Saturday, January 25, 2020

January 25

Two days ago, I mentioned that I was having some type of writing block, or disconnect in hearing from God. During the night while I was sleeping, I heard my ear pop. Whether it was a dream or real, I’m not sure, but I went from hearing a watery gurgle, to hearing more clearly. I believe it was a physical manifestation to usher in a spiritual connection. He may have been testing me to see if I would give up, and made it very clear that the test was over. I’m truly amazed at God and how he maneuvers, because as I’m writing this, it occurred to me that the next portion of scripture that I was to read was about God testing Abraham. I stopped before reading it, wanting to wait on it for tomorrow. Needless to say, I went back and read the scriptures.

God called out to Abraham and told him to sacrifice his son. As he followed the orders, God saw his obedience, and called out to him to stop, and then provided a ram for the sacrifice. I’m not saying that my testing was anywhere near this big, but nevertheless, it was a type of testing of my dedication to him. Thank goodness I pushed through it. 

If you are going through a challenge, step back from the situation for a moment, and see if God might be putting you to a test. Will you continue in your obedience, and pass the test, or will you fail and need repentance? The choice is yours. Choose wisely my friends.

He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” Genesis 22:12

Friday, January 24, 2020

January 24

Do you try and force an outcome, even though you’ve prayed, and given it into the hands of God? We make things harder on ourselves by doing such as this. For instance, look at Abraham and Sarah, God had promised that he would make a great nation of Abraham, but because of their impatience, and disbelief, Sarah offered her servant Hagar to Abraham. Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, and his offspring has been an enemy of the nation of Israel ever since. This one wrong move has caused issues for the entire world, all because they thought what they were doing was what God wanted. Even though they got ahead of God, he still fulfilled his promise to them by making Sarah a mother, even in her nineties! These two old people became the parents of the nation of Israel, and Jesus is their direct descendant according to the flesh. Next time you decide that you’ve waited long enough for God’s answer, thinking you need to make a move to help it happen, don’t do it, especially if it seems a little sketchy.

The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Genesis 21:1-2

Thursday, January 23, 2020

January 23

My daughters and I spent the day cleaning and decorating an old barn, getting ready for a party to usher in the next member of our family. The bathrooms are clean, the floors are mopped, and all the surfaces are sparkling. The space is vast, and trying to fill the area with decorations, was quite a task, but together we fulfilled the idea of the mom-to-be. It was a long, labor intensive day, but the end result was a whimsical, winter wonderland, to be enjoyed by all. We go above and beyond for the people we love, even to the point of exhaustion. We work diligently to try and please them because we love them and want them to be happy.

For the past several days I’ve experienced a block, making it hard to put words together for this daily devotional, but because of my love for the Lord, I push through. Though your tasks for the Lord may not be cleaning a barn, or writing a devotional, you show your faith in him by your works. The works won’t save you, but will reveal your faith in him. Put your faith in Jesus to work!

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. James 2:26

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

January 22

Many people live in fear of what can happen next. Life has treated them so harshly, that they are shy as to what is to come. Anxiety and depression set in, stalling any advancement. The striking blows have given them the feeling of helplessness where the only comfort found is when hiding in bed. 

If you find yourself in this situation, there is good news! It’s Jesus! Set your face toward him, call out his name; it promotes healing, and comfort. There is power in the name of Jesus. Any demonic presence will shudder at his name; they do not want to hear it, and will run. Unfortunately, we forget, and continue wallowing in our pain without evoking his name. If you are dealing with depression today, this is your reminder to call out to him, even if you are rendered unable to utter a prayer, his name will usher in the comfort you need so you can begin to heal.

"And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all."  Acts 3:16

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

January 21

If you started a diet, Bible reading, or anything else that’s repetitive on January 1st, today is the day it should become a habit, according to experts. Supposedly, three weeks, twenty-one days, creates a habit. If you’ve made it this far, you are well on your way to good health, physically, and mentally! Don’t worry if you slipped up along the way, it happens; because we are not perfect. 

