God is Faithful, Always

“O Lord God of hosts, Who is mighty like You, O Lord?   Your faithfulness also surrounds You.”     Psalm 89:8

 

            To say I feel a little overwhelmed would be a major understatement. But not necessarily for the reasons you may think, considering the events of the past week.

First, I’m overwhelmed at the Greatness and Goodness of our God. In the words of King David, who am I Lord that you would be so gracious to me? God took what could have been a tragic event and showed us His love and His protection over Larry’s life. When he fell and shattered the T9 vertebra, it shattered on three sides but the fourth side stayed intact, protecting his spine.

Second thing, the peace. Throughout Larry’s hospital stay, during the surgery and recovery, we both had a sense of peace and we know it was from all the prayers being offered on our behalf. Overwhelming peace.

And third thing, the love.  Not only the love of God covering us, the love of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Phone calls, text messages, hospital visits and gifts, each one reminds us that it is the overwhelming love of Christ through believers that bind us together so we never walk through difficult times alone.

Larry and I still face some uncertainties, decisions that we’ll have to make that will affect our future. When the doctor tells a contractor that he can no longer climb ladders or lift heavy objects, that’s not what he wants to hear. But we know our God is faithful and He has our future in His hands. As our pastor said this morning, it’s not about how big our faith is, but it is about how big our God is.

“I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.” Psalm 37:25

 

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Dee

 

Macy, the Sweet Pittie

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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In the course of my life I’ve had many dogs, but there were only a few that were truly special. The first one was Herbie, a yellow collie that walked me to the bus stop every morning and met me at the bus every afternoon when I was in first grade. The second one was Cubby, a white border collie mix that I had when I was in high school. I just knew he was the only soul on earth that really understood my teen-age girl angst. The last one was Macy.
Macy was a shelter dog, we adopted her from the Plano Animal Shelter in 2011. She was a Red Nose Pitt Bull mix and one of a group of dogs that had been there too long because no one would adopt a Pitt Bull mix. But when we explained to the girl at the shelter that we needed a dog that would be good with young children as well as other family dogs, she said “I have just the right dog.” It was love at first sight. She looked at us and her eyes seemed to say “I choose you.”
Macy was the right dog for us. Our grandchildren loved her and she loved them. She liked going on walks but she was also content laying on the floor beside me in front of the fireplace. She kept our house safe from squirrel attack and let me know when it was dinner time. When Lucy, our daughter’s dog, would come over, they would play until they were too tired to keep going. When Deuce, our son’s dog, came to live with us he was just a puppy. But Macy accepted him and even when she started getting sick she would still occasionally play chase or tug of war with him. She brought much joy and unconditional love to our entire famimacy_dee-001_sizedly.
I thank God for Macy and for sending us to the Animal Shelter at just the right time to find her. I thank God for all the love He showed us through Macy.
The Bible doesn’t say much about animals in heaven (except Jesus will return riding a white horse!) so I have no proof I will see Herbie, Cubby or Macy again. But in my heart of hearts, I hope that right after I greet all my family and friends who get to heaven before me, that I will be greeted by a bunch of dogs!

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Happy Birthday, USA!

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” Psalm 33:12

American Flags

Every year in the small town where I grew up, Richland Springs TX, they celebrate America’s Independence on the 1st Saturday of July. While my parents were alive, we would go visit them over the week-end and be there for the celebration, but I’ve rarely gone since they died. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve felt a tug back to my roots and to the place I came from. So this year I decided I would go.
The day started off with a parade and while it may not have been as big as you would see in a larger town, for a community of 455 residents, it was wonderful. A color-guard on horseback started it off followed by more flags and a float with the local veterans. There were pick-ups pulling trailers, all decorated in red, white and blue and lots of sparkle. There were 4-wheelers, dune-buggies, and motorcycles. There were kids in funny hats and dogs in sunglasses. There were antique tractors and brand new semi-s, and of course the VFD fire trucks. And candy- lots of candy thrown to folks watching the parade. The Richland Springs Coyote high school football team (who won the state 6-man championship for the 7th time last fall) and the high school cheerleaders as well as the middle school football team and cheerleaders had floats. The First Baptist Church had their van in the parade inviting kids to their Vacation Bible School in a couple of weeks. Everyone was there celebrating their freedoms and their victories.
Throughout the day, there were competitions for horseshoes, washers, and this year for the first time, a 2-man pig-sacking completion. There were bounce houses and a water slide for the kids.
The day wrapped up with a fireworks show. The Star Spangled Banner was sung over the loud speaker, then BOOM, the spectacular display of bursting colors began. It was a show that could put many larger towns to shame, lasting over an hour, it was amazing.
As I sat there watching the beautiful display, I could only think about the fact that even as many things we see wrong in our hation, there are still a lot of things that are right. And all those things right with our nation, can be seen right there in my small farm community hometown of Richland Springs, Texas, USA.
Yes, we have people trying to destroy our nation, from the outside and even within our own government, but we still have men and women willing to fight defending her.
Yes, there are too many people just wanting a hand-out and for the government to give them everything free, but there are still hard working men and women, taking pride in their labors, working hard to support and provide for their families.
Yes, we have too many young people with no sense of responsibility or goals beyond pursuit of their own pleasure, but we still have many young people with goals and dreams, who believe in competing to win.
Yes, there are too many people, places and institutions who exclude God and godly beliefs, but there are still more who love God and who are willing to share the love of Jesus Christ with the nation. Let us who do know the Lord continue to pray for this nation, pray for our leaders, and for the upcoming elections that we may continue to live quiet and peaceful lives serving the Lord.
Happy Birthday, USA! And may your next 240 years be even greater!

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

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Color-guard

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My Uncle Robert Lewis, 2nd from left, fought in WWII

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Dressed as the Bride

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27 (NKJV)

rach_chris_wedding_resizedIs there anything more radiant and beautiful than a bride on her wedding day? There is just something special about her, a glow from knowing she has been chosen and is loved by the one she also loves.
As believers, we are the Bride of Christ. The Apostle Paul compared the relationship between a husband and wife to that of Christ and the Church. Reading Ephesians 5:27, “…that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle…” I asked God what does that look like? Knowing the church is made up of people, warts and all, how can it be without spot or wrinkle?
“Go back to the beginning,” God whispered. So I did. The book of Genesis tells us God created Mankind, Male and Female, in His image, to be His representatives on the earth. Then He gave them authority over everything created thing on the earth. They were created in God’s similitude, they were intelligent and they had no sense of shame. There is no sin in God, so they had no sin nature, they knew nothing about sin. (Read Gen. 1:26-28, Gen. 5:1-2, Gen. 2:20-25.)
As I pondered these verses, I kept wondering how did the man and woman not see one another’s nakedness? I could understand having no shame, because there was no sin or guilt attached to them. But how did they not see the nakedness?
Every creature was created with a natural covering, except mankind. Dogs and cats have fur, fish have scales, horses have hides and birds have feathers. But what covered Adam and Eve?
God’s glory! They were covered, or clothed by God’s glory! They had been created in His image, to be His representatives on the earth, God had covered them with His glory. The man and woman walked and talked with God in the Garden, without fear or shame. Then suddenly everything changed.
The serpent entered the Garden and offered Eve something she already had, telling her if she ate of the fruit from the tree in the center of the Garden, she would be like God. When she saw it looked good, she took it and gave it to her husband. With that one act of disobedience, sin entered the Garden, and mankind’s sin nature was born. Suddenly they were truly naked because they lost their covering of God’s glory. They tried to cover themselves with fig leaves, but it was not enough, blood had to be spilt to cover their sin. (See Gen 3:4-8, 21.)
I pressed God for more. I needed another witness regarding His glory on man. He took me to the book of Exodus and the story of Moses.
Moses was God’s servant, an humble man the Bible calls him, yet it says “God spoke to him face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. (Ex. 33:11)
God called Moses to meet Him on the Mountain and God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and the Law. Moses asked God to see His glory, and God said He would show him His goodness. God put Moses in the cleft of a rock, covered his face as He walked by, and allowed Moses to see His backside. (Read Ex. 33:18-23.)
After forty day and nights, when Moses came down the mountain, his face beamed with light. The NKJV says Moses face “shown” and the Hebrew word used is “qaran” (Strong’s H7160) and means “to send out rays”. Moses’ face was sending out rays of light, or rays of God’s glory from seeing and speaking with God on the mountain for forty days and nights. It was so brilliant, the people were afraid and Moses had to cover his face when he would speak to the people. (Read Exodus 34:5-8, 30-35.)
The second witness God gave me is Jesus. The 17th chapter of Matthew gives us the account of Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. It says Jesus’ face shown like the sun, and His clothes were white as the light. When Jesus came to the earth, He did not come as the Son of God, but as the Son of Man. But that day on the mountain, for just a moment the Deity of Jesus was unveiled and the glory of God revealed. (Read Matthew 17:1-7)
What does that mean for us? When Adam and Eve sinned, mankind lost their covering of God’s glory. They brought sin and death, neither of which are compatible with God’s glory. There was only one way to restore what Adam lost. A Man would have to pay the price. But not just any man would do, it had to be the sinless Son of God, come in the flesh.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” When Jesus came, He lived as a man, but He did what Adam could not. He lived a perfect sinless life, “He knew no sin”. But God placed on Him every sin of every person born, every evil deed, every wicked thought, every perversion, so that the penalty for sin was paid in full. Now no matter what our past, present or future looks like, our sin is not just covered, but done away with; we are made “the righteousness of God” the moment we receive Christ and are born again! Praise God! Once again we are covered with God’s glory, only now instead of it being on the outside, as it was with Adam and Eve, and with Moses, now it dwells on the inside!
The Bride of Christ is a beautiful, radiant bride, covered from the inside out with the glory of God!

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Giving Thanks Always – Even When You Don’t Feel It

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (NKJV)

      child-prayer-clipart-royalty-free-praying-clipart-illustration-216150       When my younger sister was about 4 years old at a family dinner with my grandparents, she requested to say the blessing at the table. My Granny, being one to always encourage us to pray, told her to go ahead. Everyone bowed their heads and closed their eyes, except me of course being the older sister I felt the need to keep an eye on her. She began to pray, looking around the table, thanking God for each and every item on the table, including the plates and forks, except one food. She closed her prayer with the words “But I’m not thankful for the green beans. I don’t like them and I’m not thankful for them! Amen.” We can laugh at a child’s honesty in refusing to give God thanks for something she doesn’t like, but how often are we unthankful? Do we too sometimes feel justified in not giving thanks?

            God wants us to have a grateful heart and thankful spirit. “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods.” (Psalm 95:1-3) But we don’t always feel thankful. We all have times and situations in our lives that we don’t want or like, so how then can we be thankful?

            When we cannot be thankful for a specific thing or situation, we still can find ways to give thanksgiving and praise to God. Sometimes we have to stop and ask God to bring to our remembrance things to give Him thanks for. Sometimes we have to ask Him for the words to praise Him with. David wrote Psalm 51 after Nathan had confronted him about his sin with Bathsheba. In verse 15 he says, “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise.” David who wrote so many beautiful psalms praising God, asked for help to praise Him.

            How do we offer God thanksgiving when we are hurting, when we’re going through a spiritual battle, or we’re in a time of trial?

            First, we remember WHO God is. 

 “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven.” (Psalm 148:13) God’s names tell us who He is. He is the great “I AM”. Whatever you need Him to be, He is. 

He is JEHOVAH SHALOM, The Lord is Peace. Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  During some of the worst times and events of my life, God has been my peace.

He is JEHOVAH SHAMMAH, The Lord is There. “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth… and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Matthew 28:18, 20b) He was there with me in every crisis.

He is JEHOVAH-RAPHA, The Lord That Heals. “…If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26) He was my Healer when I had shingles in 2010.

He is JEHOVAH JIREH, The Lord Will Provide. “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:19 He has been and continues to be our Provider through job lay-offs and a bad economies.

He is EL SHADDAI, The Lord God Almighty, The All-Sufficient One. When God spoke to Abram in Genesis 17:1, He said “I am El Shaddai” (Almighty God) and He promised to bless him and make him great. He is the God Who sustains us. Genesis 18:14 says, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?..”

 Whatever else is, wherever else we are, we can give God our thanksgiving for Who He is to us. Psalm 69:30 (NKJV) says, “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.”

          The second thing we can do is to remember WHAT God has done in the past.  Psalm 107:21-22 says “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!  Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.” (NKJV)

            Psalm 77: 5, 6 in the New English Translation says, “I thought about the days of old, about ancient times. I said, ‘During the night I will remember the song I once sang; I will think very carefully.’ I tried to make sense of what was happening.’” v.11-14 continues “I will remember the works of the Lord. Yes, I will remember the amazing things you did long ago! I will think about all you have done; I will reflect upon your deeds! O God, your deeds are extraordinary! What god can compare to our great God? You are the God who does amazing things; you have revealed your strength among the nations.”

            When we are walking through the valley, when we are under fire, when we have questions, we need to reflect back on the times God answered us and recall His great work in our life.

            Psalm 107:22 in the Amplified Bible says “And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving and rehearse His deeds with shouts of joy and singing!” We need to speak about what God has done for us to others. Hearing ourselves rehearse God’s goodness not only encourages them, but it encourages us too.

             The third thing is to remember the HOPE God has given us.  Romans 5:1-2, 5 says “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory… And (this) hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (NET Bible)

            “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13) We have been given hope through the Holy Spirit and that hope does not disappoint.

 “Blessed is the man [or woman!] who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For (s)he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NKJV)

            When we don’t feel we have anything to be thankful for, we’re usually in some kind of spiritual battle, and we can’t afford to be silent. That is when we need to loudly proclaim the goodness of our God. We need to offer our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God. Psalm 86:12-13 says “I will praise You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, And I will glorify your name forevermore! For great is Your mercy toward me, and You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”   The Psalmist is recalling Who God is and What God has done in the past.

