When Souls Are at Risk!

When Souls Are at Risk!

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:19-26 NIV

Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.Proverbs 16:8 NIV

Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool— how much worse lying lips to a ruler! Proverbs 17:7 NIV

How do we lose our soul? By trying to live according to man’s dictates rather than living by The Word of God and obeying what we hear Him say to us.

When man thinks it is more important for people to listen to them, than to God, souls are at risk. Since I’ve never been one to try to please people, I try to make sure my soul–my soul–remains in position to be blessed by God, knowing where my eternity shall be spent. All is well with my soul!

Now, because of my love for God and the desire to please Him, what I do is often misinterpreted as being an act of disobedience by some who think they know more than God. I realize that God has given us all a gift–specifically–purposed by Him, for Him. Though I did not recognize the gift as a child when I was always the one trying to maintain peace among kids on the playground and in school, I do recognize it now. He has always used me to fight for the underdog–those who were not capable of speaking up for themselves or not willing to do so because of fear.

Looking back at the endeavors I’ve undertaken, I can see how I was being prepared for such a moment as this. I’ve always been a community activist–fighting for justice and equality for the oppressed. I’ve never had a lot of money, but what I had, I often used to help others in need and God has tremendously blessed my life. So, I know when I hear God speak to me and another–I will not hear. I will not be tempted by religious affiliation to steer others onto a path that is not of God.

When trying to choose between two job offers–one that paid more money and was fairly secure and the other that paid less and offered no job security, but involved defending the rights of poor people. I prayed and found in His Word the right path for me–taking the job that paid less, but enriched my life.

I’ve spent years volunteering my time and skills to help others who could not afford to pay for the services I rendered, but the joy of the Lord was kept alive in my heart by their gratitude, not their money.

As an educator–my purpose was to give those students I taught what they needed to succeed beyond the walls of a classroom and when I see some of them now, they let me know how much they appreciate me–pushing them to do their very best.

And now I understand more than ever how important it is to hear God for ourselves and obey what He’s telling us today. I am still an avenger for justice and though I lose the approval of man, I know I have the approval of God when I obey Him, rather than man.

Until the end comes–the end of life or the end of my ability to type–I will obey God because my soul is too important for me to heed the words of mere mortals over the voice of God. My soul belongs to Jesus and another will not cause me lose my place in eternity, simply to pacify another mere mortals with religious rhetoric.

Lord, I thank You for giving me another opportunity to glorify You in all I do. Forgive my reluctance to act even sooner, not obeying what I heard You say, out of concern for what others might think, because I didn’t understand, clearly. I will hear and obey–whether I understand it or not so people will not have to live under the dictates of fearmongers and hatemongers who pretend to know You, but don’t. And now I ask Your continued blessings and wisdom to be poured into all who desire to please You as we continue our journey to defend the rights of the poor, needy and oppressed.

Recognizing Love!

Recognizing Love!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. I Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

Not only do we know how to recognize love, we know that in the absence of love--hate reigns and consumes and devours–eats away desire for compassion, common sense and logic and drowns the soul in bile and venom; hate blinds to truth and integrity and hope.

Love attempts to see the best in everyone and ignites hope in the hopeless, not despair.

Love soothes hurt feelings and seeks forgiveness for any perceived wrongs committed against others.

Love is consumed with doing what is best for all people.

Love is considerate and patient--does push itself on people, but waits for acceptance and even when love is not returned, love keeps loving.

Love does not brag about self, but will boast about the accomplishments of others and credit all their own achievements to God who led them in all they do.

Love embraces wisdom from God and knows all good things come from Him.

Love is thoughtful and disciplined; it is not thin-skinned and easily angered.

In the absence of love–hate opens doors for evil to walk in and then is amazed that they too are ensconced in the evil planned for others.

In the absence of love–self is the center of attention and no one else matters for no one else is considered worthy.

In the absence of love–one thinks their brain is so great they don’t need to listen to anyone else and certainly not God.

In the absence of love–hunger for power to destroy exists and delights in hurting others.

In the absence of love–there is no hope; only despair, hatred, and bigotry and fear.

In the absence of love–there is no light to see truth, only darkness.

In the absence of love–hate–like a fungus grows in the dark places–the voids where love should be–waiting for someone to take the first bite and be poisoned for life.

LOVE never fails! Perfect love–the ability to love all unconditionally–casts aside fear and embraces truth, honor, integrity.

When we know how to recognize love and know by what we see and hear when love is absent, we know who has received the love of God into their hearts and who has not.

