‘Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.
“What am I bid, good people”, he cried,
“Who starts the bidding for me?”
“One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?”
“Two dollars, who makes it three?”
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,”
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said “What now am I bid for this old violin?”
As he held it aloft with its’ bow.
“One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?”
“Two thousand, Who makes it three?”
“Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone”, said he.
The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
“We just don’t understand.”
“What changed its’ worth?”
Swift came the reply.
“The Touch of the Masters Hand.”
“And many a man with life out of tune
All battered and bruised with hardship
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.
But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters’ Hand.
– by Myra Brooks Welch
Now that I am over fifty I can really look at things through my Mother’s eyes. My compassion has grown. My Faith & Trust in The Lord is immense and surely He has certainly Blessed me in a plethora of ways. It is such a gorgeous day. I know Mom would have loved this brilliant sunshine and stunning blue skies. Today we took her some beautiful flowers to place on her grave site. My Mom always loved fresh flowers, especially roses. She will always be alive in my heart. There are times that I miss her dearly; but I have peace knowing that she is resting and happily present with the Lord. I can look back and be thankful of the times I spent with her.
In her later years my Mom gradually began to say what I now call a “slow goodbye”.
My Mother was a very strong willed woman. I was her only daughter among my many brothers. I will always remember how she reminded me that she prayed that the Lord would give her a daughter. I am beyond thankful to say that I have always felt loved! It was actually just abreast a few months of her forth decade in life that I was born.
I believe that by this time she had a pretty good handle on being a parent since I was her ninth child and as I said before her first and only daughter.
My Father worked diligently many hours away from home providing for our family. My Mother adorned me with all the girly trimmings for as long as I can remember. Frilly Priscilla curtains festooned my bedroom windows along with my white high standing white wrought iron bed. I think I wore pink nylon and organza dresses with embroidered flowers with matching bloomers and pink satin ribbons to adorn my hair seems like forever to Church. Let’s not forget to mention how I had to stay up while she pinned curled my hair with bobby pins on Saturdays for long dangling curls on Sunday. This was almost until I was thirteen years old. I eventually was able to turn in my white socks for cinnamon colored stockings.
My Mother was born in the early 1900’s and that was the thing to do way back then for a girl child. I was especially elated that she spent many hours laboring at her much loved Singer Sewing machine fabricating me a plethora of uniquely designed everyday dresses. When school started there was one for each day of the week. She even made me a fashionable red plaid Dr. Kildare dress. She even allowed and encouraged me to design many of my own clothes. Every winter she purchased me a lovely camel & or wool coat. Quality and originality was something she always stressed and impressed upon me. “Quality you know it when you see it!” It was not so much the clothes but the love and concern that she had for me. She made sure that I yearly attended the Church conferences held during summer as a delegate and there was also my piano lessons and… These are just a few of the many things she did out of love. I can remember her up and about sewing more nights than I ever remember her sleeping and resting. I now realize the many sacrifices she made for me. Coming from humble yet compassionate beginnings makes you really appreciate the preciousness of time.
I have learned that time in fact, is really a precious priceless gift.
Years later on another occasion I can remember the day my husband asked her if he could marry me. Since we were so young I was a bit queasy as to how she would respond. He has always been very strong and certain of himself and never intimidated by anyone. Coming up in the midst of brothers makes you quite strong so I always admired this quality about him. He was always matured and he had actually graduated early from high school at sixteen. So I had chosen not to be present when he presented the proposal. My Mother was in her late 20’s when she married. Here I was a mere 17. I could only wonder what she would say. I had participated in advanced GATE classes since 3rd grade. She had already planned that I go on a college tour and………. But whatever my then, husband to be said to her, he won her heart over, from that moment on. He assured her that we both would continue on with our higher learning… It was at that time that they bonded. He became another son to her. We were engaged for one year. We married the following year.
When our very own daughter was born she adorned her with the same delicately made pink embroidered dresses. It was a Blessing that the Lord Blessed us with a girl first since I came up with so many brothers. Each time one of my children were born (we had four more sons) she came to our home for an extended visit. We spent many nights just enjoying the company of one another. I always appreciated the way she respected and loved our children and my husband. She was always so proud how well behaved they were and to see how well they also all excelled in school and loved to attend worship services. My husband was Minister of Music and he had also became an upper management executive with Pacific Bell at 21. Our parents were very proud of us. I knew somewhat, but it was not really until her “Home going” celebration that I realized just how special her relationship was with my husband. My husband paid a tribute to her by playing an organ solo of one of her favorite hymns “His Eye Is On The Sparrow>”. It was at that moment he shared with the many guests that were present, that in over thirty years there had never been a cross word between the two of them. My husband is a very strong compassionate man of God. I don’t know many son-in–laws that can say that! These are just a few of the many memories that I cherish to this day. There are so many many more.
Little did I know until much later on in life how those memories would get me through the changes, challenges and transitions that her life encountered. Age has a way of creeping up on you. It gradually robbed her of all her much adored independence, gifts, talents and strength that she profusely exuded. My Mom was always a strong figure in my life. I always felt as a child that she was so stern and protective but not overbearing. She did not “beat me.” Nor did my father ever raise a hand to me. I was taught to be feminine & ladylike. But this also made me see the benefits of being disciplined. This of course is understandable since I was her one and only daughter. She was a very intelligent an educated woman. She was well respected by her academic colleagues. It was when I was in Jr. High that she entered into teaching. She wore many hats as a wife, Mother, teacher and actively took on many roles and a list of responsibilities at her place of worship. She was an advisor and confidant to many pastors & elders. Let’s not forget her excellence as a seamstress, gourmet cooking skills and passion for reading and gardening!
I said all of this to give you a poignant illustration of what was… I can remember her telling me how she was beginning to feel strange in this body of hers. That that person looking back at her in the mirror was beginning to be quite interesting. How her body just would not do the simple tasks as she wanted. After she retired and well into my adult years she continued to sew, cook and garden. But her last few years on this side of Heaven; slowly and surely her strong physical stature begins to slightly so ever bow. I would drive up and spend the day with her often. I can remember her equilibrium suddenly changing and her many falls. Osteoporosis gradually began to take its toll on her ever shrinking frame. Her once tall and grand stance resembling a much shorter humbled bowing position. Which was relevant in a sense since she was a woman of much prayer. The occasional bruises on her arms and head. But thank God no fractures or broken bones! She would jokingly say her hard head now came in handy. But she remained determined. I can remember the garage door falling on her. I asked her “What were you thinking of? You don’t even drive!” Here our roles begin to reverse.
My Mom loved to write and faithfully would journal her daily thoughts and dissipating activities. Her memory filled cherished journals and her original Elementary Primers are my most treasured remnants. It was in her journals I have her recorded memories of her much expressed LOVE for me, her long gone sister, brothers and parents. Who all went on before her, expressions in regards of her many friends and acquaintances, as well as my brothers and especially her loving relationship and many visits with me, my husband and our children.
My Mom as I said was articulate and had no problem expressing herself, in anyway. She was strong yet humble and could even discuss the sports statistics with my husband; as well as discuss God’s Word or any current or past News topic. Her home filled with memorabilia and a library of books along with an assortment of brilliant various of well taken care of nursery foliage inside and out. As time began to take its toll she asked me in a very cognizant moment to promise to allow her to stay in her own home until the Lord called her home. She did not want to loose that part of her independence. Her home was a place for any and all to come to and enjoy her wonderful cooking, delicious cakes, pies, desserts and company. I lived an hour away so she would come for weeks and stay and visit with my family. But no matter how much she enjoyed herself “there was no place like home“. My mother never learned to drive therefore she had to be chauffeured and transported. I spent many hours up and down the freeway taking her to the Dr., shopping and to run errands. This is also how I also learned to be very independent. She enjoyed spending time at the design & Fabric shops. I had a brother who lived right around the corner from her and one that actually lived with her. But since I was her only daughter that would not do. At times it was okay. I did not mind because that was time I looked forward to spending with her.
