Saturday, December 31, 2022

December 31, 2022

We all go through trying times when the enemy chooses us to torment. I’m no different, except that I share those struggles as a way of teaching perseverance, self-control, and how to glorify God in the process. After all, he is the one who comes to our rescue and comforts us in our time of need. 

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 1 Peter 4:16

You are not alone in your struggles. If you’re not facing challenges, are you actually in the fight against the powers of darkness?

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

I want to thank everyone who prayed. Yesterday was a great day with no new incidents. You got in the battle with me and fought the good fight. It’s funny how my experiences over the past week went along with the writings of 1 Peter; it makes me wonder if God allowed it on purpose. I don’t think I will be studying Job anytime soon! There were many lessons learned and shared. Keep up the good fight of faith and God will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10-11

Friday, December 30, 2022

December 30, 2022

Since Christmas Eve, I have faced one attack after another. It is probably the strangest thing I have ever encountered. I didn't write about it yesterday because some who were a party to the attack need to be set free from the devil's clutches, so I wrote about how to become free. If you didn't accept Jesus's complete healing and cleansing when you accepted him as Savior, then that is something you need to work on. I'm saying this because all the attacks have come from people claiming to be Christ-followers. I began writing this blog to help people who think they are saved become the person they claim to be. It's not my job to determine if you are saved, but it is my job to help you make that determination and give you insight into how to live as a true Christ-follower. One of my attackers even disguised themselves as someone who needed help, and when I didn't play along in their game, they tried to use my faith in Jesus as a weapon and told me they would pray. The audacity! I held my peace through all of it and didn't call out their demons even though I could see them. When experiencing the enemy's disdain for you, maintain your composure and remember that you are a child of the Most High!

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 1 Peter 4:12-14

Thursday, December 29, 2022

December 29, 2022

Nearly all the ceiling has been removed from the interior of the house and is almost ready for spray insulation. It reminds me of what we must go through when we genuinely want freedom in Christ. We tear down all the walls and remove everything hindering us from reaching the pinnacle of the Christian experience. If you haven’t begun seeking the truth about why you think and act the way you do, today is a great day to start. It is a process of unlearning the habits and attitudes placed there by the enemy to distract us from living our best life in Jesus. If he can keep us in prison, he wins. But Jesus came to set us free from all encumbrances. Fear, trauma, unbelief, and rejection are some of the things you might look for that could be the causes of your imprisonment. To tear down those walls and insulate yourself from further damage, confess, repent, anoint, and pray. It’s not a one-and-done kind of process. You must go through those steps many times to get the freedom you can feel. If you don’t know where to start, ask God to show you where the lies began; if you keep asking, he will keep telling you all your areas that need improvement, and eventually, you will become your original self, the person he created you to be. Start praying now; the new year is only a few days away. Wouldn’t it be great to start the new year walking in true freedom?

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

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

December 28, 2022

Over the past several days, the enemy has tried to get me to react to negative words said about me. He though he could take me out of the game, but all it did was fuel me to further spread the truth about how great God is. What’s even better, the Holy Spirit had me studying in the perfect book of the Bible to help me counter the attack in a godly manner. Even though the things said were hurtful, my heart didn’t react, and I kept my perfect peace. The truth is that there is something wrong inside of them, not me. They couldn’t even come up with anything I had done wrong. This situation is the perfect example of why we need always stay in our armor. The enemy will come after you with both barrels using whoever or whatever he can to cause you discouragement and to soil your reputation. Stand strong, follow Jesus’s example, and let him fight for you, the battle is not yours anyway. Another thing that came of this is I still love them; only God can give you that kind of reaction when others hate you. Listen to the Holy Spirit in times of trouble; he will guide you into perfect peace. 

having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:16-17

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

December 27, 2022

I’m thankful that the holidays are nearly over. Maybe the demons will settle down a little. This world is getting crazier by the day! We know God is in control and can count on him to get us through. Remind yourself daily that you are a child of God, and he doesn’t want to cause you harm. We are righteous, though not of ourselves; we are sinners but are righteous through our trust in Jesus, the Overseer of our souls. Be careful not to get caught up in the madness, for we are a holy people, set apart from the general public, and must keep our composure under to stress of worldly affairs; we have the reputation of Jesus to uphold. Remember that the army of angels is ready for battle and is more than those who are against us. Only 33% of the angels were kicked out of heaven and are demonic, but we have 66% fighting with us. We have power behind us and going before us; we have the advantage. The fight is not of flesh and blood; it’s spiritual, so our armor must be spiritual; prayer, faith, God’s word, and the Holy Spirit. We will win! Armor-up!