After the flood, and things got back to normal, Noah became a gardener by creating vineyards. He loved the fruit of the vine. I know this because God chose to tell us that, at one point, he became drunk, and lay naked inside his tent. His youngest son Hamm, saw him, and made fun of him to his brothers. The brothers decided to continue to honor their father, and carefully cover him up without seeing him naked. Because the youngest dishonored his father, he was made to become a servant to his brothers through his son Canaan. He received no mercy for his disrespect, and the whole lineage was cursed to become slaves. 

One thing you need to remember, we have Jesus, and our sins are forgiven. You are not doomed if you make a mistake like Hamm. We are like Noah when we sin, we are forgiven, and our sin is covered, no longer subjected to shame. 

When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.” Genesis 9:24-27

Monday, January 20, 2020

January 20

Cold air has come to Florida! I’m afraid my garden may suffer, but looking on the bright side, if my plants wilt without dying from the cold, it will give them a fresh start for new growth when it warms up. Having orchids that are getting ready to bust out in bloom, I will give them a reprieve from the cold by bringing them inside. Thankfully, we just had our home sprayed for bugs, so if any of those creepers are in my plants, they won’t get far. 

The life of a Christ follower is much the same; the enemy blows in like a cold wind, standing between us and the warmth of our Savior, causing some to tremble in fear, but the ones that are well rooted, will stand strong through the adversity, and the weaker ones will be brought inside for protection under the guiding hand of the Lord. The orchids are like tender, new Christians, and the others, who are well rooted, are like those with experience, and strong armor. Stand firm under adversity, it won’t last forever, you will be victorious, and come out stronger than ever before.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Sunday, January 19, 2020

January 19

Many years ago, my husband and I decided to build a pool at our home on the lake. We had worked for years clearing out plants, trees, and even took down a small building to open up our view of the lake. We were excited about the pool because it would give us a place to swim besides the muddy lake. All was going well until they began to put in the plumbing. Before I even had the chance to give my input, they had placed the pool pump, and all of the equipment in the middle of the yard, disrupting the view. My husband reasoned that it would keep us from hearing it inside the house. It was a terrible sight! They wouldn’t move it so I began creating a flower bed and strategically placing plants around it to cover it, and eventually all you could see was the garden. 

That has been my life; finding ways to cover up ugly things in my surroundings. That is why Jesus is so important to me; he covers all the ugliness. Not only does he cover our sin, he begins doing a work within us causing us to turn from our sin, keeping us from creating eyesores for all to see. If you are not seeing changes in your life, it may be time to re-evaluate your commitment to Jesus. Are you truly changed? If not, it’s time!

Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalms 51:9-10

Saturday, January 18, 2020

January 18

We’ve had beautiful weather throughout the entire month here in Florida, however, the forecast warns of a cold front coming. Seldom do we have to worry about the cold because our climate is generally mild, but occasionally, during the winter we will have a cold snap that makes us all rush around covering up the tender vegetation in our yards, and pushes the farmers to get in gear to protect their crops. Technology makes it easy for those in that field of work, to give us warning of what is to come so we can prepare. 

When it comes to predicting the exact time of the return of our Savior, we can’t, but we can look for signs of the times, and be prepared. It’s important the we don't fear or worry, because we hold fast to Jesus, he will deliver us when we call to him, and he will rescue us because we know his name. Keep your chin up, but don’t let your guard down.

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. Psalms 91:14-15

Friday, January 17, 2020

January 17

Who is this billionaire funding certain aspects of the Southern Baptist Convention, and giving money to the Catholic Church? He is a puppet master, making puppets out of the leaders, and turning millions against righteousness, when he himself is a puppet of the enemy. He’s been hiding in the shadows hoping to deceive and destroy those who were once avid followers of biblical precepts of those religions, by using his money as a weapon against Jesus. 

