Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Tomb is Empty! Grave Clothes Left Behind!

Today we celebrate Easter. We observe the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We’ll have the usual Easter meal, dying Easter eggs, songs for the occasion and more.  When I was young, we always got Good Friday off as well. Christian holidays were honored and revered back then.  To celebrate something means to honor (as a holiday) especially by solemn ceremonies or by refraining from ordinary commerce. There are few if any businesses that close on this day anymore. Yet Easter remains, in the hearts of believers, the most important celebration in our faith.

Maybe you can’t see Easter in your situation. Perhaps a relationship has died, gone unforgiven, kept behind the stone in the tomb of life. Maybe someone decided you weren’t worth it, you had no value, and you were as good as dead. Maybe your prayers seem unanswered. You’ve sought God, you’ve visited His Word, you’ve looked into the tomb, but you still see death. You want to feel better, see things better and be better. But you look and see, no matter what you do, the grave clothes seem to drag behind you and trip you up. You see death everywhere, you don’t see a way to have anything alive again, not even your own life.

There is hope for the hopeless and help for the helpless. When Jesus died on the cross that was not the end! It was only the beginning! He rose again! Not only did He come out of the tomb, He left His grave clothes behind. He walked out completely triumphant, completely alive, completely victorious.

Oh beloved, rejoice! It’s Resurrection Day! It’s time to discard those grave clothes you were never meant to wear! God says to you this day, I AM the Resurrection and the Life – you, when you believe in Me you will live! He says discard those deadly things which want to cling to you – unforgiveness, animosity, bitterness, wrangling, discord, pronouncements, judgments, decrees, sentences and more…Every single piece of grave cloth that tries to hang onto you, or that satan himself wants to say you must wear – they are free to be cast off!

Run to His Word and see – His tomb is empty! You are completely free! God loves you so much that He went to the cross for you, He went to the grave for you, He rolled back the stone for you and He is making intercession in heaven for you this very day! He is for you so much that He has made a way for you to live FREE! Rejoice in this Easter, for it’s like no other!

John 11:25 Jesus told her, "I AM the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.

Revelation 1:18  I AM the living one. I died, but look--I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.

I Peter 1:3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation.

I Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

All Hope is Not Gone!

Saturday mornings when our kids were little were full of preparation for fun. We rarely ever had a bad Saturday. We were either all outside working and playing in the yard or headed to see family or taking a leisure ride to the lake or to hike. Sometimes it would be rainy or bad weather and we’d have to stay inside but even then we played and watched old movies and cartoons. Saturdays were pretty much just great leisure days.

For the followers of Christ, this particular Saturday in History was not so much fun.  The believers who had followed Jesus into Jerusalem just the week before were now disconsolate.  The ones who had spoken of undying devotion were nowhere to be found. Everyone who had believed was faced with the Lord’s absence. Those who had been healed, delivered and set free were wondering if they would have to return to life as it was before. I’m sure they were thinking that if Jesus, the Perfect One, could be arrested, tortured and killed - it might happen to them as well.

He told them it would happen and He told them not to fear. He told them He would come again to get them and that He would send them a Comforter to help until He returned. But He was gone now. As far as they could see with their eyes, it was indeed finished. Their hope was gone.

Oh beloved, God knows your situation. He understands that you may be having a bad day or a bad month or a bad year. He had a very bad day one Friday, as He was made to take the place of the guilty prisoner. He was mocked for His belief, He was denied His rights, He was pronounced guilty even as He was forgiving the world.

Run to the Lord this morning and let Him give you an awesome Saturday! No matter what you are facing, it’s all been taken care of through the Blood of the Lamb! Whatever you are going through, you don’t have to go alone. Rejected? Fearful? Mourning? He’s with you! Discouraged? Downhearted? Lonely? He’s there for you! He promises that if you put your trust in Him, He will make good out of bad, triumph out of failure and joy out of sorrow.

Let Him give you all His love for His Name is Love and your name is Beloved! Let Him care for you for He is your Comforter always, even unto the ends of the age!

Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.  He was beaten so we could be whole.  He was whipped so we could be healed.

Matthew 28:20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever—

Isaiah 61:3 To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.  In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Double Vision? God's Word will Clear That Right Up!

What a beautiful day yesterday was! As I worked through the morning I discovered that my vision was getting blurry. I think the strain of sitting at the computer to enter data for 4H youth might have started it, but as the day wore on I began feeling rather tired and just wanted to sit with my eyes closed and rest them and myself.

Although I could see clearly out the door of my office and into the parking lot, the up close effects were astonishing. I had to look closely at what I was typing so that I wouldn’t make a mistake. It took a lot more effort to do the close-up work rather than simply scanning over it. But as I looked closer I discovered some typos that would not do for the work I was preparing. It had to be spelled correctly and I had to make sure that I was reading it right from the copy I was using, because some of my work was going out from my boss to others across the nation. I wouldn’t want to embarrass him by erroneously changing a word.

Often we think we are seeing our situation clearly but we’re straining to live up to the world’s system of thinking. We see fine when we’re simply scanning the world, but when we try to look closer, we find that our thinking and our standards have become fuzzy. We wonder which way we should go, how we should react and what we should be doing.

