Thursday, April 30, 2015

Day 117


“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised” Hebrews 10:36.

I had written a note in my Bible beside our key passage that I'd like to share with you: “Persevere, stick with it until either your prayer is answered or the burden is lifted. We can intercede for others when the sufferings of others become so painful so us that we plead for them as if we are pleading for ourselves”.

Has God given you a burden for your own situation or such a strong burden for someone else that you plead with Him on their behalf as if you were pleading for yourself or a loved one? Now that is a demonstration of real love.

I have been awakened in the middle of the night with a burden for either a family member or for someone else and have not been able to get back to sleep until I prayed and searched the Scripture on their behalf until God released me. When we pray we may never know what was going on in the person's life, but your intercession may have saved their lives, allowed them to get through a very hard time or may have prevented a tragedy. We hear testimonies about that sort of thing happening.

I often find that I awaken between three to six in the morning which is called the fourth watch. In Matthew 14: 23-26 we discover that Jesus went to the disciples in the storm in the fourth watch. He also arose a great while before day to pray and, on one occasion, led Peter, James, and John to a high mountain as you can read in Matthew 17:1.

Since I am a late night person I don't like getting up early and really fight to get back to sleep if awakened in the middle of the night, but if Jesus felt it important to pray in the fourth watch maybe we should also. It's a time of quiet and peace when we can arise undisturbed to communicate with Him in the still of the night. Next time you awaken at that hour, turn to His Word and pray for the burdens He lays on your heart

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Day 116

Praise Him

“It is a good thing to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:” Psalm 92:1.

One of the most difficult times in life to give thanks and praise is when we are in a storm. Life brings all kinds of storms, but God is the only one who can calm the storm.

So where do we tend to go when the storms of life hit? We can withdraw and hide which often leads to depression. We can moan and complain feeling sorry for ourselves.We can run from one activity to another, as Beth Moore, speaker and author said, “We live in the captivity of activity”. We often don't take the time to process what is happening in our lives, so we busy ourselves in our activities.

Or we can go to the One who can bring us hope and healing. The One who can calm the storm. The One who even in the most difficult of circumstances we can chose to praise. Put on those praise songs which will lift your spirits.

Take this time to praise Him and be thankful for your blessings. Begin by thanking Him for your salvation. Thank Him for the air you breath, the clean water you drink, or the bed you have to sleep in at night. The food you have to eat, the job He has provided, or for your family and friends.

Pray through Psalm 136, giving Him praise for everything listed in that chapter. Then add your own list. As you praise even in the midst of your storm, it will begin to lift your spirits and chase away the enemy. That's a praise in itself.

Day 115

Rest In Him

"Although God’s promise still stands—his promise that all may enter his place of rest—we ought to tremble with fear because some of you may be on the verge of failing to get there after all. For this wonderful news—the message that God wants to save us—has been given to us just as it was to those who lived in the time of Moses. But it didn't do them any good because they didn't believe it. They didn't mix it with faith. For only we who believe God can enter into his place of rest. He has said, “I have sworn in my anger that those who don’t believe me will never get in,” even though he has been ready and waiting for them since the world began” Hebrews 4:1-3 (TLB).

After a big event I have planned whether it is a family celebration or a ministry event I have put together I find myself exhausted the day after. It takes me a couple of days to get my strength back, especially as I get older. I tend to do a few chores, plop down, get up and do a few more and plop again.

My friend made me a bracelet a few years ago with a charm attached which says, “Rest in Him”. I wore it this past weekend at our retreat as a reminder that I could do just that. I was enjoying the event but looking forward to some time alone with my Father. I usually do a self examination asking Him about what went well and what didn't. I know either way He loves me but I want to believe that everything said and done was pleasing in His sight.

His rest is not necessarily a physical rest but a rest of confidence and peace in Him. It is rest based on a completed work. But I really felt such rest in Him during the work, so at peace to follow His lead and not be concerned if everything I had planned was accomplished. Trying to rest in the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We can rest from the work of trying to earn our salvation, or the fear of not hearing Him say well done My good and faithful servant. We can rest in the fact that He is in heaven preparing us a place to spend eternity with Him. We can rest in the fact that no matter what we have done or not done He will love us unconditionally. We can rest in the promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

My prayer is that you have believed God and accepted Him into your heart so you too can be at perfect rest in Him. He says that those who don't believe Him will never be at rest, but in torment for eternity. He nor I want that for you so if you have not made that choice I urge you to do it right now because just like in the day of Noah when the door closed no one could get in and they perished.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Day 114

A Day of Fog

“A day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the dawn is spread over the mountains, so there is a great and mighty people; There has never been anything like it, Nor will there be again after it to the years of many generations” Joel 2:2 NAS.

