Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Shed Abroad in Our Hearts

ImageThe flowering trees in our neighborhood are just beautiful. The azaleas in our flower bed have the most prolific blooms I’ve seen in years. I noticed some petals in my driveway that didn’t come from any of our trees. They were still full of color and as I looked around I spotted the source of the petals down the street. Evidently the winds of recent days had blown flowers beyond their normal dropping place beneath the trees. 
Just as the petals of flowers are shed and then cast farther than we can realize, so the love of God is for us. If we could sit and sip a cup of coffee or have a coke and open the Book of Love, I would want to tell you how loved you really are. It’s beyond comprehension I assure you. There are times when I still scarcely believe He loves me. Me. You know, the one who has flaws and faults and doubts and worries and fears. The one who makes mistakes, regrets the past and has real concerns about the future. 
I would bet you can relate. Have you ever said to yourself, “Surely if God knew all about me He wouldn’t love me, not really.” But oh beloved! He does know all about you. He knows more about you than you know yourself. And He does love you! This is a passionate, all encompassing, enduring, faithful, no-matter-what love! And, because you have put your trust in Christ for the Salvation of your very soul, God has put His magnificent love in your heart. It’s there whether you realize it or not, whether you appropriate the goodness of that incredible love or not, it’s there. But beloved, if you will appropriate that love, let those petals loose in your spirit, trust the casting of it across your heart and mind, God will explode in your heart and burst forth from your soul. 
God wants you to know that His love for you is the real deal. He never goes back on His love for you. Because of His Agape love, He will never renege on His commitment to you. He won’t look at you one day and say forget you. He won’t walk away or shut you out. Your name is written on the palm of His hand precious, precious one. Engraved, not just written, not tattooed – for writing can be erased and tattoos fade with time – but engraved! Eternal, permanent, forever. Engraved with His own precious blood, Christ says “you are Mine”. God says, “You are loved”. The Holy Spirit wants to pluck the lies of the enemy out of your heart and instead shower you with love and favor and gently bring you into a growing faith in God. Gently, not crudely, God’s love is ever so gentle. Hold some rose petals in your hand and feel their velvety delicateness – that’s how God feels about you in His hand. 
Why do you need to know this beloved? Why is God saying His love is shed abroad in your heart by Christ Jesus? For until you know this great love intimately, there will always be thorns coming from the enemy to keep you preoccupied with your troubles, your mistakes, your sins, your issues, your relationships. The enemy says you’re done for, but God always says we can work this out. Agape Love keeps on where everything else fails. God’s love is your point of surrender and your source of strength. No adversary can kill it for it is born of God Himself. The enemy wants you to believe you have to do something to be loved. He wants you to believe that God’s love is conditional. But God wants you to know that His love came first! You can let Him love you because He first loved you! Then you can love others, your life and ministry will be motivated by love and you can respond in love no matter what.
“Lord, we need Your love in our lives – Agape Perfect Love. We need to know this love, so we must get to know You better. Bring us into Your presence. Woo us with Your Love. Thank You for Your patience in letting us learn. But Lord don’t let us keep looking for the love we need in any other way or place or person. Don’t let us settle for cheap short-lasting substitutes. But give us your Love, shed it wide and long and deep into our hearts and minds so we can live it out and share it with others.”
Oh beloved, God loves you and He’s for you and that’s the beginning of the greatest love story ever told – your love story in Christ. 
Romans 5:5 …and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. KJV
Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven. His faithful love endures forever.
Jeremiah 31:3 … “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”
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.
Psalm 36:5 Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Let Your Light Shine!

