Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Letting Jesus Be Jesus

One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn in my life was "letting Jesus be Jesus." There have been times when I have counted on a good Christian individual to be my deliverer rather than the Lord. Somehow I would replace someone lending me a helping hand with needing them to "deliver" me from a plight I was in at the time. Difficult as it is to admit ~ this happened several times in my past.

I had to learn again and again and again ~ the hard and painful way ~ that trusting a human being to be my Lord was futile. People can encourage us, and pray for us, and guide us to the Lord ~ but they are incapable of pulling us out of a problem we are in and keeping us out of it. Only God can do that. Only God will not grow weary with the job of overseeing us through thick and thin. Philippians 1:6 says Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Beth Moore put it well when she said, "People can help us but they can’t heal us. People can lift us but they can’t carry us. And on occasion people can pull us out of a pit, but they can’t keep us out of it." That is our Lord’s job ~ we need to let Jesus be Jesus ~ we need to let Him do a "work" in us.

And so for me it took a "granddaddy-of-a-situation" to finally teach me once and for all this valuable Biblical truth ~ above all to lean on the everlasting arms of Jesus.

Leaning, leaning
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning
Leaning on the everlasting arms!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Sound of Music

In 1965, when I was just seven years old, my mother took me and my sisters to the drive-in to see The Sound of Music. I reckon it has been a favorite of mine ever since.

In the scene where Maria returns to the convent because she is afraid to face up to her feelings toward Mr. Von Trapp ~ she is asked to meet Mother Abbess in her office. She encourages Maria that she cannot run from her troubles. She says, "Maria, these walls were not meant to shut out problems. You have to face them. You have to live the life you were born to live." She then begins quoting Psalm 121 in part. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved; he that keepeth thee will not slumber (verses 1-3).

You’ll have to admit that that is pretty profound "stuff" coming out of Hollywood. Of course it was way back in 1965 ~ over 40 years ago ~ but the movie is still quite popular today ~ which means those profound quotes are continuing to reach homes across the world.

I liked what Mother Abbess said about facing problems and just as importantly about living the life that you were born to live. And I like what God said (inspiring David to write) about how our help comes from Him ~ how He will not let us slip ~ and He isn’t going to go to sleep on the job either.

That small scene in the Abby that day is powerful. So much is said in those few lines of the script. May we keep in mind that we are born to live the life that God has called us to live ~ that our God is our help and fortress ~ and that our God never sleeps ~ He is there for us 24/7.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Well, It’s Christmas Eve Eve

Yep, I meant to type Eve twice. It is the "eve" of Christmas Eve. For as long as I can remember it is my favorite day of the holiday season. It is not quite Christmas ~ I still have time to finish those special sugar cookies my family loves ~ I still have time to go out and pick up anything I might have forgotten (or in my case for this year ~ I still need to finish shopping ~ I’m just so thankful that Amazon.com was able to help me as much as they did!) ~ I still have time to send out a card or two ~ I still have time.

And that mentality certainly walks hand in hand with the way I have approached and am about to enter this very special time of year. I’ve slowed down considerably ~ trying to stroll through the hustle and bustle rather than dart frantically here and there. I've listened intently to the Christmas songs (Christian and secular). I’ve discovered that I won’t be humming "Santa Baby" anymore ~ that the description of the Grinch in "You Are A Mean One Mr. Grinch" is very vivid and he was a pretty sorry soul before his transformation ~ that "Breath of Heaven" is a Christmas song and one of the most beautiful I’ve ever heard ~ that Mark Lowry sings "Mary Did You Know?" much better than anyone else.

I’ve spent more time watching some movies and shows with the family (it has always been hard for me to sit through a movie) and I continue to be convinced that the-older-the-better is still the way to go. The Walton’s Homecoming with Patricia Neal (a native of my state!) and Richard Thomas (my first love in the 70's ~ don’t laugh) is pure and fresh. In one episode on the Andy Griffith Show, Andy and a young lady (played by Gail Davis) sit on the front porch and sing a precious love song entitled "Down in the Valley" ~ it is one of the prettiest love songs I’ve ever heard. And I plan to watch It’s a Wonderful Life ~ again ~ but this time sticking with it from start to finish.:)

Slowing down this Christmas required me to consciously decide to do so. It has always been such a rush-rush situation for me ~ and in the end it is invariably anti-climatic because once that intense pace concludes it has always been a major let down.

I have truly tried to make this a different Christmas for myself and the family. In many ways I believe I have succeeded. At least I hope I have. I have determined that strolling through the preparation and festivities of Christmas has allowed me to see what is going on around me ~ to really listen to those Christmas lyrics instead of just knowing the tune ~ to appreciate the sweet spirit and cleanliness of the movies and shows of a time long, long gone by ~ to exert my energies in a way that hopefully I won’t feel that anti-climatic feeling anymore.

So I enter Christmas Eve Eve in a different place this year ~ and you know what ~ I like it. Merry Christmas!!! P.S. Just so you know, the beautiful home pictured above is not my house. :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blessing Someone With A Blessing

It truly IS more blessed to give than to receive. This evening I had the opportunity to drop off some gifts to a family that our home school group had done a food pounding and gift drive for earlier this month. The food and grocery gift card donations were generous to say the least. Last week this single mother told me that she bagged up some of the food and took it to an even needier family near her. When she entered the home a little boy and girl became so excited saying such things as "Look, we have green beans. Green beans!" and "A cake mix ~ she brought us a cake mix."

The woman that we had blessed turn around and blessed someone else. She knew that this family was hungry and hardly had any money for food ~ and while she was suffering hard times she gave some of her blessing away to another. Now if that isn’t the joy of Christmas then I don’t know what is. It truly is a much greater experience to give than to open a gift to oneself. God calls us to take care of the weak and poor ~ and what a rewarding event it is.

I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Acts 20:35

One Cute Blog

I know I'm kind of pitiful ~ changing my blog background so often. But you will have to admit that this one is kind of darling. I went to The Cutest Blog On The Block (where I always go) and noticed that there was a link for other free blog backgrounds. Eventually I made my way over to One Cute Blog and I gotta tell ya ~ there were some pretty ones over there. I chose the gingerbread man ~ I thought he was really cute. Listen it is 2:30 in the morning here in Kentucky ~ and I have insomnia. Maybe that's why I change my background so often ~ I'm bored. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I met a lady today ~ a clerk at a Christian bookstore ~ named Michelle. She was helping me find a book for a woman who has separated from her husband. At that time I did not tell her it was because of the destruction pornography had brought to the family. It seemed she knew many of the books first hand ~ for she kept saying "I’ve read this one and it is good" and "I’ve read that one and it really spoke to me." At first I didn’t notice her tear streaked cheeks and blood shot eyes. She told me ~ "I’ve found these books to be personally helpful. We all go through hard times, don’t we?" It was then that I told her how my friend’s life was forever altered because of her husband’s addiction. And Michelle quietly said, "I know."

As she walked with me up to the cash register, this total stranger told me how she had just received another phone call from her husband of twenty years and had broken down in the stock room of the store. She then said, "What is he thinking? It’s Christmas." At that moment my heart ached for yet another woman who is struggling this season as her husband has faltered under the temptation. I looked at her name tag and said "Michelle? My middle name is Michelle so I am going to remember your name." Total strangers ~ we embraced across the counter and promised to pray for each other. The whole thing just kind of broke my heart.

