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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Alpha and Omega



"I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." Revelation 22:13

Tonight, I am sitting in my comfy recliner being still before God. In these quiet moments, my focus is on His power and His holiness--and how worthy of my praise He truly is. These and others attributes of God are almost incomprehensible, but I totally believe that He and His Word are absolute truth; that He loves you and me; and that He created us for relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. 
 
Related scriptures that have come to mind are scattered throughout this writing. I am listening to the song posted above, and giving thanks and praise to the One who paid my sin debt; to the One who purchased me with His shed blood--Jesus Christ. What a sobering and humbling truth. Truly, He is worthy to be praised!  "Great is the LORD and most worthy of our praise; His greatness no one can fathom." Psalm 145:3 

"Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting, You are God." Psalm 90:2  He has always been, and He will always be.  "For I am the LORD, I change not." Malachi 3:6a. God does not change! Many things around us change.  We change. Relationships change. Friendships come and go. We get older, we get sick, life throws curveballs that we don't see coming, and on and on. Things of the world change--culture, governments, finances, to name only a few. There is so much unrest in the world in which we live today. The uncertainty of what tomorrow holds is frightening if we don't know the One who made the ultimate sacrifice for us--the One who never changes because He is from Everlasting to Everlasting.  If we  have established a personal relationship with Him, then rest assured that Jesus Christ wants to give us His peace in any situation we may face. He promises to give  joy and hope (assurance) that we will always be safe in the Shepherd's arms. "The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want." Psalm 23:1

So, tonight, I praise Him! I give Him glory for giving me life and for calling me to be His child. I certainly don't deserve His love. None of us do. We cannot work our way to heaven; we cannot try to be moral enough; we can't give enormous amounts of money to buy our way into heaven. Our entrance into heaven is based on one thing, and one thing only--what Jesus did for us on the cross, and what we've done with that truth.  "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal live." John 3:16.  "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
 
"The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9
 
Prayer: Thank you Father God, that You are from Everlasting to Everlasting, and that You do not change. Help us to never take for granted what Jesus did for us on the cross. May we always glorify and praise You as long as we live. We look forward to the day when we will worship You forevermore.  In Jesus name, I pray.  Amen.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Traffic Stop

 
 
 

 
Isaiah 55:8-9 says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
About three weeks ago, I accompanied my husband to a Gideon camp in another city a couple of hours from our home.  Since he is an area director for the State of Texas, his duties were to assist the camp in conducting their annual election of officers. 
On our way home, around 10:30 that night, we were pulled over by a police officer in a small town not far from home. The officer told Ray that he had changed lanes twice without signaling. Ray apologized. The officer then asked us the usual questions: Where are you headed, where have you been, may I see your proof of insurance and driver’s license, etc.? He then proceeded to return to his patrol car to “check us out” on his computer. We were both hoping that there would be no citation involved in this traffic stop. While the officer was momentarily gone, I might say that Ray was very baffled. He said for sure the young man would give him a citation if he knew that he (Ray) didn’t even remember changing lanes in the first place, much less not signaling. Oh, dear!
Returning to our vehicle, the young officer suggested that Ray remember to use his signal from now own and told us to have a safe trip home.  PTL, no ticket!  We thanked him. Ray then reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a  New Testament and handed it to the officer. He told him that it was a gift for him. The young officer thanked Ray, happily accepted the New Testament, and stated that he usually kept one in his patrol car, but didn’t have one at this time.  As we drove off, I silently said a prayer for this young man, knowing what thankless jobs first responders often have.  I prayed that God’s Word would not return void in this situation. I commented to Ray that the traffic stop might have happened just so the young police officer would receive the Testament. He agreed with my line of thinking.
Because we have seen firsthand and through testimonies of those affected by the life-changing Word of God, only He knows for sure how many lives that one little Testament will touch. The young officer may be reading it himself. He may regularly share it with someone in need of spiritual help as the Holy Spirit directs, or he may have the opportunity of sharing Jesus, the Hope of the world, with someone that he arrests. Whatever the case, there are so many exciting possibilities for that one little Testament, and I totally believe that we were placed in the middle of where God was working so that He might be glorified. These are the moments when we know that God will use us to share our faith through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, if only we make ourselves available—even during traffic stops!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the traffic stops of life where we have unusual opportunities to share Jesus with the world. Help us to always be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading in telling others about You.  We love you, Jesus.  Amen.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Priceless Gift


 
  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my Word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for   which                            I sent it.” Isaiah 55:9-11  
 
On May 11, 1960, a man and his wife walked into a 5th grade classroom in a small East Texas town and presented each student with a Gideon New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs, much like the ones that are distributed by Gideons and Auxiliary members today. That was 54 years ago, and I was one of those students! What I remember most about that day, was how kind the man and his wife were to the students. I remember their smiles and the love that was shown toward us as clearly as if it happened a few short days ago. John, Chapter 13, verse 35 says the following: "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." I now know that it was Christ’s love this Gideon and his wife were exhibiting so well.