            The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”.

            When we have a bad report from the doctor, we say “Thank you God for being my Jehovah Rapha. When the bills are due and there’s no money we can say “Thank You God for being my Jehovah Jireh.” When there is turmoil all around us we can say “Thank You God for being my JEHOVAH SHALOM.

              Psalm 50:14-15 says “Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” We can go to God with our needs, and we can do it in faith when we know Who He is and we can offer Him thanksgiving, not for the need itself, but for His response to that need.

               When David was on the run from Saul, who was trying to kill him, he fled to Gath but when he realized he was in danger there he pretended to be insane. (1Samuel 21:10-15) That is when he wrote the 34th Psalm. It begins “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Dee

 

 

 

Good Choices Bad Choices

 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore [you] choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” Deuteronomy 30:19

            My 7-year old grandson recently got into trouble at home and was grounded from participating in shooting off fireworks for the fourth of July, something he’d been looking forward to doing. But his parents wisely told him it was because of the choice he’d made to do something he knew was wrong. My daughter and son-in-law never tell the kids that they are bad when they misbehave, but tell them that the choice they made was a bad choice. “We love you, son, but you made a bad choice and here are the consequences.”

             I was reading John 13 this morning in my quiet time, and God showed me something I’d not totally understood before.

 “When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.’ Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.’ And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly.’ But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, ‘Buy those things we need for the feast,’ or that he should give something to the poor. Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.” John 13:21-30  

             The Old Testament prophesied that one close to the Messiah would betray Him.  “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” (Psalm 41:9) When Jesus chose Judas Iscariot to be one of the twelve, He knew it would be Judas who betrayed Him. Jesus saw what was already in his heart.

             This morning as I was reading, I felt the Lord say to me “Notice that it was after Jesus offered Judas the dipped bread and he took it, that Satan entered into him. Up until that moment, Judas had the choice to do it or not.” That really struck me. Until the moment Judas took the bread from Jesus’ hand while He was saying “The one I give this piece of bread is the one who will betray me”, Judas had a choice. He could have said, “No, Lord, not I” but he didn’t. He chose to accept the bread and in doing that he yielded to Satan.

             In Matthew’ account of that night, Jesus warns Judas of the consequences of his actions. “He answered and said, ‘He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me. The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.’” (Matthew 26: 23-24)

             We all have freewill. Even Judas Iscariot had a choice. He made the wrong one, as it was prophesied he would do. God has set before us choice – life through His Son Jesus Christ, or eternal death.

             Jesus said “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

 I chose life!

 

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Dee

 

Overcome Evil With Good

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

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When Jesus was on the earth, He promised that His church would prevail against the gates of hell. “…and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18b) Through the centuries Satan has perpetrated attack after attack against the kingdom of God, attempting to destroy the body of Christ, His Holy Church. The latest attempt last Wednesday night in Charleston, South Carolina, was another defeat snatched from satanic jaws of victory.

Nine people, all followers of Jesus Christ, including Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were murdered in church. It looked like a sure win for the enemy. Nine believers were dead at the hands of a confused young man who had said he wanted to start a race war. But just as Satan thought he’d won when Jesus died on the cross, it was no win but in fact was a great defeat. Just as Jesus took the first victory from him by rising from the dead, the church body at Emanuel AME has taken this victory from him. The families of the nine murder victims won by forgiving the young man used in this heinous act. Love trumps hate every time.

Satan thought he’d strike a winning blow against the church by inciting division in the body – black against white and white against black. Wrong again! Churches of all denominations, of all races and cultures have united in support of Emanuel AME Church. The devil fails to understand that when one part of the body of Christ is hurt, the rest of the body gathers around to support, to pray and to comfort. Churches across the nation are praying for their brothers and sisters in Charleston SC. My home church, Grace Outreach Center in Plano, was one of many that sent donations to show them our love and support.

I’m reminded of what the Apostle Paul wrote in the book of Romans about how believers are to act toward one another and toward outsiders. I’ve seen this passage in action the last five days by the families of the murder victims, other members of that church and by believers across the nation.

Romans 12:9-21
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

To Be Present with the Lord

          “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 5:6-8

             Last Monday we said so long to my Aunt Ruby Mae. She passed from this life much the same way she’d lived – quietly and without fanfare. She simply went to sleep here in her own bed and woke up in the presence of her Savior. What a glorious morning for her!

             The Apostle Paul said “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” For those of us who have trusted in Jesus, making Him our Savior and Lord, death is not something to be feared or dreaded. Physical death is not the end for us, it is a transition from mortality to eternity. In a single moment when we pass from this physical life, all of our physical limitations and weaknesses will be removed. Any sadness or burdens from this life will be done away with. We will be home. Here our spirit being is housed in a physical body subject to sin and decay. In heaven we will receive a new glorified body. 2 Corinthians 5:1-2, 5 says “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven…Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” The Message Bible puts it this way, “For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-5, The Message)

             All of our questions will be answered, all of our “whys” and “how’s” will be resolved.  1 Corinthians 13:11-12 says “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

             I long for heaven. I want to see my parents and grandparents again. I want to see the baby who went to heaven before I had a chance to see or hold her. Most of all I want to see Jesus and to hear my heavenly Father say “Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your lord.’ (Matthew 25:21) The Apostle Paul wrote that the he was torn between wanting to go to heaven and wanting to stay. (Philippians 1:23)

             God has given me assignments. Assignments that I must fulfill before I can go home. Aunt Ruby Mae fulfilled her assignments at the age of 90 and God called her home. Now I must be about my Father’s business until either Jesus returns to take His church home, or if He tarries, until He calls me home.

                       “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  Philippians 1:21

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Dee

 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

 The Message Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

A Strong Foundation of Faith

“For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness’ …Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.” Romans 4:3, 16 (NKJV)

Abraham, called the Father of Faith, shows us how to build a foundation of faith. It starts with hearing God. God spoke to Abram (Abraham as he was called later), Abram heard and obeyed.
“Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.” (Genesis 12:1-4)

God told Abraham to leave the place where he was and go to a place that He would show him. Years before God had lead Abram’s father, Terah, to leave Ur the land of the Chaldees (in modern day Iraq) to go to Canaan, but he only made it as far as Haran (Turkey) and settled there and there he died. God spoke to Abram and he heard and he obeyed.

The first thing we have to do if we’re to have a strong foundation of faith is to hear God and then obey. How do we hear God? By taking in His written word, by reading and meditating on what is given to us through the Scriptures. Once we have it in our hearts, then we have to be obedient to it. It’s not enough just to read it or hear it preached; we have to apply it by being obedient, doing what we hear God telling us to do.

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.” (Hebrews 11:8, 9)

If we desire to live a life for God, we have to learn to be obedient to Him and be fully surrendered to His will. It requires faith to be fully surrendered to God. When we doubt, or lack faith in God and His Word, it hard to give up our plans and desires to surrender to His. It requires spending time in the Scriptures to come to the place where we can genuinely say “Not my will, but Yours be done.”
But when we know the Word, we can also know that God’s plans for our lives are far better than anything we can imagine. He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Seek Him with you whole heart, through His written word, and you will find Him. Dwell on that Word and your faith in it will grow. Then you will have a strong foundation of faith that can stand against any circumstance that life on this planet gives.
Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

I Give Thanks

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

I love Christmas. Without the first Christmas, we would have nothing to celebrate. Without the first Christmas, there would have been no Calvary, no perfect sacrifice for our sin. Without the first Christmas, most of us would be without God. I love Christmas for all that and more.

Having said that, I don’t want to rush into the Christmas season bypassing Thanksgiving. Since I was a child, Fall has been my favorite time of year. The colorful fall leaves, pumpkins, scarecrows and candy corn in October, cooler days, turkey and pumpkin pie, and then of course my birthday in November were all my favorite things.

Thanksgiving Day is primarily an American holiday (the Pilgrims and all that) but setting aside a special time to give God thanks for all He has given and done for us should be so much bigger than just a single feast day. A day that is being diminished more and more as we all seem to want to rush right into the Christmas season. I want this year to be more. I want to really stop and consider what I have to be thankful for, as an American and as a Christian.

This nation was born because men and women came in search of a place they could worship God as their hearts desired. My ancestors left Wales in the 1700’s to escape the tyranny of religious persecution. They were Separatists and Separatists were not approved of by the Church of England therefore not by the Crown. Even in the colonies, there was disagreement about religion, but the idea that all men had the right to choose how to worship won over have an authorized state church. A nation that had true religious freedom was born and people from all over the world and from every ethnicity have come to participate. I give thanks that today I have the right to choose how and where to worship God.

This nation has been under attack from the beginning, but God has protected it and held it together. The War of 1812 tested the United States ability to defend itself but the nation proved itself strong. In 1865 the nation was tested again when it was divided regarding slavery, but freedom won and the nation was restored. Through two world wars, in Korea, Viet Nam and the Middle East, with God’s help and protection, the United States has defended itself and its friends against common enemies. For this I give thanks to God.

It’s easy to look around and see moral decay all around us. Unborn babies are killed at the mother’s convenience and it is legal in all 50 states. Sexual depravity is rampant and in our faces every time we turn on the television or if we’re not careful every time we use the internet. Drug addiction and alcoholism continue to tear families apart and destroy lives. Students are not allowed to carry Bibles on school campuses. It appears that God is no longer a part of this nation and that the Christian voice and influence is being silenced. But that is not all there is.

I know students who are standing up for God and for what they believe and are telling their friends about Jesus. I see good men and women in government trying to right some of the wrongs that have been done. I know men and women of God who are preaching and teaching the gospel, working to bring lost people to Jesus. Every week at our church, and other churches, men and women, boys and girls are giving their hearts to the Lord. For this I give God thanks.

God has always had a remnant of people He could work through to bring about the things He desires. In the Old Testament we have the account of Elijah, God’s prophet in Israel. Elijah had defeated the prophets of Baal, the false god the people had begun to worship. He was on the run for his life because Jezebel had vowed to kill him. This mighty prophet started feeling sorry for himself and decided he just wanted to die because things were so bad. He thought he was the only one left serving God and he just wanted to give up. But God spoke to him saying, “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19)

I may not always be able to see what God is doing around me, in my nation, in community, or in my family. But I know that He is at work. God brought this nation into existence for a reason and a purpose and He’s not done yet. For that I give thanks!

Psalm 107:1-9, 17-22, 43 (NKJV)

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.
They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.
Hungry and thirsty,
Their soul fainted in them.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He delivered them out of their distresses.
And He led them forth by the right way,
That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

Fools, because of their transgression,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
Their soul abhorred all manner of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And declare His works with rejoicing.

Whoever is wise will observe these things,
And they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.”
Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Sadie and Bethany

“Therefore…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

In these strange times where the national news is dominated with stories of terrorists threats of violence and even their beheading of Christians; fears of a deadly virus spreading, and other unsettling news, it is refreshing to see on television young women doing what they do in the grace and beauty of their Christian lives and witnesses.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Sadie Robertson and Bethany Hamilton are doing just that in what could be considered an unusual way. They are each competing in a national network television show and are earning the admiration and respect of millions of viewers as well as their fellow competitors and/or judges.
Sadie, the 17 year old daughter and granddaughter from TV’s reality show “Duck Dynasty”, is competing on “Dancing With the Stars”. From the very outset, Sadie made it clear to her partner, pro dancer Mark Ballas that she is a Christian and that she would not compromise her morality while dancing on the show. Not only that but that her dad would have a say in approving her costumes. And to Mark’s and the producers of the show’s credit, they’ve honored that request.
Week after week Sadie has amazed the judges and the audience with her performance. Last Monday it was her turn to do the Rumba, a dance usually noted for its raunchiness and sexuality. But Sadie and Mark proved that it doesn’t have to be that way in order to score high marks. Their performance was chaste and beautiful. As one judge said, it told the story of falling in love. They scored 35 out of a possible 40, in 3rd place out of nine remaining contestants. I can’t wait to see what she does this week!
Over on another network and on a different night, Bethany Hamilton (“Soul Surfer”) and her husband Adam Dirks are participating on “The Amazing Race”. Week after week Bethany completely amazes us with the way she meets every challenge with dignity and grace, completing challenges that are hard even for teams without any physical limitations, and she and Adam treat each other with such respect as they work together as a team. This last week, Bethany chose to do the Road Block challenge (a task that only one member of the team has to do without any help from their partner.) She had to remove the hair from 3 animal skins, load them on a bicycle and then deliver them to a tanner in order to get their next clue. And did I mention, this was in the middle of a Moroccan market?! She completed it, without complaining or making excuses, and at the end of the night Bethany and Adam finished second.
Will Sadie dance to the finals and compete for the mirrored ball trophy? Will Bethany and Adam race to the finish for one million dollars? Only time will tell. But whether they only compete one more time, or until the finish, Sadie and Bethany are already winners. They have shown the world what a Christian can look like – letting their lights shine, living their faith out loud and in public. And in a world full of crazies, terrorists and other bad news, how refreshing is that!

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

“Come With Me”

“Come to me, all of you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIRV)

I was recently asked by a friend to write a short Bible study lesson on love. That was her only directive – just write a short study on love. Wow, that a huge subject. As I prayed about what to write, God kept bringing me back to the directive He had given me years ago when I first started writing. “Tell my daughters how much I love them.”

You may wonder, doesn’t everyone know God loves everybody? Probably, in their head if they ever been in or near a church. Most people can quote some version or form of John 3:16 “For God so loved the world”, but in their hearts they may wonder if or how He loves them personally, individually. Even Christians who have a real relationship with God can have periods of doubt, they may wonder about God’s love for them.

This week in our ladies Bible study at church, a lady shared that she was coming out of a period of darkness, she’d been through some struggles with her faith. As I listened to her, I thought about how I’d been through my own periods of darkness and struggle. I knew right then that that was the reason God had led me to write about God’s love for us.

