Friday, December 14, 2018

THE GIFT

Most people I have talked with through the years know that Jesus has something to do with Christmas. Whether or not they know him as their personal Savior, they are familiar with the "Baby" Jesus, Joseph and Mary, the stable and the wise men. I love Christmas because to me it is the celebration of the first coming of my Lord to bring salvation to this earth. I realize he probably wasn't born in December. However, that is the day most have chosen to celebrate. I love the colors that surround the holiday. Bright and cheery, not dark and gloomy. Yes, Jesus who was and is God himself, came to this earth to be a Gift to Mankind. God came down from Heaven to "connect". We were originally "disconnected" because of rebellion against God. Rebellion because Adam and Eve thought they could do life a better way than what had been offered. They had a lot of help from God's enemy, Lucifer who himself rebelled against God and His authority. The account is in the book of Genesis if you have never read. The Gift of Jesus goes so far beyond the precious pictures and songs we sing at Christmastime about the baby in a manger. Jesus was the actual "I AM" who became man. He was the container of all that "I AM" is. Let me share some of that Truth spoken by Jesus Himself: "Jesus said to him (Peter), 'I AM the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" John 14:6. "I AM the Vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing". John 15:5. "Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM (Jesus was there in the beginning of Creation)." John 8:58. That really made the religious leaders angry in those days that he would say he was, in fact, GOD! They picked up stones to throw at him. Any religion that denies that Jesus is God, is false. Jesus said in another place, "Truly, truly (really emphasizing his words are TRUE) I say, 'whoever believes in me has eternal life. I AM the Bread of Life.'" John 6:47 And, in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, he said to John the Apostle: "It is DONE! I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment." Revelation 21:6. There are so many other aspects to the "Gift" we have been given. He is the Way; He is our Healer; He is our Peace; He is our Rock; He is our Fortress: He is our Deliverer! This list goes on and on. How can we limit our vision of all of this to the confines of the body of a tiny baby? But, we can! That tiny baby was all this! However, that tiny baby grew up and became a man and walked this earth bestowing the gift he was to all those he came in contact with and then gave Himself on a cruel, ugly cross, shedding his precious red blood to give us the most indescribable results of the Gift he was and is, the forgiveness of our sins and the free entrance into His Eternal Kingdom! 
He then rose from the grave so that we could follow him in newness of life for now and forever. What an AMAZING, POWERFUL, WONDERFUL, AWESOME,
INCOMPREHENSIBLE, BEAUTIFUL, ALIVE NOW BY THE HOLY SPIRIT IN US Gift is He?! Lift your eyes above the stable this Christmas and look to the Star, The Bright and Morning Star! Take hold through Belief of all that he is and all he has done because of his great love for you. John1:12&13: "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Love to you all!



Sunday, October 7, 2018

WHAT DO WE VALUE MOST?


I have read many books in my lifetime. However, my favorites are Autobiographies or Biographies. My husband told me the other day that I am a people lover. I suppose that is true due to the fact that I have my Father's genes. My Father, referring to my Heavenly Father. He is the one who instills love in our hearts for Him as well as His most treasured creation, People. People, because we are the ones who are made in His Image. "Male and Female created He them." Genesis 1:27 and 5:2. We can all be people lovers if we allow His Commandments, to love Him with all our hearts and our neighbors the same, to take root and grow within us. There are many things in this life we value. We take care of the Earth because we value it. We value wealth. We value our homes, our lands, our vehicles, our livestock, our pets (perhaps not in this order). These are all things that serve us. Some of our most valued treasures are  photographs of family members and friends. Why? Because we value those depicted in those photos. In a disaster, most of us would labor desperately to salvage as many as we were able. I have always valued my Bible because I love the Word of God and the Promises that are mine. As I have walked with the Lord through the years I have attempted to do as King David and "hide his words in my heart" by memorizing and meditating on them and speaking them and of them. If I were unable to grab my physical Bible, God's Words would still be with me. Pictures on the other hand would be difficult to re-create. These days, our cell phones, tablets and computers are the keepers of our beloved photos so they would be the first to accompany us in times of emergency. I must say that a few years ago when the flames were licking the outside of the fifth wheel in which I was living, I failed to think of anything else to grab except my little long-haired Chihuahua, Rusty and the hand of my Husband, now in Heaven, to help him down the steps to safety. I was his caregiver at the time. I prayed desperately that the Lord would save my home and he graciously did. For reasons only He knows, that is not always the case. The Bible tells us to "serve one another". In the end, people are most valued. In the World's thinking, which is upside down, the things that serve us, possessions and the like, are the things we seem to value most. In God's thinking, which is RIGHT side up, we are to serve people without expectation of being served in return. We would be nowhere without "one another". I think of the true story in Exodus Chapter 17 when Moses held up his staff to enable the Israelite Army to defeat the Amalekites. When Moses would become weak in this task, his companions, Aaron and Hur would hold his arms up. If his arms dropped, the opposing side would begin to take advantage. I see all of us at times in need of strength from another to continue to walk in Victory. We are not on this earth for "things" but for people. We never know when an act of kindness or a word of encouragement or coming alongside to pray can be the pivotal point needed in someone's life. We were not meant to walk this walk alone. In Christ we are called to be "one" even as God the Father and Jesus the Son are "one". John chapter 17. Another great verse is: "Bear ye one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2. I am a people lover! I love my Brothers and Sisters in Christ and I love those who have yet to come into a saving knowledge of Christ. The Book of Jude tells us to build ourselves up in our most holy Faith and after that to "Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear-- hating  even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh." Sin is ugly; it is dirty; it is shameful; it stinks; it is repulsive! However the Bible says, "For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23. "If we say we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us." I John 1:10. One way we can hold up the arms of the weak is to encourage them with these words that Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior, can forgive their sins and cleanse them on their initial receiving of Him and in those times they may fall down during their journey toward Heaven! I John 1:9 was written to Believers: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." To those who are just beginning their walk and to those who have been walking for many years, I encourage you to reach out and hold up the arms of another and allow them in turn to hold up your arms. As we do this, we will see the enemy of us all, the devil and his tactics fall and fail before us. We are not alone! Encourage one another, pray for one another. Value one another above the earth and it's possessions! It and they will fade away, but the one who overcomes will receive the Crown of Life... Now that IS a possession worth reaching for!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

