Monday, December 31, 2012

Better Things Still to Come

But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Hebrews 6:9-12 NASB 

These verses remind me of Chris Tomlin's song lyrics:
Greater things are yet to come
Greater things are still to be done

 

Friday, December 28, 2012

You're Invited to a Feast!


When I was a college student, I received invitations to many weddings of my friends. One of my favorite memories is a wedding supper that was at my favorite Atlanta restaurant. We were escorted into the banquet room, where the tables were set with white linen and beautiful china. Roses and candles adorned each table. Beside my plate was a card with my name hand-lettered in calligraphy.

Jesus assures us that He would love for us to join Him at the marriage supper of the Lamb. If we have put our trust in Him as Savior, our place is set. Our seat is reserved.

Jesus said: 
"I say to you that many will come
from the east and the west 
and will take their places at the feast 
with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob 
in the kingdom of Heaven."
Matthew 8:11

Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.
Rev. 19:9 

photo courtesy wikimedia 

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Penny for Each Year

When I graduated to the primary class in Sunday School, there was a little church "bank" and the kids would put in five pennies when they turned five. Then the class would sing Happy Birthday to them.

With my December birthday, it seemed everyone else had already celebrated their big day and mine would never come! So one Sunday, I collected pennies from under the couch cushions at home and slipped them in my purse. When I got to Sunday School, I fibbed and told Ms. Lounette: "Today's my burf-day!"

Sadly for me, she worked at the same department store with my Mom, and she remembered well the day I was born. BUSTED!

Well, yesterday I officially "HIT 62".

I'm not sure that little bank would hold that many pennies!

Thanks to my YOUNGER sister Mildred, the news got out. Thank you for all the good wishes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Just Deliver the Message

LEARN TO GIVE WITHOUT STRIFE
"Dear ones, when I send you with My message, your only assignment is to deliver the Word and then back off and let Me do the convincing. It is not your job to play Holy Spirit. To step beyond the boundaries of your assignment is to fall into a downward spiral that results in striving and debate." Sandy Warner
Truth is not a debate topic; TRUTH is a Person. 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6

Love is a Person. Jehovah God is Love. 
And LOVE is the picture of God that Jesus painted when He died in my place for my sin. 

Heavenly Father,

Make our lives pictures that paint a thousand words.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

God's Unlimited Resources

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Ephesians 3:14-19

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Praying for Those Who Mourn

My heart goes out to the loved ones of the victims of the school shooting in Connecticut.

I pray for the children who are refugees from Syria and many others in war-torn countries.

I am thankful for parents who love and treasure their little ones.

Each day we have with them is a gift from God.

Jesus took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
Mark 10:16

Friday, December 14, 2012

Saved the Day

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
Robert Frost

I love poetry and I am in awe of Robert Frost's ability to paint such a vivid picture with one sentence comprised of 34 words! As I pictured his frown being turned upside down by an unexpected shower of snow, I remembered an experience from years gone by.

I can remember several instances, when the kids were all at home, when there was family tension or teenage "crises" and then something unexpected would happen and everyone would dissolve into laughter.

One day we had a rare April snow in Georgia. I was anxiously trying to get everybody ready and out the door to be on time for some event. My husband and kids were in the car (or so I thought). I rushed out the storm door right into a volley of snowballs from every direction! This was WAR! After I attempted revenge with a few snowballs of my own, we arrived a little late - looking worse for wear - but in a much happier mood!

A merry heart does good like a medicine.
Proverbs 17:22

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Open Door

"When one door of happiness closes, 
another opens; 
but often we look so long at the closed door 
that we do not see the one 
which has been opened for us."
Helen Keller

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Household "Tools"

There was a time when my husband bought old houses, and remodeled them to sell. He also owned houses and offices that he rented out had to keep up. When it came time to make repairs at home, even though he had a truck full of tools, he was a bit reluctant!

I understood a little better, when I owned a flower and gift shop. After decorating and gift-wrapping for customers in town, even though I had bolts of wrapping paper and ribbon, I handed out Christmas presents to my loved ones in paper bags. I look back on this with regret, but I could not stand the sight of any more red and green!

Once our ladies' Bible class teacher reminded me that the "tools" I am given from God's Word need to be used first and foremost at home in my own life, before I can go out and share them with others.

Father,

Help me to honor those people who are closest to me, be thankful for them, and look for the good.

....Meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. 
Philippians 4:8

White As Snow

As I was substitute teaching in recent years in public school, I noticed that God is left out of the books and the conversation these days, but, thankfully, one little first grader did not get the memo that she couldn't praise the Lord.

As we were going out to recess, snowflakes began to fall, and she burst out in song, "Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know. Nothing but the blood of Jesus!"

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Robert Lowry

Friday, December 7, 2012

Childlike Trust

O Lord, you alone are my hope.
    I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.
Yes, you have been with me from birth;
    from my mother’s womb 
you have cared for me.
    No wonder I am always praising you!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rare Perfume

When my grandchild, Ashlynn, was two, her mom was overjoyed to receive a bottle of her favorite perfume for Christmas. She placed the pretty bottle on the bathroom vanity.

Later, Ashlynn disappeared into the bathroom for a while; then came out into the living room where we were all sitting. She smelled STRONGLY of fine perfume! Oddly, she was wearing a washcloth on her head.

She had mistaken the perfume for hairspray. When she realized her mistake, she decided to cover up the fragrance with the washcloth! It didn't work.

As I remembered this cute story, I thought of a little worship chorus that is taken from Song of Solomon 1:3. We can sing these words to Jesus.

Your name is like an ointment poured forth,
A fragrance rare of wonderful oil.
Your name is like an ointment poured forth,
Your wonderful, wonderful name!

Father God,
As we go about our day, I pray that in our words and actions, the fragrance of Christ will be as noticeable as Mommy's perfume on Ashlynn's hair.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Success

He is like a tree planted beside streams- 
a tree that produces fruit in season 
and whose leaves do not wither. 
He succeeds in everything he does. 
Psalm 1:3 God's Word

photo by Karen - Lily Valley

What is success? We can read the stories of very successful people by the world's standards, who lived very unhappy lives. It's good when someone discovers at a young age that the only way to succeed is to stay close to the source of LIFE...His name is Jesus.

Monday, November 26, 2012

MADE NEW


He Who is seated on the throne said, 
"See! I make all things new."


Can you imagine a world where everything is brand new? New bodies...no more aches or pains. The earth will be made new...no hatred, wars or destruction. Relationships...without strife, separation or unforgiveness.

Thank you, God, that the time will come when you will wipe away every tear.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Crowned With Goodness


You crown the year with your goodness,
your tracks overflow with richness.
The desert pastures drip water,
the hills are wrapped with joy,
the meadows are clothed with flocks
and the valleys blanketed with grain,
so they shout for joy and break into song.

Psalm 65:11-14 Complete Jewish Bible

How Great Is Our God!

O my soul, bless God!
God, my God, how great you are!
beautifully, gloriously robed,
dressed up in sunshine,
and all heaven stretched out for your tent.

Psalm 104:1-2 Message

Friday, November 23, 2012

Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend


 Daddy would have been 90 years old this week and Mother would have been 83 on December 2. When my brother and sister asked me to suggest a song for Daddy's funeral years ago, I remembered this hymn that was one of his favorites. If MawMaw and PawPaw could pass along a message to their children, grandchildren, and now their great-granchildren, I think it could be said in the words of this song.

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Way of Peace

People ask, why does the Bible tell us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem? It seems there has been continual conflict there.

The only answer I can give is that Jesus is our Peace.

The forerunner of Jesus Christ was John the Baptist. I was so moved by the prophetic words that his father, Zacharias, spoke over him when John was only eight days old. We are also forerunners because Jesus is coming again.

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways;
To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins,
Because of the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,
To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.
Luke 1:76-79 NASB

Father God,
We pray for the peace of Jerusalem. We pray for the Palestinian people and the Jewish people. We pray Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

Peace I leave with you,
My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid.
John 14:27

Jesus did not say these words lightly. He spoke tenderly to his friends on the evening he was betrayed, illegally tried, beaten - knowing he would be crucified the next day.

I cannot understand suffering: His suffering, our suffering, and the suffering of the innocent.

Neither can I comprehend Jesus' undying love.

 


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

One and Only God

The LORD will be king over all the earth,
 and in that day the LORD will be the only one,
 and His name the only one.
 Zechariah 14:9

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dwell in the Shelter

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1

I heard about a woman in the war zone who told a reporter, "Oh, yes, we have a bomb shelter, but we use it for storage. It is packed with bicycles and all sorts of things we don't need. But if the escalation continues, we may have to clean it out and start using it."

