Could Someone Please Turn up the Lights?

The America in which I grew up is M.I.A.! Yep, Missing In Action. This country is unrecognizable on so many fronts. By all reports, it seems divided right down the middle. The truth is it is not. Many of us were not happy with either of the final choices that we had to pick from for president. However, we now have a new President! Believers, it is our job to pray for those in authority according to scripture! It is not our job to judge, complain or fear. It is our responsibility to pray for him and our country without regard for our feelings!

To the Women marching on Washington: You claim to speak for women everywhere. I hate to bear you this news, but much that was said represents only a portion of women in this country. Scare tactics, vulgarity, threats and parading your female parts on your heads with your face peeking out doesn’t speak for me; nor many other ladies I know. How appropriate I must say were the cat hats because that is just what some of your representative’s behavior was; “catty.” Oh, how different was the March for life just one week later! Your threats indicate you are bullies disregarding the opinions of women who disagree with your ideology. You do not represent me, and just because I don’t agree with many of your talking points does not make me any less of a woman or any less an advocate for females. I was brought up with manners, modesty and to act like a lady, as were many women all across this country. You, I repeat, do not speak for all women!

To those attacking the New President’s son: I DO NOT care who you do or do not like or support politically. Nor do I care how scared or threatened you feel about the incoming President! Making vicious attacks, accusations or judgments about a ten-year-old young man is absolutely NEVER ok!! It is especially heinous when coming from a supposed adult!! That is the epitome of a bully, and IT IS EVIL!

Without support, this kind of rhetoric could easily do much damage to a ten-year-old, and you are responsible whether your acknowledge it or not for the damage that ensues. Imagine if this young man or anyone you treated so poorly were to act in desperation because of your actions!!

To American Voters everywhere: Have you ever wondered why there has never been such unrest and violent rioting as we have seen since this election? Did you see Republicans act like this after President Obama entered office? President Bush? How about after President Clinton entered office? This process happens every four years and when have your ever seen this kind of out of control behavior in the civilized world? Violent riots are increasing! Everyone is looking out only for their causes without regard to the rights of the other side, and in the process innocent people and businesses get caught in the cross-fire, suffering loss! It is wrong and senseless!! People are stepping on others rights to assert their own. That, my friends, is called oppression- forcing your thought and ideas on others. America is referred to as the land of the free for a reason. All people are entitled to be free unless they break the law. People’s belief is not legislated, at least not yet in this country; though many are pushing us that direction by the thought police. What possesses people to act out in such destructive, violent ways? Why is it acceptable for them to revert to barbaric behavior? Why do others choose more productive ways to deal with loss, disappointment, and fear?

I have news for you; the world is watching. The nation once admired for being a kind; generous, Christian nation is now on display around the world. Where the world is concerned, the media stories are America. No wonder they see Americans as selfish, self-promoting, spoiled, childish, and entitled people. The nation once admired for being a kind; generous, freedom-loving country is now on display around the world, and the picture is ugly and dark. A moderately small number of loud voices are speaking out and claiming to speak for us all. Maybe I am deceived, but I believe that there are many others of you out there that are just as horrified as I am with what they are seeing. We are at a crossroads, and if we continue traveling in this direction, we just may not be happy with the outcome. The question is, “What can or will we do about it?” How long will we sit by and keep quiet allowing those who think differently be the only ones heard? What can you and I do? Can someone please just turn up the lights?? Can we roll this darkness back or call on Someone who can?

President Trump has said that under his leadership, America will become great again. Even with the best of intentions, one person cannot achieve this. Even with the cooperation of every staff member, Congressman, Senator, and Judge, it would be difficult at best. The answer is we the people. Let’s face it, darkness and division are plaguing our people. We spend more time on the few things that divide us than those that unite us. Instead of finding common ground, people insist on their own selfish ways. Each man does what is ‘right’ in his/her own heart. Moral absolutes have often been cast aside and caution in many cases thrown to the wind.

America’s greatness has come from being united. Separate states governing themselves united in one country, under one flag. America’s greatness came from freedom. Freedom of religion, protecting us from a forced national religion. In other words, we can practice whatever religion we choose or none at all; we are free. Freedom of protection which includes our speech, the right to defend ourselves and bear arms. Let’s face it; it also includes freedom of journalism which is a very HOT topic these days! That includes their right to report the story first despite having accurate and truthful facts. They are free to do this, though it isn’t a very smart choice of behavior. I like most others would much prefer an accurate and unbiased report over lots of speculation that later has to be repaired, retracted or corrected. Frankly, it causes chaos and fear that is very unnecessary. Can WE PLEASE just turn up the lights?

