Working Through It!

Tribulations are not always a bad thing, if we know how to approach them. Paul tells in Romans 5 that, “tribulations help us work out patience, patience develops with our experience, our experience helps to bring us hope, and hope makes us not ashamed of the Gospel because the love of God is shed broadly in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us.”

The trials and tribulations should help us to work on developing patience. When we learn to be patient and use that patience with every experience we have in life, we learn to hope. When we know we have hope (confidence that everything is going to be all right), we can share the Gospel of Jesus Christ without being ashamed because we have a testimony to share. We can boldly share our testimony because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in and rising up in us so we can proceed, boldly. Hallelujah!

So, the next time trials and tribulations confront you, boldly proclaim, “I’m ready to receive all that God desires in me to learn this day. Bring it on.” Rock on with your bad self while you’re working through it all!

The Struggle

For some, the struggle to do what is right is a daily fight. This struggle includes making wise decisions, being considerate of others, standing up for justice, doing what God says to do, and do it well. Why is this struggle so great?

The struggle to do right is greater because it is so much easier to give in to temptation. It is easier to think and act selfishly. It is easier to cuss someone out than to think about how to say what you want to say. It is easier to go along to get along than to stand on principles aligned with God’s Word.

If the struggle to do right was easy, many people would be saved and living abundant lives. But it is so much easier for people to live unsaved, without thinking about the consequences of their action, and how what they do impacts others. Since there are so many people struggling to live–without fear, without concern about finances or what the economy will bring or what the politicians will do, we know the struggle is real, we know there are people who have yet to find peace with Jesus, who are yet unsaved.

Lord Jesus, help us in our struggles to do what is right and help others to do the same. Help us to fight the good fight of faith in You, not self. Help us to resist the devil and watch him flee from us.

What Is A Good Gift?

A good gift is appreciated.

A good gift is beneficial to the recipient.

A good gift demonstrates thoughtfulness of the part of the giver.

A good gift never loses its value.

A good gift leads to smiles, not frowns.

Our heavenly Father “gives” us good gifts–spiritual gifts and natural gifts that should be appreciated, are beneficial to us, demonstrates His thoughtfulness towards us, never loses its value, and always causes to smile. Those are the kinds of gifts He gives.

Have you given a good gift lately?

Sometimes, we think the gifts we give or receive are really good gifts, but then sometimes, we “regift” when we really didn’t know what to do with the gift.

Perhaps, we should look to the Father for our example in knowing what a good gift is and proceed accordingly.

Appreciate the gifts given by the Father for they cannot be “regifted” and they are given so others, not just us, can benefit from them. Use your gifts to the glory of God and watch how He works on your behalf.

Good Books

Where can you find good books to read under $5.00?  Why amazon.com of course.  Check these out and if you read (mine or others), please review on Amazon.  http://www.amazon.com/Mary-M.-Hall-Rayford/e/B00BAW31CQ. We really want to know your thoughts; especially if they include how we can improve our production of literature.

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Why Do We Practice?

A refuge/safe haven from all that is wicked can be found in the Lord.

In schools, we practice what to do to keep people safe from harm.  We have fire drills, storm drills and lock-down procedures that must be conducted–for most schools–10 times in a school year.

We have storm alerts set up throughout communities and encourage people to have drills at home as a safety measure.

We practice these things so when the storm is upon us, we’ll know exactly what to do.

When do we practice running into the arms of the Lord to protect us from all the wickedness that surrounds us?

What I see–we practice embracing wickedness–involving ourselves in all manner of darkness, influenced by the enemy and when the attacks come–we don’t know what to do. We have allowed the darkness to envelop us and when the enemy comes to seal the deal–there is no escape.

Life does not have to be this way!  We are warned repeatedly–throughout God’s Word–of the wickedness, the deception, the infiltrators, and counterfeiters (disguised as  ministering angels).  We simply choose not to stay in the Word or live as God has designed us to do.  We choose to live in darkness.  God’s choice–“I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans for you to have a future with hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Do we have a future with hope?

Depression and oppression are signals that people have lost hope.  Suicide is the result of those who have lost hope.  Did they practice avoiding the traps of the enemy or did they embrace his tactics–all of the negative devices he uses to get us off track?

In spite of all the enemy has done and will do–there is hope–there is a light that can outshine and overcome the darkness that invades the minds of those who need more practice.  Read The Word–daily.  Meditate on the Word daily.  Live life according to the Word and watch your light shine in the dark places and lead others to the safe haven in Jesus!

Remembering Those Who Served!