We were prepared this past weekend for storms as much as you can be. Our candles, oil lamps and flashlights were handy. We had bought bread and had enough standby food that didn’t have to be refrigerated or cooked. We even stayed half-awake Sunday night for that last cell of storms coming out of northeast Texas. Thankfully as we were up and going Monday morning we surveyed that neither the lights went out nor did the storms come our way. We grieve for those who have lost homes and loved ones. Unless you have been through a devastating storm you just don’t really know what it feels like. This storm cell is still continuing to cause terrible problems even now. We are praying that the storm will subside. 
God wants you to know precious one that He has given you all the light you will ever need for any darkness you encounter. Whether it’s the storms of nature or the storms of life, He has you covered. And He wants you to know that when you are in the darkest moment is when His light shines the brightest. It is meant to shine the way for you, but there’s more. 
This Light of the Lord shines through you as well. It is an internal light that is given by the Holy Spirit to all believers. Did you know? Do you realize that when things are at their worst, in your darkest hour, His light will show others that in your life He is proving Himself – trustworthy, faithful, true and Ever-present!
Oh beloved, whatever it is, God is lighting the way for you. You don’t have to quit, you don’t have to run, you don’t have to try to create your own light. You don’t have to be strong enough in your own might or find a way to give false or fleshly light. You just have to stand in His presence, walk in His ways and know that you are filled with supernatural light for everywhere you go. It does not matter what others say or do, you are complete in Him. His glory is your finest jewelry and your greatest asset. It’s time to quit confessing the wrongs that have been done to you or recalling the wrongs you have done. You are in the Light of the Lord –forgiven and forgiving. The Lord’s light will shine brighter and brighter in your life as you seek to portray His light of everlasting love and faithfulness. Your good works build the light and that’s more than just working for God – it includes praying, believing God, trusting Him and walking in His light. 
Your destiny is to be a beacon of the Light of the Lord for His glory alone. Wherever you are, you are able to live in His truth. He loves you and He is for you and that is why He has made every preparation for anything you encounter all the days of your life. Let your Light so Shine!
Matthew 5:14-16 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.
Psalm 44:3 For by their own sword they did not possess the land, and their own arm did not save them; but Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, for You favored them.
2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Monday, April 28, 2014

You're an Overcomer

Isn’t it funny how memories show up in the mind at the oddest moments? I was thinking of our trip out west several years ago. We went across Arizona to the Grand Canyon and on to New Mexico with a group of biker friends. It was one of the hardest trips I’ve ever been on. But the scenery was out of this world. I would take nothing for the time we spent, even after Danny and I traveled across Oklahoma by ourselves coming home. Each and every sight and sound is built up in my memory bank. The high altitudes and the magnificent curves, while enjoyable for everyone along, actually made for some unbelievable hardship for me personally. Even so, there were great times along the way and I would go again in a heartbeat. 

That trip came on the heels of a wonderful service Danny and I attended where the speaker came to me and spoke over my life, “You are an overcomer. You may not quite know it yet…” 
As I was thinking about that trip just yesterday, God spoke to my heart. We think that being an overcomer means that we just simply enjoy life and aren’t affected by anything. We don’t get fearful, we don’t wonder if we can make it, we don’t regret the trip we have to take. Almost like taking the easy road. But really an overcomer is one who has gone through the worst, kept going, even at times crawling but making it all the way through. Anyone can start, anyone can enjoy a good time. But an overcomer keeps the course no matter what.
We in Arkansas are overcoming people. We are seeing this by the things that our state has gone through in the recent horrific weather. When hard roads come of any kind, whatever it brings, God’s people keep going. Devastation may hit the child of God but they are not of this world. Troubles may stay on the ground for long hours but God’s people are always, always, always with Him, no matter what. 
Oh beloved, God knows the devastation you are involved in. He knows that you’ve been trying to stay the course and keep keeping on. He wants you to know that you don’t have to have the strength on your own. You are not the keeper of your life, your home, your family, your business, or your ministry. God is. He ordained you to be an overcomer, to survive great odds, to overcome disasters of your faith that seek to sideline you. You may be feeling that you just want to quit, but now is not the time. You may be looking for a safer path, an easier ride or a chance to stop altogether. But God is calling you to continue with Him. You may continue alone but you can keep going. You may feel ostracized, immobilized or terrorized. But God says you are blessed, favored and strong in the power of His might. The road itself may be hard, but the destination will bring peace and rest. 
God loves you always and forever. And He is for you, coaching you, waving you on, picking you up and carrying you through it when you can’t get up on your own. Rejoice in His loving care and trust His providence and look for the enjoyable moments of life. You are indeed an overcomer. You will see this more and more as you go through your life.
2 Corinthians 4:8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 6:4 In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.
John 16:33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
Romans 8:37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Master You Are Serving is Christ

