Thursday, April 30, 2009

From Doing to Being

What are you going to do?

Who are you going to be?

What are you doing with your life?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When you finally get it all figured out what then? I suppose we think we will miraculously have it all together and life will be a grand and enjoyable thing. When we figure it all out we can put our plan in motion and nothing will stop us from great success and happiness.

I don't know about you but I am tired. I'm tired of trying to figure it all out. I think maybe I will just rest a while and let God take over. Maybe if I put God in the driver seat I can relax and begin to enjoy the ride.

We seem to think that we have to know all the answers. That we have to figure out what we are supposed to be doing so we get it all right. The truth is that we weren't made to "do" we were made to "be". We were made to be in relationship with God. We were made to be with Him. We were never meant to do life on our own. We were never meant to figure it all out. We were meant to live in relationship with God so he could guide us.

God is the one that created all things including us. Why then do we think that we can be the one to make our own way? Why do we decide what we are going to do and then we ask Him to join us?

We instead are supposed to see where He is working and join Him. We are to join Him in His pursuits not the other way around.

Can we pray about our circumstances and ask for Him to change them? Yes, we can, but it is up to Him if He decides to change them. We were given Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins, so that the penalty was paid for us. Jesus died so that we could approach the throne and make our requests to the Father. When we accept Jesus as our savior, believing that He died on the cross personally for us and ask Him into our heart, we then have someone interceding on our behalf to the Father God.

Henry Blackaby says this in Experiencing God:

Picture in your mind a tall ladder leaning against a wall. Now think about your life as a process of climbing that ladder. Wouldn't it be a tragedy to ascend to the top and find you had placed the ladder against the wrong wall? One life to live, and you missed it! Earlier in the course we talked about your life being God-centered. That means your life must be properly related to God. This is the love relationship for which you were created- a God-centered love relationship. Your walk with God (Father, Son and Spirit) is the single most important aspect of your life. If it is not as it should be, nothing else will function properly.

As Henry Blackaby states, the most important aspect of our life is our relationship with God. Not only will nothing in our lives function properly without it but we will run around stressed out looking for what to "do" next. Instead we are to be what we were created for; we are to be in a relationship with God building for the eternity after this life. We are all eternal beings and we will all go somewhere when we die. We will all spend "forever" somewhere. This time on earth is a short blip in comparison to eternity. Should we not be more concerned about what we are creating for our eternity than here then?

Should we not be more worried about "being" what God wants us to "be" then caring what we "do" for ourselves?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Noticer

Recently, I have seen many bloggers posting about the new book "The Noticer" by Andy Andrew. Although, I have not read the book, I think the concept is a great one. So like many others I would like to notice a few people of my own. I know we are supposed to notice the top five people who have influenced our lives, but I just couldn't stop there.

So here are my top six....

6. My parents - although they made many mistakes and my childhood was one of much pain, where I came from brought me to where I am today. Without the mistakes and let downs of my past I would never of sought God or found a profoundly life changing relationship with Him. You see, it was in my pain that I looked for something to take it away. Without the past, I would not have the present. I would not have seen the glory of God so clearly without the healing and incredible miracles He has shown me. Today, I have a great relationship with both of my parents and love them dearly. They did the best they knew how to do at the time.

5. My grandmother - she was the one person in my life that showed me her full attention and gave me unconditional love. I don't think the woman ever spoke an unkind word to or about anyone. She was a person of great moral character and values. She was the picture of gentleness and grace. The softness (not weakness) that poured out of her was something that I will never forget. To top it off, when you where with her, there was no one other than you in her world. What I had in her as a child was her undivided, complete attention and love. When I spent time at her house there was no one or nothing more important than spending time with me. I learned what love looked like from her.

4. My first real love (boyfriend when I was 16-18) - this is the person that God used to tell me about Himself. At the age of 18 as we were breaking up, my boyfriend who had grown up in the church shared Christ with me. It was what started my journey with my Savior and Lord. This person spoke the words that changed my life and gave me a hope to live for. It is a hope that I still live for to this day. He was bold enough to share his faith even when we weren't going to be together any more. I thank him for his willingness to share.

3. The Moore family - I know we are supposed to pick a "person" but I really can't pick just one when it comes to this group. Jim Moore was the enthusiastic evangelist that rocked my world and brought me into my first church. Jim was my best friend’s boss when I was 18. After my boyfriend had shared Christ with me Jim picked up for God and brought me to a church. He was the most dynamic, on fire; Christ filled Christian I have ever met. He brought 30 people to Christ in a 6 month period and was put on staff at his church. I soon met his family, a mother and three sisters. His youngest sister by the name of Sherry became my best friend. His mother took me in and let me live with them. She became my surrogate Mom. The other two sisters became like older sisters to me. The entire family changed my life by becoming a family to me when I needed it desperately.

2. My husband - although we have only been together seven years, my husband was a gift from heaven. God blessed me with the most loving, supportive man that I could ever ask for. He has been there for me through some tough stuff. Facing my past and find healing was something very difficult but he stuck by me through it all. God gave me the biggest gift when He brought me my husband who has the biggest heart I know. On top of that I get to spend the greatest part of my life, the last, loving him.

1. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the biggest influence on my life, God himself. He is the reason I get up in the morning and the reason I lay my head down at night. He knit me together in my mother’s womb, He dreamed of me before I was born. He sought me out of darkness and gave me a new life. He is the one that loved me fully even when I couldn't say I loved Him back. I owe Him everything and I would gladly give all my worldly possession just for a moment with Him. He is the Father I had always craved and needed, the love of my life, my Savior and keeper. He is my reason for everything. HE IS EVERYTHING TO ME! I truly do love him with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind and with all my strength. I am His through and through, every ounce, every thought, and every pore belongs to Him.

What about you, who would you notice in your life?

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Gift of a Sound Heart

I was reading in Proverbs recently and the words "a sound heart" leapt off the page at me. I began to mull it around a bit asking the question, what would that look like? This is usually where my mind goes on a hiking trail and I might as well follow along. There is no use doing anything else until it reaches its conclusion. So off I went to find God's meaning of this statement.

Proverb 14:30 A sound heart is life to the body; but envy is rottenness to the bones.

I know from other exploration that the bible speaks of having a sound mind in the terms of stability and sanity. But what about this sound heart concept. What could this mean?

Feeling that I had just stumbled upon another small gem that the bible seems to have an abundance of, I began to feel the excitement well up inside me. You know the feeling when you know there’s an "ah ha" moment around the corner.

Of course, God’s word didn't disappoint, here’s the "ah ha" that He revealed to me.

Just as we are to have a sound mind, we are also to have a sound heart. Sound as in firm, stable or secure. Sound meaning it’s based on truth or valid reasoning. Just as what we put in our mind should be based on truth and sound reasoning, what we allow to take hold of our heart should be also.

There is a difference between knowing something in our mind and knowing it in our heart. We live out of our heart. We love out of our heart. All that we are comes from the heart we carry. So it would make a lot of sense to guard our heart from becoming unsound.

Everything we put in our heart affects every part of our body. It is a known fact that stress and worry cause the body to fail and become sick. If we live out of our heart then it is what gives good life to the whole body.

We may not always be able to guard our eyes from seeing things unwise for us. We may not always have control of what enters our mind. What we do have control of though is what we allow to be transferred to our hearts.

I Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful , who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

It is when we take it into our hearts that the temptation becomes more than we can bear. We are provided a way out, we are provided that moment to turn away. If we do not take the way of escape provided by God in the moment and stay to long, we risk taking it into our heart. This is what then can start a process of destruction in out lives.

We are told to keep our hearts sound, free from sin and destruction. When we do, we can follow God with a freedom and beauty that is only from God Himself.

Just like we must pray for the transformation to take place in our minds, we must also pray for the same transformation to occur in our hearts. As in all things, it is God Himself who changes who we are and molds us into His own image.


Create in us not only a sound mind full of your thoughts but also a sound heart. Protect our hearts from being infiltrated by the ugly vices of life. Instead, create in us a clean and pure heart, one that is sound and filled with your love.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kindness Vs Envy

Once more we explore another virtue God expects us to have as a part of our character. Today we will look at kindness and how the vice of envy functions at the opposite end of it. Let's jump right in.

Everyone likes a kind person, right? So why aren't we kind all the time?

Maybe it because for some unknown reason we equate kindness with weakness. If we are kind then we must also be weak and powerless. No one likes to think of themselves as weak and powerless, that puts them in a vulnerable position.

Good news! The Greek word for kindness is chrestotes which has nothing to do with weakness or lack of conviction; it means instead the tender concern for others. It is the genuine desire of the believer to treat others gently just as the Lord treats us.

I would also like to look at the virtue of kindness from a different angle than normally thought of. I would like to look at it from the side that causes someone to be satisfied. The angle which causes us to have charity and compassion in our heart. As a friend with sympathy for the benefit of not our own but for the sake of the one who needs our kindness.

What I mean is when we put our own agenda aside and reach out in kindness not to get but to give to another. The kind of gesture that has no personal agenda behind it. Maybe it even requires a sacrifice on our part. Are we willing to be that kind to others?

II Samuel 2:5-6 - So David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead, and said to them, "You are blessed of the Lord, for you have shown this kindness to you lord, to Saul, and have buried him. And now may the Lord show kindness and truth to you. I also will repay you this kindness, because you have done this thing."

David got word that King Saul was dead. This is the same man who had pursued him relentlessly in order to kill him. Instead of brutal deeds and words, David, the new King, instead commends those who showed kindness to Saul and buried him. The response by both was unusual to say the least. First the men of Jabesh Gilead had shown respect to the King after his death and buried him unlike what conquerors usually did. Second, David who received nothing close to kindness repays the men who buried him with kindness. Then he shows Saul himself with the respect due a King.

Psalm 117:2 For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever.

Ephesians 4:32 and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.