She is my sister in the Lord and the bond that formed in such a short time was heart warming and pitifully sad all at the same time. But it has encouraged me that we Christians must remain steadfast, we must stand firm. We must reach out to a hurting people ~ men and women ~ it is our call. There are SO MANY folk that are hurting ~ and may we not get so caught up in our own lives that we don’t notice.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Joy To The World

Okay, okay, so my second song on the playlist is a bit perkier compared to music I usually play. I can see some of you smiling. You know, I do have my reasons for playing soft, slow moving, inspirational, and-at- times tear jerking music. I have my reasons.

You see, when I was growing up my father was a rock-n-roller. He fought alcoholism much of his life and all of my life ~ up until the time of his death. And for as long as I can remember I was raised on rock-n-roll. I know more secular songs then I can count ~ and quite a few that I don’t care to admit. I have many memories of the bass being turned up so loud that my bedroom floor rumbled under my feet.

So, I came to hate music with a beat - in particular rock-n-roll music. I desired a music that was calming ~ a music that would speak to my heart and soul. I know it sounds sappy but I am a sappy kind of gal. And, so, I fell in love with music that was gentle and soothing ~ for me that was and continues to be the epitome of beautiful music.

Over the years, some friends and relatives have teased me about not listening to secular music or even something they call "gospel rock" ~ but the rock of it all is too close to what I listened to my whole life. I simply have no desire to listen to it. I've had enough beat already to last me more than a lifetime. But I did decide to branch out tonight and play this really peppy Christmas song. It is simply beautiful! So ~ Joy to the World ~ joy that our Savior did come ~ joy that He saved my soul ~ joy that He continues to save souls ~ joy for good music!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blog Friends ~ You Make My Day

For those who follow my blog ~ you’ve probably figured out by now that I’m a bit on the serious side. I can laugh with the best of them ~ I can ~ I’m just not gifted in telling jokes, reliving a humorous moment, and such. My middle daugther ~ who is the comedian in the family ~ always looks at me seriously and says "Momma, just let me tell it." And she always does the better job. :) But I can have fun and enjoy folk ~ because I love people ~ so I reckon that is why I visit your blogs so you all will bring a smile to my face and even cause me to laugh out loud. Susan at Susan's Space does a particularly good job ~ for I consistently come away from her site with a big smile on my face. And today was no exception.

With that said, I would like to thank my friends in blogland for wonderful posts and plenty of happiness and cheer to share with the rest of us. You make my day!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snapshots of Joy

This past week I downloaded some graphics from a site entitled Snapshots of Joy. Her work is beautiful ~ to say the least. As you scroll through my blog you can see various pictures and posters that I downloaded for free.

This one was particularly touching to me and its art work quotes and reflects the writings of the prophet Isaiah (43:1-3). But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by they name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD they God, the Holy One of Israel, they Savior.

Oh what a love ~ with words that can hardly express how that makes me feel ~ that He calls me by name. Oh that I am His. Oh that He is with me through the waves of life ~ and I won’t sink. Oh that He is with me through the fiery trials of life ~ and I won’t be burned. What comfort, what joy, oh what love.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Twelve Days of Christmas Origin - Maybe.....

Last Christmas season I received an email about the origin of The Twelve Days of Christmas (Author Unknown). I tried to check it out ~ some believe in its authenticity ~ while others do not. No matter whether it is truth or an urban legend, I really liked it. If it isn't the origin of that old song, maybe it should have been. Read on and enjoy.

You're all familiar with the Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." To most it's a delightful nonsense rhyme set to music. But it had a quite serious purpose when it was written. During the period of 1558 to 1829, Parliament had finally emancipated Catholics in England, and they were prohibited from ANY practice of their faith by law - private OR public. It was a crime to BE a Catholic. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith. It was a secret memory aid ~ for to be caught with anything in *writing* indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could lead to imprisonment or even worse ~ they could be hung (shortened by a head as they called it).

The songs gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! (Luke 13:34).

The other symbols stand for the following:

2 Turtle Doves ~ The Old and New Testaments

3 French Hens ~ Faith, Hope and Charity, the three virtues

4 Calling Birds ~ The Four Gospels

5 Golden Rings ~ The first Five Books of the Old Testament

6 Geese A-laying ~ The six days of creation

7 Swans A-swimming ~ The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

8 Maids A-milking ~ The eight beatitudes

9 Ladies Dancing ~ The nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit

10 Lords A-leaping ~ The Ten Commandments

11 Pipers Piping ~ The eleven faithful apostles

12 Drummers Drumming ~ The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

So there you have it. True or not ~ I don't know ~ but an interesting read nonetheless. Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Don't Abandon Your Friends In A Time Of Need

In the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to draw very close to a friend of mine who is in need. At times in our lives we will hit a low spot. For this friend, she is in the greatest struggle of her life. The horrendous effects of pornography has ravaged her home. satan is doing that a lot these days ~ picking off Christians one by one ~ and his goal is to leave no survivors. This family has been no exception. What I've been reminded of is just how important it is to be there for people who need us.

We live in a fast paced world ~ it is so easy to be caught up in our own lives. And ~ unfortunately ~ some folk don't want to get involved. I've even seen others abandon a friend in their hour of need. I know I've had that experience myself. And it hurts like the dickens. God calls us to love one another no matter what. Jesus says in John 15; 12-13 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Christ has commanded us to love others as He loves us. And let me tell you ~ that is a a very great love to imitate. So reach out to those you know are in need ~ a phone call, a card, or even a visit ~ we can make a difference as we lay down our life for our friends.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

17 Shopping Days Left ~ I'm Really Not Worried

It is just 18 days until the big day set aside to celebrate Christ’s birth. And, um, I’m kind of not hardly even partially or minutely ready. And you know the strange thing about it all ~ I’m not worried about it. I’m not really sure why it took so many years ~ but this ~ my 50th birth year ~ I have finally arrived at being relatively calm about Christmas. I figure when I enter the final stretch it will all come together so I am really enjoying not getting uptight, not panicking as I hunt for just the right gift, not killing myself in my decorating....

Whether it should or should not have ~ something happened this year when I turned 50. I really stepped back and took a look at what I had to show for 5 decades of life. I saw myself running through the field ~ as a young girl ~ rounding up the pigs on a school morning ~ it seemed they always had an uncanny way of getting out right before the school bus arrived. I remember when I would climb one of the apple trees in the orchard and get to the highest branch possible so I could be alone and think ~ that was hard to do with what seemed like three pesky sisters back then. I saw myself sitting in the church choir at 12 years of age ~ my mother approaching me at the invitation of a good ole revival meeting and asking me the most important question of all time "If you died tonight do you know whether you would go to Heaven?"

And then there were the times I remember marching out onto the football field with my high school band ~ twirling my flag ~ or on one particular evening a huge cardboard bow painted yellow ~ we performed to "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole’ Oak Tree" that night. I know I’ve walked the wedding aisle in my mind many times this year ~ watching my dearly departed father cry like a baby as he linked his arm in mine. I saw myself waddling ~ nearly nine months pregnant ~ across the stage of the Singletary Center at the University of Kentucky to receive my master’s degree in education ~ but actually (and accidentally) I was walking with the doctorate recipients instead. My moma kidded me that I received two degrees that day.

