God’s Word, My Hope

When chaos takes over sanity, joy eludes the soul. The heart grows weak and strength wains. Weariness sets in….

It is midnight and I am wide awake. My mind will not turn off the noise of the lawlessness that is pervading in so many of the cities of our nation. There is no rest because of the noise, there is no peace because of the panic, there is no love because of the hate. There is no hope because of the despair.

As I observe this stressful time, I wonder, how is it possible that so much strife could have surfaced in such a short time? Where is law and order, the government of the people and for the people? I cannot begin to imagine the anguish of those who are the targets of hate and anger.

I turn to my source of life, the Lord Jesus Christ, my Savior and my refuge. Then I am encouraged to look beyond the events of the day, the events of this age, and instead look at the triumph of His Presence within me. I listen to what He has said, His words that give solace and strength. Words that are life and hope for the future. In His words there is grace, peace and love. In His Presence I find comfort and hope for eternal rest in Him.

There is no other name above His Name. No other presence that can give peace. No one else can give victory over life’s perplexing problems. I speak the Name, Jesus, and he brings healing to my soul. Just to hear His Name, is like music to my ears. To know his Name gives joy to my heart. Jesus is the answer to living in a fallen and broken world of division, stress and chaos. He is my hope. His words give assurance of His love for me. I will praise Him and give Him glory.

“Do not be anxious about anything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” Phil 4:6-8

It is now 2:00 AM. I have praised Him, worshiped Him, have been nourished by his Word, and listened to His voice. I feel the warmth of His Presence as I close my eyes in expectation of peaceful sleep. I know He is watching over me, His Words, and the power of the Holy Spirit, will give me strength for tomorrow, and hope for the days ahead.

Blessed…Thank You Lord

Recently I read a little book titled, “The Prayer of Jabaz” written by Bruce Wilkinson. The story of Jabaz is found in the Old Testament of the Bible in 1Chronicles. it is recorded that his life changed dramatically when he prayed this prayer.

“Oh that you would bless me indeed and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.”

I cannot recall that in the past, I ever said the words “Bless me Lord”. It just never occurred to me. But after reading this little book, now, each day I ask the Lord to bless me in any way that he delights in doing. It was a new experience, hard at first because it seemed to be self-serving. But after a few days it became easier. As I read the Scriptures it is obvious that the Lord delights in blessing His people. Proverbs 10:22 states: “The Lord’s blessing is our greatest wealth….”

I want to remember to always thank God for the many blessings He has given me. Often times, those blessings have been in disguise. I didn’t see them as blessings at first, I saw them as negatives, causing me distress. But I learned that God used those events for His purpose in my life.

During a time of grief He led me to His Word and blessed me with salvation. When I tried to overcome my personal hang-ups by reading numerous self-help books, and by participating in discussion groups, sensitivity training, etc., He patiently waited until I was ready to give up on self improvement tactics, then He blessed me by showing me that only He could change me by the power of His Holy Spirit. Through months of facing trials in the mission fields of Africa and Haiti, He blessed me with lessons in endurance and patience that strengthened me. Every time that I experienced events that were hard to bear, God used those trials to bring good to me. I learned to depend on Him in all my circumstances and my faith has grown deeper.

Presently, due to the covid-19 virus, I find myself like many others, forced to be somewhat confined in my home, not participating in the activities that were deemed necessary or enjoyable. Many persons have suffered the loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, loss of businesses, face financial insecurity, and we all have lost personal independence. These are hardships that can wreak havoc in personal lives and also on our country. The Church has also lost the pleasure of meeting together in corporate worship services.

Could it be that the Lord will use this virus to bring about much needed change to the body of Christ and to the world? Could it be that he will ultimately bring good out of this disaster? I believe the answer to that question is definitely “yes”. I can’t say how He will do it, but I believe that He will, for “His ways are far above our ways, and His thoughts far above our thoughts”.

In the midst of this pandemic I see the Church reaching out in stronger efforts to minister to those in need. God has blessed the Church with generosity through the love of Jesus. I see her spreading the Gospel throughout the world in a greater capacity through the on line broadcasting of the worship services. More people are hearing the truth of Christ that ever before.

The shutdown has given me more time to reflect and consider what God has done to bless me throughout my life, and thank Him for those blessings. More time to be aware of His Presence, knowing that He is always here, loving me, protecting me, giving me hope. Proving that He is the Holy One that has blessed me with life and by His grace has given me the blessing of eternal life with Him.

When I consider His infinite Presence, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. What more could I ask for? The things that really matter I find in His Presence. The blessing of His Presence sustains me.

