Saturday, April 4, 2020

April 4

To the followers of Christ: Be strong and courageous! After Moses died, God came to Joshua, maybe in a dream or a vision, and commanded him to go in, and take over the promised land. Three times in his call to him, he tells him to be strong and courageous; and a fourth time he tells him to be strong and very courageous. God assured him that he was with him. There are situations we find ourselves in that require courage, unchartered lands that we enter, where fear overtakes us; maybe we are dealing with some type of illness, financial issue, new business venture, or something where the order of the day is courage. No matter what you are going through, know that because you are hidden in Christ, God is with you, and you need not be afraid. Our fear should be in God alone; what can mere man do to us! Face your challenges head on, knowing that God goes with you in every situation. Stand tall, and fight as if the Lord’s army was behind you; here’s the good news, it is!

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Friday, April 3, 2020

April 3

After making a mask for myself, and for Richard, I decided to make them for my family. Unfortunately, my family is still waiting because I’ve depleted my supply of elastic and bias tape, and the stores are out of it! The process has slowed; now I must make the bias tape which is time, and fabric consuming. I’m in the process of redesigning the patten to accommodate my lack of supplies. Though I have faith that God is protecting my family, I must still do my part to avoid infection. Sin is like this disease, and Jesus is like the mask; Jesus will protect you from the harmful effects of sin, but you must put him on like the mask in order to be protected. He is the barrier between you and sin! If you keep exposing yourself to sin, you will eventually suffer the consequences for your actions, just like you will suffer the consequences of going unprotected against this virus. Put on a mask, and never leave the house without Jesus; he is your protection against sin!

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

Thursday, April 2, 2020

April 2

Two yards. That’s how far apart we are told to stay away from one another. We have not been told to hate, or to be impolite. We were not told to stop smiling, or chatting. If you are wearing a mask for protection, let others see you smize. Smize is a word made up by supermodel Tyra Banks, and is now in the dictionary; it means to smile with your eyes. We must distance ourselves to stay safe, to keep others safe, and to stop the spread of disease. You could imagine Jesus stretching out his arms; that would be about the distance we should stay from one another, though I don’t know how tall he was, or how long his arms were. With that visual, is he keeping us apart, or linking us together? We still need others, but we don’t have to touch them, let Jesus touch them for us. Just because we are going through a rough time for our generation, doesn’t mean we stop showing the love of Jesus. As you visualize Jesus standing between you and your fellow man, remember how much love he has for them, and pour some of that love out on his behalf. One kind word, smile, or smize, could be all they need to feel the warmth of Jesus’s love. If you must go out for necessities, spread the love of Jesus, not the disease.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." John 13:34

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April 1

When I took my dogs out early this morning, we almost got blown away by the wind! I could see that the waves were crashing against the shore in a tumult, washing anything out that came near. The clouds that were rushing past, were dark, and the air felt cool. I began to see the bright light as the sun began to make its appearance, almost parting the clouds; it’s as if God were saying, “look, even though everyone is in a panic, I’m still here, lighting up the world.” God has not forsaken those of us who love him, and keep his commands. He is our fierce protection against the evil of this world. Rest in him my dear friends, and don’t allow the fear of this epidemic to defeat you. Do what you must do to keep yourself safe, and remember the One who is in control, has you wrapped in his arms. This too, we will overcome, and we will praise the Lord for his faithfulness to his children.

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:3-5

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

March 31

There is such a heaviness surrounding us, that to feel the presence of the Lord seems distant. I’m not sure if it’s something I have failed to confess, or if the world is so distraught over the sadness of losing their fellow humans, that it is having an impact on my hearing his voice. I’ve been reading through Deuteronomy, and the Law of Moses is very heavy and full of curses, that, in itself is enough to depress a person. But, to add on top of that the current world affairs, and the situation with disease, makes it harder to write an uplifting message. 

There is good news in all of this, Jesus! He is our light at the end of the tunnel. He is our hope when all seems hopeless. He gives us something to look forward to if the world fails. He gives us strength to make it another day. He is our reward! Because of him, life is worth living, even during a hardship. Lift your eyes toward heaven, don’t look back to this evil world, you will only become dismayed. Our only hope is in Jesus, look to him, and be refreshed.

