Eternal Lives Matter To God

Job 33:4

The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

John 6:33

 For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

Colossians 1:17

And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.

You would have to have been underneath a rock in Antarctica to not at least be aware of what is going on in the United States in terms of relationships between the police forces across the country and the communities that they patrol.  There have been several incidents where lives have been lost, and the country is in an uproar over this dilemma.  It is a serious situation.  I know that God is not happy with the way things are going.  I am sure that His heart is broken, especially for each wife, husband, mother, father, child, sibling or grandparent who is mourning the loss of the one that they love over nonsense.  God created each one of them; their lives matter to Him.

I have personally been confused about all the uproar.  There are some people out there who are crying “Black Lives Matter” and there are others who respond by saying that “All Lives Matter”.  While both statements are true, do all lives really matter?  Are we just choosing which lives we want to count?  I ask that question because I see a lot of disparity in which lives we really think matter.

If “Black Lives Matter”, and we hate what we perceive to be the senseless killings of black people in the hands of authority figures, then why are we not protesting the killings of black babies in the hands of medical professionals, buried inside of abortion clinics, which are usually located within a few miles of low-income housing areas?  Do those babies, who are nestled in their mothers’ wombs, not matter?  Why is it, that an adult male, who commits a crime, is confronted by police, becomes belligerent and is ultimately killed, matter more than a helpless baby who has done no wrong?  The adult male knew better than to do what he did, but when he gets what is coming to him, we believe he was wronged.  That baby is his mommy’s tummy has actually done no wrong, but we do not protest his murder.  God created both of these individuals; both lives matter to Him.

If “Black Lives Matter”, and we hate the “senseless” killings of black people, why are we not protesting the murders of black people at the hands of other black people?  I remember a few years ago when a young woman was killed by her husband, who placed her body in the trunk of her car and drove her to a wooded area and left her there.  He then went to his church the next day, and preached the sermon, because he was the pastor.  He was eventually tried for her murder, and convicted.  He served a short sentence, was released, and went back to his church to resume his duties as pastor.  Where is the outrage?  How could anyone sit in the church where this man was “pastor” and listen to anything that he had to say?  Did the life of his wife not matter?  Did the congregation at that church really believe that he was qualified to be the pastor, and that they would grow spiritually under his teaching?  What about the family of his late wife?  Her parents and family members grieved for their child, as any family would.  Did their grief not matter?  Why were there no protests?  I do know this:  God created her, and her life matters to Him.

If “Black Lives Matter” and we hate the “senseless” murders of black people, why were there no protests when the little boy in an urban area of a large city was murdered by people who were retaliating against his father because of his father’s gang-related activities?  Why were people not storming the areas where the gangs meet and hang out, crying out against their murder of this innocent little boy?  Where is the outrage?  I am much more disturbed by his murder than I am the murder of a man who robs a liquor store, is found by police shortly thereafter, and not only resists arrest, but threatens the police officers with a knife!  He was justifiably killed by police, but the little boy who was murdered in retaliation had done nothing over which he should have lost his life.  That little boy’s life matters to God.

I have more examples of murders that have happened within the Black community, but I will stop here because I think you get my point.  I get so sick of hearing about how the black community is wronged by other races, but then we do the same thing to ourselves.  Other races have no more respect for us than we have for ourselves.  We have the reputation of being what we have been: troublemakers, lazy, criminals, thugs, uneducated, and poor.  If we are honest with ourselves, we have that reputation because we have not pursued anything better for ourselves.  We are always looking for a handout, instead of trying to find a way to not only better ourselves, but also make the world in which we live a better place.  We dug ourselves into a hole, and we are never coming out.  It is sad to say, but sometimes the black community can be embarrassing to those of us who happen to be a part of it.

The deeper issue than what lives matter to whom is the fact that all lives are eternal.  For those of us who know the LORD Jesus Christ, we know that eternity in heaven is ours.  We do not grieve as those who do not know the LORD, for they have a fear of what will happen to them after death.  As believers, we have no fear.  We know that in physical death, we will be more alive than we have ever been.  I pray that if you are reading these words, and you do not know the LORD, you will ask Him to forgive your sins, and become the LORD of your life.  Read Romans 10:9-10, which details very specifically how you can be saved.  Peter preached to the first church in Acts 2, “Repent! and be baptized, every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the  Holy Ghost.”  Salvation is the beginning of the true life that matters.

