It’s Hard to See the Bad Guys Win

Are you like me, do you get tired of seeing the bad guys win? Growing up, in my small corner of the world, the good guys always won. Life was fun. We rode our bikes all around town and played outside till dark. Bad things happened to others, in the big cities or on TV. Of course, that was in the 60’s.

Today, it seems the bad guys win a lot more than the good guys. On TV, in the movies and in real life, evil continues to grow and escalate with no end in sight. The wicked grow bolder with each passing day. Jesus told us this would happen. The hearts of people would grow colder each day. Disrespect of elders. Mothers and fathers turning against children and vice versa. Love of the creation instead of the Creator. We can add charges of offence, due to political correctness, caused by innocent comments, beliefs or our unwillingness to conform to current worldviews. All of these and more have grown to a fevered pitch. All this is topped by the worship of other gods: nature, false religions, education, government, philosophies, wealth, power, position, idols. We even place loved ones above God in our hearts. Worst of all, love of one’s self, coupled with selfish ambition, pull the hearts and minds from Jesus.

We live in a world where both physical and spiritual battles will be hard-fought and though we know Jesus wins in the end, there will be many confrontations before he returns. Our spiritual battles may be the hardest. It is easier to deal with the people we can see who war against us. Believers need to prepare for the spiritual battles, many may be worse than we have ever endured before. As human enemies step up their attacks on Christians, so will Satan and his minions. They will bring on full assault against God’s people. Temptation and condemnation will be two of the biggest strikes. Search your heart and know your weaknesses. Ask Jesus to bolster your determination to stand against the trials. Be sure to ask your prayer and support partners to pray for you…prayer always helps.

Jesus preached love and mercy and we must reflect his love. However, dark days are coming and people will come against us with the intention to harm or kill, I do not believe we are simply supposed to roll over and die. We will need to use our discernment and decide if it is time to take a stand. Our survival will depend upon it. Instead of stepping back in love and mercy, we will be called to defend ourselves and our families. We must come to terms with this truth now. To hesitate will bring defeat before the first shot is fired.

Remember, battles are lost and won. The stronger you are going into them, the better you will be. Begin to exercise your spiritual muscles now, so you will be ready when the real fight begins.

Have you dedicated your life to the Lord?

In Christian circles, we have baby dedications. Parents proclaim before their home body of believers, they will raise their child in the ways of the Lord Jesus. In turn, the church promises to encourage, assist and uphold in prayer, the child and his or her parents. But each person must make the final decision for themselves. In other words, you must make a personal decision to follow Jesus. You must decide if you believe Jesus is the Son of God, died for your sin…in your place, died and rose again and is now seated at the right hand of God in Heaven. Once you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, you are baptized, you die to sin and are raised to life in Jesus with a new nature…a new heart. All this is wonderful, but have you dedicated your life to him as well?

Dedicate: to devote (time, effort, or oneself) to a particular task or purpose.  Synonyms: devote, commit, pledge, give, surrender, sacrifice.

Examine yourself, do these words describe your life as a believer in Jesus Christ? It is easy in our fast paced existence of today’s world to lose sight of what’s important in this life, even as a believer. A great many people accept Jesus, pray the prayer of salvation, are baptized and then fall flat. Nothing or very little changes in their life. This pleases Satan, no need to bother with you, nothing’s changed. You are not a threat. You won’t inspire others to come to Jesus because you never gave up your old habits, ideas, and behaviors.

Jesus died for us. We can do no less than die to self. He purchased our lives with his blood…his life. We should be devoted to him.

So how can you show your devotion? It is not enough to say you are dedicated, it takes action. Prayer is important. Going to church, expanding your knowledge of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is also. But putting that knowledge to work, serving God and people is what Jesus did. It’s what we are supposed to do. What are you doing?

We realize between work and home there can be little time left for outside service. Yet, simple acts of kindness, helping where you can, listening, sharing their burden, being friendly are so important and over looked as service to others. These are all things Jesus did and we can too with very little effort.

Other tangible things are: taking a meal to someone when they are ill, have just had a baby, had a death in the family or just because it would make them smile. Leave a sack of groceries for someone who is having a hard time. Offer to babysit for new parents (for free) so they can have a break. Help clean up a yard or rake leaves for the elderly or ill, the list is endless.

Our entire purpose in this new life in Christ is to serve our Lord, to be his hands and feet as long as he gives us breath. We are to serve others and make disciples of all nations. Our service to others, more than anything else, will bring others to Jesus. It is our calling and our dedication to him demands it.

Who is your Shepherd?

A shepherd is a person who tends, herds, feeds, and guards a flock of sheep. Over and over in the Bible, we are told the Lord is our shepherd. Who is your shepherd? Who do you look to take care, provide and guard you? Who loves you unconditionally?

