Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Word of God is Your Source of Fulfillment

Attending one of the largest motorcycle events in the United States, Bikes Blues and BBQ has something for everyone. You can walk the streets and buy whatever your heart’s desire is. Everything is for sale and it’s for sale everywhere - from the downtown area to the track center to the alleyways and the mall. People flock in to the relatively small town with the hopes of finding something that will bring them more happiness. It’s all about the ride. If you’re looking for something you will surely find it. If your pockets are deep enough you can have it all.




The problem with having it all is that when you’re done it’s all just stuff. For some, they’ll go home not only with empty pockets, but a load of stuff they never meant to pick up. What promised freedom the first day on arrival will prove to be more burdens as they head home. To have it all always costs more than the person ever bargains for.



Oh beloved, what are you searching for? Significance? Importance? Influence? Popularity? Have you been hoping that you’ll feel better about yourself? If you’re looking to things to fill your life you’ll always come up short. But if you’re looking for fulfillment, there is a way… The One Who set the stars in orbit and covered the earth with all good things has a word for you. He says come to Me and let Me give you true fulfillment. I can take your life and release you from all the burdens that you thought would bring you more freedom. Your life is so precious to Me. Everything I Am is your key to significance. Let me give you, freely, everything you’ve been trying to buy. Your burdens, your bondage, your hopes, your fears - all of them are released and reformed in Me. Not only will I change your life I will change your perspective so that your heart’s desires are regenerated as you delight in Me. I AM the fount of living water that never runs dry. I AM the source of all that will let you lay your burdens down and allow your life to become influential beyond your wildest dreams.



The true value of your life is found when you run to His Word, the greatest gift catalog ever written, and see…all that is in the pages of the life giving Word is yours today! Trust Him and let Him love you! God loves you and He’s for you and that’s all that really matters.



Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. NAS



John 7:38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” NAS



2 Peter 1:3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the One who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.



Isaiah 55:1 Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink--even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk--it's all free!



John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I AM the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. KJV

Friday, September 28, 2012

Where Does Our Help Come From?

As we walked into the ER, she was talking to the nurse, “I just can’t do this without my husband. I want him to be here with me.” Married for 43 years, she knew that anything she might forget He would remember for her. She felt lost, dazed and confused. But she felt that if he was just there, things would somehow be alright or at least better. The trauma of the day had her longing for the presence of her husband who after all those years knew her every need, meds, history, fears, etc. Yes, once he got there, once she was safe in his presence, things would indeed seem much better.




I can relate. As I stood in the room, seeing her so helpless, I too was wanting my husband’s presence. All those years of marriage makes for such an intimate relationship that one truly winces when the other feels pain. You just know each other. You trust one another. Familiarity in this case does not breed contempt, but rather it breeds the need for more togetherness. Two indeed become one.



Oh beloved, are there traumas, trials or troubles in your life today? Are you feeling alone in the ER of life, wondering when comfort, joy and peace will return? Have you been trying to fix your situation only to find that it’s not possible to do it on your own? Are you wishing for someone who could come into your life and make things better, make things right?



There is One Who will be there for you always! He’s Ever Present, All Knowing, and Always watching over you. We don’t have to wait for Him to arrive on the scene because He is with us always! We don’t have to hope He cares for His Name is Faithful and True. We’re never alone, no matter what our situation. The longer we know Him, the more we can call upon Him and the more intimate our relationship is with Him. Run to the One Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you could ask or think! He is with you, He is working things out for your good and His glory! Regardless of what you’re going through now He will see you through. You don’t have to be strong enough for He is your strength! Get out your Marriage Certificate today and read: All who call upon Him will be safe! He is your fortress and your God! He loves you, He’s with you and that’s all that really matters.



I Peter 5:7 Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.



Psalm 121:2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!



Psalm 3:4 I cried out to the Lord, and He answered me from His holy mountain.



Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.



Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Precious Memories! Beautiful Future! Let Him Lead You...

We’re at Bikes Blues and BBQ this week. We enjoy visiting with everyone who comes by the booths. We have one behind Shotz on Dickson Street and one at the entrance to the vendors at the Tyson Track Center. As we drove up yesterday Danny and I reminisced about how many years we’ve been coming up for this event. We laughed as we remembered the year the clutch went out on that old bike just as we were climbing a big hill. We talked about the folks we’ve met along the way. It’s good to reminisce about good times in our lives, whether it’s ministry or family or friends.


But it’s a new day. If we only think about yesterday, we aren’t able to move on. Just like we update our bikes, we pray for new vision and a fresh anointing for today. Maybe you’ve been doing things the old way and expect new results. It just doesn’t happen. Reminiscing is not the same as living in the past. Moving on is just part of life. But if we move on expecting God to be in the lead, we’ll have new memories and blessed times in His presence.

