Thursday, September 29, 2016

Can We Rejoice In a Fallen World?

Philippians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I will say, rejoice!

     Have you been dealing with an illness?  Have you been dealing with a loss of a loved one?  A loss of a job or a home?  Has your spouse had an affair and there is an impending divorce?  What about all the violence in this world with shootings and bombings, terrorist attacks, racial tension?  How about our recent presidential campaign?  Is this all disturbing and discouraging to you?  I know it is to me at times, if I'm not focusing on the One that matters.  The question is, can we rejoice even in the midst of all this chaos?  The Apostle Paul says to rejoice when?  When all is good?  No.  Rejoice always!  But you ask, how?  Not in our own strength, but Jesus' strength (Philippians 4:13).  Focusing on Jesus, and knowing He is in control, and His plans for you life is good, is something to rejoice in.  Always!  In verse 6 of Philippians 4, it says to pray and bring our supplications to God.  If you are going through a trial, rejoice, pray, then rejoice again! 

     I have been struggling with an illness since 1998, and in the past 5 years, I have really had struggles with it.  Pain, trouble walking, numbness and tingling, among other things have given me limits on what I can do.  I have cried and been discouraged, but when I wake up, almost every morning, I rejoice and thank Him for another day.  There are times when I don't feel up to rejoicing, but I do thank Him.  I'm only human.  James 1:2-4 says to count it all joy when you go through trials, because it produces patience.  We grow in Christ as we go through trials and we continue to rejoice anyways.  I have gone through other trials in my life where I thought I was in hell.  I rejoice now, because I came through it.  I didn't have Jesus in my life then, but now that I do, I rejoice because if I hadn't gone through it, I wouldn't know Jesus.  Jesus set in motion, before we were born, what we go through, in order to draw us to Him.  Where are you in your life?  Can, or will you rejoice, in spite of the circumstances in the life around you?  Can you give up yourself, and give in to Christ?

     In conclusion, rejoicing always is praise to God for all He has done in your life.  In Philippians, Paul was in prison and was being persecuted for his faith, but he still rejoiced.  He knew his reward and that was enough for him to rejoice.  Life's circumstances don't matter in the grand scheme of things.  It takes faith to rejoice when we cannot see the outcome.  This is what Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen".  We hope, then we rejoice.  We can worry about ISIS, we can worry about who will be the next president, or shootings and terrorism.  We can worry about our health or our losses, as painful as they are, or we can have faith, trust, and rejoice in the midst of life's chaos.  What is your choice today?

Like I have said previously, I hope to blog more consistently, and I hope you will follow my blog.  May you rejoice always!

In His Joy,

Sabrina  

     

Monday, September 12, 2016

Are You My Sheep?

It has been about a year since my last blog.  I hope to keep up on it more, as I can.

Matthew 25:31-36
"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.  All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.  And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on His left.  Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'"

     Have we been the King's sheep?  As Christians, what have we done for the kingdom of God?  How many of us have walked by a homeless person and just ignored him, thinking the worst, when in fact, he is just like us, a creation of God.  They may be begging and they may smell bad, or even seem "dangerous" because of a mental illness, but have we offered them food or drink?  Have we shared what we have in abundance, with those who have nothing?  Jesus said if we do feed and give drink to them, we do it to Him.  We were all hungry and thirsty before we met Jesus, and someone fed us with the Word of God.  We were given drink from the Fountain of Life.  We were once like those who we now ignore.

     How are we with those who need a place to stay?  A stranger?  Are we willing to take a risk and house them or find a place for them?  Are we willing to clothe them with something of our own?  How often do we treasure our things, unwilling to let them go to a person in need?  Christians are to be generous with what they have, because in reality, God provided for them.  At one time we had no home and we were naked, and someone led us to Jesus and our home became heaven, and we became clothed in righteousness.  Jesus calls His sheep to do the same.  If we are unwilling, then we are mere goats, and not of His fold.

     How busy are we that we cannot take time to visit those who are sick?  Or how self-righteous are we that we are too good to visit those in prison?  The sick need us to reassure them of hope and the imprisoned need us for the same.  We were once sick and imprisoned by our sin and someone came to our rescue and gave us hope, and Jesus took our sin upon Himself and freed us from the bondage of sin.  We are called to help those in need.  Can we visit those who are sick, and visit those in prison, and put ourselves aside in doing so?  Jesus calls us to do to those because in doing so, would be doing it to Him.

     Jesus said to the goats in verse 41, "Depart from Me", because they did not feed, give drink, take in a stranger or clothe him, visit the sick or those in prison.  Those who do not do these will have no part in His kingdom.  Are we willing to humble ourselves and meet with these people and help them, or sit on our lofty thrones of pride and selfishness and miss out on what God intended for us to have?  If you have or have not done it to the least of His brethren, you have or have not done it to Him.  Which are you, sheep or goats?