As we celebrate this holiday, remember those who served this country;  some with their lives, some with their limbs, some with their minds, but all with honor and a belief in this country.  Many who served are now without families, homes, and a respected place in our society.  Find a veteran and thank them for their service.  I don’t know about you, but I did not serve in the military, but I am so grateful for those who did and do.  I salute them all!

And while I am remembering them, I am also praying for those who yet serve in foreign countries, away from family and loved ones. May God keep them safe and sane in the midst of chaos and always mindful of their surroundings, knowing in whom they can trust.

A Little Wrist Action Here!

“Casting our care onto Jesus!”

Those words through Peter sound so easy and yet, many of us, hold onto all those things that keep us from enjoying life to the fullest.

We hold onto to past hurts–with family, friends, business acquaintances,and from church folks.

We hold onto grief, never allowing the loss of a loved one to reconcile itself and begin the healing process.

We hold onto to anger against people who have probably forgotten what they did, if anything.

We hold onto worry–about bills, people, life issues over which we have no control.

If we could really “cast” our cares onto Jesus, we would get that reel ready, practice our swing, especially that wrist action and then let all of our cares rip through the air as we watch the end of the fishing line go far beyond our reach. That’s what it means to cast our cares upon Jesus. He can handle them when we can’t!

Remember to honor a veteran today and to cast all your concerns onto the One who has greater capacity to do something about them.

Teach Me!

As an educator, I am especially delighted when I have students who really want to learn.  I know how to distinguish between those who want to learn and those who are just taking up space.

Those who want to learn come to classes prepared–they have their books, paper, pen, and questions about things they did not understand when they read their assignment.  They are participants, not observers.

Those who do not want to learn, come to classes with excuses as to why they have no book, nothing to write on and nothing to write with.  They have no questions because they didn’t pay attention to the assignment they needed to read.  They had to work late, they didn’t get any sleep because the baby kept them up, the dog was stolen, their car wouldn’t start, their live-in beat them up, they didn’t have breakfast, and this list could go on and on.  They are observers, not participants.

Imagine the frustration felt I feel and I’m sure other educators feel when they have a room full of observers instead of participants. Imagine the frustration the President feels when elected politicians are observers of the problems, not participants in the solution. Then imagine the frustration that God must feel when we are observers of life instead of participants.

We go through the motions, accepting every whim and doctrine that blows our way, never questioning anything, never reading the bible, never participating in anything remotely spiritual and yet always expecting something miraculous to happen.

When the disciples saw Jesus praying, they didn’t feel comfortable in praying themselves (especially after Jesus berated those who pray for attention) so they asked Him to teach them and He did. Whatever we ask of the Father in His name, we will have, if we have faith and doubt not.

When we struggle through life constantly making mistakes and never really understanding what we should be doing in order to have the abundant life He promises, are we asking Him to teach us how to have it?

Father, in the name of Jesus, Teach me, O Lord, how to live a life that is pleasing to You that I may receive all of Your promises and be blessings to others all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!

Being His Treasure!

Have you ever been on a treasure hunt?

Usually, when “hunting” for treasure, one must have an idea as to what the treasure is, its worth or value and a direction in which to find it.  Some people have used treasure hunts to enhance parties for children and adults as part of the entertainment.  Some people seek treasures as a life-time career–using maps with mysterious symbols and meanings to locate the sought item.  When we seek treasures, we have to actively look for it.  But God has chosen us and declared us treasured possessions if we hear His voice and obey (Exodus 19:5).  Notice He didn’t look for us–He chose us–when we hear and obey.

When we hear His voice (through The Word or a messenger) and obey what He has said to do–He considers us greatly valued and cherishes us.  He attaches worth and value to us–not man and certainly not us.

What do we treasure?  Do we treasure His love, mercy, and grace?  Are they valuable enough for us to cherish and treat with great care? The Word also tells us that where our heart is, we will find our treasure.  Do we have a heart to hear God and obey Him today?

I have always treasured my children by taking care of them and valuing them as individuals, leading and guiding them to do what is right no matter what the circumstances in which they find themselves.  I would hope they treasure my love for them and not take it for granted.

When I think about my love for my children, I understand God’s love for me and pray I never take His love for granted.  After all, I am His treasure and I know He cherishes me and I want to retain my position with Him.

Are you one of His treasured possessions?  If not, hear and obey Him.  If so, shout Hallelujah for being of great worth to Him!

Good Books

Every once in a while I need to promote my work on Amazon.  If you’ve read them, please review; if not, please read.  Would love to know what you think!

http://www.amazon.com/Mary-M.-Hall-Rayford/e/B00BAW31CQ