HAVE FAITH; MOVE MOUNTAINS

It takes faith to believe.

It takes faith to know that God created the heavens and the earth. It takes faith to believe that Jesus is the son of God and that there is no other way to God but through him.

And yet, once the faith is put into practice, explosive outcomes occur.

Certainly, you remember the part from the movie, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” when Indiana Jones musters up faith to walk off a cliff, hoping that he steps onto a hidden trail. Miraculously, his feet land on a rock pathway. Once he finds the “hidden” path he clearly sees the rest of the route. Though this was just a movie, it is a good example of walking by faith.

We must take the first step of faith. It is in obedience, believing that God will make a way, that miracles happen. He never fails us. He leads us from the moment we, by faith, accept him as our Lord. (He was the one who guided our steps that directed us toward him, in the first place.) And then he continues to guide us in every part of our lives. Instead of seeing with our eyes, we begin the journey of seeing with our heart and hearing with our spirit.

David may have seen a giant in front of him when he faced Goliath, but in his heart, he saw the power of his God and faith arose in his spirit. The same thing happens in each of us. We may see destruction. We may see defeat. We may see hopelessness. Those are the very moments we need to walk by faith, and not by sight. That is when we need to take courage and fight the giants in our lives with the Word of God.

“David replied to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies – the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead body of your men to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel!” 1 Samuel 17:46 & 47 (NLT)

David had unwavering faith in his Lord. He believed with all his heart that the Lord would not just pull him through, but that he would give him wisdom to DEFEAT the giant that taunted him and the God he served. He had such faith that he told his enemy he would die. How dare his enemy defy the God of Heaven.

The giants in our lives will fall, as well. They won’t just fall; they will be destroyed! They will die! The Lord stated that NO weapon formed against us will prosper. (Isaiah 54:17)

It starts with BELIEVING anything is possible. It starts with believing what our Lord says. It starts with faith.

Faith is powerful!

The Lord said that if we had faith, as little as a mustard seed we could move mountains. NOTHING would be impossible. (Matthew 17:20)

Faith was powerful then and it is powerful now.

Even in my personal life, situations that seem impossible to untangle, have been miraculously straightened. And I have heard testimonies of the impossible in the lives of others.

All we need to do is BELIEVE.

Remember the story in the Bible about the father who wanted his son to be delivered from demons that were trying to kill him? He asked Jesus if he was able to help him. Jesus told him that everything is possible for anyone who believes. The father wanted to believe and asked the Lord to help him overcome his unbelief. (Mark 9)

It only takes us to believe and yet, even if we struggle with believing, we need only to ask the Lord to increase our faith. The Lord takes what we give him and expounds on it.

Think about the time Jesus took the small amount of bread and fish and fed 5000! It really IS all about him and the power of HIS hands. We need to simply believe and walk out our faith, no matter how small it may appear. He accomplishes the rest.

Once while at a prayer meeting, we prayed for a local government leader. During the prayer time the Lord showed me a picture. I saw the person we were praying for lift their shield towards heaven. I noticed that the shield itself was not large. It was only the size of a dinner plate, yet the person lifted it confidently in faith. Suddenly I noticed that a large invisible force field begin to shoot out from the small shield. It covered the individual completely.

Then I understood.

The Lord just asks us to lift our shields of faith, no matter what size they may be. He takes our sacrifice, our praise, our faith and creates greatness from it.

As we exercise our faith, he causes it to grow. And soon faith allows us to believe in more miracles. As each prayer is answered our hope rises, our fears lift, and faith becomes our lifestyle.

Living by faith does not mean we have little.
It means we have all that God desires for us.

He is our shield. He is our protector. He is the lifter of our souls.

When Moses put his staff into the sea, it parted. It was not the staff that parted the sea. It was his obedience and his faith that the Lord would deliver him. The Lord did the rest.

Like Moses, our part is to stand in faith and believe. Everything else is in the Lord’s hands. He provides our needs, our miracles.

He is a good God. He is good when there are blessings. He is good when evil appears to prevail. He is good when darkness covers the earth. And he is good when we see a mighty miracle take place.

Quit looking at the impossible situations that appear to be looming. Instead look at the Lord of the host of heaven. Keep your eyes focused on him. Speak to the giants that stand in front of you and say,

“How dare you defy my Lord. I refuse to bow to fear. I refuse to bow to unbelief. My God will supply all my needs. My God will strike down the giants that taunt me. Greater is he that lives in me than he that lives in this world. God will rescue me!”

HAVE FAITH. MOVE MOUNTAINS. BELIEVE.

God bless.

Breakthrough Season

I spent many hours driving on the highway this summer. During times when I was alone in the car, I prayed or simply talked with the Lord. People that may have observed this in the adjacent cars, may have assumed I was simply conversing on Bluetooth.

