Weapons Wednesday

What’s in your arsenal? Are you ready?

A recent news article described a fourteen year old boy who took assertive action to protect his siblings. A violent intruder to their home pointed a rifle at the young man and the boy shot him. Then he gathered his siblings, ran to the neighbor’s house, called the police and his parents.  The intruder was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Obviously this young man knew what he had for a weapon, and how to use it. He was ready for what happened that day. It is a grim reminder that evil is alive and well in our world – and that any one of us can be involved in a threatening situation.

But not only should we be physically prepared, we should not let our spiritual guard down either. Our spiritual arsenal needs to be fully stocked.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”    (Eph. 6:11)

Know what you have and be prepared to use what God has given you:

Truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.”  (Eph. 14-17)

Be the victor –

not the victim !

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Teardrop Tuesday

“Jesus wept.”            (John 11:35)

Through His tears, we are strengthened by the humanity of our Lord’s emotions. Others, overcome with their grief over the death of Lazarus, deeply touched the heart of our Savior  (who already knew that He would soon raise Lazarus from the dead.)

It is through these teardrops that we realize it is out of love that we weep for others. There is of course no one who can better exemplify this love than our Lord and Savior, Jesus – by His dying on the cross for our sins – to save us through Him………

When we truly love, we will weep for others, and along with others – and grieve from the depths of our own souls. Our teardrops of love will spill out from flowing wellsprings – watering humanity and cleansing it from the sadness which overtakes our emotions……..until that very sadness becomes the foundation from which joy can be found – the joy from Christ’s eternal cleansing of our souls.

It was Jesus who raised Lazarus from the dead, and turned “mourning into dancing –  replacing sackcloth with the clothing of gladness.”    (Ps. 30:11)

Let Jesus turn your sadness

into gladness!

 

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Moon Monday

Certain times of the year the moon’s orbit comes closer to the earth. These are the times it looks the largest and shines the brightest.  We all admire its dreamy beauty and the moonlight shadows which it creates.

In the book of Genesis we are told that God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night;  and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years…….let them be for lights to give light on the earth; and it was so.”   (Gen. 1:14-15)

The moon is a mighty player in God’s creation. Throughout the stories of the Bible we are told of its role in the marking of time -the designating of the seasons – the signaling of prophetic events.  For thousands of years, for ancient cultures all the way to our own modern times, the moon has served as a beacon of God’s almighty power and majesty.

When the “Day of the Lord” is at hand, the moon once more will again take part in what could possibly be the most significant event in all creation:

“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and notable day of the Lord.”   (Acts 2:20)

We will  “all”  then bear witness of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ – King of Kings————Judgment Day………

It’s not just “moon light” –

– it’s the “Almighty” light !

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Fragrance Friday

We all love to smell something good. Whether it be good food, flowers, the freshness of a rain storm, the scents of a dense pine forest, the aroma of a wood burning stove – our senses gravitate towards that which is pleasing to our sense of smell.

Fragrances can have a powerful effect on our overall well being. They can influence our thoughts and spark memories from the past. Sometimes these memories can trigger a sense of peace – or they can sometimes trigger memories of anxious moments from troubled times.

As Christians, we are reminded that the sweet fragrance of Christ surrounds us on a daily basis. This fragrance will also affect others – some in a pleasing way – and some not…….

“To the one we are the aroma of death to death, and to the other the aroma of life to life……..for we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”   (2 Cor. 2:15-16)

If we truly know Christ, our fragrance can attract others to us –

If we are imposters, with ulterior motives, our fragrance will become rancid – and repel those around us –

Find your fragrance………..

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Think it through Thursday

“I didn’t think it through…….and now I wish I had done it differently….”

This is rough when you’ve just spent thousands of dollars to build something and to try making changes or rebuilding is just not cost effective. You’re then “stuck” with what you did – or didn’t do.

Or another scenario with the same principle could be a relationship. You jumped into a relationship with someone who, in the long run, was not a good choice.  Or, you made a business deal, without thinking it through, and found yourself losing money, or in trouble with too much debt.

All things considered, there are many pitfalls to fall into when we rush into something and don’t think it through. The Bible addresses this with many references to – taking our time – praying through decisions – surrounding ourselves with good counsel and counselors…….

“Prepare your outside work, make it fit for yourself in the field, and afterward build your house.”  (Prov. 24:27)

Preparation can be tedious – monotonous – unexciting – seemingly too long without any results. The time spent can almost seem like a “waste” of time. The temptation to rush out and “get ‘er done” can be overwhelming.

But the rewards of preparation can be great – and we can then be glad we thought it through –

– and also be glad we  “didn’t”  do it differently !

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Wealth Wednesday

“I won the lottery!”

Do you wish that was you? Over the years, many millions of dollars have been given away to a holder of the lottery ticket with the winning number. The initial excitement could seem overwhelming with the possible promise of future happiness and life on “easy street”.

But the Bible does not share that view of monetary wealth. “Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches, none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him–”  (Ps. 49:6-7)

Apparently, the winnings from the lottery ticket, as grand as it is, cannot buy a “ticket” to Heaven – for anyone.  Life’s material pleasures come and go, and when we die, they don’t come with us. “For when he dies he shall carry nothing away” (Ps. 49:17)

In Heaven, money doesn’t matter – and money won’t get you there either. “Easy street” could end up being the “highway to Hell”.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth………but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven……..for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”   (Math: 6:19-21)

The Lord Jesus Christ holds the winning ticket – and it has your name on it –

– don’t leave your eternity to chance – when you have a choice !

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Treat Tuesday

In our family we do a “Birthday Week”. One day proved to be too short, and the tradition evolved into a week. Not only does this extend the pleasure of the celebration, but it also gives others more time to participate.

