Turning Back to God!

“Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the LORD; Let us lift our hearts and hands To God in heaven.” (Lamentations 3:40,41 NKJV)

When are we going to see the error of our ways? Why must we have to be threatened by anyone regarding anything to own up to the things we do? Are we so blinded with our self-importance that we cannot see how what we say or do–creates chaos and confusion, sometimes leading to hatred and certainly makes our bigotry–crystal clear?

Before we do or say anything–we must examine our motives and seek His wisdom–and then we would have no need to “retract” what we’ve said or apologize for our inability to consider the consequences of our actions.

This nation–as a whole–including all the people in it–must reach a decision and examine themselves–dare to put themselves under a microscope to see who they really are. When a person dares to “see self” as they really are, then and only then will there be any lasting change in people that helps to move everyone forward, without attempting to crush them.

After we have examined ourselves, we need to “turn back to allowing God to influence” what we do, rather than allowing emotions and personal bigotry to guide us–especially when we know–the enemy is the influence–determining to kill, steal, and destroy others through vicious attacks–by whatever venue we use.

Lord Jesus, help us to see ourselves and then create in us a desire to please You and not be seduced by public opinion to berate others. We are mindful of the state of this nation and the world, and we submit to Your guidance in all things so we will not make a mockery of who You are by the things we do. Thank You for hearing and responding to this prayer, Amen!


Human Effort!

“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63 NLT)

For those who do all they can to make life bearable for themselves and others, I commend you. For those who do nothing but seek self-comfort–I wonder about you. For those who walk not after the flesh, but allow Holy Spirit to guide all you do, I thank God for you. If what we do is not by the leading of Holy Spirit–our efforts will amount to nothing, short of temporary solution.

The old adage that is better to “teach a man to fish than to give him one” is still relevant today. Now, I know there are some who do not believe God or that He exists and they think that what they do is more important than what most Believers do. If acknowledgment from man is all a person wants, then–it is enough. However, if one wants to please God, then one must things the way God wants them done–this ensures eternal life, beyond the temporary life here on earth.

Does that mean people should stop giving and assisting others? No! What this means is that before we do anything, we should seek Him for direction and then do what He says.

We know from all the documented sources about “giving people a helping hand” and then watch those same people end up in the same condition in which we found them, If we’re going to really help people, we must begin with “wisdom and knowledge” so they will be able to do for themselves.

In Michigan, there are thousands of jobs available, but people do not have the skills to get the jobs. Why? Too many people, here, do not have the literacy skills or technology skills needed for the jobs.

As an educator, I am appalled at the attitude of those who think education is a waste of their time and yet, we still have the highest unemployment rates in the country. And now, many who are receiving benefits from the state are crying foul because their cash assistance will not be available for long. Their protests are pointless since the state has been saying for over five years that people had “five years” to get an education or job skills and most–didn’t believe it and just sat around on their hind parts, waiting for the handout.

If they had been forced to demonstrate sufficient literacy skills in order to get the assistance, they would be in a much better place than they are in right now. The assistance received, should have been based upon their ability to get an education or job skills training as a condition of receiving the benefits. Sometimes, as seen in Michigan, waiting for the mailman becomes a career that requires little effort. Well, the mailman’s job just got a little lighter (figuratively speaking) and many will find themselves wishing they had paid attention to “the last letter” they received.

I’m sure the conditions mentioned about Michigan may be true of other states as well, and what we must do–is to educate people about how to do things–especially in giving. We must remember that it is not by human effort that we accomplish anything, but by the direction of Holy Spirit that we can accomplish all things.

Defeated Enemy!

“For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you. If any nation comes to fight you, it is not because I sent them. Whoever attacks you will go down in defeat.” (Isaiah 54:10,15 NLT)

The promises of God are “Yes” and “Amen” and we can see them throughout The Word!

When storms arise and violence erupts and there is nothing we can do about the chaos swirling around us, we can go to The Word and know the outcome–His love and protection will remain even if the mountains and hills disappear. He will never stop blessing those who live according to His Word and whose desire is to please Him in all things.

Perhaps, just perhaps, the reason many people only look for the blessings–and disappointed when they don’t get them–is because they never understood their part of the covenant–Love God and Obey Him!