Father God, Please forgive us for letting our voices grow softer. Please forgive us for becoming more and more silent; letting our lights dim. Change and revival begin in Your House, oh Lord; with the individuals who love You seeking to be their best self by seeking You, following Your statutes. Help us to be the people You created us to be. To be bold and unashamed of our inheritance or our destiny! Teach us to be brave, bold and stand firm for the things that are deep in our heart; fearing not to be different and stand up for what is good and what is true!

Your Word says:                                                                                                                                       “Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him: I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a temple of sacrifice. 13 If I close the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send pestilence on My people, 14 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. 15 My eyes will now be open and My ears attentive to prayer from this place. 16 And I have now chosen and consecrated this temple so that My name may be there forever; My eyes and My heart will be there at all times. 17 As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, doing everything I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and ordinances, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I promised your father David: You will never fail to have a man ruling in Israel.19 However, if you turn away and abandon My statutes and My commands that I have set before you and if you go and serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from the soil that I gave them, and this temple that I have sanctified for My name I will banish from My presence; I will make it an object of scorn and ridicule among all the peoples. 21 As for this temple, which was exalted, everyone who passes by will be appalled and will say: Why did the Lord do this to this land and this temple? 22 Then they will say: Because they abandoned the Lord God of their ancestors who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They clung to other gods and worshiped and served them. Because of this, He brought all this ruin on them.” 2 Chronicles 7

Please Lord, help us to realize there is much more here than just a prayer for forgiveness and healing in our land. There is a warning to keep false gods out of our lives, including the god of selfishness. So what are the false gods that plague us today? Please give us eyes to see what they are. Perhaps political correctness is one, or materialism, obsession with technology, televisions, hobbies, sports, fear. Is it possible self can become a major god in our life? How about education? Have we become so smart that true wisdom is lacking? Please give us the wisdom to humble ourselves, repent and seek Your face, learn and grow and allow our lights to shine brightly. Please help us to find True North and get back on the right road and may Your children turn up their lights all around this land and live peacefully! In Jesus Mighty Name, Amen.

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,                                                                         and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”                                                                          2 Corinthians 13:14

The Correct Fit is Crucial

This morning I have been thinking about the importance of how a thing fits. Whether it is an item of clothing, shoes, a career, a relationship, a hobby or perhaps volunteer work; if it fits well, it is much more enjoyable! Don’t believe me? Try walking around in shoes that are either two sizes too big or too small, pants so tight they challenge your circulation or so large that… Well, for some that is fashionable so I won’t go there. The truth is for most of us wearing the wrong fit ranges from uncomfortable to unbearable.

We are all different in our body types, our personalities, our talents, and giftings are different as well. We are from different ethos. Our varied experiences upon which we tend to base our view of life are unique to our life. Even those raised in the same household can find that they are very different in some areas. Even so, we live in a world that many find themselves in the trap of comparison and competition. In this world, many of us try to fit into what some consider ‘normal’ rather than celebrating who we were created to be in the first place.

I have to ask, is this healthy? Each will have to answer this question for themselves. Is it healthy for a person to grow and stretch? Absolutely! But is is healthy to force yourself to fit immediately into a mold that is meant for someone else? For example, an introvert may never be the first to speak out publicly or become the life of the party. However, it is very likely they will grow more comfortable being around larger groups and speaking out as they grow and mature through the circumstances of their life.

Take David and Goliath for an example, many of us are very familiar with this story from our childhood. David, a shepherd boy, faces off with a scary, huge giant who was terrorizing the Israelites. David takes a slingshot and five smooth stones. He aims and hurls the first stone killing the great beast of a man. Then David becomes king. What I was not told and had to learn as an adult was that David had been chosen and anointed as the next king of Israel while still tending sheep. He was tasked with caring for a flock and protecting that flock. While in the wilderness, he had protected his charges from the threat of wild animals.

Then he became an armor bearer for King Saul, the king he was to replace. When Saul became tormented, David is called upon to play his harp which would sooth the king.
Fast forward to the gathering of the Philistine army for battle. They gathered on the land belonging to Judah, encamped in the area between Soccoh and Azekah. Saul and the men of Israel gathered nearby to protect their property. Goliath led the Philistines and taunted the men of Israel both by his size and with his mouth. Saul and his men were alarmed and afraid. That’s when David arrives bringing food to his three older brothers who are with Saul. David then inquires of the men, “what will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” 1 Samuel 17:26 Then David takes up the challenge but immediately is told he is a youth and unprepared. David reminds them that he had protected the flocks in the wilderness and had killed both a lion and a bear while the sheep were in his charge. “The Lord delivered me from the paw or the lion and the paw of the bear; He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (verse 37).

