I AM

“God replied to Moses, “ I AM Who I AM . Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:14 NLT)

and again:

“This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.” (Isaiah 48:17 NLT)

No equivocation, no hestitation.

“Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!” …. Then He {Jesus} said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of GOD going up and down on the Son of Man, the One Who is the stairway between heaven and earth. ” ” (John 1:49‭, ‬51 NLT)

“Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.” (Matthew 14:33 NLT)

Why, why, why do we doubt God’s Sovereignty? How can we not see Him in every bit of creation, from the absolute tiniest organism or cell struction, to the immensity of the higest mountains and the deepest canyons in the seas? Researchers are finding more evidence every day that supports the Bible accounts, and yet we still have skeptics and denial from every quarter. Yes, it takes faith to believe in the unseen. Do you believe in the air we breathe? It is unseen…. Do you believe in sound waves, and wireless signals; in electricity and radio and television signals? We can’t see them, either. “But wait,” you say. “We can see the pictures on the television. We can talk on our phones. We hear the radio, so it doesn’t require faith to believe in them. There is evidence to support their existance.”

Then i can only say this: look around yourself, at the grass and dirt and flowers and trees; look at the animals – dogs, cats, birds, horses…. they just evolved from slime?? Picture this: a scientist is arguing with God, trying to prove the theory of evolution. God says, “Okay, let’s each create a living being.” The scientist grabs a handful of dirt to get started, and God says, “Put that down! Create your own dirt!” Simple choice: believe in a THEORY of evolution, or believe in I AM, Creator God….

I have a Friend in Jesus; He is my Hope, my Cleansing, my Protector, and my Salvation. There is no one like Him. He makes me WHOLE. Amen!

In The Dark

“There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” ” (John 3:1‭-‬2 NLT)

Are you a Nicodemus, an intellectual, a skeptic, who doesn’t understand the message of Jesus? He was a man who felt that it would harm his standing in the community if he were seen talking to this teacher Jesus, Who was teaching such radical lessons. This radical, this man Jesus, claimed to be the Son of the Living GOD, of Yahweh Himself. Certainly, Jesus was not someone a Pharisee should be seen visiting, so Nicodemus waited until after dark to go. Nicodemus admits that Jesus was sent from God, but the message is hard for him to hear.

“Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” ” (John 3:3‭-‬4 NLT)

A respected Jewish teacher, a member of the elite society of the Pharisees, for Nicodemus to accept what Jesus said would cost him, and it appears that he wasn’t ready. We don’t know what happens to Nicodemus; perhaps he came to accept Jesus as his Saviour, but it’s likely that he chose his earthly position over Jesus. I see it in so many people in power today. Position and status are everything, and there just isn’t enough room for Jesus. So many people, from the poorest of the poor to the richest and most powerful person on this earth, prefer the darkness over the Light. If we choose the Light, the LIFE IN Jesus, how is it that we still let so much darkness in our lives?

“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:18 NLT)

I know this is true; there is no doubt in my mind the Jesus is the Trut and the Light. I am and will be eternally grateful for His Sacrifice and His Advocacy for me. WHY, then, do we as Christians continue to invite darkness into our lives? We celebrate Hallowee. Even though we try to disguise it in fun costumes and candy, or call it the Harvest Festival or other euphemism, it is still a satanic holiday. To many who are in the darkness, it is their highest holy day, and here are Christians, embracing it. I love Fall, and I thoroughly enjoy celebrating the harvests. It’s like our last hoorah before winter sets in, so we play in the leaves and gather the last of the summer’s bounty before it freezes. Decorating my house and porch with leaves and grasses and gourds is fun, and brings in a breath of warmth for the chilly weather. In the past, I was all about Halloween. I typically dressed as a witch or a vampire, and now I have so much remorse that I was actively inviting the enemy into my life and the lives of those around me. How many treats have we handed out to demons? I believe what Paul wrote in this letter:

“I am saying that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don’t want you to participate with demons. You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too. What? Do we dare to rouse the Lord’s jealousy? Do you think we are stronger than he is? You say, “I am allowed to do anything” —but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.” (1 Corinthians 10:20‭-‬24 NLT)

Choose your path, whether in the Light of Jesus, or the dark of the enemy. Your choice. There are no shadows within GOD’S light.

