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

 

 

 

“I Will Give You Rest”

 

“Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28

What does that mean? In our crazy world, with our busy messy lives, how can we rest? Most of us feel like at times we need more hours in the day.

Some of the definitions from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary for rest are: (noun) repose, sleep; a place for resting or lodging; peace of mind or spirit; something used for support or (verb) free of anxieties

Let’s consider some of these definitions.

  1. Repose, Sleep

We all know our physical bodies need rest. Article I read list some of the health risks of too little or poor sleep.

Weight gain/Obesity – people with poor sleep habits typically have a higher BMI (body mass index) than those who get 8 hours.

Diabetes – inadequate sleep influences the way the body processes glucose and can contribute to Type 2 Diabetes.

Heart Disease and Hypertension – insufficient sleep with people suffering from hypertension can cause elevated blood pressure, eventually increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Mood Disorders – Irritability and moodiness can be caused by a single sleepless night, and long term mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and mental distress have been connected to chronic sleep issues.

Performance and Public Safety – Poor job performance and accidents can sometimes be attributed to lack of sleep.

Life Expectancy – Studies show that sleeping five hours or less a night increased mortality risk by roughly 15 percent.

God created our bodies to renew and refresh themselves through sleep. Cells regenerate and brains sort out superfluous information stored over the day. If you have trouble falling to sleep, ask God for restful sleep.

Psalm 4:8 (AMP) says “In peace [and with a tranquil heart] I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety and confident trust.”

Psalm 127:2 says “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.”

Proverbs 3:24 promises “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.”

The Amplified Bible says in Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.”

Sometimes, we need to take a break from whatever we are doing, especially when we are overwhelmed with activity and business.

In Mark 6: 31, Jesus told the disciples to come rest awhile. “And He said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.’”

The Greek word translated “rest” here is anapauð : (reflex.) to repose (lit. or fig. [be exempt], remain), by implication to refresh:-take ease, refresh, (give, take) rest. (Also the same word translated rest in Matt. 11:28) Jesus knew the disciples needed to take time refresh, take rest.

  1. Peace of mind or spirit; free of anxieties

God created us as a three part being just as He is – He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We live in a physical body, we have a soul (mind, will and emotions) and we are a spirit.

Not only does our physical body need rest, but also our mind and emotions. Sometimes the poor state of our physical body can affect our mental or emotional being, but we also need to rest, or refresh our mental state of being.

We all have a certain amount of stress, it’s called life. But prolonged stress can damage our body, even to the point of serious illness or death. God did not create us to carry excess stress.  And He has given us instructions and the tools how to handle it.

In 1 Peter 5:6, 7 tells us, “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.”  We do not need to spend time stressing over situations, needs, problems especially those things we have no control over. We do need to acknowledge we are unable control it, and then cast it all over on God. And if that means we have to do it over and over, then we do it over and over, repenting for taking it back.

A lady named Phyllis Ford said “Rest is displayed in our ability to yield to the presence of God, trusting that He is in control of our lives… We relinquish our ability to fix, manage, and control things.” Yield to God’s presence and trust He is in control. And trust Him that if there are things we can do or need to change, He will reveal it to us.

Zephaniah 3:17 says “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

“He will quiet you with His love.” Just like a mother quiets her crying child with words of love and comfort, God will quiet our hearts no matter what is going on in our lives, even in the craziness sometimes if we only trust Him. God is in the midst of the worst circumstances and will quiet us with His love. He is the only one able to truly give us peace of mind.

Jesus said in verse 29 of Matt. 11, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” The interesting thing here, the Greek word translated rest here, is anapausls : (from anapauð,) but it means – intermission; by implication recreation; – rest. Jesus is inviting us to come take a break from things with Him. Come to Him, and we can take an intermission from worry, from stress, from sorrow.  When I was on Grand Jury, some days were so very hard and at times depressing. No matter how hard I tried, I could not “unsee” or “unhear” some of the horrific photographs I saw or the disturbing testimony I heard. If I went home and brooded over things, I usually would have trouble sleeping, thinking about what I’d seen and heard. But If I went home, took a walk and invited Jesus to come along with me, and talked to Him about it, the burden of it always lifted and I was able to put it out of my mind and sleep that night.

In the book of Acts Peter was thrown into prison, probably to be executed just as James his brother had been, what was his response? (Acts 12:5) He was asleep bound between 2 guards! Why? How? Because he’d cast the care of his life over on God.

So when a stressful situation is keeping you up at night, pray “Father, I cast the care of this (whatever it is) over on You because I know You care for me. Now I will lay down and sleep because You have promised to give your beloved sleep.”

Jesus said “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me… 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.” (John 14:1, 27)

  1. Something used for support or a place for resting or lodging

Now just as rest is important for our physical bodies and our souls, rest is essential for our spirits. When we are physically tired, when we are mentally or emotionally stressed and drained, our spiritual life suffers and we are ineffective for the Kingdom of God. But equally, when we’re not refreshed and growing spiritually, our bodies and souls suffer. Each part of our being is dependent on the other – when one part suffers, our entire being suffers.

