“Say, YES!”

“Behold… be it unto me according to thy word,” (Luke 1:38) are the words Mary spoke when she willingly accepted God’s plan for her life.  She said yes to a future unknown.  She got into agreement with God and allowed His mission to become her mission, and her life was changed forever.

I believe that God wants to move mightily in many lives, but many are not willing to say yes.  It’s not because they don’t want God to do a fantastic thing in them and through them, but when they preview all the ideas that could happen, the balance of all the what-ifs seem too much to bear.  Yet, it is most often in those extremely unbearable moments where God works the most wonderful of wonderfuls.

Yes, comes with sacrifice.  Yes, refutes the idea of the impossible.  Yes says, “I don’t know where this journey is leading me, but Lord, I accept the challenge.  I choose Your cause and I choose this day to order my life according to that cause.”

Mary’s yes could’ve ended in her death.  Surely there must’ve been shame and ridicule hurled at her.  Never once, not even when her eldest Son, Jesus Christ, hung on the cross to redeem man, did we ever hear of her recoiling from that original yes.  There had to have been troubling times and days of confusion – yet, her yes remained yes, and to Him, she surrendered all.

Yes, can be glorious and lead one on the wildest journey they could ever experience.  But, yes can also be the hardest and most selfless decisive act one can take on.  Nevertheless, God’s invitation has gone out to many.  How will you respond today?  Will you recoil in fear, or through faith, say, “All aboard!”  I choose to ride with God through this journey by saying yes today!

Photo: Pixabay/Fotorech

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“Don’t Count People Out!”

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“Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother,” 2 Thessalonians 3:15

We all have those acquaintances in life that make us constantly shake our heads, and we feel like throwing up our hands in exasperation.  Especially when their behaviors do not line up with our beliefs.  Many of the times one can feel justified in their decision to wash their hands of that relationship and count that person out.  It doesn’t.

I’m so glad God has more patience with us than we have with one another.  In our humanness, we are so quick to give up on what we perceive as a lost cause.  Even members of our own family – oh, they may try us, but we can’t write them off.

When Jesus gave the command for His followers to be witnesses for Him in Acts 1:8, the first place that was mentioned was Jerusalem.  Jerusalem was home base.  Jerusalem was where everything started.  He wanted the people “at home” to have the first shot of this powerful, saving message.  In fact, that’s exactly what happened.  When Peter got up on the Day of Pentecost and preached Jesus Christ to the people “in Jerusalem,” a mighty thing occurred.  Acts 2:37 boldly tells us the message that was preached was their undoing.  It says, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

That’s a powerful reversal of opinion by those who in verse 23 were accused in the killing of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Bearing with people is not always the easiest thing to do, especially those closest to you.  You know a lot about them and it is sometimes hard to envision a reversal on their part, but can I tell you something, they are still souls before God.

It is easier for us to “go into all the world,” (Mt. 28:19), then to make disciples out of those closest to us.  Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  You might be the only glimpse of what life in Christ could be for them.  But, if you give up on them and count them out, how will they see?

Your love, patience, and attitude toward another could be their deciding factor.  “Count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”  What if God had given up on us?  Rather, Psalm 103:8-10 tells us, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.  He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.  He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.”  We deserved the worse, but God saved us and gave us the best.  He did not give up on us!

I can readily admit that before my relationship with Christ I was not all peaches and cream, nor was I sugar and spice and everything nice.  I was a sinner.  My life was not right.  I was not born a Christian, and neither were you.  God has been very patient with me, with us, and we should return that same grace to others.

It may be a work in progress for most of us, but at least it’s in progress. Therefore, we don’t have the right to count others out either.  Our love, compassion, and desire to see them saved should always compel us to “admonish them as a brother.”  People need you today, don’t count them out.  Exhort one another in love.  We need each other so badly to make it through.  Our hearts should yearn to see all saved even when we don’t see it.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

“God Keeps Me”

“And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be,” Exodus 8:23

I really admire people who can or preserve their own products at home. I had a neighbor who does her own canning and her strawberry preserves were really sweet. You didn’t need to add much of it to flavor whatever you were using it on. Delicious!

I think it’s an awesome thing to grow your own produce out of your own garden or to make your special homemade soup and such, and then store them for a future use. Everything I have read about canning encourages me, but also frightens me a little bit. It encourages me because it gives the idea that this is something special I produced. Look how beautifully they’re lined on the shelves for me to take down and use at will. But, it also frightens me a bit because of the potential for bacterial growth if everything is not sterilized and handled correctly.

