Living in the Spirit 

  “​Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.” – Galatians 5:25‭-‬26

God knows how far short of this admonition we fall! It is true that when we follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we are better people and better examples to the world. Of course, as we all know (whether we admit it or not!), we have a really hard time hearing the whisper of the LORD over the VERY enticing voice of our enemy. We will sin. That’s a given. It is NOT a given that we have to stay mired down in that sin. God has provided us with a way to get out of the “mud” that is sin, and He has given us a way to come clean. By becoming the Living Water, Jesus is able to wash us so clean that there is no trace of the dirt.

  “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the One who is truly Righteous. He Himself is the Sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of ALL the world.” – 1 John 2:1‭-‬2 

In the United States, we are so blessed to be able to learn about Jesus without the oppression of a tyrant or a godless government. Sometimes I wonder, though, if our freedom gets in the way of God. Perhaps being unable to worship freely and in the open makes the Gift of Salvation all the more precious. Certainly something to think about.

(Scriptures are from  http://bible.com/NLT)


Why? Why ME?

Why? Why ME?

I know this life is temporal, and we have a limited amount of time on earth. I have had this tendency, especially when I was younger, to think my physical body was indestructible. I could do physical labor all day, party well into the the  night, and get up the next day to do it all again. As I get older, I begin to realize that the enemy is behind all of the discomfort and pain we experience, not God. I’m beginning to understand why my Dad would get so frustrated that he couldn’t do what he was used to doing, and would have to allow someone else to do things for him. We think we are so self-sufficient that we can do it. Pull ourselves up the bootstraps and get it done. Ha. No longer! But listen to what Paul says on this subject:

  “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16‭-‬18 

  “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” – Galatians 5:16‭-‬17 

It doesn’t matter what the pain is, and it doesn’t really matter how the pain came into our lives. These is an absolutely breathtakingly amazing and awesome future for us when our physical bodies give up and we get to see Jesus! It’s HARD to let go of control, even when we just imagine that we have it. We think we know better than the GOD of the Universe…. how misguided we are. There’s only one way to know – REALLY know – that we will spend our eternity with Jesus. 

  “But EVERYONE who calls on the Name of the LORD will be saved.’ King David said this about Him: ‘I see that the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts His praises! My body rests in Hope. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave. You have shown me the Way of Life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’ Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to G6od, and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts of the Apostles 2:21‭, ‬25‭-‬28‭, ‬38 

Where will you spend eternity? I pray it is with Jesus Christ and all of the saints who precede us into heaven!

(All scriptures quoted from  http://bible.com/NLT)

GOD Created…

Have you ever made something to make a child smile? It could be a sibling or a friend, students or babysitting charges, family members, or your own child. There’s something about children and babies that makes us want to make them smile. Especially with Littles ones, we tend to do all sorts of silly things just to see that grin… I love to make things for others that I hope will make them smile. A special cake – a John Degree tractor in all of it’s green glory, once! – or a pie or a special meal, a doll or other plaything. It is inate within us to seek to make our children happy. I’ve seen parents go to extraordinary efforts to make their children smile. Do you imagine God could do anything less?

This feeling, this desire, this inborn behavior. Where do you imagine it came from? God, when creating man, made us know like Him. His desire is for us to be happy. He wants us to make good choices in our lives and make the kinds of decisions that are healthy and good for us. I believe that the angels rejoice with us when we are genuinely smiling and happy. Sound familiar? Almost anyone with a child in any capacity can understand this. So imagine this: God is a father. He is the ULTIMATE Father, both to us and especially to His Firstborn Son, Jesus Christ. 

  “Christ is the VISIBLE image of the INVISIBLE GOD. He existed before anything was created and is Supreme over all creation, for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created THROUGH Him and FOR Him.” – Colossians 1:15‭-‬16 

Focus on that last sentence, verse 16b. “EVERYTHING was created …. for HIM,” Him being Jesus Christ. God doesn’t just leave it at that. Knowing full well that we humans would persist in making bad choices, He allowed His Son – His SON, His Beloved Child – to sacrifice Himself in order that we may be redeemed from the harsh sentence we will receive for our sins. I certainly wouldn’t sacrifice ANY child for someone else. I might, maybe, offer myself, but not a child. They are the innocent, and they don’t deserve the harshness of this world. Jesus is the epitome of innocence.  

