Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another Song For the Week

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares theLord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


God has a plan, a plan for you.  His grace and mercy reigns.  He prospers you in ways beyond your knowledge, to give a hope and a future.

When life seems utterly impossible to deal with, and you don't see a way to get out.  When your plans fail and life seems doomed, and you are at your wit's end.  When loved one die or get very ill and you feel lonely and afraid.  When you don't know which direction to turn, and you are lost in the midst of confusion.  Go to Jesus, He has a plan.  He will give you strength to endure.

God has a plan, a plan for you.  His grace and mercy reigns.  He prospers you in ways beyond your knowledge, to give a hope and a future.

Are you hurting, and life seems at its end?  Are you in pain, and nothing helps?  Are you desperate for love and companionship?  Are you in despair, and wanting it all to end?  Go to Jesus, He has a plan.  He will give you strength to endure.

God has a plan, a plan for you.  His grace and mercy reigns.  He prospers you in ways beyond your knowledge, to give a hope and a future.

When your plans go awry, who do you call?  When things don't fall into place, who do you count on?  When you plan your future and all falls apart, who comes to rescue you?  When the tunnel seems long and dark and there is nowhere to turn, who is your savior?  Go to Jesus.  He has a plan.  He will give you strength to endure.

  God has a plan, a plan for you.  His grace and mercy reigns.  He prospers you beyond your knowledge, to give you a hope and a future.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

All Things

When a friend is crying for a loved one who is suffering and you don't know what to say, God says, "All things work together for good, for those who love Me".  

When financial troubles are in front of you and you don't know what to do, God says, "All things work together for good, for those who love Me".

When relationships fail and you don't know where to turn, God says, "All things work together for good, for those who love Me".

Friend, don't be discouraged, don't lose your hope, look to the future and know it will all work out.  Be content with you past, your present, and things to come, because all thing will work out.

When children you raised go down the wrong path, and you don't know how to cope, God says, "All things work together for good, for those who love Me".

When you lose someone that you never wanted to let go, and are lost without them, God says, "All things work together for good, for those who love Me".

When you have nowhere to lay your head at night, and don't know where to go, God says, "All things work together for good, for those who love Me".

Friend, don't be discouraged, don't lose your hope, look to the future and know it will all work out.  Be content with your past, your present, and things to come, because all things will work out.

*I apologize I wasn't blogging much last week.  I was busy all week.  Today I reflect on how things all work out in my life, after something great happened today.  I wrote this above as a song.  I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bible Trivia Time

What Is the Last Battle in the Bible?

Revelation 16:16-17
And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.  Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!"

Armageddon is the last battle where Christ takes His final stand and takes His rightful place on Earth.  Satan and his minions are defeated.  Christ wins in the end and we can all praise Him for that.
Know that in trials of uncertainty, Christ wins in the end.  "All things work together for good..."
When your troubled, call out to Jesus who is the defender of your faith and will stand between you and the devil and defeat the devil in the end.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Listening to God

     So you are sitting in your favorite chair, in your favorite room, and it is so quiet that you could hear a pin drop.  No one is around and your TV and phone is off.  What do you  hear?  Do you hear children playing outside?  Dogs barking?  Emergency vehicles sirens or car horns honking?  Do you hear birds chirping or rain dancing on the roof?  The wind blowing through your wind chimes, making sweet melodies in your ear?...Do you hear God?  Or are you even listening to Him?  You could be hearing all of the above noises in a quiet setting and not even be listening to God's quiet voice, and why?  Because you are too focused on what is going on around you, not what's going on inside you.  When it's quiet, listen for His voice and savor His message to you.  Don't let a moment pass where you hear God and really listen.  We all hear things, but do we listen?

     When you pray, what does God tell you?  When you are crying out to Him, what does He say?  Sometimes we get so focused on telling God what we want, like a spoiled child, that we don't listen to Him.  When struggles come, we may think we know what's best for us, but only God does, and He is speaking to us everyday.  Don't let that moment pass.  God is greater than anything or anyone in the universe, and we, as humans, are only a small portion of that universe.  He can and will take care of your life, in His time, in His way, for His purpose and your own good.  Just listen to His instructions for your life.  We talk and talk and plead for things when we pray, but do we really listen for God's voice?

