Oh, to be more like our Savior who humbled Himself for us… that we could do the same for the sake of others…
The sheep in this picture looks so sweetly pathetic, it reminded me of the day HE rescued me. He seeks out the lost & lonely, the hurt & broken, the misguided & disillusioned, the bitter & angry. No matter how deep and dark the pit may be, His rope is long enough to reach us. No road is too rocky that He won’t travel it, no mountain is to high that He won’t climb it, no sin is too great that He won’t forgive it. Yes, He seeks us out…each one as if we were the only one. There truly is no greater love! John 3:16 says it all… “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The Great Shepherd came to rescue and redeem His sheep. Simply put, we all need rescuing…and all He asks is that we believe and follow Him. Count me eternally grateful! 🙌🏻✝️❤️😊
It’s time, past time, to kneel united in prayer for our broken nation. Every life matters to God and we have a great opportunity to see miracles happen.
2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
I’m all in… and I know many of you are already all in as well, praying fervently every day. God bless you, and may God bless America! 🙏🏻✝️🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻🇺🇸🙏🏻
Just a reminder during these ‘strange’ times that a little giggle is good for ya! A couple friends and I were just text-chatting about our current situation and we’re actually thinking of writing a couple of books.
The first title will be called “The Quarantine Kitchen…Recipes you need when the pantry is almost empty” It will include recipes for delicious dishes like Yam Pizza, Dill Pickle Chili and Hominy Spaghetti. 😅 Of course, we’re open to ideas. What are usually the last items in your pantry? Just remember, if you use enough Tobasco, it all tastes the same anyway.
Our second book will be called “Toilet Paper Alternatives…Why did I throw away those old phone books?” I know, some are saying, “What’s a phone book?” 😂 It was a pre-internet google search for phone numbers and addresses of people and businesses…You probably figured that out, but just in case, there you have it! Chapter titles might be a little hard to come by, but we will make sure the cover is soft and the pages are two-ply.
OK, so maybe this quarantine thing is making us a bit silly, but the giggle did make me feel a lot better! 😂🤣 Hope it gave you a little chuckle too!❣️😆❣️ Stay well and sane…ok, at least stay well…sanity will return later, hopefully!🤪 Signing off with a huge virtual hug, a sincere prayer and a smile! 🤗🙏🏻😁
Barabbas means “Son of Abba.” That stirs in me…Barabbas, son of Abba, was the one assigned to the middle cross! He was the sinner, the accused, the one deserving of suffering and death. And yet, he walked out of his cell into freedom, welcomed by the crowd’s celebration and victory chants.
The cross he’d been assigned to did not stand empty that day. Jesus took his place. It was the great exchange. The deserving sinner walked free as the Lamb of God – our Perfect Savior – took his place and ours upon the cross of Calvary. Barabbas had fully earned the word “Guilty” to be posted over his head but in it’s place, over Jesus’ head, were the words “King of the Jews.”
Our Savior and King willingly took Barabbas’ place and ours. He hung in the balance between life and death, unrecognizable…brutally beaten until his bones were exposed, his beard was plucked out, a crown of thorns pushed onto his head; He was spit upon, naked and mocked and then, finally, nailed to Barabbas’ cross where He would breathe His last breath.
But Barabbas…ah yes, then there was Barabbas, aka son of Abba, set free, 100% free! As are we, children of the Most High God…those who believe, receive, accept God’s Gift! Yes, anyone who trusts in Jesus Christ is set free from every sin they ever committed or ever will commit. Through Christ, we become beloved sons and daughters of Abba, the Most High God, the One who destined His Son to that cross…for us.
We are set free from the our guilt, from the separation from Abba that we deserve, and we are now joint heirs with the One who laid down His life for us! Abba loved us too much to not do this for us! His love compelled Him to provide for us…abundant life here on earth and eternal life in Heaven with Him! May we never forget the day Jesus took our place and set us free.
Oh Lord, the words ‘Thank You!’ are never enough, but THANK YOU! May we live our lives every day as a thank you to You, to honor and represent You to this world…out of pure love for You, Abba!
Reference: Mark 15:6-15
©Celebrate His Love, 2019
O.K., who told! The truth is out…we don’t wake up looking like princesses… Well, maybe you do, but I sure don’t! Either way, surely that invisible crown is there somewhere! How thankful I am that God does not look at outward appearances, but looks on the heart…especially on Mondays! 😊
It is so freeing to know that no matter how we look or feel, or what we face today or this week…God loves us, goes before us, will be with us and stays behind us. He will never leave us or forsake us!! He never fails. Never!
Whether we trudge through valleys or climb to the highest mountain top, His yoke is easy and His burden is light! His favor surrounds us like a shield! So lets straighten our crowns, put on the full armor of God and prayerfully and confidently face the week ahead. Go get ‘em, Princess!!!
(Guess I needed a Monday morning pep-talk… consequently, you get one too! 😂)
Hope, seek and wait…action words of the heart that exemplify active faith in quiet stillness. For knowing Who we put our hope in, seeking His truth through His comforting Word and knowing that surely He will deliver us can’t help but cultivate a soul at rest.
NOTE: Every once in a while I have thought, “Do people wonder why I chose this particular picture?” Or “Do others see what I see in this picture?” So today, I thought I’d share.☺️ If you have heard me speak or have read other writings, you may recall that I had a very loving dad, one who exemplified God to me, and one who I enjoy sharing stories about for those who never had that…for men and women who need some imagery of our Loving Father and what that might look like in this life. This picture made me think that she was looking with love toward her daddy…maybe he was making silly faces to make her smile, or maybe it was her mom (mom’s can exemplify God’s image too)…whoever it was, her tilted head, sweet smile and loving expression in her eyes looked so comfortable, trusting, relaxed and sweet. If we picture ourselves sitting on that bench, prayerfully pondering the promises of God, there is no doubt in my mind that His Holy Spirit would stir in us that same comfort, trust, rest and smile…and then some! God bless you with peace, comfort and rest for your soul today as you look to Your Loving Abba [Daddy] who loves you with an everlasting love….HE can’t take HIS eyes off of YOU!!
This past weekend I enjoyed a wonderful artsy-craftsy convention in Phoenix, AZ with a very artistic friend of mine. During our stay, we just had to visit a couple of Cracker Barrel Restaurants and Gift Shops because there are none in So Cal! Since this amazing comfort food has quite a draw, there was also a bit of a wait, so we decided to shop before we ate instead of after…when I just happened upon this little plaque! I loved it so much, I bought two – one for me, one for my friend.
Distributed by CBOCS Distruibution, Inc.
So much truth to be found in these few words… “Don’t ever let anyone dull your sparkle.” When Jesus comes into our hearts and lives, we have His life in us…ready, willing and able to shine the Light and Love of God to a world in need. As a couple of song writers put it, “God put a million, million doors in the world for his love to walk through, one of those doors is you.” *
Of course, if you’ve been waking with the Lord for any length of time, you know this comes with challenges because He and we have a very real enemy…an enemy that will use anyone and anything to take our minds, hearts and actions away from “Sparkling with the Love of Jesus!”
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: —1 Peter 5:8 (KJV)
In my experience, he tends to use whatever means the most to us, whatever we are most passionate about…our spouse, our kids, our job, our boss, our closest co-worker, our health, our ministry, our past and/or present sins, you name it. The best I can figure is that because our souls are completely saved by God’s grace and out of the enemy’s reach (that battle lost), he will use anything to get us down, discouraged, disheartened and depressed to render us useless for the cause of Christ. Simply put, he can’t have our souls, so he goes for our minds. Our souls are secure, we are already seated (at rest) in Christ Jesus.
