Monday, December 31, 2018

December 31

My dog Coco is a seven pound Yorkshire Terrier with an attitude toward other dogs. The trouble with that is, she doesn’t know she’s small, and will go after a dog four times her size! It makes perfect sense, her humans are exceedingly larger than the dogs she’s going after. It’s a great attitude to have, except most dogs are friendly and just want to play with her. We could learn a lesson for her. Our God is much larger than the enemy that threatens us, and the battles we fight, we don’t fight alone. However, the human that is a pawn in the game, is not the enemy. The enemy is the powers and principalities of this dark world. We should all go into battle and fight with an attitude like Coco, if only our eyes were open and we could see them. Let me assure you, the forces with you are greater than the forces against you.

He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 2 Kings 6:16

Sunday, December 30, 2018

December 30

When my daughter arrived for a visit to Little Gasparilla, we set out on the paddle boards for the deserted island near the southern tip for a sea shelling adventure. The shells we find here are not pristine and clean like the ones that wash up on the beach, however, once they receive a bleach bath, their beauty is revealed. They are covered with barnacles, plant life, and other things that cling to them. If the bleach and water mixture doesn’t remove the attachments, then you have to pick off what’s left. Then it’s clean and perfect, back to its original self. That is not unlike us when we come to receive Jesus as our Savior. He bleaches us clean, but there are still some things we need to give up to bring us to perfection. The first thing is ourself; you must die to your old self, like an empty shell. The things that have attached to you must be cleaned off - past sin, hurts, fear, shame, and so on. During this process, which is called sanctification, you must fill up on the word of God, replacing the evil with good. You then become polished and beautifully filled with Jesus.

"And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Galatians 5:24 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

December 29

In the Old Testament, when God had released Israel from their captivity in Egypt, He guided them through the desert by a pillar of cloud by day and a flame of fire by night. They didn’t know where they were going, except that they were looking for the promised land. I’m reminded of it because where I’m sitting while writing this, the fog is as thick as pea soup! When I stepped outside, I couldn’t see very far, but could feel the moisture in the air. The Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years, and the cloud and flame never left them. What an incredible sight that must have been! It’s amazing, with this fog, the wind has stilled and the water has calmed. It’s so hard to remember that God is with us when we are struggling. Let this be a reminder that while you’re in the wilderness and your head is in a fog, rely on the Lord for guidance.

The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people. Exodus 13:22

Friday, December 28, 2018

December 28

Starting out on the dock, I watched the sunrise. It was quite beautiful, but then I felt God leading me to the mangrove. The mangrove is the trash collector of the sea, so if you observe, you will find all kinds of litter and debris. I found two foam buoys that came off someone’s crab traps. One buoy was loose and one was still attached to the rope, and the rope was buried. The purpose of the buoy is to mark the location of the crab trap so the fisherman can find it and collect their harvest. When bad weather hits, it can become detached from the trap. Those markers that are firmly attached will stay put and continue to mark the harvest. The lesson in this is to stay firmly attached to Jesus, because He is Lord of the harvest. You never want to be like the buoys that wash ashore. You especially don’t want to have your rope buried in the sand! Stay rooted in God’s word and He will lead you to a bountiful harvest.

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7

Thursday, December 27, 2018

December 27

Remember to have compassion. That person at the check out who was nasty to you, doesn’t know your peace. That driver who won’t let you over is heading to hell; pray for them. The young mom with the out-of-control children has no one to turn to for help; you help her! You were once lost, defeated, and didn’t know where to turn, and the Lord lifted you out of that pit of despair. He brought you near and comforted you. He gave you a reason to live. Your gaping wounds are healed, and your blood stained hands are clean. You were made whole. Most are still walking in darkness with no hope, they need to see Jesus through you. You have a testimony, share it. You will be put into situations orchestrated by God to show His love, don’t let Him down. Sow seeds of love and compassion for Jesus, and the harvest of delicious fruit will come in its season.

