The Warrior

The battle blazes and the fight continues. The warrior looks up and sees another flaming arrow flying towards her and her comrades. Without hesitation she maneuvers her shield high into the air, stopping the arrow from piercing her or those she has grown to love and admire. It almost knocks her off her feet. She is not wounded, but exhausted.

This particular battle has been raging for some time. She has been using all her training techniques but lately she has been distracted by other cares. Her mind is on things that take her thoughts to places that her commanding officer has warned is a distraction. Lately it seems she cannot focus.

She knows she has to learn to think about things that bring hope and not allow thoughts of despair to paralyze her. The commander has warned her to think about things that bring peace, especially while in battle. She must stay sharp.

Whoosh…another burning arrow flies right towards her. Suddenly a shield swoops in front of her and she hears the thud of the arrow bouncing off of it. This time the shield belongs to her friend. She turns towards her friend. They lock eyes. A smile crosses her friend’s face.

“Don’t worry,” she says. “I got this one.”  They nod at each other as they turn to continue the fight.

The warrior thinks to herself, “My commander is right, my thoughts are distracting me. That arrow could have hit me.”

“Charge!” demands the commander.

The orders produce a power that shakes her from within. With no more distracting thoughts filling her mind, the warrior and those with her charge the enemy with all of their strength. The battle turns from defense to offense. The warrior does what is second nature to her and begins the hand to hand combat with her sword. Strength infuses her weary body.

Suddenly the enemy runs in terror. The hooves of horses can be heard pounding away from the battle ground. The warriors holler in unison as they chase the enemy away. The slaughtered enemy that lay at their feet begin to disintegrate into black smoke, then disappear. They are not of human form but come from devilish soil. At that moment a shout of victory echoes throughout the camp. Another battle has been won. 

Joy fills the air where despair once resided.

Tonight there will be a celebration, a celebration of victory and hope. The tired soldiers can rest for a time. The grateful warrior turns to thank the commanding officer for the training and the tenacity he has taught her. As she reaches out her hand, he pulls her close for a huge papa bear style hug.

“Well, done my child,” he says patting her on the back. “Well done. You didn’t give up when you wanted to. You didn’t quit.”

“But I was distracted by despair. An arrow could have hit me when I lowered my shield,” the warrior says embarrassed by her actions.  The commander simply laughs a hearty laugh as if it isn’t a big deal. “But you weren’t hit. Your friend shielded you. That is why you need one another. Besides, I already won this battle. Did you notice how fast the enemy ran?” he said in triumph between deep chuckles.

She did.

“They always run when they see me pull out my sword. They know that I will only allow my children to go through just so many trials. Once I pull out my sword they screech in their tracks, abruptly turn around and run in fear.”

She knows that his sword is extremely sharp and destructive. As he swings it  in demonstration a brilliant light radiates off the metal causing the entire land to flood with the light.

No wonder the enemy runs away with such speed. There is nowhere to hide. They understand they can be annihilated by the commander at any time so they cower at his greatness. 

A thought rushes through the warriors mind. “If  the commander is for me, then who can stand against me?”

As she lets that sink in, peace floods her mind and her heart.

The battle was his all along.

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That is a synopsis of a moment in the spiritual realm of a warring believer in prayer.

As believers we will always be in some sort of battle. Here are a few things we must remember as we fight in the battle of prayer.

  1. Ultimately every battle belongs to the Lord.
    Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15 (NIV)
  2. We do not fight people.
    “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
  3. We need one another.
    “As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.”
    I Corinthians 12: 20-21 (ESV)
    “Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (GNT)
  4. There is a time for rest.
    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

God is merciful but also fierce. He will defend his own. We have to trust him. We may be warriors but we are also his children.  Be strong, fight diligently and rest in his grace.
God bless

What then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31  (NIV)

 

“The Warrior is a Child”
Twila Paris

Lately I’ve been winning
Battles left and right 
But even winners can get
Wounded in the fight
People say that I’m amazing
Strong beyond my years
But they don’t see inside of me
I’m hiding all the tears

They don’t know that
I go running home when I fall down
They don’t know Who picks me
Up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
“Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child

Unafraid because his armor is the best
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest
People say that I’m amazing
Never face retreat
But they don’t see the enemies
That lay me at his feet.