During one of those conversations I realized that my prayers had become declarations or prophetic proclamations. I began to say, “This summer I prophesy” …. the next word on my tongue was, “breakthrough”. Before I could even get the word out of my mouth the billboard sign on the side of the highway (it was one of these billboards that rotate advertisements) changed. Guess what the word was that filled the billboard?

BREAKTHROUGH

The word seemed to shine like a Vegas neon sign. Of course it was an advertisement of some sort. But the one word that took up most of the sign was BREAKTHROUGH, in bold letters.

Joy, excitement and anticipation filled my heart. Words regarding breakthrough began to spill out of my mouth like a river. I began to declare and believe BREAKTHROUGH over many of my personal situations, some that I have been praying over for years.

Faith bubbled over and I began to declare BREAKTHROUGH for others, for our land and our nation. I felt like I couldn’t contain myself. It was if I was creating life through those words as our Lord did when he created the world.

Suddenly Ezekiel 37: 1- 6 came into my mind.

“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ I said, O Sovereign Lord you alone know.’ Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’ This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know I am the Lord! So, I prophesied as I was commanded….”

Days and weeks later the Lord would put a person or a circumstance on my heart and I would say, “Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. I declare the breath of life to you”, whatever the, “you,” represented. I would prayerfully speak life to people; to hopeless situations, to dead dreams that laid dormant and to promises that were not fulfilled.”

Then today as I was watching TV, a story came on about a tunnel being drilled through 85 miles of bedrock. The commentator made a comment stating (paraphrased) “This is one of the biggest break throughs.” Of course, he was commenting about breaking through the bedrock. But it reminded me of the “Breakthrough” word again.

Now is the time for the biggest breakthroughs in our lives, if we believe.

So, I speak LIFE to each of us and to the prayers and dreams in our hearts that we have been praying for and believing for but have become dormant. There may be things hidden so deep that we may have forgotten them, things that may appear dead. I declare life to those prayers, life to our dreams, life in our churches, life to our land and our nation.

This is not just a word for me, but for each of those who walk in the Light. Take authority of the situations that are surrounding you and speak life by speaking God’s Word into the situation.

Only you and your Lord may know what you are facing. It is time to walk in breakthrough!

LIVE!

Amen and God Bless.

Alive!

Fear, doubt and unbelief seemed to grip the room. No one said a word. I could hear the sound of the others in the room but the darkness hid their faces. Were they filled with the same thoughts that invaded my mind? Thump, thump, thump. I held my hand up to my chest to try to calm the racing of my heart.

“What if, what if this was all there was? What if we were all going to be killed for what we held as truth? What would be the purpose of it all? What would be the purpose of healing the sick, raising the dead, teaching hope for eternity if it all ended with the death of our teacher and our friend? He had brought such hope. Did it just end? Was it over?”

We cannot even imagine the long drawn out hours from the time of Jesus’ death until the day of his resurrection.

We do not know the lies and thoughts that may have penetrated the minds of the disciples and followers the hours that followed his death. They may have seemed so bleak and hopeless.

Three years prior had been glorious! Miracles took place daily. New hope had risen throughout the nation. Jesus spoke with so much wisdom. That kind of wisdom hadn’t been heard of for hundreds of years.

He heard from God!

He taught, encouraged and healed anyone who wanted it. Even the religious and government leaders were stunned by his wisdom.

Just prior to his death, Jesus was riding on a donkey through Jerusalem with what appeared to be victory. Things couldn’t have been better. People adored him!

“The crowd that went ahead of him and that were following him were shouting,
“‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Matthew 21:9 (GWT)

People were waving palm branches and laying out their coats for him. All was glorious.

Then one night, it seemed to take a turn for the worse. Jesus had warned them of this moment. But he also said he would rise from the dead.

Now I ask you, what have you been going through that seems dark, hopeless and desperate?

What was the purpose of following your Lord? There was a time when all may have seemed glorious and you were on top of your game. But then an unforeseen moment came knocking on your door and suddenly your circumstances appeared dark, and your hopes felt like they died and your dreams seemed to be unreachable.

It may seem like God is s…l…o..o..o…w about his promises and you might really feel like you are walking through molasses as you wait for his response. Yet the word paints a different picture.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

He hears the cries of your heart.

Remember:

ON THE THIRD DAY……HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD!!!!!

Your days may seem dark. Your dreams may seem bleak. But DO NOT give up!

THE SAME SPIRIT THAT RAISED CHRIST FROM THE DEAD LIVES IN YOU!!! (Romans 8:11)

Do you even understand how powerful that statement is?

The disciples and other followers of Christ may have not understood right away what was actually taking place the day Jesus died. But their dreams had not died.

Jesus had to die on this earth in order to take the sins of mankind into the pit of hell where he left them.

He did it to steal the keys of death from the enemy of darkness. AND HE DID IT WITH VICTORY.

If we could grasp that the trials we face are temporary and that there really is victory in Christ, we could see with eyes of understanding.

