Encouragement for a Struggling Heart

    Though we fight it, dread it and do all we can to avoid it, struggles come in our lives. Times when we would rather just bury our heads in the sand and hide out until the storm passes by. Some attempt to sleep through it, others shop through, some worry through, eat or drink through and many of us just muddle through times of darkness or distress!  It has taken many lessons over many seasons for me to learn to take those times quickly to the Lord. So many times I have tried to handle things myself and after making a mess or coming to a dead-end, finally choose to seek Him. Today I found a very helpful passage as I was reading in Psalms. Maybe I’ve read it before, I probably have. Perhaps it was because I was reading a different translation, but it struck a deep chord in my soul and I would like to share it because we are living in a time when many are struggling and need encouragement and this passage breaths fresh hope and encouragement!

Psalm 112:1-10 Praise the Eternal!How blessed are those who revere the Eternal, who turn from evil and take great pleasure in His commandments. Their children will be a powerful force upon the earth; this generation that does what is right in God’s eyes will be blessed. His house will be stocked with wealth and riches, and His love for justice will endure for all time. When life is dark, a light will shine for those who live rightly—those who are merciful, compassionate, and strive for justice. Good comes to all who are gracious and share freely; they conduct their affairs with sound judgment. Nothing will ever rattle them; the just will always be remembered. They will not be afraid when the news is bad because they have resolved to trust in the Eternal. Their hearts are confident, and they are fearless, for they expect to see their enemies defeated. They give freely to the poor; their righteousness endures for all time; their strength and power is established in honor. The wicked will be infuriated when they see the good man honored! They will clench their teeth and dissolve to nothing; and when they go, their wicked desires will follow. (Voice translation)


     What a blessed promise for those who revere God and seek to walk in His way! Their children will be a powerful influence and will be blessed; needs met; love for justice will endure. Those that are merciful, compassionate and love justice will be blessed with light even when all seems dark!when our trust is in our God, we will see good even when times are not particularly good. We will reach a place where fear and bad reports will lose their power over us because we have learned God is good and to trust He is for us. We gain confidence that God is in control and He is not caught by surprise by the things that bring us struggles or pain. He can bring good things out of every situation. He is able to turn difficult situations into life changing victories. What the enemy means for harm in our lives, He can turn for our good and His glory. It has been proven time and time again and my life and for this I am very grateful. Many times I did not see His hand at work during the struggles but now in hindsight I can trace the work of God’s hand through it all and can confidently say His Word is true, He is faithful! He has never left or forsaken me! Pain may have endured for a night or a season but joy comes! Peace comes! Blessing comes! 

Illusion or Reality

      There is a mind-set floating boldly through our culture that began very subtly and over time has taken hold in almost every possible area of our lives. Some of its slogans are now pronounced very boldly and dare to be challenged. They have masqueraded as subtle statements like “the world is your oyster” to proclamations that you can have it all; be it all; and do it all. 

     Perhaps these sayings and those like it were meant to encourage us, empower us to be better, challenge us to reach further, climb higher and to motivate us to stretch ourselves. Sadly, they also hold potential like everything in life  to be carried  to far and turn from a positive encouraging word into a dangerous, reckless way of life. Without balance in the above statements, we may find ourselves believing in our own self-sufficiency and leaving broken relationships in the wake we leave behind.  Maybe an example is in order. Let’s consider tenacious pursuit of a goal. Tenacious is defined as patient, persistent, resolute, tireless, unshakeable. Being tenacious when pursuing something can be a strength. It can be an admirable quality, however this same quality can turn into stubbornness, a hazard and a quality that can do much harm and damage to both ourself and others when we become so focused on a goal that all else is forgotten and left in the dust. When taken to the extreme, relationships and responsibilities can be risked and much is at stake for being lost. Just as most things in life,  the key is balance, keeping our perspective and having realistic expectations for both ourselves and others.

      My scripture reading highlighted this for me today. Sometimes we choose to see God through our current circumstances only, refusing to remember His past actions in our life or forgetting to hold on to the promises that He has given us. In those times tunnel vision takes over and balance is very often lost. Sometimes we lose track of the greatness of God and His goodness. Sometimes we can’t see past ourselves or our troubles; we forget who He is and how powerful God is. It is in these times we may tend to forget His faithfulness to us, forget to run to Him for our solutions and try to ‘fix’ things ourselves.  It doesn’t typically turn out in my best interest when this happens to me! Time and experience are teaching me it is always in my best interest to remember to seek Him, seek His wisdom, His Word, His comfort, and His direction rather than trying to ‘fix’ it myself! 