They don’t know that I go
Running home when I fall down
They don’t know Who picks me
Up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
‘Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child.

 

 

 

 

Grace in time of need

What if you had no control? What if darkness swirled so thick around you that it felt like you could not see your hand in front of your face? What if the silence in your head was so loud that you could hear your own heart beat and wondered what was in your future?

Have you felt that way before? Lost– bewildered–alone? Or worse, witness the horror of suffering or smell the sting of death?

When I first think of a time of great suffering my mind races to World War II and the horror stories that have been shared by the Holocaust victims and I shudder. But I know that suffering has taken place in different parts of the world and different times in our history over and over. Even today people are going through horrific experiences. Just listen to the news.

I simply do not understand pure hatred and violence on a level where humans care so little about another human life. But then I do not understand the evil that the enemy of our souls possess, nor of his bitter rage to destroy anything that represents joy, life or peace.

On the other hand I also don’t pretend to understand nor comprehend the love that our Lord has for us, so much so that he sent his son into this sinful world to defeat sin and death. He could have easily destroyed the world in a combustion of fire.

The Word states that before Jesus took on all the sins of the world he was beaten so brutally that he was unrecognizable. You see crucifix emblems that portray a sweet man wearing a crown of thorns on his head while being nailed to the cross. That is bad enough, but I dare say that the real visual was FAR worse!

He didn’t even look human.

Isaiah 52:14 -“But many were amazed when they saw him. (Jesus.). His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.” (NLT)

On top of the physical degradation; every piece of hatred already spewed out and the hatred that had not even existed in the eyes of those born, he paid for; as well as sickness, lies and sin and even death. All those things were unseen in this dimension. But if we could have seen beyond the physical world into the spiritual realm it would have been a more horrific sight as he carried them into hell.

Isaiah 53:3-6 “He was despised and rejected a man of sorrows, acquainted  with deepest grief. We turned our back on him and looked the other way. He was despised and we did not care. Yet it was OUR weakness he carried; it was OUR sorrow that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for OUR rebellion and cursed for OUR sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. We have left God’s path to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us ALL.” (TLT)

Powerful. The suffering that he endured so we might have an abundant life is a gift of sacrificial love beyond what we can imagine. Yet we quarrel about having to give up sinful lifestyles and think that perhaps he might wink at our sins. Listen! He suffered unimaginable pain and sorrow to set us FREE from the very things we don’t want to give up and lifestyles we have pushed as acceptable.

Or look at the sorrows we see around us; death, brokenness despair. We live in this sinful world where innocent lives are destroyed unmercifully. It’s a world where the thirst for revenge or the thirst for power supersedes all else. The evil filth is sometimes too much to ignore and can weigh us down. Hebrews 12 encourages us to NOT give up.

“We must focus on Jesus the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him so he endured the death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God. Think about Jesus, who endured opposition from sinners, so that you don’t become tired and give up.”
Hebrews 12:2-4 (GWT)

Remember what John 10:10 says. It is one of my favorite verses: “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Often in this world you will face heartaches, some that may seem unbearable. But nothing catches God off guard or is hidden from his view. He knows the beginning of your life until the end. He knows the beginning of this world until its end. He would not have allowed his son to die such a wicked death for nothing. He came to give us abundant life, in this life and into eternity.

Sometimes our circumstances do not seem to dictate abundance. But an abundant life is one that is surrendered to the Lord. It is like Paul who said, “God’s grace is sufficient”. He knew. He suffered for him yet tasted God’s goodness. When the darkness of evil creeps across the land and you cannot seem to see your hand in front of your face– you can still know that the Lord will pick you up and his grace will fill your soul. That is what he does as a loving Father.