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:24-25

Monday, December 26, 2022

December 26, 2022

It is a great day when you learn to refer back to biblical teachings to handle life issues. As a conservative, God loving, right wing patriot, you will encounter those who believe differently from you. Though we may not agree with their thoughts, we can still love them with our whole heart even if they don’t love us back. Earlier this year, I had a friend that I feel betrayed me. It wasn’t anything major, but it still hurt. She and her husband didn’t have our same belief system, but we were okay with that; we didn’t have to talk about politics or our beliefs to still be friends. However, they couldn’t get beyond it because, their opinion was that the gap was too wide, and though we tried to build a bridge, all they did was tear it down. When it comes down to it, love is the bridge, but you will find that there are people who don’t understand real love; love them anyway. One day, and it may be in eternity, they will see the truth, but it will be too late for them, but you will have pleased God by your actions. Keep handling issues the way God recommends and everything will go well with you. 

For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 1 Peter 2:19-20

Sunday, December 25, 2022

December 25, 2022

Yesterday, I was preparing dinner for my family for Christmas Eve. I decided to use the electric meat slicer to cut up my potatoes for mashed potatoes. I got careless and didn’t use the guard to push them through, and I sliced open my finger right through the nail. I bled profusely! I probably needed some stitches, but because of the past few years, my trust in physicians has plummeted to near zero. I bandaged it up and kept going. 

We need our flesh to maneuver through this world; that’s how Jesus came to dwell among us. He knew the only way to show us how best to live and give us a perfect sacrifice was to walk with us. He had to become flesh and blood to teach us to live spiritually and to rely on our faith in him to excel in heavenly ways. I bled, and it proved that I have a physical body, and if I had bled to death, it’s of no consequence; I will live on in the spirit because God gave me the right to become his child. Remember why we worship Jesus today and celebrate his birth; he became flesh because he loves us. Merry Christmas!

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

As a side note: John 1:14 makes it very clear that Jesus was the only Son of the Father. If you believe Satan was one of his sons, you are in a cult and need to get out of it. 

Saturday, December 24, 2022

December 24, 2022

People dismiss their dreams. I’m not talking about goals, but the visions in the night while you are resting. Not all dreams are messages, some happen because we ate pizza or tacos and are random, but others contain vital clues that can help us determine the right direction to go or give us a heads-up about a situation. If you ever find yourself saying, “I had a weird dream last night,” there is probably something in that dream that needs your attention. Imagine if Joseph had dismissed his dream where the angel of the Lord came to warn him to flee to Egypt with Jesus and Mary. Where would we be right now if Herod had gotten his way and killed our King, the Savior of the world? Can you even imagine a world without Jesus? People think they can live without him, but they are affected by Christianity no matter what they do. Charities, hospitals, colleges, and many other institutions came about because of Christianity. You can’t even open an interior door without noticing the crosses designed into them. It’s no wonder the demons are all stirred up; they can’t get away from Jesus; he is everywhere! When God gives you a warning, you need to act on it as Joseph did. He picked up his family and moved, then stayed until it was safe. Listen to the warnings God gives you and act upon them if necessary.

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 and remained there until the death of Herod. Matthew 2:13-15a

Friday, December 23, 2022

December 23, 2022

For years, my daughters and I had traditionally gone to see the Nutcracker ballet at the posh Performing Arts Theater in Tampa. We got away from doing that because, as usual, they grew up and had their own families. Still, we tried to accommodate that tradition when we could. I didn't even propose the idea this year, but one of them found tickets to a concert by a string quartet who performed the Nutcracker music plus other notable classical pieces, and she insisted that we keep up with our tradition. It was in the Ybor City area of Tampa, so I wasn't expecting much, similar to going to an off-Broadway show. Well, all I can say is we were overwhelmed to tears by the music's beauty and the soloist's robust voice. It was one of the best concert performances we have ever attended. It was an utterly heavenly experience.

It reminds me of the humble beginnings of our Savior, whom most believed would be born in a palace adorned with robes and attended by many servants. However, he was born in a stable and laid in a manger to show that he was accessible to all, not just to the elite. The girls and I dressed in our holiday best because that's how we are, but others dressed in shabby attire which reminded me that the concert was accessible to all, just like our Savior. Jesus is the picture of beauty wrapped in humble garb, and all are invited to come to him. 

