Archive | June 2014

Praisin’ the Lord

Psalm 100 – “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come be for his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

Every fifth Sunday at our church, we have a Fifth Sunday Sing. It’s a lot of fun. All we do is sing praises to God for our worship service.

Last night was a fifth Sunday. Lots of people got up and sang. Some older, some younger, some on tune and some….not so much. But it didn’t matter! They were making a “joyful noise unto the LORD”.

We had a few mother and child groups. My daughter and I sang separately. She did an awesome job on “Amazing Grace, my chains are gone” by Chris Tomlin.

But there was one lady that really touched my heart and encouraged me. She is an older lady in our church. If I had to guess, I would say late 70s to early 80s. Sweet, sweet lady. Always there. Always active. Last night, she got up in front of our little congregation and sang. She said that she had never done anything like that before last night. She didn’t use any type of accompaniment. She just poured out her praise to our Savior. And it was beautiful.

So, you might say, nice story. What is the point? The point is this. You are never too old or too young to praise Jesus. He is worthy of all our praise! No matter if you can sing or not, praise His name! You may not feel led to get up in front of your congregation and sing a solo. But who’s to say that you shouldn’t take some of your study time and sing a song of praise to Him? Who’s to say that singing Christian songs along with the radio while you are driving to work doesn’t praise His name? Colossians 3:17 – “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” This includes singing, you know. Whatever you choose to do, wherever you choose to do it, just praise The Lord!

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By a hangnail

Job 7:1-4 – “Is there not an appointed time to man upon the earth? Are not his days also like the days of an hireling? As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work: so am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me. When I lie down, I say, When shall I arises and the night be gone? and I am full of tosssings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.”

Have you ever had a bad day? Or a bad week? Or a bad month? Or maybe even a bad year?

Well, let me encourage you here. I sincerely doubt that anything you go through can compare to what our dear friend Job went through. He lost his family (all but his wife), his home, his wealth and his health all in a short period of time. God allowed Satan to take everything but his life. Now…..how bad was your day again?

The point is this: Life is not going to be sunshine and lollipops every single day. Things are going to happen. Maybe really bad things. Maybe things that will make you curse the day you were born, like Job did.

But one thing to remember about Job – he may have moaned and groaned and whined and complained, but he never cursed God. He asked why but he didn’t question God disrespectfully. Job knew that God was in control of all the bad things that were happening to him.

He also knew that sometimes bad times come. Things happen that stink. People die. You loose your job. A natural disaster comes and scatters your belongings from here to yonder. A terrible illness may ravage your body.

But if you are a child of the King, He has you in the palm of His hand and nothing can change that. You might feel as if you are holding on by a hangnail, but He still has you. He will pick you up and set your feet on solid ground. You may have nothing left, but you have Him to hold you.

Murky water

Proverbs 27:19 – “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.”

Yep, it’s been a while. We have moved into a new house, had family come to visit, traveled a bit and worked. I have been busy chasing myself around my life.

But today, I wanted to look at this verse.

What is the reflection of your heart?

We were just at the beach this week. The water was murky and difficult to see in. I don’t like being in the water when I can’t see my feet, especially in the ocean. In fact, I high tailed it out of the water as soon as I saw Mr. Jellyfish floating by. But he had to be right next to me to see it.

Do your life waters ever get murky? Do you find yourself be bopping along and then boom! Jellyfish! You get so caught up in what is going on right in front of your face that you forget to see where your feet are at. And before you know it, you are off the path. You have forgotten about Jesus. You have neglected your time with Him. You feel miserable. Oh, you try to blame in on lack of sleep or too much unhealthy food, but deep down you know it is because somewhere along the line, you left your BFF behind.

Well, princess, this is where your reflection gets unclear. You have left the One who gives you your beauty. You start looking like the world. No princess needs that. And when the water gets murky, you can’t even see yourself anymore. You are too far away.

But good news! He is ready to take you back. You just need to confess where you went wrong and move forward. Make that commitment to go back to the clear water. Make that choice to let the beauty of your heart shine through. He will clean it all up for you if you just let Him. A bad attitude and a yucky heart are no place to reside. Let Him clean you up and set your feet on solid ground beside clear flowing streams.

