Saturday, December 5, 2020

December 5

Our community is having its annual Christmas party tonight. Our usual way of doing it is for some of our homeowners to volunteer to host, and we walk from house to house, enjoying the spread of food that each host prepares. We hold it early in December, so it kicks off the season and pushes us to get our homes decorated for the holidays. This year, because of COVID, we had to think outside the box and come up with the idea that would still get us into the holiday spirit and keep us mindful of our vulnerable guests. My neighbors came up with an idea; we close one street, set out tables and chairs for food and comfort, light it up with Christmas decorations, and party in the street. 

Things change, but we must continue to live as pleasant a life as possible. Rather than grumble and complain about our year being uprooted and overtaken by a virus, we branch out and find other ways to enjoy one another. Fear can paralyze a human spirit, but rather than die in our homes a lonely death, we find other ways to carefully keep in contact with others. This season may look different than the past, but that shouldn’t stop us from celebrating Jesus. We must be flexible, so we don’t break. 

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Philippians 4:11

Friday, December 4, 2020

December 4

I try to be sensitive to issues in my life that might be subliminal messages from God. Over the past two weeks, I have suffered three different gashes in my fingertips. The first was a burn from a hot glue gun; the second happened on Thanksgiving day where I nearly cut off the end, and the third was just yesterday where I sliced my finger with the food processor blade. It didn’t hit me until last night that I had three issues going on with my fingertips; they all still hurt. What is God trying to bring to my attention? I found the answer, and it fits for the time. 

So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”  Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” John 20:25-27

The answer to our questions about what is going on is right here in scripture. In my post yesterday about me questioning God, he didn’t dismiss my concerns. He knew my question was coming because my fingertip issue started two weeks ago! How good is God for answering me, even though my questioning was pointing my finger at him? Was the pain worth it? YES! Anytime we hear God’s voice, and it brings clarity, whatever we had to go through to get there, is worth it. 

Many times he has me go through such as this because he knows I’ll bring a message to his followers. Through these scriptures, he is saying, “Peace be with you... Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Let’s not be doubting Thomas just because we can’t see God moving. 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

December 3

In this time of crisis, whether it’s COVID or the unresolved presidential election, there may be a falling away of believers. We are people of faith and do not rely on the things of man, but those whose roots are shallow may experience a lack of belief that God has things under his control. We must remember that what the enemy intends for evil, God can turn it for his good and the benefit of his people. I thought my roots ran deep, but even I am questioning God about our current path; God forgive me for my lack of faith. Why would so many prophetic people predict a second term only to be humiliated? Why would he subject his people to the harassment that we will experience at the hands of the evil government that we are slated to accept? We can already see what is coming by looking at the states that have closed churches and allowed death clinics and liquor stores to stay open. I am still hopeful that God’s plan includes an overturning of the current results and that we will remain a Christian country for a little while longer. Please don’t stop praying; it’s not over yet. I can see a great revival coming, but we must hold on tight to our faith in God. 

And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. Luke 8:13

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

December 2

When Jesus enters your church, are you like Mary or Simon? Simon invited Jesus to dine with him; this is not Simon, his apostle, this Simon is a Pharisee. 

And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Luke 7:37-38

Jesus knew who she was, but Simon thought, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” Many church people act like this, especially when someone new walks into their church. “We’ve seen you; we know who you are, and you think you can come into our church and mingle with the saints?” No one has ever said those words, but their coldness, the cutting eyes, and lack of welcome speak loudly. Let it never be said of your church that you acted like Simon upon a guest entering your home; he treated Mary and Jesus poorly. What if Jesus walked in covered by the skin of someone else? You know what I’m talking about; you’ve been that person and understand how it feels to be rejected by a church. Do your best to treat others with love and kindness; they may not deserve it, but who are you to decide what they deserve. Our lives are a test, and you don’t want to fail.

“Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Luke 7:44-46

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

December 1

You know you are in the right neighborhood when long time residents move, and the neighbors give them a going-away party. It was an outpouring of love and kindness to beloved friends. We are all going to miss them. Things in our lives as Christ-followers happen for a purpose, but we may not know what that purpose is until we jump in and do it. God called them to a new neighborhood just a short distance away, but guaranteed, their impact on the people of that community will be part of what God has planned. Will they draw others to Jesus? Will their kindness heal a broken heart? We may never know the answer to those questions, but the people they impact will be forever grateful. Be a bright light that shines in the darkness for all to see, just as Jesus, and you too may unknowingly bring others to salvation.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

Monday, November 30, 2020

November 30

I usually decorate my Christmas tree to match my house, but this year I decided to go with the traditional Christmas colors. Deciding on a theme was easy after seeing the cute little elves sitting on the shelves, and who doesn’t love an elf? Our family got together for a celebration, and I thought for sure my grandsons would love the tree, but those little tots could care less about it! It’s a good thing I didn’t do it just for them; otherwise, I would have been disappointed with their reaction; but they are boys, and decor is not important to them, yet another sign that 2020 is an unusual year. Nevertheless, this is God’s year, and he has a plan, and a purpose for the issues brought about, either by friend or foe. 

As we prepare for the end of this dismal year, consider what is to come in this next season; things may not get any better. God has been preparing us for such a time. Will there be a harvest of souls for Jesus? If so, are you ready to do your part? Pray for God to prepare the harvesters and to bring in the harvest.

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38

Sunday, November 29, 2020

November 29

After skirting along the edge of the mangrove on my paddleboard and seeing all I could see, I headed back home. I decided that instead of walking my board through the mangrove, and because the tide was coming in, it would be easier to get off on the dock in our community. However, I didn’t consider the tumultuous water of the inter-coastal, so when I rounded the end of the peninsula, I had to sit down to keep from being knocked off. The wind had picked up, and that particular area was quite deep because of dredging to accommodate large boats. I probably won’t do that again, being there’s nothing to see but the backs of homes. There are lessons to be learned by venturing through rough waters: 

1) Lower your profile, so the wind doesn’t catch you and send you into deeper water. Humble yourself at the mighty hand of God. 

2) Paddle hard and fast until you reach the still water. Jesus leads you beside the still waters.

3) The wind and waves will settle down once you are in the cove. Jesus restores your soul when you hide in his cove.

We all venture through rough waters occasionally, but don’t get discouraged, and don’t quit, keep paddling until you reach the shore. When you place your trust in Jesus, you’re never alone; the Holy Spirit is there to guide you and help you make it through.

Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. Luke 6:47-48