Swiftly We are Turning Life’s Daily Pages..

Life is funny sometimes.  One day you are 20 something and the next day, your son is 25, your little girl is 23 and you run smack dab into 50!  You stop, look around and say.. I cannot be 50!  No way, now how!  I was just in high school. I just got married!  But there is the proof staring you in the face 23 & 25… 50!

But isn’t it what I wanted?  I mean, when I was little I couldn’t wait to get to kindergarten, then junior high where the big kids were, then came high school, then driving, then prom, then graduation, then college.. marriage…kids.. then it was the kids.. if they could only walk!  If they were in school life would be easier.. if they could drive.. if they were graduating.. then uh oh .. they are off to college or living on their own.. then they are 25 & 23 and I’m 50!  What did I do?  Where did the time go?  I wished my life away!  What was I thinking??  I can wait! 

Psalms 90: Our life passes like a sigh and the years of our lives are 70 and if we are strong 80.   So, in reality, my life is 2/3 over.  I spent 2/3 of my life wishing for tomorrow.  But it is so easy to do.  We do it all the time.. think about it like this.. How many of you like to read?  I love to read… We find a good book, we can’t put it down.  We read it every spare moment and if its really good.. we flip to the end to see what happens just to relieve some of the anxiety.. then we finish reading it.. I can read a good book in a matter of days.. but suddenly that book ends.. it’s over.. maybe it’s a series and it’s the end of the series.. but you are not ready for that book to end.. like Harry Potter.. you know.. Harry and Jen and Hermione and Ron grow up.. get married and have kids.. and the last part of the book is them sending their kids off on the train to Hogwarts.. but okay!  What happens next?  It can’t be over?  I’m not ready for it to end.

Our life is like a book.  As the days go by we are turning the pages.. we are writing our story.   What kind of story are we writing?  Are we writing a story that others would want to read.  When we are grown and become mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters in Christ, God gives us a commandment does he not?  He tells us to teach the little children.  Proverbs 22:6 tells us: Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Ephesians 6:4 tells us: bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.  Is this something we have done or doing.  In our busy lives, are we remembering to teach our children?  Grandchildren?  I can remember being in class every Sunday morning and Wednesday night.  I remember bringing my children even as babies so that Miss Armeda could begin teaching them in the nursery class. Their first song was Jesus Loves Me!  As I look back, I, my parents, my Aunt Joan.. my Sisters in Christ we did what we were supposed to do.. with my children.. they were raised in the way they should go.. they were raised and trained to love and fear the Lord.  I can’t make them remain faithful, just as you can’t.  But I did my job for that chapter of their life and mine.   Our children are writing their own stories, just as we are writing ours. 

Have you ever read “The Monster At The End of This Book?”  As a child, I loved that book.  I can remember making my parents read it to me and then I read it to my brother and sister.  But it wasn’t until recently that I realized the true lesson in this book.  This simple childhood book from Sesame Street has a valuable lesson for us:

         Every book comes to an end.  What is at the end of that book can be very scary like a monster or it can be a comforting presence like the arms of a parent comforting you.  How our book ends is totally in our hands.

We have spent our lives writing this book, I have just started chapter 50, some of you are on chapter 3, chapter 15, chapter 23, chapter 80, and chapter 89 or 90.  The funny thing about books, is that sometimes they end before we are ready, before we feel that chapter in our lives is truly complete, so we have to live each chapter like we may not get another one.  James tells us in Chapter 4: 13-15 that we can make all the plans we want but we do not know that we will be here to accomplish them.  Life is short and our time to die is unknown to us.  Some live long healthy lives while others are taken from their loved ones too early, with their stories not complete. 

Swiftly we’re turning life’s daily pages, Swiftly the hours are changing to years;

How are we using God’s golden moments? 

Shall we reap glory?

Shall we reap tears?

Slow down.  Enjoy every moment.  For young people it’s hard, we know that, but you can never get these years back.  Enjoy your years and live every moment like you may not get a chance to write another chapter of your book but do it in such a way that you know that at the end of your book is the comforting arms of our Lord.  Young mothers raise your children to know God and the Bible.  Give them that foundation that they need.  You are helping them to write their chapters, just as you are writing your own. 

You know, a few months ago, Chelsey gave me the greatest compliment she could ever give me.  We were having a typical mother – adult daughter spat and she said to me “you’re the one trying to live holy.”   Do you know, the argument stopped right there.  I looked at her and said, thank you.  Unknowingly, she gave me the biggest compliment, without meaning or wanting to.  She proved to me that even at 23 she still watches me, she still looks to me as a way to behave and act.  She saw that through my actions I was TRYING to live right.  So mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters: our children watching us.