When the roll is called up yonder

John 17:3 – “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.”

A little over a year ago, I was working alongside a friend of mine a work. He is a nice guy. He had a warm smile and willing hand to help someone in need. He enjoyed life. He had passes to most of the places of entertainment around our area and he enjoyed spending time with his friends.

And then he developed a cough. A cough that would not go away. We all attributed it to allergies. But he went to the doctor multiple times and the medicine the doctor gave would not make the cough go away. So he decided to run a few more tests. It was determined that my friend had cancer. He has been fighting this cancer for a year now. He has tried experimental drugs and procedures. Nothing has worked. My friend is now home with hospice care. He is surrounded by family and friends as he trudges along.

But, in amongst all the sad news is this bright spot: He accepted Jesus as his Savior Saturday night. When I got up yesterday to check my social media, I cannot express the lightness in my heart. I had been praying for him for some time in this regard. Another friend of mine at work is close to this friend and was faithful to The Lord in presenting the plan of salvation to him multiple times. He and his wife were not giving up on my friend. For that, I am eternally grateful, literally.

Yesterday at church, we sang “When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there”. I couldn’t sing it. I was too busy shedding tears of joy. In fact, just the thought of that song this morning brings tears to my eyes. I know that if I don’t see my friend again this side of eternity, one day I will get another of his warm hugs in heaven. That makes me smile.

So I want to encourage you, princess, to not give up on your unsaved friends. Keep praying for them. Keep showing them Jesus in your life. Pray for them to be surrounded by His presence. Just pray. God hears you. God knows the desires of your heart toward them. And He knows what they need and when they need it. Just keep being faithful.

Are you in it for the Bread?

John 6:35 – “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

In John 6, Jesus fed 5000 people. FIVE THOUSAND! With 5 loaves and 2 fishes! Just stop for a moment and wrap your brain around that one.

So, when free food is handed out, what tends to happen? People start following you around. Well, these people who had witnessed this miracle began to follow Jesus around as well. Now, there is nothing wrong with following Jesus; it’s just that these people were not following Him to learn from Him, but rather to receive another hand out.

So when Jesus and His disciples crossed the sea (this is where Jesus walked across the sea), the hungry crowd followed Him. And when they casually asked why He had crossed, Jesus called them out and told them that they had only sought Him out because they wanted another free hand-out. They wanted more bread. Jesus told them they needed to “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” John 6:27

Well this just rocked their world! They wanted to know how they were supposed to do this “work”. They asked Him to give them a sign like their fathers had received in the desert with Moses. They wanted more bread! Can you imagine? I mean, they are attempting to be sneaky with God! But, aren’t we the same way? Don’t we try every possible way to get what we want from God? God has left His instruction manual with us and He expects us to know what is in it. Yet, here we are grumbling about our wants when we know that He supplies all our needs.

Jesus, instead of rebuking them, encouraged them. He encouraged them to seek after Him because He is the Bread of Life. He is the Bread we should be begging for, not the gluten yumminess most of us adore. By coming to Him, we are told that we will never be hungry again. Does that mean we will never feel the pain of hunger in our belly? Nope. It means that our spiritual hunger will never be present again, as long as we continue to search for Him.

So, princess, what kind of bread are you chasing after? Are you looking for the things that will fill you for this moment or are you looking for the things that will fill you for eternity?

I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N!

Acts 11:26b – “And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

What does it mean to be called a “Christian” these days? It is kinda hard to say. So many people claim to be “Christians”. Yet, so many do not reflect a Christ-likeness. Truthfully, I rarely use the term “Christian” because so many people use it and abuse it. I prefer the term “follower of Christ”. But that aside, what does it mean to be a “Christian”? Can people tell that you are a “Christian”?