CAST YOUR BURDENS

Have you ever gone fishing? My first experiences were with my dad when I was a little girl. I had my own pole which was shorter that an adult size. My dad was a wonderful fisherman. I loved to watch him stand at the edge of the ocean with this huge pole and reel. He would cast way out over the closest waves. To me it looked like miles. He would fish out of rivers and streams in southern California, catching trout and other species. He began to teach me to cast. Some of you can relate. With me there were the "two foot casts"; there were the "tree branch casts"; there were the "caught in your sweater" casts... all a part of learning. There were the "release the thingamajig too soon casts". Those were the frustrating kind. Determined as I was, I continued to learn so I could please my dad by catching a fish! Through the years I got pretty good at casting and even catching. I fished from piers and used  the "drop cast"... no skills required. Sometimes in our prayer life as in fishing, all we can accomplish is the "drop cast". And that works because God is that close. The scriptures I am thinking of are: "Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22 and "...casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7. When you have experienced a devastating trial such as the loss of your loved ones, your home and belongings as well, having happened to one Husband and Grandpa most recently in California, sometimes all you can do is "drop" that prayer line over the side of the boat or off the pier. At times like that you can feel drained of all spiritual, mental and physical strength and you use what little faith you think you have  and you drop that burden down. Why? Because that God given faith causes you to believe God cares. And he does. When fishing from the shore, I was taught that the farther you could cast, the deeper the waters and the bigger the fish. I became quite proud when I was able to really "get it out there". When casting my burdens on the Lord, I always imagine flinging them as far away from me as possible!  Out into the deepest waters... so far that I can no longer see what is on the end of the line. Luke 5:4 is where Jesus told his disciples to "put out into the deep" and to let down their nets. Whether you are casting from the shore with all your strength or in your wounded state, doing all you can do to just drop it off the pier of your circumstances, the results are still the same... God cares for you and he WILL sustain you. That is His promise to you. The Grandpa I spoke of earlier, in the midst of his great loss, said that he was going to spend his time helping other victims of the horrendous fire that swept through his neighborhood. He cannot help the entire city but he can help those in his personal sphere. There is no way but by the Grace of God that we can cast our own burdens on Him and then turn around and lift the burdens of our neighbor. I will end with this: Isaiah 43:1-3 teaches us that no matter what we go through in the physical, no matter how impacting the trial, we will not be destroyed Spiritually. Whether we pass through the fires or the rivers... he is our Savior and he tells us "not to fear" for he is with us and will bring us through to the end. So we must cast our burdens on Him, "So that we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. We may lose all we have in this life but another life is coming and if we will but look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, he understands and will, at times, give us a glimpse of what's ahead as we "Cast our Care on Him". Look up and be encouraged today my Friends!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

"JUST" WHAT?

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

THE BABY AND THE BATHWATER (NOT JUST FOR WOMEN)

"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

THE SONG THAT I AM

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.


No man comes to the Father except through me."
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

CULTIVATING


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!