Like Jesus, I say to the darkness that would try to choke me, to the fear that thinks it can befriend me or to the lies that attempt to take space in my mind, “Get behind me satan. You are a stumbling-block to me. (Matthew 16:23)

Remember: JESUS DID NOT STAY IN THAT GRAVE!

So be of good courage followers of Christ. Speak life over your situation and hope into your soul. And share this hope with those who have not tasted his goodness.

Your hope is not dead. HE IS ALIVE!Happy Resurrection Sunday!

God Bless.

When Life Trips You Up

I woke up to a few words that the Lord put on my mind. Well, they are paraphrased because quite frankly I admit that I did not write them down right away. I figured I would remember them. You know how that goes.

(Note to self: Always write down your dreams and/or words from the Lord, ASAP.)

The essence of the words were: “Let go of the things that trip you up. The days are growing evil. You have to remain alert to hear my words.”

The verse that came to my mind is Hebrews 12:1.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set for us.” (NLT)

My first thought: “Seriously, the days are GROWING evil? I cannot imagine them getting worse.”

Then I thought about the things that trip me up and ensnare me, things that bring me down with heaviness.

WEIGHT THAT CAN SLOW US DOWN

Personally, I tend to want to take on all the cares and stress factors that involve my family, my future (their future) the heartaches of the world, the brokenness, the loss, the violence and the lies the world spews. Basically, I have a hard time just letting the cares disappear. I think part of that though, is the compassion of Christ. I pray or intercede often for people and circumstances. That could weigh me down, IF I do not give them to the Lord and leave the tears at the cross.

Also, my mind tends to want to relive past moments where I made an incorrect choice. IF I would let that play over and over in my mind it would drive me mad. But I have to take every thought captive and put it under the blood of Christ and remember that none of us are perfect. In fact, it is our very mistakes that create a testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness and grace. God somehow uses those very things to draw us closer to him.

What kind of things weigh YOU down? Is it fear, anxiety, anger, unforgiveness, frustration, hopelessness, despair? We have all gone down these roads. BUT remember these are just things that the enemy would love to put on us so that we CANNOT walk in triumph; so that we CANNOT walk in victory.

They slow us down.

“But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.” Isaiah 40:31 (GNT)

The answer to the things that slow us down is to wait quietly on the Lord and trust him. Let him renew us. How? By getting to know him through the Word of the Lord and prayer and hanging out with those that know him. We have to cast our cares on him because it is not the Lord that is giving us these thoughts of despair. We need to take authority of our thoughts and verbally put them under the blood of Christ so that we can have peace.

Basically think on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise. (Phil.4:8) How important it is to have our mind and heart in the right place and practice them. That is how we will discover peace. (Phil 4:9)

There are simple “good” things that slow us down, as well.

Too much entertainment can become distracting, so that our minds are filled with other things constantly. That includes sports, TV, gaming, movies, books etc…Don’t get me wrong, these things are okay, BUT if our lives are not balanced they can take up too much time. Maybe you are a workaholic, or fill your time with so much ministry or volunteering that you don’t have time with Jesus. Maybe it is gluttony. That is a big one for the people in America. It’s just easy and the church doesn’t necessarily consider it bad. But it can bring on health issues that can distract you from your calling. And the list continues…

PLEASE UNDERSTAND: There are occasions that life consumes us with family issues or even emergencies. BUT take a few moments a day to seek the Lord, even in your car.

Think about it, what is weighing YOU down so that you are slowing down in the faith?

THE SIN THAT SO EASILY TRIPS US UP

We are not perfect. Each of us have weak areas that are not totally surrendered in our lives. It is these areas where the enemy will try desperately to get into our lives and wreak havoc. Do you tend to lose your temper or hold onto anger? Do you hold grudges and don’t easily forgive? Do you gossip. complain, are given to substance abuse? Are you easily tripped up by sexual immorality or are you lazy or even complacent?  Yes, even complacency will trip you up because the Lord said that he would rather that you were hot or cold. (Revelation 3:16). Perhaps it’s dabbling in dark magic or lying constantly or lusting things or stealing. Again, the list can go on and on.

We all have to deal with the things (or sins) that easily trip us up and become even MORE cautious in those areas of our lives. That sin will knock at your door, so to speak.  Ephesians 4:27 says “do not give the devil a foothold”.

“Be ALERT and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

Whatever it is that may cause you to stumble, put a stop sign up to the enemy of darkness. And by all means DO NOT hang out with those that dabble in those areas. Be wise who you choose as friends.

“Do not be misled. “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)

The Lord reminds us to be sober and vigilant. We need to make time to listen if we want to hear the voice of the Lord. And how much more important it is as the days are growing evil and confusion is consuming the land.

These words were definitely for me. But I know that they are for someone else today, as well.

