17 May 2017
08 May 2017
08 May 2017
DRAW NEAR:Psalm 148:1 NIV
 Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights above.
Richard Wurmbrand tells of the joy believers knew while confined in Nazi prison camps. Although many were cursing their lot, hating their captors, and plotting revenge, believers were serving their Christ faithfully, sincerely, and with great joy. Both the believer and unbeliever were subjected to the same conditions. However, one reacted as a saint while the other reacted as a sinner.
Viktor Frankl reminds us that true happiness in life depends not on conditions but on decisions. If our hearts are firmly turned toward Christ then we can and will joyfully worship Him--in good times and bad. This seems to be the essence of Psalm 148. Wherever we are, with whatever we have, we should still praise the Lord.
When our praise is based on God's goodness, rather than the conditions of our lives, then we have reached the state of true faith. No matter what the conditions, we will remain true. Like Paul, we learn both to be abased and to abound. Circumstances do not dictate our happiness--that is a result of a living relationship with Christ. And when He is in our hearts, we cannot help but sing--whether it be from the mountaintop or from the cellar.
EVERYWHERE I GO:
James 4:2 NIV
 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.
LEARN TO PRAY BY PRAYING!
Do you know who prayer intimidates the most? Christians!
A lost person who wants to be saved can pray a prayer of repentance and forgiveness without giving much thought to form or style. He or she simply cries out to God, and asks for what is needed. Many Christians do not have because they do not ask. They do not know how to pray because they do not pray.
George Beverly Shea told me he had a dream one night that he was in Heaven. As the Lord was showing him around, Bev says they came to a large room filled with seemingly endless compartments, each one bearing a person's name. Bev asked what the compartments were, and God replied, "These belong to every person who has ever lived and been my servant." Bev asked the Father to show him his own compartment, and God did so. As they opened it and looked through its contents together, Bev was overwhelmed. It was full of wonderful things. Fabulous things. It was literally a treasure chest of blessings.
"I don't understand," Bev said. "These things are fantastic, but are you sure they're mine? I don't remember having any of them."
God nodded in agreement. "You didn't have them, Bev. But I would have given them to you if you had only asked."
We do not have because we do not ask. And we do not ask because we do not know how to ask. In other words, we don't know how to pray. But the secret to prayer is this: we learn to pray by praying. When Jesus' disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, He did not give them a step-by-step, how-to list. He said to them, "Pray, then, in this way - ".
How do we learn to pray? By praying. Begin today. Begin now. Ask.
03 May 2017
Sanballat and Tobiah were leaders in surrounding cities who wanted to spread their influence into Jerusalem. When the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall continued, they responded with opposition.
Taunted, ridiculed, threatened. Instead of giving in, Nehemiah and the Israelites chose to find new strength and determination through their faith in God.
What would happen if we took our places and played our parts? If we played the music the Maestro gave us to play? If we made his song our highest priority?
Would we see a change in families? We’d certainly hear a change. Less “Here is what I want!” More “What do you suppose God wants?”
What if a businessman took that approach? Goals of money and name making, he’d shelve. God-reflecting would dominate.
And your body? Ptolemaic thinking says, “It’s mine; I’m going to enjoy it.” God-centered thinking acknowledges, “It’s God’s; I have to respect it.”
We’d see our suffering differently. “My pain proves God’s absence” would be replaced with “My pain expands God’s purpose.”
Talk about a Copernican shift. Talk about a healthy shift. Life makes sense when we accept our place. The gift of pleasures, the purpose of problems—all for him. The God-centered life works. And it rescues us from a life that doesn’t.
But how do we make the shift? How can we be bumped off self-center? Attend a seminar, howl at the moon, read a Lucado book? None of these (though the author appreciates that last idea). We move from me-focus to God-focus by pondering him. Witnessing him. Following the counsel of the apostle Paul: “Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, [we] are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” ( KJV).
Beholding him changes us. Couldn’t we use a change? Let’s give it a go. Who knows? We might just discover our place in the universe. (From It’s Not About Me by Max Lucado)
The Israelites teach us to regard God as our only source of confidence! When we let God show us what He has for us, when we make Him our highest priority, we find true fulfillment.
“Confidence—; ; .”
30 April 2017
Psalm 139:23, 24
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Commentary from LASB:
139:21-24 David’s hatred for his enemies came from his zeal for God. David regarded his enemies as God’s enemies, so his hatred was a desire for God’s righteous justice and not for personal vengeance. Is it all right to be angry at people who hate God? Yes, but we must remember that it is God who will deal with them, not us. If we truly love God, then we will be deeply hurt if someone hates him. David asked God to search his heart and mind and point out any wrong motives that may have been behind his strong words. But while we seek justice against evil, we must also pray that God’s enemies will turn to him before he judges them (see Matthew 5:44).