The only way to see the Truth is to examine it closely. Many voices cry out for our attention, so that we start seeing double. We have two modes of operation trying to vie for our sight and it’s really a battle between Truth and untruth. Half-truths that make us think they’ll be good for us. But half-truths are actually lies and will only continue the fuzzy thinking and make for wrong decisions.

Have you been trying to see clearly for your life? Have you wondered why, no matter how hard you try, thinks just seem unclear? It’s time to rest your heart and mind in the Word! It’s time to decide to make a stand for God’s unchangeable Scriptures.  Nowhere else will you have complete healing of your sight and firm direction for your mind.  He speaks His truth into your life. Want to know about prayer? Pray to the Father. What about hope? Hope in the Lord. Wondering about love? God is love. 

Oh beloved, rest your heart in Him and watch as He makes everything clear for your present situation – no matter what it is. The world will tell you it’s impossible, but God will say look at Me and I will give you everything you need. The world will tell you to relax about God’s Truth and you’ll be seeing double. But look to His Word and keep your heart on single vision. See His Word, it’s His bond. The Great I AM loves you and is for you and that’s what makes everything clear!

James 1:23-24 For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work.

Psalm 86:11 Teach me Your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to Your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor You.

Jeremiah 32:39 And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship Me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Canceled! Paid in Full! Debt Free!

Years ago we realized that we had too many credit cards and decided to cut them all up and pay them off.  We made deals with each company and they gave us amounts to pay in order to never hear from them again. It was great! Over the years it has saved us a boatload of money.

Until last year, when we received a note in the mail that we still owed a credit card company and they were making us pay.  I took the bill to our lawyer who contacted them. He made arrangements for us to pay them off through him and we won’t hear from them again this time.

Who wants to hear from old debtors you thought you had paid off? Our credit scores are good and we could buy a boatload of stuff but we choose to be careful about what we go into debt for. Because of that one time we just don’t like credit cards.

Although credit card companies may try to make you pay again, there is one Creditor who never makes you pay, ever. Jesus paid our debts in full and when He did this our debts went into the Sea of Forgetfulness, as far as the East is from the West. They were shredded beneath the cross and you can always know that if you hear from them it’s not coming from the Throne room of Grace!

Have you been wrangling with your past problems? Are you wondering why they keep returning in the middle of the night? Is the accuser of the brethren hassling you? Maybe you can’t go back and make things up, but Christ in His Mercy has a better plan for you.  Maybe someone has withheld forgiveness from you and your peace is disturbed! Call out to Jesus! For He says cancelled by the Blood of the Lamb and He says Sealed at the Cross and rolled away with the Stone! You may not be where you want to be, but with Jesus you are more than a conqueror, forgiven completely and seated in Heavenly places with the Lord.

Oh beloved! Today is your day to remind the enemy of your soul that you are debt free! Run to God’s Book of Records and see – if you have given your heart to the Lord and you are living as a child of the King, then no accusations brought against you can stand in God’s court! Rejoice that you are loved so mercifully and that you are cared for with all of His Promises written just for you!

Psalm 62:7 My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.

Galatians 3:13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When He was hung on the cross, He took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

Colossians 2:14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.

Isaiah 43:25 I--yes, I alone--will blot out your sins for My own sake and will never think of them again.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Feasting on the Manna is So Fulfilling

Danny and I don’t cook like we used to. When we had children at home, fresh meals daily were on the table for their benefit as well as ours. As part time jobs and band and ballgames and dates took over their lives, it was more quick meals and carry outs.

I laugh as I look into my cupboard to see all the “instant” food available. From cocoa to soup, from potatoes to coffee everything we might need is available. Sometimes though, I want a “real meal” so we cook!  You just can’t instantly have a pot of pinto beans or a roast.

We have become the victims of instant everything. From our “smart” phones to our computers and televisions, it’s instant on, instant search and instant information.  We find ourselves frustrated if one of them doesn’t respond as quickly as we want.  Funny that the very things we were told would make our life better have given us more frustration and annoyance.

For our spiritual life, it’s pretty much become the same. A snippet of a good speaker on the television, a little Christian music on the way to work, looking up a verse on our phones or searching the internet for answers to our heart problems has become the norm.  We have overvalued the quick pick me ups and undervalued steady preparation. 

The Lord will give us instant help, constant strength and eternal hope. But to live in the light of His Word, we will always have to take His yoke upon us and learn. Learning takes time. Preparing to be all God wants for us takes time. Ask the ones you know who are strong Christians. They will tell you. Years of learning, years of studying, years of living in the light of the One Who loves us beyond all imagination.

Oh beloved, God knows your busy life. He sees you running here and there, helping your family, doing your job and all that is expected of you.  He sees the burdens, the weariness, the sorrow. He knows you’ve worked hard to get where you are and yet there are times that you wonder if it was worth it. He knows your heart longs to feel the peace that only His presence can give. He says to your heart this morning, beloved, slow down and feast on My Manna so richly provided for you because I love you. It’s free. It’s nourishing. It’s always available just on time. I love you, He says to your precious heart, I Am for you, He says to your wounded soul. I have this, He speaks to your hard situation.  I AM the One Who gives you enough time in those times you don’t think there’s a way.  Rest in Me and I will give you all that you need and more, for I AM a More Than God!

