Where No One Stands Alone

Once I stood in the night
With my head bowed low
In the darkness as black as could be
And my heart felt alone and I cried oh Lord
Don’t hide your face from me

Like a king I may live in a palace so tall
With great riches to call my own
But I don’t know a thing
In this whole wide world
That’s worse than being alone
Hold my hand all the way, every hour every day
Come here to the great unknown

Take my hand, let me stand
Where no one stands alone

Take my hand, let me stand
Where no one stands alone

Written by Mosie Lister circa 1960(?)

In Isaiah 58:8-9 we are told “Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness.”

He is telling us that He is our rear guard.  He has our back!  He will not let us go through anything alone as long as we have faith and live a faithful life.  Even if we are hurt, grieving or struggling He will be there. 

“Come to me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28.  He will take the burden from us.  He will hold our hand and stand with us and help us bear our load.

The Lord will not leave us and he tells us this in Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.”

No matter what you are going through, God will never leave us. We will always be where no one stands alone.

Have a Blessed Day

The Difference A Word Makes

I was reading Daniel chapter 9 in the KJV when I would flew out at me, DREADFUL.   Daniel 9:4 “And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and dreadful God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments.”  Why would Daniel call God dreadful?  This put me aback for a little bit and caused me to wonder.  I looked up dreadful in the dictionary and it listed “causing or involving great suffering fear or unhappiness, extremely bad or serious.”  What?  Seriously?  So I looked up a few other versions and the word “dreadful” and in its place is “awesome”.  According to a few commentaries that I looked at dreadful in Hebrew can also mean venerated or to be given respect or one that is due respect.  Whew!  That makes sense to me. 

In Daniel 9, Daniel is praying to God to save his people.  He is pleading to God to be merciful to them even though they have not been good and faithful.  But, in this instance, you could actually interchange dreadful with merciful and still have the same meaning.  Why, because in the “awesomeness” of God he is asking for Him to show mercy, to be merciful to his people.

Daniel realizes that even though God is a good and loving God and his true wish is to love his people, he is not above punishing his people and bringing down his wrath.  Look at the great flood.  He punished all of mankind for his wickedness.  We are told in John 3:36 that “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”  Romans 5:9 “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”  Here are to examples of us being told that even though God is loving, he also will not hold back from punishing us, just as any good Father would do. 

God is Love.  He doesn’t punish us because he hates us or doesn’t like us, he does it as a matter of correction.  To bring us back to where we need to be.

John 4:16 “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us.  God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

God loves us and when we make mistakes He will show us mercy, if we ask, for He is a great and awesome God.

Have a Blessed Day

Let the Lower Lights Be Burning

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy,
From His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.

  • Refrain:
    Let the lower lights be burning!
    Send a gleam across the wave!
    Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
    You may rescue, you may save.

Dark the night of sin has settled,
Loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore.

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother;
Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost.

Written by Phillip P. Bliss pub. 1871

What a beautiful hymn.   What is it telling us? 

Think of what a lighthouse is used for.  It is for the sole purpose of guiding ships into harbor and away from dangerous places.  It gives the seaman a symbol of guidance and safe passage.  In some cases it shows the way home.  In the first verse, we are being told how bright is God’s mercy.  It’s a beacon for us to follow.  He has given us his light in the form of the Bible and is asking us to be the keeper of his spiritual lighthouse. 

Out in the world, in the mist of sin and anger, there are those wanting to come home but they don’t know where to go.  Their eyes are watching for that light, for that beacon that tells them where to go. 

In the last verse, we are warned to trim our lamps or to let our light burn cleanly and brightly because someone may be watching us and trying to see our light and make it home.  If our light is dim and hard to see, then that person may give up and be lost.  “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” Philippians 2:15

Let your light burn and shine far, your light, your actions may save someone.

2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”

You are God’s lighthouse.  He has given you the light.  Have you trimmed your lamp?  Are you burning brightly so that you can be seen through the darkness of sin and anger? 

Have a Blessed Day

Joy in Tribulation

Life is full of ups and downs.   Some times everything is perfect and things go very smoothly.  It is during these times we like to say: “God is good!”  We pray for others and ourselves and our faith is strong.  We are happy and smile and show our joy.  But what about when things are not so great?  When money is tight or non-existent or a friend or family member passes on or we lose our jobs or any number of things that we can think of that would make us depressed and not look so brightly on life.  What do we do then?  We become depressed, withdrawn, show a negative attitude, cry, show self-pity, and maybe some anger.   We find no joy when we are having troubles and tribulations.  Where is our faith?  Lets look what the apostle Paul had to say about all this in Romans 5:1-5:  “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  No hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Wow!  Paul is telling us that we need to have joy during hard times!  Why would we do that?  That takes work!  It’s easier to be depressed, angry or pity yourself, isn’t it?