As time passed her health began to decline. Her physical condition began to deteriorate after major surgery, to the place that she sometimes lost control of her bodily liquids. Rendering the necessity of subscribing to adult disposable undergarments just in case. This is what happens often when one reaches their later silver years, especially so after having bore eleven children. My adult son who lived fifteen minutes away would frequently drop off a supply for me from Costco and visit with her. He would also give me an update on her condition. I share this not to undermine her as a women but to again give a real picture of what life often presents.
Gradually Mom had succumb to cocooning and not venturing outdoors much. Her many falls finally made her yield to a cane. I can remember taking her to the Dr. for therapy so they could assist and teach her how to use a much dreaded walker. They stressed how she should try to walk uprightly as much as possible. I can still remember the day when I was taking her to the car and she suddenly began to fall. I immediately lowered myself under her to brace her impact with the driveway. It was then I knew that there would have to be more changes. Her eyesight began to dim and arthritis began to painfully embrace her hands. Then there was her eye surgery, and……. Sewing and needle work gradually had to be set aside. I can see in her journals the gradual shift in her once brilliant almost flawless penmanship. I can see etched on the pages fragments of broken words painfully scribed and thoughts left arrested in mid air.
After her series of mini strokes her posture changed again along with her hymn singing and speaking. Her voice used for the many altar prayers now quieted, and her singing voice now only emitting a brittle scratchy throaty noise. The walker now obsolete and the need for a much needed yet regretted wheelchair. Along with a shower and bath chair and all the other paraphernalia that are needed when one cannot easily attend to all of the personal hygiene necessities. I purchased a padded desk lap pad to try encouraging arts and simple crafts, along with a mini water fall to solicit a tranquil environment, with soft soothing music in the background. Her living room now begins to shift from her antique furniture to a comfy padded sofa for her to look out the window at her once lovingly attended garden. Her bed room now housed a hospital bed that she just could not get used to, her physical position gradually shifting from flowered bed linen to white. Life and her many once enjoyed pastimes became a thing of the past. Her once strong frame. Only a mere silhouette and her limbs delicately extended on her now almost immobile body. Although often a somewhat slight questioning frown. Yet, she would always smile when she saw me.
She would light up whenever I saw her. No longer was she able to call or I call and talk to her on the telephone. This is when her slow good bye became a reality.
Must my Mother come live with me? The doctors are now giving up on her she is now in her upper eighties. I can remember how impressed they were with her intelligence she could sail through all of their mental tests. She would tell them her name the date and current news. How many children she had, their names and where she was; then name all the presidents of the United States. But now gradually the signs of Alzheimer’s had begun to replace her many cherished memories. The Doctors now recommended that she be placed in a home. My live in brother now getting more and more frustrated. Which was really his warranted fears seeing our Mom gradually disappearing. The visits now fewer by her many friends. She can no longer attend her much loved worship services. She no longer enjoyed the walks around the block as I accompanied her in her wheel chair. So she was kept inside gradually becoming somewhat of a hermit in her much loved abode. All besides her family who knew her were able to remember her as she was. Although there were a few who could see that this once articulate poised woman was beginning to wear like a fine fabric. Her appetite had begun to diminish significantly as well. I got her a nifty bed table to straddle her lap. We would prop her up with pillows on each side. There were times when she just wouldn’t eat without assistance. How ironic after all those years of serving others. It was interesting to see what would suit her palette. Yes again the Doctors have now given up hope.
But yet Mom is still holding on. I always felt that she has really begun to say a slow goodbye.
I, along with much anxiety and ambivalence begin to go and look for a care home for Mom at my many brothers insistence. One closer to me so I could see her daily. I now know that some care homes are just dreadful. Some are seemingly peaceful on the surface. But I knew within moving her would only hasten her good bye. Her once strong voice was echoing in the corridors of my mind “There is no place like home.” My Mother had always told me if I remained strong then my brothers would have to follow my lead. I reluctantly wrote the much dreaded family letter to inform all of my brothers that this is where we are. What do we do? They have wanted me to put her in a home for sometime. A few had ideas but none came to fruition of course. My live in brother now hesitantly took care of her household finances. Since he never married or had children he opted to vacate his varied career. Therefore Mom was his occupation. He could do as he pleased and Mom had a family member there in the evenings. Whatever else she needed I would try to accommodate her. He would always call me and let me know her status when I was away. Sometime it worked and sometime it didn’t. So what do you do? I just wanted her to be as comfortable as possible.
Now again it is time to make more changes? My brother does not want someone to help in the house full time. What do I do? I am not able to care for her in our home. The Dr. says her care could run into the thousands and and …… So what do I do? Mom must have known that that was one decision that I just could not make nor did not want to make for her. That was one decision that I know she made with the Lord. So it was in her sleep, in her home late that night in January when my brother called and said; “Mom is gone.” I’m like, “gone where?” I suddenly remembered one day when she wanted to go back home.
She pointed out her window and told me she wanted to go home. “Mom you are home.” She wanted to see her “Papa.”
I took out a huge atlas I had purchased for her and showed her she was in California at home and Arkansas was very far away. She just looked away. Then it dawned on me. “Mom’s gone” my brother said again. I knew that Mom had starting leaving a little bit at a time. She was holding on, she really was just trying to give everyone a chance to adjust. I knew now that she had made the transition. She had gone on to be with the Lord and all of her other relatives that she had been missing. She had slept away at home peacefully; just like she wanted. Now she was at rest with the Lord.
My Mom had finally said Good bye……..
There are many issues around taking care of an elderly parent or parents. Who does what and when? Just enjoy them as much as you can while they are here. Try and let them make their own decisions for as long as they can responsibly do so. Treat them with respect and dignity although they become childlike. In the last days of course you will have some regrets knowing that they are leaving, and of course you will miss them? If you patiently treat them the way you would want to be treated you will have peace knowing that you did all you could do to make them comfortable. Remember you never know how your latter days will be? But they will and can be overshadowed by the many many cherished memories! And yes of course you will always miss them. So shower them with LOVE while they are still on this side of HEAVEN!
Keeping The Lines of Communication Open
Do you have TEENS?
Living in this audacious, adventurous 21st century with all its technological advances has its advantages. You can keep the lines of communication open or stay in constant contact with anyone at anytime, just about anywhere in the world. You can call, talk, track or text message when you have the right, GPS system, computer, smart phone, I pod, television, blue tooth ear piece, Nintendo DSI, mobile devices or some other…
How often do you get a text?
On the other hand it is hard for some to just “be” in the moment, because they are always texting and calling someone else while in your presence. Their attention is divided between you and somewhere or some else? The quality of time spent is usually minimized. They have a hard time just being in the moment or giving their undivided attention to what’s going on “right now”. Having the capability to be accessible is great. But I believe it is really getting out of hand. Perhaps there should be some “rules of etiquette ” honored and accountability exercised when alone or while in public or in the presence of others? And what about the teens?
Reina Hardesty is young lady now. When she was but a 13 year old teen, from Southern California, She was an amazing, creative, prolific texter. How she ever managed to get anything else done I wonder? She actually sent approximately 500 texts daily that totaled 14,528 text in one month. It is a good thing that her father had unlimited texting plan. Otherwise, at 20 cents per text his bill would have been somewhere around a whopping $2,905!!! After her parents found out they set some boundaries “no texting after dinner.”
Boundaries are good they make us feel safe!
I wonder what texting almost 24/7 does as far as their overall health is concerned? How much healthy sleep can one get? How much time for homework or anything else for that matter? Is texting addicting? At what point is it considered so…
Wait there’s more! Emilee Cox, another witty, vivacious, energetic, teen texter at 14 years young, smashed Reina’s record. At 74 text per each hour she was awake, she texted over 35,000 text in one month. She also managed to get good grades.
Miley Cyrus who was a popular teen idol a while back, favorite hobby was going shopping. She really liked Chinese Food and watching “High School Musical with her sisters too. But apparently the famous Miley Cyrus and her older boyfriend were caught texting during Church service way back when. They thought they were being discreet “They got busted! But look at Miley now she is making some interesting videos that I don’t think Hannah Montana’s parents would let her watch…” She is baring before the world her birthday suit. No doubt that the many Hollywood inconsistent unstable lifestyles she has been exposed to has greatly influenced her once quite innocent wholesome behavior. It is important that we give this generation godly relationship models. These are just a few examples of why good role models are needed.
