Tag Archives: love

I, FATHER, Know The Plans I Have For Them

A friend sent me a devotional this morning. It’s intent was to align our hearts with the sacrifice and pain of The Father as He sent His Son into a cruel and evil world to suffer for the sin of humankind, yet He did it because He loves and desires us who will choose Life through the sacrifice of Christ.

But as I read that devotional with understanding of these things, my heart turns to my children and grandchildren who are out in this world in our day, and my achy heart soared with hope. In that moment, I realized that this God who is our Father through Christ, this God who gave His Son out of such love for us loves them more than I can truly comprehend. This God has a plan and purpose for each one.

Because Jesus bore our sin and the brunt of God’s rage against sin, God sees Jesus when He looks at us and never turns His back on us. Because of Jesus, this God, who so greatly loves my children and grandchildren, will never leave nor forsake them. As He has been with me, He will be with and for them. He will draw them to Himself and lead them through to victory in accomplishing His purpose for which He has them in such a time as this. I trust my Father to leave none behind me when He comes. He is my Hope for their good.

Father, I entrust these I love to You in Your love for them. Lead them, with humble hearts that recognize their need of You, to draw near to You as You draw near to them. Grant them to resist the devil and his evil at work around them. May they fully submit themselves to You and know You, Your faithfulness at work in and through them. May they know You as Father, Almighty, All Sufficient God. Let Your will be done in and through them, as it is in Heaven: righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. In Jesus is my prayer, amen.

Patience: Waits On and Rests In the Father

In these difficult days, many of us stand in shock, horrified by the worldly things growing more rampant around us. We cry out for God to come quickly, and we plead for our children and grandchildren to be set free from the fleshly, the worldly, and the demonic wisdom ruling the world in our day.

Peter, in 2 Peter 3, exhorts us to be diligent to be found by Christ in peace, spotless and blameless, and to “regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.” He is not slow about His promises as some count slowness, but is patient toward us, wishing none to perish, but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9, 14-18 NASB)

As long as God tarries, there is hope for those we love. And the proof of His patience is “me,” as we say with Paul, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. ….” 1 Timothy 1:15-17 NASB

Remembering the patience of God toward the sinner, especially toward self, is vital to our ability to have patience and walk in His peace during troubling times. Jesus Christ demonstrates His perfect patience through us as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. A study of patience, then, necessitates that we remember God’s patience toward us and the testimony that truth speaks to others.

In 2 Timothy 4, Paul instructs Timothy to preach the word, being ready in season and out of season to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with great patience and instruction. In verse 5 He says, “be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, FULFILL YOUR MINISTRY.”

Our ministry in the Spirit is reconciliation: to take every opportunity and be ready at all times to share the faith we have in Christ and His love for us, with the hope that those who hear will be reconciled to God in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:18 NASB)

“For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who THROUGH FAITH AND PATIENCE INHERIT THE PROMISES.” Hebrews 6:10-12 NASB

Patient endurance in trouble and faithful ministry in the Lord, flowing from trust in Him, inherits His promises. We, who are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus can trust God for every promise made to those who are righteous, including His faithfulness toward the next generations. Patiently wait with peaceful endurance.

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. …” James 5:7-11 NASB

God is patient, and He will keep His promises in due season. We can trust that truth. God is patient, compassionate, and merciful, and He hears our hearts’ cries. Our trust in Him to fulfill His good word to us is vital for patient endurance, assuring our hearts. God’s trustworthiness is the power that produces true patience in us who enter His rest through belief. Think on that when your patience is tested.

Thus, we review our keys as we add two final key to the Unlocking of Patience

Key 1: Patience is the fruit of God’s image, enlivened by the work of the Spirit in us. Patience reveals itself in us as we seek the work of God’s Spirit from a wholehearted surrender to His will and way, in the soil of a faith that trusts, believes, and receives.

Key 2: Patience works with kindness, tolerance, and trusting gratitude that knows and trusts God’s kindness that leads to repentance and meets every need with perfection.

Key 3: Patience is an act of mercy that practices endurance, denying the wrath that may be deserved, with the intent that vessels of mercy – including self – may experience the glory of God as He pours His mercy to and through us.

