Saturday, June 15, 2019

June 15

There are no cars on Little Gasparilla Island, being there is no bridge to get to it, however, there are golf carts and a dirt path that runs the length of the island. There is little reason for it, other than to give you something to do in the evenings, like visit neighbors, deliver building materials, or explore. Our grandson and his momma are staying with us for the weekend, so we took them for a ride to see the sights, and like any child, he wanted to drive. He’s only four so he doesn’t quite reach the peddles, but his Pawpaw allowed him to steer. Let me tell you, it was quite a ride! We ended up in the bushes, and zigzagging all over the road, but that was the only way to teach him how the cart maneuvered, and that it was up to him to tell it where to go with the steering wheel. We were relieved when Pawpaw took over the steering because he knows how it works. 

This is how God teaches us. He sets us on the path, and allows us to do the steering, but when we run into the weeds, He will help us get back on track, headed in the right direction. Sometimes we have to let Jesus take the wheel, because alone we make wrong turns and get off of the path He sets before us.

“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. Job 23:8-11

Friday, June 14, 2019

June 14

Early spring I planted a gardenia bush. It was loaded with blooms, more than I’d ever seen. However, when I transplanted it into the ground, about half of the blooms fell off. What I hadn’t realized is that the gardenia doesn’t like to be transplanted, and will sulk. Some of its leaves turned yellow and fell off, and a lot of the blooms never fully opened. It was sad. With the summer rain, it started producing new growth; it had acclimated to its new environment! But that’s not all! It has started producing new blooms! I can’t explain the overwhelming joy I felt when I saw a freshly opened bloom on this little tree, and then to see little buds all over it put me over the moon! 

In order to grow abundantly, sometimes you have to leave your small pot! You may not know why it’s happening, but God will sometimes move you out of your comfort zone because He knows you will flourish in your new environment. When we look back we can see why. Hang in there if you’re having some growing pains, God is still right there with you!

You visit the earth and water it; you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. Psalms 65:9-10

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. James 5:7

Thursday, June 13, 2019

June 13

Although the legal definition of adultery differs in nearly every legal system, the common theme is sexual relations outside of marriage, in one form or another. Wikipedia

The woman caught in adultery was about to be stoned, but Jesus said to the group, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Everyone walked away. But what I think we all forget is that he told her, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” He forgave her, but told her not to sin anymore! 

Everyone learned a lesson that day, the scribes and the Pharisees because none of them were without sin, but also the one caught in the sin, the woman. He wanted her to change her behavior.

Tread carefully my friends. We’re all sinners, but don’t get so upset with those who are trying to snatch you from the fire of hell. If you’re a man that wants to dress like a woman, or a woman that wants to dress like a man, you go ahead and do your thing (though the Bible says not to do that either, but the lines are quite blurred with the current styles), but don’t let it cross over into sin by having sexual relations outside of the Biblical definition of marriage, which is between a biological man and a biological woman.

If you’re a Christian and trying to help snatch someone from the fire, make sure you are doing it with love, and not hateful speech.

And then there is this, the reason why it’s important:
He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away. Proverbs 6:32-33

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

June 12

Our daughter “in-love,” Hannah, bought a new wagon for our grandson Trey. Inside the box was an advertisement for a red Tesla car for kids. Just like the adult car, it was quite expensive, and of course, he wanted it. He asked everyone to get it for him, but no one complied until he talked to his Pawpaw. Richard searched all over the internet to find him a red car, with no intentions of purchasing a $500 Tesla. He found one, a Mini Cooper, hoping it was in good condition, we drove thirty minutes to check it out. It turned out to be missing parts, and looked as though it had been in many collisions. It wasn’t good enough for our grandson. On our way home, we checked the internet again, and a Dodge Viper became available. We put the address in the GPS and journeyed again. This time the car was in excellent condition, worthy of our sweet grandson. The excitement in his eyes was worth all the trouble. 

