Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 "Going Home"

This will be my final post for the year 2014. This will always be a landmark year. This is the year my sweet Gentle Giant/Mighty Warrior finished the Race and won the Prize after fighting the Good Fight of Faith. His contending for the Faith was wrought with much suffering for many years. Matthew Henry wrote: "Faith is for this world, and sight is for the other world. It is our duty, and it will be our interest, to walk by faith, till we live by sight." Clovis now can SEE what he could only imagine. That is what we do here. We "taste" of the Lord and then we "imagine" the rest. My husband had such joy at the thought of "going home". He talked about it often with Friends and Family and wanted them to share his joy. Once he told one of his doctors, "Doc! I have a great adventure ahead of me." Of course, the doctor's response was: "Okay... but not yet!" Clovis loved an adventure and knew the ultimate was ahead. None of us can say for sure how we will "go home". Only Yahweh, Creator can "see" and know. What a tremendous burden lifted is knowing you are justified (just as if I'd never sinned) by Faith in Jesus so we can be at peace and rest at the same time we are contending (Romans 5:1) It has been my privilege and labor of love to care for my man. We had so many treasured "God moments". Not to say there weren't "bumps in the road" but "...Love keeps no record of wrongs" (1 Corinthians 13:5). God is good all the time and his ways are good all the time. His ways are not only good, they are the best! Now I am heading into 2015 as "one" with the same desires the two of us held... that all would come to know Jesus and walk with him now and into Eternity. Again, from Matthew Henry: "What will become of us, if we set our affections on this earth, and make it our portion, seeing all these things shall be burned up? Therefore make sure of happiness beyond this visible world." I want to have the same zeal to "go home" when my time comes. But, until then, my zeal will be for the Household of the Lord to be strengthened with His might, walk in His joy, cherish one another and show the World the Greatest Truth: God is Love and He sent His Love through Jesus Christ our Lord on the Cross and Resurrected Him to New Life as the First Fruits with us to Follow until our Faith becomes Sight at the Sound of the Trumpet! I welcome 2015 with a joyful heart and full anticipation of Fruitful Ministry! I want to be always able to say, "Follow me as I follow Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

WHAT DOES A WARRIOR LOOK LIKE?

What does a Warrior look like? This Veteran's Day, I have a few thoughts on the subject. The movie industry has their rendition of a Warrior that is many times blown totally out of proportion. Rambo, Terminator, Die Hard to name a few of the older, well known titles. Exciting to watch maybe, but certainly unrealistic. I want to point us in the direction of what I believe it means to be a REAL Warrior. This morning, I watched an interview on CBN with a WWII Veteran, 91 year old Retired Airforce Major by the name of Ralph Davis. He flew 22 bombing missions during the war. He  and all ten of his crew came out without a scratch. He did it for our Country... knew he was called by the Lord. The men would pray together before every mission. He carries, to this day, the scripture  he would read and quote each time: Psalm 91:11, "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways."  Wikipedia has the following definition of a Warrior:  "A warrior is a person specializing in combat or warfare, especially within the context of a tribal or clan-based society that recognizes a separate warrior class or caste." The Major holds the key to what I believe to be another type of Warrior. Perhaps you could call them sometimes the "unsung" Warrior.
"Jesus called a little child to come to him. Jesus stood the child before the followers. Then Jesus said, "I tell you the truth. You must change and become like little children {in your hearts}. If you don't do this, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. The greatest (most important) person in the kingdom of heaven is the person that makes himself humble like this child." (ERV) Thus the photograph of the Little Warrior above.
 
