Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How to Pass a Stress Test

Yesterday my husband had a stress test.  As we headed to the hospital we discussed what we hadn’t told one another – we were stressed about it! Danny and I have been incredibly fortunate to have very little illness and no regular medications. But this test was going to let us know, beyond the shadow of a doubt how his heart really was. It was no longer a “wonder what’s going on”. It was now a “finding out the truth”.

Fortunately for both of us, and all glory to God, the test revealed what we all know – he’s healthy as a horse. The nurses told him he did better than most people half his age! Once the doctor checked the heart while it was racing, they found that his heart muscle was very strong and there was no blockage. Just the kind of results everyone wants.

We’ve put that behind us now. We can relax in the knowledge that all is well. We are encouraged that we are still able to go the distance and stay the course. I’m blessed to know that my husband is healthy and we can move on.

Stress tests are performed daily at our hospital and all across the country. The attendants are used to people responding in many ways. Some insist on quitting at the first sign of exertion. Some faint while on the treadmill. Others have serious heart issues that require the physician to stop the test altogether.  Others, like Danny, stay on the entire time, even as the physician asks if they can handle just a little more.  We know, after having been in the room together that the doctor already knows what the patient’s heart is doing through the EKG, so that while stressful indeed, no one has to go beyond the limits of their heart’s strength.

Stress tests come for believers as well. Although not daily, they are a pretty regular part of our existence. We are doing fine but then we find ourselves in a hard spot, stressed out about both the situation and the outcome.  We may feel we can’t go any further. It’s too much, we’re too tired, it’s been going too long, we might not make it. But the Great Physician knows us and He’s watching over us. The test is not for Him, it’s for us – He knows our frame. He’s so acquainted with us that He knows the outcome of the test of our faith before we even enter into the situation.

The truth is we can either go on or pass the test or we can say give up and quit right in the middle. Either way, the Great Physician is with us – either giving us a “well done” or grabbing us in His loving arms to hold us until the stress is relieved. Even if our strength is weak and our hearts are pounding, God will give us His strength and renew us in Himself.

Maybe you are in a stress test right now. You thought you were headed for clear skies but a storm arrived out of nowhere. Your heart is racing and your blood pressure is elevated. You know God’s Word but you see the situation!  You know God takes care of “all who…” and saves “…everyone” and “loves the world…”, but what about you? Does He really care? Will He really come through? Will you make it?

Oh beloved, God sees your pain and hears the cries of your heart. He’s not deaf and He’s not ignorant – Not only is He with you through this, He’s gone ahead of you to clear the way for victory! This test of your faith is a momentary thing. It’s a quick test in light of eternity. God calls it a “momentary, light affliction” and He promises that it’s producing its weight in glory.  God is your Great Physician and He will never allow any test that won’t ultimately make you better, give you greater strength and turn out for your good and His glory!

The Lord loves you passionately, perfectly and eternally. And He’s for you always, completely and in any situation. And that’s worth getting through the tests and finishing well in Him.


2 Corinthians 4:7 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! (NLT)

Psalm 26:2 Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; test my heart and my mind.  (AMP)

Psalm 119:143 As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in Your commands.

1 Peter 1: 7 So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed.  (AMP)

Psalm 61:2 From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (NAS)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Were You On a Roll?

As I reached into the deep recesses of my purse to find the office key a penny fell out. I bent to pick it up but it was rolling. So I followed it! It kept rolling until it hit a floor mat and then it fell over. I stooped to pick it up and God spoke to my heart.

Many times our lives are like that penny.  We roll along, doing our own thing, fully upright, having a great time. We may not even be reading the Bible or praying all that much, but hey life is good! We’re “on a roll”!

Then we hit a snag. Something looming in front of us stops us dead in our tracks. We can do nothing but fall over. The rolling merrily along comes to a grinding halt and we’re done. We find ourselves flat on our faces and not enjoying it at all!

There’s nothing left to do when we find ourselves flat except to cry out to the One who is higher than we are! Who can reach down to help us?  Other people who are having a hard time? Folks who are having their own great time? 

Unless we acknowledge Him as Lord over our “roll”, it’s hard to believe we can cry out to Him when we’re flattened by life’s circumstances. But we can!  When we realize that we aren’t the masters of our own fates, we aren’t the ones who punch out our own lives, we don’t keep ourselves going, keep ourselves up or keep ourselves “on a roll” we have no problem crying out to God to help us.

Maybe you were on a roll. Everything was as neat as an entire roll of pennies. You had things in order, you enjoyed your life and it was good. Suddenly you hit a snag. You came to the edge of yourself and fell over in pain, discomfort, sorrow, fear, disappointment, disillusionment, dismay, self-condemnation. You thought you’d be fine, but now you just aren’t fine! You feel like you’ve been stepped on, kicked over, thrown on the sidewalk or mashed through the vending machine.  You’re hurting and you don’t know if you can ever get up and walk again, much less get on a roll. Merrily has been replaced with barely and you’re hurting.

