Hard Times

“I have told you these things, so that in me you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Jesus wanted us to be ready. He does care about us every minute. Life can be hard at times. I have been dealing with others struggles lately. Please God help them. Why? Struggles come in so many different ways. Our lives can’t and won’t be perfect. But we can have peace always, but this is up to you. Our attitude is very important. What do you do when troubles comes? First you need to believe that God really does love you and he does have a plan. Everything will be used for your good. That may sound so impossible, right? I know myself that some of my greatest fears, struggles, and pains have turned me into a better, stronger person. My stroke tops the list of tough times and it is also what caused some of the greatest growth in my life. I am so very happy with where I am now in my relationship with God. No way I would be there but through my stroke. I used to have severe leg cramps. For over four years I suffered in pain and cried a lot. Number one truth – God gave me the strength to endure. Number two truth – he held my hand all through it. Number three truth – i am so much stronger. I don’t even notice little cramps any more. Cramps that hurt before I can almost ignore. Number four truth – I’ve learned to focus only on the good things and there are so many. I see that he is always blessing me and am always thanking him. I know my God better and I trust him always. Some things we can do when troubled be trials. Pray, read about God, listen to praise music, and do something for someone else. The biggest problem solver I have found is gratitude. I can spend just five minutes of my time thanking God and I feel great. I don’t care what I am going through it helps. Another help is something I learned this week. Look at a beautiful rose. Long stems come with many sharp thorns but out of them grows a beautiful bud. Slowly opening so majestically. Do you know something else? Jesus wore a crown of thorns for each of us as he hung on that cross one Friday. He did it for us, so we could have eternal life with him and never be apart. If he did that willingly for me I can handle so much more. He would do it all over again if he had to. But God said it is finished. That simple sacrifice has done so much. So never grow tired of all life throws at you, because in the end there is an eternal reward that is so worth it.

Are you feeling trials or pain?

God Is All

“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power

and the glory and the majesty and the splendor

for everything in heaven and earth is yours.

Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 1 Corinthians 29:11 NIV

Lord you are so wonderful. Your ways are so good. I am just so grateful you have blessed me so for all of my 60 years. I look at the world around me and it does shout of your glory. You made a masterpiece for us to enjoy each day and I will never take that for granted. I love that you plopped me down in beautiful Arizona. From the beautiful sunsets to the cool tall pines. I could never see it all. Yesterday I got to enjoy our botanical gardens and it was a perfect, sunny, 72 degree day. I saw so many cacti so different and unique. Small to large and some really weird and prehistoric looking plants. Nothing average or boring. You are creative. They had a wonderful butterfly exhibit. I really enjoyed going through this enclosure. I saw thousands of butterflies everywhere. Up close they are so delicate and lovely. They were flying all around me and landing on me. From a huge monarch to tiny little ones. So much to enjoy in this world. The people you have sent into my life, I choose to enjoy each and every one. Friends, family, and those I don’t know yet but long to know better. You have helped me learn the importance of being grateful. Every morning even before I open my eyes, I can come to you and say thank you. A bright new day, maybe cool, or warm, rainy, windy, or snowy(which I sure miss). So much goes into the upkeep of this great planet but you do it effortlessly, because, you designed it so well. You thought of absolutely everything. Scientists try to know things, and they have come quite a long way thanks to you. They will never begin to discover all that you know. Your plans for us are so good. I really enjoy that you sent me to a church that I just love. It is beautiful and it is so good at finding needs and filling them. I am right in the center of what you are doing. You use me even though I am nothing special, just your daughter, and that’s more than enough. I have seen so many answered prayers and you work in some awesome ways. Everyone I meet is made in your own image and I know that you love them, and that you died for them. Help me to see them with your eyes. Thank you so very much.

Do you take the time to be grateful?

Payment For Sin

“If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have turned him over to you.” John 18:30 NIV

