“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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“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

“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!”

“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

“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!

“You Are the Light of the World!”

Do you ever wonder why Christians have to deal with so much stuff from people?  Why does it seem the rights of everyone else are important all the while our rights are trying to be diminished by opposing forces?  Why does it seem that we are singled out to be somebody to mess with when the cut-ups of this world get by on a free pass.

I’ll tell you why.

Things are set in motion like that to try to discourage us from our walk with Christ; our belief.  The fact of the matter is our lives are convicting to those who fight against God and His plan for humanity.  God, through His Word, tells of a holy requirement He desires to see played out in the lives of each and every individual.  Those who seek after the flesh and revel in carnality and sin don’t want the same desires as He.  Rather, they fight vehemently against it and anything that resembles it (i.e. Christians).

Once Jesus taught, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid,” Matthew 5:14.  You shine for Him.  You magnify His brightness and glory in the midst of degradation and sin.  You are a beacon to show people the way to this wonderful life in Him through the darkness and disparity of this world.  As a Christian, you look like Him (in character), you talk like Him and that bothers those who oppose Him.

In a life that has been transformed by His renewing power, it becomes a living testimony to grace, mercy, and the power of salvation working itself out in humanity.  Although these wonderful things are available to all for the asking, few choose to look to Him for those wonderful gifts.  They would much rather pursue the things of the flesh than that of the Spirit causing war and contentions with those who walk and talk differently then them.

Nonetheless, I urge you brother and sister in Christ, keep walking the holy walk.  No matter the fighting.  No matter the contentions.  Keep showing this world, through the life you live, what a mighty God we serve.  Philippians tells us we are, “In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world,” (2:15).  By the continual light of Christ beaming from your life, you are helping others to draw nearer to Him; you are helping others to see the hope that is available if they would but turn.

The life we live may cause us discomfort at times, but the reward of having others see Christ in us is immeasurable.  You and I can positively effect change in the lives of others for eternity.  I think, my friends, that far outweighs the opposition we may face today.

And, as we are living, let us always remember we have nothing to boast or be arrogant about.  We are saved today because somebody else stood up as a light for us showing us the way; somebody else’s lives were convicting, pricking our hearts to want to know Him more.  Our salvation is NEVER anything for us to glory in.  We can only glory in our Savior who gave His life that we might have new life in Him.  We are now vessels filled with His grace that we might positively pour into and shine in the lives of others.

“It’s Saturday!”

The day before Sunday is like no other. It’s the day that comes at the end of the work week and comes before the day of worship. There are so many possibilities with this day. Sleep in or go out? Veg out in front the TV or seek adventure? Clean or do you say forget it, “I clean every day and today I’m taking a break!” How will you spend your time?

Time. That’s a four little word with great impact. Time is something we can never get back. Time is something that will keep moving forward whether you are ready to go with it or not. Time is precious. Time is valuable. How one spends their time can either add to their life or take away from it.

Time. Extra time is not promised. We can’t buy more time. Rather, we must lay hold of with an iron grip the time that has been allotted to us and make the best use of it for our lives, our families, and our ministries.

Time. What will you do with it? We deserve rest because we worked hard. Take the time. We deserve adventure, something that will heighten our senses because we have stayed the course of the mundane all week. Take the time. Clean? . . . well, we’ll just leave that one alone for now.

Time. As crazy as it seems to us, it goes by in a flash when you don’t want it to and it drags when you wish it would speed up. That’s why every moment counts. Every opportunity should be seized. Every second savored.

Time. We don’t have as much of it as we would like, and yet God blessed us with the amount we need. How we choose to use it is up to us.

What will you do with your time today? There is no right or wrong answer. If you worked hard and want to sit in front of the tv because your brain needs a few hours vacation, then do so. If your body has been stuck in the office all week and you feel a need to stretch and exercise to get it moving, then do so. If you chose to let the house go one day so that you can have time for yourself, then do so. It’s Saturday! It’s your time! Make the most of it for you!

Keep in mind, once this Saturday goes by, it will not come again. Oh, yes, there will be other Saturdays, but not this Saturday. There will be other chances and opportunities, but not like today. Today is for you – it’s your Saturday, what will you do?

