Hello, I hope that you will enjoy reading my devotions. I do not claim to be an expert in the word, but I am a student of the word and desire to share the insights that the Lord gives to me. I love the Lord, my desire is to please him above all else. I want to hear him say “well done” at the end of each day. I pray you are blessed and challanged!
I feel impressed to remind myself and everyone else just who God is. During these chaotic and often scary times, we are witnessing and many are experiencing we all need to be reminded of who God is.
God is Infinite. Colossians 1:17 “And he is before all things, and in him, all things hold together.” God is self-existent. He has existed forever. He is Jehovah; He is the I AM.
God is Immutable. Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”
God does not change his mind, his plans, his character. He can never be better or worse depending on the situation. His promises never change. We can depend on God, He is faithful in all things.
God is self-sufficient. John 5:26 “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.” God has need of nothing. Unlike us, we have needs that must be met. Because God has no needs, and we are needy, we can go to him and trust that he will meet our needs. He has all wisdom, goodness, understanding, power, ability and so much more; and He is the supplier of all our needs. We just need to ask!
God is Omnipotent: Psalm 33:6 “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath fo his mouth.” God has unlimited power. There is nothing He cannot do. God does anything that is in alignment with his will. He will not go outside of his perfect will to act. If God wills something it will happen. God’s will is always in line with his character. If He has a plan and a purpose, it will come to pass. Nothing can stop His plan from unfolding. No man, no evil, nothing. So, when he says He will come again, we can trust his word. John MacArthur says it this way: “Although such power might seem frightful, remember that God is good. He can do anything according to His infinite ability but will do only those things that are consistent with Himself. That is why He can’t lie, tolerate sin, or save impenitent sinners.”
God is Omniscient: God is All-Knowing. Isaiah 46:9-10 “Remember the former things, those long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” God is aware of everything at all times. He does not sleep or get distracted. He knows every detail of your life, your thoughts even before you think them. He knows the full content of your heart and what dictates your actions. You are an open book to him, you have not secrets. This is both comforting and frightening, don’t you think? It also means He understands us, better than we do. We need never fear telling God all of our junk, he already knows and sees it; we cannot tell him anything that will change his mind about us.
God is Omnipresent: God is everywhere. Psalm 139:7-10 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your Presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.”
Jeremiah 23:23-24 “Am I a God at hand,’ declares the Lord, ‘and not a God afar off? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.”
God is all places at all times. You may run, but you cannot hide. The fullness of his presence is always with us. No matter what our situation, no matter where we are, He is there. We should be deeply comforted to know that God is always with us and around us. I find it very comforting to know that even on my worst day, He is with me.
God is wise: Romans 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements and unfathomable His ways.”
God knows it all, every fact, every reason, every everything! He is always wise, consistent in his wisdom. He always does what is the wisest and best thing for us; even during those times when we would say, really God? Why? Or I can’t? He does not have off days, and all his decisions are perfect and right. No matter the paths we wander down in life, even sinful ones, God can still use it for our good and his glory to accomplish in us what needs to be done. Our sin and rebellion will not and cannot thwart his plans. He tells us that he will finish the work he has started in us.
God is Faithful” Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”
2 Timothy 2:13 “If we are faithless, He remains faithful for he cannot deny himself.”
God’s faithfulness d with his immutability. He does not change. God does not forget. He acts according to his will and way and does all the things needed for us and in our world. He promised us that He would be with us and He is. We often wonder why if God is faithful that he allows us to suffer, but it is only because we cannot fully understand His wisdom and the reasons He allows the things that He does. We try to reason it in our finite minds, and we just can’t. He is always good, always with us, never changing, and always available.
God is good: Psalm 34:8 “O, taste and see that the Lord is good.”
God is kind, He is tenderhearted towards us, He is long-suffering with us. He always acts in a manner that is right and perfect. He is gentle and loving with us, even when we sin and come to him for forgiveness we need not be ashamed, for he is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us. He takes pleasure in our joy and happiness. We can experience God’s goodness as we learn of him and obey him. He delights in giving us good things. Even when bad things happen the bible tells us that he can make it good for us and bring glory to himself in the process.
God is just: Deuteronomy 32:4 “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.”
God’s justice means more than he is fair in all he does. He acts rightly in all situations. God is fully just and fully merciful. God will have justice for sin, and He is right when sinners go to hell, and right when those who call on his name are saved, “born-again” and go to heaven. We either get God’s mercy in this life or his justice, both are right. God cannot and is never wrong.
God is merciful: Romans 9:15-16 ” I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” God’s mercy is underserved by us. We are born sinners at birth, but God chooses whom He will have mercy on and whom he will have justice on. Without God’s mercy, we would have no hope of heaven. We are the work of his hands. If I make a beautiful piece of pottery, I shape it and paint it until it looks great, is it not my right to smash it if I choose? Or I could set it on my shelf to admire and possibly use. As it’s maker I get to choose how I use it or do not use it. God is our creator.