…and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. —Romans 3:24 (NIV)
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, —Ephesians 2:6 (NIV)
Yes, our souls are saved, seated and at rest, so all the enemy can do is upset the apple cart by waging war with our minds, this earthly house, and his tactics are grossly inferior tools in his wicked, deceptive hands! But oh, how he can run amok at times! Thankfully, he is NOT, by ANY stretch of the imagination, more powerful than HE who is in us, nor is he the final authority! Hallelujah, we have an Advocate Who IS the Final Authority over ALL these things!
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” —1 John 2:1 (KJV)
May our weary, battle-ridden minds always remember to lay it all down at the foot of the cross and cry out for HELP to our Most Faithful God! He is the One Who saved us by His grace when we first trusted in the finished work of Jesus Christ! And He hears us and strengthens us to go forward in unruffled trust as Jesus did.
…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” —Hebrews 12:1b-2 (KJV)
If you have a Mama Bear or Papa Bear that rises up inside of you on behalf of those you love, you can know He does as well! His Papa Bear goes to battle in Heavenly Realms where the real war for our minds and sparkle wages! From His heart of love, mercy and grace…a LOVE that died for our very souls…He shines forth victorious because HIS LOVE truly does conquer all…over and over again!!
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. —1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)
So next time that wicked enemy endeavors to mess with your mind and dull your sparkle…regardless of what he uses…cry out to Jesus, the very LOVER OF YOUR SOUL! HE won’t ever let anyone or anything dull your SPARKLE! HE is the victory and will shine through you and me in and out of the every battle of this life.
So…before the battle, SPARKLE! In the battle, SPARKLE! After the battle, SPARKLE. And wherever you are, whatever you are doing right now, today…by all means, SPARKLE!!!
Please enjoy this music video “With Every Act of Love” (*quoted above), by Jason Gray…
New International Version (NIV) © 2011-2016 BIBLICA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WORLDWIDE
King James Version (KJV) ©Crown Copyright in UK
All other ©Celebrate His Love, 2018
One particular autumn morning at the onset of his junior high years, one of my sons (I won’t say which one) was going through a rebellious stage… Hard to believe, right? He was coming into his own, so to speak. Whether he was ‘trying’ to get my goat or not, I do not know, but he did!
He had mouthed off to me big time, and as I drove back home I was fuming… My irritation and frustration multiplied by eons, and retorts plummeted through the cosmic forces in my brain!! “Your father and I did not raise you to be like this! What is going on with you? Who are you anyway? Whose kid are you? And what did you do with my son?”
Oh, I had an entire list of questions for him after school that day…IF I decided to pick him up! Vindictively, I thought just maybe I would make him wait and worry for a while after football practice. “That will give him some time to re-think his words and actions toward his mother,’’ thought I!
Oh, I was angry, and anger always makes me physically productive, so I took to vehemently vacuuming the entire house. And was I ever going at it when the Lord reminded me of a day ‘way back when’ that I, too, mouthed off to my mother in the same exact way…in the car, on the way to school. Oops!
Humbled and convicted, I immediately turned off the vacuum cleaner, and called my mom… “Mom, I’m so sorry!”
Puzzled, she said, “For what???”
“For mouthing off to you when I was a teenager!”
“I don’t remember!” she said sincerely.
“Well, I do and I want you to know just how sorry I truly am.”
Bewildered, she said, “Oh, O.K. So how is everything?”
And the conversation moved on to our usual bits of catching up and chit-chat.
Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. —Hebrews 10:17
Looking at the Bible as a whole, we learn there was a day when God did remember our sins…at the cross of Calvary. It was there that every one of our sins was atoned for. He is a just God and a price had to be paid, not somewhere or somehow, but by Someone. And that Someone is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
So now, when we call on God through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ and confess our sin to Him – past, present, future, you name it – His response will always be, “I don’t remember!”
But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God… For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. —Hebrews 10:12 & 14
So since Jesus Christ sat down and rested, we too can rest in Him, knowing that through His sacrifice it truly is finished, and now and forevermore we are made perfect and holy in Him! And that, dear blogging friends, is the only thing our Heavenly Father remembers!
Thank You, LORD!!!
Hebrews 10:12, 14, 17 – NIV® Copyright 2000 by Biblica, Inc.®
©Celebrate His Love, 2018
When did Mercy call your name? The stories vary as much as do our place of birth and our height and weight…but no worries, I won’t go there! There are several pictures in the New Testament where Jesus called people by name… I think of Zacchaeus, a short man who climbed a tree to see Jesus, and as Jesus passed by He called him by name.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” ~Luke 19:5
Zacchaeus knew he did not deserve such a visit, he was the chief tax collector, a sinner and judged harshly by religious leaders of that day. But Jesus sought him out and salvation came to him and his house. Mercy had called his name!
Then there is the woman caught in adultery. We don’t know her name but Mercy met her in the very midst of her sin and shame. It was a set-up, the Pharisees brought her to the temple courts where Jesus was teaching and said they had caught her in the very act of adultery. They had stones in the their hands, ready to kill her.
The law stated that both the man and the woman caught in adultery were to be stoned… Where was the man? The Pharisees weren’t concerned about the woman, they just wanted to trap Jesus. But Jesus was not concerned about their trap…He was only concerned for the woman.
He then stooped down and wrote something on the ground, He did it twice. We have no idea what He wrote, but we do know that every accuser dropped his stone and walked away. Then Mercy called her name, He only used her formal name, Woman, but it was the tone of Mercy that mattered most.
Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” ~John 8:10-11
This woman could truly say, “I’m alive, I’m alive because He lives!” …and so can you and I! Amen?
I hope you enjoy today’s music video…
Because He Lives (Amen) – MATT MAHER
I believe in the Son
I believe in the risen One
I believe I overcome
By the power of His blood
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Let my song join the one that never ends
Because He lives
I was dead in the grave
I was covered in sin and shame
I heard mercy call my name
He rolled the stone away
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Let my song join the one that never ends
Because He lives
I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
Every fear is gone
I know He holds my life my future in His hands
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Let my song join the one that never ends
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Let my song join the one that never ends
Because He lives
Because He lives
MATT MAHER, JASON INGRAM, ED CASH, CHRIS TOMLIN, DANIEL CARSON, BILL GAITHER, GLORIA GAITHER
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., ESSENTIAL MUSIC PUBLISHING, CAPITOL CHRISTIAN MUSIC GROUP
Song Discussions is protected by U.S. Patent 9401941. Other patents pending.
Luke 19:5; John 8:10-11 – NIV® Copyright 2000 by Biblica, Inc.®
©Celebrate His Love, 2017
My dad was a wedding photographer, shooting weddings every weekend of my childhood. It was years before the digital camera was invented, so he would usually arrive home with a few pictures left on the last roll of film (digital generation, please visit photographic film). Naturally, my brother and I became the objects of his use-up-the-film photography, thus, we have lots…I mean LOTS…of family pictures!
Before shooting the pose and the smile, my dad would often stop and clean the camera lens, followed by, “Ah yes, now that’s perfect. Chin up, say cheese!!” Sometimes he’d joke to make us laugh, referring to the bald spot on his head…and ultimately, we looked very happy, loved and relaxed in the pictures he took. This was certainly not because we were perfect kids, but because our extraordinary photographer loved us, knew us and knew how to push our smile buttons.
