Shadow Security!

Shadow Security!

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. Psalm 91:1,2; 9,10 NIV

When the shadows fall over the land, we can either feel security or fear. There are so many stories about our reactions to shadows that one blog post would not do it justice. There are times when shadows have caused people frightening experiences when they did not realize that tree branches and plastic bags caught on branches can give the allusion of something else that is far more sinister than what it is.

And then there are times when dangerous acts have been defeated because of the shadows alerting others of the dangers contrived by those who are evil.

But there is security in the knowledge that those of us who believe that the shadow of the Almighty is with us, daily. We can trust in the security of that shadow knowing that nothing by any means shall harm us when we dwell in His presence.

I started to title this post, shadow boxing–because that is what many of us do when we’re trying to overcome mindsets that keep us from enjoying the benefit of belonging to God. We feel we must always fight back–boxing our imaginary opponent that only exists in our heads–and yet we never win. Though shadow boxing has its benefits for those who are training to be boxers, there is no win since we are actually boxing our own shadow. And every time we move–in the right conditions for shadows to exist–the shadow moves and looms larger than we are.

So, too does God’s shadow–loom so much larger than we are and therefore we can trust Him to protect us. If we truly understood what dwelling in the shadow of His presence meant, we would indeed–fear no evil that conspires against us. We would boldly travel the paths He sets before us and not concern ourselves with the mediocrity that attempts to distract us. His shadow–on every side–because He is Light and where there is Light, His shadow is present.

Remember–when Peter passed by some and those who were enveloped in his shadow were healed. David said though the shadow of death was always present, he would not fear any evil coming upon him.

We do not have to fear shadows–unless we are in the wrong place for all the wrong reasons. Living in God’s shadow–we are fully protected and have no need to fear.

Faithful Servants!

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?” It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. Matthew 24:45-47 NIV

In this day and age most people would cringe at the thought of anyone thinking they are a servant since we have attached such negative connotations to the word.  But being a servant–a faithful servant–has a positive connotation and many should desire to attain to being one.

Faithful servants are always concerned about doing what is best for all. They go out of their way to make sure the things that need to be done–are never left undone. They organize and plan strategies to make their effort more effective so that even if something unexpected occurs at the last minute, they are able to overcome the obstacle and thrive–maintaining their goal.

A servant is not just a person who is under any legal obligation or bondage to another. A true servant is one who has a heart to serve others–just for the sake of doing for others–not for recognition or reward. In this passage of recorded conversations with Jesus, we see that the one who serves from their heart is rewarded for their faithfulness and they never have to say anything to anyone about what they do. What they do–is evident–for all to see and that is how they obtain their reward.

Since not many understand the virtue of volunteerism in our society, volunteers are hard to find and even when some people volunteer their time–they do so with an agenda in mind. Not all agendas have negative connotations, but when a person does anything simply to receive recognition, they have an agenda that does not necessarily promote the purpose or goal of the entity to which they are volunteering.

We are to do all things, “as unto The Lord,” without expecting a great deal of hoopla over what we do. God sees and knows all we do and more importantly, He knows our hearts and our intent.

When I look back at my life, I’d like to think that all I have done–without payment or recognition–is a demonstration of faithful servitude. In the end, on the other side of now, I’m looking for a crown–a crown that can only be given by the One who inspires all to do great things. This crown will never wear out or rust or lose its value, but forever be a token of God’s recognition for what we have done in the earth.

Lord, help us to seek You in all we do to become faithful servants–mindful that Your reward is truly the only reward we’ll ever need. For when we have done what You desire us to do, You give us favor with mankind–here on earth–and not because we seek favor, but because of who You are.

The Center of Our Joy!

The Center of Our Joy!

They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read. Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:8-10 NIV

“Jesus, You’re the center of my joy,

All that’s good and perfect comes from you,

You’re the heart of my desire, the hope for all I do,

Oh, Jesus, You’re the center of my joy!”

The words from a very popular song keep ringing in the depths of my soul this morning. When Jesus is the center–the very core of all we do–we can do it with confidence and joy, knowing that it’s not about us, but about Him!

