Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Lord, Help Me To Walk

Tonight, as I sat across the table from a 60 year old mother, I listened to her tell the story of how her son was born with club feet.  She told of how she couldn't afford the corrective foot wear that was available at that time and how she was so worried that her boy would never walk.  She said that her doctor told her that every time she changed her son's diapers, gave him a bath, and whenever she could, to rotate his feet in circles at the ankles.  She described how that this was painful for her son and how he would cry; how she hated having to do it, but knew that because of it her son might possibly walk one day.  He is now in his late thirties and never did have any trouble walking!

This story made something very clear to me in the spirit.  Our Heavenly Father sometimes has to turn our feet also, maybe even "rotating our ankles" in a certain direction to ensure our wellbeing.  This is often painful for us.  But He, being the Good, All Knowing, Father that he is, does it anyway because like this mom, He wants his children to be able to walk!  

A short and simple story that reveals a big, important truth.  


"To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy..." Jude 1:24

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Prayer Tool

I read a recent blog post from Gary Thomas entitled "Vending Machine Prayer." Gary asked his readers to finish the post with their own examples of a vending machine prayer vs a Spirit filled "in Jesus name prayer." I shared what the Lord taught me a few years ago and it has been a powerful tool in my prayer life. Allow me to share this tool with you.

Several years ago, while on my knees, the Lord opened my eyes to my “vending machine prayers”, and how they were all about me. “Lord, I don’t know what to do. I can’t make him understand where I’m coming from. Lord, I’m sorry that I lost my temper with him.” And on and on….

And the Lord told me “It’s not about you. It’s not about your husband. It’s not even about your marriage. It’s about ME.” And he taught me how to pray….

“Lord, thank you that YOU are bigger than this issue. Thank you that YOU are the healer of all. YOU Lord, are all merciful, and YOU desire that none shall be lost. Thank you Lord that YOU restore my soul. Thank you Jesus that YOU care about our concerns. YOU are a mighty God. YOU are alive and well! YOU never slumber or sleep! YOUR thoughts and intentions are for our good. I trust YOU Father with this situation and believe that YOU will turn it for good.”

Well, by now we all get the picture. God is so compassionate. He doesn’t condemn us for our mistakes. Instead he lifts us up and teaches us a new, better way. He changes us. Thank God, he doesn’t put new wine in old wine skins!


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Creation

I have a creative mind and I love creating. Anything from writing songs, to sewing, to making crafts. I consider myself innovative.

Recently I created some pew bows for our church's Christmas Eve service. I gave it some thought, bought some ribbon and went to work. I had a few ideas of what I could make. I made my decision and started making bows.

I planned on making about ten of them. I was delighted with the way my first one came out. Just like I had envisioned it in my mind. Each one after that was similar, but not identical. I planned it that way and was excited about all ten bows. It thrilled me to have completed all of them and found that each one was beautiful on its own, yet together in a pile they were beautiful in a different kind of way.

I was so excited over these pew bows. Creating gives me a rewarding feeling. I wanted to share my finished product with my family and friends. And I did.

Each time I showed the bows to someone I got a basic, "oh, very nice" response. A response much calmer and low key than the excitement I was feeling over having made them. I wanted everyone to be as excited about them as I was, but no one seemed to be.

I was a little disappointed over this and as I thought about it something occurred to me. Psalm 134:19 says, "I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are your works." Job 10:8 says, "'Your hands fashioned and made me altogether." And God himself said, ""Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness!" The bible says that everything He created was good.

I got a glimpse of how our Heavenly Father must feel when we are unhappy with the way he made us, disparaging toward ourselves, and others, because we find his creations unsuitable. If I can be disappointed over a low key compliment for my creation, how He must feel when we do this! After all, he created us in HIS image! And we find fault with his creation? I think it must really break his heart.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Never Let Go

I watched a movie entitled "The Guardian", a true story about a Coast Guard rescue worker. It is an amazing story, a good movie. At the end of the movie they played the song, "Never Let Go" by Bryan Adams.