Oh beloved! Don’t despair! Cry out to Jesus, for He has been following you all along. He has been watching over you, hoping that you would stop the chaos and give Him some time. He may have let you fall on your face, but only to seek Him. He may have watched the events of your life unfold, but He was never disinterested.  He had wonderful plans for you before the foundation of the world. He still has wonderful plans for you. He will pick you up and set you on a fresh course of freedom and joy as you put your hope, your plans and your future in His hands.  It doesn’t matter how you got to this point. All that matters is that God sees your plight and hears your cries.

Go ahead, call out to Him no matter what your situation because He loves you and He’s for you and He will answer and restore you every time.

Psalm 119:93  I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me.

Psalm 119:67-68 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now Your word do I keep [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying it].  You are good and kind and do good; teach me Your statutes. (AMP)

Lamentations 3:55-56 But I called on your name, Lord, from deep within the pit.  You heard me when I cried, “Listen to my pleading! Hear my cry for help!

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (NAS)

Psalm 107:2 … Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! (entire chapter)

Isaiah 59:1 Listen! The LORD's arm is not too weak to save you, nor is His ear too deaf to hear you call.

Jeremiah 32:17 O Sovereign LORD! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!

Monday, July 29, 2013

God Hears

Our pastor shared about giving blood this week-end. He and his wife usually go to Hope to give blood since it’s the closest place. But this time they went to a blood drive in Hot Springs, which is 75 miles away from their home. He just felt that was what he was supposed to do. So they went. 

While he was being prepped for his turn, there is a battery of questions they usually ask everyone who gives blood. While he was answering those questions, he noticed the lady had a photo of a little baby girl who looked incredibly like his own youngest granddaughter. They got to talking and before he knew it she was asking him if he was in a hurry. He replied no and she began to pour her heart out to him.  She shared things that no stranger would share with you.  He shared God’s love with her. Between them she made a decision to give her life fresh and new to the Lord.  He prayed for her and with her and God did the work.

Because that woman needed a touch from the Lord, God sent a man and his wife 75 miles out of their way just for her. God does this kind of thing all the time. He moves heaven and earth for people, He went to the cross for people, He makes intercession in heaven for people and he sends His children to minister grace and peace and life to others who are parched and thirsty and desperate for just a drop from the Lord.

Two things occurred that day: a man felt the nudge to go out of his way, out of his comfort zone, out of his area. A woman was undoubtedly crying out to God for help.

You may be the one God is nudging. You may feel the urge to do something different, ride a different road, stop at a different gas station, cash your check at a different bank, whatever…if you belong to the Lord it just may be the Holy Spirit nudging you in the direction of some poor fainting hungry person who needs rescuing. God wants to use you – are you willing to listen? Are you willing to answer the call? Are you willing to move in the Spirit? If you are, God will use you beyond your wildest imagination. For people everywhere you go need a touch from Jesus and you are the arms and hands in this world just for that.

You may be the one calling out to God. No matter what you are calling on Him for, rest assured beloved He hears you! Rest assured precious one that He is sending the answer to your every need. It may be just outside the door of your heart. It may be just around the corner of your mind. But you can know for a fact the answer – the Lord Himself – is coming your way.

Why would God do this? Because He loves you! Why did He go to the cross, why did He suffer the shame, why is He seated at the right Hand of God the Father Almighty? Why is He coming again? Why is He preparing a place for you? Because He loves you!

Oh beloved, God loves you! If you can get that one fact settled in your heart today everything will change.  He has a love for you that’s beyond words yet He conveys it in His actions, in His gifts and in His Word. And because He loves you He will make all things good, all things new and all things work together. He’ll even use you as you yield yourself to His love. 

Ask Him this morning to show you His love and then pledge your love back to Him. Ask Him and He will show you the keys to the Kingdom and give you a life that’s out of this world – all for Love, all for Love.

Psalm 138:1-3 I give You thanks, O Lord, with all my heart; I will sing Your praises before the gods.  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.  As soon as I pray, You answer me;  You encourage me by giving me strength.

Psalm 138:7-8  Though I am surrounded by troubles, You will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out Your hand, and the power of Your right hand saves me.   The Lord will work out His plans for my life— for Your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for You made me.

Romans 10:14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?

Psalm 145:19 He grants the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cries for help and rescues them.

Romans 8:34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

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.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Your Strength is in the Lord's Word

As I went to the shortest checkout line available I found myself behind a man with a nice large pistol on his hip. It was pearl handled and the man wore jeans and a plaid shirt.  I was a little astonished at this fellow having the gun right out in the open. Then he turned slightly and I realized it was actually a local law enforcement officer, one we used to go to church with years ago.  We spoke to one another and I told him to tell his mom I said hello as he checked out and was gone. 