I know somebody out there who is an experienced canner is shaking their head at me right now. That’s okay, I’m not offended. But, you guys are awesome!

If you read through the book of Exodus, you will come across the story of the plagues. With that, you will also read about the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart each time a plague had come. Even after dealing with an invasion of lice and flies he still refused God. Some people have to learn lessons the hard way, I guess.

As you continue reading, you will come to Exodus 8:22-23 where it says, “I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth. And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be.” This is what had me thinking about the ability to preserve and can one’s own stuff.

I am amazed at the keeping power of God. Thinking from a human perspective, how difficult would it be to keep flies and other plagues from entering a land adjacent to the one being afflicted for their wrong? This wasn’t a bother-you-at-a-picnic-fly-issue. This was a completely nasty situation!

Verse 21 really opens our eyes to the severity of the situation that God, through Moses, was warning Pharoah of. “Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.” – EWW! Flies all over the ground that you are stepping on – YUCK! I can imagine the difficulty of opening your mouth to speak to one another without a fly taking refuge on your tonsils – GROSS!  It is what God warned of, and it is what happened.

It was very intense, but through it all, God kept His people separated from that nasty situation (vs. 22).  He put a division between good and evil; between those who were for Him and those who were against Him. Those that were for God didn’t end up singing some sad song which entails swallowing flies.

God is a keeper of them that put their trust in Him. Psalm 16:1 says, “Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.” There’s a lot of junk that goes on around us each and every day but God has a special watch over them that belong to Him. What seemed like an impossibility of not having any flies enter Goshen, God did it! “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:37; emphasis mine).

There are a lot of things swarming around us every day. Whether it lands on us or not, God is my keeper in the midst of it all. Trust Him today! He is preserving you to take you off the shelf to use one day.  I may not be confident in my abilities to sterilize, keeping bacteria from entering in (I need a garden first, anyway). But, I don’t have to question God’s ability to properly preserve me. “CAN ME UP, LORD – AND KEEP ME!”

Photo: Pixbay/RitaE

Tuning In and Tuning Out

 

 

I absolutely love earplugs.  As someone who spends a great deal of time reading and studying, the ability to block out irritating and distracting noises is quite appealing to me.  I mean, really, I could be in the same room with someone watching TV, and with my trusty earplugs, I can continue in my little-secluded paradise of the book or materials I am going through and remain undisturbed.  The people around me can continue their activities all willy nilly and my little bubble of earplug world is protected.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the grand scheme of this thing called life, popping in earplugs to block out unwelcomed voices and interruptions is not so easy.  Yet, what we allow to seep into our hearing can shape you for the good or the bad.  It can influence your next move in life or totally debilitate you depending on what messages you are paying the most attention to.

We have the choice to tune in or tune out the right frequencies that will build our faith, encourage our walk, and bolster our energy that will inspire us to move forward.  Like those radios of old, we turn the knob until we get the right wavelength so that we can hear them playing our song.  And, when it comes to life and where God is leading us, we want them playing our song.  We want to hear things that are pleasing; things that encourage and lift up.

But, as the story of this world goes, that’s not always the case.  Negative is all around us so we have to be selective in what we receive into us, into our thinking, and into our faith.  Sometimes you even have to turn a deaf ear to your own inner voice.  You know the one; the one that expresses doubt and confusion where there should be none.

Every message and every voice we allow to take up space in us is something that will fill us with positive or negative potential.

Gideon was a man in the Bible who had to overcome insecurity.  He not only had to deal with his fear of what it really meant to go against such a large army with a few men, but he also had to tune out his own inner voice that expressed doubt about what God was going to do for him and the people against the Midianite army.

God directed Gideon to go down into the camp with one purpose: to tune him into a different channel of thought than what he had been listening to.  God wanted him to hear something different.  He said, “If you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant, and you shall hear what they say; and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp,” (Judges 7:10-11, NKJV).

When he got into the camp unawares, what he heard changed his whole perspective on the move of God in his life.  There were certain men of the enemy’s army talking and one told the other of a dream he had: “I have had a dream: To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned, and the tent collapsed,” (Judges 7:13, NKJV).

