“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36 NIV
God is good and he wants to give us an abundant life, but it does depend on us also. There are so many great promises in scripture. God has stored up for us more great stuff than we could ever imagine. But our behavior is important. When I had my stroke my life changed drastically overnight. One day I was an active mother of three and very independent. The next day I was 45 and living in a nursing home. I was unable to walk, talk or even take care of myself. I easily got overwhelmed and frustrated. I would cry from frustration. I couldn’t communicate very well so it was a difficult time for me and those caring for me. Now after 15 years I am a much better person and more at peace. God is a very big part of my life and I would do anything he asks of me and I try hard to get along with and enjoy everyone. So when God says persevere I understand. I used to live so differently and many of my struggles I brought on myself. Living for myself and the moment. God wants me to love and respect him. This is the fear of God and that’s important. Until we fear the Lord and will do whatever he asks, we will have struggles. But he wants to get beyond that with us. He loves us and it hurts him to see us that way but this is how we learn. He wants to lavish love on us. I am at a place now where I can see his promises being fulfilled. He is so good to me. Every person in my life is a blessing and I believe God has hand picked them just for me. Even the ones who irritate me. My children, my friends, my caregivers and nurses. I don’t take them for granted anymore. Life is short and I want them all to know how much they mean to me and to God. As my family and friends celebrated my 60 th birthday I can look back and see God’s hand on my life. It was hard at times but God has been so good to me. Way more than I think I deserve. The blessings just keep coming. My God is my greatest champion and he goes before me and with me against it all and he will make me victorious. The best is still to come.
Can you imagine all the great things God has for you?
“If we are faithless, he remains faithful because he cannot disown himself .” 2 Timothy 2:13 NIV
We are flawed and sinful. But God is perfect. He cannot sin, it’s not his nature. We can trust that he will be faithful to do all that he promises. His promises are so good that it seems too good to be true. At one time I knew of his promises and believed they were true, but I had doubts. But now I have such a good relationship with him and I know him. He has proven true time and time again throughout the years. Being 61 years old he has always taken good care of me. I still have pain, heartaches and trials but I know he is there with me through it all and is helping and encouraging me through it all. He also teaches me so much about his ways through it. I no longer just believe, I have seen with my own heart his goodness for myself and he is faithful. Lately I have been so easily touched by him. I hear a song or someone says something good about God, and I get all choked up. I just get so blessed because he’s not just good he’s awesome. You can get to know him better for yourself. He promises as we seek more of him he will give it. But we need to make the first move to get to know him better. Pray! To get to know anyone better you need to talk to them. Read God’s word! We need to read all about him. His ways and his character. Why he does what he does. You can only get to know him by reading about him every day. You can read the same things over and over and always get something different out of it. That’s why the word is alive. The spirit shows you something different each time. Listen to praise music! Hearing others sing about how great he is rubs off. I hear myself singing in my sleep and I do sleep peacefully. Go to church! Being around other Christians and hearing them talk about his goodness inspires and relationships are strong. Pray and intercede for others! Praying for others needs encourages you when you hear answers to their prayers. He will also take care of your needs. I have come so far in my walk with him in just a short time. I find myself excited for each new day of his blessings. He is so very good.
Do you know the one who is always faithful?
“Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” Exodus 33:18-19 NIV
The glory of the Lord is an awesome and powerful thing but not everyone can see it. I know I was 50 before my eyes were really opened to how awesome God is. It wasn’t till I really searched for all of him that my eyes were opened fully and I was in awe. Before then I did know of the Lord but, only Bible stories not personally. There was no power or awe in my life and it was a struggle to do the right things. Now that my eyes are opened I am so in love and amazed by his goodness and mercy. I get so emotional in a second when people are talking about him. My heart yells.”Ya, that’s my God, isn’t he awesome!” It’s like the proud feeling you get when someone is bragging about your child or spouse, someone you love dearly. But God is unbelievably good. I see him do special things in my life every day, and I am just one of his billions of kids. Wow. Another thing he tells us is that not everyone sees his mercy and compassion in their lives. He is God and he will do what he will do and there is no one or nobody who can question his motives. But if you read his words and believe in Jesus Christ as your savior, then you know just like I do that he shows favor to his true children. If you are one of his family you know he blesses all the time. He watches over us all the time and enjoys doting over us. The more time I spend with him in prayer, reading his word and meditating on it, singing praises, and all the other things I do to get to know him better, the more I fall in love with him. It brings so much peace and joy knowing him and how much he loves me. I am so glad that I was born into such a good Christian family and got to know him while I was young. But not so many people are so lucky. I did not have some of the struggles and difficulties that others have had. I had a very good life so far. That is why I have a desire to let everyone know how easy it can be to find the true and lasting peace I’ve found.