It is important that we keep the lines of communication open with our teenagers. Peer pressure is real. There is always something lurking to pull them off track. For emergencies cell phones are fantastic! We should always be concerned with what is gong on with our young people. They need guidance. The ability to stay in contact is a plus. But here too we also need to establish some “rules of cell phone etiquette.” Especially for our minors before they excel to major problems. These 21st century teens have taken texting to a whole new level.
Here are a few more stats,
*Texting of this nature is nothing new. According to a 2008 Nielsen study, teenagers between the ages of 13 to 17 “ to an average of 1,742 texts a month.
Sextexting is also becoming a growing trend among teens. Sextexting is when revealing photos or messages are sent across a cell phone. It is actuallly flirting with danger. You do not always know how large or who your audience really is. Teens that are caught could possibly be prosecuted as sex offenders. Unknowingly they send pictures or messages with improper content that once they have been published they cannot be retrieved. it is just not a good idea to get so personal anyway. On many occasions they have sent messages to a friend, who sent it to a friend and that friend sent it to … Right now this is even being pursued by some prosecutors to possibly be considered as “child pornography”. So it is important to have a serious chat with them about being careful in this area. Nothing more than “G” rated texting allowed!
Oprah Winfrey even dedicated a whole television show to the perils of America’s newest “OBSESSION” = texting while driving! Did you know that when you text or use a cell phone while driving you significantly increase the chances of having an accident? It is the equivalent of having 4 drinks while driving! You are driving with a decreased attention span. It is called “Distracted Driving! “ You are not only putting your life in jeopardy but the lives of many others as well! The show is inclusive of many who have experienced the consequences of someone using a cell phone while driving. The statistics of the many casualties are mesmerizing and alarming!
Ms Winfrey asks that everyone designate their car as a ‘”NO PHONE ZONE!” She goes so far to have a campaign asking you to sign a contract agreeing to do so. The contract is available on her website! During the show one mother is interviewed. Her story; As she approaches her home after a Dr.’s appointment she sees a little girl lying in the streets surrounded by a crowd! She sees a mangled bike… Much to her dismay the distraught mother realizes it is her little girl and the emergency crew are attempting to pull her clothes off ……. The little girl was “15 PEDALS “ FROM HER FRONT DOOR! The driver was on her cell phone! After intensive care in the hospital two days later her beautiful little girl dies…
This is one of many. This show is a must see!!
Texting while driving is also hazardous. No sneaking a text in because no one’s watching. Watch the road! Another big, No! No! We need to be in contact but we also need to give them guidelines. I think that a simple contract might possibly be a viable solution. If they are old enough to have a cell phone they should be responsible enough to make a contract that is reviewed often and renegotiated when or if necessary. Hmmmm possibly limiting their calling by giving them a restricted calling plan? Knowing that you are going to randomly review their messages, Hmmm…This really is to let them know that you care enough to take the time to show that you are concerned and they matter. Of course they won’t see it this way…
In this high tech society it may be hard. But, keeping the lines of communication open is important! Let them know you are there for them and they matter! Give them kudos whenever the opportunity arises. It is crucial and beneficial to make sure that you take the time to spend quality time with them without a television, computer, smart phone, I pod, CD player, blue tooth ear piece or some other distraction… Having some great one on one personal quality time is a most. By the way giving them some healthy boundaries helps them feel secure. Giving them boundaries and restrictions lets them know that you care enough to say “No!” and mean it. They might not like it all the time but you should be more concerned about what is best for them rather than what they want? If they have strayed into the jungle of this world; It is never too late to help them turn their lives around. There is no POWER stronger than TRUE LOVE! They so need a dose of true love. You should be a parent before you are a friend to your child. If you are a friend you should model and uphold God’s standards to your friends. Your children will grow up soon enough and can then do however they please. But the modeled godly principles will have a long lingering effect upon their conscious. You may lose and gain some friends in the course of life when you take a strong godly stance but in the end it is worth it. Either way you will have been a good friend… As believers our first priority and agenda should be to say: “it is written!” Not to hurt but to bring forth spiritual, emotional and physical healing Nothing is more precious than time! It goes by really fast. Really get to know your teens; just maybe they won’t feel the need to take up sextexting?
GOD is LOVE! GOD is the GIVER of LIFE! We are SANCTIFIED by HIS PRECIOUS HOLY SPIRIT! HE has a PURPOSE and PLAN for each of HIS children! I implore and entreat you to seek HIS WORD and allow HIM to define what LIFE is ALL about for you! It is only in Him you will find the TRUE meaning of LIFE! He is “THE REASON FOR EVERY SEASON!” LIFE, begins in heaven our earthly transition commences in the womb! Conception is defined as the “process of becoming pregnant or beginning! An unborn baby has “The RIGHT to LIFE!” I BELIEVE ALL HIS WORD! What and who do you believe!
THE LORD’S WORD is so POWERFUL! If one would only seriously listen and accept HIS definitions to LOVE, LIFE, SANCTIFICATION and HIS PURPOSE! We would be in such a better place worldwide! If you ever wondered where you were before being here on earth, or who you belong to listen to the Prophet Jeremiah. “Before I FORMED you in the womb I KNEW you; Before you were BORN I SANCTIFIED you; I ORDAINED you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1
In the wonderful Book of Jeremiah the LORD confirms where life begins! Take a moment and ponder and camp on this thought! Before you were in your Mother’s womb the LORD knew you! Long before you were ever conceived! From the very beginning the enemy has tried to redefine and discount the validity of God and His WORD!
When you think on love what comes to mind? Quite often many think about what makes them feel good. What you do or do not do for them, many have an erroneous idea of what love truly means. Love often means in this case supporting wrong. Letting me do and say to you whatever I want to do. For many often that erroneous love turns to verbal, physical and emotional abuse!
God instills His Love within us. When a baby is born it readily needs to be nurtured and loved! Remember “GOD is LOVE,” GOD is eternal HIS LOVE LASTS FOREVER! In HIS WORD you will see the manifestation of His Love all throughout His WORD! GOD IS THE ULTIMATE FATHER! Whenever you think on terms of loving someone think about what God has to say and what He does! He never supports them in ANYTHING that goes against HIS WORD. No different from NOW in Corinth the people had become mixed up about LOVE! Many were confused spiritually blind and very carnal… What does GOD say about LOVE ?
In I Corinthians Paul describes true LOVE!
“LOVE is patient, LOVE is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. LOVE DOES NOT delight in evil but REJOICES IN TRUTH. It ALWAYS protects, ALWAYS trusts, ALWAYS hopes, ALWAYS preserves. LOVE NEVER FAILS!
GOD is the GIVER and Sustainer of Life! In the very beginning God said “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female, He created them.” He gave them HIS breath of life! It is through this union of man and woman coming together that He designed more life to come forth! We were created for GOD’S GLORY!
Sanctification is the process of when one who grows in the DIVINE Grace and Knowledge of the LORD, due to accepting Jesus Christ as LORD! You are set apart for GOD! As a believer, a Christian, a child of God we should embrace the sanctity of life! It is a fundamental principle of God’s WORD! There is an incredible story in the Bible, when Mary was pregnant with Jesus. John the Baptist leaped in the womb of his mother Elizabeth just being in the presence of JESUS who was still in the womb of His mother Mary. Listen to what the Word says :
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb I PRAISE YOU because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes SAW my unformed body. ALL the days ordained for me were written in YOUR BOOK before one of them came to be…” Psalms 139
Abortion is not of God!! !t is the way of the world! Abortion is not only about death it is about LIFE! GOD is the GIVER and SUSTAINER of LIFE! “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may HAVE LIFE, and have it more abundantly…” John 10 JESUS is the GOOD SHEPHERD ! He came and laid down HIS life so we could have a rich full balanced life!
What has been done cannot be undone! But you can start wherever you are going forth in the LORD! Know HIS WORD for yourself! Women who have had abortions are in need of inner healing. God is a loving forgiving God! Great is HIS LOVE for us! Repentance opens the door for restoration! Open your heart to the Lord. When you really give your heart to Him! He will fill that void. Don’t continue to use sex, manipulation or anything else to get your way. Begin to seek Him above all else and learn His WAY! I assure you In Him you will find the “security and significance” that is only found in Him! In Him you will find your purpose! Great is GOD’S FAITHFULNESS!