In 1981 Del Shannon recorded a song originally written and recorded in 1959 by Phil Phillips called “Sea of Love”.

Come with me my love
To the sea
The sea of love
I want to tell you
How much I love you

When I hear that song or read those words, I think of Jesus and what He said in Matthew 11. “Come to me, all you who are tired…” Yes, there was a time when I was very tired, and not just physically but emotionally and spiritually.

In 2001, about a year after my mother had graduated to heaven, I went through a deep depression. I was angry at God for taking my mother and not preparing me for her leaving. I felt that some of the people in my life had not given me the comfort and support I thought I needed. I was fighting with my sister over care for our dad. Some individuals at church, instead of reaching out to me, judged me because I wasn’t acting right in their opinion. So I dropped out of church for a period and stopped reading my Bible. From there I continued to spiral downward. My husband and I began having problems in our marriage. Sins I’d not struggled with for decades began tempting me. I don’t know what would have happened had God not loved me enough to pull me back. But He did and He did it in through a secular magazine of all things! But since I’d stopped reading my Bible, listening to Christian music, or going to church I hadn’t left Him a lot of options. I opened a Woman’s Day magazine I’d bought that day on a whim and saw these words:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message


As I read those words, it seemed as if Jesus were sitting right there beside me, speaking directly to me. “Are you tired and worn out?” He asked. Yes, I was very tired and worn out from my hurts, doubts and fears. “Are you burned out on religion?” Yes, I was totally burned out and let down by church members. “Come to Me, not the church, not other people. Just come to Me.” Jesus gently and loving wooed me. There was no condemnation in His words, just love. Tenderly and lovingly God reached out to me when I was at the lowest point in my life.

I’ve learned about the “unforced rhythms of grace”, I’ve recovered my life. I’m leaning how “to live freely and lightly”. I run to Jesus every day to hear Him tell me how much He loves me. Good circumstances or bad, I rest in His love.

Jesus calls you to come with Him, come to the sea of His great love and let Him tell you how much He loves you. Wherever you are in your life, He calls “Come to Me. Come learn about my grace. Come with Me and learn how to live. Come receive My love. Come with Me, I want to tell you how much I love you.”

Jesus loves you, my friend!

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)
Copyright © 1996, 1998 by Biblica

The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

“But God…”

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

One of my top favorite phrases from the Bible is “But God”. The reason I love it so much, it reminds me that whatever may be going on now in my live, it is always subject to change. I was totally unlovable, but God loved me anyway and sent Jesus to die for me. And that was just the beginning!

Depending which translation you use, there are approximately 104 times in the Old and New Testaments that say “but God”, and the phrase “but the Lord” appears 155 times! Every time things look one way, God comes on the scene and with one word, it all changes.

Tempted to go where or do what you shouldn’t? Ask and God will show up with a way out. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Going through difficulty or hardship? “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19

Right now there are terrible things happening in our world that seem so hopeless. Every day Muslim terrorists attack Israel and Israel is defending them self (and rightly so), and they are being criticized by our government. Christians in Iraq are being told to convert to Islam or die. All these things and more seem to be out of control. “But God…”

The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3 “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” But the Lord is faithful… If anyone knew about persecution for his faith, it would be the Apostle Paul.

We can’t let our hearts and minds dwell on the things going on in the world so that we become consumed with fear or worry. Yes, we need to be informed, but only as much as we need in order to pray effectively and call on God. He has the last word. We have to first of all know His Word (the written Word), then have faith in His Word and finally pray according to His Word.

“…but the Lord’s faithfulness overwhelms the one who trusts in him.”
Psalm 32:10b¹ Thank You Father.

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

¹NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.
All other Scripture references from The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

What’s That Smell?

“God, create a pure heart in me. Give me a new spirit that is faithful to you.”  Psalm 51:10 (NIRV)Image

          A few days ago I noticed a slight odor in the refrigerator when I was getting my morning yogurt. I was getting ready to go to work so I noted to myself that I needed to clean out the refrigerator when I got home from work that day. By the time I got home, I was too tired and decided it could wait until the next day which was Saturday. Saturday morning I went to younger grandson’s baseball game, ran some errands on the way home and by the time I got home, I had other things on my mind and forgot about it. Since hubby was out of town, that evening I went out to dinner with a friend from work and didn’t open the fridge again until Sunday morning. Ugh! It was worse, but no time to do anything about it. Went to church that morning and since it was Mother’s Day I met my daughter and her family for a special lunch. By Monday I didn’t even have to open the door to smell the odor coming from the refrigerator. Good thing I’m off work this week, because there was no more putting it off. It had to be cleaned out now!  
             I emptied the contents of the fridge, checking expiration dates on every bottle and container. Finally I found the culprit – a plastic container of leftovers that had gotten pushed to the back and forgotten. As I was wiping down the inside walls and shelves of the fridge, God began speaking to me about how just as those rotten leftovers created a bad odor in the refrigerator and finally the kitchen, that is what unconfessed sin does in our lives.
           We go to church, pay our tithes and keep the Ten Commandments. Everything is good, right? Ok, what about that little white lie we told to get out of doing something we’d promised to do but really didn’t want to do? Cover it up and push to the back the fridge. What about that word muttered at the driver who cut who cut us off in traffic? Wrap it up and put it on the bottom shelf. There they’ll stay and grow mold. Any sin, even ones we consider small are an affront to our God because He is holy and He calls us to be holy. “For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44a (NKJV)
           John the Apostle writes in I John 1:8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”    We all sin, even after we are born again we all say or do things we know are not what we’re supposed to do. And we fail to do things we know God has told us to do.  Even the Apostle Paul struggled with this. “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” Romans 7:19
            So what is the answer? Paul continues on to tell us – Jesus. Jesus has made the way.  “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24,25a
Then John continues his message in First John. “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” 1 John 2:1, 2
            We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)  All we have to do is confess and Jesus will cleanse us.
            Just as I not only had to clean the refrigerator interior with baking soda to eradicate the smell, I also had to throw out the leftover food that was causing the odor.  Jesus cleanses us of all unrighteousness the moment we confess, but we have to remove it from our lives. Stop doing whatever that sin was. If it’s a bad habit, ask the Holy Spirit to help you. He abides within you once you are born again and He is called to help us and to guide us. If you have unforgiveness towards someone who offended you, start praying for them. It’s hard to hold a grudge against someone you’re praying for!

Father, thank You for cleansing me of all unrighteousness. I pray that my life will be holy, a sweet aroma to You. In Jesus Name, Amen

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

 

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)
Copyright © 1996, 1998 by Biblica

 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

He’s Coming on a White Horse!

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.
And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:11, 16

          When I was a little girl, my mother would read to me every day at nap-time and every night before tucking me into bed. My favorite stories were always the ones that ended with the handsome prince riding in on his white stallion and rescuing the princess from the evil witch. He would carry her away to his kingdom and they would live happily ever after. I daydreamed that someday my prince would come carry me away on the back of his beautiful white horse to live in his castle. When my prince did come, he was driving a green Plymouth and we lived in a small apartment!

         The desire to be rescued, or saved, is ingrained in our soul. Try as we might, deep down we know we are incapable of saving ourselves. We all need a savior. The only one capable of saving us is Jesus Christ. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

          The first time Jesus came, it was a helpless baby born in a manger. He lived a sinless life, was crucified for our sins, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. It is only by faith in Jesus Christ and His completed work that we can be saved. We are spiritually born again, saved from eternal damnation for our sins, and saved to eternal life with Him. We are saved from dead works and saved to do good works, not to earn salvation, but to glorify God with our lives.

          And He is coming again! This time it will not be as a helpless baby, but He is coming as KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS! He is coming to judge the nations and to rule His kingdom on the earth. Ever wonder where the idea that the good guys come riding in on white horses came from? Here it is in Scripture. When Jesus returns to establish His kingdom on earth, He and all the saints with Him are coming on white horses! My prince may not have come on a white horse, but my King is!

          “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’  Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

 

New King James Version
The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Good Friday – The End and the Beginning

“After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” … So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:28, 30

Today is Good Friday, a Holy Day for Christians because it is the day we remember the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the day a perfect sacrifice was made once and for all for our sins and the price was paid for our healing. Sometimes we seem to take this too lightly and fail to consider what it cost Jesus.

King David wrote Psalm 22, a prophetic psalm describing Jesus death on the cross. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” was Jesus’ cry from the cross. Why would God the Father turn his back on His beloved Son? The answer is in Isaiah 53:6, “And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” God had to turn His back – He cannot look at sin and the sin of all mankind was placed on Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.

God the Father and Jesus, God the Son, had been One, in perfect unity and harmony, from eternity past until that moment when Jesus took on Himself the sins of the world. My sin, your sin, the sins of our parents and our children were all put on Jesus. The Man who never committed a single sin was made to be sin so that a woman who never did anything righteous could be made the righteousness of God. Praise God!

There was more to come. After being beaten into a bloody mess, being nailed in the most humiliating way possible to a cross and dying of suffocation, there was more to come. Jesus descended into hell where He finished the price and defeated Satan on his home field.

That was the end. The end of sin having dominion over the man God created to have fellowship with. Ah, but with the end came a glorious beginning! After 3 days and 3 nights, Jesus came up from the heart of the earth. “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:40.

That is the beginning – Christ is risen from the dead so that we may have eternal life! Praise God! The grave where they laid His body, is empty. He is risen from the dead! We have the testimony of eyewitnesses, people who saw and spoke with Jesus after the resurrection. As a woman, it blesses me to know that one of the first people Jesus appeared to was a woman.

“Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.
“Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.” Mark 16:9-11, 14

Jesus was crucified for our sins, paid our debt in full, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. His work completed, He’s given all who believe eternal life in Him, forgiveness of all sin, healing for our bodies, and peace for our minds. Now it is our job to share the good news to the world.

THE LORD IS RISEN! YES HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

New King James Version (NKJV)
The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Through Jesus Christ I Have…

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“For while the Law was given through Moses, grace (unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17

A number of years ago I was challenged to read the New Testament looking for all the prepositional phrases referring to Jesus. I don’t know how many there are, I lost count but I know it’s in the hundreds. But the purpose of the assignment was not to count them, but to grow in my understanding of everything Jesus has done for us. I began reading and every time I came to a phrase referring to Jesus, I would circle the phrase and meditate on what the Scripture was saying to me. The result was I came away with a deeper understanding of who I am in Jesus Christ.

I encourage anyone wanting to grow spiritually to try the same process. Starting reading the New Testament actively looking for “in Jesus Christ”, “in Whom”, “by Jesus Christ”, “through Jesus Christ”, “through Whom”, “from Whom” and so on. As you find one, stop and meditate on what the verse is saying. Ask yourself how that applies to you and your life, what exactly has God done? Sometimes you need to consider the verse before and after it to fully understand the context of the verse.

To help you get started, here is a small list of verses. But these are but a small sample of what is waiting for you in your Bible.

John 1:17 – we have grace and truth through Jesus Christ
Romans 8:1 – we are free from condemnation
1 Corinthians 5:18 – we are reconciled to God through Christ Jesus
Philippians 1:11 – we are filled with the fruits of righteousness by Jesus Christ
Colossians 2:3 – wisdom and knowledge are in Christ Jesus
Romans 5:11 – we have eternal life through Jesus Christ

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Amplified Bible (AMP)
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

I AM a Cheerleader!

 

The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’”  Jeremiah 31:3 (NKJV)

            Last Saturday my four year old granddaughter Kaylee was sitting with me and her other grandmother at my grandson’s baseball game. There were two middle school age girls there also watching their brother play. From the way they were dressed they were probably on a competitive cheer team. Kaylee kept staring at them admiring their purple outfits, purple hair bows and especially their purple glitter eye make-up. Yes, I said purple glitter eye make-up. The other grandmother asked Kaylee if she wanted to be a cheerleader when she got older. Kaylee looked at us wide-eyed and said “I AM a cheerleader!”
          Kaylee has admired cheerleaders since she watched a cheerleading competition on TV last summer. So in the fall her mom put her in a gymnastics class that also has a little cheerleading instruction included. Then for Christmas she got some pom-poms and a dress-up cheerleading outfit. She’s learning to do flips and she has her own pom-poms. Kaylee sees herself as a cheerleader.
 How do you see yourself? Do you see yourself as what the world tells you are? Or do you see yourself as God sees you? Do you see yourself as one who is loved and cherished by God?
 Many years ago when I was leading my first ladies Bible study, God’s instruction to me was to tell His daughters how much He loves them. Those instructions have not changed but only grown stronger as I felt called to start writing. “Tell My daughters I love them.”
             If you only believe one thing, believe this: God loves you and cherishes you. There is nothing, no fault, no sin, no wicked spirit that can keep God from loving you. The choice to believe and receive it is yours.
Jesus said “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17 (NKJV)
          Let me be your cheerleader and encourage you in the fact that God loves you!  “For God so loved the world”. Put yourself in that verse – For God so loves ___ that He gave His Son Jesus to die for ___. If He loves us that much, why would He allow anything to ever stop that love? There is nothing.
“For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (AMP)

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Amplified Bible Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

My Father’s Voice

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            “…your Teacher will not hide Himself any more, but your eyes will constantly behold your Teacher. And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.’” Isaiah 30:20b-21

             Last Sunday afternoon our North Texas area was slammed again by a late winter storm pelting us with sleet and ice. My daughter, a newly minted ER nurse, called me on her way to work asking me to pray for her safety driving the 40 plus miles to her job at an area hospital. The roads, particularly the bridges and overpasses, were getting slippery. I could hear nervousness in her usually confident voice. As we talked, I remembered an incident that happened to me many years ago, before she was even born.

