Set Apart From the World

“You can be sure of this: The LORD set apart the godly for Himself. The LORD will answer when I call to Him.

Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.

Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the LORD. Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”

Let Your Face smile on us, LORD. You have given me greater Joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.

In Peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.” – Psalms 4:3‭-‬8 NLT

I know, and have known, many angry, bitter people. It controls them, and it eats away at them inside. I know this, because I was one of those people. Being angry and bitter put me on medications to stop my stomach from hurting, and heavy doses of pain killers for my migraines. Who did I hurt with my anger? Me! It kept me from being content, and caused upheaval in relationships and in work environments. I have a friend who is very angry and bitter. Trouble and discontent follow him. He claims to be a Christian, but he has no peace. He is unhappy, and ‘hate’ is one of his most used words. That was me, too, until I finally – FINALLY – figured out how much I was hurting myself, and that JESUS was patiently waiting for me to let Him have all that mess. It’s absolutely amazing how much better I am when I’m not carrying all that junk inside. Do I still get upset? Of course; I’m human, and I am very flawed and broken. I have found that when I let other’s attitudes flow around me i stead of into me, life is so much more pleasant. Your anger and your bitterness may hurt me or disappoint me, but I don’t have to take it on myself and react to it in a negative or hateful way. Sometimes I struggle, but I know that with the help and support of the Holy Spirit, I can move past it. The ‘crazy’ driver who cuts me off, the person who is rude to me, the one who calls me a ‘b**’ or other unflattering names…. It’s their problem, not mine. I can react, or I can take a breath and respond. It’s my choice, and as long as I let the LORD take the issue, it’s an easy choice. No one can make me angry without permission. Satan no longer has that hold over me! I give thanks daily to my Saviour for releasing me from my bondage of hate and bitterness, and all the ugly that goes with it.

As Christians, we are supposed to be set apart from the world. The greed and possession-hungry ‘ME’ attitude, the anger and hatred that seems to permeate the world…. it’s not for us. I admit that I enjoy my home, and having the kinds of food I like to eat; I am happy to have a vehicle that I picked out. I have done with much less, and I could again, although I would like to stay where I am. I acknowledge that I am blessed beyond measure. My prayer is to be thankful for having enough and not to be greedy, and that I not be like a stranger, a foreigner in my LORD’S eyes. I am His child, the daughter of the Most High. Don’t be like the lepers who were healed by JESUS. When He heals us of our brokenness, give Him ALL the GLORY. When I come face-to-face with my LORD, I surely don’t want Him to deny me because I refused to recognise His Power and Mercy in my life.

“Has no one returned to give Glory to GOD except this foreigner?” – Luke 17:18 NLT

Listen to Chris Tomlin sing Amazing Grace. My chains are gone; it’s right where I love to be, in the Amazing Grace of my LORD. I know I am Forever His! AMEN.

We Are Foreigners In This World

In the parable of the prodigal son, the boy ran away from home. He turned his back on his Father, lost his inheritance, and made a royal mess of his life. When he finally admitted his mistakes to himself, he said: “I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you….. ” – Luke 15:18 NLT

The boy had become like a foreigner to his family, living in a pig pen and scrounging for sustenance, but he was welcomed home with open arms in spite of his actions. This parable is such a beautiful way to describe our relationship with our LORD. When GOD created the earth and all that is within it; when He created the Universe, it was set as the stage – and what a Magnificent stage – for mankind to live in and fellowship with Him. We blew it. We think we are as smart and as good as the Creator. Some of us think that we, humankind – are gods! How wrong we can be! Satan introduced sin to Adam and Eve, and got us thrown out of the Garden, the place we belonged. Home. Subsequently, we have become foreigners, strangers in a strange land that provides us with glimpses of original beauty from our home. Someday, this old earth with be re-formed and re-made (which is scary/exciting!) The good news, though, is that no matter how bad we mess up, GOD is waiting for us with open arms, ready to forgive us, if we will just ask Him.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone.” – Revelation 21:1 NLT

When JESUS returns, and the earth is transformed, then we no longer be foreigners. We will once again be first-class citizens, dwelling with our LORD, like the first man, Adam. Until that time comes, Christians, followers of the CHRIST, will be foreigners on this earth. In many cases, we are treated as illegal aliens, second class citizens, even criminals. We need to – have to? – rely on our LORD for our strength. Paul says it like this:

“We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the LORD. For even CHRIST didn’t live to please Himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult You, O GOD, have fallen on me.” Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us Hope and Encouragement as we wait patiently for GOD’s Promises to be fulfilled. May GOD, who gives this Patience and Encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of CHRIST JESUS. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving Praise and Glory to GOD, the FATHER of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.” – Romans 15:1‭-‬6 NLT AMEN.

