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Extra Icing

John 10:27,28 – “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

I had an amazing experience yesterday.

I was seeing a client and this client told me, out of the blue, that they thought their death was close. This client has multiple medical issues but seems to be functioning fairly well. I probed a bit and found out more information but nothing that would necessarily substantiate the fears that were expressed. 

Yet, I felt the Holy Spirit impress upon my heart that I needed to confirm and/or present the plan of salvation to this person. And I did. It was amazing. I told my client very bluntly and candidly about what it takes to KNOW that death is not the end. And my client confirmed that they had the free gift of salvation in their heart. 

I’m a nobody. I love what I do. I love being in contact with people and helping them and walking through all sorts of situations and problems with them. But when I get the opportunity to speak to someone I have grown close to about Jesus and His free gift of salvation- well, that’s just extra icing on the cupcake. I don’t push it but I don’t hide it. And when God was speaking to my heart yesterday, for once, I listened. And it was beautiful!

So I want to encourage you to live it out. We never know how long we have or how long the person across from us has. Yesterday, I heard His voice and I followed and it was truly a blessing in my life. I encourage you to do the same. Happy Wednesday. 

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One of my favorites 

Proverbs 3:5,6 – “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

These verses are some of my most favorite verses in the Bible. 

It takes time to learn and remember to put these verses into practice. But when you do, it makes your heart sing and your soul rejoice. 

Now, I’m not proficient by any stretch of the means. I just want to do my best for Him. Sometimes I mess up. Sometimes pride gets in the way. But sometimes I do things right. 

My job situation is about to change. With the loving nudging of my husband, I reached out to several places only to find them not returning my calls or emails. It was frustrating. But deep down, I knew that God had something for me that perfectly fit the bill. I just had to wait. I trusted Him to open the door. I just prayed I had the brains not to beat the door down but rather to walk through the open ones. 

So now here I am on the other side praising God for being faithful. He opened the door to a place that is a great fit for me and my family. He nudged my husband to nudge me to look in the right place. He is the one who provided the position. He is the one that told me to take the offer. It was all Him. And I praise Him for His work in my life. 

I don’t always get it right. In fact, I rarely do. But I know that my God ALWAYS gets it right. And I’m so grateful that He cares enough for me to include me in His plans. 

Yokefellow

Matthew 11:29-30 – “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

My son plays soccer. I love to watch him play. I especially love to watch him when he has a teammate that he really clicks with – they appear unstoppable. I remember when he was younger, there was a little boy that he played with that he and my son were quite the pair. It was like they knew what the other one was thinking. They were able to anticipate moves and passes like crazy. He no longer plays with this little boy but he is becoming more familiar with a young man on his team now. I can see that the longer they practice together, the more they are able to determine the other person’s anticipated movement. 

Jesus doesn’t talk about soccer in the Bible, but He does talk about being yoked together. A yoke is a large piece of farm equipment that you put on two cattle, probably oxen. It helps the two animals to work together to get a job done. They follow the same path, have the same goals in mind  and help one another to stay focused. At first, one leads another until the newer animal learns the ropes, so to speak. 

Jesus invites us to become His yokefellow. He wants us to pair up with Him and follow His path. He wants us to learn and seek after His goals. He wants us to look to Him for help. He wants us to let Him guide us and show us the ropes. He wants to work with us to get His job done. 

Now, what does this have to do with soccer, you might ask. When we are yoked up with Jesus, when we are really following after Him and seeking His will in our life, we begin to see His moving in our life more clearly. I don’t think we could ever get to the point where we anticipate His movement – He is God after all. But we can get to the point where we work together in sweet harmony. When the moves that we make in our life line up with His will, they truly are beautiful and amazing. We ARE unstoppable when He is guiding us. 

But just like in soccer, this all takes hard work and dedication. It takes a commitment to something greater than yourself. It takes sacrifice and focus. You can’t just casually walk up to Jesus and say, “Ok, let’s do this.” No, this is a lifelong commitment that is no easy journey. 

But take heart, He reminds us in the later part of these verses – “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus does all the work. He is the One driving the boat. He is the One carrying the burden. He is the One making it all happen. Today is going to be one where you are going to need His yoke. Truly, every day is that day. But today, try to be especially aware of Him in your life. He is ready to make amazing things happen. Are you?