139:23-24 David asked God to search for sin and point it out, even to the level of testing his thoughts. This is exploratory surgery for sin. How are we to recognize sin unless God points it out? Then, when God shows us, we can repent and be forgiven. Make this verse your prayer. If you ask the Lord to search your heart and your thoughts and to reveal your sin, you will be continuing “along the path of everlasting life.”
last nite i once again asked God to search me and investigate every nook and cranny of my being. i do not want anything hiding from Him. i have learned and am still learning that God knows all about the hidden stuff as well as stuff u think no one else knows about. my life is becoming transparent so i can be the example of Jesus to those around me. it has not been easy! and i still fight it at times. God's grace and mercy and forgiveness draws me out to where i have to deal with it and let it go so it can no longer dictate my life. i have found that trying to hide stuff from God and think that people can't see it is a facade that causes me to be blind and continue to stumble all over myself.
i have come to call God, Daddy. for He has become my Father. i rest in Him every day. He is very much a part of my everyday living. daddies r there to comfort, counsel, guide, and discipline their children. God is definitely a Daddy.
i confess my sin (name the sin). i stand in agreement with the accuser. i ask for the blood covering of Jesus shed for me as i stand here guilty before u. please forgive me as i turn away from sin to walk with U. i ask for the scroll written about me; make that scroll flesh in my life. help me to walk with u each day renewing our promise. in Jesus' name, AMEN!
29 April 2017
29 April 2017
EVERYWHERE I GO:
Daniel 3:17 NASB
 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
other readings include 1 Kings 11, 12; Psalm 38
A HILL WORTH DYING FOR
The sergeant has received his orders. "At any cost, take that hill." He turns to his men and says, "Check your rifles - affix your bayonets. At my signal we charge and take the hill!" The men in his company have been in the trenches for days. They've seen other men try to take the hill and fail. They know the enemy is heavily entrenched and determined to hold their ground. And each man, as he waits for the command from his sergeant, is asking himself one question: "Is this a hill worth dying for?"
Those of us who have never been to war cannot completely understand the anguish of such a moment where life hangs in the balance, but we have asked the same question in different, if less threatening, terms. "Is this principle worth risking my job?" Or, "Is this argument worth the damage it might cause in my marriage?" On what basis do we choose which hills are "worth dying for?" I believe if we have made the right life commitments, the question answers itself when it arises.
Our problem is we don't nail down the big questions at the outset, and so we waver on the smaller ones.
The book of Daniel records the story of four young men who were kidnapped and carried into a foreign land. As the prevailing powers in this new country tried to "assimilate" them, they received a shock! These young men had made up their minds not to defile themselves or turn their back on their God, so when the questions of diet and prayer practices came up, their decisions were already made.
When we nail down the big choices, the other decisions fall more readily into place.
25 April 2017
25 April 2017
2 Kings 19:14 NIV
 Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale told of a trip he took on a sailboat in the Near East. The skipper told him, "The ocean is a tremendous force, and our ship is only a small force. But, we know how to make our little engines adapt themselves to the timing of the waves so we are practically carried along by the sea."
Praying could be defined as adjusting ourselves to the plans and timing of God. When Sennacherib threatened Judah, Hezekiah first went to God (2 Kings 19:14-19). There was a childlike simplicity in the king's faith. He took the threatening letter and spread it out before God to read. It is as if he said, "Okay, what do we do about it?"
This same childlike faith should be ours in this modern world. Our frustrations and anxieties should be spread out before God for His direction. As we adjust our lives to God's plan and timing, we find we are carried along by His power. This puts to highest use the forces of our own lives to meet the battles of life. Hezekiah and his people were delivered, and so shall we be.
24 April 2017
24 April 2017
y should i be humble? i worked hard for what i have.
EVERYWHERE I GO:
Matthew 11:29 NASB
 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
also included in today's readings r 1 Kings 1, 2; Psalm 31.
THE HUMBLE MAN
Humility is not thinking poorly of yourself. Humility is not thinking of yourself at all. Humility is the one grace that, as soon as you declare you have it, you've lost it.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior, the King of Kings, was a humble man. "He was a man of no reputation," it was said. Nothing about His appearance or manner suggested divinity. The apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians that it would please him (and God as well) if the Philippians would become humble men and women, in imitation of Jesus Himself.
