Friends

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his masters business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything I have learned from my father I have made known to you.” John 15:15 NIV

“…and again, The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise are futile. 1 Corinthians 3:20 NIV

It is so sad that many so called wise men and women can be so lost in their self centered thinking that they would not even consider something so much bigger and better than themselves exists. Something that could actually benefit them. Well I know no friend who will ever mean more to me than Jesus. His words are not only true, but I have never seen any fail. Something in the back of my mind plays his words over and over in my mind knowing I can never find a mistake. He can predict things that will happen a hundred years from now in the future with precise accuracy. Things that are even humanly impossible. He can say this and that will happen even if they make no sense and they somehow come to pass. He loves to make some events so impossible that we as humans can see that unless someone so completely not human steps in they could never happen yet they do. Why can we not see? God is still in control over them. That’s the irony that some just can’t get. They see themselves as important and wise but they are just clanging cymbals. And some may even have their eyes opened but most will die in their own sin. They will face the Lord after it is too late and bow before him just to spend eternity in torment. We are the ones who could say something that could change their thinking. If they only opened their eyes and realized that we only share because we really care. There is nothing self serving in sharing the good news of Jesus. Those that do it really do care. We may be a true friend by trying to share but even we are not perfect. It is easy to throw up your hands and say, “Oh well, I tried!” You just don’t deserve it anyway. They do deserve it but they just can’t see beyond themselves. They are the big picture and there is no room for anything else. I do understand. I have been so deceived in my thinking that I truly saw myself as being right even though it was warped thinking. It happens and pride is the root. In hindsight it is so easy to see but at the time, blindness happens. The more sin happens the more it takes hold and the enemy can begin to pull the wool over your eyes . It can start slowly but can continue growing as you feed it. More sin, less sight. I would say that someone that walks close to the Lord and does amazing things with God’s help. They could never walk away from him. Well anyone can lose their faith. I’ve seen it happen. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you, but you can leave him. He is a perfect gentleman never staying where he is not wanted. Just look at the state of the world. He says, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” If we continue to walk as closely as we can and do everything we can to keep that connection open I know he will too. But sin unchecked can creep in slowly. It can start with simple loneliness. Seeking acceptance and love in the wrong place and with the wrong people. A little sin here or there and we are right where we never wanted to be.

Are you thinking too wise in your own eyes?

Consistency

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.“ Hebrews 13:8 NIV

Aren’t you glad we serve a consistent King? He loves us every day and he always cares. His mercies are new every morning. He promises to take care of our needs today. He tells us not to worry about tomorrow because he’s got that taken care of too. He is so good. His biggest concern is that we love. Love him and love others. To let people know he loves them no matter where they are at in their lives. When Jesus was alive on earth he was definitely one to be admired and liked. He never met anyone that he did not care about. It did not matter if they were male or female., rich or poor, black or white, Jew or Gentile. He even knew prostitutes, murderers, and thieves, but he treated everyone with love and respect. He may have put the proud and arrogant in their place but he did it out of love knowing where their lives were heading to death. He only did those things he saw his father doing so we know by seeing him we got a glimpse of God. God and Jesus both care the same. They’ve had a plan in motion from the very beginning to bring us together. There is nothing as good as family spending time together. They are always with us in this world, because this world can be a scary place. But they have made a way for us to be together forever in a perfect place where there will be no more pain. It will be perfect. We will be a family and all know each other. Everyone will be accepted and loved. Murder, hate,and wickedness will be gone. Jesus gave up his life just for us, it wasn’t easy but he saw the end from the beginning and knew it was all worth it. We are not perfect, that is not why he called us. He wanted us to be like our father and they help us to be. On our own we are just filthy rags but with his help we are jewels. He helps us be his hands and feet. Touching lives each day of people who don’t know him.

Do you know this great King?