Oh beloved, your memories are certainly precious. Keep them. Memories of loved ones gone can warm our hearts. Share those memories with family as those stories can be carried down through the generations. Are you hanging on to the past as though it’s all you have? Whether past struggles or past joys, they’ll keep us focused so on our past that we can’t move on. Run to the Lord this morning and ask Him for fresh anointing and vision. Ask Him to take you further than you’ve been with Him first. Then, as you and He walk together, He will give you new insight and wonderful plans to carry you into the future. He says to you that your future is secure in Him and that He wants to give you greater blessings than you’ve ever known! Hallelujah! What a Savior – the One Who saves us by His grace, anoints us for this present time and fits us for Heaven! He loves you and He’s for you and that’s all that matters.

Psalm 23:5 …You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

Ecclesiastes 11:7 Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It is In the Giving Away that We find Real Joy


To make extra spending money when I was little, my mother crocheted doilies. I’m talking about the huge triple ruffled kind that was stiff starched and prominently displayed all over the house. She crocheted with tiny needles and fine thread. I have the last doily she worked on with the needle and thread attached that she was using.  Some would say that is a silly thing to hold onto. But it’s a visible reminder that regardless our life’s circumstances we should continue to create and enjoy every day.  She crocheted those lovely pieces as though she would be keeping them forever, never lacking in quality no matter that they were going to someone else’s home.  She thoroughly enjoyed the very things she was destined to give away.

Often we humans hold tightly to the things we hold dear. Whether it’s friendship or ministry or family or hobbies or talents.  They’re ours we reason. We don’t share well. We keep things to ourselves. We’re almost miserly with our affections.  Yet it is in the giving away that we find real joy.

Oh beloved, God knows your heart. He knows you want to enjoy the days He’s given you, but you find it hard to release the worry and the fear.  What if you give it all? What if you forgive completely, love whole-heartedly and let Him be first? What if you use up the talents He gave you for others? Run to Him this morning and lay it all at His feet. He will take what you are holding back and exchange it for a treasure trove of beauty in your life that’s meant to be shared, distributed, given away. You can trust Him beloved, because all that you give away and in the measure with which you give it is how He will give back to you. He says you cannot give too much. Even in your lack, if you begin to give you will see amazing things begin to happen.  How blessed are we to be people who can trust Him with everything? He loves you, He’s for you and that’s all that really matters.

 Matthew 25:29 For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

2 Corinthians 9:6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.

Romans 8:32 Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else?

Psalm 37:3 Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.

Monday, September 24, 2012

All of our Needs are Met in the Gift of God and His Word!


One Christmas I gave one of our daughters a gift certificate for a pedicure.  It was pretty expensive but I wanted her to have something personal, something just for her. I found out later she never used it. She said she didn’t think she’d like a pedicure; she preferred manicures. 

Little did she know that she could have been used it for anything in the shop. Because she didn’t know the truth about the gift, she wasted it.  She never really received the reward for it.  She didn’t use it, but I didn’t waste it because it was bought with love.

The Word of God is our gift certificate. All of God’s gifts, tools and resources are given to those who call on the name of Jesus to be saved.  The Entire Gift Catalog is ours. His Word is a gift and like all gifts we can choose whether we want to receive it or just leave it sitting on a shelf un-used and wasted. But Christ, who gave the Ultimate Gift of Himself has wasted nothing.  Unlike the gift certificate which lost its value after a while, God’s Precious Gift always holds its value and is there for you whenever you call upon Him.

Oh beloved! Maybe you have been saved and you don’t need the gift of salvation again. But you need a way to live a new life in Christ. Or you need a way to make it through the storms of life. Do you find that you need more power than a mere human can muster to live life victoriously? Run to the Lord this morning and open His Gift of the Word of God! Inside those pages, which are God breathed, you will find the answer to all your problems, the outcome of all your struggles and the way to live as an overcomer all the days of your life! Don’t waste a minute trying to figure things out in the flesh, for surely the flesh, even your own, will fail you. But the Word of God will never fail you, will never go out of fashion and will always hold its value for you. Because, beloved, you are valued by God and are loved beyond measure!  That’s why we say Hallelujah to the Lamb!

Joshua 23:14 Not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you.  All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed”

Romans 11:29  For God’s gifts and His call can never be withdrawn.

I Corinthians 1:14 I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts He has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 4:8  That is why the Scriptures say, “When He ascended to the heights, He led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to His people.”

James 1:17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (NAS)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

You Are God's Beautiful Treasure!


When we were young, it was fun to pick up coke bottles along the road for extra money.  They were all glass back then and you could redeem them for cash. It didn’t take long to have enough change to buy candy or some treasure at the store. Someone else’s throw away was worth something if you took the time to find it and take it home. Years later we find people collecting the old bottles that others had thrown away. The bottles themselves are now the treasures that people display on shelves in their homes.

The Lord says to you this morning, I know you have been discarded. You feel as empty as an old bottle lying in the ditch. But you are a treasure! And I have come to redeem you! I will not trade you in for gold or silver, for you are worth far more than anything man values. But I will take you and display you as a beautiful treasure for all to see in my Kingdom.  Who is the one who has pronounced you worthless? They do not know My Word. Who is the one who left you chipped and useless on the road of life? They do not count your worth as I do!