Believers look to God/Jesus as their shepherd. He is our provider, healer, comforter, and so much more. He encourages us. His love, compassion and mercy are unending. We do not want when we are under his care. He provides green pastures…food and a comfortable place for us. He leads us besides still waters, where there is peace and tranquility. When we sin and ask forgiveness, he restores our soul. He leads us to righteousness and asks us to do his will in this sinful world for his name’s sake. When we walk in the world among the lost, the enemies of our soul, we fear no evil because Jesus never leaves our side. His rod and staff comfort us. (The rod is used for correction and protection. The staff is used to guide and direct. Sheep tend to be shy and timid, the staff is used to hook the sheep and draw them close.) He prepares us to face our enemies with peace in our hearts. The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom and our hearts overflow with thanksgiving and gratitude because goodness and mercy follows us every day of our lives for we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever and ever.

In contrast, people in the world reject God. They look to education, wealth and power to provide their wants and needs. They put their faith in knowledge and science. Others, who are not educated, have no wealth, nor powers, work hard and many never get ahead. (Why? I do not know.) Of those, many choose dependency on society or government to help and support them. The path some choose is total dependence on government, until they feel entitled rather than grateful. They no longer try to improve themselves, they simply deceive themselves into thinking they are a victim.

People in all walks of life blame God for their plight, though God has never been and never will be the author of any kind of evil. He wants good for every person, past, present and future. He, after all, created us and loves all his creation whether they acknowledge him or not.

So we come back to the main question. Who is your shepherd?

  1. God, Jesus, Holy Spirit
  2. The world, society, government
  3. Education, money, power
  4. Knowledge, science, philosophy

For me and my house, we chose the Lord God Almighty, the Great I Am, my Savior, Lord and King…Jesus Christ, who never leaves us. We are drawn to his side because we are sheep of his pasture.

Psalm 23:1-6 (NKJV)
1  A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
3  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

 

Devotion

What do you think about when you hear the word devotion? Love, care, attention given to another? The formal definition of devotion is a profound dedication or earnest attachment to a cause or person.

We have an elderly loved one who sits by the side of his ailing wife day after day, hour by hour. He talks with her even when she doesn’t know who he is. He feeds her and washes her face after. He rubs her back. He holds her hand and pats her arm or leg. He leaves her side only when sleep or the need to eat forces him to. It is a devotion that is humbling to watch.

As I considered this man’s love for his wife, thoughts came about Jesus’ love for his bride…the church. He suffered unspeakable pain and horror and died in our place, all because of his great love for us. Now he intercedes for us when we fall short or sin. He walks by our side, never leaving or forsaking us. He talks with us even when we don’t hear his voice, ignore his words or acknowledge his presence. He comforts, heals, and encourages us day by day. He is totally devoted to us and our well-being. His love is boundless.

When I look at my devotion toward Jesus, I realize, I fall far short considering he is my Lord and King. I can never return equal dedication toward him in my human weakness. Yet, (with his help) I do everything in my ability to be the best servant, sister and friend I can be. I take his commands to heart…to love God and people and serve both. I strive to be his hands and feet, to share his great love for all people in my words and actions. I acknowledge my life is not my own…Jesus bought it with his blood on the cross and I relinquished my will (personal desires) when I accepted Jesus as my Savior. So I move forward, day by day, seeking to do his will and allowing his love to flow through me to people he brings into my life.

Are you devoted to Jesus/God? How do you show your devotion? Only you can examine your heart and find the answers. I urge you to consider your devotion to Jesus. Is it all it can be? If not, I challenge you to renew your heart toward God and begin to share his love today. Our walk with God is not a spectator sport. Love requires action and compels us to step out in faith and do his will. We, Jesus’ bride, are his servants…his hands and feet. We have love, encouragement and comfort to share to a lost and dying world. Let’s get to work.

2015 New Year’s Resolutions

Every year I make New Year’s Resolutions and every year I seem to do well for a few weeks before falling flat. Unfortunately, I am not alone. Most people fail or fall far short of their goal. Why is it so hard to keep the New Year’s Resolutions you make?

I would venture to guess, it’s because the resolution is either impractical, too lofty, or we just don’t have the resolve to follow through. We tend to try to succeed in our own strength. We don’t give it to God and ask him to help us. In addition, we don’t tell anyone we have set a goal, because we don’t want others to know we might not follow through or totally fail. I suggest this year we try something different.

  1. Set a reasonable goal or goals.
  2. Pray about your objective. Ask God to help you establish and achieve your ambitions.
  3. Third, write them down. Be specific. Spell out step by step what you want to accomplish.
  4. Ask a family member or close friend to help you. This person should be someone who is willing to encourage you. Share your goal and every step you plan to take to achieve it. This way they can hold you accountable. Be sure they are willing to scold you when you start to falter.
  5. Keep a journal of sorts. Write down how you are doing in keeping your New Year’s Resolutions, your milestones and how you feel about reaching each step. Small accomplishments always encourage us.