A dear family friend of mine went home to be with the LORD in June of this year.  I went to visit her, and she passed away two days later.  I remember as I stood at her bedside and held her hand, with her encouraging me as a woman of God and a mother, she had a look on her face that exhibited the joy of the LORD.  Brain cancer had taken away her body weight, her physical strength, and her ability to enjoy life to the fullest, but it did not touch her spirit, which was filled with the Spirit of God.  As she lay dying, and I know she knew she was dying, because she had refused all treatment (she was 91 years old), she knew that the only life that mattered is life in Jesus Christ.  She was waiting for Him to come and get her, and He did.  Her life in Him mattered more than anything else.  Will you have the same testimony?

 

 

How To Love Your Enemy

Matthew 5:43-44

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you…

Luke 6:27-29, 35

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also….But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Last week I heard a sermon that was so convicting.  It was based on some of these verses, and it talks about loving your enemy.  That has been a hard thing for me over the last three years.  My enemy has really tried to take me down.  The funny thing about my enemy is that he is one who promised to love and care for me until death.  Somehow, something has come over him and taken over his life, his mind, his heart, and his thoughts.  It is as if he is possessed by a devil.

Not only has my enemy attacked me, but he is also persecuting my children.  Nothing breaks a mother’s heart more than seeing their children mistreated by someone, especially if there is nothing that she can do about it.  My hands have been tied, and right now I feel like there is no hope for my children and me.  However, no matter what the situation, I want to please the LORD.  I want my light to shine before men.  I want God to be glorified.  I want to be in the center of God’s will.  Therefore, no matter what I am enduring, I need to remember how my God suffered on the cross at Calvary…in much worse fashion than I have suffered, so that my sin debt to God could be paid.  Now, that He has done that, I owe Him my obedience, and that includes loving my enemy.  I have to show my enemy love.  If that means smiling at him, when he certainly does not deserve my smile, I must do it.  If that means saying hello when I want to turn my head and pretend he is not there, I must do it.  If that means meeting a need of his though he does not deserve my doing anything for him, I must do it.  If that means keeping my mouth shut when he deserves my verbal wrath, I must be quiet.  I must love my enemy in spite of himself.

This will not be an easy task.  My flesh is cringing as I type these words.  This is, however, a do-able task.  It is possible to show my enemy love because the Spirit of God lives in me. He gives me the power to do everything He has told me to do.  The way to love my enemy is to give the Spirit of God free reign in my life, and let Him work through me.  There is nothing too hard for God.  There is no situation that He cannot work out.  There is no enemy that He cannot defeat.  There is no way that He cannot carve out.  There is absolutely, positively NOTHING that God cannot do.  All He asks is that we trust Him.

In my case, I have to trust Him to help me to LOVE MY ENEMY….

 

Lord, I Need A Miracle…

John 12:37

But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

 

Jesus had performed many miracles.  Up to this point in scripture, He had changed the water into wine, which was the customary drink at wedding celebrations.  Shortly thereafter, a “certain nobleman” from Capernaum, approached Jesus and told Him that his son was sick.  Jesus spoke a word, and the man’s son was healed.  Jesus then healed the demoniac at Capernaum, who had made his way into the temple, and the demons spoke directly to Jesus saying, “Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee Who Thou art, the Holy One of God.”  Jesus spoke a word and commanded the demons to come out of the man.  He left the temple and went to Peter’s house, where Peter’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.  Jesus rebuked the fever and it left.  She was healed instantly.  Jesus then healed the sick during the evening.  People who had loved ones with various kinds of illnesses brought them to Jesus, and He laid hands on each one of them, healing them instantly.  Jesus goes out onto a boat with His disciples and fills their nets with fish.  Jesus healed a leper, who by the way, was not even supposed to mingle with others during his uncleanness, according to the law.  Jesus touched the man, and the leprosy left him immediately.  Jesus healed the centurion’s servant, and He healed he man whose friends brought him to the house meeting where Jesus was speaking, and lowered the man into the house through the roof.