It’s A HEART Problem…

“Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.” – 1 Timothy 6:12 NLT

Cain killed Abel with a rock. It’s a heart problem, not a rock problem. OJ, a black man, killed his wife Nicole, a white woman, with a knife. It’s a heart problem, not a skin color or a knife problem. One person gets angry and shoots another person. It’s a heart problem, not a gun problem.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” – Jeremiah 17:9 NLT

Who can know another’s heart? Certainly not me; my “picker” has chosen badly too many times! I see what I want to see, and for years I was in ‘rescue’ mode, trying to save the next lost puppy (that’s a euphemism for a man, rather, a little lost boy in a man’s body). In the process, I lost money from buying things for them (computers, vehicles, tools, etc.); I lost emotionally through lies and cheating and affairs. My strays were not all men; there was a woman I befriended who thought nothing of using her friends to clean up her messes with their time and money and emotions. Through all of this, I forgot the faith I had grown up with, and wandered through it on my terms, without my Lord. Oh, I knew Him, and I prayed and called on Him for help, and He delivered me time after time, but I didn’t fully rely on Him.

Jeremiah had it right about the human heart. From the very beginning of humanity our hearts have gotten us into trouble. Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Their firstborn, Cain, murdered his brother, Abel. The Old Testament is full of man’s deceitfulness, and even within the twelve men privileged to be with Jesus on earth there was the deceiver, Judas. Every man’s heart, every woman’s heart, is full of deceitfulness and wickedness. If you don’t believe me, just look at the around you. Everyone lies, everyone cheats, everyone deceives. It’s in our DNA, from the beginning. The GOOD NEWS is that we don’t have to sit back and take it! We have the Power of Jesus, the Power that calmed the raging sea, the Power of the burning bush, the Power that rolled away the stone that was holding His body in the grave…. we have access to the good faith, the true Faith, that comes though Jesus Christ. It is up to us, to those who have that Faith, to share it with the world. Fight the good fight. Hold tight to the LORD. Declare His Love and His Faithfulness to your world, without being self-righteous or condescending. Remember that there, except for the Grace of God, goes me, or you.

Don’t let your HEART problem keep you from the Great Physician, Jesus Christ.

Yes.

“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” – John 5:24 NLT

The following is from Right From The Heart 1-Minute Devotions. It’s right on target for people who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ.

“I had an interesting conversation with a friend who is an atheist. He had visited our church and heard statistics on the high number of families who give nothing to the Lord’s work each year. The basic minimum in faithful giving, according to the Bible, is ten percent, or a tithe. My friend said to me, ‘I was shocked. I thought if you people really believe this stuff about God, heaven, and hell, and the importance of spreading the message, you’d want to give more than ten percent. ‘Cause what could be more important than that?’ Jesus would agree, for He clearly said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.” In short, where you spend your money reveals the priorities of your heart. So, what does your checkbook say about your priorities? The checkbook doesn’t lie. To all you folks who profess to be Christians, what does your checkbook say about your faith in God? Do you really believe what you profess to believe?”

Am I really listening to God’s message? What does your checkbook say? Where do your (our) priorities lie today? Are we generous or stingy with our giving – time, talent, AND money….? Somehow I don’t think it’s being left up to us to determine whether we’ve been generous or stingy; God will make that call.

“Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6 NLT

46 Degrees

Bright sunshine, no clouds, a hint of a breeze…. It’s 46° outside. I can live with that. In fact, I adore this weather. Cold isn’t as difficult to deal with when the sun is shining. I think it got down in the mid-30’s last night (Fahrenheit, not Celsius!), which is fabulous weather to snuggle up with the pups under flannel sheets and a quilt. If the plants could take it and still produce flowers and fruits and grains and veggie, it wouldn’t bother me to have those low temps every night and 60’s and 70’s every day so the pesty bugs would die. (I don’t like bugs). Wouldn’t that mean we lived in an almost perfect world? Of course, that almost perfect world would also mean that everyone, every single human, would have a warm, soft bed to go to every night, and food so their bellies were full. It would mean that all of the violent, evil people were neutralized, too…..

I think I must be dreaming of heaven. When God created the seasons, He filled them with beautiful symbolism. Spring is new life. Plants are bursting out with beauty, and the animals are filling the planet with their offspring. Babies and flowers and newness, purity, are everywhere. Even in the big cities, grasses poke up through sidewalks, trees leaf out, and birds are busy singing. He created Summer to give everything time to mature, to provide us with the foods we need to survive. Summer is also a time of trials, with too much water or not enough water; with heat that can be both pleasant and devastating. Fall is full with harvest and preparation for the coming Winter. It’s a time to be out and savor the beauty of our earth, the smell and taste and feel of the air around us; a time we prepare what we will need to survive the period of rest for the earth. Finally, Winter is a time to slow down, to relax with the fruits of our endeavours; a time of reflection and contemplation of our lives. It’s the time we need to reconnect with loved ones; to enjoy times with friends and family that we neglected in our times of labor. Then Springs comes again, and the cycle repeats.

I think it’s important to look at the seasons and apply them to our lives. Physically, it easy to see the correlation. Spring is birth and childhood, Summer is young adulthood, finding our way into productivity. Fall is mature adulthood, where we are preparing for retirement and learning to savor our lives. Old age is like Winter, with time for reflection. It should be a time where we can enjoy looking back on our lives and sharing the lessons we have learned with the next generation. Spiritually, I believe our personal Fall and Winter are the times we need to be contemplating our God and perhaps evaluating our relationship with Him. Our personal seasons don’t have a set timeline. Some don’t make it past their Spring because they have died young. Others go out in a blaze, like a fire consuming a forest in the hottest summer. If we make it to our Fall, and I am one of many baby boomers who believed I would have died years ago, some of us find ourselves woefully unprepared for our Winter.

Like the ant and the grasshopper, some are ready for their Winter because they focused on their goal to be ready, and many are like the grasshopper, having spent their productive years playing and jumping around. I was a grasshopper, unable to settle down, too busy having “fun” to focus on anything as unfullfilling as work. Now I am spending my Fall working frantically to prepare. I could be worried to the point of making myself ill, or I can choose to believe that my God is more powerful than anything and place my trust in Him. I choose to believe what Jesus said:

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly FATHER feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Matthew 6:25‭-‬27 NLT)

Do I believe that this means I can just sit back and expect to be taken of; that I shouldn’t be working and preparing for Winter? Not at all! Jesus said not to worry about every day life. He never says not to work. Instead, through Paul’s letter, we are told not to be lazy and to work.

“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident Hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When GOD’S ’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.”
Romans 12:11‭-‬13 NLT

It’s pretty clear that it is worry we are to avoid, not work. Seems to me that 46° is a beautiful temperature to go to work in….

Fall is Freedom and Thankfulness

Fall. My favorite part of the year. The light changes and becomes softer, muted from summer’s harshness. The winds turn from the south to the north, bringing cooler temperatures. Not yet the unremitting chill from the arctic regions, but a crispness that reminds us to gather in our remaining crops. It puts a briskness into our steps and allows us to breath deep the freshness. Trees and flowers and grasses put on their showy colors in a final burst. The feel of the air; indefinable but deeply felt, invites us to come out and play. It resonates in my soul. I sleep more deeply in the fall. When I can, I put a blanket out in the grass and revel in the freedom to just enjoy.

Do you feel it? Today is a day to be thankful for life. We should be thankful every day, but some days we need to let go of the everyday, the mundane, and just be thankful.