I couldn't help but think about Psalm 91. We have to DWELL in the shelter to be protected.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Disappointment or Divine Appointment?

I was thinking about the twelve spies who went in to check out the land for the Israelites (Numbers 13). Only Joshua and Caleb had faith that God would keep His promise and see them through. What the other ten spies said about the land was true: There were giants in the land and walled cities and many obstacles to overcome. The people allowed themselves to be scared to death - literally.

Caleb said, "Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.”
Numbers 14:9

I can see that there are rough times ahead for us in America. But our enemies will be "bread" for us. Maybe they will be "carbs" that energize the Church to BE the Church.

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work."
John 4:34

Jesus has chosen us to be here during this time in history for a divine purpose. Let's not be consumed with fear, even though the trials are real and the disappointments great.

Jesus promised: "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name." John 15:16




Monday, November 12, 2012

Psalm 46:10

Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth!

Father Abraham Had Many Sons

We call Abraham "father" not because he got God's attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn't that what we've always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, "I set you up as father of many peoples"?

Abraham was first named "father" of faith and then became a natural father as well because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life with a word and make something out of nothing.

When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do but on what God said He could and would do.

God Himself said to him, "You're going to have a big family, Abraham!"

Kathie Walters

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Nations


Jesus carried the sins of the world upon His shoulders.
I know, beloved, that He can carry you.

As we were worshiping this morning at church, I could just picture Father's heart toward His Son, as He hung on the cross, never once cursing or condemning those who beat Him and ridiculed Him and called for His death, but loving them and forgiving.

I could imagine Father saying, "My Son, I will do anything for you."
And Jesus answering, "Give Me the nations!"

Jesus has done His part. Now it is up to man to receive His gift of pardon for sin, and new life.

The Word tells us that it is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance. God is pouring out His Spirit. His glory covers the earth as the waters cover the seas.

Father, thank You for the gift of Your only Son. Thank You for Your lovingkindness and tender mercy. Thank You for your patience. The Kingdom of Heaven is near. May we fall on our knees before You in grateful reverence. We join with Jesus in asking for the nations to know Him as Lord and King.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What to do?

"When someone asks us to pray for them, if possible, stop and pray on the spot. Recognize that we, the church, are the hands and feet of Christ. Be faithful in the small things. Refuse the fear of man and the fear of taking a risk. Protect your life from busyness. You are only anointed to do what God calls you to do."
Steve Sampson, Discerning and Defeating the Ahab Spirit




Monday, November 5, 2012

Overwhelming Peace


God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.
I'm an open book to you;
even from a distance,
you know what I'm thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I'm never out of your sight.
You know everything I'm going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you're there,
then up ahead and you're there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
I can't take it all in!

Psalm 139:1-6 Message

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Government


There is a lot of talk in the news about government shut-down, government protests, big government, and one world government. It is comforting to know that God revealed to the prophet Isaiah 2,800 years ago Who is in charge of government.

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6-7

Saturday, November 3, 2012

When These Pictures Develop...

I've had many experiences in my lifetime. Some good and some bad, and though the events are history, the memories have stayed with me. I even have photographs of some of them.

Before the digital age, we had a polaroid instant camera, so we wouldn't have to wait overnight to have the film developed. Yet, even as great as instant pictures were, in certain conditions, some were blurry or dark.

The Lord showed me how this was like the memories of my life. Not all of them have been developed yet. Not all of them make sense now. Not all of them are pleasant.  Some I want to hide, and others I wish I could forget about.

But God says in His Word that He has never left us or forsaken us. At the end of my life, and sometimes along the way, I'm going to see something different about those memories....


When these pictures develop...

I'm going to see JESUS standing there with me in every one!

We can ask Jesus to show us where He was in our memories. No matter how alone or forsaken we may have felt at times, Jesus has always been right there, causing all things to work together for our good, watching over us. He wants us to know that even in present and future struggles, He is right here with us. All we have to do is call upon His name and believe that He is our helper.

Written by my son, Cameron Hill

“I will never fail you.
I will never abandon you,"
So we can say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper,
I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?”