Hebrews 4:16
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find GRACE TO HELP US IN OUR TIME OF NEED.” (NIV)

Do you need God’s grace and mercy today? Your Father is willing to pour it into your lives. Ask. He is a great God despite the darkness, because HE is the light that destroys it! AMEN!

God bless.

 

To those that are broken

Twisted – broken,
Out of control.
Spiraling- falling
Deep in a hole.

Confused – Bewildered
Not sure what to do.
Lost – Alone
Can all this be true?

The life I shared
Is now in the ground.
The joy that we had
Has turned upside down.

I cried to the Lord
In my despair.
Did you not know?
Do you not care?

I cried to the Lord
Did you not see?
There was nowhere to run
To hide or to flee.

Why all the hurt?
Why all the fears?
Why all the sadness?
And constant new tears?

I heard him reply:

Dear Child
What you say is true
I know of your anguish
It hurts through and through.

I know there is hurt.
I know there is fear.
I want to hold you close
I won’t abandon you; I’m still here.

This world is broken
Chaotic and lost.
I know the pain.
I know what it cost.

It cost the life
Of my son on the cross
To break all the sin
To heal all the loss.

It wasn’t me
That took the life
It was evil consumed
With hate and with strife

When this world’s sins
Meets its final hour,
The demons that kill
Will flee and will cower.

Until that time comes
My arms will remain open
Its a safe place to heal
A heart that is broken.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

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What are your plans?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

I love plans. I thrive off plans. They give me peace and a sense of direction.  I am not really a “spur of the moment” type of person. Now my husband is completely the opposite.  He floats through life, catching the wind as it blows, excited for where he might land.

Let me give you an example: on our honeymoon I made “plans” and got us into the bridal suite. We stayed there the first night but my husband thought it would be fun to take a ferry to the nearby islands the next day. It was fun. But since he didn’t get a motel reservation we ended up spending the night in our car on the ferry because there were zero rooms available. A convention was in the area. That went over well.

It is also the same with directions. I use to constantly have to do everything exactly by the book. As the years have slipped by I have realized that not everything has to be done according to some unseen book. Yet, general directions are given for a purpose. Without reading the directions my husband decided to build a swing set in the backyard. After he was done he realized that a couple of pieces were not connected properly and that there were extra parts he wasn’t sure what to do with. He looked at me with a sheepish grin and said, “Perhaps I should have read the directions.”

Throughout the adventures of our lives together we have seen the importance of both aspects. And we have changed some viewpoints that we thought were cemented in our personalities.

When I was a little girl my parents moved many times. I didn’t question their purpose or decisions; I just went for the ride. I never knew that there were occasions when they didn’t have definite plans or that they were not always sure about the future. I was just a happy child and simply trusted that whatever they decided to do would be in my best interest. (Of course I didn’t analyze it at the time.) Later in life I discovered that there were times that their only option was to trust God and not themselves, as they entered into the next chapter of their lives.

Unfortunately we are not given a map for every choice we make in life. We are not told to go here for 2 years, then take this job, marry this person, put your kids in this school and perhaps go on a mission trip during this season…blah, blah, blah…

In fact James 4: 13-15 states, ” Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit. Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you out to say, “If the Lord WILLS we will live and do this or that.” (ESV)

We often ask “Lord what is your will?” God says that HE has a plan for us. HE holds the plans for each of our lives. And he states that HIS plans are for our good. There are times I have mentioned to God that I just wish he would hand over those plans. It would be so much easier to navigate through my life if I could simply look at the plans.

Instead he desires for us to trust him and relax in his goodness just like I trusted my parents. I didn’t have a care in the world, except maybe what my new school would be like or who my new friends would be.

He doesn’t always give us a complete picture regarding our future. Sometimes it might start as a desire that begins to stir in our hearts, a thought that crosses our mind, a dream that we had the night before or a longing that cannot be quenched. As soon as we pray about a decision and take a step in that direction, the stirring becomes more evident and doors of opportunity begin to open to make the desire a reality.