Next, they proceeded by dressing David in the king’s armor. David tried to walk in the ill-fitting armor and promptly said he could not wear what he’d not tested. He removed the armor and took up his slingshot. Only when properly fitted with the tools that fit him, was David able to accomplish what the army of Israel had not been able to accomplish.
We all have a destiny and a purpose according to scriptures like Psalm 139, Jeremiah 29:11-13; Ephesians 2:10 and others. What we have to remember is that growing into that destiny is a process and rarely happens fast and certainly not overnight. Instead, the circumstances, trials, and people God places in our lives help us grow and stretch. Our boundaries are increased as are our experiences. We are strengthened and renewed to prepare us to face the next new challenge as we choose to cooperate with Him. When we don’t, we can become stuck and risk growing weary or stagnant in that place.

Lord, teach us to be wise and not try to wear another’s ill- fitting armor or try to be someone we are not. Please, teach us about ourselves and help us walk in the personality, talents, and giftings that you have given us. Help us to have the courage and grace to be who You created us to be! Teach us who You say that we are. Please help us to have the wisdom to walk in the rhythm of Your grace in our lives and the value that You place on us, rather than comparing ourselves with others and determining our worth based on how we measure up to someone else. With Your help, we can be all that You created us to be, walking in step and sync with the plan You had for us before the foundation of the world. We can be transformed from glory to glory until we are a reflection of Your glory.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Crazy Times

 

Just wondering: Do your struggle with a wondering mind? I sure do! Always asking questions, seeking to understand. I find myself feeling like that small child always asking their parents or siblings, why? The last several months I have found my mind wandering down all sorts of bunny trails and finding I have many more questions than I do answers. Time seems to be passing at an accelerated pace and if I can be so bold as to say this; honestly, I find myself wondering quite often, ‘has our world just gone totally crazy?’

Just over ten years ago, my sweet grandmother went to heaven; she was four months shy of one hundred years old and a wonderful role model. I remember thinking about all of the changes that she must have witnessed and experienced during her life. I just cannot imagine how many wonders and the many struggles she faced through both World Wars, not to mention the Great Depression, other wars, all the changes, and innovations. In the ten short years since her passing, it seems that life has changed at warp speed. This morning, I found myself thinking about the courage it must have taken for her throughout her lifetime. Almost half of her adult life she lived alone after her parents and husband had died. Of course, there were other relatives, her grown children, and grandchildren. In my late teens, I watched her as she had to bury her son, her oldest, who was taken by a tragic accident. Just fifteen short years, I sat beside her as her baby girl (my Mom) was buried. She was a simple woman, but a woman of great strength, courage, and grace who totally depended on her faith and her God to get her through!

The memory made me think of a call sent forth in Deuteronomy 31:6.
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” I can imagine this was one of the reasons for her strength through the tough times in her life. So what does this courage look like?

According to Strong’s, this Hebrew word means strong, alert, courageous, brave, stout, bold, solid, hard. It also implies to strengthen, to secure for oneself, to make firm, to assure, to be determined, to make oneself alert, to confirm oneself, to persist in, to exhibit courage, to be strong, to feel strong. The definition applies to both physical courage and mental courage as in a steadfast mind.

Courage is certainly needed today. Just a few minutes listening to the news can set off all kinds of alarm, worry, and fear. The economy, crime, abuse, neglect, injustice, political mud slinging and concerns of where our country is going are just a few of the things that are weighing heavily in our day to day lives. It is no wonder many are struggling with fear, depression or despondency. Fear can be crippling for some, causing avoidance and loss of quality of life. For others, it can cause us to take up arms and fight against some of the very ones who would stand with us. Many fight daily battles with fears.

Thankfully, in 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” (NASB) Prayer and faith are the perfect answer to fear. Faith is what got my sweet grandmother through her ninety-nine plus years, and she set a quiet example for all those she came into contact. Her complete trust in God, her Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ saw her through times of lack, sickness, loss, pain, struggle, and need. It strengthened her to walk in peace despite the world around her, and to trust no matter what came; Her God was faithful. Her example has been invaluable in my life.