Communion

“This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, this cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 NIV

Communion is a very serious matter. Not to be taken lightly. Back when Moses helped to free the Israelites from the oppression in Egypt he went through so much to see God’s power. Ten times they we’re almost freed but Pharaoh hardened his heart and God showed his power. Finally he struck down the first born throughout Egypt. The Israelites were to put blood on their door posts so that the angel of the Lord would pass over their homes while destroying the first born in all homes. Passover was celebrated regularly afterwards and what they had come through was remembered. Jesus is the ultimate Passover lamb. A pure and spotless lamb who went to his death so we could be free. When we were dying in our sins and not very lovely he loved us and died in our place. Every time we take communion we need to remember what one innocent man did just so we could be saved from sin and death. Are we doing all we can to say thank you for this selfless gift? Are we doing all we can to let others know of this gift? To be a Christian is such an amazing gift, we are saying I want to be like Christ. Each day we should look in the mirror and see that we are becoming more like Jesus. So many think that they just need to say the sinners prayer, and their insurance policy is set in place. They no longer need to do anything. That may get you thru the gates but abundance of life will not be theirs. You will always struggle to get by, and to be blessed coming and going takes a sacrifice of our own. Doing what he has asked and living life his way will open so many more doors to abundance and fulfillment. His ways are good because he is good. He only wants what is best for us, but he won’t make us do anything. It doesn’t matter how good it is. We have to want it bad enough to do what God asks of us.

Is communion just a snack to you?

Our Glorious God

“I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3 NIV

How much God does love us. Every day as I set out to write I seek God’s will for what to write about. So yesterday I felt led to write about his great love for us and how much he has done for us. I felt so overwhelmed by his goodness and just couldn’t come up with the words to express my feelings. Some days I just don’t have it. I can’t write and feel inadequate. But after spending time seeking him and remembering that it isn’t me that has any power to get it done, I relax. Our God loves us and we can see this through his words. In the very beginning he had a perfect plan to shower us with everything good and give us a perfect life with himself to share it. He made our amazing universe. Billions of stars and billions of galaxies. He doesn’t do things part way but in great abundance. A world that could sustain us and keep us safe and happy, but one that we could never get bored with. We could spend forever discovering it’s beauty and greatness. He made a garden that was more beautiful than any since. And he made man in his own image with everything needed to make us mighty and wise. It was very good to a perfect God. There was nothing evil. He also gave us free will to chose and we let that control us. We wanted what was good but let ourselves get in the way of what was great. “For no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived, the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 God still wanted man after he was banished from the garden and he had to make a way for us to be together again. His own son would come to earth as a poor helpless baby, giving up his place in glory. He would live a perfect life and freely give his life to be killed in a horrible way, just to save us. We did not deserve it, and we could never earn it. We were bought at such an exorbitant price and that price was God’s very own son. Now we could be free. Our salvation made it possible for God to see us as perfect again. We would no longer die but live with him in perfection forever. No, everything he does is to help us become perfect. He is in no hurry, but patiently and lovingly he will continue to work on us. We were never created for a mediocre life but a very good and awesome life. To be all that we can be. We have to sacrifice our desires for the one who knows better than us, what we really need. We need to love sacrificially. Loving God, our neighbor and even those we don’t want to love. Those that might not deserve it,. The more we give, the more he gives. It’s a win win situation.

How many want to be all you can be?

Be All You Can Be

“Do you not know that all the runners in a race run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to win the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV

“Thus, since we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1 NIV

Are you living to your full potential? Very few people really give it their all. They care more about doing more than most or good enough compared to others. Many people will work hard to be successful. Have money or fame. That will surely make life good. Then they will be happy. Do you realize that we only have 70-90 years to enjoy this life and many don’t make it that long. If you are going all out to get rich, working long hours. What things will you let slip by you. We don’t live on earth all that long, but what about eternity? Where do you plan to spend eternity? That’s a very long time, forever, compared to just 70+ years. After I had my stroke I realized that I came very close to dying and I had wasted a lot of time. I was 45 but I was not the person I really wanted to be. I did have a husband of 25+ years, three wonderful children and a loving family, but was I a good person? Did my life matter? I started reading the Bible every day. I knew of God and I knew there was good advice in the Bible, but was I following it? I wanted to know more. I loved reading. So I started reading every religious thing I could get my hands on. I went to Savors and bought second hand books for near nothing and came home with bags of books. Time was all I had since I couldn’t do much. After seven years I made a vow to get to know God as much as I could by reading my Bible and praying, going to church and being as good as I could be. That’s about the time I published my first book, it was about my stroke. My life began changing for the better. God gave me two more books and I was making a difference in my life. I had a lot of good friends and I had eight grandkids. Life was good. Then I started a Bible group in my care home and a blog encouraging others on good biblical living. God has brought me so far and I have seen his glory more than I would ever have imagined. It is him and knowing him that has made me a good person. I could never have done it on my own. I read other books that got me excited about eating healthier, exercising and physically going for the best. Lately I’ve been watching more podcasts and sermons to help me grow and I still read all I can. I live deliberately moment by moment to win that prize. In heaven I want to be somebody. I want God to say, “Well done.”