Abortion goes against the WORD of the Lord! It is easier to think of a precious baby, an unborn infant as a mere fetus in order to justify abortion. Remember, the baby feels and what you eat and drink they do too!“The TRUTH sets you FREE!” Remember GOD knows the TRUTH! So let’s be TRUTHFUL ABORTION is murder! If you believe it or not it’s so! What we say, think or do, does not change or alter what GOD has said is so. We are finite and GOD is OMNISICIENT meaning ALL KNOWING. If only we would listen to Him? Man continues as from the very beginning to be deceived by the devil. GOD IS A GOD OF LIGHT!!! Many discount, pervert and attempt to redefine what GOD has said in order to justify and manipulate getting their own way! The scriptures tells you that in the long run it never works! We are accountable to God for what we do or do not do!
God has a plan for each of His children from the very beginning and life is about discovering Him and living out that PURPOSE. Purpose is what gives life meaning! We on the other hand have to accept JESUS CHRIST as our personal SAVIOR to SAVE us from being overcome by the wickedness and the darkness that wants to dim and extinguish the LIGHT that the LORD wants to shine through us! God not only creates life, HE Blesses it! JESUS went through many things for us! HIS PROMISES ARE ALL TRUE! It ALL continues to work out for our GOOD when HE is in control of our LIVES!!!
Here is a story about an unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas who is 21 weeks old still in his mother’s womb: Baby Samuel’s Mom, Julie Armas is an obstetrics nurse who was told that her child has Spina Bifida! Spina Bifida is a very serious debilitating birth defect that causes a split spine. It causes the spinal cord to stick out; if not repaired it can cause a plethora of problems… His Doctor, Dr. Bruner is the operating surgeon. Keep in mind Samuel’s mom Julie had already suffered through two previous miscarriages!
It is during a C-section a small incision is made in order to do the surgery! As the surgery was completing baby Samuel reaches his little hand out and grasps the finger of the amazing Dr. Bruner! Dr. Bruner says that this was the most emotional moment of his life! He was stunned and immobilized! This is what is going on in this photograph above! Samuel’s mother Julie cried tears of Joy for days! Samuel was born completely healthy and the surgery was 100% successful! The picture speaks for itself! God is AWESOME!!!
Trust is a very crucial ingredient in any relationship. When you have trust in someone or something you are confident that you can rely on them or assurance that it will do or function as it should. The trust one has in the Lord supersedes anything else. You trust a chair when you sit in it? When you trust the Lord you begin to realize that your life is not your own. Upon this revelation you begin the process of slowly and surely relinquishing the things that inhibit your spiritual growth. Your desire to please Him becomes your main priority. You are also actually better able to relate to those around you.
Proverbs 3 says “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” Of course this is easier said than done. But there is a significant value lesson in this Truth. What does it mean when we say all? Is it not to imply that we exclusively, wholly or entirely commit to whatever it is we are trusting? Trust is developed over a period of time within a relationship. Once trust is developed it brings about a certain stability that is indicative of the relationship. It also yields a sense of security and permanency.
When you truly put your trust in God you can unquestionably rely on Him. God is not like us He does not change! There is no doubt that He will do just what He says. In order to know what He says you must take time in His Word. This is also why it is so important to develop an ongoing relationship with Him. God knows our hearts. Before we even ask Him anything He knows what is best for us. To the degree you exercise your trust in Him you begin to grow spiritually.
You know that whatever happens in time (even the bad stuff) GOD WILL work it out for your GOOD!
You begin to lean on Him more. Your understanding begins to open and you become more aware of people, places and anything surrounding you. Your insight and perceptions of Him also broadens. You embrace His Son Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord! When this happens your desire to acknowledge Him more and more in your life is cultivated. You gradually begin to take fewer detours and shift your priorities. You are able to relinquish many of the things and plans that are contrary to what His plan is for your life. No, This does not mean you become rigid or legalistic. Just the opposite you acquire a new found freedom. Remember this type of trust opens your understanding. You consciously realize that you are fully exposed to God. “Those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” I Corinthians 4
Trust again is a very crucial ingredient in any relationship. On our country’s currency it even says “In God we Trust.” But do we really? I often wonder since there has been a plethora of attempts to remove this statement from money; has this type of reasoning contributed somewhat to the overall downfall in our economy that has resulted in a universal recession? Due to the shifting in our ever changing moral barometer, has this too resulted in less trust? Does this gesture display a lack of trust in the Creator who our founding pioneers founded this country upon? It is important to always give credit where it is due. It is always important to keep in mind from whence we have come.
According to Proverbs it is quite clear how very important it is “to TRUST in GOD in ALL our ways” in order for our path to be made straight.” I believe all of God’s Word! As I grow spiritually daily it is my prayer that I continually shift to leaning on Him and not my own understanding. As His child I want to “acknowledge Him in ALL my ways so He will make my path straight.” Life is precious and trusting in God, our Creator and Maker of heaven and earth the Author and Finisher of our FAITH, you really can’t go wrong. It is important to remember from whence we have come…
“TO GOD BE THE GLORY!”
I start each day with; “This is the Day that The LORD has made! Let us REJOICE and be GLAD in it! O LORD SAVE us; O LORD grant us success. BLESSED is he who comes in the Name of the LORD. From the House of the LORD we BLESS you.The LORD is GOD and HE has made HIS Light to shine upon us.” It is interesting how we can sometimes take it for granted that there will be another day after today! Think about it for a moment! Who but GOD can make a DAY?
As each new year draws near and end I am quite Thankful! There have been many things to take place this year throughout the world! Many who started the year out with us have passed on to the other side! There have been numerous earthquakes and natural disasters that have ravaged the land! The magnitude of the world’s overall dwindling economy has reached catastrophic proportions! Many countries are suffering… Yes some have begun to rebound but the aftermath is residual. The plethora of terrorists attacks are insane… For many things will never be quite the same. The ongoing cycle of wars ending and wars beginning seem endless…
I realize that the holiday season can be a time of great anxiety for many! Memories of loved ones that have passed on and distressing times seek to vigilantly rob you of your joy! But look you are still here! You still have more time! Time is priceless! Try to think about some of the happier moments and times that you shared with them and dwell upon the fond, humorous, tender and warmhearted memories! Build new and cherished memories to hold on to! Honor their memory now as you keep them close to heart! Live live to its fullest. Set new goals and forge ahead seeking ways to accomplish your goals! Look forward to an improving quality of life no matter how long or short… Change is always on the horizon! Anything that does not change is dead. Celebrate life itself as you continue to move forward!
I can personally think of some very unpleasant moments, times of grief, illnesses, deaths, distresses and calamitous disasters that have taken place but I do not want to dwell there! Nor do I desire to camp in denial! I pray that the Lord will continue to open my eyes to TRUTH! Knowing that He will lead you or I as we are willing to submit to His Will & Way! I so want to continuously “Abide in the Shadow of the Almighty…! ” Psalm 91. This verse assures us that His protection is always available… Time waits on no one! Well I must say that The Lord can and did allow time to be turned back for a moment… “
King Hezekiah was a great example! Here we learn that God keeps His promises! With Him even the impossible is possible! “Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go to the Temple of The Lord on the third day from now?” Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what He has promised; shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?” “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.” The prophet Isaiah called upon the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.” II Kings 20.
What are you saying; King Hezekiah was faithful to the Lord! He became sick and to the point of death. He turned his face to the wall and humbly and sincerely prayed to the Lord asking the Lord to heal him! As a sign he asked if the shadow could go back ten steps! The stairway of Ahaz is a sundial. The Egyptians made their sundials in the form of miniature staircase. Shadows moved up and down to tell the time! The Lord honored Hezekiah’s request! “On the third day from now you will go up to the Temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life…” II Kings 20. Here we can see that time belongs to GOD! Evidently Hezekiah had not yet fulfilled his purpose on this side of heaven and the Lord extended his time! He granted Hezekiah another fifteen years of life!