Key 4: Patience is an act of love, persevering in the unity of the Spirit, working humbly and gently with diligence of purpose to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Key 5: Patience is our clothing in Christ. It covers our hearts like clothing, protecting and revealing who we are as God’s people in Christ Jesus, as we practice unconditional love toward others.

Key 6: Patience aligns with God’s patience. Remembering the patience of God toward sinners, especially His patient work in us, strengthens our patience as we await His work in others.

Key 7: Patience flows out of and reveals our faith that trusts God to fulfill His promises and bring all to completion.

Patience: Clothing that Proves Life

“Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him…. So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. …” Colossians 3:9-17 NASB

We are new creations in Christ: off with the old; on with the new. This change is both an instantaneous reality by a miracle of God’s grace, and it is a deliberate act of our will cooperating with that work of grace as we seek after and surrender to the work of the Spirit in us.

One thing that catches my attention here is the command, “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self.” We are being renewed into the image of God in Christ Jesus day by day. As we grow in the knowledge of Him, we are expected to surrender to His work in us and deliberately choose to put on the new by cooperating with Him.

To say that we are new creatures in Christ while refusing to walk in newness of life as He reveals it is to lie about who we are. We are either still lost in our sin and lying to self and God, or we are failing to put on the new through surrender, thus lying about who God is to those watching for the proof of Life in us. “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.” Romans 8:19 NASB

As new creatures, we cooperate with God in becoming as He is by clothing our hearts. Heart here is the mind, will, and emotions. All that makes our who is to put on Christ as Master of who we are.

Today’s passage instructs us to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness patience, forbearance and forgiveness. Wherever “patience” thrives, we find hearts dictated by compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, forbearance (long-suffering, endurance) and forgiveness, all of which flows from a heart defined by Agapé (godly, unconditional love), the top attribute of which is patience.

“Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

One way we put on patience is through a heart of gratitude. One aspect of love is to cling to the good found while waiting on God to deliver from the abhorrent. We are protected from the lie of hypocrisy when we learn to love with grateful heart for the good in others that helps us put on patience toward them. (Romans 12:9 NASB)

Patience is clothing for a heart of love. Put it on and wear it well.

Thus, we add a key to the Unlocking of Patience

Key 5: Patience covers our hearts like clothing, protecting and revealing who we are as God’s people in Christ Jesus, as we practice unconditional love toward others.

Key 4: Patience is an act of love, persevering in the unity of the Spirit, working humbly and gently with diligence of purpose to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Key 3: Patience is an act of mercy that practices endurance, denying the wrath that may be deserved, with the intent that vessels of mercy – including self – may experience the glory of God as He pours His mercy to and through us.

Key 2: Impatience passes unrighteous judgment. Patience works with kindness, tolerance, and trusting gratitude that knows and trusts God’s kindness that leads to repentance and meets every need with perfection.

Key 1: Patience is the fruit of God’s image, enlivened by the work of the Spirit in us. Patience reveals itself in us as we seek the work of God’s Spirit from a wholehearted surrender to His will and way, in the soil of a faith that trusts, believes, and receives.

Patience: A Love Action

“The Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel…. Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 3:6; Ephesians 4:1-3 NASB)

We, the people of God through Christ Jesus, are one body with Him. In this body live many individuals of many backgrounds, colors, nationalities, and experiences, each delivered from various kinds of sins and circumstances, and holding to many understandings of truth and righteousness, established by a life of flesh. In Christ we are one, and we are each transformed in Him – death gives way to life as the old self becomes new. However, while we are perfect as God is perfect, the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, we are each continuing to be perfected until the day of Christ. We have fully arrived in the Eternal, but we aren’t there yet in our earthly existence.

In Christ’s body are many parts in varying degrees of maturity in Christ. And yet we are one, by the power of His grace. This is our calling and equipping in Christ: to be one together with Him. Put that many people of varying degrees of maturity, from so many backgrounds and perspectives of right and wrong, and we see the importance of patience.

In today’s Ephesians passage, Paul implores us “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another IN LOVE.” Love is vital to our success in practicing patience and tolerance. In fact, if we look at 1 Corinthians 13’s list of the attributes found in God’s kind of love, Agapé begins with patience.