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12

Thursday, December 22, 2022

December 22, 2022

Every year, about this time, my father-in-law, who had shopped only a few days earlier with my daughter, would have her over to wrap the presents he bought. He loved Christmas but always waited until the last minute to prepare. To honor him, we will gather the entire family one more time on Christmas morning as a tribute to him, so we went out and bought gifts just like he would have us do in the past. So yesterday, which seems last-minute, we spent several hours wrapping all the gifts.

Some of the things we do are rooted in traditions from the past, even though we may do them without knowing exactly how they started. I’m guessing someone, many years ago, decided that giving presents as a celebration of the birth of Christ was a good idea because the wise men brought gifts to Jesus; at least, that’s what I keep telling myself because I like giving gifts. Whatever we do, we must honor God and worship him because without him being a part of our celebration, it becomes worthless and time-wasting. Make it a tradition to glorify God and praise him as the shepherds did on the night of Jesus’s birth. 

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:20

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

December 21, 2022

We have foolishly fallen for the notion that there were three wise men, but the Bible doesn’t specify. That number is arbitrary and was assigned by the Roman Catholic Church. We have also been falsely led to believe that they visited him in the stable, as depicted in the nativity displays. Another lie is that they were kings; the Bible doesn’t say that either. These observations further make my point that we need to read our Bibles carefully and not read into it what is not there. 

My question today was: How did these gentile wise men know that the star indicated that a king had been born for Judah? After a bit of reading, I discovered that it could be because the star had suddenly appeared over that country, and that’s how the wise men knew that a king for Judah had been born. They first went to Jerusalem and inquired of King Herod, who probably got all in a tizzy thinking he was about to be replaced. He asked them to report back to him when they found the newborn King, but they were warned in a dream not to return to him. They followed the star that led them to Jesus. When I look at the stars while riding in the car, it seems like they are following me, so I assume this star was lower in the sky and moved, giving them a beacon to follow. It had to be moving because the Bible says it came to rest. The point is to be careful what you believe and study your Bible because it is the ultimate truth.

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. Matthew 2:9-10

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

December 20, 2022

As Christ-followers are exalting our God and Savior for his gift and his sacrifice for us, much of the news of the day shows the utter contempt our government has for its people, especially Christians, but we know that God is in control and he will be the one who administers pure justice. In the whole scheme of things, what we see is petty and will make no difference in our salvation. However, those caught in treasonous activity will have much to account for. We cannot ignore what is going on, but we can continue to worship our Savior, who left Heaven to participate in the human experience and to give us a worthy sacrifice to cover our sins. Though Christmas may not be the actual season that Jesus was born, it is exceptional that the entire world, Christian or not, worships him together for nearly a month. Keep this season holy; our Savior deserves nothing less.

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Luke 2:9-10

Monday, December 19, 2022

December 19

My niece gave birth to a handsome baby boy yesterday. She was in a sterile hospital environment with people around her caring for her every need. I’m sure her new baby will be brought up to love Jesus and become his follower as he grows in knowledge. Can you imagine Jesus, our Savior, and King over all the earth, being born in a stable and placed in a feed trough as a cradle? It’s unfathomable. However, it was part of God’s plan to make him relatable to everyone, rich or poor. He may have been born in a stable, but his reception was beyond what any other human on earth has ever seen; an angel and a multitude of heavenly hosts announced his arrival. I’ll bet they lit up the sky with their presence. You know his birth was the talk of the town. The shepherds witnessed the miracle that we still talk about today. They were the instrument God used to spread the word in those days. Little did they know that Jesus would call himself the shepherd and his people the sheep of his pasture. It’s amazing how God orchestrates everything, giving detail to even the most mundane, everyday occurrences. 

If you feel insignificant and unseen, here is a reason to change your mind: Did you know that heaven lights up with rejoicing when a person accepts Jesus as their Savior? Probably the same heavenly host who announced Jesus’s arrival on earth praises God that you turned your life over to him. We are indeed a blessed people.

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:7

Sunday, December 18, 2022

December 18, 2022

“He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;” Luke 1:51-52

Mary was blessed. Not only was she chosen by God to carry our Savior, but she spoke prophetically about his future. I’ve not heard anyone mention that she was prophetic, but remember the wedding at Cana when they ran out of wine? 