In this passage of scripture (The Word), the children of Israel are reminded of the journey their ancestors made with the reading of The Law and the explanations provided, making sure all understood. They wept with remorse when they realized just how off center and off track they had been when they chose to worship idols and engage in other pagan rituals. They were convicted by The Word, but they were not beaten down after showing remorse. They were encouraged–“Don’t cry because the joy of The Lord is your strength,” they were told.

When we hear The Word today, are we convicted and filled with remorse or are those preaching it–using The Word to beat people down rather than to encourage? Are those reading The Word doing so with understanding and able to explain so all have clear understanding?

Perhaps, the reason our society is in the shape that it’s in is because few leaders are reading The Word in the presence of the people, explaining what it means and encouraging the people not to worry because once we understand The Word, we have great joy in knowing Jesus is our strength.

We don’t have to worry about things when Jesus Christ is the center of all we do–careful consideration and deliberate communication (prayer) with Him is sought before we do anything. If we understand The Word and know how God intends for us to live, then our lives should not be easily derailed when challenges confront us. And though we make mistakes, He is there to keep us from utter failure and plummeting  when we remember our strength is in Him.

For those who may be reading this blog for the very first time, I encourage you to hear The Word (read it aloud) and allow Jesus into your heart, making Him the center of your life. For those who already know that He is, I encourage you to share the joy of The Lord with all you know and greet.

Jesus, You’re the Center of my Joy!

Singing!

Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. Psalm 33:3 NIV

Singing praises to our God is a wonderful way to not dwell on our surroundings, especially when those surroundings can cause us grief. The beauty of singing a new song, one no one has ever heard before is that no one can criticize the words, the rhythm, or our voices–since we usually sing them to ourselves.

Over the years, whenever I prepared to minister to God’s people, He always gave me a song to conclude the message. Reception to these songs was usually pretty good and at one time, the church I attended had an awesome musician who could play anything just by listening to a few bars. And when a musician couldn’t pick up the song, I sang it acappella.

Now, when things get too embroiled for me to address without causing more turmoil, I sing a song. Sometimes, it’s a new one–whatever is poured into my spirit–and sometimes, it’s a song that really ministers to me. Recently, I sang to myself–Encourage Yourself In The Lord–and I had to keep singing it in order not to respond to foolishness.

Lately, I find myself singing quite a bit. Most of the songs are based upon The Word, so I can get a chance to meditate on The Word as well as to calm me. Like David playing to keep Saul calm, singing has supernatural power to keep us calm before we create a storm.

Most mothers sing to their infants to calm them. Choirs sing to magnify The Lord. There are songs that make people want to dance and some that make people cry, but singing is a good way to wipe out negativity and the desire to avenge oneself when one feels they have been wronged.

O Lord, You who know everything,

Soothe my heart and let my voice ring,

With a melody that praises You,

And encourages my spirit, too,

Praising You for all You have done

And will do, creating all under the sun,

Providing us with its marvelous light,

Negating the wrongs, to always do right,

As unto You, not to cause others flight,

Away from You. O Lord, I sing

And hear angels’ voices ring,

Carrying the melody meant to calm

In the midst of every storm–until joy,

Releases its healing balm.

There is indeed a balm in singing unto You!

Whenever we feel like we’re about to lose it–our tempers or get emotionally distraught, we can solve it all, by singing!

 

We Can’t Get Tired Now!

We Can’t Get Tired Now!

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV

Day after day, week after week, year after year, no matter how much we attempt to do to change what happens around us, we don’t see the change we want to see, but we can’t get tired, now.

Though adversity after adversity confronts us, wearies us, and angers us, we must keep doing what we know is right–guided by Holy Spirit--maintaining our hope in Him who is the Light who dispels the darkness.

Even when we are walking in the Light of Love, we must guard our hearts and recognize the wolf in sheep’s clothing or the smiling faces who hide the poison in the conversation. Not every smiling face is a friend and when we look closely at the eyes–those orbs that reflect the depth of the soul, we know who is a friend and who is the enemy’s tool.

Every day we wake, we will face some known and some unknown challenges. Many we will overcome, but there are some that drain us dry, leaving us weak and wondering why we bother to continue. That’s life–we can’t take it personally and we must never get tired of trying to do the right thing. When we are weak in our strength, we can count on Him to strengthen us. When our thoughts attempt to defeat us, we have to encourage ourselves in The Lord.