Modern man is chiefly concerned with working his way up. Up the corporate ladder. Up the office pecking order. Up the social register. Jesus worked his way down. Jesus started at the top. Paul said, "He existed in the form of God." But He didn't cling to that position. "He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped." Not only did He not cling to His top spot, He emptied Himself. He cashed it in. Walked away from it all. We're stunned when we see people at the top walk away, aren't we? But Jesus left it all and became not only human in form- -He adopted the role of a servant.
Do you see it? He worked His way down. And finally, He died the death of a desperate, wicked criminal. Then God brought Him back to life, and brought Him back home to glory. Jesus emptied Himself - and God exalted Him. Can you imagine the applause in Heaven over Jesus' return? Humility is a key to true joy. Jesus didn't just say it - He proved it.
21 April 2017
want to share my answers to the questions below. so u may read this one blog many times before i finish. i will post each time i have completed a question.
What motivates you?
motivation is something i am struggling with right now.
so many times i make plans to do something and actually finish it but end up getting it half done or not at all or procrastinate to the point of stressing. the procrastination still happens but it no longer causes stress for me. i have learned to let it go and be ok that i did not get it fully accomplished. but that leaves me regretting that i put it off when i know i could have finished it.
my quiet time with God actually started out like that. i used the excuse that everything else needed my attention right then or i wanted to play a game so i could chat with my gaming friends. God took care of that in the perfect way and now i find if i do not take the allotted time, i am unfocused and 'unfinished'.
the motivation for my quiet time came becuz of my personal struggles. it actually started out as a "venting" session with God. and u know what? He listened! God took the time to let me vent. that slowly turned into reading His word and actually listening for His voice. i still vent to Him when i am alone with no one in the house. however, His voice comes thru loud and clear during those vents. as i have changed how i come to Him in the morning, God has most eagerly taught me about myself, and has helped me incorporate more of His character into my life.
motivation now is to get quiet and listen for Him to speak to me thru His word and spend time in His presence. if i do not get that, i feel out of sorts, like i have lost something. it was a real struggle when my daughter's family stayed here for awhile. i tried to keep y time with Daddy but it was really hard to concentrate with grandbabies being kids. i really enjoyed them while they were here. i did struggle tho. i continued to struggle even after they found a place of their own. the room the babies slept in was not the same. i did get it back in order and now, i can "feel" it.
now, let me share about how God helps me get motivated to cycle on Tues., Wed., and Thurs.
at first, it was a real struggle to get into the routine. for a long time i had to actually tell myself to get up off my butt and ride the bike. desire was there but the motivation was lacking severely. once i made a schedule on the days i would ride, it became easier to make a plan of where i would ride. i started out in my neighborhood. this was best since i am a bit overweight. i then expanded my route little by little. with each successful ride, i gained more motivation to get out and ride.
this year has been particularly challenging cuz of being sick for 3 months strait. i rode a total of 4 times before April2017. the weather also played a huge factor. i am slowly getting my motivation back. the desire is there, it has never left. in fact, my legs begin to "itch to pedal". won't be long b4 i am back to my regular riding habits.
there is also something else that plays a huge role in motivation to get off your butt and exercise, how u feel. i am hypothyroid as is my hubby. i am in the process of getting that back into balance. i also have adrenal fatigue. hubby says i am blessed to NOT be in hospital with what my labs showed. adrenal fatigue is directly related to how well your heart works. it also plays a big factor in how well u sleep. eating right, taking the right supplements, and getting the right meds from an "out of the box" physician (click to see where i am getting help) definitely helps.
this also affects how u see yourself. u can read all about how God sees u but if u do not have your physical body taken care of, the motivation can disappear quickly. God's motivation is love. He bases everything He does on love. cultivating a relationship with Jesus gives the motivation needed to get thru every day life. motivating yourself to cultivate that relationship should be your love for God and a desire to get to know Him. but sometimes it is coming to Him when u r struggling, hurt by people, or just plain tired of handling things alone. God just wants u to spend time with Him. make it quality time and the length of time is no issue.
my motivation now for cultivating my relationship with God is purely to be in His presence for just a little while and let Him love me.
What compels you to follow Christ in obedience, choosing His commands over the world's temptations? Is it fear? Pride? Guilt?
Motivation is so important.
18 April 2017
we have to walk the talk cuz God is not pleased with lies. the world really is watching.
13 April 2017
An improbable promise
Abraham heard from God on many occasions, and each time God spoke about the great nation that he would build from his descendants (12:2; 13:15–17; 15:4–6,18; 17:1; 18:10). Each time, Abraham became a little more sceptical about how God would fulfil his promise.
By the time he was 100, he laughed to himself at the sheer improbability of the idea, even as he fell face down in acknowledgement of God’s holiness (v 17). Would God perhaps like to change the terms of the agreement, and transfer the blessing to the son he has by another woman?
