God’s Best

Honeysuckle-010[1].jpgThe green vine eloquently twisted and intertwined with the branches of the young sapling. But as this vine continued to grow, it began choking the life of the tree it was encroaching upon. The long vines had wrapped themselves around the width of the tree branches and began cutting into it. In other places the vine had completely tangled itself within the tree. What appeared as a representation of beauty and new life was actually choking the life out of the young tree. The vine would soon need to be cut-off; otherwise, the tree’s growth would be stunted and damaged. The symbolism of the vine is likened to things in the world that appear to be good for us, but are actually detrimental.

There are many beautiful things in this world that we intertwine our lives with. People, objects, activities, and habits can seem like good and healthy choices or lifestyles, but are they? What is good for one person may or may not be good for another. Just because a friend, leader, relative, or co-worker chooses to do, or not do something, does not mean it is the way for us to live. How often do we hear someone tell us their opinion regarding a life choice we are trying to make?  People gladly offer their opinions. We need to be cautious not to listen to the advice of others without first bringing it before the Lord.

Who knows your every thought, need, and desire? The only One who truly knows you inside and out is your Heavenly Father, your Maker. He made you. He wired you to think and operate for His purposes. “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14 But, how many of us are living our lives for His full potential?

The noise of this world is loud. Unless we choose carefully, we will live with a continual barrage of opinion being thrown at us. Most everywhere we turn we find an attitude, a belief, or a judgment be it through media, or an interpersonal relationship. No matter what is said to us, thrown at us or dictated to us, we must bring it back to God’s word, the Bible. The Bible is our instruction manual for how to live life. If anyone ever says to you, “this is what I think you should do,” do not do it. Instead, run swiftly to the One who does know what you should do. God, the Creator of the universe is the only One who truly knows what is best for you. And, don’t we all want the very best God has for us? You bet we do!

So, I ask, what is choking you? Is there a beautiful alluring something in your life that on its own, is a good thing, but for you, is not? Are you doing something because it is working for someone else? Are you listening to the advice of another? Whatever the case, I would encourage you to re-evaluate why you are choosing to live the way you are. We should be conscious of why we choose to do the things we do. After all, we are the ones who must live with the consequences of our life choices.

The world is full of the lushness of life that appeals to our flesh and minds, choking us when its vines wrap themselves around our neck and bind us. We must be proactive in our faith and on our knees before the Lord to be wise and discerning. I urge you to seek God first in all you do. We are to obey the Lord our God. Obedience is what truly matters in this life. Do not allow the world to deceive you with its cunning behavior and do not fall prey to listening to the advice of others without first consulting with Almighty God. “But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

 

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Press on Toward the Goal

pigpen-color[1]I was under siege. I felt like Pig-Pen, but instead of a cloud of dirt surrounding me I had a black cloud of gnats around my head, dive bombing my face and buzzing my ears. I began flailing and waving my hands in an effort to swat them away however, it only seemed to makes matters worse as if it egged them on to attack me all the more. The gnats were so distracting I was having a hard time focusing on my run, and that is when the Lord began speaking to my heart.

I had run this particular trail three times a week for over a year and never had this problem. But, the last few times out, the gnats would overtake me and cause me to bat my arms in the air completely throwing off my running focus. After miles of dealing with this, I would eventually tire. I found that if the gnats landed on my face they would succumb to their death by getting stuck in a pool of sweat and then they would get wiped out permanently, as I brushed their lifeless bodies off my face. I also realized that if I could remain focused on the run, I could actually temporarily outrun them by speeding up. However, inevitably, I would begin to slow down without the constant barrage of gnats pestering me. They would then return to me and continue in their harassment. It seemed the more I focused on them, the worse they got, which is what seems to happen when we focus on the problems in our life.

This brings me to what the Lord was teaching me. Gnats are incredibly DISTRACTING. Gnats are like the distractions we face in life. When we focus on a problem instead of Christ, we will begin to slow down, flail, and ultimately lose our focus, which can be quite costly in this thing we live call LIFE. We must NOT allow ourselves to fall into this trap. Thinking continually about a life issue will only make our head spin in circles and cause massive unproductivity and misery. We must stop pondering and focusing on problematic issues and resist the why is this happening thought pattern. The Lord does not call us to understand all that happens to us in life, but He does call us to trust in Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

The funny thing is, before I was able to put the finishing touches on this post, I went on another run and encountered more gnats! As I mentioned before, I found that if I would just run with the gnats, peacefully without flailing or swatting at them, which by the way is an extremely difficult thing to do, the gnats would land on my saturated sweaty face and I could just calmly wipe them away. This expends much less energy on my part, saving it for the run! And, so it is in life. Giving in, submitting to the way life is, tolerating it, embracing it, and keeping a focus on pushing forward with Christ is the answer and I believe, the way to go! And, so it is with our distractions in life. If we can keep our focus on the Lord, He will take care of our problems. He will wipe them away as we trust in Him to take care of us. Isaiah 26:3 tells us, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Instead of us focusing on our problems and negativity in life, we are called to a higher purpose in Christ. We must run fast and hard in life, staying focused on Christ, not slowing down for distractions or allowing ourselves to become overrun by them. We must keep our eyes on Christ, trusting Him completely in all things. If we do this, the gnats, the distractions in our life, will dissipate as the everlasting faithful love of our Father in Heaven floods our minds with His perfect peace. Keep running with the Lord and that distraction in life will soon be a thing of the past as the Lord faithfully puts it behind you. Philippians 3:12 tells us, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

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Breathless!