Hebrews 13:5 NLT

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

FAITHFUL

The LORD is faithful
And He will strengthen you
And set you on a firm foundation
And guard you from the evil one.
2 Thessalonians 3:5

Monday, October 29, 2012

Go in this strength

The Angel of the Lord called Gideon, who considered himself unqualified for the job at hand, a "might man of valor" and told him, "Go in this strength that is yours." Judges 6

I heard Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, preaching on Gideon (on GOD-TV). He was saying that in a footnote in his Bible, it said that the correct translation would paint a picture of the Spirit of God clothing Himself with Gideon.

Isn't that an exciting thought!!

We are not limited to what we can do in our own strength.

When I yield to Him completely, I am the sock and Holy Spirit is the foot. I am the glove and He is the hand.

For with God, nothing is impossible. 
Luke 1:37

Sunday, October 28, 2012

No Mistakes!

This past week there was a political debate in our state where one man expressed his view that every person is created by God for His purpose no matter what the circumstances of their conception. As you can imagine, that started a storm of debate and criticism of his "extreme" views on the right to life vs. abortion.

I remembered walking into our local hair salon shortly after my son Caleb was born. One of the ladies rushed up to have a look at him, and when she saw that he had Down syndrome, she blurted out for all to hear: "Well, he was obviously a mistake!"

I usually am at a loss at a time like that, but I believe the Holy Spirit put these words on my lips. "No, God had a plan for Caleb from before the foundation of the world."

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Psalm 90:1-2

I sat in the back row at a Christian conference last week, where there was a little girl in a wheelchair siting in front of me who could not even hold her own head up. She had a little 2 year old sister next to her who would periodically check on big sister, patting her hand or giving her butterfly kisses on the cheek. I thought to myself: This scene paints a picture of what God thinks of each one of us, no matter what our circumstances or challenges may be.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Great Harvest

"I believe that 2013 will begin the greatest harvest of all time, which will continue to increase. By 2017 I believe there will be a harvest so awesome that man has no idea how to comprehend what it will be." Bob Jones
Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations as Your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth as Your possession (Psalm 2:8).

Praying for people around the world to come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thank You God for Your Love


When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Ephesians 3:14-19 NLT

Falling at Your Feet


We had some very windy days this week just as the autumn color reached its peak. From one day to the next, it seems the trees are shedding their foliage and rolling out a carpet of leaves along the path for me to walk on.

Maybe the leaves are showing me how to humble myself before the Lord. What do we do when the winds of adversity blow in our lives? We must go lower still.  We must fall before the ONE who gave His all so that we might have life.

I have always loves these lyrics by Clint Brown.

At Your feet - At Your feet.
I humbly bow before You
And with honor I adore You
There is no place I'd rather be 
Than at Your feet.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Faithful Father



My faithful Father, enduring friend,
Your tender mercy is like a river with no end.
It overwhelms me; covers my sin.
Each time I come into your presence,
I stand in wonder once again.
Your grace still amazes me
Your love is still a mystery.
Each day I fall on my knees ,
'cause your grace still amazes me.
Phillips, Craig and Dean

Monday, October 15, 2012

Let Me Never Forget

Lord,

Let me never forget Your testimony. The testimony of Jesus: the covenant the Father made through His Son. Remind me of my own testimony: the many times you have come to my rescue and arranged divine appointments. Help me never again, when faced with an "impossible" situation, to give satan "top billing". Instead, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to You. May I tell THE REASON that I have a hope and a future.

God showed his love for us by sending his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him.  This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven.
1 John 4:9-10

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Your Love, Oh Lord

YOUR LOVE OH LORD

Your love oh Lord reaches to the heavens
Your faithfulness stretches to the sky
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountain
Your justice flows like the ocean's tides
And I will lift my voice to worship You my King
And I will find my strength
in the shadow of Your wings
written by David Carr, Mark Lee, Mac Powell, Brad Avery

Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. 
Your righteousness is like the great mountains;
Your judgments are a great deep;
O Lord, You preserve man and beast.
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust 
under the shadow of Your wings. 
They are abundantly satisfied 
with the fullness of Your house,
And You give them drink 
from the river of Your pleasures. 
For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Barnacles

Who do you know that glues his head to a rock and stays there for the rest of his life?

I remember seeing barnacles years ago when we had a boat at Lake Lanier. Only this week, when I was teaching fourth grade, did I realize that they are live animals. Barnacles are crustaceans that attach themselves to a stationary object and stay stuck there for life. Barnacles spend their youth swimming around, but then they settle down to adulthood, held permanently by one of the strongest known natural adhesives

This reminded me of the saying, "Build your house upon a rock."

