I have known people who have gotten offended when the word "just" is used in a prayer. For example: "Lord Jesus, 'just' touch my Brother and heal him of this sickness." I want to address my feelings on that word. I believe it actually is quite spiritual in nature when used in prayer. Some synonyms for "just" as an adverb include: exactly, precisely, absolutely, completely, totally, entirely, perfectly, utterly, wholly, thoroughly. So, in light of those, you could pray that same prayer using each of them individually in the place of the word "just". "Lord Jesus, 'precisely' touch my Brother and heal him of this sickness." or "Lord Jesus, 'perfectly' touch my Brother and heal him of this sickness." It is basically saying, "Lord, you are perfect in all your ways and in your ability to perform all that your amazing promises provide!" Can't you 'just' feel the victory in that?! Then there is "just" as an adjective. Many times people may describe themselves thusly: "I am 'just' a wife." "I am 'just' an employee." "I am 'just' a truck driver. As Christians we are called to be all that we can be; to be "perfect as he is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). We know that the Lord is the one who can make us perfect in our relationship to him and in our position in this world as well as our calling to his purposes. We are to do "...all things heartily as unto the Lord" (Colossians 3:23). Only by his perfect work in our lives can we accomplish anything. We are to "...be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith." So, if we are wholly committed to God through Christ, the description of ourselves, i.e. our identity, will reflect the nature of God. Instead of "I am 'just' (only, not worth much, can't do much, poor me) a pilot (not sure why I use that particular example), it should be "I am 'just' (exactly, absolutely, perfectly, entirely, totally) a pilot" who has been gifted by the Creator of the Universe to fly this plane and carry this precious cargo (persons) to their destination while enjoying the beauty of his created sky, sun, moon, stars, earth below. Not many of you may be pilots but you can add your own identity and description of your lot in life. Perhaps, "I am 'just' (only, without my own fulfillment) a caregiver." Instead, "I am 'just' a caregiver (bond servant, example of Christ's selflessness, lover of people, patient, kind, etc.). Hopefully this is inspiring a fresh way to look at the word "just". It is not a negative but a positive. It is not a mediocre, ho-hum adverb or adjective, but one with clout! Therefore, the next time you hear someone use this word in a prayer, instead of focusing on the word itself, focus on the power of our Lord to hear and accomplish. The next time you are tempted to describe yourself or someone else with "just" (as not worth as much as someone else), focus on the fact that you are most valuable to the one who gave His life so that you could be the very best you could be in every circumstance to bring Glory to His Name and make you fully alive and fulfill his purposes in and through you. No matter what our DNA or Ancestry, each being unique and an integral part of who we are in our flesh and blood identity, we are to be found in Him as I said earlier. It is our Spiritual Identify that will define us for Eternity... "Beloved we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." 1 John 3:2 Once again, if you know Christ, continue to look for His appearing. I invite you to Watch and Wait alongside me.
Friday, May 25, 2018
"Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." The earliest record of this phrase is in a book written in 1512. It is German in origin and was used in the writings of many well known authors including Martin Luther. It basically means the good should not be thrown out with something bad especially due to inattention or haste. This expression has crossed my mind and I have used it on many occasions. One in particular. I know many wonderful Christian people who love Jesus with all their hearts yet do not want to "go to church". Most of the time, the reasons they use seem to be of consideration. "This person criticized the way I disciplined my child." That person acts like I am not even there." "These people never invite me to go out to eat with them." And the list goes on. Of course, some of the reasons are a lot more serious in nature and challenge the principle of Forgiveness and Healing. I believe the thing we have to watch out for is "throwing the baby out with the bathwater". The early disciples learned the importance, need and joy of being together. In Acts 2:46&47, we are told they met together every day, not only in the Temple (large corporate gathering) but also, in their homes (smaller groups) and ate together and had fellowship. This was a wonderful thing for them. They had so much persecution and hardship that they knew the need and also the joy of being together to encourage and strengthen one another. Sure, they had "issues" at times. However, they learned through Godly teachings how to work through them. They had already been told by Jesus that the world would know they belonged to him by the love they had for one another (John 13:35). They had already been told the world would hate them because of him (Mark 13:13). They had an amazing comradery. An authentic "Band of Brothers" (and Sisters) you might say. I believe the early church knew the depth of relationship to one another when the Bible tells us they were in "one accord". This love Jesus talks about is a love that says, "I would give my life for you!" That is why I have a concern when real Born Again, Bible Believing, Jesus Loving, God Worshipping Christians say "I don't want to go to "church" because..." I am concerned that it is another ploy of the enemy to divide and conquer. If he can keep Believers divided by all the things that divide in this day, then he is winning. He loses in the end but it is up to us to do damage control in the process. The other area of concern is that as the disciples met together in this deep meaningful relating they called "fellowship" the Lord added to them daily "those