The Master You Are Serving is Christ

This week was set aside in the U.S. to honor secretaries and administrative professionals in their jobs. For having been one of those professionals for over 20 years I can tell you it’s an interesting place of service. More than any other secular job, I truly believe that secretaries must have a servant’s heart. The value of one who does the behind the scenes work is often underrated and overlooked.  All who work should be considered professionals for it is their profession after all. Whether you are paid or volunteer the job can be done in a professional manner. If you have others who work for you I hope that you thanked them for things you see and things you probably don’t see. If you are one of these clerical assistants I hope that you know how valuable you truly are.
Although I enjoy flowers, gifts and accolades like everyone else, I find that in many areas of my life God is showing me that when I am totally hidden in Him it doesn’t matter who thanks me or what honors I get.  What I have to do then is make a decision, every single day, to hide myself – in His love, in His Word and in His presence. This is where I find the greatest peace, even when things are going wild around me. I also find that it is only when I acknowledge God as my final judge of workmanship that I feel complete.
God wants you to know that you are valued. Whether you work outside the home or whether you are a volunteer, your work is important to the Kingdom of God because you are His child. You are valued because of His great love for you. In the natural God would give you flowers every single day. He would say thank you often and He would lavish gifts at every turn. In the Spiritual however, it is oh so much more wonderful!  He lavishes His Agape love on you like heavenly ointment. He showers His grace and mercy on you beyond your wildest dreams. He gifts you daily with peace, joy, contentment, wisdom, power and more.
God also wants you to know that when your life is hidden in Him you will find real success in your work, your family, your church and your ministry. God wants to be first and foremost in your life so that everything else will fall into place neatly and without turmoil. Don’t file Him away as an afterthought. He will lead you into the most wonderful career you’ve ever known – that of a blood bought priceless believer!
Oh beloved, you may be in a hard place right now, whether at home or at work. It may not be very rewarding these days. Not all situations are good. You may feel cast off, insignificant, distanced and unappreciated. You may feel as though no one cares about you or recognizes your real value, whether you are at work or at home.  God does. He loves you and He’s for you. Really, that’s all that matters as you work heartily for the Lord and live in the light of His glory and grace.
“Lord, we know you love us with an everlasting love. But sometimes we just want to hear the words that we are appreciated in our sphere of the world. Remind us often that when we come to the end of our days the greatest compliment we’ll ever have is ‘Well done good and faithful servant.’  Forgive us for complaining when we feel left out or unappreciated. We love you Lord and we give our whole life fresh and new to You, including our daily lives, our jobs and areas of service You have ordained for us. In Jesus’ Precious Name…Amen”
Colossians 3:23-24 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established. (NAS)
Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Psalm 90:17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands. ( NAS)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Got Burdens?

I go to the post office for work nearly every day. Some days I only carry an envelope or two. Other days I may have several boxes. On some days the box carrying gets interesting. Between 20 pound soil boxes, light plant sample boxes and envelopes, it gets hard to hold them securely. Sometimes, when trying to open the post office door or put the boxes down, everything goes flying. If I’m not careful my frustrations will fly as my calmness flies out the door as well.
When life is a heavy load of stuff I find that I get more and more frustrated as I try to handle it all myself. God speaks to my heart and reminds me to let Him carry the load and then I can relax as all those things settle in proper order. Can you relate?
I have discovered that I might need to let some things go. How many boxes are you holding? What all are you trying to take care of? Are you barely hanging on? Are things flying wildly away around you? Do you wonder where it will all land and if you will be injured in the process? Hold on – God’s stepping in to give you a hand with all the “stuff” of life. You may be trying to make up your mind to make it on your own, but don’t leave God out of the decisions when you need Him the most. 
God wants you to know that you don’t have to keep juggling things. He wants you to know that life in Him is not always easy but you can handle it if you will give it all to Him. He speaks calming words over your life. The extreme struggle you feel is not from the Lord, but He will use it to get you to look to Him. He knows that often it is only when you are unable to do another thing that you will call out to Him, but He’s been helping you all along. He wants you to look only to Him for help, so that your life is hidden completely in Christ. That kind of life will bring you great peace and you will realize your true worth and value to Him. Juggling on gets you frustrated but walking in the light of the Lord will keep the frenzies and flusters away. 
Oh beloved, it’s never too late to release your overburdened life to God. He has shown you through the Easter promise that He is trustworthy, faithful and true. He has shown you through His Salvation that you are in His hands. He has shown you through His Word that everything you need to know about life and godliness is available to you. It doesn’t matter what other people think or do, it is your destiny to hold onto God and let Him relieve you of unnecessary burdens so you can live loved and walk in peace. The world’s message says busyness is godliness. But godliness comes flooding into us when we let God do the choosing. It is in the quietness of time spent with God that you will find the ability to handle your life’s demands and leave the choices to Him.
God loves you and He’s for you- on this you can rely. Live life and love Him and let Him walk through it with you always.
“Lord thank You for being my Help. Only when my life relies on You do I truly walk in victory and shed the burdens of life. Oh how You love me. You keep wooing me back to You. Today I give my burdens to You to order my life for Your glory and my peace. Amen.”
Psalm 94:19 When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.
Psalm 61:2 From the ends of the earth, I cry to You for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety.
Psalm 124:8 Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 55:22 Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our Times Are in God's Hand