When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” John 1:3-5

Wasn’t that a bit prophetic? She knew her son would help her in this touchy situation. 

Mary’s whole song in Luke had a dual purpose, remembering what God had done in the past and praising him for it, but also a projection of what is to come through Jesus, our Savior. Catholics may honor Mary by exalting her, but Protestants, seeming to go in the opposite direction, may not give her enough credit for her contribution. So today, I thought it would be fitting to honor Mary, not only as the chosen one to carry our Savior in her womb but also as a prophetess whose words, at least some of them, are still waiting to be fulfilled. 

Saturday, December 17, 2022

December 17, 2022

Until today, I haven’t felt very Christmasy. I’ve gone through the motions of decorating and buying gifts, but after reading the beginning of Luke, I’m suddenly feeling celebratory. Maybe that’s the point, and Jesus is reminding me that his birth is worth celebrating because it’s the beginning of living out our eternity through him. 

I found it fascinating that Mary encountered the trinity all at once. It was dramatic, yet she continued her life in peace.

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. Luke 1:35

It doesn’t mention that Jesus was there, but we know he was because he was the one conceived. Another thing I noticed is that Mary immediately went to see her cousin Elizabeth, who confirmed her pregnancy to the deity of Christ because her baby, John the Baptist, leaped for joy in her womb. Was her haste to the hill country of Judah one way for God to prove that Joseph never touched her? It’s not something mentioned when sharing that she was a virgin, but it makes sense to include that bit of information—just a little food for thought. 

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2022

December 16, 2022

Finally, we had no choice but to move into the guest cottage. We put it off as long as we could, but the dust became more than we could bear. I've been ready to move for months; however, the water isn't filtered, and we don't have an indoor shower, which should be fine unless it's cold. We are very spoiled compared to the days of old. How do we become redeemed from and stripped of every encumbrance or weight holding us back from becoming what God intended us to be from the beginning? Our original selves? If our lives are so comfy that even a change of water can cause us to feel anxious, how will we feel when God removes the sludge from our minds and sets us free? We have so much built up that we don't even know the truth from lies. We must rely on scripture. It is one thing that hasn't changed and was in existence before our minds became infiltrated by propaganda. Become constant in prayer, comb through the scriptures, and familiarize yourself with the workings of the Holy Spirit, who will reveal all truth. There is no other way to clear your mind to become what God intended. 

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:13

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16

Thursday, December 15, 2022

December 15, 2022

My plants had become somewhat neglected over this past year, so when I looked to see what was going on with them yesterday, I got a pleasant surprise. One of my orchids was in full bloom! I could not be more pleased because this particular orchid produces a lovely scent. I brought it inside so I could enjoy its beauty, but more so I could smell its pleasant aroma. Though I can’t see it right now because I’m sitting in the dark with only the glow of my iPad, I know it’s there because I can smell it. 

Last night, I dreamed of not knowing if I had the Holy Spirit. It was frightening. So this morning, when I sat down to pray and study, the fragrance from the orchid filled the air and explained the existence of the Holy Spirit perfectly. You can’t see the Holy Spirit, but he’s like fragrance; you know he’s there because there is evidence that he exists. Did he start working on me yesterday when I brought this flower into the house? Yes! He knew I would have such a dream. This situation exemplifies a well-orchestrated circumstance to explain the truth about who he is and how he works. Pay attention to the things happening in your life and see if you notice his work. Smell the sweet aroma of Jesus and his love for you because he gave you the precious gift of his Spirit. 

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

December 14, 2022

My daily routine begins with coffee, prayer, and Bible reading. Then after mulling over the scriptures, I write my blog post. If I mess up the order or get sidetracked, I have difficulty concentrating on my writing. The whole system is discombobulated, and my ability to think clearly is disrupted. This morning, I had trouble thinking about what to write, so I perused social media, which is a no-no. It’s one of those situations where it might not be a sin for you, but because of my calling, it’s a sin for me. So rather than concentrating on the things of God, I got wrapped up in worldly affairs. Fear gripped me, and I had to return to the reality that God was in control. The things of this world don’t happen without God’s knowledge. You can guarantee everything is being orchestrated to teach us to rely on his covering. All this to say, keep your focus on God. If your day gets sidetracked by worldly news, come back to him, pray, and move on, knowing he’s got your back. God is in control, so keep yourself focused on Jesus, and everything will be alright.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