who were being saved". Hebrews 10:25 is quoted often and partially: "...not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some...". Without the prior verse 24 and the remainder of verse 25 it sounds like the "letter of the law" or a rule or a point of condemnation. Verse 24 says, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to LOVE and GOOD WORKS..." then part B of 25, "but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (the coming of the Lord)" Our Gathering together, our Fellowship is for US to put our arms around one another's shoulders and say, "YOU CAN DO THIS" "KEEP FIGHTING"; "WE ARE ALMOST TO THE FINISH LINE"; "DON'T GIVE UP". We all know there is strength in numbers. We must not allow the Enemy of our Souls, the Thief that we know comes to "steal, kill and destroy" to cause us to throw out the GOOD with the BAD. Jesus has made every provision for us to get along and love one another. 2 Peter 1:3&4 "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 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire." So, if you have issues that need to be resolved... go to your brother or sister. Work it out. Forgive. Put the past behind. There is nothing God can't work out for the good in your life. We need to Bind our Hearts together in Unity and Stand firm against the onslaught of the World and the Enemy that attempts to abort the life God is trying to "add to the Church daily". Please, "Don't throw out the Baby with the Bathwater". That Baby means life and Victory for the Kingdom of God as we await the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our Faith and await the ushering into Eternity in Heaven! Semper fi! Keep the Faith! It is Finished!
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
As I was spending time in my "room" in the Presence of my Lord Jesus, the following came to me by His Spirit. I was worshipping him on my keyboard, singing and playing Heavenly melodies when I inadvertently hit an "off" note. The complete discord caused me to stop abruptly. So blatant; so disruptive! The Lord showed me that is what happens when we do not walk in the Spirit and we let the cares of this world and the sins of this world interrupt the harmony of our relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Here is what he spoke to my heart: "The Lord Jesus is so pure and lovely--no discord could ever dwell within him. His Spirit is pure and lovely and dwells within your mortal body. You are a jar of clay. The outward reflects the inward. There are times you hit a discord as you walk this walk of Faith--STOP--Renew your harmony--Find your melody once again--Don't quit--Don't give up--Go forward--Be that Song again. A Song of Hope to all around you. Enter into His Chamber where there is only perfect unity--Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Pure love that will never defile, never pollute. Step out of the pollution and into his arms. Let them envelope you. Let them comfort you. Let them heal you. Let them cleanse you." As I pondered this word, I realized it was not for me alone, but, there were others who needed to hear. Jesus told his Disciples:
John 14:6 "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
This is the Treasure we have in these Jars of Clay if we have received the Gift of Life ... Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:7). Let your Song be heard!
Friday, February 23, 2018
There are many forms of cultivation these days as I know my farming friends are aware. I personally am not a farmer but I have been doing a little research. Probably not enough to start a farm but enough to gather a modicum of information. One of the first things you need for farming, of course, is soil. To put it simply, soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids and organisms. Of course those vary from climate to climate. One example of cultivation of the soil is: Shifting Cultivation. It is an agricultural system in which plots of land are cultivated temporarily, then abandoned and allowed to revert to their natural vegetation while the cultivator moves on to another plot. The period of cultivation is usually terminated when the soil shows signs of exhaustion or, more commonly, when the field is overrun by weeds. This example caught my attention. I have been thinking lately about my continued relationship with my Heavenly Father. As with any natural relationship, cultivation is extremely important if we want it to remain fruitful. If a marriage for instance is only cultivated temporarily as perhaps in the "honeymoon" period and then abandoned thereafter, it reverts to a natural state. When I think of natural state, I think of one of the natural man who tends to selfishness or in other words, self-centeredness. A healthy marriage or friendship for that matter, only thrives in a self-less atmosphere where each is giving of themselves to the other and in turn each is being nurtured by the other. In that kind of environment, only fruitfulness occurs. I call that an atmosphere of love. The Scripture tells us in Ephesians 3:17-19 to let our roots go down deep into the SOIL of God's marvelous love and in so doing we gain knowledge and understanding of that love and in turn experience it in its fullness. The thing about the soil of God's love is that it never shows signs of exhaustion and it never gets overrun by weeds. I was considering the beginning when God created the Heavens and the Earth. He created man out of the dust of the earth... before sin entered in. Wouldn't it be magnificent to know the ingredients that made up that original soil? Well, I believe it consisted solely of the attributes of God Himself. He created it... said it was "good"... breathed the breath of life into it and made mankind. Male and female created he them. Everything God created on the earth was perfect from man to plants for food to animals and so on. Then as we know, sin entered into the picture and man fell from their perfect state of being. Since then, man has been cultivating the soil and as time has moved on, they used their skills not only for their own sustenance but at times to the disadvantage of others