The Love Of God

During these days of quarantine, caused by the pandemic, it seems that I am in an endless monotony. One day just folds into the next day to repeat the mundane sameness that grips my endurance and curbs my incentive to see beyond this craziness. I feel like my humanity is suppressed. How is it possible to endure isolation from society; the companionship of other human beings? Even the animal kingdom desires the company of others in community living. They thrive in herds, flocks, packs, etc. They are dependent on each other for relational activities.

As I write these words of frustration about being in seclusion, my heart reminds me that God is my source. And I hear Him saying, “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am lowly and meek at heart.” (Mt 11:29 )

God created life on earth with the purpose of fellowship with Him. It is written…in the beginning…God created man. As the story unfolds, He saw that it was not good for man to be alone. So He created woman to be a helper and companion to man. Life was meant to be lived in relationship to God and to others.

When I consider the love of God, it takes my breath away. His love is incomprehensible; a love so deep that the human mind cannot begin to understand it. It goes beyond anything imaginable. I can only bow my head in humble acceptance of His grace.

We serve a Holy God, a loving God, a God of peace and righteousness. He is a just God, merciful and mighty. He pours out His love on the just and the unjust. He has no biases. He loves the sinner and the saint. He looks on the world with compassion and stands with open arms saying, “Come unto Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11:28)

Jesus sits on His throne and beckons all to come to Him. He offers an open door into His Presence where we will find the depth of eternal love.

It is my intention to turn this time of isolation into a time of seeking more knowledge of Him who gave His life that I would have everlasting fellowship with Him. I will have no more mundane uneventful days of self-pity. He will turn my days into joy, for his mercies are new every morning.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, the Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” (Lam 3:22-24)

Jesus, Our Peace

These are troubling times. Times of despair for many people. Times of grief and times of pain and suffering. Times of fear. What would you say to a world filled with confusion and chaos, world lost in unbelief in a loving Savior?

There is only one thing to be said, and that one thing is the truth. The truth of a Savior who gave His life on a cross to save us from this chaotic world. His name is Jesus. He came to reconcile us to God, our Creator.

These are hard times, yes, but we can use this time to learn to know Jesus, to go deeper into His life and the meaning of our life in Him.

Sometimes it seems as though I haven’t learned very much. When I look back at those early years, and remember the devotion, the love, the excitement of knowing Him and growing in His Spirit; of learning who He is and who I am in relation to Him, I now realize that there is so much more to learn. My life has changed so many times from when I first accepted Him to be my Savior and learned that He is Lord of all. But I want to know more.

I want to use this time of isolation as an opportunity to delve deeper into His written Word. I want to spend time in prayer and seek to know more of Him. I want to know His peace and that His presence is with me. I am reminded of the Scripture in Philippians 4:8-9, the Apostle Paul advises the church: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things, …and the God of peace will be with you.”

Another Scripture to ponder, found in Colossians 3:2-4, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in Glory.”

Jesus is our salvation from these troubling times. He is knocking at the door of hearts wanting to come in to give comfort and confidence in His great love. He is our peace.

Jesus Calls Us Friends

Who is a friend? Who fulfills the meaning of the word “friend” to you? For me, a friend is someone who knows all about me. A friend is an intimate and close associate. One who stands with me through a struggle; a friend is my ally, my supporter, always helpful and reliable. A friend loves me at all times. Friends are one in Spirit.

Jesus knows all about me, but is it possible for me to know all about Him? I have known Him for almost 57 years, and I have not yet learned all I desire to know of Him. The Scriptures have revealed to me that He is the Son of God, the Creator, He is holy, He is the Bread of Life, The Light of the World, The Good Shepherd, The Door, and The Vine. He is the Resurrection and The Life, The Lamb of God, The King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Through the years of following Him I have learned that I can trust Him for He is faithful. He is my Savior and I know that He loves me. He understands my desire to know more of Him and in Psalm 107:9 I find a comforting truth: “He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.”

So, how can I be His friend? He has said, “My command is this, love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:12-15)

The church is called into fellowship with each other through the blood of Christ. To share in the friendship of Jesus He commands us to love one another. We are to be like minded, being one in the Spirit and have the same purpose. His grace and love for His friends is eternal. His friendship cannot be broken off, His life is their life, His Father their Father.

I can only walk in the light that he has given me for the present. In that light I have fellowship with other followers of Him. We can learn more of Him by sharing our experiences of His grace; witnessing to His truth, not only to other believers, but to the world.