Here’s what the Christian instruction manual says: Ephesians 4:1-3 – “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Let’s look more closely.
“Lowliness”, or humble, means putting others in front off yourself, thinking about someone else’s needs before your own. For some, this is a foreign concept. But for a follower of Christ, it should become second nature.
“Meekness”, or gentle, means that you don’t easily flip out. You roll with the flow. You get along with others. You play nice.
“Long-suffering”, patient, means you can wait. Your not a “I need right NOW” kinda person.
“Forbearing one another in love” means that you help each other, not because you have to but rather because you want to. It is providing support because you care. It is a hug when there are no words.
“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” means your not going to stir up trouble just to have something going on. You are going to do your best to get along with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Being a Christian is a challenge, especially when you have people in your life that make you want to scream. It is a challenge because people don’t follow the same rules that you do. They don’t play the same game.

But you, dear princess, are called to be different. Your called to be a bit weird because you play by His rules, not your own. If someone were to meet you for the very first time today and observe you only today, what would they say about you? Would they recognize Jesus in your life? Would they see that you play by a different set of rules than most people? Or would they see the same thing that they see in everyone else?

A bit of enourgement

1 Peter 5:10 – “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (NIV)

Note: I have been using KJV lately but always read NIV along with it. When I did the research on this verse, I noticed that the NIV was closer to the original language of the verse than KJV. This is not always the case. I encourage all readers to look up all the verses. Never take anything anyone says about Scripture without confirming it yourself through prayer.

Now, onto the verse.

When I read this verse the other day, the first thing that caught my eye was the last four items. Items of encouragement after a dismal reminder that we would suffer. No body wants to suffer. No one wants to face hard times. Unfortunately, that is just the way that things are. No one’s life is a bed of roses (which, why do we say that when roses have thorns?).

Let’s get onto the encouraging stuff:
Restore you – In the KJV, the word used is “perfect”. Both words are correct. The original word means “to complete thoroughly, i.e. to repair or adjust, mend, (make) perfect, prepare, restore”. So what does that tell us? Suffering can break you. Duh? How many bodies have we seen broken by suffering? How many lives torn apart? Need I go on? But Christ is in the restoration business. He is ready and willing to put us back together. Makes me think of the movie “Toy Story” when Woody is repaired after Andy broke him. God does the same thing for us.
Make you strong – In the KJV, the word used is “stablish”. In the original language, the word used is “confirm”. They are all right. The original word means “to set fast, i.e. to turn resolutely in a certain direction, or to confirm, fix, (e-) stablish, steadfastly set, strengthen”. When we falter or sin, Jesus provides us with the opportunity to turn around away from our sin by confessing them to Him. He gives us the strength to walk away from that sin and keep us away from that sin. Sometimes in our life, our suffering comes from unconfessed sin, not always, but sometimes. Jesus has the desire to pick us up and turn us around steadfastly in the other direction. We just have to ask for His help.
(Make you) Firm – In the KJV, “strengthen”. The original word means “to strengthen, i.e. confirm (in spiritual knowledge and power)”. Jesus will use this opportunity of suffering to build up or strengthen your spiritual knowledge and power. He will use this opportunity to make your choice in Him more firm. Either way, princess, suffering is a time for growth. We just don’t see it at the time.
(Make you) Steadfast – In the KJV, “settle you”. The original word was translated “establish you”. The original word means “to lay a basis for, i.e. erect or consolidate, (lay the) foundation, ground, settle”. Jesus will use this opportunity of suffering to expand and further your knowledge base. This firming of your foundation will calm you down and give you greater assurance that He is in control. You will have greater security.

All of these things happen in one way, and one way only – through Him. You cannot receive this assistance on your own. You cannot get this help from someone around you. Your therapist cannot provide this level of comfort. This verse clearly states that He Himself will provide this comfort in your suffering. The original language is clear here. The word used is a reflective pronoun. That seals it. That settles it. It’s kind like this, you know when you get frustrated that something has not gotten done and you find yourself saying, “I, myself, will make sure that it gets done.” That means that it WILL get done, right? That is the language used here. Jesus WILL get this done. No questions asked.

Today, princess, I just wanted to share a bit of encouragement that might help you get through a rough time in your life. We all have them. I know that there is a lot of language stuff in this post, but sometimes we need to know what is going on behind the words to get the real meaning. I would encourage you to check this information out for yourself. Study this verse and apply it’s meaning to your life to grow. We all need to grow. We should never stop growing spiritually.