or for greed. Now, if one seeks God and his wisdom and purposes for the soil, he will be successful in his cultivation and will produce much fruit. Through the years man has tried many new methods and some have drawn wisdom from the ancient ways. The thing about God's love is that it never changes, is always faithful, is always fruitful, is always selfless from the beginning, through the Cross until now. It is as we are planted deeply in His perfect soil that we produce fruit for Righteousness. The Scripture in Ephesians says that at last we will be filled up with God Himself. That is our crop goal... to be filled with God Himself by His Holy Spirit. John chapter 15 tells us that Jesus is the Vine, God is the Husbandman (Cultivator) and we are the Branches that produce the fruit. We know we cannot produce good fruit of ourselves, but only from being in the true Vine, Jesus Christ. So, the way I look at it is that the way I cultivate relationship is to "LET"! I "let" my roots go down deep into the soil of HIS LOVE and from it draw all the Spiritual health, goodness, grace, mercy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, self-control that he has for me. I grow in my knowledge of who he is and how he feels about me. According to I John, I become perfect in love, without fear of punishment. I learn that I love him because he first loved me and that if I love him I keep his commandments which are to "Love God and my Neighbor." I cannot do it apart from Him and being rooted and grounded in Him. I plan on letting go of my own efforts and letting Him do the cultivating in my life so that the fruit produced from this Branch will bring only life to those who harvest from it! I want my relationships to receive life from the Life Giver Himself as he fills me and flows through me. As far as farming goes, as I see it the goal is always to be fruitful. Father God help me to be fruitful in my relationship with you first and then to all those you have given me to love. Thank you!
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
2017 is on its way out. Time to see what 2018 has in store for us. How will we face it? What will be our Focus? What changes will we make? When you think about it, each new year is just a continuation of the last. When you see the words "to be continued", you understand there is more, an addition to the story you just read or the episode you just watched on television. Most of the time I am hit with a feeling of disappointment because I want to know what happens next! I might have to buy the next book in a series or make sure nothing interrupts my schedule for the night the continuing story will air. In some way or another, I am going to make the rest of the story come to light for myself. That might work for these particular instances but when it comes to the "continuing story" of our lives... we have no control over the next chapter. Have you ever thought of the faith it takes to believe we will be able to pick up the book or turn on the TV to see the rest of the story? We believe it because we know the authors and producers have already written it. We just need to be available to connect with what has been written. We don't know what the outcome will be but we wait in anticipation to see what happens next and most of the time, IT ISN'T EVEN REAL! It is a fictitious story! That being the case... have you ever wondered why we have such little faith to trust the Author and Finisher of our Faith, Jesus Himself, to have written the "rest of the story" of our lives; the part we cannot as yet see? For a season, I used to read every day to my late husband's mother when she was in our care. The book was one of those stories from the early west with all the hardships families would face. We would both wait in anticipation for the next day so we could see what the characters were experiencing. It brought us closer to one another in a small way as we shared the moments. None of us know the exact details of our future. However, as we look into God's Word, the Bible, we can see an overview of what he has in store for us. We can understand that the end of the story is and always will be, good! I know we understand that the road to the "rest of the story" will be laced with hardships because we dwell in a fallen, sinful world which no one can avoid. The road will be blessed with many joyful occasions as well. They all come and they go.... from the Grandmas and Grandpas going to the babies arriving. It is all part of this story. We will come to a place where it will all stop. A place where our life on earth faces eternity... the words "to be continued" will flash before us. Those who have put their trust in Jesus, the Son of God who took our punishment to the Cross will have no doubt about what comes next. As one of those, I live my life in preparation for my future home. Citizenship has already been established. I have been studying for it for 45 years. The Apostle Paul told me in the book of Philippians chapter 3 verses 20 and 21: "But our citizenship is in heaven and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself." Everything that happens to me here is preparing me for the continued story. Because I have received the Gift of Life my Savior Jesus Christ gave me through the shedding of his blood, I have no concern as to the outcome of my future. There are so many who don't have that assurance. They walk in fear of the next chapter; fear of the unseen. I love the words to this old Hymn: "Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine. Oh What a Foretaste of Glory Divine. Heir of Salvation. Purchase of God. Born of His Spirit. Washed in His Blood." If this is your Story, you are praising your Savior all the day long and are confident that when it is time for you to leave this world there will be nothing but amazement and wonder in store for you. "He (God) will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." Revelation 21:4 Until then, encourage those who believe, pray for those who don't, be available to share the hope that is within you as we wait together for our stories "to be continued...". Blessings to all who read!