Do you battle fear? Are you finding you could use a little more peace in your days? Do the day’s headlines leave you wondering or feeling uncertain? I assure you that you are not the only one!! How do we build our faith and find the courage to face the times in which we live? Our struggles? Again, Prayer and faith are the perfect answer to fear! God is faithful to His Word and in His Word we can find strength, courage, and peace. Jesus, His Son, suffered, died and was raised on the third day for more than just our salvation and a ticket to heaven.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has
anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to
bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives
and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the
Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who
mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland
instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the
mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting; so they will be
called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may
be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3 (NASB)

Notice Jesus came to proclaim liberty to the captives. Nothing holds us mentally captive more than fear! It can be paralyzing! The good news is that we do not have to let it paralyze us!! We do not have to be a prisoner to our fear.

“So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the
door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and
robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if
anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out
and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and
destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it
abundantly. John 10:7-10 (NASB)

Abundant life and fear do not coexist! Through His life and the sacrifice Jesus made, we have everything we need for this life:

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and
of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us
everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true
knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent
promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the
divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world
by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in
your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence,
knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-
control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in
your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly
kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing,
they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true
knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these
qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his
purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the
more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you;
for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”
2 Peter 1:2-11 (NASB)

We can walk both in peace and courage all throughout our lives because Jesus has provided everything we need for life and godliness. When we follow His ways, we are promised that we will never stumble.

 Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7 (NASB)

The key as I see it is to spend time in the Word of God, in prayer, building faith and encouraging myself in the Lord. Even the mighty King David spent time doing this!

“Then David and the people who were with him lifted their voices
and wept until there was no strength in them to weep. Now
David’s two wives had been taken captive, Ahinoam the
Jezreelitess and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite.
Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of
stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because
of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in
the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:4-6

Grace, Peace and Courage to you in the name of Jesus!

Courage to Let God Work

 

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Do I have the courage to let God work or work more in my life?  That is the question on my heart today. This week’s lesson from Armor of God study was all about four types of righteousness. When we believe and receive Christ, His righteousness is imputed to us but we have to accept  it and allow it to be worked out in our life through sanctification. So, just what is sanctification?  In this study, the working definition is “the process by which you are molded into the image of Christ.”; “the Spirit’s progressive influence on you.” (Armor of God- Priscilla Shirer)

    

     This morning I took a look at Ezekiel 36: 24-32 as part of the lesson. I found it very interesting. As I read, it gave greater clarity on how we can understand depth of the work of Jesus Christ in both His life, death and resurrection.  Through His acts we are told He took on the sin of the world and those who believe will have life and life eternal. We are told that He took our sin upon Himself and traded it for His righteousness giving us a new life in Him. Looking at this passage I made tons of notes but the most significant was looking at God’s relationship with the Israelites in this passage and what He said He would do for them. The Hebrew people were in rebellion and idolatry. They had turned from God. As always, our actions have consequences but there are always benefits for repentance and turning back to God. His promise to HIs people was that He would gather them back to their land from all the places that they’d been scattered.

Then God would:  Cleanse them from their sin and rebellion

 

       God would give them:                                                  God would remove from them:

            a new heart                                                                the dirt or sin from them

            His Spirit                                                                    their old rebellious ways

            His ways/rules                                                            their stoney heart

            a soft heart

           the ability to walk in His ways

           the ability to obey

 

      Basically, God was doing all the heavy lifting in this whole scenario! What was left for His people was to accept His gift and from that time walk in obedience to His ways. The only had to cooperate. Yes, it can be a little challenging or difficult to accept God’s authority and His ways and to walk in them… BUT…Did you notice that He specifically gave them His Spirit, and the ability to walk in His ways and to obey? In other words, He had already provided everything they needed for life and godliness. This is also true for those of us today who are in Christ. 2 Peter 1:3 tells us: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence.”  ESV  God also told them that He was giving them a choice from early in their relationship with Him:

 

Deuteronomy 30:15-20  ““See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in His ways, and by keeping His commandments and His statutes and His rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.””

 

 

      So from these words, we can gain understanding. We always have a choice; to cooperate or to rebel; to choose life and blessing or to choose death and curses. God in His great mercy and grace has given us everything we need for life and blessing, will we choose life?  Will we receive His gifts? A gift is of no benefit if we set it aside and refuse to accept it or to open it! In order to enjoy a gift, we must accept it, open it and use it. In other words we have to cooperate with the giver of the gift to receive the blessing of the gift. In like manner, we can read the Word of God and sit under the teaching of the best of Bible teachers on the planet, but until the Word is applied in our life there is no real change in our life. The process of sanctification is stalled. We must actually apply what we learn to see the blessing it can be in our life. That is choosing life. Now the real question for me (and you if your game) is when the crossroads come and tough times or decision have to be made; will we have the courage to cooperate and let God work to sanctify us or will we rebel? We have the freedom of choice, what will it be?