I remember the birth of each daughter ~ and how they have grown up way too fast. I can see the day our eldest walked the wedding aisle herself and kissed her prince for the first time. I could go on and on........ but I think that somehow you get the picture. My life has passed before me so many times this year ~ some memories very sweet and others not so sweet. And all of these moments and so many more have helped to mold me into the person that I am today.

So with all of this pondering and walking down memory lane I’ve come to two conclusions. Life moves so quickly ~ it is so dawgone short ~ and we need to enjoy it ~ which is where I think my not getting uptight about the hustle and bustle of Christmas is coming from. And the other thing that I have concluded (been reminded of) ~ is that time is of essence ~ and only what we do for Christ will last. People so desperately need the Lord. And I think that a lot of them want Him too ~ they just don’t know how to get Him. And that is where we come in.

So, I’m planning on enjoying the next 18 days to the fullest ~ a little shopping here and there ~ making up some homemade fudge ~ sending out a Christmas card or two ~ but that which I want to do the most is tell someone about the greatest gift of all time ~ the LORD JESUS CHRIST. May I be as bold as lion!

Friday, December 5, 2008

In All Things ~ Don't Complain

I believe there are no coincidences in life ~ ever. I was driving down the road recently and something I had been reading about in the Bible just jumped into my head. And, I suppose, it was the parallel that was made in my mind and then in my heart that really got me to thinking.

I had been reading in the Book of Numbers about the Children of Israel and how God reacted to their complaining and murmuring as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. It displeased and disappointed Him that they didn’t trust Him enough to provide for them (Numbers 11:1). And it got me to thinking about when I complain - and how that must displease God. Frankly, it is an expression of disbelief toward God's order in my life. Complaining is unbelief in His Word ~ "For we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). If I believe that the Lord is in control of my life and is working ALL THINGS for my good then I need to stop complaining and starting thanking Him for the plan He is working together for me.

Aw.... easy preaching and hard living you might be thinking. I’ll have to agree. But it was what came to my mind after that initial thought that caused me to really examine my heart. At first it was hard to remember but my thoughts began going back to different times in the past when I had given place to complaining and grumbling about my life. I remembered that when I started praising God for those "all things"(Romans 8:28) ~ when I began to show appreciation to God for guiding and leading me through this ole world despite the ups and downs ~ that those "all things" began to be taken care of in one way or another. (Psalm 50:14-15). A friend put it this way ~ "Grumbling and complaining only prolongs your agony. Praise moves God to change your situation."

Have you ever prayed for something so hard you can taste it? Well, that is where I am. And my heart needs to be right in order for God to move - however He may move. It won’t be easy but I’m going to try with God’s strength to be thankful in all things ~ it’s just the right thing to do.

Do all things without murmurings and disputings
Philippians 2:14

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Comforting Words ~ Balm To The Soul

Can't you just hear the sweet, precious voice of Jesus saying Let not your heart be troubled (John 14:1a). He was speaking to His disciples hours prior to Judas Iscariot betraying Him in the garden.

In verse two He says, I go to prepare a place for you ~ another precious promise from our Lord. Can't you feel the comfort in His words? 'Don't be troubled my child. I love you. I have to go but I am coming back some day. And where I am going ~ I will be getting things ready for your arrival.'

Verse three beautifully promises And if I go and prepare a place for you I WILL come again and receive you unto myself that where I am you may be also. I've found that as I get older I do think more of the glorious eternity that awaits me as a child of God. Sometimes I think I am more excited about going than I am about staying and leading others.

May we all keep our eyes on the prize - resting in knowing that we will spend forever with Christ and our Christian friends and family AS we fulfill the great commission to Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 28:19).

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit
John 15:16

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Twas The Night Before Jesus Came

Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed.
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.

When out of the East there arose such a clatter.
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment this must be THE DAY!

The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said "it's not here" my head hung in shame.

The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound.
While all the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There's only one life and when comes the last call
We'll find that the Bible was true after all!

~ Author Unknown

Monday, December 1, 2008

There Could Be A Worse Habit

Okay, so I'm bored and changed my background...... again. I can't seem to help myself. I think it stems from my love of pretty paper and school supplies. :) I'll have a half dozen different backgrounds before the holiday season is over. I figure there are far far worse things I could indulge in. :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Unbelieving Believer

I heard this term ~ "the unbelieving believer" ~ this morning at my mother’s church ~ for the very first time. It really got me to thinking about how we as believers pray for something but tend to be shocked when the prayer is answered. We put our petitions before God about a special need ~ a lost loved one ~ a crisis ~ and we pray and pray and pray but we often lose hope and stop praying because we don’t believe God is going to answer the prayer.

I know that I have been an unbelieving believer at times in my life. And I also know what God says about that. In Mark 11:22-24 it says And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. In James 1: 5-7 it says If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. God clearly wants us to believe when we pray.

The point is if we perserve and keep praying ~ keep believing that He will answer ~ He will do so ~ it may be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or ‘maybe’ ~ but He will answer according to His Will. And how much more victory ~ how much more happiness ~ will we have in our lives if we become "believing believers."

Stand Up For Jesus

Have you ever been in one of those situations where you knew you were going to "major-ly" kick yourself later if you didn’t speak up right then and there? Have you also found out there are going to be some folk ~ relatives included ~ that have made it quite clear that they don’t believe what you believe, they don’t want to believe what you believe, and would you please stop talking about what you believe?

This Thanksgiving weekend brought such a time for me. I was visiting with family and was half-way listening to a relative talk about something she had been reading on the internet in respect to land that the Jews are fighting for ~ something about Mesopotamia ~ wars ~ fighting over land was mentioned again ~ Abraham ~ and so on. (I really started listening at this point). She concluded by saying "They say the wars will continue until the end of time ~ and no one will really win the war over this disputed land. Everyone is just going to blow up anyway and no one will win."

I sat there for a moment and contemplated whether I should speak up or not. And then I quietly spoke and told her of God’s covenant with Abraham and how the land did belong to the Jews ~ how the battle would ultimately be won ~ and that everyone was not going to blow up. She was quiet for a moment and then said "I don’t believe that." I told her that it was clearly written about in God’s Word. She then said something that hurt my heart ~ "I don’t believe in the Bible completely ~ just parts of it are true ~ it is not literal." Now this is not "just" any relative ~ this is a relative that knows better. She was raised in the church ~ made a profession of faith at the age of 12 ~ she once professed that she believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Years ago a "new age" colleague drew her away from the truth. Oh how far from the Lord she has come.

It’s possible that had this conversation taken place last Thanksgiving I might have not said a word. But this Thanksgiving was so different for me ~ I am tremendously thankful for God’s Word ~ more so than I have ever been in my life. It has been that light unto my path and a lamp unto my feet this past year. To hear someone I love ~ someone I know who knows the truth deep down in her heart ~ dispute the Word of God ~ to proclaim that it is not inspired but rather "written by a whole bunch of different men" ~ to say that portions are not real ~ that was hard for me. I told her to say that even one small part of the Bible was untrue meant that we could not proclaim that any of it was true. I tried to explain to her that it was inspired by God ~ that it has withstood the test of time ~ and for me to sit back and say nothing to her statements against the Holy Bible would be a tragedy against God. She looked at me and said, "Cathy, you’ll be alright" to which I replied "Yes, I know I will." And she concluded by saying "Hey, I know I’ll be alright."