God himself was mercifully kind to us. In his kindness he gave us an eternity to be with him with one stipulation. That one stipulation is we accept the gift of salvation that was offered through the death of Jesus Christ. He did not have to give us this gift nor does he have to continually extend acceptance and forgiveness. But again and again, over and over He forgives us and gently shows us mercy. In return, the same kindness we receive, we should extend to others. Be kind to one-another, tender-hearted and forgiving just as we received when Christ forgave us. When we open our mouth to speak to someone does the tongue cut or heal another? Are the words and actions we show others full of kindness or poison?

Job 5:2 for wrath kills a foolish man, and envy slays a simple one.

Proverbs 14:30 A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.

I Corinthians 13:4 love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, it is not puffed up

James 3:16 For where envy and self-seeking exists, confusion and every evil thing are there.

When we exhibit poison instead of kindness it comes out in envy and self-seeking behavior. As we see in scripture, neither edifies us. Envy slays us; it is considered rottenness to the bones. This terminology means it cuts to the core of who we are and corrupts us from within. It does not have anything to do with love, quite the opposite. It parades itself, it’s puffed up and James tells us every evil thing is there with it.

I believe the bible shows us the devastation that comes when kindness is left to travel to its vice. We become envy filled, self-seeking, puffed up, ego driven, fleshly people. As a believer, it is far from what is desirable.

Isaiah 54:10 "For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed." Says the Lord, who has mercy on you.

The Lord who has abounding mercy says His kindness shall not depart from us. Not now, not tomorrow, not when we die, not ever! His kindness is everlastingly ours. With that truth, how can we not put forth the effort to show the same to others?

Monday, April 20, 2009

You Can Change the World

You have the capablity to change the world.

I'll say it again.

You have the capability to change the world.

We each have within us the same chance. We can be used greatly by God or not.

Maybe you are shaking your head right now and saying "not me." Maybe you believe you weren't designed for greatness. Maybe you think I have really lost my marbles making such a statement. Maybe I have, but I don't believe so.

You, like everyone else, have the capacity to acheive greatness in the kingdom of God. Your belief in this is the first step.

How dare I make such a statement?

I dare because when we believe that God can do great things through us, we take the first step to see amazing things by God. Notice I say "by God" When we yield to Him and are fully open to what ever He wants to do through us He can transform us. We, as a vessel of God are then open to be used greatly.

I believe God wants to use each of us for great things. It comes down to if we are willing. Are we willing to yield? Are we willing to put our own agenda aside? Are we willing to look like a fool or have people ridicule us? Are we willing to really believe?

It is when we step out on faith believing that God can do all things that He can use us for great things of the kingdom.

Our world needs help. Are you willing to be used greatly?

Isaiah 6:8 - Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying: "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?" Then I said "Here I am, send me."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Patience Vs Wrath

Today, I give you another installment on our pursuit of a virtuous life. I must admit, this has drawn on for quite a long time, this adventure of virtue. There has been much to explore and write about. I have not kept with it, posting on it each day until it was complete. I have done much pausing between virtue posts. Reason being, the time it takes to research each subject. The research of each subject is laborious and takes hours to prepare to write. Therefore, this is the reason for the breaks.

So, I give you today what the bible tells us about patience versus wrath.

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

You know the old saying "never pray for patience!” Lots of folks think if you pray for patience God will answer with a trial, therefore avoid it at all costs. I beg to differ. Although it may be true we do learn patience from our trails and God does allow trials to come into our lives. Why is that a bad thing? Why do we avoid trials at all cost?

Most often we avoid trials because they are painful. We don't like pain. There seems to be a thought process within us, that happiness is a life without any pain. If we avoid the pain in life we will be happy.

I propose this.... If we avoid pain, we avoid happiness. If we avoid the things that bring pain in our lives we also end up avoiding love, hope, joy and grace. It is in our pain that we draw closer to God and things happen we would never experience any other way. It is in the trials of life that we let go and let God. When we release the control into God hands He then does amazing things for and through us. This is why James tells us to count our trials as joy, not because they lack pain but because they bring us before God and perfect us.

Instead of avoiding patience at all costs, let’s commit to beginning to embrace it. Can we do that today? Can we explore it with an open mind, knowing that it will enhance us and create in us a closer image of Christ? Let's try.

Some describe patience as a delay in getting what they want. "If I get what I want in the end, I can wait patiently for it" What happens if in the end you don't get what you want? I suppose you are then disappointed because your expectations weren't meet. Patience is not this delay of getting what is wanted but a much different thing. It is more a state of mind, a way of being. It is not about getting what you want but instead, a state of being at peace, being able to endure suffering and circumstance without complaint.

A person with patience is able to resolve conflict peacefully as apposed to resorting to violence. They have an increased ability to forgive and show mercy. They are long suffering and giving of grace to others. In our fast paced, self-centered society, patience has become a virtue that is hard to come by but one much needed.

Ephesians 4:1-3 walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Colossians 3:12 put on the virtues of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.

Paul instructed the Ephesians and those at Colosse to walk in a manner worthy of their calling. We are called to the same thing. We are to walk in patience, eager to maintain unity in the bond of peace. We as Christians are to draw upon our strengths from one another, be unified, fighting the enemy by being bonded on the call of Christ. We are to have patience and endurance, to hold each other up not tear each other down. When we fight amongst ourselves we do nothing but build a foothold for the enemy.

