“For nothing will be impossible with God.”

It is well with my soul. Have you ever listened, really listened, to the words of that hymn? If you can, read the story behind the words Horatio Spafford penned in 1873. In tragedy, he found that “Peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). These are the original lyrics, as noted on Wikipedia:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to knowa
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
A song in the night, oh my soul! b

[a “know” (at the end of the third line) was changed to “say”.
b “A song in the night, oh my soul” (last line)
was changed to “Even so, it is well with my soul”.]

How many of us can say the same as Spafford? Can we lean on our LORD the way Spafford leaned on Him, and go on from tragedy – in peace! – and do the work GOD calls us to? I find it to be a hard task to let go of hurt and resentment, and yes, jealousy, because I compare my life and my hardships to others….. Oh, but that is just looking at the outsides of their lives! Do we really know what those we are looking at with their ‘better’ lives have gone through? Do we know their hardships and their tragedies? No! Even knowing someone well and having a closeup view of their lives doesn’t allow us to understand and to know what they have gone through. As humans, I think we tend to look at others through somewhat rosy glasses, and judge them for having what we think we want/deserve. Perhaps that’s why JESUS said in Matthew 7 not to judge others. For myself, on my own, I find it impossible to have peace and contentment. It is only when I can release the hurt and negativity to my LORD, and lean entirely on Him that I find peace, and then it is truly well with my soul.

Like everything else in life, attaining true Peace – through JESUS CHRIST – is a choice. Like Mary, listen to the words of the angel Gabriel:

“For nothing will be impossible with God.”

And let my answer be as Mary’s: “I am the LORD’s slave. May it be done to me according to your word.” – Luke 1:37‭-‬38 HCSB

Amen.

From the Library of Congress.

Fear Defeated

“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically (literally, do it from the soul), as something done for the LORD and not for men (Ephesians 6:7), knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the LORD. You serve the LORD CHRIST.” – Colossians 3:23‭-‬24 HCSB

“The Breakup Song” by Francesca Battistelli is brand new and worth listening to. So poignantly real for anyone who has been battling with fear…. Talking about the song, she says “Fear is a universal struggle. We all deal with it in different ways, but it holds us back from truly living. I came to the point where I decided I wanted it out of my life for good. This song is my anthem, and I pray it encourages others to break up with fear too.” (http://francescamusic.com/home) She is living the verses in Colossians, sharing her songs and her belief in JESUS CHRIST so beautifully. Another song by Zach Williams, “Fear Is A Liar”, is a powerful reminder that fear is straight from Satan (talk about a GOD-moment, it came on the radio literally as I wrote in the title! Gave me goosebumps! 😎 ) This is what he says about the song “…. we put a face to the name. We were calling out the devil for who he is, and reminding him that he was a liar, and that he has already been defeated. That was the idea for that song. I wanted something that people would relate to, and find hope in. For anybody who was struggling with fear or going through something, I hope this song gives them hope, to call the the devil out.” (http://zachwilliamsmusic.com/home)

There is one way to defeat fear. Call it by its name, and let the LORD take it and defeat it. I live with the fear of the future. How will I manage financially? Where will I be, physically and literally? Will I be alone* for the rest of my life on earth? (*Read my blogs “Just Kill Me Now” and “The LORD Your GOD Is With You.”) Do I live my remaining years on earth with enthusiasm and from my soul, or do I allow Fear, a.k.a. Satan, to defeat me? It’s really a choice that we all face in our lives at one time or another, and I appreciate these songs and take them as my anthems that Fear/Satan IS a liar and that I am “breaking up” with him. My prayer is for the LORD GOD, JESUS CHRIST my SAVIOUR, to defeat him today, in my life and in yours. Praise GOD, we are free at last! Amen!

From Slideshare.net, these are just a few of the fears we might face daily:

LOVE Thy Neighbor

Bono, of U2, said ” ‘Love thy neighbor’ is not a piece of advice. It’s a command.”

He’s right on. It isn’t a suggestion, and it isn’t advice on how to live. GOD, speaking as JESUS CHRIST, said it as a command on how we, as His followers, are really required to live. What better way can we display the Love of the FATHER? When we don’t reach out to the hurting and the lost, it is sin, simply put. Am I guilty? Absolutely. No rock throwing from me. My life is full of insubordination and stubbornness – sin.

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an Advocate with the FATHER – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the Atoning Sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. We know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commands. Whoever says, “I know Him,” but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the Truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys His Word, Love for GOD is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must live as JESUS did.” – 1 John 2:1‭-‬6 NIV

Oh, but I WANT the revenge….. and GOD wants me to LOVE that person??? What? Really???