I walked away from the conversation feeling so inadequate ~ as if I had failed. Yet God promises in His Word that He will give us what to say when we need it. Matthew 10:16 says Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Verses 19-20 say But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak; for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

I know this ~ excluding my family ~ God’s Word is the GREATEST earthly treasure to me. I can’t live without it ~ now that I know what it is like to live with it. I had to stand up for it. Did my feelings of inadequacy and failure come from satan? I think so. Did I let the Holy Spirit speak through me? I pray so. People have died standing up for their faith ~ standing up for His Word ~ should we do any less? It isn't easy to take a stand. Plenty of times I have quietly stood by. I pray I will always speak up when God wants me to ~ and that I will say what the Holy Spirit gives me to say.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lord Willing And The Creek Don’t Rise

Have you ever heard the saying before "Lord willing and the creek don’t rise?" Here in Kentucky it is common to hear someone say that in addition to "I’ll see you tomorrow," or "I'll get that done,"....... For many folk, it simply means that barring any unforeseen complications I will see you tomorrow, I’ll take care it, I’ll do it, and so on. Yet for the Christian, it has a much sweeter meaning.

This morning as I was reading in the Book of James, I was reminded once again of God’s exhortation in Chapter 4 ~ verses 13-15. Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain. Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow, For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that.

Often times, I speak with a surety of what will take place tomorrow or the next day ~ but truly that is an impossibility ~ for ye know not what shall be on the morrow. When I was growing up I would get kind of agitated with folk who would often say "Lord willing" to a question I might ask. At that time I saw it as being noncommittal. Yet as I grew and matured and began to understand God’s Word I realized the importance of such a reply. Everything is in God’s hands. We do not know what today or tomorrow will bring. But Lord willing our lives will continue on and we will have more time on this earth to make a difference for Him. Lord willing, indeed.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Happy Thanksgiving To All

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Refiner's Fire

It might seem strange to tell you that this evening, at our special Thanksgiving service at church, I gave thanks for something that has been very painful for me this year ~ and at times I wasn't even sure I would survive it ~ that painful thing is God’s Refining Fire. Yet if it were not for this painful thing, I would not be on the journey I am on today.

Have you ever heard the song The Refiner’s Fire? I'm not even sure who penned the song ~ I first heard it on a music CD I purchased from the West Coast Baptist College Chorale Group. I reckon I’ve listened to the song a cazillion times ~ and each time it speaks to me. I know that I know that I know that to be more like my Lord ~ the refiner’s fire is most necessary in my life. Still yet I struggle with an aspect of the process ~ and it is worded well in the chorus of this song ~ "No matter what I may lose I choose the Refiner’s Fire." That is a hard one for me. And I’m not talking about material loss ~ but rather the loss of a precious loved one. Can I completely entrust my greatest earthly treasures to Him? Can I give it all - no matter the cost? I would like to think that I could and yet the thought does scare me. I do know this ~ the life within the refining process far far exceeds the life I once lived outside of it.
There burns a fire with sacred heat
White hot with holy flames
And those who dare pass through its blaze
Will not emerge the same
Some as bronze and some as silver
Some as gold, then with great skill
All are hammered by the sufferings
On the anvil of His will

I'm learning now to trust His touch
To crave the fire's embrace
For though my past with sin was etched
His mercies did erase
Each time His purging cleanses deeper
I'm not sure that I'll survive
Yet the strength in growing weaker
Keeps my hungry soul alive

Chorus ~
The Refiner’s Fire has now become my soul’s desire
Purged and cleansed and purified
That the Lord be glorified
He is consuming my soul
Refining me, making me whole
No matter what I may lose
I choose the Refiner’s Fire.
For He knoweth the way that I take, and when He hath tried me I shall come forth as gold. Job 23:10

Friday, November 21, 2008

Slaves To Sin

God’s timing is always perfect ~ even when we don’t understand it. In the by-and-by it always falls into place and makes sense. Yesterday I was driving to a nearby town and I decided to put in a preaching CD. My mother had ordered it and had shared it with me over a year ago. I’m not really sure why I had never listened to it. So there it was in the visor ~ and I decided to put it in and see what it was about.

I was actually kind of surprised - it was about being a slave to sin. I must say that after I listened to it I called my mom and asked her if she remembered giving it to me and she said that she did ~ she also said that there were folk we knew that were enslaved to sin and she thought it might help. Simply put ~ that is an understatement!

Christian families are falling apart in epidemic proportion. And I believe I state that without exaggeration. If I ~ me all by myself ~ know of six Christian families that are devastated by sin and the family is broken, that tells me that the war of satan against the saints is heating up.

So many Christians are enslaved to some type of sin that wages within them. They go to church on Sunday, heartily shake everyone’s hand, answer "I am doing great" when asked how they are - but they aren’t fine. Most of these folk would even say that they are free ~ but they aren’t free. Oh, they are free physically but emotionally and spiritually they are slaves ~ slaves to something that has a power over them ~ a power that commands them to indulge in desires that they should not be indulging in (i.e. alcohol, drugs, sexual immorality, porn, gambling, etc). They are slaves to sin.

In John 8: 31-36 Jesus is speaking to the Jews about being in bondage to sin. In verse 34 Jesus says Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. Certainly we all sin every day of our lives. But in this context ~ in referring back to the Greek word for committeth ~ it states the definition "continually." Understandably, if we continue in a sin we become a servant to it ~ we become enslaved. I can truly relate to this bondage. For 12 long years I was enslaved to soap operas. It began very subtly and before I knew it I was watching three a day. I was addicted, I didn’t care that I was addicted, I completely stopped reading my Bible, I completely stopped praying ~ how in the world it happened, I’m not sure. But the point is I became a slave to that sin. I’ve been "soap opera free" for 10 ½ years and when I look back on it, it is truly hard to imagine how I let myself get in that shape.

Only God could set me free from that bondage. John 8:32 says And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. I had to recognize that it was sin, that I needed to walk away from it ~ and it wasn’t easy. There were times in the beginning that I so desperately wanted to turn the TV on and start it up all over again. It wasn’t easy. But eventually, after getting back into the Word, after reestablishing my prayer life ~ freedom finally came.

I do believe that God had me to listen to this CD to remind me of where I’ve been and even more importantly to better equip me in dealing with those who are there now. You see, I’ve gotten angry particularly with the ravaging of sexual immorality among Christians. The statistics are staggering with 50% of Christian men addicted to porn and 27% of Christian women struggling with it. It is wreaking havoc in the homes, in the work place ~ everywhere we look we see sex being used to sell any and everything. It is at every turn.

Listening to this preacher talk about sin and how it can enslave ~ giving the analogy of a chain being wrapped around our neck and being drawn tighter and tighter with each indulgence ~ I reckon the anger just left. I know we are to hate the sin and not the sinner but when I see people I know and care about hurting ~ well, I just kept getting angry.

I thank God that He guided me to this sermon at a time when my heart was open and ready for it. I don’t know what the next step is in ministering to these folk but I do know that feeling hateful toward the one enslaved ~ toward the one that has done what seems to be irreparable damage ~ doesn’t help anyone. I need to pray more and talk far less.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Sister Jo Carol

This picture reminds me so much of me and my youngest sister. We were, and still are, very close. Lately I've gotten to spend more time with her than usual and it has been such a delight. She is a wonderful sister and a true friend. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. This so applies to how Jo Carol and I have been there for each other all our lives - strongest as a pair ~ lifting each other up in prayer, in word and in deed. I don't know what I would do without her. Thank you Lord for her.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Recent Theme

Friends, I know I have been writing a lot lately about the trials of this life. Right now I know so many Christian families under attack ~ good Christian families. satan would like nothing more than to sift them as wheat. Thus the thoughts on my heart. I'm not apologizing :) ~ just explaining.

