Monday, May 20, 2019

May 20

Little Gasparilla is a sweet place to visit. It still has the charm of old Florida, with its dirt paths, overgrown mangroves, and the sparkle of the gulf peaking through the trees. It was Sunday, and at the last minute, I decided to visit the old country chapel situated in a beautiful forested area of the island. The services start at 9 am because it has no air conditioner, and if you wait any later it will be stifling hot. I had to rush because I don’t usually post my blog until just before 9, and this day, I didn’t get finished writing until 8:40, and still had to get dressed and take a short walk to get there because my golf cart wasn’t charged. This is how I know God wanted me to go to church; with only twenty minutes to get dressed and walk to the chapel, I ask Him to increase my time, I got there early! I was in awe. When the Holy Spirit put into you something He wants you to accomplish, He will give you the ability to get it done, just like me being able to post my blog and get to church on time. 

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 3:5-6

Sunday, May 19, 2019

May 19

We’ve all had those nights where it seems as though we will never get to sleep. We toss and turn, feel uncomfortable because we ache from an exhausting day, yet can’t sleep. I had a night like that, but it wasn’t until I prayed and asked Jesus to give me comfort, that I finally went to sleep peacefully. Isn’t that symbolic of our life? We will never receive the world’s definition of comfort and peace because this world is not our home, we’re just ambassadors here. We traverse our environment, looking for whatever we can find to help us get through, but it’s not until we seek Jesus that we find what we’re looking for, and are able to rest peacefully. Whatever situation you find yourself in, whether it’s health issues, marital problems, wayward children, emotional trouble, or any other number of earthly problems, run to Jesus, seek the Prince of Peace. We are going to have trouble in this world, but the only answer is to keep our eyes on Jesus, and hide in His shadow.

that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, Acts 17:27

May 18

We are influenced by those we are around the most. You may think you are holding your own, but even if it is ever-so-slightly, bits and pieces of their behavior will begin to take root. One example might be your friends and the things they like to do. They may like to party on the weekend, and you go along with it just so you can be around them. When you grow up, you realize what you actually enjoy, and those friendships grow stale; it’s not because you dislike them, it’s merely that you’ve grown in a different direction. The more you fill your head with the truths of God’s word, and take them to heart, the more distance you will put between you and those who believe differently from you. This is why we have different denominations in the church, some believe only certain parts of the Bible, while others believe in the whole thing, every jot and tittle. When the Lord opens your eyes to His truths, you will want to be around others who believe the same way.

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20.  

Friday, May 17, 2019

May 17

Living in a small community of only thirty-six homes, there are times when our neighbors make it hard to love them. Someone in my community once said to me, “it is very hard to keep up my faith with neighbors like them.” I think we can all agree with that statement! Some people are hard to love. Imagine the insults hurled at Jesus while He was being beaten and tortured, and then being hung on the cross, and tormented some more. Not once did He return the insults or sin while this was happening to Him. I am so grateful that He endured, and sacrificed Himself for us, because I’m not so sure I could have taken that kind of punishment without sinning, much less the minor insults hurled by my neighbor! We must remember, as we are being insulted by the ungodly, our Father is a just God, and you can expect the day will come when they will pay for their sins against His beloveds. If you are finding it hard to maintain your testimony while facing an adversary, try what C. S. Lewis suggests: 

“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love them.”

When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 1 Peter 2:23

Thursday, May 16, 2019

May 16

Have you ever noticed that you are more comfortable with some people than others? Some are naturally “salty,” and there are others who are openly friendly and never meet a stranger. Then there are those whose spirit matches your own, and when your spirits are combined, you feel like you’ve known them forever, even if you’ve just met. I know that just because we are believers, doesn’t mean we will get along, however, our common bond of Jesus is going to give us a boost. I have a friend that I met on Facebook several years ago, and upon meeting her for the first time, we had an instant bond, she captured my heart and I love her as if she were my own.

