When We’ll Know!

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31, 32 NIV).

What Jesus said to those who believed Him, those who followed Him, when He was here in the form of physical man, still holds true today. “If” we hold to His teaching (what the Father said to Him), we are really His disciples and “then” we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.

This “if, then” proposition is simply one of many we find in The Word. If we do, then God does. There is no mystery, no magic, just understanding of obedience and how God’s principles work in our lives. We must do, then He will do–everything He promised–no matter whether the consequences are good or bad.

God’s promise to us through Joshua–“If you keep my commandments, then whatever you put your hands to will prosper.”

God’s promises to us through Deuteronomy 28–If we keep His commandments and obey, then blessings will overtake us. If we do not obey, then all of the curses will come upon us, even to those not yet named.

Moving forward–“If you love, keep my commandments. If my Word abides in you and you abide in my Word, then, ask what you will and it will be done for you.

We’ll know we have a right relationship with God, when we keep His commandments and see His promises fulfilled in our lives. Then we’ll know the power we have over the enemy and know we have been set free from submitting to his temptation. When we have a relationship with God, then He can speak to our hearts and guide us in all things, knowing we are His children and He only wants only what is best for His children. When we know we have obeyed and know we have that relationship, then we can be assured of receiving His guidance and cementing the promise of eternal life.


Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to understand what we must do in order to be in Your perfect Will, receiving all You have for us to do and enjoy. Help us to receive Truth and be set free from the snares of the enemy and know without a doubt that we will spend eternity with You.



Resurrection Repayment!

He came into this world

Over 2000 years ago

To seek and to save all

Who are lost, unloved, lonely.

While He was here, fulfilling predestination

He healed all who believed

And they were set free of sin

Blindness, lameness, death and disease.

We crucified Him, He died, but He

Rose again to reign in the Heavens

For all eternity and how do we repay

The debt of love He freely gave

To all who believe and accept

His enduring, yet unearned mercy and grace?

By loving, unconditionally, whoever we meet

Honoring what He has done, is doing right now

Positioned, ready to receive all that eye has not seen

Nor ear heard what He has for us,

Unabashedly, proclaiming, “Jesus Christ is Lord,”

To all who will receive and accept

Our Father’s good and perfect gift, His son.


(c) 2014 Mary M. Hall-Rayford

He is Risen!

“He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” (Luke 24:6,7).

And this what the angels informed Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary and other women who were with them (v.10), but when they told the other disciples, they were not believed. Peter went to the tomb and was amazed at not finding Jesus’ body, but still had doubts.

How many people are still not believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ? The women who were first at the tomb believed because of their personal relationship with Him. The disciples eventually believed when He confronted them. Has Jesus confronted you, yet?

This is a glorious day set aside to always recall the work on the cross and the promise kept–He would rise again and with His resurrection–hell has no more hold over any who receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. He rose with all power in His hands and with Holy Spirit has given us the same power to overcome anything the enemy attempts to do to us.

We have the power to speak peace to any situation and dissuade chaos and confusion, to speak health to our bodies and see ourselves healed, to speak increase to our finances, and to speak love to all, for all and chase away fear.

Rejoice! He has risen and we have all we need in Him and through Him! Hallelujah!

Stand Firm!

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God” (Philippians 1:27,28 NIV).

In Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi, he encouraged believers to stand firm in the knowledge that no matter who preached the Gospel or what happened; their faith would all work for the good of those who love Jesus.

The message is still relevant today–no matter what happens in the world, we should always conduct ourselves in a manner that is worthy of the gospel of Christ (nothing done that we need be ashamed of). With the turmoil and chaos in the world–immorality and total negation of God’s Word, we who know the truth must stand firm–even in the midst of ridicule and scorn from those who have no clue. We know and we must stand firm in our belief–Jesus came, died, was buried, and rose again–that we might have eternal life.

Stand firm in your convictions of faith and don’t be moved by the scorners because we know what their end will be. Don’t allow the liars to convince you that your belief in God is misplaced. They do not know Him, have no clue as to what His plan for humanity is, and they certainly do not understand the influence they follow–the father of liars.

Don’t be afraid of what the enemy attempts to do for he has no power over you as long as you remember that “no weapon formed against shall prosper” and that “we can do all things through Christ Jesus!” If the Lord reigns in your life, let Him lead you in all things and let no one cause you a moment of doubt. “For he who doubts is double-minded and shall receive nothing from God.” But “no good thing shall be withheld from those who love the Lord.” 

Let the unbelieving go their way, if they will not hear and adhere to Truth. Their end has already been established and their behavior should in no way affect what you do. Stand firm, united by Holy Spirit, promoting the Gospel until the day He returns, without fear or doubt, knowing our mansions await us!

No Quarreling Over Words!

“Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen” (2 Timothy 2:14 NIV).

Today, the day that is commonly referred to as Good Friday by traditionalists, has been the source of many conversations and arguments. The quarrel over words is because of the “rising in three days” and in which various scholars and theologians cannot come to terms over the time frame from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

Here’s a thought. Why should anyone in relationship with God care about the time frame? What we should care most about is understanding that He came, He was crucified and died for our sins, and rose again and is now sitting at the right hand of His Father.

The reason most cannot agree about a time frame that aligns with The Word is because they are trying to reduce the events to a lower level of understanding–understanding which is marred by historians and the means and methods of recording events in an actual timeline by which most of us can understand. We tend to equate all time by what we know and we know that “time, days, months, years” in times past, do not coincide with the methodology used today to determine “time of events.”

So, I’m not really interesting in celebrating a “Good Friday” which was certainly not a good day, but I do contemplate what life would be like if Jesus had not submitted to His Father’s Will. For that reason, instead of making a lot hoopla over which day He died, we should spend more time in reflection about what our lives would be like, if He had not died. That is a cause for thanksgiving, not argument.

To each his own and I’m sure that is exactly how the day will be acknowledged. I’m going to be spend the day resting, contemplating, and praising Him for loving me enough to die for me–no matter what day it is or what day it happened–and thanking Him for doing it. And on Sunday, I’ll celebrate the fact that He rose from the dead–keeping His Word–and giving me access to the Throne–without the mediation of man.

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to truly develop understanding of Your Word without quarreling over words so we might honor all You have done for us.



Why God, Why?

Why does God allow certain things to happen to people?

I seriously do not have an answer for every specific thing that happens to people; only God knows why He does what He does. If I had the answers, I’d never have to be concerned about anything else in life. But then, God wants us to seek Him for answers, and not one another.

A follower on Twitter posed the situation to me:  He said, “My wife had a heart attack and died in front of our year and half baby. Why did God allow that to happen?”

My response to him was this: I don’t know why God allows things to happen to people. My brother was killed by my mother and I suffered from the event, but the same event brought me into relationship with God and now–not only can I have joy in my life, but I can encourage others. God knows what He’s doing and all things will work out for our good. Just trust Him!

While some may not agree with my response, I know without a doubt that it was the best response I could give Him. All too often many try to explain why God does things when they don’t know any more than anyone else. God is God. He doesn’t have to explain Himself to us and He certainly does not need our permission to do anything.

However, there are some things in life that we do to ourselves that bring about certain consequences. If we are not conscious about our physical health and how we treat our bodies, we put ourselves into position to suffer the consequences of–heart attack, stroke, diabetes, certain cancers, etc. If we are not conscious of how we treat others, we will suffer the consequences of depression, loneliness, and other mental illnesses. Drug abuse, alcohol abuse, tobacco use, lack of exercise, overeating, unprotected sexual activity, and just plain meanness can create situations that cause us harm and could lead to death. Let’s face it, if we would simply read and understand The Word, follow the instructions, and know God’s voice and obey, we could avoid a lot of negative stuff occurring in our lives. It’s all in there–we just need to know what “it” is and live to the glory of God!

Father, in the name of Jesus, give us understanding of how to treat our bodies–the temple where Holy Spirit lives and how to live to Your glory. Comfort the hearts of those who have lost loved ones and guide them in their grief to You, as only You can. Pour onto us Your wisdom so we may encourage one another to endure to the end and finish this race, in life.

The Lord Gives!

“For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6 NIV).

No matter how smart or intelligent some people may think they are, without the wisdom the Lord gives, a person really has nothing. As Solomon points out in this verse of scripture, when the Lord gives wisdom–a person obtains knowledge and understanding.

If a person is given a Mercedes Benz–handed the keys to the car–but they do not know how to drive, what purpose does the gift serve? In order for the gift to benefit the receiver, the person receiving the gift must have understanding about what to do with it.

When students read–all of their assignments–and yet are unable to comprehend what they have read, what do they have? Most students can identify words, but are incapable of understanding what the words mean within various contexts used.

Having knowledge–of words in simple contexts–is what has hindered many from truly understanding what God’s Word means–not just what it says, but what He means. Most of the problems have risen due to the fact that many attempt to attach a literal meaning to every word; not realizing that a great deal of what is say, is analogous, or at the very least–figuratively used.

For instance (not seeking argument, just introspection of words), many would argue that Cain was a firstborn child and that he and Able were the first children produced by man. What people have failed to understand is that “they were the first children after the fall,” before the fall, Adam and Eve were obedient in “multiplying” as God had commanded. If people understood the context and had inference skills, they would know that when Cain left the presence of God after killing Abel and took a wife in another town, there would have to be people in another place for it to be called a “town.” We would also know that there is no specific timeline involved with the events in the garden and one can only surmise that Adam and Eve were in the garden for many years before they were disobedient.