Lord Jesus, pour out–in abundance–more love from on high; fill our hearts to overflowing so we will have more than enough to share with others in all we do and will know how to resist the evil from without, never giving any place in our hearts for hate to exist. Remove the scales from the eyes of those blinded by bitterness, despair and hopelessness and fill them with the joy of The Lord, restoring hope and trust in You!

 

 

Maintaining Our Focus!

Maintaining Our Focus!

I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. LORD, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. Then David said to the whole assembly, “Praise the LORD your God.” So they all praised the LORD, the God of their fathers; they bowed down, prostrating themselves before the LORD and the king. 1 Chronicles 29:17,18, 20 NIV

Do we know who our God is that we can keep our focus on Him?

Our God–the One who created all things and without whom–nothing was ever created.

Our God--the God of heaven and the bible.

Our God–who is love and loves us so much He willingly sacrificed Himself when He came in the flesh of man–His Son–to take our sins upon Him, that we might have eternal life.

Our God–the One who provides for our every need.

Our God–the One who provides us with wisdom from Him, and never thinks little of us because we asked for more wisdom.

Our God–the One who heals all our sicknesses and diseases.

Our God–the One who forgives our sins when we repent and seek Him.

Our God–the only One who has prepared a place for us to spend eternity with Him.

David understood the significance of making a distinction when talking about The Lord, Our God, because so many were worshiping gods they made with their own hands and thought those things they made had power. They worshiped their gods with human sacrifices and burning children–thinking (influenced by the god of this world–Satan) that their sacrifices would mean something or save them from something. They did not realize that nothing made by the hands of man has the power to save anyone from the wrath of God–who removes His hand of protection when we choose to go our own way–rejected Him and His wisdom.

It is not that God destroys anyone or anything, but that He allows the destruction because of our disobedience. And there are some now who think we are headed for destruction because of this election cycle. This election cycle–has proven and revealed where the hearts of people really are. Satan has truly blinded some to the truth by wrapping up the wolf in the guise of being a Christian–who doesn’t even know what the term means. More hatred and vitriol has been spewed towards others who disagree with the candidates and their supporters than I’ve ever seen.

I am absolutely sure–God is not pleased with our behavior and I am just as sure that we shall all feel His wrath when He removes His hand of protection and we find ourselves captured–held in bondage-by allowing the enemy to influence our decisions.

So, what do we mere mortals do? We maintain our focus on God’s Word and living it so others will know who we are–not by what we say, but by what we do--aligning our lives with The Word. We stay positive and when the negative nannies throw venom our way, we stop the flow with love and correction, turning the focus to Him, not us.

God is love–and for any who do not know how to love those walking the earth, they cannot love God. My choice in this election cycle is following the dictates of Holy Spirit who will only speak as God directs.

The Reaping Principle!

The Reaping Principle!

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:7-10 NKJV

The principle of sowing and reaping or planting and harvesting is one that farmers understand only too well. Whatever a person plants and nurtures is what will grow and can be harvested later. Farmers know they cannot plant corn and expect to harvest green beans.

This principle should be a staple for living for all of mankind. Whatever we plant–love, joy, hate or fear and nurture is all we’ll harvest.

If we plant (seed, feed and water) love–then all that will grow is love and all we can reap (gather in from the growth) is love.

If we plant (seed, feed, and water)  hate–then all that will grow is hate and all we can reap (gather in from the growth) is hate.

When it comes to The Word which is what all Believers should be sowing, we understand that one plants, one waters, but it is God who nurtures until harvesting time.

The same is true in the political arena we observe today. All it takes is “one” to plant hatred and bigotry, feeding the seed that may have been lying dormant in the minds of frustrated people. And when the rhetoric doesn’t change, it waters and nurtures the hatred and bigotry until we see a full-blown harvest of violence and negativity in the interaction between people.

Having different opinions about a situation is not justification for promoting hatred and bigotry, but that seems to be the protocol for most who dare to express an opinion about our presidential candidates–on both sides. I can express a differing opinion without resorting to name-calling, but then I’m not nurtured hate and therefore, hate does not spout from my lips or fingertips.

What on earth makes us think that there is a culturally superior group of people on the planet? None of us are perfect, but some of us are mindful of the fact that when we belong to Jesus, we have a higher standard to live up to–one that He determines, not us. We cannot set standards for anyone, but we can assess whether those standards set by God are being achieved.

Seriously, I am fed up with people who spew hatred–at anyone who dares to confront them and in some cases, they are confronting others with their hatred–vilifying anyone who dares to disagree with them. They think (out of their frustration and hate of themselves and their situations) they have a right to malign others, not realizing they are setting themselves up to receive (reap) everything they sow.