 The pictures shown above are of that same Testament. It’s pretty worn out, but I’m so happy that I still have it. In the back of the Testament, I entered handwritten scripture references for the Plan of Salvation as that Gideon member took time to share these key verses with the students. The Testaments and Bibles distributed today by Gideon and Auxiliary members have this information already printed on the back cover for the recipients.
   
Never in my wildest dreams would I have envisioned that one day the Lord would lead my husband and me into this ministry, and that even though I wouldn’t be able to go into school classrooms to share God’s Word, there would be many opportunities, in various other ways, to do my part in making a difference in the lives of men, women, boys and girls.  The ministry of the Gideons and Auxiliary holds a special place in my heart, and I am so thankful that I have the physical reminder that someone cared enough to share God’s Word with me—a little country girl, who a year later, gave her heart to Jesus Christ for all eternity. We should never underestimate the power of God’s Word when the Holy Spirit is leading us to place it in the hands of others.  His Word will not return void, and I am living proof of the verses of scripture found in Isaiah 55:9-11.
Prayer:  Dear Lord, thank You for the ministry of The Gideons International--a ministry located in 197 countries around the world with one singular purpose of winning men, women, boys and girls to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Thank you for using a Gideon and Auxiliary member to make a difference in my life 54 years ago. Help me to listen for the still small voice of the Holy Spirit as I strive to live for You  in complete obedience. Thank you for the many opportunities of sharing Your Word. Go with me as I tell others what a difference Jesus Christ has made in my life. Help me to radiate His love and hope to those I encounter through divine appointments. Transform me by Your love so that I might pass it on to others in Your name. To You be all glory, honor and praise.  In Jesus name, I pray this prayer.  Amen.


 

Monday, September 2, 2013

How Great Thou Art


 
 A few weeks ago, our church service began with the congregation singing the hymn, “How Great Thou Art.”  As the meaningful words to this song were lifted high in adoration to God, a beautiful sight brought tears to my eyes and deeply touched my heart.  There, in the back of the church, slowly making her way to a pew was one of our dear seniors, a sweet lady whose smile has always been contagious.  The main thing that brought my attention to her was not the fact that this precious lady was using a walker to maneuver her way into the church, but rather it was the joy on her face as she sang the words of the song.  Her countenance reflected not only joy, but a commitment to be in church in spite of the difficulty of getting there.  It was evident that this is a lady who has loved and trusted in Jesus for many, many years, and one who is going to finish well when her time on earth is no more. On her face was the assurance that she will one day stand in the presence of the One who has been her comfort, help, and hope.   At that moment, she will hear these words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21 There was no question that she was confident of the “greatness” of God.

This dear lady encouraged me that Sunday morning without knowing it.  Moments like this remind me what a wonderful thing it is to be a child of God!  I am also reminded that He is bigger than any problem or frailty we might have; that He will never leave us or forsake us, whether we are young or old; that His love for us encompasses more that we can possibly imagine; that we are NEVER too old to serve and praise Him; and that He alone with give us strength, wisdom, and the commitment to live out our lives in a manner that is pleasing to Him.

Prayer:  Dear God, indeed, how great Thou art! Thank you for being with us all the days of our life, and for the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  We give you thanks for others who encourage us and inspire us not only with words, but by the manner in which they live their lives. Help us to be strong in our faith and love for others, as we commit everything that we are and ever hope to be to You alone.  I pray this prayer in the name of Jesus.   Amen.

 
How Great Thou Art
O, Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,
I see the stars; I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
 
When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze. 
And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin. 
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart;
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And there proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!” 
Chorus:
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Savior God to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Go Light Your World



When Jesus spoke to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

"While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." John 9:5

"You are the light of the world.  A city built on a hill cannot be hidden." Matthew 6:14

"In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind." John 1:4

"I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." John 12:46

A few weeks ago, while running errands around town, I was listening to Christian music. As I've said before, this type of music has always ministered to me in such a powerful way. If I am feeling down, it lifts me up. If I am happy, it makes me happier. For me, music always turns an average day into a GREAT day, because through these anointed words, I find and experience life more abundantly!