     The next time you pray, just be quiet and listen.  Let the Lord lead the way in prayer and in every situation.  We may not understand what He is doing or saying, but just listen, obey and trust.  You may be facing a broken relationship, a financial crisis, an illness or a death, but just listen to His still small voice for the answers in your life.  "Be still and know that I am God."  He tells us.  They key to any relationship or conversation is a listening ear.  Remember, God gave us one mouth to speak, but two ears to listen.  I think there is a good reason for that.  Next time it is quiet in your favorite room of your home and in your favorite chair, just listen...for God...He is always there for you...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Meditate On These Things

Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy---meditate on these things.  The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.  (NKJV)

     My blog is based on Philippians 4:8 and I also want to add to this, verse 9 today.  The things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report and the things that have virtue and are praiseworthy, we do need to meditate on these every day if we want to experience God's peace.  Trials may come and trials may go and we are left empty if we don't rely on the goodness that God gives us.

  The things of this world are temporal, but the things of God last an eternity.  Live a life of truth.  Live a noble life.  Live just and pure.  Be lovely and of good report.  Have virtue in your life, and all things praiseworthy, think of these things and remember this is how God wants us to be.  No matter what happens to us or how people treat us, we need to remember these things that God gives us to live a holy life in Him.  That is the truth in life and we must meditate on the Truth.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


     God always answers prayer.  He answers it the way that is best for us.  We may not agree with the way He answers, but He always answers for our own good.  We may not like the way He answers but He always has us in mind when He answers.  There are three ways He may answer.

1.  He answers Yes.  We ask for something that we want or need and if it's according to His Will, He graciously gives it to us.  It may not be the way we want it to be but He does give it to us.  He loves us so much that He loves to give us what we want, but sometimes what we want may not be the right thing.

2.  He answers No.  You say, "What?  God answers no?"  Yes, if it's not His Will, He will say no.  A lot of people ask for things that are shallow or not important, like millions of dollars are a very expensive car.  Those are not things that necessarily will be best for us.  We then might even pray for something that is important, like the healing of a loved one with a serious illness.  Yes, He might answer, "Not your will, but My Will."  It is not God's Will necessarily for us to suffer and die, but God uses tragedy for His glory, not necessarily our happiness.  God, if you let Him, will give you joy, not happiness, through your trials.  Happiness is dependent on what good we have in our lives.  Joy happens, even in the midst of something terrible.

3.  He answers Wait or Not Now.  Patience is something that God gives us to use in our daily lives as we rejoice, as well as struggle.  Waiting on God is essential in our walk with Him.  It's God's timing that is the best.  We may never see a prayer answered in our lifetime, but it will be answered.  We may have to wait years, and God may want you to always faithfully pray, whether we feel like giving up or not.  We need to endure through every pain in order to gain victory.  God will answer, we just may have to wait.

     Remember to never stop praying for the needs or wants in your life and be faithful in doing so, whether or not the thing you want or need looks impossible to get.  Nothing is impossible with God, even when things look impossible from man's point of view.  Hang in there, trust God and have faith.  The best in life is waiting for you and God is waiting for you to respond to Him.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Two Paths

   There were two young men walking along a path.  They were best friends since grade school.  Their names were George and Ned.  Their path led them together the first part of their journey.  They looked at the scenery the same way and followed each other along the way, until they came to a fork in the path.  There were two ways to go.  One was a narrow way that looked difficult to walk.  The other was a wide path filled with all kinds of possibilities.  Both George and Ned looked at each other in confusion.  They had to make their decision on which way to go.  It was tough to make.  Would they go along the same path or would they go their separate ways for the first time in 13 years?The decision was very difficult, but it was finally made.  George went one way and Ned went the other way.  They hugged and cried and said their goodbyes, never to see each other for a long time, if ever again.

     George saw both paths at a distance and saw that the wide road was an easy path.  Nothing was obstructing the way, and very few obstacles getting in the way, the only thing was that it seemed darker than the other path, but George took that path.  He said goodbye to Ned and went on his way.  Ned wasn't sure that George was making the right decision, but he let him go on his way without an opposing word.  He knew that if George didn't choose the right path, he'd have to learn the truth about the path on his own.  George started the path and at the time, the path seemed brighter than it did at a distance, so he continued with a big smile on his face.  He thought to himself, "This is the life I want.  I wish my buddy Ned was with me."  He saw all the possibilities on this path.  All the possessions he could have  and all the pleasures he would enjoy.  

     A strange man in a dark cape came up behind him and he was startled at first.  "Hello young man.  I have something valuable for you to have.  Would you be interested?"  the strange man asked.  "What is it?", George inquired.  He took it from the strange man's hands.  It was gold!  Millions of dollars worth!  George just pushed the strange man's hands away.  "I can't take your riches from you!", George insisted.  "What is mine is now yours", the strange man told him, so George took the millions in gold from the strange man and went merrily on his way.  The funny thing was that the path was getting darker as he went down it.

