“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

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“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

“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!”

“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

“Don’t Change Your Glory!”

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“Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit,” Jeremiah 2:11, KJV

Changing your glory?! What does that even mean? It means anything that takes precedence over your worship of the one true God. It’s exchanging the life that was once rendered to service and obedience to God, to fulfill one’s own will and desires.

In God, we have love and security. In Him, we find peace, refuge and salvation. Yet, every day the battle ensues for us to give it all up to follow after that which “does not profit.” It reminds me of the story of the prodigal son. He had a hard time seeing what he really had going for him at home where he was. He thought the grass was greener on the other side and his perception of the other side drew him away from the blessedness he already had. He gave up everything his father secured for him to go off in the wild blue yonder to pursue his own desires.

Such was the calamity that befell the Israelites also. They had exchanged the worship of the one true God to follow after idols. This same God, whom throughout history, has sought to love them, protect them and pour out His promises on them. He has stomped down enemies for them. He has overthrown kingdoms for them. He has multiplied them, blessed them, led them, covered them, fed them and saved them. Yet, they had reached a point when they decided in themselves that they needed more.

I once heard someone teach that grass is still grass, no matter what “side” it’s on. Here, the prodigal son and the Israelites have been deceived into believing more in the imagination of the “other side” than in the reality of the powerful love they already had. It’s a truth thing! We have to be sure that truth is not misinterpreted because it can hinder one’s growth or cause one to step all the way out of the faith to the point of changing their glory.

From the beginning of time truth has been under attack and glory has been fought against. But, Hebrews 10:35 tells us, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward,” (KJV). In the garden, Adam and Eve cast away their confidence and believed deception. The Israelites cast away their confidence and went after that which does not profit. The prodigal son cast his confidence away and broke the relationship between him and his father. The book of Hebrews was written to the saints – to the church – to them already in a relationship with God through Christ, and the yellow tape of “CAUTION” has been spread out! It is warning those who are thinking about following the footsteps of those I mentioned. Hebrews is encouraging them not to give up on their faith! Don’t break your relationship with God! Don’t exchange your glory!

There are a lot of things and imaginations that seek to draw you away. Hebrews teaches that if we will just hold on to the truth, to the confidence, the reward is coming! 1 Corinthians 15:58 supports this by admonishing us to “. . . be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord, (KJV). If you stay rooted in the Lord, it will all pay off in a little while. It’s not in vain! Don’t change your glory!

Hold on! “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise,” (Hebrews 10:36, KJV). Wait for it! Do His will! Receive His promises! But, don’t change your glory! “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back into perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul,” (Hebrews 10:38-39, KJV).

There are many things that appear to profit but end in ruin. Ask Adam and Eve, or the prodigal son, or even the ancient Israelites. They suffered for the choices they made. Today, we can look at their examples and decide to do it differently. We don’t mock them, but we learn from them of what we don’t want to do. And, we don’t want to change our glory!

“Just Give Me Jesus!”

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3

Every once in a while we need to take a step back and examine ourselves.  What or who is it that we are really devoted to?  What or who are we chasing after?  What or who are we investing our time and energies toward?  Are we just running this Christian race for a better life on this side of the grave?  Or, are we sincerely and completely devoted to the Christ who redeemed us from its power?

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church for them to beware.  Beware of what?  Beware of deception that is afoot.  “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ,” (2 Corinthians 11:3); or the sincerity of devotion to Him.

Jesus is our lifeline for the here and now, and for time to come.  If we are not completely tied to and devoted to Him, then what are we doing?  Why are we claiming our attachment to His holy body if our devotion is not fully geared toward Him, being sincerely in love with the Savior?

Our lives are to be simply Jesus.  Yes, we have other things to attend to in life and we cannot shirk those responsibilities.  But, the center of our heart is for the Lord.  In all that we do, we seek to do it in devotion, love, and honor to Him.

“Just give me Jesus,” the soul within cries.  The complications of life and the whisperings of other “means” seek to disrupt and break our sincerest fellowship with our Savior.  But, just give me Jesus.

May our devotion to Him, no matter what we are facing, be of the sincerest form.  May our hearts ever be tied to the Christ who redeemed us.  May our minds carry Jesus in it as we walk the paths of this life.

Text Free Photo: Pixabay/TheDigitalArtist

“Stand Your Ground!”

Stand your ground, be firm,
don’t settle or rest.
Wear your resolve as an emblem
mounted on your chest.

You know who you are.
You know Who knows you.
And, you know in your heart
you have nothing to prove.

Don’t let their words sway
how you feel about self.
Don’t let their thoughts control –
For time will tell.

Your character, your work,
will speak for your stand.
Believe in who He made you,
perfectly planned.

Opinions of others,
their views of you,
pale in comparison
to Creator of skies so blue.

Let them judge and baulk,
throw verbal stones at you.
You are committed in faith
and God will see you through.