That day in the car, the song that is posted above entitled, "Go Light Your World," sung by Chris Rice began to play. I sang right along and the more I sang, the happier I became.  Its' words held deep meaning to me.  But, there was another reason I was loving this song.  This was my "YES" moment!  I knew God had given me some much needed direction! 
 
For two days, I had been preparing a report to be given at a Christian organization in which I hold a cabinet position. As is the case with each monthly report, I was in need of my customary opening word of encouragement.  Until I began listening to this song, I had nothing. Zero! Then the song--then God! I truly love how He works!  As the song played, I knew that these were the words I was to build my opening statement upon in my report. And, so I did.  At the meeting the next evening, I quoted a related scripture and then read only one verse of the song, along with the words to the chorus.  These words were a perfect way to encourage my sisters and brothers to continue carrying their candles to a lost and dying world; to never fail in sharing God's Word and love with others as the Holy Spirit directs; and to always prepare their hearts for carrying the Good News of Jesus Christ.
 
As Christians, not all of us have allowed our candles to burn brightly. There are many reasons for this, some of which could be: compromising our faith for things of the world; the feeling of inadequacy to share our faith due to lack of training; or fear of rejection.  We need not fear because we are only a vessel that God desires to use. He will prepare and equip us. All that He requires is that we be willing and ready for the task(s) He sets before us. 
 
I am praying that you will do as I have done for at least 3 weeks now.  Listen to the song above, begin to sing along and find yourself having a GREAT day.  And I am praying that a fire will be ignited inside your heart with a burning desire to follow Christ at all costs as you carry your candle and "go light your world."
 
PRAYER:  Father, God.  Thank You for being a perfect Father to us.  Thank You for love and life in Jesus Christ.  I pray that you will give us stamina, wisdom, direction, and love when carrying the light of Jesus to the world.  We love you and praise you for all you have done for us.  Please help us to do Your will each and every day.  Thank you for Your most powerful and beautiful Word that brings life as we read it.  It is the wellspring of our life.  It is our very breath. This I pray in the precious name of Jesus Christ, the One who died for my sins and the sins of the world.  Amen.
 
 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Prayer of Jabez


“Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, "Because I bore him in pain." And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!" So God granted him what he requested.  I Chronicles 4:9-10 NKJV
 
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:8a NKJV 

Prayer is our intimate conversations with God. I Chronicles 4:9-10 is often called The Prayer of Jabez.  Jabez is only mentioned one time in the Bible and it is in these two verses of scripture where we find the accounting of his petition to God.  Because God granted Jabez his request, we can rest assured that we will be able to experience the same effect of God's power in our lives as Jabez did.  When we have the heart of God, we are humbled in our asking and that touches His heart.   

When we seek God, He has promised to draw near to us. What a joyful experience to know His intimate presence throughout every hour of our day.   Our only motive and desire should be to exhibit more of the character of Jesus, so that we are better equipped to share His love with others as the Holy Spirit leads. 

PRAYER:  Father God, thank you for this example of Jabez; a man who stepped out in true faith believing that You were more than able to honor his request. Thank you for this man who had a large concept of who You are and who honored You by seeking Your blessing.  Thank you for honoring his prayer because he sought You. Strengthen each of us to follow the example of Jabez.  This I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Monday, February 25, 2013

God's Hands

 
 


The song posted above entitled, Precious Lord, Take My Hand, was written by Thomas A. Dorsey in 1932, after the heartbreaking news that his wife and newly born son had both died. He cried to the Lord to "lead him through the storm, through the night." A few weeks after this tragic event, Dorsey fingered the keyboard of a piano and created the lines of "Precious Lord, Take My Hand." God continued to lead Dorsey by the hand until he had written more than two hundred fifty gospel songs.  
 
“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” Isaiah 49:16a 

"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you." Isaiah 41:13 

Today is in God's hands and so are you.
His hands are strong and will uphold you;
His hands are great and will enfold you;
His hands are gentle and will embrace you;
His hands are protective and will cover you;
His hands are reassuring and will quiet you;
His hands are powerful and will defend you;
His hands are parental and will train you;
His hands are masterful and will conform you;
His hands are compassionate and will care for you;
His hands are healing and will renew you;
His hands are calming and will comfort you;
His hands are giving and will bless you.
The hands that hold you will never let you go. 

*Roy Lessin, DaySpring co-founder and writer 

PRAYER: Father God, how wonderful to know that Your hands are always there reaching down to us. Thank You for leading us through our storms of life. Please linger near us and be our comfort and peace throughout each day. I pray this in His name, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.