This year as part of my Birthday Week, I got the flu. At first it seemed to be out of place for such a festive time, but in looking back, I came to realize that it too turned out to be a “gift” !

I was given several days of slowing down and being treated with loving care by my husband. I got to spend time with the Lord and His Word without any time constraints. I got to think deeply about my faith, family and friends.

Sleeping in late, relaxing outside enjoying perfect weather, listening and viewing the many different birds in our yard – these all overcame my initial worry of not pursuing all the activities and accomplishments to which I usually devote my time. Yes, the old cliche – “stopping and smelling the roses” about covers it !

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)

So instead of a “threat”  –

– maybe it’s a  “treat” !

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Molasses Monday

Molasses – another unsung hero ?

Molasses provides nutrients to not only humans  but also to the horticulture industry.  It can be used to increase microbial activity in the soil.

So what is “microbial activity” in the soil all about? Apparently, there are good bacteria and fungus that can be fed the nutrients from molasses to bolster healthy plant growth……..unfortunately, there are also bad bacteria and fungus in the soil that can prosper with these same nutrients. So the good bacteria and fungus set up protective barriers around the plant’s roots to fight off the “bad”.

Well, once again we are reminded of the constant “good versus evil” found in our world – happening everywhere! Our strength to fight is always in need of some sort of nutritional boost – not only physically, but spiritually as well.

Molasses can help ward off physical illnesses, but our souls are in need of spiritual food – which can be found in God’s Word, in His Bible.

“But let your heart keep my commands;  for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.”  (Prov. 3:1, 2)

Let God’s Word strengthen your barrier against evil –

our Hero who is  “not”  unsung !

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Formerly Friday

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”  (1 Tim.1:15)

The apostle Paul, one of the “chief” writers of the New Testament of the Bible, declared himself a “chief” sinner. He confessed that he was formerly “a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man…” (1 Tim. 1:13)

But God chose him to be used in a mighty way, regardless of his former self. “But I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief and the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”  (1 Tim. 1:13-14)

Our past doesn’t have to dictate our future. The Lord can step into our life at any time and present us to our Heavenly Father as a “new creation” – even though we are formerly as unworthy as the Apostle Paul………

Let’s rejoice that God shows no favoritism – that we might be overlooked because our record isn’t spotless – that the “resume” of our life shows us to be “under” qualified. On the contrary – some of God’s greatest works were made from former heaps of scandalous scraps!

Let Him re-create you from “your” former –

– to “His” future!

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Thwart Thursday

What’s thwarting you from sharing your faith?  – Or perhaps meeting the Master of our faith?

Imperfections can be a deterrent to freely moving forward with our relationship with Jesus.  Sometimes they can stop us from feeling worthy enough to either share our faith with others, or receive the free gift of salvation from Jesus Himself.

Vain philosophies, traditional doctrines, critical judgments from other people,  improper worship of the creation rather than the creator – – these can become obstructions to the true freedom and liberty which Christ has to offer.

“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”  (Col. 2:8)

Christ came to set us free – and to assure us of our victory over death. He took all our sins and paid the price for us. With the power of the Holy Spirit He gave us the strength to overcome our imperfections, to look past them, and to not let them have power over us. He died for us while we were all still imperfect, knowing that we would continue to struggle with our humanity until we could be made perfect in Heaven.

He loves us – and meets us where we are – “as” we are –

– and loves us anyway…….!

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Weakness Wednesday

In a moment of weakness, we can get into trouble………

Sometimes this trouble comes when we are perhaps “hanging around” doing nothing – a vulnerable time when temptation can hit us  with our guard down. Our weak area becomes a target, a button to be pushed. Sometimes that button is pushed by our own selves or by Satan’s influence.

I recently watched two brothers hanging around outside their home. One brother was high school age, the other around five years old. They had brought their backpacks and lawn chairs to the driveway to be loaded into one of the vehicles parked out front. While they were waiting for their parents to come out, they slowly became restless………as time wore on, they started to wrestle, then to pick up stones which they then threw at each other…….basically proceeded to get into trouble the longer they waited with nothing to do!

We are in Biblical company with this problem – King David himself fell to temptation with Bathsheba during a time of weakness – a devastating time in his life with an enormous impact on his life and others around him.

Whatever our circumstances, we can thank God for His infinite mercy and that “His strength is made perfect in our weakness.”  (2 Cor. 12:9)

We may fall – but He who lives in us –

will not!

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Terms Tuesday

“But why do you call Me  ‘Lord, Lord,’  and do not do the things which I say?”  (Luke 6:46)

Recently, I had a very vivid dream which I believe was a message from the Lord.  In the dream, my husband and I were touring a house which was for sale, and the longer we looked at the house with its many bedrooms and assorted  luxury features, I found myself thinking, “why are we buying this house Lord, it’s too big?”

The reason it seemed so “odd”, was that lately we have been very serious about downsizing into a small a home as possible – not only for monetary reasons, but also to free up time to pursue other things. We are in the season of the “empty nesters”, and wish to spend less time maintaining a home.

As I was contemplating the dream, the Holy Spirit brought the verse to my mind:  “But why do you call me Lord, Lord, but do not do the things which I say?”

Then it occurred to me that the Lord was reminding me that many times His plans are “not” my plans.  It is up to me to obey and follow His guidance – even if at the time it just doesn’t seem to make sense……..

Our relationship needs to be based on “His” terms –

He is God – and I am “not” !

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Move ahead Monday

“We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…..”  (2 Cor. 4: 8,9)

The Apostle Paul reminds us that trials will abound as we bring forth the kingdom of God as ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ. But even so,  “we do not lose heart.” (2Cor. 4:1)

Sometimes the battle rages within our own selves as we are tempted to give in to doubt, disbelief and despair. Depression can descend upon us. We can feel trapped by its heaviness. Moving ahead would seem impossible.

