As I lay here looking out my bedroom window, comforted by the view of the trees that help make my home, I am moved by how beautiful they are, even in the winter as they stand stark and naked. I guess in comparison to the lush greenery of spring and summer and the breathtaking colors of fall, others might not think they are so spectacular. But I do. Because I know what lies beneath and inside. I know what is to come. And so it should be with all of life. We should focus on the beauty in today, no matter what the season, for it is the knowledge of what is to come that makes the difference. All things adorned in hope and promise are a sight to behold. Happy Sunday, y’all. Amen and Ehmen.
I met someone recently. A refreshing your lady eager to help me with something work-related. She sounds like a super, super busy person, and yet she is going well out of her way to help me get something done that is very important for my job. And she’s doing it because “she’s just happy to be able to help.” That’s not something I’m used to running into and her kindness just blew me away. And then she explained a little more about why her attitude is what it is. You see, when she says she’s “just happy to be ABLE to help,” she really means it. In the most literal sense. For just a few months ago, she was run over by a drunk driver while leaving work and it is nothing short of a miracle that she has lived to tell about it. My prayer is that God continues to bless this young lady in her healing. And I thank Him for bringing her into my path, not just for this much-needed answer to a problem, but for reminding me how precious life is and that it is all about perspective. God, thank you for this reminder. And, please, please help me to follow this sweet girl’s lead and just be “happy I’m able to help.” Amen and Ehmen.
Today’s Ponderment: God is ALWAYS on your side, but, until you get on His side, you might not recognize Him standing there.
Dear God, Thank you for today. I know that everything I am and everything I have is a result of what you have allowed in my life. Sometimes life is hard and, at other times, it is full of happiness. Either way, I know you are always there and your blessing is available…if only I will listen and obey. That is the key, listening and obeying. Please help me to recognize the gifts you send and the doors you open and give me the wisdom to see and do your will. Please use the spiritual gifts you have planted inside of me to work in and through me to minister to the world and draw people to you. In Jesus’ name I pray and give you praise. Amen and Ehmen.
And The Word of God Says…
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” –Joshua 1:9
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
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
Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
Did you know that God not only loves you, but He has loved you since the day of creation; not your creation, but the creation of the very world upon which we live? Did you know that He knew you before He even breathed the breath of life into Adam’s nostrils?
My dear friends, you are not an accident. You were planned that long ago. The fact is, our Father in Heaven knows no time; so, technically, you have always been and you have always been a part of His plan. I can only imagine how hard it must be for God to understand why His own children don’t see their value and role in the grand scheme of things.
Trust this. If He went to the trouble to plan you that long ago, don’t you see that it would make absolutely no sense for you to not have a purpose? He does not waste anything. Not one single second. Not one single breath. Not one single heartbeat. Not one single person.
Oh, how I wish all of us would recognize this and see that living with and for Him is so much better than living in the world. He is coming again one day and He is bringing paradise with Him. The Promised Land is not just for the Israelites. Once He came and died for us, our names were added to the deed. The Promised Land is heaven and heaven is ours for the taking.
But, my friends, heaven is not yet perfect. He is still building and preparing it for me, for you and for all of His children. What’s missing, you ask? The hearts of too many. Too many lost sheep. He can’t open the doors of heaven until all hearts have had a chance to choose to be a part of it all. That’s where we come in. That’s our purpose. Praying that we all follow our purpose today and every day.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done….on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen and Ehmen.
And the word of God says:
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. Ephesians 1:4
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. John 15:16
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139: 13-16
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19
I’m always reluctant to take down my Christmas tree. Needle-less to say, there have been some years where I could practically vacuum it up. I seem to be heading that way again this year.
I just love the smell and the twinkling lights; not to mention the ornaments that tell the story of a half a century of Christmas’ past. I love the angel that stands guard atop the tree and the faded, but jolly old Santa that has been the first ornament on the tree every year since I was old enough to help decorate. I love the color and the vibrancy.
But, most of all, I love what the tree stands for; the season that it celebrates. Sometimes I imagine that on that night over 2,000 years ago when God sent his own son into this world as a tiny little baby, that the stars fell from the heavens just so they could be closer to Him. Like snowflakes, they fell gently upon the trees, lighting each branch in love, awe and celebration.
