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.”” Matthew 9:28-29 NASB

“It shall be done to you according to your faith” is not talking about the degree of faith, but the presence and focus of faith. Jesus also said that the smallest seed of faith can move mountains (Matthew 17:20).

When people try to convince us that God didn’t answer the way we wanted because our faith is too small, they don’t understand the scriptures. Such a focus makes “faith” a little-g god and our will the master.

Faith that believes says, “LORD, if You are WILLING, I know You CAN …” (Matthew 8:2; Mark9:22-23). The mustard seed of faith to believe clings to His Lordship and trusts His will. Those with believing trust will not be disappointed (Romans 10:11), whatever the answer, for trust knows His Love does what is best.

Do you believe God can do what you ask. Then whatever amount of faith that comes with belief is enough. God responds to all that is within His will for us. Only believe and let faith grow strong.

Father, I believe! Help my unbelief. In Jesus, amen.

Pearls Trampled

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” (Matthew‬ ‭7:6‬ ‭NKJV‬)

It hurts when the Father tells your heart to stop casting your pearls – your wisdom and understanding of Truth – into the life of someone you care for deeply. But when they trample it – and you – under foot in their refusal to receive it, it dishonors God. To keep casting our pearls becomes like grains of salt hitting an open wound, or stones, scarring a closed and barred door.

Think about what a pearl is. It is the product of an ulcer, an irritated spot. Pearls are the product of God’s healing and growing us through His Word and the experience of His ways. They are the treasure of our experience of God in transforming us into His likeness. They are our passion for the goodness of God in those we love.

Casting pearls is throwing them at a hurting, often angry or discouraged person, who is not ready for healing. When first cast, the words are seeds God can use as He heals their areas of irritation to form pearls in their lives. To keep casting when the person is unreceptive is useless and harmful. It brings about sin in their lives as they resent and mistreat the things of God and His treasure formed in us. And it can raise up sin in us as frustration brings discouragement or, worse still, a fight to have our way in the life of another.

When God tells us to stop sharing the treasures of our experience with someone, we knock the dust off in witness against them, surrendering them to God with hope’s assurance that He is working where we can’t. Our job then is to trust the Lord, and pray. I can tell you from experience that it brings great joy when they speak our words as their own because God softened the soil of their hearts with the seed planted and formed a pearl that is now their‘s to treasure.

Question: Have you bit the head off of anyone in your life, someone who loves you enough to throw their treasure trove of pearls your way? What would God have you do with that?

Receive it!

“If, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who RECEIVE God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” – Romans‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

By our RECEIVING, so as to possess as our own, God’s GIFT of abundant grace and His Righteousness to us in Christ, we possess the ability to rule by the power and leading of God’s Spirit in us. Possessing as our own these grace gifts from God, we receive authority over our sin nature and power to rule in this life, adding victory to God through Christ. What better gift to give our King who won eternity for us than a victorious life lived in His name, as good stewards of His supply. (#thinkonthat, #ambassadorarise)

Father, we praise and thank You for Your gifts of grace and righteousness. As for Paul, Your grace is sufficient for us, for Your power is perfected as it accomplishes it’s purpose through our weakness. Amaze us by Your work in and through us. By the power of Your grace and the righteousness You supply, grant us victory over our fleshly impulses and authority to overcome life’s challenges. May we be found as good stewards of this supply of grace sufficient, equipping us to shine forth our righteousness in Christ. In Jesus and to Your glory, amen.

Know He is Lord!

Reading through Ezekiel, I’ve noted over and over where God pronounces that those He is addressing will know that He is Lord because of His hand toward them. Most of the book pronounces judgment against Israel and Judah for sin, sending other nations to enact His judgment. At the end of their sentence, God begins pronouncing judgment against the offending nations and restoration for Israel and Judah. At the conclusion of each proclamation, He announces, “They will know I am Lord.”

Conclusion: I would much rather know His Lordship by the good He does toward me, than by His discipline for sin. That said, live each day as if He is Lord, for He is! Reap the reward of righteousness, rather than the consequences of sin.

