Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!!

"Yea, Lord we greet Thee, on this happy morning."

Come all ye faithful for our Joy has come to the world.  Come and greet the One who was born so many years ago in a stable, a little town called Bethlehem.  Worship Him Who is our Prince of Peace.  Fall on your knees in humble adoration and worship your King. 

As we celebrate the birth of our Lord with great joy, I want to encourage you to remember that one day, one glorious day; He is coming back for His Bride.  His first coming was just the beginning for us.   As the first coming was foretold, the second coming is foretold in the Scriptures as well.   Titus 2:11-14 tells us - "For the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live -self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who zealous for good works."

Not only do we see Christmas in these verses, but also we read about Easter and the Second Coming.  What a great way to celebrate Christmas by coming in adoration to the One born so long ago, Who gave Himself on the Cross to redeem us and making us His Bride for which one glorious day, He will return for His Bride.  

  Merry Christmas!   

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Way of the World or The Way of the Word?

I want to offer up a big thank you to all the women in my Tuesday morning bible study.   Most of the women with the exception of the new ones, who have joined us these past couple of weeks, know how much I love watching and discussing current events as well as biblical prophecy.

Last week they were so gracious and willing to put aside our study of John and focus on some current events.  Believe it not we ended up looking at some passages in the book of Ezekiel.  Lots of good stuff in Ezekiel.   Talking about current events and the book of Ezekiel were not what I planned on doing; however, God had different plans.  It was such a blessing to be led by the Spirit and cover current events that are happening worldwide and to see that all fifteen of us share that same interest.  It was because of this discussion about current events that I was able to get my thoughts down on paper and put them the blog.  I have had the title for this blog for some time but just could not get anything down in writing.   I think a big part of that is because there is so much happening so quickly that it is overwhelming and quite difficult to try to keep it short. 

As I thought about our discussion, I was thinking about why pastors do not teach about the second coming of Christ.   Most churches every year teach about the first coming of Christ but not the second.   Why is that?  Why not teach from the book of Revelation where we are told in Chapter 1 verse 3 - "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near."  Why do most churches not teach about the coming judgment of Christ?   I believe it is because of what the Word of God says that in the end days people will not want sound doctrine but will want to have their ears tickled.   In other words, they will only want to hear the easy and uplifting things.  Why aren't most pastors teaching their flock how to prepare and be ready for the more difficult times that are sure to be coming?  Is it because they don't want to offend anyone?  Is it politically incorrect to do so?  Could this lack of teaching be why the church is so powerless today because we have stepped back from teaching the full council of God for fear of offending and being politically wrong by doing so? 

As we know things are rapidly deteriorating.  Sin is rampant worldwide. Sin is no longer a word that is used or taught about in most churches today. It seems that almost nothing is considered sin any longer.   REALLY???  Hmmm! 

Economies around the globe are collapsing, cities are declaring bankruptcy, and countries including the US are trying to force Israel to divide their God-given land.  If you are a student of God's Word, you know, that is a big "NO NO".  In Zechariah 12:9, we are told - "And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem."  The bible is very clear that a nation that blesses Israel will be blessed and a nation that curses Israel will be cursed. The more the US tries to force Israel to divide her land, the more America will suffer the consequences. 

There is fear and panic is everywhere.   Unemployment is still high.  The unemployment rates rose in 90% of US cities the Labor Dept. said on Tuesday, July 30, 2013.

The housing market is still in the slump and rentals are at an all time high. The "American Dream" is slipping, as home ownership is at an 18 year low.  US rents hit record highs according to the latest quarterly homeownership data released by the Census Bureau.

The focus of the meeting with John Kerry and the Israelis and Palestinians is about the land of Israel and Israel building homes on their God given land.  Compare that to what is happening with the Americans and their homes.  The economic meltdown in America is hurting the young.  It is this generation that for the most part, not all, are for abortion, homosexuality, drugs and have no use for Jesus in their lives.  Many cannot find jobs and make it on their own.  They have no choice but to live with their parents after college. 

Here's another example of what happens to a country that comes against Israel.   An article came out a week or so ago entitled EU Tightens Economic Restrictions on Israel.  A week later another article comes out entitled Europe is Cracking Apart...Are You Ready for a Crash?   As a country does to Israel, so God does to that country.  Don't mess with God's people or be prepared to suffer at the hands of the Almighty God.