We are called to unity and patience within the body of Christ, but we are also called to show mercy to those not in the body of Christ. We can not expect someone that does not know Christ to behave like they do. If they do not have the Spirit within them they are not going to act like Christ or even understand it. We must learn patience and love them because Christ loves them. It is part of our calling to love the unlovable.

On the other end of the spectrum lies a vice that if left unchecked can be scary, it is the vice of wrath. I've heard many speak of anger and wrath as if they were interchangeable, but they are not the same. Anger is a feeling while wrath is an act.

Anger is a feeling of displeasure resulting from injury, mistreatment or opposition. It often shows itself in a desire to fight back at the cause of the feeling. Wrath on the other hand is any action carried out in great anger, especially for punishment or vengeance.

Ephesians 4:26-27 says "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, not give place to the devil.

Anger in itself is not sin. Acting in wrath out of anger for retribution or vengeance is sin.

Ephesians 4:30-32 and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as god in Christ forgave you.

When we act out in our anger we grieve the Holy Spirit that lives within us. We are to let all those things go and instead have a forgiving heart full of tender mercy. God forgave us much, we deserved to die for our sin but He did not let us. Instead He came to earth and paid our penalty for us on the cross. Can we not forgive others? Who are we not to forgive, in light of how much we have been forgiven?

Romans 12:19-20 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."

I will conclude with these questions for you ponder:

Have you really loved your brother, your sister, all those in Christ around you?
Have you feed your enemy, gave Him a drink when He was thirsty?
Have you shown as much mercy to others as has been shown by Christ to you?

If your answer is no, then I would ask why not?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jesus said Follow Me

I must follow..... You must follow..... We are all called to follow.

When Jesus called each of the twelve disciples he spoke some very simple words, "Follow Me." Again and again in scripture we see Jesus give the same command to those who came to believe in Him. Just as those who walked with Christ before us, we are called to the same. The plan is simple, He leads, and we follow. When He says turn right, we turn right. When he says turn left, we turn left. This is our calling, to follow Jesus where ever He leads.

Sometimes we get side tracked though. We get so excited about what He has brought us to, that when he begins to move again, we decide we want to stay. We try to reason with Him. "Lord, you don't want me to leave this do you? I'm doing good stuff here; you can't want me to leave." Without explanation or apology he simple answers "Yes." He does understand our reluctance to leave. There is mercy as He speaks, but the answer is still the same.

Occasionally, we decide we are right, we know best. We stay even when he continues to urge us on. We plant our feet firmly in the ground as a small child might do and say "NO! I'm not going!" We are happy with the way things are. IF IT AINT BROKE DON'T FIX IT! Right? Only one problem, we can't see down the road. Often, further down the road, we realize it's not working as we thought and now were all alone. Jesus moved and we didn't.

Frustrated, we go looking for where He went. Thinking "If He would just give me the big picture, this sort of thing wouldn't happen!" If Jesus would just tell us what He wanted us to do, when to do it, how He wanted it done and who to get involved along the way, we could map out a plan and get to work. That’s it! all we really need is a full color map to light the way! If he would just give us a map of what He wants for our lives all would be well. We could take it into our own hands ands put a plan together. We could get this thing done!

Ouuuuch! That would be our plan wouldn't it? If He gave us all the detail upfront we would take matters into our own hands wouldn’t we? We would be doing what "we" decided and not living by faith anymore. We wouldn't be walking with Christ, instead we would be just checking in with Him occasionally like a supervisor.

I think maybe His plan is a better plan for us after all. We should move when He says move. We then watch for signs He puts up along the road; approach with caution, stop, yield, danger up ahead.

No map, no agenda, just a ride with Jesus in the driver’s seat. Yes, that’s probably a better plan.

Now to execute it.....

"Jesus, I can plug that address into my GPS, where'd you say we were going again?"

Oops! There I go again!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Diligence Vs Laziness

Now that the Holiday is over and we have celebrated the greatest day on earth, I would like to finish our study on the heavenly virtues verses the deadly sins. The next virtue and vice on our list to explore is diligence verses laziness.

Just like all the other virtues, this one too, should become a part of who we are. If we are to walk in the footsteps of the one who bore us spiritually, we must also instill His virtues. Jesus Christ encapsulated every virtue we have talked about and much, much more. Diligence was not one left out of Christ’s character. If we are to exhibit His character we must look at all the parts that made it up, that would include diligence.

So what is it? Have you heard the term you must give it due diligence? I have, but I never really thought much about exactly what it meant.

Diligence is described as the disposition to think and act with a proper sense of urgency and zeal. The original term literally meant haste or eagerness.

So to have diligence would be to have the inclination or tendency to think and act fast when needed and slow when needed. It also means that we have the correct amount of fervor, passion and devotion. We should be eager to pursue the things of God.

II Corinthians 8:7 But as you abound in everything - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us - see that you abound in this grace also.