...In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed. Psalm 139:16
Three years ago today I was in a very different place. I was sitting in a hospital prayerfully waiting for the arrival of a preemie granddaughter. Very premature, we were all praying and holding our breath. It was a very emotional time for all of us. Time stood still as we juggled grandchildren, ministry, friendships and more.
As I was in the waiting room while my daughter was giving birth, I got a call on my cell phone. It was that daughter telling me we had a baby girl, Stella. She was alive but so incredibly tiny. In the natural it didn’t look good. No one would believe a 24 week baby would ever make it. But she did. More than make it, she is now a rootin’ tootin’ handful of love. Three years old, the only remains of her life in the NICU are pictures that astound us more now than they did then. Three years ago we couldn’t even imagine a three year old. Today we are living in the light of what God can do.
Stella has taught me a lot about life and about God.
There are things that happen we can do nothing about. There are things going on that will only be a dim memory one day. There is God who is right in the middle of it all helping us to grow in faith and in Christlikeness. We may not like our present situation, but even in the pain we can grow in grace and knowledge of God. There are times when we are in situations that seem impossible – these are the times we hold onto God the most. He is able.
God speaks to our hearts – to mine and to yours as well. What you are presently in is not where you are going. I AM the God who goes before you. I AM the one who has a plan for your life. I AM the overseer of your destiny. Neither your troubles nor your heartaches – though they be many – I AM greater than this present moment, as fragile as it all may appear. I will take you beyond this day and one day you will look back and see how Great I AM and how special you are to Me. Don’t look back to the former days, but look forward to the future days. Former days are gone – present days may seem shaky – but your future has My Name written all over it. I AM fully aware of every dire circumstance and every fragile moment – but I AM the Lord who watches over you all the days of your life.
Oh beloved, whatever it is God is calling you to it will happen. Whatever you are going through is not forever. God can do exceedingly abundantly beyond all you ever ask or think. Don’t worry if it takes 3 minutes, 3 days, 3 months or 3 years. Your time is in God’s hands. He loves you and He’s for you and that’s what will make your life shine with His glory and cause others to want to live in that same light.
“Lord, I give my life fresh and new to You. I humbly submit every single day and every single situation into Your loving, all knowing hands. It is so good to know that You will take me from the natural and into the supernatural as I trust You. Thank You for being Greater than all my problems and Lord over all my life. Teach me more about You Lord. In Jesus’ Name”
1 Peter 1:18-19 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom He paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. NLT
Jeremiah 10:23 I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course.
Psalm 31:50 My times are in Your hand… NAS
Psalm 139:16-17 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Lord's First Aid

