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Free Indeed

Free Indeed

36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

On yesterday our country celebrated another July 4th Anniversary, or some would call it Independence Day.  This marked another year of our country living in freedom, which is one of the reasons it is considered to be the greatest country in the world to live in.

While thinking about this, I thought of the freedoms that we have in Christ.  Oh what a blessing to be free of the eternal death sentence that comes as a consequence of our sins. This is a yoke that Christ stepped in and chose to bear on our behalf.

As Christians we are also free of the guilt and shame of our sins, when we confess and repent of them.

Freedom in Christ means that we no longer have to fear dying, because we will have an eternal home with God.  This freedom also means that we can boldly approach God’s throne of grace and ask for His divine help for any situation we encounter.

Freedom in Christ means that we can move through life freely and without reservation or fear, knowing that God’s hand of protection is over us.  Freedom in Christ means that we can pursue our God given calling, knowing that God has already gone before us and opened any closed doors.

Because we are children, we are free!    Now that’s something to celebrate!

What Does God’s Word Say About Our Freedom

Galatians 5:1
5 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do
2 Corinthians 3:17
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
Acts 13:38-39
38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.
Ephesians 3:12
12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Psalms 119:45
45 I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.
1 Peter 2:116 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.
Galatians 5:3-14
Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b

John 8:32
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Romans 8:1-4
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Romans 6:2
22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
1 Corinthians 7:22
22 For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave
Isaiah 6:1
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
Romans 6:14
14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Hebrews 2:14-15
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

 

 

 

 

 

When They Are All Grown Up

When They Are All Grown Up

Last month we celebrated Mother’s Day.  I have been really busy the past few months, so for this special occasion to interrupt my normal routine was wonderful!
Usually, we only celebrate on Mother’s Day.  However, this year my daughter took charge.  She had the most wonderful surprises planned for each day. Starting that Friday evening all the way through that Sunday.  We had fun new restaurants to experience, as well as I got to go and take in a movie that I had been wanting to see. It was really a fun weekend!

It’s times like these that make me reflect on the yesteryears, when I was a new mom and trying so hard to get it right.  I feel like I was constantly stressed out, because I watched over our daughter like a momma hawk. I did not want her out of my sight. I knew that I was supposed to protect her, and I took my job seriously.  I now know that it would have been ok to relax a bit more and trust that God would protect her.

My days were super busy as a mom, as they are for every mom that I know.

There were days when I was so tired that I didn’t know what to do, and it didn’t really matter because I had to keep going anyway.  I remember the times that I would go to the kitchen to prepare dinner, and I honestly didn’t know if I had the strength to do it.  I was totally exhausted!  There have been many times that I just prayed and asked God to give me the strength to get through it, and He did.

There were basketball games constantly and piano lessons, Children’s Choir and Church.   And let’s not even talk about the occasions when my daughter was ill and had to pull an all-nighter.  And because I loved her and I loved being her mom I would choose to do all of this over and over again.

Let’s face it, motherhood is hard work and it requires lots of sacrifices, but it is worth every step of the journey.   Motherhood will also teach you more about yourself than you ever thought possible.

When you look at your adult children all grown up and living a life that honors you as a parent, and most importantly honors God, you can’t help but be proud, as well as thankful to God for his guidance and protection.

So to all of you moms with young children, hang in there!  It really does get better.  Continue to lift your children up to God in prayer and continue to ask God to bless you with strength and wisdom for the journey.  One day you will get to witness the fruit of your years of labor.   Your children truly are a blessing from the Lord!  And no one on this planet will ever love them like their momma!

Be blessed and be encouraged, your work is not in vain.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Proverbs 17:6
Children’s children are a crown to the aged,  and parents are the pride of their children.
Psalm 127:3
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
Proverbs 31:31
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

 

 

HOW TO HOLD ON DURING A DIFFICULT SEASON

HOW TO HOLD ON DURING A DIFFICULT SEASON

I don’t know what you are going through at this present moment.  Perhaps this is a wonderful season of life for you, and everything that you are hoping for is falling right into place.  For some of you life may be very hard right now, and you are barely hanging on by a thread.

We all go through seasons, and some seasons are much harder than others. I have heard many times that it’s not what we go through, but how we choose to respond to what we are going through that matters.