The man who was listening to the dream admitted the truth he felt as its telling.  He said, “This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon, the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hands God has delivered Midian and the whole camp,” (Judges 7:14, NKJV).  Gideon heard the enemy admit defeat before the battle was even fought because God was with the people of Israel.

When those words fell on Gideon’s ears it changed his perspective on the battle.  Those words fed his inner man with a healthy dose of courage and caused him to get into agreement with God.  He spoke to his fellow countrymen and gave this report: “Arise, for the LORD has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand,” (Judges7:15, NKJV).  He was ready to step into new territory of being victorious for God.  He was ready to take on this battle and win.

Stand guard against what you allow to be fed into your hearing.  For what enters your hearing enters your thoughts, and what enters your thoughts affects the spirit man.  Today, make a conscientious effort to tune in to what God is saying through His Spirit and through His Word and tune out anything negative that speaks against His truth.  Let Him be your spiritual earplugs.

Text Free Photo: Pixabay/LubosHouska

“8 Ways to Speak God’s Blessings Over Your Children!”

God wants everyone in your family to be blessed.  From the least, unto the greatest, it is His desire that all that is in your household be entrenched in God’s favor.  What better gift to give to your children than to extend the blessings of the Lord over their life.  These little ones will be the next carriers of God’s word.  They will be the conduits through which generations after them will find their way to the Lord and His salvation.  It all starts with what is planted in them today.  When we step off the scene we want to be sure these future leaders are strengthened in His might and power.

Below are verses you can begin to pray over your children today.  Sow the seed of God’s Word into their life through intercession and may the Lord bless their growth.

  • A prayer for beautifully, mature growth – “That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace,” Psalm 144:12.
  • A prayer for the instruction of the Lord and peace – “All thy children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children,” Isaiah 54:13.
  • A prayer for understanding and judgment; to be opened to receive guidance – “My children, listen when your father corrects you. Pay attention and learn good judgment, for I am giving you good guidance. Don’t turn away from my instructions,” – Proverbs 4:1-2, NLT
  • A prayer to stay on the paths of the righteous – “That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous,” – Proverbs 2:20.
  • A prayer for God’s blessings – “The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace,” – Numbers 6:24-26.
  • A prayer for a deep relationship with God – “For in him we live, and move, and have our being . . .” – Acts 17:28.
  • A prayer for protection –  “The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.  The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore,” – Psalm 121:7-8.
  • I declare today, My children are a gift and a blessing from God – Psalm 127:3-5.

There are numerous verses you can proclaim over your family today.  Many of these I have prayed over my own children down through the years and though many are of adult age, some with children of their own, I still find myself praying for them.

God’s Word is powerful!  Why not use it to pray over and bless the lives of your children?

What are some ways, verses, or prayers you use to bless and/or pray over your family and children?  Share them with me and they may appear in a future article.

Photo: Pixabay/cherylholt

“The Lord is on my Side!”

Oh, the grace of another day.  Yet, every day is not peachy, rather often with it comes turmoil, upset, and unrest.  Sometimes, battling the seen and the unseen.  Sometimes, fighting to keep one’s spiritual head above the waters of this life that seek to take you under.  Oh, the peace to know that despite it all, the Lord is on my side.

If you’ve ever gone to the circus, one of the most impressive feats to witness in the performances there are the trapeze acts.  It never seems to lose its awesomeness as we watch men and women fly through the air with what appears to be a complete disregard for life and limb.  Actually, it is quite the opposite.  They fly through the air with abandon because of the trust they exhibit in their partner to be by their side and to catch them at that pivotal moment; to catch them when it matters most.  There is an awesome relationship of trust that goes on between the two.  One that neither can doubt in lest the outcome be less than desirable.

What about our relationship with God?  Do we exhibit the same trust in Almighty God that these acrobats seem to place in human confidence?  Do we sport the confidence that He is by our side to catch us when we need Him the most?

Sometimes it may feel like you are in the boxing ring alone.  Well, you’re not!  Sometimes it may appear that you are fighting armies that encamp against you by yourself.  You’re not!  God is on our side and He promised to never leave us nor forsake us, Hebrews 13:5.

Daily, we are upheld by Him!  Our lives are not in our own hands rather in the hands of Him that never fails!  We may swing to and fro, sometimes feeling up and sometimes down, yet He is the ever-present strength that keeps us flying high above all these adversities, above all these troubles, above all these trappings of this world.