Are you waiting for prayers to be answered? Trey doesn’t know the backstory of how we found his car, all he knows is that his Pawpaw got him a car. God also has a backstory to the prayers you’re waiting to have answered. There are things He’s working on right now, but the pieces must fall into place, so wait patiently. Bring all of your request before the Lord, no matter how trivial you think they are, then write them down, and watch the hand of God working in your life.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

June 11

Are you telling yourself the truth? There may be passions hidden deep within your heart that are causing you to do what you do. I’m asking myself this as well. I may be causing myself stress by searching for peace in places, and things rather than Jesus. 

My friend sent me a video this morning about a neurologist who went into a coma because of a brain infection. He had a heavenly experience that he attributes to something that goes beyond his brain, because his brain wasn’t functioning at the time. He was a nonbeliever that now believes! 

After watching this, the first thing that came to my mind was, the wisdom from above. Our brains help us function on this earth, but are nothing compared to the wisdom that comes from God, it is pure. 

My point this morning is to find your peace in Jesus, stop searching for places and things outside of Him. His peace is not in a physical place, it is in your heart, and it’s in the wisdom that comes from above that we cannot attain without Jesus and His Holy Spirit. Tap into that heavenly wisdom today and rest in the presence of the Lord.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

Monday, June 10, 2019

June 10

Imagine living on a barrier island with no bridge. The early morning commute could get very complicated if a storm is looming, or if the heavens break open, and the wind is a torrent. Life would be interesting to say the least. Being perched on the bay side of the island this morning, got me to thinking about the difficulty of full time residency on an island such as Little Gasparilla. As with any other choice in life, you have to give weight to the things that are important to you. If living on or near the beach, and fishing is important to you, then you give weight to that, but if convenience is more important to you, then you give weight to convenience. My point is, we shouldn’t candy-coat the truth. Being a follower of Christ is not easy, and it’s getting more difficult day by day, because of the endless fight against the enemy. However, having peace in our soul, and the promise of daily communion with the Holy Spirit, and an eternity with our Savior, outweighs any tormenting we could face. Is it worth it? It most certainly is!

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Luke 14:28

Sunday, June 9, 2019

June 9

I spend a lot of time at the beach, it’s the place I love the most. The past couple of times I’ve been, I’ve wanted a visor rather than a hat and I keep forgetting to bring one. I like the look of sun bleached hair and I hate to cover all of it up, but also don’t want to expose my face and get sun damaged skin. Last night as I was walking on the empty beach, a name brand visor washed up at my feet! Is that crazy! I didn’t have a visor on my prayer list, it’s something I should think of before I leave the house, but you can bet that I got a great big smile on my face and thanked God for thinking of me and providing for all my needs. 

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Today we celebrate Pentecost and the receiving of the gift of the promised Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is real and is within everyone who loves, accepts, and who has given up everything for Jesus. Acknowledge Him today, and every day, He is your companion. 

"Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” John 16:7

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Saturday, June 8, 2019

June 8

Everyday we must fight against the naysayers, those who do not believe in our God. They have no faith or trust in the Almighty, and believe He doesn’t exist. They believe in coincidences, and attribute their outcome to happenstance. We know better, and have a myriad of evidence to prove our belief. How can anyone possibly believe there is no god when there is divine proof abounding that points to His existence? Do not let your heart be troubled by them, our God is on His throne, and in His holy temple. He is for us! Stay the course, keep your communication open with Him. He sees you and knows your trouble. Those of us who have been sealed with the promise in Jesus will be vindicated. Pray for them; pray that the Lord would show them who He is, that they be sorrowful for their sins against His beloveds, and accept that Jesus is King forever!

Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face. Psalms 11:6-7

Friday, June 7, 2019

June 7

Focus! Why can’t I focus? My intentions are good, and I think my heart is right, but when I sit down to pray my thoughts are all over the place. There is no one more important than our loving Father, so why can’t I keep my mind on Him while I pray? Then He reminded me that He wired me that way. One thing I do first thing in the morning, as soon as I can think clearly, is say ‘good morning, Father.’ I’ve acknowledged Him as the keeper of my days. 