If this is a tough season for you right now, I want to first encourage you to hang in there, and don’t allow the enemy to take any more ground than he has already taken.  Stand firm in your faith in God.  Trust that he will bring you through, in his perfect timing and in the way that is ultimately best for you.
Sometimes in hard seasons it’s easy to drift away from God, instead of turning towards God.  Let me encourage you to not walk, but run towards God during your difficult season.  When life seems like an unending tornado, he is your safe place.

Also, remember when it seems like it’s taking God forever to answer your prayers, there are always things going on behind the scenes that we are not aware of.  God is working it out. Be patient, his timing is different from our timing.   Because he has a plan for each of our lives, and he can see our future, the sequence of events that we encounter will be perfectly timed.

How To Hold On During A Difficult Season
  1. Pray, Pray, Pray!  Pray without ceasing.   Prayer will get you through.
  2. Stay close to God by staying close to his Word.  Read your Bible daily and he will guide you on important decisions that you may need to make.
  3. If you are in a Community Group through your Church ask them to keep you and your family lifted up in prayer.  If you are not in a Community Group ask   your Christian friends to pray for you.  There is much power where two or more are gathered in prayer.
  4. Journal your prayers.  Journaling your prayers is like pounding on the door of heaven.  I highly recommend it.  It also is a great way to process your thoughts  and feelings about what you are going through.
  5. Never ever give up on God or yourself.  Stay hopeful, keep trusting in God, and keep believing for your miraculous breakthrough, because it is coming, so hold     on!
    Scriptures:

    Psalm 55:22
    22 Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
    Psalm 56:3-4
    When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
       In God, whose word I praise—in God, I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
    Psalm 62:8
    Trust in him at all times, you people;  pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
    Isaiah 41:10
    10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
    Hebrews 13:6
    So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?”[a]
    Psalm 121:1-8
    I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?
    My help comes from the Lord,  the Maker of heaven and earth.
    He will not let your foot slip—  he who watches over you will not slumber;
    indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
    The Lord watches over you—   the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
    the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
    The Lord will keep you from all harm—  he will watch over your life;
    the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
    Psalm 9:9
    The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,  a stronghold in times of trouble.
    Psalm 32:7
    You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
    Psalm 27:5
    For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
    Psalm 18:2
    The Lord is my rock, my fortress , and my deliverer;  my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,  my shield[a] and the horn[b] of my salvation, my stronghold.
    Psalm 119:114
    114 You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.
    Psalm 91
    Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
    I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
    Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
    He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings, you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
    You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
    nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
    A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
    You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked
    If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,
    10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
    11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
    12 they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
    13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
    14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
    15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
    16 With long life I will satisfy him  and show him my salvation.”
    Psalm 23
    The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
        He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
        he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
    Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a]I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
    You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
    You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
    Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
    and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
        forever. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

 

Can Others Tell That You Have Been In The Presence Of God

Earlier this week I was reading in Exodus 34:29.  This passage of scripture was regarding the time when Moses came down from Mount Sinai.   After being in God’s presence, his face had a radiance that he was not aware of.

 I know that we are not able to come face to face with God, however we definitely can be in his presence each day.  My question for you today is; can others tell that you have been in God’s presence?
One of the best ways to assess this is by looking at the fruit that we are bearing.  We can’t just show up on Sunday mornings for church, and think that we will bear the kind of fruit that will make our character resemble that of Jesus.  It takes spending time in His word on a daily basis.  It also requires praying and quietly listening for His gentle still voice, in order to bear fruit that resembles His character.
When we visit Galatians 5:22-23 we find the Fruit of the Spirit listed here.  They are Love, Joy. Peace, Long Suffering / Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness,  Gentleness, Self Control.  When we master these, others will know that we are truly living each day in God’s presence, because our character will reveal it and that my friends will give us our God Glow.  We will be as radiant at that point as humanly possible on this side of eternity.
LOVE
1st Corinthians 13:1-13
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
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. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love
 LOVE
John 3:16
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
1 John 4:7-8
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
John 14:15
15 “If you love me, keep my commands.
JOY
Psalm 16:11
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.
Nehemiah 8:10
10 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.”
Jeremiah 15:16
When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name,
 Lord God Almighty.
PEACE
Psalm 119:165
165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.
Isaiah 26:12
Lord, you establish peace for us;  all that we have accomplished you have done for us
LONG SUFFERING / PATIENCE
Romans 12:12
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Ephesians 4:2
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love
KINDNESS
Colossians 3:12
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
GOODNESS
Psalm 145:9
The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
Matthew 19:17
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
Roman 12:9
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
2nd Peter 1:3-8
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
FAITHFULNESS
Proverbs 3:3-4