My husband and I were living in Houston, and one afternoon as I was driving home from work, we had a sudden thunderstorm, making the quickly wet streets slippery in places. I was approaching an intersection and applied the brake to slow down, but as I did, my car began to slide right towards another car. For a moment I started to panic, but then I heard my dad’s voice in my head. Dad had taught me to drive and even after I got my license, he continued to instruct me on how to handle various situations that I might encounter while driving. That day I heard my dad say, “If you ever start to skid, take your foot off the brake and steer into the skid.” Immediately I calmed down, did what he said and regained control of the car.

As much as hearing my dad’s voice that day calmed me, there is another voice I seek to hear that calms me even more. The voice of my Heavenly Father can not only calm me in the storm, but He calms the storms in me.  My earthly dad taught me everything he possibly could, not only about driving, but many other things. However, as much as he tried to prepare me for life, his wisdom and knowledge was limited. My Heavenly Father knows all things, He knows my life and what I need to hear from Him.

Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them.” God knows my past, my present and my future. He instructs me the way to go because He knows where I need to be, what I need to avoid. He tells me when I need to let off the brake and when I need to steer into the skid.

My Heavenly Father speaks to me through the Bible, His written word and by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said “But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future].”  (John 16:13)

This is what the prophet Isaiah spoke about in Isaiah 30:21, that we would hear our Teacher saying ‘This is the way, walk in it.’

After Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to live with and in us, all who will receive Him. Not just a little, but to overflowing. He teaches, guides and empowers us. It is through the Holy Spirit we can share the gospel with others. It is through the Holy Spirit I have words to write. It is through the Holy Spirit I know how to pray when my child calls needing prayer. “For in Him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your [own] poets have said, For we are also His offspring.” (Acts 17:28)

How I thank God for my Father’s voice!

 Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Dee

 

All Scripture references from the Amplified Bible.Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

photo credit: freestone via photopin cc

Life or Death, Your Choice

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    “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16, 17

 

Studying the book of Genesis, I notice something interesting. When God placed man in Eden, two special trees were in the center of the garden. One was the tree of life and the other was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God told them they could eat freely of every tree in the garden, including the tree of life.  All the trees were pleasant for food but one was forbidden. Only the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was forbidden to them, with the caution that if they did eat the fruit from it, they would surely die. God was offering them life, if they obeyed, or death if they disobeyed.
    Then isn’t it interesting that the serpent tempted them with the one leading to death. The tree of life was equally appealing to the eye, but the serpent could only offer death.  There is no life in him. Jesus said the thief (referring to Satan, called the serpent in Genesis) “…does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” (John 10:10)
    Only God can offer life and He has offered it to us from the beginning. Deuteronomy 30:19, 20 says “I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live and may love the Lord your God, obey His voice, and cling to Him. For He is your life and the length of your days, that you may dwell in the land…”
 God calls us to choose life. He has provided a way for us to have life. Jesus said then, and is saying to us now, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  (John 14:6)
The choice is ours. Life of death. I believe I’ll choose life. Thank You Jesus for giving me life, a fulfilled life on here on earth and when it’s done, eternal life with You in heaven.

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

All scripture quoted is from The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Disappointment 101

“My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Remain here and stay alert.” Mark 14:34

How do you handle disappointments? People don’t always behave the way we expect or need them to behave. Even our closest friends or family members let us down. Things happen that we have no control over cause us pain and disappointment. What are we supposed to do with those feelings? Who can we turn to in those times?

Jesus suffered disappointment in the Garden of Gethsemane. He took Peter, James and John, the inner circle of the twelve men He’d called to follow Him, His closest friends, into the Garden to watch and pray with Him. One of the twelve had already deserted Him and was going to betray Him.

“Then they went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took Peter, James, and John with him, and became very troubled and distressed. He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Remain here and stay alert.’” Mark 14:32-35

“Remain here and stay alert” Jesus asked them, but when He returned they had fallen asleep, not once, but three times. When He needed them the most, they were sleeping. (See Mark 14:32-42)

David wrote in Psalm 31:7 “I will be happy and rejoice in Your faithfulness because You are aware of how distressed I am.”

God notices our pain, emotional as well as physical. He is aware of our disappointments. But He does more than just notice and be aware. David goes on to say, “But I trust in you, O Lord! I declare, ‘You are my God!’ You determine my destiny!” (31:14, 15a)

Keep trusting God. He knows what happens in your life, and He has a plan for you. Other people do not have final say in your life – God does!

Verse 19 says, “How great is your favor, which you store up for your loyal followers! In plain sight of everyone you bestow it on those who take shelter in you.”

When your friend lets you down, when your spouse disappoints you, when you get passed over at work, pull into Jesus. He knows your hurts and He understands them as no one else can.

“Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.” Hebrews 4:14-16

Jesus suffered disappointment without letting it cause Him to sin. He forgave and continued to love those who had let Him down. He held to the plan that after His resurrection, those eleven men would be the leaders and take the gospel to the world. Forgive without being asked, keep loving those who hurt you and hold fast to Jesus.

David closes Psalm 31 saying, “Be strong and confident, all you who wait on the Lord!”
Be strong. Be confident. Wait on the Lord.

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

References: New English Translation (NET)
Mark 14:32-42
Psalm 31
Hebrews 4:14-16

Good Footwear

                         “Stand therefore, having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.” Ephesians 5:14, 15 (21st Century King James Version)

         My husband and I decided that since the holidays are over and work has slowed down, now is a good time to get back in the habit of going to the gym and working out regularly.

        Since I’ve been wearing my good walking shoes to work so much the past few months, I decided it was time replace them. Amazing the difference a new pair of well-fitting walking shoes can make. That knee pain I’d been experiencing lately walking any distance, now gone. I walked a little over two and a half miles this morning and I felt like I could have kept going if I’d had more time.

         I was reminded that just like wearing the right shoe for walking and exercise, we also need the right foundation for our spiritual lives. The Apostle Paul says “having…your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”
    What is the “gospel of peace”? It is the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, that He came in the flesh, He died on the cross for our sin and rose again from the grave, so that we can have peace with God. And the preparation of the Gospel of peace? Not only do we need to know what He’s done for us, but we should also be ready to share that gospel.

               1 Peter 3:15 says “But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully.” (Amplified Bible)

         “…be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks…” Just like the right shoe is necessary, so having a good foundation and understanding about what you believe and why, is necessary. That requires spending time reading and meditating on God’s Word, listening to good Bible teachers, praying and seeking God.

         The Amplified Bible says in Ephesians 6:14-16 “Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God,
 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.
Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].”
 
         Not only do we need to be ready to share the Gospel of peace with other people, but having that knowledge and preparation, we are ready to face the enemy “with firm-footed stability”. Our best defense against the wicked one is knowing who we are and what we have in Jesus.

    So, I ask how are your shoes?

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Choose the Best Part

 

            “…but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the best part; it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:42 (NET Bible)

 

            I’m not big on making New Year’s resolutions. I know I need to decide to exercise more, but all year and not just on January first. Same with eating better, watching TV less or spending less time on Facebook, not that there is anything wrong with having occasional sweets or snacks, watching TV (assuming it’s quality shows and not garbage) or even Facebook. But these are things that are only good in moderation.

            I have been asking the LORD what changes I need to make this year over last year. One answer He spoke through a precious friend was “to stir up the gift of God which is in you”, meaning get back to writing more.  The other thing I kept hearing in my heart was “chose the best part.”

            In the book of Luke there is recorded a story about two sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha invited Jesus, and most likely the twelve disciples with Him, to her house for a meal.

 

Now it happened as they went that He [Jesus] entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me. And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.’” Luke 10:38-42 (NJKV)

 

            While Martha was working in the kitchen preparing the meal, her sister Mary was sitting at Jesus feet listening to Him teach. Martha didn’t appreciate being left alone to do all the preparations. I occasionally have 15 or 16 people at my house for dinner, and even though they are invited guests and I am happy to have them, it is still a LOT of work to serve that many people.  I can understand Martha’s frustration that Mary wasn’t helping her and her request to Jesus for Mary to come help.

            Notice Jesus’ response to Martha. He simply told her that while she was overstressing, her sister had chosen “that good part”. Mary had chosen the Word of God over stressing about feeding their guests.

            It wasn’t that Martha was doing anything wrong. No, the meal had to be prepared because she had invited them there. But she could have first “chosen the best part” (NET Bible) that could not be taken from her. Then Jesus, Who had blessed the bread and fish to feed 5000 (see Luke 9:13-17), would have seen to it that Martha’s dinner was taken care of. 

           But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  Matthew 6:33

            This year, 2014, I want to choose the BEST part of what God has for me and what He leads me to. I’m excited about the New Year. 2013 was a good year for my family and me; some really great things happened. One of the best was my younger grandson Braden asked Jesus into his heart. The only thing that could equal that would be for his little sister Kaylee to follow suit. Perhaps this year she will. Then all three of my grandchildren will be born again and have eternal life.

            I pray God will bless you and your loved ones beyond anything you can think or imagine this year, and Happy New Year!

 

Peace and blessings in our LORD Jesus Christ,

Dee

 

God Over the Trivial

“Behold! God is mighty, and yet despises no one nor regards anything as trivial; He is mighty in power of understanding and heart.” Job 36:5 (The Amplified Bible)

Have you ever felt that something you were concerned about was too trivial for God to care about? I’ve heard people say things like “Well God is too busy taking care of the big serious things to bother about my little problems.” There was even one woman who said she didn’t pray about her kids because she thought God needed to be busy taking care of the world and she could watch her kids. What!? Yes, God is indeed concerned with what is happening in the world, but He is also concerned with us, even the most trivial mundane things.

Jesus said “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And [yet] not one of them is forgotten or uncared for in the presence of God. But [even] the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be struck with fear or seized with alarm; you are of greater worth than many [flocks] of sparrows.” Luke 12: 6, 7 (The Amplified Bible)

Wow, our Father even knows how many hairs are on our heads. (And knows which one are colored or not!) Yes, the Creator God who created us is concerned with anything that concerns us. It is only when we learn to trust Him with the small things that we truly learn to trust Him in the big ones.

Ryan Kennelly, the first man to bench 800 lbs without controversy, started weight lifting at age 18, and became a serious power lifter five years later. In 2008, Ryan set the bench press record with a lift of 1070 lbs. Do you suppose Ryan started out lifting 800 or more pounds on his first work out? Of course not. That would have caused him serious injury. He started with a set of dumbbells his father gave him when he was 10 years old. It took 5 years of serious training and weight lifting, adding little at a time, before he was ready to compete.

Developing our faith in God is the same way. If we learn to first pray and believe God for the small things, that increases our faith to believe Him for the big things. Faith is like a muscle – it only grows and gets stronger when it is used. But just like a baby has to learn to walk by developing her leg muscles and develop her balance by contracting her abs, we must use our faith for it to grow and develop.

As for the woman who said she didn’t pray for her kids, that is an example of the polar opposite of faith – pride. Pride in believing she had the power to protect and take care of her children on her own. The Apostle Peter wrote, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6, 7 (New King James Bible) My children and grandchildren are better off when I “cast the care” of them on God and not rely on my efforts!

I have no pride. I know that left to my own choices, even in the mundane or trivial, I’ll mess up every time. I have to rely on God’s direction, I have to hear from Him to know which way to go, how to spend my day. What if I hear wrong? I repent and ask for clarity. And clarity only comes when I spend time with Jesus, talking about everything. Listening for His voice through His written word and through the Holy Spirit speaking to me. About the big things, about the trivial things. Nothing is too great – or too trivial – for my God!

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Signs of Mercy

“Now David came to his house at Jerusalem. And the king took the ten women, his concubines whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in seclusion and supported them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up to the day of their death, living in widowhood.” 2 Samuel 20:3
(NKJV)

I love King David. He was the man the Bible called “a man after God’s own heart” but that’s not why I love him. I love him because like most of us, his life took many twists and turns, highs and lows. He could worship God in total abandon, yet yield to dark temptations. Sounds like someone I know very well – me! David understood from personal experience about repentance, grace, love and forgiveness. He understood mercy.

The history of King David recorded in 2 Samuel tells us about his son Absalom’s decision to take the kingdom away from him. Instead of defending the throne, David packed up his wives, his other children, and his army and went on the run. He left behind ten women, his concubines, to keep the house. Nathan the prophet had told David that division would come in his own house, and what he’d done in secret, would be done to him in public. Absalom pitched a tent on the roof and took the ten concubines of his father so the people could see he’d taken his father’s wives and the kingdom.

When David returned after the death of his son, what was to happen to these women? Concubines were wives but they did not have the rights of a wife, they were really slaves. They were more easily dismissed than a wife, they had little legal protection.

Jewish writers tell us that the widowed queens of Hebrew monarchs were not allowed to marry again but were obliged to pass the rest of their lives in strict seclusion. This is what David chose. They were not divorced, they were guiltless; but they were no longer publicly recognized as his wives. He sequestered them away where they were out of public view, where they could live in quiet privacy as Absalom’s widows. And he continued to provide for them the rest of their lives. That’s mercy.

When we’ve been abused or wronged by someone or the world in general, we can call on God’s mercy to sequester us in His love. He’ll provide us with His lavish love. We’re not to be isolated, we need the right people around us; but we can be protected further abuse or from judgment.

David wrote the 31st Psalm. Verses 7-8 says, “I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy and steadfast love, because You have seen my affliction, You have taken note of my life’s distresses, And You have not given me into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a broad place.” (The Amplified Bible)

“I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy”. David understood the mercy of God because he’d benefited from it over and over. “You have seen my affliction…you have taken note”. God not only sees when we’re abused, He’s taking notes! Beloved, God will not let your abuser go unpunished. But you He will set in a broad place because you are seated with Jesus, your life is hidden with Christ in God.

“…let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.” Psalm 5:11 (The Amplified Bible)

God’s mercy and love are a covering over us. We can shout for joy and rejoice even in our hard places. We are covered with His love. We are covered by mercy.