I was struck by how much of a spiritual message there is in this song. Jesus laid his life down on a cross for us so that we may have eternal life. We are called to lay our lives down for others. In other words, "prefer others over ourselves."
Can I give away my last $20.00 to someone who needs it more than I do, believing that God will do what his written word says, and provide my every need?
Can I invite unexpected guests to dinner when there is barely enough to feed my own family, believing God will multiply the loaves and fishes? Can I give of myself, all that I have; offer to help others in any way, believing God will give me the physical and emotional strength to do all that needs to be accomplished?

Can I lay my life down for others when it doesn't suit me? When it interferes with my own schedule? When it is a great interruption of my own plans? Can I do it in all things, big and small? Can I do it every day, maybe several times a day? Can I do it willingly, with a smile, while singing "All Is Well With My Soul"? Can I give up my own hopes and dreams to care for another? I don't know. But I know that God will surely present opportunities for me to practice. He will put people in my path who have needs, and give me an opportunity to serve them. His word says that he has given us "everything that pertains to life and godliness." So then, I am able to do it. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He will show me how.


"Can you lay your life down, so a stranger can live?
Can you take what you need, but take less than you give?
Could you close every day, without the glory and fame?
Could you hold your head high, when no one knows your name?
That's how legends are made, at least that's what they say.
We say goodbye, but never let go.
We live, we die, cause you can't save every soul.
Gotta take every chance to, show that you're the kinda man who;
Will never look back, never look down, and never let go.
Can you lose everything, you ever had planned?
Can you sit down again, and play another hand?
Could you risk everything, for the chance of being alone?
Under pressure find the grace, or would you come undone?
That's how legends are made, at least that's what they say."

Bryan Adams

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

There's Nothing New Under The Sun

Recently I listened to a word from a good friend of mine, Charles Russell, who teaches bible and gives sermons on a weekly radio program called "Anchored In the Word". His most recent teaching was from 2 Chronicles 36:16, "But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy." This is the story of Jeroboam, the first king of the divided northern kingdom of Israel, and King Rehoboam, (King Solomon's son) who ruled over Judah, in the south. In a nutshell, Rehoboam went before the wise old men of council and asked their advice on how to rule the people. They told him to "go easy." Then Rehoboam went to the young men of council and asked them. This group said, "don't lighten up on them." So Rehoboam took the advice of the young men and told the people of Judah he was going to make it even tougher on them. You can read their story if you like from 1 Kings, chapters 11 and 12.
I have pondered this story in my heart for a couple of days and I have several thoughts rattling around in my brain.

I marvel in our modern day how we see certain ones come and ask for advice. They'll go to a few different people, then they'll either choose unwise counsel or just go do what they wanted to do all along. We see it often, people are told the truth, but they choose the darkness rather than light. It reminds me of Jesus standing in front of Pilate and Pilate saying "what is truth?" All the while it was staring him in the face. Was Pilate blind to the truth? Or was he willfully blind?

John 3: 17-21 says, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

It seems that these days we are seeing more and more people who have been told the truth and willingly rejecting it, whether about religion, politics, ethics, morals, it doesn't seem to matter. This is wide spread right now in America and throughout the entire world. There have been videos released proving bold-faced lies about things and still people will say, "I don't care, it won't change my mind."

And yet the bible says, "That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

So the question I ask myself then is: how do you help someone see? How do you help them know the truth?

Let's look at Romans 1, beginning with verse 18 and down. (I am using the ICB [International Children's Bible] so it is very easy to understand and very clear.)