Finally, I pray that each of us can run the race with endurance so that we can be found faithful when we meet our Lord, and so that we have the energy and wisdom to encourage those around us.

God bless.

This Little Child I Love- why some live in the darkness of truth.

It is hard to imagine or grasp the belief system that took place in barbaric times when people sacrificed humans in order to appease a god. It is even harder to imagine them thinking that the best humans to sacrifice are those of the innocent; their own children.

I am sure there are still some cultures in third world or fourth world countries (these are the most poverty-stricken places; some that are hidden from society) that still may perform these practices today. These are places where there is no concept of a more advanced society or have any political stand. We, from more civilized countries, may be surprised by their pagan belief systems and traditions.

Yet in our civilized, prosperous and educated nation, these practices are still performed. It is not known as sacrifice or even murder. We conceal the practice with the word “abortion”.  To abort means to terminate prematurely. While we cry out in the defense of endangered species, sympathize with the heartbreaking commercials regarding mistreatment of animals and protest with those that have been offended or treated unfairly, our youngest suffer quietly. It seems like common sense to speak up for unborn children — common sense, right? And many do just that. Most do it from the kindness of their hearts.

Today, unlike any time in our past, we have the technology to view the inside of a woman’s womb and see a child moving in real-time. When I was pregnant with the first of my children I didn’t get the joy of viewing the child that grew inside of me through an ultrasound. But I was able to view my last child move around even though I was less than 2 months pregnant. Today it is common practice to have an ultrasound. Even 3D and 4D ultrasounds are available.

We can now watch time-lapsed videos from the moment of conception to a full term baby. The creation and development of a human life is breathtaking.

So the argument is not necessarily whether it is a child or not, although some would still argue that statement. To me it just seems obvious and common sense. But the argument is based out of fear. It is the fear of the future for the mother and/or the baby. It is the fear of timing and inconvenience or shame. It is the fear that women will lose their “rights”. We are led to believe that the woman is being dictated what to do with her own body. While it is her body that is hosting the child while it develops, it is another person altogether, growing inside her. It isn’t her body that will be aborted or terminated or “murdered”.  It is another person that will feel the sweep of a painful death.

The reason I am bringing up this extremely debatable subject today is because it has been getting a lot of attention recently.  It has been a hot topic since 1973 with the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision. But it hadn’t been discussed a whole lot on social media until Kavanaugh became a Justice of the Supreme Court. The fear that Roe vs Wade will be challenged is causing states, such as New York, to push an agenda that legalizes abortion up to full term.

People are so desperate to keep this legal and sear the conscience of this act that it has gone from a quiet private decision to bragging rights and celebration. It has been taken out of the closet, so to speak, and put on the stage for debate. I suppose that is a good thing because now it is getting the attention it deserves.

I wish so desperately that this wasn’t even up for debate. I wish I could simply ignore it and pretend it is not taking place. I hate knowing that unborn children are enduring incredible pain as they are murdered while society applauds.

If you are wondering how our society has taken so many steps backward just read Ephesians 4:18.

“Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their mind and hardened their hearts against him.” (NLT)

It would be good to read all of Romans 1 to understand where this thinking comes from but let me just add a few verses from the New International Version:

21- 22 – For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.

28 – Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

32 –  Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they no only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

You might asked, “What about Abraham? Wasn’t he going to sacrifice his own child?”

The story of Abraham obeying the Lord to sacrifice his son, Isaac, is found in Genesis 22.  Abraham hears the voice of the Lord to sacrifice his son. Isaac was the promise that was given to him (and the promise of many descendants) and he was willing to sacrifice that promise. He was trusting that God knew what he was doing. Abraham begins to obey the Lord, but the angel of the Lord stops him. God sees the obedient heart of Abraham, a man committed to him, and provides a ram instead.

Some say that the event went beyond obedience. It was the Lord’s hand stopping the shedding of child sacrifice altogether as it probably was more common in the cultures of the day to foreign gods.

It was also foreshadowing the steps that our heavenly Father would take to make a way for all sin to be paid for.  You see, blood has always been needed to cover sins. Before Christ, the priest would sacrifice a clean animal for the sins of the people. But God sent his son as a sacrifice for all mankind. His blood represents more than innocent blood being shed. It is the victorious blood of the Son of God which has the power to set us free from eternal death!

The blood of Jesus pays for all our sins, even those of abortion. Yes I do believe that is a sin, either done in ignorance or because of a hardened heart. But God has made a way for each of us to come to the Lord THROUGH HIS GRACE.

This is NOT a “bash you” because you had an abortion.  Instead this is to let you know there is another way. It is coming into agreement with the only true God, pleading that all should come to him. It is letting you know there is a place of forgiveness and peace. Sin brings grief.  James 1:15 states that when sin is completely developed or full-grown it gives birth to death. Hence God made a way to give us eternal life with him, through Jesus.