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:24-25

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

December 25

As I was reading the story of the birth of Jesus this morning in Matthew, I noticed a couple of interesting things. After the wise men left, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream telling him to depart for Egypt because Herod was going to try and destroy the child. The first thing I noticed is that Joseph had inclined his ear to hear the word of the Lord through his dreams. The second thing is that even though it was Jesus, He didn’t stave off the assailants who were sent to destroy Him, He made Joseph responsible for His protection. In other words, you can’t stand in front of a moving train and expect for God to save you, you have to get off the tracks! Figure out how you hear the Lord the best, whether it’s by reading the Bible, that still small voice of the Holy Spirit, or whatever it is, and listen carefully to Him. Then take the action needed to help your situation.

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt Matthew 2:13-14

Monday, December 24, 2018

December 24

Trying to find the perfect gift for children who have everything, can be a challenge. I had the brilliant idea to get the older kids a metal detector, not realizing that it would require more than batteries! The good thing is that they had their dads there to get it up and running. I also had the idea to hide coins in the yard for them to search for, that was a bad idea too! The coins fell into the thick grass, causing them to start digging up my sod! I think they only recovered about fifty cents out of six dollars in coins. On this Christmas Eve, remember the treasure we have in Jesus. He spoke about the man who found a hidden treasure in a field, covered it up and sold all he had to buy the field. There are riches, and hidden treasure to be found in God’s word, and it’s on almost every shelf, in almost every household; you won’t need a metal detector to find it, it’s hidden in plain sight.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."  Matthew 13:44

Sunday, December 23, 2018

December 23

My heart is full. The holidays can be draining with all the required preparations, but the reward is well worth the trouble. With our family going in all different directions, we chose to have our celebration a couple of days early to catch as many family members as we could. With the prior two days filled with rain, it was as if God had cleared the skies just for us. I chose to not get overwhelmed, and enjoy my time with the precious souls that God gave me to nurture. In the next few days, try to slow down and balance yourself between Mary and Martha. Be Martha before your guests arrive, and become Mary once they are there. Follow Jesus’s example, and make this more about loving your family and guest, and less about the show. 

But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-42

Saturday, December 22, 2018

December 22

My daughter and I spent all day yesterday doing some last minute shopping for a family member. Even though we found some great gifts, with it being only a few days before Christmas, the merchandise was somewhat picked over. Waiting to the last minute is never a good idea, whether talking about Christmas gifts or Jesus. Some may think they have all the time in the world, but that may not be true. Consider the victim of a fatal car crash, they didn’t know it would be their last drive. Anything can happen to cut your life short. Even though you may feel as though you are free to do as you please, life without Jesus is limiting. Once you become a Christ follower, you will realize that what you thought were strenuous rules, actually set you free, and provide you the ability to live a fuller life. Don’t wait until the last minute to accept Jesus as your Savior, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. James 4:13-14

Friday, December 21, 2018

December 21

We’ve had a lot of wind and rain in our area over the last several days. The home I live in is situated under many large oak trees. At four thirty this morning, we were awakened by a loud sound, like a large limb had fallen on our house. As I walked outside on the porch to check it out, an acorn fell and hit the metal of the screened enclosure with a large bang! I didn’t see where a limb had fallen, it was probably just a twig. The same thing can happen in our mind. What we perceive to be a big deal, may be insignificant to others. Similar to the acorn hitting the metal on the screened enclosure making a loud sound. If you allow a small seed to be planted in your mind, it can grow out of control and cause you to feel anxious, fearful, rejected, or hurt. You can’t help how you feel, but you can make sure it’s the truth, and not just an acorn or twig.