Psalm 147:3
Scrapes and cuts are a natural part of life. I have scars from bicycle wrecks and stitches from games that went wrong. I loved band-aids so much that my parents hid them from me. When I needed a bandage, so did my baby dolls. I learned early on not to pick at scabs. My mother watched me like a hawk. She always told me “the more you pick at it the bigger the scar will be”. Most of the really big injuries barely hold a mark. 
Scrapes and cuts in the life of a believer are sure to come. Not everyone is kind and generous. Not all who claim the name of Jesus will be loyal, faithful and true. Not all the things we do to ourselves are good. The sins we commit hold as much injury as the sins that are committed to us. Sometimes our faith is wrecked and we find ourselves bleeding on the roadside. When we don’t live by the Word we’re sure to have an accident. When others don’t live by the Word they are sure to cause accidents. Some of our injuries are self-inflicted, while others come at the hands of bullies. The very enemy of our soul wants to wreck us, wreak havoc on us and scar us for life.
We have to do something with the injury. We want to cover it up ourselves. We want it to go away, but if we keep picking at it we are sure to make it larger and larger. It is only in leaving it alone and letting it heal that we will be able to move on and feel spiritually healthy again.
God wants you to know that He understands it all. He was with you when it happened. You don’t have to heal yourself. He knows the pain and the agony of injury. Especially at the hands of another believer the hurt is even deeper and is liable to bleed longer. He knows that the tendency is to keep looking at the wound, keep digging for the why of it all. He says to let Him do what only He can do. He will bandage your wound, He will heal your hurt and He will make all things new. The enemy wants you to believe your injury is permanent. God says it is going to turn out for your good and His glory. 
Oh beloved, your life may have been grossly injured. You may be still trying to make sense of it all but God says today is a new day. It’s your day of healing. Quit picking at those things you can’t change & pick up the pace in your faith walk! Let God heal it all. It may take some time, but God’s got all the time in the world. You won’t be permanently damaged when the Great Physician does His work. You won’t have to worry about the after effects of it all for He is able to heal you, deliver you, continue His work in you and plant you securely in the center of His will. He loves you and He’s for you and that’s all that matters as you walk in the healing only He can give.
“Lord, we want to believe You can heal us, but we’re hurt. The pain keeps showing up and we keep picking at it and picking it up. Forgive us for trying to fix it on our own. We admit that we may need to forgive the one who injured us. We may need to forgive ourselves. Help us to walk in wholeness of mind, body and spirit even when the enemy says it is hopeless. Your word is our balm in Gilead and we come humbly to you right now thanking You for what You have done and what You will do. In Jesus’ name.”
Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows]. AMP
Psalm 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
1 Peter 2:24 He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you are healed.
Jeremiah 17:14 O LORD, if You heal me, I will be truly healed; if You save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for You alone!
Psalm 30:2 O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You restored my health.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What You Really Need Has Already Been Provided

What You Really Need Has Already Been Provided
♥-'Colossians 2:10-12(KJV)♥Ye Are Complete In Him(JESUS)♥, which is the head of all principality and power: [11] In whom also ye are circumcised-(to purify spiritually) with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: [12] Buried with Him(Jesus) in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him(JESUS) through the Faith Of The Operation Of God, who hath raised Him(JESUS) from the dead.-♥

Remember how quickly kids learn the word “mine”? And how it rarely has anything to do with what is truly theirs? At almost three our youngest grandchild is constantly saying things like “my phone”, “my ds” (game system for those who don’t know) and now even “my ipad”! With the technology of today it’s no longer things like dolls or bicycles or other toys. Kids learn to be wanters of other people’s things. That’s a polite way of comparison desire. They see someone with something and automatically it should be theirs.
We must admit in our heart of hearts we occasionally do the same thing. We comparison desire. We see where others are and wonder why we can’t be there. We hear what others are doing and we want to do that. We see the flash of success and the bling of cliques and wonder why we can’t have that too. Things we love get jerked from our hands and hearts and we cry out “mine!” Can you relate?
God wants us to know beloved, that we are His. He wants us to know that because we belong to Him He has the only right to say “Mine”. And because we are His everything we need, every single thing, is ours. We don’t have to wish for more, hope for something else, or grab something that isn’t meant for us. We don’t have to fume or envy or get angry or throw a tantrum – spiritual or physical. We can also trust Him when things go awry – when people walk away – when ministry is thwarted – or when love grows cold. It’s all His to give and take away as He alone chooses.
God also wants you to know that only in laying down your wants will you find rest and peace and joy. Don’t look around for He is always attending to your every need. Don’t cry over lost opportunity or lost love or lost income. He has your back beloved, and when God has your back, everything is more than good. He promises His abundance in our want. He promises that as we release our envy and frustrations, He will replace them with His overflow. You do have a ministry and it is being fulfilled even when you see nothing in your hand – for it is from Him, for Him and to Him. His glory alone is what you should see, His power alone is what you need and His will is what you should grab for – with all your heart and mind and soul.
Oh beloved, you are loved, you are cared for you, you are lacking nothing. God is not GOING to fulfill your needs, He already has! You just need to walk in Him and leave the choices in His hands. Oh what a life you will have and oh what a blessing you will be as you live completely in the Light of His Word.
“Lord we want to trust You. But we want to cry out “mine”! Help us to leave the choices to you, knowing that You have our very best in mind and Your purpose for us will be completely fulfilled. Forgive us for complaining and grabbing. Make us more like You and give us a grateful servant’s heart.”
Isaiah 66:2 My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are Mine. I, the Lord, have spoken!” I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at My word.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Psalm 16:5 Lord, You alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine.
Psalm 68:10 There Your people finally settled, and with a bountiful harvest, O God, You provided for Your needy people.
Colossians 2:10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dressed Up in Christ