People want to argue that if God is so good why do people go to hell, it is simple, unbelief.
God is gracious: Psalm 145:8 “The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.” God’s grace is something we cannot earn and we cannot lose it. He bestows it on us. God’s common grace is given to all, but his Saving Grace is for those who trust in His name and belong to him. Common grace: Matthew 5:45 “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” His Saving Grace sanctifies us, it enables us to live for him and eventually enjoy being with him for all eternity. If you belong to Christ His Saving Grace has been extended to you and you have received His mercy and not His justice. Unmerited favor is yours. You did not earn it, He was gracious in bestowing it upon you.
God is loving: 1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
God’s love is unchanging, infinite, all-consuming, sovereign, perfect, eternal. He does not need us, but he allows us to be loved and to love him. God wants our love. His love for us has no end. God will not one day stop loving you. Nothing you can do will make him not love you. Why? Only God knows. But aren’t you thankful that he loves us and that he has chosen us?
God is Holy: Revelation 4:8 “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord Almighty.”
Holy, is set apart, sacred, and divine. Trying to describe the Holiness of God is hard. God’s holiness binds all his other attributes together. He is completely perfect, complete in every way. There is no one like him. God tells us that because he is perfect, we need to be perfect as well. Matthew 5:48; but the reality is we cannot be perfect that is why we needed a Savior, it is why Jesus died on the cross to satisfy the Father. There is no other way that we can meet the standard, we must be born-again. And when we place our trust in Jesus and we turn from sin, God sees us as perfect. Wow! Isn’t that amazing. We will never receive the sentence we deserve for our sin. Jesus paid the price.
God is Glorious: Habakkuk 3:4 “His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, And there is the hiding of His power.” God’s radiance shines forth in all that He is and all that He does.
John Piper says it this way: “The glory of God is the infinite beauty and greatness of God’s manifold perfections. The infinite beauty-and I am focusing on the manifestation of his character and his worth and his attributes; all of his perfections and greatness are beautiful as seen- and there are many of them. That is why I use the word manifold.”
God is often referred to as light. We are told to be salt and light. When I think of God’s thrown I think of a light so bright shining from it that it nearly blinds me in its uniqueness and brilliance. In Revelation 4:3 we read: “And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.” All that God is, Is glorious…Radiant…Perfect…Unchanging…All-Powerful…All-Knowing…Merciful and Good…God is…
As you read this I pray that the cares of this world faded away. I pray that you were reminded that no matter what is happening around you or in you, God’s got it! You can relax, live, love, laugh, and continue walking with the Lord, and have no fear for the future. God has always been and will always be in charge! Right now He is working out the plan he put into place before the beginning of time, if you could not handle it, you would not be here now. It is for such a time as this that you are living in this world. He has promised to complete the work he started in you and get you to heaven…Relax…trust Him.
And if there by chance is someone reading this that does not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, know that today all your sins can be forgiven when you put your trust in him. Your slate can be wiped clean and you will be made perfect before God the Father in an instant. For if you die without Christ yours will be an eternity in hell, forever condemned without hope. Utter darkness and unspeakable things to endure, forever.
So it is either forever in heaven where everything will be perfect and we will forever be with Christ or it is hell. Think about it!
Psalm 9:10 “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you”.
Psalm 10:1-11 “Why, O Lord, do you stand afar off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 2 In arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. 3 He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. 4 In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. 5 His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies. 6 He says to himself, “Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.” 7 His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. 8 He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent, watching in secret for his victims. 9 He lies in wait like a lion in cover; he lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. 10 His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. 11 He says to himself, “God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees”.
Are the wicked succeeding? If you are watching the news all the time and keep your head buried in world events and those things happening around our word you would say a resounding, Yes! God seems silent right now. The COVID-19 virus is still going strong and getting stronger in many areas. People are still very sick and dying every minute of the day. Our government is in shambles and I am pretty sure a laughing stock to other countries. We are no longer the example we should be for other countries. There have been lines drawn in the sand and people in high places are acting like spoiled children. People are still rioting, still killing, still…(you insert something) It seems our world is in a mess. And guess what I know all of this and I don’t watch the news. I see and hear enough, I do not want to know more.
God is seemingly for the most part being very silent right now. I hear people asking, “Where is God in all of this”? “Why doesn’t he do something”? People are complaining, people are tired, emotionally weary, hurting, desperate in many situations, God? God? God? “Where are you”? Evil seems to be succeeding, voices of reason, of people who love God are being silenced, censored. Freedom of speech seems only to be okay for those who are causing problems.
Rest assured God has not left us, Psalm 9:10 above tells you, “He has never forsaken those who seek him.” NEVER! He has not in the past and He will not now. God allows all kinds of things to push us, often to our breaking point it feels. But he pushes us to him, He crowds us in to see where we are going to put our trust. Who are we going to listen to? Will we repent? Will we stop doing those things that anger God and turn from our wicked ways and acknowledge Him, worship Him? Will we surrender everything to Him? Even our right to be offended? Even our right to say whatever we want? The wicked seem sometimes to have it all, wealth, power, etc. They do not care who they offend or hurt in their efforts to satisfy their desires. They certainly are not for us!