December 13, 2022

In my nature, I feel obligated to call out every dirty, rotten scoundrel that has lied, which in turn, caused great harm to many people. I want to vilify them and shout out their crimes for all to hear. I desire that others know my dissatisfaction with their actions and voice my opinion that they should receive justice for their torturous and treasonous behavior. However, according to the book of 1 Peter, we shouldn’t revile. Jesus didn’t. Even when they physically tortured him, he kept his peace. Do you know why? Because it is God’s place to handle those people and make them pay. I’m struggling with this one because I feel that calling out these crimes is the only way to open the eyes of the blind to ensure justice is served. Who am I that I should go against what God says in his word? Jesus was not gentle with the Pharisees and Sadducees but called them out for their hypocrisy. Maybe there is a fine line that we shouldn’t cross. Tread carefully, my friends, and do your best to try not to disappoint God when making people aware of the many crimes committed by government officials and their use of private businesses. 

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

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 1 Peter 2:15

Monday, December 12, 2022

December 12, 2022

Be joyful in whatever circumstances you find yourself in. If you’re living in a less-than-ideal situation, know it’s only temporary. Jesus gave us purpose, reason, and everything we needed to live a fulfilled life. Find your joy in him and hold tightly to the peace he provides, being thankful for your salvation and saved from the clutches of this world. Focus on him when times get rough, and you’re finding it hard to continue. Remember that the most precious things are stored safely in Heaven where the enemy cannot reach it. 

to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:4-5

Sunday, December 11, 2022

December 11, 2022

As the world seems to be crumbling right before our eyes, our only hope is in Jesus. It’s easy to get wrapped up in alarmist chatter and plummet into despair, so it’s crucial that we remember who we belong to and that our salvation is sure. It’s disheartening to see that forbidding specific keywords on social media by corrupt government allies can cause the utter destruction of our constitutional rights. It can become overwhelming when we begin to see how criminal the world is. Slowly but surely, what was hidden in darkness is being brought into the light, and the roaches are scattering like the filthy disgust they are. It’s time to call pest control and rid the world of these treasonous actors. I’m praying that this is just the dripping of information and that the entire truth will pour out like a flood, and the people who positioned themselves on the wrong side of history will finally see the truth. The problem is that most of them have hardened their hearts to the truth; they don’t want to see it. It’s up to us to continue praying for their salvation and the renewing of their minds, so they aren’t caught in the same trap as the criminals. Look to Jesus, and don’t look back!

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 13-16

Saturday, December 10, 2022

December 10, 2022

I saw a picture of a painting by Trisha Robinson, my favorite Christian artist, depicting a girl taking a gift to baby Jesus. I immediately thought about the wise men and their gifts to Jesus and why we give gifts during this time of year. It seems that God is the one who is the gift giver. He blessed us with the gift of Jesus as our Savior and the fruits of the Spirit, but he also gave us spiritual gifts. Those gifts are our offering to Jesus, and we should present them to him as often as possible. Paul gives us clear examples of the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians, but there are other mentions throughout the Bible. 

For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:8-10

These gifts can manifest differently, but if you trace them back, they will probably lead to what Paul mentions here. One example might be music; it can be healing to the soul. Think about how a beautiful instrumental song can soothe your anxious feelings. Singing can be prophetic. Have you ever heard words to a song and knew it was God speaking to you? Many other gifts will relate to the spiritual gifts mentioned throughout the Bible. We must give these back to Jesus and use them to benefit his Kingdom.

Friday, December 9, 2022

December 9, 2022

After spending the night at the cabin, we breathed in the crisp mountain air, met with the contractors, and made the 8-hour trip back home. We had some important events that we needed to attend and couldn’t stay as long as we would have liked. I prayed for our safe return trip home, and thankfully we can count on the Lord hearing our prayers because we nearly ended up in a crash that would have probably included fatalities. A semi-truck stopped on the highway, and no one saw him until it was almost too late. Brakes were screeching, and a car came into our lane but corrected and ended up going around the truck in the grass. It happened so quickly that we could have died without knowing what happened. My one prayer for safety not only saved our lives but also saved the lives of other travelers. You do not need to be a preacher or prophet for God to hear you. The Bible says that Elijah was a regular guy like us; God listened to his prayer and stopped it from raining. When he prayed again, it rained. The point is to stay in constant communication with God. Talk to him about everything! He loves us and hears us when we pray.