And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? Mark 8:17-18

Thursday, December 20, 2018

December 20

It all comes down to this one day, this amazing once-a-year celebration. We are happy, and the atmosphere is festive with sparkling decorations, food not served during the rest of the year is prepared, and the best of what we have is brought out to be used. It’s a birthday party fit for a King! Who are we kidding? Though many of us are truly celebrating the birth of our King, most are just celebrating to celebrate! I wish this season was all about Jesus, but it’s not. I wish our lives were all about Jesus, but they’re not. The bright side of this is, it’s called “Christmas!” You can’t deny it when Christ is in the name. Do your best, while you can, to bring up Jesus in every conversation about Christmas. It might be the only time you get to talk about Him to the unsaved. God gave you this tool, so use it.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

December 19

I know most people are not fans of fruitcake, but I happen to be one who loves it. Before she passed, my grandmother would spend a good portion of the holiday season baking these tasty delights. If I was honored to receive one of them, I would have a piece for breakfast every day until it was gone. Last night, I saw a picture of one, so I slowed down to read the caption. My friend had made it and said that the first person to send her their address would get it. She had written it several minutes before I saw it, so surely it was already gone. Much to my surprise, I got a reply that the cake was going to be mine! I was thrilled! After the day I had, it was just what I needed to bring me cheer. Today, be that person to show kindness. You never know what spreading a little joy could do for someone.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 1 Peter 4:8-10

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

December 18

Many of us have battles that are fought just to make it to another day. It’s important, when we are in that season, to rely on the strength of the All Mighty through the power of the Holy Spirit. When in the throes of war be sure to use the most powerful weapon you have, prayer! When facing adversity, my initial reaction is to hide myself in the shadows, and move as far away from the conflict as I can, but there are times when we must face the evil head on. Remember, this is not your battle, it belongs to the Lord! Don’t try to handle this problem on your own. Cry out to Him in your distress. He hears you and will rally around you as you prepare for the fight. I’m fighting a battle today, but I am armed and ready! I am a servant of the Lord, and I shall not be devoured, because the Almighty goes before me, is my rear guard, and the One I can count on to vindicate me. Please pray for me today!

If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you... no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.” Isaiah 54:15 & 17

Monday, December 17, 2018

December 18

Even though it’s a nice thought, nowhere in the Bible does it say that when someone dies, they become an angel. An angel is a different kind of being than we are. Babies don’t become angels nor do adults. Now you're not wrong when you say an angel is watching over you, because Jesus says that the children’s angels see the face of the Father. The Bible also says that He will command His angels concerning you. Again, humans and angels are different kinds of beings, both created by the Lord, each for a different type of service to Him. They are real! I have had a couple of encounters I feel almost positive that they were angels in human form. One time they came to give me comfort for a medical test that I was fretting over, and another time was to give me direction so I didn’t have to walk a long way on my broken leg. Each time they disappeared as quickly as they appeared. When someone tells you their love one is now an angel in Heaven, it’s just for their own comfort, but it’s not Biblical.

"For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways."  Psalms 91:11

Sunday, December 16, 2018

December 16

We spent a little bit of time on Little Gasparilla Island for a quick weekend getaway. Yesterday, I decided to take my paddle board out to an island off the southern tip to look for shells. I found more shells than I wanted to pick up! As I approached the island, I saw my first shell sitting in about a foot of water, it’s a little chilly, at least by Florida’s standards; I got excited and quickly tried to stop my board, but it kept propelling forward. So, I stepped off, and as I did, I realized the ground was soft and I sank up to my ankles; I lost my balance, and fell into the cold water! I wasn’t in any kind of danger, but if I had been, God would have heard my cry. We have times where we encounter obstacles, and need God’s help. When we cry out, He inclines His ear to us! He moves closer! Always remember that He is listening, and ready to pick you up out of the pit of destruction.

I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. Psalms 40:1-2

Saturday, December 15, 2018

December 15

There are Bible studies that have changed the direction of my life and increased my faith. I’ve learned to dig through the scriptures and find beautiful tidbits of information that God left there just for me. The scriptures are living! Every word of scripture comes out of the mouth of God and is useful in our everyday lives. There is a warning to this; if the Holy Spirit doesn’t reside in you, some scriptures may not make a whole lot of sense. You can’t read it alone! Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, it could become a regular book from off the shelf to some; even though God’s word never returns void. All this to say, if you can’t hear God’s voice, you’re not reading His word. Start with a Bible study that helps you dig. One of my favorites was called Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. If you decide to pick it up, don’t get overwhelmed by it, just take it a little at a time. I can’t wait for you to begin hearing God’s voice!