Oh beloved, you are a treasure, you are a beautiful picture of God’s redeeming love! Run to the One Who has bought you with a price and let Him bandage your wounds and set you on the mountain top. He loves you, He’s for you and His future for you is full of wonder as you live for Him. Lay aside the hurts and the disappointments and worship the One Who is worthy of all your praise!

 Luke 12:6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

I Corinthians 7:23a  You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for by Christ];

Isaiah 63:9  In all their suffering He also suffered, and He personally rescued them. In His love and mercy He redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.

I Peter 2:9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nothing to Fear When You're Looking into the Father's Eyes

Stella is learning to be a toddler. Sometimes she will take a step or two on her own. But most of the time she likes to hang onto someone’s finger with one hand. She’s little yet, so her mother gets a backache after a while. The other day she held on to a stick that her mother was holding onto. She walked and walked. As soon as she let go of the stick she was down. Her mother would try to let go of the stick and Stella would teeter for a moment and go down again. Some would call that a crutch. I would call that faith.  She knows that the stick is not important but the fact that her mother has the other end, that’s what’s important. She’s not looking at the stick itself for support but into her mother’s eyes.

Learning this life of faith can have its ups and downs.  We try to hang onto people, things, dreams, money and more.  We look at each one and if it fails or we lose our handle on it, we find ourselves down again. But when we look at the Lord, hold tightly to Him and let Him hold all our possessions for us, we walk confidently as our eyes are on Him.

Oh beloved, look into your Father’s eyes. Concentrate on Him alone for He is the one who gave you new birth and will carry you through to the end. He promises that nothing will separate you from His love, that all things will work together for good and that no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Hang on tightly to His Word for that is His Nature. He means what He says and when He says I love you and I’ve got you He means it! Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Micah 7:7  As for me, I look to the LORD for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me.

Psalm 112:7 They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Hebrews 12:2 a We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.

Romans 8:28  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Friday, September 21, 2012

You Are So Very Precious To God! Come and See...

As a young girl I went to more A.A. meetings than church services. Some would be aghast at that fact, yet I learned a lot about God at those meetings. I learned the Lord’s Prayer and could recite God’s Word at a very early age. The members recited those verses at the end of every meeting without fail.  I learned that everybody’s in the same boat regardless of their address, position or title. Each week there would be testimony from one after another of God helping them out of their struggles with alcohol and all would say, “But for the grace of God…”  I learned encouragement.  One would stand up to get their one month coin, while another would stand and get their 30 year coin.  Everyone was congratulated no matter how young or old they were in the program.  I learned humility. I watched as my parents would bring in folks off the streets who had asked for help. One friend in particular came to live with us a while. She would sleep on the floor in our living room when she came in from work because as she said, “I’m too dirty to get in your beautiful bed and too tired to clean up”.  That woman is now in her 80’s and she’s still my friend and we talk occasionally. 

Probably the greatest thing I learned was the importance of celebrating one another.  Birthday cakes abounded as one after another passed milestones of sobriety.  I can’t find anywhere in God’s Word that we are to be crude with one another, rude to each other or bossy and insensitive.  Nobody ever stood at the lectern and brow beat or bad mouthed the audience.  Even in the discussion of right and wrong there was always a note of tenderness for everyone remembered that they all came from the same gutter into the light. 

Oh beloved, you are so precious to God! He speaks kind words into your life as He woos you to come out of your darkness and into His Light.  He knows everything about you and loves you all the more!  His plans for you are good and kind and generous! He tenderly calls you today! No matter if you’ve missed the mark over and over, there’s still today and this day is fresh and new! Reach out for His Hand that is always extended to you in grace, mercy and peace! You are loved so much that you were worth dying for! Now run to the One Who rose again so that you can walk in newness of life!

 Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (NAS)

Psalm 119:11 Your Word have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against You.

2 Corinthians 8:9  For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. (NAS)

Psalm 135:3  Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; celebrate His lovely name with music.

Lamentations 3:22-23 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.  Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Need a Friend? Jesus is a Friend Always!

Danny and I both have been especially blessed to have good friends all of our lives. We’re both still friends with people we went to elementary school with. We still have acquaintances from those who were friends with our parents.  Some friends have stuck like glue through the years. Others come in only for a season.  Some come and go only to return years later.  Friendships, true faith friends, warm the heart on cold winter days and soothe our brows on scorching days of adversity.


I know some of you are hurting desperately today. Your friend could have been family or a spouse or another loved one. You poured out your heart like the expensive perfume poured on Jesus’ feet. You held nothing back. You gave it your all. You told secrets, you cried tears, you encouraged and felt encouraged, all the while thinking this is just like heaven.  But it’s not beloved. Only our relationship with Christ is heavenly. 

Oh beloved, rejoice today! You are loved and adored by the King and Savior of the world! And because our Savior went to the cross, that one moment of broken fellowship secured our unbroken fellowship with Him forever! No matter what, you have a Friend Who will stay with you to the end.  He’s  going to be with you in the good times, in the bad times, in the refreshing days and in the oppressive days as well.  Always.  Jesus is your friend always. And that’s worth shouting Hallelujah and coming out of hiding for!