Footsteps

 
1 Peter 2:21-24 – “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

We sang this song yesterday at church. I have sang it a million times but this time, the words sort of popped off the page. It was the chorus that got me – “Footprints of Jesus that make the pathway glow. We will follow the steps of Jesus where ere they go.”

I remember as a kid walking in my parents footsteps, whether it be through the snow, sand or mud. Following their path made mine a whole lot easier. They had already forged the way. 

The same thing is supposed to happen with our Heavenly Father. We are supposed to walk His path. See, He has already forged the way. He has already walked the path. He knows all the pitfalls. He has made His steps clear and plain. All we have to do is follow after Him. Sounds easy, right? But we all know that is not always the case. Sometimes His footsteps lead up steep mountains that have sharp, jagged rocks. Sometimes His footsteps lead through dark valleys where the only way to get through is by seeing His footsteps glowing with the Light of His love. And sometimes His footsteps lead beside a quiet brook where you just want to lay down and stay there forever but something inside of you says that you have to keep moving. 

His footsteps never lead you anywhere that you aren’t supposed to go. There may be something you need to learn, something you need to see or someone you need to comfort. And if you keep following those footsteps, one day they will lead you to the Gates of Heaven where He will be there waiting for you. 

This picture that I took is from an old hymnal at my church. You see, we are a church in the middle of a swamp with a bunch of good people just serving the Lord and holding fast to His promises. We sing the old songs. We read the King James Version of the Bible. We baptize completely under the water. And we love each other fiercely. I guess you could call us an “old fashion” church. But that’s okay. You see, we are following the “Footsteps of Jesus.”

The Crooked Smile

Hebrews 3:13-15 – “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.”

Last night, I had a pretty exciting thing happen to me. My daughter was in dance class. Usually, while she has her class, I go for a walk around part of the lake in the town that we live in. You see, the lake is located right beside her dance studio. There is a nice sidewalk and lots of people were out last night taking advantage of the beautiful weather. 

Well, I was moving along at a pretty good clip – my daughter’s class was almost over and I wanted to be back at the car before she was. Then I came upon this older man walking in front of me. He was tall but had a very pronounced lean to his left side. I could tell that he was struggle a bit just to get his walk in this night. He was looking at his watch like he had a goal to meet and it was taking everything he had to keep going. 

I just moved right on past him. But then, I heard a whisper across my heart. It was soft yet I could hear it loud and clear above the music in my ears. I was being told to go back and encourage that man. So, I began to make excuses. “I’ve got to get back to the car. I’m too far ahead of him now. I’ll look like a weirdo turning around now.” But the whisper would not go away. In fact, it got stronger. When I started to apologize for my sin, as I kept going, that is when the guilt set in and I did not want to deal with that. There was still time to follow this leading. So, I did.

I turned around and walked back to the man. I turned off my music and took out my headphones. When I got to him, I said, “I just want to encourage you to keep going. I feel that the Lord wanted me to let you know that you need to keep doing what you are doing.” You should have seen the smile on his crooked face. It was beautiful! He told me he was 72 and had been retired for a long time. He said he tried to walk every day. Sometimes he had to go to physical therapy to get his walk a little straighter but he always tried to walk every day. 

I know that God sent me back to that man to encourage him but he encouraged me as well. I was encouraged by his smile, his story and his resilience. But I was also encouraged by following God. It gave me smile that lasted tonight and even to today. 

You see, just like in the verse, it was easy for me to harden my heart. I could think of a million excuses not to turn around and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. And I did for a time. But He wouldn’t let up. And I’m thankful that He didn’t. We ought to be out there encouraging one another more. By enouraging someone, you take the focus off yourself and see others the way Jesus sees them – someone in need of some lovin’. 

Today, I want to encourage you to listen to the whispers in your heart and do what He is telling you to do. Don’t fuss with Him. Do whatever He tells you to do. It may seem weird and/or our there, but what have you got to lose?  Remember, God takes the ordinary and makes them extraordinary by His grace and mercy. Just do it, sister!

Blind Bart

Today, we are going to do things a bit different.

Look at Mark 10:46-52.

My husband did a lesson on blind Bartimaeus last night. I’m sure he won’t mind me revisiting it today.

