Assumption Will Get You NO-Where

When we are little, we make the assumption that our parents and grandparents and family will always love us and protect us. As a young woman, I made the assumption that I would be loved and cherished and provided for by my [first] husband…. and each successive relationship after that. Oh, what a severely flawed assumption! We assume that our babies will outlive us. My parents had assumed that I would finish college… (I didn’t). Especially when we are young, we assume that we will marry the right person and get the right job, the right raises and the right house, and that as a result, life will be good.

How’s that working out for you?

You’ve probably head the phrase, “To Assume make an ass of u (you) and me.” The only safe assumption is the one that is based on reality, and the Truth as found in the Words the Creator:

“I will be Your GOD throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. To whom will you compare Me? Who is My equal? …. Do not forget this! Keep it in mind! Remember this, you guilty ones. Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am GOD! I am GOD, and there is none like Me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish. … Listen to Me, you stubborn people who are so far from doing right. For I am ready to set things right, not in the distant future, but right now!” (Isaiah 46:4‭-‬5‭, ‬8‭-‬10‭, ‬12‭-‬13a NLT)

“For the Grace of GOD has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to GOD, …. (Titus 2:11‭-‬12 NLT)

We can’t rely on assumptions to be accurate or to become reality. The ONE thing, the ONLY thing that we can assume and get right is this: Our sins are forgiven when we accept JESUS as our LORD and SAVIOUR; this is a singular TRUTH! We will continue to sin and get things wrong because we are flawed humans…. but when we are covered in His Grace and His Mercy we can know with certainty that we will get to see JESUS face-to-face, and that’s no assumption!

Without Love

Listen to ‘I Just Need U.’ sung by Toby Mac.

Last night put the heavy on me
Woke up and I’m feeling lonely
This world gotta a way of showing me (showing me)
Some days it’ll lift you up
Some days it’ll call your bluff
Man, most of my days I ain’t got enough….”

Every day, every night, every hour, every second, I just need You, LORD. Without Your Love, I am nothing, but with it, I am everything. We search all over the world, looking for love in mankind, and if we ever think we have found it, we will be disappointed. We (all of humankind) seem to think that we can do what we want, with whom we want, wherever and whenever we choose, and we do it with impunity. When I’m searching for love on earth, and ignoring the only Love that will never let me down, I am living for me rather than GOD. We mock the LORD of the Universe when we decide that our decisions about love and justice are better than His. We often act with impunity, and to what end?

“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of GOD. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.” – Galatians 6:7‭-‬8‭, ‬15 NLT

Without love we are nothing. Paul wrote about love, true, unselfish LOVE, to the church at Corinth. As followers of JESUS CHRIST, we really should take this to heart.

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1‭, ‬7 NLT

While we search for love, GOD, through the sacrifice of the LORD JESUS, and the presence of the HOLY SPIRIT in our lives, He is waiting patiently for each of us to let Him in so that we can experience real Love, lasting Love, never-failing and never-ending LOVE. Without LOVE, I am nothing. With the LOVE of the LORD, I am everything.

Yep. Awkward Is My Middle Name.

Awkward. No confidence…. That’s how I usually feel when I’m in public. I say awkward things, if I can say anything. My mouth gets ahead of my brain, my feet get away from my body, my tongue twists so that words come out wrong – so I cover it with a false bravado. Growing up, I was a gangly kid, and too awkward physically to play organized sports. I have often envied those people who can stand in front of others and sing, or speak, or play an instrument. How wonderful it must be to be at ease in a crowd!

Unlike me, JESUS was never awkward. He grew up knowing exactly Who He was and what His role in life on earth was to be. He was beloved and sought after by thousands of people. First, the shepherds from the hills of Bethlehem, a little later by the Magi – and Herod, who wanted to kill Jesus. When He began His ministry, people from all walks of life, from the outcasts of society to the religious leaders and even some high ranking Roman officals, sought Him out. They sought to learn from Him, and to be healed by Him. Can you imagine?