Struts_00[1] (2)The door slammed shut, grabbing my attention. There, across the room, stood my son, a young man of 14 years old. He was distraught and trying to speak, but all he could say was, “the…” and then gibberish, followed by incomplete thoughts that made no sense. I abruptly ended my phone call and ran to my son. He was shaking and out of breath. He finally pulled together his first sentence. “The hood of the Toyota slammed shut on my hands and I was stuck!” I immediately sat him down, then dashed to get Advil and an ice pack. He quickly swallowed the pain relief pills and we soothed his hand with the ice. I then began to pray, “Dear Lord Jesus please heal my son’s hand…”

He was still shaking as I held his hand to examine the extent of his injury. As I did this, he recounted the incident. He had been under the hood, replacing a valve cover gasket when the hood shock broke. The hood slammed down on him, pinning his left hand. He was trapped and in tremendous pain. He had called out to me, but with the house being tightly sealed, I heard nothing. Thankfully, he had been holding a flashlight with an extended handle on it. It lessened the blow to his hand, and, as a result, was completely cut in half by the weight of the hood. His cell phone was within eyeshot, but he could not reach for it. In his desperation, pain, and panic, his adrenaline kicked in and he was able to partially lift the hood off his hand and slip it out, leaving a large warp in the hood that is now our visual reminder of the incident.

I thanked the Lord my son still had his fingers. But, I thought we would probably be taking a trip to the doctor followed by x-rays in the morning. I dreaded the thought of a possible break or even worse, nerve damage. His hand was pretty banged up and one finger was especially cut and traumatized, plus, he was having trouble moving his fingers. As the evening progressed I watched for swelling and discoloration and asked about his pain level. It was not swelling as I had anticipated and he kept telling me, “Mom, I can’t feel anything.” This led me to believe he may have some kind of serious damage. We continued icing and praying throughout the evening. By bedtime the Advil had worn off and my son still told me he couldn’t feel anything. It was then that I realized what he meant was, he had no pain! The fingers that he could not move earlier were now beginning to bend. We continued to pray and thank the Lord for saving my son’s fingers and for the healing work He was doing. Then, we drifted off to sleep

The next morning, I expected to see swelling and possibly black or blue bruising on my son’s hand and fingers. However, there was none. He had no pain and had almost completely regained mobility in his injured fingers. The Lord had healed his hand! Jeremiah 30:17 says, “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord.” What an incredible promise. Yes, God, the Creator of the Universe is our Great Physician.

I continue to thank the Lord for His faithfulness in taking care of our son and how our Heavenly Father gave my son the power he needed to get out from under the hood of that car, saved his fingers, and miraculously healed his hand from the trauma of the weighty hood that crashed down on him. I thank the Lord that as His children, we are never alone. He is always with us taking care of us. Joshua 1:9 tells us, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Thank you, Jesus, for your faithfulness, always. Great and mighty is the Lord our God.

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A Humbling Spoonful

giant-house-spider1A friend had asked if her son could stay with us for a couple of days while she and her husband went away on a marriage retreat. I had willfully agreed, and our kids were having a great time together. On the last evening of his stay, I was thinking back upon the weekend and how good I felt about helping my friend and also providing a nice weekend for her son with plenty of delicious healthy hearty meals. It was this very thought that would get me in trouble.

As I prepared dinner that night, I put together one of my family’s favorite meals. It was chicken enchiladas with sour cream and cheese in a green tomatillo sauce. I was feeling pleased with myself and was thinking how wonderful it was that I was feeding my friend’s son so well, hoping he would appreciate his time with us and every tasty meal I fixed too.

Dinner time came and we all seemed to be enjoying the delicious meal I had prepared, to the pride of my heart! Everything seemed just perfect. We had fun dinner conversation and smiling faces, while the food disappeared from each plate. Then, there came a screech from the corner of the table where our guest of honor was eating. Much to my shock and dismay, as I approached the end of the dinner table, my eyes honing in, there in the middle of his plate, was an ugly, gigantic, unidentifiable slimy brown spider, covered in green enchilada sauce! My heart sank, and I felt as tall as that smashed flattened spider on the plate.

Oh dear Lord! How in the world did this happen? Was it in that spicy green sauce I poured from a can onto my tenderly wrapped chicken in tortillas? Was it lying in the pan dead and I didn’t notice? Did he crawl in my casserole dish when I turned my head and then become my victim? Or, was he a destitute spider who had just decided life was not worth living and to end it all he jumped right in just as I slid it all into the oven?! I had no answers. This, I thought, was crazy and quite repulsive.

How humbled I was, along with being mortified and embarrassed! There, on the plate of our guest, the one person I was trying to impress with delicious food, prepared from my heart, sat an ugly arthropod with eight legs and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. All eating at the table had come to an immediate halt. Jumping up and quickly scraping the dead disgusting arachnid from my guest’s plate was not enough to encourage further eating at that table. And so, the weekend had come to an end and I had reached a new pinnacle of being humbled.

That was eight years ago, and I am still impacted, even today. How easy it is to get puffed up with our silly insignificant selves. We tend to try to do things with our own ability, thinking we got it going on, and, if that isn’t bad enough, with the motive being to impress others. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2

Instead of trying to impress others, the Bible tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Colossians 3:23. I have found having this mindset is the most rewarding way to live. When we seek to please our Father in Heaven, not mere man, it really does change everything. God sees our hearts and when we are doing our work unto Him, He blesses and affirms us in ways that will never compare to the words of affirmation that come from man.