'Trying' Is Used Only Once

This year marks my 50th birthday. I’m at a point in my life where I can say I have some loved ones who have gone on "home" before me and I’m actually thinking about the day when I will see them again. But I’m also at the point in my life where I think about going to Heaven for I yearn to be brought into His presence ~ for troubles and trials have a way of drawing us closer in our relationship with Christ.

I’ve been reading the Book of James today ~ and it opens with an exhortation in respect to these very trials. For the first time, I read it differently than all the times before. Verse 2 says My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations. Temptations are typically thought of as those things that tempt us ~ and I was thinking along those lines in the past when I read this. Verse 3 goes on to say Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. I reckon, in my mind, I was reading verses 1-12 as "if you can get through the temptation without yielding to it then it will develop patience." I ‘supposed’ this in my mind but never failed to study it further ~ until tonight.

I checked out my Strong’s concordance for the Greek meaning of temptations in verse 2 ~ which said "a putting to proof - adversity." I then checked the Greek meaning of the word trying in verse 3 (interestingly this word is used only once in the entire Bible) ~ which said "a testing; a trial." The word temptation is used again in verse 12. Upon checking the Greek meaning it said "uncertain affinity; depth; deep or open sea."Definitely these words indicate troubles, trials, tribulations, and deep despair rather than evil temptations. This has meant a great deal to me ~ once again ~ that the Holy Spirit as brought me to yet another understanding of the scripture.

Divers temptations (trials) = patience

I liked what J. Vernon McGee had to say about this passage ~ "Testing will either drive you to the Lord or it will drive you away from Him. So many Christians become bitter. It is not going to be a pleasant experience to come someday into the presence of Christ if you have let the very thing your heavenly Father was using to develop your character and to bring you into a loving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ make you bitter."

So we have to hang in there. We will have testings and these testings are a method God uses to develop us in the Christian faith. And there will be a crown of life for those who persevere under trial ~ James 1:12 says Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Divers temptations (trials) = Patience = Crown of Life

Now I’m not anticipating the Crown of Life ~ for I have too often become weary and bitter while going through the refining process by my Potter ~ but I just want to leave here trying ~ if you know what I mean.

There is only one solution on how to get through these divers temptations ~ these trials of life ~ stay the course, gain patience, keep the faith, and He will see us through.

Is there no other way open, God,
Except through sorrow, pain, and loss,
To stamp Christ’s likeness on my soul -
No other way except the cross?
And then a voice stills all my soul
As stilled the waves of Galilee,
"Can’st thou not bear the furnace heat
If midst the flames I walk with thee?
I bore the cross. I know its weight.
I drank the cup I hold for thee.
Can’st thou not follow where I lead?
I’ll give strength. Lean hard on Me."
~ Author Unknown

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cathy ~ You Must Find Victory Within Yourself

This is somewhat of a long read ~ but it shows how God moves and I pray it can encourage someone.

I’ve been waiting for days, weeks, even months - waiting for something specific from God. I had told Him it would make it so much easier if He could scrawl His answer across the sky ~ or send me a letter in the mail. :) I found that the more I sought His face on this particular matter the more anxious, impatient, and even desperate I was beginning to feel.

This afternoon I had to run an errand for my mother. I drove to the store and as I walked the aisles I once again implored God for help in this very crucial matter that is uppermost in my mind. I can’t tell you exactly how "what happened" took place ~ I just know that it did. God spoke to my heart and I found myself saying out loud "Cathy, you must find victory within yourself." My mouth moved, said the words, and I believe God put them there. I had not even been thinking these words. And at that moment the oppression and loneliness that I had been feeling lifted from me. The impression was profound.

Now I can’t tell you that I knew exactly what that meant. All I knew was that God gave it to me. The lift of that heavy weight of oppression was so tangible. I knew this was my starting place ~ and I also knew where I had to go to begin searching for what God was trying to tell me. So when I got home this evening I began a word search in the Bible. I figured my work was cut out for me ~ with a term like victory ~ there had to be many citations. But surprisingly it occurs only 13 times in the Old and New Testament combined. And there were three citations that really stood out to me this evening.

The first citation is found in I Chronicles 29:11 which is King David’s "kingdom prayer." Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the Heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. This is considered one of the greatest prayers in the Scriptures. J. Vernon McGee puts it well ~ "It repudiates (refuses or denies) all human merit and declares human dependence on God. It reveals self-humiliation, confession, and dedication of self. It admits that all belongs to God." Human merit unimportant ~ dependence ~ meekness ~ confession.

The second citation is in Psalm 98:1 O sing unto the Lord a new song; for He hath done marvellous things: His right hand, and His holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. Matthew Henry says "The Redeemer has overcome all difficulties in the way of our redemption, and was not discouraged by the services or sufferings appointed him ~ let us praise Him." Praise God - He has overcome all obstacles ~ victory indeed.

The final citation is in I John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Faith saves us and faith keeps us. J. Vernon McGee says "...and faith is the only way in which you and I will be able to overcome this world around us." This verse says that whoever is saved (whoever is born of God) will overcome this world. And it doesn’t say that we will overcome by fighting but rather by faith. God will do the fighting ~ in the same way that Joshua was to march around the walls of Jericho. His business was to believe God that the walls would fall down - his job was not to fight and knock the walls down. And so it is for us - to overcome this world by faith.

God burdened my heart ~ ‘Cathy - You must find the victory within yourself.’ Lay down any effort to fight this battle. Believe that God will fight it for you. For He knows all your infirmities and He has overcome the world.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring. I don't even know what the next step will be. I only know that I will overcome this situation with my faith. God is my victor.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Somebody's Praying ~ I Can Feel It

Prayer is a mighty mighty thing. Throughout this journey called life I have had many a friend to reach out to me and genuinely say "I’m praying for you." And you know what ~ I could feel it. I am very thankful tonight for family and friends that care enough to take my name before the Throne of Grace ~ for the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16). Thank God for family and friends, thank God for prayer, and thank God for the power and strength that comes from it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

We Are In A Spiritual Battle

The first time I gave any credence to spiritual warfare was in my early adult years. At that time I believed it to be real but I don’t know that I really comprehended it. Several years ago I had the opportunity to read several of the Frank Perreti books ~ Piercing the Darkness, This Present Darkness, The Prophet, The Oath, and The Visitation. All of these books bring to life what is warned about in Ephesians 6:12 ~ For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. My knowledge and awareness of just how tangible the spiritual world really is has never been the same.

God saw fit to warn us about it in Ephesians 6:12. Praise God that He also gave us the anecdote to combat this great threat we know as satan and his demons. J. Vernon McGee says "It is only God’s armor that can withstand the strategy and onslaught of satan who has all kinds of weapons." The Christian does not fight the enemy who is flesh and blood. Our enemy is spiritual so our warfare must be spiritual. Who is the enemy of every believer? The devil. McGee goes on to say "There are spiritual forces working in the world, evil forces working against the church. They are working against the believer, against God, against Christ. It is happening, and you and I alone are no match for it."