In preparation for our Spring Retreat we had prayed for sunshine to enable us to get out and walk up the prayer mountain and spend time alone with God, but He had another plan.

It was a beautiful Friday evening as the ladies arrived safely. We had a marvelous time of worship and listening to our speaker's transformation story, but we awoke on Saturday morning to dense fog and drizzle. You couldn't see anything beyond our Lodge and it remained that way all day. It truly was a day of darkness and gloom with the rain, clouds and thick fog preventing us from going outside. But you know I didn't hear one grumble or complaint as twenty-seven ladies found a spot to participate in the art projects.

Each one painted a butterfly with a picture of either themselves or their prodigal on it and then wrote scriptures on them. We put all the pictures together afterwards and what a beautiful group effort it was. Each butterfly was different with different colors as they were personalized . Each lady made the time spent inside into something beautiful.

By the end of our time together we had decided that God had ministered to us through each other as He kept us in our enclosure much like a cocoon of sorts all weekend so we could be transformed as the sun broke through on Sunday morning just in time to go back out into the world. We had arrived as worms but left with the ability to fly away more beautiful. We know more work than we could even imagine was done on that mountain and we praise Him for the rain and fog that helped us see more clearly in the end.  

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Day 113


“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” Romans 12:2.

On Wings Like a Dove takes women on retreat twice a year. It is a great time to get away with each other and with God. Most everyone who attends has a prodigal son or daughter, some who are incarcerated. Everyone knows they are in a safe haven of women who are going through or have been through some of the same issues.

This year God seemed to lead us to the word Transformation. Transformation is to make a through or dramatic change in the form of appearance or character. As I pondered our key passage I knew I needed to have someone share a testimony of transformation from a life in the world.

My Decision Magazine published by The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association came in the mail shortly after that thought. I turned directly to an article about a woman who was once a madam of a prostitution ring. She had spent time in prison and had been totally transformed it read. In the article she was quoted as saying, “I want to serve God for His glory, and I want people to know that the chains of bondage can be broken. I want them to know that there is hope and healing”.

Tonight we were blessed to hear her whole testimony of redemption. What the enemy meant for evil God meant for good because she is now going back in the prison and the Rehab centers sharing Christ with all who will listen. She can minister to these ladies because she has been there. She knows their journey and she knows the way out of the strongholds that would have destroyed her had not God intervened. She was conformed to the world at one time but now she has been transformed by the renewing of her mind which is stayed on Christ. If she can be redeemed does it not give you hope that your son, daughter, husband, or wife can also? Receive that into your spirit and believe, all things are possible with Him.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Day 112

Feeling Like a Queen

“For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills” Psalm 50:10.

While at a local nail shop I was thumbing through a magazine and ran across an interesting article. It was entitled, “My Closet Makes Me Feel Like a Queen.” I decided to take a picture of it so I would remember and be able to ponder over the statement.

The author of the article had an interview with a current playmate. I say current because they don't usually last to long in the relationship. She was showing off her favorite room in the “mansion” where she resides. She was quoted: “It's my own watchtower, where I can spy on people during parties. I feel like a queen of the castle up here.”

The article talked about all her jewelry, which included a $74 K pair of earrings, and all her expensive clothes, and belongings. She really felt like a queen because of her many things. I found it interesting because I don't believe any before her ever stayed content in all the rich surroundings of that mansion. I am pretty sure they tired of parading around for the 'king' of the house.

As Christians we can know we are royalty not just feel like it because we are children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lord's. Our Master not only owns the mansion and it's riches but He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He owns it all, He created it all. Everything is His. There is security in that fact.

It is not our possessions that make us feel like a Queen, but our King. He is away preparing a mansion for us to dwell in, not just on earth where it will be burned up, but for eternity. If we belong to Him we will never be tossed out of His kingdom. He has promised that He has engraved us on the palm of His hand and nothing will separate us from Him. What makes you feel like a Queen? Hopefully it is being in the presence of your King.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Day 111

Jesus Is Coming

“I will come again” John 14:3.