If you have dogs, you know how excited they get when you come home. They might wag their tail, or bark a little, but you can see the excitement on their face as you walk in the door. No words are needed, you understand their expression. Doesn’t that do your heart good? Imagine how the Father feels when we greet Him. Believe me, He loves us more than we love our dogs. 

The most important thing is to pray constantly. Don’t be too hard on yourself for your lack of focus because He knows your need and your heart without you ever saying a word.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thursday, June 6, 2019

June 6

Being a nature lover, and a bird watcher, I was thrilled to see my favorite bird fly over this morning, the Roseate Spoonbill. Just after watching it pass by, and after praising God for blessing me with the beautiful experience, Rudy decided to dart off across the field and chase after a huge Barred Owl that was sitting near the swamp. That owl was about double his size and might have tried to eat him for breakfast, except that he saw me running behind him, and flew off. I give spiritual meaning to physical things, and read them as if the words were in the air. My interpretation of this is: The Lord displays His majesty in beautiful ways, like the spoonbill, but the enemy blends into the background trying to go unseen, like the owl. Keep your nose in God’s word, and your heart prayerful, so you recognize evil when it’s lurking in the shadows. Remember that Jesus is right there with you, ready to fight for you, just as I was ready to defend Rudy if that owl had tried to grab him.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 1 John 4:1-2

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

June 5

What can I do? Many times I find myself concerned about things I have no control over. This morning I’m concerned about the yard work being done. It rained really hard last night and the ground is still wet, and now the lawn mower is probably leaving ruts. The lawn company doesn’t care, they’re just trying to get their work done and move on to the next neighborhood. Yesterday, before the rain, I was concerned about them cutting the grass too short because of the unrelenting heat scorching it. However, it looks like the rainy season has finally begun, and the grass will probably start to grow out of control. Do you see how ridiculous this thought pattern is? I go through the same thing with more important issues, but even then, the pattern is still ridiculous, we have no control over the outcome. God is in control of all things, even the rate the grass grows! Don’t you think He can handle the pressing issue that has consumed you? 

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalms 9:10

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

June 4

There is always a crisis waiting around the corner. If this world was as peaceful as Heaven, then why would we need Jesus? God has created a world full of mischief, turmoil, and chaos, so we would learn to stop relying on the world and trust in Him. We need to trust everything to Him, even, and especially the lives of our children and grandchildren. My heart breaks when I see people who have lost the fight against drugs and choose to stay in that defeated position, leaving everything behind, including their children. What will become of those children? Did you know that each of them has a purpose? Even though it seems they have been given a hardship from the beginning, it will be those hardships that will shape who they become. God can use everything we encounter as a powerful tool for the future. It’s true that not every child will be pulled from the wreckage or will choose to trust Jesus, but those that are taught to love the Lord will go on to share a powerful testimony about the goodness of God. 

Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous— you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God! Psalms 7:9

Monday, June 3, 2019

June 3

There are times when I find it very hard to write. I’ve started two stories today and neither have lead to a lesson. I don’t get discouraged, I just keep trying until I get it right. I had scheduled Stanley Steemer to clean my carpets between eight and twelve, and low and behold, they came at eight! That really threw me off! I never considered getting up super early this morning to accommodate them because usually I’m last on the list. So, today you are getting the remnants of my struggle. This is similar to being at war with the enemy; he is full of distractions and lies that we need to combat through. If I didn’t keep trying, the enemy would win. David was in a real struggle against the enemy too. Not only did he have to fight depression, he also physically struggled with those who were in pursuit of him. Some of his most beautiful songs were written during his time of struggle. The point is, don’t stop doing what God has called you to do, even if it seems too hard; pray through it! He comes to the rescue of the ones who love Him.