The Psalmist states, ” The steps of good men are directed by the Lord. He delights in each step they take.” Psalm 37:23 (TLB) 

He delights in OUR steps! It is like parents that watches their toddler take his first step. They watch him with eagerness and anticipation. And when the child falls they pick him back up and encourage him in his next step.

If God gave us everything at once we wouldn’t need his hand of guidance. We would become self-sufficient and may not seek his advise for direction. We would lose communication with the one that loves us more than anyone can. He created us in his image. He desires that we seek him. He desires that we commune with him. He desires that we dig into his Word (the directions for this life) and get to know him, personally.

He doesn’t give us a bunch of dos and don’ts. He gives us relationship and guidance and comfort and peace and direction. And as much as he delights in our steps he asks us to learn to delight in him. Like I mentioned earlier, he created us in his image. He wants a two-way relationship with us.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord: trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37: 4-5 (ESV)

Do you recall the game, Marco Polo? One person closes his eyes and says, “Marco”.  The others say, “Polo”. Even though the person who is “it” cannot see the other players he follows the voices until he is able to tag another player.

Though not completely the same, it is what we are doing. We may have a blindfold on in life, yet we listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit and follow his lead. When we come to the place where the Holy Spirit leads doors begin to open for us. As we fellowship with the Lord we learn the sound of his voice. He may call us down another path as we enter our next chapter in life.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.” John 10:27 (NIV)

It is similar to the children of Israel that wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. The spirit of God led them by a pillar of cloud during the day and fire by night. (Exodus 13:21) That same God leads each of us in our lives, as well.

Listen. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you? Is he calling your name? Is he leading you in a new direction? You can trust that what he starts in you he will surely complete. (Philippians 1:6)

One day as we look into our past we will see the many doors we traveled through that led us directly into God’s arms. We will be thankful for the doors the Lord opened and the doors that sometimes felt slammed in our faces. We will be grateful that the Lord in his goodness, ordered our steps and grateful that we obeyed his calling; and extremely grateful that he picked us up when we fell.

God Bless.

 

 

 

 

Pray for America

There is a shift in the atmosphere. It has been moving for quite some time but the shift is getting louder and the images are becoming more clear. Do you hear it? Do you see it?

There are forces moving beyond our natural visibility that may not be recognized. But if we look closer to the situations of the hour we will see the heads of deceit and anger and unrest. This is not the unrest of a people group or of a nation, this is an unrest of demonic influences. These forces are fearful of the days ahead as they know their time is short. So their fury is unleashed into the hearts of people who will listen, causing the havoc that we are witnessing during this hour of time.

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorizes of the unseen world, against mighty powers in the dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”  Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

Though I will never choose to make my blog political, politics obviously plays a huge part in our world. We may not be of this world but crazy enough we live in it. Besides, God has used people in the political scene or who carry authority in this earth, for his purpose. So it is worthy of discussion.

Politics has always been in play. Look at Moses. The Lord told him to bring the children of Israel to a place where they could worship outside of the city. He petitioned (familiar word) pharaoh many times. Pharaoh unwittingly played a huge part of that move. Because he fought against the voice of the Lord plagues covered the land and brought the eventual destruction of the Egyptian military, setting the children of Israel free.

Even during the days of Jesus Rome was a city of power filled with political unrest. Some people believe that the disciples first assumed that Jesus would be part of a movement that would overthrow the strong political power of the day.  It made sense as Jesus was a descendent of King David and many times was called the son of David. A couple of the disciples longed to sit on his left and right side in his kingdom. But he informed them that his kingdom was not of this world.

During the Roman Empire religious leaders argued amongst themselves regarding doctrine and beliefs similar to what the church does today. But they united as they used their given power of that time to motivate the crowds to loudly petition the death of Jesus. There was chaos in the streets.

Pontius Pilate gave the Jews a choice which prisoner they would like released during the Passover. He assumed the people would prefer to release the kind teacher who did many miracles. It surprised him that instead they wanted Barabbas who was known for being part of an uprising. Perhaps he was part of the Zealots, a group of people who were bent on overthrowing the Roman Empire–which had become a government of oppression.