"God’s anger is shown from heaven against all the evil and wrong things that people do. By their own evil lives they hide the truth. God has clearly shown them everything that may be known about him. There are things about God that people cannot see—his eternal power and all the things that make him God. But since the beginning of the world those things have been easy to understand. They are made clear by what God has made. So people have no excuse for the bad things they do. They knew God. But they did not give glory to God, and they did not thank him. Their foolish minds were filled with darkness. They said they were wise, but they became fools. They gave up the glory of God who lives forever. People were full of sin, wanting only to do evil. So God left them to follow their evil desires. They traded the truth of God for a lie. Because people did those things, God left them and let them do the shameful things they wanted to do. People did not think it was important to have a true knowledge of God. So God left them and allowed them to have their own worthless thinking. They know God’s law says that those who live like this should die. But they continue to do these evil things. The King James Version says it this way in verse 28, "God gave them over to a reprobate mind." That word reprobate literally means "unapproved" and "void of judgment."

We see this happening before our very eyes. God allowing those who refuse to see the truth, stay happy and comfortable living in their lies.

The key point I want to make is this: They don't have to stay there! In the Old Testament, (before Christ died and rose again) God said, "there is no remedy." He was basically saying, "that's it. I am a just God, therefore I MUST judge sin. I've gone as far as I can go. This is it, you've reached the end of the line, there is no remedy."

BUT, praise be to God, in the New Testament, now that Christ has suffered and died for our sins and risen from the grave, there is! Jesus Christ IS the remedy! We do not have to stay where we are. Jesus said, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it." (Mark 8:35)



"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Heed the Warnings

Today is Monday.  It has been the most beautiful New England day. Cold, but sunny, and the sky was such a deep, rich blue. 

However, going to the supermarket was not enjoyable. The store was so busy! People were coming from everywhere to stock up on extra food, water, batteries, and so on. Why, you ask?
Because tomorrow...


Tuesday: Snow, mainly after 8am. The snow could be heavy at times. High near 25. East wind 6 to 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 6 to 10 inches possible.

Tuesday Night: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Areas of blowing snow. Low around 14. Northwest wind 11 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 5 to 9 inches possible.

Wednesday: Snow. Areas of blowing snow after 5pm. High near 26. Northwest wind 13 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Wednesday Night: A 50 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a low around 12. Northwest wind 9 to 13 mph. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

One would never guess, judging by today, that tomorrow will be so different.  It's a good thing we have meteorologists to warn us isn't it?

The bible tells us in Romans 1 that "There are things about God that people cannot see—his eternal power and all the things that make him God. But since the beginning of the world those things have been easy to understand. They are made clear by what God has made."

So we can better understand the things of the Spirit because of what we see in the natural. In the natural world we have meteorologists to warn us of a coming storm. In the spiritual realm we have prophets, watchmen, and we have the Holy Spirit himself.

Jesus said, "Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast. You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times." Matthew 16:3

It would be foolish of us to not prepare for the snow storm we know is coming. Extra food, water, batteries, candles...all are necessary.

But are we being foolish by not preparing for the coming spiritual storm that we have been warned would come? Will we heed the warnings we are being given, or are we, in 2017, the same as the people were when Jesus walked the earth? Able to read the signs we are given in the natural, but paying no attention to the signs we are being given in the spiritual?


Selah. (stop and quietly ponder)    

     

Monday, March 6, 2017

His Compassions They Fail Not

Exodus 34:5-6  "Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness."


2 Kings 13:23  "But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence."


Matthew 9:36  "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."


Luke 15:20  "So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."


Do you believe it yet?  That our Father is compassionate?  

Just prior to my Mom beginning her dying process my husband and I moved her into our home.  She could no longer be on her own and wanted to come and live with us.  I knew it was going to be a huge life change for us, especially me, as I was the one home with her 24-7, and also a major life change for my mom.  

We knew it was the Father's will that we three do this.  So I asked God, "please Lord, the only thing I ask of you is that your glory be revealed in this situation."  

Time, struggle, and failing health had their way and before too long I found myself feeling desperate.  My daughter Shannon came to offer respite one sunshiny day and I pointed my car south towards the shopping mall for some retail therapy.  

