Easter

 

Image result for family friendly pictures of people eating togetherphoto from https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eatingtogether.com%2FImages%2FABOUT.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eatingtogether.com%2FAbout.aspx&docid=1k9lLoAiFwYlRM&tbnid=fdCCcxVQdqKdUM%3A&vet=10ahUKEwjdxNKZ267aAhUq1oMKHXkGCAcQMwh-KDowOg..i&w=540&h=360&bih=637&biw=1366&q=family%20friendly%20pictures%20of%20people%20eating%20together&ved=0ahUKEwjdxNKZ267aAhUq1oMKHXkGCAcQMwh-KDowOg&iact=mrc&uact=8

 

A month ago, after dinner, a devotional on the cross and Resurrection taught by a lady brought tears to her eyes. “I never get tired of hearing of Jesus’ sacrifice and all He went through-the awful beatings, His beard plucked from His face and ultimately, one of the cruelest forms of execution. He took the punishment for my sins and multitudes of others, some of whom end up rejecting Him.”

 

Tonight, we attended the dinner in a different locale and it was my turn to present the devotional. I left my statements and Scripture references early with an open-ended question because the ages of the Christians vary and their years in the faith vary. To say they are mature Christians would be an accurate statement. Completely perfect, impossible. Only Jesus is perfect, back when He walked the earth and now, alive in heaven. They are a group of believers that try to keep their eyes on Jesus and they repent when they mess up, but they sincerely try to follow God’s commands.

 

My text was James 1:5 and then James 1:6-8. God promises us wisdom from Him if we ask with faith. Then I went to James 3:13-18 which tells us in the ASV, (which I downloaded from e-Sword.net):

Wisdom from Above 

Jas 3:13  Who is wise and understanding among you? let him show by his good life his works in meekness of wisdom.

Jas 3:14  But if ye have bitter jealousy and faction in your heart, glory not and lie not against the truth.

Jas 3:15  This wisdom is not a wisdom that cometh down from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

Jas 3:16  For where jealousy and faction are, there is confusion and every vile deed.

Jas 3:17  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy.

Jas 3:18  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for them that make peace.

 

Even when God tells me I’ve done something wrong, the idea may be firm but it’s not condemning, nasty, and/or contradictory to Scripture.

 

So, when I ask God questions like, “Father, what should I do in this situation? Is anything hindering Your will?”

 

I can expect Him to give me the wisdom I’m seeking. In the past, when I needed answers, I’ve asked God what something meant and then I’d hear teachings from pastors or teachers on Christian radio. Sometimes, I’d sense a Scripture pop into my brain and there would be the answer.

Other times, I’d ask my husband or if we were at a different church sitting under a pastor, I’d ask the pastor. God always showed me what I needed to know.

 

What about you?

 

One of the ladies said that she hears from God when she spends quiet time reading the Word and praying and listening for Him and often times it’s such a silent little nudge in her thinking that is outside of her normal way but well within the precepts of Scripture. Once she felt she should share of her bounty with a fellow-believer, but she wanted to be sure and so she prayed for six weeks. She kept sensing the same direction, give to your friend. When she gave her the money she offered an apology for waiting so long. The friend said the income came at just the right time. Our associate said, “Isn’t that just like God? He knew it would take me six weeks to get to the place of obedience, so He started trying to get through six weeks before the need arose. He knew when she would need it. He knew how long it would take me to act. He is incredible and He is gracious.”

 

Many participated, although some did not. One person said he mostly gets what God wants Him to do by reading the Word and as he sees a need before him, he’ll help if he has the means and he’ll pray that he errs on the side of grace. There are times when he doesn’t give because he can tell the person is totally scamming him and is capable of working but chooses not to. Then he spoke about people losing the fear of the Lord, how God is a just Judge, but not completely forgiving and kind and willing to slip-slide around when it comes to His commands. That brought up more discussion. God does forgive when someone truly is sorry and truly starts to turn from their sin. He knows our hearts, our thoughts, every intent, every word we’re about to speak.

 

That’s why He tells us in Proverbs 21:23, (NKJV), “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles.”

 

That’s a good word for me.

 

May God bless you.

Time is of the Essence

photo from:http://www.visitdelaware.com/things-to-do/history-heritage/dupont-mansions-gardens/

Last Sunday at church, I felt as if the Holy Spirit was saying to be ready for the end of life for one or more of the attendees there. That they should be ready or as my husband says, “Keep short accounts with God.”

We all mess up. So, immediately make it right with God by repenting and then if possible, make it right with the person that got hurt by your actions, if that’s the case. I was considering God’s characteristics yesterday, and one of them is that He is a merciful God. He’s a loving God, as well.