Isaiah 40:6-31 “Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and announce to her that her time of forced labor is over, her iniquity has been pardoned, and she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”  A voice of one crying out: Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert. Every valley will be lifted up, and every mountain and hill will be leveled; the uneven ground will become smooth and the rough places, a plain. And the glory of the Lord will appear, and all humanity together will see it, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. The grass withers, the flower fades; nothing lasts except the word of our God.It will stand forever. 

     A voice was saying, “Cry out!” Another said, “What should I cry out?”  “All humanity is grass, and all its goodness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flowers fade when the breath of the Lord blows on them; indeed, the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; nothing lasts except the word of  our God.   It will stand forever.   Zion, herald of good news, go up on a high mountain.  Jerusalem, herald of good news, raise your voice loudly. Raise it, do not be afraid!  Say to the cities of Judah,“Here is your God!”   See, the Lord God comes with strength, and His power establishes His rule.  His reward is with Him, and His gifts accompany Him.  He protects His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them in the fold of His garment.  He gently leads those that are nursing. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand or marked off the heavens with the span of his hand?  Who has gathered the dust of the earth in a measure or weighed the mountains in a balance and the hills in the scales? Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or who gave Him His counsel?  Who did He consult with?  Who gave Him understanding and taught Him the paths of justice?  Who taught Him knowledge and showed Him the way of understanding?

 Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are considered as a speck of dust in the scales; He lifts up the islands like fine dust. Lebanon is not enough for fuel, or its animals enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before Him; they are considered by Him as nothingness and emptiness.  

Who will you compare God with? What likeness will you compare Him to? To an idol?—something that a smelter casts, and a metalworker plates with gold and makes silver welds for it? To one who shapes a pedestal, choosing wood that does not rot? He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not fall over. 

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?  Have you not considered the  foundations of the earth? God is enthroned above the circle of the earth; its inhabitants are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like thin cloth and spreads them out like a tent to live in.  He reduces princes to nothing and makes judges of the earth irrational. They are barely planted, barely sown, their stem hardly takes root in the ground when He blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind carries them away like stubble. 

“Who will you compare Me to, or who is My equal?” asks the Holy One. Look up and see: who created these?  He brings out the starry host by number; He calls all of them by name.  Because of His great power and strength, not one of them is missing.  Jacob, why do you say, and Israel, why do you assert:  “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my claim is ignored by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard?  Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding.  He gives strength to the weary and  strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.

          How easy it is to get wrapped up in our lives and circumstances!  How easy it is to get overwhelmed by our needs, our lack, our struggles. Sadly, sometimes it doesn’t take that much to make us lose sight of God’s goodness, power, past provision and love.  This passage  shows God’s desire for the comfort of His people; for their freedom from bondage. He is making His way to them/us, His reward and gifts are with Him. Who indeed is like our God?  Do we dare become so traumatized or so wrapped up in our own lives, agenda, desires, pursuits that we forget Him? Our lives are like grass.   In comparison to His greatness, we are as grasshoppers; our good deeds like filthy rags compared to His great goodness! Do we dare exalt ourselves and allow Him to be pushed to the back seat of our  lives? It can happen you know!  Do  we dare forget Him until things get tough and then suddenly realize how desperately we need Him?  Lord, may it not be so!  May  we,  Your children-Your sons and daughters, exalt You above all else in our lives knowing that when we do, all else begins to fall into right alignment. Help us to depend on You to guide us, free us, restore, renew, and regenerate us and not get trapped by the illusions the enemy sets before us as a trap to ensnare.

Peace Admist Chaos

     “God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with its turmoil. Selah” (‭Psalms‬ ‭46‬:‭1-3‬ HCSB)

       I have a confession. I am a news avoider! The thing is no matter how you avoid the news, and we do by not having any form of cable or satellite t.v.; the news will find you. Maybe I should clarify. My husband and I do not actively seek to watch network news of any kind on any regular basis because you see the same stories over and over, many times initial reports have speculation that later is found untrue. and if you allow it to, it can become overwhelming and depressing. That is not to say we do not stay informed by seeking out news from reputable sources, however. 

      Just a quick look at headlines from around the world and we can see stories of drought, flooding, wild fires, predictions of a possible eruption from a volcano or super-volcano, tsunamis, cyclones, wars, threats of wars, enemy planes flying into the territory of other countries, threats from Isis on the U.K, and U.S.A., even people being persecuted and killed for their beliefs.  The writer of Psalm 46 tells us even when these things happen we should not be afraid. As a matter of fact, you have probably heard as I have that the Word of God contains at least 365 verses the admonish us to ‘fear not’ and ‘do not be afraid’; one for each day of the year. The thing is, though it is good to be informed about world events and situations, if we are not careful we can get caught up in fear. 