Ultimately, He would show his photography – our pictures – to friends and family, never speaking of our flaws, only focusing on our highlights. Though he knew our faults better than anybody, you could only hear love ring through every word…just love. I wonder if it was because he kept his lens so clean. <huge grin>
My brother and I knew we were special to him, but my dad made everyone he photographed look comfortable, happy and loved. I’m sure his example is very much the reason I find pleasure in making others feel loved, encouraged and special. And it is also the very reason it saddens me when I do quite the opposite. I can chide myself for days on end when I think I’ve hurt someone’s feelings or have been a source of discouragement.! If you do the same, you will relate to Paul’s words as I do…
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in Godʼs law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to Godʼs law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Romans 7:21-25
We tend to look at ourselves through the lens of what we see in our own thoughts, hearts, and actions…as if looking in a magnifying mirror first thing in the morning. YIKES! We make mistakes, blemishes as it were, and we disgust ourselves. How do I know? I know me…a cracked pot, a broken vessel, damaged goods, but at the same time, HIS vessel, bought by the blood of His precious Son, and now a new creation!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
Even when I may succumb to my old sinful nature, my Father still beholds me through His spotlessly clean lens. Yes, He looks at you and me through the lens of His perfect, everlasting love. He only sees who we are in Christ.
“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.” Isaiah 1:18
So I say with Paul, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” God not longer sees our sin, but sees us through the lens of Jesus Christ…clean, pure and white as snow. This is amazing grace beyond our comprehension, but fully within our reach when we simply take it by faith and trust Him. We are new because when we come to Jesus and accept His extraordinary, priceless gift of salvation through His shed blood, He takes our sin upon Himself and exchanges it for His robe of righteousness. He suffered all we deserved on the cross of Calvary and gave us all He deserves, a spotlessly clean slate and access to the very throne of God, His Heavenly Father and ours!
We are created in His image, in Christ we beautiful in His sight, and He writes our names on the palm of His hand. I’m thinking that is God’s version of family pictures!
So, chin up, say cheese! 🙂
Romans 7:21-25; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Isaiah 1:18 © 2011-2016 BIBLICA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WORLDWIDE
I was five years old when my paternal grandmother passed away…my parents did not tell me. Years later they said she’d been sick from the day I was born… Hopefully, the two situations are unrelated! My thought is, my parents just wanted to protect me from the reality of death at such an early age. Of course, not long after that our dog ate our hamster so I was pretty sure we would never see him again. Hamsters are easily replaced, not so with grandmas.
My dad didn’t let on that he was sad, at least not to me. I never noticed a tear or a change in his daily pattern… up early and off to work, home at 5:30, dinner with the family, and an evening in his overstuffed easy chair. At five, I was fully into entertaining him with a silly dance, front and center. I would sing him little songs I knew or made up, then sit on his lap where we’d make silly faces, chat, or just sit quietly. More than anything, I just wanted to be where he was. Truth be known, I worshiped Him.
At the time, I had no idea that not only did I fully desire to be with my dad, but he also wanted to be fully with me!
I didn’t know this until I felt this way with my own two boys, and even moreso with my grandchildren. (Sorry, Sons!) I distinctly remember Christmas 2009 and how I was particularly encouraged by our little seven-year-old granddaughter, Kelsie. My dad had passed away the year prior and, due to illness, my mom could not be with us for our annual family gathering… for the first time in my entire life. I know now how blessed I was and am to have had her so long. So back to 2009 (I get sidetracked, in case you hadn’t noticed)… just as I began to feel quite melancholy and close to outright tearyeyed, along came Kelsie in her bubbly, carefree fashion…
Grandma, you want to come play with me in my room?
Did I? You better believe I did! Her love and inclusion snapped me out of my not-so-mini pity party faster than the smell of chocolate chip cookies! As we walked up the stairs to her room, my tears were replaced with her joyful childlike chatter and afternoon plans for us to dress up and play with all of her dolls! When Kelsie played, her entire room became a City of Barbies, American Girl dolls, Cabbage Patch dolls, Teddy Bears, puppets, Disney Princesses, My Little Ponies and then some! After all, it takes all kinds to make a City! And Kelsie… well, she just wanted someone to be fully there and I love her so much that I couldn’t help myself. The fact remained, I needed her to be fully there too, and she was…just at the right time. What joy she brought me then…and still does to this day!
Is that how my dad felt about me when he lost his mom? Did my silly dances, songs and faces keep him laughing, living and loving through the loss of his beautiful mother? Though I can’t speak for him, it sure rings true in my life with Kelsie, and her two siblings and three cousins!
And then of course there is our Heavenly Father… By now you are most likely expecting this part. 🙂 I have to think that since He planted these emotions in us as parents and grandparents, and since we are fashioned after His image, He feels the same way about us… only galaxies bigger, eons better and oceans purer!! And death is more of a reality to Him than we can ever imagine… How His heart must ache to see a soul He loves go into eternity without coming into relationship with Him. And then maybe at that very instant He catches a glimpse of you singing and dancing before Him in true worship, and His tears turn into a smile. Doesn’t that thought make you smile too?
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24 NIV
“A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.” Psalms 84:10 NLT
“Come, let’s shout praises to GOD, raise the roof for the Rock who saved us! Let’s march into his presence singing praises, lifting the rafters with our hymns!” Psalm 95:1-2 MSG
The bottom line… Not only do we fully need to enter our Heavenly Father’s presence in joyful worship, but He wholeheartedly desires to be fully in our presence as well! Like Kelsie, we can ask Him… “Father, You want to come play with me in my room?” My guess… He wants to! For reals! 🙂
John 4:23-24 Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from NIV® Copyright 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
Psalm 84:10 Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Psalm 95:1-2 Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
Music speaks to our souls so deeply and this particular song brings John 6 to mind.
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
But without missing a beat, Simon Peter answered him…
Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.
As you may or may not know, even with this strong resolve, Simon Peter slipped up a time or two, even to the point of denying three times that he knew Jesus at all. But Jesus didn’t leave him there, and later showered him with grace asking him if he, Peter, loved Him three times.
Peter answered each time with even greater conviction than before…
You know that I love you.
Jesus gave Peter a total do-over… I can’t tell you how many He has given me… and Peter went on to live out that love never denying his Lord ever again, even when it meant his own death. I have to think that on that day he may have said again,
Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.
Oh Lord, give me, give each of us, that strong resolve to love You, serve You and trust You to the very end… Even if!
John 6:66-69, John 21 NIV® Copyright 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
Today is a landmark day…my first ever blog now has twenty whole followers! That is so encouraging and yet SO scary! Yes, it is encouraging to think there are twenty people out there who just might actually read what I have to say, and it is extremely scary for the very same reason! Twenty people might actually read my stuff!?! Nonetheless, I am encouraged!
I’m a blogger. What’s your superpower? —Unknown
You see, I don’t want to be a good blogster (Is that a word? Let’s call it a Dori-ism), I want to be a great one…but a huge part of being either is the ability to combine passion, thoughts, feelings, knowledge, wisdom and understanding into written form in such a way that it makes sense to other people. This might be a good time to mention that my brain – where thoughts are all over the map – is a reeeeally scary place to live! Oh yeah, I’m talkin’ scary here! However, there are many times when thoughts are few, amounting to less than an apostrophe, or a comma, but I really like saying the word apostrophe so let’s stick with that. (See what I mean?)
Forget about someone’s resume or how they present themselves at a party. Can they blog or not? The blog doesn’t lie. —Nick Denton
So, here I sit day after day, sometimes with a full heart and empty screen…other times with an empty heart and a jumbled mess on the screen. And once in a while, sometimes twice in a while, something becomes blog-worthy…from my novice perspective, that is. I take the leap, post the blog and wonder if it will actually help anyone on their journey through life. You see, helping others matters to me. But even if no one else is affected, the process of moving ideas, feelings and thoughts to paper (or computer screen as it were) generally pushes me one step further on my journey as a writer…aka blogster. <sheepish grin> Eventually, it is just nice to know that someone else cares about something you pour your heart into.