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Scripture used but not noted: 2 Samuel 15:13-16; 2 Samuel 12:10-12; 2 Samuel 16:20-23; Ex 21:7-11: Colossians 3:3.

Getting Past Our Past

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (New King James Version)

“Me teach a Bible study? I can’t do that. I’m not worthy. Lord, You know my past. You know the sins I was involved in. I’m not suitable to lead a Bible study.”
“Daughter, did you repent and ask Me to forgive you? And did you turn away from those sins?”
“Well, yes. I did. And it no longer has a place in my life.”
“Do you believe I’ve forgiven you? Cleansed you?”
“Yes, You promised in Your Word that if I confessed my sin You would forgive me and cleanse me of all unrighteousness.”
“Do you believe you are now righteousness?”
“Uh, I’m not so sure about that. I don’t always feel righteous.”
“Daughter, do you know what I see when I look at you? I see the Blood of my Son Jesus. I see My righteousness which I have given you in place of your unrighteousness. I see you as worthy because I have made you worthy.”
“Yes, Father. I believe You have given me Your righteousness. Thank You Father for forgiving me not only of my past, but also for not believing Your righteousness has been given to me. Thank You Father for forgiving me, healing me, and giving me a new life in You. And I will do any task You ask me to do. Even leading a Bible study when I don’t feel worthy. Because I know in You I am worthy.”

Have you ever had a conversation like that? Knowing that God has called you to do something, yet not feeling like you’re worthy of the call?
Too many times as Christians we allow fear, doubt, or shame over our past keep us from fulfilling a call from God. We allow the enemy to come in and condemn us for things God has already forgiven and cleansed us of. When satan brings these thoughts, that is not the time to turn from God; that would be falling into satan’s trap to lure us back into sin. Rather that is the time when we need most to run to God, to go to the Word and meditate on the fact that we have been made the righteousness of God.

“God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (New International Version)

Some may say, ‘but I was already a Christian when I sinned. I knew better but I did it anyway. How can I be the righteousness of God?’ The same way we’re saved to start with – by faith, believing the Word of God, by believing God can and will do what He said He would do.
1 John 2:1 was written to Christians. “My little children, I write you these things so that you may not violate God’s law and sin. But if anyone should sin, we have an Advocate (One Who will intercede for us) with the Father–[it is] Jesus Christ [the all] righteous [upright, just, Who conforms to the Father’s will in every purpose, thought, and action].” (The Amplified Bible) We have an Advocate – One who pleads our case before the Father and makes sure we’re forgiven.

God instructed me once to major on righteousness because when we become more aware and understand that we are the righteousness of God, sin begins to lose its hold on us. And the more we know of righteousness, the less it has control over us. We have to lose, give up, get rid of and deny its right that old religious idea “we’re just poor ol’ sinners saved by grace and can’t help ourselves but to sin”. As long as we hold on to that attitude, we’ll continue to be subject to sin.

It’s time to move on. Time to get past our past. The Apostle Paul said that he was forgetting his past – the position he’d attained as a devout Jew, his persecution of the Christians, all of it, and was moving on with Jesus toward the goal of being like Him. (See Philippians 3:13, 14)

We can’t change our past, neither the past before or since we received Jesus as Savior. But we can change our present. We can learn to walk in the righteousness Jesus has provided for us. We can grow into it. Like a child grows into a suit of clothes or a pair of shoes that are too big, we can grow into the image of Jesus Christ.

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Let No One Deceive You

“And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
Matthew 24: 4-6 (NKJV)

I heard on the news last night that according to one preacher Jesus is returning on May 21, 2011. The man supposedly arrived at that exact day by careful study of the Bible. But when I read about him and his prediction on the internet, I found this is not the first date he’s said Jesus was to return. I also found other people giving different dates this year for Jesus to appear and for the judgment of the earth to begin.

This is not a new phenomenon. Predictions have been going on since the first century church. There were even some preaching that Jesus had already returned. Jesus warned us about this when He said “Take heed that no one deceives you.” He then went on to tell us what to look for.

Wars and rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes are just the beginning. Christians being hated for being Christian, false prophets rising up and lawlessness abounding. Sounds like today’s headlines doesn’t it? The gospel of Jesus Christ is being preached around the world today in ways there were not even possible a decade ago. When you read Matthew 24, you cannot help but believe that the return of Jesus is near.

Jesus told us to look to the fig tree as a sign. “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” Matt 24: 32-35 (NKJV)

Most Bible scholars believe the fig tree is symbolic of Israel. After Rome destroyed the temple and Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the Jews were again scattered throughout the world and there was no nation of Israel for almost 1900 years. Then on May 14, 1948 the nation of Israel was reborn in one day. The fig tree bloomed overnight. This is the reason that I believe that those of us born in this generation will see the return of Jesus.

Bible prophecy is being fulfilled almost daily. The present turmoil in the Middle East is just one more piece falling into place. Will it be May 21, 2011? I don’t know. It could be before I finish posting this blog. It could be another decade. Only God the Father know the exact date. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Matt 24:36 (NKJV)

I do know this for fact: we are to be ready for His appearing at any moment and until He does appear, we are to be busy for His Kingdom, sharing the gospel with everyone. I long to see Jesus and pray for His return to come quickly, but for those who do not know Him as Lord, it will not be a glorious day. I believe the Father is waiting for as many to receive Him as will before Jesus returns.

“But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”
2 Peter 3:8-10 (NKJV)

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

No Word, No Power

I’ve been out of sorts the past few days and just really not wanting to do anything. I haven’t been able to write anything, haven’t worked on my website or studied nutrition. Just blah. And now my back hurts and I don’t deal well with pain.

Finally this morning I understand, or I should say I acknowledged what the problem is. I already knew, just wasn’t willing to do anything about it. I’ve been too busy doing “other stuff” that I’ve not spent time reading and meditating on the Word.

It’s no wonder I’ve felt so powerless, I’m not feeding my spirit. If I have time to read my email, check Facebook, watch TV, I have time for the most important things – Time meditating on God’s Word. Yeah, God’s Word is my food. And today is going to be a good day.

“Then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivers them out of their distresses.
He sends forth His word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and destruction.
Oh, that men would praise [and confess to] the Lord for His goodness and loving-kindness and His wonderful works to the children of men!” Psalm 107:19-21

You are Beautiful to God


“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” John 15:9

Elizabeth* sat across my desk from me while I was preparing her common-law husband’s taxes. With them was another young woman who was the mother of his baby. My heart ached for this young woman. She didn’t appear to have any self worth and seemed resigned to be replaced and subservient to a new “wife”. Her shoulders drooped and frown lines were already creasing her young face. She looked much older than the 23 years of age indicated by her driver license. There was a strong spirit of despair and sorrow surrounding her. How I longed to reach out to her, take her by the shoulders and tell her “God loves you. He sees you worthy of love and you are beautiful. You can be free from this situation.” Because of where we were, that was not possible, but I pray that God will send someone to Elizabeth and share the Good News that will set her free.

At age 20 months my precious granddaughter Kaylee knows she is loved and knows that she is beautiful. Just ask her.
“Kaylee, who’s Nana precious girl?”
“Me!” she responds with a big smile, slapping her hand on her chest.
“Kaylee, who’s my pretty girl?”
“Me!” she again responds with a big smile, again slapping her hand on her chest. Yes, when we’re young and are affirmed by our loved ones, we know our self-worth. If we are loved by our parents, we can learn and believe God loves us and has value in us.

The world does its best to tell us we’re not worthy and there are things wrongs with our bodies, wrong with our abilities, wrong with our feelings. The enemy feeds on our fears and insecurities and he doesn’t wait until we’re adults to start putting those doubts in our heads. All you have to do is look around to see young women allowing themselves to be used and put into demeaning situations to know that. I wonder about Elizabeth. Did she have a father who loved her and made her feel special? Or was he absent, or worse, did he abuse her? What took her to that place where she is being used and taken advantage of by a man old enough to be her father?

Fathers play a crucial role in teaching a young girl to have self worth. Generally the way girl’s father treats her is how she will expect to be treated in life. Mothers have a role in this as well, but it is the father who usually has the strongest influence in how a girl sees herself.

If you’ve lost your father, or never had a loving earthly father, know you can have a Heavenly Father who loves you with the highest and purest love you will ever know.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” I John 3:1a

God lavishes His love on us. He calls us His children. All we have to do is accept it. If you’ve never asked Jesus into your heart, given Him your life, do it now. He is waiting for you to respond to His call. It makes no difference to Him where you’ve been, what you’ve done. He loves you and wants to forgive you and wash you clean. Nothing will keep Him from you if you will only receive Him.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38, 39

Your Heavenly Father loves you and thinks you are beautiful. He will give you beauty for your ashes and joy instead of despair.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”
Isaiah 61:1-3

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

*Her name was changed to keep confidentially.

Being Engaged

“As Jesus landed, He saw a great crowd waiting, and He was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.” Mark 6:34

For my birthday last November, I asked my husband to buy us a membership at the city recreation center gym. Since then, we have been walking on the track 5 or 6 times a week and now we are up to walking about 3.5 miles in the hour we are there. That’s 33 laps around the track, plus 3 or 4 “cool-down” laps. Boring? Not at all. First of all, I’ve got my praise music plugged into my ears, and second, I’m a people watcher. Larry and I both are and we’ve learned who the regulars are at the gym.
There’s the young lady with severe Scoliosis and her friend who walks with her. There’s the retired Marine with his military hair cut, who runs like a man half his age in his jeans and white tee shirt. There’s a lovely black lady with her curly grey hair carrying 5-lb hand weights and who still out walks me. There’s the older gentleman who was born in India and walks a lap backwards. “Always one lap backward every day. Very good for you.” There is the trainer who is every one’s cheerleader whither or not they are her client. Occasionally there is a very handsome young Arabic man who laps us several times running. I always wonder does he know my Jesus, the One True God of his father Abraham?
There are many more, but our favorite of all is Matthew and his mom, Rita. Matthew is a young boy with special needs. He’s non-verbal and looks out at the world through thick glasses. Matthew has a surgical scar that starts somewhere in the back of his head and goes down below the top of his shirt. He walks with a slow awkward gait and some days he’s reluctant to walk at all. His mother has to push him and at times seems to struggle to get him out on the track. I can see the frustration on her face as she works trying to get him up and going. But on the days he’s cooperating and walking willingly, I can also see the joy and love on her face as well.
One day as Larry and I were walking past Matthew and Rita, we slowed down a little to encourage them. Rita beamed a bright smile and said “He’s such a blessing.” A few days later we were leaving about the same time they were and we visited with them for just a few minutes. I told Rita that I’ve been praying for her and Matthew. Her face lit up with at knowing someone cared enough to pray for them. “Oh, thank you! Please do,” she said.
At church yesterday, our pastor preached on “being engaged” with the community around us. Just as Jesus engaged the Samaritan woman at the well, so are we to become engaged with the people around us. God has been showing me so many people and giving me opportunities to engage them. I don’t know all their stories, I don’t have to in order to pray for them. Will I ever have an opportunity to share Jesus with them? I don’t know. All I do know is I have to be willing and to trust God to open the doors.
Compassion equals engagement. Over and over in the Gospels it says Jesus had compassion and every time it says that, it follows with what He did.
“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” Matthew 14:14
“Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.’” Matthew 15:32
“Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.” Matthew 20:34
“Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed’”. Mark 1:41
Having compassion for people is more than just having pity or sympathy. It means being engaged as Jesus was.

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

FORGIVE MY IMPERFECTION, PLEASE

“You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matt. 5:48 (The Amplified Bible)

That’s a pretty strong command from our Lord Jesus. But do any of us ever reach it? Just about the time I think I have a particular sin conquered, along comes something else I have to overcome.
I’m reminded frequently that none of us in this life seem to ever reach that goal. If we place too high a standard with others, they will disappoint us. Sometimes repeatedly. But that’s where grace and the love of God comes in. God’s love in and for us allows us to forgive others and ourselves.

“Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].” I Peter 4:8 (The Amplified Bible)

Love forgives and disregards the offenses of others. Praise God for his love and grace which He pours over us without measure.
King Jehoshaphat was king of Judah and the Bible says the Lord was with him because he walked in the ways of his ancestor David and “… sought and yearned with all his desire for the Lord, the God of his father, and walked in His commandments and not after the ways of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor.” 2 Chron. 17: 4, 5
Jehoshaphat sent leaders to teach in all the cities of Judah the Book of the Law, God’s written word, so that the people would know and fear the Lord.
But even Jehoshaphat made wrong decisions and bad alliances. He allied with Ahab, the king of the southern tribes, Israel, who was not following after God. Jehoshaphat agreed to go into battle with King Ahab even thought God’s prophet warned it would end badly. (See 2 Chron. 8:15-17.)
When the enemy’s army came against him, Jehoshaphat called out to God “…and the Lord helped him; and God moved them to depart from him.” 2 Chron. 8:31b
Jehoshaphat was not a perfect man as none of us are, but he was God’s man. At the end of his life it was said of him “And he walked in the ways of Asa his father and departed not from it, doing what was right in the sight of the Lord.” 2 Chron. 20:32
Wouldn’t it be nice to know that when the end of our time comes they could say about us that we had walked in the ways of God and did what was right in the sight of the Lord. And is it not comforting to know even when we make bad decisions, God will not hold it against us but will help us if we call out.