May HIs grace and peace abide with you!

Courage to Be Unoffendable Part 2

  “And anyone who is not offended because of Me is blessed.” 

                                      Luke 7:23

      A good friend invited us to visit her church a few months ago. We finally got a chance to go last Wednesday night since our church has not been having services this summer on Wednesdays.  Our visit was the beginning catalyst for these posts on being unoffendable. We came in on the next to last week of a study that they had been doing together based on the book The Prisoner in the Third Cell  by Gene Edwards. Just that morning I had prayed about a situation that had occurred; I thought I had resolved any ill feelings over it. Sadly, a fresh feeling of rejection reared it’s little head. I actually caught the potential offense quickly. I set out to put all my feelings on paper in the form of a prayer and to try to objectively look at each possible side of the my situation. Just writing out my thoughts was very cathartic to my soul. It helped to see things in a broader perspective and not have tunnel vision about the incident. Yet and still the sting lingered a bit. I digress, so back to the story…

       We were very graciously welcomed by our friend and the fellowship she attends! They began by meeting corporately and a Pastor introducing the topic. Afterwards we broke into small groups that I later found out were based on gifting. We had a great discussion time and then reconvened as a large group for more discussion and teaching. Imagine my surprise when the scripture from Luke 7:23 was the main scripture and the topic was John the Baptist.

     Foe some background, a little bit about John’s story…Recently imprisoned and with the threat of death upon his head literally; John asked friends to seek out Jesus and ask “When the men reached Him, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to ask You, ‘Are You the One who is to come, or should we look for someone else?’” Luke 7:20. We don’t really know exactly why John asked this but it doesn’t take much imagination to wonder if John’s unexpected imprisonment and the threat of death made him question his beliefs. After all, he was sent to prepare the way for Jesus the Messiah. Jesus was just getting started in ministry and John may have been questioning if he had really understood how things were to go. If Jesus was truly the foretold Messiah.

    Many believed when the Messiah came that His rule would be a governmental rule; an earthly kingdom. God had other plans. They were looking for relief from the Roman rulers of the day and a kingdom of their own.  Isn’t that just like us as humans? We try to understand God in human terms rather than accept Him on His own terms. We put God in a box that we can understand rather than accepting that His ways are not ours. If you will allow me leeway here, we make Him a god in our own image often times rather than truly studying His character by studying His Word.  If we are not careful, we loose track of  Isaiah’s words in  Isaiah 55:8-9 (NET Bible): “Indeed, my plans are not like your plans and my deeds are not like your deeds, for just as the sky is higher than the earth, so my deeds are superior to your deeds and my plans superior to your plans.  (many translations use the word higher when describing God’s ways and plans)  As Creator, He is sovereign; supreme ruler, ultimate power, not controlled by outside forces. There is no higher authority than God.

      John’s friends found Jesus and relayed John’s question to Him. Later they returned to see John with the answer,  “Go and report to John the things you have seen and heard: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news.   Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”   Luke 7:22-23  These scriptures were the springboard for a spirited discussion on what we would want to take care of if our death was imminent; questions we might have about or for God;  why offense might come and the reasons we become offended. Lastly, a question about our potential reaction when thinking we have been given a task by God and taking on the belief that we will be the one to see it to fruition. Is it possible that the very supposition can be or is a challenge to the authority of God in our lives?  The immediate thought that came to my mind was God calling Abraham the “Father of many nations” only to later tell him to go and sacrifice his only child as an offering. Then what if Abraham had carried it out to the finish and had not heard and obeyed when God said “Stop” and provided the ram instead. SurelyAbraham had a hard time understanding God’s directions and yet he listened and obeyed. His faith was unwavering despite his circumstances. How about ours?