My point here is that time is so precious and sometimes we just never know from moment to moment what will be… Even in the face of death we can turn to the Lord! We can begin to relish each moment and seek to have happier moments! To sincerely make an attempt to deal with life responsively even when it becomes unpleasant despite what is going on about us! To live life to its fullest! I believe if you reach deep enough inside, and think broad enough anyone can find something to be thankful for no matter how infinitesimally small it might be! Life itself is a precious gift! Our good days can outweigh the rough times… You may have to take it moment by moment during the difficult days when you can’t see your way through… Just know someone somewhere has more or less yet, no matter how large or small or seemingly insignificant we can express thanks! Memories are priceless! God is bigger and beyond anyone, anything or any situation we may ever encounter! He will see you through!
If you have been depressed for a long time, it’s time for things to change! God really does the FRUIT of HIS SPIRIT to flourish within all of our lives daily! Know that it is the devil who wants to keep you bogged down in regrets, fear, doubt, shame and hopelessness. To make you feel so bad that the pains of life have you down and overwhelmed! To separate you from the Lord and to get you to focus on your pain! Don’t let your emotions continue to get the best of you. Exercise some self-control! Reach out to the Lord! Cry out to Him He can meet you right where you are! There is light at the end of the tunnel you may feel lonely but you are not alone! God can reach over your abyss of torment and bring you through to start anew! Know that today is a gift from Him!
God sent His Son Jesus Christ to save us from sin. Sin is anything that separates us from GOD! Jesus came to earth to give us hope for a better life with the Lord! He never sinned and did many marvelous miraculous healings, signs and wonders! He even fed thousands of people with a small lunch of fish and bread shared by a generous young boy! The Book of John even tells us that the world could not contain the books of all the miraculous things that Jesus did WOW! Look at GOD! HE IS AMAZING! Although JESUS helped many, He was still horrendously mistreated! He was beaten, spit upon then nailed to the cross and placed in a borrowed tomb! It was borrowed because He did not plan to stay there! What happened to Him was a part of God’s plan for us! Jesus redeemed us and paid the price for the sins of the world with His life! He arose with all power from the grave declaring power over sin and death! GOD IS AWESOME!
“But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was IMPOSSIBLE for death the KEEP its hold on HIM. David said about Him:
“I saw the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue REJOICES; my body also will live in HOPE, because you will not abandon Me to the grave. Nor will you let your HOLY ONE see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with JOY in Your presence!” Acts 2.
Today is a gift from God! Draw closer to the Lord and shift your focus to Him! He will and can make all the difference in the world in your life! Everyone who is willing to invite Him into their heart can receive His Holy Spirit! He is the Inner Teacher, Guide, Wonderful Counselor and Comforter! Do not let life just pass you by! Ask the Lord to fill your heart and lift you from despair and fill you with His JOY!
No one can be a better you than you! Don’t allow man to take you down the primrose path that leads to destruction… Don’t allow the devil to make you live in regrets… What has happened cannot be undone! But you can always choose to go forward from where you are with the hope of building a better tomorrow! You can live eternally with the Lord! Don’t let anyone or anything rob you of Hope! Seek God for yourself! We can always have Hope in the LORD! Faith is what inspires Hope! Trust GOD! This is why an ongoing intimate personal relationship with The Lord is so very important! God is Love! He is the Great Equalizer! This is why He gave us His Son JESUS CHRIST! To accept Him into our hearts and let Him become our personal SAVIOR & LORD! With Him your age, race, address, bank account, medical condition, state of mind, societal status, IQ, what you have or do not have, does not change His Love for You! In Him you can discover everything that you will ever need! He can help you be the best you! He can fill your inner void and give you His PEACE that surpasses the understanding of man! PRAISE GOD!!!
God has created each of us for a purpose! “And we KNOW that in ALL things GOD works together for the GOOD” Romans 8. In HIS time! Life is about living and discovering whatever that purpose may be. All the signs of the last days are all about us! “ “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:25-28. Knowing this we can be thankful as time draws near! Prepare today! JESUS IS COMING SOON!
In Him we can have blessed assurance! It is “in HIM we live and move and have our being!” Acts 17. Yes be Aware! Yes express your doubts and fears! However make Him your focus! Not in a legalistic religious way! God wants us to enjoy life on this side of heaven! Spend time in His presence, meditating upon His Word! Allow Him to write His Word upon the tables of your heart and trust Him to bring it to your memory when needed! His Word is precious Spiritual Food for our souls! You have as much time as you need with the Lord, because time belongs to Him! Draw closer to the Him regardless of what is happening or not happening about you! Despite what is happening in this world know that He is still in control! His Word is being fulfilled!
Make it a point to spend time in His presence today! Be Thankful today because tomorrow is not promised! We know from His Word that even when your days may be few if it is His will He can extend time! If your Faith is dwindling and your heart troubled ask the Lord to rekindle your FAITH! Surrender your anxiety, depression, sadness,doubt, regrets or sickness to Him and let Him restore your JOY! Recommit or commit to His will and His way! God is our Protector, Healer and Deliverer we must continuously learn to entrust our wellbeing to HIM! Allow Him to be your Refuge and Fortress! God has already given us the Greatest Gift ever which is JESUS CHRIST!! We can Celebrate Christmas, New Years, Easter, Thanksgiving , Anniversaries, Birthdays, Holidays and everyday knowing that “”The earth is the LORD’S and everything in it the world and them that dwell therein!” Psalm 24. Trust God for brighter moments, days and precious memories ahead! He CAN and will supply ALL of your needs in CHRIST JESUS! GOD TRULY IS ABLE!! Prayer and Faith go together! Each day is a day to be Thankful! “This is the Day that The LORD has MADE! Let us REJOICE and be GLAD in it!” GOD BLESS YOU!
God not only knows the very hairs that are on our heads. He determines how long we inhabit the earth. He is the ultimate Master Creator and Designer who weaves everything together in His magnificent canvas of life. When we grow in His grace, truth and knowledge He gives us the ability to spiritually discern. Spiritual discernment lights the foreground of our canvas as we venture through this valley of the shadow of death. His wisdom grooms our being so as children of light our life’s canvas commences to reflect the light of His presence in our life.
Quite often we adapt to the world and employ personality traits that are in general socially acceptable. Personality is used in typical dictionary definition to distinguish behavioral, emotional and attitudinal tendencies, character traits and habits. It is by these traits that one is uniquely recognized. We as people are fundamentally a complex integration of physical and non-physical dimensions and attributes.
The spiritual facet of us should reflect the God like qualities within our nature. Interpersonal dynamics and environmental influences are primary, but not exclusive to developmental determinants of our personalities. As human beings we are living, learning and growing organisms. When parents have properly nourished us by providing sufficient freedom and are generous in positive reinforcement, children will achieve a sense of personal autonomy. On the other hand if parents have modeled much faulty behavior themselves, were too overprotective, demanding, too permissive or critical, emotionally, mentally and physically or sexually abusive children will learn to have doubts about themselves. They will become harnessed with feelings of shame. In God’s eyes we are all ageless children. His Holy Spirit’s presence in one’s life is able to override any inappropriate learning experiences which we all have to a certain degree. God who is the ultimate Sovereign Creator can paint new life onto our life’s canvas. The Holy Spirit works in believers to give us a new nature.
When I studied “Art Appreciation” in school I acquired a respect for the various art forms. When I saw an original Picasso Abstract, my first reaction was “I don’t like it”. After studying Picasso’s work I learned he was able to paint with a childlike simplicity. He was able to go inside, vicariously share and interpret on canvas the depth of his feelings. From an exterior posture for one to understand his work, a surface summation would not properly render what he was trying to relay. Despite the possibility of no one understanding he did not allow that to hinder His work. Whether he was aware of it or not He was given a God-given talent. It was largely after his death that the world really began to appreciate and understand his unique gift.
Our life can be quite like an abstract painting. Especially by those who really don’t know us. People usually fear what they don’t understand, or tend to label it negatively. Webster defines Abstract as; difficult to understand. Insufficiently factual. Expressing a quality considered apart from an object. Impersonal having only a generalized form with little or no attempt at precise representation. Quite often as Christians we too must risk being misunderstood. We must learn to tenaciously pursue our God given talent(s) with a steadfast devotion. Thank You Lord for making me “peculiar!” it should always be our first priority fo live each day to please God not man. I assure you, you will be a lot happier!