These are only ten of the miracles that Jesus performed.  He performed these miracles for Jews and Gentiles.  He performed these miracles for males, like the nobleman from Capernaum whose son was sick, and the demoniac in the temple.  He performed these miracles for females, like Peter’s mother-in-law and the woman with the issue of blood, whose miracle I did not even include in this list.  He healed leprosy, a fever, paralysis, and demon possession.  Jesus’ ability should not be in question.  The proof is all over the pages of scripture.

Fast forward to 2016, when we need miracles like the ones that Jesus performed in Capernaum, Cana and surrounding areas.  Our world is in turmoil, not only because there are people who are suffering from illnesses, but there are people whose hearts are hardened and they need the miracle of Jesus’ intervention to remove their stony hearts.  Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  The greatest miracle needed right now is the miracle of changed hearts.

I recently heard the testimony of a woman who spent a huge chunk of her life working in abortion clinics in the south.  She made lots of money and sold the murderous agenda of “a woman’s right to choose” to untold numbers of young women in this country.  One day,  an elderly preacher came and prayed with her; that encounter was the beginning of the most radical change in her life, and not long after that, the LORD miraculously delivered her from the abortion clinics and has placed her in a pro-life ministry that is radically changing people’s lives all over this country.  God worked that miracle.

I also heard the testimony of a gentleman who was supposed to catch a flight out of Logan airport in Boston on September 11, 2001.  For some reason, he just could not get up that morning, and he missed his flight.  By the time he was ready to go, it was too late.  Shortly after he missed his flight, the plane that he missed crashed into the World Trade Center in New York.  God worked that miracle.

I have a friend whose daughter has battled breast cancer for four years.  Her latest PET scan showed no signs of cancer.  The doctors were reluctant to even share the news with the her and her family because they cannot explain why she has no cancer cells in her body.  I know exactly why there is no cancer in her body….because God worked that miracle.

My mother and I have a decent relationship for the first time in all of my life.  We have been at odds since I was very young, for various reasons.  The LORD used a trial in our lives to bring us closer together.  There were times when we would go months and not speak to each other.  Now, we talk to each other an average of three times a week.  When I need her, she is there for me.  When she needs me, I am there for her.  The only explanation for such a radical change in our relationship is that God worked that miracle.

Do I believe that God is still working the “center stage” miracles the way He did in the Bible?  No, I do not.  I know that Jesus is not still here on the earth in human form, going around touching people and making them well.  I do believe, however, that God still does miraculous things.  I do believe that He heals the sick, He provides for the needy, He changes hearts and brings people to repentance.  He restores and repairs relationships.  He is still in the miracle working business.

I need a miracle.  I need for God to do the miraculous in my life.  Therefore, I am standing in the scriptures, and I am reminding myself of them everyday.  I am holding God to His Word.  He said in His Word That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  (Romans 10:9-10)…Matthew 7:7 says “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you…”  Matthew 21:22 says “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive…”  John 15:7 says “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”  Matthew 21:21-22 says, Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive…”  Luke 11:9-10 says And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened…”  1 John 3:21-22 says Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”  1 John 5:14-15 says, And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us:  And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.”  James 4:2-3 says,Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”  John 14:12-14 says, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.  And whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If ye shall ask any thing in My Name, I will do it.”

These passages state that if I ask anything that is in the Father’s will, to glorify Him and not myself, that He will do those things for me.  I am praying for a specific thing, that I know is His will for all of our lives, and I am holding Him to His Word.  If you are reading this, I challenge you to do the same.  Read the scripture and commit them to memory.  When you pray, remind God of His Word and what it says, not because God needs to be reminded, but because you need to be reminded that He is true to His Word.  God is at work, and He is still performing miracles…

 

 

When The Hurt Just Won’t Stop…

Call unto Me, and I will answer thee; and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not…

Jeremiah 33:3

Sometimes as I sit alone in my bedroom, the thought of the things that have hurt me so deeply flood my mind as if someone opened up a floodgate and let all the water pour in over my head.  I think of the most recent things, which all have to do with the devastation that I experienced in my marriage.  Thirteen years I endured the lack of communication, lack of intimacy, being second to others outside of our home, but the most devastating piece of information I received about my marriage was that it was being invaded by a secret enemy, and the enemy was right here in my home, under my nose:  pornography.