“MY LITTLE children, I write you these things so that you may not violate God’s law and sin. But if anyone should sin, we have an Advocate (One Who will intercede for us) with the Father–[it is] Jesus Christ [the all] righteous [upright, just, Who conforms to the Father’s will in every purpose, thought, and action].” 1 John 2:1 (The Amplified Bible)

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

PRAY FOR ALL THE SAINTS

“Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).” Ephesians 6:18 (Amplified Bible)

Yesterday was a very difficult day at our church, for our pastor and for all of us. Our pastor had to tell the congregation that one of our staff members was resigning because they were experiencing marital difficulties and would be getting divorced. We were reminded we are in warfare; a spiritual battle goes on daily against all of us.
This is why the Apostle Paul admonishes us to “pray at all times” and to intercede on behalf of one another. Our enemy, the devil will not take a break just because we let up. He is looking for that moment of weakness to attack.
Peter cautions “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (Amplified Bible)
None of us are exempt from his attacks, and all of us are called to pray for one another. We are commanded to pray for those who have authority over us (1 Timothy 2:2) and I believe that authority includes those who are in positions of spiritual authority over us – our pastors, ministers, Bible teachers.
It is a sad time when a marriage is damaged beyond repair, but we can take it as a caution that we all are Satan’s targets. We must be obedient to the Word and pray for one another, pray for our church leaders. Seek God’s protection over them and their families.

“First of all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way. For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior…” 1 Timothy 2:1-3 (Amplified Bible)

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

“The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.’” Genesis 1:1, 2

Abram and his family lived in Ur of the Chaldeans, an area with a highly developed society. The homes were large and built of brick and wood, usually three stories tall. Of all the cities in Sumeria, Ur was probably the largest. It was a pagan society, worshiping the gods who ruled each city, as well as other gods of nature, and the moon and stars.
We don’t really know why Abram’s father Terah left Ur, but we know from the Bible he left Ur and started to Canaan. They traveled north up the Euphrates River but he stopped and settled in Haran, another pagan city. It was in Haran that God called Abram to leave his family and go on to Canaan.
Why did God speak to Abram? Was Abram looking for another god, one who created the moon they had worshiped?
Dr. Gene Getz says “But we do know from Noah’s example (6:8-9) that when God deals with us, He begins His acts of mercy by communicating with those whose hearts are open to truth. From his response to God’s call, Abraham seemed to be this kind of man, although he was just as steeped in idolatry as his father (Josh. 24:2).”1
Whether Abram was looking for the true God or not, the One True God did speak to him and called him to follow, to go to a place he’d never seen. God called him to leave behind everything and everyone who represented the former pagan way of life. Abram answered that call, packed up his wife and started toward Canaan.
“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Hebrews 11:1
Abraham, as God later renamed him, did not know where he was going. He probably left behind a comfortable life and a comfortable home to become a nomad. The Bible says they dwelt in tents, looking for a city whose builder was God. (Heb. 11:9)
God calls us to follow Him. He’s called me to things I feel inadequate for. He takes me out of my comfort zone to follow Him to new ventures. I’d like to stay in my easy place, with my idols of self interests. But God bids me “Come, follow me. I’ll show you where we’re going as we go. I’ll show you great and wonderful things if you only follow Me.”
Are you ready to leave your easy life behind and follow God? Are you ready to give up your comfortable place to follow Him? Are you willing to leave your comfort zone?
There are lost and hurting people in the world who need to know Jesus. They need to hear that He loves them and He died for them. Let’s stop playing church and really follow God.

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

1Getz, Gene A., 1996, Abraham, Holding Fast to the Will of God. Broadman & Holdman Publishers.

How Short Are the Days?

“Lord, make me to know my end and [to appreciate] the measure of my days–what it is; let me know and realize how frail I am [how transient is my stay here]. Behold, You have made my days as [short as] handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in Your sight. Truly every man at his best is merely a breath! Selah [pause, and think calmly of that]!” Psalm 39:4, 5 (Amplified Bible)

My grandmother used to say that the older you get, the faster time passes. I do believe she was right. It feels like only an eye blink since I went to Christopher’s 5th grade graduation last May and it was the beginning of summer. Now this week all across Texas children are going back to school and summer is over. Soon we will be celebrating Christmas and a New Year.

The Bible tells us to number our days so that we can have wisdom.

“So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12.

When we realize how brief our lives here truly are, we then can understand how important it is to make the most of our time. We need to eliminate things that use up our time and energy but don’t really benefit others or ourselves.

How often do we realize we need to minister to someone but just don’t have the time? What we need to ask ourselves is what is using up our time to make us unable to take care of the important things? Are we serving God or ourselves? How much time do we waste watching TV shows or reading books that don’t build us up spiritually and then have no time to study God’s Word?

In the terms of eternity, this life is nothing. Even if we live our full 120 years, it is still “a breath” in God’s timetable. The New Testament tells us to be careful how we live and to make the most of our time.

“Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.”
Ephesians 5:15, 16. (Amplified Bible)

“Live purposefully…” When we live purposefully, we won’t be overly occupied with trivial things but will be available and ready to obey whatever God puts before us to do.

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Seek First the Kingdom

“But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.” Matt.6:33 (Amplified Bible)

What does it mean to seek first the kingdom of God? How do we do that? I’ve heard believers pray “Lord just remove anything in my life that keeps me from putting you first.” Then when they lost their job or something, they thought it must have been God who took it because they were putting it ahead of him. Sounds very spiritual, doesn’t it?

I’ve prayed along those lines, feeling pious, hoping I’d impressed God with my holiness. But that’s really about all it is – religious piety trying to impress. Then God began to correct me and show me from his Word.

Satan is the destroyer, the one who takes away from us, but Jesus came to give us life and a life that we can enjoy. “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” John 10:10 (Amplified Bible). Satan is the one who takes away, not God. And Satan will use our words against us to steal, kill and if possible to destroy us.

Jesus came to give us life and life that we can enjoy. 2 Peter 2:3, 4 says He has given us everything for life and godliness. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (New International Version). He has given us everything we need for life and for godliness while we are here on the earth. We have these things through our knowledge of God and his word, not by giving up things.

We put God and his kingdom first in our lives, not by praying for God to remove things from us, but by the choices we make every day. We know what our priorities are, we’re the ones who set them. We know where we’re spending our time, the choices we make. When we are honest with ourselves, we know what we’re allowing to separate us from God. We know if we need to remove something from our life. If we want God to be first in our lives, we have to make that decision and chose to put God and His Word first place in our lives.

When we put God and his kingdom first in our lives, He will add to our lives, not take from them. We go to work, we take care of our families, we have fun in our lives. These are things God desires for us and has given us. But we do them with the purpose of serving God, not just ourselves. Pray and ask God “How can I serve you today through the task before me?” That is seeking God and his kingdom.

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ
Dee

WORDS OF MY MOUTH

“Set a guard, O Lord, before my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.”

Psalm 141:3 (The Amplified Bible)

I was reminded a few days ago how I need to pray this prayer every time I start to speak. I said something that had unintentional results of hurting someone and causing them to question me as a believer. Actually, I didn’t say it. I posted it on Facebook, but same thing. It was done in jest, without thinking, but I should not have done it. I deleted it, but like words spoken aloud, I couldn’t take back the hurt it caused.

My mouth has been a problem for me most of my life. Disrespecting and talking back to those in authority over me, rude and even mean things said to friends and inappropriate comments were common when I walked as the world walks. But as a Spirit-filled believer, this should not be the case. When I go to the Father to confess my sins, I am usually talking about my words.

The Bible has a lot to say about the mouth. In the Wisdom Books alone, Job, Psalms and Proverbs, there are over 200 references to the mouth. Jesus said what is in abundance in our hearts our mouths will speak. (See Matthew 12:34) God takes our words very seriously. We have the capacity to bless or to hurt by the things we say. We can bring glory and honor to our Lord or turn unbelievers away from Him by our words.

If we sincerely want to be mature Christians, we must first learn to control our mouths. The book of James says, “For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things. And if anyone does not offend in speech [never says the wrong things], he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature.” (James 3:2, The Amplified Bible) Sounds difficult if not impossible, doesn’t it? Left on our own it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. When we consciously and constantly ask the Holy Spirit to help us, with HIS power, it is possible. God never calls us to do anything that is not possible.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.”
Psalm 19:14 (New King James Version)

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

HAPPY EASTER!

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. (Isaiah 53:5, Amplified Bible)

I was sick recently so I’ve been meditating on Scriptures that talk about healing. I reread passages in the gospels meditating on them and watching in my mind as Jesus healed all who came to Him. As I dwelt on the verses, my faith was encouraged and built up. Even when I went to the doctor, I was trusting and praising God for my healing.
It was no surprise this morning when I opened my Bible for my quiet time with God that He directed me to another passage that talked about healing – Isaiah 53. Jesus paid for our salvation and our healing when He was punished and crucified in our place.
This week we celebrate Easter, remembering Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection on the third day. Let us not take what Jesus did for us lightly. Because of what He did, we have forgiveness of sin, peace in this life, healing in our spirit, soul and body, as well as eternal life with Him. Praise God!

Isaiah 53:1-12
1 WHO HAS believed (trusted in, relied upon, and clung to) our message [of that which was revealed to us]? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been disclosed?
2 For [the Servant of God] grew up before Him like a tender plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He has no form or comeliness [royal, kingly pomp], that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him.
3 He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, [yet when] He was afflicted, He was submissive and opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who among them considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living [stricken to His death] for the transgression of my [Isaiah’s] people, to whom the stroke was due?
9 And they assigned Him a grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in His death, although He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick. When You and He make His life an offering for sin [and He has risen from the dead, in time to come], He shall see His [spiritual] offspring, He shall prolong His days, and the will and pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
11 He shall see [the fruit] of the travail of His soul and be satisfied; by His knowledge of Himself [which He possesses and imparts to others] shall My [uncompromisingly] righteous One, My Servant, justify many and make many righteous (upright and in right standing with God), for He shall bear their iniquities and their guilt [with the consequences, says the Lord].
12 Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great [kings and rulers], and He shall divide the spoil with the mighty, because He poured out His life unto death, and [He let Himself] be regarded as a criminal and be numbered with the transgressors;
yet He bore [and took away] the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors (the rebellious).

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Meeting God at Sinai


How important is it for us to hear from God for ourselves? Can’t we just go to church and listen to good Bible teachers, read good books about the Bible and depend on what others have learned to help us? Why do we need to spend time searching the Scriptures for ourselves?

When God brought the people of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land, they came to the Mount of the Lord, Mount Sinai. There He desired to speak to them directly so they might know it was HE who was leading them.

Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the LORD had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, “We will do everything the LORD has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to the LORD.
The LORD said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” Then Moses told the LORD what the people had said.
And the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.
(Exodus 19:3-11)

God had been leading the people through Moses. Now it was time for them to hear directly from God. He wanted them to know for themselves that He was speaking to Moses so they could trust Moses’ leadership.

At first they were willing. They were probably excited to hear from the I AM who had sent Moses to take them out of Egypt. They purified themselves for three days and washed their clothes. They drew close to the foot of the mountain, right up to the border where they were to stay and they waited.

The third morning God began to reveal Himself to them. There was thunder and lightning, and a thick cloud descended on the mountain top. A loud trumpet blasted and the mountain was wrapped in smoke as the Lord descended upon it and the whole mountain shook. The people trembled with fear. They were not ready for a personal encounter with the I AM.

“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.’
The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.”
(Exodus 20:18-21)

“…Speak to us yourself but do not have God speak to us.” The people did not want God to speak to them directly. They only wanted to hear through Moses. They were so overwhelmed with the awesomeness of God’s presence, they believed they would die. They wanted Moses to listen to God and pass it on to them. They missed something very important in the reason God wanted to speak to them directly.

“….God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” He was going to give them some instructions to prepare them for the Promised Land; He wanted to arm them not to sin. God not only wanted to show them His awesomeness, but He longed to speak to his people directly. But because of their fear, the great I AM continued to speak through His messenger Moses.

Verse 22 tells us “Then the LORD said to Moses, Tell the Israelites this: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.”

God was left with no alternative but to speak to the people through Moses. And the first thing He told them was not to make for themselves gods of silver or gold. Isn’t it interesting that the very first command God wanted to give His people was not to create their own gods. Of all the commands God gave Moses to relay to the people, the first one was ‘Make no other gods’. Then when Moses finished speaking, the people all said yes we will obey.

“When Moses went and told the people all the LORD’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, ‘Everything the LORD has said we will do.’ (Exodus 24:3)
Moses wrote down everything God said and read it back to the people and again they promised to obey. Verse 7 says “Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, ‘We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.’”

What was the first command they broke? The first one they had heard, to make no other gods. God again called Moses to come up the mountain and while Moses was gone, meeting with God, receiving the entire Law, the people grew restless and tired of waiting. They gave up on Moses and they forgot their promise to obey what they had heard. There at the very spot where they had trembled in fear of the great I AM, they took their gold jewelry to Aaron and created a golden calf, calling it their god. They reverted back to the gods of Egypt there on the grounds of the place where the one true God had desired to meet with them.
Are we so different? We draw back from hearing from God ourselves, depending on Sunday morning sermons and Sunday school lessons to get us through our week. Maybe we’re not afraid we’ll die from God speaking to us, but we have too many other things to put our attention on. We let other gods in our lives alongside the one true God.
God’s heart still longs to speak directly with his people. He calls us to meet Him so He can reveal Himself to us. He calls us to His Word. It is only when we stay and listen to His voice that we are able to not sin, not go back to the gods we learned in Egypt.
Psalms 119: 9-16 says:

How can a young person live a clean life?
By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I’ll delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you,
I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it.

(Message Translation)

We need pastors, teachers, and Bible studies. We need books written by those called of God to share His Word. But we also need to hear God for ourselves. We need that time alone with Him, reading and meditating on His Word, listening for that word that will protect us, that will guide our decisions, that will prepare us to live a life for His glory.

Father, I hide Your Word in my heart, do not let me go back to the gods of Egypt. Teach me Your ways and let me walk in them so my life glorifies You.