Run to His Word and lay your face on His shoulder for He is love and He is provision and He is there for you always…you will find what you really need nowhere else, ever…

Matthew 6:32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

Acts 17:25 and human hands can’t serve His needs—for He has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and He satisfies every need.

2 Peter 3:18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to Him, both now and forever! Amen.

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 25:5 Lead me by Your truth and teach me, for You are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in You.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Step into God's Presence and Enjoy His Love

With one daughter living right across the street, I get to say bye to Blake every morning before he heads to school.  Yesterday morning as I was watching for him to get in the truck with his dad, I saw a jeep driving by and slowing down. It dawned on me that it was my son! I got choked up because I hadn’t seen him in a quite a few days and we hadn’t had a chance to talk either. I just whispered to myself, “My son, my son”. He came in for just a moment with his buddy and I got a really good hug! Although it was only a quick visit, I was thankful for that little bit of time to see him in person.  I love my kids a lot, so seeing any one of them even for a bit is good to my heart.  I have high hopes and great desires for my adult children, but I love them just the way they are – unconditionally. I would never withhold my love from them even if I didn’t see them for long spells.  They are my children. 

As he and his buddy drove away, I thought to myself, is that how the Lord feels? When His kids spend weeks doing their own thing or being busy with life.  Then to take a moment to open His Word and feast at His table.  Does He get excited to fellowship with his children? You bet He does! He loves His “kids” more than I love my own and that’s something. 

I also wonder at how refreshed I feel when I step into the presence the One Who loves me unconditionally. When I take time to talk with the Lord, and get His perspective on my life and feel His loving and tender care surround me.  

I know how busy life can get, I know how the bills must be paid and the jobs have to get done. I know that it’s easy to fall into worry, fear, guilt, and more. We find ourselves worn out, done in and feeling low. We wonder how we got this way and so we down an energy drink or a power bar and try to hurry on.

Oh beloved, won’t you stop for a moment and bask in the presence of the One Who not only loves you completely and with no hesitation, but cares for you eternally - more than His own life? He went to the cross for you, He descended into the grave for you, He rolled the stone away for you and He’s coming again for you!  Step into His Word and feel His arms around you as the cares of this world melt away in the light of His glory and grace!

Psalm 123:1-2 I lift my eyes to you, O God, enthroned in heaven.  We keep looking to the Lord our God for His mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.

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 37:7 Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

Psalm 91:1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Monday, March 25, 2013

First Things First

Mary and Martha are biblical sisters that have been talked about a lot. They’ve been the object of Bible studies, discussions, arguments and more. They were probably the talk of the town back in their day.

Sisters don’t always get along. Obviously Mary and Martha didn’t. Their personalities were very different.  I remember my own sister, who was 23 years older than me. We saw life very differently, argued about things and agreed to disagree at times. As we got older we began to see more of our likenesses than our differences. We didn’t know as we grew closer that we wouldn’t have much more time together, but God in his mercy doesn’t let us know everything all at once.

Sisters do things differently.  It’s apparent that Mary and Martha were the same.

Martha was intent on figuring out how she might feed the Lord; Mary intent how she might be fed by the Lord.

Both things were needful. They had a special guest in their home and Martha wanted her meal to match the Visitor. I get that. Often when we have company I stress and fuss about the food and the house. I get to thinking I need a week off to clean, shoot – even remodel – the house! I want to make something special, which may translate to “hard to make”.  Finally by the time it’s all over, I have relaxed and the guests feel at home and we have a good time.

Mary was so excited to see Jesus that she just couldn’t take her eyes off of Him. She was so busy enjoying the fellowship she forgot all about the food.  She was feasting on the Manna present in human form right there in her living room. 

Often we get busy being busy. All our busy-ness has its place. We just have to do dishes, wash laundry, vacuum floors, make the bed, cook, buy things, pay bills, etc. All of us either work outside the home or in the home. Our yards have to get mowed occasionally, the oil has to be changed in the vehicles, the tires need replacing and kids need help. Husbands and wives need time for themselves and families need time for fun.

If we’re not careful we’ll find ourselves overwhelmed with the busy-ness of life and let the spiritual side of our lives wane. It’s the unseen part of our lives in many ways so it’s the easiest to let go. If you don’t mow your yard folks are going to know right away. If you don’t spend time with the Lord, people don’t always know right away.

Oh beloved, have you been worrying about the stuff of life? Have you slipped into busy and not realized that it’s taking the place of your needful things? Maybe you’re in church, but you have forgotten that you’re in Christ. While it’s easy to do, there is One Who wants to call you into sweet fellowship! God has a wonderful plan for your life and it is full of time for both the physical demands of life and the spiritual needs as well. In fact, when your spirit life is being filled, you will find that the other things just fall into place. Stop and take a moment to sit at the feet of Jesus, for that is where  your peace, your joy, your faith reside. Without your special time together, you’ll be running through the motions on empty, but filled with His love and care, you will find your life tuned up and running a lot smoother! He loves you and He’s for you! Ask Him and He will give you more Mary time in this Martha world.