I want to thank all of you for spending your evening with us and for giving me a chance to speak with you today.  I would like to leave you with one parting thought.  Every book ends but how that book ends is only up to the person who wrote it.  How is your book going to end?  Is the “monster” at the end of your book, Jesus saying “depart from me, I know thee not.”  Or can you write, just as Paul did in Timothy:  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith and there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.”   And as that last page is turned, will Jesus be there saying” Well done, my good and faithful servant”  “enter into the kingdom of heaven”.

Thank you and may you all have a blessed Mother’s Day.

Come unto Me, All Ye That Labor

Let’s face it life is hard.  No one gets out of it without ever going through rough times.  There are others unfortunately that have it rougher than others, some of it from their own doing and some of it they have no control over.  We have a psychological process that gets us through these times.  This process allows us to grieve, be sad and or angry.  Then as time goes on the feelings lessen until they may still be there but our subconscious can deal with it and it just becomes part of who we are.  We go on with our lives.

There are some however, that either have multiple bad things happen at once or just simply aren’t able to work through the process that we are internally given to get to a better place.  There is nothing wrong with that.  It is important that everyone know when that is happening to them.  One must know when to ask for help.  There is a rise in suicide in this country and the tide seems to be from the inability to cope with loss, illness, loss of self worth, and mental illness.  These individuals don’t turn and ask for help.  They don’t know where to go. 

We are told by the author of Matthew, in 11:28-30 (NKJV):  “come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”   He is telling us, come to me, tell me everything, let me take that burden from you so you don’t have to worry about it any more.  The Lord is telling you “I got this!”   Why are you hesitating?  Do you like being sick and lonely; do you enjoy carrying that weight on your shoulders?

Throughout the Bible, the Lord is telling us that he wants our burdens.  He knows our road is rough and hard to travel and He gives us a way to lessen our burden.  Just in our physical life, God has always provided a way for man to lessen his burdens, such as pack animals, then automotive equipment, and new technologies.  He gives us a way to make our life easier.  He does the same spiritually or mentally also. 

 Psalms 55:22 (NKJV): Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

Galatians 6:2 (NKJV): Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ

Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV): Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

1Peter 5:6-7 (NKJV): Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cre upon Him, for He cares for you.

The only thing that stops us from seeking help is ourselves.  Our pride stands in the way from asking God for help and giving our burdens to him to deal with.  There is no shame in asking for help.  God commands us to be humble in James 4:10 Humble yourself before the Lord and He will exalt you.

Give it to God.  He can handle it.

Have a blessed day and be humble.

Humility

Have you ever looked at the word humble and asked your self what it truly means?  We hear the term humble abode or one will say “I humbly come before you”.  What do they mean?  The word humble actually has many definitions depending on how it is used.  Merriam-Webster gives the following definitions:

            Not proud or haughty

            Not arrogant or assertive

            Reflecting expression or offering in a spirit of submission

            Low in rank or condition

            To make modest

God expects us to live our lives as servants and to put others before ourselves.  In Philippians 2, Paul is speaking to Christians in Philippi and is telling them that if they are to find any comfort in Christ or being a Christian they must be of the same mind or attitude and find fellowship and love as one but they must NOT (v3) “let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind of let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”   So in Philippians 2: 3-4 Paul actually gives us the definition of humble. 

There are verses regarding humble spread throughout the Old and New Testament, actually according to the website bible.know-jesus.com, there are 72 verses in the Bible regarding humility.  This is a concept that God wants us to understand.   God shows favor to those that are humble (not proud, not arrogant, modest, see themselves as not above others) and he tells us this in James 4:8 “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  In Psalms 25:9 David tells us “He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.”  But doesn’t that make sense, only the humble learn because they are the only ones that realize they do not know it all.  But most importantly James tells us in 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

Just remember that as Christians we are here to serve God, learn from God, and love God.  It is our job to teach his message and one can teach through word and deed.

Have a Blessed Day and may you remain humble.

Is My Baptism Still Valid?

Have you ever asked yourself if your baptism is still valid?  Do you ask yourself if you fully understood what you were committing yourself to?  For those that are raised in the Church, the majority of us were baptized at a fairly young age such as 12-16 years of age.  It was at that time that we felt we knew right from wrong and understood the lessons we were hearing about God, Jesus and the Church.  It is the time that James speaks to the First Century Church telling them in v.17 “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”  Jesus said of the blind in John 9:41 “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, “We See”, Therefore your sin remains.”  What we are being told here is simple, if you hear the word, believe it and know right from wrong then God will hold you accountable on the Day of Judgment.  He doesn’t expect you to know everything there is to know; but he does expect you to take responsibility for your life and continue to learn and grow.