“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

When I read these verses I couldn’t help but think about George Soros. Mr. Soros doesn’t do signs and wonders, as written about further down in the text, but his money creates the illusion of a divine nature, maybe not to everyone, but certainly to his benefactors. He may or may not be who Paul is talking about in these verses, but this man certainly fits the description written here. We see big name evangelist, who have a form of godliness, who’ve been leading for years in evangelical circles, leaving their stand on abortion, and instead promoting the ideas of this man. Be aware! There are deceivers in our midst. It’s time we stop doing human written “Bible Studies,” and start studying the Bible. Wake up, because something has gone terribly wrong, and it has the enemies fingerprints all over it.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

January 16

It’s hard to know who to trust when it comes to teachers of the Word. Many have come, saying they represent Jesus, but teach something contrary to what is written in the Bible. You may think you are safe to buy something in a Christian book store, or from the “Christian” section of the secular book store, but not everything on those shelves lead you in the direction of Christ. There are a few who have been filling those shelves for years who are now echoing the words of the secular media, causing questions about their beliefs, and invalidating their past teachings. A leopard doesn’t change its spots, fingerprints will always expose identity, and the enemy will infiltrate our ranks; remember Judas. 

How will you know? Their roots will be exposed! However, if you’re finding it hard to tell, ask God for discernment, and listen to the check in your spirit; it may be the Holy Spirit guiding you. Know the scripture! If you diligently read and study God’s Word, you will be able to determine the truth, and the enemy will find it harder to change your direction. The day of the Lord is upon us, don’t get distracted.

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 1 Thessalonians 5:1

And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. Matthew 24:11

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

January 15

When my husband died, who was a strong believer in Jesus, I was judged, and criticized over laughing as others were telling stories from his past. He was relieved from his suffering, and no longer held down by his mortal body. I was sad for my loss, and for my son growing up without his father, but I knew he was with Jesus, and I couldn’t be more thankful than I was.

David grieved over the sickness of his child, but as soon as he died, he shook it off because he knew he would see him again. After the child’s death, he understood that no amount of grief or lamenting would bring him back, and that he would go to him when he died. He cleaned himself up, ate, and got on with his life. As followers of Christ, we are not without hope. Those who die that are part of our faith, should not be grieved as those who are not. It’s not wrong to grieve for ourselves over our missing piece, but prolonged grief may show signs that we lack hope. It is up to us to show the world that we are strong in our faith by rejoicing over our loved one’s entry into the realm of Jesus. 

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

January 14

My car has been in and out of the shop lately. First with the crash, and then with issues stemming from the crash. But now, I’m dealing with a noise that is obnoxious that only happens when the technician is not in the car. I sat for two hours waiting for them to correct the issue only to have them tell me that they didn’t hear anything, so I left. On the way home, it started again, but it kept doing it, so I went back, and finally someone heard the sound it was making. 

This same thing happens to us physically, and mentally. Sometimes our mental trouble stems from something physical going on in our body. However, there are things that go back to past hurts or trauma that stems from someone else’s sin, or even our own past sin. You may also be dealing with fear; maybe you’re dreading something that’s coming up. Rejection always causes pain; you may be trying to tough it out, but God knows the truth. So now you see why the technician needed to hear the issue with my car! How can you eliminate the problem if you don’t know its cause. We have a technician who knows everything, but he needs you to ask him for his help. If you feel troubled, the next time you are alone with God, ask for help, and then trust him for the outcome.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1

Monday, January 13, 2020

January 13

Do you ever feel off, or out of sync? Maybe you’re having a hard time getting it together, and wonder what you’ve done that’s causing your dilemma. For several days, I’ve been fighting off a cold. For me a cold can lead to asthma because of all the coughing and drainage, so I don’t waste time, I start medicating right away. The side effects of the medication cause other issues, and make it harder for me to hear God’s voice. So if you noticed a difference over the last few days in my writing, that’s why. The enemy will intervene in any way he can to stop the message of Jesus from going out. 