Luke 10:40-42 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”  But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Psalm 5:3 Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

Matthew 6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Check the Mailbox of God's Love

Where I work I deal with loads of mail generated from our office. From soil samples to manure samples to water samples. There are fact sheets and information brochures along with flyers and newsletters and reports. Lots of mail. We even have our own postage meter to deal with the large volume of mail.
The fact that we generate lots of mail means that eventually and occasionally something we send out gets lost in the mail. It happened recently. A water sample mailed at the end of last month never showed up at the appropriate lab.  Thankfully the check that was mailed with it wasn’t cashed, but still no sample and therefore no results available.
Work gets stressful when people don't understand that these things happen.  I checked and double checked the address (it was new) and the information I had made copies of and called the lab.  After reassuring myself that I had done everything right, I went on to reassure others that it was simply lost in the system.  You want to blame someone, to get to the root of it – so it doesn’t happen again, but it’s impossible to ensure this because the system itself is fragile and while no one at my end, at the postal service end or the laboratory end wants something lost, it’s going to happen sometimes.
Life gets stressful and we don’t always understand why things happen. Things get lost. People get lost. Lives are lost. Hopes are lost.  It’s bound to happen – the loss of friends, spouses, children, jobs, money, treasures, and more. Admittedly, some things are more treasured than others, but a loss is a loss. Try as we might to get something we considered quite valuable back, it’s out of our hands.  We often wring our hands and cry out that we just want it back. If we’re not careful we’ll spend the rest of our days in mourning for the loss of something we can do nothing about.
People can get stressed, angry, unforgiving and suspicious when they don’t get their wants- but life in Christ never causes stress for His promises are never lost!  
Are you mourning the loss of someone or something you know you’ll never get back in this lifetime?  Are you wringing your hands and worrying about what you’re going to do without that treasured object or a treasured loved one? It’s hard to go it alone, it’s hard to move on, it’s difficult to smile and not let stress overtake you. But life in Christ will never leave you stressing for His promises are never lost! Even when things look bleak, when you’re awake in the wee hours of the morning or you’re in the middle of the day and you remember, God’s promises are right on time. They are ready for you every time you need them! Unlike the mail system, that might lose something in the mail, you never lose God’s promises for they are right with you always!
Oh beloved, run to the mailbox of God’s love - the Word-this morning and let Him show you the treasures of your life from His Word. Everything you need to live is written by the hand of the Lord just for you! Before the foundation of the world God Himself set up His richest storehouse of treasures to give liberally to His beloved ones! You don’t have to travel, you don’t need postage and you don’t have to wait until you are good enough to enjoy it all. Lean on the Lord! He knows your heart is broken, He knows you may be angry or agitated that things got lost, but your relationship with Him is solid. He is for you and His Word is hope for your heart in a day when all may look lost – look into the treasures God gave to you and rejoice. His love and care are yours no matter what.
2 Samuel 22:31 God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection.
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 12:6 The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over.
Psalm 119:140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much.
Psalm 138:2 I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I praise Your name for Your unfailing love and faithfulness; for Your promises are backed by all the honor of Your name.
Psalm 119:89 Your eternal word, O LORD, stands firm in heaven.
Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Burdened with the Stuff of Life?

Something Joyce Meyer said reminded me of the movie “A Christmas Story”. The younger brother said very little, if anything, but his actions spoke volumes.  My favorite scene of him was the falling into the snow. He was unable to get up because mother had loaded him down with layers of clothes. He couldn’t move! He couldn’t even use his arms to push himself up.  Bless his heart, for his mother cared so much for him that she wanted every inch of him to stay warm in those cold blustery northern winters.

Joyce simply quoted “cast all your cares on the Lord…”  Suddenly I’m transported to the boy with all the layers. And his inability to move because he was burdened so with stuff.

Imagine the delight of this boy as he returns home and begins to unclothe all that stuff. Layer after layer is removed and surely mother is there taking each piece in her hands and helping him get shuck of it all. As each layer is taken off, he feels lighter and lighter.  Finally, he’s cast off all his load and he can breathe and move freely!

Are you burdened with the stuff of life today? Have you tried to cover and heap on yourself things to make it all better and yet it’s becoming more of a burden than a help?  Are you wearing revenge, animosity, unforgiveness, punishment, worry, fear, anxiety? Have you found that you are unable to move freely in the gifts and callings God has on your life? Maybe you thought that religious works would make you free, but it’s now got you bound and gagged.  It could be that others have overloaded you down – telling you that you are unworthy, unlovely or more. Lies are a heavy burden to carry, but we do when we believe them.

Oh beloved, cast all your cares on the Lord this morning! He will lovingly take each one and never give them back. He will help you discard that which He never meant you to wear. He will not only take your burdens, He will offer you His yoke instead, for He is always gentle and humble at heart concerning you. He loves you and He calls you beloved as He whispers His blessings into your life. Let go of those things that keep you bound and be free in Christ! It’s the only way to live free!

Isaiah 28:12 God has told his people, "Here is a place of rest; let the weary rest here. This is a place of quiet rest." But they would not listen.

Matthew 11:28 Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

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. Amplified

John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Need an Adjustment?

One of our daughters is having some trouble with her back.  She says it’s an old injury and I laugh because she’s not old! But we pray daily for her back to find relief. She even went to the chiropractor to get her back realigned. It is feeling better and I’m sure eventually it will heal. She has asked for a touch from the Lord and we believe He will do just that.