Is it true that as years pass and one becomes wiser with life, that how we view things changes?  Of course it does.  We change our perspective.  We begin to understand and realize those things we were taught in our youth.  Just because we are learning and growing does not mean our baptism or commitment to God is null and void.  Just like the love of our earthly parents, God’s love for us grows and changes form and nurtures us.  God provides us a way to ask for forgiveness and to make our lives right in his eyes.  It is called repentance.  Paul tells the Christians in Rome in Romans 3:21-26 that God sent Jesus to prove to the world that he was offering them a plan of salvation and saving Grace because (v23) “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (v24) being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”  God tells us to say we are sorry and act accordingly and he will forgive us our sins. 

In order to be saved, one must hear, believe, confess, repent and be baptized.  Jesus suffered for us.  It was not an easy task that God gave Him.  He did not take away Jesus’s pain and suffering because if He did, then the sacrifice would not have meant as much.  1 Peter 3:18-22 tells us “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few that is eight souls, were saved through water.  There is also an antitype (The Bible is telling us that baptism is a symbol representing cleansing or washing away) which now saves us-baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right handoff God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.”  Peter is using the story of Noah as a representation of baptism in that all on the earth was washed away except for the righteous 8 that God had saved and through baptism, we can have our sins washed away and our soul saved through God.

Have a Blessed day and stay humble. 

God’s Purpose For My Life

God’s purpose for my life is simple; it is to live a good and faithful life and helping those in need.  In the Book of Matthew, during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus delivers The Beatitudes.  It was this lesson that brought me to my calling of being a nurse.  Matthew 5:5-7 (New King James Version) “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”  I find I am able to serve God by serving those who are sick, weak, poor and underserved. 

I do not find it hard to live the life God has given to me.  I love helping others and I have learned to love to teach others about God and his plan for us.  On the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6: 25-34 (NKJV) Jesus tells us not to worry about worldly things.  God will take care of the small things.  He will make sure we have what we need just as Jesus used the birds as an example.  He stated in verse 26 “Look at he birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?”  So believing this, allows me to live the life God has intended.

How important is it that I am in alignment with God’s purpose?  It is life or death, eternally.  Matthew 7: 13-14 (NKJV) states: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  If I am to enter into the Narrow Way, I must make sure I am in alignment with God.  Jesus tells us that not everyone who says to Me, “Lord , Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of My Father in Heaven (Matthew 7:21, NKJV).”

Act Like People Are Watching

As we go through our day, how often do we think of our conduct?  Are you aware of what you are doing or how you are acting?  Better yet, are you aware that people are watching you?  Unless you are in a room all by yourself, someone is watching you.  It’s human nature for us to watch others.  I think the common term for it these days is “People watching.”  Does this thought make you nervous?  It should. 

The dictionary defines conduct as: personal behavior; way of acting; bearing or deportment.  It is also the same as guidance, action or manners.  How do you conduct yourself?  In Philippians 1:27 Paul and Timothy are preaching to the Christians in Philippi: “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

What does that mean?  Paul and Timothy are telling their fellow Christians that they should be mindful of their conduct so that if people are going to talk of their conduct, it will be of good works and will bring their faith to the forefront. 

We should strive to be examples to those around us.  They should look at us and know that we follow Christ and strive to live a good life.  In 1 Timothy 4:12 we are told to be an example in our conduct, love, spirit, faith and purity.  When people think of good character and good conduct, they should think of you.  They say the biggest form of flattery is impersonation.  How great a thing to be someone that people look up to and strive to be like.

Several versus in the New Testament speak of showing good conduct so that others may see you as meek and wise (James 3:13); having your conduct honorable so that people may see whom you serve, and glorify God (1 Peter 2:12); turn away from evil and do good (1 Peter 3:11).

So as you go through your day, remember people are watching.  What example are you giving them?  “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life (Jude 1:20-21).”

Have a Blessed Day

The Whole Armor of God

Have you ever had one of those days where you jump out of bed because the alarm didn’t’ go off or you hit the snooze too many times?  So you jump up, put a pot of coffee on and start getting ready for your day.  In your hurry you run over pull the coffee pot off the burner just to have coffee spill all over the counter because it wasn’t done and in your hurry you didn’t look?  So you clean that up, pack your lunch, grab your coat and keys and head out the door.  As you are backing out the driveway you look down and there is no lunch.  So you stop, go back into the house and get your lunch and look to the sky and say “Why me, Lord?”  Then you head off to work to start your day and then sometime around lunch you can’t remember If you shut the coffee pot off.   I think most of us have had days like this.  Days where we wish we could start over.  Days where we just need a time out to restart our day.

Well, an easy way to do that, mentally, is to have a short devotional with yourself.  A

Devotional is defined by Merriam Webster as a short worship service.  Take time to worship God.  It doesn’t have to be long just loving and sincere.  Make it easy on yourself, pick a few Bible verses, write them down and leave them in your lunch box, purse, desk drawer, tool box or whatever you have available and pull them out and read them, think about God’s message and just re-center yourself. 