Don’t you want to be one of his kids and be doted over?
“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. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place. Revelations 2:4-5 NIV
I just finished reading a great book about the church in the last days. Called ‘Salt and Light’. It showed how biblical prophecies of the last days can be interpreted and how we as Christians should stand strong and look to overcome the deceptions that will come. Satan still works to deceive even Christians. He will use anything he can to put doubt in our minds. His biggest area of attack is with our pride and our desires. So many things the world tells us we gotta have. Things are not necessarily bad but can take up so much of our time. Causing us to neglect our time with God. We really need to spend time every day with God to stay strong. If we do not take time to strengthen our spirits then we too risk being deceived. I have been there and it is a slippery slope. I never want the enemy to pull the wool over my eyes again. So many in the church are living defeated and ineffectual lives. Thinking they are just fine. The road to heaven is very narrow and few will stay strong till the end. The one thing you can use to judge where you are at is by the fruit in your life. They will know we are Christians by our love, but without plentiful fruit we are ineffective. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, goodness, kindness, and faithfulness. If these are not abundant in our lives we have cause for concern. Our church has so many different ministries for helping others. Out of our several satellite churches it takes continuous miracles to keep up with all the many needs of all the locations. We just keep stepping up the work as that day grows nearer. Each location has its own unique needs. The biggest thing we need to remember is to live at peace with all men. Don’t get dragged into conflict and turmoil if at all possible. Our reputations are more important now, more than ever. The world is where we reside but we are to be different. We are residents of Heaven first. Just passing through this world temporarily. The world says spend, spend, spend. We may be one of the richest countries and have more available to us than everyone else but we are also so far in debt that we will never see ourselves out of debt. The average household owes thousands but we live for today and worry how to pay for it tomorrow. We need wisdom so badly from God. We need to learn how to live within our means and learn how to save. Those who have learned how to give are blessed so much in their finances. It is a very good place to be.
What are you doing to stay strong?
These two words have sent people running from God because he wants to take away the good life. Right? Who wants to follow a bunch of rules? Well for me I know he asks us to follow his ways but I truly believe his desire is for us to have the very best life we can possibly have. He wants us to have a full, happy, successful life. He knows how because he knows everything especially us. He created us and the designer usually writes the owner’s manual for his product. Right. I read this week in a devotional about the “shall nots” in the Bible that most people miss. The ones that really mean the world to us who claim to be his children and had to share.
“The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.”
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
“He that hearth my word, and believeth on him who sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation.”
He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
The Lord is at my right hand, I shall not be moved; Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.”
There are so many more good promises in the word of God waiting to be discovered. There are over 4000 great promises for his children who live his way. Since my stroke I’ve learned so much and have so much peace. I live for him every day. He truly is my very best friend and he is always working all for my best.
“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind. To reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10 NIV
According to how we act we will be rewarded. God wants everyone to have a good life. A life full and abundant. The world uses the word ‘karma’. Bringing on yourself inevitable results by good and bad character. We have been given a free will to do whatever we want. It’s all up to us. From an early age we are taught to be good. Even though we have a natural tendency toward sin because of the fall of Adam and Eve it is not true that we will be bad. Your parents are not the only ones who raise you. They may not of been the best examples to live by but there are other people teaching you good character traits. Teachers, sport coaches, churches and other good people in your life. They teach you how to interact with those around you and how to act as part of a team. Dealing with animals in a caring way. Skills in getting along with others. God has given us his words in the Bible that tell us clearly how to have a good life. The rewards for good behavior and what’s happens with bad behavior. They are spelled out very clearly. There are laws to keep us from doing bad things to others. If you don’t break the law you won’t pay the consequences. There are consequences for every action. Deep inside of us we all have a conscience that guides us. It wants us to do good and makes us feel bad inside when we do something bad. If we ignore it and repeat offenses it will grow hard. We can still change it if we want to but it will take God’s help, our creator, to change us. If we want to be blessed again and not always have problems we need to ask forgiveness and ask for help. He is always waiting right there to help. He is not expecting us to behave in a way that is impossible. He tells us the correct way and also offers us all the help we will need to do it. Knowing what is best for us and loving us unconditionally makes him the expert. He is also the one responsible for the outcome of our lives in his world. That is why I always look at the Bible as my owners manual for life. It will give answers for everything if you will just make it part of your life. Just like reading the owner’s manual for your new car will help you understand how it works best.