We cannot have patience without God’s Agapé living in us. Patience defines love. Love creates patience. They go together in a world of imperfects. Peace comes to a body dictated by love that produces patience. We are called to peace. We are called to love. We are called to unity. And Paul implores us to walk in a manor worthy of our calling.

“Love is patient, love is kind…does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails….” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NASB

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21 NASB

Thus, we add a key to the Unlocking of Patience

Key 4: Patience is an act of love, persevering in the unity of the Spirit, working humbly and gently with diligence of purpose to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Key 3: Patience is an act of mercy that practices endurance, denying the wrath that may be deserved, with the intent that vessels of mercy – including self – may experience the glory of God as He pours His mercy to and through us.

Key 2: Impatience passes unrighteous judgment. Patience works with kindness, tolerance, and trusting gratitude that knows and trusts God’s kindness that leads to repentance and meets every need with perfection.

Key 1: Patience is the fruit of God’s image, enlivened by the work of the Spirit in us. Patience reveals itself in us as we seek the work of God’s Spirit from a wholehearted surrender to His will and way, in the soil of a faith that trusts, believes, and receives.

Patience: Wrath to Mercy

“… What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.” Romans‬ ‭9:18-24‬ ‭NASB – https://www.bible.com/100/rom.9.18-24.nasb1995

Our clearest picture of who we are and how we are to be is found in God, as we learn of Him: His who; His do. In this passage of scripture, we see that God withholds His wrath that is justly due to vessels of wrath – fleshly, sinful humans. He does not wish any to perish, but all to come to repentance, so He is patient and enduring toward us. He does this with the purpose of showering the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy.

God’s saving grace transforms vessels of wrath – the walking dead – into vessels of mercy – abundant with Life and made new.

As we surrender by faith to saving grace in Christ, we are transformed from the status of vessels of wrath destined for the penalty of sins death, into vessels of mercy. Because God patiently endured, waiting for us to so trust Him, we are delivered from death to life and repurposed as containers of His mercy.

The thing about a vessel is that it is useless until it is filled up and it’s contents poured out to accomplish its purpose. God fills us with Himself. We carry God, His presence in us: we are His Temple. As His representatives on earth, we are called to bear His image to vessels of wrath, patiently enduring all the struggle that brings us.

As vessels of God, filled with Him, we house His patient endurance for the purpose of being His hands and feet, His heart and desire, toward vessels of wrath. Endurance strengthens patience. Patience accomplishes purpose.

Thus, we add a key to the Unlocking of Patience

Key 3: Patience is an act of mercy that practices endurance, denying the wrath that may be deserved, with the intent that vessels of mercy – including self – may experience the glory of God as He pours His mercy to and through us.

Key 2: Impatience passes unrighteous judgment. Patience works with kindness, tolerance, and trusting gratitude that knows and trusts God’s kindness that leads to repentance and meets every need with perfection.

Key 1: Patience is the fruit of God’s image, enlivened by the work of the Spirit in us. Patience reveals itself in us as we seek the work of God’s Spirit from a wholehearted surrender to His will and way, in the soil of a faith that trusts, believes, and receives.

The Lamb and the Scapegoat

“Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat. Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the LORD fell, and make it a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat.”
‭‭Leviticus‬ ‭16:8-10‬ ‭NASB

Jesus took both straws in the casting of the lot (Leviticus 16:8-10). He is both the sacrificial Lamb of God for the full payment of ALL SIN, and He is the Scapegoat, who took those sins to the Abyss for all of the world: paid in full and done with. The only thing we are left with now is choice. Will we accept the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Savior, or not?

What our individual eternity looks like will rest on our choice. Receive His gift of eternity with Him, and walk with Him as Lord from then on. Learn of Him and grow in Him, representing Him until He takes us home to be with Him forever. Or refuse the gift and spend eternity forever separated from Him. As long as you draw breath in this life, the choice is there for you. And ALL SIN is covered, even the ugliest of evil. The only unforgivable sin is to say “no” to Jesus.

Many think that separation from God is nothing. They don’t see their need of Jesus and His covering of their sin. But before that parting command of God, casting all who refuse His gift into outer darkness, all will stand before Him. In that instant each one will know three truths: the flooding touch of the fullness of the greatest love there has ever been and will forever be; the decision to deny Him was a bad call; and, in that instant, comes the knowledge that it’s too late to choose rightly. They missed it. The choice has come and gone.