And since we can be assured of His continued blessings, we can rest on the knowledge that if the enemy (any nation) “comes” to fight us, they will go down in defeat. Now, that’s something to shout about right there! But now, notice--if we go seek a fight, we are not covered under the blessing–we are only covered if the enemy comes to fight us–not if we go to fight them.

When the enemy comes (in whatever shape or form), stand firm on the knowledge of God’s Word and know they are already defeated–all we need to do is obey God and do whatever He says to do.

When others come to tempt us to do evil–rebuke them in the name of Jesus and start sharing The Glorious Gospel!

When emotions rise and we are tempted to be depressed or influenced by them to harm self or others–stand firm in the faith that God has plans for us and that nothing in His plans are designed to harm us.

When it seems like nothing we do ever turns out right–we must remember that in Christ–we can do all things and do them well. We have the mind of Christ and we will not allow the enemy to steal our joy or kill our faith! We will stand up and face him with The Sword, always prepared to keep him in his place.

My NaNo Novel for 2014!

I had actually decided not to write for the NaNoWriMo challenge this year, but after a “friend” bugged me to do it, I did. I already had a story in mind, but had not determined what I wanted to do with it. So, a couple of weeks before the first of November, I developed my characters, my story map, and my fictional city–complete with a grid of the streets and location of all major buildings. I completed my research and typed up my notes, and on November 1, 2014, at 4:30 a.m. I started writing. By November 9, 2014 at approximately, 2:00 p.m. I had finished the first 50K! Now, near the near, I am revising (2nd round) and my word count is over 72K. Since i plan to publish the “finished” work (after 3 more rounds of revising and editing), it will be available on Amazon as an eBook, hopefully before the end of January.

At any rate, here’s what the cover looks like–right now.

rev nano2 There’s an excerpt on the NaNoWriMo site and I’ll probably post it again, soon! Some ideas are worth pursuing! This one certainly was!

O Give Thanks!

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1 NKJV)

On this day, one which we traditionally set aside in America to celebrate Thanksgiving, our celebration should be about more than a day off work, watching sports, shopping and eating.

In spite of all the things that have gone wrong or are not what we expected, we can still give thanks to The Lord!

Many people complain daily about what is happening in America–and no matter what our President does–he is never right. But instead of complaining, we should be grateful we don’t live in a country where if we dared to raise our voices in dissension or opposition to anything the leader did, we could be arrested and executed.

We complain our economy that acts more like a roller coaster out of control, but there are people in other countries who are starving, penniless, and would sell their souls to the devil for a scrap of bread. We know they sell their children and we know they know, how those same children are abused and misused for the satisfaction of the perverted–influenced by the enemy. We should be grateful that most of us–have never been in such a predicament and will probably never know the anguish a parent might feel who had to resort to selling a child.

We complain about those who worship God and those who don’t. We hate instead of loving one another. We do not understand that disagreement with someone is not a strategy to hate. Whether we choose to believe in God or not, it is our choice and for the most part, in this country–we won’t be executed or forced to believe anything we choose not to believe. That is not true is some other countries where people are forced to believe whatever that leader wants to believe and if they don’t, they are arrested or executed.

We complain about the senseless violence in this country, when we should be grateful that we are not living in war torn countries, living with the prospect of bombs dropping on our roofs at any moment. Violence is never the answer, but when people do not God or how to think before acting, there is and always will be–senseless violence.

On this Thanksgiving Day, my family will enjoy a good meal, watch TV, or play video games (we will not shop), but before we do anything, we will offer thanksgiving to God–for all He has done, is doing, and will do in our lives that we may be living letters, read by others, encouraging them to seek Him and enjoy the benefits of His love. I pray, that you, too, will take time to give thanks!

Father, in the name of Jesus, we thank You for keeping us safe, healthy, and ready to praise You for all things. For we know, that without You in our lives, our lives could be so much different than it is. We could be slaughtered and left to die of illnesses without appropriate care. We could starve in the land of plenty. But thanks to You, O God, we have all we need and we truly grateful for Your many blessings that we might bless others. Amen!

He is Love!

“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (I John 4:8 NKJV)

How do we know–He is Love?

Who else would have left their throne in heaven,

Wrapped themselves in flesh and came through a birth canal

When they didn’t have to do it?