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
As I composed my last post, I was preparing to have a very critical surgery to remove the upper lobe of my right lung which contained some cancerous tissue. I am now on the other side by over two months. Many prayers were answered as I am now cancer free! I will continue to have periodic scans. My preference, of course, would have been to not have had the surgery but through God's amazing knowledge, given to my God-Believing Surgeon, the cancer was removed. I am so grateful and thank you all for praying. Now I would like to talk to you a bit about some Scriptures from the Book of Romans, Chapter 8. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (verse 18) Not many of us want to accept the fact that "sufferings" are a part of Christian life. We want to reserve that for those who don't know the Lord or are walking in disobedience to Him. Well.... news flash... verse 22 tells us that the "whole creation has been groaning together..." No one is exempt from suffering. Some seem to suffer less, some more. If you feel you are one of the elite, just wait, at some moment in your life, you will suffer. It may not be from the ravages of disease or divorce or loss of property for example, but eventually, death will visit each of us through the loss of someone we love. Inescapable unless you have the heart of a rock! Suffering will come. Somewhere in that journey you will find your inner self... that place way down deep within the center of you being, GROANING to be released. Moaning for something better. That place where the indescribable ache and pain would be erased. Not just rubbed over with a dirty eraser so that the residue is seen, but completely obliterated as if never existing in the first place. Well, the entire Creation, anything with the breath of life is crying out with a cry without words. Now we who know the Lord, have received Jesus as our Savior and have the first-fruits of the Holy Spirit "Groan" with understanding as we wait and long for the redemption of our bodies (verse 23). We are being watched as we wait because we alone have and understand the Hope of Heaven. We know the Truth. We know that the reason for all the suffering is due to living in a sinful world and the only way of escape is "death" to ourselves and "life" unto Him... Jesus Christ who took all sin to the Cross and to the Grave. We have the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Door to Eternity in Heaven! As I have said before, we are all going to die physically but we are all going to live forever. The question is: "Where are we going to live forever?" With Christ and the Father and the Spirit OR in eternal separation from the Three in One? We who have that Hope need to be a Beacon for those who don't. As we walk through the sufferings of this world, we have the Holy Spirit who helps us in our weakness (verse 26). He prays for us and through us. He acts as a relief valve in that the "groanings" can get so intense at times we feel we may explode. The Spirit knows how to pray when we have no words to express our pain and our longing. Be patient Saint of God. It won't be long. And the Glory we will experience will completely exterminate the very memory of any and all of what sin and the "god of this world", the Devil, has stolen from us. Jesus has come to give life and give that life in an abundance which description can only be written in heavenly terminology! In that, take heart... pray for one another... encourage one another... be a Lighthouse for those seeking with "groaning hearts" a Refuge and Hope for a solid and never ending future. One where the word "suffering" isn't even a memory! Love in Christ Jesus with Grace and Peace to all who have read these words.