With or without his uniform he carried a lot of authority with the gun strapped to his side.  Believers have authority too. We are packing, so to speak. We who have been born again are wielding great power and wisdom. The Word of God has been given to us and it is fully loaded with live ammunition - it is the Word of God from God to us.

We don’t use this authority as a weapon on people. We wield it as a defense against the only enemy we have.  Unlike the deputies, the sheriffs and the plain clothes men of our country who hunt bad guy after bad guy and try to keep the law abiding citizens safe, we only have one bad guy. And boy is he after us. He tries to convince us to shoot one another. He tries to convince us that a brother or sister is better off out of our fellowship. He wants us to travel alone, do our own thing and shoot from the hip   He slips up behind us and tempts us to do things that are the exact opposite of the orders we receive from our Commander. He whispers lies into our ears and if we’re not careful we’ll not be able to draw our weapon at all. 

We must be people of the Word and keep our ammunition loaded all the time. It’s not enough that we had a box of information once; we have to load and reload every single day.  Yesterday’s Word of knowledge was good for yesterday, but today we need fresh rounds for the battle of the day. We don’t fight like the world’s rebels. We fight on our knees speaking the Word of God that is in our mouth and in our hearts.  We can’t use the world’s ammo either – it is not going to work when the going gets tough. It might sound good and carry a lot of weight but it won’t do what is needed when we are in the fray. We’d be shooting blanks and nobody wants to be defenseless in the battle. The enemy will try to convince us that God’s truth mixed with the world’s untruths make for good living, but a weapon without full force won’t do what is needed.

Open up the Word of God first thing this morning and get yourself armed for the day’s events. It could be a quiet day with nothing much needed other than “God is with you” or “God loves you”. Or it might be a day of hand to hand combat where the enemy is taunting you to unbelief and trying to make you believe in lies that will only get you wounded or render you totally hopeless.

Oh beloved, God knows you’ve been in skirmishes of the faith. You may be battle worn and totally fatigued. You may believe that there’s no hope, no answer and nowhere to turn. But God wants to speak His truth into your life. He wants you fully armed. If you will listen to Him and abide by His precepts and speak His truth and pray without ceasing, you will find your day will be more profitable, more peaceful, more fruitful and more protected. It doesn’t matter what others say. All that matters is God’s Truth – the only ammunition you will ever need for life and godliness.

God loves you and He’s for you and His Truth will guard you, watch over you and keep you safe all the days of your life.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;   (KJV)

James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

2 Corinthians 6;7 in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left,

Ephesians 6:11-12 Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Jesus is Your Key to Entrance and Favor!

Yesterday I came home from work and as I drove into the driveway I noticed a scooter in front of the garage and then I spied a pair of little boy’s sandals inside the garage.  As I got out of the car and walked up the steps to the house I saw that my front door was ajar.  Walking inside I saw some things strewn across the living room floor, a chair at the refrigerator and a tube of icing laying in front of the refrigerator.

Goldilocks came to mind as I realized my visitor had been a grandson!  He’s an icing thief! He loves to come over and eat the sweet concoction that I keep in the refrigerator for decorating cakes.  He eats it right out of the tube. I quickly cleaned up and put things away.  I was glad that the mother of this grandson lives right across the street or I’d have been fearful to walk in.

She has advised me to make sure my front door is locked from now on. Since it’s happened a couple of times I’ll probably do that. I’m not worried about robbers because she’s right here close, but they don’t need to wander in the house alone. I hate to lock it up but I am going to have to. Because the little boy loves icing the temptation is just too great.   I really don’t mind at all that he was in the house, because I love that boy and he’s one of my favorites! He knows where the food is and where the toys are and that makes me feel good that he likes to go into my house.  But for his safety we’ll have to make sure he can’t get in alone.  Still, it is cute to know that he feels welcome to come and go to his grandparents’ house, that he feels comfortable to make himself at home.

Locking our homes to keep thieves out (and to keep grandsons from eating all our icing) is the best choice. Our valuables and our keepsakes are special to us.  We wouldn’t want to come home and find our things ransacked and missing. I think of the three bears who walked into their home in the story from long ago and they knew that someone had been in there.  They probably wished they’d locked their house as well.

I’m glad this morning that although I have to lock my house for safety, God never locks us out of His home. Heaven is an open opportunity for every single person on earth. And although that would be a huge crowd of people, all are invited to freely come in.  Not only that, but all of God’s valuables and keepsakes are there for anyone to enjoy anytime they want.  No one will ransack God’s property because they’ve been granted the key by the Blood of the Lamb – the precious sacrifice made on the cross by the Owner’s Son.  The door to heaven is open to “whosoever will” and His blessings are so many and so wonderful that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord can have access to the entire banquet of blessings.