Abraham and Sarah had a long, barren wait. But while they might have questioned whether God would ever deliver (pun intended!), they were faithful and obedient. Today’s reading concludes with Abraham fulfilling his part of the covenant by circumcising all the males in his household (v 23).
We all live awaiting the new age to come, when God will wipe every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more suffering or pain (Revelation 21:4). He is faithful to his promises, but in the meantime, how shall we live?
Respond: Are you waiting for God to act in a seemingly impossible situation? Ask him to renew your faith and to comfort you in your pain.
11 April 2017
11 April 2017
EVERYWHERE I GO:
Hebrews 12:1 NASB
 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
1 Samuel 28-31 is also part of this morning's read.
The successful runner knows he must strip down to run his best. At any track meet, you'll see plenty of runners preparing for their races in warm-ups, but they take them off to run. Some athletes even train carrying weights - but they never compete with them. When the writer of Hebrews says to lay aside every "encumbrance," he uses a Greek word that means - superfluous weight. If we are to run with endurance, we must lay aside any superfluous weight! Now, in the race of life, what constitutes extra weight? It may be that our excess weight includes some good things, like hobbies, recreational pursuits, or even charitable works. But if we get so caught up in these good things that we lose sight of what is best - they must be laid aside. Other, not-so-good things can be extra weight in our lives. Besetting sin can slow us down. Ignorance can slow us down. So can a victim mentality that excuses us from taking responsibility for our own actions and choices. Procrastination can be extra weight as well. Tomorrow I'll get right with God. Tomorrow I'll seek His will. Tomorrow I'll study His word. And then tomorrow becomes today, and today becomes yesterday, and you've missed the race of life! We are to run our raceﾗthe one God has set before usﾗand run it with endurance. Don't join the throngs of whiners and quitters who have been worn down by extra weight. For the glory of God in Jesus Christ, run the race!
in order for us to "run the race", we need to first get on our face before God as we stand in His courts under the blood covering of Christ facing the charges against us. CONFESS, ASK FOR FORGIVENESS, and GOD'S VERDICT. then humbly ask for the scroll that is written to be made flesh.
the race is run by believing God is who He says He is, as well as beliving God will do what is already written in the books of Heaven.
05 April 2017
03 March 2017
03 March 2017
EVERYWHERE I GO:
Romans 8:27 NASB
 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
WHO SEARCHES THE HEART?
Who searches the heart? The Bible says that the Father searches our hearts. In fact, God is searching our hearts right now! Does that make you uncomfortable? Someone might say, "I'm not sure I want God to search my heart. He may not like what He finds there." But the truth is, God searches our minds, our consciences, our hearts, not like a criminal investigator, but like a treasure hunter. He is looking for glimpses of His Spirit, searching for evidence of His own presence in us. And His aim in searching is not to condemn, but to work out the very best in our lives for His honor and glory, and for our joy. At Christmas time each year, I think long and hard about what gift to give Jo Beth. I want to buy her something that she needs, certainly, but also something that expresses my personality and brings her great joy. To discover that certain something, I try to search her heart and see if there is something special she desires. I look for clues - for things that make her eyes light up, things she lingers over. As much as I love Jo Beth, our heavenly Father loves us even more. He's constantly searching our hearts to bless us, and to make a difference in our lives. So don't be afraid. Ask God to search your heart, and trust Him to deal lovingly and rightly with what He sees.
a year ago i discovered a series called COURTS OF HEAVEN with my husband. we watched all the videos together. it made a deep impression on me that i keep in front of me all the time.
today's reading and commentary brought it back once again as confirmation and i renewed my commitment to letting God search me. it is my desire to be fully vested in my God. i know no other that can do what He does. i know no other who fulfills His promises and keeps His word. i want nothing more than His approval each day. and all i have to do to get His approval is accept Jesus' blood covering and grow our relationship.
i am not one who forces my belief on anyone. my favorite way of showing Jesus is being a friend, helping when and where i can, listening, spending time with those in my life. this is how i show Jesus to others.
having a right relationship with my best friend is first and foremost. i find my life has more meaning and i am fulfilled just becuz i took time with my best friend. i can not explain the peace, patience, or knowing i have in handling everyday stuff. i just know my day/life is much better.
here r the scriptures i read regularly as a prayer:
Psalm 139:23-24 MSG
[23-24] Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I'm about; See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong--- then guide me on the road to eternal life.
here i wait to find out if my accuser is saying anything against me. if so, i confess it before God, asking that it be covered under the blood of Jesus. i then wait for God's verdict. once given, i ask for the scroll that is written about me to be made flesh so i can accomplish what is there.