Difficulties will arise.  Oh yes, they will.  But, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.  In other words, He is on our side.  He is our overcomer.  He is our victor.  He is our deliverer that will see us past all that is presently before us that we might experience the peace that He so offers.

“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” John 14:27.  Some may say this is easier said than done especially when the upsets of life seem to be all around and the strength to carry on, well, it’s just plain hard to find.  You’re exhausted!  I get it.  God gets it.

That’s why His Word declares and reminds every one of us, we don’t have to carry on on our own.  The Lord is on your side.  You are not in this alone.  This is the message of the whole Bible.  No matter how dim, gloomy and bleak it may seem, we are not in this alone.  We have a Strength that is beyond our human capabilities.  We have a Force fighting for us that cannot be reckoned with by human standards.  We have the one and only true God and He is on our side!

Who are you flying with today?  Secure your life in Him, let go and know that “The LORD is on my side,” Psalm 118:6.  Trust Him, He will catch the life that honestly reaches out for Him, trusts, and believes.

Text Free Photo: Pixabay/Pexels

“Your Hearts Shall Live!”

“And you who seek God, your hearts shall live,” Psalm 69:32

How many go through their day complacent in the status quo?  No passion for life.  No zeal for better.  Just run the ordinary course of the ordinary life jogger, following the crowd, content with a heart that’s just beating but not alive.

A heart that is alive thrills at the unknown.  A heart that is alive craves to pump its life source throughout every crevice of its being.  Those who seek for God are not content with just the rhythmic beat of every other man.  Their heart wants to thump against the chest wall to express the life that lives in it through Him.

When one seeks God it stirs up something on the inside of them.  It stirs a wanting of more.  Kind of like a first love.  You seek to be near that person or to simply hear their voice.  When contact is made it makes the heart beat a little faster and you feel alive!  God promises those that look for Him with that same passion your hearts shall live.  Your heart will tell a story all its own about the love that dwells in it for the one you seek.

Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,” (John 10:10).  He wants hearts alive; hearts that live for seeking Him more and more.  From that they will reap not the status quo rather an abundance of life that flows from Him.  If the beat of your heart is a little slower these days, or your faith is not getting as excited as it used at the first, check to see who or what you have been seeking after.  It may be that you have been looking for love, acceptance and passion everywhere but the right place.  But, we have this promise, “you who seek God, your hearts shall live!”

“Learn to See You How God Sees You!”

LEARN TO SEE YOU HOW GOD SEES YOU – “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Psalm 139:14

“When a man has no strength, if he leans on God, he becomes powerful.” ~ D.L. Moody

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NO MATTER WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE, IN CHRIST I AM STRONG! “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

“The King to My Rescue!”

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“Save, LORD! May the King answer us when we call,” Psalm 20:9, NKJV

 I am definitely a girly girl, to an extent.  I love the idea of love.  I can bury myself in stories of romance and rescue.  What is a lovelier picture than that of a knight in shining armor coming to the rescue of a damsel in distress?  I’ll tell what a lovelier picture is, when the King himself gets personally involved in the rescue.

As long as we live in this earth days of trouble are never far from any of us.  There will always be an occasion that we need to be rescued, be it mind, body or spirit.  We will never be the end all of every answer to every trouble we face.  There will arise at one point or another a situation or a trial where nothing and no one can help unless the most powerful in the land intercedes on our behalf.

“Save, LORD!” becomes more of a desperate plea than a battle cry.  When adversity has made itself too comfortable in your presence and you don’t know how to rid this awful pest, a plea to the King to answer our most urgent request comes forth from the lips, seeking a life saver to lift us up out of the drowning depths.

Our King is not too high that He cannot hear.  Our King is not so secluded behind palace walls that He doesn’t see the plight of His people.  Our King has granted us an open access policy to be able to reach Him when hard times are weighing us down.  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:16).  Therefore, we cry out, “Save, LORD! May the King answer us when we call,” (Psalm 20:9).

“In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me,” (Psalm 86:7).  Over and over again we see the plea.  Over and over again we see the promise.  The King is waiting to hear from you and me.  Stop carrying the trouble alone.  Seek the King’s intervention in your life.

Sometimes a knight in shining armor just won’t do.  You need the King to come to the rescue.  Be blessed.

Photo Credit: Pixabay