But God promises to provide the strength we need to be empowered – by the filling of His Holy Spirit – to lift us out of the darkness of despair.

“Even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me, even the night shall be light about me.”  (Ps. 139: 10, 11)

The light of the Lord leads us out of any dark place because darkness cannot exist when God’s light enters in – “Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You..”  (Ps. 139: 12)

As we are bathed in the light of God’s love,

“His” motivation to move ahead – will move us !

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Follow through Friday

The Lord helped us remove  oil stains from our driveway……!

For several years we have tried various products to get rid of large oil stains from our concrete driveway.  Both our vehicles have leaked oil over time and left stains that seemed to be permanent.  Well meaning neighbors and hardware store employees had given us their ideas and advice, but nothing was working.

One morning during my daily Bible reading, I read two passages in Deuteronomy 27 which referred to “setting up large stones, and whitewashing them with lime.”  (Deut. 27: 2, 4)

The thought occurred to me – “could lime take out oil stains out of our  driveway?”  I decided to ask the computer this question and came upon a recipe for removing oil stains using lime and turpentine. My husband and I purchased the ingredients, followed the recipe and instructions (prayed over it) – and found out that it actually worked!

In our walk with the Lord, we sometimes think that God is not interested in such trivial matters as an oil stain. But we were reminded that our faith is not compartmentalized – it is a daily relationship with our Heavenly Father who loves us more than we can imagine. He cares about everything in our lives. We only have to ask Him for help – and then follow through with the directions He gives us.

By following through with following Him

– He will help us remove more than oil stains from our lives !

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Theology Thursday

Theology matters.

Studying doctrine of various religions will lead you to an awareness of differences. How to get to Heaven is a primary subject.  Another is how to live out my faith, and still get to Heaven.  Also, is Heaven an actual place – and what about Hell – does it exist?

Salvation is key. Wondering about the possibility of losing my salvation during my lifetime on earth can be troubling. Where will I go when I die and why? Is life here on earth all there is?

Jesus Christ offers us an intimate relationship with Him on earth, and on into Heaven. He shows us the way to do this by receiving the Holy Spirit. It is by  love and grace that we receive our salvation –  not by any works we perform. Jesus is our eternal intercessor – providing the “only” way to get to God. When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we no longer need to question our salvation or wonder if we will lose it.

Other religions do not offer the hope and free acceptance of a living God. True Christianity sets us free from heavy bondage and useless traditions which can be found in the theology of other religions. It is through relationship and not religion that we ultimately get to know  God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Think through your theology –

– if you get lost, ask Jesus to find you.

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Wayside Wednesday

“Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen………”

These are the words of a Christmas Carol, which, over the years seems to have fallen be the wayside. This Christmas Season, I don’t recollect it being played over the airwaves, or sung at church. I did a little research on Wenceslas and discovered that he was revered for his piety and generosity. He even became known as a “father of the wretched.”

It is nice to know that legendary names of people aren’t always fictional – that they did indeed exist and stood for what was proclaimed about them. Unfortunately, their legacy can fall by the wayside if not kept alive by writings, songs, movies, etc.

How interesting that the legacy of an obscure carpenter from Nazareth has not fallen by the wayside. Jesus walked the earth (without internet !), and influenced more people than can be counted. His holy name continues to pervade  societies and cultures around the world.

The Bible provides an historical background and platform from which to get acquainted with Jesus – our Lord and Savior. His name and legacy indeed existed and still stand for what was proclaimed – in centuries past – and into the present – and on into the future……..

never to fall by the wayside……..

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Testimony Tuesday

“Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.”   (Ps. 119:24)

The Word of the Lord – God’s Word – is His testimony of Himself. The Bible bears witness of who God is and what He has done and will do. We are to read and follow His commandments on a daily basis. We are to take delight in His counsel.

Reading God’s Word  provides us with much needed advice to get us through our days. We can know with certainty that His advice is filled with absolute truth and His amazing love.  No- where, or from no-one else,  can that combination be found !

With today’s technology, we have incredible opportunities to dig into God’s Word and discover His treasury. Going deeper and deeper provides choice riches beyond compare. He promises us wealth greater than silver and gold.

My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold and my revenue than choice silver.”    (Prov. 8:19)

God’s wisdom illuminates our pathway to righteousness and eternal salvation – to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Our  eternal destiny is the final pay out.

“For whomever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord.”  (Prov. 8:35)

Open the Bible and read God’s Word –

– and discover your  “eternal”  testimony……

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Mayo Monday

“Hold the mayo…….”

Those are usually my words most of the year, but since we are in the middle of the Christmas Season and tasty recipes  – well………….

So while at the grocery store I found a reputable brand of mayonaise on sale, both the diet and regular brand were listed for the same price.  At first I gravitated toward the diet variety, but then I wondered if it might not taste as good. Then I decided to read the labels for both the diet and the regular – hoping the information would help sway my decision.  Calories and fat content were my focus. Much to my surprise, the calories were the same! The fat content wasn’t much different either – and in fact, the diet brand contained some undesirable fat, along with watered down ingredients. I decided to go with the wholesome choice and not settle for the watered down variety……..

Preparing the food for this Christmas Holiday reminds me that watering down recipes may seem good at first,  but harmful side effects could be experienced later…………

This Christmas don’t let the message of the birth of our Lord and Savior get watered down or tainted with unhealthy ingredients………

– and oh yes, pass the mayo !!

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Feast Friday

“Do not sorrow,  for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  (Neh. 8:10)

Nehemiah reminded the people that although the word of God had convicted them of their sins – that they had failed to love God wholeheartedly and obey Him – they were to go and rejoice !

Instead of having a ” pity” party, they were to go and have a “holy” party – for God had touched their lives and brought them into His Holiness……..to go and have a “feast” with the joy of celebrating “Him” !

