The State of The State

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:10‭-‬12 NASB

Read the headlines.

Christians around the world are being harassed and persecuted. Think it can’t happen to you? Do you own a business? Work at a church or other Christian organization? Want to hire someone to do some handyman or landscaping work, or a babysitter? Christians school? Then pay attention, because we can no longer ask about a person’s belief’s before hiring them, for fear of being sued.

Take your faith out in public, and in many places, even here in the United States, you face being mocked, degraded, and even pelted with objects or physically attacked. Jesus tells us it will happen, but look at what He goes on to say.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16 NASB

He doesn’t really give us a choice. “Let your light shine…. glorify your Father…. ”

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Give Me the Sense to Follow Your Commands

“You don’t have the sense that God gave a goose!”

Have you ever heard that? It’s an old country saying – and I hope no one has ever said it about you! It’s far from a compliment; geese are not known for their intelligence. The psalmist may have heard it or something similiar, because for whatever reason, he prays that the LORD GOD will give him the sense to follow His Commands instead of his human ideas. We should probably all start our days with these words being the first ones out of our mouths when we wake up:

“You made me; You created me. Now give me the sense to follow Your Commands.” Psalms 119:73 NLT

I think most of our prayers usually go more like this: “God, I need [fill in the blank], and I want [fill in the blank]. Would You please [fill in the blank]. And, oh, thank You for Your Son, Amen.” We are so selfish and self-centered! I’m speaking to myself, here. I want, I need, my desires…. right now. Maybe – probably – God has other plans for me for the right now. My plans don’t take into account the big picture that the God of the Universe is looking at. All I can see is this one teeny tiny bit that is right around me, and yet:

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which GOD has done from the beginning even to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NASB

Instead of worrying and trying to manipulate the circumstances and situations around me, it wold be more prudent for me to remember Who is really in control. I still desire the relationship, but the reality, the actuality of it, is out of my hands. It will serve me better to remember these scriptures, and to spend my time Praising rather than pouting that I haven’t gotten my way. (I know what I should do; now to put it into action!)

Praise the LORD, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples! For His Lovingkindness is great toward us, And the Truth of the LORD is Everlasting. Praise the LORD! Psalms 117:1‭-‬2 NASB

I Can’t Even THINK!!

“Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.” – Psalms 139:4‭-‬6 NASB

I don’t get it. The psalmist nailed it when he said “such knowledge is too wonderful for me…” The KING has laid His Hand on me; He knows what I’m going to think before I think it. That’s a scary thought….. My thoughts aren’t fit for a king. They are filled with my wants and my desires. How often do you think they line up with what GOD wants? Probably not very often. My mind tends toward obsessiveness. Once I focus on something, it’s difficult to bend that focus. Thoughts of ‘it’ swirl through my mind, waking or sleeping. I tell myself to stop. I read. I study. I work on projects. I even do housework (that’s when you know it’s bad!!).

He Knows by Jeremy Camp says “Every time you feel forsaken, every time that you feel alone, He is near to the brokenhearted, every tear….” Isn’t that beautiful? He knows. He knows every time we feel left out, or left behind. He knows every time we feel alone. He knows when we are brokenhearted, and He knows every tear – and I believe He cries with us. He knows. Humbled, the forsaken and the brokenhearted, are in an enviable position with the LORD. He feels every tear that is shed, and He will exalt them in His time.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time…” – 1 Peter 5:6 NASB

Be careful what you think – GOD already knows it! And be careful what you wish for, because He might just give it to you.

Let It Rain

Let it rain, rain down on me….

Crowder, with Mandisa, released a song by this name just a few months ago. It reminds me that God is in control. The same God Who made the sunshine made the rain, and through it all, He is with me. He doesn’t leave us stranded to deal with the rain by ourselves. When it’s “raining”; when everything seems to be against me, I need to remember these words:

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” – Psalms 139:14-‬17 NASB (Read all 24 verses of Psalms 139!)

I am important to God, the LORD of the Universe! He created me; He knew me before I was! In His eyes, I am special. It doesn’t matter what the world thinks, or how they might judge me. I am a child of the Most High King, the One Who rules over every other king and ruler; a Princess in the Kingdom of God.

In other posts, I have been very open about wanting a relationship here on earth, and also about how my choices have been very flawed. I still want that loving, caring relationship, but it’s not in my power to find it or secure it. It is solely in my LORD’s Hands, and He has given me – and other single women and men – guidance through His Scriptures. (If we pay attention to them….)

Is the person you are interested in a Christian? We can’t just depend on hearing the words, but we need to look for the fruits. Does that person attend church? That’s really important. For years, I fought attending, saying that “organized religion” was just something man-made and I could be – I was – spiritual without it. We may be “spiritual” without that association, but we also aren’t growing in our relationship with the LORD. We need to be associating with other Christians. Does he* honor his family? Does he treat you with respect? How is his language? What is his attitude when he doesn’t get his way? (* This is a 2-way street, people. I may be using the pronoun “he”, but it applies to both sexes equally!)