When speaking to the church in Corinth Paul explicitly states that diligence is something that Christians should excel at, along with faith, knowledge, and love. We are to approach all these things with a sense of responsibility, dedication and in a conscientious manner. We are to have a passion about us and a tendency to know the pace that things ought to happen.

II Timothy 2:15 - Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, A worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Hebrews 4:11 - Let us therefore be diligent to enter the rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.

Timothy tells us to present ourselves approved to God. The only way to live as approved of by God is to live according to the word of God. It is through the blood of Christ that we are approved. We then can abide in the word through His spirit. This is why we are told to hide the word in our hearts. When the word of God abides in us, we will then act accordingly. We are also shown in I Peter 1:5 & 10 that we are to add virtue to our lives with all diligence. We are to be diligently directed by the word of God. We are also assured at the end of verse 10 that if we do, we will not stumble.

I take all this to mean that we are to hide the word in our heart so we can diligently rest in it. If the word of God abides in us so we know it and live it, the Spirit of God can use it to guide our way. With this, we will be better able to stay obedient to God and not stumble.

Proverbs 4:23 - Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it springs the issues of life.

Proverbs 12:27 - The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man's precious possession.

Ecclesiastes 10:18 - Because of laziness the building decays, and through idleness of hands the house leaks.

Keep your heart with all diligence. In other words, guard your heart, wear your breastplate! Be very deliberate about what you are letting enter your heart. Be diligent about the keeping of your heart and what you allow to be taken into it. You must be diligent because everything springs from the heart. The very issues that affect our life at the core spring from the heart. Proverbs describes diligence as man's precious possession. Ecclesiastes compares laziness to a decaying building and a leaky house. Who wants to live in such a building? No one. This is why we must be diligent and not idle. We must diligently guard against our heart becoming like a decaying building.

Diligence like all other virtues is a character trait that must be grown. We plant the seed of diligence, water it with deliberate care and it will grow within us. Each time we act deliberately, our character grows and we become closer to the image of Christ. In the end, when we go to meet Christ, we will lack nothing. But for now, we must do more if we want to like Him. We must pursue the journey with due diligence.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Greatest Day On Earth

Today we remember the day everything changed. It is the day the calendars changed from BC to AD. It is the day the world saw the greatest miracle ever performed. It is the day that many dreaded and others looked forward to all there life. Over 2ooo years ago on this day salvation came to an undeserving group of people. Salvation was given to humanity by a God full of mercy.

Many tried to murder the King of Israel and instead ended up sacrificing the lamb that would save the world. Three days earlier they cried out for the blood of Jesus to be spilled. They so feared his claims of resurrection that they posted guards at His tomb. But that wasn't enough. It wasn't enough to keep a Savior in the grave.

John 20:1-2 - Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tom, and we do not know where they have laid Him."

Mary goes to the tomb and finds Jesus' body to be missing. She runs to the disciples to tell them. Simon Peter and the other disciple arrive. Peter goes in the tomb and sees only the linen strips of cloth and no Jesus. Since they did not understand that Jesus must rise again the third day, they went away to their own homes.

John 20:11-18 - But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did now know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, "I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God." Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken there things to her.

Mary heart sick and sadden at such a great loss went to the tomb to properly prepare the body of her beloved Jesus. In her horror, the tomb was empty. "How much am I to endure?" She must have thought. I can only imagine the suffering her heart was filled with. A heart shattered into a million pieces.

Why are you weeping? She is asked. Her mind clouded, her thoughts must have raged, "How dare you!!!" Thinking it the gardener speaking and deep anguish overwhelming her, she only pleads for her Lord's body. What despair must have dripped from the words as she replied "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Her heart must have cried out "Please! Please! Just tell me!"

Then He spoke her name, "Mary!" Instantly she recognizes the one who calls her name. It's her Lord. It's Jesus! With her heart leaping out of her chest and a thousand questions running through her mind she clings to Him, never wanting to let Him go. I am sure that every sorrow was mended and all one million pieces of her heart came instantly back together. Jesus was alive!

He tells her not to cling to Him for he must still ascend to the Father and sends her off on a mission. Her mission; to tell the disciples he is alive, He rose from the grave and is ascending to the Father.

Mary's encounter with the risen Lord was the beginning. Many were witnesses to the resurrection of Christ. He showed himself to the disciples and many others.

He may not walk the earth in human form any longer but He left behind His Holy Spirit to abide in us. When we believe His death and resurrection were given for our sins, receive the gift of salvation and repent from our sin we are promised eternal life. We are also given the Holy Spirit to be with us as our guide and comforter.

Oh, But He will return one day! In the twinkling of an eye He will descend on high and call his people home. What a day that will be! A day even greater than the one we celebrate today! The glorious day will come when all things are finished for an eternity. How I look forward to that day.

For now, we watch and wait. And while we wait we give praise for His life, His death and His resurrection. We give thanks for the greatest day on earth and the even greater one to come!

Thank You Jesus!

Friday, April 10, 2009

He Paid The Price


Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Final Night

Remembering what today represents I would like us to take a moment and reflect what transpired so many years ago on this day.