I had a personal blog, but why does anyone care that I went shopping for hats? —Chris Hardwick
Reading other blogs, maybe yours, helps tremendously to see how other bloggers approach their thoughts and put them into story, and to glean from their expertise. And though I sincerely admire your knowledge, wisdom, wit and style, I also know the best lessons are those we walk, sometimes crawl, through ourselves. Just as physical growth doesn’t happen when one child watches his sibling eat and exercise, neither does practical growth. I need to feed my heart, soul and mind with information, then exercise the skill (Lord, help!) of writing firsthand in order to grow in writership. (Yes, I like to invent words.) Struggling through every blunder, along with celebrating each glorious victory, is what I believe is refining who I am and who you are as a blogger.
Everyone should have a blog. It’s the most dramatic thing ever. —Jessica Cutler
We’re all on this unpredictable journey called life together, walking side-by-side at times, walking alone at others. Either way, it is comforting to know that out there in Bloggerland, there are other wandering pilgrims…a-hem, bloggers…staring at empty computer screens or jumbled messes with puzzled looks on their faces wondering if any of it will ever make sense to anyone, even themselves, especially during run-on sentences! Growth can be painful, and though my stuff is definitely in the refining process, I truly thank you for not throwing the oil of discouragement into the fire. We generally do enough of that ourselves from what I can tell.
The bottom line…the likes, kudos, applause, even flattery at times, can lift the spirits of a novice (sometimes floundering) writer in a heartbeat! Yes, YOU have been such an encouragement to me…to like some of my stuff and to use some of your personal writing time to comment. I only hope that I can be as much of an encouragement to you on your journey, whatever that might be! So today I just want to say…Thank You! Gracias! Danke! Merci! Grazie! Toa chie! And hey, I like you too! —Dori 😊
P.S. I should also mention that I edit my own stuff…thus, the misplaced commas. But I really wanted to say apostrophe again, so I just did! 😀
©Celebrate His Love, 2017
By Andrew Pell
Drop thy still dews of quietness.
Our souls yearn for all that is quiet and noiseless.
We long for your pervading presence.
In solitude and peace we find your very essence.
Our spirits yearn for the deep caverns of faith.
With you teaching us we know we are safe.
How would society exist without recreating your compassion.
Dear Lord, without your love, life would spiral down a deep cavern.
Dear Lord, Drop thy still dews of quietness.
Following you Lord we know we are blessed.
We utter and speak your holy name.
You come to us when we are in distress.
Andrew Pell quietness, © Andrew Pell 10/03/13, Poetry and Music by Andrew Pell, https://www.all-creatures.org/poetry/drop-thy-still-dews-quietness.html
Thoughts and feelings vary so drastically, even in our relationship with God. If you are anything like me (which is a scary thought in itself), you too are prone to wander. And yet, no matter how we feel, God is faithfully present, never changing or wandering from His love for us. And this never-changing God has left us with excellent examples in His Word and through His servants… here are just a few:
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. ~Psalm 63:1
A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t. ~C.H. Spurgeon
The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” ~Exodus 33:14
Prayer is… doubt’s destroyer, ruin’s remedy, the antidote to all anxieties. ~C.H. Spurgeon
It is important to remember that HE never moves, so when we feel spiritually dry, parched, like we’re falling apart, alone, doubting, ruined or anxious…it just maybe, just might be, just could be time to draw nigh to Him again…seeking, thirsting, longing, reading, going back into His Presence and praying earnestly, honestly and openly to the One who is ever and always there for us.
So, am I right or am I right or am I right? Hmmm, I think I’m right. 😉
Psalm 63:1; Exodus 33:14 NIV® Copyright 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
While trying to fall asleep last night, I was thinking about how God wrote 66 books to tell us His story… and so often, I try to fit my story into one blog! Mercy, who do I think I am!?! So for today, I will leave you with this simple thought… Since His thoughts about us are so vast…immense, HUGE…shouldn’t His thoughts be precious to us? Today I’m pondering ‘just how precious is His Word to me?’ Excuse me while I go read a few more of His thoughts… No doubt, He will want to follow up with a little heart-to-heart chat! Then, of course, we’ll celebrate!
Later, Babe, gotta run! 🙂
We would stand in absolute awe if we ever fully understood the depth of God’s everlasting love for us. He wrote one volume in two parts, containing 66 books to tell us His story. Within that story He outlined how He created us and everything around us, how He desired for us to live, how we fell short of His perfect plan and how He made us a way back to Him. And that is just the first few chapters. Ultimately, all the pictures He painted in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the New when He sent His one and only Son…
“that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Hillsong said it well in their song I Stand in Awe of You…
You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp you infinite wisdom
Who can fathom the depth of your love
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty enthroned above
And I stand, I stand in awe of you
I stand, I stand in awe of you
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you
Need I say more?
You have a story… The story about that one person in your life that simply does not like you, doesn’t approve of you, or rejects you time and time again. (Stick with me, here, this will get encouraging.) It can be a parent, grandparent, sibling, neighbor, friend, coworker, spouse, anyone! It may be a person or persons in your present, or it can be someone from your past whose words and attitude toward you crop up to reject you over and over again, often when you least expect it. Definitely when you don’t need the reminders. How do I know? Because I have that someone too. Sad to say, we all have a story like that to tell in one way or another. But today I’m here to remind you that you are 100% loved, accepted and approved! Yes, YOU!!!
As a child, I would sit on my dad’s lap (pictured) at the end of each day, enjoying him and ultimately getting to know him. I didn’t realize what deep roots his love cultivated in my heart until I was older. As a new believer, it was difficult at first for me to spend time with my Heavenly Father. I’d heard that a lot of this depended upon me reading His Word, and by nature I am not much of a reader. However, through my own neediness, time on God’s lap developed, and His Word became vital to a close relationship with Him and a fruitful life as His child.
The time spent on my dad’s lap as a child gave me perspective about all the happenings of each day…feelings of not being accepted by a sibling, disapproved by my mom or teacher, rejected by a friend. I didn’t know it at the time, but I needed my dad to model what a loving Heavenly Father looks like…and fortunately for me, he did. But what if you didn’t have that kind of dad…and believe me, I’ve met plenty of people that didn’t…well, I have great news for you! Please lean in and listen close because this is what I really want to say to you today. I’m getting so excited! Drum roll please…
YOU ARE LOVED…
Yes, 100% loved… This is HUGE!!! Jesus said in John 14:21, “…The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” Some may say, “But I don’t even know Him, and I don’t understand all that Christian-ese. It’s scary.” Yes, it is…I felt that way too, but God’s plan is simpler than you may think. I struggled with believing I was loved, even though I did have a loving earthly father. I could understand how God loved others, but I knew myself too well to believe He loved me. Listen closely… it is not about us. He loves us because love is foundational to His character. He IS Love. Isn’t that huge? So for now please accept that He loves you because of Who He is, and His character is non-negotiable. YOU are loved by the God of the Universe!
YOU ARE ACCEPTED…
Here’s where clarity begins. Ephesians 1:6 says, “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” The bottom line is when we accept Jesus Christ, The Father accepts us. This is called grace, getting something we don’t deserve. And God loves us so much that He provided it for us in Jesus Christ. Sound too simple? I know it does, but it is truth and the truth will set you free…not just at the beginning but for the rest of your life. And more truth is found in John 6:29, “Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”” We think we have to work for salvation, but this is actually the only thing we need to do…believe in Jesus Christ. Invite Him into your heart and life, to cleanse you from your sin and to be your Savior… It can be a simple prayer in the simplest of words. He knows your heart! He will come in when He is invited, and yes, it is as simple as it sounds. It’s not a feeling, it is faith…you trusting that His Word is true, and believe me…He is true to His Word!