     If I am honest, I have to admit that I am a recovering worrier and I was taught by one of the best! I also should say that I came to a decision many years ago that worrying did nothing but waste my time. Few of the things I worried about ever happened and those that did were not in my control. I could not stop them from occurring so what was the point of worrying? It did not prepare me to handle them any better.  I came to realize worry was just a a symptom of doubt and mistrust and my attempt at control. Perhaps my thinking was if I thought about every possible scenario, I could be better prepared or could head it off; holding on to some semblance of control. In reality, what I learned is to a great extent control is just an illusion. There are times we can not even control our own self, how in the world did I ever believe I could control the bigger things in life?  

      For me to be In Christ and hold on to those worries, fears, and need to feel in control was (choking on my words…) unbelief. Even now, that is hard to say! The truth is I fully believed He was who He said He was; for goodness sake He created the world and everything in it out of virtually nothing. Rather than getting hung up on whether or not I believed He could do what He said, my hang up was more on whether He would do it for me. I never doubted God’s ability and had faith that all His mighty works were true. I just questioned my worthiness for Him to act on my behalf.  That was until I joined a group of ladies in a study of the patriarchs. When you examine the lives of the people that God used mightily throughout the scriptures, you see He used all types of people but the one common thread was they all were flawed. They made mistakes, poor decisions, and at times were in rebellion to God. That did not stop God from accomplishing His will through them, nor sit it stop Him from acting on the behalf of His people. 

     One quick example is when the Hebrew people cried out to God for deliverance. God sent Moses and brought them out of slavery with His mighty hand, delivering their enemies into the Red Sea. Yet, after wandering in the desert they began to long for the tasty food of their old life and began to grumble against God. The manna of Heaven was no longer sufficient for them, they wanted meat. God provided them with meat, literally more than they could stand in the form of quail; despite the ungratefulness of their heart, He still moved on their behalf. The bottom line is that there really is nothing that we can ever do to be worthy of God’s love, of Jesus’ sacrifice,  or of God moving on our behalf! When God moves on our behalf, no matter how big or small; it is because of His goodness and His faithfulness! It is because of His character we can face personal crisis, chaos and even world crisis with strength and courage. We can choose to trust Him and trust in His love and faithfulness rather than collapse under fear and discouragement!  He is calling us…”Be still and know He is God!”


God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with its turmoil. Selah There is a river — its streams delight the city of God, the holy dwelling place of the Most High. God is within her; she will not be toppled. God will help her when the morning dawns. Nations rage, kingdoms topple; the earth melts when He lifts His voice. The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah Come, see the works of the Lord, who brings devastation on the earth. He makes wars cease throughout the earth. He shatters bows and cuts spears to pieces; He burns up the chariots. “Stop your fighting — and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” Yahweh of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah (‭Psalms‬ ‭46‬:‭1-11‬ HCSB)

Are We Awake and Alert ?

     Just a glance at the headlines around the world is enough to strike fear into the heart and cause us like the ostrich to bury our head in the sand! Gaza has been fiercely attacking Israel for years, escalating in 2012 and almost non-stop in 2014; Israel is rightfully defending her land and it’s people; Christians all over the world are being tolerated less and less, in many areas they are put into prison for their beliefs, still others they are being executed. Children being beheaded by ISIS. Threats also from them to kill every Christian they see. Genocide; 250 Nigerian girls abducted; persecution in Ukraine; speculation over Russian bomber flying in U.S. Air space…just to name a few headlines. No wonder so many people today avoid watching the news and many news stations are reporting little more than blips of these stories. Wars, threats of wars, nation rising up against nation and double standards within the national community. Comments like “you should just leave them alone and let them have their land ignoring that they are constantly bombing you.” Yet that very same people group would defend themselves to the hilt!

Interestingly, it sounds a lot like what Jesus said should happen before His return in Matthew 24:

3 As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these things are the beginning of birth pains. 9 “Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of My name. 10 Then many will be led into sin, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will appear and deceive many, 12 and because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the person who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”


     This passage makes it clear, if you read further, that no one knows the time of His coming but we can know the signs and we can be educated and informed. You might wonder if you are like many of us, why be informed and aware because we think there isn’t any thing we can do about it. First let’s look at Revelation 1:3 for a minute…I know we avoid Revelation, it’s hard to understand and scary… But just hang in there this verse isn’t and it is very interesting…”Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy aloud, and blessed are those who hear and obey the things written in it, because the time is near!” Now think about this, whether Jesus return is imminent, twenty years away, or 2,000 more years away; one thing is true. We are closer today than we have ever been and we are not powerless nor helpless. If we are awake, alert and watching we can make a difference in our world today! Jesus Christ did not leave His people here powerless! He armed us with the Holy Spirit and power, with God’s Word and with Spiritual Armor so that we could fight. There is great power in our bending the knee in prayer and petition, interceding on behalf of Christian and Jewish believers around the world and on behalf of our own nation.