Luke 22: 14-19 - When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

That evening, Jesus knew that the very next day would be his last. He knew the agony and torture he would endure. Although he knew what lay ahead for him, he was still very much about tending to the needs of those in his charge. He broke bread for the last time with them. In that last Passover meal he told them the bread was his body and the cup his blood. Telling them to eat and drink it in remembrance of the sacrifice He was about to make.

I believe these men that had followed him were clueless to what was really about to take place. Jesus had forewarned them of his impending death but they still didn't really get it. Instead of this angering Jesus he instead once more demonstrates the heart of a servant.

John 13:3-5 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciple’s feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which H was girded.

John13: 12-17 - So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."

In his last hours on earth with his disciples, Jesus makes a point to show them what type of heart they should have. They should follow His example and be a servant to others. They were to care for others just as we are to do.

We, the disciples of this generation are to wash the feet of others. We are to care for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are to plant the seeds of the gospel, water and harvest the seeds already planted by others. We are to help the less fortunate, to feed and clothe the poor and tend to those that can not tend to themselves. We are called to a higher purpose, one given to us from Jesus Christ when he was still here on earth. We are to be servants.

Luke 22:39-44 - Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter in temptation." And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, H e prayed more earnestly, then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground."

Jesus in the final moments before His death, sought His Father in prayer, asking if the cup could be taken from Him. We must remember that although He was all God, He was also all human man. He also carried all the human frailties we carry. He had all the human feelings to contend with just as we do. The task ahead was bigger than any man could bear; only God in the flesh could conquer such a thing.

An angel appeared to strengthen Him. In those final moments, praying and sweating blood, the cup that He was about to bear would need more than human strength to carry it. He sought the Father. He sought supernatural power to overcome His human side.

We too have that power within reach. It is the power of a God that can do all things. A God that because of His sacrifice we are made clean. A God that cares about our humanness and shows mercy when we reach for Him.

Today we remember the day many years ago when Jesus walked on the earth for his very last day. We celebrate the last Passover He had with those he loved and taught while here. We also give thanks and celebrate that we can partake in the remembrance of what was taught. Through Jesus’ walk with the disciples we are given an example to follow ourselves. We are given the way to walk with a servant’s heart.

So today, we thank Him for all that was endured and taught.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Thomas The Conquering Hero

As I posted Monday, four year old Thomas had to face the man who hurt him in court yesterday. His parents had been preparing him for the day. They talked to him about how he was going to stop this man from ever hurting anyone else like he was. He was going to be a hero just like his favorite hero Dave the Pickle on Veggie Tales.

There have been many of God's people praying for Thomas. Yesterday during court, not only were there people in the courtroom praying but others were praying all over the city.

Last night Roxanne called me to tell me God showed up in that courtroom yesterday. I will let you hear it in her words. Here is the email that she sent out to all that prayed for Thomas.

God came into the courtroom this morning! I could feel him!

During my son's (Michael) testimony while the jury was looking at the gruesome photos, my son, in near tears, prayed while on the stand. Something he hasn't done for some time. He hasn't even wanted to talk about God, let alone pray to him. (When I called him on the phone later, all he talked about was God.)

Then my grandson strutted into the courtroom like a peacock... Filled with courage to tell the truth to save other children. (At least that's what he told me on the phone later that night, that he was a hero saving other children.) Like he was a very important person! He had a large plastic cross boldly displayed around his neck which read... I Love Jesus (in bright red letters)! Under his sweater, he proudly wore his heroes on his T-shirt... The Veggie Tales:) Which he yanked up his sweater to show us:) He spoke boldly with absolutely NO stuttering what-so-ever, and he didn't even see the defendant... it was as if he were invisible to Thomas because God had Thomas hidden & sheltered under his wing. Wilber was right in front of him and Thomas walked right by Wilber at one point, but he never saw him. I just sat there in AWE! It was so amazing!!!! God was there, answering all your prayers, protecting Thomas! Praise the Lord!

Later that night while talking to my son I heard Thomas in the back ground talking to his step-mom and stuttering as usual, just a few words now and then like he used to. But at court there was NO stuttering. He told everyone Wil hurt him and when the defendants lawyer tried to trip him up with a comment about the mom doing it, Thomas got even louder and said... NO, WIL DID IT!

God showed up in a miraculous way and all I can say is: PRAISE THE LORD! PRAISE THE LORD!

Thank you all for praying! Thomas may have had to face the fire but he was not burned by it!


Monday, April 6, 2009

A Miracle for Thomas

Thomas was a three year old boy, full of energy and life last year when someone came into his life and tried to kill his spirit. Not only did this man try to kill his spirit but he hurt him physically.

Last year, word spread quickly through our church about the grandson of a woman we have all had the privilege to get to know throughout this year. We love Roxanne dearly and have prayed as the story unfolded of what small Thomas had to endure.

You see Thomas's parents are divorced. Mike, Roxanne's son and Thomas's father did not have custody. Instead Thomas lived with his mother. Unfortunately, this woman was a neglectful and irresponsible mother. She involved herself with a man named Wilber who had previously served time for child sexual abuse. Then she left Thomas alone with him.