Each day that passes what we say and do and how we respond paints an array of events on our personal canvas of life. Much of our life’s paint is applied erroneously when we wander aimlessly about. When we stray from the narrow path that God has designed. God’s world is awesomely vast. A marvelous abstract spiritual venture awaits those who are obedient. Faith and Trust in Him are required companions that confidently paint the unseen path before us! It is easy to deter from our course because God allows us so much freedom. He has given us the power to choose. Other wise each individual canvas would yield a duplicate reproduction!
But once we really discover that life has purpose the strokes on our life’s canvas should be guided by our Creator.
There is nothing in our life that has transpired that we can unpaint. When we find ourselves somewhere we don’t want to be, or saying or doing something we don’t want to do, what do we do? Do we continue to allow pride to lead us anyway? No, it will only lead us somewhere we don’t really want to go.
The hues of pride darken the spiritual path. It keeps the light of our direction deep in the background. So do we just waste precious time and continue to stumble around? Do we employ passages of scriptures to justify our sometimes wrong position? Do we erroneously mislead and gather others to support us in our wrong position? Ask yourself, do you hear a faint unspoken voice beckoning you to change your direction? Although painful, it is far better to move towards the Light. God knows your true motives. Do you know it is more important what God knows rather than what people think! God is OMNIPOTENT and HE can change your life in a miraculous way.
God our Creator knows all of our faults, shortcomings, misunderstandings and insecurities. His arms are wide open. But too often, pride, guilt and shame keeps us at His arm distance. It keeps us in the dark away from His marvelous Light! Too often we just don’t want to admit that we are possibly wrong or were wrong to ourselves especially not someone else! We are so reluctant to tint our canvas with the magnificent brilliance of humility! We would rather allow pride to paint our canvas and take us to a place that we will eventually dread!
If you are at a point in your life you don’t want to be, or if your life seems to be headed in a direction of uncertainty; If you have done something or said something you should not have ( and we do from time to time) seek God’s direction. Really dedicate some time to being still and sincerely do some deep soul searching. Have your self a Gethsemane experience. Get quiet enough so you can actually hear what God is saying. Now that you have gotten His attention. Sincerely render to Him what is on your mind and in your heart. Remember He knows anyway. Once you have lightened your load. Ask Him for direction. Admit and repent (not repeat) of anything that is hindering your spiritual path. Now step out on Faith and move forward trusting God and soliciting the presence & power of His Holy Spirit to lead you in the path of righteousness.
“PRAY without ceasing,” all throughout your day and begin to allow God’s yoke to be spiritually connected to you. Watch and experience the beauty of Him lightening your burdens. I assure you He will direct you! Just know it may not be in a direction you want to go. You may just have to apply some humility to your life’s canvas. Humility can harness anger and impulsive rage will have to flee! Instead each painful step in His direction will be accompanied by His unexplainable peace! Did you know that when we are at our weakest point it gives God the opportunity to create a great work in us? Proceed cautiously knowing that anger and pride wants to darken it’s hues on your life canvas. They want to deceive you and keep you walking in denial and disobedience. They only want to suppress and cover up the Light that wants to shine on your life’s canvas!
Once we humbly admit to God we are wrong, a flood of Light appears. It opens the door for the cleansing power of His Word to wash us thoroughly. God in His infinite wisdom is totally aware of the minutest speck of sin on each of our individual canvases. “All of us have sinned and fallen short of His glory”. But this does not give us the right to continue in sin. Christ did not die for us to be slaves to any sin in our lives. He even told us except we become as children we will not enter into His kingdom! He is the only Sovereign Master Designer! He can make each stroke of circumstances whatever they may be; mold and shape us into a vessel of beauty and honor in His sight. God has an unlimited wealth of transformation power! Always remember it is what GOD knows about us is what matter most! You/we are “forever becoming” we never arrive until the Lord calls us home to Him. Commence to allow His Holy Spirit to guide you as you paint your personal canvas knowing that the Lord is by your side for “it is in HIM we move and live and have our being.” Acts 17 Our life truly is “A work of art in progress!”
Life is Not FAIR but GOD IS!
Habakkuk is a wonderful short, sweet, powerful Book in the Old Testament that is packed with wisdom. The prophet Habakkuk asks God, “Why are things not fair? And why does God not do something? He prophecies during the final reign of the Assyrian Empire and right when the Babylonians began to increasingly grow in power to control and dominate the world. The Chaldeans were being sent to judge Judah. The key scripture is: “Lord I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.”
This miniature book illustrates just how powerful God is, consisting of only three chapters! God can use any situation to demonstrate His mighty power! God eventually answers Habakkuk; this is why this book is so valuable. God tells him to “Look among the nations and watch~ Be utterly astounded!” For a season God allowed the cruel treatment to take place. It is here He uses the unbelieving decadent Babylonian pagan nation to reprimand His rebellious nation of people! The Babylonians in time would also suffer punishment for their wickedness…
The Book of Habakkuk boldly demonstrates that our complete Faith and Trust must be in God! We can have complete confidence in Him! When there is much pain, sickness, trouble and distress one must turn first to God and not man! Allow Him to direct you! Remember “Trust in the Lord with ALL thine heart and lean not to your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He WILL direct your path.” Proverbs 3 Although we can study and learn intellectually what actually opens the door to our spiritual wisdom and understanding is our relationship with the Lord. It is so important to know God’s Word! It is here through the Divine power of His Holy Spirit; The Comforter and Teacher where learning the essential keys of life resides! Despite everything that goes on in the world it is important to keep in mind “God is STILL in CONTROL!” God alone deserves to be worshipped, honored and PRAISED!
Habakkuk cries out to the Lord for help! There is very little known about Habakkuk, there is less personal information recorded on him than any other prophet. There was much going on about him. Just like it is in the 21st century today! Like Habakkuk we too can turn to the Lord in times of distress. He tells us “Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem the righteous, so that justice is perverted. Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed.” Look how applicable this is today! Remember, although “bad things are happening to good people” God has not forgotten us! When you know that things are not right, when you know that there have been injustices against you it is important to know God in His time will vindicate you! Sometimes you just have to be patient and humbly wait! Knowing that what is important is that “God Knows,” in the meantime draw close to the Lord! You must learn to put things in their proper perspective!
How often have you heard someone say; “That’s not fair!” What does it mean to be fair? According to Webster’s’; pleasing to the eye or mind a flawless quality; clear legible, unbiased or impartial. What makes anyone think that life is fair? Life is not fair, but God is! God is ALWAYS right! As Habakkuk says; “The righteous will live by Faith!” The Apostle Paul also says this in Romans and again in Galatians! It is also once again confirmed in Hebrews! The question is often asked; “Why does bad things happen to good people?” Really, in essence the TRUTH is only God is good!
Judah, God’s people had a series of wicked kings that did not subscribe to God’s way, they rejected Him and His principles they adopted the ways of the world. Judah had a young King Josiah, he believed and trusted in God but his successors did not. King Josiah tried to turn their hearts back to the Lord but it only lasted for a season. He had instituted significant spiritual reforms in Judah! Eventually they were finally invaded and taken into Babylonian captivity under King Nebuchadnezzar. During captivity they were oppressed, persecuted and their possessions were taken away. The Babylonians were a strong military force they were a nation that plundered the goods of many. Does any of this sound familiar? Habakkuk was aware that the Babylonians were being used to punish Judah. He realized that there were some things that they would experience that did not seem fair…
Habakkuk realized that the people were actually being disciplined. He prays to God on their behalf and asks for mercy. He did not quite understand why this was happening but He trusted God anyway! “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in your day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” Regardless how things look or appear and no matter what happens God always does what is right! There are many things in our little finite minds that we will never quite understand. But we can surely always lean and Trust on an all knowing Infinite God who knows exactly what is going on! Habakkuk knew that God would triumph. We too can be reassured He will in His time vindicate us when we are sincere and faithful to Him! We must learn how to patiently wait for Him. We must focus on God and not the circumstance. Our strength and Joy comes from the Lord! Even though it may appear that the wicked prosper at your expense sometimes, in the long run they really don’t !