Remarkably, in spite of the revolting revelation of a spider in our chicken enchiladas that night, my kids still embrace and enjoy eating that meal. For me it is a constant reminder and message in being humble and seeking to serve and please the One True Living God, not people. It makes me chuckle as I reminisce how God used a dinner we have now coined as Spiderlada, to humble my spirit. I am grateful to the Lord for His love, grace, and mercy as I realize God can teach us much, even in the simple everyday tasks of our life. It’s important to remember, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you; Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3.

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Enthralled by His Splendor

santaynezStaring into the eyes of a wild animal is captivating. Spellbound, it seems as if I am looking deep into its very soul. For those brief sacred seconds it is as if time is standing still. Gripped by its beauty, not wanting to lose the eye lock, I barely breathe, let alone move. It is an intense privilege to encounter one of God’s creatures and stare deep into its eyes.

It was on a wooded trail with green and gold foliage and a meandering stream that trickled discreetly behind the suburbs and cookie cutter houses. An experience I will never forget. From the first step into this refuge of tall oaks, dirt trail, and knee high weeds, it was as if God had opened a window from heaven.

Gracing the sky, as I began my trek into the wooded land, was a Great Blue Heron cruising calmly and ever so elegantly overhead. As I padded along, soaking up the tranquility, I next saw a flock of wild turkeys marching through a nearby clearing. With the rustling of brush came two scampering brown squirrels, chattering their gibberish and jumping from the low hanging tree branches onto the trail just ahead. But, it was what I would find just around the upcoming crook in the trail that would charm me completely.

I was mesmerized by the very nature the Lord had shown me, as I slipped into this sanctuary of unexpected wildlife. It felt as if I had entered into a special land and was being romanced by the surrounding splendor, titillated by each step I was taking. In a dreamlike state of mind, I looked up, and with great surprise was face to face with a huge owl.

guenclose1We each froze. He sat perched on a branch. He was majestic and alluring. We had an eye lock on one another. I felt hypnotized and unable to look away. I could not look away. We stared and gazed and ogled at one another. Neither one of us dared to move. He seemed just as attracted to me. The longer I looked into his eyes, the more I wanted to stay. I felt as if I never wanted that stare to end. It was like he was looking deep into my soul. I was truly transfixed by that owl. He had my complete attention and adoration. The feeling I had in his presence was that of awe. He was stunning. And, for some strange reason, he seemed to be equally absorbed by my presence. I was so drawn to him I did not want to leave at all. It was like I wanted to stay there forever. It was a surreal experience.

The encounter I had that day left an impression on me. I felt the Lord had shared with me a piece of His lovely world that I had been unaware of and was right there the whole time, just waiting for me to find, to notice, to acknowledge, to receive. Such splendor and fascination, like a secret gift in life. This made me think of the gift of salvation we have through Christ Jesus.

What if you were enthralled, allured, and completely drawn to Christ, compelled by His love and adoration? What if you accepted Him as a gift? He would change your life. Your eyes would be opened and you would see there is another dimension to this life. There is more than meets the eye. Jesus is awestruck over you. Christ’s love is deep. He never looks away from you. He always has His eye on you. He is ever watchful. Once you experience His presence, you will never want to be without Him, nor will you have to. In Joshua 1:5 the Bible tells us that the Lord says, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Staring into the eyes of one of God’s creatures is riveting. The incident I had that day on the wooded path will never be forgotten, as it is etched in my mind forever. I was truly enchanted by God’s creature. But, how much more am I captivated by the Lord our God. Nothing compares to looking up into the eyes of the Lord, being enthralled by His majesty and allure, and staring into His eyes of everlasting peace.

This article, “Enthralled by His Splendor” is protected by copyright. You are free to share the link via social media, but this article may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission this includes pasting entire story to Facebook, Pinterest.com, email, etcetera.

 

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Do Not Be Shaken

long trainOff in the distance, I could hear its roar. I encountered it often on my morning runs. I was breathing heavy as I had started up a hill that now led directly up to the tracks. There, I would meet it face to face, as it would stop me from continuing on my planned course. Being so close to the train always triggered a sense of fear, as years ago the train had actually derailed in this very area. As much as I wanted to, I could not dismiss the thoughts of it possibly derailing and crushing me under the weight of the massive box cars. How often we feel this way when it comes to real issues in our life.

trainsAs the train approached, it was clanking along loudly and rhythmically. It was moving at a rapid pace. The ground seemed to be shaking. Yet, there I stood watching it go by, car after car. I was not going to be afraid. It was a long train and as I stood staring at it, my mind moved onto the spiritual parallels of this train. I knew the Lord was with me and I did not need to be fearful, as a scripture came to my mind. Psalm 16:8 says, “I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.”

TRAINS CAN BE…

Loud

Unexpected

Scary

Trains can be likened to the trials we face in life.

There are the rapid moving Amtrak trains, the lengthier box car trains, and the train that comes to town and just stops and sits on the tracks with its engines running. It does not come and go quickly, but it stays and waits, until given the green light to pull out and move on. Sometimes, these are the most annoying because they are in the path blocking the way and continuing on cannot happened until they move on by. Just as these trains come down the tracks, so do life’s hardships.