“Now we see but a poor reflection, then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1Cor 13:12)

Come, Holy Spirit

Today I listened to some old worship cassette tapes from the 1970s that I had transferred to CDs. Most of them were taken from Scripture verses set to music. As I listened to the praises to Jesus sung with the anointing of God evident in the voices, I felt the warm memory of those wonderful days of renewal. Warm memories of the people I knew then, and of how the Holy Spirit was moving in the denominations of the church, touching the hearts of many souls, making them hungry for more of Jesus. It was an awakening, a mighty move of God, calling his people to the revelation of His power to change lives and to equip His church to do the work that He ordained.

I remembered listening to the anointed teachers who were called to bring understanding of this movement of the Holy Spirit, bringing the truth of Jesus into the lives of many seekers. Jesus became a reality. He was lifted up, praised, worshiped and adored. I learned to honor Him in all things, and to put Him first in my life above all else. I moved into a relationship with Him that I had not known before. Through that relationship I have learned that He is all I need to live a full, blessed and fruitful life. The joy, love, hope and peace that is poured out through the Holy Spirit is profound and satisfying. I see the evidence of God’s grace clearly as He guides me in His truth.

During those years, I knew He was calling me to be a witness to His truth. The truth that He is the Savior of the world, sent by God the Father to redeem all those who would believe. I learned how to participate in the family of God, and the wonder of realizing that I was living in and for the Kingdom of God.

Let us, the church be hungry again to see another move of the Holy Spirit. We certainly need revival in this chaotic world where truth is being distorted and trampled upon. Let us pray for a renewal of the church of Jesus Christ through an out-pouring of the Holy Spirit to equip her to reach out as never before to witness to the lost, so to bring in a harvest of souls for the glory of God and His eternal Kingdom.

God’s Awesome Promises

Have you ever meditated on the promises that are given to those who are chosen and called by God to follow Him? When I try to comprehend the many blessings that are promised in the Scriptures, I am overwhelmed with awe. Those promises are given for the hope and good of all who will trust in Him. I should never be downcast if I would always believe those promises are meant to bless….even me.

His promises are unfailing, (1Kings 8:56); grounded in Jesus, (2Cor 1:20); assured by Divine ability, (Rom 4:21); have infinite value, (2Pet 1:4); and culminate in everlasting life, (1Jn 2:25).

There is hope in the promises that are given to all who are committed to living for Jesus, those who are committed to His will and His Word. Those called and chosen by God to follow Him will receive all of His promises for life unending. The Holy Spirit is with them now and forever. They will never be without His counsel, His grace, His hope, and His anointing.

His promises give unlimited blessings to believers, (Mk 9:23); answers to prayer, (Mk 11:24); removal of obstacles, (Lk 17:6); Divine sonship (children of God), (John 1:12); Spiritual fullness, (John 6:35); Spiritual light, (John 12:46); power for service, (John 14:12); salvation, (Rom 1:16). This list just names a few. I could go on and on and not tire of reminding myself and others of His unending grace and love. You can find them all in His Holy Word, the Bible.

There is an old hymn written by R. Kelso Carter and Norman E Johnson that should be sung with gusto and conviction….

Standing on the promises of Christ my King, Through eternal ages let His praises ring! Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing…

Standing on the promises that cannot fail when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, By the living Word of God I shall prevail…

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord, Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s Sword, Standing on the promises of God.

God With Us, The Hope of Glory

I need only to listen to his word, so that I can hear the promises given through the babe in the manger. The child, that will grow into a life of giving, not only the tangible things, but also the unseen things. The babe born in a manger to become our living Savior. He is God with us. He is Christ within us. Born to die to save us for life with Him in glory forever.

How can I describe the wonder of His presence? It is inner peace that fills my heart when I become still and just listen to the silence. In this silence I am given hope, I am encouraged, I am blessed with His grace. When I fill my mind with His words, I have joy unspeakable.

Much has been written in the Scriptures about being still and listening. To name a few:

Mark 9:7 “…this is my Son, listen to Him…”

John 10:27 “…My sheep listen to my voice…”

Acts 3:22 “…listen to everything he tells you..”

James 1:19 “…be quick to listen…”

Ps 37:7 …”Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him…”

Ps 46:10 …”Be still and know that I am God.”

He was born in a manger in the city of Bethlehem. Listen the words of this famous carol:

“O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie. Above, the deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by…”

Another carol, perhaps the favorite of many:

“Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.”

As Christmas Day approaches let us all listen and believe the words that have been written to reveal that the babe in the manger, born 0ver 2000 years ago is God incarnate. Jesus, the Son, Emmanuel, God with us.