    “and if My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14   

     Prayer is powerful! Elijah prayed down rain from Heaven, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours; yet he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the land.” James 5:17 and “Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go get something to eat and drink, for I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!” So Ahab went to eat and drink. But Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees. Then he said to his servant, “Go and look out toward the sea.” The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, “I didn’t see anything.” Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.” Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’” And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel. Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel.” 1 Kings 18:41-45. 

     Many other examples include the prayers of Moses, David, Daniel, Jesus…just to get started. There are many powerful examples of prayer in the Bible and the power of prayer has not diminished in our day!  God has also given many promises in His Word that we can hold on to. Let’s just look at one for now. In Leviticus 26, this is His promise to those who were obedient to Him…”

“‘If you walk in My statutes and are sure to obey My commandments, I will give you your rains in their time so that the land will give its yield and the trees of the field will produce their fruit. Threshing season will extend for you until the season for harvesting grapes, and the season for harvesting grapes will extend until sowing season, so you will eat your bread until you are satisfied, and you will live securely in your land. I will grant peace in the land so that you will lie down to sleep without anyone terrifying you. I will remove harmful animals from the land, and no sword of war will pass through your land.You will pursue your enemies and they will fall before you by the sword. Five of you will pursue a hundred, and a hundred of you will pursue ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword. I will turn to you, make you fruitful, multiply you, and maintain my covenant with you. 10 You will still be eating stored produce from the previous year and will have to clean out what is stored from the previous year to make room for new. 11 “‘I will put my tabernacle in your midst and I will not abhor you. 12 I will walk among you, and I will be your God and you will be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, from being their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and caused you to walk upright.”

     Our God has provided everything we need for life and godliness, He has placed within us His Holy Spirit and He will guide us and help us deal with anything that comes our way if we trust Him, hear. His voice, seek His face and learn to surrender our lives to Him. For He is humble and His yoke is easy, His burden is light.  If we allow Him, He will direct our prayers, our words, our ways and our paths! I love how The Message words this passage from 2 Corinthians 2:

14-16 In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, He brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse. “


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Jul 7, 2009 – Uploaded by whitestone84

A Hero comes from the wilderness to cry out to the captives, pleading for them to awaken. This …



  August 5

   Rejoicing today at the goodness of God! Even when we doubt, question our decisions, make mistakes, fall short…He still has a plan for us and that plan is a good plan because He is for us and He loves us!! In our weakness, He is strong…embracing surrender to His plan is our greatest strength!!

     You may wonder how I can be so sure. Normally I would probably just tell you past experience, learning who He says we are in Christ and holding tightly to the belief His Word is true.  In a word, by faith. All of these things are true, but today I experienced tangible proof.  After ten and a half years, I am finally letting go a huge part of my life… My home from birth until the day I walked down the isle to marry; my children spent a lot of their childhood visiting with their grandparents in this home and it was an extension of our home. Many memories have been made in the 53 years this house has been home to my parents and has been in our family. Over the last 10 years, both my son and daughter have spent time here with their spouse as newly married couples. Many memories! I was not as prepared as I thought but knew the time had come and for the last several years we had began praying that when it did, God would send the right buyer quickly, show us what to ask and direct us through the process. We had also asked several friends to join us in this prayer. We know it would be a challenge because of area and because of the volatility in the housing market over the last several years. We have watched as prices dropped steadily for several years in a row and the market was flooded with homes in that area. 

      Having said all this, fourteen days ago, I placed the home I grew up in on the market to sale. I knew this day was coming and now it had finally arrived.  We had prayed about everything: asking price, agent, a prepared buyer, guidance in the whole process. Many might wonder about bothering God with prayers of such things, but I learned a long time ago that God cares about us even in the small things! He tells us, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7). I believe our God  cares about everything concerning His sons and daughters! For goodness sake, He knows the number of hairs on our head! 