Sickness

Financial crisis

Divorce

Loss of a loved one

And, all the smaller miscellaneous things that just happen, like the family dog getting hit by a car, empty cupboards, behavior challenges with the children, paying that inflated energy bill, and the unending consequences of a lost marriage, that can add up to a heavy burden for one to carry alone. But, just as that train, they all have a beginning and an end. And the Lord never gives us more than we can handle.

What are we to do when these trains of life come barreling into our own lives? God’s Word says, “Surely he will never be shaken.” Psalm 112:6. We are to stand firm in our faith, trusting the Lord and resting in Him as the train either comes and goes quickly, lingers on car after car, or sits at a dead stop. We are not to fear nor be disturbed. Isaiah 41:10 says, “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.” That is an AWESOME promise to us, from the Lord, the Creator of the Universe!

Psalm 16 8

When hardships in life feel as though they may crush us by their weight, we are not to fear. We are not to be overcome. We are not to be shaken. The Lord our God is to be our Strength. We are to keep our eyes fixed on Him, trusting in Him, standing firm in our faith that He will get us through the hard times. When we stand firmly grounded in the Truth of God’s word, we will stand the duration, trusting in our Savior to work things out for our best good and holding onto the promise found in Romans 8:28,” And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

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Life is Beautiful

web-decker_2-trails-flowers1Running a red dirt trail in the still quiet morning hours, with rays of sunshine beginning to light the tips of the tall pines, I often wonder what is lurking beyond the reverent beauty before my eyes. As I run the path through the wilderness, I contemplate the spiritual symbolism of this path I am running on and that of the life we live.

Everything is seemingly picture perfect as I run this path, mile after continuous mile. The scenery is stunning green and gold foliage mixed with lavender flowers creeping through the tall weeds, wild daisies that seem to smile, and majestic pines that whisper in the wind.weimar-canal1 The rushing sound of the water along the trail is like a faithful friend running by my side. The crisp cool air of the early morning fills me with vigor and anticipation of a new day!

Running through this earthly paradise, I realize there are numerous dangers that I am not able to see or perceive. My limited vision won’t allow me to see all that surrounds me, as there is a canopy of camouflage that distorts the clarity of my vision. Often, I am startled by a lizard jetting beneath my feet, a squirrel scampering up a tree, or even a deer bounding through the brush. These animals may startle me, but in actuality are harmless. It is what I am not seeing that could potentially cause harm.

Scanning the horizon for a bear or lion is futile due to my inability to decipher what I am truly seeing as I pass through the forest. Eyes dart as they may, and peering into the brush, neck crooked, to see what a scuffle beneath the brush could be provides only a distraction, at best. How important it is to focus on the path straight ahead on the running trail and, yes, in our day to day living. “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” Proverbs 4:25

How often our vision is obstructed by the world we live in. With a continual barrage of craziness that is dished out by the world and fed to us on a daily basis, it is no wonder it can be difficult to decipher the truth and depth of deception occurring around us. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” We must be aware and discerning, seeking Christ in all things and situations so we will not be deceived or overcome by the world’s godless ways. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

Lavender flowers, wild daisies, and tall pines with soft rays of sunshine provide a pleasant trail to trek, even though there are unseen dangers in the camouflaged forest. Keep your eyes straight ahead and focused on the path with Christ instead of the distractions of this world and you will see just how truly beautiful life will be.bridge

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Get Covered

praywithoutceasingIt wasn’t but a few short weeks and those darn stains were back and the carpet seemed as dirty as before, if not even worse! The spots weren’t lifting as easily as the prior scrub, so my mind began to formulate an alternative plan. We needed a type of covering to help keep the filth from getting into the carpet. The use of a clear carpet runner to cover the areas that were prone to stain would be helpful. Yes, a covering was needed to help remedy this problem from continuing to fester. Just as the carpet needed a covering to keep from stain and harm, how much more the children of God!

Let’s look at the meaning of the word covering. The English definition is, an object or substance that goes over or on top of something especially in order to hide or protect it. Source Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary. Now let’s see what the Hebrew translations have to say. There are three Hebrew words we need to look at. Sakak, which means to overshadow, screen, cover. Kasah, which means to cover for clothing or secrecy. And, kaphar, which means to cover, purge, or make atonement for sin, make reconciliation. Source Strong’s Concordance.

praywithothersWhen we pray to our Heavenly Father, we are covered in prayer. Looking back at the above definitions we can derive from this the importance in having such a covering. For this reason, we are to have other believers that we can call upon for prayer. We need people we can be accountable to that will listen and lift us up in prayer, as needs arise. Romans 7:18 tells us, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh, for I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” When struggling with sin in your life, don’t go at it alone. The enemy wants to isolate and condemn you, and tell you how rotten you are. As you share with another in words and heartfelt prayer, the darkness will be brought into the light. You will enter into freedom as the Holy Spirit ministers to your very soul. Matthew 18:20 tells us, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” With Christ you can overcome and will be victorious.