Living for The Lord is not easy, but it is gratifying beyond the description of mere words. Those who don’t understand cannot fathom why we keep on the path He has set before us. They participate in the scorn and ridicule and wait for us to become as they are and when we don’t–they are confused, while we just smile and give God the glory!

If you’re like me and have been facing all sorts of challenges–physical, emotional, and spiritual--praying fervently for those in need, while it seems that no one is praying for you; strengthening yourself in the Word just to keep from going off on those around you, mumbling to keep from saying the wrong thing since words once spoken can never be retrieved; and living in the hope we have in Jesus–don’t get tired now!

When people say all manner of things about you that aren’t true–just thank God for them spending so much and attention on you. You really matter to them! When your body acts like it belongs in a morgue, speak life to your body and tell it to get up and get going. When your heart hurts because people disappoint you, focus on the One who never disappoints. We have an advocate in the midst of every trial and temptation and His name is Jesus!

Until He returns, we are victorious in Him on this side of heaven, so we can’t get tired now!

The Purpose of My Books!

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison

Though I will be the first to admit that I am not a particular fan of Toni Morrison’s works, I agree wholeheartedly with her stance about writing. Before I even read this quote, I knew what type of books I wanted to read and wrote them–with the hope that I was not the only one who wanted to read–wholesome literature–devoid of voyeuristic scenes and profanity.

You see, as much as I love mysteries and romance novels, I started avoiding most of those on the market. Most of the suspense and thriller novels are so laced with profanity that I can’t get past the first chapter. When that happens, I simply stop reading. The same is true of some of the books that people are trying to pass off as romance, when they’re actually only about sex.

I’m not trying to tell other people what to write or how to write it, but I won’t read literature that opposes my faith and my stance with moral issues.

Therefore, I’ve written a number of books–that are romantic in nature without making the reader feel like they’re taking part in a perverse act–and have an actual story line, with lovable characters and those the reader can hate as well.

The suspense and thriller novels–are filled with all the stuff we love–intrigue, murder, human trafficking, kidnapping, but no profanity and the characters have developed “alternate” expressions that work well when they are emotionally charged.

I want to see a return of moral values and structures that all can read in the literature produced. So I have accomplished–at least I think I have–this goal with my books. Why am I saying this now? An author on Twitter posted that Indie Publishers should be blogging about their books, not their blogs. I agree and here I am.

I’d love to know what you think–regarding my purpose.  Did I accomplish my purpose or am I just whistling in the clouds of hope?

There are two fantasies for kids and I’m working on the third in the series. In these books, kids are empowered to overcome good with evil by relying upon innate powers within them– myBook.to/SuperTweens and myBook.to/OtherSide.  Both were written to empower kids between the ages of 10 and 12 and beyond with the latest effort–not yet available. Kids need all the encouragement they can get to do the right thing and to know others see them as worthy and not just a nuisance to be tolerated.

The suspense/thriller works are: myBook.to/Sword about a serial killer in a small town in South Carolina. I introduce Tyson and Tiffany as they team up to find the serial killer. In the second book myBook.to/TNT Tyson is working for the FBI and Tiffany is battling demons from her past, but it is with the struggle they discover who’s kidnapping mentally challenged girls and are able to defuse all the bombs the crazy Russian plants, except one. In  myBook.to/ElevatedHijinks Tyson and Tiffany and their team must find Swatere’s kids who have been kidnapped as revenge against Tiffany. They find the kids, but will a blazing mountain fire defeat their attempt to rescue them?

Two of the romance novels are based upon two ministers who meet over the phone and begin the journey that is overwhelmed with obstacles. myBook.to/Gifts begins the story, but even after they overcome the barriers set before them, others attempt to cloud the issues in myBook.to/Storms.  The last romance is more secular in nature, but still provides insight into matters of the heart and love without being erotically perverse. There is a wonderful story line in myBook.to/MoneyTalks about love, trust and betrayal.

There are many more found on Amazon–mostly Christian Living and can be accessed through this link  viewAuthor.at/maryglobal.  My goal with this post is to entice you to read my books and let me know if I have accomplished my purpose.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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Never Consumed!

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22,23 NIV

Rebellion consumes the mind and ignites opposition to authority. The serpent in the garden ignited rebellion and opposition to God’s Word in Eve and Adam and resulted in their eviction from The Garden.