I understand that life choices can be very difficult and I understand that being pregnant may not have been a choice. I have been there. I was not ready when I was 19 and by 45 I had other plans. But when the nurse started to hand me a pamphlet with information regarding an abortion I KNEW that wasn’t an option. I knew that I could not even touch the paper it was written on. My heart was steadfast that God would make a way. Life is hard, but God can change a difficult situation into joy.

Some of you may not know there can be another way.

So with compassion in my heart I pray for those in difficult situations. Join me in this prayer:

Lord I pray that you will open the eyes of those lost in darkness. Give them grace to come to you with hearts of repentance. And give hope to those who honestly feel that this is the only way. Rescue the children that are being sacrificed and rescue the moms who are considering this or have already walked through this heartache. Finally, rescue those that perform these acts and those who have the power to change laws. Open their eyes. Lord have mercy on each of us.– Amen

As always, God Bless.

 

 

 

 

Escaping the grasp of hell

I am forwarding this short message or dream from Jeremiah Johnson Ministries. This is actually from one of  his Facebook sites dated June 23, 2018. I found it extremely enlightening, yet challenging and quit sobering. If you have not had the opportunity to read this, you might want to take a moment out of your time.

I WENT TO HELL AND WAS TOTALLY SHOCKED

Several months ago while I was extensively studying Matthew 7:22-24 and asking God for increased revelation, I had one of the most disturbing prophetic dreams of my life. The Scripture I was studying in Matthew says, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name did we not cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.”

In the prophetic dream, I was taken to hell where I saw all these ministers and individuals who had performed miracles, cast out demons, and prophesied. What I was shown next, I will never forget. The Holy Spirit showed me long lines of people behind all of these ministers and individuals. He immediately revealed to me that these were all the people that had received the miracles, prophecies, and had been at one time delivered. As I gazed at the people in these lines, He said to me, “Did they not RECEIVE miracles, prophecy, and deliverance, yet I never knew them?”

I woke up from the dream alarmed and startled. I said to the Holy Spirit, “So there are not only people that will perform signs, wonders, and miracles that will be sent to hell, but also people who receive all these things that will also be in hell. Why?” Immediately the Holy Spirit spoke again to me and said, “Because those that worked miracles, prophesied, and cast out demons never preached the full gospel of Jesus Christ which is the message of repentance. They were so in love with the gifts that I had given them that people became trophies and souvenirs to them. When My power would manifest in their ministries, they would tell people that I loved them, but never that they needed to repent for their sins. I tell you that a great deception will sweep over the signs and wonders movement in the earth. Beware of the ministries where miracles and prophecies will flow, but the message of repentance is a no go. You have been warned”. Then I woke up.

Will you pray with me today that ministers and individuals who move in God’s power will not only live a lifestyle of repentance but also preach it? What if people getting healed, delivered, and prophesied to, and only told God loves them isn’t the full gospel message? What if repentance and holiness is the full gospel message too?

-Jeremiah Johnson

I have often read the same verses with curiosity. How could God state that he never knew those who walked in the knowledge of him? And how could people who walked in the revelation of the Lord, be deceived into not understanding the importance of repentance?

Was it because they never had a relationship with the Lord in the first place? Did they love the signs of the Lord but never truly love the Lord? Does this message of “love” that is being preached from some pulpits, never explain the need for repentance? According to the dream the “whole” gospel is not being preached. Love without total surrender or commitment is artificial love, at best.

The dream reminded me of the parable of the ten virgins found in Matthew 25. Ten virgins had all fallen asleep as they were waiting for the bridegroom (Jesus). At the midnight hour the announcement of the coming of the bridegroom was heard and they all woke up. The Bible states that five virgins were wise because they had extra oil for their lamps to stay lit. They were ready. The other five, who were foolish because didn’t have enough oil to keep their fire burning, left to buy more. While they were gone they missed the bridegroom’s return.

“Later, the others also came, ‘Lord, Lord’, they said, ‘open the door for us.!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Matthew 25:11-12

Will people enter hell under the assumption they were in right standing with the Lord only to discover that the Lord never knew them? Of course he knows us each by name, but they never wanted a “real relationship” with God; not enough to repent of their sins, turn from their wicked ways and follow him.

I think about the message Billy Graham preached. It was always one of repentance.  At every meeting the song that was played was, “Just As I Am”. We are invited to come to the Lord as we are. Yet, the blood of Christ was not shed so that we can stay in our sins, and never change. We come in repentance. As we continue having a reverent repentant heart towards the Lord, we will begin to eventually look like our Lord, because we will change from glory to glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Where do you stand? What do you think about this dream? Is it just someone’s dream? Or is it really a warning to make sure that our hearts are in the right place? If you have never had the opportunity or knowledge that you are welcomed to know the savior of the world, this is it.