There are lots of things in our life that need lining up. From our finances to our physical bodies to our housework and attitudes and more! Little adjustments here and there make for better use of money, time and resources. If I’d do a little dusting everyday it wouldn’t be such a hard job. When I do laundry daily there’s no pile waiting for me at the end of the week. When I don’t write a check down I forget how much it was and then I have to search for the receipt or make sure I know when it comes through the bank account.  Imagine if our friend had told the chiropractor how to do the adjustment – he would have told her to pay and go home!

God has wonderful plans for us that are painless and easy to attain, but we must line up! We cannot suggest to God that He line up with us! We are the ones who need the adjustment. Unless we are willing to align ourselves with His Word, we will continue to have pains and wonder why we get no relief!  A little of the Word each day will make for keeping our hearts and minds brought into line with Him so that when the big things come along we remain pain free as we keep our eyes on Him.

Oh beloved! Today is your day to let God give you some fine-tuning! He loves you so much that He preplanned everything you would need. He knows you so well that He has adjustments from His Word that He already knows will make you feel better in mind, body and spirit! All you have to do is call on Him for relief and He will reveal the answer to your needs!

Run to His Word and let yourself be changed by His Spirit as you take it in and live it out. His continual touch from His living word will change your heart, your mind and your life. Whatever ails you God is your Great Physician and His touch works every single time. He loves you incredibly and He’s for you eternally and that’s all that really matters.

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

John 17:17 Make them holy by Your truth; teach them Your word, which is truth.

Psalm 119:9 How can a young person stay pure? By obeying Your word.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What's Your Heart's Desire?

I have this dream cabin idea.  I’ve been planning it for years. I know the style, the layout, the windows, the deck, the porches and more. I know what kind of furnishings I want and even the wall colors and flooring ideas. It’s wonderful. I have pinned ideas on pinterest, bought books about it and scoured the internet for ideas and accessories. It is fully planned in my mind.
Although it’s been in my mind for years, other things have come up that keep this dream in the background. Most of us, if truth be told, have a hidden dream that we’d like to have become a reality. Generally for most folks it’s a dream that’s above and beyond normal living.  After all, I have a lovely home and plenty of “stuff” already!  Many times it’s just plain living that roots out dreams or puts them on the back burner. Sometimes we don’t want the dream bad enough to sacrifice for it. We just dream about it and somehow think that’s enough.
Have you been dreaming about being an awesome Christian with a closer walk with God? Are you hoping that one day you’ll feel secure in your faith and willing to step out on the water? Are you wondering if it’s possible for ordinary people to actually experience extraordinary living? Maybe you’ve dreamed you could have faith to move mountains, but the mountain remains. You dream about speaking oracles of God, but you just give up and give in. Life is tough and the going gets tougher all the time. But when we base our dreams upon the sure foundation of God’s Word, then He will give the feet to our dreams! Don’t worry if it seems to take time, for time is what you need: time to pray, time to plan and time to grow.
God loves to plant dreams in your heart. You may hear Him speaking to you this morning, telling you things about yourself that you just can’t imagine in your wildest dreams. He says to you to quit dreaming and start living in His light! Everything you need, beloved, is found in Him. Everything you can only hope for is found in the reality of walking in Christ.  He has given you heaven to dream of but He wants you to be securely set in the reality of all He is. Dreaming of being right with God? That truth is found in Christ. Dreaming of doing things the right way instead of failing over and over? That truth is found in the Word of God. Dreaming of being more than a conqueror, free from fear, overcoming your emotions? It’s all True – when we live in the light of His Word.
Oh beloved, run to His Word this morning and take it in, digest it and live it out, for that’s where dreams truly become reality! He loves you and He’s for you and that’s the TRUTH He wants you to experience!
Psalm 37:3-4 Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.
Matthew 6:21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
2 Peter 1:4 And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire You more than anything on earth.
Isaiah 26:8 Lord, we show our trust in You by obeying Your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify Your name.
Jeremiah 32:40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship Me, and they will never leave Me.
Philippians 2:13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Is Your Identity Being Stolen From You?

There’s a lot of talk about identity theft. I can’t imagine it happening to me, can you? Years ago when my niece’s son went to rent an apartment they found out that someone was using his social security number. If I remember right, they had achieved bad credit and because he was trying to use his identity to secure an apartment, it came up suspicious. They got things worked out but it was scary for them to know someone else had taken what belonged to them.  We had a bogus bill that kept coming to us, so we took it to our lawyer. In the course of working it all out, we found out that our lawyer’s wife had her identity stolen when she was a child! When she grew up and tried to establish her own credit, she found someone else had left a bill unpaid in her name.  I had no idea, but someone can even get your identity and use it to get medical care. 

There are safeguards to protect your identity.  Even if you’ve had your identity stolen you can recover. It takes time. But it’s worth it. Often people work under the radar so it pays to check your own credit scores and make sure there’s nothing listed that doesn’t truly belong to you. 

Spiritually speaking there is an identity thief lurking in our lives. His desire is to steal our identity in Christ and make us live with the consequences. He wants to steal, kill and destroy every nuance of our faith. He wants to subvert the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives and divert the assets of our faith so that we cannot use them in our walk.  He likes to replace the truth with half-truths so that we aren’t able to live freely in our faith.  His greatest desire is to kill all hope in us. He also loves to steal our hope and destroy our dreams.