  “For GOD in all His Fullness was pleased to Live in Christ, and through Him GOD reconciled EVERYTHING to Himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of CHRIST’S BLOOD on the cross.” – Colossians 1:19‭-‬20 

  “For this is how GOD LOVED loved the world: He gave His ONE and ONLY Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. GOD sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. 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 3:16‭-‬18 (All scriptures quoted from  http://bible.com/NLT)

WOW. Can’t top that.

Father of my Father

Father of my Father

Oh, I pray this day comes soon!

  “Rise up, O GOD, and scatter Your enemies. Let those who hate GOD run for their lives. Blow them away like smoke. Melt them like wax in a fire. Let the wicked perish in the presence of GOD. But let the godly REJOICE. Let them be Glad in GOD’S Presence. Let them be filled with Joy. Sing Praises to GOD and to His Name! Sing loud Praises to Him Who rides the clouds. His Name is the LORD – Rejoice in His Presence! FATHER to the fatherless, DEFENDER of widows – this is GOD, Whose dwelling is Holy. GOD places the lonely in families; He sets the prisoners free and gives them Joy. But He makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land…. Praise the LORD; praise GOD our SAVIOR! For each day He carries us in His Arms. Our GOD is a GOD Who saves! The SOVEREIGN LORD rescues us from death. But GOD will smash the heads of His enemies, crushing the skulls of those who love their guilty ways.” – Psalms 68:1‭-‬6‭, ‬19‭-‬21

Many of us are saying “When, LORD? When will we be free; when will we have this Joy You speak of? And when will our enemies be crushed and perish, since so many of them seem to be the ones who prosper th most in this world? ” A thousand years to us is but a day to the LORD, so consider that it has only been a couple of days since Jesus died and rose from the grave. 

  “LORD, through ALL the generations You have been our Home! Before the mountains were born, before You gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are GOD. You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals!” For You, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours.” Psalms 90:1‭-‬4 

When you feel most hopeless, completely mired down with despair, you are not alone…. IF you have accepted Jesus as Savior and allowed the Holy Spirit into your life. I’ve dealt with those feelings, and it was only through the Grace of our Glorious GOD that I made it through them (with a lot of help from the doctors that the LORD has given the talent to help others). I absolutely cannot imagine experiencing all that without GOD on my side! Even when our spouse cheats or abandons us; losing our livelihood, our home, our “stuff” through experiences out of our control; losing a child or beloved family member to death…. The LORD will sustain us, IF we allow Him to. Far too often, we react to bad things by blaming GOD, when we should be looking at the enemy and swath of destruction, Satan’s joy. Satan’s excitement and satisfaction comes from us rejecting GOD; from us blaming our LORD, rather than him. When we turn away from GOD, I imagine he and his demonic beings are doing a little happy dance. BUT, he will get his just rewards:

  “Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse [see, I TOLD you there are horses in heaven!!] was standing there. Its Rider was named FAITHFUL and TRUE, for He judges fairly and wages a righteous war…. On His robe at His thigh was written this title: KING of all kings and LORD of all Lords. And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast – miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” – Revelation 19:11‭, ‬16‭-‬16‭, ‬20 

  “And He (The LORD) also said, “It is finished! I AM the Alpha and the Omega – the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the Water of Life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their GOD, and they will be my children. But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” – Revelation 21:6‭-‬8 

Have you received the Water of Life? Because if you have, we’ll get to meet in heaven with Jesus and all of the saints and our loved ones who have gone before us. HALLELUJAH!
 (All scriptures quoted  http://bible.com/NLT)

I Search For You

 “In the night I search for You; in the morning I earnestly seek You. For only when You come to judge the earth will people learn what is right.” – Isaiah 26:9 

The ultimate oxymoron: If I know that God is always with me, why do I have to look so hard to find Him?

My humble opinion is that we spend so much of our energy and our lives searching, because we have a preconceived idea of WHO and WHAT He is. The problem is that our construct doesn’t match up with the very real and Holy God Who is in front of us…. at least, that’s how it appears to me. Don’t think I’m pointing fingers, because this is an observation I have made concerning my own life; I’ve corroborated my theory by watching others.