Philippians 4:6 tells us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God.” We are to pray without ceasing. Whatever is bothering you, upsetting you, causing you pain and misery, or confusion, bring it to the Lord. He will give you the strength and ability to deal with the situation. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12. During our times of intense spiritual battle, we must unite in prayer with other believers by sharing our troubles and sin issues. The Lord will be faithful to hear your cry and deliver you from all your troubles. Psalm 34:17

wingscoverIn Psalm 91 of the Bible, the Lord provides us with a complete shield of protection that can only be found in Him. He promises in Psalm 91:4 “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall find protection; His faithfulness shall be your shield and wall.” If we faithfully pray this prayer of protection, the Lord will be faithful to protect you and your loved ones from all wickedness and harm. What an awesome promise the Lord has given to us! Our hope is not is our own strength or wisdom, but from seeking divine protection from our Creator. Yes, the One who created the heavens and the earth will also take care of you. “Why, even the hairs of your head area all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7

The stains on the carpet are a consequence from an unchanged behavior pattern that is still occurring, that being, living life and making messes! These stains, like sin, are ever recurring as we live and make messes in our lives, some intentional and others unintentional, due to our sin nature. With God as our strength and refuge we will be victorious over sin and able to live a life that glorifies God. Enlist the help of other believers to pray with you. Do not be anxious about anything, but instead, pray without ceasing. And most importantly, pray the shield of God’s protection over the ones you love. You will be safe under God’s covering, for great and mighty is He.

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Clean the Stains of the Heart

Dirt, spills, and ground in unidentified particles make for a filthy carpet. Day after day the grim continues to spread and multiply, along with the guilt of not getting it cleaned up. The worse the carpet looks, the more ignored it gets, as if there is absolutely no hope at all to ever rid it of its stain. It is depressing to look at and an embarrassing way of life. Until, a choice is made to do something to change its condition. That feeling of putting something off that needs to be cleaned can be carried over to our spiritual life.

Down on my hands and knees scrubbing the filthy carpet stains, a sense of relief swept over me as the stains begin to lift. Pretty much all hope  was gone that this carpet would ever even appear remotely clean again. I had even gone so far as to buy numerous throw rugs in an attempt to cover and hide these filthy and embarrassing stains from the sight of others, as I was so disgusted by it all and the thought of what the possible ramifications would be when we move out of the home.  So, when to my surprise the stains began to vanish before my very eyes, my hope was restored and joy overflowed my heart and mind! There was a remedy for these stains, and I found it, and it worked!

As I continued to scrub, to my hearts delight, I began thinking about the spiritual symbolism of stains and sins in the human heart. How often we sin and don’t even know it. Add to that the wrong things we do, and say, and think, that we are actually aware of. And then, on top of that, all the sin we keep hidden in our hearts that we are too embarrassed or shameful to admit to others, ourselves, and our Lord God who actually sees it all.

The Bible says we are to take every thought captive to obey Christ, 1 Corinthians 10:5. We all have sin in our lives. We all have certain sin tendencies and areas of weakness that we struggle to overcome. Do you feel dirty and possibly embarrassed by your past? Do you wish you could free yourself of the stains you have acquired over the years? What about the consequences of living a life of sin? Would you like to be clean? In Isaiah 43:35 Jesus promises, “But I wipe away your sins because of who I am. And so, I will forget the wrongs you have done.” What an incredible hope we have in Christ! All that filth found in our hearts can actually be cleaned up with the right stain remover, JESUS. And what a relief it is when the filth and stains are gone.

jesus-poster-love-god[1]Hope!

Freedom!

Victory!

A changed life!

There is a section in the Bible referred to as the Romans Road to Salvation. It teaches and explains how Jesus died to cleanse us of our sins that we may be clean and have eternal life in Him. “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

How to Accept Christ

The Romans Road to Salvation:

In the Bible, in the book of Romans, is a clear message to us; we need salvation. These Scriptures also tell us exactly what we need to do to be saved! Please take a moment to read through the Scriptures.

Romans 3:10 “As it is written, there is none righteous, not even one…”

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 10:9-10 “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth confesses, resulting in salvation.”

Romans 10:13 “For whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

If you would like to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you must do what Romans 10:9-10 says. You just need to make this the prayer of your heart. Here is an example. You may use your own words.

Dear Lord Jesus, I come before you acknowledging You are Almighty God, Creator of the Universe. Please forgive me for all my sins now and in the past, (you may speak of specific instances that you would like to repent of and seek forgiveness). Please come into my heart and life and be my Savior. Thank you for dying for me and my sin on the cross. Please help me to seek You and draw near to You, and may You rule over my flesh, as I now turn to follow you. Please, become Lord of my life. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Children-on-God[1]If you have just prayed this sinner’s prayer you are now a child of the One True King! Jesus has forgiven you and cleansed you of all sin. You are a new and clean person in Christ. He has wiped away all your stains and sins. You are free and victorious in Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

                               To God be all the glory!

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Stay the Course

stay-the-course[1]Staying the course is a popular expression in the United States. It is referring to a person who perseveres to the end. We all need to stay the course in life, but how do we do just that? How do we stay focused with a constant barrage of challenges and trials in our life? How do we stay the course when life’s circumstances seem to pull us off course?

Lack of rest actually contributes to restlessness, not just physically, but spiritually. We need to rest our bodies daily, but resting our soul is of the utmost importance. We must learn to rest in the Lord, where He will renew our strength and refresh our very soul. images8NTJ3L0CIf we do not take time out to read God’s word, commune with Him, praise Him, give our troubles over to Him, and trust in Him, we can tire or become easily overwhelmed, lose our focus, and become ineffective in not only our daily routine, but also in our witness to others. That, would be exactly what the enemy would want; an ineffective, confused, miserable Christian. In Matthew 11:29 Jesus tells us to, “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.”