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Hebrews 12:2-3

Monday, March 30, 2020

March 30

Being stuck at home makes me appreciate my love for gardening. The areas I have planted, the smell of jasmine, and gardenia, make me thankful for the time I spent digging and working the ground. The flowers are the exciting payoff for the time I spent doing what I love.

One of my friends from my hometown mentioned that she had helped a man pray to accept Jesus as his Savior; her time spent in God’s word, and in prayer, gave her the confidence to know when to pick that beautiful fruit. She was able to harvest a soul because his co-workers had invested time in prayer for him, but it took her confidence in the Holy Spirit to go beyond her comfort zone, and risk rejection. Fortunately, we can’t take credit for the salvation any more than we can take the blame for the rejection. 

Make it a point to begin digging into God’s Word. The more time you spend, the more confidence you will have in his power to guide you to bring others to know Jesus; after all, that is our mission.

Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. John 4:35-36

Sunday, March 29, 2020

March 29

Beside my new home is a public, bayside park with tennis courts, a walk path, and mangroves. Of course, me being a sea shell collector, found a path through the mangroves out  into the water during low-tide, to see what I could find. As a rule, I seem to find more shells on the bayside. The water was only ankle deep, so my fear of sharks was dismissed, until I heard some splashing, and saw movement near me. Of course, I quickly moved away from the sound to observe it from a distance. That’s when I noticed that it was just a very large fish, a snook.

Later that evening, as I was walking my dogs, I saw what I thought was a dog off its leash, walking down the sidewalk; I became fearful when I noticed that it was a coyote, and quickly gather them up to protect them.

There is good in this world, like the fish, and there is evil, like the coyote. The key to living a life without fear, it to trust in the one who created it all. 

I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things. Isaiah 45:7

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalms 23:4

Saturday, March 28, 2020

March 28

Do you like to watch mixed martial arts (MMA)? Even though it can sometimes be bloody, it's also quite exciting. In this sport, there is no mercy. A fighter could have their opponent's arm in a position to break it, and that's exactly what they are going to do. It is merciless! There is only one thing that they can do, and it's what could save their arm, and it is to tap out. It makes you cringe when you think that pride is getting in the way of them receiving mercy. When they can no longer take the pain, you'll see them give up and tap their challenger; then the fight is over. But, what if the underdog fails to tap? They will be shown no mercy, and it will be a long time before they can fight again because of that broken arm. As Christians, we are always to show mercy. How do you show someone mercy? Show them Jesus or they will face judgment where there will be no mercy. Doing this will allow them to tap out!

For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13

Excerpt from Jesus Will Meet You In The River Swamp: A Devotional For The Followers of Christ - March 28

Friday, March 27, 2020

March 27

Stay at home! For an introvert, this is a welcomed relief, but to an extrovert, it’s like being held captive in your own home. With all the people who are terribly sick, and hearing of many passing away, it’s the least we can do to prevent the further spread of the Coronavirus, and other diseases. We will all be healthier for it. Passover and Easter are coming, use this as a time of rest, and renewal, but also as a time to worship our Creator, who will ultimately be the one who sends protection for you against such disease. If you get it, pray for a mild case, consider that as your protection too. We may all have a bit of of obsessive-compulsively when this is all over, as we become mindful of the surfaces we touch, and the people we come in contact with. Remember, the Lord said that we are to follow the law of the land, and I expect that you will follow God’s word. Pray over the entrances of your home, windows, and doorways, anoint them with oil, so that no plague will enter your home. Read Psalms 91 out loud inside your home, so the devil will flee from you. 

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. Romans 13:1-2

Thursday, March 26, 2020

March 26

Over the past few days, we have been moving, painting, decorating, and settling into our new home. Though it is exciting, it is also exhausting. Thankfully, I was encouraged by the Holy Spirit to hunt and gather the things I needed for this transition more than two months ago, or I would have had to wait because of the current situation with this virus. Now, more than ever, it is important for us to tune into his voice so we stay out of trouble. If you get a feeling that you shouldn’t go here, or should stay away from there, don’t go, it may be a warning; no one wants to become ill. If you get a desire to get certain things accomplished, do not neglect that feeling. The Holy Spirit is soft spoken, and will nudge you, but won’t force you. 

