Encouragement

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.” Romans 15:5

We are to live as Jesus lived if his spirit lives within us and we are his. To be a Christian you are to be changed. We need to be dying to our old ways every day. If we are not keeping his commands then do we really know him? It is not possible to do any of it without him. He gives us the strength we need every day to do all we are called to do. Endurance and encouragement are given to us so we can in turn pass them on to others. But it is very important to first encourage yourself by praying, read Gods word, meditating on it, singing praises and meeting together with other believers for church and fellowship. We need to encourage each other and pray for each other. To encourage each of to produce much fruit in their lives. The fruit we need to be showing is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, meekness, faithfulness, and self control. What would Jesus do? He would show patience and compassion. Think of serving others first no matter what their needs might be. If someone is angry and difficult then they are probably hurting and need your help and compassion now very much. Ask them how you can help and if you can pray for them. Those that live around you should know with out a doubt that you are different. The average person in this world thinks first about themselves and their needs. We should be the special people God created us to be. Shine the light of God that is in you everywhere you go and brighten this very dark world.

Who Is God?

“The Lord, The Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin.” Exodus 34:6-7

“Who is God like you, who pardons sin and forgives transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” Micah 7:18

This is from God’s own words not from second hand information. He wants you to know him and his character. He can not lie because it is not in his perfect nature. His promises, vows, and statements can always be counted on and what he says he will do, he does do. Even if it seems impossible to our human minds. His ways are far above our ways and very unique and different with each of his unique and different children. The first thing he is, is compassionate. He cares about everything that is important to his creation. Because he wants the very best for everyone and everything. He even notices when a single sparrow dies. His grace is new every day. We don’t deserve anything but he gives good things to everyone every day. Not just to those who love him but the sun shines also on the wicked. It takes a lot to make him angry. The Israelites were a great example. They kept screwing up and doing the same things that he had told them not to do, but he kept forgiving them over and over. But when he promises punishment he follows through. He promises curses to those who do not obey. But he will forgive you if you ask. He says he delights to show mercy. That means he wants you to ask for forgiveness and to believe that he will give it. It doesn’t matter how bad your sin was, he gives all a brand new start. Forgetting your sins though they may be many. He has so much love that we will never understand and he will never promise something that he won’t do. He can always be counted on. He created everyone on purpose and he has a purpose for everyone’s life. He loves you and you matter to him. There is nothing you could ever do that he can’t forgive. Even as he hung on that cross to make it possible for you to be forgiven, he forgave those that sought his death. Everything that was made from galaxies to elaborate single cells were well thought out in detail. For everyone to enjoy.

First Love

“Yet I hold this against you: you have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” Revelation 2:4-5

It is so easy to take our eyes off of God and place them on problems and business. But Satan will use that to destroy you every time. The door gets left ajar and he barges right in. It starts with a thought. But those thoughts quickly become actions. Is life getting harder and more complicated? Where is your focus? God never gave up on you and he never left. But he is waiting patiently for you to call out to him. To realize that what is missing has been there a along but you have just misplaced it. Our life is so full and exciting when all we think about is our first love. Once you realize that you need someone and don’t want to live without them. You think about them all of the time. You want to know everything about them and what makes them tick. As you spend time reading God’s words to us in his word you get to know him. There are many good promises to encourage you and to give you hope. His character and love become so real to you and your love deepens. You are stronger and can handle challenges and problems so much easier. Two can handle things better together. When those challenges and problems come offer them up to the Lord and he strengthens you. The keys to peace. The ones we need to open that door are found when you spend time in his presence. This life is meant to be full, abundant and successful if you follow the path he has for you. He will never steer you wrong. Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. With him by your side (and remember he doesn’t leave but we do) you are strong and ready to take on the world. And some day soon Christ will be returning for his bride, a bride without spot or wrinkle. You will want to be eagerly waiting and ready.

Complacency

“So since you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:16

Can you imagine the God of the whole universe saying that to you? Have you ever ordered a cup of coffee that came to you barely warm, when coffee should be hot. Arg! Look at our world, there is so much hate. People are frustrated and confused. It is not supposed to be like this. People are miserable and they are taking it out on everyone around them. I remember as a girl singing, “what the world needs now is love sweet love…” Boy is that an understatement. Rioting, shootings, looting, protests, and vandalism are rampant. There was a rally at the Washington Mall. Thousands of Christians came to pray for our country. No violence, just love and prayers. Not very news worthy since nothing was damaged. Just hearts breaking for a hurting world. I was so overwhelmed by the love. It was a beautiful day. We have learned to accept stuff that we don’t feel qualified to stop. Once good and patriotic. We watch as people get darker and darker that used to care. There is still right and wrong but if everyone’s doing it, is it ok? One week it’s one sin we condone then it’s two. But now we are sinning all the time and can’t stop. People raised in Christian homes are abandoning Christianity as unnecessary. If it gets really bad I might say a prayer. Why would God listen if it’s your last ditch effort. We need to repent to be forgiven. Our world is suffering and look where we are. I listened to people who came to America from other countries. They told how their countries used to be that way but got so bad they had to flee to asylum in America. It will get worse. God is still reaching out with love and freedom. But will we accept it. Or one day will you hear, “depart from me, I never knew you.” Will we turn from our evil practices?