As I often do while driving, I turned on the praise music (LOUDLY) and cruised down the highway singing to the CD.  But this time it wasn't a happy, joyful noise that I was making.  It was a cry.  A desperate, angry at the Lord, cry. Yes, that's right.  Angry.  I shouted the words of the song that I was hearing emulate from the speakers.  All about his glory being revealed.  I said, "LORD, I said I would do what you asked and I did.  I only asked ONE THING of you!  Just ONE THING!  That your glory be revealed.  You tell me how your glory is being revealed.  I'm watching my mother fade farther away from us every day.  And more than that she is suffering!"  I asked just this ONE THING and you REFUSE to answer me!"  

Then, with the music still blasting and the car speeding at 70 miles and hour, a quiet stillness filled the air and for a short moment time stood still. And the Holy Spirit spoke to me. His words dispelled my anger and hurt. They divided the light from the darkness. They filled my soul with His refreshing peace. He spoke so quietly and so incredibly compassionately. He said, "David only asked one thing too." And instantly I recalled one of my favorite passages of scripture: "This one thing I have desired of the Lord...that will I seek after...That I may dwell in his house all the days of my life and behold his beauty."

If only I had trusted what I knew about our Father's nature and character. 



Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29)




Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Not Peace, But Division

The world is in chaos. Wars, rumors of wars, dissension, murders; crime of all nature. Without a doubt we are in the last days. Even the secular world admits it. You see movies, books and magazine articles about the apocalypse. I personally believe that we are in the "last" of the last days! "And he (Jesus) said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?" Luke 12:54-56

Matthew 24:6-7 "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places."

We pray for peace and things get worse. We often find ourselves feeling dismayed, fearful, and maybe even a bit frantic. The world has gone mad. People killing one another, people killing themselves. People who want nothing to do with God and therefore have no peace or hope.

Jesus himself told us in Luke 12:49-53 "I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law."

As Christians, we must remember to stay focused, to keep our eyes on the Lord. He has given us a book full of answers. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation]." AMP

These are things we already know, but perhaps need to be reminded of. Are you going through a battle? Are you being attacked from every side? Do your morals and beliefs "offend" those around you, even those who are closest? Have people that you thought would never turn their backs on you, turned their backs on you? Have you been betrayed by friends and relatives alike?

Take heart. Has he not told us...."Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.(?)" Joshua 1:9

“But you, O Israel, are my servant,You, O Jacob, whom I have chosen,The offspring of Abraham my friend, You, whom I took from the ends of the earth, And you, whom I called from its most distant parts.I said to you, ‘You are my servant;I have chosen you; I have not rejected you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be anxious, for I am your God. I will fortify you, yes, I will help you,I will really hold on to you with my right hand of righteousness.’ Look! All those getting enraged against you will be put to shame and humiliated.Those who fight with you will be brought to nothing and perish. You will search for men who struggle with you, but you will not find them;The men at war with you will become as something nonexistent, as nothing at all. For I, Jehovah your God, am grasping your right hand,The One saying to you, ‘Do not be afraid. I will help you.’ Isaiah 41:8-13

"Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD." Jeremiah 1:8

Revelation 21:3-5 "and then I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “See! The tabernacle of God is among men, and He will live among them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish, or crying, or pain; for the former order of things has passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true."

We are seeing prophecy unfold before our very eyes. God's written word is coming to pass! We are a blessed and fortunate people to be living in such a time as this! So look up, because there is hope. Peace is on the way! Hold on brethren. He is coming back to rule and reign forever and ever. In PEACE.


"when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." Luke 21:28





Saturday, January 14, 2017

In a Fog

I'm a photographer.  Pictures are what make up my heart.  They are my passion.  They are love on paper.  (Well, these days, on a screen.)  

A few days ago it was so foggy you could only see a few yards in front of you.  Throughout the day I continually resisted the urge to grab my camera and ride around to shoot pictures. By early afternoon I'd caved.  With camera, keys, and my dog in hand my passion had won out.

I drove out of town on back roads, where there was little to no traffic.  It's where the best country scenery lies and I could pull over on the side of the road, get out of the car and shoot with less chance of being run over or be in someone's way.  

I drove through three surrounding towns until daylight no longer afforded the effect I was going for and with my heart full I turned the steering wheel towards home. 