“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if GOD cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” ” – Matthew 6:27‭-‬30‭, ‬33‭-‬34 NLT (also Luke 12)

We are blessed with glorious fall weather today. I pray that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you will take a moment to step outside and give thanks to the LORD, the Creator, for life and breath. Breathe deeply and make a gratitude list, from having toilet paper and running water, to having adequate shelter and clothing and transportation. Remember how GOOD our God is, even in the the tragedies and losses of our lives. Amen.

Colorado aspens; October 2016.

How To Behave…..

In a discussion a few days ago, I was told that we are to follow the old Law, the law of the Ten Commandments. I don’t disagree with that statement, but the the answer Jesus gave takes it all and breaks it down very simply.

” ‘Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?’ Jesus replied, ‘You must love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.’ ” – Matthew 22:36‭-‬40 NLT

If we follow His lead here, everything, every thought, would be taken away from the enemy. There would be no cursing or gossip, no thoughts of rage or irritation at those who offends you. I’m not there yet, and my thoughts are something I work on daily. Paul wrote this to help Timothy and other Christians, including us:

“So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. ….. Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to GOD when He judges the world.” – 1 Peter 2:1‭, ‬11‭-‬12 NLT

If the followers of Christ around the world could get this part right, what an example it would be for all of those who don’t know Him! Short and sweet; that’s Jesus. If we surrender our thoughts to the Holy Spirit, and we submit our lives to the LORD, think how we could influence others. It’s difficult to keep my tongue silent and my mouth closed when I want to speak badly of someone. Gossip rolls off my tongue with ease. Why not tell a “white” lie if it benefits me? Because sin is sin in GOD’S eyes. A lie is a lie, deceit is a lie; hypocrisy, jealousy, gossip, backstabbing, rumors….. all lies, and ALL lies, no matter how large or how small or so “white” are sin. Remember Lucifer, the enemy, aka Satan, the Father of Lies? He makes it so simple, and so attractive, to skip by the truth. If we truly love our neighbor, and treated them as we want to be treated, we would never tell the tiniest lie or any unkind word. Something to note here: our neighbor includes family, friends, coworkers, classmates…. any person outside of ourselves are our neighbors.

It’s impossible to fully love anyone else if we don’t first love God, and second, love ourselves. If I don’t like me, how well do you think I’m going to like – or LOVE – anyone else? I believe that’s a pretty important distinction. Whether you follow Christ or the enemy is absolutely your choice. For your sake, I pray you will follow Christ.

Filth? Evil?

“So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” – James 1:21 NLT

What is filth? What is evil? Everything is so skewed in our world… From the time of Adam and Eve, we have been hell bent on proving we are as intelligent as the Creator. We listen as the Father of lies fills our hearts and our heads with the promise that we are gods, equal to the Almighty. The liar assures us that there is no greater God than ourselves, and that we are free to do and live any way we choose. Satan is correct on one point: it is our choice to live how we we. What Satan doesn’t want us to know is that our Creator built free will into our DNA, because our LORD will never force us to choose Him. He wants us; He yearns for us to have a relationship with Him, and He will always leave it up to us. Have you ever loved someone so much that you feel a physical pull towards them, an emotional, even spiritual connection, only to have them choose someone else? If you have never experienced that connection, my heart hurts for you. If you have experienced it, and lost it – as I have – then you know the agony it causes. Anyone who has lost a child knows it. God loves us even more, more than we can comprehend, yet we routinely turn our backs oh His pure Love for the glittery fake the enemy dangles in front of us.

The only way to know truth is to fall back on God’s Word. If you have never read the Bible yourself, I suggest going online to http://bible.com and choose either the NIV or NLT version, and start reading in John, chapter one, verse one. It’s so beautiful. Throughput the history of the earth, God has employed poets and writers and other artists to share His Love for us, with us. It makes me so sad when I read comments on social media or in the news, or hear people stating that a Creator God is myth, and the Bible is a collection of stories written by old men – as if it were fairy tales. I cry for those people who have chosen the ultimate lie.