Hate consumes the mind and ignites more hate without reason. All of the dictators who systematically killed others who opposed them and spread lies in order to get others to do their dirty work–were consumed with hate.

Fire consumes everything in its path, without bias–destruction emerges as the end result. The lake of fire has been prepared for all liars, fornicators, adulterers–and those who refuse to Believe God. They will be consumed and nothing left of them to deter others.

But love–soothes the rising of anger and replaces it with peace and hope. Love stamps out those fires of unbelief and rebellion and hate, enveloping us and sealing us with His love. And it is because of Love–that we are not consumed with carnal desires, displeasing God on a daily basis. His love embraces us and His mercies are new every morning–saving us from ourselves.

Are we consumed with the desire to love? Are we attempting to do everything we can to please God rather than self? Love never destroys, but builds. Love never makes excuses for not doing right, but finds reasons to promote itself. Love does not see differences, but looks for opportunities to understand and accept diversity. We are all one race–the human race–and love embraces one and all.

Love and hate cannot abide in the same place for either love will reign or hate will reign. Where love reigns, peace abides and no one is sacrificed for another. Where hate reigns–destruction is imminent–and no one is given any consideration at all. If we are not consumed because of God’s love for us, we should do as He does and just–love!

The evidence is clear–we can see it with our own eyes–both naturally and spiritually how hate consumes and destroys on a daily basis. With all of the people who are senselessly killed on a daily basis–undisciplined minds raging out of control and their feelings taking over and driving them to do dastardly things that cost lives–others and theirs for when they do wrong–eventually they are caught and their lives end in prison or a morgue.

There’s a reason we are still here–not consumed by passions that destroy, but saved to be filled to overflowing with His love to share with others. Because of His endless love and mercies–we are never consumed with hatred or the desire to destroy. We have work to do to make sure that love and compassion never cease as we promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, let’s get busy and make sure complacency and indifference never consume us, leaving us wondering why we cannot move forward in His name!

Fill us, Lord–to overflowing with Your love and compassion every day!

 

 

Don’t Get Discouraged!

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23,24 NIV

If we pay too much attention to those around us who are always complaining, always negative, and always finding fault with others–if we allow their noise to infect our spirits, we become discouraged. We have to shut out the noise of bitterness and complaining and fault-finding and encourage ourselves in The Lord!

When we understand that people have neither heaven or hell for us–we don’t have to pay attention to them or we certainly should not consider their opinion of us–we can work–diligently–knowing what we do, The Lord sees and He will reward.

I have discovered in life that no matter what we do–we will never please all people all the time. So, I’ve learned to not consider what people may think (unless I value their opinion) and do what is right in the sight of The Lord. There is a peace that settles in my spirit when I know He is pleased with what I do, no matter what others think.

Pleasing people–who are fickle-minded and subject to change as quickly as Michigan weather–is a waste of time. I’m not saying we should not do what we’re supposed to do–especially in situations of a job or in a role of responsibility. I’m saying, as long as what we do–we can be assured that we have done our best to get it right and do what’s right–we shouldn’t worry about people. I have been in situations where those in authority expected me to cheat and lie and I refused. I have been in situations where people thought making fun of cultural differences was acceptable and when I refused to join in the stupidity, I was ostracized. None of them mattered because I knew right from wrong and would not veer from doing right.

On this journey in life, we have to know who we are and who we serve. We have to be secure in the knowledge that no matter no people do, we will not shame God by being disobedient to Him. When we know who we are–nothing moves us from God’s Truth. When we know our role in life is to please Him, what others think won’t matter. And if there comes a time when we start to doubt ourselves–we look to The Word to encourage ourselves–to keep doing things God’s Way.

We see people like Kim Davis and Tim Tebow who refuse to bow to popular opinion and we watch their persecution when they remain steadfast in their beliefs. Many of us are being persecuted on a smaller scale because we will not succumb to being like those around us when they prove they do not honor God with their living. I don’t know about other people, but I keep talking to God–seeking His wisdom and direction in all things. I freely admit, I don’t always know how to handle various situations, but I know He does. And even when I hear Him say things that my flesh does not want to hear, I clench my teeth and obey.