Let’s read on. Psalm 10:12-18 “Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Don not forget the helpless. 13 Why does the wicked man revile God? why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”? 14 But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. 15 Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out.16 The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. 17 You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, 18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order, that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more”.
God knows God sees, God hears, and at the right time when God is finished working out this detail of his plan He will move, He will conquer sin, death, hurt, disappointment, evil and evil men. God’s timing is not our timing. Regardless of whether or not it seems evil is succeeding, it isn’t. God’s word tells us to expect these things. As he works all things out according to the timetable set before the beginning of time. But over and over He reassures us we are not alone, we are NEVER alone and we will NEVER be forsaken. As HIS children we are covered by Him. Yes, we may experience temporary hurts, disappointments, sorrows. We may be wrongly accused. But God…
The disciples experienced so many horrible things as they persevered for the Kingdom. They preached and taught Jesus. They did not allow themselves to be embroiled in the politics and positions of people. Evil men existed then and they knew God would defend them. He would have His perfect will and way. All they needed to do was keep on following, trusting, teaching, and preaching Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is the answer to every question asked. Jesus is the one in whom we can trust. Jesus conquered death, Jesus is interceding for us right now. And one day He will return, He will have the final say on evil. All these who have caused pain, slandered His name, and seemingly prospered at the expense of others, will be dealt with. And my friend if they have not repented; it is not going to end well. It will end with an eternity in hell.
We do not face evil alone. God is always with us. All we need to do is read His word, Pray, and Seek His Face. It is a supernatural happening when we submit ourselves to God. The Holy Spirit comes in and gives us incredible peace, and even joy as we watch the events take place, knowing God wins! We need not be afraid all the time. As a child of God, you should be telling others about Jesus, and not contributing to the chaos around you. It will happen whether or not you participate in it. As I said in another blog, be an encourager. Be Jesus to someone here on this earth. It will keep you focused on what is important and keep you from getting caught up in the craziness around you.
Even King David had to flee and hide and do things that made him uncomfortable and hard. He was anointed, yet life dealt him some hard blows, injustices, etc. But He knew He could trust God, He knew he was not alone in it. We are not promised an easy ride in this life. It is going to be hard, we are going to have those things that seem to push us almost to breaking, but God. Remember child of God, we are to emulate the One who died for us in word and deed, have you, are you? If not, repent, turn away from the chaos of the world, fall in the lap of Jesus, and set out to be the “Salt and Light” you are supposed to be. And remember often, we are to keep silent in matters other than where Jesus is concerned. Now is the time to tell others, “He is coming back someday, maybe this day, be ready”!! The time is drawing near, Come, Lord Jesus, Come!
Evil is not succeeding…God is still on the throne, He hears every word and sees every tear and unjustice, evil has a short time…and then God will banish evil for good!
Life is hard. I think that is a true statement at any given time, but it seems to have been even more challenging and harder than it usually is. As we look back on 2020. Many people have lost jobs, had reduced incomes, kids unable to attend school, churches closed, orders to stay home and away from family and friends, people very sick and even dying from this terrible virus. Let’s face it, h of this year has not been fun; encouragement is hard to find. The news outlets certainly do not encourage us, many of the people you come across are worried, afraid, and many are right down miserable. Evil seems to be running at a new pace, and everyone wants this year to end!
Finding someone that is an encourager is like finding a diamond in the sands of the ocean. And when you run across someone with an upbeat, encouraging attitude, it is like a sunny day, with just the right amount of humidity in the air, not too hot, not too cold, almost perfect. My mind goes to a spring day when the temperature is around 73, it is sunny, and there is a slight breeze rustling the leaves. The world looks bright and happy.
I love these types of people. No matter what seemingly lemons God gives to these people they always find a way to make lemonade. Even if they do not have the exact amount of sugar to go into it, it seems to taste good. It makes me want to make my own. These types of people tend to be encouragers. They can see the sunny side of just about any situation, but also they simply refuse to allow a cloudy rainy day or year to dampen the joy inside of them. See joy can only be lost when we hand it over. Happiness comes and goes.
God’s word encourages us to be encouragers. I think about Paul and Silas, they were beaten and wrongly imprisoned. They could have been very angry and unkind because of the unjustness of it all, not to mention the pain of being beaten. But we read in Acts 16:40 these words: “After Paul and Silas came out of prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Seriously! These men who had suffered so much were doing the encouraging? Wow! How many of us could do the same?
I think the reason they could do this after such an ordeal is that they were confident in Christ. They understood that all of this is just temporary. Every trial, pain, hurt, wrong they experienced was a temporary honor to suffer for their Lord. They did not whine and complain that He had allowed it. Paul and Silas understood there was more at stake, and the other believers needed hope handed to them, encouragement to face their trials, and these men did it! They needed encouragement to keep going, putting one foot in front of the other, making the best of it all.