       Do we really want a God we can completely understand? One that always act as we expect  him to act? One that grants us our every wish? Do we really want a God who answers every question we have? Not me! I have asked for things that in hindsight would have been very bad for me. I have asked questions that God in His sovereignty has not answered and I am glad He did not answer. I am wise enough now to understand that I could not have handled that information at the time I asked! Is our faith in God and His ways (His sovereignty) enough to accept those things we do not understand and continue to trust Him? Does it hold up even when our pain seems unbearable? How about when our loss seems too much to bear? What happens when tragedy strikes? And finally, do we really want a God that always or only meets our expectations? Again, not me! Sometimes my expectations are not the best answer and more often than not God exceeds my expectations on the flip side. Blessed are we if we are not offended on His account!

   “And anyone who is not offended because of Me is blessed.” Jesus Christ

Grace and Peace to you!


Friends, I highly recommend the above book. I read it cover to cover over the holiday weekend. The chapters are short and it is only eighty-one pages but it is quite thought provoking and challenging! 



Courage to Remember and Not Draw Back

Greetings, 
      I am sad to say it’s been quite a while!  Normally when I write, it is about something I feel that God is teaching me or what I am learning as I walk through an event or situation in my life. Lately, I have been in a weird place and I just could not figure it out or even define it. In my estimation it made no sense.  Perhaps the reason It has been so difficult to define is because the basics of my life are pretty good. God has been gracious, merciful and loving to me; my marriage seems to be better that ever; I have a great family, wonderful adult children, and the blessing of seven super cool grandkids not to mention extended family and wonderful friends formed over the years. For all this I am deeply grateful!!
 
     After some avoidance, in the way of reading mind-numbing fiction to escape reality; some mild retail therapy and much contemplation, soul-searching, praying; and just a minute or 129,600 to actually put it all together and figure it out; I have determined that my heart is broken!  Yes, my heart is crushed!!
 
     I don’t know if you’ve noticed or experienced this, but it seems the last few months everything is speeding up. Time seems to evaporate right in front of my face. The world seems to be spinning faster and changing at extraordinary rates. Fighting in the Middle East, Christians being martyred for their faith, earthquakes, jail breaks, senseless murders, child abuse, spousal abuse, humans being abducted and trafficked and harmful addictions of every kind. Let’s not even get into all the political news and the warring between people groups. 
     
     We have gone from a place of live and let live allowing each man to be responsible for their own beliefs and actions; agreeing to disagree civilly and continue to treat each other with respect and love. Now it seems the majority or at least the vocal majority have adopted the ideology that if you are of a differing opinion that me, you should be trampled and some believe eliminated. Any differing opinion now indicates in the eyes of many that the person not only fears you but also hates you and therefore is a criminal and deserves to be punished by whatever means the offended one deems appropriate. This is truly sad!  In the effort for every people group to be treated ‘fairly’, special privileges are granted for one that in turn minimalizes the other or squashes their voice.  In the end, everyone is hurt. How would Jesus respond?  
 
      Did I say I am heartbroken?  Particularly close to home is the political correctness of attacking people of the Christian faith. The thing is, if you happen to be in the boat with me, it should not come as a surprise…Jesus plainly said that those who choose this life will be mocked and hated because of Him; Jjust as they mocked and hated Him.  Will we respond as He would?
 
      What was once considered good, wholesome and right is somehow becoming classified as evil, offensive and is villainized; conversely, many things that were once kept secret because they were considered harmful, dangerous, and wrong are openly celebrated. Seriously, one look at headlines, social media and other media outlets is all it takes and it’s not just the big stuff. Again, the Bible prophesied that this would happen, we should not be surprised.  
 
      Here is where  courage to remember comes in, bet you were wondering if I’d ever get around to the point of the title…
 
 
Hebrews 10 tells us:
       “Remember the earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to taunts and afflictions, and at other times you were companions of those who were treated that way. For you sympathized with the prisoners and accepted with joy the confiscation of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves have a better and enduring possession
So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him. But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭10‬:‭32-39‬ HCSB)
 What is the cure for a broken heart?
 
 Remember!
 
     You have been enlightened…You choose a new way in Jesus.
 
     You have been through struggles before!
 
     It’s not your first time in tis place and most likely not your last…
 
     Choose joy; even during these times, find Joy in Christ as your refuge!
 
     Hold tight to your confidence and find that confidence in Jesus Christ and 
          God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit!
 
     You may struggle and suffer for a short while here, but you will receive a 
           greater reward according to His promises!
 
    He is coming back, and He is victorious! Revelation 5:5
 
    We who remain faithful share in that victory.
 
    He takes pleasure when we do not draw back.
 
    We obtain life when we refuse to draw back!
 
   Lastly, Remember what Jesus said…
Matthew 22: 37-40 Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
May His grace and peace be multiplied to you!!