Psalm 43:4 There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise You with my harp, O God, my God!

Romans 15:13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 25:14 The LORD is a friend to those who fear Him. He teaches them His covenant.

Romans 5:10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son.

 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Are You Struggling With Changes? Hide in the Shelter of His Word!

With the arrival of good rain and under 100 degree temps some of my flowers are blooming again.  Among them are what my mother called surprise lilies. You know the red spider looking flowers that produce first then the leaves later.  One stood alone and apparently was not going to open all the way. The rise and fall of temps must have stunted it. It looked like a surprise lily, it was the same color, but never produced a full flower.

Have there been lots of changes lately? Are you struggling with issues as the heat of the day pounds your life? Maybe you’re experiencing the chill of loneliness, misunderstandings or depression.  You want to bloom where you’re planted but the atmosphere is in upheaval and you’re wondering when things will settle down.

Oh beloved, run to the One Who is sun for growth and shade for rest! The Lord has everything you need for Christian growth and His ways will help you produce beauty in your life!  Beneath His tender watch and care you will bloom completely and produce fruit for generations as you trust Him, listen to Him and let Him guide you.  He loves you and He’s on your side as He helps you grow in grace and the knowledge of Himself!

Psalm 84:11 NAS For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  

Psalm 48:14  For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and He will guide us until we die.

John 15:4  Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me.

Colossians 2:7 Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

2 Peter 1:2  May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

All You Need is Wrapped Up in the Gift of God's Son!

We had a hard time having babies.  Our first daughter was born after total bedrest the first trimester. Our second daughter was born after fertility issues. Our only son was born after the doctors said there’d be no more babies.

As like all young married folks, we wanted to reproduce little Dannys and Rebekahs.  We fed them, clothed them, played with them and provided for them. To see our grown children now, you would say they indeed look like us.  When our oldest daughter was six years old I gave my life to Christ. We spent the next 18 years attempting to reproduce again. Only this time we wanted to reproduce our life in Christ in the lives of our children. We became focused on spiritually feeding, nurturing and clothing them in Christ and the Word of God.  It is an ongoing work and even though they are grown now, we look for any similarities to Christ being reproduced in their lives.  We pray for them daily, we seek God’s face on their behalf and every chance we get we speak Truth into their lives. We are not perfect parents, but Christ’s heart in us helps us focus on the realities of God’s promises in our own lives and in the lives of our children and our children’s children.

Oh beloved, are you struggling with your past? Maybe you didn’t know that you could live a life that was pleasing to God. It could be no one spent time sowing Truth and Love into your life. Maybe now someone is attempting to beat you down or make you give up. Run to the mirror of His Word and see! If you have given Christ your heart and walk in newness of life you can be sure that your Father in Heaven is reproducing Himself in you! When He sees you He sees His Son and our likenesses are growing more and more like Him as we get closer and closer to Heaven. He speaks to you this morning and He says, “You are my child. I have all you need wrapped up in the gift of My Son. Won’t you open this gift today? Won’t you let Me love you and speak Truth into your life? Won’t you believe Me, The Lord of Heaven and Earth? I love you and I’m on your side and I have even prepared an eternal home for you. Come and fellowship with Me and see. I will take what was pronounced as destruction over you and resurrect you to a new and living way! Trust Me and live! Trust Me and let Me finish the Work I have had in mind for you for eternity!

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Ephesians 5:1  Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children.

Ephesians 2:10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

1 Corinthians 15:49  Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

Colossians 3:10  and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.

2 Corinthians 3:18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Looking for Sweet Fellowship? Break Open the Word with Friends!

We spent the entire week-end fellowshipping with old friends, new friends and family.  It was a very hectic week-end but a very blessed one.  A new friend from another country blessed us with his like-minded presence. Our pastor and his wife joined us and our guest for a meal and more fellowship, praise and worship and camaraderie.  Church was awesome and we topped it all off with a family birthday party for one of our grandsons. 

Yesterday, as we were wrapping up the week-end, words from the Apostle’s Creed came to mind. “The fellowship of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting”.  Truly this is the essence of the Christian life.  We partake of these blessings of God and we dispense them as well.  To enjoy our walk with the Lord should be a given. Fellowship with like-minded believers, sharing the Word, speaking the Word into others’ lives and worshipping together is such a wondrous thing. To walk in forgiveness gives us new life. To look forward to heaven where our earthly bodies will be resurrected to everlasting life is our hope for the future.   Truly the Christian life contains everything we need for our spiritual and physical life.

Oh beloved, I want to encourage you this morning! Seek out like-minded believers and fellowship with them. There is no sweeter fellowship than to break open the Bread of Life together.  Watch out for those who want to speak discouragement, dissention or put you in your place. Your place is at God’s banquet table!  Always remember, that repentance is an act of the heart and it brings closer fellowship to God!  Even when things are hard or you don’t hear anything positive in your life you can hold on to the fact that this life is not our home! All who have turned from their own way and accepted Christ will be resurrected to walk in heaven with our Lord forever!  You are loved, you are provided for and you have Good News to share with others!  And that’s truly all that really matters.