This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.  (Neh. 8:9)

Wow – can you imagine? Go and have a feast? What does this response from God tell us about His love for us? And the joy we can experience in His presence?

“Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength……….do not be grieved………and all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them. (Neh. 8:10-12)

Have a “feast” – party on – with God !

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Thy will Thursday

Thy will be done…………

The Lord’s Prayer is well known by many. It has appeared on plaques, dishes, blankets, bookmarks, t shirts – just about any object imaginable. It has been preached, read, memorized and appears to transcend religious denominations.

If we are not careful, we can recite the words without allowing them to sink into our heart, mind and soul. It is a simple yet powerful prayer – perhaps overused in our modern culture as a robotic password of sorts for reaching up to God.

It is important to consider and meditate on the deep meaning of each passage. One of them being – “THY” will be done. Without recognizing that it is God’s will which will be done (and not ours), we can fall into the trap of claiming “our” will be done instead. This can lead us into disappointment, and a lack of faith.

We need to give up our supposed “right to rule”, and allow God’s sovereignty to become master of our lives.  HE is in control,  HE created the universe – HE knows what HE is doing !!

“Hallowed” be YOUR  name———

–and not mine !

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Withhold Wednesday

What are you withholding?

Are you holding back feelings of grief, sorrow, anger or even joy? Is fear a constant companion, and a prime culprit for a lack of connection to others, or even yourself?

Addictive behaviors to cover up the emotions within are a temporary relief – but then they need to happen over and over – and sometimes lose their effectiveness. Eventually, what was covered up becomes exposed – and this can lead to destructive behavior ……..and even lead to premature death.

The good news is that we can find healthy ways to get help. By reaching out to those who have found their way out of unhealthy lifestyles and establishing a loving relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – we can turn away from destruction.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”  (Ps. 84:11)

We can freely receive His love and forgiveness, and walk in His light.

– then instead of  “holding back”………we can freely  “give” back !

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Top Gun Tuesday

We have  hummingbirds living in our yard. They have their routine, and one of them is to sit on the very top of a tree and sing a signature song. Their aerial dynamic flights are entertaining to watch, and we have noticed many of these flights at daybreak and sunset.

A particular hummingbird has displayed extraordinary flight patterns with such precision and speed, that we have named him “Top Gun” ! He almost seems to not only exhibit amazing aerodynamics, but a sense of humor as well.  We have watched him hover over our grass at just the right height to be gently showered by the lawn sprinklers. Many times he will instantly appear right in front of us at eye level, briefly hovering as if to say hello. Other times he will appear from a corner in front of a window, stare at us, and then just as quickly disappear – only to appear again – his signature “peek a boo” moments ! His in-flight spirals, rolls, and dive bombs are thrilling to watch – truly a “top gun” experience !

These tiny birds remind us of the beauty and complexity of God’s astounding creations – and His creativity –

HE will forever command the title of  “transcendental” top gun !

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Misunderstood Monday

I had such good intentions – how could I have been misunderstood?

Have you ever asked yourself this question? And did you ask yourself this question because the other person either became hurt or angry, or both? I call this “stepping on a landmine” !

Sooner or later, we will inadvertently step on a landmine – it is inevitable. No matter how hard you try, there will come a time when you say or do something that rubs somebody else the wrong way.

If you think about it, we all come from varying backgrounds, families and circumstances. We have learned ways of communicating that may not be understood in the same way by everybody we meet. Our best intentions can be perceived as questionable.

When a situation blows up, picking up the pieces can be a difficult process. It takes time to repair the damage. Even then, our most sincerest actions and words can be misunderstood.

Without the power of prayer, we can be left with a life of ruined relationships – continually sorting through the debris.

By receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God promises to send us His helper, the Holy Spirit, to guide us through our world of landmines. With His help, our prayers become powerful allies –

–  so we can be “well” able, and not “disabled” !

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Find out Friday

What is your spiritual gift?

Finding out our spiritual gift is an important part of our walk with the Lord in the Christian faith. God has created us for His purpose, and He has wired us with specific talents to be used within the body of Christ.

Usually these talents coincide with general abilities which we  may have already begun to cultivate. If we have the gift of teaching, we may have already been drawn to teaching opportunities throughout our lives. With the gift of helps, we may have already shown and acted upon a deep desire to help others in various ways.

Discovering who we are in the body of Christ leads us to a better understanding and awareness of how we can best serve the Lord and bring Him glory. Whether it be at church, in our neighborhood, at the workplace or a chance meeting with a friend – our gift can be used with great measure – and bring great joy to the Lord who provided us with that gift.

Finding out how God has enabled us to serve Him also prevents us from pursuing ministry outside our realm of talents – which helps us to maintain an orderly focus and simplicity for our life.

Finding out our spiritual gift –

——  “is”   a gift !

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Thin Thursday

Eat !  …………my grandmother would say to me………. you’re too thin !

My grandmother was “not” thin. She was a jolly, plump grandmother. She seemed to be always smiling, sitting in the kitchen, mixing something. The aroma in the kitchen led to good food …….the kind of food “not” found in diet magazines ! She never seemed to care about that – or the fact that all that wonderful food had found a permanent spot on her round body…… but she sure seemed happy !

I never wanted to be plump, although I did want to be happy. Food had begun to take on a “two edge sword” of sorts……….it was good – good for you – but then again, too much would be bad – and bad for you. There were “good” foods and “bad” foods.

Now, I am a grandmother……..I’m not plump, and frankly, I don’t spend much time in the kitchen. Cooking, baking – never became my passions – I suppose at some point, the fear of being plump, drove me out of the kitchen ! I had decided that I needed to pursue other interests which did not include the danger of excess calories !