I had a bad dream one night and went to my husband for comfort when I walked in on him performing his acts to a pornographic video.  I WAS DEVASTATED.   I could not believe that the husband to whom I had made marriage vows, and the man who had sired my children was sitting at our family computer watching explicit videos of other women.

That is where I believe the violation came in.  I had always seen marriage as a safe place.  I thought of my parents, who made sure that all of their children knew that never would either of them keep a secret from the other.  They said to us, together and separately, “When our heads hit those pillows, there are no secrets between us.”  So my siblings and I knew that if we didn’t want our dad to know something, we couldn’t tell our mom; and if we didn’t want our mom to know, we couldn’t tell our dad.  There were no secrets between them.

I thought that every marriage worked that way.  I also thought that only the worst people in the world were attracted to people other than their spouses.  I remember thinking that never would I be attracted to any other man because the man that I married was all the [physical] man that I would ever need.  I remember sharing with my husband one day that I would trust him with other women because I knew he would not stray.  He tried to warn me not to trust him that much, and I just shrugged it off.  Now I know that he was, for one of the few times in our marriage, being honest.

We have been separated now for a little more than ten months.  I have lived life, struggled to keep my children on an even keel, struggled to provide and to keep myself sane, and for a while I did okay.  I had a lot of people around me and they were all trying to help me to endure what I was going through.  Now, many of the friends that I thought were friends have betrayed me, stopped calling, or must be sick of being around someone like me for whatever reason, because I find myself surrounded by only the few friends who have been tried and true for years.  I praise God for those friends.

The thing that I am beginning to realize is that the hurt that I thought was healed months ago has begun to resurface.  I guess as I grow closer to the one year mark of the separation, when I suspect that my husband will take measures to make our separation permanent, I am beginning to feel the hurt all over again.  It hurts to think about him; it hurts to hear his voice on the phone.  It hurts to hear the awful things that he says about me.  It hurts to hear the things that his family has said about me that are not true.  It hurts to look into my children’s eyes and see the pain that is caused by this situation.  All of this hurts so deeply.

One thing that hurts that I didn’t even know hurt so much is the fact that someone I love very much and trusted with everything that I am has begun to “choose sides”.  I asked this person not to do so; I just asked them to be careful about what they said and how much they said when they were in contact with my husband.  They ignored my warning, said and did too much, and now he is using that as ammunition to try and take my children away from me.  It seems like the hurt is never going to end.

When the hurt just won’t stop, what do you do?  Who do you go to?  I have prayed and cried and cried and prayed and talked to friends and talked to God and talked to myself ad nauseum.  I don’t know what else to do to make the hurt stop.  I checked a book out of the library about how to make the hurt stop.  The advice in the book was just what I thought it would be: useless.  Nothing seems to help.

If you happen across this post and just feel like praying, would you please pray for me?  Sometimes I cannot muster up the strength to pray.  Sometimes I feel like the LORD is not listening to me anymore.  I know He hears, but I wonder if He LISTENS.

I am so tired.  I am tired of taking care of everyone else and having no one to take care of me.  I am tired of being exposed to these happily married couples and feeling like a failure.  I am tired of seeing little boys hanging out with their fathers and feeling a burden for my son.  I am tired of watching the cute little girls in church with their dads, when my daughters have always felt like they were a burden to their dad.  I am tired of feeling uncomfortable when I see those friends that I thought were friends, who really are not my friends anymore.

When the hurt just won’t stop, what do you do?

Is It 2016 Already?

2 Peter 3:8

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the LORD as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

My, how times flies!  I remember like it was just a few weeks ago, how we were hearing all the buzz about Y2K, and how the computer systems that we used at that time might not convert to the “00” date, thus crashing all the systems that we use daily.  I remember that, during that time, I worked for a national telecommunications company, and on the evening of December 31, 1999, everyone was offered triple pay if they allowed themselves to be “on call” for the night, even if nothing happened that would cause them to be called in.  As I look back on that night, I kind of wish I had allowed myself to be put on that list so that I could have earned that triple pay!