Blessings to all that follow and read this.  I pray that my blog has, and will continue to be a blessing to you.

Sabrina

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sing Your Praise to The Lord

   Amy Grant performed a song awhile back called "Sing Your Praise to The Lord".  I listened to it this morning, and thought to myself, "I need to praise Him at all times"!  Hallelujah?  Even when life is challenging and hard, I need to praise Him.  We all do.  I've seen struggles in friends' and family's lives and I struggle as well with difficult situations, but we still need to give praise where it's due, and give it to Whom it's due...Jesus.  In just a few months we will be celebrating Jesus' birth.  He was born fully human and fully God.  He knew no sin.  He grew to the age of 12 and by then was teaching in the temple.  Years would pass and by age 30 he called 12 disciples and began a ministry that would change the world.

     A few months after we celebrate His birth, we celebrate the very essence of why He was born into a world of sinners.  They questioned His ministry and Him.  They mocked Him.  They arrested Him and beat  Him.  They scourged Him and flogged Him.  Spat upon Him and they Crucified Him.  He bled and died for our sin.  God had turned His back on His only Son, so that we may have eternal life.  Then something amazing happened 3 days after His death.  He arose from the borrowed grave He was lying in!  He conquered Death and Hades!  Salvation came to us by His blood, to whoever believed!  How amazing is that?  So yes, we can sing our praise to the Lord in any given situation, because He gave His life for us!

     You may have had a loss or you may have a health or a financial issue.  Family problems or job problems arise, and you are at the end of your rope.  What do you do then?  Give Him praise and glory, just because He died in your place.  Life is hard and we cannot minimize that.  But the truth is that we can praise Him in the midst of our problems, because He gave His life that we might live.  Jesus is our only source of strength.  Jesus is our only source of joy and praise.  Sing your praise to the Lord!


Singing Praises,
Sabrina

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Friendship

1 Samuel 18:1
As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

     David and Jonathan had a solid friendship.  One of a true bond, down to the depth of their souls.  They were more than just merely best friends.  Their souls were intertwined.  They were more than brothers.  Their love for one another came from God Himself.  That's the kind of friendship we need to have with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  If we would love each other as David and Jonathan loved each other, and the way Christ loves us, the world would see us as real, and not just see Christianity as religiosity that is empty.  I have a friendship that mirrors David and Jonathan's.  My best friend and I were separated by distance for 25 years, yet we stayed in contact.  Even in our silent moments, we were still joined.  I came back home almost 7 years ago, and we still can't see each other enough.  There are frustrations, but there are times we need to cry and need to laugh, and no matter what, we are there for each other.

     I wrote about friends, and showed a video in my last blog, and I want to continue in that content.  There are friendships that are not good for us.  We may hang out with "the wrong crowd" and get into trouble.  There may be "friends" who just bring us down.  We need to be very discerning in whom we make friends with.  The world shows us great sins.  The Bible tells us in James 4:4, You adulterous people!  Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  Meaning, the lust of the flesh, anyone who leads you to sin, the worldly desires, instead of godly desires.  Those "friends" that lead you to sin, are not friends that are tied to your soul.  They do not have your best interest in mind.  A true friend will lead you in the right direction.  A righteous direction, divinely made from the Lord Himself.

     John 15:13 says, Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  Are you willing to give it all up for your friends?  Are they willing to give all they have for you?  That is what friendship is all about.  Love and sacrifice, just as Jesus laid down His life for us.  How much are you willing to give to your friendships in your life?  Do you think they are worth the sacrifice?  If you don't think so, then maybe you need to rethink why you are their friend, or if you really are a friend to them.  God wants all of you.  God wants your whole life.  Jesus wants you to love others as He did, and for you to give it your all.  Are you in?

In friendship and love,
Sabrina

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Friends are Friends Forever



     In 1987, Michael W. Smith sang this song and it touched my heart.  I had close friends that I was away from, and those that I had lost.  The song lived long in me.  It always melted my heart and made me cry.  Well, just last month, one of my nieces graduated high school and they someone sang this song, and it touched my heart again.  We have have our families for a lifetime, but too, can have lifetime friends, if the Lord is in them.

     From the memory I first have of friends, I had a friend named Mark when I was about 4.  I thought of him as my boyfriend at the time.  Oh, young love, right?  I lost touch over the years and still wonder whatever became of Mark.  For many years I moved from one school to the next and it felt like I had just a few friends.  One in particular was Angela, who I thought of as my best friend in the 3rd grade, but we soon lost touch.  We met up again when I moved back to my hometown.  Since my teens I have had a constant best friend, Karol, who was part of our Youth Ministry in our church.  We have been best friends for over 30 years and not once lost touch, unless I took awhile in writing or calling.  I moved from California to Arizona to Montana and to Illinois, and had the best of friends all around.  I have been truly blessed to stay in contact with them through Facebook and reconnect with old high school friends through Facebook, and coming home.  I was even graced by God to meet friends on a cruise ship!