People are searching for peace and hope and yet find neither in the things this world offers.   Many have chosen the "Way of the World" instead of the "Way of the Word" only to find out the world truly offers no hope nor does it offer peace.    

I cannot help but think of the words from book of Daniel 12:8-11 -"I (Daniel) heard, but I did not understand. (He heard a conversation between someone and the man clothed in linen...this is in his vision.)  Then I (Daniel), said, "O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?  He said, Go your way Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end.  Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly.  And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand."

I want heed the words of Titus 2:11-14 which say - "For the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."

It is my prayer that the Church, the Bride will purify herself and will make herself ready to meet her Bridegroom.

I want to note the words that Joshua presented to the Israelites in Joshua 24:14-15 - "Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness (The Way of the Word).  Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt (The Way of the World), and serve the Lord.  And, if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your father served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.  But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Choose this day - The Way of the World or the Way of the Word!  It is your choice. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Storms of Life - Why Does God Allow Them?

"Oh no, You never let go, Through the calm and through the storm. Oh no, You never let go, In every high and every low. Oh no, You never let go Lord, You never let go of me." "You (Jesus) raise me up to more than I can be" are the results of those words when we have survived the storm.

In John 6 Matthew 14:22-33 and Mark 6:45-52 we learn that Jesus knowingly sent His disciples into a storm. We learn that we too have to experience the storms of life. Some storms are more intense than others are but each storm requires us to walk through it. No one can do the walking for us. Our assurance of walking through the storm is that we will never walk alone God is always with us. He is always near when we need Him, to give us strength and support so that we can keep stepping through storm one-step at a time.

Why does God who is a good God allow these storms in our lives?

Below are some of the reasons we discussed in our Bible study.

1. To give us new direction - Psalm 107:23-31 - as we sail through life we come to a point where we as the captain of our ship become prideful. We think we are the masters of our fate. Then suddenly and savagely a storm comes swallowing us in its crashing waves. It is then, when our survival is out of our hands that we call out to the One for whom we had no time for or did not think we had need of personally. Are you in the middle of a storm being tossed about and wondering how you will survive? Call out to One who not only sends the storms but is the Savior of the storm.

2. To give us necessary correction - Jonah 2:2-3 - God had specific plans for Jonah in Nineveh. But guess what? Jonah in disobedience headed in the opposite direction of Nineveh. He wasted no time getting on board a ship heading away from Nineveh. Are you running in the opposite direction of where God is leading you? Learn from Jonah you cannot run from God. Satan may cause you to think otherwise but rest assured that is not the case. Satan as he did with Jonah already has the ship waiting for you to board. He doesn't need to flag someone down and say go find a ship that my friend here can board. No! He's already there waiting for you to run from God and jump onto his ship with engines running and sails ready to be set. Are you running from God? If so, beware, running from God or trying to rationalize that you know what is best for you, a storm is sure to follow. What will it take for you to turn direction and run into arms of the Anchor that keeps us steady throughout our storms of life?

3. To give us needed protection - Matthew 14:22-33 - After the miracle of feeding the multitudes, Jesus sent His disciples immediately away. Why? Because He knew that the multitudes wanted to overtake Him to make Him King. Jesus knew how easy it would be for His disciples to be swept up into the emotions of what that would mean. Finally, their dreams would be fulfilled. They would be free from the rule of Rome. Maybe Judas would become treasurer and Peter Prime Minister. Oh at last, they would be free and Jesus would be King. Jesus knowing all things sent them away for their own protection. He sent them into a storm where they would struggle and wrestle with difficulties. He does the same with us. He knows what things are swaying us away from Him and His purposes for us. As we struggle through our storms, remember, Jesus is watching over you, praying for you and living inside you. It's a struggle you will have to go through in order that your focus can be shifted from the temporal to the eternal. What things does Jesus want you to turn away from? While in the storm listen for His still small voice as He steers you through the storm turning you away from those things that have pulled you in the wrong direction.