This man sexually abused Thomas. If that wasn't bad enough, when he figured out that Thomas's father was getting suspicious, he then tried to cover up his crime. He took little Thomas, cradled him in his arms and dipped his back and bottom in scalding hot water.

Thomas screaming and thriving in pain left bite marks on his perpetrators shoulder. When all was done, Thomas was sexually assaulted, his back side was burned and his face was beaten and bruised.

In the last year, Thomas has thrived in the care of his father. Praise God, Mike was given custody. But the trial is this week and the courts are forcing Thomas to testify on the witness stand with the man who hurt him in the room.

He is already showing signs of stress from them getting him prepared to do this. He is wetting the bed again and stuttering. The news that Thomas must go into the courtroom and face this man again is heaping burning coals on the situation.

Today is the jury selection. Tomorrow, (Tuesday) Thomas takes the stand. Please Pray! Pray hard! Pray loud! This small boy needs a miracle.

We are all his church; we must hold him up in prayer!


I pray that just like you did when Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were in the fire and you came down in that fire with them, you do the same for Thomas tomorrow. I pray that during the time he is in the courtroom you are there and he will know it. I pray you put a protection around him while he is in the fire of that courtroom. And just like those three that came out of the fire with only their bonds burned off, Thomas's bonds would be burned off. That Thomas would come out with not even the smell of smoke left on him. Let everyone in the courtroom know that you have been there Lord. Let every man, woman and child walk away from this knowing that the glory of God shined down that day. Send a miracle for this child Lord and let that miracle be your supernatural presence protecting him.

In Jesus name,

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Triumphant Entrance of A King

They shouted "Hosanna!" "Hosanna in the Highest!" as Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey's colt.

The large group spread their clothes and palm branches on the ground as they saw their king coming from the Mount of Olives. The king that they had been promised was finally there to save them. They had waited for the promised king for so long.

Save us! Save us! Hosanna! they called out.

The problem was, the king they were expecting was not the one they received. They were expecting an earthly king, the new king of Israel. They weren't looking for a savior for the world, just one for themselves.

Their king would ride in on a white horse and save them from the Roman rule. Instead Jesus arrived riding on a donkey to die on a cross. He came to die so that we may live.

So today, Palm Sunday, I say "Thank you Lord! Thank you for having a better idea!"

I am eternally grateful!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Charity Vs Greed

I have to say it has taken everything in me to continue my writing recently. I have gone the last several weeks to a place of discouragement and feeling lost. There has been no feeling of goodwill, kindness or wanting to give of myself. Which truthfully, is not like me. I am usually the glass half full kind of gal. But the last two weeks have been nothing but doom and gloom for me.

I finally figured out what the funk was all about. It was due to my age. Menopause is approaching and symptoms are abundant. At the first of this week I went to the doctor and got some much needed help. I am now at a much better place and ready to write my heart out for you.

Quite appropriately, I am full of charity and kindness toward others again. So how fitting that I would write today on just this subject. Isn't God good? Say it with me, "God you’re so good!"

Charity, what is it and how do we get it? Charity is the unlimited loving kindness towards others, the feeling or act of goodwill and affection. The kindness or leniency in judging others. A voluntary giving of money or help to those in need. A willingness to give or to be generous.

I don't know about you but I want to be charitable. I want to give and not just expect to get. To me it's the sign of a love filled heart. At least when we do it without trying to gain approval from others.

Matthew 6:1-4 says, take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

Wow! When our heart is right and we give without wanting the approval of men, we are rewarded openly by our Father in heaven. We are not to go around tootin our own horn or boasting of how charitable we are. We are instead to be givers from the heart, with a motive of loving someone with our gift. It's not about us, it's about them. If we do our giving in secret, we are promised that the Father sees and will reward us so everyone will see it. People may not understand why we are being blessed by God. But it will certainly be evident to them that we are being blessed. We will know why that blessing has come though, it’s because of a loving and giving heart.

II Corinthians 9: 6-7 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

We are told that what we sow we will also reap. So if we give in only small amounts we will receive back in only small amounts. If we give with an open heart, not because we have to but because we want to, we will find that we get back in direct proportion to what we have given. If we give big we will get big.

Careful is the word that comes to mind after the last statement I just made. We must be careful not to expect to get. Yes, it does come, but it is a matter of the heart. If we only give to get in return, we are not giving with a generous heart. There must be no strings attached, a giving with no expectations of getting back. This is real charity at work.

If our heart is not a charitable one, we can fall prey to the vice at the opposite end of the spectrum. We can be filled with greed. To avoid it, we must know what it is. Greed: the excessive desire for getting or having. It is the desire for more than one needs or deserves. Often, it is also called avarice or covetousness.

Proverbs 1:19 - So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owner.

Luke 12:15 -And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.

Hebrews 13:5 - Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have, for He Himself has said "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Scripture tells us that greed is destructive and can fill our heart with wickedness. Proverbs even tells us it takes away the life of its owner. We are not to live for the things we possess. We are to instead be content with what we are given, however little or much.