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given. And the government will be on His shoulders, and He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

The Abundant Life

I often hear that still small voice within whisper in my heart these words: “Take my hand child, and listen to me.” At other times I hear: “Take my yoke and stay close to me.” Hearing these words are an indication to me that I need to pay closer attention to my relationship with Jesus. When I have been listening too much to the noise in the world of unbelief or scoffing at Christianity, I can become discouraged and disheartened. All of the negative news that bombards us everyday can drown out the voice of God if I allow it to clog my mind and my heart.

Jesus promised that His followers would live an abundant life. He does not promise a life free of adversity, but he does promise to be with us during those times of trial. He encourages us to trust Him in all things at all times. I have learned through the Scriptures and through personal experience what is necessary to live an abundant life, a life filled with the awareness of His love for me.

The discipline of studying the Scriptures is the first step. Proverbs 4:20-23 gives this clear message : “Pay attention to what I say, listen to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart for they are life to those who find them and health to the whole body. Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

The next step is to believe. We are saved by faith. We need only to believe that He exists and that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins, that He rose from the grave, and gives us eternal life with Him. Hebrews 11-1 gives a definition of faith, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” I have no doubt about my salvation through Jesus. And I marvel at the words of Jesus in Matthew 17:20, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you say to this mountain, move from here to there and it will move.” The power of God is manifested through faith.

After believing that He is truly your Lord, trust Him. We need only to consider who He is to know that He is trustworthy. Jesus said that He is the truth and the life. He is the Sovereign God of creation, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. He has a plan,a purpose for our life. We need to trust Him to lead us into His plan. Again, citing the wisdom of Proverbs, in chapter three verses five and six we find the instruction to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Praise Him for He is worthy to be praised. “From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the Name of the Lord is to be praised.” Psalm 113:3. I love to read the Psalms. They are full of praise to Him. When I lift His name in praise my heart is full, and overflows into worship. And as I worship Him, His presence, and His peace, become very real to me.

And be thankful. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1Thes 5:18. He didn’t say to be thankful for adversity, but be thankful even while experiencing it. Remember, He is always with you, He will never forsake you.

Know the power of God. It is His power that enables us to love the unlovable. His power enables us to serve Him as we serve others. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses…” Acts 1:8. Jesus said that love is the defining factor to the world that we are His disciples. “Love must be sincere, hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Rom 12:9-10

Maintain a relationship with Jesus. This is vital. He has said, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now remain in my love.” John 15:9. To keep a relationship with Him, obey his commands and worship Him. Seek His face each day, not just once a day but often, and He will reward you with the awareness of His presence.

The abundant life is ours to enjoy forever when He is first and foremost in our life.

To sum it all up…from Ephesians 3:16-19, here is the prayer of the apostle Paul: “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and deep is the love of Christ. And to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

God’s Amazing Grace

Thank you Jesus for the gift of your amazing grace. You were there when I didn’t know you. You were there when I was conceived, when I was born and took my first breath. You heard me speak my first words and watched me take my first steps. You cared for me and nurtured me through the formative years of childhood. You protected me through the challenging teenage years. You gave me a good husband and three wonderful children. You cared for us all and I didn’t recognize you.

You were there when my dad was killed in an auto accident. In my grief you reached out to me. You beckoned me to call upon you. And when I did you saved me for your Kingdom. You strengthened me to bear the loss of my grandmother, mother, three siblings and many dear friends. You taught me how to live and how to love. You encouraged me and gave me hope. You blessed me with a new mission for my life, reaching out to others, living beyond myself. You were there when my husband passed from this world. You comforted me with your presence. You drew me closer to you and called me to be a witness to your truth, your majesty, and to your undying love. You gave me the joy of being a grandparent. And later helped me through the sorrow of losing one. By your grace I am comforted by knowing that she is with you.

In time, you blessed me with another good husband and increased my family. You led us out into the mission field to serve you by serving others, strangers to us but not to you. You know the world’s need and you send your servants to them. Not an easy task, but rewarding to be used by your amazing grace. And then…you were there when I became my husband’s caregiver and when he, like the first, passed on to be with you in a greater capacity.

You never left me alone, you were always there, even when I neglected you. I am so thankful for your grace that sustained me and patiently waited for me to seek your face again. Then you taught me to truly worship you with all my heart and to desire your presence. You have given me much more than I can ever comprehend or deserve. My gratitude to you is beyond words to express. Your amazing grace is beyond understanding. Your grace provides for the joy of life lived for you. It is only by your grace that I can abide in you and be confident of life eternal with you. It is only by your grace that I am free of condemnation. Only by your grace, that I live a meaningful life, filled with the knowledge of your love for me. Your grace is a gift to the world and a treasure to proclaim.

Thank you Jesus, for your amazing grace.