My point, however is this:  time for us is flying by.  In 2000, my only child was 10 years old.  Now, she is an adult living in another state, and she has three younger siblings.  In 2000, my faith in the LORD was in the infant stage.  Now I feel that the LORD has matured me and helped me to grow closer to Him, to the point where I can trust Him with the most difficult situations in my life.  Sometimes it seems like He takes His sweet time in fixing things, but as the Word says, “…one day is with the LORD as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day…”  It seems like a long time to me, but it is not a long time to Him.

Thank you LORD. for your timing.  I would love for You to do things my way in my timing, but because I do not know all that is good for me the way You do, I know that You will work all things for my good.   Thank you LORD for loving me enough to do what You do at the right time.

Living In Crisis

Revelation 5:12b

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

The LORD God Almighty is worthy to be praised!  Every creature that He created will one day praise His Name all day, every day, non-stop.  I will be glad when that day comes.

In the interim, we live here on earth, where there is every kind of imperfection imaginable.  I ask the LORD regularly to come soon and rescue His people out of the degradation that is this world.  I know that He is going to come, I just wish that it were right now.

One of the things that He is going to rescue us from is heartache.  Right now, at this very moment, my heart aches so badly that I can feel the pain in my chest.  My heart is broken because of the disappointment of betrayal.  King David said, For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:  But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.  We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.” (Psalm 55:12-14).  David, like me, could not understand how this thing could have happened because of one with whom he had been so close.  But nowadays, it happens all the time.

I am really, really, REALLY tired of heartache.  I lived with it all my life.  I never really learned how to make the pain go away, so I always just go away from the pain.  When the hurt is too much to bear, I leave and never look back.  That helps me to heal completely.  I remember a situation where someone betrayed my trust and devastated me to pieces.  For the longest time it hurt when I would breathe and think about this person at the same time.  I finally said to myself that I needed to get away from that person and I did.  I am so happy to say that now, when I see that person, I am as happy and joyful as I can be, because I have had a chance to be away from them and let the LORD heal my heart.  I know that is not easy for everyone.  I know that some people have no place to go.

I just wish Jesus would come.  The Bible says that He is coming.  But when?  I am tired of heartache.  I have had so much heartache that it makes me not want to be around people any more.  I just want to be in the presence of the LORD in heaven where there IS NO heartache.

LORD, could You please come and get us soon?

From Dungy’s Diaries

The following post is one that I read on Coach Tony Dungy’s blog, “Dungy’s Diaries”.  I love Coach Dungy so much, not because of his success on the football field, but because of the integrity that he demonstrates off the field.  He is such a Godly example of manhood.  I admire him so much.

With marriage under attack, and the men within the body of Christ being drawn away from their families by everything from careers to pornography, it is refreshing to hear from a man who loves his wife “as Christ loved the church”.  Christ died for the church.  He put away His own human desire to live and was nailed to a cross to die in exchange for our sins.  If only the men of God viewed marriage in that vein.  If only they would love their wives as Christ loved the church…

I thought that his blog post was worth re-posting.  Enjoy and learn…

3 Ways I Love My Wife

love my wife

I know I am guilty of becoming busy and not showing my wife, Lauren, how much I love and appreciate her. She knows I do and I could easily rely on that. The problem is that love requires more. It takes active thought and action. Particularly when I am traveling and have a heavy workload, I can get caught up in my own world. It’s an easy way for feelings to get hurt and our marriage to get off track.

Just like in football, when you get off track, it’s important to focus on the fundamentals. Each person receives love differently. It’s important for us to know what makes our wives feel loved and cared for. There are a couple of things I know my wife enjoys. These may seem small and simple. But the point is doing them with consistency and with intentional love. That is what makes all the difference. Here are 3 ways I love my wife.

1. Dinner Out

It’s not hard or particularly creative, but it gives us time together. Our kids and work demand a lot of our attention. We also tend to be in crowds a lot so having a meal together gives us quality time alone where we can talk. It gets us back on the same page.

2. Walks

The day can be hectic and, by the end, we are usually tired. But when the kids go to bed, taking a walk around the neighborhood is a great way to connect. My wife and I enjoy hearing about each other’s day. It is a relaxing way to unwind.