Father, in Ezekiel 36 You proclaim Israel’s restoration as Your faithful people, practicing faithfulness to You by Your power at work in them, doing so for Your name’s sake. I pray, Lord, empower faithfulness in us so Your Name is honored in our lives. We desire to know You are Lord by living like it. Make it so, O God, to the glory of Your Name. Amen.

BLESSings, Beloved.

Proclaiming the Power of Unity

Proclaiming the Power of Unity

December 1, 2019 through January 20, 2021

Ezekiel‬ ‭37:15-28‬ ‭NLT‬‬

https://www.bible.com/116/ezk.37.15-28.nlt

As I read this passage this morning, I see clearly, God’s heart for these United States. He proclaims to my heart…

PEACE, UNITY, and WISDOM are POWER in GOD’S HANDS.

I see the pieces of wood and hear His call to place the words on the wood: 1 – “This represents Democrats and their allies.” And 2 – “This represents Republicans and their allies.” I hear the Lord proclaiming: “These United States in My hands: peaceful, unified, and powerful, with Me as their One Wisdom.”

I see the people of God throughout these United States, making their wood pieces with these markings, holding them up as one piece, proclaiming God’s sovereignty in our unity from now through the 2020 Vote, all the way to Inauguration Day (January 20, 2021).

Who will share this vision and answer the call to proclaim God’s power over all? Who will make their wooden pieces and hold them up as one with me?

Get your wood ready by December 1. Snap pics of each, and then as one. Post them as commitment to the call and begin lifting them up and proclaiming our unity, praying as God leads throughout this year of election. Get your church family, Bible study groups, and praying friends involved. Let’s see what our Lord will do.

PEACE, UNITY, and WISDOM are POWER, and it begins with God’s people placing all in GOD’S CAPABLE HANDS. Let’s do it as ONE PEOPLE UNDER GOD.

GOD of ALL

“I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. …” (Jeremiah 32:27 NLT)

God: our God, is God of ALL humans everywhere, whether or not they acknowledge Him.

Look at all the chaos surrounding humankind, much of which appears an impossible situation. Now look at those impossible things nearest to where you call home and realize that, after God announces His Sovereignty, He asks, “… Is anything too hard for Me?”

Everything we see around us that tests our faith to believe God’s Sovereignty and care, calls on us to flex our TRUST IN GOD muscles. Do we TRULY trust that Jehovah is God? that He is working a good plan? that He is in control? that this thing in front of us is HIMpossible? that He wants to accomplish all that is truly good in our lives and the lives of those we love?

Do we trust His idea of the ideal good to accomplish?

Sometimes the only prayer we must pray is “Yes, Lord. This is HIMpossible for You, and I-I-I-I (crescendo) trust You. Have Your will on earth as it is in Heaven. AMEN – I bow down.”

“I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 NLT)

The Gift, Received

“My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.” – 1 John 2:1-2 NLT

How sad, to have someone standing before us, beckoning us to take the gift He so graciously purchased for us, not realizing it is all we ever truly needed and has the perks of fulfilling our deepest longings. Yet to never reach out to possess it, or to only lightly grasp it, never fully opening it to discover the joys within. This is the world: blind to the truth of Jesus.

Jesus paid the price for ALL THE WORLD. Eternal security is there as a gift for the taking. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, expanding the horizons, yet the world snubs it or halfheartedly takes it in hand without fully unwrapping it, all because it can’t get past doubt to find ever growing belief, which is part of the gift.

This is “the world”, fully covered by Jesus, but blinded by worldly pursuits hidden in dark places; failing to recognize that the greatest treasures are found in the Light of His glory and grace, freely gifted to all who will receive it by faith’s belief. Have you grasped hold of the Gift and started unwrapping it’s treasures?