As an example; we were supposed to have cable installed, but were never given a time. When the technician didn’t show up early in the day, my husband knew something was wrong. Sure enough, our order had been canceled by mistake. If he hadn’t called to get a time, we would still be looking at a blank television screen. Jesus told us that he would give us a Helper to be with us, make sure you are listening carefully to him.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

March 25

My view is a little different this morning; I’m getting a bit of a late start and the noise of traffic is breaking my usual peaceful surroundings. But God, in his amazing love, is still giving me tidbits of his creation to enjoy. Over the sound of traffic, I can still hear the seagulls laughing as they look for their morning bite to eat, and I saw a flock of pelicans changing locations to increase their chances of finding their next big catch. The light glistening off the water, and the sun reflecting the sand on the beach, remind me of how great God is. Wherever you find yourself today, be grateful for the reminders of God’s love for you. How can we complain when he’s giving us rest?  Let him work out the details of things to come; he loves us and will never fail us or let us down. 

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— " Ephesians 2:4-5

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

March 24

What is grace? It is free and unmerited favor. Look at the order of things God has set in place to bring you to where you are now. If you're currently going through a hardship, it will pass, and you will see that it was by God's grace that you managed to get through it. I know that it's not easy to look back, and just like everyone, there are some things in my life that I would rather forget too. But, even in those difficult times, I can see a silver lining and a piece of the plan God had for my future. When King David was just a shepherd, he didn't know that the difficulties in his life would lead to him becoming a great King, but he used every trial as a testimony. What are the things that led to your salvation, and how is He using you now? Everything you have gone through is your testimony of God's grace, and He will use it to help bring others to salvation. So, don't forget to share your testimony.

"Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you." And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. Luke 8:39

From Jesus Will Meet You In The River Swamp - March 24

Monday, March 23, 2020

March 23

Don’t be afraid. Never have we seen a time where we couldn’t gather to worship, or a time when we couldn’t enjoy one another’s company. I see revival coming! When the enemy blocks believers from meeting together as a community, the desire for God becomes stronger. Because we are commissioned to go into the world, we must seek other ways to reach the unsaved. Now is the time, there is a harvest coming, and workers are in short supply. People who wouldn’t otherwise reach out to God, suddenly fear his retribution, and are seeking his forgiveness. The world is turning to him, and asking for his help, in the hope that he will hear them and intervene. God turns his face away from the sinner, and their only way to communicate with him is through those of us hidden in Christ. Just as a reminder, we are all sinners, but as Christ followers, we can reach out to God because he sees Jesus covering us. You were placed on this earth for such a time as this. Help those who are afraid by intervening on their behalf; also pray for their salvation.

"We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him." John 9:31 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

March 21

We are used to having everything at our fingertips, places to be entertained, food readily available, and natural resources open for our pleasure; now that our stores are rationing products, and many things are closed, it’s a little disconcerting. Is this such a terrible thing? Not necessarily. I got a text from one of my neighbors that they are gathering in the driveways for cocktail hour, but of course at a “social distance.” Wouldn’t you know it, they planned something fun while I’m out of town! What a great way to get to know your neighbors! Take a look at the things you can do and the people you can enjoy when you are not bogged down by all the running around. Meet your neighbors, talk to your family, slow down and enjoy what God gave you. People all over the world are learning how to entertain themselves in this time of uncertainty. It’s a good time to read all those books that have been gathering dust, see a new movie that’s being released on television for the first time, or maybe open up your Bible and read what God has to say first hand. His promises are good, and he is faithful; doesn’t it ease your mind, and soothe your soul to know that?

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 2 Corinthians 1:19-20

Friday, March 20, 2020

March 20

There is nothing new under the sun. People before us have gone through this and lived, though some may have passed on, the world continued, and we are a product of that continuation. We must not become overly obsessed with false narratives. We must not make this situation worse than it is, by fretting over what may or may not come to pass. We don’t know if this is an evil, sinister plan, or whether it is God reminding us that he alone is God. All we can do is pray that an end is near, and the world resumes, but is awakened. My hope is that those who are lost, or those who have walked away from God find their way back to him, and obey his voice; if they seek him with all their heart and soul, they will find him.

But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice. Deuteronomy 4:29-30

Thursday, March 19, 2020

March 19

Our tendency is to worry about the unknown, but we are not like the unsaved, we have a Holy God who has us in the clutches of his hands. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? He does! Take this time to reflect upon the good he has done for you, count your blessings. Trust that he will see us through this trial; act like children, who trust their parents to care for them without a clue of what is going on. He is our Father, and will do what is best for us. Though the enemy has plans for our destruction; he only rules over us if we allow him to. This too will pass, but the good it brings will be beyond anything we could hope for or even imagine. God is our best ally in times of trouble; trust him!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:6-7

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

March 18

CANCELLED!! Everything is cancelled. Restaurants are closed, theme parks are closed, gatherings are cancelled, you name it, and it has been cancelled. Is God forcing a Sabbath rest? Though one president said we are not, we are a Christian nation, founded on the principles of the Bible. If God forced the Jews to rest, is he forcing us to rest? Other nations are also being forced to rest; if the world is involved, maybe it’s a sign that God is fed-up with the antics of the people, and is doing something about it. It’s almost like he pressed a reset button, and all the world had to take notice. Take notice: the schools in Florida will be closed until beyond Passover, and most schools internationally are doing the same thing! Hmm. My fellow believers, pay attention, get right with God, our time on this earth may be cut short; only God knows, but out of an abundance of caution, we should always be prepared for what may come next. If Jesus kept the Passover, why don’t we? He was the Lamb that was slain, once for all. We should, in the very least, honor Jesus during this time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

March 17

The place that I sit and study gives me a good vantage point to see my dining room table. Because it’s spring, we have been leaving the doors open for some fresh air; the weather has been beautiful. Now, it may only be a glare, but from here it looks like the dust has settled on the table. After looking at it for a couple of days, I believe it may be time to clean it off. It’s part of living; there is a big dust-up, we open our door, and the dust comes in; we can’t see it until it begins to settle. Once it settles, we can clean it up. When the world panics over the dust, stay calm; it’s not worth getting anxious over, we will wipe it up after it settles down.

"He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and on them he has set the world." 1 Samuel 2:8

Monday, March 16, 2020

March 16

Peace, be still. My husband and I have learned to not get ahead of God. There are things we cannot do unless God has approved it; it will be done in his timing alone, and not before. We are beginning to see some old prayers being answered, though we would have loved to have had them answered years ago, that’s not what God intended for us. He had to work within others so that everything would fall into place as he sees fit. I’m sure a blessing awaits because of our patience, and trust in him. Don’t get anxious, and step out without God’s approval. How do you know that God approved? You won’t have to force it, it falls into place easily. If you force it, it will fall apart. Because we trust in him, we must also wait on him. 

When the Israelites would get ahead of God, and try to do things on their own, they were taken out, he didn’t play any games with them. The ones who rose up in insurrection against him were killed, either by plague or by other means. 

Be patient. What God has for you is better than anything you can get on your own. Peace, be still; wait on God.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Sunday, March 15, 2020

March 15

Roads are not shut down. Truckers are still trucking. This rush to hoard all the supplies, and waste your tax refund, are ridiculous. You have fallen prey to the enemy if you are reacting in the same manner as the world. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you should be kissing someone with a virus, or should go unprotected, but to stop living is over the top. 

"for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."  2 Timothy 1:7

The King James Version says "but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." If your church closed today, I’m sure they are doing what they think is sound, and cautious, but we are not part of this world, we are ambassadors here, and are not subject to the ways of the enemy. 

I’m going to church! We need to be there for the people who are scared that don’t have Jesus. We may see a bountiful harvest of those fearing hell; I want to be a part of this harvest, how about you?