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. James 5:17-18

Thursday, December 8, 2022

December 8, 2022

We spent yesterday traveling to North Georgia. It's been a while since we visited the cabin in the mountains, and we needed to ensure it was still there. We've come up a couple of times and found that someone had been living in it and left it a mess; believe me, it wasn't Goldilocks! Every time we go, we fear having to clean up the filth. All day Tuesday, I prayed that we would find it the same as we left it without any intrusions by rodents, human or otherwise. Before we got there, I reminded Richard to pray because God seems to answer our request when we pray together. I almost cried when we walked in to find it exactly as we had left it. I only had to spray air freshener because it was musty from being closed up for so long. We are meeting a contractor today to make some improvements so we can rent it when we aren't using it, which will help us to keep it maintained. It will be the perfect vacation rental because it has a soothing waterfall and a view of a gristmill. I plan to spend a few minutes by the waterfall today; it was so rainy yesterday that I couldn't. I feel much closer to the Lord when I'm in the woods, and that fall is the perfect thing to wash my cares away and realign my thoughts. The point of today's message is to pray with your spouse or another trustworthy Christ follower; there is great power when we pray together.

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:19-20

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

December 7, 2022

I am nearing the end of the book of James. It filled my belly with rich and tasty morsels and opened my eyes to glorious truths. Though only a few verses remain in this book, the words are impactful and meaningful. People are suffering from many diseases and need a touch from the Lord, and James gives us explicit directions to follow regarding receiving healing. 

Several years ago, I broke my leg and had to have a titanium rod surgically placed inside the tibia bone to put me back together. Everything I read online said that most people who have to have a rod end up with a limp. I was determined not to limp, so I fervently prayed and maintained my faith. Not only did he keep me from having a limp, but I had a rapid recovery and never had to go through physical therapy. Praying with faith and determination was key to my healing, but not only that, my life group prayed over me! Your church is an essential part of healing. Read what James says.

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:14-16

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

December 6, 2022

I’m ready to start writing about Christmas, but I can’t escape the lessons learned from the auction. Most of the cars we sold had been stored in a barn or garage. Once the thrill of the acquisition was over, they sat unused. That old saying, “use it or lose it,” applies because each one of them will need a few repairs before they are road worthy. It’s the same with anything. Think about your latest cellphone; if you bought it and didn’t use it for several months, the updates alone would cause it to be unusable. 

Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. James 5:2-3

Your acquisitions and material things may comfort you for a time, but staying steadfast in your faith in the Lord is the true blessing. Stop saying you are blessed because you got a new car, purchased a house, or anything else because anything related to material possessions is not a blessing. The true blessings come from standing firm in your love for the Lord and staying loyal to him. It’s okay to be thankful for your possessions, but our faith in Jesus is the real blessing.

Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. James 5:11

Monday, December 5, 2022

December 5, 2022

Yesterday, as we were getting ready to go to church, we encountered a family of sandhill cranes. They were friendly and allowed me to get too close, but having them in my bubble was incredible! For them to feel comfortable around a human probably means people have been feeding them. Hmm, that’s interesting; I wonder if that works on people. God’s word is an edible delight, but most people don’t realize how tasty it is. Feed them a little at a time. Share some life-changing verses, like sweet bits of Proverbs or a filling Psalm. My sister-in-law does that every day, and she has thousands of followers through her page on Facebook called Redeemed. We each are responsible for feeding Jesus’s sheep, so if you don’t know where to start, begin by providing them with the sweet nuggets of God’s word. After they get a taste, they will want more and seek you for a solid meal. 

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. John 21:17

December 4, 2022


We had a fantastic auction! The emotions of our family were all over the place. We laughed, cried, reminisced, and in the end, we were all exhausted but encouraged. Selling those old relics may have been the point of the day and the reason most people were there, but for us, it was about giving our beloved the kind of send-off he would have loved if he were here. He dreamed of displaying all his treasures but became so busy adding to his collection that he never got the chance. There was an added factor in what we did, Jesus. We didn’t leave him out of our day but included him at every opportunity. We prayed and prayed again. People that think you can’t have fun when you have Jesus have got the wrong idea. He has given us joy that goes beyond happiness and is something we feel even when we are sorrowful; that may not make any sense to the unbeliever, but I’m sure most of you have experienced this interesting emotional phenomenon. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so make sure you live every moment giving glory to the one who loves you the most, Jesus.