Paul was no different. He had to contend with being a prisoner, and the whims of his accusers. He had longed to see the church of the Thessalonians, but had been hindered because of the enemy and his schemes. Just know this, the enemy will use anything he can to prohibit God’s message from going out, and will even throw roadblocks in your way to prevent you from living out God’s plan. Keep pressing forward, muddle through it if you have to, but don’t stop. 

because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. 1 Thessalonians 2:18

Sunday, January 12, 2020

January 12

My mother, along with my daughters, and I, took a day trip over to DeLand to tour the Stetson Mansion. It was a beautiful old house that the owners decided to open for visitors. If you’ve seen a real mansion, this one pales in comparison, and I’m not sure why they even called it a mansion. They wanted to make sure you got your money’s worth so they dragged out the tour with ridiculous stories that had no historical significance at all. The owners are just a couple of guys trying to pave their way into society without lifting a finger. Remind me the next time I want to tour an old house, I just need to go look at a couple of listings in a historical district.

Even though our initial purpose was to go and see this “mansion,” the day ended up being a success! Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” The ride was two and a half hours there and back, so we got in a lot of girl time, full of laughs and conversation. It gave us a chance to catch up. We need to look at our walk with Jesus the same way; instead of looking at it as our destination to heaven, we need to focus on our relationship with him.

"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." Colossians 3:2 

Saturday, January 11, 2020

January 11

What does God want from us? He wants to spend time with us, hear our praise, worship, and thankfulness, and for us to make him the center of our world. Doesn’t that sound like it’s all about him? This is how good he is: when we do the things he likes for us to do, it becomes about us! He made me aware that spending time with him makes me a better person, so the time I spend honoring him, improves the quality of my life.

Jesus sacrificing his life was not about him, it was about us, and giving us a way to spend eternity with him, and it starts the moment we accepted him as our Savior. It helps us deal with life here on earth, and gives us a way out when the end comes. So you see, everything he does is because he loves us.

Can you see God’s ability to turn this around? You can look at your time spent in worship as honoring God, but the truth is, it’s also a selfish act because it improves your own life. Those of you who are all about “you,” honor God with your praise, worship, and thankfulness, and it will improve your life, and that’s how he wants it! That is lavished love! It’s overwhelming, abundant, and totally unselfish of him! 

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5

Friday, January 10, 2020

January 10

The Rolling Stones said it best:

“You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need”

I hear it said often, “I’m praying for you.” You might say it yourself, and it is important that we intercede for others, especially those who are weak in their faith, or those who don’t have faith at all. Take a look at the people praying for you, if they aren’t saved by Jesus, their prayers are a waste of breath. Over and over again, the Bible says to ask anything according to his will and he will answer you. My question to you is this; have you sought forgiveness for your sins before making your request? Another point, if Jesus isn’t your Savior, God can’t hear you, he is holy, and you are filthy. I can tell you with confidence that every prayer you pray will not be answered with a yes, because we often pray for things that are not within his will for us, or contrary to what’s written in God’s Word. Don’t stop praying, every now and then you will hit the bullseye with your prayer, but unless your prayer for that trip to Hawaii is to reach the people who are strung out on Ice, or for those lost in their native culture, your prayer is coming from your passion, rather than God’s will. 

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

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

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:3

Thursday, January 9, 2020

January 9

There are days, thankfully only a few, that I cannot find within me the words needed to be written. I scroll through my mind looking for tidbits of information that God may have downloaded, the previous day, only to conclude that nothing is there. I will pick something out, start a story, but have trouble linking it to the scripture or text that I am studying. That’s when I realize that there is a presence blocking my ability to hear. Once I figure out what’s going on, I immediately go to the psalms, I will pick something randomly, or go to Psalms 91, and read it aloud. Doing this cleanses the air, and refreshes my mind, calms my anxiety, and floods my surroundings with the peace of Jesus. After doing this the words begin to flow. 

When you get stuck, no matter what it is you are doing, stop and pray, pull out a psalm, read it aloud, or sing it. Did you know that the Lord inclines his ear to you, and hears your cries? We are so privileged to have God’s ear, and the knowledge that we are not praying to the air.