Listen to HOME by Chris Tomlin….

I Will Rest

I opened my Bible app this morning (, and the verse of the day brought a smile to my face:

“Whoever dwells in the Shelter of the MOST HIGH will rest in the Shadow of the Almighty.”

The word picture just blossomed open in my mind. What a JOY it will be to rest in GOD’S Shadow for eternity! One of my favorite things to do on a sunny day, whatever the season, is to sit outside in the shade, enjoying the day the LORD made (especially if that shade is at the beach!) Read these verses – I think they will make you smile, too, if you know Jesus. For those who are still stumbling through life without Him, well, there’s no joy in it for them…

“Whoever dwells in the Shelter of the MOST HIGH will rest in the Shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my GOD, in whom I trust.” …. “Because he [or she] loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges My Name. He will call on Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.” – Psalm 91:1‭-‬2‭, ‬14‭-‬15 NIV

For anyone who wants the Peace and the Joy that is spoken of here, let me tell you how simple it is to receive them. GOD created us to fellowship with Him and to enjoy our relationship with our LORD and Saviour JESUS CHRIST. Without Him, we will never attain real peace or happiness. Ask for it. He is standing right beside you, waiting with open arms for you to turn to Him.

Jesus said “…. EVERYONE who believes may have eternal life in Him [ the Son of Man, Jesus, Messiah].” For GOD so Loved the world that He gave His ONE and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have Eternal Life. For GOD did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of GOD’S One and Only SON. – John 3:15‭-‬18 NIV

“The Message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart. And that Message is the very Message about Faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” – Romans 10:8‭-‬10 NLT

Simple Faith. Call on Him, and enjoy LIFE with JESUS. Amen.

Reserve, Retreat, Regret

I’ve done that most of my life – reserving myself, staying behind the wall I constructed around my heart to keep from getting hurt. Oh, by the way, it doesn’t work. When I retreat behind my wall, all it does is keep me stuck, resentful, and angry. While I simmer in my reserve, regret for what I imagine coulda-shoulda-woulda happen overwhelms me. I am the prisoner, not whoever or whatever I happen to be upset about. I still get caught up in the cycle, too, but it’s not how I want to live my life. Billy Graham wrote a story about Bill Borden. Mr. Borden was a very wealthy man who went to China as a missionary for Christ, in spite of the opposition of friends & family. After just a few years he died of an oriental disease. While he was dying, he wrote this: “No reserve, no retreat, no regret.”

“Then He [JESUS] called the crowd to Him along with His disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.’ ” – Mark 8:34 NIV

How many of us as Christians can say the same? “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” – Galatians 5:25‭-‬26 NIV

Easier said, than done! Can we live without reserve, retreat, regret? I don’t believe it’s humanly possible to do on our own. Listen to what JESUS says about living without reserve, retreat, or regret.

“They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to GOD. I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have Peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:2‭, ‬33 NIV

Without JESUS, and without the SPIRIT, we are hopeless and helpless againt the world. With JESUS, and the SPIRIT, we can conquer. For as long as we are on this earth, our lives as Christians will never be comfortable or pain free. If they are, then I would say that we are not living the Way. As long as we have JESUS in our hearts and the Holy Spirit over us, we will at least know where we are going. I am no perfect. In fact, I am completely flawed and broken. With Christ in my life, I can’t afford to be invisible. Can we be more like Bill Borden? “No reserve, no retreat, no regret.” Amen.