This may have caught the first Christians off guard. They had seen the miracles Jesus had performed and believed that he was their answer. Hadn’t Jesus come to deliver them from this political turmoil and oppression as Moses had delivered the children of Israel?  Wasn’t he the one who would help them attain freedom from the mayhem that was swirling around them?

Today when we look at the streets of our towns in America we are appalled by the violence and the hatred. Where is all this anger coming from? Why has there been such a loud shift in the last couple years in our land regarding life, regarding unity, regading respect for our land and our freedom?

Instigators who wanted Jesus killed whispered pandemonium and lies into the ears of those in the crowd to stir up anger and dissatisfaction. The same people who had honored him only a week prior now chanted words of death to Jesus. Today our quiet cities have been stirred by the same sinister voices. There seems to be an underhanded plan to tear down America from the inside out. Those silent initiators may be thinking that they have incited the crowd, but the forces behind their motivation have a much more evil intent, as satan’s only intent is to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10)

I live in a community where races of all colors and creeds work together, shop together, go to the parks together, attend school together and even worship together. All is fine. So I don’t believe that this hatred is all-encompassing.  I think that it has been purposely inspired by those determined to destroy our nation through discord, anger and dissatisfaction.  And the media is playing into the hands of this upheaval, as predicted.

Unfortunately there is already anger and discourse in the hearts of men and woman today. So it doesn’t take much encouragement or coercing for these individuals or groups to attack and scream and lash out and to even kill one another. They may not even be aware of why they are angry or that they are being used as pawns for a greater cause.

I think of Judas Iscariot, known for betraying Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He apparently wasn’t aware that what he was doing would bring such destruction to Jesus nor to himself. He just knew he would be paid greatly for his services, but he ended up paying a greater price. What is the price people are willing to pay who are demonstrating with such rage?

You may feel some exasperation brewing in your souls. You may be frustrated that this attitude of rage and disrespect is playing out in our streets and getting so much attention, knowing it isn’t the voice of the majority. Be careful that you do not fall prey to the anger and become as guilty as those who are creating so much strife.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 (NIV)

Where are we, as believers, suppose to stand in this line of fire? Fortunately we can still express our views without retaliation, I hope. We can protest (though I am beginning to believe that is asking for a playground of violence).  If you feel called you can join those in the political areana or speak out regarding your opinion. And of course, we can always ignore it and put our heads in the sand and “pretend” all is well.

But above all we should PRAY!

Pray together with others; pray without stopping. Pray for truth. Pray for peace. Pray for wisdom. Just pray because apparently prayer moves heaven!!! Go figure.

Remember the story of Peter who was miraculously set free from prison? People had gathered together to pray for him after they had learned that James had been killed. An angel came to his rescue, releasing him from prison. The prayer group was so astonished that he had escaped; that their prayers had actually been answered.

Like I have stated many times in other posts: God is NOT caught off guard. He will use the very circumstances of the day to bring about his truth, his glory and his redemption. It may not be broadcasted on TV or forwarded on social media. But behind the scenes of craziness—- people are still getting set free and saved.

When Jesus died on that cross, circumstances did not look very bright either. What were the first believers suppose to think? The one who promised to deliver them was now dead. But behind the scenes a great story was being played out. The enemy thought he had won the battle. But his plot had initiated the greatest story ever told. Jesus defeated death. He actually went into the belly of hell and took the keys of sin and death from satan. And then he rose back to life and is still offering eternal life for all who want it!

The condition of our country may appear grim. Darkness may seem to have won, but we don’t know what is transpiring behind the scenes. Hallelujah God does.  I have no clue what America may look like in a couple of years. We may see much darker days in this land. Laws may get passed that flabbergast us and go beyond all reason or common sense. Landmarks may come down that defined the history of our country. And our freedom to post our opinions may be monitored or scrutinized.