We leave the ranks of this world to become a citizen of God’s eternal Kingdom by choosing to believe with the faith God sparks to life within us, taking the gift in hand. As we begin to open it and receive all His Spirit reveals therein, faith grows an ever stronger grasp on truth we can fully believe. We unwrap The Gift to discover its treasures through the study of God’s Word found in the Holy Bible, and through growing association with God’s people; through faith filled prayer that earnestly seeks God in all His fullness, trusting His word of promise that those who seek Him this way will find Him. He becomes our greatest, most prized treasure, and life, the greatest treasure hunt, a gift we gladly share. It’s a journey beyond imagination: a journey worth living. Come! Join us, the Kingdom of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Father, I believe. Help my unbelief. Grant me this ever growing faith to trust Your Gift, purchased for me by Jesus, Your Holy Son. Grant me to be filled to the full with Your Holy Spirit, sent to me by the Father, to empower me to fully possess The Gift and the Giver. Let Your Holy Spirit, who is The Helper, Teacher, Comforter, Companion, and Unifying Power, Your Guiding-Light Presence – Let Him have full sway in me, to fill me up, empower my full possession of The Gift, and spill me out to be Your light to others, helping others receive, believe, and possess You. Thank You, Lord, for being my One true and only God and King. Thank You for saving me, not because I somehow earned and deserve it, but simply because You love me and want to spend eternity with me in Your Kingdom, prepared for me. I gratefully receive Your gift, Lord. Help me fully possess it. In Jesus, make it so. Amen.

Grasp The New

“… At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. …”

When first converted, someone saying to me that I am now a new person brought the thought, “That’s nice.” Oh to fully realize the height, depth, width, and length of this truth. That we are in Christ and He is in us is our New Reality. That our surrender to Him brings true life to living, making us new from the inside out.

We are no longer trapped by this finite life and it’s self-centered, worldly philosophy, but we have already entered the new, eternal Kingdom, possessing through Christ His thoughts, purposes, desires, and understandings. How different life is. What a difference this truth makes for life.

Oh, to teach that to the very young in Christ, that though this shell will one day pass on, we are already eternal with Christ, charged and empowered by Him to pass these Kingdom truths and realities to others along the path of this world assignment. Missionaries of The Kingdom of God. All else pales when we begin to grip our New Reality.

“So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-21 NLT)

Forgiveness or Consequence

I heard it said recently that God does not forgive the unrepentant. There are two reasons that come quickly to mind that tells my heart that such a statement is a false understanding. One is found in Jesus. The second is found in God’s relationship with Israel as expressed in Isaiah 43.

First, Jesus. Scripture tells us, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us ALL TO FALL ON HIM.” (Isaiah 53:6 NASB)

Jesus paid the price for our forgiveness before we could repent, and He paid it for ALL. I don’t know about you, but in my understanding, all means ALL. All mankind goes astray from God and His way. Jesus took ALL of our sin to the cross and paid the price of sin for ALL, purchasing God’s forgiveness from sin.

God’s forgiveness stands ready to receive by each of us because of Jesus. God’s forgiveness has nothing to do with us. We cannot earn it or buy it. Though repentance is required, our repentance does not buy God’s forgiveness. Our repentance simply reaches out like a hand ready to receive that which is already ours in Christ. It is ready and available for us before we seek it when we bow to the Lordship of Christ, admit we are sinners, and commit ourselves to following God in Christ’s likeness. Failure to seek it through repentance is failure to possess that which is ready and waiting for us.

Point 1: God has already forgiven ALL HUMANKIND because of Jesus.

My second reason for belief in God’s forgiveness even toward the unrepentant is found in Isaiah 43 as recorded in the NASB. Here we find Israel in the throws of rebellious sin. As God calls their sin against them, he proclaims His heart over them, forgiveness issued despite unrepentant sin.

“You have bought Me not sweet cane with money, Nor have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices; Rather you have burdened Me with your sins, You have wearied Me with your iniquities. I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I WILL not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:24-25)

This is the very definition of forgiveness. “I wipe out your transgressions (erasing the record of them) and I will not remember your sins (holding them in account against you)” was a present tense promise to Israel. Forgiveness was already there for them, in the midst of sin. God is proclaiming here, “Though I am wearied by your constant sin, I forgive you for My own sake.”

When God pointed this out to me, I asked Him why He chose to forgive for His own sake. Clearly to my heart came this understanding, “Darlene, if I had not chosen to forgive in the midst of sin, I never would have put My Son on a cruel cross for such a wretch as you.” I’m so grateful God forgave all, and held it out for me to receive.

Point 2: God’s forgiveness is for His own sake, that love may reach out to the unlovable.