It is also important that we renew our spirit and mind. When we infuse our mind with the truth of the Bible, it allows us to filter out the things of this world, false doctrines, lies of the enemy, and allows us to be wise and discerning as God’s word seeps deeply into our very soul. Ephesians 4:23 tells us to word-of-god1[1]“Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” And, in Romans 12:2 God tells us “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.”

You must take time to refresh yourself; however that looks for you, without feeling guilty. Down time is essential in order to be well, function properly, and be spiritually healthy. The actual definition of down time is, a time during which a machine, especially a computer, is out of action or unavailable for use. Or, as we American’s use it, as a time of reduced activity or inactivity.imagesXKLTD474 A frazzled Christian tends to lose the joy of the Lord, and will not be productive in going about their Father’s business on that given day. Jeremiah 31:25 promises us, “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” You will find you have new strength and energy when you do, and, your days will be more productive and happier as the Lord gives you a fresh perspective on life.

As we know, life happens, and we can get distracted by the circumstances of life. Problems come up and our human tendency is to think, ponder, and pour ourselves into trying to fix and resolve them on our own. When this happens, we actually lose focus of our very solution. Colossians 3:2 tells us to “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” We must take our eyes off our problems and put them back on Christ. When we fall prey to the stress of circumstance we must refocus. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 aae5edfb8508e0165b969a0e0b7aa071[1]We must give those problems over to Christ by laying them down at the foot of the cross and, in faith, trust Him to work things out for our best and highest good. Romans 8:28 says that “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” As the Lord takes you through challenges of this life, thank Him for what he is teaching you and continue to rejoice in Him. This will refocus you on Christ, not your circumstances.

Remember to rest in the Lord, renew your mind, take time to refresh your soul, and always keep your eyes on Christ. You will be amazed at what the Lord takes you victoriously through, and teaches you, as you rest in Him. Staying the course through life’s trials and challenges is possible when we put the Lord first in our life. As you put your trust in the Lord you will find you have renewed vitality in life. Life is good because… God is Great!GodisGreat

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Happy Father’s Day God

66201ba151a9717958f87070c5ac0245[1]Father’s Day in America is a day set aside to revere the dad in our life. It is a day we focus on our father’s and just how truly great they are. We rejoice in our Papa’s, give them gifts and words of praise, and barbecue in their honor. If we give this sort of praise to our earthly dad’s, how much more we should give praise to our Father in Heaven!

The Bible tells us that we are ALL children of God. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1 Think about what this truly means. What a heritage we have, as we are heirs of the One True King!

The scriptures reference our Heavenly Father as our Abba Father. The relationship we are to have with God is to be as that of a child to their dad. Abba is Greek for father and is used as the term of tender endearment by a beloved child – i.e. in an affectionate, dependent relationship with their father; daddy or papa as cited in the Strong Concordance. We are children of the God of the universe who created all things. “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” 1 Corinthians 8:6

As we celebrate Father’s Day, let’s also remember and celebrate our Heavenly Father in heaven who loves us like no other. Matthew 23:9 says, “And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.” Let’s rejoice, and give praise and honor to our Abba Father this Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day, God!

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Run Your Race

trailflower

A good solid run is satisfying, as it is both mentally and physically challenging. It clears the mind, strengthens the body, and refreshes the soul. There are parallels in the physical exertion of running that can be carried over and applied to living life closely with Christ.

Running hills are strenuous, and depending on the elevation and terrain involved, can be down right grueling. Breathing heavily with muscles that are screaming, runners press on. They overcome by not giving in to the pain and exhaustion their body is feeling. They endure. And with every hill they climb their bodies get stronger. These are like the trials and tribulations of life. We must stay strong even when something in life appears to be too big, overwhelming, or daunting. We must choose to stay the course, trusting in Christ to keep us strong in Him. And with each trial He brings us through and each giant He has us overcome, our strength will increase. Philippians 4:13

Mountainous terrain can be dangerous. Rocks, loose granite or shale, sand or mud, creeks and cliffs, lizards that jet beneath moving feet, and snakes that slither are all a par for the course. To navigate such a trail you need a sure footing, or what the Bible refers to as hind’s feet. This can only come with time and continued experience out on the trail by logging in distance and overcoming challenging variables. It is easy to lose a footing or catch a toe on a rock, resulting in a fall that is physically painful or a hit to our pride. And, so it is with the Lord. As we run our race through life with Him, He leads us through perilous times that are difficult, hard to navigate through, painful and often times, humbling. With each challenge we grow and learn to persevere just as runners do on the trail, ultimately receiving spiritual hind’s feet as we stay on our life path with our Lord and Savior. Habakkuk 3:19

Whether it be on a damp foggy trail or parched desert terrain, the threat of dehydration is on every runner’s course. It can sneak up quickly, causing weakness and confusion, and can put a stop to even the strongest of runners. Totally preventable, every runner must hydrate. And, so it is in life. If we don’t quench our thirst, if we don’t drink from the Living Water of Christ, we will soon tire and lose focus as spiritual dehydration sets in. As you run the race of life, continue drinking in the truth found only in God’s word. You will stay the course and finish strong. John 4:14

The spiritual parallels between the physical run and the spiritual run of life are genuine. As hard as it may be, embrace the hills in your life. Better yet, conquer them! Keep a sure footing by gaining your hind’s feet. And, most importantly, stay strong in the Lord by drinking in His word. Let the Lord renew and refresh your soul. You will be glad you did!