Should we run? Should we hide? Should we live in fear? I read a book that inspires hope to those in despair. It offers forgiveness to the broken, inspiration to the downtrodden, and eternal life to ANYONE who desires it.

It is the Word of God and it is alive.

“God’s word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God’s word judges a person’s thoughts and intentions.” Hebrews 4:12

There is a shift in the atmosphere. It is a shift of God’s hand moving and preparing our hearts. There is a shift of God wooing us to come to him in the midst of chaos. Do you hear it? Do you see it?

Listen: The voice of the Lord is calling his own.

He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 20:22 (TLT)

 

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HEADLINES

“A tower is consumed in fire, leaving 79 people missing and presumed dead.” 

“A car plows over protestors, one killed, 19 injured.”

” A 3 year-old is missing; parents are being questioned.”

“Stores are laying off thousands of employees as their doors close for good.”

Nuclear weapons are pointed in our direction.”

Terrorist…bombs…death…suicide…gender confusion….political unrest…and so on and so on…

Do you get tired of the depressing news that flows through the flat screen, into your living room or over your car radio, or pops up on-line? Let’s not forget the social media or internet craze where you can slide through article after article of information. Some may be interesting but other can be quite disturbing and it isn’t even a political season.

Our own mind can play our personal thoughts and cares on an endless loop tape…over and over. What do you constantly think about? What plays over and over in your mind?

All these words of gloom or distress plus the anger and fear that seemingly reside in our atmosphere can become overwhelming.

The other night as I was drifting off to sleep the heaviness of the world’s news, the sadness of those going through dark seasons, the cares that the next day may bring kept filling my thoughts. Suddenly Philippians 4:8 came to my mind.

“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.  Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Instead of filling my mind with the news of the land I should be filling it with the hope of Christ. So I began to consider this verse. What does it mean?

So what is TRUE?
The truth is that God loves us. He sent his son to this dying planet to save us from darkness. He IS returning some day. Life does not have to end in defeat. The truth is that no matter what is seen with our eyes there is hope beyond measure in this life and beyond.

What is NOBLE?
Being noble is being virtuous and honorable in a world of self-satisfaction. A noble person thinks of others first, such as giving up a seat on a bus for an elderly person or returning a wallet found on a park bench to the rightful owner– with the money still intact. Or perhaps dying for a world full of lost souls so they can spend eternity with their creator.

What is RIGHT?
It seems the world we live in has lost the definition of right and wrong?  But God is truth and though we have people trying to change that fact and people trying to make a twisted choice as right, it doesn’t matter. God is still right. It is still right to give innocent babies life. It is still right to spread the gospel of hope. It is still right to help those in need.

What is PURE?
Purity is undiluted. It isn’t mixed with properties that would taint it. Purity makes me think of a newborn baby who has not tasted sin. Or perhaps purity is the spilled blood from Christ’s body as he stretched out his arms to die.

What is LOVELY?
It could be your dream home on the ocean front or a field of flowers. I see a tender touch of a mother’s hand on her sleeping child or an elderly couple still holding hands after decades of love, even when faced with trials.

What is ADMIRABLE?
It is when a person risks his own life to save another life by forging into raging waters where a car has overturned. It is when a teacher does not give up on a child who may need extra help.  It is when a doctor flies into a third world country to help those less fortunate; or when parents adopt a special needs child because they long to share the compassion and love that fill their hearts.

What is EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY?
I look around me and see the people I rub shoulders with and know that I live amongst people who are excellent. I see people who have gone through incredible heartache yet whose hearts are still soft because they have allowed the Creator to walk with them through fires of life.  Now they are giving a helping hand to those who experience the same thing.

I look beyond the chaos of this life and I see a purpose. I see a God who is slow to anger and full of grace.  He is waiting for those who will turn to him. He is waiting for you and for me to quiet our hearts and give him our cares.

He is excellent. He is praiseworthy.

So I choose to think about and meditate on the things that bring life and hope. And I thank the Lord that no matter what the news may report, no matter what the movies may portray and no matter what people may say, God is STILL in control.