To quote Major Davis: "If you are going to be a soldier or an airman, you need the protection of the Lord." Even in the fiercest battles we must acknowledge we need help. We cannot accomplish our objectives, our missions on our own. "Little ones to Him belong. They are weak but he is strong." A kids song that more adults need to listen to and take to heart. My husband is fighting cancer on a daily basis. I am his Caregiver. We pray together daily and call upon the help of the Lord. He alone gives us supernatural strength, peace and joy. We know God is the Healer! Ultimately we pray: "Your will be done." We don't know the reasons or the future. We live by Faith in the Son of God. He may heal or it may be time for Heaven. Either way, we "Fight the Good Fight of Faith." God will be glorified in our lives. I have a precious friend and "sister in the Lord" who, seven years ago, was given 6 months to live with a diagnosis of liver cancer. She and her husband give praise to Jesus every day and every moment. The Apostle Paul said that whether we live or whether we die it is all to the glory of the Lord! This, in my eyes is the ultimate Warrior! One who is able to confess his/her weakness and accept the strength and perseverance only our Great Creator God can give. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD." Isaiah 55:8 Maybe next time you watch a super hero movie, your thoughts will be drawn to the real Super Heros. As Christian Warriors, of the Creator's Clan, we need HIS divine help and the strength and support of the other Warrior's we fellowship with on a daily basis. "The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights." Habakkuk: 3:19. Confess your weaknesses to one another, forgive one another and pray for one another according to James 5:16. Love one another deeply! Run the Race together! Fight the Fight together! Be Unified in Mind and Spirit! We, together will hear the words: "Well Done thou good and Faithful Servant(s)." Happy Veteran's Day!
 
 


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

He Knows Our Name!

We all need affirmation whether we believe it or not. We all need praise. We were made in God's image and that is part of it. Children praise their parents, husbands praise their wives. The Scriptures tell us that God exalts us at times. He knows our name. The praise we receive as His own, reflect back to him for the things we do in His name and because of Him. Before we come to Christ we may be or feel isolated; unimportant; of little value. He knows our name. After Christ, we find we become part of a huge family and because we become "light", many people may come to know our name. At that time we are aware that our name is known because of or as a result of our Creator who not only knows our name but knew our name before we were even born. Our value is in Him. Our sufficiency is in Him. It is all about Him FIRST, then about Him in us and through us. He lifts us up and causes us to prosper and spread the Good News of who His IS and what we can BECOME because of Him in us. Instead of lovers of ourselves, we become Lovers of God and Others. Instead of cringing in fear of our enemies and life's circumstances or death's circumstances. We become MORE THAN CONQUERORS! Instead of being apathetic, we become zealous and FULL OF LIFE. Instead of being bored, we become ENTHUSIASTIC which means "en theo" or "in God". He not only knows our name, He has given us His Name, the Name of Jesus, in whom ALL THINGS exist and are held together. In addition he has given us a new name written down in Heaven for us to receive upon admittance. (Revelation 2:17) After 42 years of walking with Him in a "BORN AGAIN" condition and position, I can truly say to Him, "I feel like I am knowing you for the first time!" What excitement, what joy, what hope, what elation, what truth, what higher existence from the one who came "that we might have life and life more abundantly!" (John 10:10) At this point in  my life, I don't know anyone who is not facing hardships from one direction or another. It is a result of being part of the human experience. We can feel like we are "going under for the third time" as  the expression goes. Take heart and affirm one another with a firm "Holy Spirit" pat on the back for doing a great job and fighting the Good Fight of Faith: "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair." (2 Corinthians 4:8) Why? Because we believe  "HE KNOWS  OUR NAME". So look up and REJOICE and praise and affirm one another and ENCOURAGE one another as you see the "Day" approaching. (Hebrews 10:25) I have a dear friend who is, at this moment, awaiting her entrance into Heaven under hospice care. I was able to sing with her "Soon and very soon we are going to see the King..." Run the race! Pick up the baton! Grab an arm! Let's get there together! HE KNOWS OUR NAME!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"YOU PAID WHAT?!"