“The people recognized Jesus at once, and they ran throughout the whole area, carrying sick people on mats to wherever they heard He was. Wherever He went—in villages, cities, or the countryside—they brought the sick out to the marketplaces. They begged Him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of His robe, and all who touched Him were healed.” – Mark 6:54‭b-‬56 NLT

There is one occasion when I don’t feel awkward, and that is when I am privileged to stand and share my testimony of how Jesus saved me from the desperate, downward spiral I was in. He picked me up out of the ugliness, more than once saving my life both literally and spiritually. He can do the same for you. It may be awkward at first, because we are so ingrained that we can take care of ourselves. All I can do is ask, “And how is that working out for you?” (Not so good for me, until I let the LORD have control!)

“And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have ETERNAL LIFE. For this is how GOD Loved the world: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have Eternal Life.” – John 3:14‭-‬16 NLT

(from http://www.VirtueOnline.org)

Obedience To No Earthly King

Watching the amazing fairy-tale wedding of the ‘American Princess’ Megan Markle to Prince Harry this morning, I am awed at the pomp and circumstance, the gilt and lace. Royals have long fascinated the American people, and I am no exception. Imaging being a part of a royal family is something many children dream of, being treated with deference and preferential treatment as a royal Prince or Princess. But here’s the thing: as a follower of CHRIST, I am a royal. I have been adopted into the family of the GOD of the Universe, so I am, indeed, a Princess of the highest order of royalty!

I read that 90% of Americans say they believe in God, but they don’t turn to Him when they are in need or in trouble. Have we really become so arrogant, that we consider our decisions and our will better than tne Almighty Creator GOD? We the people of the United States don’t have an earthly king, but wasn’t our country founded with a supernatural King? Our Constitution and our legal tender bear the words “In God We Trust” ….. but do we, really? I things we are more like the country of Israel when it was written about in the book of Judges:

“In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” – Judges 17:6 NLT

Seems to me that we are doing about as good today as the Israelites were doing then. Idolatry was rampant. There was rape and murder and theft as a matter of everyday life, and it is the same in America today. So many things, and so many people, have replaced the LORD in our lives. America has been struggling for years, becoming more and more morally and ethically compromised, and all of these professing Christians watch – or worse, participate – in the depravity that has become the norm. Our nation, over the past decades, has become a laughing stock to the world. As a people, we have become weak and ineffective. As Christians, people who follow JESUS, we have clear instructions on what we should be doing. We don’t need to show obeisance to any earthly monach (although we should, as a matter of courtesy); we owe obedience to the LORD.

“Then if My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT

We are fortunate to have elected a leader who isn’t afraid to pray or use the Name of God in praise. Pray for our leaders, that they will stand on the Christian principles that this nation was formed upon, and lead us on their knees.

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the LORD, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by GOD. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” – Ephesians 4:1‭-‬2 NLT

Amen.

Guilt Is An UGLY Thing

Guilt is built into us from the moment we begin life. From a two-celled zygote (I remember my high school science!), to a fully-formed baby, to a 100+ year old person, we are guilty of sin. It’s in our DNA, thanks to the decision made millenia ago by the first man and first woman, and it is furthered by our upbringing. ‘You should be ashamed of yourself!’ ‘I can’t believe you would do such a thing.’ Even, ‘You’ll never amount to anything.’ There are hundreds of variations on this theme. Even David, the great and renowned king of Israel, had guilt about his actions. Only one man has ever lived a guilt-free life on this earth, and that man is called Jesus.

“Have Mercy on me, O GOD, because of Your Unfailing Love. Because of Your Great Compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against You, and You alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in Your sight. You will be proved right in what You say, and Your Judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But You desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; You have broken me— now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O GOD. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from Your Presence, and don’t take Your HOLY SPIRIT from me.” – Psalms 51:1‭-‬11 NLT

There is a release from guilt that can only come when we surrender it to the LORD. It’s an incredible release to be free from that burden! My prayer today is that whatever guilt you are hanging on to, no matter what it is, you will let it go. It’s never easy, because we are taught guilt from an early age – but it can be done! Sometimes, too, guilt is caught up in unforgiveness, which makes it doubly difficult to shed. We need to remember that forgivess, or asking for forgiveness, is what we have to do in order to gain freedom ftom guilt. Read David’s song as your prayer today.

Listen to Natalie Grant sing “More Than Anything.”

This is for you, Mom….