    Back to the story, fourteen days ago today, mid afternoon, the for sale sign was placed.  Several folks have looked at the property and at least three have been pretty interested. An offer came in Sunday night near bedtime, significantly lower than our asking price. It was from a non-profit organization whose mission is to help people. Refusing to be shaken by the lower number, we prayed and prepared our counter-offer then went to sleep believing God was still answering our original prayers. A Counter-offer was submitted on our behalf, and countered in an e-mail by their agent (not an official counter-offer).  It was only slightly higher than the original offer, while we had countered with an amount exactly half way between each of our original numbers. Because it was a charitable organization, we felt that was the right thing to do. We choose to decline their second offer, knowing several others were interested and we had only been advertised for a short time. 

     I have to admit when I first got up today after declining the unofficial offer last night, my initial thought was should we have declined…but…I immediately captured that thought and countered it with this one: Even when we doubt, question our decisions, make mistakes, fall short…He still has a plan for us and that plan is a good plan!

      The long and short of this is that my counter offer was made at 3:04 p.m.; buyers agent responded with non-official counter offer at 3:56 p.m.; the buyer signed our original counter offer at 6:02 p.m.; both, before I saw second offer and three hours before I declined it. All that was missing was the buyers agent’s signature. As of now, the contract is complete and binding.  The agents refusal of offer never was received and my agent received a signed acceptance on our first counter offer.  I fully believe that God, in all His sovereignty, had His hand all over this transaction for the benefit of all parties concerned. I also believe He will see it through to completion at the closing table because of surrendered hearts! In the meantime, no doubts or questions because even if this falls through and…


Even when we doubt, question our decisions, make mistakes, fall short…He still has a plan for us and that plan is a good plan because He is for us and He loves us!! In our weakness, He is strong…embracing surrender to His plan is our greatest strength!!




Your Kingdom Come

     Today, while reading Revelation 5, the following scripture was the focus of my study:  “They were singing a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were killed, and at the cost of your own blood you have purchased for God persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation. You have appointed them as a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (‭Revelation‬ ‭5‬:‭9-10‬ NET)      Because I have been researching on our identity in Christ a lot lately, these two verses stood out among all the others. Why? In these two small verses we learn that Jesus’ obedience to His Father cost Him His life, which He willing laid down; His blood has purchased people from every nation, language and tribe; Jesus has appointed those people (His followers) as kings and priests to serve God; and lastly that His people will reign on earth.  We have been commissioned to represent Jesus on the earth by making disciples. (Matthew 28:19) What did this look like? When John the Baptist drew the people, he would call out repent and be baptized for the Kingdom of God is at hand. When Jesus began His ministry, that Kingdom, though not what the world has expected had come. (Matthew 12:28 and Luke 11:20 tell us this.)       Acts 10 tells us this about Jesus: “…37you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39“We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross”      Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and went around doing good. Full of the Holy Spirit, He walked in and by the Spirit. This tells us according to Galatians 5 that His life looked like this: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Then goes on to tell us:  “Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, being jealous of one another. (‭Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭22-26‬ NET)      Isaiah 53 tells us this about Jesus… “He sprouted up like a twig before God, like a root out of parched soil; He had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention, no special appearance that we should want to follow Him. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭53‬:‭2‬ NET) I mention this to point out that it was not Christ’s looks that drew them to follow Him according to scripture. Based on Galatians; it was His personality as He submitted His life to the Holy Spirit and walked in the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus went about doing good; teaching; making disciples; healing; bringing deliverance; exemplifying the character of God by walking in the Spirit exuding love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control! He showed mercy, grace and compassion when interacting with people. Consider the woman at the well. She was a Samaritan and a woman. She came to the well in the heat of the day to avoid towns people because of their treatment. Jesus shows her kindness and compassion and strikes up a conversation; a Jewish man speaking to a Samaritan! A woman! How could this be? By the time the disciples were returning, He had confirmed her truthfulness of her lack of a husband and had lovingly pointed out her past. Why do I think it was done in love and compassion? She went back to her town, to people who disapproved of her, and she told them about Jesus and her encounter. They all came to see Jesus. Why would she do this unless it was the fruit of the Spirit is His life and in His conversation with her?  He responded a little differently with the religious leaders who knew God’s Word and taught it, yet did not observe it themselves He was less gentle and more to the point because they knew the Scriptures.      Jesus set the example of what the Kingdom of God looks like and entreated us to walk as He walked.  He set an example of being loving and compassionate with people gently teaching them and speaking the truth in love. This is why they followed Him!  Based on this, I am positive beyond a doubt His success was because He exemplified the fruit of the Spirit! There is absolutely no indication that Jesus used guilt, fear or shame, those are tactics of the enemy who comes to kill, steal and destroy. (John 10:10) Jesus came to give life to us! Kingdom life. He came to purchase us for God, bring us into the Kingdom, empower us with the Holy Spirit and infuse us with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.      Can you just imagine what would happen if all His people choose to walk this way? It seems a little to hard to believe that we could but if we had a revelation of our true identity in Christ, who God says we truly are and walked in that, I believe we would live in a noticeably different world than the one we often see around us. Grace and peace to you! Blessings

Why Do I Love the Word?