After Jesus had done many miracles, and had drawn great throngs of people, He began to explain that He would die as a sacrifice for their sins. Many were offended and no longer followed Him. Then Jesus turned to His twelve disciples. "Will you also go away?"

"To whom would we go, Lord?" Peter implored. "You have the words of life."

Jesus is the ROCK, the WORD OF LIFE, that I want to "glue my head to".

The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Soul Longs for God

At night my soul longs for You,
Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently;
For when the earth experiences Your judgments
The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
Isaiah 26:9 NASB

Monday, October 8, 2012

Stupid Lies

I am so thankful that God is showing me more and more how I have believed satan's lies. And they are stupid lies at that!

One example is that whenever I try to cook a meal for someone, I constantly compare myself with my Grandmother's cooking and think that I am not as good. Well, she was an excellent cook, but the thing is: the people I cook for never ate at Grandma's! They are coming over because they love ME! Hallelujah! And if the truth be told, I would have only eaten biscuits and jelly at Grandma's and I would have just licked the icing off the cake if I could have gotten away with it.

Isn't it crazy how we fail to see our own value in the eyes of our Loving Heavenly Father.

I confess Lord, that each of us special for a reason.

I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt.
Psalm 139:14 CEV

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Good, Better or Best?

I was reading a story about a modern-day real-life treasure hunter who put his life savings into looking for a sunken cargo ship. He had done a lot of research and was sure he had figured out where the ship had sunk so many years ago.

A distraction occurred when he stumbled upon a few bars of silver seven miles away from where he was originally headed. He then went into debt and spent fruitless years scouring that area but finding nothing else.

At length, he decided to go to his original destination, and there he found the sunken ship with millions of dollars in gold and silver still in the original treasure chests.

This story got me to thinking about coming short of what God has planned for my life, or settling for good instead of best.

Father, You have called me to love You and love the "treasures" you place right in front of me every day. I pray that I don't detour from any plan other than Your original Treasure Map!

God of the Valley

In 1996, I was dealing with grieving the death of my son,  recent divorce, and no job. The verse, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and they are safe," struck a chord with me. I was familiar with the covenant names: Jehovah Nissi, The Lord is our banner, and Jehovah Jireh, Our provider, Jehovah Shalom, our peace, and others. Then God put it on someone's heart to give me Kay Arthur's book, Lord, I Want to Know You. There I read the name: Jehovah Sabaoth, Captain of the Lord's Hosts (mentioned in 1 Samuel 17). God is the one who fights for us in our battles! This gave me great assurance that God was with me and for me in this valley.

My favorite Bible story as a child was from 1 Samuel 17, David and Goliath. I begged Daddy read it again and again. Now, years later, I am still seeing ways to apply the truths of that story in my life.  This particular valley where Goliath stood to taunt God's people belonged not to the Philistines, but to the tribe of Judah (which means PRAISE).

Goliath stood in a valley that belonged to the children of God, and day after day denied the power of God. Morning and evening the enemy filled the minds of the Israelites with his accusations, curses, and threats. "If you can send a man who defeats me, this valley will be yours, and we will be your servants. But if I defeat you, this valley belongs to me and you must serve us."

Only young David had the confidence in the living God to face the giant. David essentially became the winner when he made this proclamation recorded in 1 Samuel 17:45. "You come against me with a dagger, spear, and sword, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel's armies— you have defied Him. (47)... and this whole assembly will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the LORD saves, for the battle is the LORD's. He will hand you over to us."

As Christians, we are not promised  that we will never experience troubles, sickness and heartache. But we can shout the enemy down by praising God even in the valley.

    Because of Your adversaries,
    You have established a stronghold [of praise]
    from the mouths of children and nursing infants,
    to silence the enemy and the avenger. Ps. 8:2

Saturday, October 6, 2012

We Want to See Jesus

You will open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from Satan’s control to God’s. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and a share among God’s people who are made holy by believing in me.
Acts 26:18 God's Word

Again and again I hear testimonies of people from countries that are closed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. People are being reached by the millions through courageous Christian witnesses, missionaries, Christian media, and angelic visitations and dreams.