Why are daily devotionals important?  They allow us to “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”  Ephesians 6:10-18 (NKV) tells us this.  Paul tells us to arm ourselves with the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with readiness from the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit.  These things we will need to conquer life and live as he commands.  Sometimes we have to remember our spiritual clothes.   It is easy to get busy in this life and not take the time for God and ourselves.  So take a few minutes every morning or evening and devote sometime to the one who deserves it.  He will calm your nerves and still the waters around you.  He will give you peace to get you through the night and the strength to get you through the day.  He has equipped you with the armor you need and the gospel so that you might meet all challenges head on.

Have a Blessed Day

Sometimes We Just Have to Break

I read a Facebook post today by an author unknown about a mother and 2 sons in a dollar store.  The older boy had a package of glow sticks and the toddler was crying because he wanted a stick.  The mother took the package, opened it and gave it to the toddler.  The toddler was then instantly comforted and happy and began walking around holding this glow stick.  He was happy and content.  The older child then went up to the toddler and took the glow stick from him and the toddler instantly began to cry.  The older boy broke the glow stick and handed it back to the toddler.  He instantly stopped crying and was filled with wonder because the glow stick was now glowing.  It was not longer just a colored stick, it was glowing and beautiful and this brought instant joy and laughter to the little toddler. 

The point of this story is that sometimes we have to break and God will let us break in order for us to transform and become what we were meant to become.   As I said, I cannot take credit for this very poignant lesson.

God created all of us with free will.  He granted us the ability to do as we please, although we all know there are consequences to our actions.  There are times in everyone’s life where they are broken.  Maybe the break comes with an illness, divorce, loss of a job or retirement, bankruptcy, or death of a spouse, parent or child.  But at some point most people reach that point where they are at the bottom and on their knees.  It is at this point one of two things can happen, that person can give up or they can allow God to transform them into what He originally intended for them to be.  They put their faith in God to guide them in the path they should walk.  Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your OWN understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”   Trust the Lord.  “Trust and obey for there is no other way…”

Isn’t that a hymn we learn as little children?  Where does that trust go, as we get older?  Why do we let it slip away?

As you are on our knees broken and wonder what to do and you hear a voice whispering in your ear, do you listen?  Or do you swat at it like a pesky fly?  That voice you hear is your Lord and Savior and He is saying to you: “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21).  He will guide you.  You just have to listen.

God will transform you; just as the glow stick was transformed once it was broken.  Matthew 5:16 tells us “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Psalm 51:10-12: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

We are transformed.  God is talking.  Are you listening?  Are you praying for God’s guidance?  We sing this hymn but do you mean it?

Guide me, O Thou great *Jehovah, [*Redeemer]
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty,
Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand.

Saying you believe it but doing nothing, is not believing.  God will let you break but he will also take your hand and transform you, but only if you are listening and accepting.

Have a Blessed day.

Teach Me Lord to Wait

We live in a world of instant gratification.  If you want to buy something, you no longer have to go to stores and look for it, save your money and then buy it.  You turn on your computer, type a few keys, find the item, whip out your credit card, click send and bam!  It will be at your house in 2 days!  Instantly!  You want a Thanksgiving dinner tonight, easy peazy, you call Bob Evans and order one, no thawing the turkey for 3 days in the fridge or slaving over the hot stove for the stuffing and gravy.  Bam! Instantly!.  There are very few things in this life that we cannot snap our fingers and have what we want, but there is one!  Answers!

God does not give us the instantaneous gratification of answers to our prayers.  God teaches us the virtue of patience.  We all know God hears our prayers but when we don’t see what we are asking for appear within a short time, do be begin to doubt that God is hearing us?  Romans 8:25-26 tells us “if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Like wise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered”   Here Paul is speaking to the Christians in Rome and telling them, hey, God hears you, but you don’t know how to ask for what your truly need so the spirit is doing it for you.  You see, God already knows our wants and desires but HE may not feel that is what we should have.  He will answer us in his own sweet time.  In a time that makes sense when you look at the big picture. 

There are times we have to say, “Teach me, Lord to wait” 

Teach me Lord to wait down on my knees
Till in Your own good time You answer my pleas
Teach me not to rely on what others do
But to wait in prayer for an answer from You

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings as eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint
Teach me Lord, teach me Lord to wait

Teach me Lord to wait while hearts are aflame
Let me humble my pride and call on Your name
Keep my faith renewed, my eyes on Thee
Let me be on this earth what you want me to be

There’s a time and a season for all things
You promised in Your word to answer my pleas
I’m crying to You, Lord to grant sweet relief
Oh, Lord remove all my unbelief

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings as eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint
Teach me Lord, teach me Lord to wait
Teach me Lord, teach me Lord to wait

Jeremiah 29:21: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

God’s got this! He tells he does so why do we doubt?  Be patient.  Sit back and wait and He will make known unto you his plans. 

Have a Blessed and humble day