Sunday, December 17, 2017

Walk On

Christmas is a joyous (the most joyous) time of the year.  This is the time of the year when we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  As Christians we take a very special joy in singing hymns and Christmas songs, and doing nice things for people we don't even know.  But sometimes even we feel down.  Sometimes hope has been stolen from our hearts.

This year there are many of us who can't afford even a small gift for the one we love.  You may not be able to pay the rent next month, the children are sick, your spouse may be thousands of miles away fighting a war, or someone you love may be incarcerated.  You may be in a relationship that has gone wrong somehow without you even noticing until it was too late.  Maybe you can't afford to fly home to see someone you love who may be sick, and this may be your last chance to see them before they die.  Maybe you just put down your loving dog or cat, and you can't imagine coming home everyday and not having them waiting with tail wagging.  Is your heart heavy and you cry alone, thinking nobody would care anyway, and if they did, what could they do about it? 

Sometimes the hardest thing in the world to do is to make ourselves feel happy.  Sometimes we hide the hurt and the pain we carry around because as a Christian, aren't we always supposed to feel happy and carefree because we have a God who loves us?  Well, yes, we should take great joy in knowing that God will never (and I mean never) leave us nor forsake us.  How do I know that?  He says so.  Again and again in the Bible.  He loves us.  But sometimes our natural man overwhelms us, and this time of year seems to be a time when that happens most. 

So we cry and we ache and we long for someone to put their arms around us and give us hope.  We cry into the pillow, and we hope the shower washes our tears away.  We have never felt so alone, so lost, so empty. 

Sometimes we really need the cleansing of crying.  When Jesus' friend Lazarus died, Jesus wept.  It hurt Him to lose His friend.  We have all lost someone, whether through death or through broken relationships.  Even divorce is a death of dreams and hopes.  The two who were one are now separate, and there is a void where once there was completeness.  And when someone we love dies, we are lost for awhile without them.  Who do we call on that date when they were born or married?  Who do we go to in our times of need?  Who do we share our dreams and successes with?  Who will fill that void? Where is that loving embrace?

My dear Reader, it is still there.  Although it may not be in the arms of your mother, father, child, husband, wife, sister or brother, or from cuddling the greatest pet in the world, the best embrace comes from the One that died for you.  You CAN feel His embrace, if you just sit back and rest in His peace.  You may not be able to find that peace until you have wept ten thousand tears, but eventually, like a baby, you cry it out.  This is not to say that you won't cry again tomorrow, but for now, the retching of your sobs has worn you out.  That's not when you're the weakest, you know, that is when you are the most open.  That is when you are ready to listen, to hear the truth--that you are not alone, not at that minute or at any other time in your life.

Although there may be no one around you that you can smile at or touch, there is our Jesus, who is with you every single minute of the day and night.  He is right there, you are resting in His embrace.  He is breathing life into you!  Don't give up!  On the contrary, take hold of the hand He offers and draw near to Him!  He will carry you when you can't go on, but He will also lift you up on wings like eagles, He will give you strength, and He will show you the peace that surpasses all understanding.  Today may seem dark and your heart may be filled with despair, but have hope!  Jesus awaits!  He will kiss your face and place His arms around you.  He will never, ever, go away and leave you alone. 

So take hope, have faith, and walk on!  God bless you, dear Reader.  Give Him a chance today!  Let Christmas become a beautiful time of the year again.  Look at it with hope once again!

"When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark

At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on walk on with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone"
-Rogers and Hammerstein

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours!
May your day be filled with love, joy, and laughter as you give thanks to God for all His blessings. I pray that each one of you is with someone you love today. For those who have welcomed a new addition to your family this year, you are truly blessed. For those who have lost someone this year, my heart cries for you. You are in my prayers for peace and comfort. May God bless each of you with all you need, and may your praise to Him be great! He has not forgotten any one of us, and His love is overwhelming.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Behold, A New Day is Dawning!

“Behold, a new day is dawning!”  How uplifting and encouraging and comforting and exciting these six words are!  Behold—look, take in, see, watch.

A new day is dawning; a day unlike any other day in the history of the world. If yesterday was filled with sorrow and grief, be encouraged that today will not be the same. Today is guaranteed to be different, because we don’t serve an ordinary, boring God. We serve a God who is creative and colorful, and filled with so much love that he makes each day new.

Every day when we wake up we should be thankful that we are on the cusp, the dawn of a new time. No matter what yesterday held, this morning we are alive! We are in the presence of God Himself! He cared to bring us safely through the night into a day we haven’t touched yet—a day that’s a clean and glorious slate. We haven’t put even a smudge on this pure canvas yet. We haven’t etched a day of sinful behavior on the painting of our life.

We should stop and take pause, even from jumping out of bed. We should take the time to thank God for His gift and ask Him to walk us through it, holding our hand and heart, and lead us safely through the unknown. For even though we have made plans, or expect to go forth in our normal routine, the day is not ours, it is His, and He chooses what will happen—good or bad. We can never be so bold as to assume all is well or all is for naught in our world, for it is by His delight that the day, and our role in it, unfolds.

We still have the choice of how we will spend the hours and minutes given to us, whether in joy or pain, living for ourselves or for Him and others.

I will consciously decide that today is going to be a day of thanksgiving and that all my troubles will be easier to bear if I give the load to the One who offers His constant help. If I can keep His laws and commands to the best of my ability, if I can devote my day to His service and worship Him in all I do, then no matter what may come up I am going to succeed.