Lord,
I pray for those who share the good news of redemption through faith in Jesus in spite of persecution and imprisonment. I thank you for the abundant harvest of souls for the kingdom of Christ.

Friday, October 5, 2012

El Roi - God Who Sees Me

These lyrics from "I Know That You are For Me" by Kari Jobe blessed my heart today:

So faithful
So constant
So loving and so true
So powerful in all you do
You fill me
You SEE me
You know my every move
You love for me to sing to you

I know that You are for me
I know that You will never
Forsake me in my weaknesses
And I know that You have come down
Even if to write upon my heart
To remind me Who You are.


EL ROI
Hagar answered God by name,
 praying to the God who spoke to her, 
“YOU'RE THE GOD WHO SEES ME!"
“Yes! He saw me; and then I saw him!”
Genesis 16:13 Message

EBBY-BODY SING!

My friend has two beautiful granddaughters who were adopted. When we were traveling to meet the second baby, we had the two year old with us. Sitting in her car seat singing praise songs, she would interrupt the adult's conversation with a hearty, "EBBY-BODY SING!!"

Psalm 126 is one of the songs that the worshipers sang as they made their pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the feasts of the Lord. In our day of planes, trains and automobiles, it is hard to imagine walking for days with our children in tow, but they went joyfully, with a song on their lips.

It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,
when God returned Zion's exiles.
We laughed, we sang,
we couldn't believe our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations—
"God was wonderful to them!"
God was wonderful to us;
we are one happy people.

And now, God, do it again—
bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing,
with armloads of blessing.
Psalm 126 Message

Monday, October 1, 2012

Filled With His Spirit

The prophet Elisha asked the widow, "What do you have in your house?"

She replied, "NOTHING - but a jar of oil!"Elisha told the woman to gather empty jars from her neighbors - as many as she could get. (2 Kings 4) He told her to pour out what she had into those empty jars. Her container of oil did not run dry until every jar was filled.

Sometimes I also focus on what I can't do rather than what I've been given. In the Bible, oil often represents the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised to send the Spirit to live in the hearts of those who believe in Him. I have the Holy Spirit living in me!



Saturday, September 29, 2012

Stuck

One scorcher of a day when my daughter was small, we decided to walk up to Main Street. We did not realize that crews had so recently repaved our street with hot asphalt. Kathren's shoes got stuck in the sticky tar, and she was not strong enough to free herself. I can still picture her little panic-stricken face! Fortunately, I was able to lift her and carry her to the safety of the sidewalk.

I remembered that scene as I was reading Isaiah 30. Verse 15 says, "Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved." I learned that the word saved in this verse means the opposite of stuck. The Hebrew word yasha paints a picture of being in a spacious place, free to move. When I make hasty decisions and ignore God's leading, I can quickly find myself stuck.

The word "trust" in this verse means "there is nothing more I can do". When I admit my error, and call out to my Heavenly Father, I must wait for Him to bring the victory.

So the Lord must wait for you to come to him
so he can show you his love and compassion.

For the Lord is a faithful God.Blessed are those who wait for his help.
Isaiah 30:18

Thank you, God, that you are a compassionate Father who longs to be gracious to us.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

All We Like Sheep

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:4-6

Friday, September 21, 2012

Those Who Seek Him Out

Without trusting, it is impossible to be well pleasing to God, because whoever approaches him must trust that he does exist and that he becomes a Rewarder to those who seek him out.
Hebrews 11:6 Complete Jewish Bible

As a young child, I did not understand much about God. I just knew that I needed Him - needed forgiveness, and needed Him to guide me through life.

I had recently experienced the death of a family member, my beloved Great grandfather. I knew that he loved God and had served him. One thing he did was to start a children's Sunday school in our little town.

I thank God that we read the Bible in our home as well as at church, and that my parents lived what they "preached".

So even in my childlike faith, God heard my prayer and answered. He has been faithful.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

ONLY BELIEVE

Fear not, precious flock, whatever your lot;
He enters all rooms, the doors being shut.
He never forsakes, He never is gone
So count on His presence in darkness and dawn.