And with that comes full acceptance from The Father!! He sent His Son Jesus, the Perfect Lamb of God who never sinned, to pay the price for our sin. He took our place on the cross and His sacrifice guarantees us access to the very Holy throne of God. Nothing unclean can enter God’s presence, but Jesus Christ bought our sin with His blood and gave us His robe of righteousness. I like to call it “The Great Exchange.” He took all of our sin on Himself, clothed us in His wardrobe of righteousness, signed our adoption papers with His blood and we are now God’s children. We become joint heirs with Jesus, and because of this, we are fully and 100% accepted in the beloved. We are part of a huge Heavenly Family! Wow!
Truth be known, I was not a perfect child by any stretch of the imagination so please forgive me for using myself as an example of Jesus, but this is more about my dad’s example of The Heavenly Father. With that said, when I would introduce a new friend to my dad, he would look at me and say, “This is your friend?” I would nod yes and he would immediately turn to them and say, “Well, welcome to the family!” He only knew them for a minute, but because I accepted them into my life and they accepted me, he followed suit. And so it is with Jesus and His Father! John 6:37 says, “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” When we go to Jesus, we go to God and He will never drive us away…you will NEVER be rejected by Him, never, never ever! And my friends still talk about how my dad loved them…often when they were not feeling loved by their own dad. Maybe that’s you today… Your earthly father or other family member never showed you the love you needed. I share my earthly dad’s memory with you for this very purpose…to give you a clearer picture of our loving, accepting Heavenly Father!
YOU ARE APPROVED…
This one came out of my quiet time this morning (I have learned to enjoy reading!)… John 6:27 says, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” He is the Bread of Life that endures forever. When we feast on Jesus Who is already approved by The Father, we too are approved. Not because of what we do, have done or haven’t done, but because of Whose we are and all that He did on our behalf! The Father filters all He sees in you and feels about you through the lens of the perfect love He has for His only Son Jesus. He is approved… thus, you are approved!
Thank you for sticking with me through this long post. I hope you see it, know it, and feel it! YOU ARE LOVED, ACCEPTED AND APPROVED! And that, my dear reader, is something to celebrate!!!
Though our country stands at the crossroads of a pending election, and though we may be more than uneasy about the possible outcome… There is much that still stands true. One thing we can be sure of is the blessed hope of heaven where the King Eternal will reign forever. In light off all that, I thought some of you may enjoy reading this… The Here and Not Yet…
The Here and Not Yet…
Good, true and beautiful — those are the attributes of the divine Hero’s heart, along with love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. He is compassionate and good, holy and true; and there’s an entire kingdom — heaven — where his heart defines reality.
Somewhere beyond the earthly realms that we can see is God’s ultimate kingdom, heaven. It doesn’t have a location we can pinpoint. But it’s real and it’s somewhere, even though we don’t know exactly where. Revelation 21:2 speaks of the new Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven,” so somehow heaven is above us. It may be beyond all galaxies and universes or even outside of time.
While there’s much we don’t know about its specific location, there’s much that we do know about heaven. It’s where the Hero reigns, where he is all in all. It’s the place the Archnemesis fell from. And it’s where God’s throne is.
Scripture tells us a lot about heaven; but since we’ve not yet experienced it, there’s much that remains a mystery. There is one thing that’s crystal clear: Heaven is where God’s ways are carried out perfectly. In the Hero’s kingdom, the Hero reigns.
That means that in heaven, there’s no sin and no evil. The fruit of God’s Spirit — “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22 – 23) — is the code of the kingdom. Justice reigns. Integrity is all that exists. Everything in the Hero’s kingdom is under his authority because he is King. Heaven is where everything is as the Hero wants it to be. It is very, very good.
Right now, in a realm we can’t see but that is very real, there is a place where the Hero’s ways are the order of the day. It’s a perfect, wonderful place.
Scripture Reading: Revelation 4:1-6
NIV The Great Rescue, NIV 365-Day Reading Plan, YouVersion.com
Love is an action word, responding to His Word… The fact is God is actively and passionately loving you today! The big question is how do I/we respond? Life’s choices, the good and the bad (yes, I have made bad choices), have taught me that there is always tremendous freedom in obeying Him fully, knowing that His Word leads us on the best path possible, regardless of human desires, feelings or fears. As one songwriter says, “Oh, how He loves me…” And I have to ask… “Oh, how am I loving Him?”
As many of you know, I used to love to dance with my dad! And as a little girl I would wrap my arms tightly around his waist and stand on his feet while he danced and moved us both happily around the living room. Of course, his arms were wrapped around me as well, and there was nowhere else to look but up! But without fail, his eyes of love were always looking down at me. I knew I was the apple of his eye.
Amy Boucher Pye said, “…with eyes being precious and fragile, they need protecting, and that’s how the Lord wants to love and protect His people – by holding them close to His heart.”
Whether or not you had an earthly dad that held you close and protected you, YOU can rest assured that you do have a Heavenly Father that looks at you with eyes of love and a heart that wants to protect you. You are His precious daughter, the apple of His eye! And my hope, dear sister, is that you are dancing with Him today! #morningponderingsfromdori
Note: Please help yourself to the graphic…I so enjoyed creating it from a royalty free print, and would be honored to see it shared!
NOTHING… Not one thing, no how, no way… Not the deepest pit you can fall in… Not what you think of you, not what others think of you, not what you think others think of you… Not your sickness, poverty, emotional weakness, physical weakness, spiritual weakness, stress, depression, unresolved issues, present circumstances, sin of any kind, or ‘any’ hopeless situation you can think of… NOTHING can separate you from the LOVE OF GOD! Think of a little child crying out for help from the bottom of a deep well… He should not have been near the well in the first place, he knew better, he’d been warned, but he was there, he got too close…and he fell in. Do you stand at the edge and say, ‘Well, I told you so, you knew better,’ and then walk away? Of course not, and God who is more gracious and merciful than we can begin to be will not walk away from us either. He will throw us His rope – I like to think of it as ‘the rope of hope’ – and He will tie it to Himself, our unmovable, unchangeable Rock of Ages! So wherever you find yourself today, I encourage you to grab on to that rope of hope and trust that your Savior is lovingly rescuing you again…for great is His faithfulness!!
The words ‘leaping for joy’ remind me of how fun it was to skip as a little girl. Does ‘leaping for joy’ describe you today? Or does ‘wallowing in the pit’ better fit the bill? I’m ashamed to say that too often it doesn’t take much for me to leap from joy back into the pit. It generally blindsides me! It can be brought on unexpectedly by rejection or criticism from others, or from someone that just makes you feel ‘less than’ every time you’re around them. Though these are toxic relationships, and at times the Lord does allow us to discontinue them, there are situations where we just have to be with certain people…to live with them in our job, church ministry, home or community.
It can only take a word, an attitude or a look to send us spiraling down to that awful pit of rejection and insecurity, fearing that we truly are less than, less than that person, or even less than everyone else that walks the face of the earth. But these are lies, the lies of the enemy who wants to drag us back to the very pit that Jesus drew us out of in the first place. Once you belong to God, the enemy can’t touch your soul…you are sealed by the Holy Spirit. So the devil’s goal is to drag you down and render you useless for the cause of Christ. But God (the two best words in the Bible) has made a way for us to fight back and climb out…even stay out…of that pit.
James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
So the first step is to submit to God. Though we don’t like the word submit most of the time, when our hearts are humble and surrendered before Him, it frees His Spirit to lead us to rivers of refreshing water for our soul! You see, nothing can happen in our lives that He does not allow, so we can be sure He has a plan…either to teach us, cleanse us or strengthen us through the situation. And the only way to discern what He wants to accomplish is to run back to His arms of love, surrendering ourselves to Him as the prodigal son submitted himself to his father’s arms and will. Fall into His arms, fall to your knees in prayer, fall before the throne of love and grace.