Mother’s Day has come and gone. I didn’t call my Mom. I did send a card, but it probably didn’t get there until Monday. I haven’t been to see her in a year. Just because she lives 1000 miles away is not really an excuse. Seriously. As the saying goes, ‘A day late and a dollar short’ …. story of my life. I may not call often, I certainly don’t write or email much, and I don’t make the trip out to Arizona with enough frequency. Quilty as charged; mea culpa.

I love my Mom. She’s my hero. I’ve talked about her before. She should have medals and trophies for the hardship and deprivation she has faced – and overcome – in her life. She is facing still more hardship in the physical and emotional, and she continues in her 90’s to carry on with courage. She is the Proverbs 31 woman (verses 10-31). Her tribe of 6 kids can never show sufficiently show her how much she means to us all. I’m just really impressed she didn’t kill* any of us when we were kids because of our attitudes and actions. (*Figuratively, of course!!) Actually, I can’t wait to see the crowns and accolades she’ll receive when she gets to heaven!

Mom didn’t only have to deal with 6 children, although that task alone scares the bejeebers out of me! She was a preacher’s wife, and not just any kind of preacher, but a Southern Baptist, super-strict, totally dedicated to his job kind of preacher. I loved my Dad (still do!), but the truth is that he was a hard taskmaster, and still demanded more from himself than from anyone around him. Mom was a full-time Mom, full-time wife, full-time helpmeet at the church and at home. I know there were times when she was exhausted both physically and emotionally, but I don’t ever remember her ever giving up. She has inspired and is admired by so many people, including me. My life has been full of poor, and definitely stupid, choices, and I hurt my Mom and my Dad. I have deeply disappointed them. Through it all, they continued to love me and to pray for me, even (maybe especially) when they didn’t like me. She has been steadfast in her love of the LORD, in her love for my Dad, and in her love for her children.

My Mom is my hero. I may not call or write or visit, but she is always in my heart and my mind. I love you, Mom.

(Photo from BayArt.org)

Does It Take Love To Achieve Peace?

That is a question I have grappled with most of my adult life. Does it? As a young adult, I rebelled against the discipline and structure I lived with while growing up. I was a rebel; following the path of my older brother, whom I idolized. Geographically, I didn’t stray as far as he did, but as for the rest….. but it wasn’t a contest then, and it isn’t a contest now. I threw myself into the quest for ‘love’. My brother didn’t love me, at least, not in the way I needed. I rebelled against the strictures of my parent’s teachings, searching for someone who would love me and protect me againt the world. Someone who would have my back. Remember the song, ‘Looking For Love’, sung by Johnny Lee?

I spent a lifetime lookin’ for you …..
I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places
Lookin’ for love in too many faces
Searchin’ their eyes
Lookin’ for traces of what I’m dreaming of
Hoping to find a friend and lover
I’ll bless the day I discover
Another heart lookin’ for love ……

The basic cause of both crime and war, of turning our backs on those who do love us, is the inherent sinfulness of human nature. The world cannot be reborn until men are born again and are at peace with God. I couldn’t be reborn and at peace with myself, or anyone else, until I could be at peace with GOD.

World peace. Who doesn’t want it? I know we won’t see any real, lasting peace until JESUS returns, but I pray for wars to cease, just as I pray for crime to stop. We can have at least a partial peace, if we can individually be at peace… And the only path to true peace is accepting Jesus as your Savior.
I know this from personal experience.

Reckless Love, by Cory Asbury, says:

When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me ….

GOD is fighting for me, and He is fighting for you, because He LOVES us and wants the best for us. Heavenly Father, I pray for all the people who are searching, looking for love in all the wrong places. It is YOU Whose heart we are so frantically searching for. I pray for the peace of the world through individuals surrendering to Your Son, Jesus Christ. Bless all today who are spreading the Gospel, in their homes and workplaces and neighborhoods, as well as those working around the globe. I pray that we can all see that it is only through Your Love that we can acheive any measure of Peace. I pray for the rebel, that they will experience Your divine, inimitable Love, and understand that You are the source of true Love and ultimate Peace.

And JESUS said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the Authority of His Name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up to heaven.” – Luke 24:46‭-‬47‭, ‬51 NLT

“Therefore, since we have been made right in GOD’s sight by Faith, let us have Peace with GOD because of what JESUS CHRIST our LORD has done for us. Because of our Faith, CHRIST has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing GOD’s Glory.” – Romans 5:1‭-‬2 NLT