Maybe you should take a look at yourself. Do you spread love and encouragement to those around you and those you meet? Or are you one of those who grumble and complain when life is not comfortable and the way you want it? What if 2021 does not get any better? What if it gets worse? Who do you want to be. We need to band together, stop putting negative junk on social media, stop putting every angry thing that happens out there. Most everyone has access to the internet and TV people do not need anyone to tell them what unjust things are happening in our world. We get it! It is bad people are killing both guilty and innocent, but your negativity and passing it along is not needed. People are dying, and many are sick, but the government is not the answer. Jesus is!
I want to encourage you to remember this is not your home. For those who belong to Christs, we are foreigners in a foreign land. This world is not the final note that will play in our life’s orchestra. One day either we will die and go to heaven, or Jesus will step out and come to get us either way; What a glorious day!
Be an encouragement to someone today. Decide to make lemonade with whatever life is giving you. Try your best to see the positives in life. I promise that if you look to the bright side, life will not seem so heavy. Remember what we read in the book of Revelation, God Wins!
I will leave you with some encouraging words from God’s word. I pray they do encourage you and give you a lightness in your step, and a smile on your face (regardless if anyone can see it because of your mask), and remember that God is with us, He is in control, this too shall pass, and one day every tear will begone, every hurt will be over, no more sickness, no more death, evil vanquished forever!
Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Did you read it? All the more!)
Psalm 31:24 “Be stong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
Romans 15:2 “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”
John 16:33 ” I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Romans 15:5 “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.”
Romans 1:11-12 “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong-that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”
James 1:26 “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”
Oh my, these are not words that people in 2020 want to hear or obey. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone is spouting it on social media and other places. And sadly, if you agree to disagree, you are labeled a hater. Anything or anyone that looks different than the mainstream agenda and the actions of this fallen world is taken as a threat and as hate.
People feel free to express themselves however they choose, and for the world, it is to be expected, but not for the church, not for true believers and followers of Jesus. Now everyone sends out their messages, via social media, their thoughts on any given subject known. And the content of their hearts has been displayed for all to see. Arguments have ensued, making their point known, and criticizing any who disagree. There seems to be little love left for them. They have taken up the banner for the world and forgotten that they are supposed to be a “light in the darkness,” “set apart,” “a city on a hill,” “peacemakers,” “lovers of people,” and the list goes on. We Christians are to hold no other banner high but that of Jesus Christ! If you say you are a Christian, you are labeled a hater.
Somehow people think that because they did not physically speak the words that it does not relate to their tongues, I dare say they are mistaken. It is a form of their tongue voiced in a manner that seems safe because they are hiding behind keystrokes. Social media is now the platform to spread hate, unkindness, lewdness, and all sorts of things unholy.
I have been shocked by some of the stuff that has appeared on my friend’s pages, even ashamed of and for them. They seem to have forgotten who and whose they are and how they should conduct themselves at all times. When you can put on your Sunday best, post pictures and videos of yourself having church (watching on a screen, because of COVID,) and in the next moment post profanity and ugliness. I ask: How? Why? What are you thinking?
The scripture above should scare anyone who practices such behavior. It clearly states that if a person who says they are religious does not keep a tight reign on their tongue their religion/testimony is worthless. Should those words not jar someone into repentance? We are never given the liberty to run our mouths, call people names, spew unkindness, or any such thing, at any time, for any reason. We are to be peacemakers, lovers of others, kind, trustworthy, helpful, spreaders of the gospel, but not imitators of the world. When you have stopped looking like Christ and started looking and sounding like the world, you need to check your heart. There is a stench coming from you.
People need bridles. They need to allow themselves to be led by the Holy Spirit in all things, actions, words, what they post on social media. Our words, whether spoken verbally or written down, reflect our hearts and our attitude towards God and man. If you are looking and sounding like this filthy godless world you need to hit your knees in repentance.
James 1:19-22 “My dear brothers take note of this: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Wow! Are you being deceived? Do you think you belong to Christ, yet in your heart of hearts where it matters, you do not? Each of us needs to take a long hard look at what is captivating our hearts, our minds, our time. We need to think before we speak or type. We need to remember that we are the church, the body of Christ; we ARE or should be a PECULIAR people. (1 Peter 2:9)
We are to spread the gospel, the good news. We are to be examples of Christ’s likeness. We are to be the difference, loving God, and loving people. We are to live holy and righteous lives remembering that the Lord is always with us, always watching, hearing, and seeing. Nothing we do or say is hidden from Him. That should make you have a holy fear and make you change your behavior.
I believe we are in the last days; how long they will last, I do not know. I know what you are thinking, I have heard that said for years, but one day, it will be true; He will return, and the world will have lost its chance. We need to live each day as though it were our last. I would hate to think the last thing I said or did was to be unkind, unforgiving, vulgar, etc.