Yesterday, lots of little girls and boys in church wore their newest and finest Easter clothes. It was so cute to see them dancing around in their finest attire. Even though people don’t always “dress up” for church anymore, on Easter Sunday most of them do. Our three youngest grands were no exception and Stella was precious in her blue “twirling” dress. Nothing but the finest for the special day. The songs we sang were about the power of the resurrection and the worship of our living Savior, who rose again. All in all it was an encouraging service, reminding us of God’s great love and mercy for us all. 
God speaks to my heart. My believers are meant to show their finest of the faith every single day. Easter is to be lived daily. I AM the Resurrection and the Life. Following Me gives you power you would never have, could never have, on your own. Your finest regalia of the faith is found in My Word, delivered by My Spirit into your heart. Wear your faith with joy. Live your faith with gusto. Stay in your best dressed faith attire daily. You can walk in the power of the Resurrection everywhere. I AM the One Who came so that you could have life more abundantly – beyond your own vision of abundance. This life in Me is abundant living, abundant prayer, abundant service, abundant love, abundant sacrifice, abundance in every single area of your life. My Word says you can put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh – the more you dress up your life with Me, the less likely you will live in the meagerness of the flesh. I AM for you- I will guide you into all truth. Everything you have, in Me, is free. Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice so that you can dress up your life in Him without payment. Your salvation is free, your walk with the Lord is paid for and your destiny is secure. I love you – with an everlasting love. You can draw from Me and never feel thirsty or hungry for the old life ever again.
Oh beloved, today is just a plain old Monday. Why not dress it up in Christ? Ask the Holy Spirit to make your day as wonderful as Easter Sunday. He will do this for you. He will make your ordinary extraordinary. He will make your mundane delightful. He will give you peace beyond measure, joy beyond pain, life beyond sorrow and purpose beyond your circumstances. Christ came for you – He died for you, He rose for you and He intercedes for you even now at the Father’s right hand. He can take care of your problems, relieve your burdens, repair your hurts and set you on high with Him. Just ask – it is the Father’s good pleasure to dress you in His finest.
God loves you and He’s for you every single day. That’s why you can wake up, praise Him, live in the light of His Word and let Him choose His best for you all the days of your life.
Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. NAS
Psalm 89:15 How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance.
Galatians 3:27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.
Ephesians 3:29 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.
Colossians 3:12 Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

He is Not Here – He is Risen!

He is Not Here – He is Risen!
On Friday just a week ago we were in a rough place. My brother was having brain surgery, which caught us all by surprise. Lots of factors entered into my extreme concern for him. None of us have ever had brain surgery so we knew nothing about the recovery either. We figured it would be days and maybe weeks to get well. Imagine our surprise when just a few hours later he was sitting up in bed with a mere bandage on the spot where the surgery had been performed. What we didn’t know, the surgeon did.  We were very thankful that things weren’t as rough as we thought they would be. Just three days after surgery he was heading home.
There was nothing good about Good Friday. It was a dark day for Jesus. And it was an even darker day for the disciples and His followers, along with His mother.  Jesus knew what was ahead, but the beloved believers had no clue. They were imagining all sorts of things. Fear, worry, anxiety – they were suddenly without their Leader – all they knew was He had been put to death and laid in a grave. They had seen all that with their eyes. All the while they were expressing their concerns to one another, God was working things out in a big way behind the scenes. Jesus did die on the Cross, He did get put in a grave, but there was so much more going on.
In three short days everything would change for them. They would find out that they didn’t worship a martyred man but a Risen Savior! They, who had hung their heads and cried over His death would get a sneak peak of glory as He appeared alive. His promises proved true – every single one of them. He was busy those three days – descending into the very belly of the enemy and taking final authority and control by taking the very keys to Hell away. He was working, they were trembling. He was taking authority, they were figuring out how to hide. But within those three days everything was set right and Christ was and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. All is well, even in the midst of the confusion of life, for God is on the throne.
Oh beloved, you may be in a dark time. All your hopes, dreams and ambitions may have been laid in the tomb. You are struggling to make sense of all the hurts and misdirection.  You wonder where God is and why He has left you alone to make it by yourself. In your heart of hearts you know you can’t make things better, you don’t have enough stamina to go the distance and you don’t have enough hope to look to the future. Nothing seems to matter as you just go through the motions for your family or your friends or your  church.
God wants you to know that even though you may not know what’s going on, He does. He’s risen to redeem you, He’s rising to defend you and He will come again to take you home with Him. You don’t know what’s ahead, but God says it is all good. Everything that sends your heart beating wildly will have to scatter because they are enemies of your faith. You don’t have to walk in fear or dread, for the Word says you walk in the Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty, there is joy, there is peace and there is hope beyond your present situation. God knows it all, He’s seen every tear and He’s wiping them away to give you joy unspeakable and full of glory! You are coming into your full life in Christ. Those things that got swept away? They weren’t needed for your walk with God. The things you desire in your heart? God will give them all to you in His time as He makes all things new.
Rejoice in the Resurrection for you are loved and you are cared for. Not just on Easter morning, but every single day of your life.
Matthew 28:6 … He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.
Revelation 21:5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
Revelation 1:18 … and [I AM] the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.
Romans 6:4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Love of Christ Controls Us