3. Written Notes

This is something I should do more often. My wife loves written notes. Whether I am on the road or at home, when I write down my feelings for her it makes her feel special. It is also something that she can save and pull out and read at any time. Writing notes, taking walks, and dinner out are the things she loves more than anything. Well, jewelry works too!

There are probably two or three things that your wife loves. Things that make her feel loved and appreciated. They are probably small, everyday things. What are they? When is the last time you’ve done them for her? It may be time to get back to the fundamentals.

What are the top ways you love your wife?

The post 3 Ways I Love My Wife appeared first on Dungy’s Diaries.

It’s Been A While…

I just looked at my last post and I see that it has been exactly four months since my last post.  So much has happened in those four months that I do not even know where to begin.  Suffice it to say that since my last post my life has changed tremendously.  I am beginning to see the world and everything in it in a new light.  But I also continue to view it with the same Light, which is the light of the Word of God.  I have had to lean on some of the most precious passages of scripture to keep myself encouraged:

“Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not…”  Jeremiah 33:3

There are times in life when we go through difficult trials.  But the fact that the LORD God of heaven says that we can call unto Him makes all the difference in the world.  What do people do who do not have the Spirit of God to rely on?  What do they do when their marriage falls apart, they are unemployed or underemployed, raising children, caring for aging parents, aging themselves, dealing with health issues, and they cannot bow their knee to their Maker to ask for His help, His mercy, His compassion?  What do they do?

For obvious reasons, this passage is my favorite in the entire Bible.  I love thinking of how I can call on my Father and He will actually ANSWER me.  Now, don’t get me wrong:  He doesn’t always answer when I want or in the manner in which I want.  Sometimes He allows the situation to go on longer than I want, or He doesn’t give my offender the justice that I think they deserve, or He lets me feel more pain than I think I should feel.  But He always answers.  He answers through the peace I feel in my heart and mind when things are topsy turvy.  He answers through the love and tenderness that I receive through my children, who are sensitive to those moments when Mommy is burdened beyond description.  He answers through that friend who calls when I have not heard from her in weeks and she tells me that I have been on her mind, and that she is praying for me.  He answers me via that stranger who approaches me in the grocery store and tells me that they want to bless me for whatever reason.  He answers me when I walk into my Sunday School class and sit amongst 20+ women of God who all have their own trials and burdens and cares, but love me enough to sit and listen to me moan about mine.  He answers me every morning when I open His Word and read His exceeding great and precious promises, knowing that they are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus.

“For I know the plans I have for you, saith the LORD; plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you an expected end….” Jeremiah 29:11

This is my second favorite passage of scripture.  I remember back about 20 years ago, a good friend of mine gave me that scripture when I was going through a difficult period.  I had never read the book of Jeremiah, and when she quoted those words out loud to me, I remember thinking how sweet those words sounded coming into my ears.  I needed to hear that the LORD had a plan for me, because at that time, I thought that I was going to die in my situation.  I needed to know that the LORD had plans for me…a little nobody, nothing girl from the country.  The God of the universe was thinking about me.  How profound those words were for me at that time.  I know now, more than ever, that He does have a plan for me, and that plan consists of a future and a hope.  God is so good.

“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Isaiah 43:2

It was an ordinary Sunday morning, and I had been going through my ordinary trials of life, so numb to what was happening that I think I was just going through the motions.  I walked into my Sunday School class and there on the dry erase board in the back were these words from Isaiah 43.  I fought back tears because I needed that encouragement.  I needed to hear my Father say that He would be with me.  I needed Him to love me and rescue me and help me at that present moment.  This passage was the reminder that I needed that He was there for all of that.  My Sunday School teacher told me that she wrote that passage on the board for me.  I cannot even describe what that felt like.  I felt the love of God all over me, so much so that I had chills. For several weeks after that, I would walk into the class and that passage was still there.  Each time, I took it as a reminder that He was still with me.  Thank You, Father…

God’s Word is encouraging.  All of the world’s self-help material and self-help practices and advice from self-help gurus and life coaches cannot hold a candle to the Word of God and the effect that it can have on our lives if we take it in and soak it up and eat it daily.  Matthew 4:4 says “…It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”  The Word of God will keep us from sin.  Psalm 119:104-106 says, “Through Thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.  Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth.”