4. To nurture perfection - Acts 4:1-4 - After Jesus sent His disciples into a storm He ascended to a mountain to pray (Matt. 14:23). He knowingly sent them alone. He would not be with them. In Acts 4:1-4, there is another crowd of 5,000. This crowd though is not being fed but being saved. After they were saved, there was a storm of persecution that broke out and the disciples were put in custody until the next day. Maybe the storm in John 6 was in preparation for the storm in Acts 4. Jesus as the Captain of our lives sees what our tomorrows hold. He says to each one of us, "As difficult as this storm (whatever that storm may be, physical, emotional or spiritual), it is absolutely necessary to prepare you and perfect you for what is coming." Storms make us who we are, they bring us to a place where we have no choice but to surrender all to God and rely on Him and Him alone. They help us to have compassion, mercy and grace for others, they build our character, they break our hearts, but through our broken hearts and through our tear filled eyes we can see the Light guiding us and giving us the direction we need to stay the course. When we look to the Light, we know that Jesus will be saying, "It is I, do not be afraid" I'll take you through the heart aches, the tears, the storms of life. Our storms will not be wasted. The disciples went through one storm as a time of preparation so that when future storms came they were able to look back and see how their Captain steered them through the storm and brought them safely to their appointed destination. As the storms of life surround you remember the faithfulness of our Captain in the past storms.

It is my pray that as the storms of life overwhelm us, that we use them as an opportunity to grow in our faith and not as an obstacle to run from our faith and God. Run my dear sisters run to the One who is waiting with His arms wide open to bring you the peace that surpasses all understanding. Yes, even in the midst of the storm, His peace awaits you; all you have to do is to receive it. It is there for the asking.

So sister storm survivors, be of good cheer and rejoice for not one of life's storms is out of God's control. Remember, the Sender of the storm is also the Savior of the storm - for without Him, we would all sink.

Holding tight to my Anchor,

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mind Over Matter or Heart Over Matter

Mind over matter.   We have all heard that before.  The implication of that saying is that if you put your mind to something you can accomplish that. While yes that may be true in many instances it does not always work that way.

As I have been home "resting" this week I was thinking about how I wanted to return to a bible study that I am involved with called Bible Study Fellowship.  But to their credit my two immediate bosses (my term of endearment for them) Becky our Teaching Leader and Tami our Children's Supervisor who I directly serve under, both encouraged me to stay home and "rest."  I do "rest" well after learning the hard way not to push myself when I am not feeling well but my flesh does not want to cooperate with me on that. 

Therefore, "rest" is what I am doing.     In my "resting" last night, I was thinking and hoping that I could return to BSF today.   It turns out that there are two Children's Leaders, who are out sick, and me.  The matter before me was that they are shorthanded and I need to be there to help and do the work God as called me to do.   After awakening this morning, I was more tired than when I went to bed and got up later than I normally would or should have on a BSF morning.  My mind was saying, "Go, you can do this" but in my heart I knew that I could not.  I just did not have the energy.   Which I believe is because of all the medication I was taking.  It was then that I realized I cannot act upon the words "mind over matter" but I must act on the words "heart over matter."   It is because of my love for the women and the children that I could not go and subject them to my coughing.   I realized that my wanting to go and serve was more for my ego, my self-centeredness and me.  There were quite a few "I's" in my thinking.  "I" can go and do what God has called me to do.  "I" can go so they will have one extra person and will not be so shorthanded.  "I" can go so "I" can keep the dinner plans we had tonight without feeling guilty that I was not able to go to Bible study but well enough to go dinner.  Dinner plans were to be with my precious eighty six year old neighbor who recently had to go on oxygen.  And, I wanted to go to dinner.  Imagine if I passed something on to her.  None of this is a pretty picture and not too wise either.   Have you ever done that?  We mean well but sometimes we act with our minds instead of our hearts that are overflowing in love for those around us and those that we serve. 

My heart won out and I stayed home to "rest."   God will provide for the needs of BSF, dinner plans can be changed.  Yes, I am so much better but not 100% yet.  Sometimes instead of stopping and smelling the roses, we have to stop and "rest."   Yep!   That is the way the Lord has made our bodies.  Now if we would only let go of always be on the go and trying to accomplish so much and pushing our bodies so much when not feeling well, then maybe we would heal much faster.   Resting is a good for the body and it may not always be an easy thing to do, but something that is necessary. 

I want to leave you with this verse as my prayer for you from 3 John 1:2 - Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
Listen to your heart and let your heart rule over the matter at hand.