And the way to victory over the devil is to follow what God has laid out in Ephesians 6:13-18. The first thing we must do is stand. (Vs. 13). We need to be in standing position to fight a good fight. Second, we need our loins girt about with truth (we need to know the Word of God); and have on the breastplate of righteousness (not self-righteousness but the righteousness of Christ ~ a heart and conscience that is right with God) (vs. 14). Third, our feet are to be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (our feet are to be anchored on the Rock ~ The Lord Jesus Christ) (vs. 15). Fourth, we are to ~ above all ~ take the shield of faith (Christ, not only the door to salvation but also the door which protects the believer from the enemy on the otherside). By faith, we are securely in His hands (vs. 16). Fifth, put on the helmet of salvation. (vs. 17a). All of these weapons are for the defense - protecting the front of the Christian. Our magnificent God further lays out His plan in the next verse that will supply weapons of offense. The first one is the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God (vs. 17b). In Hebrews 4:12 it says For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword..." We desperately need that sharp sword coming out of our mouths today. The other weapon offense is found in verse 18 ~ the weapon of prayer ~ Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

We need to recognize these spiritual enemies called satan and his demons and we need to grab hold of that which is God’s in order to fight the battles that are going to come. If you are a Christian, living for the Lord, those battles are going to come. Be ready my friend. I speak from great experience ~ be ready.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The More You Read And Pray The Harder Satan Fights

Have you ever noticed that the more you pray and read your Bible and rely upon God the more things can heat up ~ and I speak in reference to spiritual warfare. It has been one of those days. And I am thankful that God was once again faithful to protect and guide me. I'm tired but I made it! While I would like to post on spiritual warfare and putting on the whole armour God that will have to wait until another day. So I leave you with a few more things that I am thankful for:

25. God's protection
26. My mom patting my hand when I am upset
27. A warm hug from my eldest daughter
28. When my cats lick my nose
29. A warm Indian Summer day
30. The smell of mown grass
31. Fazoli's Breadsticks
32. Watching my youngest knock a ball in the outfield
33. Geraniums of all colors
34. Tilled soil between my toes
35. Chiropractors!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All Is Vanity Without Him

One night I sat down and read the Book of Ecclesiastes in its entirety ~ it is only 12 chapters in length. The book was written by King Solomon (as was the Book of Proverbs). It has been said while Proverbs reveals Solomon’s wisdom, Ecclesiastes reveals his foolishness.

J. Vernon McGee states that "the key word is ‘vanity’ ~ which occurs 37 times ~ while the key phrase is ‘under the sun’ ~ which occurs 29 times." Another recurring phrase is ‘I said in my heart’ ~ which further reiterates that this ‘man under the sun’ (King Solomon) was sharing his conclusions to living his life away from God. All is vanity indeed. When I finished reading the book I was not uplifted or encouraged as I usually feel when reading The Word. On the contrary, the book was a bit of a downer. God’s Word is inspired ~ it has been accurately recorded ~ but King Solomon living away from God and trying to find love and happiness in all the wrong places was not of God. Yet as with everything in life ~ God can turn anything bad to good that He might be glorified. And the Book of Ecclesiastes is no exception.

King Solomon is on a quest for happiness outside of God’s will and he finds that it simply isn’t possible. Not pleasure and materialism, nor the laws of nature, nor wisdom and philosophy, nor living for the ‘now’ will bring satisfaction and happiness. All is vanity. And that in itself is great encouragement for the Christian ~ to stay close to the Lord ~ for living away from Him will be vanity. The Book of Ecclesiastes is a living testament of that very truth. I don’t know how folk live without Christ. King Solomon’s description was depressing with no hope. So hang in there Christians. These are troubling times. But you can’t go wrong with the Lord. You can’t go wrong with staying in His Word. You can’t go wrong with crying out to Him in prayer. For there is no friend like Jesus - no not one!

Without Him I could do nothing.
Without Him I'd surely fail.
Without Him I would be drifting ~
Like a ship without a sail.
Without Him I would be dying.
Without Him I'd be enslaved.
Without Him life would be worthless ~
But with Jesus, thank God, I'm saved.
(Written by Mylon R. Lefevre)
They sure sound like some lyrics King Solomon could have sung.

Continuing My Thankful List

As I was out today I began to look around ~ really noticing some things ~ letting my mind wander to what it means to me. And so I continue my Thankful list.

13. The swirling of the leaves as they fall from the tree.
14. Chocolate
15. Air conditioning - especially on those hot and humid days
16. Revival meetings
17. Christmas music
18. The old time hymns
19. Being able to have babies
20. The color purple
21. The calm blue sky
22. Being able to live where all four of the seasons are distinct
23. Sewing pretty dresses for the girls at Easter
24. The cooing of a little baby

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My "Thankful" List

Tonight a friend sent me a message that led me to one blog, which led me to another, and then another ~ you know how that is. Anyway, the gist of it all was about showing gratitude to God ~ finding Him in ALL things. The idea is to simply keep a Thanksgiving Journal ~ not just at this time of year but all year long. As I hopped from blog to blog I was finding those who were actually keeping their list online for others to read.

So I decided to follow suit and take the time to truly count my blessings ~ listing them as God lays them on my heart and brings them to my attention. And in so doing, I believe I will be a more thankful person ~ a person more enthusiastic in the harder times of life ~ and hopefully be an encouragement to others that they might count their blessings as well. So here goes....

I am thankful for ~

1. My salvation

2. God's Word

3. Three wonderful daughters that love the Lord

4. A warm bed to sleep in each night

5. Hot cocoa on a cold day

6. My calico cats Callie, Fluffy, and Camie.

7. America

8. Fresh green beans from the garden

9. My mother who led me to the Lord

10. My sister Jo Carol who makes me feel special

11. A beautiful sunrise

12. A rainbow of colors at sunset

I think I will stop there and start again tomorrow. Why don't you try this along with me ~ simply counting your blessings. As the old hymn says "Count your many blessings name them one by one and it might surprise you what the Lord hath done." Amen to that.

Monday, November 10, 2008

An Awesome Year In God's Word

It isn’t always easy to self-administer the Biblical medicine that you have been giving others. I received some tough news yesterday and I know that despite all ~ come what may ~ God is still on His throne. He still cares about me deeply. Sweet Deborah wrote me and encouraged me to go back and read my own posts. I had to smile. I have read and re-read those verses ~ pondered the very thoughts I shared that God burdened my heart with. And she’s right ~ I simply have to keep claiming them.

Today there was a special Thanksgiving gathering for the home school moms and we each told three things that we were thankful for. One thing I shared was my love for the Bible. To my shame, I told the ladies that in the past 38 years of my second birth (my salvation), I had only submerged myself in the Word for the past year. Notice I said "to my shame." I have read a random chapter here and there, read entire devotional books, and I have even read different books of the Bible multiple times ~ but until one year ago I had never submerged myself ~ truly submerged myself ~ in God’s love letter to His people. I regret the lost years but anxiously look forward to future years like this one.

You often hear folk say "I don’t know how they can live without Jesus." Amen to that ~ but there’s more ~ "I don’t know how they live without God’s Word." It is truly a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path ~ each and every day of my life. That’s why I am constantly encouraging folk to stay in the Word. I speak from years of experience ~ learn from my mistake ~ study God's Word ~ truly study it ~ it will come alive and you will simply fall in love with it. I know I have.

Sitting On The Park Bench

Isn't this just beautiful. Oh to sit on this bench right about now. Tranquil. Peaceful. I would like to be there. I've received some difficult news. I would appreciate any prayers you are willing to call out to our Lord.