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Friday, December 14, 2018

December 14

I’m sitting here in my little bubble, contemplating an island getaway for a few days, when I know that there are people struggling all around me. I wish I could help them all, but some things only God can fix. When life begins to go south, does your faith go that direction too? If that happens to you, look back on those memorial markers, you know, the ones He told you to build so that you never forget how He held back the water so you could walk across on dry land. I have many, but there is one that I’ve marked “important.” If you follow my posts, you probably know that my first husband died leaving me a widow at thirty-one. However, most don’t know that the disease he died from was quite contagious. When I look back and see how God protected me and my son from it, I am astounded! Imagine the fear that gripped me while I was waiting on test results, not only my own, but my sons! I’m overwhelmed with tears, even as I write this. I’m so thankful to be alive. Look back on your memorial stones, especially the ones you’ve marked “important,” and use that to strengthen your faith in Him, and to help you get through your current struggle.

"And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood; and they are there to this day."  Joshua 4:9

Thursday, December 13, 2018

December 13

We all have times that we don’t feel appreciated. We go out of our way to help someone, show love when we don’t feel lovable, give comfort when we need to be comforted, clean up messes we didn’t make, do things when we have no interest, and the list goes on and on. We have such a short life, if only we could do what pleases us all the time, unfortunately, that’s not how it works. There is one who sees all, and appreciates everything you do, and He is the only one who counts anyway. Because Ruth loved Naomi, she treated her with love and respect. The people of Bethlehem saw it, and more importantly, they told Boaz, and he commended Ruth for the kindness she showed Naomi. If you haven’t noticed, in this story, Boaz is a picture of God. We should fall on our face in thankfulness for His kindness to us, and for showing us love when we don’t feel loved.

Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”  Ruth 2:10

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

December 12

Watching love blossom is a beautiful dance. Though we may not see the details, we do get a glimpse by the outward expressions to one another. In Ruth chapter two, we start to see the beginnings of a budding relationship, though it is still early, Boaz’s kindness to Ruth shows us the kind of man he is. He warns her not to go to any other field because his servants will offer her protection from possible assault. As she is gleaning behind his harvesters, he charges them to leave a few extra stalks as she trails behind them. Not only is this a love story between Boaz and Ruth, but it is God’s love story to us! If we stay in God’s fields, where the harvest is plentiful, He offers protection. What I find is, we get into trouble when we leave His cover, and try to glean in a field that doesn’t belong to Him. Other fields might be psychics, fortune tellers, card readers, and any other source that is not of the Lord. Be careful, and stay under Gods covering.

"Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women."  Ruth 2:8

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

December 11

You never know what direction God is sending you. Often, what we envision for ourselves is totally different than God’s plan. I remember that while my husband was sick and dying, I would try to imagine what my life would be like without him. I started daydreaming about what I could do or where I could go. I never pictured myself with anyone else, it was always just me alone with my son. I started driving around looking at homes in different neighborhoods, all along thinking about what I was going to do. Never in my wildest dream did I see myself remarrying, especially not a man with three small children. But God in His infinite wisdom saw my need, and their need, and put us together, making us a family of six. Ruth may have had a little separation anxiety with Naomi, but God used that to send her down the path He wanted her on. If you think your future looks bleak, just hang on, it will turn around, and it will be quicker than you think!