Who else would endure the insults and persecutions

Of the religious sects, yet heal, and raise the dead?

Who else would care enough to accept the lunch of a child

And by blessing the little, fed the multitudes, because He cared?

Who else would love us so much that He spent precious last moments,

Before His arrest, praying for us who would choose to believe and follow Him?

Who else would endure the flaying of His skin, being nailed to a cross,

For our sins when He had committed none of them?

Who else would endure the tauntings of those who did not understand,

He hung on that cross for all who dared to believe and would rise again?

Who else would enter into hell and defeat Satan on his own turf

And rise with all power in His Hands and then transfer that power to us?

Who else would love us in spite of us and give us chance after chance

To get living for Him right?

Who else–would you–would I–endure it all because of Love?

No! God alone loves us enough to have done it all and would do it again,

Just because He is Love and can do nothing else, but Love!

Thank You, Lord for Your Love, Mercy, Grace, And Kindness

Shown towards me even when I didn’t deserve it.

Now, help me to have a mindset to always live to please You,

In all that I say and do,

So others will know about Your Great Love,

For all of mankind!

If we say–we are His Children, then we must Love

Like He loves–unconditionally–with no hate abiding within.

The Lord, Our Security!

“You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, for the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.” (Proverbs 3:25,26 NLT)

If Believers actually believe The Word (and not selectively, but comprehensively), we would never fear–anything. We know that when it rains, it rains on the just as well as the unjust. So, when disasters approach, our response should be to communicate with the One who can keep us safe, not running through the streets–or blowing up the Internet with doomsday prophecies. The Lord is our security–He will keep us from being caught in a trap–when our faith is in Him and Him alone!

We have so much Word that supports our ability to see disasters and yet not be afraid. The phrase, “Fear not” occurs 144 times in the Kings James Version, “Be not afraid” 4 times, and then my favorite–“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” We are reminded by Jesus that, “In this world we shall have trials and tribulations, but He has overcome them all.” Do we believe The Word?

Then if we believe what God says–we need to stop allowing media sensationalism to sway us in our thinking or behavior. We have the mind of Christ (if we are truly Born-Again) and I cannot imagine Christ being afraid of anything nor would He promote rumors or uphold the lack of journalistic integrity we are bombarded with on a daily basis.

We need to look to Him–the author and finisher of our faith-and not be overly anxious about anything, but exercise Godly wisdom in everything.

When we learn to completely depend upon Him–without leaning to our own understanding–then we can trust Him to do exactly what He said He would and we have no need to fear the outcome!  Hallelujah!

The Penalty for Lying!

“A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who speaks lies will not escape.” (Proverbs 9:5 NKJV)

I’m praying for any and everyone who lives to lie and cause harm to others–simply to gain monetary benefit or center stage with all lights on them.

The problem for liars is that God has already addressed their final outcome–they will thrown into the lake of fire–no escape route possible. There–with hell and Satan and all the other demonic forces-they shall be for all eternity.

I remember some years ago when I was teaching Bible Study at my home and a little boy asked me about hell. I asked him if he had ever burned himself on something hot and he had. So, I told him to imagine that hell–is 1000 x 1000 x 1000 x 1000 x 1000 x hotter than anything he had experienced. His eyes bucked and he made a decision right then–he did not want to go to hell.

Many people don’t believe hell is real because they don’t believe God is real and they certainly won’t pay any attention to anything in the Bible. That is so sad. If they understood the love God has for us and He does not desire to see anyone He loves thrown in the lake of fire, they would do better. That’s His desire–but we all make choices–to do what is right or to do what is wrong.

Remember this–Satan is the father of liars and his job is to kill, steal, and destroy–he has no problem influencing others to do his bidding so he can sit back at laugh at their folly.

Liars–all of them whether pathological or convenient or systematic–always create problems for the innocent. They gather to themselves false witnesses and those who proclaim to know a matter when they don’t, are also destined to be thrown in the lake of fire because they too–are lying.

If we only spent our time doing what is right, we’d never have to worry about doing what is wrong–for us or anyone else.