God’s forgiveness is already there for hands of repentance to receive. Repentance is the hand that possesses God’s merciful forgiveness. But consequences can still come even though we are forgiven. We must not confuse consequences in this life as unforgiveness.

In our Isaiah passage, God proclaims, “… I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I WILL not remember your sins. Put Me in remembrance, let us argue our case together; State your cause, that you may be proved right. Your first forefather sinned, And your spokesmen have transgressed against Me. So I will pollute the princes of the sanctuary, And I will consign Jacob to the ban and Israel to revilement.” (Isaiah 43:24-28 NASB)

God forgave Israel’s sin for His own sake, but the consequences of sin were not stopped.

God has warned us from heaven’s throne, giving us the laws that teach us how to keep His way. With those laws God set the consequences that come to sin, not the least of which is the consequence of failure to acknowledge Christ and receive Mercy’s forgiveness. That consequence is eternal separation from God. Though God has already forgiven, failure to receive it requires the consequence for that sin.

Despite God’s forgiveness that is ready for receipt, we can refuse the gift and suffer the consequence. But God’s forgiveness remains intact. It honors the price Jesus paid. And we, who have received God’s gift of eternal mercy through Christ, may still have to deal with consequences for choices in this life. Sex out of marriage, though repented of, can still lead to pregnancy. Your consequence does not mean God has failed to forgive. Consequence is the law of life in a fallen world. But God, out of love and grace, will walk with us as we deal with the results of wrong choices.

Now here is the thing, Love. We are instructed in Ephesians 4:32, that we ought to “forgive others, just as God in Christ also has forgiven us.” God’s forgiveness in Christ was before creation and continues to us post Christ’s fulfillment. It stands at the ready for our reception. Our forgiveness must do the same. We forgive in Christ for our own sake, making forgiveness a gift made ready in likeness to our God.

Who are you holding unforgiveness toward? Jesus paid the price so you, who are forgiven, can escape the shackles of unforgiveness and walk free from sin. Get a box and wrapping paper and make your forgiveness ready for that one to receive when the hand of repentance reaches out to you.

The Lord, Alone, Exalted

“The pride of man will be humbled And the loftiness of men will be abased; And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” ~ Isaiah 2:17.

Humility is when we fully realize it’s not about me, it’s all about God.

Humility bows to Him out of realization that it’s not about me, it’s all about Him.

That realization helps us evaluate every decision, every situation, every emotion and thought from His eternal perspective. That realization helps us overcome fear, embarrassment, pride, guilt, and shame, as it helps us die to self-interest that puts “me” on the throne, so I may truly die to self and fully live for Him. That realization ~ It’s not about me, it’s all about Him ~ empowers victory in a life that reveals “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.

This understanding hit my heart today as never before. I am bowed down and totally undone.

(2017)

God Looks Down

“I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right. The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?”” (Psalms 11:1-3 NLT)

The relational climate in our land is very troubling to me. From the heads of government down, we’re so busy fighting against each other that we can’t hear one another, much less find points of agreement. No outside enemy has to come against us to bring us down, for a house divided will quickly fall (Luke 11:17). But what better time for an enemy assault than when a people are too busy looking inward at each other to see out where an enemy lies in wait.

This passage of scripture asks, “What can the righteous do?”

Father, As the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, we can pray and seek Your face, Lord. Thank You that, as we humble ourselves before You, You hear from Heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land. In Jesus, let it be so.

When we humbly seek God, He opens ears to hear, eyes to see, minds to know with comprehension, and hearts to move in line with His will on righteous paths to unity and victory.

“God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God.” (Psalms 53:2 NLT)

Unity comes to those who stop yelling at each other and bow down to align heart, mind, thought, and desire with God and His way.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”” (Jeremiah 29:11-14 NLT)

What God did for Israel, He can and will do for us who follow His plan for finding and achieving His purpose.

Forward Goes the Row

God showed me long ago the dangers of looking back, but it is probably one of my biggest battle grounds in this season. In plowing, looking back often leads to crooked rows. We are charged to walk the straight and narrow. It requires focus on our here and now steps into the opportunities of the day.