The Love of Christ Controls Us…
When planning our getaway, both Danny and I looked at maps and studied where the best bluebonnet blooms happen and which roads were good riding but non interstate. He had plans and I had plans. We also had friends going with us and they had plans as well. Between all of us we finally came to an agreement and the plan was good. But what would have happened had someone taken all the control of the event? Someone has to lead but the road captain doesn’t have to make all the decisions. He just has to get us there safely. 
In faith and in life we like to have control, take control and be in control.  Many times we like to call all the shots and then put a cross on them. It makes it look good. But that doesn’t give us God’s seal of approval does it? Sometimes we let others control our lives and we call it love. We succumb to their demands in the flesh and try to respond in the spirit. But if we’re not careful we’ll be under their thumb and not realize that we are now in control but it’s fleshly control.
God wants you to know that He has a plan to remove your control issues. His love is meant to be our sole controlling factor. He understands all the decisions you have to make, all the people you want to please and all the voices calling out your name – for help, assistance, relief, blame and more. But He says this morning, let My Love be your control. Let My choices be your choices. Let Me handle the things you aren’t meant to handle. Give your problems, your ministry, your family, your friends, your work, your church and your hobbies over to me. You are not called to be a juggler or a people pleaser. You are called to be a    Christ died for you, so that you no longer have to live for yourself or to please man, but for Him who died and rose again on your behalf.
He also wants you to know if you will quit trying to control things, you will see a light at the end of your tunnel. You will find sweet release in letting Christ control everything. You will still make decisions but they will be based on the Word of God carried out in Agape love. You’ll no longer have to worry about what people will think. And when you get condemnation from wherever it may come, you can speak to it and tell it to leave. You don’t have to be in control anymore. In fact it is only in your emptied state that God can take over. He’s the One who set the stars in orbit. He can work it all out for you. He wants to take care of your business and the business of those you love and pray for daily.  Your responsibility may be great, but must be carried out in love and intercession. There you feel no heaviness and you don’t feel like you’re being pulled in two directions. God will take care of your family and your walk with Him. He promises and what He promises He will perform.
Oh beloved, it’s time to let God lead and get out of the way. Move over and let the Love of your life into the driver’s seat. He’s got awesome plans for you. He calls you beloved and He wants to take you where you cannot get on your own. You’ll have to drop the things that want to control you as well.  You might get dropped but you will see it as a promotion not a rejection. Where you are going it is all God and no flesh. But it will be all good because surrounded by His love, captured into His will and living out His blessings is what you were always meant to do.
God loves you and He’s for you so relax and let His love be your controlling force all the days of your life.
2 Corinthians 5:14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.
Micah 4:5 Though the nations around us follow their idols, we will follow the Lord our God forever and ever.
2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.
Deuteronomy 13:4 You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.
Isaiah 48:17 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go.