Christian ~ You Are the Conquerer Not The Conquered

I have been walking through the book of Romans. And I’ve been particularly fascinated with all that is within Chapter 8. Actually the entire book seems to be jam-packed with so much ~ it is a bit overwhelming ~ but it is a "good" overwhelming.

With all the uncertainty in this world, what a comfort it is to read verses 35-39 of this chapter. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? It seems everything imaginable is mentioned here. As Christians, we will go through persecution. We will experience distress and tribulation in our lives. We may lose all our material possessions or have to go to war. As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Christians are being "slaughtered" in different parts of the world today ~ simply because they are Christians. But the good news is found in the verses to follow (vs. 37-39) ~ nothing will separate us from the love of Christ. Words that are music to my ears ~ Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Paul wrote NAY ~ NO ~ ABSOLUTELY NOT - we will conquer and not be conquered. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Nothing at all will separate - not death or life; not the present or the future; not demons (principalities and powers) ~ NOTHING will separate us. Now that is cause for rejoicing. That is cause for shouting hallelujah.

Are you reading the Word everyday? Are you sharing the Good News? He’s coming back ~ the times we are now living in show that. And don’t forget - if you are a child of the King - you are a conqueror ~ not the conquered. You’re on the victory side. As my pastor reminded us yesterday ~ "This is not your home. Heaven is your home. You are just a pilgrim passing through ~ and you are in a battle of a war that has already been won." And so as we sojourn through this land, we must fight the good fight and keep the faith until we see Jesus. Keep looking up ~ He is coming back. Thank God He is going to come back for us!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I Must Tell Jesus

Jesus wasn’t called The Counselor for nothing ~ He is the greatest guidance counselor of all time. In I Peter 5:7 it says Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you. It is great to have friends to lean on and confide in but when the rubber meets the road Jesus has to be our all-in-all as we travel this pathway called life. Only He can see us through. The old hymn I Must Tell Jesus is on my mind tonight. "I must tell Jesus all of my trials, I cannot bear these burdens alone. In my distress He kindly will help me. He ever loves and cares for His own. I must tell Jesus. I must tell Jesus. I cannot bear my burdens alone. I must tell Jesus. I must tell Jesus. Jesus can help me ~ Jesus alone!" And time and time again it proves that truth - only Jesus can help us in this ole life.

I close with a tribute to a gal I’ve met on this blogging journey ~ Deborah. I am always comforted when I go to her site Songs From My Journey and hear her song Stepping Stones. Thank you Deborah for that encouragement~ to turn those stumbling blocks in life to stepping stones.

Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you
I Peter 5:7

Saturday, November 8, 2008

God's Will Was Done

As I started out early this morning knowing full-and-well that I would encounter some folk who were pretty happy about the election results this past Tuesday, I noticed I was giving myself a pep talk. You see I didn’t want to seem upset or unhappy should I be drawn into a "post-election-conversation" ~ but, rather, I wanted to show a peace and resolve.

As with everything else in life, if we take our eyes off the Savior and put them on the circumstances we will invariably find ourselves sinking as Peter was that day on the Sea of Galilee when he saw Christ walking on the water. Matthew 14: 25-31 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

This situation this morning was no different. I had to take my eyes off of those who might chastise me for my stand and look to the Lord for the answers. And there they were as He began to remind me of what His Word says ~ that He puts Kings and rulers into place; that He uses even bad situations and folk who don’t follow and obey His truths to bring glory unto Himself ~ that He is the victor ~ that He is with me all the way ~ that folk need to know the Lord ~ that I am called to tell them. And so as quickly as the doubts and fears came ~ they left. You know folk ~ no matter what ~ come what may ~ the Christians will always be the winners.

So I can’t help but break out into song "Isn’t It Wonderful To Be A Christian."

Isn’t it wonderful to be a Christian?
Isn’t it wonderful to know God’s Son?
Isn’t it wonderful to have my sins forgiven?
Isn’t it wonderful to be redeemed, justified, forever reconciled?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Contend For Your Faith!

In the 1980's a poll was given to 700 preachers with the following results:

48% Denied the inspiration of the Bible
24% Rejected the atonement
12% Rejected the resurrection of Christ
27% Rejected that Christ will return to judge the quick and the dead

One minister was quoted as saying "We liberal clergymen are no longer interested in the fundamentalist-modernist controversy. We do not believe we should even waste our time engaging in it. So far as we are concerned, it makes no difference whether Christ was born of a virgin or not." Another preacher said, "In our denomination what you call the Faith of our Fathers is approaching total extinction. Of course a few of the older ministers still cling to the Bible. But among the younger men, the real leaders of our denomination today, I do not know of a single one who believes in Christ." Heaven help them! And these results are nearly 30 years old. It makes me wonder what the percentages would be today.

All of this points toward the theme of the Book of Jude ~ the "impending apostasy" ~ a departure from the faith. J. Vernon McGee says "Apostasy was just a little cloud the size of a man’s hand in Jude’s day. But now it is a storm of hurricane force that fills the land." The statistics above certainly amen that thought.

The Spirit of God inspired Jude to write on this apostasy and to encourage the Christians to contend for the faith (i.e. defend the great doctrines of Christianity) ~ Jude 3 says Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

At this point Jude gives his reasons why we as Christians must contend for the faith. He is sounding the alarm about apostasy. Verse 4 says there are certain men crept in unawares..... Just yesterday I received word that a guest speaker at a fundamental Bible college made contradiction in reference to the inspired Word of God truly being inspired. Unfortunately this is not the first time I have heard of such. I can think of two other Bible colleges that have fallen way from the truth ~ disputing the authenticity of the Bible, proposing that Jesus was "just a man" and denying the deity of Christ (2 Peter 2:1).

Apostasy was nothing new even to Jude. He cites six different examples ~ from fallen angels now chained in darkness, to the fornicators and homosexuals in Sodom and Gomorrah, to the apostate teachers which creep in without our knowing

Apostasy took place in Bible times and it is taking place today. Jude finishes out the chapter describing what to look for in apostates so we can expose them. Verses 17-19 tells that in the end times they will walk after their own ungodly lusts (their desires are totally apart from God and from God’s will); they will separate themselves (causing divisions in the church) and the list goes on. To see the falling away of God’s people, to see His own allow wolves into the church to lead them in the way of untruth ~ It is sobering isn’t it ~ but it is occurring in rampant proportions.

This is why it is so very important to stay in God’s Word. Study it, meditate on it, memorize it, live it. Know what you believe and why you believe. Be ready to give an account - to take that stand for Christ. CONTEND FOR YOUR FAITH!!! Some day He is coming back ~ He is going to take His own home ~ and when He does apostasy will be unleashed for there will be no Holy Spirit present. What a dark and evil time that will be. Is that not enough to cause us to cry out to the lost ~ begging them to come to Him?

I Did It Again

I'm like a kid in a candy store - I just can't stop myself from changing my blog background on a regular occasion. It's like scrapbooking but faster and without all the mess.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Alpha and the Omega

God is on the throne in the best of times and in the worst of times. He is the Alpha and the Omega ~ the beginning and the end. In times of greatest need He does his greatest work. Be encouraged ~ God is in control!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lace Up Your Boot Straps And Dig In

Oh souls are you weary for the cause of Christ? It is hard isn’t it. Last night I went back to a time in the Bible when the Children of Israel wanted a king rather than a judge to lead them. It wasn’t God’s way but He allowed it. Over the years it was mayhem as God waited for His wayward children to return to Him. So many years passed; so many acts of sin occurred; it was truly a sad and dark time for God’s people.