Bridle your tongue, check your heart, walk in a manner worthy. Remember that you are a child of God, an ambassador to the world on His behalf. What you say, what you do, what you type and post matters. People are seeing, hearing, and many are leaving with a sour taste in their mouths for Christianity. How very sad. One day you will stand before God; you will give an account for every word spoken or written, everything laid bare.
I pray that you take a long hard look inside today. Get it settled with the Lord. Stop giving excuses for bad behavior and start being that light in the darkness.
This past week has been an emotional roller-coaster, in the middle of an already hard season of life. A week ago today, I watched my sister pass from this life to the next. I was watching via video as the pendulum between this life and the next swung. And somewhere in the middle of it, she slipped into eternity. Life support was disconnected, and in less than a minute she was gone, the screen a flatline, where once a faint heartbeat had been. There was no sustainable life in her. I had rushed as much as you can from six hours away, not allowing myself to cry, focused on the task of arriving in time. I had been told I would be able to go be with her for the end. However, when I arrived and gave them my name, they called the ICU and was told that I was not allowed. At that moment all the tears I had held in check came rushing out. My heartfelt as though it would burst from the weight and pain of it all. But God…
As I was waiting to hear them say I could go up, I see a woman walking by. She looked my way and somewhere in my head I felt I knew her, but since we were both behind masks, I just figured I did not. But she persisted in looking at me above her mask with a furrowed brow and spoke my name, and I knew that voice. A voice from my school days, a voice I had not heard for over nine years. About the time she was asking me why I was there, they said those words that cut like a knife, you cannot go up, we are sorry. When the floodgates opened and my heart was pouring out, this friend, this angel sent straight from God, rubbed my back, spoke words of love to me, took me to her office, and allowed me the privacy I needed for such a raw, hard time. I was not supposed to be back there, but at that moment my hurt, my pain was far more important to this ambassador for God than the rules. And as I saw the horrible image of my sister on life support with blood running from her mouth and I spoke my final words to her with tears running freely down my face and my heart feeling as though it would stop, this friend, this angel cried with me. She shared in the pain of what was happening.
God knew before I arrived that I would be told no, God knew I was going to take it very hard, God knew I needed a private place to say my good-byes, God knew she worked there, I did not. God knew it all and He had already prepared her to recognize me, to come to my aid, to allow her love and kindness to shine through as she gave me shelter in the middle of my storm. He is good that way, always looking out for us.
My sister had been bed-ridden for years, blind for many. Her life consisted of a bed, a TV to listen to, and my brother and his wife taking care of her needs. She could not even stand up for a few moments. But even in that hard, often lonely existence, she made the best of it. She never complained or cried in front of you bemoaning her circumstances, she was just thankful she was still here, still able to talk to us, still able to be near her family, listening to the hustle and bustle of life. Life had not been kind to her, taking her only daughter right after she received a transplant. She and her husband, along with their son were left with a little one to love and raise. Life and health did not allow her to participate very much. But she could give out hugs and kisses, snuggles, and advice.
I do not understand why her life had to be so hard, or why her health had to be in steady decline, with multiple near-death experiences. Only God knows that. Only God knows how much hard, sorrow, hurt, joy, happiness, health, and wealth we need to get us heaven ready. His word tells us that He orders our steps or lack of them. He dictates or days and hours. And it tells that whatever our lot, it is good and perfect in Him.
As my sister was oscillating between this earth’s broken body and heaven, seeing and being completely transformed and healed extreme, God was right there. He was orchestrating it all, He was meeting her at death’s final breath and taking her to sights unseen and He was holding each of us in His loving hands. He was giving the peace that passes understanding, even as tears flowed and words of love escaped our lips.
I have read often that He never leaves us or forsakes us, and I can tell you that it is true. He did not say we would escape the hardness of life, or that we would not taste hurts that take our breath away. He said, that no matter where we are, no matter what the circumstances are, no matter how deep the pain, He would be with us, He will comfort us, and He will carry us as needed. I have felt carried this past week. Oh occasionally tears well up and even slip out, but not in a desperate I cannot take this kind of way, but in a, “I miss you here, I miss your voice, I miss your face, but I will see you again.” And then about the same time as those thoughts enter my mind, I think to myself: “Wow, The first face my sister has seen in years was Jesus.” “Those legs that were too weak to stand or walk, are now running on streets of gold.” “Those feeble hands that shook so bad that she could not get her food to her mouth without most of it falling onto the bed, are now steady and holding those of her maker and loved ones who have gone before.” And in that pendulum moment, my heart is made glad, my tears cease and I am flooded with joy.
God has her, she received the perfect healing, her faith is now sight.
Her hard life has ceased, every pain is gone, every lonely moment filled to overflowing, feet that could not, now can. Beauty beyond what I can imagine has captivated her. My oh my how awesome is that!