Have you been holding back? Are you unsure of your standing with God? Do you feel you’ve messed up too much, gone too far, made too many bad choices? Maybe you think you don’t measure up or have the right to enjoy God’s blessings and enter into His Kingdom. God knows all about you. He knows your mistakes, your problems, your secrets. And He’s made a way for the door to heaven to stay open for you. You can’t make it on your own.  But faith in Christ is your key! Not just to heaven either, but to all the blessings of God! You are invited, you are welcomed, you are free to enter in!

Oh beloved, Jesus is your key to a wonderful life! You are welcome to come into God’s favor and enjoy all of His blessings! You can eat from His banquet and rest in His promises. You can live like a child of the King because you are.  God holds nothing back from His own and even when you feel like you’re less than worthy, He is able to redeem you, restore you and keep you in fellowship with Him for the rest of your life.  Open the Book of Life and read about the Key to Heaven, the Way to Blessings and the Joys of Fellowship with Him! For He loves you and He’s for you and that’s all that really matters as you yield your heart to Him and make yourself at Home in your Father’s House.

John 10:9 I AM the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

Psalm 65:4 What joy for those You choose to bring near, those who live in Your holy courts. What festivities await us inside Your holy Temple.

Ephesians 2:13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to Him through the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 3:12 Because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.

Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

God Will Never Leave You Disappointed

Iced tea is a staple of most southern homes. Ours is no exception.  We also have our favorite brand of tea bags.  We like our tea to be pretty strong and one brand in particular does just what we want. Their bags have no wrappers or staples so it’s very easy to plop three or four of the quart sized bags in the boiling water.

As I was making a fresh gallon of tea I grabbed the box of bags out of the cabinet. As I went to put bags in the water I looked and found that there was a “dud” in the box. It was a perfectly formed bag but not one speck of tea leaf was inside! I pitched that bag and went on about my business. There was only one problem, as I fished for more bags I discovered that many of them were either empty or had only a tiny amount of tea leaves inside.  I was disappointed at the contents of the box. I bought this brand because we like it and because the bags are always just right. I contacted the company and they are going to send me a brand new box full of full teabags. Not only that, they are sending me a box to mail the “dud” box back so they can see for themselves. Disappointment comes in the strangest places and we are surely disappointed.

These things happen though.  You find something you enjoy and it is part of your regular life. Next thing you know the company improves it in some way and it’s no longer the quality you want. The occasional mistake in packaging is expected but a whole box of unfulfilled packages is just not right.

Life is a lot like those teabags.  Just as we find ourselves enjoying things the way we like them, something comes up short. We get disillusioned, dismayed and frustrated. We don’t find what we’re looking for anymore. Our dreams, our hopes, our pleasures come up short – we might even feel like life is a “dud”. Empty, broken promises and wishes cause us to wonder where the quality of life can really be found.  Some people will move on and search for the right thing elsewhere. Others just look at the emptiness and find blame, fault and bitterness.

When I found the Lord, I opened His box of love letters and read from them often. I pored over them and the concoction of grace, peace and joy was always there for me. In all the years I’ve known the Lord, not once has He come up empty, left me unfulfilled or broken a promise.  No “duds” in His Word ever. His promises prove to be true over and over and over again. His love proves to be full and rich no matter when I need it. It’s the same in the joys of life. It’s the same in the sorrows of hardship.  He’s never short of content and His promises are never hollow. I am so thankful that even when other things, other people, other desires fall short, God is always there, Perfect in all His Glory and Absolute in all His ways.

Oh beloved, you may have tasted of some sweet delight and discovered it didn’t live up to your expectations. You are left holding an empty bag of promises, expectations and desires. You’re pretty sure that your life is used up and only fit for the trash heap. Don’t despair! Run to the Lord this morning and give Him your empty “duds” and watch as He replaces them with all He has and all He is! He is the ultimate manufacturer – nothing He ever does is wrong. Nothing He ever makes is mismatched. Everything He has for you is available to you in such perfection that you’ll never go searching again! He is your all in all and provides strength in your weakness, hope in your despair, gladness for mourning and peace in the chaos of empty promises from other sources. His Word cannot fail you ever! His truth will not weaken ever! His love will not come up short for you ever! His care is perfect and He will not disappoint, no matter what! God will never leave you disappointed for His love and care is perfect and always available no matter what! And all His promises are free for the taking as you live in the light of His Word.

Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven. His faithful love endures forever.

Psalm 145:13 For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. The Lord always keeps His promises; He is gracious in all He does.

Psalm 119:65  You have done many good things for me, Lord, just as you promised.

Isaiah 45:22 Let all the world look to Me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other.

2 Corinthians 1:22 and He has identified us as His own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything He has promised us.

 1 Thessalonians 5:24 God will make this happen, for He who calls you is faithful.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Look in the Mirror at God's Marvelous Works!