Peace and blessing in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Relationships – God’s Way


The Word of God has much to say regarding our relationship, not only with Him but with others. Marriage, family, friends, fellow believers, worldly people and strangers, God tells us how we are to behave with each one. The Ten Commandments are not just God’s Law to be law, but God’s law on how we are to relate with Him and people.

Jesus makes this pretty clear when He was asked which was the greatest commandment. “Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

It’s very distressing when I see individuals who call themselves believers mistreat fellow believers. How can we show God’s love to the world when we fail to even act in love toward one another?

The Apostle Paul writes in Colossians 3:12-14 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness, then above all we are to put on love.

Loving one another doesn’t mean we “feel” a certain way. Sensual love is feeling, but God given, God commanded, Agape love is a verb. It is a way of acting and being. Love does not lie but speaks the truth. Love does not tear down but builds up. Love does not turn away from others’ needs but reaches out. Love does not criticize but looks for the good in others. There is no hypocrisy in love. It’s not just words but it is how we relate to one another.

Father, fill me with Your love today and through the power of Your Holy Spirit let me live it and show it to those You bring into my life every day. Amen

Peace and blessings to you all in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Dee

Read 1 Corinthians 13

THE BEST GIFT


“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,”

(so) “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ which means, ‘God with us.’
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

Scriptures: John 1:1,2; Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; Gal 4:4; John 1:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:4-20.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Dee

For God so loved the world

Stand up and be Counted

“On Nov. 20, 2009 a group of prominent Christian clergy, ministry leaders and scholars released the Manhattan Declaration, which addresses the sanctity of life, traditional marriage and religious liberty.” From the Manhattan Declaration website.

I don’t normally use this to promote causes or groups, but I just learned of this movement and I feel it is something overdue and want to share about it. Look at their web site and if you agree, sign the petition.
http://www.manhattandeclaration.org/
But more important than just signing the petition, follow some of their suggestions, and pray. This nation is in serious trouble and unless God intervene, we will go the way of other societies who were self-indulgent and godless.
Much of the blame can be layed at the feet of Christians who silently go along with a society who makes heroes of sports figures and actors. Then when their adultery comes to light just shrug and say “well they’re only human”.
We’ve accepted being told we couldn’t have public prayer in our schools and our children not being allowed to carry their Bibles to class. We’ve continued to buy products that advertise on immoral and ungodly television programs and magazines. It’s time we take responsibility and stop shoving the blame. It’s time for us to stand up and say what we believe. More importantly it’s time for us to ACT on what we say we believe.

“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”James 4:17

God will hold us accountable. Christians must get back to being the leaders of our society, not the followers.

Peace and Blessing in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

In God’s Hands

There is no doubt that we live in troubling times. The economy, flu epidemic, even our personal freedoms are being challenged today. If we only look to the world view for answers or only listen to the network news anchors, it is a pretty bleak picture. But thank God, Christians have a Higher Authority to turn to for answers and He has freely given them to us in His Word.

“My times are in Your hands; deliver me from the hands of my foes and those who pursue me and persecute me.” Psalm 31:15 (The Amplified Bible)

David wrote these words, and he was a man who understood trouble. God anointed him to be king in place of Saul, and Saul repeatedly tried to kill him. David’s own household was a battle ground and his son Absalom tried to dethrone him. The nation was at war almost his entire reign as king. David knew about trouble.
In verse 9 of the Psalm he writes, “Have mercy and be gracious unto me, O Lord, for I am in trouble; with grief my eye is weakened, also my inner self and my body.” He goes on and talks about his strength is failing because of his enemies, he’s being slandered and he is surrounded by terror. But then in verse 14 he repeats his confession that he trusts in God.

“But I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord; I said, You are my God.”

However overwhelming our lives may be, we too can say with David, “You are my God.” His promises never fail. Jesus said He would never leave us or forsake us and we can depend on it.  David knew who his God was and who he was. If we’ve received the Lord Jesus Christ and been filled with the Holy Spirit, we can know who we are and know who God is. Our times are in His hands, He knows our future so we don’t need to worry about it. We just have to trust Him to take us through it.

“O love the Lord, all you His saints! The Lord preserves the faithful, and plentifully pays back him who deals haughtily. Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for and hope for and expect the Lord!”  (Psalm 31:23,24)

Be strong and let your heart take courage in the Lord.

Peace and blessings through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

When You Get It Wrong – Again

“For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do.” Romans 7:18, 19 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)


Do you ever wonder why you did something you said you’d never do again? Or failed to do something you promised yourself you would do? That’s me all the time. I swear I’ll get up early and walk, but then stay in bed too long, or start doing something else and forget about it. I promise myself I won’t get upset over trivial things, but catch myself getting irritated or angry over minor issues. Sometimes it’s not just little failures we suffer, but real sin catches us unaware and before we know it we’re right back in the midst of it, again.

The Apostle Paul certainly knew about it. Even he felt there was nothing good in himself. Wow! You mean the man who wrote most of the New Testament struggled with sin? Yes, even Paul. There was only One who never sinned, Jesus,  and even He faced temptation.  (Read Matthew 4:1-11.)

One of the many things I love about the Bible, it shows us that the men and women God used in the past were just like us. They sometimes got things wrong over and over, yet God was able to pick them up, clean them up and use them. Just like He picks us up, cleans us up, and desires to use us today.

Gideon questioned God, not once, but three times. But God still used him to deliver Israel. (Read Chapter 6, 7 and 8 of Judges.)

David was an adulterer and a murderer. But because he desired to be made clean and repented, God was able to call him a man after His own heart.

Moses lost his temper and disobeyed God, but the Bible says, “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend”. (Exodus 33:11a)

Jonah was angry at God because He didn’t destroy the city of Nineveh after the people repented when Jonah preached to them. And remember it took a whale to get him there. Think about that. He finally obeys God, goes to preach in one of the most wicked cities of the era, the entire city repents, including the King, and Jonah is angry because God did not destroy them. How many preachers can say they went to a city and the entire city, including the Mayor got saved? Not that many.

Peter denied Jesus three times. But after the resurrection Jesus gave Peter three opportunities to reaffirm his love for him. “Lord, You know I love You” and Jesus replied “Feed My sheep.”


The Apostle Paul says “O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death? O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7:24, 25 (Amplified Bible) In other words, it is through Jesus Christ we can overcome and we can be free from sin.

When we do fail, praise God, He’s made the way for our restoration. The very next verse says God will not condemn us, but He will set us free. “THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death.” Romans 8:1, 2 (Amplified Bible)
Matthew Henry says in his Concise Commentary on the Bible, “Believers may be chastened of the Lord, but will not be condemned with the world. By their union with Christ through faith, they are thus secured.”

So, the next time you know you’ve gotten something wrong, the next time you feel unworthy of God, or doubt your usefulness to Him, remember you are not alone. We’re all there one time or another, and some of us on a regular basis. And God knew your weaknesses when He called you, but He chose you anyway. Pick yourself up, repent, and start over.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ to you all,
Dee

Obituary for Skeeter

We lost our Rat Terrier, Skeeter, last night. He probably had cancer, but when he got sick he declined very fast and thankfully didn’t have to suffer.

Skeeter was born in December 1995 and went to be with his companion, Shellie, October 16, 2009. He would have been 14, that’s almost 98 in dog years.

Skeeter was a contrary little fellow, and not everyone loved him as my daughter Rachael and I did. When we got him he had been abused and like so many abused children, he carried the emotional scars all his life. Those scars sometimes made him not trust people and seem unlovable.  But he did love us in his own way and even thought he could be unpredictable, he never growled, sniped, bit or even turned his lip at my grandson Christopher. Not even when Christopher tried to crawl into Skeeter’s kennel with him – a sacred place to Skeeter and not to be broached by humans.

Skeeter loved to play fetch and would bring you his toy to throw as long as you would throw it. He’d drop it at your feet and if you didn’t reach to pick it up in a timely manner, he bark as if to remind you it was your turn.

The strongest attachment he made was with an older woman – our dog Shellie, a lab mix. They would sleep next to each other and howled at the fire truck sirens together. As Shellie aged and seemed to have trouble getting around, he would stay by her side as if to be her guide. When Shellie died, Skeeter went into a depression for several days and would not eat or even come out of his kennel.

The first time Skeeter fell into the swimming pool, I ran to get him out because he was sinking and about to drown. Instead of licking me with gratitude, he tried to bite me. Not because he was angry at me, but because he was scared and he lashed out at the closest thing to him. He just wanted to get to his safe place and dry off by himself. We later learned that Rat Terriers are the only breed of dog that do not have an instinct to swim or dog paddle.

What God showed me is we are often the same way. We react out of hurt or anger and in so doing hurt the very person who loves us the most. Instead of receiving the love and help we are being offered, we reject it and end up feeling alone and wet. We’ll even lash out at God as if He caused our hurt, as if He pushed us into the pool. But He is the one who truly loves us most, warts flaws, hang-ups and all.

1 John 4:10 says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” Warts and all God loves us.

Thank you Skeeter for teaching me the blessing of loving the unlovable.


Peace and blessing in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Lessons of Michal

“Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).

And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31, 32, The Amplified Bible)


Over and over in the New Testament we are warned against allowing bitterness into our lives. In the passage above, the Apostle Paul says to let it “…be banished from you”. That’s pretty strong. The key to doing that is found in the following verse:  “… forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.”  When we hold on to unforgiveness, bitterness is allowed to take root in our hearts and from there grows resentment, anger and ill will.

We justify ourselves by focusing on what was done to us by someone one else. “You just don’t know what he said to me” or “You don’t know what she did”. But God didn’t say “forgive them if they deserve it”. He only instructed us to forgive and to banish all bitterness from us. When we allow unforgiveness and bitterness to remain in our hearts, we are the ones who bear the consequences.

“The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.” (Proverbs 14:10) When we wallow in self-pity, we wallow alone.

One example in the Old Testament is the story of David and Michal. Theirs was a love story turned bad. (You can read their entire story in 1 Samuel chapters 18, 19 and 25, and 2 Samuel chapters 3 and 6.)

Michal was the younger daughter of King Saul, the sister of Jonathan, and she was David’s first wife. First Samuel 18:20 says she loved David and after they were married, she defied her father and helped David escape when Saul was trying to kill him. (1 Samuel 9:11-19) Years passed, and she was abandoned by David. Her father gave her to another man in marriage and David took other wives. After Saul died, David finally decided to send for her. By this time he has six sons, all by different wives. Michal is not coming home to a husband whose has been lonely and yearning for her.  And she is forced to leave a husband who probably loves her. 2 Samuel 3:16 says “But her husband went with her, weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim.” We don’t have any details of their reunion, but I suspect it probably was not the joyous reunion of long lost lovers.

The next detail of their story we have in Scripture, takes place when King David brings the Ark of the Lord to Jerusalem and he danced “with all his might” before the Lord. It was a great time of celebrating. David made burnt offerings and peace offerings to God. He blessed all the people with cakes and meats – it was a party. The Scripture says he returned to bless his household and Michal came out to meet him.  Nothing can throw a wet blanket on a good time like an angry, bitter woman. She accosted David and tried to shame him about his behavior. Michal had let her anger and bitterness turn to hatred.

David was not moved by her tirade. His heart was right with the Lord at that moment and he knew what he had done was approved by God. He let her know he would continue to worship the Lord who had chosen him to be king.

The sad end to the story just says “And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.” (2 Samuel 6:23) Years of hurt, anger and bitterness had finally bubbled out and she bore the consequences. To be without a child in that day was a sign of God’s displeasure.  No doubt it was a continued source of pain for her to the end of her life.

Michal had a right to be hurt by David actions – he’d abandoned her, taken other women and then forced her back with him. Sometimes we have the right to be hurt by others actions or words, but we must not allow that hurt to fester into bitterness and anger. It’s for our own good that we must forgive others as Christ has forgiven us.

“Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time.”
(Hebrews 12:14-16, The Message)

By choosing to hold on to her anger, bitterness and hurt, Michal missed all the blessings that could have been hers. She was left out of David’s generosity. She could have joined the party and received the blessing David wanted to share with his household. She could possibly even had a child.

What blessings are we missing by holding on to things from the past? If we want the Holy Spirit to heal our past hurts, we must first chose to forgive and chose to let go of any bitterness we may be holding on to.  Sometimes we don’t feel like we can forgive but we’re not called to do it on our own power. We can’t. We may not even want to. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, God will give us the grace to forgive if we make the decision and chose to forgive. And with forgiveness comes peace. With forgiveness comes the joy of knowing we’re walking in obedience to God.

Peace and blessings to you all from our Lord Jesus Christ
Dee

Learning to Read the Bible

“Your Word have I hid in my heart that I may not sin against You.”  (Psalm 119:11)

     Last Saturday I decided I had to clean my kitchen. I mean really clean it. Not the daily wash the dishes, wipe off the counter type cleaning but a through floor to ceiling cleaning. I felt a little overwhelmed – like where to start? I think that’s how many people feel about reading their Bible. They want to do it, know they need to do it, but where do they start?

     When I first began to desire to know God more and to know His Word, I thought well, I’ll start at the beginning. I’d never read much of the Bible except for excerpts I’d read in church and Sunday School. I’d certainly never read it through.  So the next morning after I’d taken my son to kindergarten, I sat down with my King James Bible and started reading. Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God . . . .” Yep, this was where I needed to start. I decided I could read a couple of chapters every day and then I’d know the Bible. It started off interesting enough, but I didn’t really get any goosebumps or spiritual high from it. But I felt good because I felt like I was doing what I needed to be doing.

      That was wonderful until I got to chapters 10 and 11. I started reading the genealogies, who begat whom,  who was the father of whom and fell asleep trying to get through it. Had not a clue who most of those people were or why it was important all their names be listed.  But I continued. Not really understanding what I was reading, and finding my self frequently skipping ahead, trying to find some point for all this. Thankfully before I just gave up and quit, a dear friend helped me out. What she suggested to me is what I suggest to you now.