Hebrews 13:16 MSG
 Make sure you don't take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship---a different kind of "sacrifice"---that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.
Colossians 3:15-17 MSG
[15-17] Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ---the Message---have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives---words, actions, whatever---be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
i am learning that praying God's Word is best. it's proven to work. just be prepared for God to act on what u pray. IT WILL CHANGE YOU AND YOUR LIFE.
02 March 2017
Jeremiah 40:3 NASB
 and the LORD has brought it on and done just as He promised. Because you people sinned against the LORD and did not listen to His voice, therefore this thing has happened to you.
When confronted with risky situations, many of us are like the people of Judah: slow to listen and reluctant to obey. We stubbornly plow ahead with our own agendas until we find ourselves in trouble. Our choices frequently determine our circumstances. If we take the time to prayerfully consider the decisions we face, we have a better chance of making the right choices for ourselves and our families. But if we ignore God’s warnings and deliberately reject his guidance, we must bear the consequences. Let God lead you through his words and through the advice of others whom you trust. Then obey him and follow his leading.
REFLECT & PRAY:
*Do you think listening and obeying go hand in hand? Why or why not?
*When have you failed to listen to God and suffered the consequences?
*What are some practical ways you can pass this important lesson on to your children?
Taken from NIV Busy Dad’s Bible
01 March 2017
Matthew 5:48 NASB
 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
A Higher Standard, A Richer Grace
As we grow in our spiritual lives, the high calling and exacting standards of God become increasingly clearer. Some of the most challenging mountains to climb do not look very imposing from a distance. It’s only when you begin climbing the mountain itself that you sense the difficulty of the ascent. Likewise, the difficulty of God’s call to holiness only becomes clear as we embark on the ascent of faithfulness.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus presented a vision of a new level of obedience to God. God judges not simply murder but anger, not simply adultery but lust, not simply religious ritual but heart motivation. Jesus taught that God’s standards rise far above the mere letter of the law. Human effort alone can never satisfy them (see Romans 3:23). These facts should drive us into the arms of grace, however, not into the depths of despair.
In Matthew 5:48, the Greek word translated as “perfect” is teleios. Indeed, teleios means “complete in labor, growth, mental and moral character; the goal, the final purpose toward which we are moving.” This fits with Jesus’ elevation of the law to an unattainable plane. Yet the word also carries with it the sense of being complete and mature. For example, a blossoming tree can be “perfect,” even though there is no fruit, because it is at the appropriate stage for fruit to be produced in time. Likewise, we can be teleios, mature, even when we are green in the practices of spiritual living. What matters to God is our journey, not just the arrival at the goal. God’s concern is not that we’ve arrived but that we continue to travel in the right direction, for his grace both empowers our obedience and forgives our sin.
Putting It into Practice
Our spiritual lives are energized when we remind ourselves of the two facets of faith in Christ: a higher standard for our behavior and a richer mercy for our sin. Neglecting either can lead to spiritual weakness and discouragement. Some become careless through forgetting this higher standard. Others are oppressed by their failure to meet this standard on their own, losing sight of God’s forgiveness through Christ.
Which facet of faith are you most comfortable with? What do you need to learn from the other? Cultivating a balanced view of both a higher standard and a richer mercy will prepare our hearts for further spiritual growth.
Taken from NIV Spiritual Renewal Bible
23 February 2017
23 February 2017
EVERYWHERE I GO:
Psalm 144:12 NASB
 Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants, And our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace;
IS THERE A FATHER IN THE HOUSE?
Fatherhood is a relationship - so a man who is uninvolved in the lives of his children and unaware of their struggles, dreams, and desires, is not really a father. Unfortunately, our society tends to applaud the successful man more than the family man, but the truth is, if you are genuinely a family man, you are a successful man.
Frederick Flick was a West German industrialist worth more than $1.5 billion. Prior to his death he controlled some 300 companies and interests. A profile of this powerful businessman in a national magazine said that he had made all the right moves when it came to accumulating wealth. But every one of his children was a failure.
Peter Drucker might have called Flick a success, but according to biblical standards, he was a dismal failure. Why? Because he neglected to give his children what they needed from a father: love and leadership. When Flick's wife died, he buried her at 3:00 p.m., went back to the office at 5:00, and never broke stride.
As a pastor, I talk with so many parents who want the church to instill values in their children, and to educate them concerning life. The church can certainly help in these areas, but no church, school, or summer camp can be expected to rear children and successfully guide them through the maze of childhood and adolescence. There is absolutely no substitute for a parent's time and touch in the life of a child.