Truth

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

I have been so deceived and far from the truth, and I thought I was right. My thinking was so clouded by my sins. The darkness just drew me even deeper into its web. So I understand where the world in general is coming from. We have a very present enemy and he wants us annihilated. He can not stand the thought of anything from God succeeding. To be accurate he is so deceived that he actually thinks that he can win against the God who made him. The only one who can and will win is the one who knows everything and made everything. He made us a manual for living in this crazy life. And how to live it well. I have been studying that manual like my life depends on it. And you know what? It does. Having my stroke was a wake up call. Like I said I was so lost in the web of deception that God shook me and said, “ What are you doing?” Well I almost died in my sins. But God knew that wasn’t me. I was made for so much more. When I came to I had very little left but I did still have my mind. I said, “God why am I here?” I knew I had to survive for the ones who loved me. I knew many people were praying for me. So little by little and day by day I struggled to get my life back. I wouldn’t take anything for granted again. Life is a present and that is why we need to live in the present. It took many years and my mind needed the most work. My body never really came back but that’s not important. We need to renew our minds ever day and put on the armor God gives us to fight our real enemy deception. Satan wants nothing more than to squish us under his foot. But God won’t let him. I of course can give him permission and that is what most of the world has done. They are his slaves and they like it that way because they don’t know better. They see this world through very distorted lenses. I pray for those around me to change, for the spirit to change their hearts before it’s too late.

Chosen

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness and into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9

Before the world began God already had a perfect plan. Everyone he created was chosen for a special purpose and each person would have an effect on everyone around them. God knew in advance those that would come to work for him and his purposes. Some may have strayed at one time or another and some strayed very badly. An example of that is the apostle Paul. He was a Jew and knew the law so he thought he knew better than Jesus. But he was God’s chosen man to reach out to the Gentiles. It was God’s very chosen people, the Jews, who he brought about to make an example for us. He would bring his truth to the people through a Jew. It was through them that we first learned about Jesus. The Israelites knew the law and God although they were a mixed up and often fickle people. They followed God’s holy days and rituals. Nobody is perfect and we all mess up but you see how much God loved them and always forgave them. He made a vow which he would never break. To love them, to care for them, and to bless them. At times he had to punish them for a while. As any good parent does, but he never gave up on his children. He used everyone just as they were and showed everyone that you didn’t have to be special or good to be used for a big purpose. He made everyone strong and courageous. David killed Goliath, Elijah took on the prophets of Baal, Samson the Phillistines and Gideon did great things for God. None were special but he used them mightily. The greatest Jew was his very own son. He died for the sins of the world. Saving all who would accept his precious gift of life. The Jewish people are still quite precious to him and he is currently drawing them back to himself. It takes time to help them to see the truth but until everyone that will accept him comes, he is not in a rush. He gives us plenty of time. One day Christ will be coming back for his chosen ones. Every precious one of them and he will gather them from every corner of the earth and bring them to their eternal home in heaven with him forever. Until that day arrives there is still time. Do you wish to be chosen? There is nothing like it.

It’s A Miracle

This morning as I was waking up, the sun was creeping through the blinds on my windows and light was coming from the hallway. I was looking at everything around me. So many amazing things. Technology, talent to make beautiful things, and knowledge to make intricate things. If we were just a random happening evolving from nothing, just dust. Then how could we think and reason and accomplish such amazing things? Why are we different from other animals? Wouldn’t we be struggling just to get by. I remember thinking about cavemen when I was little. I thought how silly it sounded. I looked at the photographs of my children and grandkids all around. My computer, my power wheelchair and every piece of technology in my room. Then I glanced at a painting on my wall. One day when I was shopping for furniture, it called to me from the wall in the store. I stared at it for a long time. I was looking at my childhood in complete detail. When I was a little girl my daddy took me up with his friend in an airplane. I loved it. It’s all I thought of for years after that. I grew up next door to two boys that I played with. It was a picture of three kids building a pretend airplane. We often would build things from all the scrap junk left lying around. That picture had every detail correctly. Even the Fanta orange soda my friends always drank. What are the odds that someone I didn’t know would paint that picture? And that I would happen upon it while trying to find a desk. Just about that time I looked outside and yes it was another absolutely beautiful sunny day. How can that just happen? Back to the photos. I am loved by every one of those people. They give my life so much meaning.. Feelings and emotions. Where did they come from if there is no meaning to life? Random chance is a bigger miracle than anything I was raised to believe. I see great miracles every day because I know the God of miracles, but without him it would take a miracle for anything to make sense or have meaning.