The events of the day do not change the fact that he is God. It does not throw him off guard or trip him up. He is aware of our future.

His word even states:
” Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:5-7 (NIV)

I pray that you find peace today. Whatever you may be facing or whatever you are listening to that may strike fear in you, I hope you can give it to God! Be careful what you pour into your mind and dwell on. And especially be careful whom you may choose to spend time with.

As you keep your mind on the things that bring hope I pray you find rest in HIS peace.

May the headlines that flow through your mind be true, noble, right, pure, admirable, and worthy of excellence and praise.

God bless.

Rest

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”
-Corrie Ten Boom

When life has gone crazy
And I can’t hear Him speak
When dreams seem blurry
And my knees feel weak-

When it seems like I’m waiting
And waiting some more
When I don’t understand
what I’m even waiting for-

When trouble surrounds me
Like a tempest unleased
When I’m tired and weary
And confusion has increased-

When I say, “Why Lord?”
And don’t hear a sound
When I want to just quit
And stomp on the ground-

When all of these things
Seem to knock at my door
That is the time I put my
Trust in Him more.

That is the time
I rest in the hands
Of my heavenly Father
Who cares and understands.

That is the time
That faith in action grows
When I don’t know the future
But I know that He knows.

If God stood by Noah
When the flood waters rose.
And He stood by Moses
The deliverer He chose.

If He stood by three Hebrews
That were thrown in a fire,
Won’t He stand by us
In our darkest hour?

He said to not worry,
He said to rest in His care.
He can handle our future
He’s already there!

So I trust in you Lord
I surrender each test.
I know that you love me!
In you I will REST!!!

“Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (GWT)

 

 

 

 

 

Do Not Fight the Wind; Face It!

The WIND seems out of control
As I stand looking out to the sea.
Suddenly it stirs familiar strongholds
That were hidden deep inside of me.

The WIND picks up speed.
I’m frightened by its power!
Yet those strongholds are quickly scattered.
Giving me hope in my darkest hour.

The WIND continues to rage on
Splashing salt into my eyes
As heartaches are washed away
Along with old fears and past lies.

The WIND roars with great furry
As I walk into its immense might.
I feel darkness blowing away
And hope replacing the stormy night.

The WIND keeps on howling
But I face it with hope in my heart.
Wisdom whispers truth in my soul
Releasing new vision and a new start.

Where does this wind come from?
And where does it go?
I do not question it,
Nor do I know.

It seems like a violent storm
As it brews with such rage.
Yet it is breaking down the walls
That had held me inside a cage.

Does heartache come from God?
Is pain from him too?
Does he allow darkness at times
So we can begin brand new?

If the winds of life seem too violent,
If the storm wants to hold on
Don’t despair; but trust GOD!
He will give you a new hope and new song.

In spite of the disappointment,
In spite of the raging wind
Trust him to carry you to the other side.
There your new life can begin.

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going, so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

Fear

FEAR

It is real and it is present. And it seems to be rearing its ugly head a lot lately.

Terror–fear on steroids–appears to be trying desperately to gain a lot of attention these days throughout the world.

It only takes turning on the TV or getting online to view the darkness that is overwhelming us. Besides the insidious terrorist attacks there are people shooting wildly at strangers or wielding knives.  Some people seemed to have gone out of their minds rioting and vandalizing or spewing vileness from their mouths that are filled with rage and selfishness.

It is hard to hide from the cyclone of madness. It is in our face daily. If you do not have the resource to hear people talk, or watch the TV or read the paper or get on the Internet you might have the privilege of not knowing the heightened sense of uneasiness and fear that is present.

It would be nice to believe that all is well as you drink your latte’, go to the gym, listen to your music in the car on your way to work or watch your child’s soccer game. But though your backyard might be filled with birds singing and children laughing this madness hangs in the air.

What affects others can affect you. I remember a time when several thousand acres were burning throughout the summer down the road from us. Though I was not personally affected, I ached for those that were, so much so that I couldn’t just “enjoy” my summer. I had to help those in need.  And I did.

