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Friday, June 29, 2012

Share His Benefits

Psalm 103:1-2 "Bless the Lord O my soul and all that is within me. bless HIs holy name: Bless the Lord oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits."

Today, an uneventful day, as I call it. Nothing special or specific. Yet as I contemplated what I should share, this verse came to my mind. There are yet many of God's benefits all around. We are healthy, have food to eat, a roof over our heads, forgiveness when we do not give God all that is His, Grace when we don't deserve it.

As I read through the book of Genesis and Exodus, God's faithfulness is so evident to His children. His covenants stand true. His covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob help me to realize He wants a relationship with me and you. He will keep His promises with us. Even those He promised in the beginning of generations. They still stand true.

We serve a mighty God. There is no god in all the world that can come close to the One true God. Satan is so busy deceiving thousands. Little do they know that satan is only out to destroy them and take them away from the One who died for them. In our weakness we are made strong. God will strengthen us to go out and share Jesus with those we come in contact with.

Let's not miss the opportunity. Let us tell others the Benefits of serving the Lord.

God bless you

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Playing Scrabble

I love word games. I really like Words with Friends with some Facebook friends. But I don't just play, while I'm playing I'm trying to solve the world's problems, as if that is going to work. Or I'm talking to the Lord.

So this morning, I started a new game with a 3 or 4 letter word. Again, I was thinking how many words can branch off those few letters by the end of the game. Then I thought of something...life is like a 3 letter word. It is the start. Every step brings on more challenges and more victories. Sometimes I try a word, and the message comes up that it is either not a word or misspelled. So I take the letters back and try another avenue.

Exactly! Life is like that. Sometimes I make a wrong decision, and head out a different way. Then I run into a roadblock from the Lord, and I go back and take the right road. Most of the time, I can't go back, but I suffer from my mistakes, but God shows me the next step. Just like scrabble, there are points for playing, so is life.

There are blessings along the way. There are hardships, but always Grace. I must say, if I would always follow the Lord exactly right then I could avoid so many detours and roadblocks. But with every detour there is a lesson to be learned. God is so patient. He lets us "play one word at a time." When we realize we are stuck, He still is there waiting with open arms.

I always find it interesting when a game is complete to see all the words that were made from that small word at the start. That will be us...in the end we will be so amazed at the beautiful "tapestry" God has made from our life. God is painting our life as we take one step at a time. In the end it will be glorious.

I think I need to go finish my game...
God bless you

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Basin of Grace

My thoughts continue on the thread of Grace, and what it really should be like in my life. To be a woman of grace is a goal to be achieved. I believe that God would have us all be servants of Grace. What is it? Grace is to give what we don't deserve. I don't deserve God, but in His Grace He has given me eternal life. What does grace look like in my relationship to others?

As all questions like this, we can find answers in the Bible. Of course, the ultimate grace is God giving us redemption when we do not deserve it. Forgiveness is grace. We don't deserve forgiveness, at least, I don't. For you see, I fail again and again. But every time I approach the throne of God, He forgives. He doesn't even remind me that I had committed that same sin before...such as worry, complaining, etc. You do know these are sins, right?

Yesterday communion was served at church. As I was thinking about the last supper Jesus had with His disciples, a light came on in my spirit. I remembered something that I had learned many years ago, but hadn't thought about for a long time. The basin of grace! When Jesus took the basin and washed Judas's feet, I'm not sure that He used the water in the basin...that basin was overflowing with Grace. Judas did NOT deserve this.

Jesus knew what Judas was about to do. Why did He stoop down and wash the feet of the very one who was going to betray him? Why? Why didn't Jesus just tell him then to go do what he was planning and to do it quickly. He also served him bread and the cup. Love! Love! He loved Judas in spite of what Judas was about to do. I wonder if Judas even realized the sacrifice Jesus made at that moment.