Just a little over two years ago, our Stella was born so very premature and our Lucy was delivered into heaven. Such precious twins, I cannot wait to see them united in heaven. About that same time our daughter’s friend from elementary school experienced the same thing – one twin being born premature and the other sent to heaven. We’ve marveled at the circumstances of two friends being so close alike.  Recently little Luke and little Stella got to meet face to face. Two miracles from God, both growing and changing and becoming all that God has planned for them.

Each mother could concentrate on the loss of one of their babies. It’s hard for sure. They could also concentrate on the troubles they went through getting to survival with the ones who lived. They could replay over and over the days and nights in hospital waiting rooms, at the incubator, the doctors’ visits and the problems.  They could look at what they’ve been through.  They could live in fear and dread the rest of their lives.

Where does God want us to look? At the circumstances? At the problems? At the trials? We can. We can concentrate so completely on the right now that we won’t see the whole picture changing bit by bit before our very eyes.

Instead, God wants us to look to Him as He reminds us that He is the author and finisher of our faith and of the faith of our children as well. He who caused a less than two pound infant to overcome is also the One who will cause us to overcome! No, everything doesn’t work out perfectly in our eyes, but we can count on God who promises that All Things Work Together for Good.

If you need a reminder of the goodness of God and the overwhelming victory He gives us, look at Stella and her friend Luke. Look in the mirror. You are no accident and no mistake. You were not born too early or born too late. You haven’t missed your call. You haven’t gone overboard. You aren’t beyond hope, beyond redemption or beyond grace.

Oh beloved, the mirror of God’s Word never lies. But you must learn to see yourself the way God sees you so that you can live in love, joy and peace no matter what. Don’t look away from His mirror to the world’s standards or those of people who don’t believe God. Instead keep your eyes on Jesus, keep your heart focused on His Word and watch as bit by bit your perfect life in Christ unfolds!

God loves you, just the way you are and He’s for you, even in your human imperfections, so jump for joy and live for Him with your whole heart for your whole life!

2 Corinthians 3:18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.

I Corinthians 13:12  Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

Romans 3:22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

Isaiah 64:8 And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.

Psalm 100:3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

You ARE On a Need To Know Basis!

Kids are so inquisitive. They seem to pick up on the very things you try to talk about in private. Their ears perk up more on the quiet whispers between adults than anything else. Ask them to clean their room, close the door, turn down the music or do their homework and they’re often oblivious.

I can remember asking my own parents for more information and mother hushing me. I can remember my ow...n kids inquiring and telling them never mind. I often remember hearing people say and may have used the phrase myself, “You’re on a need to know basis and you don’t need to know!”

Unlike kids, who don’t really need to know everything, believers are on a need to know basis and they do need to know everything! They need to know the Word of God, so they can live not just exist. With the entire counsel of the Word of God, children of the Heavenly King know how to live, how to manage, how to fight and how to win. Not only that, they need to know desperately what it means to be a child of God and just what all is available to them as His children.

Believers need to know that the entire Word of God is true. We need to know that the council of God is right for their life. We need to know that the precepts of the Lord are pure and that they will enlighten the eyes of our understanding. We need to know that the ways of the Lord are right and will keep us walking close to Him. We need to know that the Love of God is always available to us, along with His mercy, grace, and peace. We need to know that we receive our strength from waiting on the Lord.

We need to know how to walk in blessings, how to live in security and how to shine the light of the Gospel for others to see. We need to know that every single Word of God is written so that we may be strong and invincible, victorious over our enemies.

Oh beloved, what do you need to know this morning? What are you wrangling with? What have you heard? You may have gotten a bad report, been told wrong information and become discouraged, disappointed, fearful or worried. Those feelings are not from the Word. God tells you this morning that regardless of your circumstances, which are always temporary, He has a plan for your life and it is wonderful. His plan was settled for you before the foundation of the world so that when you could not see beyond your troubles you could rest on His Word and delight in Him no matter what. Run to His Word, read it all and live by it for that will bring you the Truth in the midst of a perverse generation that knows nothing about the Bible and lives in exact opposition to it.

God will always help you. He will either help you out or help you through. Regardless of your circumstances God is with you. His Word is His bond and you need to know this day, He loves you and He’s for you and that’s the most important thing you will ever know.

Psalm 119:89 Your eternal word, O LORD, stands firm in heaven.

Psalm 119:45 And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts.

Psalm 19:8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Philippians 2:15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection.

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

John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

Monday, July 22, 2013

God's Plans Are Written Out Just For You!

We had a great time last week, but our vacation is over. It’s time to get back to work, change gears and start living more by the clock. Not a bad thing really. We’re tired. Even though we didn’t go far, we had a couple of 10 hour days on the motorcycle.

There were lots of pullouts where we could view the scenery. There were lots of water breaks so we could keep hydrated. There were gas stops an...d meal stops. Every time we stopped for gas, the tires would be checked and the windshield would be wiped clean of bugs.