     For many years, I took advantage of my friends, and only called on them when I needed them.  Then Jesus changed me.  Now, a friend is someone who I cherish and take care of any way I possibly can.  God has given me opportunity for friendships from all over to minister to.  I love all who I meet.   I want to give back what I have taken.  I want to be the kind of friend that will lay down my life for them.  When they cry, I'll be there and cry with them.  When they rejoice, I'll be there to rejoice.  God has called me to minister to people's needs, because at one time, I needed to be ministered to.

     One thing is for sure that I have learned in my journey through life, is to never take friendship for granted, and never take advantage of your friends.  Be there for them as they are there for you.  Love them as Christ loves them, and as Christ loves you.  Friends are friends forever, if the Lord's the Lord of them.  If that is the case, it will last a lifetime.  Cherish everyone, because someday they won't be there.  Life is too short to fret over petty stuff.  Forgive and love your friends.  And if I call you a friend, even on Facebook, you are my friend, and I love you.

Love with the friendship that Christ gave to us,
Sabrina 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

My Grace is Sufficient For You

                                                               2 Corinthians 12:9
                                                                 "My grace is sufficient for you,
                                                                   for My strength is made perfect
                                                                                  in weakness".

     Paul had something in his life that he called a thorn in his flesh.  It most likely was an ailment he was suffering from.  Paul prayed 3 times for God to take it away, but He didn't.  Jesus made it perfectly clear that His grace was sufficient for Paul.  Paul later stated in the verse that he would gladly boast in his infirmities that the power of Christ may rest on him.  Paul's journey through the Christian life was tumultuous at best, but he was willing to persevere and run the race to the end, for his reward in heaven.  He was once a brutal persecutor of Christians and now is a fervent follower of Christ. 

     How are we then, to accept God's grace being sufficient for us?  When illnesses arise?  When trials of any come?  Grace is undeserved favor that we can't do for ourselves.  Jesus died on the Cross for our sins with His grace.  We all deserved eternal death, separated from God.  But God gave His only Son to save us.  Paul prayed for his thorn to be removed, and Jesus told him His grace was sufficient.  His grace is sufficient with our sins as well.  The price has been paid once and for all.  It's not by our doing, but by Jesus' doing.  We cannot boast in our salvation, but we can boast in Christ.

     How are you handling God's grace today?  Do you have a "thorn" you want to get rid of?  Are you handling your problems on your own, and not turning to Jesus?  Do you think you are not good enough for Jesus?  Do you think you are not doing enough to get to heaven?  No worries, Jesus' grace has got you covered.  No problems are too big or too small.  You may have an illness that He won't release from you, but rest assure, His grace is sufficient in all ways of life. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding".  Proverbs 3:5.  We don't always understand God's ways, but His ways are always best.  God gave us grace not because it was deserved, but because He loved us enough to spare us from hell.

                                                               In God's sufficient grace,
                                                                                           Sabrina

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Turning Sorrow Into Joy

                    "...Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength".  Nehemiah 8:10b

     I wonder sometimes how we can have joy in the midst of sorrow.  Have you wondered the same thing?  Questions abound when illness, terrorism, riots, emotional turmoil, and many other turmoils come.  Where is the joy?  And how do we get it?  Our joy comes only from Jesus, and His joy gives us strength.  When we are in the middle of turmoil, it can seem like joy is a million miles away.  The truth is, we become so consumed with our problem that we focus on it and we become a million miles away from Jesus.  Jesus is always with us.  When we focus on our problem, we are the ones that leave Him, and our joy is gone.

     Life happens.  Earthquakes devastate.  Planes crash.  Children die of cancer.  Suicides soar.  But God.  Two most powerful words in the Bible.  But God can bring joy in the midst of all the chaos.  How?  He sent His Son Jesus to die on the Cross of Calvary, for a sinful and dying world, so that it may have eternal life...and...joy even when trouble strikes.  Having Jesus in your life doesn't mean there won't be trouble, but trusting and relying on Him, gives you hope.  Our life on earth is temporary.  We are getting ready for eternity.  Earth is our training ground for what is yet to come.

     "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world".  John 16:33.  With all that goes on in this lost and dying world, we can find joy in Christ, and with that, His strength.  And as it says in John 16, we can also have peace.  In Philippians, Paul says, don't worry.  Friends, God's got this!  We just have to trust.  I have found myself wondering why all these things happen.  But God is always reassuring me of His joy and peace when I cry out, "Help"!  to Him. 

                       "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus".  Philippians 4:7

     His peace, as well as His joy is beyond what we can understand.  We cannot know God's plan, but He has it in place for us.  So, do not sorrow, His joy is your strength.  Let Him give it to you.

                                                     In peace and joy,
                                                                        Sabrina