No matter what resolutions you want to achieve in the 2015 New Year, they are doable. Just make up your mind, persevere…stick with it and lean on Jesus to help you. God is on your side, so let’s reach our goals this year.

What was or is your greatest gift?

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s not so much the receiving of gifts, it’s the giving I enjoy the most. The look of pleasure on the faces of loved ones warms my heart. It is a gift to me in return. What was or is your greatest gift?
As a child, the guitar I received when I was fourteen comes to mind. As an adult, my husband surprised me with living room furniture years ago.

In my spiritual life, there is no question. My greatest gift was and is Jesus followed by the blessings he has given me through the years…my husband, children, grand-children, family and friends.

For God so love me, he gave his only son, Jesus, and because I believe in him, I have everlasting life. What an amazing gift! All I had to do was take the step of faith…to believe he is who he says he is…who God says he is. As a result, Jesus will never leave or forsake me. And his light and love flows over me.

What gift can I give him in return, one that will bring a smile to his face? The only gifts I have are my love, faith, allegiance and service. It’s my greatest desire to serve him every day for the rest of my life. To be his hands and feet in this evil age. To share his love for others and the salvation he offers to all who would believe. To remind his people to look to him for all things…rest in him and offer them encouragement in times of difficulty, pain or sadness. To rejoice with my brothers and sisters in the Lord in acknowledgment of all God has done for us and sing praises unto him.
So I ask again, what was or is your greatest gift? Jesus whom we celebrate is mine, is he yours? If so, what is your gift to him?

Patience

Last week I wrote about how we cannot allow our feelings to run our life. As we all know, many times that is easier said than done. That is where patience comes in.

Patience is like a muscle. If you use it frequently, it is strong and you are able to lift/handle most things that come along in your life. However, if you never or rarely use your patience muscle, you will be weak and unable to hold up under pressure. This is when we need to begin to exercise. Ugh, there’s that word many of us don’t like. However, just as body building increases physical health and vigor, training our hearts in patience will build our spiritual life and give us strength in dealing with our wayward emotions.

It is interesting…last week my feelings got the better of me. This week my patience was tested…big time. First, we had four unexpected days off, followed by two days of delays which led to frustration and upset. My patience muscle failed me. Seems like that is happening a lot lately. I failed the test and as with all tests, we have to retake the exam over and over until we pass. But my short comings open my eyes to the areas God wants me to work on. Now I can exercise to improve my spiritual fitness, so I can pass when the test comes around again.

As we prepare our hearts for hard times ahead, our spiritual muscles of patience, faith and hope will be extremely important. God will help us, but if we are weak in areas of importance, we will falter and that could be deadly…not only physically, but more importantly spiritually. We do not know what is ahead. (Loss of home, job, loved ones.) We must be strong in spirit so we can survive and be there to support others.

God gives us the gift of faith, but we have to exercise it in order for it to grow strong. Out of our faith comes patience as we wait upon the Lord. And hope allows us to look to the future and stand firm.

I encourage you to exercise your spiritual muscles. Relying on God is important, but we must do our part. Flex your muscles, work them, there may be sweat and tears involved, but that is how you grow strong. Start exercising today…train your body, mind and soul to rest in the Lord. Then you will be prepared for anything that life throws at you.

 

Feelings Should Not Run Our Life

This blog I write to myself, as well as to the rest of you. Recently, I allowed my tired weary body and irritation to rule my day. Yet, feelings should not run our life. I worked through the night and had very little sleep. Of course, that was the day many things went wrong. At first, I didn’t realize how out of sorts I truly was, yet as event after event piled on the day to irritate me, I definitely knew. Yet, I permitted my upset and tiredness to overwhelm me, to set the tone for my day. The peace of God fled me. I said and thought things I should not. I heard the warning…the Holy Spirit cautioned me. I ignored him to my shame. Thankfully, my husband was the only witness to my disgraceful behavior…besides God, of course. They should not have to endure my pettiness. What if I had allowed others to see that awful display of temper? What kind of witness of the Lord would that be?

We all have days like that…long days filled with upset, irritation and crossness. When I first knew what was happening, I should have immediately stopped and prayed…giving my lack of sleep and all my impatience to Jesus. Our Lord is faithful, he would have held me up and helped me to slow my temper.

The world attacks our faith every day. Political correctness demands we conform to worldly ideology in direct conflict with our beliefs. Popular philosophies assault us with their accusations of lack of acceptance and tolerance. To allow our feelings to control us, puts us directly in the world’s path and opens us to ridicule and discredits our Lord. It gives unbelievers ammunition to use against us. We must walk forward in love no matter how we feel or what people say or think.