Two or three years ago, encouraged by my husband, I paid $100 for a new pair of jeans. The first response from most people was, "You paid WHAT?!" I can totally understand their shock. I had never paid that much nor have I since for a pair of jeans. It was a "first". After several months had gone by, I came to the conclusion that they washed, dried and eventually wore out like any other garment. At the time I purchased them, they seemed above average for that type of clothing item. To some people, this doesn't seem like a high price at all and to others, a person's sanity comes into question. How much would you pay for a life? There are many scenarios that come to mind here. Most of us have read books about or watched movies about or perhaps experienced in real life, the story of the father or friend who stands between the killer and his target and says, "Spare him! Take my life instead! It's really me that you want anyway." That is what Jesus did for us. He said to the "thief" who came to "steal, kill and destroy", "Take me! I lay down my life for my sheep", "It's really me you want." Have you ever had something you valued deeply, only to have it stolen from you? Then somewhere down the line you find it in the hands of another and you have to buy it back? You don't care how much you have to pay because to you, it's value is incalculable. That is exactly what Jesus the only begotten (one of a kind or class, unique) Son of God did when he died on the cross for Humanity. God became man and bought back, redeemed, what was already his. Because mankind, who originally walked with God in the Garden, was led away and enticed by their own lust and separated from God because of sin and proceeded to walk in the ways of evil, it was necessary for God to  take action. He so highly valued his precious ones that he gave his own life to redeem them. We are those precious ones. God's people Israel were redeemed from captivity, Isaiah 51:10 and Zion (Jerusalem) was their destination. Not just a destination but a destination sought with joy and gladness and singing. Being set free from enslavement, torture and torment should bring nothing short of unbridled elation in and from our very being. We as the Church, "have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. 23 You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel." Hebrews 12:18-24 NLT. All that said, Psalm 107:2 says, "Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies." NLT. When we accept our redemption and come to understand what we have received from the Lord's sacrifice, we WANT to speak out! The words in a song by Colton Dixon express the cry of my heart: "Let them see you, in me. Let them hear you, when I speak. Let them feel you, when I sing. Let them see you, let them see you, in me." The more we walk in His presence, we walk in fullness of joy, everlasting joy and it becomes evident to others that we have something they want. Something that will fill the empty hole in their lives that was put their by "separation". We can lead them to the place where Christ bridged the gap; removed the "separation"; made a way for the emptiness to be filled with all the fullness of God's Spirit within and along with it, a flood of peace and deliverance from shame and entrance into our inheritance as Joint Heirs with Christ. I Peter 1:3: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us AGAIN to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." He has brought us out of the Kingdom of Darkness and into His Marvelous Light.  Join me in "Speaking" Redemption! The World needs to HEAR!
 
BarbaraJean

 
 


Monday, July 7, 2014

OF GIFTS AND GIVERS

I love to get presents. I will be a kid forever when it comes to receiving gifts. When I find out someone has a present for me, I can't wait to open it. Christmas is especially difficult because most of the time you have to wait "forever" to open those beautifully wrapped parcels. You have to look at them every day until finally, you are given permission to rip that paper off! I enjoy giving gifts almost as much. At Christmas, birthday parties, baby showers, you name it, I anxiously await (well sometimes I might say something like, "That one's from me. Why don't you open it NOW!") the opening of my specially selected item. I get excited because I have usually thought through all the aspects of how the gift will be utilized and what a blessing I think it will be to the person. It is especially fun when it is something you know they have been desiring for some time. Then there are the facial expressions that are priceless. I remember my oldest daughter wanting so badly this beautiful white jacket with embroidering and fur lined hood. We purchased it and hung it in a doorway. The time came and she entered the room. There is no comparison to the joy on her face at that moment. That jacket may have meant nothing to another little girl, but to my little girl, it meant all the world. I was thinking this morning about an instance where the Gift and the Giver are one in the same. John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he GAVE his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." Those of us who know the truth, know that God is the Giver and Jesus is the Gift. We also know that: "...anyone who has seen me has seen the Father...", John 14:9. "In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.", John 1:1. I like the New Living Translation of John 1:14, "So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father's one and only Son." God, Jesus, the Word... one in the same. Now the Gift: "All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with GREAT EXPECTATION and we have a priceless inheritance--an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.", I Peter 1:3 & 4. Talk about a Gift! Now, a really fun way to give a gift is to put all kinds of smaller gifts into a large box. The recipient opens each one with anticipation as to what comes next. "Oh, wow! There's another... and another!" And it goes on and on. 2 Peter tells us that he has given us "all things we need for life and Godliness" and "he has given us great and precious promises" so that we can become more and more like him. The Gift and the Giver has given us the privilege to be a Gift and a Giver. Finally, "Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.", Ephesians 5:1. Be the Gift and the Giver of the Good News, showing the way to Eternal Life which begins now with the Kingdom of God being Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit! Hand others the BOX and watch in anticipation as they receive, as you have received. Everyone wants the gifts that bring real life: "Faith, hope and love and the Greatest of these is LOVE." 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Better Way or are you "Stuck"?