I believe that the revelation of God’s great love touching all at that throne of judgment will be the biggest flame burning in Hell. Longing to again taste that love will haunt the eternity of those who refuse His gift now, while there is breath left for a “yes, Jesus”.

I beg you, in the name of Jesus, admit your sin nature and your need of the gift of God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ, the Lord. Contact that one you know to be a sincere and committed follower of Christ. Tell them your decision and let them help you begin your new life journey. I assure you, if they are truly sincere in Christ, they are waiting with fervent hope for your call.

Let Go!

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” ~ Matthew‬ ‭5:3‬ ‭MSG‬‬

I said this to the Lord one day, “Lord, I feel like I am hanging on to the last thread of my proverbial rope, and I’m about to lose my grip.” To which He very clearly replied to my heart, “Let go!”

As I invisioned myself turning loose my hold, I saw myself fall gently into a blubbering heap, landing safely in God’s capable hands. From then on through that stressful season, when I felt it weighing in on me, I would let myself go to that blubbering heap in God’s hand and allow Him to carry me.

God is forever faithful, for He cannot deny Himself in us. He loves us and never leaves us.

You are not alone. Let go!

Quick Study 2/6/21

John’s Baptism vs. Baptism in Jesus

Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. — Acts 19:4-5

This passage made me ask, “John’s baptism is in water for repentance. Into what is the baptism of Jesus: what’s the difference?” Here is what a quick Literal Word app search found.

1. In this focal passage, the first thing to note is that John’s baptism calling for belief in Jesus who was yet to be revealed, was no longer needed once Jesus came into view. Thus we now have the assurance of salvation revealed.

“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. — Matthew 3:11; see also Acts 1:5; Acts 11:16

2. Baptism of Holy Spirit (drenched in the Spirit) and fire (signifies cleansing / purification).

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, — Matthew 28:19

3. Instead of baptism in the name of John, it’s in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – the Triune One.

He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. — Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12

4. Baptism of belief in Christ, who is now visible to us, disclosing Himself to all who believe unto obedience in Christ.

I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ — John 1:33

5. Baptism of Holy Spirit union – he remains on us, in us, through us.

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. — Acts 2:38

6. Baptism into Christ is for the forgiveness of sin, not just for repentance. We are forgiven.

Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. — Acts 19:4-5

7. Baptized in the powerful, all-sufficient name of Jesus.

Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’ — Acts 22:16

8. Calling on the name of Christ in baptism washes away our sin, to be remembered no more. Gone. Made white as pure snow that reflects His light.

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? — Romans 6:3

9. Baptized into His death, thus the death of sin no longer has power in us.

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. — 1 Corinthians 12:13

10. Baptized into one body – made one together in Christ – in one Spirit.

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. — Galatians 3:27

11. Baptized in Christ = clothed with Christ: the image of God rebirthed in us, made alive and well in and on us.

Make sure you are baptized into Christ.

Pause for Conscience to Speak

Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” (Matthew 27:3-4)

A pastor once pointed out his belief that Judas, believing the Christ was coming to deliver Israel from Roman rule and set up His eternal Kingdom on earth, potentially believed betraying Him would force His hand to finally move, bringing his expectation to pass. False understanding, false assumptions, false hopes often lead us to go against the better judgment of conscience. Those who benefit by that to gain their desire can care less when our conscience kicks in and we suffer a type of buyers remorse.

Conscience has a purpose that protects us from bad decisions. Listen to it early, so grief of sin is avoided.

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)

My Great Pleasure

“For it (end days as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven) is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.” Matthew 25:14-15 NASB

Everything we have is a gift from God intended for our use in honoring Him and bringing increase to His Kingdom. Our very life is at the privilege of the King of kings, and honoring Him in it is our first responsibility and priority. Our hearts must constantly acknowledge in the use of all God gives, “I serve at the pleasure of The King. It is my great pleasure to do so, and to do it well.”

From our gifts, talents, abilities, and skills, to the jobs and opportunities they open to us; from moneys earned to the way those funds are used and applied to life; everything we possess is there at God’s gifting. Life, breath, and all things, including strength to move, work, and earn wages, come from Him for our use in glorifying Him. And all it’s use requires wisdom to honor God in and through it, thus serving Him well, according to all that pleases Him.