Another part of submitting is to be willing to listen. As a teenage girl, trying to become my own person, there was a time when I didn’t want my mom’s advice anymore, so I didn’t ask or seek it. Most of the time, I would have been better off if I had asked! Simply put, after we ask we need to seek God’s perspective by reading His Word until it speaks to the situation. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, to teach you His ways, to show you God’s heart for you in the here and now, to restore your faith in Him and His purpose for you, and to touch your heart with a fresh reminder that He knows, He sees, He hears and He is with you.
After a very toxic experience this past weekend, I asked the Lord to help me to climb out of the pit of feeling ‘less than’ again (truth be known)… So, I opened my Bible and read, feeling that the Lord was going to reveal something I needed to change, to learn, an improvement I needed to make (again! ^_^). Being one who often needs correction, much to my surprise, this time, a verse jumped out that affirmed me rather than correcting me! It was simply a part of my daily reading plan. God spoke, words leaped off the page and into my heart… “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.” (Luke 6:22-23)
WHAT????? So Lord, this time I’m O.K.? I’m actually doing something right? Yes, but there was still a lesson to be learned… Only if you count yourself blessed for it, rejoice and leap for joy! Yikes! Nope, I wasn’t doing that! But through these verses from His Living Word, He pulled me out of the pit, out of the miry clay and set my feet upon the Rock of Jesus Christ again! I began saying, “I am blessed!” I began praising God again, rejoicing and leaping for joy! …for great is my reward in heaven. There is so much power in praise! I could then take the next step to… “resist the devil” …so following Jesus’ example, I said, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” I stood in faith, and said to him, “Greater is He that is in me than he that is the world.” Let me tell you, the enemy fled…he was defeated! Faith truly is the victory…faith in God, His Word and His ever-promised presence in our lives! He will never leave me or forsake me! He will never leave you or forsake you either!!!
Dear reader, when people hate you, exclude you, insult you or reject you because of Jesus, you are blessed! Because there is One who will never leave you, He will never forsake you! Run to Him, humbly submit, seek Him through His Word, listen to all He has to say! And He will give you victory! Rejoice and leap for joy! Funny…I suddenly feel like skipping. Care to join me?
“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:4 (NIV)
Running errands can easily be close to the top of my ‘things I don’t like to do’ list. I would rather clean my whole house from top to bottom than run errands. But as with housework, errands also need to be tackled. And this day, I had run many and had finally reached my last stop. I was tired, hungry and spent…in more ways than one! Not an excuse for what you will soon read…just setting the stage.
Parking Lot Pride: I pulled into the Walmart parking lot, found a good parking space and stopped my car. As I was putting a comb through my hair (knowing how perfect I must look to enter Walmart), out of the corner my eye I spotted two young men going from one person to another, apparently begging for money. My first awful thought was in the form of a very selfish prayer, “Oh Lord, please don’t let them spot me!” But soon one of the young men stood at my driver’s-side-window yelling, “You look great, your hair looks beautiful!” You got it, they spotted me…selfish, prideful, soon-to-be-humbled me!
Parking Lot Praise: So I got out of my car to find that these two young men were wearing matching T-shirts from a ministry in a nearby town. They quickly shared their stories of how the Lord Jesus Christ had come into their lives, how HE had straightened them out and cleaned them up. Now they were in a discipleship program and were working to raise funds in order to support others needing the program as well. The Lord spoke through them so mightily…and I was deeply humbled, especially for wanting to avoid this encounter in the first place.
Praise God, when I am weak HE is strong! We ended up having wonderful fellowship, right there in the parking lot. They allowed me (yes, I know I didn’t deserve it) to share how the Lord had delivered me too, how He had pulled me out of a miry pit and set my feet upon a rock. I shared a story about the cross I have hanging in my office… It is made out of a shattered china plate, and it is more beautiful now than the original china plate had ever been. I encouraged them to continue to let the Lord put the broken pieces of their lives together again. And that they too…more beautiful than every before…will exemplify Christ Himself as He shines through them. These two young men certainly shined on my life this day!
Parking Lot Preaching: One of them had tears in his eyes. I asked him if he had a lot of regret (I do too, I know what it feels like…and what it looks like). He nodded yes as more tears flowed. It’s not too often that I am thankful for my past and the things I regret, but as I shared with him the ways God has brought healing to me, I was truly thankful this day! I shared the verse my first pastor recited to me right after I accepted Jesus… “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17) …And I told him the same thing my first pastor told me, “It is all under the blood!” I encouraged him to fix his eyes on the prize, forgetting what is behind…to focus fully on Jesus and what He wants to do now. Don’t let the enemy use problems, people, your past or anything else to get you down and render you useless for the cause of Jesus Christ. You are no longer a victim; you are a victor in HIM! I apologized for preaching…and they said, “Oh no, thank you!” Wow, I didn’t deserve that either!
Parking Lot Prayer: I was thankful that at one point I did put some money in their bucket, but I was even more thankful that the Lord did not answer my original prayer the way I wanted Him to. I was tremendously blessed by this encounter with these two precious young souls. Before we parted, we prayed together, praised the Lord together for this ‘Holy Spirit ordained parking lot fellowship’ and we hugged goodbye.
My next prayer was quite different than my first. This time I confessed my pride and thanked the Lord for His love, mercy and grace on my life! I thanked Him, and I thank Him still, for the privilege of meeting these two young men. Their names are Timothy and Juanito and I hope you will hold them up in prayer as well. I will never forget them and this lesson learned in a Walmart parking lot. And next time I see someone approaching me or my car out of the corner of my eye…no matter how tired or spent I am…I sincerely hope and pray I will have a better attitude. Will you maybe say a prayer for me too? 🙏☺️
Monday is our day off because my dear pastor-husband finds it the best day to relax. He also finds it the best day to have work done on the house. So for the past three Monday’s our alarm company has been working on our alarm system. Not the most relaxing way to spend a day off! So Mondays have been a little noisy lately as the workers periodically test the alarm…and this morning as I was sitting on the deck with our little dog Rudy, he was so scared that he nervously ran with his tail between his legs to huddle beneath my feet for protection. When I got up to do something, our trembling little dog followed my every move and stayed right by my side.
Enemy alarms go off in our minds all the time…temptations abound. A co-worker comes to you with defaming information about someone you struggle with as well. Suddenly, even though you vowed to stop gossiping, you are tempted to air your own grievances, but hopefully an alarm goes off. Your spouse isn’t treating you the way you want, and at the same time one of your neighbors helps you with your groceries, giving you that much needed attention… alarm time! And what about jealousy… Your best friend gets the car you’ve always dreamed of having, and all of a sudden you wonder why you are friends with her anyway. Alarm!! Or how about this one… You’re on your own for lunch and you think, ‘I can go off my diet and no one will ever know’ as if the proof is not in the pudding, or should I say the pounds! And I won’t even touch on our battles with worry, fear, frustration, struggles with addiction, anger, bitterness and resentment!
Spiritual warfare comes in all shapes and sizes. The enemy knows exactly how to get you where it will hurt the most, and often at our weakest point! I Peter 5:8 tells us “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (NIV) The warning is clear! Our enemy, the devil doesn’t wear a cute little red suit…actually, he’s not the least bit cute, and if he is any color it is extremely dark and putrid. His goal is to destroy you and me and render us useless for the cause of Christ.
But don’t be alarmed!