Today when many are turning away from God’s principles, When right is yoking up with what is wrong, When the world is saying this is right and the scriptures is saying that is wrong… When nothing seems to make sense; “wait on the Lord!” We never get to the point that we are not susceptible to spiritual attacks and oppression no matter how much we plan or grow spiritually. This is why we have to continuously pray and daily seek God’s face. This is why we need a Savior! Praise God! Hallelujah anyhow!!!
One can be encouraged as Habakkuk reminds us how “the sun and moon stood still in their habitation!” This happened when Israel gained victory over the Amorites at Gibeon the Lord made the sun stand still, during a battle for Joshua! (See Joshua 10) Although we cannot see what God is doing we have to learn to trust Him! We should always consult God and let Him know how we are feeling even though He already knows! God will take us through the test and trials designed by man and over the landmines put in our path. Look around today and see there are many economic difficulties, families in crisis, marriages resulting in divorces, sickness, diseases and natural disasters! Know God is Able! God is here to help us endure any hardships that may arise in life! It is to Him we must look to, He is Sovereign and greater than any situation! Habakkuk concludes with an illustration of a deer! Notice how a deer can manage to scale and climb up the rugged terrain of seemingly impossible mountain and doesn’t slip! As Habakkuk says: “Yet I will REJOICE in the Lord, I will be JOYFUL in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my STRENGTH; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.” Keep looking to the Lord! It is here in Habakkuk we find “The Lord is in His Holy Temple. Let all the earth keep silent before Him” Praise God!
Have you ever had a situation when you did not know what to do? Have you ever had a problem that you thought was so big you did not know how it could ever be resolved? Have you ever felt that no matter how hard you tried to explain something no one would understand? Have you ever felt so discouraged that you felt as though the weights of the world were upon your shoulders? Have you been physically ill or near death and felt that you were at the point of no return? Has death knocked on the door of a friend or love one unexpectedly? On the other hand has God freed you from narrow minded and shallow view thinking religious folks? Have you ever been persecuted, forsaken, maligned, misunderstood or unappreciated? Or have you just been so spiritually blessed you can just not express it in words? ( I am sure there are a few scenarios I forgot?) If you have ever experienced one or more of the above I have some great news for you! Nothing happens in your life that God is not aware of!
I want you to know that there is absolutely nothing that is too big, hard, and deep or complicated for GOD! More important all of the above are reasons to really get to find out what He is really all about “God is Love.” As a matter of fact in I Corinthians 13 the Scriptures tell us “Love never fails”. Never as a truism meaning never; it just won’t happen! Now don’t get me wrong. I said have you ever felt like? Did you know that your feelings can transport you into a realm of thought that you really do not have to enter? If you do enter you do not have to stay there? How do I do that? You must pluck some good ole spiritual fruit? Take just a slither of “self control”. Gradually digest it’s nutrients. This will help you take the helm. You must begin to get in gear. Shift by not allowing your feelings to get the best of you? How do I do that? Begin by acknowledging how you feel. Good, Bad or indifferent? Do not lean to your own understanding. Remember God is a Spirit of Truth! The Truth truly sets you free! Did you know that God will do exceedingly above and more than you could ever wish when you are obedient? He can, wants to and will direct your path. This is why it is important that you do not get bogged down in your thoughts nor into what someone else thinks. As simple as this might seem all you must do is shift your FOCUS!
For a moment let’s just imagine life as an obstacle course. Always keep in view, that at the end of your course your reward(s) awaits. To help you keep focused just know; your rewards are guaranteed and determined by God. Nobody can change or alter that fact. How many, much or few those rewards are is actually between you and God. God created you for a purpose. Each individual has a purpose. Once you embark into existence there is no way out unless you finish. Each individual has a time in which to complete their course. That time can be premature; prior to birth or instantly, after birth. That time can span a few minutes, days, weeks, years, decades or a century plus. There are no two paths designed that are exactly alike. Therefore you cannot navigate in the same manner as someone else. The Holy Spirit as the ultimate guide wants to and awaits too direct your path!
God who is all wise and all knowing has given us guide lines and instructions. This is why His Word is so very important. Now, just know that you can select some, all or part of His instructions. But are you ready for the consequences? You can practice them legalistically or even disregard, modify, add your own, or totally ignore the instructions. But are you ready for the consequences? Keep in mind there are actually some instructions that you do not have to do any more. Why is that? When Jesus came He left us with a better way. He is our only perfect example. He actually fulfilled the law. We are now free from the law. You must become familiar with His Word. It is full of history and wisdom. It is important to know what they were and what they are now! When you read His instructions you will be fed spiritually. This way you can really appreciate all that He has done for us! This will also help you when someone else gives you direction. You will know the difference when you have faithfully studied the instructions. Always remember you can opt to ignore all of them. But, again there will be consequences. Free choice was designed so we are not mechanical robots. Your intellect was actually designed for you to think intelligently. How do you think Adam named all those animals? It is crucial that you intellectually as well as spiritually yield to the Lord’s way. Yielding helps you to subscribe to His will being done in your life. Here is where you will find true freedom. You will also know “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty” But He tells us not to use our liberty to cloak maliciousness! Remember absolutely nothing is hidden from God! God is sovereign! This also helps you to keep focused!
God has given us the opportunity to have an internal guide. But you must first acknowledge Him as Lord of your life. To shift to this level of functioning you must invite His Son as your Savior to come and abide in your heart! Now you are ready! When all or any of those feelings I talked about earlier come what do you do? You shift your Focus to God. God our Father, our Creator and Maker of all things. Colossians tell us that there is not anything that was made that was not made through Jesus Christ. This world as we know it was spoke into existence. The Word, became flesh and dwelt among us! His Word is Jesus! He really does know all about your Troubles, Temptations or Trials. He really does have a way. That is why He says “I am the Way the Truth and the Life.” Jesus is the only door to Him!
When your life becomes burdened down with the troubles of this world remember it is only a test? Life wants to distract you from your purpose. You were created to worship and praise God. I also have a little secret that just might help you? It does not matter how much or little someone thinks of you? It does not matter how much or little you have? It does not really even matter how many, or few titles that are in front of or behind your name. It does not even really matter what others say; especially when it is just not true . God knows the intent as well as content of our hearts. Hallelujah! Many will draw conclusions and make assumptions based on little or no factual data. Problems and situations are seasonal. God is eternal! He always was and always will be! This is why it is so important not to get drawn into how you feel. Feeling is a good thing, anyone that does not feel is ready for the grave. Just don’t let your feelings control you. It’s never too late to change. Begin to learn to take in several bites of self control. It really goes a long way. You can learn to be objective when you deeply examine situations. Many are often deceived. Remember, you must learn to focus. This will give you the proper motivation to do the right thing at the proper time. It will also give you a taste of another fruit which is inner peace. This will also let you know what is important. What really is important is; that you know and obey God. God will never lead you to do anything morally, physically or spiritually that goes against His principles.
Start today by incorporating in your daily diet His fruit. Galatians 5 will teach you all about the fruit of God’s Spirit. It also lets you know by contrast the works of the flesh. You have as much tine as you need to accomplish what He wants you to do. Oops! By the way it might seem to others when you take a bite of patience you have, or are………whatever? Patience often does work tribulation. Oh but HOPE will take you through tribulation. Hope helps you not to be ashamed. It will definitely help you keep focused! But your hope must lie in God! Did you know your mind can bring you down and confuse you when it is not properly focused? It can allow you to distort the facts. Remember God’s Love never fails! Now if you have not confessed and believed in your heart you may or should I say will have a problem with all of this. Why? It so simple that it is difficult. Be careful who and what you yoke yourself up with. There are those who major in worry. Have you ever heard the expression “If you are going to worry why pray?” God’s yoke is easy and His burdens are light. His burdens are not to weigh you down. They come so you can what? Put it all in His hands.
Always remember who and what awaits you. Better yet who is with you? His precious Comforter, the Holy Spirit! The way this world is going, it’s just no telling, you might just be one of those who ends up being caught up in the air with Jesus? Either way at the end of this course God has reward(s). Keep your faith and trust in Him. He really does have it all under His control. This is why it is very important to always keep in view; God has a purpose for you! This is why He says be anxious for nothing! But in “all things through prayer and supplications let your request be made known… “If your mind is stayed (focused) on Him He will keep you in perfect peace.” All you must do is “PUT IT ALL IN HIS HANDS”
To God be the Glory!