If we really want to see what it is we’re sowing (planting), we need to keep a mirror in front of us and see us as others see–and get understanding about what we do. How many times has the republican presumptive nominee called every other candidate a liar and then has been proven to be one? How many times has he called someone crooked and yet he has forgotten his documented business background? Does he do what he does because this is all that resides within him and therefore, that is all that can come out of him? And while he claims that everyone else is not trustworthy, what has he done to engender trust in him? He needs a reality check–someone to remind him that this is not entertainment, but the the real world–where his antics–the profanity and bigotry and lack of wisdom displayed is forging mindsets against him, not for him.

But then again–maybe that’s part of his plan–to just plant, water and nurture hatred and bigotry and then slink away into the tower of ignorant bliss.

I have faith in God and in the American people who will determine who will sit in the White House for the next four years and I know because of my relationship with God and understanding of His Word that He loves us and will not tolerate hatred and bigotry to reign over His Children. When the Spirit of The Lord resides within a person, hatred and bigotry have no room to operate and only love will spring forth from those guided by Holy Spirit.

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!

Who’s Crying Now?

Then they will cry to the LORD,
But He will not hear them;
He will even hide His face from them at that time,
Because they have been evil in their deeds. Micah 3:4 NKJV

There will come a time when those who perpetuate evil, leading others astray intentionally, manipulating people and circumventing true authority will cry unto The Lord, when they refuse to obey Him.

It would appear that people–across the board–choose to ignore God and enjoy the fruits of their wickedness until the time comes when, God exposes the wickedness for what it is and the tables are turned on them. Then, with truth exposed, they call upon The Lord expecting Him to hear and answer, but as the Prophet Micah reveals–He won’t hear them.

What I’ve observed in human nature is that those who say they don’t know if there’s a god or not; don’t know whether they believe in Jesus or not, and then live any way they want to live, back-peddle quickly, when things don’t go their way. And the situation is even worse when those who say they believe God, but don’t want to obey Him. When they have caused others to cry–with their schemes and lies–they are quick to call on Jesus when life causes them to cry.

I wonder–do people really think that God does not see, cannot hear all that goes on in the earth? Do people think God is winking an eye at sin and that truth will never reign? We have in our society those who have no problem causing strife and dissension in the midst of things, but when the tables turn–oh my! “What did I do? O God, help me!”

Those who fuel drama and discord, lead people astray with lies and perpetuate nonsense leading to the deaths of others, will one day pay and we who have been watching them terrorize nation after nation, will see them exposed for who they really are–just as it came to pass when Micah was prophesying to God’s people. It’s amazing to me that those who don’t recognize truth when they see or hear it, are quick to twist their version of truth into lies and they cry–hoping others will never know who they really are.

We need not despair over the fate of those who create one dilemma after another for others. Weeping may endure for us–for a moment, but joy is coming!

Great Joy For All People!

Great Joy For All People!

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared unto them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, he is the Messiah, the Lord: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.” Luke 3:8-14 NIV

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Today, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I am so thankful that He was obedient unto the cross, loving me so much that if I was the only person on earth, in need of saving, He still would have died–just for me.

I pray that all will remember the love He has for all and that we all–whosoever will receive Him–will be mindful of the love He has for us and love others as He loves us–unconditionally.

It is easy to set aside one day out of the year to recognize others with gifts and kindness–for some–who have financial means to do so, but what about the others–who have no thing to give, but know how to love?

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with exchanging gifts, but with the gift-giving and tearing off paper wrappings, tossed in the garbage, are we remembering the Gift given wrapped in love, never forsaken and cannot be tossed aside?

For even if some have never received His Gift–of love and sacrifice, it is still accessible–and all they have to do is open their hearts and receive.

The best gift–is priceless–knowing that we are loved without measure and when we receive His love, we can be filled to overflowing–able to love others--even the unlovable–just as Christ loves us–when we are unlovable.

The gift of Love in the person of Jesus Christ is the reason we celebrate today and even if you didn’t get the “things” you wanted, remember His Love is always accessible.

Have a very Merry Christmas Celebrating

The Joy He Gives to All Who Receive!

Be Still and Rest!

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. Psalm 37:7-11 NIV

At some point in our lives, we sometimes think we have to be busiest when challenges arise. We get upset, angry, defiant, rebellious and simply want to bulldoze everyone and everything–we think gets in our way. That’s the carnal mind that influences those types of thoughts.

The spiritual person–the one who allows Holy Spirit to speak to them and they listen–can rest in the middle of the storms of life. They know the battle is not theirs, but the Lords. They also know that no matter what happens, if they just stay focused on the One who has already made us victorious, right versus might will win every time. The Word tells us to “be still and know that He is God.”