As an experiment, upon meeting someone new and without asking, see if you can tell if they are saved. Their mouth may give them away if they aren’t saved, but if they truly have the Holy Spirit, most of the time you will know without them saying a word. We are to love one another, and have a special place in our hearts for other believers.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13:35

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

May 15

A few years ago, my husband and I started going to a new church. As we continued to attend, we decided to get involved. The people of this church were very young, but if you are older, you don’t really feel older, so I didn’t concern myself with age, in fact I didn’t even notice. Then, a well meaning woman made a comment that she was so happy to have an older woman there. If that wasn’t enough, I had another woman say the same thing. You might say, ‘well they meant more spiritually mature,’ but they didn’t know me well enough to make that assessment. I was crushed. I began looking at myself differently. I allowed those comments to take root, and started noticing how different I was in comparison to those around me. Though it may have been subtle, the devil had found a way in, knowing that I would allow those words to become a form of rejection. This is why we must continue to renew our minds daily, and believe only what God says about us, and never let stabbing words take root in our hearts. It’s better to be God-aware than self-aware. Now that I’ve become aware of my own behavior because of those words, I can heal.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

May 14

Last week a postal worker placed a bag in each of our mailboxes so we could give non-perishable items to charity. I was preparing to fill my bag, but when I went to pick out some items, I realized that everything I was picking up was expired! Well, I’m not going to give away expired food, that wouldn’t be right. I finally found a few things that I had recently bought to give. When I came back from the mailbox, I decided that I needed to clean out the pantry. The pantry is nearly empty and my outside trash receptacle ended up completely full. What a waste of food! How much stale and outdated food is in the pantry of your head? Take a survey of the things you believe. Are they God-centered? Do they hold to biblical principles? I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but a lot of information we are fed is not true, and our minds are full of garbage. We must hold on to the things of God, and biblical truths; it is the only thing that has stood the test of time. Measure everything by the standards of God, and throw everything out that doesn’t measure up, just like you would for stale food.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Monday, May 13, 2019

May 13

After church, we decided to go out to eat. With it being Mother’s Day, everyone was trying to give their mom the gift of “not cooking,” which I agree with completely! However, when the whole of the community decides to do that, the establishments fill up quickly. I went to put our name in to get on the waiting list and found out that it could take as long as an hour and a half! Breakfast could be cooked five times in that amount of time. It was determined that we should just go home and cook for ourselves, which is exactly what we did. Going to church to be fed can be the same way. We may be wanting to hear from God, and go to church to seek that answer, but it could take a while, even weeks to hear the answer we seek through the message of the preacher, or the words of a song; but when we seek Him daily through prayer, and meditation on His word, we are likely to receive our answer sooner because we are diligently seeking Him. Don’t neglect to read your Bible, and feed yourself, God wants to speak to you daily, not just once a week during our weekly gathering of the saints.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:2

Saturday, May 11, 2019

May 11

We’ve all been to those parties that we can’t leave fast enough. There was one time Richard obligated me to go to this scuba dive club party; the people were nice, but I was uncomfortable, and we stayed a little too long. They had been diving together for a while, and we were the newcomers just trying to find out what it was all about. They seemed to know what they were doing, but my first instinct was, “I’m not diving with these people!” They were having fun and being a little ridiculous by painting a dive flag on their big toenail, men and all, and sang the child song “Baby Shark,” because they thought it was funny. They hadn’t done anything wrong, they were just not my kind of people. I’m sure God had a purpose for us being there, and maybe our words had made someone feel included when they felt alone. My point is, if you wonder how such things could make a difference, remember, God has a divine purpose for the things we do. It’s like a puzzle piece, it's all part of the picture, and fits in to create a beautiful design. Remember, if you hadn’t been at that party, the picture would be incomplete.

The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. Proverbs 20:5

Friday, May 10, 2019

May 10

The woman that owned my home before me, planted fern in the flower beds. The fern is absolutely beautiful, and like a vase full of flowers, it adds to the bouquet in my yard. However, as luscious as it is, it’s invasive and grows where I don’t want it to grow. I don’t mind a little, but with fern, you can’t just have a little. If I don’t pull it out, and get rid of the whole bunch, it will keep invading my easy going plants that just want to be where they are. The enemy is the same way, he will tempt you with a simple sin, maybe something that doesn’t hurt anyone, but that sin just opened the door for him to walk through. Like the fern in my yard, he gets comfortable there, and begins to spread out into other areas of your garden, and eventually takes over. Then all of the good that you’ve done will be overpowered by the sin you’ve allowed in. That white lie and those half-truths, become a foundation for the enemy to build upon. If you keep letting sin invade your life, and you don’t feel immediate remorse, you have to ask yourself, if it’s that easy, have I really surrendered to Jesus? 

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.1 John 1:6

Thursday, May 9, 2019

May 9

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I had a huge limb cut off my neighbor's tree that hung over our house. Self employed business people know what happens when a contractor gets into a neighborhood, other people need the same thing done, and it often draws more business. Low and behold, the tree guys are back today to work on my neighbors trees. When they saw what a great job they had done in my yard, and saw  their diligence and the courteous and respectful behavior of the employees, they knew they could expect the same work ethic in their yard. Word of mouth tends to be the best advertisement you can get. The same thing holds true for your profession of faith in Jesus, your life is an example of your love for Him, and your behavior is a mark of His excellence. Therefore, word of mouth could be enough to make the lost come to faith in Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want anyone to think that just living a good life will bring others to the saving knowledge of Jesus, you must open your mouth and tell them the reason that you are different.

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

May 8

I’m sitting here trying to write, but I’m running into a brick wall. I’ve written two devotions so far, but none worth posting. Now I’m overwhelmed because we have tree guys coming to remove a branch from my neighbor's tree that hangs over our house, so that one day, we don’t end up with our entire home crushed when it comes down. When you live in the hurricane zone, you have to take precautions, or end up dead. Now I’m a nervous wreck because the branch is huge, and worry that it might drop on my house as they take it down! Well, I’ll look on the bright side, if it falls on the house, it will give me a reason to redecorate. If you are going through something life changing, just know, that God can turn it into something positive, use it to make you a better person, or redecorate your life.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

May 7

The sun rises and sets in a pattern, its pattern doesn’t change. God also created the earth to move in a manner that is consistent. Even though we may feel that we are entirely different from one another, we end up being similar in our ebbs and flows. Along with our joy will eventually come disappointments, and unfortunately that is guaranteed. This is why we should not rest all of our cares on our feelings, and we should remember to seek God in everything, whether it is joy or sadness. What is consistent, is that our life will seem inconsistent, even though what we are going through is nothing new under the sun. Though it may seem that way, we are not living in the worse generation, the things that happened during biblical days was pretty raunchy and disgusting too. Our best hope is to rely on God, seek Him, because He is never changing, powerful, always present, and all knowing. When we finally get sick of living our life in a hopeless manner, He is there to scoop us up.

That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away. Ecclesiastes 3:15

Monday, May 6, 2019

May 6

Our kids are grown and have been out of the house for many years, but I still remember, just like it was yesterday, the day the last child left the house. It was a very sobering reminder that your children aren’t yours forever. I cried, and hung my head in depression for a couple of weeks; it was the end of a season. The end of a season means that a new season is beginning, and something to look forward to. When I realized that I no longer had to clean up after a house full of people, and set my schedule to theirs, the sadness left me, and for the first time my husband and I could get acquainted with one another as husband and wife, and not as mom and dad. My pastor mentioned seasons yesterday, and then Steven Furtick sent me a 1 Minute message this morning about seasons, so I thought it might be the Holy Spirit saying that this is the topic of the day. Here’s the message in this, one season must end so a new one can begin, and just maybe, it’s time to dance. Begin looking for the light as a new day dawns, and embrace what the Lord has for you in this next season.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

Sunday, May 5, 2019

May 5

Now I know this is a tough pill for most of us to swallow, but these are not my rules, I’m just the messenger. God’s word is very clear on this issue, and always has been from the beginning of time; the man is the head of the household, but is required to love his wife the way Jesus loves the church, not the building, but all of us who make up the church. This means that the wife should not be ruled over harshly, making it hard to love the husband. My favorite commentator says it like this: 

“The love which God requires from the husband on behalf of his wife will make amends for the subjection which he demands from her to her husband; and the prescribed subjection of the wife will be an abundant return for that love of the husband which God has made her due.” Matthew Henry

The lack of love in the relationship is probably where this whole thing goes wrong. However, if love is done right, then this should never be a problem. If you hear of a woman being upset that God included this in the Bible, they are probably not getting the love that He demands.

Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, Ephesians 5:24-25

Saturday, May 4, 2019

May 4

The sprinklers came on last night and everything is soppy wet. I saw one of my neighbors walking her dog in rubber boots, I think I may need to put mine near the door for such occasions. We often wonder why the rich person gets richer, or why the atheists seems happy. When it rains, everything gets watered, good or bad. However, not everyone with a smile is happy, and not everyone who appears to be rich has money. I’ve seen people who were so concerned with their public appearance that they spent all of their money on their vehicle, clothing, and jewels, then returned home to a shack. There are people who put on a front to try and impress other people, so remember, Facebook pictures don’t tell the whole story, what lies underneath may be sorrow and sadness. Learn to enjoy what you have, we need only impress God, and He won’t be impressed, because He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and everything in between!

so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45

Friday, May 3, 2019

May 3

My new obsession is orchids. I have found that, like my bromeliads, they are very easy to keep alive. It’s nothing I’m doing, they like my patio because it has a good combination of bright light, shade, and humidity. One thing that endears me to a plant is their scent. Most orchids do not have a scent, however, I’ve found a few that do, so I’ve placed them near me so that when I sit on my porch, the smell wafts through the air to my nostrils. I’ve placed two of them in this cute little holder that looks like a bicycle. Over the past few days, I’ve noticed that one of the baskets is skewed, which will make the plant grow crooked unless I straighten it out. This morning I decided that I needed to make that correction because I don’t want it to have any excuse to head in the wrong direction. All it took was one minor adjustment, and a tiny piece of wire to hold it in place. This lesson goes right along with a verse in Ephesians, encouraging us to set others straight if they are being skewed by sin, and not fall into that sin ourselves.

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. Ephesians 5:11

May 2

Many things have become acceptable to those here on earth, that are not acceptable to God. When the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and we give in to the desires of the few, we all suffer the consequences. I heard that pedophiliacs congregate, and have conventions! Whether this is true or not, I have no idea. If it is true, why aren’t we arresting the whole bunch for exploiting children? We accept their behavior, and some even feel sorry for them. The Bible is not wishy-washy about this, and has very strong words concerning it. And don’t give me that garbage about the Bible being written by man... it is God breathed, guided by the Holy Spirit, it is the living word of God, and He strongly condemns sexual immorality of any kind. Sexual immorality is any act that is not specifically between a man and a woman, as husband and wife, in intimacy, behind closed doors. If you engage in any act outside of that, then you need to ask forgiveness, then go and sin no more!

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Ephesians 5:5

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

May 1

We have all said things that we wish we could erase as soon as the words leave our mouth. Often there are things said that grieves the Holy Spirit, things that require our immediate repentance. Do you know what that is? Unloving words said to our fellow humans! Did you know that we are not even supposed to speak ill of any spiritual beings? We can rebuke them, and tell them to leave us, but we are not to call them names. When is the last time you called someone a bad name? When we use bitter words, the Holy Spirit withdraws from us because He is holy, and because our words are sinful, His Holiness cannot be in the same place. Remember this the next time someone ticks you off and you decide to give them a piece of your mind. In fits of anger and rage, it is sometimes hard to control the string of words coming out of our mouths, so be mindful of this, and pray for control before your mouth causes the Holy Spirit to turn His back on you.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Ephesians 4:29-31

Grieve: cause great distress to (someone).
Bitterness: sharpness of taste; lack of sweetness.
Anger: a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.
Wrath: extreme anger
Slander: make false and damaging statements about (someone).
Clamor: shout loudly and insistently.

Malice: the intention or desire to do evil; ill will.

April 30

Sunday morning, I happened to drive by the home of a couple that I’m familiar with, and know their character. They were all dressed up and getting into their car to go to church. I know that they identify themselves as Christians, but I also know that their lives do not reflect that of a true Christ follower. Now, before you get your cockles up and shake your finger at me for judging them, remember the verse that says “you will know them by their fruit,” well their fruit is rotten! If you say you’re a Christian yet live as though you are in the world, prepare to be judged by everyone, especially by those who are living in the world, and are keeping a close eye on those who say they love Jesus. We don’t want to give anyone a reason to look at us in a negative way, or cause them to turn away from Jesus because of our behavior. For instance, if you’re a reckless driver, or a demon takes over when you’re driving, don’t put your church bumper sticker on your vehicle! I’m just saying that as Christians, we are always being watched, and need to live in a manner worthy of our calling. 

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, Ephesians 4:1