Are you giving it your best?

Family

“They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers.” Acts 1:14 NIV

“All the believers were together and had everything in common.” Acts 2:44 NIV

Once you become a Christian it is important to feed your soul. Read the Bible and pray. But one thing is very important. Now you are a member of a very elite and important family. You are a member of the family of God. Continually be around others who are part of this family. People who believe as you believe. Don’t try to do life on your own. You will only feel empty and alone. The world is a tough place and we need all the help we can get. There are others just like you who are lost, lonely, scared, confused, and struggling. Together you will be complete and fulfilled. When we come together as family we can lift each other up. Where two or three of you (Gods family) come together, I am there with you. Although the Lord is always with us, having other family members around us is like armor against the enemy. We are stronger together and harder for the enemy to tear down. A three strand cord of us and our father is strong and will deter our enemies. When you are alone you are weaker and the enemy can come against you easier. When you are around others you learn to love and support them. Be open and transparent, others have the same struggles you do. This is a form of bonding that draws you together. It is very hard to betray someone you have grown to love and respect, and can relate to. Someone with similar struggles and fears. With a common goal of furthering the kingdom (the family). You are on the same team fighting for the same things. You lean on each other, family takes care of their own. You grow more when you are around others who are seeking God’s will for their lives. It is important to sing praises and enjoy each other. The presence of God is so empowering. Never take it for granted.

Do you seek out other Christians to bond with?

The Mission

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

This is my favorite scripture. Ever since someone taught on it just after I was married. I made it mine. I lived my life with it as my motto. We have a loving, wonderful father who made us and knows everything about us. He made each of us unique, in all the world. No one is just like me. God knows the number of hairs on my head, that mix of colors in my eyes that is different with everything I wear, what makes me laugh, and why I think like I do. Before he ever designed me he had a particular mission for me to accomplish. I had devine appointments with many different people throughout my life and many events brought me this far in my journey. God always sees me as completing the mission , and he has given me everything to accomplish it. He is working everything, (the good, bad, and the ugly) for my best. If I had never had my stroke I would not be where I am with God. It is all worth it. I couldn’t be happier or more at peace than I am right now. God is using me! He always believed in me but now I know that he will work on me till the day I die. He never tires of my procrastination or my doubts. As long as I make time for him he continues to speak to me. Slowly I am hearing him. He speaks in everything I do. I just need to be alert. He has called me to write words of inspiration and encouragement to others. He will never give you a mission you can’t complete, with his help. This is my job and he is my employer and I need to be at his work. I set my time around his needs first. All else will wait. He is the most important to me. He also gives words of encouragement just for me in my life. We can learn so much when we set out to serve others. Some days I just can’t get inspired and that’s ok. When he inspires me I can’t type fast enough. I look back over my journey and see Gods loving, faithful hands. It’s exciting and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What has God called you to do?

Discipline

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 NIV

Who wants to be disciplined? Nobody, but it is important. The other day someone told me how as a young kid they had stolen fireworks and when dad found out he showed them the stars all right. They were spanked so hard that they never did that again. But discipline is so that we learn to do right and to be safe. Our parents love us so much and they really want the very best for us. They don’t want to see us hurting ourselves in a life of crime or getting blown up. Our parents may not be perfect but they are doing the best they can with their limited knowledge. God, though, is all knowing. He has lovingly formed us with all we need to become all we can be. He is all knowing and knows our every thought and how we will behave. He also knows just what it will take to have a wonderful, full life. It was him who made us how we are so he knows our needs better than we do. He has promised to make all that happens to us work for our good. If he is always looking out for us he will never tell us to do something wrong, for us. If we want a full life we should listen to him and follow his commands. They are not there to hinder us but to help us be our best. God wants us free, happy, loved, respected, and successful. It may not be exactly what we want but it will make us happy. I am his creation and he knows best and following his design and what works best only makes me run better. I have done it both ways, my way, messing things up badly. I’ve done it his way, boy does that work better. Even doing it my way he didn’t reprimand me but kept loving me. He understands that the world is not perfect and neither are we. We may want to do good but we will never do it perfectly. We are all sinners saved by the grace of God. He will forgive us. He just hates to see us doing things that will not help us but only hurt us. Now I try to live like Jesus would. He wanted to be just like his dad and I do too. Each day I look into his mirror and see if I look more like him. Where do I need to work? I need more unconditional love for less than perfect people. I’m sure I’ll be a work in progress for some time but I can see improvement and that makes me happy.