Let us not forget how we reached out to one another during 9-1-1.  Now that I hear about all the hurt around us I pray for those that are being affected by terrorist attacks though I am not in the midst. I hurt for those that are involved in shootings, in violent riots, and in day-to-day fear.

Yes, fear and evil have existed since the beginning of time. Some people have endured war in their towns and villages and watched in horror as loved ones have died. Some have endured fear in their neighborhoods because it wasn’t a safe place to live or even in their homes because evil prevailed within their own family. It has always been present.

But then there are others of us who have had the opportunity to have a fairly safe environment to live in, kind neighbors and perhaps a pleasant household. We are not real familiar with the darkness and hatred that can consume the atmosphere.

So when we hear on the news the seemingly constant terrorist attacks it can be frightening, especially when we see it in countries that use to seem fairly safe. Fear can grip our hearts; fear and hopelessness.

But I want to declare that NOTHING on this planet and I mean NOTHING is bigger than our Lord. It is he that should be getting the glory, not the thrill seekers of darkness. HE is the VICTOR and HE is our DELIVERER and HE is our COMFORTER and HE is our PEACE!!!

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

Paul goes on to say in Romans that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Even if we have trouble or are persecuted, or hungry or destitute or in danger or threatened. Despite all that we may endure, we STILL have overwhelming victory.

How we be victorious if we or others around us go through such hardships? The thing is Jesus ALREADY has gotten the victory on the cross. He died, took the keys of death from satan and overcame eternal death for ANYONE who wants it. He rose again so that we can also rise in victory— in this life and in the next.

I heard it said that there are 365 verses in the Bible that state: “Do not be afraid”.  That sounds pretty significant as there are 365 days in a year. God does not want us to live ONE day in fear.

He desires us to understand the power of his blood and of his love so that our minds can be at peace.

“God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

Remember: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” 1 John 4:18

That is not to say that we will not be afraid. But it is to say that God, the God of love, the God of the universe is with us. When fear arises we call upon him. We should learn the  scriptures so that we can put them to the test. We trust the God that inspired it. HE walks with us through darkness, through dangers, through hope, through life, through peace and even through death.

HE WILL NOT LEAVE or FORSAKE us.

In Deuteronomy 31 Moses was handing over the leadership of the children of Israel to Joshua.  Moses told Joshua to let the people know that the Lord was going before them and they were not to panic nor be afraid for he would never leave them or abandon them.

If he is the same yesterday, today and forever then he speaks the same to us. He will not abandon us. Though there seems to be turmoil, he walks with us through it as he did Shadrack, Meshack and Abedndgo. They WERE thrown into the fire for not bowing a knee to an idol. But they were NOT consumed. In fact the Lord stood with them in the fire. Those that threw them in were killed but they did not even smell of smoke.

What about you? Are you steadfast about not bowing to other idols in this life yet are being attacked or persecuted? Are you going through the fire? Have you been affected by the latest terrorist attacks? Or are you fearful of simply going places because of unstable people that might randomly attack you? Perhaps you are experiencing your own battles of sickness, death of loved ones, financial woes or other fears.

God can and WILL walk with you through it, deliver you out of it and even stop any smell of attack that tries to attach itself to you.

I remember once hearing about Christians being attacked in other countries. My heart was so broken that I felt guilty for even worshiping in church. But the Lord reminded me that he inhabits his praise, that the best weapon of defense was to praise his holy name. That is exactly what would usher in his presence, destroying the enemies strongholds.

“The joy of the Lord is my strength and my shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” PS 28:7 (NLT)

I pray that you catch a hold of God’s love for you. That you come to realize that though there is sorrow in the world he is not going to abandon you. He is your refuge and strength in times of trouble.

God bless each of you as you put your trust in the Lord who can save you. I also pray that his peace would surround your hearts. May we believe the words that Jesus spoke and live by them.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” John 14:1 (KJV)