     He later came to a young man about his age.  He wore a black hoodie and was covered in tattoos.  He kind of stunk, but he did have something to offer to George as well.  "Here, take this, it will make you feel on top of the world!  Like a king!," the young man told George.  "I can't take that.  It's yours," George said.  "What's mine is now yours.  Go on, it will make you feel great!", the young stinky man prodded.  George took the substance from him and went on his way.  He felt like a king, but only for a moment, then he felt like he was in a dark endless hole, so he looked for that stinky young man in the black hoodie for some more of what he had, but never found him.  He felt like he could die right there.  The path got darker.

     He was practically crawling on the ground in agony when this beautiful young woman came up to him and wanted to grant him the most pleasurable experience he could ever imagine.  He told her he had never done anything like that, but was anxious to feel pleasure again, so they went into a cave and she seduced him.  He felt total ecstasy and wanted more of what she had to offer but she had left him with an empty feeling and he yearned for her and went looking for her, but never found her.  He found more women in more caves but never got enough of them.  They all told him what was their was his, but the offer was empty.  He felt shame and devastated.  The path got very dark where he could no longer see.
     Ned on the other hand went along the narrow path.  It wasn't much to look at and he couldn't see very well, but he continued on.  He found this little old lady that was injured and helped her.  She was lying in the middle of the path, moaning in agony and bleeding.  he bent down to help her and she was very thankful.  "Ma'am, you are injured badly and I need to get you to a doctor, come with me", Ned told her, and carried her on the path.  The path got brighter as they went on their way.  They came to a doctor and she got better so they parted their ways.
     Ned got further along the path and there was a severe storm.  He didn't know where he could get cover so he continued on the path.  He had to walk up a steep hill with thunder and lightning all around him and it got hard.  He thought to himself, "This is not what I though this path would be, I may die on this path."  An old man came up to him with a comforting voice.  "You are doing well, my son.  Continue on this path and you will find ultimate joy.  There may be trials but you will find ultimate peace in the end", the old man said.  Ned went on and trouble came and went.  He fell ill with a serious disease that almost killed him, but when he got well, he still stayed on the narrow path.    His cell phone rang one night.  It was his father.  He hadn't heard from him in years.  His father said that his mother and brothers died in a terrible train accident.  Ned was devastated and very weary.  He wanted to just go home, but the old man said to keep going, so he did.  He was laden with burdens he could not bear on his own, but he found a man that walked with him up the hill.  The man told him he must go to the end.  This man glowed like an angel from heaven itself.  He trusted this man, and had known him from the beginning.  It kept getting lighter as they went up the hill together.

     All of a sudden the lights went dim and he couldn't see his friend that stayed with him.  He got afraid and stopped to rest.  He saw sheep ahead and continued after his rest.  One of the sheep offered him treasures beyond his imagination if he would only follow him.  Ned was suspicious at this animal.  It didn't look like a normal sheep when he got closer.  The lone sheep said that Ned could have anything he wanted, provided he followed the lone sheep.  Suddenly it became light again and he saw his friend once more and felt safe.  The lone sheep ran away.  As the sheep ran, Ned looked closer and saw that it was actually an evil wolf trying to lead the young man astray.  All his friend said was "Follow me.  What's mine is yours".  So Ned continued and it became so bright that he was almost blinded, but he felt extreme joy coming from it.  

     George was at the end of his rope at journey's end and gave up and died.  Ned had everything when he fell asleep one night at an old age, and never woke up.  They both saw each other at the end of their lives.  They were so excited to see one another.  Ned knew from looking at George that he had a terrible life.  He felt a little sad looking at his best friend.  George asked Ned, "Hey Ned, how was your life?"  Ned answered him, "George my friend!  It was rough but in the end I had all I wanted and needed!  I was very blessed!  How was your life, my friend?"  George answered him sadly, with shaking hands and said, "My dear friend, George, I had it all!  Fame, fortune, pleasures from my wildest dreams, and lots of women at my command!  I...I just lost it all in the end.  My life got so dark and I gave up.  I had nothing in the end."  They walked down the hallway that they were in, but down two different paths.  They finally approached the King.  They were waiting to see which door they would go through.  The King came up to Ned and said, "Go through the pearly gates into everlasting life.  Well done, my good and faithful servant."  Ned opened the door to pure joy and was elated beyond what he expected.  George felt a sudden terror in his body as the King bellowed out his name.  "George!  I never knew you! Go through that door to your demise!  You gave up without trying when life got hard and didn't trust the friend I sent to you!"  George had a questionable look on his face and said, "But King, where was this friend?  I never saw him."  And the King answered,  "He was right beside you all the way and you didn't even notice!  Now go through that door immediately!"  And the smoke and fire beyond that door consumed him.