There is so much more that I could say about God’s Word.  Nothing speaks for God’s Word as well as God’s Word itself.

Living Peacably…

Hebrews 12:14

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”

Right out of the gate, I will tell you that this is a hard thing to do.  If you are a red-blooded, independent-thinking, fleshly human being, you are having trouble living peaceably with EVERYONE.  I mean, there are some who don’t rub you the wrong way as often as others, and there are some who vex your spirit at the mention of their name.  I know.  I have been there.

God knows this also.  He wants more than anything for you to be in right relationship with Him, and part of that includes being in right relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and with those persons who are part of the world’s system.  He wants us to lovingly encourage them and, if need be, witness to them so that they can become a part of the family of Christ.  We may be the only contact with holiness that some people have, and we must take advantage of that.

By no means am I insinuating that we are to be door mats, as some may think; but do all that you can to maintain peace within the concentric circle where God has placed you.  Your holiness may very well point some unbeliever towards the LORD.

Paying Attention to the Call

1 Peter 1:10-11 (KJV)

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

I was pondering this morning, as I sat wide awake at 3:40 a.m., the fact that we live in an age of technology, so much so that everyone has at their disposal the ability to make and/or take a phone call anywhere in the world, at any time of day or night.  That ability comes in the form of a cellphone.  Everyone has a cell phone.  My senior citizen parents have a cell phone.  My cousin’s 11-year-old sone has a cell phone.  I heard a mom in Walmart recently asking her daughter, who looked to be about 7 or 8 years old, what kind of cell phone she wanted.  Everybody has a cell phone!

Riding on the beltline, in my city, at any given time, you will witness folks talking on their cell phones while driving 60 to 80 miles per hour.  I have even witnessed people texting while driving during rush hour.  One lady held her cell phone on top of her steering wheel while driving, and actually pressed keys to either make a call or send a text.  Astonishing.

It is obviously very important to most of us to be able to make or take the call or text that we will receive or send on our cell phones.  We pay close attention to our cell phones most of the time.  I can think of times when I have been in an office setting, and there will be several people sitting in the waiting room, all of whom are fumbling with their cell phones.  They are either playing games or sending texts or reading texts or something.  Their attention is on their phones.  On Sunday morning, in any given church, there is usually a notice reminding parishioners to silence their cell phones.  The one person who does not take heed to the notice is the one who will receive a call during the service, inadvertently capturing the attention of the worshippers away from the pastor/teacher and onto their cell phones.  Cell phones are attention grabbers.

Ironically, there is a call that is far more important than any call we could get on our cell phones.  The Apostle Peter tells us to “…make your calling and election sure…”  In other words, you are called to do everything in your power to make sure that those around see that God has really chosen you.  That call is of the utmost importance, because it determines where you will spend eternity.  We are called to publicly confess the Lord Jesus Christ:  Matthew 10:32-33 says “Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father Which is in heaven…But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father Which is in heaven…”  Jesus is very clear in this passage that He expects us to confess to others that we belong to Him and no other.  The Apostle Paul drives home the same point in Romans 10:9-10, “The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the Word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.”  Paul is trying to tell us that what we believe in our hearts will come out of our mouths.  I know that’s true because of all of the garbage that I hear spewed over the media…there is such darkness and deception living in the hearts of men now.  The Lord Jesus, however, has called us to a different belief system.  We must believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, and if we believe that by faith, we can be saved.  This is not optional, because there is no other way to enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Acts 4:12 says “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  If we die outside of a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, there is no way that we can spend eternity in heaven.  Our destination will be hell, and that is where we will spend all eternity.

My caution to you is this:  even if you think you are saved, but there is any little bit of doubt in your heart, go to the Lord in prayer and repentance.  Ask Him to save you so that you will not be lost for all eternity.  Repentance is a huge part of salvation:  God is a holy God and cannot be in the presence of sin.  Ask Him to forgive you so that your sins can be washed away by the blood of His Son Jesus.  Peter said in Acts 2:38 “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  Confess your sins before the Father, and He will make you clean.  1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Salvation comes no other way.  You do not want to meet the Father, which every human being will, and have Him turn you away because you turned away from Him.

Go ahead.  Accept the call…