Can I wash the feet of the one, who spread gossip about me? Can I wash the feet of the one who insulted me? I see the problem clearly. Pride! I think I'm so much better that I can't give grace. Pride raises its ugly head to show me how much better I am, and surely God wouldn't expect me to serve the offender with grace. Oh but God does!

Today...let's take the basin of grace and forgive those who have hurt us, offended us, and don't deserve it. Let's love them back to the Lord.

God bless you

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Alley

"We plan our lives in long, unbroken stretches that intersect our dreams the way highways connect the city dots on a road map. But in the end we learn that life is lived in the side roads, alleys, and detours." Alan Christoffersen's diary Richard Paul Evans


I am reading Richard Paul Evans The Walk series. Very interesting, but so many life lessons in it. This quote fairly sums it up for me. There really isn't much life on Interstates and freeways. Lots of fast moving vehicles, missing the beauty around them. And no connection with people.

Not so in the detours...we are crying for help or find others asking for help. Away from problems or at least some answers. When we set goals and have dreams, we normally don't account for problems and detours along the way. But come, they do. Honestly our goals would  be little if we had easy sailing the whole way. Gold is pure because it has been through the fire.

For me, I'd rather live in an alley and reach out to others in need, than live on the freeway, traveling alone in my own little world. Of course, we get there "faster," but miss opportunities that we might find in the slow lane.

Reach out to someone today that needs a smile and a friend. Hug them even if they don't smell good. Don't forget to ask if you may pray for them.

God bless you

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Relections

Reflecting! Memories. The "what if's" and "why not's." Then if I look back on some major decisions I made during my life, I wonder what my life were like today if I'd taken a different path? For instance, many years ago I had the opportunity to serve in a mission in Canada among the Inuits (natives). But instead, I moved to Florida and ended in Haiti. I truly believe I could have served God well in Canada. Of course, then I wouldn't have met Patrick. Smile. Perhaps none of you ever do this, reflect without regret. Just curiosity.


I do not for a minute, regret the decisions I've made. I know that my years in Haiti were good for me. God used all those experiences to hone the rough edges from my heart, and filled me with Grace. I learned so much in Haiti. One of the first lessons I learned (besides realizing how frustrating it is to talk to people if you don't know the language) is that I read the Bible in light of the culture I was in. When Patrick came to the States the first time, he also was very aware of this same thing.


The verse that says "And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” Matt 10:42. Before Haiti, this really didn't mean much to me. But people walk everywhere, the sun is hot, and water isn't always available. When I offered someone water, I remembered this verse. There is a reward for giving someone a drink of water. 


Now I'm stateside...there are memories here already.  Memories are good, but I don't live in them. I am pressing toward the mark of the high calling Jesus. And pressing I must! 


God bless you

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nick Across Niagara

I watched Nick walk across Niagara Falls. What an amazing feat that was. But there are so many lessons we can learn from that. First of all, courage to follow our dreams. Praying about that dream and believing God to bring it to pass.

Then comes to details. One step at a time took him from start to finish. Staying focused! Listening to his father's encouragement with each step. His father was praying for him as he walked. Fear did not paralyze him, but his goal kept him going. He had unfavorable conditions with the wind, the mist, and numbness in his arms/hands. I loved it when he was almost at the finish line, he started running. Then he finished with glorifying God for it all.

This is us. We have a goal. We need to take one step at a time. We see the dangers all around us. Here is where we lose. Many of us stop because of fear. We don't "see" the Father, and often are listening to the noise around us instead of the Father's voice in our hearts/ears encouraging us in our walk. We look at the dangers around us, the suffering. We don't keep our eye on the finish line. We don't stay focused. Let's get back on that rope, listen to the Father, and run for the finish line!!

Let's listen to God's voice in our ears each step of the way, and when we reach home, we'll hear the beautiful voice of the Lord "Well Done, my good and faithful servant." We'll be able to say, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7.

God bless you

Monday, June 18, 2012

Side Dish of Green Beans

2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new."