Do you want to live a full life?

Deposit of the Spirit

“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NIV

To all who have been called, and trust in the name of Jesus Christ to be saved, you are special. We know that we were made with great love in the image of our creator to fellowship with him. We our precious children of our King. But what else? So much has been said about who we are in Christ. When we come to him his arms are open wide and there is great rejoicing in heaven. It is a big deal. We are no longer a slave to Satan, sin, longing, and striving. God has wiped the slate clean and we are now a new creature. The old person we used to be is gone. At that point God says he anoints us, he wants us to go out and spread his message to the lost in the world. He has also set a seal upon you that tells the enemy that you are his and nothing bad can happen to you without his okay. He works everything, both good and bad for your best. He is perfecting you every day for the rest of your lives. You are a jewel to him, priceless and valuable. He is working at drawing you closer. He wants to know you and for you to know him more and more every day. A close relationship of love, trust and respect. He has made a deposit into your life. Just as Jesus made a promise before he left this earth he has given his Holy Spirit to be with us always. That Spirit comes with great power and the guarantee of the future we will have with our father in his kingdom. To be heirs with Christ to all he has. Upon death we are no longer in this earthly body but given a brand new heavenly body that is perfect and we will live with him forever. While we are on this earth he promises to be with us always helping us and edifying us. Whenever we want anything he wants us to run to him. He does not want us to be anxious or worried. If it is important to us it is important. When we need wisdom and guidance he wants us to ask. He does not expect us to do this on our own. Actually he knows that we can’t do this on our own. He will give us words to speak when we need them. He has made everything just for us. The world is so full of wonderful things to discover and they are ours. Everything we will ever need. Every good gift comes from him. He really is a very good God. There are many gods in the world that people serve and worship but they don’t do anything but tell you how to live your life and none can offer eternal life. Jesus is the only way to eternal life.

Do you want an abundant life with power?

Greater Works

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the father.” John 14:12 NIV

Very truly means most definitely, and you means me. The idea of me doing more and greater things than Jesus always blew my mind. He healed and restored sight and health, and he even raised the dead. This verse has always been just outside of my understanding. Lately I find myself pondering this verse more often. I have been reading the devotional, ‘Letters From God’, by Ivan Tait. It is small words every day that God has said in his word. Promises to us that he has declared over us and to us. It has been a great year. I have enjoyed this devotional. God is growing me in so many ways, but a big one is in the area of prayer. I have been praying for more and more people. It is so easy to tell someone that I will be praying for them. But how many times have we said that and then gotten distracted by our own personal problems and forgotten to pray. I’m guilty too. I have really made it personal now and I’m beginning to see their needs as my needs. When you do that you seem to pray more fervently and then when answers come it also feels personal and I feel the great victory. In this way I am doing great things. It might be a good friend trying to find her forever love. To spend her life with. Sharing in her struggles as she goes through different boy friends. Until that one man comes who shares her love of God. Or a friend at 58 who could not have children of her own and becomes a brand new mom of a brand new baby because a niece was not allowed to keep the child . Then her niece having another baby and giving it to her. Two precious gifts from God. These miracles are mine as I pray for my friends. God is good and he is always up to something big. He has given us so much and he just wants us to use our lives to help enrich the lives of others. We are not on a lone journey. We are all in this life together. The great commandment is to love others better then yourself. What better way than praying for their needs shows that I love them and care about what matters to them. I have committed to praying every Tuesday with our prayer team and they are all around the world and I have prayed for some difficult needs but God has come through with some truly amazing answers to prayer. It’s so exciting to be apart of what God’s doing.

Do you want to do even greater works?