My friends and I attended a conference recently where the speakers shared their belief that things were pointing to Jesus soon return to collect His Bride. The signs sure seem to be pointing to a time of judgment as we see wars, be-headings, persecution of Christians, violent weather, financial disasters, and evilness, just to name a few. We have taken God out of almost everything now, even some churches seem to have succumbed to the wiles of the world and pushed God out. It is disturbing to watch the rapid deterioration of our country.

Our study was based on the little book of Joel. As the speakers shared, not much is known about Joel or the time the book was written. It appears that, “Joel was a nobody who became a somebody” as one of the speakers said, because of the importance of it's prophetic intent.

Jesus clearly stated He would come again. How are you living your life in light of that fact? He didn't say He might come---He said He will come. Are you living a life of holiness? Are you making time to be with Him in fellowship. It has always been a puzzle to me when people don't want to spend time with the Lord on earth but think they will want to for eternity. If you don't develop the habit of fellowship and worship today why would you all of a sudden want to in heaven.

What a comfort to know Jesus is coming again, unless you have not accepted Him into your life. If you have not made that decision yet will you consider it right now. Stop and confess that you are a sinner, ask forgiveness, and accept His free gift of eternal life. He is not willing that anyone should perish in the coming great and terrible day of the Lord. After you have done this seek Him with all your heart in your remaining days. Boldly share your faith with those you meet.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Day 110

The Calm After the Storm

“Consider it (all) pure joy...whenever you face trials of many kinds—because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” James 1:2.

While we were at the ministry office the other day we noticed a black cloud coming up from the West. We were on the porch so we decided we must take cover as the wind began to blow and the rain started pouring down. Pretty soon we heard the ping of hail on the window and heard reports of severe storms in the area. Then came the warnings of possible tornado's. I don't know about you but I don't like storms ever since a tornado touched down in our city years ago and then when another one demolished a house less than a mile from our home.

You probably don't like storms either right? That also applies to storms in our personal lives. We all face them but we sure don't like them. The last few days have found our family in one of those storm's. God had prepared me before hand with the key passage for today. There will be testings Sandra. So when the testing came how did I respond to it? With pure joy.....well not exactly in the beginning.

As I sought Him I knew it was a time of progressing to a new level of faith in the storm as I trusted Him with the situation. Just like the dark cloud that came up all of a sudden the day of the storm, a dark cloud of fear came in my heart as I sensed the storm coming in our situation. Then I watched as it intensified into a hail storm with the winds of dread and destruction blowing hard. Just like in the storm's outside that we have no control over, I have also learned we can often not control our personal storms, so we have to learn to release them to God.

We alerted others to pray as we gathered in a time of prayer also as a family. Little by little the howling winds ceased and the dark clouds went away. Sitting back on the front porch today the sun was shining once again and a gentle breeze of the Holy Spirit is blowing through. Our storm is over for now, but the storms will come again. So will I be found considering it ALL pure joy? I see even more clearly today and one of my family member's expressed it like this, “It not only turned our for the good, but it is better”! Praise God.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Day 109

Coming to Their Senses

"That brought him to his senses" Luke 15:17a.

We want our prodigal's to come to their senses quickly don't we?  Like the Prodigal Son's story as written in the Message version, "That brought him to his senses", or in the New King James Version it says, "When he came to himself".  Oh, don't we long to see them come to themselves, to get it once and for all,  to see what we see, to come out of the pigpen, to come home to the Father?
Go back to the beginning of the story where it says: "The younger son said to the Father, 'Father, I want right now what's coming to me'.  Isn't that the way we all are----we want it our way.  We want what we think we deserve.  It's all about self.  We can not see things clearly, we are blind.
John MacArthur says it this way, "When his incessant sinning had left him utterly bankrupt and hungry, he was able to think more clearly.  Then he was ready to be saved".  Not until he had nothing and no where to go did he think clearly.  Oh man, my Father's servant's are living better than I am.
This speaks volumes when we discuss letting go and letting God work.  Not attempting to rescue but letting them live in the pigpen of sin until they are able to think more clearly.  Sometimes no matter how much we talk, rescue or beg, they can't see clearly.  They must live in the pigpen for who knows how long before they will see.  We can get them out of the pen, take them home, clean them up, send them to rehab, and yet they often return because they haven't been left till they are hungry and bankrupt.
As you see, the Father stood watching for the son but did not go out looking for him.  He prayed to see him at the top of the hill headed home but the Father did not go out searching for him, unlike myself.