What an interesting question that was posed today in the current Bible study I am doing! Why do you love God’s Word? It was followed with this proposal…consider a friend or acquaintance asked you this question because they did not understand your love for the Bible and you were too taken off guard to respond at the time. Now, you sit down to write a note or letter to explain… How would you explain? So here goes lets give it a try…


Dear Friend,

I was taken aback a bit by your question today and needed a little time to process

your inquiry because many emotions rose up within me at that moment. Too many to

put into words immediately.  God’s Word is life and health to me! Without it, I would

not be the person I am… I probably would not be alive and certainly would not even

resemble the person you know.  His Word has been the source of strength to carry on in

the darkest of days, when sorrow, grief and loss were so very overwhelming that easily I

could have crawled into a dark hole, given up and disappeared. It has brought comfort

and peace in the most frightening of times; it has been my source of encouragement

when all seemed lost and I felt totally alone; it has been a well of hope springing up in

the driest of deserts; a balm to heal my heart when it has been wounded or too heartsick

to even move. His Word has been freedom to a soul held captive by her circumstances

and it has flooded joy into a heart teaching me that joy is available even in the times

where happiness is elusive and circumstances are challenging. When I have been wise, it

has offered me the keys to navigate through every passage on this journey of life. When I

have been foolish, He has drawn me back to it to lovingly shine light on the areas that

could have been better navigated and teach me better ways for the future.  Yes, it is life;

strength; comfort; peace; encouragement; healing; freedom; joy; direction; and

instruction. God’s Word also displays my Father’s character, shows the greatness of His

love, and tells me who I am In Christ. In Him, we are called friend; son or daughter;

beloved; accepted; redeemed; justified; set apart; precious; blameless; chosen; and

kings and priests…just to name a few. It contains everything needed to live a victorious

life and to avoid the pitfalls life tends to throw our way. It is a precious gift and a much

needed tool for my life.  Dear friend, I hope this at least in part answers your question

and thank you! for challenging me with this question. It is good to be challenged; to be

able put words to such deeply felt emotions and beliefs and to bring to remembrance

why we hold something or someone so dear and precious. It keeps it fresh to us and

prevents us from taking it for granted!


Grace and peace to you my friend!

To Catch a Thief

“The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy…” It is with a grateful heart I tell you it does not end there! Jesus goes on to inform us that He “has come to give us abundant life”‘, “life to the full”, “rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10

One of Pastor’s points in his message yesterday has captivated me. It has rolled over and over in my mind ever since he spoke it. My first thought was I know this, how could I loose sight of this? Maybe I should explain. The statement that has captured me was “Whatever the enemy uses most against you is what scares him most About you!” 

Just let that one roll around in your mind a bit…

        “Whatever the enemy uses most against you is what scares him most About you!”

Whether we are talking about an enemy in the natural world or the enemy of our soul, they are an enemy because something about us is a threat to them. By definition, this is true…


Ok, supposing this is an accurate statement, and I believe it is, just what are the tactics the enemy uses most in my life when he aims his fiery darts my way? Let’s start with a few areas that can be points of attack and we can answer silently whether or not they apply to our individual lives:

  • Fears
  • Relationships
  • Insecurity
  • Worth
  • Health
  • Worry
  • Self doubt
  • Not enough
  • Too much
  • Comparison
  • Finances
  • Lack
  • Loneliness
  • Love
  • Purpose
  • Job/profession

The list is endless… Do any of them hit just a little too close to home? For me, some do.  Not only do some of them hit close to home, one or two have been with me since I was a very young girl! The good news is knowing these places in which we are vulnerable is half the battle, maybe more than half. Let’s use worth as an example because in our culture it is an easy target.  Our world celebrates beauty, wealth, youth and sexuality and places a high premium on each so much so, that even the most beautiful of models and celebrities’ flaws are photoshopped away. This being the case, many get caught in comparing ourselves to others.