We packed light so the bags would go on the motorcycle. It’s hard to leave so many things you feel are necessary for your comfort at the house. But I’ve learned that packing light makes for lighter travel.

The road trip was awesome, the company was great, and wonderful things happened along the way. We could have had a great time if we’d stayed home, but because we left the house for unknown territory we were blessed with people and sights we’d never known in the comfort of our home.

Not everyone enjoys the trip. Sometimes the sudden change in altitude makes people sick. Sometimes the looming mountains make for worry. Sometimes the frequent stops are disconcerting. You never know on the trip when you are going to have to make a quick change of plans or travel another road. It’s easy to get your bearings off and find that you’ve taken a wrong road and have to backtrack. Some folks would rather just stay home.

Life is like that. In order to endure the trip, you’ve got to have your destination in mind always. You’ll need to pack light because things weigh heavy and slow us down and wear us out. You’ve got to keep to the road map so you don’t have to backtrack through the mistakes of life. You can though, if you need to. You’ve got to keep your GPS on and working correctly, so that no matter how dark the night, how stormy the weather or how steep the troubles, you have a beacon to get you through.

How is your trip going in life? Have you over packed? Are you weighed down with worries, cares, fears, troubles and more? God says to pull into His loving care and let Him help you lighten the load. He knows what you need to make the trip so He can be trusted to choose what you don’t have to carry. Is your GPS working? The Word of God will get you through anything, anywhere, anytime if you have it handy and refer to it often. That still small voice beckoning you to do right when you could veer off wrong is the Lord!

Oh beloved, you are so precious to God! So much so that He has a perfect plan written out just for you. It may at times look unnavigable, but He is able and trustworthy and faithful and true. He knows the heartaches , the tiredness, the fearful things you have to face, but He will get you through it all. If you will keep your eyes on your destination, He will get you through the rough spots and let you enjoy the good times. Lighten your load, especially the things you were never meant to carry with you and watch as He guides, directs and keeps you safe all the way. Don’t ever think for one minute that your life is not important to God or that you can’t make it another day. He is the One who decides how far your trip will be and how long it will take and He can be trusted.

Give it all to Him, every single thing, and think about your destination so that you can remember He loves you and He’s for you for that will keep you going and get you there no matter what.

Psalm 119:43 Do not snatch Your word of truth from me, for Your regulations are my only hope.

Hebrews 10:35-36 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.

Psalm 91:14-15 The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love Me. I will protect those who trust in My name. When they call on Me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.

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

Romans 8:39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

We Are Joint Heirs with The Owner's Son!

We were looking for a place to eat yesterday and decided to try a tiny little Mexican restaurant by our favorite bookstore.  We were met with a waiter who seated us quickly and brought us chips and salsa. We also received glasses of water without asking. 

As we got our meals, the waiter slipped by regularly and kept our salsa full. He stepped to the table and replaced our half empty glasses with fresh full glasses of the same drink.  He didn’t have to ask whether we were having sweet or unsweet tea – he just knew.  He was quiet and efficient and most of all he met our needs before we had to ask for anything.

God is by no means our waiter. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. But He is so wonderful in His blessings towards us! He seats us at His banqueting table and He lovingly provides all that we could ever need.  He truly meets our needs before we can even ask Him. We don’t always see Him working behind the scenes, but He’s there. Sometimes we think He can’t possibly know what we need, but He knows perfectly.  He doesn’t need a cheat sheet, a reminder or a menu to provide for us. He knows us completely and loves to meet our needs. 

Eventually we had to pay for our meal and leave the restaurant, but with God’s banquet we are able to dine continually on a feast made in heaven and it’s all been paid for by the blood of the Lamb! We are joint heirs with the Owner’s Son, so we are free to come and go as we desire. The blessings are ready and available and the fellowship with our Lord is included because of the Cross.

Oh beloved, the Lord is calling you into sweet, sweet fellowship with Him! He bids you come and dine at His table and let Him meet every single need you will ever have. He knows you intimately, every single flaw, every single hurt, every single trouble, every single doubt. And He is able to provide for you so that you will walk in victory, live in faith, and be free of anything that weighs you down.  He knows it’s been rough, but when you step into His presence and dine at His table you find that the weight of the world lifts from your shoulders and the blessings of His presence refresh, renew and redeem everything.

God loves you and He’s for you and that means all your needs are met in Him as you yield your life and your heart to His call.

Psalm 4:3 You can be sure of this: The Lord set apart the godly for Himself. The Lord will answer when I call to Him.

Isaiah 41:17 When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the Lord, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.

Isaiah 65:24 I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!

Song of Solomon 2:4 He escorts me to the banquet hall; it’s obvious how much He loves me.

Philippians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.


Let Your Faith Treadmill Do It's Work!