Then when he saw him coming he didn't ask all kinds of questions, he didn't demand he live a certain way, he didn't heap blame or shame on him, or look down on his appearance, he threw his arms around him and accepted him just as he was.  So no matter how many times we read the story we learn another truth.  Reread it today in different versions and see how God speaks to you through it.  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Day 108


"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" Luke 23:34a.

Being a pen-pal brings blessings and surprises at times.  One guy I write is a family friend from way back who finds himself behind bars at the present time.  We have been corresponding ever since he went to prison.
Today he wrote to say what an encouragement my letters are and how he appreciates them but today there is a surprise included.
He says, "I never ever considered writing to your son when he was on the inside. Nor did I even stop to ask how he was doing.  Not once.  I owe you all an apology.  I was totally insensitive and uncaring.  Fot that I am sorry.  Please forgive me.  For it is only when we walk with someone along their ill-fated path, that we can really feel someone else's pain or sorrow or anger or grief or shame or guilt".  
Wow, that was refreshing and heartfelt and the thing is now he understands.  There was a time I felt justified to receive that apology, but not now.  I have learned to say, "Father, forgive them when they say nothing, turn the other way, exclude me, or gossip about us behind our backs for they know not what they do".  They don't understand the pain, the shame, the loneliness.
Heaven knows I haven't always been there for others either so how can I possibly throw the first stone?  No, he doesn't owe me an apology for something he could not understand and I am truly sorry he has to.
I owe him the love of Jesus because I do understand the shame of a family member in prison, sometimes the lack of support, or the heartache of waiting for a letter or call that never seems to come.  That's why I write, because I want him to know that Jesus loves unconditionally and I do too.  Thank you God for teaching me so that I wouldn't be like the Pharisee's in the Bible.  Keep helping me understand how to love like you do Lord

Day 107

Let His Light Shine

"For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ"  2 Corinthians 4:6
We usually have a focus passage for the beginning of each year at On Wings.  One year God gave us Isaiah 9:2, "The people (prodigals) walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a Light has dawned".  At our planning meeting each board member was given a pottery oil lamp to keep in front of them throughout the year as a reminder to shine their light in a dark world fueled by the Light of the world, Jesus.
I remember the little song as a child, "This little light of mine".   The song went on to say, "I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.  Won't let satan blow it out, I'm going to let it shine".  As a Christian that should be our goal, to shine the light of Jesus everywhere we go.
We have had the privilege of seeing the results of our prayers and our correspondence impact many inmates over the years.  One of our inmates wrote: "I am so thankful God sent On Wings Like a Dove into my life.  I have begun to love Christ and He is making everything brand new in my life.  I can never ever forget our friendship because when everyone else thought of me as a monster, you gave me hope, encouragement, courage and peace".  That letter and others like it help us know we are shining a bright light into their dark world.
The impact of our Pen-pal outreach is significant as those who write the inmates develop a bond and hopefully help the one on the inside grow and develop in their spiritual walk with the Lord.  Getting that letter to some means the world because they may not receive any other mail or feel that no one on the outside cares whether they live or die.  
Maybe you don't feel you are to write an inmate but will you pray they will see a great light today.  Pray they will come into the truth of Jesus Christ.  Pray that God will light up the darkness and shine in their heart.  Then once they come into the light pray they will let it shine to others within those prison walls.  May it be like one candle being lit, lighting another and passing it on so that the whole prison block will be lit up for Christ, proclaiming His name.  It only takes one to begin setting the place on fire for Him.  It only takes one  prayer lifted up to move the heart of God and accomplish much.  Will you commit to being that one who  intercedes on their behalf?  Your prayers can make a difference.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Day 106

Praying God's Will

"In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven"  Matthew 6:9-10.