God's Word is to transform us, not just make us feel good. Transformation means changing the way I "walk." It also means changing who I love and changing the way I see things. Yesterday the pastor gave an excellent example on this very subject. He said too many of us have a "green bean" relationship.

How often do we add just a side dish of green beans to our plate when the rest of the servings are not healthy at all? Like all dessert, but a serving of green beans. At least, I'm getting my vitamins! And that is how we read God's Word, as a serving of green beans. Just enough to appease us, but not to transform us into His image.

But God's Word is to transform us. God's Word isn't a novel, or a mere history book, or it is that too but that history is to transform us into His image. People identify who we really are by our actions and words. If we are in Christ, we are a new creation. If we are only reading about Him, then transformation is probably lacking.

Let's put away the green beans and really get into the Word and allow it to transform us into the very image of Jesus.

Pray for Patrick this week. He has a VBS team there this week. Pray for the children as they are ministered to.

God bless you

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day


 "The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, 
And he who begets a wise child will delight in him" (Proverbs 23:24 NKJV) 
Father's Day. What memories of a special dad. He went to be with the Lord 7 years ago. He was the pillar of the family and his primary goal was to teach his children God's Word, and require obedience.

Many children do not have good memories of a dad. And because of that, they also do no have a good conception of God. They see God as the Big man with harsh judgements. They do not see the loving arms that want to embrace them. God is firm, and there are repercussions for our sins, but under all that is love and it is covered with Grace.

Am I a wise child? Am I bringing delight to my father? Agape was delighted this morning when Promise handed him a coloring page of a guitar that she had colored. Then wrote on it "I love you daddy." His smile to his little girl was worth a thousand words.

Give love and respect to your father. There may be a day that you not have him anymore. So make sure he knows you love him, not only on Father's Day, but every day.

God bless you

Friday, June 15, 2012

Little Weeds

We had a wonderful day of crafts yesterday with Zenaida. She only used recycle items to help Promise with some creativity. It was fun. One thing they made is a flower pot, and planted a plant. Promise will water it and watch it grow. So this morning she wanted to go water it. When we went on the patio, and lot of tiny weeds were growing through the cracks of the bricks.


Our heart is the "soil" of our life. So many times it is the little things that start creeping in, and soon to become an ugly weed if we don't pull it from the roots. Sometimes they are so tiny, we hardly recognize it, then when we do it is quite painful to start the clean up. God prunes those little things that come in our way of being who He wants us to be. I believe it to be a daily check-up to make sure these little things don't take root and sprout in our life. Dissatisfaction seems to be the little weed that wants to creep into my heart these days. I am in another level of recovery, realizing that my life has changed so totally since the quake and I need to be thankful in this time. God has a purpose for me here. This, too, is ministry. It just isn't the way I had thought it would be.

God's ways are not my ways, and His thoughts not my thoughts. I better go with His program.

I hadn't been on the patio for a while, and was surprised to see so many little weeds. Let's take a survey and see what has crept into the little spaces in our hearts.

God bless you


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

God's Covenant

The house is quiet, so quiet. Agape and the kids went out for a daddy date. But what am I to do with me?

With all the quiet, it is a time for reading, God's Word, that is. A few days ago I decided it is time for me to read the Bible through in a year. I know, it is already in the middle of the year, but who says it needs to start on January 1?! Genesis it is! Wow, what treasures have come up for remembering and new insight. No matter how often we read the Bible, God always shows us new things that we need for the moment.

Genesis 9:6 "Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man."
I stopped. All the way in Genesis, God gave us the judgement for abortion, murder, name it what you will someone will "pay" for the death if it was caused by murder. The sad thing is, that today thousands of death are caused for the price of gold. Money!! People get paid to murder another human. Does this make the judgement even more harsh? People make a living on murder! How far have we separated ourselves from the knowledge that we are created in the image of God.

Yes, even the most wicked are created in the image of God, but their hearts are far from Him. I am to the conclusion that most of us forget that we are in God's image, because we abuse the body so much. God never forgets His promise, His covenant, and His judgements.