Have you been a victim of identity theft? Are you living as though the Word is not available to you? Are you full of fear, dread, sorrow or disappointment? Do you believe that your credit report reads that you are unworthy, unfit, unlovely or unlovable?  Maybe you think you don’t have any rights left to live a free and productive life in Christ!

Oh beloved, run to the Lord of Heaven and Earth and open His Benefits book this morning! Look from the first chapter to the last and reclaim your identity! Every single promise is yours! Every single encouragement was written just for you. Don’t let the enemy of your soul continue to steal your identity for you were destined to live in the light of God’s Word and that’s where your true identity lies.  In and of yourself, there may be things that aren’t perfect, but your true identity is in Christ! He paid your bad debts off at the cross, He canceled all unworthy things that were credited to you at the empty tomb and He’s seated at the right hand of the Father now, making intercession for you so that your identity will stay secure.

Oh how He loves you! Oh how He protects you! Oh how He watches over you to perform the truth in your life.  Let go of those things that are not a part of your identity and begin living the Truth. For the Truth is your guardian, your watchman, your peace and your future! Let God rebuild your identity with the washing of the water of His Word and see how you will be able to live free and justified fully!

John 8:32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 2:9-10 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

Ephesians 2:7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

Romans 3:24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.

2 Corinthians 1:20 For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for His glory.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

This is the Ride of Your Life!

I have always wanted to ride a scenic train. Hopefully this summer will be my opportunity. We have plans for just that. I know that this type of train travels on the edges of rivers, winds through mountains and dips into valleys. There will be a couple of tunnels to travel through and there are no lights in these tunnels. I will not be able to see outside the train car, but I’ll be safe inside where it is well lit and all our needs for comfort are met – drinks, bathrooms, soft seats and air conditioning. I’ll also have my wonderful husband by my side.

I don’t know if I’ve told you, but I’m not fond of heights, dips, cliffs, bridges, curves or the dark! Yet I am planning a trip that will take me through those exact situations. My fears of those things are overcome by my desire to enjoy the ride!  I won’t be riding alone anyway, even when I’m afraid my husband never is and he will hold me close and remind me that it’s safe.  I might get scared from time to time but it will be okay because the trip will be outstanding and the scenery will be breathtaking!

We don’t always get to choose our trip. There will be hard times. We must go through them just like I will have to go through the tunnels. Life’s twists and turns can be rough. We don’t know how we can hold on. We want off the ride and back on terra firma – safe ground.  But regardless of the dangers ahead, we are meant to dwell in joy! The train cars of life are full of His care and comfort – we can abide in joy and peace. Our conductor is no novice –for He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He knows what He’s doing.  Not only that, the one who sits with us and comforts us and whispers words of safety is our Lord and Savior!  Even when we are in the tunnels of life and we can see absolutely nothing or no one, the music playing in our head is the Word of God sung to us by the Holy Spirit, who is with us always.

Oh beloved, run to God’s Word for you are in for the ride of your life! The Word of God is your ticket to heaven, but it’s also your seating assignment, your boarding pass and your safety net! Read it all and take it in for you will be refreshed in hard times and strengthened in weak moments. When you cannot see anything, the Word will increase your vision!  When you wish you were somewhere else the Word is your reminder that God is orchestrating your life for His glory and your best! You are blessed and highly favored for the King of your life not only gave you heaven, He has taken care of all your needs for this life as well! Keep your eyes on Jesus for He is the Conductor of your entire life – He will check your ticket and attend to all your needs and safety all the way. 

Psalm 112:6-8 Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered.  They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.

Isaiah 25:9 In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in Him, and He saved us! This is the Lord, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation He brings!”

Isaiah 42:16 “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.” (New American Standard)

Proverbs 1:33 But all who listen to Me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Are You Hungry and Thirsty This Morning?

In the 40’s Automats were the rage in big cities. Automats were cafetrias where rotating vending machines of fresh food and beverages were purchased. Slip in a nickel and you’d get a fresh slice of delicious pie. Slip in a dime and you could buy macaroni and cheese.

I remember watching a movie about a young woman who came to make her fortune in New York. She had no money and she would come to the automat and make soup of hot water and tomato ketchup! She’s stir and fix and add salt and pepper and drink that stuff.

All that food rotating around, being replaced behind the machine with fresh food. It was kept full and literally the machines would never run out. But here was this woman drinking ketchup and hot water! The ketchup and hot water was free but not really tasty and not at all nutritious. Food everywhere but because she was without change in her purse, it was all she could do.

I am reminded this morning of the Word of God. It is an ever rotating completely full Automat of the Soul Body and Spirit. Everything needed for a healthy meal from the Lord is contained there.  Unlike the plight of the young woman in the movie, it’s all free! Our benefactor, the Owner of Heaven and Earth, has paid it all so that we, who are hungry, thirsty and empty can be filled! Every Word displayed on the pages of God’s Word is tasty and healthy and perfect for us.