But Paul tells us that our faith in God must also cross over from good times to bad.  Having trial and tribulations build perseverance.  It teaches us to be strong, to keep going, and to not give up.  Therefore when you have learned perseverance you wil build your character.  You will be stronger in mind and faith and as your character is built to be stronger and better, you will find hope because you will learn to look at everything that comes at you as a challenge you can face head on but head on with God.  Isn’t that what faith is? 

Paul tells us in verse 5 that hope won’t disappoint us.  Why?  “Because the LOVE OF GOD has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  How can something that God gave us be disappointing or let you down?  If you have faith and let God guide you during hard times, in the end everything will work out.

Paul told the Church at Corinth “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father o mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ours are comforted by God.”  II Corinthians 1:3-4

So God will comfort us so that we may comfort others as we are comforted.  How great is that?   So God expects his children to rise above their trials and tribulations and find others that are suffering and comfort and teach them so that they may do the same. 

Have faith that God will guide you through anything.  Look for those that are also suffering and comfort them, as you yourself are comforted.  What a teachable moment that will be for a nonbeliever or a lost bother or sister.

Have a Blessed Day

It’s In the Details

Details. Details. Details.  They can drive you crazy.  How many times have you bought something and couldn’t get it put together or get it to work?  Did you read the instructions?  It’s in the details.  If you sew, could you do it without a pattern?  Success is in the details.  When you are trying to find out the truth of a situation from someone, you want the details.  It’s all in the details.

It is the same in our spiritual life; it’s in the details.  Throughout the Bible God gives patterns or details.  He is very specific as to what he wants and how he wants it.  Look at the creation of man, God used a pattern, He created man in his own image (Genesis 1:26).  Then when we move to Exodus it is full of the commands of God on how and when he SHALL not should be worshiped.  Exodus 24:1-18 tells of Moses being called to the mountain and God giving him the Ten Commandments. “Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and ALL THE RULES.”  God gave Moses specific instructions on how everything was to be done.  He covered all the details.  He wanted everything done the same way.  In Leviticus, we find God giving Moses more instructions on his appointed feasts.  Did he not tell Noah the exactly how he wanted the ark built?  It’s in the details.  God is all about the details.  He is doesn’t want to hear: “Well I kinda sorta did that” or “Well I did what you wanted but not how you wanted it.”  Folks, God is OCD when it comes to his word and wants. 

In the New Testament He lays his plan of salvation out for us.  He gives us examples of what to do and what not to do.  He is very specific in his requests from us.  Hear, Believe, Repent and be Baptized AND continue to live the life he has laid out before us.  The Bible is his instruction Book.  It is his detail!  You have to follow it exactly or at the end you may have a screw left over or one missing.  What will you do then?  The door to eternal life won’t work if a part is missing.  I have had people to say to me, I don’t like what you believe.  It’s not fun to be a Christian, the way you practice.  Your church isn’t any fun because there is not music or swaying or play-acting.  Well, I can understand the need to be entertained but that was not the purpose of worship.  True worship is not “entertaining”.  Nowhere in God’s instructions does it say to come and be entertained.  In fact Revelation 22:18-19 says: “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book.  If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in the book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”  He wants it done exactly is way. 

It’s in the details.  Have you read the instructions? 

Have a Blessed Day

A Believer’s Walk

How many of us have been on a walking tour?  Maybe you planned a vacation with your family and decided to make it an educational vacation and went to Gettysburg and took the many tours they offer.  You had the privilege of walking the battlefields and paying your respects to those that gave their lives for us.  Perhaps, you have been to Boston and walked the road the Redcoats walked or the ride of Paul Revere.  Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and many others roamed the northeast and history was made.  Have you ever had the privilege of touring a portion of the Underground Railroad?  Maybe you went out west and road a cattle trail through the canyons.  Just think of all the paths and roads that are out there that we can travel and learn about our history as a nation and as a people! 

We plan our lives around the paths others have taken before us.  We do this to learn and understand what they went through so that we may live the lives we live today.  Truly though how often do you think of the path Jesus took so that we may live the life we life today?  Does it even cross your mind?  When you plan that vacation and you think of the history books and all the exciting things you can see or do, does your Bible cross your mind? 