The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer. All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment. Psalms 6:9-10

Sunday, June 2, 2019

June 2

If you’ve read any of my blog posts, you know that I love the beach, the salt water, and the sand. Maybe your obsession is golf, fishing, or some other pleasure. Each activity involves some sort of sacrifice. For instance, my love for the beach requires that I love, or tolerate the sand. Who loves sand, it gets everywhere? I also sacrifice sleep because everyone knows that you don’t wait until noon to go to the beach, it’s way too hot for that. What do you give up for Jesus? We are to be a living sacrifice, but what exactly does that mean? Matthew Henry says this: “The spiritual sacrifices which Christians are to offer are their bodies, souls, affections, prayers, praises, alms, and other duties.”

As an example, one of my sacrifices is writing this daily post. I sacrifice sleep, and my time, but really, I love doing it so it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. Going to church sacrifices the time you could be spending doing other activities. You sacrifice your money to tithe, but you know that you only have it because God gave it to you. You give up sin, and probably the friends who are involved in that sin. The list goes on, but most of these sacrifices involve time. Don’t be selfish, give Jesus your time. He sacrificed His life because of His love for us, sacrifice something for Him.

you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5

Saturday, June 1, 2019

June 1

When someone graduates from this life, and moves to the feet of Jesus, we mourn for our loss. Though the thought strikes fear from deep within, the kingdom to come is much more desirable than our current situation. That is, unless you haven’t made Jesus the master of your life, then this hot air that we are all feeling is just a taste of what is to come. I don’t like funerals, but I watched my family members laid to rest the matriarch of their family. She had lived a good, and full life all the way to the end, and her accomplishments were praised at the gates of Heaven as she entered. Everyone feels as though they will live forever, and we have every right to feel that way because it’s true, but not everyone will live on to see Heaven. You see, there is only one way into that Kingdom, and that is through Jesus. No matter what you may have been told, the scriptures are clear on this. If you haven’t accepted Jesus as the one true King, and the only one who can save your soul, then it’s time, today, right now. No one knows the day they will take their last breath. Don’t wait until you’re clean, He’s the only one who can cleanse you, and make you whole. Without Him, you will never be clean.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Friday, May 31, 2019

May 31

We live among other creatures, seen and unseen, noisy and quiet. The armadillo is one of those creatures. Every now an then, they will make their presence known, sometimes in such a way that you become gripped with fear. They don’t make much noise with their mouth, but will sometimes create such a racket rustling through the woods that you think a bear is coming after you! I watched as a grown man stood on the edge of the mangrove with eyes wide and in fear, stating “there’s something big out there!” I knew it was an armadillo, and I wanted to add to his fear by saying, “maybe it’s a boar, or a coyote, or maybe a panther,” but I was kind and didn’t. The armadillo comes with a full suit of armor, and if you threaten them, they will roll up into a ball. As humans, we don’t come equipped with a suit of armor, but we are offered protection from the unseen, we just need to make use of it. David always seemed to be running from his enemies, but he knew who to turn to for help. He knew he was loved, and protected by the Lord, so he always turned to Him. Don’t live in fear of the unknown, trust in the Lord.

Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer. Psalms 6:8-9

Thursday, May 30, 2019

May 30

How does it feel to hold a new weapon in your hands? I’ll tell you, it’s exuberant! This weapon I’ve been given is more powerful than anything I’ve ever touched, and it’s been in plain sight all along. Does God trust me enough to allow me to use it? YES! This weapon is a combination of prayer and the Psalms! I’ve used this weapon before, but not bearing in mind the enormity of the power I possessed. God opened my eyes concerning it this morning after making the commitment to write down my prayers, and study the Psalms together. I feel like the kid on the sidelines begging the coach to put me in the game! Am I insane? I like my peace, why would I want to disturb it? The reason, to maintain it. If we want to keep our peace, we have to fight for it. David knew how to pray, and he prayed against his enemies; they were trying to take him out, but they couldn’t because of his trust in the Lord! I’m handing you a weapon today, pick it up and use it and never put it down again! It’s called a “Combo!” Prayer and the Psalms! Here is a portion of one of David’s prayers against his enemies: 