Ephesians 5:16 encourages us to redeem the time. Grab hold of today and make the most of it! It’s only here today. So, what will you do with today?

Whatever you do, make today count! It’s Saturday, enjoy “you” on this day!

God bless you and enjoy your Saturday 🙂

Photo credit: Pixabay

Community of Believers | We are here for one another!

 

Races can take you through many terrains.  Running uphill, it’s hard.  The more you go, the steeper the incline, the harder it gets.  Breath after breath your chest heaves for relief.  Push after push your muscles cry out for mercy.  And, just when you thought you had no more in you; just when you thought you couldn’t go any farther, from behind there comes these hands out of nowhere that steadies your stride and helps propel you forward some more.  On the side of you comes smiling faces with encouraging words grabbing hold of your arms and help pull you up that incline that you might finish your race.  They want to help you make it.

The Apostle Paul often described our Christian life as a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).  We run it.  We press for it.  But, sometimes the way gets hard and if it had not been for the grace of God, we would not have made it.

As the community of racers pushed and pulled the struggling runner uphill, so God will minister to us to help us go through our race.  Often this is done through the community of believers that will come alongside the one that needs support.

In this world the struggle is real.  May we, as a community of believers, recognize the support that each one needs.  May we join up with our fellow Christian race runners and offer the help and encouragement they need to make it.  May we see beyond our own race and allow God to use our hands and smiling faces to help bolster someone’s faith as they are striving to make it up the inclines of this life.

We all have the same goal in mind: to finish the race.  We need each other to do it.  As a community of believers, our job goes beyond spreading the gospel and being a light in this dark world, and all the other spiritual stuff it entails.  Our job is also to seek the welfare of one another.  We need to be there for one another.  We need to be present and involved in the process of what they are going through “that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it,” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).  

More encouraging verses and quotes:

“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow . . .” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a

“God has chosen us to help one another.” Smith Wigglesworth

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the Good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Photo Source: Pixabay

“When the Father speaks…”

There is a lot of inner dialogue that goes on and there is a lot of outer dialoguing that goes on.  The inner dialogue comes from the person within.  It talks to oneself sometimes words of encouragement, and that’s okay.  But, when it begins to express doubt, confusion and rehearses hurt repeatedly, it becomes a dangerous voice causing one to lose out on some of the best stuff God has for them.

The outer dialogues we hear daily comes from the voices all around.  Again, sometimes one may hear words of love, but when these voices speak criticism, discouragement, and put-downs, their words need to be silenced and replaced because they are not doing anything to one up or to help along the way.

Any voice, inner or outer, which speaks contrary to the words of the Father, must be made to shut up.  When the Father speaks, His is a heavenly dialogue, and what He has to say far outweighs any word on earth.

When the Father speaks His words are power.  “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God,” (Psalm 62:11).  Every other speech will fail and grow weak when it meets up against the strength of what He has to say.  “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12).

When the Father speaks His words are fulfilling.  “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it,” (Isaiah 55:11).  In the sea of worthless words that drown the hearing of this world, God’s Word can be trusted to do what He said He would do.  It will succeed at everything spoken of it.

When the Father speaks His words are truth.  False speech seems to dominate this world.  Whatever the platform, people are careless and deceitful with the words that they throw around.  But God’s words are dependable and faithful.  They are “truth” (John 17:17) and His words don’t lie (Numbers 23:19).  “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth,” (Psalm 33:4).

When the Father speaks His words are life.  Jesus said, “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life,” (John 6:63).  Not only are His words filled with life-giving power in the here and now, but when He speaks they are words of eternal life (John 6:68).  For those who believe in His Word, it will provide them with everything they need to live.

And, when the Father speaks, it is forever.  “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever,” (Isaiah 40:8; see also Matthew 24:35).  There will never be a time when His Word will not be.  All the inner and outer dialogues that take place daily will eventually pass away.  But, everything declared in His Word, shall be forever.  It’s not going anywhere.  Therefore, we can stake our very lives on it, live by it, and hope in it.  Because, when the Father speaks, His Word will always be there for us through it all.

Today, when the Father speaks, let His voice be louder than all others and let His words be the strength for your day.