You can walk the streets of Boston and take the path of Paul Revere in July but are you walking in the pathway of Jesus everyday?   1 John 2:6 tells us “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (NKJV).  What does this mean?  Are we supposed to travel to the Holy Lands and walk the streets of Galilee, visit Nazareth, or travel through the desert on foot?  Although that would be an exciting vacation of sorts, it is not what is being asked of us.   In 1 John, the apostle John is telling fellow Christians all that he has heard, seen and witnessed.  He is telling us that now that we know Him, we must keep his commandments.  We must love one another and teach one another, just as Jesus loves and taught us.  Jesus went around the land preaching, teaching, and serving those that would hear him. 

Paul wrote to those in Ephesus and fellow Christians “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:1-6.  Paul is telling us to walk worthy of our calling.  We are to walk in the way of Jesus.  When we are in this world, we should be looking for the path Jesus has set before us.  We cannot fail. We cannot get lost if we stay in his path.  We sing the song “The Footprints of Jesus, they make the pathway light.”  Is that not the truth, Jesus wants us to walk in his path, walk in his light.  He has shown us the way, we just need to follow it and spread our love and our light along the way.   Ephesians 5:2 “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”   We again are told to walk in love, as Christ loved us.

We are also commanded to walk into our New Life as Jesus walked in his after his resurrection.  Romans 6:4 “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even as we also should walk in newness of life.”   Romans 8:1  “There are therefore, now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

As you see, we are commanded to walk in the path of Jesus.  We are to strive to do this daily, not just a few times a year or one day a week.  He has given us the path and his footprints light the way.  All you have to do is listen, look and believe. 

Have a Blessed day.

Is Social Media A Virus

Everywhere you look today people are fascinated with social media.   This country is obsessed with it.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and I am sure there are many more that I am not aware of.  What is happening to our society?  People don’t even talk anymore.  We text each other.  I am guilty of it.  I would rather text than talk.  I find it easier and I can do it at my convenience.  Social Media also is intrusive in my life.  I have Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.  I do have a Twitter account but don’t know how to use it. 

What is this fascination?  It’s the ability to have information at your fingertips instantly.  It’s instant gratification.  We can keep track of the doings of our family and friends.  We get to see things as they happen.  But think of all the things we read that are meant to confuse or misinform us for other people’s gain.  The virus’s that are swimming through those sites just waiting to grab your phone or computer.  That leads to the question of is social media good for us?  Is social media a good place for someone trying to lead a Christian life?  Paul tells us in 1Corinthians 10:23-24: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.  Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.”  It is not against the law for us to be a part of social media, but is it good for us? 

What example as Christians are we setting by the posts we “like” “love” “wow” “hahaha” or share?  Do me a favor, go to your Facebook page, look at your history.  Would someone say, “She/he is obviously a Christian?  I would like to be like them.”

Be honest with yourself.  There is an ugly political climate in this country whether you be right or left, elephant or donkey.  There are ugly mean posts out there.  Are you liking or sharing some of these?  Are you helping to spread that attitude?  You have the right to feel how you feel but think about what you put out there.  People of all beliefs see you.  What kind of image are you giving them?  Are you making a statement that is backed by the Bible?  Romans 12:2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

So look at your social media.  Would God be proud of the things you have shared or liked?  Would you be able to convert a new believer with your page or would you look like a “Sunday morning Christian”?  Think about it. 

Have a Blessed Day

Give Me The Bible

As we go through life, we have all kinds of questions and events bombard us.  Just as we learned in grade school, life is all about the “How, What, Where, When and Whys” 

Where do you go to get your information?  I know before the Internet, we had to rely on textbooks, encyclopedias, newspapers and/or people’s memories of an event or the stories that were passed down to us.  Now we have Google!  We have Siri and Alexa!  The world of information is at our fingertips.  But when events of life hit us or questions arise do we go to the one place that will never fail us?  The one place that won’t give us the wrong information or “fake news”.  Do you turn to your Bible?

2 Timothy 3:14-17 (NKJV) “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Paul is telling Timothy to read the Scriptures.  The Scriptures will tell you how to correct your wrongs, give you instructions on how to live your life and how to save your soul. 

In the book of 2 Peter, Simon Peter in his teaching to Christians is telling us that all that they were being told was true.  The stories of Jesus and His Power and His coming were not fables, they weren’t just made up stories to entertain or fool people.  They were “eyewitnesses” of His power and greatness.  They are told that they could believe the prophetic words of the teachers and Scripture.  2 Peter 1:19-21 “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning start rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretations, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

We are told in many places that the Bible is the place, the only place that we should look for answers. 