Friday, May 26, 2017
Have you ever thought about it? ...really thought about it? The Word of God, the Bible, tells us in Hebrews Chapter 11 that God created the Universe out of NOTHING! How can that be? I would venture to say that fact is incapable of being understood by the natural human mind. We, being human have an existence confined to planet earth except for an occasional trip into our known space environment. The illustration in this post shows the size of the earth in comparison with the rest of the universe. It takes something called FAITH to believe God did what he said he did. The Bible also says that every man has been given a measure of faith. It even takes faith to believe you have been given that measure of faith. We are told in Matthew Chapter 17 that if we have faith like a grain of mustard seed we can move mountains. Although I cannot claim an in-depth study on the plants in existence in Jesus day, a brief study brought to mind the "mustard seed" Jesus spoke of could be planted one day and begin growing the next. If God is, in fact, the source and the object of our faith... that faith can begin to grow at the first recognition of its planting in our hearts. Of course, the first recognition would be the initial, albeit small, belief in the existence of God. The Prophet Elijah was a man, in other words human as we ourselves. He prayed for rain because there was a drought in the land. His "mustard seed" was a "cloud the size of a man's hand" 1 Kings 18. That cloud began to grow and became a torrential rain! Simon, the Magician in the book of Acts, Chapter 8 "saw" that the Holy Spirit was given by the laying on of hands by the Apostles. He saw miracles and signs and wonders happening by them and he wanted to purchase that unseen something that was the cause of those miracles. He didn't see the Spirit because the Spirit is Spirit but he saw the evidence of the Spirit. We can't see the "nothing" that God spoke out of, but we can see the evidence of it through the whole creation around us. Now we know faith is actually substance and evidence according to Hebrews 11:6. And if we have faith... even the beginning of it, Jesus told us we can "move mountains" and that "nothing will be impossible for us" ...Matthew 17. Therefore, since God cannot lie and his Word is true we can trust that what we cannot see with the eye, actually exists. "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. This is to my Father's Glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." John 15:7&8. Simon, the magician, being a new believer, didn't understand that the gifts of the Spirit were not given for selfish gain nor could they be bought with a price. He learned that the Spirit is a gift and a gift has no price and this particular gift was to be used to bring praise and honor to the Giver, God himself. A couple of the things we cannot see with our physical eyes are, the forgiveness of sins and Heaven. Sometimes we cannot see with our eyes, physical healing when it involves the internal part of our body until, through God given medical science, it shows up in some scan or x-ray. We cannot see love but we believe when someone tells us they love us, they are telling us the truth. Eventually we are able to see the fruit or results of our faith or belief. Even when we arrive in Heaven we receive the Goal of our Faith which is the Salvation of our Souls. Until that time of "receiving", we walk in Faith, at times with no tangible evidence of what we are believing. Recently, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. That began a new off-shoot in my journey of Faith. I call it an off-shoot because my main, most traveled road is directly aimed at God Himself. "The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter until the full light of day." Proverbs 4:18. My foremost and of utmost importance is my journey toward a deeper and more intimate relationship and knowledge of my Father God and His Son Jesus Christ and His Awesome Holy Spirit... the Three in One of the Godhead. Along that journey, I am faced with side roads that vie for my attention and challenge my faith. I can set my gaze toward what I think the end of those deterrents will bring or I can get back on the road that leads to real Life! I used to work in the forest clearing roads. The main road would have a destination. Once in a while I would get turned around and head down a road I expected to lead somewhere and ultimately, after several miles, it would come to a dead end. I would have to go back to the map to learn of my mistake. When it comes to faith, believing for anything God has promised or something for which we are petitioning, we have to stay with the map. There will be innumerable side roads to grab our attention but there is only one road that contains the source and the answers we need. Jesus stands at the end of that main road with his arms wide open. He has already carried every sin, sickness, sorrow, pain, shame, accusation and disease to the cross and then left it buried in the grave as he arose to be our Savior, Healer, Redeemer, King, Hero, Champion of our Faith, God Himself yet sitting at the Right Hand of the Father in Heaven with His Holy Spirit sent to dwell within those who would WALK BY FAITH in that FACT! (Now that is a mouthful of Truth!) Therefore, in this journey, I refuse to fix my eyes on anything but the ONE who is standing at the end of my PATH. Reason? He has it all under control and there is nothing I can do within my self or my own efforts to save my soul or my body but trust in the one who gave it all. I can hear some of you now who would say to eat this certain food or drink this certain drink or take this certain supplement... yes! If God directs you... go for it! Just keep in mind, ultimately He has to be the object of our Faith and Trust because we are involved in something much bigger than ourselves... an eternal plan. So, believe with all your heart what his promises are toward those who love Him and walk toward Him wholeheartedly. Focusing on anything other than our Amazing God who created SOMETHING out of NOTHING will not allow Faith to grow and Peace and Joy to prevail as we continue toward our ultimate destination, which is Heaven itself. None of us are leaving this planet alive yet we will all live forever. I choose the only road that will get me eternal intimacy with Father, Son and Holy Spirit in Heaven... the road of FAITH in the Lord Jesus and His death on the Cross. I have FAITH that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is at work in my body to bring about all that he has promised. He has made me alive in my Spirit, united my Soul with Him and will quicken (give or restore life to; spring to life, become animated) my mortal body! I am believing that through the prayers of those who love me and the power of the Holy Spirit I am free of cancer and I will live to fulfill all his purposes for me until that day I reach the end of this awesome, light-filled road to Righteousness! Job suffered much in his body but through it all, his focus was on the object of his worship and I will close with this: "Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. and he said (chapter 1 verses 20-22), "Naked I came from my mother's womb and naked shall I return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong." To quote a precious Sister who has survived cancer for 10 years..."I belong to the Lord no matter what." Let JESUS be the Camera lens of your FAITH to bring real life into FOCUS." Walking the Path with you! Be encouraged today!