“The Truth shall make us free” from the penalty of being in the lake of fire, so let’s determine to always tell the truth, no matter how much it may hurt us, or cause us to lose that temporary monetary gain or fame. Integrity is still a valued virtue and I’d rather maintain my integrity in all things that lose it for money or fame. I belong to Jesus and I will proclaim truth as He reveals it and I will not become part of gangland mentality in destroying the lives of others. Satan is not my father and I will not give him that place of honor–by lying.

Everything we do has a consequence–we will either be rewarded or penalized–what is your choice today?

Think On These Things!

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 NKJV)

When I look at the reactions of people to hearing “negative reports” about situations and people, I am reminded that the end is truly near. We pulverize people with our negative comments and innuendo without having all the facts about anything. That is truly amazing to me that we–take one sound bite–one tiny misrepresented piece of information–and then blow it all out proportion, condemning people who have not been tried or found guilty of anything other than being foolish. We take sides and give no thought to the lives being ruined and reputations being tarnished–all to appease an apparently innate desire to speak or write without thinking–of the consequences of what we do or say.

Are we so insecure and unhappy that we live to destroy others as a means to entertain ourselves?

Is there nothing else in the world we could think about–solving some problems–rather than creating them?

Without proof of anything other than what we have heard–we loudly proclaim our ignorance when we expect people to defend themselves and provide more fuel for the idiots to consume and spew into cyberspace--becoming obnoxious by the second and still not knowing truth.

Even Paul wrote this centuries ago, there is applicable truth to what he says. Instead of meditating, thinking, and spouting the negatives about people, we need to change our mindset and think–really use our brains and common sense (if such a thing still exists) to logically approach a matter before we become part of the rumor mill spreading lies.

When we don’t know the whole story about anything, our response should be to pray–for all concerned and then wait–until the whole truth is known before we take sides and condemn others for things they may not have done.

Think on the positives, the praiseworthy, the noble, the virtues, the good reports–not those things that become part of character assassination without having full knowledge of a situation.

What we must remember is this–the same judgment we show towards others will come back upon us. Never judge a matter without having all the facts unless we want someone judging us in the same manner.

The truth will set us all free–from lying lips and tongues and character attacks meant to destroy. Remember this–it is Satan’s job to steal, kill and destroy and he uses everyone who is willing to be used as a tool by him.

Think On These Things available on http://www.amazon.com/Mary-M-Hall-Rayford/e/B00BAW31CQ/

We Know His Name!

“And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10 NKJV)

One of the reasons many people don’t know God is because of all the negatives that some have attributed to Him. When people believe the worst of anyone–what they think they know–is a different perspective from one who actually knows.

Our God, The Lord Jesus Christ–is love and therefore, He can only love as a loving Father.

Our God, The Lord Jesus Christ–is the Son of the Father (God in the flesh) and He can only do what He has seen the Father do and say what the Father says.

Our God, The Lord Jesus Christ–is Holy Spirit–the spirit of God living in us–and He will only tell us what He hears the Father say.

How can we put our trust in someone we don’t know? Most people cannot and since they cannot trust Him, they choose to refute who He is.

Now, here is the real challenge–why is it that those who claim to know Him and His name, have difficulty fully trusting in all He is and His Word?

If, we as Believers–fully understand and know who He is–we should not have a problem trusting Him–in all things–and never worry about the outcome of anything. Do we worry? Do we have doubts and are overanxious about things over which we cannot control?

I have learned and still learning that when I trust Him–totally trust Him–I can navigate life without concern about what “may” happen next. I know from experience that whatever happens–I will get through it if I just praise Him and trust Him to do what He said He would do--never forsake me, never abandon me, never leave me alone, always guiding me, loving me, setting me in position for victory. I am more than a conqueror through Him because of His love. I can do all things through Him and therefore there is nothing, I cannot do and do well to His glory!

I not only know who He is–His name–I know His attributes and His character and I know beyond a shadow of doubt, that He will never withdraw His love from me.

Thank You, Lord Jesus for love, mercy, and favor–even though I may not be worthy because I sometimes miss the mark, yet Your abiding love keeps me from being perpetually lost to the temptations of this world. It is because I desire to please You above all things that I know I cannot bring shame to Your name, by my actions or attitudes. Thank You for always curbing my tongue and comforting my heart, giving me peace and understanding in how to do those things I must.