     Which road would you take?  The wide, easy road, with everything imaginable and pleasurable at your command, but end up with nothing but darkness and despair?  Or would you take the hard, narrow road that brings troubles you can't face without a friend, but continue to the end, and get everything imaginable?  Think about it the next time yo want something that looks so good, but in reality is deadly.  If we help others in need and not think of ourselves first, and tread through illness and loss with victory with the friend who watches over you and guides your way, you will have it all and have an eternity with that friend forever.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Why Does This Happen to Me?

     There are questions in life that may not have answers and this question in my title is one.  Why things happen is something we may never know in this lifetime.  There is a time for everything, Ecclesiastes says.  "A time to be born and a time to die..."  "A time to kill and a time to heal..."  It all has to do with the Will of God.  Though in truth, God's Will is not for us to die.  He gives us life.  But there are reasons beyond our knowledge and control that the purpose for loss and sorrow come. We are strengthened through crises.  We grow closer to Jesus through trials.  Life is never easy, but we must trust.

     I just went to a funeral yesterday of a well-beloved father, grandfather, great-grandfather, friend, and boss of many over the years.  He suffered from cancer, and we don't know why.  Why would people who do so good in life suffer?  I have a friend who has cancer and we just hope for a miracle in her life, for her and her family.  She never considers herself before others, so why would God let her suffer?  We just have to believe, hope and trust, that whatever happens in our lives, God has a plan for all of us.

     There are things that I don't understand and things I don't have an answer for.  Things like how one man could be allowed to have millions killed because he didn't like their nationality.  And how it may possibly happen again after 70 years.  I don't understand how millions of babies could be allowed to be murdered before they even have a chance to be born.  I just don't understand, but I have to trust God.  In the end, "Every knee shall bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord."  Jesus died so that we might live.  Maybe not on earth, but in eternity.  Why we suffer is not the question.  What will we do when we suffer should be the question we have an answer for.  

    James 1:2-3, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience."  

         No, we don't know why, but we can know that it is for our good and we will be better if we trust.  I know it hurts.  I know we see no reason.  But I also know that God has a purpose for our lives and it is better than what we can even imagine.  Just trust and just believe.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Got Any Change?

     How many of you like change?  If you don't like change, raise your hands.  I see a lot of hands go up.  Well...of course I can't really see hands, but in reality, if there was a group of people in front of me, there would be a lot of hands raised.  Change is not just bad.  It can be a good thing, but it's still change.  We get set in our ways on things in life and want things to stay that way.  We just don't like change.  You could be getting married, having a baby, moving, someone may have died or a couple divorce.  You may have won the lottery or lost a lot in the stock market.  A lot can change in an instant and we're sometimes not prepared, especially for the worst.  Life is full of change and we all have to deal with it.  One minute I was single, the next minute, married.  I had children and every moment of their lives was change.  I got divorced.  My kids left home.  I moved across country.  But how does one react to change?  Do they get anxious and nervous, or just lose it all together?  Do they just accept it and go on?  Even in the good change, do they struggle?  Yes, it does happen.  It's called stress.  When there is change, there is stress, and that can be a challenge.  If we don't accept that our lives will change at any moment, we will be fearful and worrisome.  We may fall completely apart, or if it's good change, we may go to far in expressing ourselves and do things that could harm ourselves, like winning the lottery and then losing it all by shopping or bad investments, because we always want more.

     What do you do when you know a change is coming?  First of all, pray.  Let God have your worries and fears of the unknown.  Count on Him in everything.  Secondly, plan.  Plan what to do next, and know that God also has a plan in this change.  Thirdly, praise.  Praise God for every change and every opportunity that change has in store for you in your life.

     What do you do when change comes abruptly?  Pray.  Always talk to God in whatever circumstances you come across, that is why I mentioned it twice.  Process.  Take time to process the change and look for hints of what God is doing.  Provide.  Whatever circumstance arises, provide whatever is necessary for you to adjust and for your family to adjust to the new change.  Remember in all things, trust Jesus for the outcome.

     I have change in my life going on right now and it is stressful, but it is a good change for the most part, so I'm at peace that this is what God wants for me.  Not only does God have a plan for you but in all things, God works everything out for us, when we love Him and do His will.  Life is too short to begin with, but it becomes even shorter if we worry and are in fear.  God gives us grace and mercy every day, so just kick back and watch Him do His thing to work out His will.  I know there is struggle in the tragedies that we face, but there is always a good plan ahead, if we just wait and see.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Attitude or Badditude?