Jesus a criminal. Only God could have orchestrated that scenario. Jesus was a perfect human being. He lived a life without sinning. He was one of the many loving, caring, and wonderful persons ever. He never argued about being right. But he was always right. He didn’t need to get his point across. Prove himself, or defend himself. All things we do quite regularly. Somehow we see it as necessary to have people like us, agree with us, and cooperate with us. Nobody wants to be looked down on, be picked on, or bullied. We try to prove that what we do or say is right, at least to our reasoning. Jesus stated a fact. Take it or leave it. He did not need people to agree with him or to do what he said. The things he tells us to do really are the best for us and he knows that. If we don’t do them we are just hurting ourselves. He doesn’t want to see us hurting others by our choices but he has given us free will. It gives him so much more joy when we do things because we want to, our choice. He has told us what to do to be blessed. He has also shown us what will bring troubles and curses. Do you know that everything he did should have brought him so much peace and acceptance, but he came here for one reason and only one. To do his father’s will. A sacrifice had to be made, a perfect sacrifice. We are all imperfect. Not one person has ever led a perfect life, but Jesus. The only way, was for Jesus to live a perfect life and be sacrificed. He did it willingly for you and for me. He was right, never wrong, and he should have been accepted and agreed with. Instead he put up with terrible abuse. He was whipped, spit on and humiliated. Over and over he had the opportunity to defend himself but he didn’t. He could have, maybe should have. But that was not the plan. He hung there on that cross and died for you and for me. He looked to the day when each of us would say yes to the gift he offered us. It didn’t have to make sense to us, it made sense to God. He even made a point of forgiving the criminal that hung next to him when he asked. No one has ever done anything they can’t be forgiven for. He loves us. He even prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Do you want to accept this extravagant gift?

A Name

“The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”

Proverbs 18:10 NIV

What’s in a name? Oh, the precious name of Jesus. The sweetest name I know. My God, the creator of Heaven and earth, the one true God. I have been made righteous through the blood of Jesus Christ. I can run to God whenever. He is all that I need and all that I want. Our God has many names and with those names many attributes. God is so efficient that just one name doesn’t begin to describe him. Everlasting Father, he is and was and always will be more than we could ever need. He is with us every minute even until the end of time. Alpha and omega, first and the last, the beginning and the end. This is such a comforting feeling. He is there for us always. Adonai, owner of all. Everything is Gods, everything that was ever made was made by God just for us. God is so good. Holy one, Yahweh, I am, Jehovah, Mighty God, El Shadai, The Word, Messiah, the Light of the world, Cornerstone , Prince of peace, Holy Spirit, Comforter, Creator, Emmanuel, Bread of Life, Savior, Jesus Christ, Yahweh Rapha, Yahweh Nissi, Yahweh Jirah, El Oh Lamb El El Roi, El Quanna, Yahweh Shalom, Yahweh Shammah, Yahweh Roha and so many more. But he is alive and not dead. He is in charge. Everything he says he does, he does. He doesn’t depend on me to do anything on my own. No great things that I must do to make him love me. To prove that I deserve anything. He just asks that I love, and obey him. Which is in my best interests anyway. He always hears me and always answers me. There has never been a god like him, nor will there ever be. He does deserve the highest praise for all he is and does. Many gods claim to do much with no proof. Gods of healing, fertility and abundance, but do they really do anything. They don’t ask us to love others, or even be a selfless loving human being. Someone who can and will make this a better world for all. He is everything we claim him to be and more. I have a track record with him to prove it.

Do you know this amazing God?

A New Way

“by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:20-23 NIV

We no longer are bound by the old covenant. We are free. Jesus paid a very high price for our freedom. By his death on the cross and God’s having raised him from the dead those chains were broken. There is a new way. What wonderful grace! The early believers in God were required to do so much because they were sinners. Always trying to be something they just couldn’t be. To do just the right things. I don’t think it could be done. At least not completely. The priests were our go between. Between us and a Holy God. They approached God for the people with sacrifices and prayers to somehow make us right. The most holy place was where the chosen priest went alone to talk with God on our behalf. When Jesus died the curtain that separated that room was torn into from top down. Showing that this was no longer necessary. God was saying, ” it is no more, there is a new way, Jesus has paid it all.” With the tearing of that curtain by the hand of God we no longer have to go through a priest. We have direct access to the Father through his son. I had someone explain that to me real well. There was a little boy named Johnny, he was having a problem. His friend Dave said he could help. He would take him to see the president surely he could help. They walked right in to the White House and directly before the president. No one even tried to stop them. Not even once. You see what Johnny didn’t know was that Dave was the presidents son. The president would do anything for him. Everyone new he had direct access to his dad at any time. If we come to our Heavenly Father through his one and only precious son God will do whatever we ask. If our hearts are right and we do his will he sees us just as he sees his son. We are that important. You do not have to fear that you don’t measure up or that God is mad or upset with you. He sees you and loves you unconditionally. No other God ever created ever deserved that kind of love and respect. But our God has earned it by over and over proving who he is. All the great things ever said about him don’t even come close. I get so choked up at times just enjoying his goodness to me. One little old lady that is nothing special. But i can be bold in my confidence in him. And I will be, because he has never let us down and he never will.