Are you sitting at the cafeteria table of life and content to make ketchup soup when you could have the whole buffet? Maybe no one ever told you that you could partake of it all – without money, without any credentials other than the mark of Christ on your heart.  You’re hungry and thirsty and beginning to show signs of malnutrition.  Yet it’s all there, waiting for you to pick it up and partake of it.

Oh beloved,   today is your day! Run to the Word of God and partake of it all! Read it from page to page, cover to cover, chapter to chapter and verse to verse! It’s all about God’s love for His people, His bountiful supplies freely laid out for the taking! He’s wooing you and calling you to come and dine. Don’t stay content to sip on that which has no nourishment.  Don’t let the enemy tell you that this is all there is!

God’s Word is all yours because He loves you completely and He paid the ultimate price to give it all to you! God’s Word will sustain you, strengthen you, nourish you and give you the stamina to go the distance – all the way to heaven! God is for you, so He made a way for you to have everything you need for your life now and your life to come! Go ahead, reach out and enjoy!

Proverbs 4:20-22 My child, pay attention to what I say.  Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body.

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 4:14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.

Jeremiah 15:16 When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven's Armies.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What's That You're Holding in Your Hand?

There’s something quite special and magical about the first child in a family. They have everyone to themselves and you have all the time to devote to noticing all the precious things about them. If you are a family of three or more, check out the baby books. Seriously, first baby has every little detail listed, written about and adored. Second baby has most everything written in the book. Even though they are adored as much as the first baby, there’s just less time to devote to the baby books. By the time baby number 3 arrives, well, let’s just say – good intentions but very little time to write all the details – although again each one in succession is loved and valued for their individual wonderfulness.

Our oldest daughter was a typical first born. She was independent, strong willed and intelligent to a fault! She could spell and count and do all kinds of cute things. She could ride her tricycle and even tried to ride it to my aunt’s house down the highway about 3 miles! (yes that’s when gray hair first appeared on my head)

As with oldest children, we bought things a little early. She got frustrated when at less than 2 years old we bought her a tricycle. Of course she insisted she could do it herself! We got her a swing set when she was just two with a ladder that was just a little high for a tyke her size. But she did love her swing set. She would sit on the bottom of the slide or push on the swing on her tummy.

One day she was out sitting on the swing set and suddenly she came running in the house, crying her eyes out! She told me she had caught a butterfly. Only it was a bumble bee! Of course as little hands do, she had squeezed it tightly and it stung her. It had lightly landed on her hand while she was swinging but she had not wanted it to fly away. So she grabbed it.

There are things that I want to hold onto. I would bet there are things you are trying to hold onto as well. There are many things that can cause us problems if we hold on too tightly: hurts, anger, worry, fear, people, loved ones, money, possessions, friendships, habits, safety, etc. No matter what it is we try to hold onto, if we hold too tightly we’re going to get stung. We must hold loosely in our hands everything that comes to us for it is all in God’s Sovereign plan that they pass through our lives.

Oh beloved, run to the Lord this morning and let Him see what’s in your hands. He may let you keep it close to your heart. He may ask you to turn it loose and let it go. Whichever He does you can be sure He can be trusted for He always has your best in mind. He will never ask you to relinquish anything unless He has something better in mind. Relax and rest in His decisions for He loves you whole-heartedly and He’s for you absolutely and that’s all that really matters.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind). And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you. Amplified

Philippians 3:8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.

Romans 12:9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.

2 Timothy 1:13 Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Love of God is Full of FREEDOM!

We had a young visitor at church Sunday. He’s recently been released from prison and was looking for a word of encouragement. He has a job in another state and will be living there. He wants to make sure that he never makes the same mistakes again. We prayed for him and with him.

He’s been released from prison. While there, he was released from the prison of his own life. He found the Lord there! Someone came in and shared the Gospel and he accepted Christ as his personal Savior. What sweet release. Don’t you know he’s thankful to be out in the world and be able to walk and talk and go where he wants to? Can’t you just imagine how wonderful it feels to be free as well from the prison bars of his past?

How are you dealing with things? Do you feel free? Or are you still bound to the prison of your past? Are you feeling terror that you will be made to pay for your mistakes over and over? Are you wondering how you can ever get truly free?

There is hope for the hopeless and help for the helpless! God has made a way for you and I to live in the light of His Word. To be saved from the penalty of our past. To be made free from the wrath to come. And to live a life that is pleasing to Him! You can live free in love, free in peace, free in success, free in value, free in your heart.

Oh beloved! God is your answer – He holds the keys to release you from everything you have been kept imprisoned by. From the things you’ve done to the unforgiveness pronounced on you by others. The love that God has for you is full of FREEDOM! The care God has for you is full of PEACE! For He pronounced your debts cancelled and you have a ticket to live forever in the light of His glory and grace! Run to the Lord, your Redeemer, and give Him all your troubles and cares and watch as He changes you into the free believer you were always meant to be.

John 8:32 And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.

Romans 6:17-18 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.

2 Corinthians 3:17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Psalm 119:45 I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Blue Ribbon Life? Follow God's Recipe!