By the way, nothing is random if you have the Holy Spirit! I say randomly choose a scripture, but when I randomly chose a psalm, the very first scripture in that psalm, fit perfectly with the scripture in my line of study.

"To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry."  Psa 40:1

"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us."  1Jn 5:14

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

January 8

Jesus visited me in a dream, and I want to share with you the details so you know how much you are loved, and summarize what he has done to show it. My dream was not fully visual, but more of an impression. It amazes me that he can speak without words or pictures, and still make his point. Here is my impression:

We follow a powerful Savior! Though he is powerful, he is also loving. He was here before creation, then moved heaven and earth to create a sanctuary where he could dwell, and walk with us in the garden. We denied him so he came again, showing us his power by being born of flesh, and then performed miracles as proof of who he is. We denied him again so he showed us his power by coming back from the dead after three days in the grave. He did all of this to show us his love, and give us a way to have a relationship with him. Do you know who benefits the most by spending time with him? You do! He loves you, and has pursued you for your entire life, it’s time to slow down, let him catch you, so you can make him the object of your adoration. 

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

January 7

Know this, the acts of war, or the acts that may be leading to war, you are witnessing, and that is playing out before your eyes, are all a part of the plan. Prophecy must be fulfilled before we are gathered to our King. If you are not living for Jesus, or do not know him, now would be a good time to declare him your Savior. Turn your life over to him, leave your sin, and put the past behind you. For some reason, we think it’s a better life, not to be confined, and to be able to do what we want, but that is far from the truth! My life is much better because of Jesus. God has a heart for his children, and whether we are here to watch the times play themselves out, or whether he brings us home early, and takes us out of the misery of this world, the things written about in the Bible will come to pass. Will we be taken up today or tomorrow? We don’t know. What we do know is that things written in the Bible have come true, and there are just a few prophecies left that need to take place before the end. Are you ready?

You may wonder why I would write this to the followers of Christ, it’s because many who call themselves Christians, are not true Christ followers, and have not turned away from their sin, to live for Jesus. They hold what they think is a “get out of hell free” card, but their life doesn’t reflect Jesus. If this is you, repent, and start living for him.

No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. 1 John 3:9-10

Monday, January 6, 2020

January 6

Occasionally, we will make our way to a local buffet for all you can eat. The one we frequent has the option of getting what they call the “blue plate special,” where they give you a blue plate, but you can only go through the line once; however can fill up that one plate with as much as you can fit. I’m usually very conservative when I fill my plate, but the last time I went, I decided to fill my plate with bacon! It was glorious sitting there eating it, but I had gotten too much, so when my daughter, who had also gotten a blue plate, said she wanted more bacon, it was the perfect opportunity for me to share. In the end, we were both happy, and satisfied.

When we sit at the Lord’s table, we can eat all we want, and even go back for more; no blue plate needed. What he gives us can fill us to overflowing, if we allow it. He is the bread of life, and the living water; we will never thirst or go hungry. Feast on Jesus, and watch your life change; your outlook will be different, your desires will change, and things that once made you happy, will become trivial, and your love for worldly satisfaction will fade. Your plate will be so full, that you will want to share it! That is what I call living!

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15

Sunday, January 5, 2020

January 5

I was coming back on the ferry from Little Gasparilla, and as we came into the basin, I could see some dolphins splashing near the sea wall. They had rounded up some mullet, trying to get a bite to eat. The splashing stopped and then I saw one of them with a huge mullet in its mouth! That was the first time I’ve ever seen such a spectacle outside of Sea World. I’m thinking that they had run them into that area so they couldn’t escape, making them easy prey.

The school of mullet is like people who walk in darkness. The enemy is very clever, and will gather them together, funneling them into a confined area, guiding them away from the safety of the Savior so he can pick them off one by one. We see so much of this today; where people are calling the truth a lie, and a lie the truth. These same people will claim that they are walking in the light, but there is no light in them. Be aware, if you hear anything that is contrary to the teachings of the Bible, it is a lie, and a trap; do not stand with these people. To know the Word of God is to know the truth! 