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Keeping the Heart Hidden in God


Only a relationship with our Heavenly Abba Father will fill the human heart’s desire for love. Knowing Jesus our Loving Savior is like no other love.max lucado Be thankful ladies, you are loved by Jesus! He knows what is best for you. Trust Him with your whole heart and life. He has a plan. Stay on your life path with Him, developing into the woman of God HE wants you to be.

If your Abba Father has a man for you in the future, then He will bring him about in such a way that you know he is from your Heavenly Father. It is not up to you to be looking or searching, but keep your focus fixed on Christ as you go about His business getting to know Him better and making Him known to others.

Single ladies, trust in Jesus. Wait upon Him, His plan, and His timing. While you are waiting, grow and blossom in Him and live out the adventure that awaits you as you seek a life with The One True King. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” God’s way is best and it will be well worth the wait!

#IloveJesus#GodisFaithful#JesusismyHusband

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There is Power in that Music

a-dark-prairie-storm-c2a9-2011-christopher-martin[1]It was a tumultuous time. The genre of country music seemed a refreshing change from the secular rock and pop I was used to. But, listening to it produced  an attitude of melancholy. It seemed like life was being consumed by storm clouds.

I began filling my head and home with as much of God as I could. I was going to church, Bible study, reading books by Christian authors, listening to preachers on the radio, and clinging onto my Bible as a life-preserver that kept me from sinking into the depths of despair. In fact, I would not even leave home without it, as within its pages were my Hope and Security.

It was then that I rediscovered Christian radio. What a God send! Truly! Flooding my head and home with Christian music was powerful. I found that it truly lifted my spirit. As I began to sing along, the depression I was feeling would lift. As I sang praises to the Lord, my soul would rejoice! I began to feel the freedom and victory I had in knowing Christ and that He would see me through this. The joy of the Lord became my strength.

As I continued to choose the genre of Christian music, I realized the power of it. There, embedded within the lyrics of song were Scripture, God’s Word! No wonder listening to Christian music chased my blues away.The-Bright-Sun-Blue-Sky-Clouds-940x587[1] I was infusing my head with the Truth, receiving renewed life and strength for my spirit. It was so simple, and yet, so incredibly powerful!

That was three years ago and I have not stopped listening yet! For me, Christian music is a way of life. It is good input into my soul. It renews my strength. It speaks life and Truth into my mind. It puts my focus on Christ and others, not my selfish self. The Scripture floods my mind with the perfect peace and rest that only comes from knowing our Savior.

I thank the Lord for His redemptive love and the giving up of Himself on the cross for me and my sin, and for all of humanity. I love the choice I have made in my genre of Christian music. It ministers to my soul, lifts my spirit, speaks truth into my heart and mind, and, cultivates the worship of my loving Savior. “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

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Copyright 2015 Goldie

 

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Blossom Where You are Planted

growwhereplanted2This delicate little flower caught my eye. Such a joyful yellow with dark flecks and uniquely shaped petals. It’s stem a deep healthy green, holding its head up high. Its innocent beauty is alluring. But even more beautiful was seeing where this shining star of a flower was rooted.

Growing from beneath the side of an alley building, it had sprung up between the structure and the asphalt. Surrounded by rock and even covered in debris, it was growing strong in spite of its harsh conditions.

This little gem of a flower is a great visual of how we should live. We are to be rooted deeply in Christ and grow strong and beautiful even when enduring adverse conditions in life. “The joy of the Lord is our Strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

growwhereplanted1

 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside waters, that stretches out its roots to the stream. It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green. In the year of  drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit” (Jer. 17:7-9).

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 Copyright 2015 Goldie

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Do Not Be Shaken!

long trainOff in the distance, I could hear its roar. I encountered it often on my morning runs. I was breathing heavy as I had started up a hill that now led directly up to the tracks. There, I would meet it face to face, as it would stop me from continuing on my planned course. Being so close to the train always triggered a sense of fear, as years ago the train had actually derailed in this very area. As much as I wanted to, I could not dismiss the thoughts of it possibly derailing and crushing me under its weight as a crazy or paranoid thought.

trainsAs the train approached, it was clanking along loudly and rhythmically. It was moving at a rapid pace. The ground seemed to be shaking. Yet, there I stood watching it go by, car after car. I was not going to be afraid. It was a long train and as I stood staring at it, my mind moved onto the spiritual parallels of this train. I knew the Lord was with me and I did not need to be fearful, as a scripture came to my mind. Psalm 16:8 says, “I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.”

TRAINS CAN BE…

Loud

Unexpected

Scary

Trains can be likened to the trials we face in life.

amtrakcountrysideThere are the rapid moving Amtrak trains, the lengthier box car trains, and the train that comes to town and just stops and sits on the tracks with its engines running. It does not come and go quickly, but it stays and waits, until given the green light to pull out and move on. Sometimes, these are the most annoying because they are in the path blocking the way and continuing on cannot happened until they move on by. Just as these trains come down the tracks, so do life’s hardships.

Sickness

Financial crisis

Divorce

Loss of a loved one

And, all the smaller miscellaneous things that just happen, like the family dog getting hit by a car, empty cupboards, behavior challenges with the children, paying that inflated energy bill, and the unending consequences of a lost marriage, that can add up to a heavy burden for one to carry alone. But, just as that train, they all have a beginning and an end. And the Lord never gives us more than we can handle.