Let’s set this up. Jesus is leaving Jericho. Bartimaeus (we are going to to call him Bart) is sitting by the edge of the road begging. Bart was blind. Back in those days, they didn’t have programs to teach him a trade or supply him with what he needed to be independent. Bart couldn’t hold a job. So, he supported himself by begging. He had heard many people traveling down this road talking about Jesus and all that He was doing in their area. The people may have even told Bart about Jesus. However Bart heard about Him, Bart believed. Bart believed without seeing or reading about Jesus. Bart believed Jesus to be the Son of God, the Messiah.

So as Jesus was leaving Jericho, He headed toward Bart. Bart had no idea when he woke up that morning that Jesus would be heading his way. He had no idea that this day would change his life forever. When Bart heard that Jesus was coming, he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Vs. 47) People tried to get him to quiet down. Jesus was a busy man. Did Bart listen? Nope. He yelled louder. “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (vs. 48) And what did Jesus do? He stopped (vs. 49). Jesus stopped where He was going and that made everyone else stop. Jesus wanted to hear Bart. Think about that for a moment. When we cry out to the Creator of the universe, He stops. He wants to hear us. He wants to attend to us and us alone. What we say, what we feel matters to Him.

When Jesus called out for Bart, Bart didn’t take his time in getting up. “Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.” (Vs. 50) When Jesus calls your name, do you jump? I know sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Sad, but true. We should jump and run when Jesus calls us out. But that would require listening, would it not?

“‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus asked him. ‘Rabbi, I want to see.'” (Vs. 51) Jesus asked and Bart answered. Bart spoke from his heart. And Jesus knew this. Jesus didn’t ask “how can I help you?” or “do you need something?”. No, Jesus asked directly what Bart wanted Him to do for him. Crazy thing is, Jesus already knew. But He wanted to hear it from Bart’s lips. He wanted to hear Bart’s heart.

“‘Go,’ said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.” (Vs. 52) Jesus’s healing didn’t take some time. It didn’t falter along. It was immediate. And Jesus pointed out what had healed Bart, his faith. He believed before he had ever seen Jesus or experienced Him. He had never read the Bible. He had probably only heard of the miracles that Jesus did and the discussions of who He is.

What can we learn from this lesson? Faith, being prepared and purposeful asking. Faith is what healed Bart. Faith is what made all the other things we learned possible. Bart was ready to follow Jesus and he was ready to listen to Jesus. Bart was also to the point when he talked to Jesus. He didn’t beat around the bush in asking for his sight. He said it straight out. Jesus knew his heart, but He wanted Bart to express it. He knows our heart today, but He wants you to tell Him about it. That is how a relationship is built.

So this week princess, learn from blind Bart. Be more faithful. Be ready to go. Be purposeful – don’t beat around the bush. Jesus knows your heart. He knows what you need. He knows what you want. He just wants to have a relationship with you where you will talk to Him about it all.

The Colt

Luke 19:30 – “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.”

The other day I was listening to a lesson being taught on Luke 19:29-40. I have heard this lesson taught many times from many different angles. But this time, I got something different from it.

It is something that I never really considered. Have you ever thought about the fact that when Jesus entered Jerusalem that He did so on a colt that had never been “broken”? No one had ever ridden this colt. No one had ever taught it how to carry another person. Yet Jesus rode it into town peacefully.

If I understand it correctly, animals are a lot like people when some one tries to tell them what to do – they buck at it. They kick. They scream. They throw an animal fit. They do not want some one trying to tame the wildness inside of them. They feel that this restraint will hinder their freedom. Sound familiar?

This colt had never been through this. Yet when his Creator called him to duty, he was ready to go. Ready to serve. Ready to serve without balking. Ready to be told what to do by the Master.

Two things to learn:
1-Jesus is the Master over any and all creation. It is His to command. And He commands with love in His heart in so much that creation obeys without a fight. Why do we fight His leadership and control in our lives? Why do we feel that we could do it better? Why?
2-We need to be more like the colt. We need to be ready to do and say whatever He commands us to do and say. Lord, give us a willing spirit, ready to obey without balking.

So many beautiful lessons can be learned in the Bible. God has preserved it through time to teach us and guide us. We only need to open it up and let Him show us The Truth.

Today, princess, be more like the colt. You may never have tested and tried the Word of God. Today is a good day to start. Let Him show you how faithful He is. Be like the colt in that you are willing to follow His commands without a fuss.