And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more. Ruth 1:18 

Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:18

Monday, December 10, 2018

December 10

Now that our children are grown, some have families of their own. One in particular has married, and is now divorced. He is divorced from his wife, but I’m not divorced from her. I love her as if she were my own, and have loved her since before they were married. If she decides to remarry, it is my hope that they will both be a part of our family. God doesn’t draw a circle around who we are supposed to love, and I’m thankful for that. I feel like we have a bit of a Ruth and Naomi relationship. Ruth was Naomi’s daughter-in-law, but after her husband died, her obligation to her also died. Naomi tried to get Ruth to go back to her family, but she refused. The Bible says she clung to her. She was determined to stick it out with her to the end, saying “where you die, I will die.” Naomi was still there when Ruth remarried! That is a Godly kind of love! As far as my son is concerned, God will work that out.

Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more. Ruth 1:17-18

Sunday, December 9, 2018

December 9

We are on this pathway directed by God, but sometimes the enemy will throw us a curveball, or we will choose poorly and head down a different path. God in all His goodness will redirect us bringing us back to the straight and narrow. I’m reading the book of Ruth, and I’m finding so many great morsels of wisdom. What if she had wallowed in self pity after her husband died and not followed God’s plan for her life? Ruth was a grandmother in the ancestry of Jesus. Would He have used someone else in His lineage, or would the timing be different? Only God knows. She gathered herself, teamed up with her mother-in-law Naomi, and got to work in an effort to stay alive. She didn’t know her future would bring her a wealthy farmer as a husband. If she had lingered in her bereavement over her loss and had not made a move, she might not have met her redeemer when she did. Don’t grieve your situation for too long, pick yourself up and begin moving forward.

"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps."  Proverbs 16:9

Saturday, December 8, 2018

December 8

Enjoying your family is not always about the occasion. Sometimes the activity turns out to be less than what the boasting implied. If you are determined, you will find good within the disappointment. Family gatherings, a parade in our case, can stink! All those memories from the past come flooding back causing anxiety, or what my daughter calls PTSD. We may have joked as the various floats passed by, but there was real drama and hurt in those memories, things so painful that you want to shove them back into the past where they belong. Some memories can be cleaned up by changing our minds path and by looking at the good things that came from the harsh reality, but there are other memories that cannot be sanitized. In those cases, you have to appreciate that Jesus was with you, even in the most vile circumstances, and He experienced what you experienced; He’s the only one who can get you through it. As we watched those floats pass us by, we created new memories, more pleasant than the old. God is a good Father, and knows just what we need to get through another day.

"God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land."  Psalms 68:6 If you are dealing with past hurt, get your Bible out, and read this chapter, it might help.

Friday, December 7, 2018

December 7

The flesh is alive and well! I got a little vindictive when things didn’t go my way, and turned on a little southern girl justice. I guess I can be a spoiled little brat and revert back to my childhood by holding my breath in anger. Our God in His goodness, decided that I didn’t need a spanking for my poor behavior, and let me off the hook. We have such a loving Father; even though what I meant to do was to hurt someone’s feelings, He turned it into a positive thing. I still didn’t get my way, but because of God’s goodness, and because He didn’t want anyone seeing my bad side, that person didn’t even notice my mischievous behavior. What’s more, I had asked Him to handle the situation, and when He did what was best for me, I got mad! The point of this is, God works all things out for the good of those who love Him. Just know that He’s got your back, and you don’t need to get your cockles up and lash out in a tizzy! You’re covered! Thank goodness that we don’t always get the punishment we deserve.

"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

Thursday, December 6, 2018

December 6

As a Realtor, I’m trying to help my friend find a home, and we’ve looked at nearly everything that comes on the market in her price range, some on-site and other via photos. The photos help us eliminate the bad ones with the most undesirable qualities. Most homeowners that are eager to sell, will do whatever they need to do to get the best price, but some, no matter what their agent tells them, they don’t make changes. If a home looks unkempt, has clutter, dirty carpet, and shocking paint colors, they will not get a good offer. So here’s the good news, we are all like the unkempt house that no one wants, but Jesus wants you, dirty carpet, shocking paint, and all! What’s more is, He pays full price! He goes in and completely remodels you, making your value soar! My point is, never underestimate your worth, to Jesus, you are the most precious.