1 John 1:7  But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.

Romans 4:7 Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.

Acts 26:18  to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in Me.

1 Peter 1:3 NAS Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wondering How You Got Here? Turn and Follow God

Our son in law works for a company that builds highways. He mostly oversees the pavement mixes. He carries around huge cylinders of the asphalt and checks to see if it’s the right consistency and sets up correctly. As we ride across roads and interstates none of us wonders about the construction. We just enjoy the safety of the roads. But someone is working behind the scenes to make sure that all aspects of the infrastructure is right and safe. 

It’s the job of the road laying crew to lay out the pavement along the right paths.  What would happen if our son in law didn’t follow the right directions on making the paving materials?  It wouldn’t stand up to the traffic and it could even be dangerous when the road gave way under the load.  Imagine too if the laying crews didn’t follow the architect’s projected path. The road would end up going in whatever direction the crew decided for themselves. It would not lead to the intended destination. As they veered off the path they would encounter lack of foundation work, ditches, boulders, trees, more. To say the least the road would be unsafe and it could even lead to disaster.

Oh beloved, what road have you been traveling lately? Your own? Have you found that you are meeting huge obstacles or that you’ve ended up off God’s path?  Often we think it doesn’t matter if we vary from God’s design and way for our lives. But it does!  We cannot expect to go our own way and attempt to please the One Who designed things so that we could have life and live it more abundantly.  You may have traveled your own direction for a long time and thought it was find only to arrive at a dead end.

Run to the Lord, the Master Designer, this morning! It’s not too late to get on His Highway and follow His directions. Our Father in Heaven is always calling us back to His road; He’s always wooing us to Himself with love, comfort and peace. Let Him re-direct things for you and let Him open His Plan Book for you. His ways are best, His ways always lead to safety and ultimately to our destination.  There may be times when God’s road seems too hard to follow, but the only place of ultimate safety is His Way! He is calling you and He’s prepared a place for you. He loves you and He’s for you and that’s worth following Him!

Numbers 32:25  Then the men of Gad and Reuben replied, “We, your servants, will follow your instructions exactly.”

Psalm 5:8  Lead me in the right path, O LORD, or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow.

Psalm 119:73 You made me; You created me. Now give me the sense to follow Your commands.

Psalm 37:23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.

2 Chronicles 15:4  But whenever they were in trouble and turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought Him out, they found Him.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Life Can Be Scary! Look to the Light of God's Word.

Being afraid of the dark as a kid was bad, but living in the city, there was always a street light. My parents also made sure there was a nightlight somewhere.  But when we went to visit with my Uncle Bill and Aunt Ruth they lived way out in the country in Arkansas and at night it was DARK! I often slept on a pallet by the bed my parents slept in.  Sometimes I’d stare out the window looking for any light. At the back of the bedroom we slept in was a chest freezer. On the front down at the bottom was an orange indicator light. As long as that light was on the freezer was working properly. When I got especially scared I would stare at that light until I fell asleep. I somehow found comfort in concentrating on that rather than my surroundings.  As daylight came, I woke up unafraid and ready to have a great time.

I know life can be scary. The things we trust in the good light of day seem so remote in the night. Darkness can come into any area of our lives from our homes to our children, to our marriages, and our livelihoods.  The enemy of our soul wants us to believe that things are hopeless and that there will never be light again.

Oh beloved, run to the One Who is the Light of the World! Jesus not only saves us from the penalty of separation from God, He also gives us hope in the night. His light will shine always to guide you no matter what you are going through. Not only does He guide us in the night, He brings us into the light of day for His Joy comes in the morning! He loves you and He says to you never fear. With Me there is hope and light. I not only bought you with a price, I will keep shining My Light to guide you all the days of your life! We can rejoice even in the night as we keep our eyes on the Light of His Word!

Psalm 89:15 Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, LORD.

John 12:46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.

Isaiah 42:16 NAS “I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them.  I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone.”

I John 1:5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all.
Luke 1:78-79  Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ready to Climb Higher with Christ? He's Calling You!


My Uncle Bill worked for the forestry service.  He climbed a fire tower several times a day to check for fires. I loved to play underneath the tower and he would holler out to me and I would holler back to him.  Often I tried to climb that fire tower but I never got higher than the second landing.  It was metal and wood and I was afraid of heights.  I did spend a lot of time playing around the base. I wanted to climb up to him but I just couldn’t.  It wouldn’t have mattered anyway as none of us were ever given permission to go all the way up to my uncle’s compartment at the top.  It was just too dangerous.

Have you been contemplating the desire to climb the heights with Jesus? Have you been content to play around with the basics but you feel the tug to go higher?  There is no fear in drawing closer to the Lord!  Unlike the danger of climbing the levels of the fire tower there is no danger in ascending the heights and riches of God.