On the flip side, God's Grace is overflowing in the first few chapters of Genesis. God's covenant to Noah not to destroy the world again with a flood was "guaranteed" by the sign of the rainbow. God knew man would be wicked again. Yet, His grace when we don't deserve it. God said He will remember the covenant! Grace! Thank you, God!

God bless you


Monday, June 11, 2012

My Worst Enemy

Psalm 119:134 "Redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may obey your precepts."


Reading this verse, I am convinced other people are not the oppression...I am my own worst enemy. Oh for sure others can influence me, hurt me, anger me. But the bottom line is, my attitude toward all this is my option. I can choose to rejoice and be glad, or I can choose to be angry and hate.


It is me that gives "me" the greatest problems. I can put myself in a whirl of discouragement so quickly. Why is that? Because I do not stay in Word. I take my eyes off Jesus, even for a moment. Of course, satan is behind all this. But God has given us the power to resist satan. He has given me the tools for the day, being clothed in the armor of God.


That is what makes it hard, I cannot even point a finger and accuse someone else for my misery. But from the beginning man pointed fingers and blamed others. Adam blamed Eve for giving him a bite of the fruit...Adam knew the rule, "Don't eat." Eve blamed the serpent..but Eve knew the command. We do the same thing. We blame others when things don't go well.


We cannot change others but we can change ourselves. By changing "me", others can change. For me, one of the easiest way to get out of sorts, is to feel sorry for myself. Self-pity is self destructing. It doesn't stay at self-pity, it is soon pointing fingers and blaming others.


So Barb, choose this day who you will serve. I choose God, self serving is quite miserable.
God is a Grace giving God, a God of mercy and forgiveness. Grace! What a gift it is!


God Bless you



Friday, June 8, 2012

Balancing Act

Balancing Books. Financial books, that is. I accomplished a lot, but now I am off by 10 cents. Oh my...I have searched and searched and cannot find the error. So frustrating. But it needs to balance. I can't let it go. After a while, the numbers and columns are all looking the same. Maybe I need a break. My eyes are tired of squinting.

So we are in our relationship with the Lord. We are found "wanting." The balancing scale just isn't so balanced if we stand on it alone. Our side is too heavy with self, worry, fears, unforgiveness...but that is where Jesus comes in. His redeeming blood is on the other side of the scale. He has redeemed us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins. All our sins come off the scale and we are left with mercy and grace!

Now that is a balancing act! If we look at ourselves, yes, it just doesn't come out right. But if we look to Jesus, we can step up to the scale and know that He has balanced our books. Ahh, what a relief. I don't need to stand before Him in my own righteousness, but only by His blood, covered with His Grace!

Well, it is time to get back to the earthly stuff, and see if I can find the missing 10 cents!

God bless you

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Graduation

Today is a special day. Promise "graduates" from pre-school. Big day for her. A cap and gown. Smile. She's excited to have summer vacation. Her teacher is very pleased with her accomplishments.

That is what we are waiting for, to hear our Master say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." Matthew 25:23
Just to know that we have passed the "class." We have done our best, learned the lessons well, and our Teacher is well pleased. I don't know of anything that would surpass that. To hear God say to me, "Well done."

Sometimes the lessons seem so hard, and I get impatient, wishing I could do it better. But God knows my being. He knows who I am, and who He has created me to be. He knows my limitations, but also knows where I could do better but don't. But to pass the the grade, Oh what a good feeling that will be!

Just like today at the graduation ceremony for Promise, we too will be handed a certificate of achievement, the words of the Master, "well done." That will be better than any document in our hand. Just to be in the presence of the Lord. I can't even imagine it. I think if I could, the suffering here wouldn't be as painful. It would seem as nothing in comparison to the glory of eternity.

So for now, I am walking to the finish line. I don't know where it is, or how long it will take to get there. What I do know, is if I am faithful then Jesus will meet me at the finish line, and say "Well Done." The will be the utmost Graduation Ceremony! Not to mention the party which will go on for eternity. The celebration will never end.