For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue. Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you. Psalms 5:9-10

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

May 29

I’m starting something new. You would have thought that, by now I would already be doing this, but I’m a little hard headed sometimes. Last night I wrote down my prayer requests! This is not a new concept, it’s been done before, probably by many of you. My plan is to write down everything that I ask God for, so that I have a memorial stone for all that He’s done for me. It will be a book of thanksgiving, and remembrance, and a way to draw into a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit. It will also take me beyond ritualistic prayer, and help me to open my mouth about the things I desire the Lord’s assistance in. So, instead of praying and failing to notice when my prayers have been answered, and not giving God the glory He deserves, now I will be able to see it and give Him the credit. If you aren’t already doing this, will you join me on this new adventure? I think it will be exciting to see God’s hand at work on the behalf of His beloveds.

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!  Psalms 4:1

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

May 28

The Memorial holiday afforded quite an adventure! We had special guests stay with us at our beach getaway, which included one of our grandsons. There are a few things you can do after dark on a barrier island, a stroll on the beach, fishing, or one of the favorite pastimes on Little Gasparilla, go on a scorpion hunt! We took a black light and shined it in the underbrush near the mangrove, and low and behold those little creepers light up like a neon Christmas bulb! What’s really disturbing is that they were everywhere! They will rarely sting a human unless they are pinned against the skin, like being caught between you and the bed sheets; the thought of that makes my skin crawl! The sting of our Florida Bark Scorpion is probably more painful than a wasp, but isn’t deadly.

In the Bible the scorpion is used metaphorically as the demonic. However, when Jesus sent out the 72, He told them that they had power over the scorpions! The truth is, as creepy as it was seeing those scorpions, we could have crushed them underfoot. We must remember the power we have in Jesus over the demonic spirits. They hide in the darkness, but if you shine your light on them, they will glow and be exposed, and they don’t like being exposed!

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Luke 10:19

Monday, May 27, 2019

May 27

Birds are so slick! I’m sitting in my boat at the dock minding my own business when an American Egret flew in, then he jumped off the dock and looked as if he were walking on the water. He had found a bait net full of fish and was sitting on its edge. Then his competitor, the Great Blue Heron arrived and took over, scaring him away. It seemed as if the heron had won, but the egret moved on and found another bait net. The old saying, “the early bird gets the worm,” didn’t work in this case. Maybe the saying, “survival of the fittest,” describes the situation the best. My own interpretation is that the egret is a Christian, and the heron is the enemy. When the enemy comes in and takes control of your bait net, just move to another bait net. Jesus said that if you are not welcomed, shake the dust off your feet and move on. When we fulfill the Great Commission, sometimes it’s like “shooting fish in a barrel,” other times it’s like casting a line. The key is to keep fishing!

But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ Luke 10:10-11

Sunday, May 26, 2019

May 26

I found a quiet place to enjoy the company of the Lord, and try to hear His voice. Luckily it was beside the pool overlooking the gulf! Just about the time I got comfortable, a woodpecker decided to hammer on the gutter! If I wasn’t awake before, I was surely awake after that! I shewed him away, even though he was cute. 

What does a woodpecker do? He drills into wood looking for insects that are destroying the tree or structure from the inside. Much of what causes us anxiety comes from our mind projecting an outcome. Jesus comes along like a woodpecker to drill in and eat away at the things wreaking havoc on our peace. He wants us to leave everything to Him, not worry about tomorrow, and to handle each matter as it comes along. We are better off not over analyzing something we have no control over. In most cases, our perception is off, and things don’t happen as we thought they would. Leave it all to Jesus, and enjoy your life as much as you can.