If you listen closely to the prophets in the Bible they often forewarn the people about things that are going to happen as well as proclaim God’s Word. The word prophet in Hebrew means; spokesperson. God’s people were quite deep into sin, disobedience, civic confusion and rebellion. Isaiah reminds us that our actions have consequences!
More often than not the people did not want to hear what God had to say. Right now in this 21st century things really are Not TOO much different from what was going on then!
Whenever I read Isaiah, I can feel the anguish and heart wrenching despair that intensively emits forth from his soul as the Prophet Isaiah speaks forth an oracle! Isaiah had a difficult mission. Quite often when you speak Truth you can expect to be labeled as “negative” or the bearer of “bad news.” Along with a lot of other flavorful words that I do not subscribe to. Isaiah was a visionary! He had the arduous task of speaking to a group of despondent people. Isaiah passionately shares of the purity of God, how powerful and loving God is and that God is a Holy God! Isaiah exalts God! He vehemently proclaims to the community at large the pitfalls of evil. Yet in return he is called everything but a child of God. He told them that the land was becoming a wasteland! He pleaded with them to turn Back to GOD!
Isaiah did not have some morbid desire to make anyone unhappy. He did not try to tell them anything just for the sake of making them feel bad! He was not a lunatic, neurotic, uncaring, self centered or mentally challenged in any way! It was because he was obedient to the call God had placed on his life. Although hurtful at times he did it to bring about good. To promote change and encourage the people to move towards God’s Way of life.
Today our country is slowly recovering from a recession! Our government even “SHUT DOWN” because President Obama and Congress were not able to agree! LORD HELP US!
We are always on alert for terrorists both foreign and domestic, properties values fell drastically and are now on the rise, homes have been lost, corporations have closed, careers lost, unemployment rates at an all time high, stock devalued, pensions lost, divorce at an all time high, families being pulled and torn apart, murder, crime you name it. I will not even begin to talk about the manipulation and underhanded, orchestrated schemes to undermine people’s integrity and misconstrue their character! Racial discrimination; no wonder the many protests! The moral decline is unspeakable as well. Everybody knows it and no one wants to say it! GOD IS SPEAKING! You can only ignore Him as The Creator for so long! Pandemonium and mayhem have really set in! But wait there is Hope! And yes there is still Joy! “Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles….” Isaiah 40
This is Prime time for the Word of God to be shouted from the roof tops. It was never meant to just be confined to a brick and mortar building anyway. Please don’t misinterpret what I am saying. There are some beautiful fabulous cathedrals, temples, worships centers and meeting places for the Church! But God never intended that they be full of people who are unhappy, hopeless and full of despair. He never intended for us to just go to church and go right back to another way of life! Nor did He want us to live legalistically unhappy! He intended for His Church to be an international universal family! Jesus came to fulfill the law. He sacrificed His life so we could be Free. FREE to WORSHIP HIM! “In Spirit and in TRUTH! ” To Praise Him through whatever trials, tests, obstacles or land mines the enemy tries to put in your path.
There is nothing I enjoy more than a marvelous Spirit filled Worship service! I Thank & Praise God for His Word Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit! Truly God is the Most High God!
At some time we all are going to experience anxiety, conflict, disappointment, grief or turmoil at some point in our lifetime. As followers of Jesus Christ we are going to have tribulations while in this world. Knowing this in advance will help you to prepare ahead. To acquire some preventative coping skills so you can be better prepared as you go through and not become stagnated and stay in. God has promised to be with us always!
Once the enemy knows and realizes that you “GET IT” that you are aware of his many entrapments, he will do all he can to harness and undermine your good intentions! He will use those who are weak but close to you, to try and pull you down! Remember he loves darkness. Therefore he slips around behind you in the dark lurking to undermine your sincere efforts to shed LIGHT to a world that is ignorant of his many devices. But get this; he can not do anymore than the Lord allows! HALLELUJAH!!! So if you are going through; You have to TRUST GOD! He may try to take everything that you have. But TRUST GOD! He may try to take your health or take the health of your love ones, But TRUST GOD! He may try to divide your home, your marriage and your family, to uproot your children, But TRUST GOD! He may even try to take your life, But TRUST GOD! Always remember he can not do anymore than God allows! But know this when you are God’s child know that when its all said and done in the end WE WIN! PRAISE GOD!
Think about this the enemy wants to steal your JOY! He will use any and everything to do just that! He wants to pull you down emotionally, physically and to lower your standard of living by compromising your principles! Your godly principles are the most INVALUABLE thing you possess! While going through you must open your spiritual eyes and ears!Those you have helped will often get selective amnesia. I often wondered where were all those people that Jesus helped when they crucified Him! It truly is much spiritual warfare about us. Our world and our country is in trouble! But our weapons are not carnal. Is your armor together?
Know God intimately! Pray daily for His Precious Holy Spirit to fill you with His Presence. Then what ever comes your way as it gets too heavy. Do all you can do, then give it to Him and then STAND! TRUST GOD! Regardless of what happens the enemy can’t take your JOY! He will try so do not give it to him! When you know God intimately His Word becomes woven and deeply embedded into the fabric of who you are! “Your WORD have I hidden in my heart so I may not sin against YOU.” If you have let the shade be pulled down over your life and the enemy has inserted, regrets, depression, anxiety, stress, eating disorders, compulsive behaviors, addictions, manipulation, and anything else in as your daily companions that are not of Him. Let it or them go! You have the authority! Use it! Tell them they are not welcomed. Praise GOD!
God is the Ultimate Father, readily accessible to ALL who call upon Him sincerely, believe that His Son Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, then begin implementing His principles in their life. His gift to you is His Precious Holy Spirit and His gift of Eternal life! No one or nobody can change that. Don’t try to be like someone else! Be the best you, you can be! Everywhere you are He is. So if you have let your JOY go because…. Take it back. “Though you have not seen Him, you LOVE Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious JOY, for you are receiving the goal of your FAITH, the SALVATION of your souls.” I PETER 1
One thing that you can always count on is God is everywhere you are. The question is do you invite His presence? Did you know that it really is “in Him we move and live and have our being.” To better understand this it is important to begin building an ongoing relationship with Him. Just think when something happens; don’t you prefer to talk to someone you know? God is not far away. He in fact is so close that you do not even have to say a Word for Him to hear you. He even knows your every thought! Our little finite minds cannot really conceive of God and all His fullness. But through FAITH we can develop our TRUST in Him.
When a trial comes you are still able to experience that Joy! As a matter of fact Isaiah says; “God will keep you in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on HIM.” In order for this to be so you must learn to Trust Him. This trust grows as you develop an intimate personal relationship with Him! As you begin to think about God as the ultimate Father your possibilities are limitless. This is why it is so important to have the Lord in your life. As you focus on Him while going through God will then give you His peace to go through the conflict. God is a God of Peace and JOY!
There is a song that I want to share with you. If you are ever down and need a pick up! The Words are so profound and I am sure that wherever you are you will find the words helpful.This is one of the worship songs from the “Gospel Music Workshop of America”
I GOT MY JOY BACK
“I got my Joy back. I got a new lease on life. I got my Joy back, down in my soul. Since I let Him have full control. I’ll will let nothing separate me from His Love again. He restored my Joy and revived my soul again! Just like the prodigal son. I found myself in the hog pen. Oh, you know how satan can dress up sin, satan will make wrong seem right. That’s why we’ve got to stay Prayed up, and Focused, and keep looking to the LIGHT
God has been so good to me. I thought I was exempted from trials and tests. From a little child I’ve been abundantly blessed. Every materialistic thing, I wanted, My Mother had it for me there. But I Thank God she NEVER forgot to lead me to the House of Prayer. But when my test came, I stumbled, but I did not fall, I had the Holy Ghost, embedded within me. In God I did REJOICE. That He would lead me, and guide me, when I couldn’t see my way. Yes, He restored my JOY, and He revived my soul again!”
God can give you the “PEACE that surpasses understanding!” Patience is not a hallmark of our society! Sometimes we have to wait; Then Like an eagle we can soar high above the clouds! Its time to move towards getting your JOY BACK!