The little cricket of our childhood Disney adventures sang, “When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are…” I spent much of my childhood just like other kids, wishing upon stars.  I do remember even as a little girl praying after every wish, “Dear Jesus, please make it so.”

I still have dreams and wishes. I still have hopes and plans. I still look for the silver lining and the first star of the night. But wishing isn’t enough.  People wish all the time – that they had fame, fortune, favor, etc.  A wish is a very comfy sofa. You can lounge there forever.  It takes nothing to lounge and the rewards are nowhere to be found.

But faith is a treadmill. It’s work! It runs on and on. It takes you where you can’t be on your own. It will make you feel much better, but it will cost you. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. It’s the evidence of things not seen. Why would anyone run on a treadmill if they didn’t expect results?  No, they’d recline on the sofa and dream their life away.  Faith jumps up and demands action. Faith gets the blood pumping and the heart pounding. Faith responds to faith. So as we build on faith we find we have more faith!

Unlike the cricket who sings to us to wish on a star, the Lord shows us how to increase our faith. He gives us His precious promises so that when we pray we know we are heard.  Our own wishes, hopes and dreams can fail us, disappoint us and leave us seeking for more, but God’s will never leaves us hanging.  As we hop on the treadmill of the Word and learn it and put it into practice, we find we become stronger and stronger in the faith.  We can spend our entire lives trying to fulfill our own dreams, make our own wishes come true and still fall short of contentment, joy and peace. But once we make God’s goals our goals and let Him infuse our dreams with His will we find the greatest fulfillment in Him.

Oh beloved, you may be sitting in a heap, looking at your dashed hopes and unfulfilled wishes. God knows that you had great hope for your life, your family, your spouse, your job…  You’ve tried to make it all happen, yet people, places and things disappoint you over and over.  You haven’t been feeling fulfilled in such a long time that you may be thinking of chunking your wishes out the door and giving up.  Don’t despair! God is with you. He promises to stay by your side and to make all things new. He will either exchange your dreams for His and give you a fresh start or He will refine your dreams that are from Him and make them come to pass!

He can be trusted! Why? Because He loves you! His Word can be taken in and lived out! Why? Because He is God! Let Him have your wishes, put away the stars and let Him have your heart, your mind and your soul and rejoice as your faith treadmill does its work just the way He plans for you!

Philippians 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Romans 8:27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Isaiah 55:9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.

Romans 10:17 So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself). ( AMP )

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Friday, July 19, 2013

God Wants To Take You on the Trip of a Lifetime!

We’ve ridden the motorcycle many miles this week. We’ve driven in the heat and the cool. We’ve driven in the dry and the rain. We’ve driven on smooth roads and rough roads. We’ve driven along new highways and road construction.  We’ve seen accidents, police blocks, radar guns and wildlife. We’ve dodged tree limbs and road gators (pieces of tires).  We drove behind slow tourists. We’ve been passed by faster motorcycles. 

There’s no way to travel without finding something wrong, something you’d rather avoid or wishing to miss it altogether.  Since we love to travel and since my hubby loves motorcycles, we just pack our bags and go.

It requires a watchful eye to look ahead to what might be in the road so you don’t hit something that might throw you or cause a problem.  Danny’s also watching the side of the road for any animal that might want to come out in front of us.

Some might say, just stay home! It’s a lot of trouble and motorcycles are scary. Go in the car. Don’t go at all. There is merit in staying home I guess, but then we’d miss the beautiful sights and sounds and the opportunities to meet other people.  For us it’s worth it. If we avoided all the troubles, all the hazards and all the bad weather we would also miss the blessings.

Every blessing of God has your name written on it beloved. Every rainbow at the end of the storm is for you. Every smooth mile after the construction is put there for you to enjoy. Every beautiful scene and all of creation is given to you as a reward for perseverance. God’s radar is there to keep you safe – His word is your help not your demise. Even though hazards in life exist, God promises to keep a keen eye on the road He ordains for you so that you will be blessed and be a blessing.  But you have to be willing to go and you have to be willing to stay the course even when life hands you troubles.  In the midst of the storm He promises to find you a shelter. In the heat of the day He promises to give you shade. In the tiring tedious moments of life He promises to give you rest.

Oh beloved, God will take you on the trip of a lifetime! He will show you the heights and get you through the valleys. He will give you everything you’ve ever dreamed of and oh so much more.  He will give you new dreams and fresh vision to live for Him.  You may have had your own trip planned, but if you will stop and let God repack your backs and rebuild your itinerary and mark out the course He wants you on, you will go beyond your wildest dreams! God has something far greater and more glorious for you than what can be found in the fulfillment of your own ideas.  

God loves you and He’s for you and that’s worth letting Him have your dreams, your plans and your life today!

 Philippians 2:13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.

Ephesians 3:20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.