     Sometimes we go through life with an attitude of thankfulness and appreciation for others.  We don't complain about others and just accept who they are.  We are positive in our actions and the strife of others causing trouble.  We just take what comes to us with grace and mercy.  If we have that attitude, we have it made and life is smooth and desirable.  We trust God to work out all the bumps in the road.  No matter what happens in life, we know it's all worth it if we obey God's calling in our lives.  
     Then there are those of us who have what I call a badditude.  That is, a bad attitude.  We gripe, we complain and get easily angered at the people who we don't quite understand where they are coming from.  We hold grudges, blame others for our mistakes and we don't forgive. Nothing makes us happy no matter what.  Our lives become miserable, and nothing makes us happy.  This badditude does not please or glorify God.  If we would trust Him and know that we are sinners just like the next guy, we might be nicer and take more from others.  Smiling at others who are not so nice to us, may be the best revenge.  Being kind is one of the fruits of the Spirit and God requires us to show our kindness.
     I know in my life, I have done things and said things I later regretted.  I don't want that in my life at all.  I want a life filled with joy and know that I have glorified God in everything I do and say.  I want to be righteous before God and be in His will.  I want to go from badditude to attitude.  Hopefully it's what we all want to strive for in our lives.  It's easy to love those who are loveable, but to love someone who isn't pleasant means more to our Father.  Be the kind of person that when God takes you home to Him, He will say, "Well done".  Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law".  What kind of fruit do you have?  Is it good fruit or is it rotten and shriveled?  

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Quietness of the Heart

     As I got up this morning, the TV was on.  I got up to get my coffee and got back into bed to spend time with God in His Word.  I turned the TV on mute and God talked with me and I listened.  I had burdens on my heart and spoke of them in prayer.  I waited for His response and He answered.  The quiet room surrounded me and all I could hear was His voice.  Yes, I talked and wanted my prayers to be heard, but then I was quiet.  Listening to God in the quietness of your heart is more important than listing all your wants.  We talk all day to people but when do we be quiet and just listen?

     Listening to God for His response to our dire situation is one step that many people don't take.  All they want is how God should answer their prayers.  God's ways are not our ways, but we sometimes tell God how we want our lives to be.  God's Will will be done, with or without us.  Yes, prayer changes things, but what God wants is more important than what we think we need.  God is omniscient.  God is omnipresent.  God is omnipotent.  He is all-knowing, ever-present and all-powerful, and that's that.  Why we suffer, why we rejoice.  Why we get sick, why we are healed.  Why we die, why we survive, it's all a part of a life that is imperfect here on earth.  God never wants us to suffer or die, but because there is sin, there will be suffering and death.  God want us to live and rejoice in Him, and we will, if we know Him, in Eternity.

     Quietness of the heart and listening for God's instruction is the key to living in God's Will.  We must do it to go the right way in life.  I talk when things need to be said, so some people think I'm quiet, but I can talk someone's ear off when I want to.  I also think of the next thing to say when someone else is talking and don't really listen.  I am far from being quiet.  I was reminded today in my devotions that I need to be quiet, with my mouth and my mind, and just listen.  With all the burdens that I have in life, He told me to "Listen and obey".  I'm not sure what that means in every situation, but He also asks me to trust Him, and I do.  It's not easy, considering that others I have trusted have let me down, but Jesus has never ever let me down.  Will you be quiet today and just listen to His voice and obey Him?    

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Comfort Those Who Mourn

     Matthew 5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
     When we face a trial in our lives, like losing loved ones, know that Jesus will give you comfort.  Know that if you care for someone who is mourning, you need to comfort them in their need.  We all go through dark times in our lives when we really need someone, God or our friends and family.  If there are friends that are reaching out to help you, take their hand.  If someone is in need, reach out and take their hand.  Let's give our love to those who need it the most.  I have seen a lot of tragedy in the last couple of weeks and realize that I have no control over things in my life.  I pray, I hope, I have faith that all will work out, and God promises it will.  I don't know how, but I do know that God's plans are better than my plans.

     We all hurt at times and we all need someone in our lives, especially in the hard times.  God said in the garden that it wasn't good that Adam was alone, so He created Eve.  We are not alone for a reason.  We love, we help, we care.  Or we can berate, insult or hate.  Which will you do?  Love one another.  Even if an enemy is mourning, give them comfort as well.  Life is too short to gripe, complain and hate.  And life is too short to neglect those who are mourning.  Give of yourself today for those who are in need.  Be a comfort to others, because if Jesus, who was crucified, can give those who hated Him comfort, and forgave the world, we can surely give comfort to those in need.