Even relationships we have are gifts from God to grow and mature us and give us opportunity to influence others for His purposes and Kingdom prosperity. Relationships also give us a place to invest God’s fruit of righteousness in the dispensing of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Which brings us to “time”. Time is a gift from God. Will we use it well, or waste it on our way? We must realize that our first priority with time is to seek God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. We cannot know how to use His good gifts as pleases Him, until we know Him, personally and in ever growing depth of understanding. Every breath, every action, every word is spent in time, accomplishing the goal of knowing and rightly representing God. Time: to seek first His righteousness and His Kingdom.

We are first and foremost children of God, called to know Him, and citizens of His Kingdom, required to serve and obey Him. The question is, will we realize His supply and be found faithful in our investments? As we major on this pursuit, even in the minor things of life, we press toward the prize of the ultimate reward, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Read Matthew 25:14-30 AMPC

I’m Here to Stand

Here is what I have learned in my search for where I am to be in these days. We are in a war. Freedom of speech, the Christian faith, righteousness and truth (and then some) are all under attack. It does not matter where we are online or off, war is there and we must choose who we are, what we believe, and who/what we stand for in life.

The only true One I see to follow in this mess is Jesus. He is the only One who sees all; the only One that knows what’s going on and coming down; and He is the only One who will bring us to a glorious destiny. We must watch for where the lines align with Scriptural truth and stand firm there. We must speak and walk that truth, for one thing we do know: Jesus is coming and He, who knows each heart, will separate the wheat from the chaff – the sheep from the goats. The question is, where will I be standing when He comes: with Him or against Him?

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

— Ephesians 6:10-13

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.

Humility’s Righteousness

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” — Matthew 6:1-6

This passage of scripture is talking heart motives of a showoff-y pride and arrogance. It doesn’t say our righteousness being noticeable is sin. We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. The fruit of His visible righteousness in us is our light to the world. They should see us as sincerely different from others. They should know that when they come to us, they will find a Christ-in-us response of love and care.

Two specifics covered by Jesus here is in our practice of giving and praying. The Pharisees and Sadducees were hypocritical and obnoxious in both giving and praying, desiring the praise and admiration of men. And yet, there giving was truly nothing compared to their ability to give (Mark12:41-44). Wealth was seen as a sign of being in right standing with God, so they sure weren’t going to give more than was comfortable. They truly gave very little of their great resources. It is an easy practice to fall into. And their praying, Jesus implies, was truly to themselves, not to God (Luke18:9-14, NASB).

Our giving must not be so we are honored by men, but is humbly done as a service to God, seeking Him for the amount and trusting, though the giving hurts our bottom line, He will meet our every need. And I can bear testimony that He always meets our true need. Our giving, especially toward the need of others, should go above and beyond, even to our own hurt. Though someone may see our giving, they also see how quietly it is done. The old woman Jesus pointed to was visible to all putting her meager two cents in. Only God, and those Jesus pointed her to as lesson, knew it was all she had to live on.

When we pray, my understanding of our inner room is that it is a place within our essence where only God matters. It is a place where I meet alone with God. Even when asked to pray aloud, all around disappear from conscious view as I enter my place with God. It cannot be stolen from me, nor closed off to me by any created being. It is my personal, secret hiding place with God my Father and King.

It doesn’t matter who hears, for I’m not aware of their hearing, nor am I concerned for their opinion. We see this in Jesus, who was heard crying out His Garden prayer, and from whom we have the prayer of John 17 to read and agree with.

In praying, my only concern should be to seek God’s face and touch the hem of His garment for the need at hand. And those who hear are drawn into their inner room through prayers of agreement, even adding to my prayer through their inner thoughts.

People learn how to give and how to pray, and how to walk the righteousness of God in Christ out into the world, by the examples they hear and see. May we be found faithful in the humble practice of our righteousness.

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)

Flight #2021

Good Morning, Travelers. May I have your attention, please. Welcome to flight 2021. We will soon leave Airport 2020 to heights unknown. Officer Umpire Peace is onboard to keep you safe as we navigate into and through 2021.