What are we to do when these trains of life come barreling into our own lives? God’s Word says, “Surely he will never be shaken.” Psalm 112:6. We are to stand firm in our faith, trusting the Lord and resting in Him as the train either comes and goes quickly, lingers on car after car, or sits at a dead stop. We are not to fear nor be disturbed. Isaiah 41:10 says, “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.” That is an AWESOME promise to us, from the Lord, the Creator of the Universe!

Psalm 16 8

When hardships in life feel as though they may crush us by their weight, we are not to fear. We are not to be overcome. We are not to be shaken. The Lord God, Creator of the Universe, is to be our Strength. We are to keep our eyes fixed on Him, trusting in Him, and standing firm in our faith that He will get us through the hard times. When we stand firmly grounded in the Truth of God’s word, we will stand the duration, trusting in our Savior to work things out for our best good and holding onto the promise found in Romans 8:28,” And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

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Rings of Life

skipping rocksAs I sat quietly watching my children throw stones into the river, I began reflecting upon my own life. As I watched the rings that were spreading out from the rocks as they sunk to the bottom of the river, I wondered… what effect am I having on the lives of those around me? Are the rings of my life spreading the love of Christ?

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 tells us, “To aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” Let’s look at these a little closer.

When I think of living a quiet life, I first picture a home that is peaceful. It is a place of order, not chaos. It is a place of refuge and comfort. I also think of relationships that are healthy and kind. The home is quiet and the neighbors observe peaceful living with family members and others within the neighborhood, having a positive influence on family, friends, and even strangers.

Minding our own affairs is something that may sound easy, but when it comes right down to it, simply isn’t. How easy it is to spout-off our opinions about someone or a certain situation. Instead of being judgmental and harsh towards others, we should be compassionate, encouraging, and loving. Before ever confronting an individual we should first pray for that person and their situation, quietly lifting them up before the Lord. We can release the situation to God, trusting in Him, and He will be the One to correct and restore, if needed.

Working with our hands embraces life itself and God’s daily plans for us. Being a mom or grandparent, going to the office or school, being that caretaker… just being about the Father’s business every day. We are to keep our focus on Christ, diligently seeking Him in all we do. Working with our hands also permeates thoughts of wholesome hard work which is admirable and worthy of respect. After all, Jesus… the Son of God, our Lord and Savior and the King of Kings was himself a Carpenter.

water ringsIf we can live by these three principles, we will walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. The Lord will provide all your needs when you are living closely with Him and trusting Him in His provision. By living a quiet life, minding our own affairs, and working with our hands, others will experience the love of Christ, as our lives touch those around us.

 

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Joy Comes in the Morning

morning sunrisePsalm 30:5 says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” What a beautiful promise given to us by our Creator.

Why did God create day and night? I believe one important purpose is to give us an end to our day. Sometimes, this is just the mental relief we need to keep on keeping on! As we live our fast paced lives and trials challenge our faith walk, it is reassuring to know we can shut down, allow the Lord to renew our strength, and start fresh again in the morning.

How great it is at the end of a wonderful day to drift off to sleep peacefully rejoicing in the Lord for such a blessed day. On the other hand, if it has been a particularly difficult day, being able to close our eyes and end that day is also a great relief. Whether it has been a good day or bad day, it is refreshing to anticipate a new day. Instead of being overwhelmed or perplexed by an unresolved situation, we can choose to hand it over to the Lord, and trust in Him to help us. He will provide the peace we so desperately need along with new strategies of dealing with things. With each new day we are given the breath of life, we are privileged with the opportunity to do things differently and with perhaps a change of attitude and renewed hope.

Luke 1:37 says, “For nothing is impossible with God.” With our Hope in Him, we are free to live victorious lives with a fresh beginning and clean slate every single day. I am so thankful the Lord gives us new beginnings! 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.

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Protect Your Love Ones from Pornography

Overcoming Porn by God's GraceProtect your family from the harmful effects of pornography, ads, and dangerous content that can flippantly appear on the computer screen with the accidental touch of a button. The internet is a volatile place filled with worldly temptation. For testimonials click here.

We need to be proactive! Let’s do what we can to lessen the chances of our family falling into the online trap of pornography. Covenant Eyes provides a filter that blocks out the chances of obscene and offensive sexual content. For more information on how to subscribe, please click here.

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Kimberly’s Story of Healing~ Cancer

Kimberly’s Story of Healing~

Lord heals This testimony was written by a close friend of mine and sister in Christ. I remember the day she went to the hospital, the grueling surgery that followed, the phone call that floored me when she told me she was diagnosed with cancer, and feeling the fear of it all. During my visits with her in the hospital, what stands out in my mind was how strong and determined she was… Most of us know someone who has had cancer. As you know, having cancer can put a halt to almost every part of life. I remember the day my life came to a jolting halt. It was Father’s Day, June 17, 2001. I had been suffering from digestive problems for years, but the severe weakness and flu-like symptoms had gotten worse. Just days before, I had been to the urgent care and was diagnosed with Hepatitis. But, that Sunday morning, I still ended up going to the emergency room with jaundice, weakness, and dehydration. I was so used to nothing happening that I was surprised at how fast paced it all went. I was taken to get an ultra sound, as well as a urine and blood test, and then left to wait for the results. I was told I was being transported to Santa Barbra to have a kidney stone removed from my small intestine. Continue Reading
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