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;  bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name  in the sight of God and man.
1st Samuel 12:24
24 But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.
2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one
GENTLENESS
Philippians 4:5
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Matthew 11:29
29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Colossians 3:12
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Titus 3:1-23
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good,
 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
SELF CONTROL
1 Corinthians 10:131
No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
2nd Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
Romans 12:1-2
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

What A Spring Break

We can make our plans,  but the Lord determines our steps.
Psalm 46:10
10 “Be still, and know that I am God! ……..
Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

For months my family and I anticipated Spring Break.  My husband is a teacher and traditionally I try to take a few days off during Spring Break, so that we can do something together.  This year our daughter even arranged her vacation time, around our Spring Break time so we could all be together.

My daughter and I had some things planned that we wanted to do. We wanted to visit some nearby towns that we don’t typically get to visit.  We even had shopping included in our activities.  As planned, to kick off our Spring Break activities, our family took a quick two-day trip last weekend to visit my mother and my sister.   We had an absolutely wonderful time.  Little did we know that would pretty much be the end of the fun for our Spring Break.

On Sunday morning of our weekend trip, I remember feeling super tired and just not feeling well at all as I was getting dressed.  I pushed through and the next day as we were packing to leave, I really started to feel worse.

The next morning after arriving back in town, I asked my husband if he could drive me to the doctor.  My suspicions were correct. I was sick.    When the doctor came back into the room, she announced that I had tested positive for Covid.  This was not what I wanted to hear at all.  I immediately called my daughter and suggested that she get tested, and she received that same news that I did.  She had Covid also.   What a Spring Break!    The good news is that my husband tested negative, so we were thankful for that.

Although this threw some rain on our little parade, and clouds over our plans, I can honestly say that as always, God knew what He was doing. His timing was perfect.  There was definitely a silver lining in our failed plans.  What better time to get sick than when you have no commitments for the week.  We were able to just rest, and my daughter definitely needed some R&R.   No one had to feel bad because they were taking off from work due to sickness.  We were able to simply rest and take care of ourselves.

Although my husband did not have Covid, he too was overdue for some much-needed rest.  So, our God planned Staycation was exactly what we needed, and He knew long before we did that, we would need it.

We still hope at some point to follow through on our initial plans, but clearly it will be in God’s timing not ours.
What I have learned over the years when things haven’t gone as I planned or hoped, is that God is still in control.

Sometimes He is redirecting me.  Sometimes He is simply saying rest, and sometimes He is protecting me.  And through it all I have learned to be content with His will for my life, because I know that He will only allow and do what’s best for me.

My hope for you, is that you too will also learn to be content even during times of disappointment, knowing that He knows what’s best for you. His blessings far outweigh our disappointments, so hang in there and be ever hopeful something good is always headed your way when you are a child of God!

 

What Can We Learn From Lydia

WHO WAS LYDIA?

Lydia was a Godly business woman who sold luxurious purple cloth.  She was originally from Thyatira located in Asia Minor.  At the time that we read about her in Acts chapter 16, she had moved to Phillipi where she had started her business.

There is no mention in scripture of her being married.  Some have speculated that she may have been a widow.  Others think that she may just have been single. She was however in charge of a household. It is not clear who lived with her. In those days it was pretty common for servants to be considered part of the household as well as relatives.

Lydia was considered to be quite an affluent business woman, due to the wealthy clients that she did business with.  Only the very wealthy could afford purple cloth and furnishings that had been dyed purple.  This dye was made from the murex sea snails called a mollusk.  It typically took 10-12,000 of these small creatures to produce just a gram of this exotic purple dye, causing it to be extremely expensive to purchase.  There is no doubt that she probably had friends who were affluent as well.

Lydia and other women would go to the bank of the river to pray and worship.  This is actually where she first met Paul and Silas.  Paul shared the gospel with her.  God opened her heart and she believed, and was baptized. The scriptures say that her entire household was also baptized. She was the very first convert in all of Europe.

Lydia persuaded Paul and Silas as well as those with them to stay at her home.  So, from this we see that she was also very hospitable.