Whatever our lot in life, whatever our circumstances, we are called to be content with what God has given us. We are not to strive and maneuver our way around to gain earthly possessions. We are instead called to a more kingly pursuit. A pursuit worthy to be given to the King of Kings when we arrive in heaven.

I will leave you today with this little story from Acts 9:36-43. At Joppa, there was disciple named Tabitha. We are told very little about this woman. Only that she was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. She became sick and died, so they washed her and laid her in the upper room. Peter just happened to be traveling in a nearby town and was called upon by two men that had come from Joppa to find him. Arriving there he went into the upper room. Encountering all the widows weeping, they began showing him all the garments Tabitha had made for them. Peter then sent everyone out, knelt down and prayed. Turning to the body he said, "Tabitha Arise". She opened her eyes and sat up.

Tabitha received that day more than what she had sown. Much more. She received life. She was a charitable woman, full of good works. A disciple of Christ. Yes, she gave much. She gave, not grudgingly, not because she had to, not because she expected anything in return but because of the love of Christ within her. When she needed it most, she was rewarded far beyond what could be imagined.

Once again, we end with a prayer.


Take all greed from our hearts. Forgive us for wanting instead of giving. Help us to have hearts of charity, of the unexpectant and ungrudging kind. We want to look more like you each day Lord. If we are to do this we must change and it takes your power within us to do that. Change us; make us in your image. Use your power to create in us a heart of charitable kindness for others.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Temperance Vs Gluttony

We move today to the virtue of temperance versus the vice of gluttony. I have to admit this is a bit of a touchy subject for me. I am struggling with putting temperance in my life in the way of food. Not an easy thing to do and something that many Americans seem to struggle with. So I know I am not alone.

We live in a society that pushes excess, so to apply temperance; it must be a deliberate act. Today, if you feel I am stepping on your toes and it make you uncomfortable, know this, I am stomping on my own toes even harder. Believe me; I am not at all comfortable. Sometimes though, we need a little discomfort so we are provoked to make a change.

Let's see what God has to say to us today about this subject. Hang with me; we will fight through it together.

Temperance, what does it mean? It means the habitual moderation in the indulgence of a natural appetite or passion. It is the practice of moderation and self-control.

When we come under the habit of having moderation where our desires of great pleasures are concerned, we are then practicing temperance. The greatest of pleasures usually result from the most natural things we do. Such as consuming food and drink or in the union of sex.

In these times we live, America especially, temperance is almost a lost virtue. We are filled with the concept that if it makes us feel good, then it is good for us. Not true, everything that feels good at the moment does not always bring us the best of circumstances. Just because it fills our senses with a thrill does not make it good for us in the grander scheme of things.

In God's economy, we are called to a higher standard. We are told to set our focus on the things of eternal value not those which can give us pleasure for only a moment. We are called to run the race here on earth with the final destination in mind.

I Corinthians 9:24-25 - Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

The prize we are running the race for is an imperishable crown, the crown of eternal life with God. Like this scripture tells us, all who compete, are to be temperate in all things. Those of us saved by the grace of God, cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ are the ones running the race. We are the ones looking toward the imperishable crown. If we are to have crowns to cast at the feet of God, we must run the race well. If we use no restraint and allow ourselves to be guided only by what we feel we will over-indulge. Before we know it, that which we have over-indulged on has become our God.

What happens when we let temperance go and do not moderate our behavior concerning these areas? We fall into gluttony, that’s what happens. Gluttony, despite what most think, is a sin. Not a small sin to be ignored but the same sized sin as any other. God considers all sin the same. No sin is ok in His eyes. So gluttony is just as serious as any other sin when you look at it from God's perspective.

Gluttony is described as the over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink, or intoxicants to the point of waste. Intoxicants can be in many forms but alcohol, drugs and sex are among the top that most over-indulge in.

Proverbs 23:2 Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.

This gives us the severity of the sin of gluttony. Proverbs tells us we might as well put a knife to our own throat if we are given to it. It will only lead us to slow death if we continue down the road with it at the helm.

What else are we told about it in scripture?

Proverbs 23:21 - For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.

Proverbs 28:7 - Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.

Titus 1:12 - One of them, a prophet of their own said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons."

We are told that a glutton will come to poverty, they are given to drowsiness which refers to laziness. Proverbs also tells us a glutton brings shame to his father. In our over-indulgence we become fat, lazy and overly self concerned. We become so overly concerned about what makes us feel good that we forget the ways of God. We forget that we are called to be self sacrificing, to put our own wants and needs aside for the good of others. We forget that we should be self-controlled and focused on those around us.

The second command we are called to is to the love of others. How can we do such a thing when we are overly consumed with ourselves and our own desires? The answer is we can't.

Look around at what we have become in the American culture. Over-indulged, over-stimulated and selfish people are what lack of temperance has made us. If we are going to be what God wants us to be, we must go back to the practice of moderation and instill temperance back into our lives.

Once again, it starts with a prayer….


In the midst of an over-everything society we want to become temperate other-concerned people. Help us to instill the virtue of temperance into our lives. Forgive us for any gluttony in our lives and turn us around on a new path. Make us a self-controlled people. We desire to run the race Your way not ours so when we arrive, You can say "well done".