This is just one of many concepts in “Genesis” (the record of firsts or beginnings) that have misled a number of people and hindered their understanding of the bible. If when we read The Word, seek God for understanding, then He would provide it and we would have the wisdom of God operating in our lives. What He gives–His wisdom–cannot be measured with the head knowledge that some espouse, but has to be measured with the heart and the relationship one has with Him.


Father, in the name of Jesus, pour out Your wisdom upon all who are willing to receive so we might truly operate in the wisdom You give. Your wisdom–You give freely to all who ask–provides insight into all problems and lead to solutions which bring peace. Help us to walk in Your wisdom.



I know why the prophets sighed

Seeing future events unfold

Knowing, yet hesitant to tell

Of dark days and bright nights

Rising from earth, the hell

Unleashed on scorners from

All corners of life. No respect

For titles, position or wealth,

The gray, the lean, and in-between

Must now accept deed’s fate

Foretold hundreds of years ago,

By one who dared to speak

The Truth, yet remained not long

For fruit to bear its burden,

Sickness, disease, calamities

For truth’s tale felled prophets galore,

Until they would not speak much more,

But silently watched truth awake,

The skies,  and the earth, while they just sighed.

(c) 2002 Mary M. Hall-Rayford

Live Without Fear!

“but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm” (Proverbs 1:33 NIV)

With all of the uproar and chaos that exists all over the world, it is amazing that such a simple solution could resolve the unrest. If we would just listen to what God has to say and obey, we could all live in peace and never worry about being fearful of anything. The fact that there is so much chaos in the world is evidence that we are not listening and that leads to certain fearfulness of impending danger.

When children don’t listen to parents, they can expect certain consequences when they disobey and some children end up being fearful of parents.

When students don’t pay attention to a teacher/educator, they can expect certain consequences and many are fearful about their grades.

When any individual doesn’t pay attention to the laws of the land, ie–traffic laws, they can expect to receive the penalty for their actions and many fear police.

Of course, there are a number of other things that could be said about why people are fearful, but for the most part–people are fearful because they are not listening to wise counsel, and more specifically, they are not listening to God.

We listen to God through reading and understanding His Word, recognizing that quiet voice that speaks to our hearts. If we are not willing to read and understand His Word, we will never recognize when He is speaking to our hearts. If we do not hear Him, we are doomed to live in fear about almost everything.

We can abide in His peace when we understand that His peace–surpasses all understanding–and we can receive it, embrace it, and rest in it. His peace–keeps our hearts from fluttering at the sound of evil or turmoil. His peace–allows us to sleep at night, no matter what is going on with the rest of the world. His peace–allows us to navigate life without being anxious or fearful about anything.

In order to live without fear, we must listen and obey God! Perfect love–unconditional love–casts out fear!


Defeating Giants In Your Life!

“And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13:33).

Whenever a person’s “mind is set” upon a specific outcome–due to inferior complexes, insecurities, or simply fear, their perspective of the situation is colored by the moment and their feelings. Earlier in this passage of scripture, we see Caleb being sent out to spy out the land–to see what the Children of Israel would be up against when they moved forward. While Caleb admitted to Moses and the people that there were indeed giants in the land, he was also confident in their ability to overcome the obstacles before them.

If our confidence is in the God we serve, we can indeed overcome and defeat any giants that attempt to get in our way. We can only be defeated by our circumstances when our confidence is in our own ability without God. Caleb understood this very basic premise–trust in The Lord–no matter what things look like–and hold to His promises and know they will be fulfilled. God’s promises were fulfilled then and they will be fulfilled now. After all, God is not a respecter of persons and so His love for us is the same as His love for the Children of Israel as they traversed the land.

What giants are threatening to decimate you? Debt, sickness, disease, fear, intimidation, poverty, insecurity, family issues, personality conflicts–all can cause one’s perspective to see the obstacle bigger than they are.

Be encouraged–though there are giants that arise in everyone’s life–we have the power of the Holy Spirit operating within us and nothing–no weapon shall prosper against us. We have all we need to be conquer any giant in the land or in our lives as long as our trust is in God and not self. In order to defeat the giants, we must see ourselves as Caleb saw things–“we are well able to overcome the giants” those things that “we think” are bigger than our God.

Our God is awesome, He’s great and with Him going before us–every day we wake, He is more than enough to cause us to be victorious–no matter what. Nothing is impossible with God. We must remember that the battles we encounter with anything are not ours, but His and He is King of Kings. Victory is ours, when we keep our focus on Him, and not on us and our own abilities. Now, it’s time to face the giants and defeat them!