Have you read your owner’s manual lately?
“but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” Matthew 6:20 NIV
This time of year we need to think of others. God tells us to give 10% of our income to the local church. If we all did this there would not still be needs all over the world but people, at least most people, believe that if they have left over money at the end of the month then they might give some to God. Wrong! That is not what the Bible says. First of all God was here first and all that ever was or ever will be was his, everything. That is why I know that anything I have or earn is from God. It is for me to use to do his will and I will obey his commands. I was raised in the church and my father taught me about tithing when I was a little girl. On weekends I got allowance say $1.00 so I took 10 cents with me to Sunday school for my offering . It doesn’t matter if you get $1.00 for allowance or $2,000.00 a week in pay. It’s still 10% that God expects. 90% of your income totally blessed will go so much further than 100% cursed by God but in your pocket. I have a silly example of tithing. When I decided to tithe after my stroke I had 0 income. I received disability from Uncle Sam and decided to tithe on that. I don’t have a lot of needs but I buy mascara because I have beady little eyes I don’t like. I used to buy a few tubes at a time. Then I began tithing and I don’t remember the last time I bought mascara but it was years ago and it hasn’t gone dry yet. I never need body wash because I always get scented ones as gifts. So God does supply all of my needs, always. Everyone has heard the phrase “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” I really don’t need one more trinket. My room is the only home I have and it is only so big because I live in a nursing home. This morning I was given a little bear. Cute but I didn’t need it. So I gave it to a dear friend worrying about an upcoming surgery. He was upset and scared so I hope it helped. It did feel good. I love to give every time there is a special new need. And I do above what I tithe because My God loves a cheerful giver. I get so blessed every time. Our church has a motto “find a need and fill it, find a hurt and heal it”, well they take that very seriously. Our church has spent millions of dollars doing just that. Now they are having a fundraiser to collect money to help with human trafficking. They are having a walk-a-thon in January and I have decided to walk. Ok so I can’t walk but I will roll for $. We can all be used by God and it can be in simple ways. He just asks for a little. So little that you won’t miss it. Another way to help is pray. It is free! God is still large and in charge and he does answer prayers. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. I have seen some crazy wild answers to prayer and have been blow away time and time again. I get to be apart of it wow!
Wouldn’t you like to be apart of what God is doing in the world today?
“I am the vine; and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit ; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV
This verse has so much to say about our walk with God. Who God is and how he sees his awesome plan for us. God is the one who made us and he is apart of us. We were never meant to be apart from God. Our need of him is so very important in every aspect of our lives. If we want to be all that we can be then we need to cooperate with him. He does know what is best. He has great plans for us. To be a people for himself that will bear much fruit, this fruit is the characteristics and traits that will further his kingdom. We will be loving, joyful, peaceful, long-suffering, gentle, good, meek, temperate, and faithful. These are the fruits he desires to see in us. He uses the example of a grape vine for good reasons. If God is a grape vine then we are connected to him and will produce fruit like his. Grape vines produce grapes. We can not on our own decide to produce some other fruit such as tomatoes. We are to be more like him each day. He decides what we need to be and what is best for all. We also need to stay connected to him. He is our power source. When we do what we want and not what he has asked us to do we will be week, and ineffective . We need to spend time with him. A relationship with him is very important. Anyone you have ever had a relationship with is first, important to you. You spend time together, sharing, the good and the bad together, and grow closer to each other. Another thing about a vine is being connected, always, every day. If you are not connected to him, his vine, you are disconnected. If you are disconnected you will die. It may be a slow, miserable death, but with no nutrients you will die. When a vine dies it is cast off and burnt up. You don’t want to be cast off or dead do you? You will not be very productive if you are dead. As I was reading my Bible today I was in Deuteronomy. The Israelites had just spent forty years wandering in the wilderness and the whole time God provided for them. They were brought out of Egypt in such a mighty way. Even when they faced their first struggles God was strong. Splitting the Red Sea so they walked right through, in the mud, no! The walked on solid, dry ground. He provided water when they needed it, food for thousands of men, women and children. They demanded meat and God sent them quail. Their clothes and shoes held up for forty years and did not wear out. During this time they married and raised families. He kept them safe and strong. Because there were more people after forty years and all the original ones died in the desert. Only Joshua and Caleb remained from the original bunch. When they came into the promised land God fought for them. No matter how big or how strong their enemies were, they did not stand a chance. But he warned them to leave certain people alone. Because he had already blessed them, such as Esau’s family and Lot’s family. Those who God has blessed shall remain blessed.