And so we must stand fast. Weary days are ahead but we must not faint. There are still so many lost and dying souls going to a devil’s hell. You are the only Christian that someone knows. Make a decision to make a difference for the cause of Christ.

Do you know who wins this war? Do you know the final chapter of this story we are living in? Do you know who the victor is? If you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior you will win the war, you do know how it all ends, God is the victor and you, my friend, are the biggest winner of all ~ ETERNITY with our Savior. So lace up your boot straps and dig in ~ God WILL give you the strength you need to fight. You just have to ask.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

No Matter The Election Results ~ God Is STILL On The Throne

It is a solemn evening as many Christians watch to see who will be the next president of the United States. I have been encouraging friends and family for quite some time to take God’s Word and use it as a measuring stick against the beliefs of the candidates. In the end we can vote the way in which we feel God is leading us through His Word and the rest is up to Him.

So, if we wake up tomorrow morning to find that the man chosen by the people is not the man that we feel measures the tallest against God’s Word ~ we need to keep some very important things in mind.

~ We are to pray for our new leader ~ no matter who he is. God commands us to in His Word. I Timothy 2:1-4 says I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior. Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of truth.

~ OUR GOD IS STILL SOVEREIGN. HE IS STILL ON THE THRONE. In Colossians 1:16-17 it says For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers, all things were created by Him and for him; And He is before all things, and by him all things consist.

~ We are to work for the night is coming. John 9:4 I must work the works of them that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh when no man can work.

I can see how Christians may grow very worried and fret over the election results. This is why it is so important for them to be in God’s Word. If we stay in His Word then we will be anchored and strong and ready for whatever comes. It is your only comfort; it is your only peace; let it be your all in all.

Listen, my friend, I can’t help but believe that the United States has become a "stinky" wound in the sight of God. This country ~ our country ~ founded on the God of the Holy Bible ~ with a heritage so rich for our Lord ~ has turned its back on Him. So many many Christians have become like the world ~ their complacency is so strong ~ just living to live ~ following God as it suits their lifestyles. Why do you think one out of two Christian men are addicted to pornography? Why do you think so many Christians are divorcing and then going on to live with the next person they come to care for? Why do you think 50 million helpless babies have been aborted since 1973 ~ even some by Christians? We are in a very sad state. And that is just in respect to the Christians. Looking at those who are still lost and dying ~ it is even more sinful and dark. We are an infectious wound in the eyes of God indeed.

I love America and have always counted it such a blessing and privilege to live here ~ to be an American. But we are so very far from where we started. We are so very far, even, from the days when I was raised in the 60's and 70's. Not long after 9/11 I saw a bumper sticker that said "We say God Bless America but we need to say America Bless God." We want God to bless us but we haven’t been blessing God in the way in which we live our lives.

As we near the end of our journey on this sin-sick earth things are not going to get better. They are not going to get easier. And I encourage you my friend to stand fast in the Word of God, stay in church, pray like you’ve never prayed before. We are fast becoming the minority in this world.

If God tarries coming this night, we will see another morning. But be not discouraged. For God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling there of. COME WHAT MAY ~ FEAR NOT ~ GOD IS OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Always Remember

I recently purchased a birthday card with the following inscription by Roy Lessin ~
When God made you
He did so with a purpose and a plan
He saw all your days
Before you lived one of them
And placed over you the
Covering of His protective love.

He has allowed nothing
To come into your life
That has not first been screened
Through His love
His hand has remained upon you

To this very day
He calls you by name
You are His beloved child
The apple of His eye
The delight of His heart
Today you are in
The exact place
He wants you to be
And tomorrow He will be with you
As He has always been
In goodness, in kindness
In faithfulness

What a comfort those words are. God has numbered the hairs on my head. He knows each step I have taken. He knew me before I was even formed. He's with me today and He will be with me tomorrow.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

He Chose The Color Of My Hair

A couple of times a week I automatically receive a devotional from Dwayne Savaya at God’s Work Ministry. Often times I feel as if the devotional "has my name on it" ~ as if it were written just to minister to and bless me. Today's was no exception. And so here it is in its entirety. Enjoy.

Before God spoke the universe into existence, He knew my name. Before He created the atmosphere, He held me in His heart. Before He created the oceans, the land, the plants and creeping things, He chose the color of my hair. Before He created the animals and before He created the first man, He loved me. He placed within Adam’s body all of the DNA of every human being who would ever walk the earth, and within him he placed the color of my eyes. Before He knit me together within my mother’s womb, He cherished the sound of my laugh. Before I shed my first tear, He felt my pain. Before my sin, my sorrow, and my stubborn disobedience, He chose to carry them to the Cross. He hung there; His blood pouring out...for me. Why He chose to do this I cannot comprehend. God wanted me to be His own child. How can that be? With all of my flaws and character defects, He wanted me to believe in Him, and He gave me the grace to believe in myself. God loves me with a fire that can never be quenched. I am special to Him, even if I am not special to anyone else, including myself. I have tried to perfect myself, and I have failed. I have tried to believe the world’s message, but I have found no answers. I have followed the paths forged by others only to find disaster at every bend in the road. Only God has given me the answers that I have sought. Peace. Love. Fulfillment. The change in my life is not a complicated one. It’s not about how good I am or how I pray or how often I go to church. It’s not about money or fame or popularity. I cannot speak for others. They must decide for themselves. I only know that the world has given me no happiness. After searching my entire life, I have only been able to find the answers to my questions on my knees at the foot of the Cross (written by Jaye Lewis).

I had never thought too much about my "design" before ~ that God did choose the color of my hair and eyes ~ my personality ~ and even my love of cats. I am warmed by those thoughts ~ it is difficult to completely comprehend just how much He loves me. And He loves you too ~ always remember that!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Don't Let Him Get A Foothold

Christians, if you think for one moment that satan is not out to destroy your home ~ you might want to think again. It seems these days he is working overtime ~ he certainly has a special interest in us. God describes him in I Peter 5:8 as a roaring lion ~ Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. he can’t have our souls but he wants to bring us down, discourage us, attempt to render us useless for God ~ even destroy our homes and families. Sometimes we can get so down that we are of no earthly good for our King. I know ~ I’ve been there. I plead with you to protect your homes, your families, yourself at all costs. Read God’s Word, pray, keep the full armour of God upon you (Ephesians 6: 11-18).

I’m really angry at satan tonight - I have more than one precious friend in need. Let’s just say he strikes again. He just makes me so mad that he lurks and waits for that perfect moment - getting a foothold in a weak spot in our lives. And we all have those weak spots - those tiny imperfections in our vessels. That is why it is so important to stay in the Word, to be in a state of prayer, and keep that armour on. Be ready for when he attacks.

My moma says he is the only person that we can tell to go to hell. My moma is a wonderful, God-fearing Christian and, mind you, she isn’t trying to curse. She is right - he is the only entity that a Christian would wish hell upon ~ a place where he will eventually spend eternity. That pretty much sums up the way I feel tonight because he has attacked yet another Christian family. I'm heading to a quiet place to get down on my stiff arthritic knees and beg God's help for this family.

Keep looking up. Jesus Christ is coming back.