Eventually as the numbers started to grow, her home became the church where they would meet.  I feel sure that meals were provided as well. .  Clearly she loved God and wanted to support those who carried His Word.  Lydia was a great example of someone who was very generous in sharing her wealth to further the spreading of the Gospel.

LESSONS WE CAN LEARN FROM LYDIA

  1. Worshipping God should be a priority.   Lydia was a worshipper.
  2.  We should work in a way that others in your community or even in your line of work have heard about you?  Lydia worked at a level of excellence.  She was a successful business woman and she was known throughout the land for her trade.
  3.  We should  strive to be influential in our quest to bring others to Christ.  Lydia was influential.      Because   those in her household trusted and respected her, she was able to influence them to accept    Christ and be baptized.
  4. We should keep our homes in such a manner that at a moment’s notice  we are prepared to welcome someone in need of a bed or a meal.  Lydia was hospitable .   Lydia showed great hospitality by inviting perfect strangers into her home.
  5. We should always have something set aside to share with others.  Lydia was very generous.  Undoubtedly, having people live with her was  an added  expense.  Although she was a woman of means she still prioritized.  She was kind and generous with her wealth.  Lydia supported the mission of spreading the Gospel.  She welcomed all who came to listen to Paul’s messages.
  6. Lydia used what God had blessed her with, to bless others.  Will you do the same?

 

 

 

Success God’s Way

Success God’s Way

As a college graduate with a degree in Interior Design, I was eager to jump out into the world and pursue my career.   I envisioned having this amazing lifestyle as a designer.  My dream was to have a large home in a gated community,  a top-of-the-line luxury car, all of the designer clothes and handbags that a woman could ever dream of, and of course trips all around the world.   I associated success with financial gain, and with having an abundance of beautiful things.

I now know that God’s view of success is quite different from what I thought that success would look like in my early twenties.  It is also different from what the world wants us to believe that success looks like.  Our success is not based on the number of zeros in our bank accounts, or where we live.  True success is based on our obedience to God and the number of hearts that we have touched and blessed along the way for His glory.

Please know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having dreams and goals.   And there is nothing wrong with owning beautiful things or having lots of zeros in your bank account.  These are all blessings from God.  I am simply saying, don’t allow the enemy to trick you into living a lifetime of chasing beautiful things thinking that’s the mark of success, because it’s not.   God has a different standard for how success is measured for His children.

Today I want to share a few scriptures with you regarding success.

Psalm 1:1-3
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
1 Kings 2:3
and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go
Proverbs 16:3
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,  and he will establish your plans.
Matthew 16:26-27
26 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? 27 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.
Romans 12:2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Deuteronomy 8:6-20
Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.
12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.
Jeremiah 17:7
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.

Baseball

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
Colossians 3:14
14 
and over, all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Romans 12:16
16 
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.
John 17:23
23 
I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
1 Corinthians 1:10
10 
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
Ephesian 4:3
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

This week as the world watched, the Texas Rangers won their very first World Series.  I don’t know about you, but I grew up loving baseball.  As a child on those rare days that our farm chores were completed before nightfall, the kids from our community would converge in our front yard for a game of baseball.

Then as a teenager, I played on a community girl’s softball team.  It was the highlight of my week to go and play ball with my friends.  Basically, the entire community of this very small town that I grew up in, would show up to watch the girls as well as the boys play ball.

The girls would always play first.  Afterward, we enjoyed drinking ice-cold sodas and eating the best hot dogs ever, as we watched the boys play their game.

Then in 1974 I left home and moved to Arlington Texas to attend college.  That’s when I became acquainted with the Texas Rangers. They only arrived two years ahead of me, so I feel like we grew up together.  We were the new kids on the block.  So needless to say, even though I moved away from Texas years ago my heart is still there cheering the Rangers on.
As I tuned in to watch the celebration parade honoring the great victory, I saw thousands upon thousands of happy fans, some of whom had walked as far as two miles to get to the parade route.
There were people there from every walk of life.  Every demographic and ethnicity that you can imagine was represented, all smiling and joyful over the win.
  I saw unity.    How amazing that for a few short hours thousands of people were in agreement over something as simple as baseball.
I saw not only a celebration for baseball champions, but I saw the power of commonality.   For once everyone was on the same page and actually agreeing on something. Their common love and support for this outstanding team and the sport of baseball was what drew them together.
  I long for the day that those of us on God’s team will live in perfect unity.   I truly believe that it will ignite an even greater joy, than I witnessed while watching the celebration parade. .   As we walk in the victory that God has provided for us, we should remember that we too are blessed to be on a winning team, and oh what a victory celebration we will have one day too!