It makes me wonder why we try to hard to make our lives, and the lives of others, so difficult and so often painful. Here is what King David had to say about it: 

  “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD GOD, my GOD, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” – 1 Chronicles 28:20a 

If we choose to believe that God is indeed the Be-all and the End-all, instead of the puny little god that we try so hard to make Him in to, we can gain the assurance we so desperately need. It’s incredibly simple, yet so difficult for us. Thus the difficulty.  We have to CHOOSE to trust that what we cannot see; some ONE Who is beyond all that is humanly conceivable. But when we DO choose: 

  “You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a GLORIOUS, INEXPRESSIBLE JOY. The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:8‭-‬9 

Imagine that!

(Scriptures are from  http://bible.com/NLT)

Language 

Language 

Language is an interesting tool that has been defined and refined over the centuries. We have spoken languages, written languages, and signed languages, all in uncountable dialects. Even within one country, even one city, we can find it difficult to understand another person’s way of speaking. We have coded languages for computers… that may well be the most universally used language of all! 

Jesus warns us about our language on several occasions. “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’  But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.” – Matthew 5:21‭-‬22 NLT

And again, James talks about how damaging our words can be: “In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” – James 3:5‭-‬6 NLT

Many, if not all, of us know firsthand how hurtful words can be. We may have grown up hearing how stupid or ugly or worthless we were. We may use sarcasm as a mechanism to hurt others. If you are in a relationship where words are used in a hurtful manner, you may need to rethink WHY you are with that person. For much of my life I used sarcasm as my “second” language to deflect how worthless I felt. Think about how you say things. I struggle constantly with my mouth to combat the biting tone and disrespectful words I use as a defense mechanism. When we speak, the goal should be to uplift someone, not to cut them down. Mom used to tell us ” If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything.” Someday, I will stand in front of God on His Judgment Throne and be chastised for all of my words that were far from good. 

Here’s the thing: we have to submit our tongues to the LORD. He alone can tame our mouths, and we don’t have forever to ask for His help and forgiveness. I do know this: “The LORD isn’t really being slow about His Promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” – 2 Peter 3:9 NLT

I’m really thankful He was (and is) patient with me. 

(All scriptures quoted from  http://bible.com)

Blessed…. and Blessed Some More.

Jesus loved to teach. The following verses are commonly called the Sermon on the Mount, because He was teaching the crowds of people while atop a hill. He used whatever venue He found Himself and used it as a classroom, just talking to His followers. We could take that as an example to follow. 

  “GOD Blesses those who are poor and realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. GOD Blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. GOD Blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. GOD Blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. GOD Blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. GOD Blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see GOD. GOD Blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the Children of GOD. GOD Blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. GOD Blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are My followers.” – Matthew 5:3‭-‬11 NLT

Have I mentioned lately that I am Blessed? It isn’t intended as bragging. Instead, when I take the time to look at my blessings, I am almost blown away by just how truly blessed I am. I could spend my time being upset and jealous that I’m unable to travel or shop whenever I please because of lack of funds, but isn’t it more rewarding to look at what I AM able to do? Looking at others my age, and older, I see so many who who are struggle much more than I do, physically and financially and emotionally. Shoot, I see so many people of ALL ages who are struggling through life, and I know that there, but for the Grace of GOD, go I. 

Why does He allow me such blessings? I certainly don’t think I am anything more special thanks any other person on earth. In fact, should I receive what I DESERVE, well, I really can’t imagine how bad it would be. When I hear someone say “I deserve better….” No, we don’t deserve better. If I had gotten what I deserved, I would have be dead and in hell a very long time ago. Think about it. There is no one who doesn’t sin, and if you think you don’t, then you need to take a long, hard look at your life and attitude. 

I found this song online and it is so appropriate to our lives. (Source: http://www.sing365.com )

I Am Blessed – All-4-One

“Sometimes I stop, Take a look at myself, And realize just what I’ve done.  It’s not that ‘I’m better than’, It’s just that I thought “I can.” I played the odds and I won, 

So I have no right to complain Or feel sorry for myself, When so many more have less. I look around, And I realize,

 I am so blessed, Yes I am blessed. I am so blessed, Yes I am blessed.”

Consider YOUR blessings. You might be surprised with the abundance of blessings in your life! 

(Scriptures are from  http://bible.com )