Friday, April 18, 2014

I Will Give You Rest

I Will Give You Rest
All of our grandkids love to spend the night with us. We enjoy it too. From the time they were tiny they have almost always slept the entire night when staying with us. Even little Stella, if she is here in the late afternoon, is liable to fall asleep.  It’s like they just can’t help it. They are so relaxed here that sleep hits them soundly and they succumb to it. They all try to stay up late but one by one they fall out. I’m glad to know they are that comfortable here. 
We adults like to have our rest too. Only by the time we’re grown we have lots on our mind. Sometimes it’s counting and recounting the bills. Or it may be the pressure of work and family life. Other times it’s health concerns or work situations. Whatever it is, we tend to stay awake and play it over in our minds.  We think we have to lose sleep over things we can do nothing about in the middle of the night.  Sleep can become a regular absentee if we don’t find a way to get a good night’s rest. We become sluggish, listless and even crabby. More coffee doesn’t help the situation either. We look for something to help us, but the things of life keep rushing back into our minds. We need rest.
Oh beloved, you have been carrying some mighty heavy burdens and you have gotten very weary. Whether it’s regrets from yesterday, worries about today or lack of hope for tomorrow, you are worn out from trying to figure it all out. Even the things you can do nothing about want to play themselves over and over in your mind. This continual weariness wears out your heart and your spirit as well as your mind.
God wants you to know that He will give you the rest you need. You can lay your burdens at His feet, every single one of them.  As you give each burden to Him He changes your whole perspective. If He has your burdens, then you can rest. He wants you to know that He knows about every burden you insist on carrying – every single one. He wants you to know you were never meant to carry a single burden, but you have always been destined to give your heart, your life, your mind and your burdens to Him. He will either relieve you of them entirely, removing them from your life- He can do that you know. Or He will change their perspective and give you opportunity to deal with them as possibilities rather than unmanageable situations. He wants you to know that He walked up the hill of Golgotha and carried everything you are weighed down with to the Cross. He felt the burden and took it from you permanently.
God also wants you to know that the rest you need is found in Him alone. Jesus is holding His arms out to you this very day to come to Him. Give Him your heart, let Him renew your mind and remove your burdens. It’s already been done at Calvary. All you have to do is come to Jesus. Whether it is your first encounter with the Risen Lord or you need to rededicate yourself to His Truth – do it today. He is able to make all grace abound to you. He is able to give you a spiritual rest that will change your entire perspective about your life and His love and care.
God loves you and He’s for you – rest in that promise and find rest for your weary heart as He makes all things new for you.
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.
Psalm 91:1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.
Psalm 62:5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

All Things Work Together for Our Good

All Things Work Together for Our Good
I was thinking about my mother’s quilts yesterday morning as I was headed back to work. She managed to get three more quilts made before she passed away – one for each of my kiddos. My youngest daughter’s quilt wasn’t quite finished when she had to quit working on them. I finished hemming the binding after my mother was gone. Quilts were originally born out of need and frugality. No cloth was ever wasted. The string quilts amaze me the most because they use every little snippet of cloth, sown together with other snippets. On their own the pieces are too small to do a thing with. But sown together and then bound in the backing, filled with batting – they are incredibly warm and just right. Each quilt is made to fit the bed it belongs on. 
Life is a lot like a string quilt. Pieces of things here and there – pain, sorrow, betrayal, rejection, shame – seem so useless and wasted. Left in a pile they look like tiny rags and we revisit them. Turning them over in our hands we feel fresh the pain of every agony we’ve ever experienced. Stripped of our dignity, the enemy wants us to remember each event that has brought us any kind of pain. If we remain at that stage, we are destined to live in a heap, bedraggled and falling to pieces again and again.
God wants you to know that not one single thing in your life is ever wasted. He uses it all for His glory and your good – every single thing. Every bitter piece, every torn situation, every hurt, and every cry. He wastes nothing. He uses it all. Piece by piece it may look like a mess, but through God’s mercy and grace there will be a beautiful masterpiece of your life. You can rest in His promises, live in His love and move on. Even rejection is not wasted, for you cannot go where He sends you if you are not free of anything that is binding you to the past. He has something much, much, much more wonderful ahead.
Oh beloved, move on. Quit handling the messes of your past over and over. They unravel more and more. Quit trying to make human sense out of it – they are messes that are divinely meant to be given to God. And as you hand each piece to God you are lightened of your load and God is able to make it all beautiful. He cannot stitch it all together if you do not hand it to Him. Bitterness will continue to break down the very fibers of your being. But forgiveness heals the rips. God has something better in mind than what you’ve been through. His plans can never be thwarted by man’s interference or the devil’s instigation. No weapon formed against you will prosper. 
God loves you and He’s for you and that’s worth giving the pieces to Him and moving on every single time. One day you will see it all as God sees it – a perfect tapestry of His love, mercy and grace.
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.
Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. NIV
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.
Lamentations 3:21-23 This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.