I think we all know that it is dangerous to look back to days of sin and failure, letting guilt and shame for our past grab hold to stop, hinder, and deaden us. Through life experience, I have learned that the most dangerous thing to do is look back to when things seemed better, easier, more vital. We invite discouragement, dissatisfaction, discontent, when we fail to be where we are, giving attention to the challenges and opportunities in front of us. We miss out on better, easier, and more vital before us when longing for what used to be. Our ability to appreciate what we have is easily dammed up by yesteryear’s bygone-victories.

Keeping focus on next step challenges seems especially difficult in seasons of life when health issues and discerning the path of retirement are the tasks before us. Discerning the significance of daily care of a mate or child can be hard to appreciate. Seeing the path of retirement as vital to eternity is challenging, especially in light of debilitating health issues. The same is true in the slumps of daily life and changing paths of younger years. The subject is ageless and timeless.

The thing I see, as my husband and I go through this time of life, is that others are watching how we face the life challenges that come to each day. They look at our faith and trust in God and His Word. They watch our peace and contentment barometers.

Our biggest prayer right now is that we will maintain stable and loving relationship with each other now that we will be together more. We’ve seen couples in this season get on each other’s nerves and become soil for constant bickering, gripping, and complaining. We have never been that way before, and we don’t want to be that now. So we cry out to the One who makes us one.

Beloved, people watch us as we go through life. Even when we are not in ministry, our way of life, our doing and being, impact those watching. We are of a Holy Priesthood, charged to represent Christ as priests unto God. What is it Jesus said?

“The King will answer and say to them, ‘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)

The way we treat one another is important. It is our greatest ministry to God, when we care for one another. Even the smallest graces have huge rewards potential that may not be evident until we stand before our God and King. The things we deem great in ministry likely count for nothing if we fail to minister grace, love, and light to those with us.

The older I get, the more I believe that this is true because we are one in Christ. When we fail to set a godly example in our care for each other, we break unity and look more like the worldly, rather than the godly.

Beloved, keep eyes forward, on the row ahead, making it straight and ready for a harvest, fed and watered by faithfulness to God and each other. Learn from the past and bear the fruit of it into the present, but don’t let what was dictate what is to come.

The way we are in each mundane day makes a difference in the fruit born out of it. It requires focus on where we are and where our next action step falls. It requires us to keep our hands on the plow, pushing forward to the end of the straight and narrow row. And it requires us to remember that our attitudes and care for others top the charts of importance where successful ministry to God is concerned.

These late years for us are not a time to slow down, but a time to lean in on the plow. It’s the smallest of kindnesses that can reap the greatest harvest. Our work has only just begun.

At All Times, Pray

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. ….”. (Ephesians 6:18-20 NLT)

Prayer. Communing with God. Seeking Him in relationship. Searching His wisdom and direction. Turning to Him who is ready to give, assist, empower, direct, instruct, comfort, ease, know and be known.

Prayer is a lifestyle of companionship with the one Who gave His Son so we may be sons and daughters. Prayer is with and through Him who died that we may be companion, helpmeet, ambassador, priests unto God. Prayer is a lifestyle of companionship empowered by God’s Spirit, His Presence with us, enabling our hearts to meet God’s, our minds to comprehend His, our souls to mate with Him as fellow member or joint occupant of this body He claims as Temple.

We’re instructed be alert, persistent, and pray without ceasing. Lifestyle companionship is the only way I see of doing that. Through lifestyle prayer, this three in one God of ours unites with us, effecting a four in one unity, the answer to the prayer of Jesus in John 17.

When we walk with a companion, we talk about life situations along the way. We point to things seen and discus it’s beauty, placing, need, reasoning. We share opinions and work to achieve unity and understanding. We “Life” together. And we love and encourage one another.

I believe walking in persistent, constant, companionship with God requires alertness to His Presence, having comprehensive understanding of His watchful care and real interest in us and our lives. It requires a parent-child, teacher-student, Master-servant, companion-helpmeet attitude that humbly surrenders to His greatness and superiority. It receives encouragement from Him that empowers us to live life well, and it encourages Him to have full sway and access to us and our lives.

God knows prayer is vital for true Life to be lived. Walking with Father God, through Christ, in the power and equipping of His Holy Presence with us, we successfully pray at all times, in all occasions, with every petition, and without ceasing.

“Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”” (Matthew 26:40-41 NLT)