There are a couple of sayings that I like to use."Sumpim' bump your head?" and "Coulda had a V8!". Now I know there are a couple of words that may not exist but I feel that they definitely fit the bill in these instances. I often use  them on myself when I realize I didn't think of a better way of doing something. Example: Living in an RV you have to be creative with space. We have a sweet feline furkid who has to use one of those all-so-necessary litter boxes. Having to keep it out of the reach of our Chihuahua, it abides in the bathtub when no baths are in process. For most of the time we have had her, I have had it in the end of the tub where the drain is located. I would cover the drain with a towel or put a plastic bag over the drain to keep scattered litter from going down it. Even at that, litter will slip by the protection when little Furkid (Teva) decides to have some fun in the box and fling litter everywhere off her  paws. The other day, I was cleaning out the box and disinfecting when all of a sudden a thought went through my mind: "Why not put it at the other end of the tub? Switch places with the laundry basket! It would be much easier to keep litter out of the drain." Guess what? Duh! "Sumpim' bump your head?" "Coulda had a V8!" That might seem like a strange example to use but we all live where the rubber meets the road and life is full of circumstances of varying degrees of importance that demand our attention and decision making skills. Sometimes we really just don't think about there being a better or easier way. Sometimes we are a "victim" of generational habits... "That's the way my family has always done it". Or, we just plain don't "think" it through. We just do what we do. I want to get better at taking myself out of auto-pilot. Now, granted, a lot of decisions are not rocket science as they say. They don't necessarily take great effort to come to the conclusion that you've chosen the best way. When it comes  to decisions of the heart we generally take more time to consider all the ramifications. What about Spiritually? Have we done the same thing the same way for years because it is the way we "do" it. Do we think we are too old to do something different? Do we think we have all the right answers. I love this quote from Billheimer, "Present interpretation and fresh revelation are always needed for life with a LIVING God." Jesus said, "I am the WAY...'' John 14:6. Maybe we have been walking with the Lord since we were a child or maybe we have recently responded to his wonderful, amazing love. We can still get "stuck" and miss out on some "better way". God is a Living, Creative, Perfect, All-Wise, All-Knowing Spirit, John 4:24. I pray for him to have his way; free reign in my life to show me, in every circumstance of this battle we are in, a better way. He is the Leader of our Faith. We are protected, covered and have the ability to Overcome any obstacle if we seek His Way. I know that when I walked in my own way, I was pretty miserable and didn't realize I was walking in darkness. When Christ opened my eyes and my heart to his love and made me aware that there was a better way, I might not have used those same sayings I mentioned above, but I did say, "Why didn't I see this before?" Sometimes we don't see. Sometimes it is a divine appointment like Mary at the tomb  thinking she was talking to the gardener when she was inquiring about the whereabouts of the Body of Jesus. It took Jesus to speak and open her eyes to his identity. We can pray our eyes be open and our minds quickened to a "BETTER WAY". We can pray for those we love to see there is a better way. We can go beyond looking at others lives and thinking our way would be better for them and asking God to show  HIS way  to them. God had and has a better way for the world than what the world originally got itself into. God had and has a better  way than the enemy of our souls has to offer . John 10:10: "The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they might have life and life more abundantly." I CHOOSE THE WAY OF LIFE!  Stop, look and listen and see if there be a BETTER WAY!