Thankfully, one of those interests was my passion for “spiritual” food – which led me to the cross of Jesus Christ.  “I am the living bread which came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever………” (John 6: 51)

At the cross of Christ, you will find the true “bread” of life – in Him, exists eternal  happiness –

– without the calories !

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Willful Wednesday

Tantrums happen !

Raising kids will initiate you to the world of “tantrums”.  Some of these explosions of emotions can take you by complete surprise. As in any wartime planning, being taken by surprise can be disastrous……..like stepping on a land mine !

The war of the wills is nothing to be flippant about or to be taken lightly. Who gets their “way” – and how they get their way – can lead to disturbances throughout a lifetime. The outcomes of these “battles” can have far reaching effects.

When there is confusion of  “whose” will should be done, relationships can suffer. Attitudes can be tainted by selfishness and ingratitude.  Pride can prevail.

In the Lord’s Prayer, we are told that “thy” will be done – God’s will……not my will or your will – but God’s will. Lining ourselves up with that concept disarms the war of the wills – and brings peace.

Jesus best exemplified surrendering to God’s will in the Garden of Gethsemane when He asked for the cup to pass from Him…….”nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done.”  (Luke 22:42)

Our battle is a fight against our free will to have our own way –

and in this case – it is braver to surrender – to Him…..!

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Traveler Tuesday

It’s a “comeback” story……

Traveler, our twelve year old quarter horse gelding has come back from a debilitating injury – sweeney shoulder. He had run into a concrete post a little over a year ago – and has since made the slow but sure progress back to recovery.

All the muscle along his left shoulder and across half his chest had atrophied. When he walked his shoulder would roll outward and his body would roll and dip downwards with a distinctive abnormal motion.  It was a very sad and painful sight to see………..also knowing that the possibility existed that he might not recover added to our distressed concerns about his welfare.

Each month passed with a small but encouraging bit of progress. His muscles returned ever so slowly, an inch at a time. Appropriate exercise, nutrition, herbs, light treatments and massages – all contributed to his rehabilitation.

There were times during this year long process that doubts arose as to whether he would be the same again – our prayers for healing were sent up to God over and over………and we wondered how God would answer our prayers.

Thankfully, we never gave up during Traveler’s road to recovery. It was slow, but it was worth the wait. God allowed Traveler to “come back” and to be an inspiration to others to not give up –

– God made sure our wait wasn’t wasted !

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Media Monday

Media is “major” !

What form of media we choose to gravitate towards can sway from day to day. Whether it be the written word, audio broadcasting or visual experiences on screen – we are surrounded by media on a daily basis.

Media is a powerful medium of influence. If we hear, read and experience something often enough, we can tend to believe it to be true. The original source of any communications is therefore worthy of investigation.

Although the investigation process can be a tedious trail – the end of this trail can open us up to entirely new vistas. New territories of truth – waiting to be explored. And even though popular mainstream media presents us with overflowing torrential tides of information, we can still wash it away to uncover the underlying currents of another kind of media – that which honors God.

Exploring what God has to offer surpasses any man made adventures. After all, God is the master “adventurer”.  He wrote the book about it – the Bible. The “basis” of all media – the “beginning” – and – also the coming “end”………..

– make it “your” source !

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Futile Friday

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “all is vanity.”

In the book of Ecclesiastes we read the great wisdom of Solomon. He describes to us the futile emptiness of trying to be happy apart from God. Solomon was the richest, wisest, most influential king in Israel’s history. His life gave him the qualified experience he needed to impart his “reality” wisdom to the rest of us.

Pursuing power, popularity, prestige and pleasure – in the end, doesn’t fill the void inside our souls. The endless and meaningless cycles of life found throughout history validate the futile attempts we, as human beings, strive to create for fulfillment and satisfaction.

Solomon realized that only a relationship with God can bring true purpose and pleasure to our lives. “Eat, drink, rejoice, do good, live joyfully, fear God, keep His commandments!”

Our lives don’t have to be futile – “For God will bring every work into judgment.”  (Ecc. 14: 1)

Folly and foolishness follow futility –

– forsake them

– and follow God !

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“That’s all folks” Thursday

“That’s all folks!”

…………then that familiar theme song punctuated the above phrase in our brains…….for some of us – for a lifetime !

Porky Pig with his endearing stutter ended many Looney Tune cartoons by letting us know they were over.  It was a lighthearted way to let us know that the fun had come to an end.

If endings could always be happy it would save us from a great deal of heartaches. We could laugh our way through life, and sing along with Porky Pig whenever endings came our way. But the truth is, some endings are terribly sad, and no amount of singing along with Porky Pig can heal the wound in our hearts.

The flip side is that whenever there is an ending, there is usually a new beginning around the corner. Moving forward in the midst of our grieving can bring us to the joy of a new start – and the new found strength we have gained from the whole experience.

Laughing along with Porky Pig and his friends of yesteryear may seem like a silly proposition – but the episodes of his cartoon career  were based on humorous adaptations of real life. When it came time for the “final” episode, Porky was done – but we don’t have to be……..we have eternity to look forward to, with our Lord Jesus Christ. And we won’t have to hear——-

“That’s all folks !”

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Watch Wednesday

“Could you not watch with Me one hour?”   (Math. 26: 40)

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus shared with His chosen disciples His distress and sorrow.  His request for them to pray with Him as He poured out His anguish to God, was an urgent plea. Yet, they failed Him, by falling asleep.

How often has someone close to you failed to give you the support you needed during a time of crisis? You’ve poured out your heart to them and thought they understood that your distress was so great that you felt “near death” – just as Jesus had described to Peter, James and John, His closest disciples.

The weakness of our humanity becomes a powerful deterrent to our spiritual nature. Though we want to provide support, we can “fall asleep” , and neglect the importance and power God has given us through His Holy Spirit.  We can neglect to use the power of  prayer.