Have You Prepared A Place ?

9 She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. 10 Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”

11 One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. 12 He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call the Shunammite.” So he called her, and she stood before him. 13 Elisha said to him, “Tell her, ‘You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?’”
She replied, “I have a home among my own people.”

14 “What can be done for her?” Elisha asked.

Gehazi said, “She has no son, and her husband is old.”

15 Then Elisha said, “Call her.” So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16 “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.”

“No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!”

17 But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.

I was intrigued a few days ago as I was reading my Bible, and came to a passage of scripture in 2nd Kings 4:8-17.   In this passage a wealthy woman from Shunem invited Elijah to come to her home for a meal.   After his first visit he continued to stop there whenever he came to town.

This woman even told her husband that she was sure that this man was a man of God.   She even suggested to her husband that they build a small room for him, and furnish it with a bed and a chair and lamp, so that he would have a place to stay whenever he came to town.

I saw God’s favor all over this.  Elisha, was blessed because he was a man that honored God. He was treated with kindness by this wealthy woman, and she was also hospitable to him. The relationship that was developing between Elisha, the woman and her husband, would end up being a blessing to all three of them.

Little did the wealthy woman know, that her kindness and generosity would play a huge part in her future.  Elisha sent his servant Gehazi to ask what he could do for her?   It turns out that this lady did not have a son.  Elisha promised her that at that same time the next year,  that she would be holding a baby son.

She honestly thought that he was deceiving her, but a year later true to his word she was holding her baby son.

A great lesson from this really beautiful story is that, we never know what our being kind to someone will lead to.  God has so many wonderful ways of blessing us, and when we bless others, He blesses us.

Another great lesson is that Elisha desired to bless her in a way that was possible for him.  He didn’t assume that because she was wealthy that she didn’t have a need. Sometimes a person’s greatest need is the one that you cannot see, so be willing to ask.  Although someone else shared her need with him, he was still the one that inquired.

Here’s another lesson,  God has an abundance of blessings to fit any and every need imaginable. Just keep your eyes fixed on Him and treat others with kindness and He will bless you whether directly or indirectly through someone else.  Remember just as we love blessing our children, He loves blessing His children!

Divine Appointments

Divine Appointments

14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Esther 4:16
16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
Esther 7:3
Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request.

Today I would like to visit with you about divine appointments.  So many times, we go through life on autopilot, not really paying attention to what’s going on around us.  I would like to encourage you to start paying attention to what God is doing.  I have heard people at times mistakenly refer to a divine appointment as a coincidence.   As Christians, we know that there are no coincidences.

You may be blessed with a divine appointment in a grocery store, at a ball game, on a plane, or even at some event. Wherever you are, know that if you are walking with God, He wants to use you to share Him with others. We are his ambassadors created for divine assignments.   Divine assignments are always orchestrated by God, not us. We are simply His hands and feet carrying out His plan in order to touch the lives of others who needed His help.

As I look back over the years, not only has God used others to orchestrate a divine appointment with me, but He has also used me to carry out divine appointments that He orchestrated for the benefit of others.

One of the examples that instantly comes to mind for me, is the day that I decided to go into a local restaurant here in town to get a bagel.

As I was paying for my food, I struck up a conversation with the cashier that was waiting on me.  She mentioned to me that she really wanted to go back to school, but she didn’t know how she would make it to work, and children.  If I remember correctly, she was a single mom.

I encouraged her, and I told her that she could do it.  I also told her that it would be so worth the sacrifice.

Fast forward about a year to a year and a half later, she showed up at a business event that I was hosting.  To be quite honest, I did not recognize her right at first.  It was not until she approached me and thanked me for encouraging her to go back to school that I realized who she was.  She told me how much my words meant to her that day and how they inspired her to go for her dream of completing her degree.

That my friends were a divine appointment.  God used me to help steer her in the direction that He wanted her to go in.  I became her nudge.  My divine purpose in this situation was to give her a nudge and to help her feel confident that with God’s help, she had everything it took to complete her schooling.

When we yield ourselves to God’s will and His timing and purpose, He can do amazing things through us.  Remember, there are no coincidences, only Divine Appointments.