You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” – Matthew 7:16‭-‬20 NASB

Not everyone on earth gets to have a spouse, or someone to love them in that way. I have had the experience and blessing of having a husband who loved me, but he is gone, with our LORD. It has been years, and I want that again, but God seems to have other plans …… and I have to be okay with that. Will I struggle with that desire? Oh yes, without a doubt! I have to continue to search for GOD’s Will; for my LORD’s desires for my life, and accept His way over mine. My prayer today is for every person who is struggling in this area. There is no shame in struggling! Watch out for the red flags, because the Holy Spirit is the One Who is waving them. Study the scriptures, and lean into the Saviour’s arms when that loneliness strikes. He will hold us and never let us go.

GOD Will Chase You Down….

“Then they called on the LORD and said, “We earnestly pray, O LORD, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life and do not put innocent blood on us; for You, O LORD, have done as You have pleased.” So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.”

Jonah was a Prophet, a spokesperson for the LORD to the nation of Israel. He was respected and revered by the people because of his prophesy that Israel would be expanded back to its original borders (2 Kings 14:25) He was the first prophet to be sent specifically to preach judgement to another nation….. and he refused to go. Instead, he ran the opposite direction, boarding a boat to take him far away. He was self-righteous, he had no compassion, and he thought himself better than the people of Nivevah; that they didn’t deserve to be saved. To Jonah, God was a means, not the end – he loved the recognition, comfort, prosperity, and the blessings he received but not the worship of God, and yet in spite of Jonah, God saved the sailors. Those pagan sailors demonstrated more compassion for ONE man than Jonah did for the entire city of Ninevah. Jonah said No to God. Jesus said Yes. I want to be more like Jesus and less like Jonah….. tuned in, listening, paying attention to what God is saying.

Beat the Heat!

It’s hot. HOT. 103°F with a million degrees of humidity. I’m kidding (a little!) on the humidity, but it is really high and it kicks the heat index up. Every winter, when I can’t seem to get warm, I say I can’t wait until summer and the heat…. now I’m ready for some cool weather!

Isn’t this typical of us? Never content.

There’s a new song out by the group Unspoken. It’s called Reason, and starts like this:

This year’s felt like four seasons of winter
And you’d give anything you think to feel the sun
Always reaching always climbing
Always second guessing the timing
But God has a plan a purpose in this
You are His child so don’t you forget

When you feel like giving up
When you feel like giving in
His love is the reason
To keep on believing

Look up the lyrics, or even better, listen to them sing it. I feel like giving up more often that I think I should. Whether it’s because of the heat from the sun or the heat (and wintry chills) of the stresses of life, I second guess my actions and wonder what I’m doing. Remember the hymn Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus? I know that as long as my eyes and my focus are on Jesus, life can’t hurt me. It can knock me down, and events can run run me over, but as long as my eyes are on Jesus, it – life, the enemy – can’t beat me. God has a purpose and a plan, even when (especially when) we can’t see it.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11 NASB

When we belong to Him, His incredible, undefinable, unfathomable LOVE will keep us going. His LOVE is the Reason to keep on believing….

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5‭-‬6 NASB

This summer heat we are experiencing is just an example of the heat, the difficulties, we experience in our spiritual lives when we don’t trust in the LORD. When you feel like giving up, when the coldest chill of winter and the hottest blast of summer roar over your soul, turn your eyes upon Jesus.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His Wonderful Face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the Light of His Glory and Grace

Grace, Compassion, and Justice equal Blessings

“Therefore the LORD longs to be Gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have Compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of Justice; How Blessed are all those who long for Him.” – Isaiah 30:18 NASB

GOD waits on me. He waits on you.

Did you understand that statement? GOD waits on you. He is waiting on me.

Reading the scriptures, the Words of the Living GOD never fail to amaze me. The Truths that are written so matter-of-factly. The miracles. The history. The Almighty Creator put these words into the hands and the mouths of men who put them on paper, so that thousands of years later the words would be here for us to see. Depending on the source you use, some 35-40 actual men put words on paper (or clay or papyrus or parchment) over a period spanning as much as 3400 years. From the very beginning of time, we know there is a Triune God Who loves His creation, and Who made us, humanity, to be with Him. We also know that He gave us the ability through the gift of free will to choose whether we want to be with Him, or without Him. Even when we choose to go our own way, He patiently waits on us.

Who do we think we are that we make the CREATOR wait on us?

What arrogance. What conceit! And yet, He still waits; He even longs for us. Do you remember falling in love? That giddiness you felt in their presence; the longing to be with that person? Just to hear their voice, or to get a note or text? Multiply that a thousand times, and we might get close to knowing how much our LORD longs for us. I’m impatient. I don’t like waiting. I want my love to be here now. I don’t want to wait, and I’m not inclined to be gracious or compassionate about the wait. Isn’t that just like us, though? We want what we want now…… while our GOD waits patiently, graciously, and compassionately for us.

He offers us the shelter of His Mighty wings. His angel army watches over us. The more we learn about the LORD, the more protection we gain from the enemy. How Blessed we are to call Him LORD!!

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” – Psalms 91:1 NASB

Image from Pinterest.com.