So Good To Me

“…. [For] “no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from Me,” declares the LORD.” – Isaiah 54:17 NIV

It is such a joy to get up in the morning to contemporary Christian music! Growing up, we listened to records (yep, real vinyl LP’s, with the occassional 45rpm), of mostly classical music. It gave me a love for the rich, complex sounds of an orchestra, and I find that fullness and beauty in many of the bands today. Combine that with the words of scripture, add in the real life struggles we all face, then put the reality of CHRIST in it – it gives me a constant reminder of how good my LORD is to me; to how much He LOVES me. The struggles of our lives are real, and the songs don’t negate that. They enhance the Power of GOD, and provide respite from pain and worry. I could refer you to so many artists and their songs! I am reminded of His Love, His Power, His Omnipotence. How GOOD is God to me? Let me count the ways! He has rescued me from countless (really; I’ve lost track) life-threatening situations. He has always provided ‘enough.’ He has opened His Arms to receive me back home through all of my rebellion. He has carried me through sickness and heartache and sorrow. He knows me better than any person, and He Loves me enough that in spite of me, He sent JESUS to be my personal Redeemer and Saviour. Amazing!

He is so GOOD to me!

Listen to No One Like Our God by Lincoln Brewster.

You Make Me Blush

Compliments, commendations, awards…. who doesn’t like getting them? When my boss gives me ‘atta-boys,’ my response is to blush and pour more energy into my job. Getting a compliment on my appearance or the way I’ve arranged and decorated my home causes me to blush with pleasure – and with embarrassment, because my own opinion of myself and my work never measures up to my standards. Why is that? What cause us to determine that whatever we do isn’t ‘good’ enough? Can’t I just take a compliment without trying to minimize it?

Part of it goes to my childhood, part to my placement as a middle child, and part to my own personality. I’m an introverted extrovert – while I love being the center of attention, it also makes me blush, and want to run and hide. I like to imagine that I am very talented, but nothing I do is ‘perfect,’ and I abhore weakness in myself! Quite the dichotomy. I would like to be perfect, but I think I need to be more like Paul:

“But [the LORD] said to me, “My Grace is sufficient for you, for My Power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that CHRIST’s Power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

It’s okay to blush a little at a compliment. It shows that you aren’t egocentric or a perfectionist. I think it shows humility. Just don’t beat yourself up over not being perfect, and don’t listen to the Father of Lies (i.e. Satan) when he tries to convince you that you are worthless. No one, other than the LORD, is perfect…. or ever will be. Be glad for the failures. Each time you mess up shows that you are trying, and there’s no reason to be embarrassed about that!

Patiently Waiting

Patience my ass, I want to kill something…

In my more bohemian days, that was something I think I said quite often. Then, my patience was very short – nonexistent, much of the time. Later, I was talking with a pastor and he said something quite profound to me. He said not to pray for patience, because when we do, GOD will provide us with plenty of opportunities to learn it. I realized I’d been going about it all wrong. Instead of praying for patience, I began to pray for strength and perseverance, and make it a point to ask GOD to please don’t send me any more ‘opportunities’ to learn patience! Even the great leaders in the Bible, Old and New Testament, felt persecuted and in desperate need of patience. Look at David. Both before he was king and after he became king, David needed patience. I love how his poetry shows his reach for the LORD, and how the LORD sustains him with willingness to wait in GOD’S Strength – patiently waiting….

“I love You, LORD, my Strength. The LORD is my Rock, my Fortress and my Deliverer; my GOD is my Rock, in Whom I take refuge, my Shield and the Horn of my Salvation, my Stronghold. You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my GOD turns my darkness into Light. As for GOD, His Way is perfect: The LORD’S Word is flawless; He Shields all who take refuge in Him. For who is GOD besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our GOD? The LORD Lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be GOD my Savior!” – Psalm 18:1‭-‬2‭, ‬28‭, ‬30‭-‬31‭, ‬46 NIV

If you do a word search for the words ‘patient’ and ‘patience’ in the Bible, you will find many references. James, especially, spent a lot of time talking about it. He only has 5 chapters, but check out how he begins:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds….. ” – James 1:2 NIV

Really? Pure joy for an abusive relationship? Pure joy for financial difficulties? Pure joy for losing a loved one? Patiently waiting my a**. No, I am so far from being patient, it can’t even be measured. The thing I hold on to is GOD’S Patience. Without Him, I am incapable of doing or saying anything good. I cannot fathom patience without His Hand guiding and holding me, and by Him carrying me when I simply cannot go on. The LORD is the epitomy of this scripture:

“LOVE is patient, Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….” – 1 Corinthians 13:4‭, ‬7a NIV

Thank You, LORD, for never giving up on me, for being patient with me, and for perservering with me. AMEN.