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

Saturday, January 4, 2020

January 4

I’m helping my friends with the landscaping of their yard. Since my husband is a contractor, we are able to buy plants wholesale. There are a couple of nurseries I like to use, but my son-in-law told me about one that’s a little further out than than the others. He encouraged me to go because they would have everything that we would need. As soon as we pulled into the office, we could see their beauty, and their abundance. I was overwhelmed with joy, and felt lavished in plant heaven; it was like the Disney World of nurseries! I had to contain myself, and step back to think about my friends needs for their yard rather than my own desires. I get excited all over again just thinking about it! 

God knows what makes us joyful, but who would have thought that helping someone choose plants for their yard could bring on such an overwhelming since of pleasure. Sometimes we have do monotonous things just to survive our days, but instead of going through our days with a ho-hum attitude, begin looking for God’s hand guiding your steps. When you start to see it, you will begin love your moments.

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

Friday, January 3, 2020

January 3

Over the past couple of years I began collecting orchids. I had no idea how to care for them, but no worries, I found plenty of information online. During the summer, the only ones in bloom were the ones that were given to me as gifts that were already blooming. I thought I was doing everything right, but sadly, no blooms. Now that it’s winter, and what seemed like out of nowhere, I began seeing spikes, and shoots popping up! Now I wait in anticipation to see the colorful display that each one has in store for me. 

Isn’t that a picture of our lives? We go along from day to day, working and living with nothing extraordinary happening, then out of nowhere, things begin to change and you see a light at the end of the tunnel, or in the case of my orchids, bloom shoots. 

Today’s message is to encourage you to keep pushing forward even though things may seem bleak, or out of control, stay the course. Your life will not always be flowering, but the process is in the roots, and soon you will begin to see shoots forming, that will one day produce beautiful blossoms.

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, January 2, 2020

January 2

My friends, don’t be arrogant about your salvation in Jesus; it wasn’t given to you because of anything you did, but because of what he did. You obtained mercy purely because of God’s grace. We should thank him every day that we are not receiving the payment that we deserve for our sins. Even if you’ve been good in your life, you aren’t good enough without Jesus. There is nothing we can do to cleanse ourselves of our sins, and no amount of good we do can cover the stains of our past. It’s only because of Jesus that we will not suffer the consequences of our former way of life. 

When I think back to my life as a young adult, the disgraceful things I did, and the crowd that I ran with, I’m lucky to be alive, and forgiven. Sin will bind you. I received a blanket of forgiveness, but because of the damage it caused, I felt it necessary to flush each sin individually. By doing that, I broke the chains that had me bound. I know what you’re thinking; how could I possibly remember all my sins? You probably can’t, but the Holy Spirit will bring to your mind what you need to turn loose of to be set free. 

Your new year resolution should include doing everything you can to be set free from the ties that bind you. Start today.

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 1:12-14

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

January 1

My family has a tradition of eating black-eyed peas, hog jowl, and greens on New Year Day. I prepare it, and my children make sure to stop by to partake in the tradition. There’s an old wives tale that claims that eating this meal brings money and good luck for the year. It was believed to have come to the south by way of the Sephardic Jews who arrived in Georgia in the 1730’s. It was a custom of the Jews to eat black-eyed peas, as part of the Rosh Hashanah celebration, and can be found in the Talmud that was written around 500 A.D.

During the Civil War General Sherman tried to starve the Confederate army by taking their food supply. He didn’t consider the peas or the pork as consumable by humans, so he left it, and the army was fed for the winter. 

Most of our current traditions can be dated back to ancient times. I think it’s a good idea to research them to make sure we are not following something that was sinister, or from evil. We can never be sure, but at least identify why we hold it dear.

This year I hope that you will begin to identify the reasons you do what you do, and think the way you think. Don’t do things just because it’s the way you’ve always done them, dig deep and find out why!

"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ." Colossians 2:8