Give me the Bible, star of gladness gleaming,
To cheer the wand’rer lone and tempest tossed;
No storm can hide that radiance peaceful beaming,
Since Jesus came to seek and save the lost.
Refrain

Give me the Bible, holy message shining;
Thy light shall guide me in the narrow way;
Precept and promise, law and love combining,
Till night shall vanish in eternal day.

Give me the Bible, when my heart is broken,
When sin and grief have filled my soul with fear;
Give me the precious words by Jesus spoken,
Hold up faith’s lamp to show my Savior near.

Refrain

Give me the Bible, all my steps enlighten,
Teach me the danger of these realms below;
That lamp of safety o’er the gloom shall brighten,
That light alone the path of peace can show.

Refrain

Give me the Bible, lamp of life immortal,
Hold up that splendor by the open grave;
Show me the light from Heaven’s shining portal,
Show me the glory gilding Jordan’s wave.

Written by Pricilla Owens circa 1989

So, when you need answers or are not sure of what to do or which way to turn, turn to your Bible.  Just say, “Give me my Bible.”  That Lamp that shows me the way for one day I am going to walk the streets of Galilee.

Have a Blessed Day

Are You Living the Pattern of Paul

“Brethren, join in following my example, and not those who so walk, as you have us after a pattern.  For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:” Philippians 3:17

Paul is telling in his letter to all the saints in Philippi to watch him, listen to him and to do all that he does.  He is telling them to pattern themselves after him in his word and deed because there are many people out there who claim to be Christians but are actually the enemies of Christ.   Is this not true today? 

We all know people that claim to be Christians.  It seems like everywhere you turn people say they are Christians and that “their God” understands them and they change the meaning of the words in the Bible to fit what they want to do and then say: “See! It’s right here!” 

I have just finished the “Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.  It is a book that is sent in America in an unknown future time.  The author doesn’t tell you how America got to where it is now but from the characters you have an idea.  It is about a country that was taken over by radical “Christians” because the country had turned into a Godless society.  It talks of Baptists hiding in the hills and Jews being killed if they don’t convert.  It is the story of a woman taken from her family and made into a vessel to procreate the country with ideal people.  I know it sounds far fetched but as I read this book, I thought to myself if we are not careful, this is not unrealistic.  In some fashion this could happen, look at what’s happening with ISIS.  We are on a slippery slope and only WE acting through God’s word can stop it.

In Philippian’s 4:9 Paul writes: “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”  We need to start doing as He commands and live the life he commands.  He has promised us salvation if we follow his plan.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved” John 3:16-17. He is telling us right here that His plan was always to save us and love us. 

John 11:25-26:  “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”  Do you?  Are you teaching this? 

Are the actions we take today, right now, actions that would stop such a thing as the “Handmaid’s Tale” or do our actions today make the story seem more likely?  Are we doing all that we should to live the life we are told to?  Have you read the story of Paul and are you using him as a pattern?  If not, maybe you should

Have a Blessed Day

Are You Living the Pattern of Paul

“Brethren, join in following my example, and not those who so walk, as you have us after a pattern.  For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:” Philippians 3:17

Paul is telling in his letter to all the saints in Philippi to watch him, listen to him and to do all that he does.  He is telling them to pattern themselves after him in his word and deed because there are many people out there who claim to be Christians but are actually the enemies of Christ.   Is this not true today? 

We all know people that claim to be Christians.  It seems like everywhere you turn people say they are Christians and that “their God” understands them and they change the meaning of the words in the Bible to fit what they want to do and then say: “See! It’s right here!” 

I have just finished the “Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.  It is a book that is sent in America in an unknown future time.  The author doesn’t tell you how America got to where it is now but from the characters you have an idea.  It is about a country that was taken over by radical “Christians” because the country had turned into a Godless society.  It talks of Baptists hiding in the hills and Jews being killed if they don’t convert.  It is the story of a woman taken from her family and made into a vessel to procreate the country with ideal people.  I know it sounds far fetched but as I read this book, I thought to myself if we are not careful, this is not unrealistic.  In some fashion this could happen, look at what’s happening with ISIS.  We are on a slippery slope and only WE acting through God’s word can stop it.

In Philippian’s 4:9 Paul writes: “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”  We need to start doing as He commands and live the life he commands.  He has promised us salvation if we follow his plan.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved” John 3:16-17. He is telling us right here that His plan was always to save us and love us. 

John 11:25-26:  “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”  Do you?  Are you teaching this? 

Are the actions we take today, right now, actions that would stop such a thing as the “Handmaid’s Tale” or do our actions today make the story seem more likely?  Are we doing all that we should to live the life we are told to?  Have you read the story of Paul and are you using him as a pattern?  If not, maybe you should

Have a Blessed Day