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? Matthew 6:26-27

Saturday, May 25, 2019

May 25

The news, television shows, and social media, get me very angry when opinions go against the Word of God. It sets a tone for how I feel about the person speaking, or posting. I’m guilty of doing my own mini background check on people that I may be working with, and sometimes what I find posted on social media, colors my attitude towards them before even meeting them. As always, God sets me straight and gives me a verse that’s right on time. The good news is, that you feel better when you have a godly attitude, rather than hold a persons viewpoint against them. They don’t know the truth of who God is. They don’t fear Him. My heart should break for them instead of being angry at them. We must remember that God is in control, and His will shall be done no matter what happens. Please forgive me for using the same verse that I used in yesterday’s message. For some reason, it didn’t take root in me until today.

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:12

Friday, May 24, 2019

May 24

At the beginning of each year I ask God to give me a word that will describe the coming year. This year my word was “adventure.” I wasn’t too keen on that word because adventure can be good or bad, and I asked Him to give me a different word, but He didn’t, until now. Adventure will still be the description, but He has given me a word that describes the type of adventure; it’s sojourner. It makes perfect sense! The Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary gives it this meaning: an alien alongside, that is, a resident foreigner: - pilgrim, stranger. As Christians, we can all be described in this way, being we are ambassadors representing Heaven for Jesus. It’s not comfortable being a sojourner, but that’s what we are. As sojourners in this world, and as representatives of Jesus, we must abstain from the passions of this world, because those passions wage war against our soul. Keep your conduct honorable, even if they call your love for Jesus evil. Remember, this is our temporary home; we are just resident aliens.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:11-12

Thursday, May 23, 2019

May 23

You are going to meet a lot of “church people” in this world. One Sunday, while visiting a church, I felt a chill, but it wasn’t the air! I was snubbed by a couple of people who looked like they were helping; it was likely because I was wearing shorts. I hadn’t thought to pack my Sunday best for this short vacation, but I wanted to be a part of congregational worship. This church was located in a vacation area, so many in attendance were probably visitors, but I’m sure some were full time residents. Thank goodness I know my place in the kingdom, otherwise I may have been deterred by their behavior. The lesson is this: even if you are new to a congregation, be friendly and open to others, they may be new too, and they may not know Jesus yet. As a Christ follower, it is our job to make others feel His comfort and peace. We represent Him wherever we go.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

May 22

Remember Lot’s wife? As they were escaping the wrath brought upon Sodom, they were told not to look back. Jesus implied that she looked back with concern for her possessions, and way of life. God knows us, and what is in our hearts and minds. Jesus knew why Lot’s wife turned around, that’s why she became a pillar of salt, and didn’t escape God’s wrath. She completely disobeyed God’s orders. We are to love everyone, even those whose lifestyle goes against scripture, but we are not to engage in such activity or long to be a part of it. If living in such a manner was okay, why would God rain fire down upon Sodom and Gomorrah destroying it? If Jesus set us free from those rules, why would He bring it up? The truth is, if we are truly saved, we will not want to continue in a lifestyle that goes against God’s standards, whether it is a sexual sin, or some other sin we may be predisposed to. When we accept Jesus as Savior, our life changes so we desire to please God, and we feel shame when we engage in activities that are contrary to the precepts of God. 

On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot's wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. Luke 17:31-33

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

May 21

As I was watching the sunset, I began pondering the wonders of God. Taking in His creation puts me in awe of Him. The surroundings were beautiful, and peaked all of my senses. My eyes could see the amazement of the sun as it appeared to dip into the Gulf slowly melting away. I could smell the salt air as it came in off the shore, so aromatic I could almost taste it. Hearing the waves crash as they rolled in, and the birds calling as they flew by, took me back to my childhood. I could feel a refreshing, gentle breeze as it blew past me cooling my skin, the sand between my toes, and the water as it splashed about my feet, all reminding me that I’m alive. Though that was enough to prove His existence, my thoughts turned to my ability to experience all of these things. Who had given to me my senses? The Almighty creator, who knew just the things we needed to experience life, and to acknowledge Him. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, together as One, we honor and worship for giving us life.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:19-20

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