Most of the places I went were very familiar, but it was so foggy I could literally only see a few hundred feet ahead of me.  In places, as I drove slowly through the thick fog, I couldn't see anything. Then I might turn a corner where the fog wasn't quite as heavy and I'd spy a beautiful valley, fields that sported snow blankets and thick, white cotton candy spun into evergreen trees.  But even though it was all familiar territory, still countless times I didn't know exactly where I was.  Visibility was so poor I only had a vague understanding of my location.  I had to rely totally on my sense of direction and memory to get back.

It was a special afternoon for me.  But even more special was that through this experience the Holy Spirit showed me something.  He showed me that this drive paralleled our christian walk with him. None of us can see what's out ahead of us.  We can't see the future.  We can take a few steps, but what's in front of us?  Is there a drop off?  Does the road keep going straight or does it turn right or left?  We are like blind men with white canes, tapping, tapping, trying to find our way.  

The Holy Spirit is our direction.  He is our memory.  He can take us through and get us to where we need to go.  If we would but hold to Him and let Him lead us we wouldn't have to worry about taking a wrong turn or coming to the end of the road and dropping of the edge of an abyss.  

Many years ago I would join in as my husband's family would sing:

"I'm using my bible for a roadmap
The children of Israel used it too
They crossed the Red Sea of destruction
And God was there to see them through.

They'll be no detours in heaven
No rough roads along the way
I'm using my bible for a road map
My last stop is heaven some sweet day."






Monday, November 7, 2016

Election

With the upcoming election drawing nearer the tension builds. Many say neither candidate is worthy to vote for. Some early voters I have spoken with have written in a name of someone who was running for president and are no longer running. Others have left it blank. Some others have written in their own name or a bogus name. There is a saying: "a pessimist complains about the wind, an optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." I'm a realist. So I'm going to be real here. None of the above mentioned are running for office on this ballot.

When the Franklin Graham tour came to Vermont I went to see him. He said, (and I am paraphrasing) "if you can't vote for either candidate based on what you know about them then look at their party and the things they represent. Look at the things they allow and don't allow. 


Many people have also expressed their frustration with being saturated with this election business, to the point of refusing to hear or read any more of the latest news that has been released on either candidate.  I find this very dangerous.  Just as dangerous as those who got tired of hearing Hitler rant and rave on the radio.  We must keep ourselves informed and never turn a blind eye.

I have spoken with some christians who have said, "I don't get involved in this political stuff." As a christian myself, I have a difficult time with that statement. I think that idea may be coming from the "I am not of this world" scripture. And it's true, we are not. But we are called to be the feet and hands of Christ. And Christ got involved.  Esther (in the bible) got involved. 

In Jesus' time on earth, was he involved in politics? The answer is YES. He most certainly was. Jesus was always confronting the Sanhedrin. (a council of seventy-one Jewish men who constituted the supreme court and legislative body of Ancient Israel). Who exactly was the Sanhedrin? The scribes. (lawyers) The Pharisees and Sadducees.  
 In Ephesians 6 we are instructed that: "after having done all, stand." Not only do I believe it is our patriotic duty to vote, I believe it is our christian duty as well. 

I've read many commentaries, watched many campaign ads, and prayed. Prayed and prayed, and prayed. Prayed for direction, prayed for our country, prayed for our world. Prayed for myself in all of this, prayed for my children. Prayed for my grandchildren.

Through it all the Lord has given me peace. He has reminded me of Daniel 2:21: "He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings."

Despite what happens and who becomes the next president of the United States, I have to believe that God has allowed it to fulfill his plan and purpose. Pilate said to Jesus, "don't you know I have the authority, the power, to either free you or crucify you?" Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above." We see that God set Pilate in office and gave him the power. In our eyes we say, "no. He wouldn't." But clearly he did, in order to fulfill his plan and purpose. Be assured, God will set up the next U.S. president. Whoever it is, they will not be reigning by accident. He has it all in His hands.