Yes, I sure wish I could just leave it up all year; but I know that eventually, it will have to come down. Today is not that day, however. And, for that reason, I can’t help but smile. Merry Christmas to all and to all a happy and healthy 2016!
Good Morning, God.
It’s 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday and, though I was honestly hoping to sleep in, I am so very happy to spend some quiet time with you. I learn so much when my world, both the external and internal, is quiet; when it’s just You and me; when Your Peace floats down from heaven and settles like a warm blanket over me. Oh, sweet Jesus, there is simply nothing like it. Thank you for waking me up on this beautiful morning.
This morning, I am drawn into Your Word, specifically Romans 10, Verses 8-10:
“In fact, it says, ‘The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.’ And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” Romans 10:8-10
Lord, I pray this morning that you really open Your Word up to me in a way like never before; let it be as if I am peering into a place where it is played out before my very eyes; beckon me in and allow me to mingle among not just the words, but with You, the One that breathed them into being; the One that breathed me into being. Take my hand, Lord. Take my heart, Lord. Send me. Use me. Allow me to fulfill Your will and purpose for me and to encourage and enflame others to do so as well; for life without You and Your promise and Your grace is no life at all, but simply a miserable existence. I love you, Lord, with all my heart and soul. Thank you for Jesus; for the gift of salvation.
Thank you for giving me the desire and the means to openly declare that Jesus is Lord and to believe in my heart that You raised him from the dead; for because of these things, I am saved and am promised eternal life with You! Oh, how I want to shout it from the rooftops! The Good News that we are saved by grace and not by works…that we are saved by a free gift that is ours for the taking. Lord, thank you for that…thank you for You. Amen and Ehmen.
Dear Child of Mine:
Oh, how I love you and how I love spending time with you. You know, time is something I gave you to help keep order in your world; to help you in fulfilling My will and purposes for you. There just seems to be something about the ticking of the clock, the passing of second, minutes, days, weeks and years that eventually brings about a sense of urgency and getting My message to the world is an urgent matter, just as it always has been. In fact, child, it is just as critical that My message be spread across the world today as it was back in the days of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And your role in spreading that message is just as important as it was for Paul and the rest of the disciples. The fact is, My child, there are souls, sheep, out there that need to hear your voice; your declaration of faith; your story of what I have done for you; your story of once being lost but now found. This, my child, is why you are here—to help spread the Good News and find My other lost sheep, each one of whom is very valuable to Me and to my Kingdom; not just as a group, but as individuals as well. Have you ever noticed that the word sheep is the same whether referring to one single living creature or a billion? Just as the quantity does not change the word, the quantity does not change the importance of My sheep to Me. One lost sheep grieves me just as much as numbers that you can not even count. They are one and the same to Me. This is why your calling is so very important; infinitely and eternally important. Embrace it, My child; relish in the fact that you are no longer a lost sheep yourself and know that I am celebrating that as well; shouting with glee from My throne in heaven; but also don’t waste any precious time in embracing your new “found” position as one of My own shepherds. You only have a limited amount of time on earth. Grab hold of each minute as if it were your last; take hold of My hand and the hands of time and let not a single opportunity pass by to shepherd the lost back into the flock. Oh what joy it brings when the lost is found! Oh what joy you bring Me, My child! What joy it brings to see My will being done on earth. My Kingdom is on its way, My dear child, and Heaven is is just a blink away! And until that twinkling happens, until you are with Me here in Heaven, I will remain there with you at all times, cradling your heart and spirit so that you need not fear ever being lost again; eternity started for you the moment that you were found and declared your love for me. I want all of My children to experience that; to experience Me. Oh, how I love My children.
And the Word of God Says…
So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 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 15:3-7
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:14-15
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
–Amen and Ehmen!
It is in the early morning hours, the period described as the darkest time of night, the time before even the birds or sun have risen and the dawn is still resting below the horizon, that I have often found the brightest part of my day; the sweet spot, if you will. For it is during this time, when the world is quiet, that we can draw close to our Creator and hear the whispers of our very Lord and Savior.
The really beautiful part of this is that we have the opportunity every day of our lives to experience God’s presence in the darkness in the literal sense as well as the figurative. He invites us to reside and abide in this sweet spot and I personally think that it just doesn’t get any sweeter than that! What an awesome God we have! Make it a great day!