     First find a modern translation like the New International or the New Living Bible. The Message is great for anyone who is new to reading the Bible. Before you start reading, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to be your Teacher and to help you receive something from God from His written word.  Jesus said the Holy Spirit would be our teacher and He would teach us all things. (See John 14:26). Start with the Gospel of John and there you will met Jesus, the Son of Man. If  you want to also read something from the Old Testament, start with the Psalms or Proverbs. There you will find comfort and practical thoughts for living. Then read one of the other gospels, Matthew, Mark or Luke.  The book of Ephesians is good to help learn about who we are in Christ.

     Don’t feel like you have to read any set amount. It’s better to spend time reading and meditating on one verse and learn something for your life than to read long passages and not really absorb anything.  When you find  something that starts to speak to you, stop and read it again, several times even. God reveals Himself to us in small steps and He knows what we need to receive and learn from Him.  And He knows our heart. If we desire to know more of Him and His Word, God’s desire is even greater for our fellowship with Him through His Word.

      It’s been over 30 years since I first started on my journey studying God’s Word.  Little did I know then the wonderful treasures God had in store for me or the life-long love relationship I was beginning with Jesus and His written word. Even today, every time I read  a passage and take the time to meditate over it, I learn something new. His Word is as fresh as the most recent on-line news feed. It’s as relevant today as it was the day it was written. There is so much, we will never know it all in this life. 

“How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word and following its rules. 
I have tried my best to find you– don’t let me wander from your commands. 
I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 
Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your principles. 
I have recited aloud all the laws you have given us. 
I have rejoiced in your decrees as much as in riches. 
I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. 
I will delight in your principles and not forget your word. “

(Psalm 119: 9-16)

Peace and blessing in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Billy Graham’s Prayer For Our Nation

Like most Christian Americans I know, I’m concerned about the direction our country seems to be going. This is not a forum where I choose to discuss politics, but sometimes it is appropriate. This nation has made some bad choices in leadership and we are just beginning to see the consequences.

Sin is increasing, our liberties are being subtly but surely diminished. Free enterprise is being taken over by government under the guise of  financial bailout, freedoms of speech are being challenged just to mention a few things. What gives me hope and comfort is I know God’s Word is true and His promises are sure. He called this nation into existence and even though we may go through a time of tribulation, He will not abandon His people.

I received a copy of Rev Graham’s prayer in an email and felt it was appropriate to post here.  Let us make this our daily prayer for our nation until we see revival and healing in this nation.

Billy Graham’s Prayer For Our Nation


“Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance.  We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done..  We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare..  We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable..  We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.  We have abused power and called it politics.. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition.  We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.  We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.  Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and Set us free. Amen!”

Peace and blessing to you all in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dee

DEBRIDEMENT OF THE SOUL

Have you ever been in a bad place emotionally or spiritually and thought it would be that way the rest of your life? The days so dark you believed you’d never feel right again? I have. I’ve been in that place. I understand exactly what the Psalmist was talking about in the 102nd Psalm:

“By reason of my loud groaning [from suffering and trouble] my flesh cleaves to my bones.

I am like a melancholy pelican or vulture of the wilderness; I am like a [desolate] owl of the waste places.

I am sleepless and lie awake [mourning], like a bereaved sparrow alone on the housetop.”

(Psalm 102:5-7, The Amplified Bible)

When my mother died in June 2000, it was unexpected. Even though her health had not been good, none of us, except perhaps my dad, had a hint it was as bad as it was. As Christians, we all rejoiced that she was no longer in pain and that she was with her Lord, but that did not mean our pain or our lost was not real.

Over time, my grief turned to anger and I turned inward. Outwardly, I said and did all the things expected of me. I told my children not to be angry at God because Mamma was gone, but inside I was questioning God. How could He let this happen without preparing me?

I became angry because I didn’t feel my husband was as supportive as he should have been, but I was too inward to tell him what I needed. Issues arose in our marriage and we became more and more distant. When we did reconcile, it was still not as it should have been because I began substituting my relationship with my husband for the relationship I’d once had with God. I expected more of my husband than God ever intended.

Except for a couple of friends, most of the people at my church were clueless about what I was going through. Even those who knew I’d lost my mother had no idea that I was struggling. I kept my feeling inside, not letting anyone close enough to see my pain. We stopped going to church for a while because I felt the church had let me down.

I stopped reading my Bible or praying. I questioned God’s love for me or if I had really ever heard from Him. But even when I was deep in unbelief, there was still a small spark of hope. God’s call to us is “without repentance” – He promised to never leave or forsake us, even when we turn our backs to Him.

Sometimes God uses things from unexpected sources to reach us. The Creator of the universe creates a way to reach us even at our lowest. For me, it was a song. Not a “Christian” song, but God used it to scratch the scab on my heart.  The same year my mother died, Kathie Lee Gifford put out a CD “Born For You”. I’d listened to it many times, but one night while I was up late writing, one special song touched that small spark in me and something began to break.

“I’d like to lose all time again

And look for trees to climb again

Recite a little rhyme again

And dream a reckless dream.

For someone I’ve exiled in me

Awoke today and smiled in me.

I need to find the child in me again.”

(Child in Me Again, written by Annie Dinerman)

Yes, I needed to find the child in me again – the child who’d trusted God with her whole heart without question or reservation. The child who could laugh at life and who loved without reservation or expectation.  I sat face to face with who I’d become and desperately wanted to go back to the child I had been before. The last line of the chorus goes, “Oh I need to recapture the truths I’ve unlearned.” I needed to recapture The Truth I’d turned from.

I still was a long way from being spiritually or emotionally healed, or even wanting to do what I needed to do to get there. But it was beginning. Some of the hardness had been removed.

A few days later I “just happened” to read a verse of scripture from the Message Bible in a magazine.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matt.11:28-30, The Message Bible)

It was as though Jesus was speaking directly to me, inviting me to just walk with Him. “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” I don’t have to try to please anyone. I don’t have to be a certain way. Religion had burned me out and let me down. He was offering me what I’d needed all along – a relationship with Him alone.

There is a medical procedure called Debridement which is the medical removal of infected tissue to improve healing of healthy tissue. It can be painful, but sometimes is necessary for the antibiotic treatment to work. Once the infected or dead tissue is removed the healing medicine can be applied.

Sometimes we need something to remove the dead part of our souls before the healing balm of God’s Word can heal what remains. It can be a painful process, but if we allow it, the Holy Spirit will do a work in us that will start the healing process that comes with the application of the Word.

He sends forth His word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and destruction.” (Psalm 107:20, The Amplified Bible)

Whatever is the cause or source of your pain, whatever the pit is you’ve fallen in, or whatever the sorrow is you’re carrying, you are not alone. Allow the Spirit of God to move in your life and He will heal you. The process may not be easy, it probably won’t be exactly what you expect, but true healing is yours through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Peace and blessings,
Dee

RELATIONSHIP WITNESSING

“Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (The Message)

Look around you in church sometime, I mean really look at the people who are there. Who do you see? Do you see non-Christians searching for the answers for their lives or believers there to assemble themselves together? More than likely most of them are believers. So then, how are we to get the gospel to those outside who need Jesus? The Bible says how can they believe except they hear, and how can they hear except someone is sent?  (See Romans 10:14.)

We have to do it outside the church. That’s what Jesus did. He went about his daily life, meeting people on the street and calling them to follow him. He went to dinner with sinners, not so he could tell them what great sinners they were – they already knew that – but to show them God.

We’re to do the same thing. That’s what the Apostle Paul was talking about in the passage above. He didn’t participate in their sin, but he adapted himself to their circumstances so that he could share the gospel with them.

The question is how do we do that? How do we show Jesus to the outside world in a way they want to know more? Reciting religious platitudes and quoting scripture will usually turn them off and away from you. Conversations that are great when you’re with fellow believers and Christian friends are not always so great around non-believers. When my best friend and I talk, we have a wonderful time sharing what we’re learned from the Bible and what God is doing in our lives. But I can’t have that type of relationship with everyone.

The first thing we need to do is to be nice to people. Sometimes we pick and choose how to treat people based on appearance. That’s not how God calls us to be. Jesus went to the outcasts. Probably few if any of the 12 disciples Jesus called would qualify to serve on the staff of any of our modern churches. They were for the most part uneducated and a few of them were pretty rowdy.  James and John were called Sons of Thunder and Peter cut off a man’s ear! Be nice to everybody – the store clerk who can’t make change, the stressed out parents in the restaurant with a screaming child, the dirty day-laborer in line at the convenience store. Show them who God is by being nice.

Then just be a friend to people we meet. Get to know them and learn about their lives before we start telling them how they need God. Be their friend first and wait for God to open the door for spiritual discussions. It may take months, it may take years.  It may never happen in the way you expect. But never underestimate the impact a godly life just lived openly and honestly in front of someone can have.

Be sensitive to other people’s needs and their feelings. I’m as guilty as the next person about saying something “religious” because I thought it was what I was supposed to say only to realize later that what I said was not what the person needed to hear at all. What they needed most was for me to just be their friend. Offer help when they need help, and give it without any “religious” strings attached. When we meet peoples’ needs, they have the chance to see Jesus but only if we do it freely and without preaching to them about it.

Most of all, we cannot hold ourselves out as being better or more righteous than they are.  Arrogant spirituality turns people away. The only difference between them and us is Jesus. Paul said he did not participate in their sin, (“I am committed to the law of Christ”, I Cor. 9:21b) but he accepted them as they were.  We can decline to participate in sin without having to expound on the evils of it. Jesus said to let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no and that is enough. (Matt. 5:37)
Jesus said we’re to be the light of the world. Light in only noticed where there is dark. During the daylight, you don’t usually notice that a lamp is on. But as soon as it gets dark, that lamp becomes useful. If we’re to be useful “lamps”, we need to get out of the daylight of our church pew and go out to the dark where we’re needed.

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Dee

God’s Unrelenting Love

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

The first song I learned as a child was “Jesus loves me this I know because the Bible tells me so.” And the first Bible verse I learned was John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever should believe on Him would not die but have everlasting life.” I had child faith in the truth of those words, but as I grechild-prayer-clipart-royalty-free-praying-clipart-illustration-216150w up I also heard, and believed other words presented as truth. Along the way the messages of the world began to drown out the message of God’s love for me.
Turn on the TV or listen to the radio for even a little while and we can hear that we’re not thin enough so we need this diet or that medical procedure. Our job is inadequate so we need to go to this school or take that training program. Over and over we hear how lacking we are.
Some messages we absorb from the world are subtle and more damaging to our soul. We compare ourselves or our lives to others and feel inadequate. We try to compensate by turning to other people, working harder at our job or even drugs or alcohol. But these are band-aides, incapable of healing deep wounds, and frequently only cause more pain. Meanwhile, God is calling us to Himself, whispering “I am the One who paid a great price for you, I am the One who heals, I am the One who can give your life meaning.” We must go back to that simple child-like faith and believe that Jesus loves us.
When God sent His Son Jesus to the cross because He loved the whole world, it wasn’t just the whole world in general, but it was for every specific individual ever born of a woman. If you’d been the only person who ever lived, He’d have done it for you.
I pray that you can know, can have intimate knowledge of how much God loves you. It’s not about who you are, how you look, where you came from, or even what you’ve done. It’s all about God and His love for you. He has assigned great worth and value to you. His love is unrelenting and it pursues you. He desires you to know Him and find your place and value in Him.
Here is a prayer the Apostle Paul prayed for the church at Ephesus, and it is my prayer for you.
“I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19 (NET Bible)
Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Battle-cry Prayer

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5a (NKJV)replica-weapons-4116NQ

I woke up this morning around 3 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. As I lay there thinking, my mind kept going back to the evening news talking about the decision by a local school district to quietly change their bathroom policy to accommodate transgender students. As I kept thinking about the whole situation, I felt God telling me that these young people are being deceived and used. The true battle is not over who uses which bathroom, but is rather part of a spiritual battle that has been declared over our nation, and our youth and children are in the enemy’s first line of attack.
I struggled trying to figure out how to pray effectively over the situation and all I could do was pray in the spirit because I had no words. After a few minutes, God gave me three specific things to pray and brought verses to my mind to use as a guide.
The first thing to pray for is that the lies of the enemy will be exposed as lies. Jesus said the devil is a liar and has been from the beginning, there is no truth in him. Pray for those bound in Satan’s deception to come to know the truth of Jesus Christ, and that the eyes of their understanding will be opened (Eph. 1:18).
The second thing I heard the Lord say to pray that the evil plots and schemes being made and inspired by wicked spirits would be exposed and thwarted. Psalm 55:9 in the New English Translation says “Confuse them, O Lord! Frustrate their plans! For I see violence and conflict in the city.”
Jesus said in Luke 12:2 & 3 “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.”
The third thing the Lord said to pray for is that even in this Jesus will be glorified. Philippians 2:9-11 says “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
There is a spiritual war going on over our nation. Those who believe in and proclaim the Name of Jesus have the weapons and the authority to win this war. The only question is will we take up those weapons and will we use the authority given to us to fight?

Father, I pray in the Name of Jesus for all our youth and children who are being used and lied to by the enemy.
Father, I pray for their salvation, that they would come to Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and that they would come to know and understand the love you have for them and that you created them perfectly in your image.
Father expose the lies of the devil, there is no truth in him, he’s been a liar from the beginning. Show him to be the liar that he is.
Father, in the Name of Jesus confuse the plans of evil doers, those who would use our youth and our children for their own wicked purposes. Expose their plans for what they are, that even things whispered in secret will made public.
And Father, above all, exalt the Name of Jesus. Let every knee bow and every tongue confess Jesus is Lord! You wicked agendas – Bow your knee at the Name of Jesus!
Jesus is Lord over these United States!

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee