Saturday, March 23, 2019

March 23

There is no peace in our souls without Jesus. The sooner we recognize that, the better off we will be. One of my favorite stories in the New Testament is when the disciples were crossing the sea and a storm came up and began to overtake the boat. The disciples were frantic, and in fear, but Jesus was with them in the boat! He was asleep in the stern, and they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He rebuked the wind, and the sea calmed. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” We have storms come up all the time, but how do you react? Do you panic, as if Jesus is not with you, or do you rebuke the storm and sail through it with ease? Inward peace springs from a sense of divine favor. We are privileged to have Jesus, and He is for us, not against us! When you are afraid, remember who you belong to. Run and hide behind Him when the storms rage around you, because we have no need to fear! What can mere man do to us?

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:2

Friday, March 22, 2019

March 22

Since January 2, I’ve been following the ketogenic diet, and finally reached my goal weight, losing almost seventeen pounds. I have learned some powerful lessons following such a plan. It is a high fat, moderate protein, and low carb way of eating. Changing my system from burning carbohydrates for energy to burning fat for energy has been the biggest turnaround. Not only is it burning my body fat, but my energy has increased, and is sustained for the whole day. It takes some willpower to start, but after you make the change, and realize how much better you feel, sugar and high carb foods no longer draw you to them. It is a physical comparison to how your mind becomes when you fill it with the good things of the Bible; it feeds your soul, burns off all the negative things that torment your mind, and it’s full of lasting power. It also takes some willpower to change to a diet of God’s Word, but once you do, you will realize how fulfilling it is and won’t want to go back to your old lifestyle.

"But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

Thursday, March 21, 2019

March 21

The Bible gives instruction for what we should do while waiting for the return of Jesus. 
1. Be found by Him without spot or blemish.
2. Be at peace.  
3. Don’t get carried away with the error of lawless people. 
4. Grow in the grace.
5. Grow in the knowledge of Jesus.  
We are not to be idle! These are not as easy as they sound, but can be accomplished through the Holy Spirit as we strive for excellence in Him. These instructions are found in 2 Peter 3:14-18

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 2 Peter 3:14

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

March 20

My husband and I took a trip to southwest Florida for the day. Each of us is serving on different homeowner association boards in our condo community. During Hurricane Irma, the seawall washed out and became unstable, and because it happened all the way down the coastline, it has taken some time to get a contractor out to make the repairs. In the mean time, the homeowners have created beautiful, lush gardens that they are quite fond of, but in order to make the necessary repairs, access would need to be made right through that garden! As a gardener, I understand the heartbreak of thinking about the garden being torn up by the trucks, however, sometimes you have to think about the stability of your property and possible destruction if another hurricane comes through. This one man was uncontrollably angry at the thought of the garden being destroyed! As Christians, we also need to think about whether the things we are concerned about are cosmetic and worldly, or if we are concerned with our more important eternity. Where do your concerns fit into this scenario?

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 2 Peter 3:10

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

March 19

There is a common thread throughout the Bible, and it is God’s love for us. His love is beautiful and overflowing. However, not everything in the Bible is roses and butterflies; you can be sure that those who reject the Lord, and disregard His love will be dealt with. The most severe punishment will come to those who have experienced the truth, and then go back to living as they did before. The Bible likens it to a dog returning to its vomit, and having dogs, I’ve seen this happen, and it turns my stomach just thinking about it. Imagine being rejected by your own children, and how painful that could be, and you will understand how God feels when we reject Him by continuing in our former lifestyle. There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the enemy will guard those who have returned to their vomit, but the good news is, God loves you, and if you will turn back to Him, He is faithful to forgive.

For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:21-22

Monday, March 18, 2019

March 18

We are very spiritual beings, though more often, we listen to the voices of this world rather than tuning in to the Holy Spirit. Think about this, we have Siri on our phones, Alexa in our homes, YouTube on our devices, television, and so on, and we listen to them more often than we rely on the Holy voice of God. Just this morning, I decided that I would rather hear an Australian male voice than the American female voice, so I changed it. That was easy, all I had to do was change my settings. My suggestion is to change the settings within yourself, and instead of asking Siri or Alexa about certain matters, ask God. This requires that you tune in and turn on your listening ability. You will find these settings in your mind, tune in, but realize that it requires a keen ability to listen. There is a caveat, God’s voice will never go against His Word in the Bible, you might be on the wrong frequency if you hear a voice that does.

(Elijah listening for God’s voice) And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 1 Kings 19:12

Sunday, March 17, 2019

March 17

My husband and I had this bright idea to take our bicycles to the Riverwalk in Tampa to enjoy our beautiful spring day, neglecting to realize that it was the annual dying the river green festivity for St. Patrick’s Day, and that it would be a crowded mess. We tried to maneuver through the people, but it was too hazardous. We loaded up and headed to Bayshore, which is touted to be the worlds longest continuous sidewalk; I’m not sure how true that is, but it was a nice ride, and we got a lot of exercise in the process! Do you make lemons into lemonade, or do you pitch a fit and throw the lemons? Things don’t always work out as we’ve planned, but if we are flexible, we won’t break when things get bent out of shape. We are not in charge of our steps! The sooner we learn this the easier life will be. God plans our steps, and all things work together for our good. When things don’t go your way, remember that God’s purpose for you will prevail, so rest easy in the process.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Saturday, March 16, 2019

March 16

Many times we come across warning signs that instruct us to proceed with caution. What if we are distracted, and miss the sign? God’s Word warns us over and over again to be careful, and to pay close attention to the fruits of the  Bible teachers we listen to. However, sometimes the warning will be missed, especially when it’s covered up by the enemy in order to hide something that goes against God’s Word. Even though most search engines are worldly, they can be helpful in uncovering the reputation of people we are exposed to, and can reveal those who use God as a tool to gain wealth. These people are greedy an will exploit you with false words. There will be those who follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. There is a caveat to this, make sure the one reporting the issue is reputable and not just trying to discredit a fellow Christian. The best way to know if their teaching is correct is to know God’s Word. Stay diligent!

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1

Friday, March 15, 2019

March 15

My daughter and I got up early and headed out to the trails of a local park. We got there just as the sun was rising, and the creatures were beginning to stir. This particular park is an old phosphate mine from back in the sixties, that was reclaimed and then donated to the county. Because of its history, there are many connecting lakes and hills creating a maze of interesting hiking trails. Being it’s a park, it is also a sanctuary for birds and other animals. That being said, there is one particular species of reptile that needs to be thinned out, and that’s the alligator! We saw some so big, that it reminded us that we are not at the top of the food chain! I don’t live in fear of these animals, I couldn’t live here in Florida if I did, but I do have a healthy respect for them. Sometimes you can see them, but other times you can’t, they usually see you first and sink below the surface. They can be compared to the demonic. We are not alone here on this earth, one third of the angelic beings were thrown out of heaven because of their defiance of God. There is no need to fear them, however, you should have a healthy respect for them because they can wreak havoc on your life by toying with you when you are unaware. Keep this in mind when things around you go haywire.

And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.  Revelation 12:9

Thursday, March 14, 2019

March 14

Living in a neighborhood of townhomes is a beautiful dream come true for this recovering perfectionist. This week, our homeowner’s association is having all of the buildings, driveways, sidewalks, and border walls pressure washed. There is something satisfying about seeing every home perfectly cleaned as I come in the gate and meander down the street. Soon, there will be fresh landscaping and spring annuals placed, to give each of us who live here and those who visit, a bright welcome. It’s my little piece of paradise until I’m ushered into the Kingdom of Heaven. It is peacefulness amidst the chaos of the surrounding city. Did you know that Jesus is that same kind of respite from within yourself? His peace can carry you through turmoil and uncertainty, keeping you from getting rattled by the insignificant things of this world. Because of Him, you can rest in peace while still alive! Trust Him to get you through the rough patches in your life; He is faithful.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

March 13

We’ve all been disappointed by the actions of the unbeliever, but why? It’s because we expect humans to have a conscience, be moral, and upstanding, because even without Jesus, they can be decent people. This is where we go wrong, we place our high morals on others, and they cannot possibly stand under that pressure, because they don’t have the moral regulator, the Holy Spirit, like we have. When we get mocked and ridiculed by the likes of the unbeliever, we should pray for their salvation, and our hearts should break for them because their destination is hell. However, that’s not what we do, in our anger, we wish them hell and torment for the rest of their days, but isn’t that a sin? We are to love them, because Jesus loved us, though we were far from Him. We can love them with the Holy Spirit as our guide, maybe from a distance, but we can love them. As Jesus said while hanging on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Being children of the Almighty, I pity the soul who comes against one of us.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Romans 12:19-20

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

March 12

Supplement your faith with virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. The Word of God says that if you lack these qualities, you are blind, forgetting who cleansed you from your former sin, and are fruitless and ineffective. These are harsh words coming from someone who loves you. We must want to be our best for Jesus. Think of it like this, when we do things for pleasure, like play a sport, enjoy a hobby, or something crafty, we take lessons and practice until we get good at it, we perfect it. However, most of the time, when it comes to things of God, we expect them to appear haphazardly, a download by the Holy Spirit without any effort on our part. If we haven’t positioned ourselves to learn from, and listen to the Holy Spirit, it’s unlikely these things will just fall into our lap; if they did, why would there be a need for Him to list them in His word? You can still learn your sport, hobby, and craft and learn the things of God; just take a little time each day to read a few verses of scripture, and acknowledge Him, and your fruit will begin to grow.

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:8

Monday, March 11, 2019

March 11

God creates encounters just for you. They are not by chance, or coincidence, they are God ordained. Several years ago I joined a sea shelling group on Facebook. It was a breath of fresh air to meet people with whom I had a common interest. We all share a love for the beach, the sea, and collecting shells. Through the years there have been people in and out of the group, hurt feelings, and group splits, it’s just human nature. You might wonder why. Who knows? My best guess is that along with me, there are a few Christians in the bunch, and the enemy will do whatever he can to spoil the chance for a change of heart in the lost. I have many friends from all over the country because of it, and that makes my heart happy! But then there is that one; one who grabbed my heart, a special person that I connected with from the beginning. You know that kind of person, you’ve met them. They’re the friend that sticks closer than a brother, but in my case, it’s a sister-in-Christ! She is a special gift. I would call it sisterly affection, and I believe it’s a love reserved for the children of God. If you don’t know this kind of love, it's time for you to come out of your cave. 

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with... and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 2 Peter 1:5 & 7

Sunday, March 10, 2019

March 10

I have an old patio set that I love, but over the years the elements haven’t been so nice to it. It’s all aluminum, so it hasn’t rusted, but the paint has begun to peel. Not wanting to get rid of it, I decided to give it a facelift. I started out by using a wire brush to scrape off all the loose paint, then chose a new color. After eleven cans of spray paint, my trigger finger is a little weak, but my patio set has never looked better! I still have a little more to do, but the transformation is remarkable. Now my table’s outer beauty matches its solid foundation. Did you know that we are to make our best effort to supplement our faith with virtue? Virtue is behavior showing high moral standards. I know this is a stretch, but my table’s exterior didn’t match the quality of its sturdy structure, it wasn’t putting its best face forward and looked a little ragged. Our outside behavior needs to match our faith in Jesus, and not the moral character of our unbelieving friends. Our standard is much higher.

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,  2 Peter 1:5

Saturday, March 9, 2019

March 9

My need for adventure can take me and whoever I’m with, into some precarious places. So part of my Sanibel experience was a boat ride out to Keewaydin Island, just off of Marco Island, for a day of shelling. What was I thinking! It’s frigid cold out, even at 9 am! That wind blows right through any layers you have on! Once we got there it began to warm up. A portion of the island is a county park, so you can traipse all over it without trespassing. My ultimate goal is to find the larger shells, I call myself a “big shell sheller!” I know they can be found near the shallows of the mangrove trees, so I set out to get there. My usual mode of transportation is my paddle board, however, it’s stuck in a lockup on another island, so I headed out on foot! I made it through most of the woods, with my partner in crime in tow, dodging prickly pears and low hanging trees, not realizing that there really aren’t any mangrove trees on this island, which is quite unusual. It was a waste of energy and a waste of time. We found a lot of great shells, and the experience and camaraderie were worth it all. Sometimes the adventure leads to a dead end, but maybe it’s not about where you’re going, but the friendships you grow while trying to get there.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

Friday, March 8, 2019

March 8

As part of our Sanibel Shell Show experience this year, we got tickets to enter early to see the exhibits of my friend. They do this for the exhibitors so they can see if they won any ribbons, and to be a part of the announcement of winners. She has been a crafter for several years and has entered many projects in this competition. This year she entered five different projects, each in a different category, and for the first time she won the prize, a first place blue ribbon! She was so excited and overjoyed, and so were we! As her friends, we rallied around her to give her support and encouragement. This type of thing can be nerve wracking and sometimes disappointing. As friends, we need to comfort in times of disappointment, and rejoice with them during their accomplishments. Her perseverance paid off and she accomplished one of her goals, and won the race. Today, run to Jesus! He is the most valuable prize we can receive; and then all of heaven will rejoice when you accept Him.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 1 Corinthians 9:24

Thursday, March 7, 2019

March 7

It’s shell show time on Sanibel Island. The exhibitors have meticulously displayed their projects, or in many cases, on the scientific side of the show, displayed God’s perfect creations. I love all the artsy projects, but there is something special about viewing the many incredible ways God chose to decorate the homes of these exotic creatures. My mind is blown by how little I know about the wonders of this world. If God loved a creature enough to take His time to masterfully design its protective shell, that most people will never see, how much more do you think He loves you? When you look at yourself and criticize the way you look, or demean yourself in some way, aren’t you being critical of God? How dare you treat the Father that way! He created you in His own image, so be grateful to Him, and learn to love the shell you are in.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

March 6

How devoted are you to God? Do you really love Him as much as you say you do? The depth of your love can be measured by your sin. You don’t sin against someone you truly love. The evidence of that love will be your devotion to Him. Like the relationship between a husband and wife, your respect for them is shown by refraining from, or continuing to seek the love of another suitor. Every time you run to someone else for comfort or love, you have cheated. Sin is like the other woman, or the other man. Jesus said that the culmination and pinnacle of the law is love, and The Ten Commandments were made to help the Israelites learn to show God their love. We were made to love Him. Set your sights on Him and Him alone, and turn away from your mistress of sin.

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. Matthew 22:37:38

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

March 5

Today, I’m sitting outside on my porch on a comfy new couch. The air is crisp, but that’s nice for a change. There’s that moment when you have to deconstruct a few things to get the new and improved to fit in. Yes, my patio is a bit messy right now, and it wouldn’t be, but it was 10:30 pm before I got a chance to put it in its place. My next step will be to give my table and chairs a new coat of paint, then everything will be nice and fresh. It’s a plan to improve. Here’s a plan for you, renew your thinking! First, begin thinking positive things! Just like me placing my couch before getting rid of the old stuff. Dragging around that old, and tired way of thinking, just weighs you down. Adding positive new thoughts will change your negative attitude. You’ll feel better, and eventually the negative thoughts will disappear. You will then begin to see Jesus in everything! Changing your way of thinking is one of the first steps to truly having freedom in Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

Monday, March 4, 2019

March 4

We must continue to march forth! Continue to love, though we, as Christians, are not loved. As the world around us seeks to devour us because of our stand for righteousness, and our rejection of evil, we must continue to stay committed to Jesus, He is the only hope for a world gone mad. Things that should be considered decent human behavior, like not killing, are raised up as a right. We know the Word of God, we know how powerful He is, and He will come down hard on those who do not change, and accept Jesus as Savior. Don’t give in and respond passionately as they do when the debate becomes heated; keep your cool, and if you’re rejected, shake the dust off and walk away. They’ve made their choice and will pay the price for it. Remember that when you are weak, He becomes stronger, let Him be your strength!

With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 1 Peter 4:5