When Jesus returns, He expects us to be ready, and not be asleep.

“Take heed, watch and pray;  for you do not know when the time is. ……Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming………lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you,  I say to all:

Watch!”                                                  (Mark 13: 33-37)

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Try it Tuesday

Try it – you might like it !

How many times have you heard that? Are you one of those people who try new things easily and often? Or are you more like me – cautious – have to think it over – kind of person.

Gripping onto the security of  “sameness” can lead to a life of dependence – in the wrong direction……being co-dependent with unhealthy habits. That “sameness” may be just the thing that needs to change- – perhaps for the better.

Loosening that grip on false security may happen with – or without you! If you wait too long – change might happen anyway, and your freefall could end with a bit of a “thud” !

The Bible tells us that God is there to catch us when we fall –

“For He shall give His angels charge over you. To keep you in all your ways. They shall bear you up in their hands. Lest you dash your foot against a stone.”          (Ps. 91: 11,12)

So let go – and let God –

Freefalls can be fun !

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Made Monday

He’s  “made”.

In the horse world, the term “made” meant that a horse was finished and trained for his purpose. Most of the time though, made just means that something was brought into being.

So much around us is “made”. If  you think about it,  just about everything is made. Not only that – but to be made means that someone was responsible for the “making” ! Nothing gets made by itself.

From the very beginning of existence, it was God who “made” our world. We were “made” in His image. Jesus Christ was made in “our” image – to take on the sins of the world – so we could be “made” righteous, and –  “become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  (Titus 3:7)

We would therefore become “made” for our purpose in life – to fulfill a destiny that God has had planned before we were even born……..

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;  before you were born I sanctified you…….”  (Jer. 1:5)

To be made for a purpose means we are all significant in the eyes of the Lord – His master plan requires it – until it is “finished” –

and then –

we’re  “made”  !!

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Facebook Friday

I fear Facebook !

It seems “everyone” is on Facebook.  I am “not”. Is there anyone out there who is “not” on Facebook? I would love to know why you are not –

Here are some comments from well-wishing family members and/or friends:

You would know more about our family if you checked out our facebook page.

There are people from your past who would love to get a hold of you and find out what you are doing.

You would make new friends.

You would network with other people who have the same interests you have.

It’s good advertising for a business.

“Everyone” is on Facebook.

Other comments from family members and/or friends:

I spend a lot of time deleting information I don’t want.

I don’t have enough time to keep up with all my friends.

It takes a lot of my time.

People I don’t know have too much information about me.

Perhaps it can turn into –  “too much”.  Global mail can become gluttony. Proverbs 25:16 from the Bible cautions us:

“Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need. Lest you be filled with it and vomit.”

Too much can certainly turn into –

“too bad”

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Throat Thursday

A dry throat is common when living in the arid southwest of the United States. Hot temperatures and low humidity add to a scratchy, parched sensation leading to the desire for something to soothe and quench it – usually something liquid, most often – water.

Sometimes a viral attack will bring on the same conditions, and something more than water is needed to alleviate the symptoms. We reach for warm or cool substances to modify and calm the aching and discomfort.

But sometimes a dryness in the throat comes from the aching and discomfort of our heart – when we are overwhelmed with the heaviness of life and become weary, and are spent from the tears we have shed.

I am weary with my crying;  my throat is dry;  my eyes fail while I wait for my God.”  (Ps: 69:3)

King David of the Bible faced overwhelming circumstances at various times of his life. There were times he was surrounded by enemies, seeking to do him harm, and he was left with no solution other than to reach for God for help.

Our lives bring times of anguish as well – whether we are surrounded by physical enemies, or simply overwhelmed with emotional turmoil. Our shed tears and feelings of helplessness cause us to reach for some solution, and something to soothe the aching in our heart.

He (God) heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Ps. 147:3)

God is “good” – medicine !

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Wide Wednesday

In many epic western movies, the scenery usually includes  “wide” open spaces. We are visually captured by vast rolling hills and a matching “big sky”.  Out there “somewhere” lies the adventure along with the landscape to match the unfolding drama ahead.

We are enthralled with the lives of other people on screen – only to be reminded at some point that our own lives are also embellished with the wide open dramatic landscapes of life changing events.

Where will our lives eventually lead? We all share the common denominator of an “ending” to the story. Death awaits us all – but we can choose the path to our destiny……..

“Enter by the narrow gate;  for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  (Math. 7: 13-14)

Jesus reminds us that the field is “wide open” for destruction – we need to choose carefully who and what we believe –

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”  (Math: 7: 15)

Out there, “somewhere”,  is the narrow gate –

let Jesus lead you to it…….


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Topic Tuesday

What is your favorite topic?

Some people love to talk and read about their hobbies.  Some prefer discussions about money, jobs and careers. Relationships and the people involved in them dominate other people’s interest.

But religious faith seems to be one of those “avoided” topics. Why is that? Is it because it can create an uncomfortable atmosphere?

Disagreements on topics don’t have to be uncomfortable – we can all agree to disagree. After all, hearing other views can sometimes lead to a different perspective.

But what we spend most of our time doing, thinking or reading can ultimately define who we are.

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”  (Prov. 23:11)

The various topics of our lives will be many, and they need to be addressed at some point – but to be out of balance can lead us away from the life that God had intended for us.

“But those things which proceed out the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.”  (Math. 15:18)

What we dwell on in our hearts will eventually show up in our thoughts, words and deeds.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”   (Math. 6:33)

If we have a heart for God –

– we can touch any topic !

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Millstone Monday

Millstones come in various patterns and sizes. Many have become collector items and/or subjects of artistic creations. Landscape and patio designs have included these items as focal points, incorporating colored tiles and various stones to accentuate their uniqueness.

