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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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

“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

 

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

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

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

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