Only believe, only believe;
All things are possible, only believe;
Only believe, only believe;
All things are possible, only believe.
-Paul Rader

I was remembering this song that we sang on Sunday nights at church when I was a child. Nothing is impossible with God. Jesus told us to ask the Father in Jesus name for blessings in agreement with His will. God can shut a door that no man can open, and open a door that no man can shut.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Talking to God

"Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is greater still."
E.M. Bounds

I was just reading the story of Rees Howells. He and his comrades prayed fervently during World War II, and saw many miracles that could only be attributed to Spirit-led prayer.
You can read his story by googling Rees Howells Intercessor-The Wesley Center Online in PDF.

This really encouraged me to keep on praying, even when things look impossible.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Be Utterly Amazed

God had highlighted this passage so strongly to me last week as I was praying for 9/11:
This was the prophet Habakkuk's prayer:

How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.

This was the Lord's answer:

“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed.

For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told."

Habakkuk 1:2-5 NIV

I know that God is warning the nations of judgment and He is extending great mercy before the time of His last harvest of those who will hear the good news of redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ.

I believe that so much change is coming, not only to America, but to the whole world, that one year from now, we will look back and marvel at all that has taken place.

Father God,
Help us as Christians to remember that the most powerful thing we can do is praise and worship you. You are exalted on the praises of Your people. We can gather with our families and even the children to worship You. You promised that out of the mouths of babies you have ordained strength that you might silence the enemy and the avenger. (Psalm 8:2) OUR WORSHIP SOUNDS LIKE WARFARE TO THE DEVIL.



Sunday, September 9, 2012

God's Goodness

I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
his great goodness to the family of Israel—
Compassion lavished,
love extravagant.
He said, “Without question these are my people,
children who would never betray me.”
So he became their Savior.
In all their troubles,
he was troubled, too.
He didn’t send someone else to help them.
He did it himself, in person.

Out of his own love and pity
he redeemed them.
He rescued them and carried them along
for a long, long time.
Isaiah 63:7-9 Message

I listened to some amazing testimonies on God TV where there were testimonies of Arabs, Iranians, and Jews who received salvation through Jesus Christ. The Iranian man begs us to pray for the harvest of souls that is happening in Iran today.

“I made myself accessible
to those who didn’t ask for me,
I let myself be found
by those who didn’t seek me.
I said, ‘Here I am! Here I am!’
to a nation not called by my name."
Isaiah 65:1

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pray About Everything


I had decided to take the grandbaby back to her home. But when we were walking out the front door, I could not find my car keys. I looked everywhere and looked in my purse three times. I finally gave up on the idea and had put her down for a nap in the back room, when I noticed the sunny sky had grown very dark. The heavy front door suddenly burst open and banged loudly against the wall. As I tried to shut it, it took all the strength I could muster and still the wind kept pushing it back open. After finally getting it closed and locked, I turned on the TV to see if there was a weather warning, but there was none. There was terrific wind and rain, and huge branches crashing in the yard. Later I learned that there was no time for a warning, because it had been a downdraft caused by a fast moving cold front that collided with the 93 degree heat and 90% humidity of the afternoon.
After settling the baby, I picked up my purse, and there was my huge key ring! Had it been there all along, or was it hidden in some angel's pocket to protect us from driving in the storm?
We realized later, that the wind was so strong it had taken the top section out of a healthy green tree in our yard and dumped it in the intersection near the house, causing a fender bender.
Sometimes I think I can see my way clear to do something and don't even think to stop to pray about it. The Lord showed me that HE sees down the road, sudden changes that I cannot see. I have to obey HIS leading even though I don't understand it, and even if others think I am extreme for "praying about everything"!
Don't worry about anything;
instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need,
and thank him for all he has done.
Philippians 4:6 NLT

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mercy and Forgiveness

Recently, our community grieved the death of a fifty year old man who had lost all three of his sons in a car accident. Unknown to his three young teens, the driver who invited them to ride had stolen the car and was fleeing from the police when he wrecked.

The driver lived went to jail. The bereaved father reached out to him and became a mentor and big brother to him.

The story doesn't end there. Many other parents are speaking out how this man inspired them to call on God to be able to forgive, and to live with hope and peace after their child's wrongful death.

I have to remind myself sometimes that not one of us deserves the mercy and kindness that Jesus has shown us.

We have a great high priest,
who has gone into heaven,
and he is Jesus the Son of God....
Jesus understands
every weakness of ours,
because he was tempted
in every way that we are.
But he did not sin!
So whenever we are in need,
we should come bravely
before the throne of our merciful God.
There we will be treated with undeserved kindness,
and we will find help.
Hebrews 4:14-16

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Timed Test


Do you remember those times tests? "This is a timed test. When the buzzer sounds, put down your pencil. You don't get a second chance."