God bless you

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Let's Start Over

Are there days you'd like to turn back the clock and just start the day on a brighter note? That's me this morning. When I checked my email, I had not so great a message. I think we have more in our bank account than what was really there. I missed calculating a check that hadn't cleared. Oh of course, it was one of the larger checks that were written. I don't like this!!

No matter how hard we try, life doesn't always turn out just the way we planned. But every time, I find God is right there waiting to see my reaction. Oh He could have kept the check from processing at this moment, but He didn't. But I had Agape go to the mail, and yes, there was some incoming checks that covered the overdraft. That was good news.

Does it always happen that quickly? No. Sometimes God waits. He wants me to look to Him and not "stew and fret" over the situation. I couldn't even blame God, it was truly my oversight.

You know what I'm thinking? Oh of course you don't. But I am reminded of Philippians 2:7-8 where Jesus was in the form of God, but made Himself of no reputation and took the form of a bondservant, and appearance of man. I wonder if He had to constantly remind himself that he wasn't really man, but God? We tend to do the opposite...we forget we are mere humans and try to act like we are God. We think we are in control, and we really are not!

For a season we are confined to the body of man, but our heart can be a heart yearning for God. Jesus became obedient even to death on the cross. Do we "shake our fist" at God because of an overdraft bank account, or do we humbly realize we are human and are not perfect?

Lord, help me to bow at the name of Jesus and declare Him to be my All!

God bless you

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Selfish Ambition

Philippians 2:3-4 "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others."

This verse pierces to the heart. How many of my thoughts and efforts are selfish? In my marriage, family, ministry? Everything I do has everything to do about others before me. Is this even possible? Even in ministry...there are things I see need doing, and honestly I want them done NOW. So I find myself having a plan of action in my mind, and honestly it may work. But this is not considering others or my husband. I can formulate a plan and it sounds good, so surely it would work. I believe it will only be a surface job, and not blessed.

If "my plan" is really God inspired, then I believe I will have peace about moving ahead with it, and not this mumble-jumble that goes on in my mind when it is self-motivated. A plan will be good for others, and not just advantageous to me. I need to be careful though, because it can "appear" to be good for others, but still be about me. Oh satan is such a conniver! He really wants us to think we are as wise as God. Wasn't that his downfall? Yes, it really was.

God remove these vain imaginations! "Lord, bring calm to my heart so that I can know what is God-inspired."

This is a bit off the subject, but I like it so much I have to share it. I was listening to a message by Tim Dilena on praying: "When I pray, I go through doors I would never be able to go through, I meet people I wouldn't otherwise meet, and I go places I have no business going." Prayer is an opportunity.

Prayer is the answer to selfishness.
God bless you


Friday, June 1, 2012

Captivate Your Thoughts

Thinking, thinking, jumble, thinking...good thoughts, not so good thoughts, trying to solve the problems, but thinking...doesn't seem to be doing the job. My thoughts can get me in such a mess. What I realize is that often when I allow my thoughts to run on its own, most of what I  perceive to be truth isn't truth at all.

The disciples had that problem. When they saw Jesus walking on the water, they thought he was a ghost. He wasn't, but it appeared as one. When I think someone has a problem with me, I can assume so many things. Then if I try to analyze it with truth, I often find that my thoughts were so wrong.

Satan wants us to think we are greater than God, or that bring God to our level. He wants us to exalt ourselves. Our thoughts can get us into so much trouble. If our thoughts are not controlled, they bring us into doubt, depression, discouragement.

The answer lies in 2 Corinthians 10:5 "casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ."

Philippians 4:8 "Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy think on these things."

These are 2 verses to help us captivate our thoughts, give them to God and then to think of the 4:8 list. I need to remember to go to bed with these verses, then rest will come. Also praises will engulf my thoughts.

"Lord, captivate my thoughts and bring them into obedience. Help me to integrate the 4:8 thought pattern."

God bless you