Until I see her again I will miss her “Sunday funnies.” She called me each Sunday to tell me a joke. I will miss our conversations that only sisters share. But I will walk with a spring in my step, a smile on my face, and hope for our future reunion. I will trust God in this hard season, I will lean closer to him, listen more intently, and make sure the oil in my lamp is full.
Because I do not know when my “pendulum” moment will come when I will walk my final step, breathe my last breath, and experience my last heartbeat. But I do know, I will walk in faith and live life to the fullest and trust that the God who created it all, is working it all out, for my good and His glory. He is good like that : )
What should be your take away from this: “If you do not know Him as Lord and Savior you need to, you will spend eternity somewhere, either heaven or hell.” “Make sure your lamp is filled with oil, your eyes are in His word and your heart is tender to His leading.” “Make sure you love well those around you, do not harbor unforgiveness of any kind.” “Trust if you have lost a loved one who was in Christ, you will see them again, and they are better than they have ever been.” “Walk in such a way that others see Jesus in you.” “Hold fast to what His word says and remember, He could come at any moment, so how we live second to second matters.” ” His peace that passes understanding is real, and available to you.” “He is faithful, giving what we need not one moment too soon or too late.” “You can trust him with your pain.” “He loves you more than you can imagine.” “He is good even in the hard.” “Joy is found even in the presence of sorrow and grief.” “Smile, He’s got this!”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
What do I mean by that? Well, there are people in this world who are hard to love. And God puts those people in our lives. Why? To teach us to love sacrificially. To teach us that it is not about us, to teach us that sometimes, even daily, we are called to love as Jesus did. Sometimes we feel that the person does not deserve it. But Agape love, the kind Jesus has for us, says they do, and we can.
First, we cannot be worried about ourselves. We cannot try to love someone through our own need or want. Loving someone with Agape love starts with a humble heart before God. Then it has to expect nothing in return. In other words, there may not be a pat on the back for something.
Often it is not even recognized when we love this way.
God loves us for no reason. We in ourselves have nothing good to give to him. We are born sinners at birth, left to our own devices, most of us tend to be selfish, we want things our way, yesterday! It is all about me! My needs, my wants, my desires, my being comfortable and happy.
We find the perfect reflection of God’s love in the Cross. Jesus poured out His blood for us, He took the punishment for our sins upon Himself, and He never uttered a word…except to say, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”
Some people, either because of circumstances in life, conditions, or just stubbornness, and selfishness do not know how to give love. For whatever reason, their love meter has not got any higher numbers on it. It is like you are banging your head on a wall over and over with the same result. Hurt, pain, and disappointment. The only way we can love sacrificially is by the power of the Holy Spirit. By walking daily with the Lord, reading His word, learning His ways, and trusting Him to fill those empty spots that are left by the world and others.
It is rare when love is returned the way it is given. The best thing is to have no expectation that it will be. We love because He loves us. When you expect something and it does not happen you have set yourself up for disappointment. You simply do the right thing, love the right way, and leave the rest to God. He will reward you and bless you for what you do. He will cover all the areas that need covering and fill you with all you need to keep going.
In our world today too many people refuse to love if you do not agree with them. If you cannot affirm them in the way they think you should see it as hate. We were warned in scripture that those things that are right would become wrong, and the wrong things right in the last days. People are all about themselves and their feelings these days. If nothing else this pandemic and the hardness of 2020 has revealed the content of everyone’s hearts.
I will leave you with a few. verses to meditate on. If you find that you are struggling to love sacrificially, fall. on your knees before God, ask him to fill you up and to help you move out of the way, so that you can love as He has told us we should. Let him fill up all those places that are barren and in need, and I promise that He will, and He can.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever. believes on him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” or Wife, or Husband, or Sister, or Brother, or neighbor…..
1 John 3:16 “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
John 13:34-35 “I give you a new commandment to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”
Galatians 5:14 “For the whole law can be summed up in this one command, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Wife, Husband, Friend, Sister, Brother….You get the idea.
Why don’t today you ask the Lord to help you love as He loves. To give when you feel you cannot, and remember that He is watching and He is the rewarder of those who obey Him.
Luke 11:24-26 “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than at first.”
People wish to reform themselves. They desire to stop bad habits or some sin that they are actively pursuing. Their life is just one mistake after another, and it is taking its toll on them and those around them. They seek change and set about doing the work of changing on their own. They may surround themselves with a different type of person than they usually associate with; often they desire to move away and to be set free from something or someone they feel bound to in the wrong way.
Whatever the reason, they need something different. Life needs to go in another direction.
Many times these people find themselves going to church. They become friends with the “right kind” of people, and the bad habits stop (for a while.) They have swept their house. It is clean. The change has been a superficial one. Often we can change a bad habit or even stop a known sin, but here is where the( rubber meets the road) if you have not fully repented of your sins, if the Holy Spirit is not now living in you, then you will eventually return to the life you knew before, and all too often even worse sin.