God is not like that. He gives us many chances to "pass the test". It's an open book test. We can keep our Bible open and search for the answer. If we still don't get it, we can even look over a friend's shoulder for the answer.

But the day will come when time is up. This question must be answered: Will you put your trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of your life?

To leave that question blank is to fail the test - to refuse God's priceless gift of love, forgiveness, and eternal life in Heaven with Him.

In Matthew 24, the disciples asked Jesus, "What will it be like when You return?"

Jesus answered, "For as lightning flashes across from east to west, so will the Son of Man’s coming be."

We are seeing signs of the times that Jesus' return is near.

Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near.
Isaiah 55:6

Sunday, August 26, 2012

LIFETIME GUARANTEE

Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God's Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 Message

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6 NASB

Do you think about the fact that from the beginning, God knew you would be alive at this time in history, and that He planned to show Himself strong through you? He puts someone on your heart to pray for or visit or help, and then gives you the resources to do it.

We love God because He FIRST loved us!

Show Us your Glory

These are times of daily crises, but also of opportunity to bring in the harvest. In the days ahead, there will only be two kinds of people, those who know forgiveness and peace through Jesus Christ, and those who desperately long to know Him.

We can start over today, as fresh and pure as a spotless lamb. We can come to a place where we no longer feel condemned or confused, always trying to figure everything out or understand all God's ways. I can come to a place of close fellowship with God where His love is so irresistable that I immediately say "yes" to whatever He asks me to do.

God is about to bring us into a time of harvest and fruitfulness where we will see more happen for His Kingdom in one hour that we saw previously in a year.

Show us Your Glory, Father. Everything is for Your Glory.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

BEEP!

I was teaching first graders, and another teacher loaned me an old "book-on-tape" for the kids to listen to after lunch. She said, "I know you could read the story aloud, but this cassette tape has marvelous voices and sound effects for this seasonal story."

I dutifully put the tape in, and sat at the front of the class, showing the pictures in the book. Whenever it was time to turn the page, the tape would "BEEP" to remind me.

After the story, a very serious little boy came to me and said, "My Mommy doesn't allow me to listen to stories with bad words!"

"Honey," I said, "what did you hear on the tape that you thought was a bad word?"

"I couldn't hear the bad words," he told me. "They were 'BEEPED' out!"

I commend this little one for his wisdom. This was a good reminder for me to listen to, think about, and talk about things that are uplifting.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philippians 4:8 NIV

Monday, July 30, 2012

TELL ME THE STORIES

I will teach you hidden lessons from our past — stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us.
We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation
about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.
Psalm 782-4 NLT

We can go to the website of VOICE OF THE MARTYRS and see how many nations have restricted the rights of their citizens to speak and worship and assemble as they wish. We in America need to exercise our rights and teach our children about the values upon which our nation was founded.

Tell me the story of Jesus
Write on my heart every word
Tell me the story most precious
Sweetest that ever was heard.
-Fanny Crosby

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Waiting

A friend at Bible Study pointed out to us that "wait" in the passage we were studying, didn't mean to be resigned and passive; it meant to watch intently for your opportunity and be ready to POUNCE LIKE A CAT!

I thought about waiting for Daddy to come home when I was young. I would ride my bike around the corner and wait for him to come into view as he was driving home from work - almost always exactly 6:15. Then I would pedal as hard as I could back up the hill, round the corner, and try to beat him into the driveway. I knew I could count on a big smile, and that he would be excited to hear about my day, before we went in for supper.

So, next time I read "wait on the Lord", I will know that God delights in being "ambushed" by his children.

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. Psalm 62:5

Thursday, July 26, 2012

JESUS - Don't Leave This World Without Him

In 1958, the “Don’t leave home without it” card was introduced by American Express. Now many people have thousands of dollars of credit card debt. I have heard it said that in the worsening economic crisis, it will be wise to have zero debt - everything paid off and your title deed in your hand so that no one can call in your debt and take what belongs to you!

Isn't it wonderful to know that Jesus has paid the debt of sin I owed to God that I could never pay.
‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them’.
And then, he adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more’.
Where God grants remission of sin there can be no question of making further atonement.
Hebrews 10:16-18 Phillips New Testament

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