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, Titus 3:4-6

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

December 5

What if we stopped posting the outrage, would it cease to exist? What if we no longer gave an ear to the ridiculous, and stopped spreading the demented behavior we see, would people decide to move on because no one is watching? I have to wonder, because the people around me don’t usually act or even think like you might see in the daily news or postings on social media. Occasionally unruly actions are seen, or a far reaching opinion is voiced in real life, but for the most part, they are kept in check, and society never sees or hears those insane thoughts or actions. We are the ones fueling the behavior! Believe me, in time, and without help, the unfruitful works of darkness will be exposed for all to see. I’m not saying for you to stick your head in the sand, just stop re-posting stupidity and let it die with you. It’s no wonder people need anxiety medication!

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

December 4

During this holiday season, we get such a mix of feelings. On one hand, we have celebrations where family and friends gather and enjoy the festivities and the company of one another; on the other hand, you have the reminders of those whom you’ve lost throughout the years. Some reminders will bring a smile, but others are fresh, and the pain can still be felt. As a kid, I was excited because of the gifts, but as I grew older, it became more about the people. This season, don’t get too caught up in the hustle to buy gifts, remember that it’s about God’s unimaginable love for us that gives us a reason to celebrate. His love is so big that He wanted to walk among us in the flesh, and then give us a way into the everlasting. If you call yourself a Christian, but haven’t made a whole-hearted commitment to Him, won’t you decide today to turn your face towards Him and honor Him with your life? Life is too short to waste it on things that don’t matter.

"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;"  Isaiah 55:6 "For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's."  Romans 14:8

Monday, December 3, 2018

December 3

Our neighborhood had a type of progression party; there were four stops, with the last one being dessert. The table was filled with many delicacies that were too much for the eyes to behold. After we had gotten our sugar overload, some of us decided that it was time to retire to our own homes and began heading out the door. One of the neighbors had gotten too full and couldn’t hold another bite of food, so she decided to take her treat home with her, and wrapped it in a napkin. The hostess, in her curiosity, asked what she had decided to take; when she showed her, she was overjoyed to find out that it was a cookie that she had baked herself. Her delight was expressed in such a way that it made me think of how delighted God must be when we choose correctly; to do the right things, to follow His precepts, to be kind and loving to one another, and especially when we decide to follow Jesus. Choose this day whom you will serve, and bring joy to the Lord!

"Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  Luke 15:10

Sunday, December 2, 2018

December 2

There are a lot of things you have to do to prepare for a party. First of all, I get crazy about cleaning, lets just say, you could lick my baseboards right now! Then, there is the task of preparing the food. This is where things got a little crazy. I found this recipe for jalapeƱos poppers. It was a seemingly easy recipe with only three ingredients. I’m not sure if God intended for us to eat jalapeƱos, I think they might be poisonous! I say this because, I was just going about my usual routine like I would when cleaning any pepper, but as I started cleaning out the seeds, I decided that I should breathe as I usually do. That’s when everything changed. You would have thought that someone has just shot me with pepper spray! I started coughing, my nose started running, my eyes began tearing up! I had to move away from the combat zone! Then my daughter Christina decided that she could handle it and took over. So now we are both crying, snotting, coughing, and laughing! The poppers were a hit, and the party was a blast, but next time I make them, I will be sure to dawn the proper attire; mask, eye gear, and maybe a respirator!

"All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast."  Proverbs 15:15

Saturday, December 1, 2018

December 1

My friend was given the gift of a massage for her anniversary. Massage feels like such a luxury, but there can be more to it than that. As the therapist began massaging her feet, she pointed out areas of concern within her body. She could tell right away the she had a few health issues. I was intrigued by it because it was so telling, and it didn’t seem real. After digging around on the internet, I found that it’s called reflexology, and it’s a Chinese method of healing. Whatever it is, a foot massage always feels amazing! The Bible mentions the earth being the Lord’s footstool, and in Ezekiel, he mentions the temple as the place of His throne, and the soles of His feet. I feel there is something significant about Him mentioning the soles of His feet, especially in this portion of scripture where He speaks of Israel burying their dead kings next door to His temple. Our world is so defiled right now that the Earth is not worthy of His feet, however, when Jesus sets up His new Kingdom, we will then become a soothing massage for our King.