We need the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the purpose he has given us, and to help us have the strength to not go back. We need the Holy Spirit to teach us and guide us as we walk out this new life. God gives us new purpose when we commit ourselves to Him; He redirects our desires so that they come in line with His will and His way. When we leave the Holy Spirit out, and we have not truly been born-again then we are in danger of our swept house becoming even viler than before.
You may be thinking my sin is not as bad a so and so’s. Sin is sin, and without Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in us, we cannot live the life we are meant to. We cannot say no to those things that lure us away. The enemy of our souls knows those things that entice us. He knows just the right thing or person to put in our path to trip us up. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and helps us to say no to it. We have power in our efforts. Without the Holy Spirit’s help, we tend to follow the crowd and to justify the sin in our lives. Because when we reject Jesus, we have committed the very worst sin there is, and the sin of rejecting Jesus and His offer of forgiveness, and freedom, will send you straight to hell.
Life outside of Christ, even one seemingly well lived will result in the same end, your eternity will be in hell, eternal torment, and not in heaven with the one who created you and died for you, where there is no more sin, no tears, no illness, no anything bad, just eternal joy with your Savior.
You should ask yourself hard questions. Look deep inside and see if you truly know Jesus; is he the Lord of your life. If you have been born-again then the things of this world no longer hold you. There should be outward evidence of an inward change. When our hearts have been made new, we no longer desire the things that used to hold our minds, bodies, and hearts captive. We hate sin and desire to live our lives pleasing to Jesus.
We cannot go back to the sin we once lived in, the very thought makes you sick to your stomach. To think that you would offend this wonderful Savior who took your sin upon the cross so that you would not have to receive your due punishment. But if you reject the Lord, if you have dabbled in Christianity and then returned to who you were or worse, you need to be very concerned. We are not promised tomorrow, today is the day of salvation. Check your heart…Check your life and see if it lines up with what and who God tells us we should be. Make sure you can say: I am His, and He is mine.
The very thought that you could end up in worse condition should be enough to make you run to the foot of the cross and seek the Lord. But sadly many people’s eyes are blinded, their ears do not hear and they go back to the life they once knew or worse. Their hearts are hardened to the word of God.
I pray that you do a soul searching today, that you make sure of your salvation. Make sure the change inside is one happening under the direction and unction of the Holy Spirit. If it is not, it will be a superficial change, and it will not last.
I want you to know the wonderful life that you can have when you live surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ!
Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “So I say to you; Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
When we go to the Lord in prayer all too often we give up on the prayer when we do not see immediate answers. We assume God does not care or has not heard. We know from scriptures like Jeremiah 33:3 that God hears each word we utter in prayer, and he always answers. Yet, we give up. This story in Luke reminds us to keep asking, to keep seeking our answers through prayer. God is listening, and God is answering. When we persist in seeking Him for answers our hearts and minds are being changed and renewed.
When we persist in prayer, our boldness overcomes our insensitivity, not God’s. When we continue to knock on the doors of heaven, we are being changed, we are seeing more clearly, and we are better able to see the hand of God at work in whatever situation we are bringing to Him. We are better able to understand our sensitivity and intensity of the need we are presenting.
We are reassured in verse 10 that as when we ask, we receive, as we seek, we find, when we knock at heavens door fore answers, the door will open. It does not say we might find answers, or the door might open, the word says, they will! How often I have been guilty of letting a certain prayer go, feeling as though my prayers were not getting past my ceiling. Forgetting that God was at work even though I could not see it at the time, and often could not feel it. I forgot that the word tells me that He always hears me and He always answers. Yet, on other occasions I have continued in prayer, fervently asking for God’s help, healing, or intervention, whatever the petition was, but I desperately continued seeking and knocking, and somewhere in the process I have been changed. My prayers have often taken a turn towards what God wants, and my faith has grown and my fears have been quieted. God was hearing and God was moving. I was better able to pray effectively because God turned my heart, and mind to be in line with His perfect will and timing.
We are like a microwave, we want everything in 30 seconds or less. Having to wait for five minutes for something to cook seems too long. But the process of cooking some things takes longer, if we give up on it too soon, we get to eat uncooked cold food. Do you want that? As we grow in Christ, we see more clearly how His timing and His ways are best. When we wait on Him, things go more smoothly, often flawlessly, but when we barge ahead all too often it goes wrong or is very hard. There is a reason for everything God does or does not do. His ways are so much higher than ours and He sees what we cannot.
When I was a child and my dad was abusing me, I prayed all the time that the abuse would stop, that Jesus would do something to help me. I also prayed so hard for him to be saved. I wanted him to know Jesus and to one day go to heaven. Did the abuse stop immediately? No. Did it keep me from asking and seeking God’s help? No. I had learned through my grandmother that I was to keep knocking on heaven’s door. She assured me through her own walk and prayer life that God was listening and answering. What my prayers did, was change me. No matter what he did or how many times, somehow, (I know how 🙂 I was able to laugh and play, forgive and move on. Every time I went to my field to pray, God met with me there. No, I could not see it then, but I see it so clearly now.