“Don’t say, “I’ll get even with you for the wrong you did to me!” Wait for the Lord, and he will save you.” Proverbs 20:22

(BIG sigh….) I have to wait. Revenge from me is not the answer. I actually want to let God take care of the people who have winged me (and who I have wronged), because:

“It is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has known what God has prepared for those who love him.” (Isaiah 64:4) 1Cor 2:9

God will judge us. He will judge everyone, and those who chose not to accept Him and follow JESUS will be consigned to an unimaginably horrible eternity. I really don’t wish that on my enemies (well, most of the time I don’t; just being honest!) Then, after the Great White Throne judgement, He will be with us in the new world. EVERYTHING, EVERYONE will be new… NO sorrow. No aches & pains, no disease, no disfigurement. No mosquitoes, no ticks, nothing poisonous. Nothing scratchy or itchy, no ‘fashion police. No discrimination or judgment! Hallelujah!

Come back, Lord Jesus. Maranatha!

Overwhelming

Nothing is too difficult for the LORD. Keep that in mind. When an inventor looks at his creations, isn’t he then the logical person to turn to if there is a problem with said invention? Do we take the invention away from the inventor and say, no, we know better than you do when it comes to your invention? Why do we do that exact thing to the Creator of the universe, the God and inventor of every thing? What conceit and arrogance we show! News flash: He’s bigger, more intimate, and more astute than anything in His creation!

“Ah, Sovereign Lord , you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” – Jeremiah 32:17 NIV

In spite of our actions, our refusal to acknowledge Him, He shows us His Love repeatedly. He doesn’t turn His back on us, but we turn ours on Him. I have a tendency to forget just how big GOD is. As I go through my accumulation of things, preparing to downsize, I am almost overwhelmed by the monumental task. To get my house ready to put on the market next week, I am decluttering and packing away photos and all the tsotchkes that have accumulated over the years. (I have a LOT of stuff!) Next week, with my house on the market, I’m going to help my mom do the same thing as she prepares to move into a smaller space. In the midst of all this chaos, I know that our GOD has it all under control….. but does that keep me from worrying about how and where I will move myself, and how I will be able to pay for it all? Nope, not at all. I’m a worrier, and even as I give it to the LORD, I’m grasping and pulling it back. I am excited for my Mom and her new place. Now to find myself a little house with a little yard close to her…. come on GOD, I really do need that miracle! This verse pops into my mind as a reminder: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24 NIV

Do you need a reminder of GOD’S Great, Compassionate, Reckless Love for you today?

“But GOD demonstrates His OWN Love for us in this: While we were still sinners, CHRIST died for us.” – Romans 5:8 NIV

He has a totally reckless Love for us!

Listen to Reckless Love sung by Cory Asbury

Who Is That Man?

Who do you say Jesus is? People, scholars, have been debating this question since Jesus lived. He has been called liar, fraud, lunatic, and more. I believe we need to take Him very seriously. He can’t be considered a “good man” or “just a prophet” – He is either completely deluded, insane …. or He is truly the Son of GOD made flesh as He claimed. When the Pharisees questioned Him, He answered them with complete confidence and assurance:

“Even if I testify on My own behalf, My testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going.” – John 8:14 NIV

“This made the Jews ask, “Will He kill Himself? Is that why He says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?” But He continued, “You are from below; I am from Above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am He, you will indeed die in your sins.” “Who are you?” they asked. “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. “I have much to say in judgment of you. But He who sent Me is Trustworthy, and what I have heard from Him I tell the world.” They did not understand that he was telling them about His FATHER. So JESUS said, “When you have lifted up [crucified] the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing on My own but speak just what the FATHER has taught Me. The ONE Who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.” – John 8:22‭-‬29 NIV

Jesus used stories, parables, to teach us how we should behave, and to demonstrate how much our FATHER Loves us, but sometimes He spoke plainly so that there could be no mistaking His meaning. Are you confused by these verses? The next verse is quite clear:

If I Glorify Myself, My Glory means nothing. My FATHER, Whom you claim as your GOD, is the One who Glorifies Me.” – John 8:54 NIV

Jesus was humble, never boastful. Everything He said, everything He taught, everything He was, He attributed to His FATHER; all the GLORY was given to the Creator GOD. To me, there is no mistaking the Truth. He is not a “good man.” JESUS is indeed the Son of the Most High GOD. He is the Commander of the Angel Armies, Second-in-command to the LORD and Creator of the Universe. He made the ultimate sacrifice to leave heaven, to bear my sins and to die for me, and He conquered death to redeem us all. He is my Advocate; He will stand beside me when I face GOD at the great white throne judgement. He sent the HOLY SPIRIT to me, to reside with me so that I am never alone. He has saved me from a most horrific eternity, one that I surely deserve, and is preparing a place for me with Him instead. Hallelujah!

I am convinced in His Deity. Are you? Have you opened your heart to His Saving Grace, the Peace and the Joy beyond description? If not, you are missing out! Do you need to delve into more? Search GOD’S divinely inspired book we call the Bible. Start with the book of John, and use a translation that you can understand – I use both the NIV and the NLT, and there are others like the ESV that are excellent as well. Read commentaries such as C.S. Lewis’s Lord, Liar, or Lunatic. Search for the Truth, because if you do, you will find it.

Listen to The Proof of Your Love by for King and Country on their album Crave.

The empty tomb, looking at the empty cross ….. because He is not here; His RISEN!

(Photo from Pinterest)

Am I Living ‘Right’?