Be Doers

“If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15

“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.” John 14:21

When you love someone you will do what they say out of love and respect. You don’t see it as unnecessary because they wouldn’t have said it if it wasn’t important. You don’t question love because love trusts. Well the God who created the universe loves those he created and he also knows everything. So knowing what is best for his own creation just makes sense. Because he is God. Now you can not trust everyone. Satan will also try to convince you to trust him. You don’t always know it’s him talking to you. You might just think that it was your thought. But if it isn’t good for you or about you, then you probably don’t want to listen to it. Satan will try to tell you that your bad, useless and don’t deserve things but God would never say anything like that. Everyone was created on purpose and for a purpose. We don’t all accomplish our purposes but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. God has offered all the help you need. Strength? Wisdom? If your parents had told you things to do or avoid doing and you never did anything they said they would be upset. First they would worry that you might do something and hurt yourself. They would also worry that you were heading down the road to disaster and be worried about your future. You wouldn’t want to make them sad. Now I understand that not all parents are perfect. Nobody is but God. But it is their job to raise you to be responsible and to one day be able to make wise decisions for yourself. To do things that would not harm others or endanger your future. Now suppose your parents had five kids. They would expect you to love and support them and not harm them. Family sticks together, right? This world is just one really big family and we all need each other. There is nothing more important than unity. Because we are much better together. Two can accomplish more than one. The more the merrier. The one who created us wants that more than your parents did. He even wants us to take care of those that may not be able to take care of themselves. What I’m saying is, if you had a brother who was handicapped, you would help him get around and do things for him. So many people just need help out of where they are stuck. When we help and care for others it makes us feel good. We matter and we are loved in return.

Conspiracy

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

What is a conspiracy? The dictionary says it is an evil, unlawful, treacherous, surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; a plot. That sounds terrible and it is. But it has been going on since time began. I remember as a child we would play a game in school. The teacher would secretly tell someone something and then that person would secretly tell the next person in line the same secret and it would travel around the room. The last person would then tell the teacher the same secret. By the time that last person shared the secret it was a totally different tale. People tend to hear what they expect to hear and they don’t really listen. But have you ever heard gossip that you quickly passed on? Maybe it wasn’t even true in the beginning but everyone adds their own spin as they pass it. We so easily believe what we hear, and especially read.We want to believe we can trust people to tell the truth. People in power have often told a lie or partial truth to sell something, get someone to side with them, or gain financial support. Hey that’s business, right? Do you ever really think about what you believe and if it really matters to your life? Your parents would tell you things as you were growing up. Were they always telling you the truth or just what would shut you up. Something they had been told. Secondhand information. God has said to be like a little child if you want to get to heaven. Children when they are younger are always asking, why? They are eager to learn everything about life. They also believe what they are told if it sounds reasonable. Or they will keep questioning. We should always keep learning and keep questioning what we hear. How can you believe some things that just don’t make sense? We tend to believe what we wish to believe. We trust teachers, leaders, employers, politicians, doctors. But do they ever have reasons to tell you partial truth. Doctors may know what they have been told will cure something. But maybe there is a better or safer way to do it. Teachers often teach what they are told to teach. They need to be politically correct. Psychologists tell them what they should and shouldn’t talk about. They may be omitting things their students may need to know because they are told their job requires it. Well it’s easy to see that after thousands of years we have heard thousands of untruths. There are truths that have been around for thousands of years and have been proven historically correct. Why would God lie? I would believe God over anyone else. Don’t take my word for it. Truth is very important and you should investigate fully yourself.

Idolatry

“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:2

Many consider idolatry a harsh word. Oh those awful Israelites serving their false gods deserved God’s punishment. Well idolatry is just putting anything besides God first in your life. The worst form of idolatry in our day is the idolatry of self. What I want! People serve their appetite for things, pleasure, friends, family and money. Our world is going downhill so fast because nobody worries about anything but me, myself and I. It is not acceptable to serve God, read the Bible or pray. God doesn’t care. Well this life won’t last forever. We all die one day. Will what you had to have save you from your tomorrow. What comes after this life? What really matters?

“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only few find it.” Matthew 7:14

There is a very small remnant of people that will actually make it to heaven. Out of the Billions of people on this planet. Only a few million will actually walk through those pearly gates where they one day dreamed of living. Who you serve in this life does matter. If you are serving yourself it better be pretty great to sustain you forever. This world is not always easy but keeping my eyes always on my goal will keep me moving. I can relax once I am where I am meant to be forever. Then there will be more pleasures than I can imagine and forever to enjoy them.