What is it that is rest for us, that something we can use for support? Where do we go to find a place of resting?

The NKJV of Psalm 94:12-15 says, “Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law, that You may give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance. But judgment will return to righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.”

Now listen to it from The Message: “How blessed the man you train, God, the woman you instruct in your Word, providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil, while a jail is being built for the wicked. God will never walk away from his people, never desert his precious people. Rest assured that justice is on its way and every good heart put right.”

“Providing a circle of quiet in the clamor of evil.” When we meditate on God’s Word, when we spend time alone with God, when we pray, God will provide a circle of quiet.

In John 16:33 Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Jesus is the One we can lean on for rest. In this life we will have problems, we will have conflicts, we will have family issues, we will have financial issues, we will have health issues. But Jesus says “In Me you can have peace.

Why is this important?

Today we are in a spiritual war as never before. There are things happening in the world, in our country, all around us, things that in the natural realm we have no control over. Satan is trying to destroy our nation, he wants to destroy our families, he wants to control our children.

But in the spirit realm, we have power because Jesus said, “I will give you the keys (authority) of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth will have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth will have [already] been loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19 AMP)

The most important thing we can do for the Kingdom of God is pray. Pray Spirit led, Word based prayers. The last phrase of James 5:16 says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

But if we’re struggling in our own soul, if we’re worn out, how effective can we be?

Matthew 28:18a says “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore..”

We have been given the authority in Jesus’ Name, we have been commissioned by Jesus, to work for the Kingdom of God. But we have to be ready and be prepared before we can be effective in this Kingdom work. We have to be ready for battle when God calls us.

We have to be physically and mentally ready as well as spiritually prepared for do Kingdom warfare.

The Bible says of Jesus: “Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left [the house], and went out to a secluded place, and was praying there.” Mark 1:35 (AMP)

Jesus began His day, spending time with the Father, listening to what the Father said. If you’re not an early riser, ask the Father what time He’d like you to meet with Him and ask Him to help you to set your schedule accordingly. We have to fit our schedule into God’s plans, not expect God to fit His plans into our schedule. Spend time during the day just quietly sitting, listening for His voice. You can pray, or not; read your Bible or not; but just bask in His presence.

Listen to Jesus speaking in Matthew 11:27-30.

“Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. ‘The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.

‘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.’”

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)

church_steeple

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

 

Do You “Have a Dream”?

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.” Acts 2:17

Do you have a dream for your life? I’m not talking about just a general dream or idea of what you’d like to do with your life or how you’d like to live. I’m talking about a God-given, God-inspired dream? Something so big that only God could bring it about?

We all get ideas and have dreams of doing something – a career, a family, success in life, financial security. But how can we tell if the dream we have is something from God or just our own imagination or desires? There are “good ideas” and there are “God Ideas”. We want to pursue the God Ideas.

To understand what God’s dream is for us, first we need to believe that He has a dream or a plan for us individually. Then we need to set ourselves apart to learn what it is. Habakkuk 2:1 says “I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.” Put yourself in a position to hear from God. Does He speak to you while you’re sitting alone in your house reading your Bible, or maybe while you’re listening to music? Where ever you need to be, get quiet before Him and ask the Holy Spirit to speak into your heart.

The Scripture goes on to say in verses 2 and 3 “Then the Lord answered me and said: ‘Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.'”

Write out what you think God is saying, whatever the dream or idea is, write it out in detail and look at it. Pray over it, submitting yourself and your plans to God’s will.

Question it.

  • Is this something that will bring glory to God or only something that you want for yourself? 
  • Will it enlarge the Kingdom of God, will it bless or encourage other believers or is it something that will only benefit you? 
  • Is this something that will cause you to grow in your walk with Christ or pull you away from Him?
  • Does what you have written about it have a Scriptural basis, is it Biblically sound or does some part of it go against God’s Word?

As you continue to pray and seek God’s will, He will reveal to you either Yes or No, whether it is for Now or for Later.

When Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr wrote his now famous “I Have a Dream Speech”, was he only thinking about himself, or was he thinking about other people, the multitudes suffering from injustice? He was a minister of the gospel, and had the heart of a pastor. His concern was for others and for the generations to come else he would not have risked so much for the dream God had planted in his heart for equality for all people.

Rev. King risked all to follow the dream God gave him. And ultimately it cost him his life. But he was obedient and today we can see the fruits of his labor. Our society still needs improvement, the world will never be entirely just and righteous until Jesus returns to reign on the earth. But we have come a long way from where we were in 1963 when Rev. King gave his speech towards the day when men and women, boys and girls are not “judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Do you have a vision or dream for your future or your life? God does and He wants to reveal it to you. Jeremiah 33:3 says ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

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.