John 3:16 is a popular verse that explains salvation as it is. “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.” (NIV)

Please don’t walk away from the greatest invitation you will ever receive, to be in the presence of the Almighty forever and escape the hell and fire that was created for the demons of darkness. This invitation is not only for the life to come, but for you to enjoy now!

God DOES love you. He desires that you repent and accept his forgiveness and be set free. You will NEVER regret that choice.

God bless.

This is a new day.

I haven’t been blogging for some time. So much change is happening in my life that I have not had a moment to sit down and write. Our family has made a major move and we are still in the realm of this transition — and might be for a while.

I have often written about trust, about faith, about remembering the hand of God in our lives, to bring encouragement. We all need hope.

Recently I have had that trust and faith tested as I walk out my hope of the promises of God. We cannot always see with our eyes all the promises that he has made to each of us. It seems the enemy is always trying to distract us with something else, whether it is poor health, poor decisions or just simple daily chaos.

Do you remember the movie, “Patriot“? In one of the clips it appears that the regiment of Carolina patriots are being defeated by the British military. The regiment feels defeated and is about to retreat when Benjamin Martin, played by Mel Gibson, picks up the flag and screams, “Do not retreat.”  He carries the flag as he runs with the last bit of energy he has left. Instead of retreat, the regiment is revived with hope and strength.

When a person feels defeated sometimes they want to retreat. That is when it is important to remember our position in Christ and that we are ALREADY the victor. When Jesus said, it is finished, he meant it. He defeated the enemy. Like a flag flying in the sky, he was lifted on a cross. How much greater of an encouragement is it to serve our Lord who died for our sins and rose from the dead with the keys of death and hell in his hands. We aren’t suppose to retreat- but run as a victor with trust and faith as our guides.

We are soldiers cloaked in the armor of God with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the word of God.(Ephesians 6:14-17) We are marching in victory with the captain of the hosts by our side. And he isn’t a weak defeated captain.

This warrior that fights with us and for us is found in Revelation:

“He was wearing a robe that reached his feet. He wore a gold belt around his waist. His head and his hair were white as wool — like snow. His eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like glowing bronze refined in a furnace. His voice was like the sound of raging water. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword. His face was like the sun when it shines in all its brightness.

When I saw him, I feel down like a dead man!  Then he laid his right hand on me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid! I am the first and the last, the living one. I was dead, but now I am alive forever. I have the keys of death and hell’.” Revelation 1: 13b-17 (GWT)

Sometimes I think we forget who our Lord is. Instead we look at circumstances or the way we use to do things or the way the world would expect us to react and we plan our future with that knowledge, instead of with his wisdom.

I heard an interesting testimony from someone lately which stuck with me. Apparently this individual had a vision. They saw themselves riding on a horse, but instead of facing forward they were sitting on their horse backward. And the Lord asked them why they were riding their horse backward and looking so intently on things in the past?

God does not encourage us to look at our past. He wants us to remember HIS faithfulness in our past but to let go of OUR past, whether it was past mistakes or simply the way things use to be done. Instead he encourages us to look into our future. Though he is the same, yesterday, today and forever, we should not remain the same since he has been working in our lives and taking us from glory to glory.

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it (perfection in the Lord) but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God , through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)

So though I have some great memories and it is fun to reminisce about them and share stories of victory, I do not want to dwell in my yesterdays — good or bad. This is a new day. Instead I want to be as Paul and press on to what lies ahead. I trust that my God will walk me through transition. As a caterpillar is hidden in a cocoon before it has changed into a butterfly that soars in beauty and freedom, so I rest in his goodness and grace as He opens these doors of transition.

Then I will fly a bit higher in HIM. Amen

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)

Do nice guys finish last?

I used to wake up every morning and ask the Lord to help me to be “nice”. You see I worked in the customer service department and well, if you work with customers you have to put on your “nice” face. And some of the individuals that worked with me were not the easiest to get along with either. So I just wanted to be able to be nice to those around me, and learn to be nice in general.

I thought I was getting one step ahead as I began each day. It was all good until I mentioned it to someone— interchanging the words nice and kind. The individual casually mentioned that being nice and being kind are two different actions. Apparently they weren’t synonyms like I assumed. I was stumped and decided that I would do some of my own research on the subject.

I started in the dictionary and found that a couple of the definitions for the word nice are pleasant and agreeable. Hmm. That seems right. But I cannot be agreeable on all things with all people. A few sites explained nice as being polite with good manners.

If you look at the life of Jesus you would find that he wasn’t pleasant or agreeable all the time. Truth was far more important to him than simply being pleasant or agreeable or even polite. What happened when Jesus found the money changers in the temple?

“So he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their table. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”  John 2:14-17 (NIV)

Wow, that wasn’t very nice!

Nor was he nice when he told the Pharisees that they were hypocrites or whitewashed tombs. Nor was he nice when he looked at Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Matthew 16:23 (NLT)  There were many other occasions when he did things that may not have seemed polite, agreeable or pleasant.