Millstones are still in use today, boasting their superiority in producing the best flavor and nutrition through the art of stone-grinding. Apparently, the grinding process using these “stones” brings out the best flavor and texture of the grains.

As a rule, these millstones are quite heavy. Turning them requires proportionate power. Wind and running water were the main power sources used, eventually giving way to the use of electricity.

The Bible makes mention of the heaviness of the millstone:

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”  (Math. 18:6)

“It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”  (Luke 17:2)

Apparently, causing those who are weak in the faith to stumble and be led astray is a serious offense……………..

………better to be the “miller” and enrich someone’s faith-

— than to be on the other end………….!

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Fluctuate Friday

Spending time at the Grand Canyon in April means experiencing weather temperatures that fluctuate wildly from “tee-shirt”  weather to  “long underwear/ ski hat”  weather.

Although the weather extremes may fluctuate, the scenery maintains its panoramic magnificence regardless of the weather changes. The awesome wonder of it all never loses its incredible appeal and testimony to the majesty of God’s amazing handiwork.

Unfortunately, there are reminders everywhere of mankind’s theories as to how the canyon, and the world in general came into existence. Plaques and trail markers have been strategically placed along the rim trails with the view that the earth and its rocks somehow “evolved” from complex cataclysmic events millions of years ago.

The power behind these world changing events has been explained away from the “original” source – from the “Master Creator” who put the universe together.  Although man’s conceptions of how the world was formed may fluctuate over the years, the Bible makes it very clear that God’s description of how the earth was created does not fluctuate – and that it will never fluctuate………..

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  (Gen. 1:1)

Don’t be fooled by “man’s” fluctuating theories –

– stand firm on God’s solid “rock of the ages” !

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Thereupon Thursday

Former President George W.  Bush,  in a Republican debate, was asked a surprise question:  “What political philosopher or thinker do you most identify with and why?”

He thought about law theorists, Mill or Locke, and also Abe Lincoln. Then he surprised himself as his answer tumbled out:  “Christ, because He changed my heart.”

Thereupon, a stunned silence ensued. Where had that come from?  Later, Bush was told by some that his answer shouldn’t “hurt” his campaign too much………apparently not, because he went on to win the state of Iowa.

Critical comments such as “there is something unholy about this” – and – “W. is just checking Jesus’ number, and Jesus is polling well in Iowa” – hit the media. Other, more favorable comments came from many people who appreciated Bush’s openess about his faith.

At times, political correctness would seem like the “right” thing to do. As in Bush’s debate, that is where his original thoughts led him – but – political correctness cannot quench the Holy Spirit.

If Jesus had been politically correct, He would have never gone to the cross – for us –

and “thereupon” lies the strength of our faith.

Praise God !

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Wisdom teeth Wednesday

When I was in my early twenties, I had all four wisdom teeth removed. They were impacted, so it was a major procedure. Of course I was anesthetized, so I didn’t have any pain during the operation. It was later, during the recovery period, that I was able to experience the painful after effects.  Thanks to the regular dose of painkillers, I was able to groggily spend several days, waiting for my face to go back to its normal shape. Friends told me I looked like a chubby chipmunk.

It seems strange that something that causes such a problem for most people would be called “wisdom teeth”.  Apparently, they were named as such because they grow in last, after the other teeth have formed – usually appearing in the late teens to early twenties. Most of the time, there is not enough room in the mouth for them to grow permanently, so removing them provides an alternative.

As in our lives, wisdom does seem to come  “later” – with age – as we mature and accumulate life experiences. Hopefully, we gain wisdom from our experiences, and not just additional data, stored up for future reference. If there is no “room” in our heads for great wisdom, we may end up having a bunch of useless information, not doing us any good.

“The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom…….”  (Prov. 10:31)

Let wisdom come out of your mouth – even after your “wisdom” teeth have been removed !

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Mismanagement Monday

It’s easy to say something is “mismanaged”.  The hard part is to make it right.

Sometimes a particular problem has not been addressed and the result has been a product of mismanagement. There is confusion, concern and lack of co-ordination. Ultimately, the parties involved can tend to become either very lackadaisical, or try to take matters into their own hands. This can lead to more confusion and a “parting of the ways” for people involved.

Differences of opinions without direction can separate the best of groups, and cohesion is lost. Sometimes a new focus can emerge with a rebound effect with the people involved, and new leadership can be formed. At times, this process can be a blessing in disguise. Old patterns give way to the new, and a sense of revitalization occurs.

Change happens, and let’s face it – life is full of changes. Without some “bumps in the road” the road doesn’t get fixed. New and sometimes better ideas come forth along with new management – until new bumps come along and instigate more new advances – and on and on it goes.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”  (James 1: 2-3)

So instead of complaining about the “bumps” –

– bring em on !

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Fallible Friday

All of us are “fallible”.

We all make mistakes sooner or later. It is a part of life. How mistakes are handled can be very challenging. Sometimes the parties involved may not even realize they made a mistake until later – or maybe not at all.

When other people are involved, the element of pride can disturb the resolution of our errors. One person may blame the other, and vice versa. Sometimes we need to soul search and come to a place of humility in order to claim responsibility for our actions.

Understanding the situation and the people involved, helps to open the lines of communication. Sometimes the fault can simply lie in the different way the problem is viewed, rather than the problem itself. Ironing out different perspectives can lead to an agreeable solution.

The Bible tells us that God’s perfect wisdom will lead us to resolution:

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”   (James 3:17)

When we fall to being fallible  –

look to the One who is “in-fallible” !

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Thinking about Thursday

“I was just thinking about that!”

It is always startling when someone says something out loud to you that you were just thinking about. It feels as though somehow that person read your mind.