Thank God for His amazing Grace! James 4 says, “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (NKJV) When our alarm goes off we need to run with our tail between our legs too. We need to take steps away from alarming temptations and toward our Lord. I see three steps in these verses…
First, humbly submit to God. Flee from the temptation and to run Him – as a scared dog runs to his owner – and huddle in the Lord’s everlasting arms of protection. Simply say as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” Lay down your temptations, your wants, your desires, your sins and humbly submit to God’s will and plan. Recite David’s words from Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right spirit within me.” (KJV) Our faithful God will meet you there!
Second, resist the devil. When the alarm goes off, fight back!!! Using Jesus’ example when He was tempted, say, “Get thee behind me Satan” Remember, greater is HE that is in you than he that is this world! Hurl that truth at him by the authority and Name of Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior and through the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells you! And he will flee, not by your power or might, but by the Lord’s!
Then, draw near to God. Even if you’re still alarmingly struggling and trembling, look to Jesus, fix your eyes on Him. Get into His Word, spend time reading, praying His Word and promises back to Him, and praising Him for the victory – yes, in advance! Listen to podcasts or sermons on line, Christian music or audio books. Grow in grace and in the knowledge of your Lord Jesus Christ who promised to never leave you or forsake you.
So there you have it… A few little tips from Rudy’s alarming experience! There is so much to be said about spiritual warfare but, for today, I will leave it at that. By the way, the workers are gone and Rudy is lying peacefully at my feet, and I’m just a fallible human owner. I think I’m going to go lay at my Owner’s feet for a while too! HE NEVER FAILS!
“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10:12 NIV) I truly believe that ‘comparing ourselves amongst ourselves’ can be one of the biggest dangers for ‘social media’ users. It is important to keep our balance and remember that everyone has a ‘behind the scenes’ and more often than not, it is nothing like the ‘highlight reel’ posted for all to see. We are all wandering pilgrims in this life and that is why we need to hold on to the hand of the only One who knows the way, WHO IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. And the bottom line, He knows your behind the scenes, He is with you, He will never leave you or forsake you, HE LOVES YOU BEYOND LIFE ITSELF, and HE died to prove it. May that thought bless your day!
Over 3,000 miles across the United States in a 1958 Chevy Belair… I traveled that journey three times in less than two year’s time. I was 9 when we began, 10 1/2 when we completed trip #3, always riding in the back seat behind the driver. The driver was my dad, my earthly hero, my Superman. At that time in my life he was still the biggest, strongest, smartest man in the whole world. I didn’t realize until I was older that he was only 5’8″ and had an 8th grade education. Of course even when I did find that out, it didn’t matter because my dad never failed me… not in any way that really mattered anyway.
So back to the journey, my parents decided to move from Boston to California… You know, swimmin’ pools, movie stars (for those who remember Jed Clampett). But the real reason my parents decided to uproot our family was because dad had bad ears and the cold weather caused him extreme pain. But after six months away from our huge family my parents got homesick… so we trekked back to Boston, bought another house, froze through another winter, sold that house and, yes, moved back to California. This choice was final…they chose California with its sunshine and ocean breezes, over freezing in Boston near my grandparents, 33 cousins and 20 aunts and uncles. My brother and I were not a part of the decision, but we were part of the journeys, moving, changes, and adjustments. In the process we lived in eight different places and attended six different schools within a two year time span. And though confused at times, I don’t ever remember questioning if we had done the right thing, or wondering how it was going to turn out. I simply trusted my parents.
As each road trip began, whether from east to west or west to east, I simply got in the car, back seat, driver’s side. Dad was always at the wheel, Mom road shotgun and my brother sat behind her. My mom was the navigator, with a map from AAA in her hand, and there was a compass on the dashboard telling us which way was north, south, east and west. Ah yes, the pre-GPS years.
Now my dad… he was deaf in his right ear and couldn’t hear well out of his left, so my mom would yell directions to him, or maybe it was AT him, “Wally, you need to take the next exit!” My dad would be silent… Then we’d hear more of a shriek, “Wally, the next exit! Wally, you missed the exit!”
My brother and I would be in the back seat singing the ol’ tune of “California here we come… right back where we started from.” My parents would argue about how to get turned around and back on the highway to find the correct exit before our car broke down or ran out of gas. We never did run out of gas, but we did spend an extra night or two in the middle of nowhere while waiting for some small town mechanic to repair our car on more than one occasion, one of which we got to stay in a motel with a pool… a real treat to a couple of east coast kids.
Eventually, we’d resume our journey, and regardless of the trials along the way, the rough road conditions, threatening weather reports or engine trouble, we arrived safely at our destination every time. And my brother and I always got in the car, sat back, relaxed and trusted my dad at the wheel, my mom with the map and the compass to show us the way.
My earthly father passed away seven years ago today, and though I miss him more than ever, I am so grateful for all the ‘pictures of God’ he gave me through his loving example. As I look back, this story is a picture of this journey we call ‘life.’ So often it takes us to unknown places… a little scary, a bit exciting, sometimes a combination of the two. Other times the journey takes us to familiar places, like going home. Along the way there are road blocks, detours, bumps in the road, poor weather conditions, break downs and delays. And then again, it can be like smooth sailing on the open road with a picnic lunch in the trunk. Either way, I can hop in the car, sit back and relax, and trust my Heavenly Father at the wheel, with the Holy Spirit as my Navigator and His Living Word as my compass (my GPS)…knowing I will always reach the destination He has mapped out for me. He has it all in control, He never fails, He has promised in His Word to never leave me or forsake me…and He never has. I can say with joy, I have NEVER been sorry for getting in the car and trusting my life into His most capable hands… He’s an flawless driver who not only knows the way, He IS the Way! Care to go for a ride?
The message of the attached music video (below) is so beautifully basic… You are loved!! Maybe the power of it comes from the fact that we don’t always freely receive love. If we truly knew how loved we were, we would be more apt to love others recklessly…especially other women. It doesn’t seem to take much to trigger our insecurities and make us feel threatened. Of course, I’m speaking from my own point of reference and I sincerely never want to feel this way, and I trust you don’t either. Chiding myself first, this is not faith, but fear. The spirit of darkness endeavors to bind our hearts with these chains of fear and discouragement, and take us back to the pit the Lord Jesus Christ redeemed us from. When we find ourselves plummeting down there again, we have a choice. We can wallow in the muck and mire of aloneness behind walls of self pity that no one can penetrate, or we can heed the words of Romans 14:23 that says, “…whatever is not from faith is sin.” Yikes! That means every time we feel this way we have a second choice: to escape the tempter’s snare! That speaks to me… I can choose to fall on my chubby knees and confess that this self-focus and fear is, in fact, sin; then turn from it in sincere repentance and trust God as I choose the path of faith again, focusing on His love and faithfulness. People may hurt us and let us down, but we need not fear when we know, ultimately, that we have a trustworthy Heavenly Father who doesn’t miss a second of our lives. When we choose to focus on His faithfulness again, loving Him above all else (Matthew 22:37-40), the path ahead is always more glorious! We find we are more open to loving others, with hearts beating to the rhythm of our Heavenly Father’s…His love flows through us and to them. We begin to love others as we love ourselves regardless of how we feel. We see His truth transform our hearts anew and we realize what a lie those mere feelings were. No longer deceived, we discover we do not even feel insecure or threatened anymore because faith and love took over, reigning on our heart’s throne. It all begins when we give away what we so desperately need ourselves. It sounds a bit backwards, but it is always that way in God’s economy. This is faith in action. The truth is we live backwards in our old selves, and when we learn to live as He designed us we are doing it right side out. My precious friend, feel it or not, you can fully trust Him with this…YOU ARE LOVED!