Most of us can repeat the Lord's Prayer by heart and often are led to do so in a church setting.  But is it just something we say without really believing?  Do we really want God's will or our's?  Jesus gave it to us as an example of how to pray.  Praying God's will is a way of submitting to His plan and purpose for our lives.  Most of the time we aren't really desiring His will even though we say we are......we want our way.
One of our pastors read this quote in his message one day:  "When you ask something of God He will either give you what you ask, or He gives you what you would have asked for if you knew everything He knows".  Now that is a profound statement.  God knows everything and the outcome of all things right?  So why don't we trust Him in our praying?  Instead we beg Him to answer our prayer insisting on our will. 
Or maybe we pray God's will in a certain situation but we aren't really pleased with His answer so we want to change it in some way.  I have often found that to be my thought process.  I am praying Lord please do it my way, then I will be satisfied.
In Matthew 26: 39 Jesus gave us another example of praying for God's will.  It reads, "He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, 'O My Father if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will". Christ voluntarily surrendered His will to His Father.  His desire was for the cup to pass but He was willing to deny Himself and take up the cross.  How about you, will you lay aside your will in order to have His perfect will in your situation?
Most of the time we start whining when things don't go our way in the least little thing much less life changing circumstances we face. As believers we are privileged to come directly to the throne of grace knowing He hears us. We have a promise in His Word that if we ask in His will He will hear us.  "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us" 1 John 5:14.
Pray with confidence today that His will shall be accomplished.  Never insist on your way but trust Him in His.  For instance we may pray for the healing of a person or for their life to be prolonged only to watch them suffer greatly in the days they have left. Or we may insist on our will and when God gives it to us we may discover that our lives may have been better had we given the end results to Him instead of insisting on our own way.  We may resist His will to take our young child home only to see them walk away from the Lord in later years or suffer in some way.  Surrender your all to Him today for He knows best and sees the whole picture in your situation.  It is a matter of trust.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Day 105

Spiritual Gifts
"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant" 1 Corinthians 12:1.
I had heard about spiritual gifts all my life but never really decided what mine was.  As our key passage today says we should not be ignorant of our gifts.  So years ago I got hold of the book, "Designed for Fulfillment" by Charles R. Wade, Jr.  At that time I began to realize the importance of operating in our gifts but didn't know what mine was.  Knowing and operating in that gift gives us freedom to be who God designed us to be.
The book has a check list for the characteristics of each gift.  Most people can resonate with one gift in particular but can have more than one.  Of course we all use each of the gifts at times because we all are teachers, exhorters, or extend mercy and all the other's as the situation requires.  It is just that we usually identify with one gift more strongly then another and it is referred to as our dominant gift.
Learning this is also helpful in how we look at other people, and why they act or react the way they do. It will also change and affect the way I interact with God, myself, and others. Just like our love languages are different so are our gifts.  It is interesting to discover the characteristics of each gift and discover the reason people respond the way they do.  Helps you to be more tolerant of them and vice versa.  
It has also helps me to place volunteers in a position that utilizes their gifts and allows them to find their comfort zone.  We are all a lot more productive operating from our dominant gift.  Our gifts also benefit others as we work together and complement the others as we serve side by side.
It is funny but as I studied the gifts I could tell my friends a lot quicker what their's were but it took me a long time to ponder and finally pin point mine.  Along with the strengths of the gift I discovered there are weaknesses and when I read mine it was accurate.  It also gives you a Biblical character who also had that particular gift.  
One of the quotes from the book is:  "Fulfillment comes when we use all the abilities that God gave us and know that we are doing exactly what our Father designed for us.  Fulfillment comes when we are walking in our unique design and fully developing the resources that God has placed within us".
If you don't know your spiritual gift will you chose to no longer be ignorant.  If you know your gift are you using it to it's full potential for the glory of the Lord?  If not won't you make the change today so you can be free to be who God made you to be?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Day 104

The Dove's Eyes

"Behold you are fair, My love!  Behold you are fair!  You have dove's eyes" Song of Solomon 1:15.

Most everyone knows the way God has used the dove to speak to me over the years.  It has always been a sign of His presence in my life.
My email address use to be soundofthedove....I am always aware of their presence and listen for their very distinct sound.  It can come in a soft, drawn-out sound like laments or a sharp whistling or whinnying as they take flight.  There is no other sound like it. The male mostly coos to woo the female as an enticement to be his potential mate for life.  You can hear them beginning in March as they begin their coo.
They also have a binocular visual field and are only able to put their attention on one thing at a time.  They have beautiful eyes as spoken of in the Song of Solomon.  Dr. Kluane Spake, a theologian points out, "When a dove fixes its gaze upon it's mate, it is not distracted by any activities around it.  Therefore, it is referred to as being a 'Love bird'.
So it got me thinking about our relationship with the Lord.  Do you have dove's eyes,  totally focused on Him, not allowing any distractions?  Are you becoming more and more aware of His presence in your life?
Think about putting a pair of binocular's up to your eyes-----where is your focus?  On the object directly in front of you, right?  You have no peripheral vision.  That's how our relationship should be with Christ, totally focused on Him and committed to Him for life and eternity to come.  Put your binoculars on!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Day 103

Nothing Is Impossible With God

"For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment"  Luke 1: 37 (Amplified).