Do you know that he wants you to come to him for everything?

Be Light

” And God said, “Let there be Light,” and there was light.” Genesis 1:3 NIV

This one short phrase really says so much. In the very beginning ALL was dark, and there was nothing. When God said this God was very aware of our need for him. We were never meant to live apart from him. In the beginning he walked in the garden with the man and the woman, sharing all he had with them. It was never about us, but everything he can do for us. He made a perfect garden far better than any man could create. The animals he created are more beautiful and unique, but everyone of them has a purpose in this world. They are made just for the environment they were created to live in. Whether it be cold or warm, and flat or rocky. I do not know how you can look at some of these wonders and not think about their creator. Jesus is the light of the world and God is light, in him there is no darkness. Without him there would be nothing. Contrary to many so called wise men who say, “The Earth just happened.” In all its unique perfection and purpose. This is so far from anything that has happened and there would be no way to prove it. We all know man is far from perfect, and to just grasp at straws proves it. The Light of the World spoke and things happened. Amazing and awesome things happened. Their abilities of greatness and wisdom are evident. Everything was taken into consideration. How would the plants be watered? What would the people eat? In the very beginning the world was perfect. Man didn’t need clothes because the climate was moderate. Everyone ate plants and there was no death. Everything they could ever want was available. God has called us to be his light to the world. We are anticipating Jesus great return, but Jesus is waiting for his people to stand up and be that light and be victorious. He has called us to be salt. What this world desperately needs. So many people have become complacent, thinking that the world is just going to get worse. That it’s just too late. But Jesus has asked us to continue sharing the gospel to all till he does return. And we don’t know when that time will come. Tomorrow you may change someone’s thinking by the love you share and they could be saved. If we just give up how will we know just who might have been saved from death. It can be something very simple that finally gets through to them. So don’t give up. Continue to speak hope and love. So many people just don’t know that there is hope or that they are loved. We should never stop being light because this is such a dark time. Even some who call themselves Christians, just do not know the hope that is set before us.

What can you do to be light?

Is Faith Enough

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8 NIV

When we go through trials and difficulties we need to run to the Lord. We need his strength and wisdom. Jesus was living a life that was hard and he went through so much. He can understand our struggles. He can relate. He, more than anyone had faith, and trust in his father. Over the last few weeks I have had challenges but through them God has shown me so much. Trials are tests and God may not remove them but he will help you through them. I have an electric wheelchair and have had for 12+ years. My chair is comfortable and allows me independence. My chair will recline to relax. Over a week ago it just shut off and wouldn’t come back on. They put me in a manual chair but it is uncomfortable and I can not move an inch on my own. I can take it only so long. I hate to be so dependent on others. I also have been fervently praying for several others who are knocking at deaths door. People who are young and have so much to live for. I found myself crying out to the Lord. We have been promised that if we have faith we can move mountains. When you really want those mountains to move you will cry out. Jesus really had faith. He was perfect. He commanded storms to calm, the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the dead to rise. When he spoke things happened. As he knew his death was near I know he did not fear death. The chance of being back home with his father was a welcomed thought. But like all of us the suffering coming was unwelcome and unwanted. He cried out to God to take this pain away. Not once, not twice, but three times. When God does something three times it is significant. Jesus was doing something we do instinctively. Help, Enough, I can’t do this. God doesn’t expect us to do more than we can but sometimes he does know more than we do. I was praying for a young guy that was in a tragic auto accident that killed his grandma instantly and by all intent he should have died instantly too. But he held on and everyone was praying for a miracle. After a couple weeks the Lord took him home to be with him. Why didn’t God answer our prayers? Why didn’t God answer the fervent prayers of Jesus? Why did Jesus even pray them if it was not Gods will? We have to trust that God sees the big picture. Everyone and everything involved has needs, and God is working in the best interests of everyone involved. That one trial may have far reaching causes. Just think what would have happened if Jesus had not died for our sins? We were lost and needed a savior. It had to be somebody perfect like the father’s son. He is the only one who could do it. Might God have found a different way? Maybe. But the impact of that sacrifice has changed so many lives. It was not easy but it was God’s will to save the world. Jesus did it gladly and looked forward to the day he would see each of us in heaven with him. God helped him endure the suffering and he will be our strength too. Trials do help us grow. The more we go through the stronger we become. Physical, mental, and spiritual strength.

Can you trust that God does know what is best?