Oh beloved! Everything you and I need for life and godliness is found in Christ! And the Lord will never forbid you to climb, He’ll never scold you for trying and He’ll always welcome you up! Maybe you’ve tried before and failed.  Keep trying! He is the One Who is calling you! He is the One Who loves you so much that He’s willing to share all of His Kingdom with you! Run to His Word today and see how strong a tower and refuge His love and majesty and authority is. As you survey the world from His perspective you will see the expansive beauty of all He has just for you! He says to you today I give you permission to let me love you unconditionally, forgive you forever and abide with you forever. My plans for you don’t stop at living with the basics but My desire is that you experience all I have for you!

Psalm 27:8 My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, Lord, I will seek"
Romans 11: 33a  Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge!

2 Peter 1:3 By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.

Psalm 103:11  For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.

 2 Corinthians 9:8 (Amplified) And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be sufficient ...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Changes Ahead? You Can Trust God!

We moved a lot when I was a kid.  It was hard to put down roots when moves happened so often.  Kindergarten was in one school, then I started 1st grade in another school, 2nd – 3rd in another, but finished 3rd in yet another school in another state.  Then we moved twice in the same town which changed schools for me.  Finally we ended up back where I’d started 1st grade and I spent 4 years to finish  school with the same friends. It was heavenly!

It seems that God was working behind the scenes even then.  While I was yearning to stay put and belong somewhere, He was teaching me to make friends with change.  It was many years before I came to that realization. Sometimes change comes with tears, other times it comes with joy, but one thing I know, it will be alright because God is with us!

Oh beloved, things may seem real rocky right now. Your life may be in upheaval and your comfort zone may be dwindling away.  You may even think you are facing a downfall! Trust God! He never ever takes you to where you cannot endure. His ways are always for your best, even when you can’t see it.  For His loved ones, and you are surely that, He knows what’s ahead and even in the hardship He may be protecting you from further trouble.  Move on with God and let Him be the one who decides your road. He loves you and He’s for you and that’s all that matters!

 

Psalm 118:8 “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”

Psalm 121:3 “He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber.”

Proverbs 2:6-9  “For the Lord grants wisdom! From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to Him. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

You've Been Rescued! You are Valuable!

Back in the day the city dumps were pretty much out in the open for all to see.  Sometimes you could find a real treasure in something that others threw away.   One day we were driving back into town and I suddenly asked Danny to pull over. I had spied something.  Danny complied and I jumped out and found a pitiful little puppy eaten up with mange.  It was skinny and ugly but something made me want to rescue it.

Danny let me take it home. I went to the vet’s to get medicine and amazingly enough the little critter thrived! Not only that, it turned out to be a beautiful full blood long haired dachshund.

I know. Sometimes it’s hard to feel good about ourselves. We watch tv, we read magazines, we listen to others and find ourselves unable to measure up.  It might be that you’ve felt your life is really on the trash heap and there’s no redeeming value left. 

Oh beloved, run to the One Who says you are of great value! He knows all about you and He is fully aware of your shortcomings. However, He is the One Who wants to pick you up off the side of the road and give you a fresh start! With the medicine of the Word taken in daily you will begin to see yourself as He does! Beautiful, complete, healthy and strong!  He loves you just the way you are.  He wants to take you in as His own.  No one else will ever love you and take care of you as He will.  Is there any better life to live than to be rescued by the Lord of Heaven and Earth Himself?!

 

2 Samuel 22:20 He led me to a place of safety; He rescued me because He delights in me.

Job 33:28 God rescued me from the grave, and now my life is filled with light.

Psalm 86:13  for Your love for me is very great. You have rescued me from the depths of death.

Jeremiah 20:13 Sing to the LORD! Praise the LORD! For though I was poor and needy, He rescued me from my oppressors.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

You are God's Delight and He Loves You Always!

My 2nd grade teacher was harsh and unkind to me. She was often fussy and I never felt I could do anything right. I cried daily and my stomach was always tied in knots. I could not wait to get out of her class.  Years later I met her on the street and she was so complimentary of me as a student.  She told me over and over how much she enjoyed me being in her class and told people standing with me that she loved me. It was very confusing to know how she treated me but to hear her tell others how great I was. Which was true? The way she treated me or the words she said?

Perhaps you’re dealing with those issues today. It’s hard I know. You do your job well. Whether it’s at home or at work or in the ministry – you know you’ve done the right thing. Yet you are constantly demeaned and belittled. Maybe you are just overlooked and undervalued. 

Oh beloved, the first thing you have to know is that God is with you!  He promises never to leave you or forsake you.  I promise on the authority of God’s Word that if the words are not encouraging and kind they are not from Him! He says to you, never do I speak harshly or assume wrong. My desire is to love you first and help you second. You are my delight and I will always speak love, even in correction. If you are hearing disparaging or antagonistic words they are not mine to you. I love you, I love you, I love you and I will always be for you.

Run to the shelter of His Word this morning and read!  Always know that God speaks love. Remember that as Jesus Himself stood overlooking Jerusalem, He wept! For love of the people His heart was pouring out for them even then. Trust Him to work out the issues that are causing you such hurt and frustration. Let Him lead you and watch as His marvelous plan unfolds. His plan is always full of love and is always good.