It’s time to rest–physically, naturally, and spiritually–time to stop trying to determine where the enemy will attack us next. It doesn’t matter–the enemy is already defeated and we simply have to bide our time, patiently waiting to see how God works things out in our lives. God doesn’t need our help–we need Him.

So, if we need Him, why do we wear ourselves out trying to figure out–what happens next? God knows and when we truly belong to Him–totally submitted to His guidance, we have no need to worry, fret or get angry–we simply rest in Him, knowing that the battle–whether in the natural or spiritual, is already won.

Rest in Him today–physically and spiritually and keep your heart open to Him and watch what He does. I’m smiling already, knowing that He has me glad and it is the joy of The Lord that is my strength. I can rest–totally at peace–knowing that He holds all things in His hands and since I am belong to Him–no weapon–not jealousy, envy, poverty, sickness–nothing formed and fashioned to harm me, will succeed.

It’s hallelujah time! Praising Him while I get still and rest in Him!

Looking To The Word!

Looking To The Word!

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-23 NIV)

In times like these, when we look at senseless violence and hatred, we cannot turn to man or woman or even military might; we must look to The Word–for comfort, direction, instruction, and peace–gaining confidence in Him and boldness to proclaim our faith in Him.

No logical mind can explain or receive illogical behavior and we cannot justify it by simply praying or being fearful. We must understand the enemy’s attack (all destruction is influenced by Satan), and stand firmly on God’s Word, seeking what He would have us to do, before responding–illogically. This is a spiritual war against humanity and we must resolve it in the Spirit–with faith enough in God so He will move on behalf of all those who proclaim to love Him. Now is not the time to cower and retreat, now is the time for Believers all over the world, to step up their prayer-life, knowing that we have the power to transform lives by our faith and confidence in Jesus Christ.

For The Word tells us when we pray–BELIEVE–WITHOUT DOUBTING and we shall have what we say when we ask in the name of Jesus.

Father,

I cannot imagine the heartache that exists right now in Paris and in other places due to destructive cowardice of a few led astray by Your arch enemy–the hater of mankind. My heart is heavy, but my spirit soars in the knowledge that You will avenge the cowardly acts and restore faith, and peace in all nations when they turn to You.

I pray that all who are hurting will put their hurt into Your hands and watch You give them peace and joy that no enemy–in no form–can ever take from them. I pray this act of senseless violence will result in greater faith and confidence and boldness for all who know You to persist in promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We know that without You going before us, we can accomplish nothing, but with You–we can accomplish all things and know that victory is ours.

Speak to the hearts of leaders everywhere, providing them wisdom from You–giving them direction and resolutions that will lead to peace on earth.

Loose the shackles that bind minds and cause the scales of blind ignorance to fall from the eyes of those who willingly perpetrate crimes against all humanity for a cause that cannot won on this side of heaven.

Let the tears that have already fallen form a pool of determination and as deep as the pool is–so shall our joy in You be, knowing we can count on You and our love for others–gets stronger, nullifying hate.

This I ask and thank You for in the name of Jesus, and declare it done. Victory is ours!

SPEAK THE WORD OVER ALL SITUATIONS AND SEEK GOD’S WILL!

Joy With The Lord!

I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:8-11 NIV)

Though the mountains shake and the earth opens and water covers the land, I will fear no evil for the joy of The Lord is my strength. And with Him, my joy is complete–no devil in hell or demonic spirits on earth, can move from being with my Lord, Jesus Christ or obeying His Word!

This is my confession today and shall be embedded in my heart for the rest of my life. And if by chance I should happen to forget it, I’m creating a poster–declaring the same for I will not allow the fickleness of people to persuade me to do anything that God has not already shown me.

David was singing His declaration in the segment of the Psalms noted and throughout all he wrote; he knew that in order to keep negative thoughts at bay, he had to keep the joy of the Lord before Him. All of the Psalms are a message in themselves, messages we can apply to our daily lives and when the naysayers, doubters and unbelievers attempt to discourage us–we have a song to sing and declaration to make–Our God is more than enough–to see us through whatever comes our way.

Though some of us may not be able to carry a tune or sound much better than a croaking frog, we can all sing His praises and make our own declarations–expressing our love and trust in Him–for all the world to know. When we learn to become as bold as the enemy, we will discover the power within us–driven by Holy Spirit–can change the very atmosphere in which we exist--from the lowest to the highest–level or station in life, every Believer must know that within us–we can change the World–if we simply keep our eyes on Jesus and never allow the trials and challenges of the world to burden us so that we forget, who we are and who we have in Him.

Now–it’s time to open our hearts to Him–allowing Him to give us a song–inspiring us to greatness by doing great things, trusting Him to provide all our needs, while we take care of others. Hallelujah! Speak Lord, for Your servants are listening, ready to obey!