Comparison is one of the snares of the enemy. God created each of us to be unique, each having different strengths, different talents, different giftings and abilities, different looks and even different weaknesses. He celebrates our differences and our differences make us more effective when we work together in the body of Christ. Our differences also set us up to be tempted to compare ourselves to others. When we do,  we can see those differences as flaws and begin to become dissatisfied with ourselves, feeling worthless. Conversely, we could also fall into the trap of pride or conceit and view ourselves as better than another. Both of these can play right into the hand of the enemy and keep us from being the best person we can be. Lack of worth can limit us or hold us back from fulfilling our purpose and being our best. On the flip side pride and thinking too highly of ourself can put others off and limit our influence with people.  Either extreme renders us less effective at best in fulfilling God’s purpose or plan for our life. In the worst case, it stops us in our tracks. It also can cause us to fall short of the abundant life that Jesus has planned for us to live.

Knowledge is power! Knowing those weak spots helps us to identify and prepare for the future attacks. It is also helpful to be armed with the knowledge of what our God says about who we are In Christ!  Child of God, In Christ you are: loved, accepted, redeemed, beloved, precious, chosen, forgiven, complete, a new creation, set apart, and so much more! In the Word we are told in Christ we are…

The enemy will do what he can to stop us and to keep us from understanding that Our God deemed us worthy of His Son giving His life for us. Zephaniah 3:17 tells us:  “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV) Jesus laid it all down for us, not one of us could ever earn or deserve such a generous gift and yet You gave it freely to us-Grace!

Grace-pure and simple-unearned-unmerited-Grace

You love us for who we are, not despite who we are. You love us for who You know we can be yet You meet us right where we are!

Pure Love







Frozen With Fear Or Standing Firm In Faith

Like clockwork about three a.m. this morning, completely cooperating with the predictions of weather forecasters  over the last four days, the pinging of sleet announced it’s arrival. Most of Georgia is officially in a winter weather warning or watch for either an ice storm or heavy snow. For many this is a normal occurrence during the winter months, but not so for Georgians. I can count on less than two hands the times we have experienced any more than the occasional dusting of snow to possibly an inch or two. Of the few times we have had more generous amounts or actually experience the rare ice storm, 1973 stands out as the worst in my mind. I was barely eleven at the time and it made an impression on me in so very many ways. Many lessons were set before me that are still very precious today.

I will first share a little background about the storm. It began in early January and in a short time there was ice accumulations of up to four inches in some parts of northern Georgia. We lived just outside of Atlanta and not far from Hartsfield Airport. It was not long before the weight of the ice began to cause widespread power outages. There were as many as 300,000 people without power. Our family was without power for a full week, despite living only 20 minutes from downtown Atlanta, some further out in rural areas were without for longer. When I think about that storm, I can still hear those snap, crackle and pops of the ice dangling from those lines and trees. For a child, the glistening ice was beautiful-it looked like a winter wonderland on a postcard. It was also a bit scary, because in the quiet of the night with no street lights, no flood lights or porch lights it seemed that the crackling and popping ice sounded much more ominous as branches and limbs overweighted with ice began to break. As I said above, this storm made a great impression on me in a number of ways, and I am still very grateful for ’til this day for lessons learned!

Lesson one, we were blessed. Lesson two, be prepared. Our family lived in a small suburban home at a time when all-electric homes were becoming more and more popular. Our home was a little older, maybe about thirteen or fourteen years old and we thankfully had a gas stove before pilotless ignition.  We also had gas floor furnaces which required absolutely no electricity to run. We had a separate freezer and enough food in it to keep it cold until we could freeze jugs of water to add in to keep it cold and it was cold enough to freeze it outside! We also had lots of quilts, a couple of heaters, camping stoves and several oil lamps and lanterns for camping. We were equipped and were blessed with extra that we could share with a couple of families who had all-electric homes, one of which had recently returned home with their new-born. We were also blessed to have water longer because the floor furnaces kept our pipes warm, many were left with pipes burst and later water lines froze for many between the meters and the houses because of extreme cold.

Lesson three, Philippians 6-7.  ” Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life!”. Remember those scary sounds in the night?? They got scarier! The crackling ice, breaking icicles, snapping branches, gave away to a huge snapping sound followed by an enormous thud, not once but twice during the middle of the night. Oh how I prayed that night, not one but two very good size pine trees uprooted completely and came down. Fortunately, neither hit our home or the home of our friends next door and damage was limited to the fence, the bumper of their car and the shell cover on the back of their truck. I was blessed to have learned at an early age to pray and pray I had done all through that night as the sound of falling trees continued throughout the night and throughout the week until the thaw finally came. Thankfully, most were in the woods across the street and caused no property damage. By the way, this possibly made the biggest impression to me as a child.  To this day when I hear of a storm coming, I begin to immediately pray! It doesn’t matter if it is ice, thunder, lightening, flooding, tornado or hurricane. Prayer changes things and fear is a waste of time. Be anxious about nothing, pray about everything! The peace of God which passes understanding will come if we stand in faith. Speak to fear telling it to go!! Pray, believe, if necessary pray for help with our unbelief, and STAND!