Today at the nursing home Bible study we read Matthew 19 and then Matthew 20. Somehow, the conversation came up about God’s forgiveness. I think it was around the passage where the landowner hires workers at the beginning of the day, the earlier part, the middle part and at the end of the day. He paid the last workers first and they received a denarius. The workers that bore the heat and toil of the day expected the landowner to pay them more. He said, “Didn’t you agree to the wages I offered? Why are you jealous over my generosity?”

I got talking about the fact that the Jewish people knew God and were loved by God for many years before He reached out to the Gentiles in a bigger way. The Jewish people received the benefits from God: love, provision, acceptance, mercy and direction. They also experienced discipline, attacks from the devil because of them being God’s chosen people, self-sacrifice through obedience to God which is not always easy but makes for a better life, and occasional chastening when His people followed the Gentile’s gods and ways.

So, as we spoke about these things God’s response to repentance came to mind.

Isa_1:18, (KJV):  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Isa_43:25  I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

Isa_44:22  I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.

Mic_7:19  He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

I thought the Scripture that says God forgives our sins and throws our sins into the sea of forgetfulness was in the book of Isaiah. 🙂

When King Hezekiah was very sick, he said in Isaiah 38:17, (KJV):  “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.”

After this, God healed King Hezekiah.

God amazes me. He loves us unconditionally, but He is a judge and we must believe on Him and His Son and repent and let Him be our Master. That’s what He says in His Word, especially in the book of John. I think that’s why when people become born again, they are often directed to read the Bible and to begin in the book of John.

I hope this finds you well. This earth is only ours to visit for a short time and then we have the opportunity to live in heaven for all of eternity. That’s the promise in John 14:

John 14:1  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

Joh 14:2  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Joh 14:3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

winter walk near biltmore house photo from: http://www.goodsearch.com/search-web?utf8=%E2%9C%93&keywords=Biltmore+mansion

Of course, God’s mansions will far outdo any mansion man can build. Just look at creation and His animals and His people!

May God bless you.

 

I Thought I Was a Christian

Today, when I realized I had less than an hour to get ready for Bible Study, I prayed I’d be out the door in forty minutes. Then I decided that would never happen. I immediately repented. Nothing’s impossible to God, (Luke 18:27). God answered my prayer. 🙂

I only puttered in the kitchen today and showed up early for the nearly 90 year old I pick up at her apartment.

This lady worked hard to get out of the nursing home after a major surgery a couple of years ago. A short stay for a mishap earlier this year and then out again.

The 94 year old born again friend of hers really enjoyed the study today. She’d had Bibles to read from in the past.

Our 89 year old explained today that she was in a denominational church for decades. She even taught children about Jesus. She learned Jesus was good, but she never heard the gospel and the chance for salvation all those years in church.

I think the 94 year old may have attended the same denomination. Some denominational churches believe the Bible is God’s inspired Word, some don’t.

If they don’t believe God inspired the various writers, then they’re free to disregard any part of Scripture that doesn’t fit their philosophy.

I intended to write for one denomination and I decided to study their doctrine so I could please the editor with the writing. When the guidelines asked authors not to address God as Father or give Him a masculine gender, I wrote them saying I wouldn’t be sending them a manuscript after all, and why.

So, my 89 year old friend said she thought she was a Christian all those years and tried to be good, but she couldn’t. Not that born again Christians are perfect, but they are new creatures in Christ, as it states in 2 Corinthians 5:17, (NASB): “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (NASB) says, “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

I wish I could be perfect now, but that’s impossible in this earthly body. So, I run to Jesus when I mess up and tell Him I’m sorry and then experience His grace and His forgiveness and His peace. Thank You, God!

May He bless you.

 

There’s a Song

 

“God is on the move, Hallelujah, God is on the move in many mighty ways,” performed by 7eventh Time Down can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPB9ENSd1Xc. I love that song.

Craig and I went to a birthday party at 4:00 p.m. We caught up with friends, ate a wonderful meal and then gave gifts.  Before we knew what was happening, God began moving on the heart of one of the attendees. Seems there was unseen business to attend to. The person felt God was saying to forgive something never mentioned before. So after a bit of counsel and prayer, the burden got lifted. Joy filled this persons’ countenance.

Another person needed to pray for a release from bitterness against someone who might have been able to intervene in a difficulty they were experiencing, but for whatever reason, the authority figure didn’t approach the perpetrator. The hurting person wants God to show the individual in authority that those crying out for help need to be heard and possibly helped. Again there was prayer after counsel by another person in attendance. Then more prayer and a person with the gift of prophecy spoke encouraging words about turning to God for problem resolution.

There are no perfect persons in this world, but God moves on hearts. He can help a leader see their need to act or at least to say I hear you, I see you.

