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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.