The world is watching God’s people…believers in our Lord Jesus. We must be the light and salt even when we don’t feel like it. Living day by day will always bring these kind of days into our life. Our witness of God’s love must shine through regardless of our feelings. We must keep them under wraps.

Faith is not about feelings. Sure we can feel joy and happiness because we love Jesus. But faith is about accepting truth and walking in God’s ways not the world’s. We encourage you to walk in love and faith. Let them shine through in all you do every day. When a day turns sour, give it to the Lord. Allow Jesus to turn the tiredness to strength and irritation to patience.

Hopes, Dreams and Visions

Our Father God had the first hopes, dreams and visions. He hoped for companionship, dreamed of loving and being loved, and had the vision of a world where his creation would live in harmony with him forever. It is not surprising when he made us in his image, he created us with those same characteristics …hopes, dreams and visions.

All three of these special parts of our being are foundational to our spirits. They help make up who we are. They push us toward reaching our goals, even when they seem unachievable. But they are why we succeed.

What was the last thing you hoped for? A new job, a better home or some other material thing? How about a desire to increase your knowledge about God, a hope to be a better witness for Jesus, or a lost family member or friend will be saved? Hope is important on every level in our lives.

Are you a dreamer? Is there something you have wanted to do or be for a long time? Do you have an idea you created in your imagination that’s not real, but could be? These are all dreams, some we even received from God. Do you have the fortitude to make those dreams come true?

We received the vision of a sanctuary ranch in the mountains many years ago. It is part of the reason I started writing my book series, Flee to the Mountains. The ranch is real in my heart and mind, I can picture exactly how it will look. I can see the lake, cabins, grazing land with cows and buffalo, the greenhouse and gardens. I can envision the people working in harmony, far away from cities, in a world that’s gone crazy.

We still carry the hope, dream and vision, the ranch will someday be a reality and we are working to that end. My husband and I have tried, through this blog, to share our concerns for the future and the need to prepare. We have shared many of our own preparations with you week after week. As we prepare our hearts, we encourage you to do the same. As we purchase heirloom seeds, canning jars, lids and many other provisions, we urge you to gather your own supplies. It is our earnest prayer, those who read this blog will be ready when the time comes.

The second book in the Flee to the Mountain series has been published.  It is the story of the turmoil we expect will come in the future and explains our feeling of urgency to get ready. I invite you to check out ‘Daring Rescue’ available at Harmon Press and Amazon.com.  Paperback: http://harmonpressbooks.com/allbooks/daring-rescue-flee-to-the-mountains-series-book-1/             or                                                             http://www.amazon.com/Daring-Rescue-Flee-Mountains-Book/dp/1935959565/

E-Book: http://harmonpressbooks.com/allbooks/daring-rescue-flee-to-the-mountains-series-book-1-ebook/         or                                               http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field keywords=daring%20rescue%3A%20Flee%20to%20the%20Mountains

Are you Thankful?

Are you thankful to God for all he does for you in this life? Throughout the Bible, God talks of being thankful and grateful. They are interchangeable. Both mean: to feel or show appreciation for a kindness; to express gratitude. He does not require this from us, God’s love is great, and he cannot help but pour out his blessings on us. It is his nature. But if we truly acknowledge all he has done and appreciate his love and care for us, we should express that in our words and actions.

It is sad to say, we as a generation are not thankful in general. We expect or even demand our way and young people are even worse. Many in our society feel they are entitled to a good education, job and high pay.  If they don’t have a fancy car, big house and whatever else they desire, they are put out and upset. It matters little whether they deserve it or not. But I digress.

God wants to provide for us. He is very generous with his blessings. The problem is, we do not always want what he wants to give or how he wants to give it. He knows the future and in his great love there are times he chooses a different path for us simply because he knows the one we want will not be pleasant or good for us. Of course when this happens, many of us will throw a tantrum. We curse at God and some walk away.

I know this because years ago, I had my own hissy fit. God didn’t do what I wanted and boy did I get mad. But looking back, even though I would not have chosen this path, it led to a growing in the Lord I doubt I would have had, if not for the trial. God expanded my knowledge and understanding of who he is and how much he truly loves me. For that I am eternally grateful.

There are so many things I’m thankful for, my family, friends, job, co-workers, my country. Yes, even this crazy nation that is on the brink of devastation. Growing up with the freedom to learn about Jesus without persecution was a blessing. I understand that can change at any time, but I have hidden the Word in my heart, nothing can take it from me.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving Day with family and friends, take time to acknowledge God and thank him for all his many blessings. It is the least we can do for our loving Father God who is so wonderful.

Just a quick not to let you know Daring Rescue is now available. http://www.amazon.com/Daring-Rescue-Flee-Mountains-Book/dp/1935959565/

E-Book http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field keywords=daring%20rescue%3A%20Flee%20to%20the%20Mountains