A princess certainly would not clothe herself in a designer gown with glass slippers, place a jeweled crown on her head and say she was dressed for battle. Nor would a soldier train and learn to use wartime weapons and walk into battle with a smile on his face, saying, “Peace, Brothers.” He certainly wouldn’t survive the military or the battles. We want peace in our hearts and lives, but we worry about our children, job and finances, spouse or lack of one, our health and so much more. We fear the ‘what ifs’ as if they were appointments on our calendars. Once you have asked Jesus Christ to come into your heart and life, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit and your salvation is guaranteed by the written Word of God (1 John 5:11-13). Since the enemy is unable to take believers out of God’s family, he uses shame, worry and fear to get us down and render us useless for the cause of Jesus Christ…to take us back to the pit God rescued us from. He points us to it and says, “See what you really are…see where you are truly headed.” But he is the father of lies, and as Jesus did during His forty days in the wilderness, we too can fight the good fight with the power of the mighty Word of God! So first reprogram your mind… Romans 12:2 says, “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” You may be saying, “Hey, wait a minute, this doesn’t sound like a battle strategy!” And you’re right. The Christian life is a life of inside out, upside down, backwards living. It is not living according to natural desires or tactics, but rather, it is living in obedience to God’s Word. This means we need to change, or transform, the way we think into the way God thinks. The only way (oh, we cannot be reminded of this enough, me included!) is to spend time with Him in His Word and in His Presence. He is always there, waiting. We choose to take time on the lap of our Heavenly Father and get to know Him. This is where we learn His heartbeat, His desires and His battle strategies to bring them to pass. Second, raise your weapons, stand on His Word and praise His Holy Name! Psalm 63:2-3 says, “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you” (NIV). Think about it…when you were in school, if someone started praising and quoting a teacher you feared, one you did not get along with, would you want to hear it? The enemy does not want to hear us praise the One he fears more than anything, and he will flee from the very presence of your praise! Praise God for His power and His love for you! This is not about feelings, but about acting in faith (in the midst of the battle) regardless of how we feel. When you lift your hands to the GOD of the Universe with words of praise, the burdens will fall off our shoulders onto the One who promised to carry them! And third, fall on your knees… Philippians 4:6-7 says it so beautifully, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life” (THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language). Doesn’t that just say it all? Our part is to reprogram our mind to the Father’s way of thinking and write His battle strategy on our hearts, then lift our hands in praise to Him for His love and faithfulness, and finally, fall to our knees leaving our worries in His faithful care. He does the rest…Christ transforms our warped old way of thinking, mightily defeats our wicked enemy and graciously displaces our worries with Himself. Bottom line, when we entrust the battle into the hands of our Mighty God and King, we will walk victoriously as His Princesses with the peace that passes all understanding! So raise your weapons, and may your crown sparkle brightly in His glorious light! 🙂
His feelings for you are vehement, intense and compelled by His giant, amazing, pure and holy love for you. There is no other love like it in the entire universe and it is all yours for the taking. He demonstrated it most clearly through His Son Jesus Christ who suffered and died for you and me so that through His resurrected life and Spirit we can have fellowship with the Father in this life and for all eternity. Yesterday my husband and I were sitting at the beach watching a couple of surfers ride wave after wave. I certainly understand why an energetic young man might want to pursue this adventurous sport in the heat of summer, but in 60 degree weather and freezing cold water until well past 8:00 p.m.? What compels a person to do that? The only conclusion I could draw is that it springs from a sincere and zealous passion for the sport. Then I had to ask myself if I had ever been THAT passionate about anything (?) …to be SO in love with something that I would spend all my energy and waking hours pursuing it, improving it and mastering it. Wouldn’t it be life-changing to be that passionate about our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ? I recently saw a poster that said, “I can’t brag about my love for God because I fail him daily. But I can brag about His love for me because HE NEVER FAILS.” Ever feel like you ‘wiped out’ again? It can happen in an instant… a bad attitude, a hasty response, an unkind word. But the father of the prodigal son is such a beautiful picture of God’s all-pursuing, passionate love for us even when we fail. Luke 15:20 says, “But while he was still a long way off (the son who had spent all his inheritance on wild living), his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Yes, God is THAT passionate about YOU, dear sister-in-Christ! You can never wipe out so much that He will stop loving you. You can ride the wave of His passionate, sincere, zealous love for you every day of your life, in any weather! He is running to you, kissing you! Feel the grace, the warmth…and pass it on! 🙂
Good morning, Princess! If you are female in gender, that is how your Heavenly Father would greet you as you strain to keep your eyes closed for just one more minute’s sleep. And if you could truly hear it with your ears, wouldn’t your eyes pop open instantly to see the smile on His loving face and speak with Him more? (I might become a true morning person!) Well, Princess, HE IS RIGHT HERE! He is closer than your very breath. You may not be able to see Him, hear Him, touch Him or even feel Him, but He is here! Jesus’ very name, Emmanuel, means God WITH us (Matthew 1:23). And “he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). No matter what you are going through or where you are in your life, you are not alone! Even if your heart is heavy, your body’s weak, your knees are knocking and your world is falling apart, HE IS HERE! Maybe you can hardly stand to your feet today, but rise up, Princess, your King will take your hand and give you His shoulder to cry on, His arm to lean on and His promise to stand on…”And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Even when you can’t see it, God sees. Even when you don’t feel like it, you are are a princess, a child of royal birth!
Once Jesus became your Savior, you became joint heirs with Him. You are God’s chosen child, the one He has clothed in His royal robe of righteousness. You have a new Home address in Heaven, and earth is now a foreign country where you represent your King and your Kingdom. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (NIV) Yes, you are crowned for greatness! And now you represent the greatest Kingdom of all as His valued ambassador to a world in need. Through you, others will see your King’s heart for man and womankind, His everlasting love for all who believe, His compassion for the brokenhearted, His sacrificial forgiveness for sin…and yes, His service as you tangibly meet the needs of others with love. The life of a princess is not always glorious (even Cinderella had to scrub a few floors before she danced at the ball). We are not Home yet and until we parade down the streets of Heaven, we have a high calling, a job to do. Let us live so that others will see what it is like to be His child and maybe, just maybe they will want to be one too. Your life has a divine purpose that only you can fulfill during your pilgrimage here on earth. May you shine His wonderful light as you walk worthy of your crown each day of your life! You still may not see it, but it’s there! Have a blessed week, dear Princess!
I. YOU ARE GOD’S IDEA – Genesis 1:26, also see Psalm 139:13-18
II. YOU ARE GOD’S MASTERPIECE – Genesis 1:27, 2:18-24
III. YOU ARE GOD’S AMBASSADOR – Genesis 1:28
IV. YOU ARE GOD’S RECIPIENT – Genesis 1:29-30; Matthew 6:28-34
V. YOU ARE GOD’S VALUABLE VESSEL OF HONOR – Genesis 1:31
“Your very existence is evidence that this generation needs something your life contains.” Miles Monroe, The Pursuit of Purpose
From Genesis to Revelation, God has written a love letter that surpasses all others combined. HE does everything possible to express His love and great redemption for mankind [male and female]. Throughout this Book He has included priceless stories about women for the heart of woman… drawing extraordinary pictures of His Amazing Love! 189 of these women are called by name!!! This doesn’t include any of the innumerable women who are unnamed such as Noah’s wife, Jephthah’s daughter and Peter’s mother-in-law.
Women are so valuable to God, important enough for Him to include their stories in His Word, His Story! Whether in a leading role, a supporting role or in the background – what the world may list as an extra or a stage hand – whether a wife, mother, mother-in-law, sister, daughter, etc., every woman is of great value to the God of the Universe!
And you, dear Woman of Worth, are of GREAT VALUE to HIM as well! He knows your name, He knows your circumstances, your heart’s desires, your struggles, your failures and your successes and He wants to be a part of them all. It is my prayer that you will be a part of this journey as we focus on our giant God, His timeless Word and His unfailing love for us!