“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please GOD, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the LORD JESUS to do this more and more.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:1 NIV

Man, this devotion from Right From The Heart 1-Minute Devotions (day 213) really struck home. I’ve spent a lifetime searching for and choosing the wrong mate. Guess I’ve made a career of it, and quite a successful career, too. Over and over, making the same bad choices, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Oh, wait! That’s the definition of insanity! The devotion is titled “Finding The Right Mate.” Here it is:

Everybody wants to make the right choice in choosing a mate. What a nightmare if we don’t. [Side note: I can testify to the nightmare!] What a blessing if we do. If you are in a serious relationship, ask yourself these questions:
* Is this person my best friend? If not, you’re not ready.
* Do we share common faith and values? If not, you’ll have conflict and drift apart.
* Do family and friends affirm the relationship? Choosing a mate means choosing a family.
* Am I willing to make a lifetime commitment? Marriage is not for trying out. That’s a sure road to divorce.
* Do I want this person to be the parent of my children?
* Do I wake up to every day wanting to be with them versus convincing myself why I like them?
If you can say yes to each of these, you may have found the right one. If not, you may want to slow down or even call it off. But most of all, seek God’s will through prayer and be willing to follow His lead in one of life’s biggest decisions.

Out of all my relationships, and they have been many (believe me when I tell you that I am not proud of that fact!), there was one who fit all of those points. We had a good life together until an addiction to pain pills took over his brain and I was forced to leave for my physical safety. He was flawed, and so was I, but we had always worked things out and trusted and relied on each other. The enemy finds our weakest point and exploits it in every way possible, and in this the enemy succeeded in pulling us apart, but I am confident that I will see him again when I leave this physical body.

When we live according to GOD’S Law rather than submitting to our own desires, we will receive the Peace He offers us. That doesn’t mean we will always get what we want. My desire, and my husband’s desire before the drugs took him from me, was to spend our lives together doing a ministry we loved in the form of our Bed & Breakfast. There was a joy in our working together, and I was really angry for a long time at both him and GOD for allowing our dreams to be destroyed by something as stupis as drugs. Even so, I want that connection, that kind of love, again. I have made my peace with my LORD, and I have forgiven my husband for deserting me. As I live my life day to day, I strive to keep my focus on GOD’S desires rather than my own. Some days, it is really hard to trust that He really does have a plan for me, when all I can seem to do is worry about how I will survive this financial nightmare I am in. What I need to focus on is how I can serve my JESUS. Hear what He says:

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.” – Matthew 25:45 NIV
“For the SON of MAN is going to come in his FATHER’s Glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done.” – Matthew 16:27 NIV

What we do won’t save us, only accepting JESUS as our LORD and SAVIOUR will do that, but what we do does have a direct correlation to our heavenly rewards. I would be content to live in the poorest of hovels in heaven, as long as I am in the Light of His Eternal Glory. ( Although I’d really much prefer not to live in a hovel here on earth…. ) Get the focus off “me” and put the focus on HIM by spending time every day in His Word and in prayer, seeking His Will.

You Shall….. And You Shall Not

I think GOD was pretty clear when He gave Moses and the Israelites the Ten Commandments. Sometimes, though, we need a little nudge or reminder….
* You shall put the LORD GOD above all else. You shall have no other gods before Me. Focus. Read your Bible. Study GOD’s Word. Pray. Share your faith, even when it is scary. Live it.
* You shall put all these things behind the LORD: sports teams, kids, spouse, job, food, drugs, toys (y’all know what I’m talkin’ about here!) You shall not make for yourself an idol.
* You shall watch your language. Be creative with your language rather than cursing the LORD. (Leapin’ lizards! Oh, SNAP! Ah, Snickerdoodle!) You shall not take the Name of the LORD your GOD in vain.
* You shall set aside a day for rest and worship. Remember the Sabbath day. (Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday. Just pick one!)
* You shall Honor your father and mother. Respect!
* You shall forgive (He doesn’t say forget, He says forgive.) You shall not murder (no matter how much the person might deserve it!) Leave it to the courts – whether earthly or divine.
* You shall be faithful to your spouse, in heart, mind, and body. You shall not commit adultery. If you are considering it, just stop it now.
* You shall be honest, whether at work or play, and respect other people’s belongings. You shall not steal.
* You shall refuse to listen to or spread gossip, and always be truthful. You shall not bear false witness. That includes lies and half-truths.
* You shall respect the belongings, and the bodies, of each individual. You shall not covet.You shall not covet.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy [generous], your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy [stingy], your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both GOD and money.” – Matthew 6:22‭-‬24a NIV

Not just money, either. You can’t serve the LORD by being immersed in other things. Back to the second commandment, anything we put in front of GOD, whatever it is, is what you are serving. A football / sports team, your career, money, addition, food, family can all be idols we stumble over (mea culpa; I’m guilty of it, also) when we should be focused on our LORD. It all boils back to the basics. JESUS summed it up in these 4 sentences:

“ ‘Love the LORD your GOD with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37‭-‬40 NIV