Why?

Because he didn’t come to this earth to be pleasant. He is not Santa Claus, trying to spread Christmas cheer.  He came to bring truth. Many people DON’T want to be told truth. They just want to hear wonderful things.

“For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. they will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3 (NLV)

There are a lot of NICE Christians and NICE churches. I have heard it said that we should just accept people the way they are PERIOD. Churches are being consumed with fun activities to draw in the lost– all the while sin is  being ignored.

If a baker chooses not to make a cake for an event that bothers his conscience he is considered intolerant or to put is simply — “not nice” and can be sued. We shouldn’t talk about conviction, about sin, about changing our hearts, about sacrifice or eternity. Someone might get offended and that isn’t nice.

Why can’t we all just be NICE?

The problem with just being nice is that it is a facade. There is no substance in it. So when you are having a bad day niceness can turn into ugliness in a minute flat. I’ve had people be nice to me one minute and the very next want to claw out my eyeballs. On the flip side, I’ve been the nice person, biting my tongue, becoming a push over so I could appear pleasant and yet squirming inside.

I continued my research, this time from the Bible. Of course I didn’t find the actual word nice, but I knew the word kind or kindness was there. Most believers are aware that kindness is one of the attributes of the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Nice on the other hand, not being part of the fruit of the Spirit, has no strength or foundation. It is like building your house on the sand and not on the rock of Christ. (Matthew 7:24-27) When a storm comes, nice will not suffice.

Kindness led by the Holy Spirit is a God-given quality of compassion, generosity and understanding. It is considerate, not expecting anything in return. It far exceeds the act of just being nice.

Jesus showed these qualities. He forgave the adulteress but warned her to sin no more. He wasn’t just being nice, telling her that he accepted her lifestyle. But he was filled with kindness and forgiveness.

He showed kindness to the lost, kindness to the broken, kindness towards the sick and even the lepers (which was unheard of), kindness towards the tax collectors and those that were rejected by the world. He gathered the little children around him and showed them love and acceptance when the disciples were telling them to leave him alone.

Yet people wanted him dead! Why? He had healed the sick and even brought some back to life. But they wanted him dead because he had disrupted their lives. He had offended them by speaking truth. Truth STILL offends people today because sometimes it isn’t NICE.

People want to shut down the voice of truth.

Digging deeper I discovered this on wordcentral.com:

Main Entry: nice
Pronunciation: primarystressnimacrs
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English nice “foolish, stupid,” from early French nice (same meaning), from Latin nescius “ignorant,” from nescire “not to know,” from ne- “not” and scire “to know” –related to SCIENCE
1 : finicky in tastes or habits
2 a : not obvious : SUBTLE <a nice distinction> b : having the ability to notice small differences <a nice ear for music>
3 : PLEASING, AGREEABLE <a nice time> <a nice person>
4 : well behaved : RESPECTABLE <wasn’t a nice thing to do>
nice·ly adverb
nice·ness noun
Word History Five hundred years ago, when nice was first used in English, it meant “foolish or stupid.” This is not as surprising as it may seem, since it came through early French from the Latin nescius, meaning “ignorant.” By the 16th century, the sense of being “very particular” or “finicky” had developed. In the 19th century, nice came to mean “pleasant or agreeable” and then “respectable,” a sense quite unlike its original meaning.

After reading the word history I realized that every morning when I was asking the Lord to make me nice, maybe I was really asking him to make me foolish, stupid, ignorant or perhaps finicky and at best agreeable or pleasant. Blah.

It makes me think about Garth Brook’s song, “Unanswered Prayers”. Anyway God knew my heart. He knew what I really wanted was to learn to be kind.  And he allowed me to go through circumstances that would help me to understand what kindness vs niceness was really all about.

So back to the question from the title: Do nice guys finish last? I would say, yes they do UNLESS they walk in the fruit of the Spirit of kindness, as well. Don’t get me wrong I believe that being polite, having manners and being pleasant are fine qualities and should be part of our lives. But just being nice will not sustain you in this world. It will gobble you up.

“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” Romans 2:4 (NLT)

“Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you because you belong to Christ.” Ephesians 4:32 (TLB)

Lord, teach me to be kind.

Amen and God bless.

 

 

 

How can I love?

LOVE is a strong word yet used so freely in our society. Young girls think they LOVE a pop star, little kids think they LOVE candy, a tired employee thinks he LOVES a vacation. (Well that one might be true to an extent. LOL). Expressions and explanations of  LOVE could fill a book. Even website meanings are slightly different as the word seems to evolve and conform to different circumstances. It is like it is alive and takes on many forms.