Remember this–no matter what people do–Our God reigns and nothing by any means shall deter us from living our lives to please Him!

Where There Is Hope!

For in You, O LORD, I hope;
You will hear, O Lord my God. Psalm 38:15 NKJV

We, mere human beings, place our hope in a myriad of things–and people–and usually when we have placed all of our eggs in one basket–we are eventually disappointed and many are discouraged. Why? Our hope–in things and people–is misplaced. When our hope is totally in God–we are never disappointed–if we are willing to hear and obey.

There were many people who had hopes of winning the billion dollar lottery. We know because of the size of the jackpot and the number of people who had hopes of winning. But the reality is–no matter how many tickets a person purchased, only one was going to win. In this case–three people had the same numbers and shared the jackpot. How many others were disappointed?

And even when we “win” at some things, the victory brings with it other challenges. When professional sports team win a game, the expectation is they will keep winning and when they don’t, fans, coaches, teams and owners are disappointed. Why? Their hope was in their individual and collective abilities, but someone had to lose in order for someone to win.

We place our hope in our leaders and are often disappointed when they fail to live up to our expectations and then we seek to replace them. This is especially true when leaders fail to consider the big picture in making decisions about those they lead. The primary example for this misguided hope is the situation that now exists in Flint, Michigan with its water crisis. Trying to save the city money is going to cost–the city, the residents and the governor–when the fallout of using contaminated water is determined. It is already costing the families who live there–those who have ingested lead-laced water.

We place our hope in teachers and educational systems when corruption runs rampant and greed reigns and children are the biggest losers because those in charge–forgot about them. The situation with the teachers in the Detroit Public School system is not new; it has been germinating for decades, but it has finally sprouted and all the ugliness revealed–because it is time to fight back with teachers taking up the banner, saying enough is enough.

This post is not intended to address the political ramifications of corruption and complacency, but to demonstrate how misplaced hope (without God) will always end in disappointment.

Not so with God–in Him–we can rest assured that He will do and accomplish all He says in His Word when we hear and obey Him. The problem is most of us won’t trust Him completely and when we try to trust–just a little bit–we are disappointed because we lacked the ability to trust Him completely. Our hope and trust have to be in Him since He is the only constant in our lives. We cannot trust people who don’t honor Him and we certainly cannot trust–things–that have no soul or spirit–no conscience or feelings regarding right or wrong.

In You, O Lord, do we place our complete trust and hope, now and forever. For there is none like You who holds our future in Your hand, knowing all there is know about us and yet loving us anyway.

Overcoming Evil With Good!

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21 NIV

For every unkind word spoken

For every deed that’s an evil token,

For every thought opposed to good,

Let love abide and reign as Jesus would.

We do not have to respond to others as they do to us because the love of Christ reigns within our hearts and we have been given (by Holy Spirit), the gift of discernment so we might know what is the influence behind what people say and do. When Believers understand that the enemy will always influence those whose minds are weak and not focused on the things of God, we will withstand the attacks by showering others with love.

Showering others with love does not mean we become doormats and allow people to deliberately misuse and abuse us. It means that we know when to step back and love from afar–if we need to do so–praying for all who are living in misery and allowing the enemy to use them.

However, sometimes those who are most miserable and have allowed the enemy to cloud their minds with doubt uncertainty, seldom understand that a word of advice or correction is not an attack against them, but an act of love to support and encourage them. When correction is not accepted–for whatever reason–it is time to step back and pray–leave them to their own devices until we see the enemy no longer leading them. And while we wait, we continue doing good–doing what Jesus would do in every situation.

One of the amazing things that I’ve encountered with people who say they know Jesus is they seldom remember that Jesus corrected those who were wrong as well as loved. People remember He said, “love” but they forget–if they ever knew–that we are also to correct others when we know they are headed in the wrong direction. We have a right to seek justice for any injustice we see–correcting every wrong–no matter who is wrong. The perfect example for Jesus doing this is when He overturned the tables in the temple–outraged at the mockery of charging people money to buy elements for sacrificial acts.

Although we do not have the power, on an individual basis, to stop all the evil in the world, we can–collectively–keep doing good and praying that those who commit evil will come into the knowledge of Truth and find their way to Him. We shall overcome!