For years I have kept family pictures in my Bible to pray over in my time with God.  Today I was flipping through my Bible and found some pictures and a note from a dear friend who has prayed for our son over the years.  This note dated November 1998 read:  "In my prayer time today Luke 1:37 came alive in a new way and it was an assurance God wanted me to share with you concerning Rob".  She said she had posted the scripture on her bulletin board to pray for him.
At the time he was involved in drugs and in and out of jail and prison.  It was a very difficult time for our family and it sure did look impossible that we would ever see him  living for the Lord. It also reminded me of the verse in Matthew 19 verse 26b:  "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible".  We know sometimes in our lives that things worked out the way they did because it could have only been God.
In fact among the family pictures in that little Ziploc bag is a picture of my husband and I visiting our son in prison.  It is the only way we had of getting his picture made and having something to hold on to.
There was another verse this friend gave to me and prayed for our son believing God would perform it.  "And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns" Philippians 1:6 TLB.
Do you have a friend to walk alongside you in prayer for your prodigal?  It can be so comforting to know that someone else is praying, not only for your prodigal but for you in the midst of your struggles.  Those prayers can be like smart bombs being dropped down on the enemy.  There is a scripture that comes to mind also as a reminder that when two or more are in agreement God hears and answers our prayers.
Do you truly believe that all things are possible with God?  If not then maybe you need to come to terms with that today.  Ask God to forgive your unbelief and begin to believe what He says in His Word.  It has been my privilege to watch Him do the seemingly impossible in the lives of many as He brought them back to their faith and families.  I pray you will see the impossible done in your situation.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Day 102

God Does Not Lie

"Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says the LORD, and they shall come back to their own border" Jeremiah 31:16
About four years ago our son called our home very distraught.  It was after midnight and I had just gotten back from doing a Ladies Retreat so my husband would not wake me up to talk.  It upset our son so badly he went outside and paced up and down the driveway in the dark.
As we talked the next day he said that he had flung himself on the hood of his car and when he looked up he saw Psalm 23 which is printed on his car windshield. He said he raised up with his hands in the air and totally surrendered to God at that point.  I'm so glad I wasn't available so he had to cry out to God with his struggle at the time.
He was impressed to go in and let his wife read the Psalm 23 passage over him until he began to feel nothing but peace as he dozed off to sleep.
His word's: "I am thirsty, not for water but for God.  God doesn't lie Mom he brought me back.  I know it will be a battle but I will stand firm".  Thirsty for God, now that is how we should all be.
After years of praying and waiting these words were music to this mother's ears.  It was a glorious day.  Has it been a battle?  Ye, but little by little we have seen growth and restoration in our son.  He is walking straight ahead to the Father, learning lessons along the way.  He is also learning that when God ask him to lay something down in his life that God has a better plan if he will continue to deny himself and take up the cross.  
No, God doesn't lie.  He gave me this key passage years ago.  I held onto it as a promise and our son was right, God does not lie!  His promise for this mother is coming to past.  Now it might have taken twenty-five years but It is happening and I know it could only be the works of God.  I look forward to where and to whom God will use him for His glory.

If you believe God has given you a promise that your prodigal will return from the enemies camp, I don't care how long it takes, you hold on to that promise.  Sometimes we wonder how long it will take for it to be fulfilled but God is always right on time.  

Day 101

Endure The Race

"Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us" Hebrews 12:1 (Message).

The faith-filled life is sometimes a grueling, agonizing race.  As my husband and I watched the movie Secretariat a few years ago it reminded me of the race we run and the correlation I saw spiritually speaking in so many ways.  We must learn to endure the race before us as Christians.
Just like the horses in a race who wear blinders to keep their focus straight ahead on the goal, we must have our eyes set on our goal, Jesus, as expressed in verse two of our key passage.  It would be easy to get distracted with the enticements of the world.  We also must strip ourselves of any hindrance of sin that might keep us from reaching the goal.  The jockey has to be stripped down and weigh a certain amount to even qualify to ride the horse to victory.
The KJV of our key passage uses the word endurance instead of patience.  Endurance means a steady determination to keep going regardless of the temptation to slow down and give up.  I thought of this the other night as my husband and I walked the track at a nearby park.  After a day of ministry and chores I didn't realize how tired I was as I kept thinking I might not make it to the end.
I had to keep reminding myself to keep going with my focus set on getting back to our truck to go home.  I decidedly had my eyes fixed on the prize....sitting down.  If I didn't keep going I knew I would not make it.  I thought back to the determination of the horse as it made it's way forward with nostrils flaring and muscles bulging toward the finish line.  He was successful and won the Belmont Stakes Triple Crown race.   At the end of our race on earth we will receive a crown if we overcome to the end.
The last one quarter mile of the race is called the test of companions.  Sometimes we think we can't make the last part of the race.  It is often a test for us; a test of faith and endurance.  Will you be found running the race with "patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us" as the Amplified version of our passage puts it?  Don't let the sins of life trip you up and cause you to fall