As I’m typing, I decided to listen to a Youtube video presentation of the WOW top songs of 2016 and I love these songs: www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcnIJYkgVS8&index=3&list=PLWvahZRxLnLMSWeULnub0CCeQzvxGM8hB

My husband and I received a word about our church that encouraged us both. That’s how God is, in my experience. When you go to bless someone else, often times you get blessed as much or more.

I truly feel God is on the move. How about you?

God bless!

I Don’t Want to Hear About It

I attended a Ladies’ Bible Study this week and one of the participants is a pastor’s wife. She started in her twenties and is now at retirement age. In the course of our discussion on how to handle difficulties when they come our way, she remarked that as a pastor’s wife, she’s had to forgive people for gossiping about her. I looked at all the ladies and said, “I’ve not heard about anyone gossiping about me and if they are, I don’t want to hear about it!”

They laughed and one lady started to kid me. 🙂

Truly, if the pastor and his wife are being talked about in an unkind way, the people doing the talking may want to be sure of their facts. I told the ladies that “If the pastor’s wife is being gossiped about, that can cause division in the church.”

We reminded ourselves that God hates gossip, it is akin to murder. Young people today have killed themselves after being harassed on social media sites, so in those cases, gossip literally caused such distress it turned into murder from despair. “Dear God, help our young people to feel valued and to trust in You.”

Consider the servant of Saul, the future King David, a man after God’s own heart. David was being stalked by Saul and his warriors so Saul could kill him. David never took revenge or killed his enemy. He said, “Who am I to kill God’s anointed?”

David wanted to be right with God. He trusted God to work things out in the way God wanted them to go. In the New American Standard Bible it says in Hebrews 10: 30-31, “For we know Him who said, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.’ And again, ‘THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.’ It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

When I’ve been really upset with someone, it helps to think that maybe I don’t know where they’re coming from. What caused that person to slander my name? It hurts, but later I wonder, did I offend them in a way that I need to apologize?

Ultimately, my life is in God’s hands. I can’t make someone be kind and I have no control over those who choose to be cruel. I can only choose my own reactions. If someone decides to gossip and slander me it usually comes back to my attention. Then I deal with it, hopefully with tact and God’s wisdom. I take it to heart not to let the sun go down on my wrath.

When I don’t forgive, I feel lousy physically, emotionally and spiritually. So I’m all for forgiveness, even if it’s not always easy. God bless!

Traveling through New York State

Image result for catskill mountains

My husband and I drove through the Southern Tier to get to Poughkeepsie, NY last week to go to a conference there. The Catskill Mountains towered over our small sedan. Many of the cities end with the word kill. I searched the web to find that “kill” at the end of a location refers to a body of water, like a creek and is from the Dutch influence in America.

We ate a great sub soon after we entered Fishkill, NY. Sal’s Pizzeria and Restaurant caught our eye. We both ordered eggplant subs, mm good. Friendly service made the stop worth making and bears repeating if we head that way again.

Craig and I order the same thing at Rico’s Pizza shop in the Southern Tier and their’s is excellent, too.

This is my season to get around. Craig and I went to Buffalo to see our daughter, the grandkids, our son and my two sisters. One of my sisters moved to TX shortly thereafter. I wanted to see her before she headed to warmer climates. I admit, I cried a bit at the idea of her being gone. Part of the reason is because my youngest sister died almost a year and a half ago, so my siblings feel more precious to me.

Sometimes I take family for granted. As a Christian, I have brothers and sisters in Christ that I rub shoulders with on a daily basis, so maybe that’s why I lose track of the real deal when life gets busy.

But there’s something about blood relatives with the same history, some of the same memories, different slants on shared events. It adds a deeper dimension of relationship, a richer hue from the artist’s palette, so to speak.

I love every one of my brothers and sisters even though we’re separated by miles and sometimes philosophies. They show their love for me in kindness and hospitality.

One of my siblings offered me a trailer to move into if ever I found myself in need of a home. Tears welled up at the thought of his caring attitude. He has family of his own to support sometimes.

Whenever I feel anxious about the economy, God often reminds me, “Trust Me.”

There are many promises in the Bible of God’s provision for those who love Him and seek Him. With His help, I do love Him and seek Him, as imperfect as I am.

I thank Him for my flesh and blood family, for my siblings and mentors in Christ.

If you haven’t expressed love and appreciation and possibly forgiveness to your family and friends, don’t waste another day. It’s worth the time, it’s worth any uncomfortable feelings.

When you do, the results are up to others and God,  but you’ll know you did your best and that will give you peace.

Did I mention I’m heading to Buffalo the day after returning home from Poughkeepsie for eight days? New York State is diverse. Not a hill to be seen in the Buffalo neighborhood.

God bless!