But most of the time, our thoughts are pretty private. We can actively think about things all day long, and even throughout the night. Thankfully, some of our thoughts are never found out, or verbalized. We can find ourselves falling into thought patterns that may not be healthy.

In the Bible we are told that God knows our thoughts. He searches our hearts and our minds.

“…….for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts……” (1 Chr. 28: 9)

We may think that all our thoughts are private, but the One who created us keeps watch over us – with the intent of bringing us to Him.

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.  (Ps. 139: 1-2)

Holding our thoughts captive and honoring to God come from a daily searching of our hearts – daily time with God and reading His scripture to purify our hearts and minds.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;  try me, and know my anxieties;  and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”          (Ps. 139:23-24)

Then verbalizing our thoughts can be “sparkling”

instead of “startling” !

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Want Wednesday

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not “want”…………..(Ps. 23:1)

What do you want?  Why do you want? Do you go about your days “in” want? Is something you desire taking over your thoughts and deeds?

Our lives can be filled up with searching for that fulfilling moment, and longing for more of them. We can be motivated by our desires to satisfy our cravings – whether they be material, emotional, physical or spiritual. What is in us that causes these desires? Why do we “want”?

The Lord tells us that “He” is really what we want – that anything else is a cheap substitute. These cheap substitutes will always leave us still wanting. It is a never ending process – but this process could eventually bring us closer and closer to “Him” – our Creator – who put those innate desires in our hearts and in our souls – for us to discover and surrender to “Him”.

When we want Him with all our heart, mind and soul, He promises we will have a peace beyond understanding.

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures;  He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul……….”

We will then “not” want –

because we shall “have”

“………and I will dwell in the house of the Lord……..forever”

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Train up Tuesday

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  (Prov. 22:6)

Raising children requires more than providing them with food and shelter. God has given parents a role of stewardship – in which each child is dedicated to God.  They need to be instructed in the ways of life that will be pleasing to God.  They need to create an internal desire in their children to be motivated to do what God wants them to do.

I see out there children who are more motivated by external pleasures and material possessions than what is pleasing to their heavenly father. Parents have given up their God given stewardship to day care centers. Technology has become the “instructor” instead of responsible parents and caring mentors.

Christian families have sold out to the culture and are neglecting the responsibilities of the home. Look around, view the divorce rate and promiscuous behaviors. This is not what God had/has in mind for us – His children. If our God had neglected us, we would all be destined for Hell – without a Savior.

Take training up a child seriously –

– as serious as God has done for us……..

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Medicinal Monday

Natural herbs provide healthy alternatives to synthetic drugs. Our bodies tend to process them with less harmful side effects.

Over the years, different ailments have motivated me to research herbal medicinal treatments. Sinusitis, bronchitis and allergic asthma have been in the top three. Over time, I have found that natural medicines can actually work better, with “healthy” and not “harmful” side effects. It only seems logical that what God has put here on earth for us to harvest would play an important role in keeping us healthy.

“For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated receives blessings from God.” (Heb. 6:7)

Our spiritual health also depends on what God has put here on earth for us to follow. He has provided His Word in the Bible for us to nourish our souls with daily scripture reading. We need to be careful to not be lead astray by “synthetic” doctrines which have been formulated by man’s own ideas. The harmful “side effects” of these doctrines can be deadly – for all eternity.

Let God’s scripture lead you to His “garden” of “eternal” health.

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Faithful pony Friday

In the song “Utah Carol”, Marty Robbins mentions Utah’s faithful pony, who helps to save his friend from a herd of stampeding cattle. In the end, Utah sacrificed his own life to save the life of his friend.

As a horsewoman of over forty years, I can well appreciate a “faithful pony”. There is nothing like knowing that the animal you are riding and putting your trust is a faithful friend and companion. One never knows when the time may come that this bond could be put to the test. Close calls do happen when riding, and a faithful pony can get you out of a jam.

Ultimately, life’s jams get too big for just the help of a faithful pony. We need to rely on our most faithful friend, Jesus Christ. With Him, we can ride through any problem and trust that He will take us safely to the “other side”.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 3:16)

Ride with Jesus, and get on “God’s side”…….

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Thermometer Thursday

Check the thermometer – how hot or cold is it?

As far as climate goes, many of us would like the temperature to hover around seventy five degrees, with average humidity. This would be “comfortable” for most activites – not too hot and not too cold.

In the Bible, we find that God is not happy with this “comfortable” temperature regarding our walk with Him.

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth.”  (Rev. 3: 15-16)

 A “middle of the road” approach to Christianity lacks the  spirit filled conviction and energy to stand for the faith. God is not pleased with a partial surrendering – He wants all of us – because He loves us.

 His love for us is “not” lukewarm.  He gave His Son Jesus to die for us…………and that could not have happened without God’s “hot” pursuit for all of us to know –  and come to Him.

Let our desire be as hot as God’s desire that “none should perish, but have everlasting life.”

Turn up the heat !

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Wishful Wednesday

“As you wish” ……..

In the movie “Princess Bride”,  the response –  “as you wish” – is a well remembered line. Peter Falk , who played the endearing grandfather reading his grandson a story, made this line a trademark of the movie.

Wouldn’t it be great if whatever we wished, our life’s response would be  –    “as you wish” !  Although, as time goes on, we find out sometimes it was good we didn’t  get what we wished !

Throughout the Bible, we are cautioned to be careful what we wish. We are instructed to remember in our prayers to God, that our wishes coincide with God’s wishes. Only then, can we be assured that what we wish for would fulfill God’s ideal plan for our lives, and not whimsical ideas that we may have that could change from day to day.

God sees the whole picture of our lives and knows what is best. Our limited view can distort this plan and send us into dangerous territories.

“For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  (Jer. 29:11)

I’d rather put my wishes in His hands – and let Him say –

“as you wish”……..!

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