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through?

Psalm 121:1-2 A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!

1 John 4:8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

1 John 4:16  We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Want a Lush and Productive LIfe?

This year’s garden is done. Even though the weather was hot and dry, some folks did manage to make a decent crop. We’ll know how it went this week when they bring in their horticulture and farm crops for the fair.  Next year’s gardens are already being planned.  There’s more to it than just buying the seeds and plants.  You can’t just go put them into the old garden. Nothing would grow. The weeds will take over and the old plants will die.  No, you have to till the ground and prepare the dirt. Even if the garden produced a bumper crop you have to till it under and prepare fresh and new for the next growing season.  You can’t get fresh results without breaking up the ground.   

Have you been doing the same old thing, expecting different results? It just won’t happen.  New plants on old ground won’t bring fresh results.  It won’t produce a thing.  Even if last year’s blessings and work were outstanding, you can’t live on that the rest of your life. It’s time to break up the fallow ground.

Oh beloved, It’s time to run to the Lord to get His instructions for your life garden. He says to you this morning Let Me break up your fallow ground, let Me help you with the weeds that want to encroach on your life and cause problems. Let me help you pull up the dead plants and work the ground of your heart. I have great plans for you but it requires My constant care and oversight. I love you and if you will let Me, I can repair everything that needs repairing and I can make your life like new! My desire is that you produce a bumper crop by My Spirit.  I the Lord Am the Great I AM.  You are my beloved and all you need, all your heart cries out for is found in Me.

If you will let Him, your life will be lush and productive. It will be beautiful and full of life.  He’ll take you from where you’ve always been and make it all brand new.  Fresh fruit in your life will bring joy and peace and comfort.   Try Him for He is all about His glory and your good.   He loves you and He’s for you and that’s all that really matters!

 

Hosea 10:12 Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.

 

Psalm 51:10  Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.

 

John 15:4  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Praise God for Fleas? He Has a Purpose for Everything


If you haven’t read the book The Hiding Place I would encourage you to do so. It’s the story of the struggles of a young woman and her family during the holocaust.  Corrie Ten Boom and her sister suffered terribly in the concentration camps where her father and sister subsequently died. Corrie alone survived to be set free. She went on to write her story and speak across the continents on, of all things, God’s love.  One of the stories in her book stands out to me. Corrie and her sister were Christians and they loved to share the Bible with others, even while in prison.  The guard would come into the barracks and regularly harass and do terrible things to the women. But the barracks that Corrie and her sister were in was full of fleas.  They were horrible! Corrie regularly complained about them.  Her sister Betsie finally had an answer as Betsie suggested they give thanks to God for the fleas. Although Corrie was astonished at this idea she soon realized her sister was right.  Because of the fleas, the guards would not come into their area. This gave them free opportunity to share Christ with the women there.  Those women, in such foul circumstances, were drawn to the Bible studies as though it was all they had, and indeed it truly was.  Through those fleas, God protected the women from abuse and harassment.  Dozens of desperate women were free to hear the comforting, hope-giving Word of God.  Through those fleas, God protected the women from much worse things and made sure they had their deepest, truest needs met.

We all have “fleas” in our lives. Those things that seem to cause such hardship, harassment and trouble.  We have the choice in our circumstances to curse God for them or to give thanks to Him in them. While hard things do happen and trials do come, we can rejoice regardless of our circumstances. It is only in giving each thing to God and seeing Him work in spite of them that we find both peace and purpose.

Oh beloved, are you tired of cursing your situation? Are you finding that you are tired and worn out from concentrating only on those “fleas”?  The Lord speaks to you this morning and He says, through His Word, “Give me thanks in all things” for I inhabit your praises. I love you son, I love you daughter and I can use each circumstance to let you highlight my glory and spread the Gospel to all.  I have a purpose for your life and it is good. If you will trust Me today I will take the “fleas” of your life and turn them into stepping stones for your ministry.  Trust Me. I have you by the hand and I will relieve you of your burdens as you thank Me!

Run to Him this morning and give thanks! He loves you and He’s for you and He wants to use you to share Himself with others and that’s all that really matters!

I Thessalonians 5:18  Amplified   Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].

Psalm 100:4  Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.

Ephesians 5:20  And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

God's Definition of You is Out of This World!


One of the books my parents owned that I loved the most was an unabridged dictionary. It’s a dictionary that has not been reduced in size by omission of terms or definitions. It truly was like an encyclopedia of words. It was huge. The spine was at least 6 inches deep. It was full of wonderful words and the middle section contained voluminous full color art of animals, plants and insects. I spent hours and hours poring over that book. 

Pretty much everyone is an open book.  All it requires is a little time and the ability to listen.   Within a short amount of time you can find out what a person’s passion is, what their hurts are and how they grew up.  Often people find themselves defined by the circumstances of their childhood or their teen years.  If they’re not careful they will never see themselves in any other way – they’ll see themselves as incomplete, inadequate or damaged. Or they will constantly try to measure up to others.  