When I attended a Sunday school class in my junior high years our teacher read the “love chapter” from the Bible. If you have been a follower of the Lord for any amount of time you have probably read it or at least heard about it. It lists what love is supposed to look like and what it is not. The love message is found in the book of 1 Corinthians, chapter 13. The explanation goes from verse 4 through the first part of 8.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.  (NIV)

After my teacher finished reading the material she asked us to insert our names in the place of love. Well, that was disappointing. I suppose she was trying to prove how far we are from loving others. She did a good job because I fell extremely short.

Eons later and that message has never left my mind. Still whenever I read that chapter I tend to put my name in it and again it seems to have the same effect. I suppose it is similar to the commandments. It shows our humanity and our need for a savior.

The message of love is obviously not contained in that one chapter. It is riddle throughout the Word of God. It is the purpose God created us and sent his son to this earth. (John 3:16) It is the purpose Jesus died for our sins–stole the keys of sin and death from satan– and THEN came back to LIFE. It is the purpose for our lives.

In the gospels we find one of the teachers of the time wanting to test Jesus and asked him what the greatest commandment was. Again the word LOVE appears.

Jesus answered him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Matt.22:37-39 (GWT)

What struck me was AS you love yourself. Hmm. How much do I love myself? I mean, I take care of myself, right? The question is: do I take GOOD care of myself? Do I want what is best for me–not selfishly– but do I actually feed myself what is healthy, am I careful what I watch, what I agree with, or who I hang out with? I think the thought of loving oneself has been considered selfish at times. But how can we really love others IF we don’t even love ourselves.

In Ephesians we read that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for the church. It continues by stating that husbands are to love their wives as they love THEMSELVES.

A man who loves his wife loves HIMSELF. Eph 5:28b (GWT)

So to love others really we must begin by loving God. Then continue the process by loving ourselves. Out of that will flow love for others. So I regress to the “love chapter”.  Instead of putting my name in place of LOVE, I actually checked to see if I even love myself. I began by stating, “I am patient with myself, I am kind to myself.”  It is obviously important to the Lord to learn to love ourselves so that we can love others.

But back to the greatest commandment: to love God with ALL our heart, soul and mind. That sounds wonderful. And I want to love him. But really even that is a gift from God. We can’t even love without him giving us the ability to do so in the first place.

1 John 4:19 ” We love BECAUSE God loved us first.”

In fact, though we state we love others, things or events those statements are just a show of affection towards something else. Perhaps LOVE is not just a show of affection. Perhaps it just is. Perhaps instead of a verb or even a common noun it is a proper noun.

LOVE = GOD. God isn’t just showing affection. But he IS the affection. It isn’t JUST one of his attributes, but WHO he is. The Word states as much in 1 John 4 :8b and 16b.

“GOD is LOVE.”

So back to “love chapter”. Replace love with GOD.

GOD is patient.
GOD is kind.
GOD is not envious, nor boastful or proud.
GOD does not dishonor others, nor is self-seeking.
GOD is not easily angered, nor keeps record of wrongs.
GOD does not delight in evil, but rejoices with truth.
GOD always protects
GOD always trusts.
GOD always hopes.
GOD always perseveres.

GOD NEVER FAILS.

I know I fall short of the above description of LOVE but I also know that when I surrender myself to my heavenly Father he covers the area of my failures and begins a beautiful work in me. We are always being changed into his image as we allow God to work in our lives. It is a process. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Lord,
Thank you for your love. Teach me to love as you do. Teach me to love myself. Teach me to love others. And ultimately teach me to love you with all of my heart, soul and mind. Amen.

God bless.

And, now these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

 

The Light

As the holidays approach I am reminded of so many people who have faced tragedy this year. There are several people I know personally who lost loved ones — not to mention the national tragedies that plagued our land.

This poem is for them:

The Christmas season is upon us.
There are gifts tucked safe under a tree.
Little hearts anxiously wait
For what seems like eternity.

People are rushing; excitement is bustling
All is merry and bright.
But someone is mourning this season
Because everything is not cheery or right.

Perhaps you lost a child this year.
Perhaps you lost your dad.
Perhaps you lost your home
Or everything you had.

The world didn’t stop
Because tragedy struck.
It spun in its cycle without care.

And Christmas arrived
Though you are broken inside
With hurt that’s incredibly hard to bear.

It is for you that the Christ child
Came from heaven above.
It is for you that He still opens
His arms with mercy and with love.

It’s okay to weep over heartache.
It’s okay to weep over loss.
That is why God sent his son-
To take your pain upon the cross.

He longs to give you hope
In a world full of fear and despair.
To give you peace unlike the world
That doesn’t remember or care.

And in the midst of your chaos
I pray that God holds your hand.
That you find the comfort you long for.
That you know HE still has a plan.

The merriment of the holidays are blaring
You may want to ignore it all.
But I pray that you feel God’s presence instead.
And He answers your heart when you call.

The Christmas season is upon us
All may not be merry or bright
But He can shine in the midst of your mourning.
Follow the star, He’ll be your LIGHT.

Amen and God bless.