So, stand in your beauty
from the inside out.
Rest your heart in God’s thoughts,
under your feet, place their doubts.

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;).”  Hebrews 10:22-23

 

“Today I Believe I am Big Enough!”

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“And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight,” Numbers 13:33

Feeling outsized in life?  The fact of the matter is that many of us feel too small for the task ahead.  Goals, dreams, and possibilities are alright to fantasize about, but when it actually comes down to implementing what needs to be done, we often feel inadequate, as if we don’t have enough in us to see it all the way through to the end.  We feel too small to go in and take hold of what we can be.

Too often we get stuck in a rut because of this line of thinking.  The pressure of what it actually takes to step out into something new, to believe there is a chance for you to be better and to have better, is a little overwhelming to most.  Dealing with the unusual and stepping into the unfamiliar takes a strong act of courage.  It involves one having enough strength and faith to look past what they view themselves as now and see something bigger.

For any area of life where we want to see improvement, there will always be barriers.  There will always be “giants,” whether real or imagined, that will say and make you believe that you are too little; that you don’t have enough in you to be big.

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world,” (1 John 4:4).  The world doesn’t want you to make it.  And, he that operates in the world wants your faith to diminish to the point that you feel like you’re a little “grasshopper.”  It is time for you to stop listening to the world and turn a deaf ear to the “giants.”  If God brought you to the edge of the promise, then, He is most certainly able to bring you all the way into it.  The main factor that can hinder you is you!  It is what you believe about yourself!   It is what you believe God can do in and through you!

“Greater is He that is in you!”  Our belief in ourselves and what God can do through us rises when we realize who it is on our side and what He can do.  That’s the beautiful thing about this.  Life may outsize us but it will never outsize God!  God dwarfs to nobody!  He is greater than all.  So much so, that when He was telling Abraham about his promises, “He could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,” (Hebrews 6:13).

God is the greatest there is.  The buck stops with Him.  He can’t be outdone.  He can’t be belittled.  He is king and will be king forever.  And, He is “in you!”  That means you are big enough!  You are nobody’s grasshopper!  You can do it because of who you have on the inside of you!  Your job is to wholeheartedly believe, understand and know His bigness, so that you can believe, understand and know that today, “I am big enough!”

Photo Credit: Pixabay

God Knows Your Importance | Word For Life Says

God knows your importance even if others don’t.
God knows your importance if you, yourself won’t.
God values you completely, through and through.
In His sight, you are treasured for the who that is you.

All of creation, He spoke, each part was good.
But, when He looked at you, He saw everything that could…
Everything that could dream…
Everything that could love…
Everything that could hope to the end.
He saw everything that could, with potential from within.

An original creation, the beauty of His eye.
Someone who has His heart, that He was willing to die.
Your value can’t be measured by man’s purpose or plan.
Your value stands only by what says the great, “I AM!”

And, He says you are gifted and loved, cherished and held.
Please, know it’s your importance that makes His heart swell.
Swell, because He can see more than anyone can.
Plant your faith, YOU ARE IMPORTANT, in His heavenly plan.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

Photo Credit: Pixabay/DzeeShah

“Come to the Waters”

“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters . . .” Isaiah 55:1

Come to the waters, the Lord beckons.  This world will tire you out and the pursuit of it will leave you drained.  Refreshment can only be found in Him.  As one traipsing through a desert of darkness that this world so often leads you through, His plentiful Spirit will satiate the aridness and will water your life where it was once dry.

Do you need that touch from Him?

Come!

Do you need that refreshing spring that flows from the everlasting Father?

Come!

Do you need the tenderness and hope that can only be found in the stream of His salvation?

Come!

Do you need to be rejuvenated into new birth in the waters of His spiritual deliverance?

Then, come!

Don’t lighten your pace.  Run with haste to the pool of His mercy and grace, and come.  Don’t let anyone stop you from dipping in.  Dive in with full surrender and with full abandon, and come.

A sip just won’t do.  We are thirsty for You, O God!  We have nothing to offer for the price You paid, yet, You say come.  We have no value on our own, but You speak, come anyway.  There is no good thing that dwells in our flesh (Romans 7:18), but You invite us to draw near to You and come.

Come to the waters.  Step into the abundant life He so offers (John 10:10).  Come and let your soul be spiritually satisfied.  Come and take the offer of His salvation for yourself.

Come, and don’t turn away.  Don’t give up this great treasure that can only be found in God.  Don’t let the delight of what the Lord Jesus Christ bought for you on that cross slip through your fingers.

“Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live . . .” (Isaiah 55:3, NKJV).  Live in Him.  Live in the peace He offers through the pouring out of His blood.  Live a life free from spiritual drought because you were once thirsty and you came and partook of His holy waters.

Yes, this world will dry you out, but He restores, He redeems, and He puts in right fellowship with Him every thirsty soul that comes to Him and drinks.  Jesus said, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life,” (John 4:14).

Therefore, come to the Water!