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. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

Saturday, December 3, 2022

December 3, 2022

Though we were exhausted from the day's activities, my neighbor invited us to a boxing match last night. Boxing is not my thing, but there is always something to be learned, so I began trying to figure out what lesson we could take from it. Out of all the fights we watched, only one was evenly matched, so the outcome was unknown until the end. Then came the main event of the evening; one guy had won every round but the last one, and I was sure the judges might rule in his favor because of his final showing. We were pleasantly surprised that they were fair and saw what we saw. 

Many crazy things are happening in this world that make no sense, but we must remember that the enemy has been losing every round. Though it looks like he's winning right now, we can be sure that we have a fair judge, and he will lose in the end. This comparison is interesting because the winner's stage name was Great White, as in Great White Throne Judgment! This night was a living prophecy; we can look forward to winning because God never loses!

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. Revelation 20:11

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:1-3

Friday, December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

The activity surrounding the auction has been exhilarating. All the moving parts have created a circus-like atmosphere. Today is the preview and, likely, the longest day. People are flying in from all over the country for an opportunity to bid on a unique piece of Americana. The passion and excitement that many are feeling over these relics of the past is something I've only seen in my father-in-law before he passed away. The gearheads are thrilled! I'm elated; this is fun! It's easy to get wrapped up in worldly affairs, so we must keep our enthusiasm in check and ensure we give credit where credit is due. Our family knows God provided us with this fun as a blessing and a relief from all the hardships we've dealt with over this past year, and he deserves all the glory. He is allowing us to honor the legacy of our loved one by sending him a farewell that he would have loved. The Lord is good and has blessed us; may we continue to realize from where our help comes.

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 4:14

Thursday, December 1, 2022

December 1, 2022

Our family decided to continue a tradition my father-in-law started as a memorial to him. So my daughter and I, who have always shopped for him, went out yesterday to finish getting the gifts. When I got up this morning, my credit card company sent me a text in the middle of the night alerting me of possible fraud. I’m not surprised because we were all over the place preparing for Christmas and the upcoming auction, so we made some unusual purchases. Although it is aggravating, there have been times when there was a fraud on my card, so I’m thankful they keep watch. Some malicious actors will try to steal from innocent people; it’s too bad that the world has made them think they need material things and caused them to become thieves.

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:14-16

One day, we will all find out how we needlessly worked in excess for material things that make us comfortable. I imagine we will be shocked at how simple life could have been if we followed God’s lead. We all need to wake up to his wisdom.

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

November 30, 2022

Growing up around cattle, I know how powerful they can be, but even as big as they are, if you start training them young, you can control them with a halter. Yesterday, I watched the cattleman who keeps his Brangus cows on our property lead a new mother with a rope and her calf to the feed trough so he could care for them, and she is enormous!

In the book of James, it says it is easier to tame animals than it is to tame the human tongue. 

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:7-8

I’m sure most people believe this portion of scripture is referring to your choice of expletives, but it’s referring to false teaching. Indeed your reputation as a Christ-follower will become sullied if you use cuss words, but God is mainly concerned with you spreading lies and false teachings. It is easy to take the Bible out of context and highly important to consider when it comes to biblical interpretation. An important lesson I learned in Bible Training is to read the entire chapter and sometimes the chapter before to determine the context of the scripture. A teacher will face severe scrutiny and judgment for their teachings. So be careful of the messages you share.

Notice that the following scriptures come before the first ones I shared.

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. James 3:1-2

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

November 29, 2022

The English language can be complex and confusing, especially when a word is spelled the same but has entirely different meanings. For example, dove: can mean a type of bird or a way of swimming into the water. Minute: can refer to time or something very tiny. Tear: can refer to crying or something torn. So, when the Bible refers to works, I believe we see different meanings for the same word.

James says, "So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead," James 2:17, but Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-9, "for by grace you have been saved through faith… not a result of works." How do we reconcile the two seemingly opposing views? One word, fruit. Paul is talking about working to keep the law of Moses, and James refers to the natural result of faith in God, which is a fruit of the Spirit. According to James, the examples he uses to prove that point: "works" are the "fruit" or result of faith. "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?" James 2:21 "Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way." James 2:25 What may have seemed like a biblical contradiction is confirmed to be words with different meanings.