When I look back at that little girl crying and talking to God, I can feel him all over me. He protected my mind and my soul, and somehow in spite of what was going on, he grew my faith. Did my dad get saved? YES, HE DID! It was years later, but God heard my prayer and through circumstances that he allowed for a season, he saved his soul. My dad has been gone a long time, thirty years to be exact, and all thirty of those have been spent with His savior, the one who saved him in spite of himself. Hallelujah! I kept knocking, I persisted in prayer, it did not matter what the circumstances looked like, I believed God was listening and answering. His answer not only included salvation for my dad but healing even in the process of pain and hurt for me. Only God can do that!
I want to urge you to trust God with your hurts, your decisions, every need you have, He is the answer! He cares, He hears, He answers, He is faithful. He will guide you through the hard places of life all the while growing your faith, molding you, and changing you to look more like him and the child of God you should be. Even when the answer is no, or wait in my case, God is hearing and answering. And there are times when it is a resounding yes, and we see instant answers. Let God’s perfect work be done in you as you continue to seek him and answers through prayer. Remember these words mighty warrior and do not grow weary in the asking.
“For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Ask, seek, knock…He is listening.
After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. 2 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him. “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
4 “Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:
5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”
Here John was in prison because he had publicly rebuked Herod for marrying his sister-in-law. When John heard what was going on and that Jesus was healing and raising the dead, he started having doubts as to whether Jesus really was the Messiah. John had been preparing the way for the Messiah, yet here he sat in prison, and if Jesus was the Messiah why was he in prison? Couldn’t Jesus free him? After all, John could have been using that time to preach.
It is a valid response to his predicament. He had faithfully been going about preaching repentance, baptizing, and shouting about the coming Messiah. Yet, here he was, in prison and Jesus did not seem to care. But Jesus answered John’s question by telling him about the evidence of who He was. He was healing the sick, raising the dead, people could walk again, the good news was being taught to those in need. Miracles were happening and they spoke of who He was, they confirmed His identity.
We too tend to doubt who God is when things are not going our way. When life hands us more lemons than lemonade we question God, who are you and why won’t you change this, and help me. And we find our answer in verse 6 of this passage: “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” What does it mean? The evidence is there, God is who He says He is, and He is able to do anything, but all too often He says to wait, not now. Our prayers are being answered in God’s time.
I will repeat it, even when He does not act quickly, we need to stay the course, to continue to walk with the Lord regardless of our circumstances, regardless of whether or not we see prayers being answered, especially the way we think they should be answered. We need to trust God, even if He does not work it out immediately, we need to stay the course because God is with us. We already know from Jeremiah 33:3, and 1 Peter 3:12 that God hears our prayers, and He always answers. We also know from verses like Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:5, Isaiah 41:10, and many more that He is always with us, He never leaves us or forsakes us.
We are blessed, happy and so much more when we continue to believe even when our eyes cannot see the answer and God seems silent. We need to remember that our faith should be in Christ Jesus, not in the “what can He do for me.” If we have been forgiven for our sins and born again, and we are now sons and daughters of the Most-High God, then we have all we need and we can trust him to work in our lives and hear and answer our prayers. God is faithful, He does and will answer in His timing, not ours, and usually, He does not answer the way we think that He should. His wisdom is so far above our earthly human wisdom that we cannot see exactly what we need or how, we just know that we want relief and help.
John wanted out of prison…he was faithfully fulfilling his God-given mission. But that did not mean he was exempt from trials and tribulations. He had to do what we need to do and that was to refocus his attention not on what he could get, more stuff, comfortable, out of prison, but on who Jesus is and our relationship and walk with him. I believe that when we continue on in the face of hardship and we lean in close to Jesus, He transforms our thoughts and our desires to come in line with His own. We start wanting more of him and less of this world and all that it offers. Jesus wanted John to see that He was who he said He was and the miracles taking place were evidence of it, but that He was not a “Jennie in a bottle.” You cannot just demand it to be done and expect it to immediately happen. Yes, could it, absolutely, we see times in scripture when healing was instantaneous, and death was immediate because people did not obey God. God can act right at the moment of your prayer.
I do not know about you, but I have been so happy at times when God did not answer immediately in the heat of the moment, the answer was so much sweeter and obviously better than I could have asked to begin with, and often as I study God’s word and pray I can see that I really did not need whatever it was I was asking for. God works all things out according to His will, in His time, for our good and His glory. If you have prayed, He has heard and the answer is on its way. Do not look for it with human eyes, look with spiritual eyes. Rest in Him, let him grow you, and teach you through the process and greater the reward and blessing when you do! When we wait on God and allow him to do it “His way” we are getting the very “best way ever!” After all He is going to do it His way regardless of what we need or want, why not find peace, joy, and contentment while we wait?
I do not have God’s wisdom, I do not see the entire picture, but God does…I ask from my perspective, but the one who knit me together and holds all things together really does know the when, the why, the how, and it really is better : )