And The Word of God says:
Psalm 139:12: Even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
John 8:12: Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
Psalm 5:3: O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
Mark 1:35: And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
Writer’s Note: I was reading through some old messages and ran across this that was written for my dear friend who had recently lost her best friend and husband. While it was meant to comfort her in that moment, I found it comforting myself today and thought I would share.
I was in the middle of working the other day when I got this little “God nudge” as I often do and when I opened the blank page this is what came out:
“Sweet, sweet child of mine, don’t you know how much I love you. My love for you is more vibrant than even the largest expanse of buttercups growing on My green earth. It is deeper than the deepest swallows of the ocean and higher than the beautiful blue skies suspended above My own Heavens. I know you hurt. I know you are missing him. But, oh my, has he brightened things up here. What a heart he has, full of love. Thank you for sending him back to me in such good shape. I’m taking good care of him and we both eagerly await the day of your arrival. Please, my child, take that knowledge that we are waiting for you and live out your days with joy. There is so much left to do there on earth; so much that only you can do. I promised you hope and a future and I always make good on my promises. I just need you to listen for me; listen for my whispers; listen for me in the silence of the night; the quietness of an empty house. Talk to me always; in your heart; with your mouth; when you are alone or when you are in a crowd. Whisper my name when the devil attacks you. No matter how loud he gets in your head, even a whisper of my name will squelch him. I am right here. I AM.”
Lord, thank you for these precious words and times together. And thank you for your unending comfort and love. May we have many more “blank page” conversations in 2016. I can think of no better way to spend the year. Much love from earth to heaven. Amen and Ehmen.
Last night as I sat on the verge of 2016, for the first time in a long time, I found myself a little reluctant to cross the threshold into the new year. I know it’s silly, because, ready or not, that clock is not going to stop for me or anyone else on the planet.
Still, there I stood in fear; fear that I might forget the loved ones that I lost in 2015. “At least,” I thought to myself, “this time last year we were breathing the same air and wishing one another a happy new year to come.” Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
Fear that my job will continue to be unbearably stressful and, if I’m completely truthful, fear of what my new life as an empty nester will bring in the days ahead. Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
But, perhaps most of all, I stood frozen on the brink of the new year as health concerns and the very real possibility of a troubling diagnosis continues to hover over my present and haunt my future. Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick. TOCK.
I closed my eyes and—symbolically trying to bring a close to 2015 which had been bathed in tears and realistically knowing that starting 2016 clothed in fear stood against everything that I KNOW to be true—I decided to pray in the new year.
However, before I could even utter a single word—in the single tick of the clock—the following words floated straight down from heaven.
“Fear not, child, for I am with you.”
He needed not say more.
Eight simple words with such powerful impact. Comfort, Love, Promise, Hope, and Grace all rolled up in one short sentence.
“Thank You, God, for that. Thank You for You,” I replied, my heart bursting with relief and gratitude, my eyes releasing cleansing tears and my spirit digging in a little deeper to the words He spoke.
Though it may not be true as other authors and internet posts claim that “Fear Not” appears verbatim 365 times in the bible, it is true that these beautiful and comforting words appear in some form or fashion many, many, many times. The same goes for the phrase, ‘I am with you.’ In fact, resting in the peace, hope and grace of God’s Presence is a primary theme of God’s Word and a cornerstone in its—and our—very foundation.
Oh how very much our God loves us. Oh how very much He wants us to follow Him; to walk with Him; to trust Him; and to rest in Him. Oh, how very blessed we are.
Thank you, God, for Your infinite love and for putting up with me and my humanness. For loving me in spite of my stubbornness and for keeping and reminding me of your promises. Because of You, I am ready to face this new year with hope and peace. May 2016 find me walking even closer to You and to Your will and purpose for me. May I be a reason that Your Kingdom gains more citizens, growing greater and larger than ever before. Bring on 2016. Because of You, Lord, and You alone, I am ready! Amen and Ehmen.
And the very Word of God says:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. –Psalm 23:4
The Lord is my light and my salvation—who shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? –Psalm 27:1
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?—Psalm 118:6
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.—2 Timothy 1:7
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.—Deuteronomy 31:6
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?—Psalm 56:3-4
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.—Isaiah 41:10
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.—Isaiah 41:13
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “”Abba,” Father.—Romans 8:15
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”—Hebrews 13:5-6
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.—Matthew 6:25-34
David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.—1 Chronicles 28:20
And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord—Luke 2: 9-11