Oh beloved, why not start this morning and let God re-write your definition? Why not run to His unabridged view of you? His Word holds the greatest description of a believer. If you belong to Christ, then you can believe what He says about you. Regardless of your family life, your past regrets or your biggest mistakes, they do not define you! You are loved! You are cherished! You are important and you have a purpose! Give Him everything you aren’t and let Him write the Truth on your heart! And don’t forget to thank Him this morning for His wondrous love, His tender mercy and His infinite care!

 1 Peter 2:9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.

I Corinthians 1:30-31 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”

Colossians 2:10 KJV And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power

Ephesians 1:4 Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.

Romans 8:17 a And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory.

1 Thessalonians 1:4  We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be His own people.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Let God's Home be In Your Heart!


Some friends added a bedroom onto their house.  It’s coming together nicely.  But the wife wanted her husband to finish the interior first. He kept concentrating on the exterior and got it completely done before he began work inside.  It looked great on the outside as though it was perfect, but inside was still just a shell.  It was unlivable and held no real charm or beauty. 
Often we are like that.  We work so hard to make the outside look presentable. We want everyone to see that we have it all together.  We may even find ourselves talking more about the makeup, the hair, the clothes, the weight, the body, etc.  All along we may be totally neglecting what really matters – what’s inside.  That’s what really counts.  I’ve discovered that when the heart condition is right before God, the exterior is even more beautiful.  It all falls into place.

Oh beloved! You are beautiful  to the Lord! He calls you beloved and He has called you out of darkness into His light! He says to you this morning, do not weap for the outer person who may not be perfect, but rejoice for the inner person who is being perfected daily! My love for you is the inner love that abides no matter what.  Let Me help you work on the inside so that My Home in your heart may be more accessible to Me.  Don’t fear the work on the inside – it’s the best place to start!

God loves you just the way you are! God is for you and He’s working out everything for your good and His Glory! Let Him do whatever He wants to do with your life for that’s where True Beauty lies!

 

Ephesians 3:16 I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.

2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.

1 Peter 3:4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.1 Peter 3:4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Feeling Lost in Unknown Territory? Follow God!

Danny has been doing another driver’s route the past few days. The route encompasses some very remote areas in the county, areas where the roads have no signs that mark the way. He gets on the computer in the mornings to look at maps and sometimes the road he needs isn’t even marked on there. It’s rough to figure out where you are going when there are no names visible. It’s pretty important to have good directions so that you don’t get lost. There are times when road signs can be the only way to get through unknown territory.




Often we may find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. It may be Sorrow, Regret or Fear. These signs loom in our minds and we find that Chaos and Confusion come up to thwart our progress or get us off track. Thankfully on the road of life God has given us good signs and clear directions. While we can’t always choose the route, we can avoid those roads which might harm us or bring us to a dead end in our faith.



Oh beloved, have you been looking for direction? Have you been wondering why you’ve had to travel the road you’re on? It’s time to run to the Lord and ask Him for new direction! He’s got your route in the palm of His hands. He wants you to know that if you need to, you can turn around and get back on the right road with Him. If you’re on a remote road and you know He’s with you, but you find yourself so alone, don’t give up in fear! He’s with you! He will get you through this time and bring you back to the highway of joy! All of His Promises are true – every single one. All of His directions are perfect – every single one. Trust Him this morning and get out His map, the Word of God, and read until you know which way to go and continue the path of life He means for you! He loves you always and His Holy Spirit is willing to guide you all the rest of your life!



Psalm 119:59 I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow Your laws.



Proverbs 3:6 (Amplified) In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.



Isaiah 58:11 The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.



Psalm 119:35 Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Say Yes to God and Watch a Blessed Life Unfold!


The two year old grandson looked his mother right in the eye and said, “I said NO!” That little two letter word has become his favorite these days. And he’s using it on his mother regularly.  Of course he gets in trouble. It’s amazing to me how kids just have a keen sense of what “no” means. You have to teach waving and bye bye and we all repeat our names often for the little ones to learn, but the word “no” just seems to come naturally.  Such a little word that carries such huge meaning.  We think it’s so cute when a tiny tot says no, but then as they get older we find that it’s not so cute. Saying no to their parents becomes a sign of being spoiled or unwilling to yield their will.
Oh beloved, have you been hearing God’s instructions? Are you wondering if you can truly obey? At times it may feel as though the Lord is asking for something that’s just too hard to do.  Yet it is only in the yielding that true discipleship develops. Run to Him this morning and yield that decision to Him. Ask Him to come into your life fresh and new and give your day and your decisions to Him! His Word is your safety and His requests are your blessings! It’s never too late to say yes to Him for He is always waiting to guide and direct your path. Not only that, His guidance is the path of pure joy and the place you will find your real meaning in life. There is no love like that of our Father God, Who forgives our unwilling hearts and makes all things new!

Job 22:21-22 Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you. Listen to His instructions, and store them in your heart.

Colossians 2:6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him.

John 2:5 His (Jesus’s) mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

1 Samuel 15:22  Samuel said, “ Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

Psalm 91:11 Amplified For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service].