As we prepare to take off into the New Year, we want to instruct you for a secure flight, making the best of all that awaits us. Please make sure your Attitude and Spirit of Gratitude and Blessing is secured within and locked in an upright position of integrity.

All self-destructive devices should be turned off at this time. Consider these devices to be worthless. As we come by with trash bags, all fear, negativity, hurt, discouragement, worry, fretting, hate, discord, easy-offense and any other such destructive influences should be put in the waste-of-time bin for proper disposal. God will take your yoke and deal with your trash while you take His lighter yoke. If you need a yoke change, Steward, the stewardess, will help you unload your weary and heavy-ladened burden, and will give you the rest God has for you. Steward will help you take God’s yoke upon you so you can learn from Him. He is gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Should we lose Altitude under pressure during the flight, reach up and pull down a Prayer line. Prayer will automatically be activated by Faith’s Trust. If you don’t know how to pray as you should, the Spirit Himself will intercede for you with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Once Faith activates Trust, you can then help assist other passengers to put on encouragement, strength, and hope.

No past-baggage is needed on this flight. All you need to let go of yesteryears and press to the future awaits you by God’s grace to you.

Please note that Captain Father GOD has cleared us for greater heights of BLESSing and Love. He would like you to know as we take off that no turbulence or side winds are too difficult for Him. He’s got this, and His Co-Pilot, Jesus, ever lives to intercede on your behalf. The plane is fully loaded and fueled: filled with Holy Spirit Power, flowing the anxious longing of all creation, which eagerly awaits the revealing of the sons of God in 2021.

Pilot Father God asks you to trust that He causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose. He has predestined each of you to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. So you are adequately supplied for 2021. Nothing can stop this Aircraft from getting you to the destiny Pilot God has for you.

God is for you. So who can be against you? He did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all. Therefore, you can trust Him to freely give you all things, as He flies you to and through each day in this New Year.

He says for you to not fret your destiny. Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for you.

When we land, do not worry about the future that comes to 2021 and beyond to all eternity. Know that, though you leave the plane, your Pilot and Co-Pilot will remain with each of you. Spirit Power Fuel will usher you into the secret place of God’s Presence in an instant, whenever and wherever your need arises. For who will separate you from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written: “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

As flight 2021 takes off, let us each smile at the future, being convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate you from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now sit back and enjoy the flight to the habitations of Glory, Power, Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment. God is faithful, therefore, we are able to give thanks in all things life presents to us. Remember that if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we will successfully and eagerly wait for it.

The movie playing in flight is Roman Eight’s “Overcomer”. If you are a believer, come take Flight #2021 with me! Your ticket is waiting.

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.

The True Gift

As I prayed this morning over people I love, our crazed earth, and our need of our Father, the song, “Oh How He Loves You and Me” came to heart. I haven’t thought of or heard that song in years. Since the devil doesn’t want our minds and hearts to know the love of God, I can trust that remembrance to be God, speaking peace and comfort to my aching heart.

From The Christ Child’s cradle-manger to the cross; from the cross to the right hand of the throne of Mercy’s Grace; from ever interceding on our behalf to meeting us in the soon parting clouds, Jesus came and will come again because God loves you and me.

Remembrance of the song sent me searching YouTube, where I found this beautiful rendition coupled with my mother’s favorite gospel hymn, The Old Rugged Cross. By this grace of God’s message to me, I am comforted by my Hope.

“Jesus to Calvary did go, His love for sinners to show. What He did there brought hope from despair. Oh, how He loves you; Oh, how He loves me; Oh, how He loves you and me.”

Isn’t God faithful to minister such love to our aching hearts. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John‬ ‭3:16‬).‬ ‬

Jesus came to set us free from sin and shame, delivering us from the death of separation from The God who so greatly and faithfully loves us. How awesome that is to my heart. And how sad, when the first renditions of this beautiful song listened to were found with wording changed to a more politically correct message, taking “sinner” out of the equation and replacing it with the word “mankind”.

God requires us to recognize that we are sinners in desperate need of our Savior. We can’t fully realize how destitute we are without Him by failing to recognize our sin nature. The politically correct movement of this world refuses to acknowledge fault, flaw, or fact. As scripture warns will come, the politically correct practices of a fallen world have infiltrated the church to bring about a watered down, often false-narrative gospel.