While the man was standing beside me, I heard one speaking to me out of the temple, and he said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever. And the house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoring and by the dead bodies of their kings at their high places,"  Eze 43:6-7

Friday, November 30, 2018

November 30

On November 30, 1995, my son’s father succumbed to the disease that had taken over his body. His ashes are now buried in a family cemetery. He didn’t die in vain, he was a seed that was planted; people heard about Jesus because of him. He was zealous for our Savior, and thankful that He had forgiven him of all his sins. His memorial service was packed, and the gospel was presented. I watched as hands went up all over the congregation. It was a testament to the power of Jesus. When someone dies and you know that they went to heaven, the sting of death is not as harsh or as hard to bear. You still grieve, but it’s more about yourself than the one who’s in the presence of the almighty. What will be said of you when you die? Will people know that you followed Jesus? If you don’t know the answer to that question, you might need to make a change. Set your heart toward Him, and allow His power to flow from you like living water.

"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”  John 7:38

Thursday, November 29, 2018

November 29

As I continue to read and study Ezekiel, I see practical lessons for today, and for the gentiles, those of us who are not Jewish. Any who come against the nation of Israel will not stand! God is very clear about that, but what about you and me? We have accepted Jesus as our Savior and are called by His name. Most of the Jews have not taken on the name of Christ and still have hardened their hearts towards Him. Paul says we are adopted, and are blessed with every spiritual blessing. Though most of Ezekiel was written to the Jews, we can still glean quite a bit of food from these scriptures. The correction the Jews have faced comes because of their disobedience, but those who come against them face His wrath and annihilation. How much more will He protect and defend those of us who love His Son? You can take every promise written in the Word as truth for you! We are blessed and privileged to be called by His name.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, Ephesians 1:3-5

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

November 28

The Lord is for you, not against you! Though sometimes it seems that He is slow to react on your behalf, it may not be slow at all. There are pieces to the puzzle that must fall into place in order for that plan to work. When we have to wait, the results seem so much sweeter. I’ve had people come against me in the past, causing me anxiety, and an overall sense of turmoil at that time, only to watch as God’s plan for them unfolds before my eyes. Woe to those who come against God’s beloveds! He will not let your case go unavenged. He is sovereign over all that He has given you, and over what he has left in your care. He will take up your cause, though it may not be instantaneous, or in our timing. Know that if you’re going through troubled waters now, the storm will pass, the seas will calm, and you will be able to swim out of it, and you might even get to watch as your enemy is defeated!

"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.”"  Romans 12:19

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

November 27

Discouragement sets in after you have tried and tried to help turn someone around. You’ve talked until you’re blue in the face to get them to change, but nothing happens. They are like the dry bones that Ezekiel saw in a vision. Just as Ezekiel was commanded to prophesy over the dry bones to hear the word of the Lord, we must do the same. Command those lifeless people, dry bones to hear God’s word! Once they’ve heard the word, they become modern day zombies, alive but dead. So, if you think about it, zombies are real! Anyone who has heard the Word, but doesn’t believe in Jesus is the walking dead. Ezekiel was also commanded to prophesy to the breath to come from the four winds and breathe on these lifeless bodies to live, and they came to life! Maybe that’s what we’re missing, maybe we need to command breath to come into their lifeless bodies, that they may know Jesus. Now, how you do that without looking like a freak, I’m not sure. I’ll let you figure that part out! I’m sure Ezekiel looked like a freak too!

Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD”... "Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” Ezekiel 37:4 & 9

Monday, November 26, 2018

November 26

I watched my three year old grandson while his mom enjoyed some time with other adults. He’s just like his pawpaw in so many ways that it’s a little scary. He loves heavy equipment, and cranes his neck to see construction sites as we drive pass them, just like his pawpaw. He doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty and doing a little work. Richard and I had filled his truck with fire wood and hadn’t unloaded it, so I had Trey help me. We got out the wagon and I began handing him some of the cut wood from the truck. He was so proud that he got to use his muscles. There are good things that are passed on to our children and generational things that they may need to overcome. With our help, we can accentuate their positive attributes, and teach them how to overcome the sins that get repeated that can sometimes derail their lives. This may be an ongoing process, so we need to pray for them to become a new creation in Jesus.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."  2 Corinthians 5:17

Sunday, November 25, 2018

November 25

As I’m trudging through the book of Ezekiel, I use the word trudging because every day I want to put it down and start another book. It’s a prophecy, and a warning to Israel, and very little of it has to do with me or you. Then I come to chapter 34, which seems to go quite well with Psalms 23, still a warning, but to the shepherds. Then God orders Ezekiel to speak tenderly to His sheep and give us a hope for the future, and a promise. Finally, there is a  bright spot in this doom and gloom, and that bright spot is the promise of a good shepherd, Jesus. He is our promise of peace, He fills our bellies with the knowledge of the Holy, and His precepts, which is what God had intended for His shepherds, but they just fattened themselves and let the sheep go hungry. This is an important note, share what you know about Jesus! Don’t just fatten yourself with knowledge, share your food. Don’t be a fat sheep!

I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. Ezekiel 34:15-16

Saturday, November 24, 2018

November 24

Twenty three years ago, my relationship with Jesus changed. I had been a Christ follower for a long time, since I was nine, but sometimes the circumstances you are in will draw you closer to Him. My first husband was very sick with a dreadful disease and was drawing close to his death. We had nurses and hospice coming into our home and were very busy. Because of all the stress and uncertainty, I spent a lot of hours in prayer and reading my Bible. There is amazing counsel in the Word, and comfort in the Holy Spirit. There is nothing good about any disease, however, there is good in what it brings you to, if it brings you to Jesus. He was my safe place, my refuge and strength, a very present help in my time of trouble. Let whatever struggle you are dealing with today, bring you to your knees in the presence of the Almighty, and collapse under the weight of His love.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah Psalms 46:1-3

Friday, November 23, 2018

November 23

It had been a while since we use the electric knife, so when I got it out of the cabinet and it was dirty, I was surprised, because I know I wiped it down before I put it away. I either hadn’t cleaned it very well, or grime just grows! I cleaned it up and we used it. Before putting it away again, I decided to give it a really good cleaning, getting down in the cracks where it comes together. I got a wild hair and decided to take it apart, and much to my surprise, the inside was filthy! I was disgusted! It’s an electric device, I don’t think opening it up should be part of the routine! If that knife was human, I would say it was like a Pharisee, what Jesus would call a whitewashed tomb! If you were to look inside some “Christians,” the filth inside would disgust you.

The name “Christian” invokes the same connotation in the secular world as Pharisee does in the Christian world. Stop using Jesus’s name if you’ve not turned away from your sin. We are the reason our world is turning up-side-down. The enemy uses our behavior to trap us. We can’t turn anyone to Jesus until we turn ourselves around. 

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Matthew 23:27-28

Thursday, November 22, 2018

November 22

“All our disquieting fears arise from our ignorance of God and mistakes concerning him.” Matthew Henry Commentary. There it is in a nutshell, the reason we have fear! It’s true that in our minds, we don’t give God the power He deserves. Part of my daily praise includes the words: “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power.” From this verse it sounds like we are the ones who give Him power, which is not true, He’s certainly not powerless without us, but we need to be confident in Him. If we give into our fear, and let anxiety overtake us, we are ignorant of who He is. I’m in God’s word every day, and I still don’t take to heart who He is, and sometimes become consumed with fear of what man can do to me, when I should be more concerned with what God can do to the unholy one who is causing me the anxiety! Let go of your fear of man, and be confident in God!

"So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6