Psalm 121:8 The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

God Knows Your Best Route

Before we even go out for our trips on the motorcycle, Danny checks the fluid levels, the tire pressure and the brakes.  Once we get on he adjusts things for the best view and for wind, bug and road hazard protection. He also adjusts his wind wings so that if it’s cool we have less wind blowing on our legs and if it’s hot he opens them up so we get more air movement.

The side view mirrors are adjusted so that he, the driver, can see the best.  Because he adjusts them for himself, I can’t see out of them. I am the rider. I don’t really need to see in the mirrors. I just put my life in the hands of the driver and let him do the adjusting. I just have to relax and let him do what’s best.  If I try to adjust the mirrors for me I’m doing what only the driver should do. 

In life we just can’t see it all before us or behind us.  We don’t know what’s looming ahead and we don’t know what’s going on in the background. But God does. He is the One who has it all under His watchful care and we can trust Him. Even when we can’t see the road ahead or feel His presence behind us, He is there.

Sometimes our circumstances seem to be working against us. We try to adjust everything to get where we want. Yet we are met with frustration and disappointment.  Then the veil is removed and we’re allowed to see the reason behind the trust. His timing, His road, His care, His plan – nothing about us except riding behind Him and letting Him lead.

Oh beloved, are you wrangling the situation you are in? Are you trying to readjust things that God is in charge of? Are you thinking you have to do something in order to be where you want to be or do what you want to do? God knows your circumstances and He knows you want to have your way, enjoy your life and rearrange every little detail. But if you will trust Him, the way, your life and the details will not only be more enjoyable, it will all turn out for your good and His glory! Put it all in God’s hands – your life and your plans – and watch as He unfolds the beautiful story before your very eyes.

When you look at your life of faith and trust you will indeed see that God loves you and He’s for you and that’s worth letting Him adjust your life always!

Psalm 32: 8 I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

Proverbs 16: 9 A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.

Deuteronomy 32:4  The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.

Jeremiah 10:23  I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.  We are not able to plan our own course.

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.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Come and Dine The Master Calls You!

We’ve driven by the little diner many times, wondering if it was a good place to eat.  It’s usually week-ends when we’re driving that route and it’s always been closed.  This time it was a week-day and the diner was open, with a full line of vehicles dotting the parking lot. We decided to stop there and have coffee and breakfast.

When we were served our breakfast we discovered that this diner did something outrageous for its patrons.  They served huge helpings! The homemade flaky biscuits were as big as your fist. The pancakes were as big as a platter! No scrimping here. Generous helpings weren’t the only thing we found out. We also discovered that the meals were very good and the service was outstanding.

We decided that we would become regular partakers of this place’s fare. The price was amazing, the helpings were generous and the atmosphere was inviting - great keys for becoming a partaker.  There were lots of different things on the menu.  We only sampled their breakfast fare, but there is much, much more to try. Bikers, especially guys, want to try it all and enjoy everything, so we’ll be back.  The guys will also be telling others about the great food there!

As believers, we are partakers as well. We have a huge menu of delicacies of the faith. Every single item in the Word is ours. Everything is available to us if we just take time to stop and enjoy.  When we realize what all is ours for Kingdom living, we can enjoy the life in Christ with our whole hearts for our whole lives. Unlike the diner, found only in that little town, we have the Word of God and His truths with us always so we are able to have the quality and quantity we need every single time.  God is generous with everything and He paid for it all. He never scrimps with us and He never turns us away.  The things that God has arranged for us to partake of make us grow in faith, grace and knowledge. Unlike gaining a pound or two from eating a huge meal, we gain only good things from His Word. 

Maybe you’ve considered the Word of God, but you didn’t know it was open for you. Every single word was built by the Spirit just for you!  His wonderful promises are yours to ingest and live out. You can take it with you everywhere you go and it never gets stale, never grows old and never leaves you feeling bad. As you partake of His truth, you will find yourself forgiving others, living fully and having new eyes for seeing God’s truth in everyday life.   You may have been disappointed with people, places and things, but you’ll never be disappointed when you stop in and partake of God’s riches.  As you stop in for refreshment, you will be full of His wondrous gifts and drive out into life sharing everything you learned at His feet.

Oh beloved, open the Book of Truth this morning and read. Read about the amazing fare available for you to partake of as a child of God. You have free access to the entire menu of God. Even if you’ve been disappointed by religion you will never go hungry again.  Unlike human food that will make you feel hungry and thirsty again, God’s manna never grows stale, never runs out and always quenches every thirst of your soul.  Let God nourish you, redeem you, regenerate you and fill you completely with His wonderful, magnificent menu of love.  Then you will be so refreshed that you’ll want to tell others of the incredible menu as well!

Oh how God loves you and bids you to come and dine! Partake of Him freely beloved, for that’s where you will find His grace and care for your life always.

Ephesians 3:6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel (NAS)

Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession… (NAS)

2 Peter 1:4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (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 has called us by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.   (NAS)