As Paul said, “It is a trustworthy statement, DESERVING FULL ACCEPTANCE, that Christ Jesus came into the world to SAVE SINNERS, among whom I am foremost of all” (1 Timothy‬ ‭1:15‬ ‭NASB). There cannot be “full acceptance” when the truth is watered down to make us feel better, more worthy in our own right.

The Gospel of Jesus, the gift He gave is for all mankind. Yes. But it is only possessed by those who can admit their sin nature and destitute need of this blessed gift of a Savior: our Kinsman Redeemer who accepted the penalty of our debt so we can be set free indeed. And what does being “set free indeed” require?

“… “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH, and the truth will make you free.” … “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed….”” (John‬ ‭8:31-38‬ ‭NASB)

We are worthy: worthy of eternal separation from our Holy God, which is the eternal death scripture says Adam delivered us into, because we are sinners made so in the flesh by our relation to that one man. Until we realize that truth, we cannot fully discern the greatness of the sacrifice God’s gift of mercy in Christ has produced on our behalf, freeing us from the sin that separates through the One Man, Christ Jesus, our Lord. Until we understand this truth, we cannot receive God’s gift and be saved. Thus, we must refuse the false hope of the politically correct narrative and come to full acceptance that Jesus came to save sinners, of whom I am foremost of all.

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

The Right of Choice

I am anti-abortion and pro-life. I vote for life, because I cannot be a part of killing babies. However, I am also pro-choice, because choice is God ordained.

God’s words of instruction through His servant, Moses, tells the hearer to choose “life or death; blessing or curse; good or evil; prosperity or adversity” (Deuteronomy 30:15-20). And through Joshua, we are advised to choose whom we will serve, whether God as Lord, or the gods of the land – those of the world around us (Joshua 24:15).

Those who choose The Lord God follow in His ways, choosing life, blessing, good, and prosperity. Denying His Lordship chooses the ways of the world to walk in death, curse, evil, and adversity. The greatest good of humankind is as filthy rags to a Holy God. The scale of good and evil is God’s scale, not man’s, thus the need to choose God or not god.

We cannot remove choice from people. It is their God given right to choose whom they will serve. Our responsibility as choosers of God is, not to remove choice, but to give people the information needed for wise and discerning choices. Let them know their options and how each leads to life and blessing, or death’s curse.

Listen to the Voice of the Lord

“Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the LORD our God to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the LORD our God.” ~ Jeremiah‬ ‭42:6‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

The message throughout Jeremiah essentially says that, if the people will surrender to the Babylonians and go willingly into the captivity God was sending them into, that He would be with them to provide a good life, see to their welfare, and bring them safely out at the end of their days of punishment. He warned the king to not fight God in this. The king refused to listen, went into captivity by force, and the last thing he saw before Nebuchadnezzar took his eyes was the death of all he loved. His days in captivity were harsh. In contrast, the prophet Daniel is one of the royal family who went willingly into God’s will and experienced His protection throughout his days.

The question is, were we in that situation, which would we choose? I have a friend that God instructed me to give this warning to. Following the instructions received through the reading of Jeremiah, he was told to admit his guilt to the courts, as he had done to me, take the deal they offered, and he would have God’s protection and his prison stay would be shortened. He refused to listen, fearing that his family would hate him. That was years ago. He is still in his forced captivity today, and his suffering is great.

Are we willing for God’s will, whether pleasant or unpleasant? Decide now, and stay the course. The first decision we must make is to believe all the scriptures teach about Jesus, the Christ, receive His sacrificial gift as our own, and lay our lives at His feet for His use in our days. Have you done that, Beloved? Today is the day of salvation, for we are not promised another. Your next breath could be the last.

None of us has assurance that we will live beyond our now. So, choose now: Jesus or not; life or death; blessing or curse; good or evil; prosperity or adversity. Choose Jesus, that you may have life, and have it abundantly despite the challenges of our days.

Dwell on The Land

I think I will camp here today.

Today, as I read the words “‘Turn now everyone from his evil way and from the evil of your deeds, and DWELL ON THE LAND which the LORD has given to you and your forefathers forever and ever”, a question arose in me, followed immediately by its answer. The Spirit said, “What is the Land the Lord gives us? He, God Himself, is the Land on which we stand; The Solid Rock immovable.” Stand firm, Beloved.