There were probably many other lessons learned that week such as how to have fun without electricity or t.v., get along with and help others, and it is probably where I began to love reading books and the Word. Reminiscing over it today, I can’t help but to think of how much our world has changed since then we have made some great progress since 1973 but we have also tended to become more busy and less connected. Many of us don’t know our neighbors like we did in previous years but only know them on the surface to say hi, if we even know them at all. We had a park over a block away and there were mommas on that road that knew me and the kids next door and if she saw us at the park she would ask, “do your parents know you are here?” Now we are hard pressed to let kids walk two doors down without us right by their side because we live in a much different world.

Imagine if everyone who has faith even as small as a mustard seed resolved to:

Pray for protection and provision for ALL those in the path all of the storms in life, especially the elderly and children and the many people who are working and on call to keep us safe…police, firemen, military, national guard, coast guard, public safety workers, EMT’s, doctors, nurses, transportation workers, and for their families. What if we did it daily, not just when storms are predicted or overwhelm us in their wake? What if we choose to take a few minutes a day to stand in the gap out of compassion and gratitude and believe without doubt that not only is god willing but God is able! Storms and trials may still come but how much better equipped to weather them would we be? How much easier to face them just knowing we are uplifting each other before, during and following the threats that come?

Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? 12 And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (AMP) Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).

Making Room

Today’s Bible reading passage in the plan I am using is Isaiah 54, or at least I thought it was… until I looked later and found I jumped ahead a chapter. Perhaps I was subconsciously eager because it is one of my many favorites in Isaiah. It is right on the heels of another favorite, Isaiah 53 which is the prophecy of the coming Suffering Servant, Jesus Christ. There are great promises for Israel in this chapter, I personally believe there are lessons for the Christian also in these words and perhaps some of the promises apply to us as also. Based on Galatians 3: 13-14 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree ”) in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles, so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit by faith. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female – for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:13, 14, 27-29 NET).

The first attention getter for me was verse two. It says to enlarge your tents, spread out the wall, stretch your boundaries. Then one translations says don’t hold back; another says spare no effort; and lastly another says spare no expense. It goes on to say lengthen your ropes and pound your steaks deep. Many commentaries agree that this refers to the time after Christ when the gospel would be shared with both Jews and Gentile. As I considered the passage this morning I felt impressed that it could also be very applicable in my life and the lives of others. Maybe for our day, it is saying make room for God and all that He desires to do in our lives. Make space for Him, for the assignment He has for our life, and for the blessings He wants to give us. Be diligent and prepare even when it may seem nothing is actually happening right now. Keep trusting God and being expectant of what He has planned for it will come to pass in His timing. His timing is always perfect and right on time. His plans for us are good, believe and trust He is for us!

Don’t be afraid, for you will not be put to shame! Don’t be intimidated, for you will not be humiliated! You will forget about the shame you experienced in your youth; you will no longer remember the disgrace of your abandonment. (Isaiah 54:4 NET). Trials, troubles from the past that cause shame will no longer haunt you, they will be forgotten was my next big take away. We all have an experience or two in our lives that haunts us, one we want to forget. That is exactly why Jesus came (Isaiah 53 & 61:1-4) to bear our sickness, disease, sin and shame. Also He came to encourage the poor, heal the broken hearted, bring liberty to captives, freedom to prisoners, and relief and joy to those who mourn! We are neither limited nor do we have to be defined by our past, we can move past the things that shamed, intimidated, humiliated and held us back in the past!

Though the mountains move and the hills shake, My love will not be removed from you and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says your compassionate Lord. (Isaiah 54:10 HCSB) Our Heavenly Father loves us and nothing can change that. Those In Christ have been given right standing with Him. His love is unwavering and His covenant of peace will not be shaken!

I also love verses thirteen and fourteen, that our children will be taught of The Lord and prosper and that we can live oppression free and far from terror. Followed up by: ‘No weapon forged to be used against you will succeed; you will refute everyone who tries to accuse you. This is what the Lord will do for his servants – I will vindicate them,” says the Lord’.(Isaiah 54:17 NET) I certainly am no theologian, just a simple follower of Jesus. One who, based on many experiences in my own life, has witnessed the goodness of God and His promises in even the toughest of times and the loss of some of the people dearest to me. I can attest to His great love, His mercy and grace in the hard places in life even in the times He seems absent or silent, He is there working, loving and watching over you. May you be blessed this day and may His goodness and mercy follow you!