Yesterday we had a treat at work.  We made pie crusts! A whole lot of them. JoAnn, our family and consumer sciences agent, had a recipe to make 20 crusts at once. She wanted to use us to try it out before she presented it as a cost savings for consumers.  So Amy, JoAnn and I worked together to make a big pan of pie crusts, divided them out into individual balls, put them in bags and flattened them out for the freezer.  It was fun and we enjoyed the few minutes it took. For less than half a dollar a piece we had pie crusts to take home and use. We pretty much know the recipe will be great because one of our favorite county pie bakers uses the same recipe!

Working together was so much fun! It divided our work and gave us an opportunity to talk about our favorite pies, our likes and dislikes and to laugh together. All of the effort divided out between three truly made the saying, “many hands make light work” come to life.

Amy and I agreed we would never have tackled it at home alone. I for one have made or attempted to make homemade pie crusts for 40 years. Although the crust turned out okay occasionally, I would say I never have been a pie crust blue ribbon winner.  It’s just not been my thing.

As we worked together I realized why my crusts might not have turned out so good. For one thing, JoAnn pre-measured all the ingredients! She had all the utensils and the mixing bowl set out and ready for us. She also had aprons ready to don.  She had measuring cups, measuring spoons and pastry cutters for each of us. She even had ice water ready on a bed of ice. As Amy measured out the required teaspoons of salt I exclaimed that it looked like too much. Yet when we taste tested a little of the dough, any less would have made the crusts extremely tasteless.

The discovery that came to me was that without correct preparation to begin with you are not going to have a good product. Without following the directions, created by someone who knows what they’re doing and has had success, you won’t have the right outcome.   The correct components, mixed the right way, and following directions will make for a great pie.  Following directions is imperative. You just can’t shortcut and you can’t leave out ingredients.

Have you been mixing things up on your own lately? Did you have an old tried and true recipe for life but figured you could vary it slightly and have the same results? You may have found that mixing the old ways of the Word with the new ways of the world actually makes for a tasteless and flat life. Maybe you've been having problems with waiting on God to answer your fervent prayers so you've tried to throw together your own concoction and you find that it doesn't measure up.  
Oh beloved, get out your recipe book, The Word of God and read it thoroughly! He doesn’t care if you start over with fresh infilling of ingredients. In fact He wants you to start over and let Him guide you to the best outcome! His greatest desire is that you have a Blue Ribbon life! Following His guidance and using His ingredients will make for your best life ever! God knows your heart and His ways are best. You may not see it now, but in the end you will discover that He knows you and has developed a perfect flawless recipe for you. Trust Him today for He loves you. Let Him take your life and turn it into a magnificent recipe fit for the King of Kings!

Proverbs 16:20 Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful.

Proverbs 8:10-11 Choose My instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold.  For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.

Proverbs 4:13 Take hold of My instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life.

Psalm 36:9-10 You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights.   For You are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Road "Best" Traveled

I love back roads, especially those out of the way highways where the bows of trees on each side of the road mingle above my head. Danny and I have spent a lot of time on back roads, mostly to view the beauty and majesty of nature. I even put a photo of just such a road on my phone so I could think about those beautiful roads.  I noticed that there is a word printed on the pavement: SLOW and then PREPARE TO STOP.  It reminded me that we drivers are directed by many signs. YIELD comes to mind because frankly people in our town rarely yield! Then there are Red Lights, Caution Lights, Train Lights and more. One of the signs I always get tickled about is “LAKE AHEAD!”  For sure you want to watch that one, otherwise you’ll take a swim you won’t like.

I am reminded that when my parents traveled they always held hands in the car and said, “God go with us.”  It is still comforting to know my parents asked God’s divine help before every trip. We passed that along to our own family when we traveled.

We have to learn to discern what each word on the pavement means for we have to know what we’re supposed to do. Arrows pointing one way mean for us to go that way. Occasionally you will find a driver who has gotten confused and they are headed into oncoming traffic! It’s scary because who knows when they will discover their problem and try to overcorrect. Other signs require slowing down to the speed limit. Curve signs warn us to prepare to make negotiations to keep from having an accident. All in all, though our highway system is full of signs, it’s for our safety and we’re glad they are there.

Are you heeding the signs? Are you watching to make sure you’re obeying God’s limits and going the right direction?  Do you watch for oncoming issues that might cause you a problem? Are you staying calm when others make mistakes or do you find yourself having a moment of road rage? Do you stop when others want to go ahead of you? Are you obeying the laws of the land and doing your best to be a safe driver on the road of life?

Oh beloved, God has a wonderful road for you to travel. He makes every effort to guide you safely. He has warning signs in His Word to keep you on the right road. He also reminds you to keep close to Him so that you remain on the road and aren’t cut off from His plan. Occasionally He will tell you to slow down or prepare to stop. Don’t argue with God! He’s your Sovereign Lord and Savior and He truly knows what’s best. 

Your life can be oh so good and by just following Him closely and obeying His directions you will feel the safety of His care. He loves you so much that He wants to guide you all the way to  heaven and He’s for you so that you can trust the roads He puts you on and the signs He gives you along the way. Ride safely in this life for you are Precious Cargo to the Lord!


 Psalm 32:8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you.”

Psalm 27:11  Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me.

Proverbs 20:24 The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?

Psalm 25:12 Who are those who fear the LORD? He will show them the path they should choose.
(photo chosen is from my phone  courtesy of Zedge wallpapers for Android phones)