He tells us again and again that He won’t leave or forsake us, and that He “is with us always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

So be inspired by these six little words, dear Reader, 22 letters put together in beautiful order.  Let them give you hope and encouragement. Go out and face the day in grateful victory!


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Finding Salvation

"Seek the Lord while you can find Him.  Call on Him now while He is near.  Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong.  Let them turn to the Lord that He may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for He will forgive generously." Isaiah 55:6-7 NLT

If you don't know how much you are loved, or how valuable you are in God's eyes, it is never too late to find out as long as you are still breathing.  His love for you is so broad, so grand, so rich, that your heart almost can't take it all in. 
If you have been living a life of wickedness, and believing in a false god to bring you to heaven, you should seek the one true God--El Shaddai--now while He is here calling you.  Don't put it off any longer, as none know the time of His coming, not even Jesus Himself.  It will be too late to ask for mercy when the end has already come. 

It isn't a difficult thing to come to the Living God.  You must change your ways (Paul did, Moses did, David did) and do your best to follow His commands and not sin. And He will help you with that--He will always give you a way out of temptation.  If you come to the Lord, to Jesus, He will have mercy on you.  He will forgive you of all your past sins. We've all made mistakes, we have all sinned, and yet He still loves us and wants desperately for all of humanity to know Him.

Please, don't be afraid that your past is too awful to be forgiven.  So many in the Bible have committed terrible sins, and yet our all-forgiving God redeemed them, and He will redeem you too.  King David committed adultery and then had the husband of the woman murdered.  Yet God called David, "a man after My own heart."  Not because of David's sins, but because of what he then did, which was to ask God's forgiveness and repent of his evil ways. 

Moses killed an Egyptian, yet God chose him to lead the people of Israel to the Promised Land.  God loved Moses so much that He buried him Himself! 

Saul (later to be named Paul by God) ruthlessly went out looking for Christians--men, women, and children--to persecute and stone to death.  He was a very intelligent man and a Pharisee.  He watched the Apostle Stephen be stoned with no remorse. Then Jesus, in all His glory appeared to Saul while he was on the road to Damascus to gather more people of "The Way" to persecute.  Saul was changed once he was in the presence of Jesus. He eventually wrote 2/3 of the New Testament, and did amazing things for the Kingdom of God and converted thousands to what is now called Christianity.

The Bible is filled with stories of God's love and forgiveness.  So there is nothing you may have done that He won't forgive, even if you have a difficult time forgiving yourself.

Wouldn't you like to share in the most wonderful experience known to man, being able to return to the one true God, the one Who created you and wants to welcome you back into His open arms?  Did you know that He will even sing and dance at your choice to make Jesus your Lord (Zephaniah 3:17)?  When you come to Him asking for His forgiveness and have a sincere heart to repent, He WILL forgive you and He'll cast all your sins into the Sea of Forgetfulness and never hold them against you or even remember them ever again!

If you died today, would you go to Heaven?  Do you know the awesome love of Jesus?  If you have a desire in your heart to know Jesus, and to know true life, and life everlasting; or if you have fallen away from Him and wish to renew your relationship, please pray the following prayer of salvation. 

"Heavenly Father,
I come to You admitting that I am a sinner.  Right now, I choose to turn away from sin, and ask You to cleanse me of all unrighteousness.  I believe that Your Son, Jesus, died on the cross to take away my sins.  I also believe that He rose again from the dead so that I may be justified and made righteous through faith in Him.  I call upon the name of Jesus Christ to be the Savior and Lord of my life.  Jesus, I choose to follow You, and I ask that You fill me with the power of the Holy Spirit.  I declare right now that I am a born-again child of God.  I am free from sin, and full of the righteousness of God.  I am saved in Jesus' name, Amen."

Welcome (back) to the family of God!

(If you have just received Jesus into your heart for the first time or have just returned to Him, please comment below so that we may all celebrate the newest member of our family! Thank you, and God bless you!)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Mountains Sing and Trees Clap

"For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."  Isaiah 55:12 NKJV

This verse always, and I mean always, brings a smile to my face and fills my soul.  Just picture in your heart and mind the absolute wonder of such incredible joy--the mountains and hills sing and the trees clap their hands!! (Yes, it is worthy of two exclamation points.)

When man sinned, not only was the human race changed, but all of creation suffered the consequences.  The earth itself, and all of the universe became subject to deteriorating.  None of God's creation was meant to die, but sin changed that.  Everything began to age, and with age comes weakness and finally death. 

Remember, God made us in His image.  He placed man above all the rest of creation, and gave him authority over all things on the earth, in the sky, and in the sea.  But when man fell, he lost that authority.  He tried to hide from God and found blame in others for his disobedience. 

But God gave us hope when He gave us Jesus.  When our final redemption arrives, all of creation will be set free from the curse of death and decay and will share our glory.  All created things!

Imagine, when He returns for us, a symphony of worship from Everest and Kilimanjaro, and even the smallest hill accompanied by the rhythmic melody of claps from the tallest redwoods and sequoias to a new sapling, will fill the earth with a sound so beautiful, and so stunning to see, that our souls will beam with such euphoria as we, all of creation, in unison, give worship to the King of the Universe! Is this verse strictly symbolic?  I can't answer that, for the day has not yet arrived.  But as for me, I will take this verse literally because it fills me with such emotion. What a day it will be!  And we shall all bow to the name of Jesus, our Savior.  Hallelujah, I can hardly wait!!  Go with God and know His peace.  May constant and contagious joy be in your heart today!