Jeremiah‬ ‭25:2-7‬ ‭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

Ending Mirth

“Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of mirth is heaviness and grief.” ~ Proverbs‬ ‭14:13‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

Mirth = gladness, merriment, laughter, joy.

Have you ever had a time when you excitedly anticipated something that didn’t happen? You expected someone to do something that they didn’t do? Sometimes we set ourselves up for sorrow and sadness. Some things we may hope from others, things we believe they will do, become an overblown expectation. Unfulfilled and grieved, it brings an end to joy. In those times, if we focus on that or make sure the person knows how they failed us, we bring sorrow to the day, even ruining the good memories made.

Thinking ahead to how things may go can help us be prepared for various situations, but we can’t rely on that. Seeking the Lord’s control and provision, even of right and good communication, is vital to protecting relationships and preserving memorable, joy-filled encounters.

Father, I pray You, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable and honoring of You. Grant us life giving, joy producing, memories filled with love. In Jesus, amen.

Red and Yellow, Black and White! Precious.

All the racist reports of late truly rial me. Stuff like the subject matter of this report causes me to ask who the true racist is? The one pointed at as being racist? Or the one pointing the finger? Top that with raising the blame card at any one race while ignoring each person’s responsibility, no matter the color is socially irresponsible, adding fuel to a fire that’s already out of control.

You know, I believe all any of us want is to be treated fairly, righteously, with respect, and equitably, as people of worth and value. Two examples from my younger years come to mind.

One involves a black man my daddy worked with. No disrespect intended in the use of the word “black”. It’s what we grew up calling one another, black and white; and I was raised to do so, not in disrespect, but as a distinguishing characteristic. We’re still called “white” today. Black, white, brown, red, etc, is fair and equitable.

Anyway, back to my dad’s friend and co-worker, Mr. Benny (given name, not sir-name) was a fellow mechanic in the same shop. He was such a nice, smart, and caring man, and daddy called him “friend”. He still gets credit today for helping my daddy quit smoking. He is a beloved man from our past.

He told daddy one day in some conversation they had, “Just call me niger. It’s what I am and have always been called. It doesn’t bother me.” Daddy balked, “I’ll call you a black man or a negro – which means black, but a niger is a worthless person; and, Benny, that’s not you.”

I am acquainted with numerous black people. Not one of those are a niger. But I know numerous white nigers that I will not run with. Worthless people can come in all colors. I was taught that being a worthless person is a choice we make in the way we live life and the person we want to be. Choose better.

The second memorable occasion happened when I was a young divorcée, working a night job at a local mini-mart. A nice looking black man came to the counter to pay out and struck up a conversation. He shortly asked me out. When I declined, he said, “What? Are you racist? Too good for me?” My facial expression was obviously shocked in a way that put a surprised expression on his face. I never thought such a thing. I replied strongly, “No. it’s just my choice to not mix. I’m simply not interested. Besides, I have a boyfriend and am not in the market.” He then looked pleasantly stunned at the straight forward honesty, and replied, “Well, ok. I can respect that.” That was that. No problem. No trouble when he came in. No trouble with others.

Today I am aunt to three, beautiful nieces, a nephew, and several great nieces and nephews that are black-white mix. They are beautiful people who add strength to our society. And they are greatly loved by my husband and me. I also have a granddaughter who is seriously dating a young black man. I haven’t met him personally yet, but I am told he is a Christian man of great worth, making a good life for himself, and for Savannah, if their relationship continues to flourish.

I am extremely upset with all the racist horror going on in our nation today. Those who are working with honest hearts of integrity to make a better world for our babies, I stand with you. But those using this situation for evil means and destruction, that is worthless behavior. And it’s not just blacks out there. I’ve seen a lot of whites in the mix as well. Racism and the rainbows of colors that could be deemed as a niger is a heart issue. Many pointing fingers reveal the truth of their own hearts. And programs that only serve to bring further separation and produce hate should be outlawed.

All on my friend lists, I know as people of worth. Knowing each makes me a better person by their influence. I am happy to work together for a stronger nation. Red and yellow, black and white, I love you!