Do you want to be one of God’s blessed people?
“I have food to eat that you know nothing about. My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” John 4:32&34 NIV
When you are passionate about something you will find so much satisfaction in doing it that you can forget other things. I sold homes when I was younger and I would get so busy that meal times would come and go and what I was doing was so satisfying that I wouldn’t even notice that I had missed a lunch. I felt I was making a difference in someone’s life and that kept me going. That wasn’t anything that was life changing but it was important to someone. Right now I am so close to God and seeing him do so much. I am so amazed that he is willing to let me be a big part of what he is doing and now I am making a difference. God is so good and I want to do all I can for him. In Matthew it says, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.” Whenever I think of doing God’s work I get excited. I’m saying, “Send me, send me.” I want to be a part of when God is moving. It brings so much satisfaction. He is so busy in so many peoples lives and I just love being a part of it. So many people are busy worrying about what they need or want. “What about me?” When I started running after God and making a difference in others’ lives. Especially wanting to see people growing in their walk with God life got so much more exciting. I didn’t even think much about my needs but they are always being met and exceeded. So many others needs are being met and exceeded also. It is all consuming. I get so excited that I just want to see and do more. Before my stroke I just didn’t get it. I didn’t get involved and I didn’t have a special relationship with God. He might move in a service that I was in and I would see it but I didn’t really understand. Now everything is different. I will never forget the time the music we were singing just lept off the page and I saw every word and what it truly meant to me. I sit up on the front row during worship and the passion and emotion of the worship team seems to flood over me like a tidal wave on the beach. I get so emotional and God’s love is so strong. I just want to be more involved. It is never enough. If I have been praying or given money for a certain need I am so blessed when God moves.
Do you want to be a worker too?
“But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter shaped it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Jeremiah 18:4 NIV
God is the ultimate designer. Before we were ever born he knew us. He knows who we will be and all we will do and become. He designed our personalities and all the life experiences that end up making us who we were meant to be. We don’t ever need to think of ourselves as mistakes or worthless because great thought and planning went into all of us.
He knows the number of hairs on our heads. Who our parents will be. Where we will be born and when. We are all well thought out. God does not make junk. His is only perfection. Just what he wanted all along. He knows what you will do and everyone you will meet. You were made for a reason. The number one reason is to get to know Jesus and to learn to love and worship him with all you are.
He wants to be in every area of your life. But to do this he will have to purge out some of the junk. Sin, hurts and trials that have consumed us. He wants to take them for us. Give them to him and he will carry them. Don’t try to take them back just because you weren’t done fretting over them he needs room for his presence to dwell.
Helping you discover all you can be. That is the Holy Spirits job in you. He has a career all planned out for you and gives you the wisdom you will need to do it well. Maybe he wanted you to be a scientist and you discover cures for disease that will change many lives for the better. Maybe you were meant to be a chef. Creating awesome new meals that others will love and rave about.
Will you have children? Helping them discover all that God has for them throughout their lives is a rewarding job. I know from having three beautiful daughters that are wonderful inside and out how blessed I am to have them. Then they have grandchildren for you and the blessings in this cycle of life just continue on.
Each and every person makes a big difference in each life they touch. It can be in positive ways or in negative ones and the choice is up to you. Every area of our lives was well thought out and how it will work to make the best of our lives come from it. We are not here just for ourselves but to be a blessing to other lives as well. We need to make an effort to make a difference in every life we come in contact with. Saying a kind word or a simple act of kindness. The more I learn how much I am loved, the more I want to show others how much they are loved.
What can you do today to make a difference in your world?