Jesus Christ was not a good man. He was not a prophet. He is either Who He says He is, the Son of the Most High God, or He is an insane man. History supports the Son of God. Archeological evidence points to the Garden, and every day brings forth new physical evidence to support the Scriptures. When I say we believe it, or not, at our own peril, I do not say it to be fear monger. I say with the strength of Scriptures and science. There is a heavenly, there is a hell, and there is ONE God over all. I pray you make peace with Him, before it is too late.

What Is Your Ministry?

“This is your ministry, and God has gifted you for this assignment: “A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.” (1 Corinthians 12:7 NLT)

As members of Christ’s body, we are his hands, his feet, his eyes, and his heart. He works through us in the world. But without the Love of Christ in our hearts, we are just additional noise in the world. I believe this to be true, but many days I wake up and wonder why I am here. What is my purpose? I read Paul’s words to the Corinthians and wonder what my ministry is, what purpose there is for my life. I guess that I’ve been searching for that purpose, that vocation, my entire life. I long to emulate Paul, and my Dad, who could turn any conversation into a lesson on Christ and how His Love could save us. Dad put Paul’s words into action with Christ’s Love in his heart and the enormous faith that he had.

“The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions…… This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” – and I am the worst of them all.” ” (1 Timothy 1:5-6,15 NLT)

I certainly fit verses 6 and 15. By the time I turned 18, I was turning away from the things of God, things I KNEW to be true, and spent my time in those meaningless discussions. I looked at the teachings of Buddha and other religions. I decided that Jesus was merely a good man, a teacher, and a prophet…. even though I knew better. Satanic things began to worm their way into my heart because of my rejection of Jesus. For years, I was stuck between the world and the faith in grew up with. Never underestimate the Power of PRAYER. My parents hated the way I lived, but they never stopped praying for me, and I know that their prayers are all that stood between me and the enemy. It took hitting bottom several times before I finally, truly, gave up and gave in to Jesus (I’m a slow learner sometimes, okay??)

There is a program called Celebrate Recovery that is offered in many churches, and it is based on the 12 Steps of Alcoholic Anonymous, only with Jesus added. It is not a program that is just for alcoholics, as I quickly learned. In fact, one statement stuck with me: “There are 2 kinds of people. Those who are IN recovery, and those who NEED recovery. “ I began going to support my husband, who was an alcoholic – among other addictions. Through CR, I discovered that I was an addict, too. I was a Codependent, my drug of choice was sex and requiring a man to be in my life. We call it a Relationship addiction, and it is a very real thing. There are many addictions of choice besides drugs and do alcohol. Yours could be work, shopping, food, cleaning; even exercise can be addicting. Cycling, running; these are very addictive. You (and I) can really take any day to day, “normal,” innocuous activity and turn it into an addiction. Actually, WE don’t turn it into an addiction; that would be the work of the enemy. Take something good, and turn it to evil.

My ministry seems to be in writing. I have spoken to groups on recovery and the need for Jesus in our lives, and I would love to do more speaking.

“The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. I thank Christ Jesus our LORD, who has given me strength to do His work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve Him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted His people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how generous and gracious our LORD was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus. Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples. I threw them out and handed them over to Satan so they might learn not to blaspheme God.” (1 Timothy 1:5‭, ‬12‭-‬14‭, ‬19‭-‬20 NLT)

Like Hymenaeus and Alexander, I was handed over to Satan to learn not to blaspheme the LORD. Unlike Paul, I blasphemed and persecuted without ignorance, but our gracious GOD forgives me my trespass and sin because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for me. Hallelujah! You can these words for the Truth that they are:

“But GOD had Mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of His great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in Him and receive ETERNAL LIFE. All Honor and Glory to GOD forever and ever! He is the Eternal King, the unseen One Who never dies; HE ALONE IS GOD. Amen.” (1 Timothy 5: 16-17 NLT)