Friday, April 10, 2015

Day 100

God Still Speaks

"He who belongs to God hears what God says.  The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God"  John 8:47.

My granddaughter asked me this question the other day, “How do you hear God speak, Maw Maw.”  Now that is a grand parents dream, but how do you answer that question for a young person.  As we seek to develop an intimate relationship with God, we will hear Him speak to us more clearly.
Henry Blackaby taught us in Experiencing God that "we hear God speak by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways".  It is easy for us to read how He spoke in the Bible but often times we do not believe He speaks today.  We tend to think it was just for those times, but that is not true
As you read your Bible see where God stops you and meditate on the passage.  It may speak to the circumstances you are facing at the time or it may be preparing you for circumstances to come.  When He stops you write the word down in your journal and pray for God to reveal the truth of the passage as it relates to your life.  You might want to read over the same verses several times in order to extract all He has for you from the verse or verses.
Watch to see how He brings the passage back to mind throughout the day.  He may have you read something that He wants you to share with others you come in contact with throughout your day.  He might be asking you to make major adjustments in your life.  Will you say yes?
As you pray, stop and listen to what God would say to your heart in the way of direction or instruction.  Don't always be found asking things from Him but take the time to see what He wants to share with you either for personal reasons or for your family or friends.  The Spirit of God takes the Word of God and applies it's truths to our lives if we are listening.
When the Bible, prayer, and circumstances seem to line up you need to move ahead and obey God's instructions if when it sounds like a crazy idea.  Obedience is key because if we don't obey His last instruction He may not give us more opportunities.  John 14:23 says, "If anone loves me, he will obey my teaching.  My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him".
What an awesome thought that He would come and make His home with us.  Make it a priority to obey immediately.  Obedience brings new and fresh experiences of God working in and through you.  
Most of all make sure you are a child of God's so you can have that intimacy that affords you the opportunity to hear Him speak to you.  Then develop a consistent time alone with Him.

Day 99

Love Versus Lust
"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" 1 John 2:16
There is a nightclub in our city that has a huge sign in front.  All it says is "Lust".  I guess that is calling it what it is, right?  The first time I saw it it was seared into my mind as I thought about the contrast of the word Lust versus Love that we learn about in God's Word.  Lust is of the world, not of Father.  We are to be separated from the world.
 Lust means, a very strong sexual desire.  It is clearly nothing but a physical desire.  In our key passage John uses the term as being the desire for evil.  It is interesting that most of the clubs are very dark inside because evil loves the darkness.  Satan, who loves the darkness, uses the eyes to incite evil desires in man.  
It can start out as a glance, become a habit but becomes a full blown addiction whether on the internet where the person believes they are safe to explore without anyone knowing, or while watching R Rated or X Rated movies or looking at magazines which incite a person by visual images.
Love on the other hand is a commitment, a choice, and it is denying yourself and your desires to put the other person first.  The love chapter is in 1 Corinthians 13 which list what love is and what it is not. Love is more about giving to the one you love than what you can get from the other person.  It is loving unconditionally like Jesus does us.  He loved us so much He sent His Son to die for us.  It is about forgiving.  The greatest gift we can give to another is love.  We can speak eloquently and with much wisdom but if we don't have love we are like an irritant.  We must have love.
Take a look at the Corinthians chapter on love and write down the characteristics of true love.  Take a look at your current relationships and consider which category they might fall into; love or lust.  After reviewing the list decide which you would rather have.
Love suffers long; is kind; it does not envy; it does not parade itself; is not rude or puffed up; does not rejoice in sin; to name a few.  Love NEVER fails you; lust just wants more and more of you then throws you to the side till it needs you to fulfill it's evil desires or fulfill it's own pleasure again.  
God is love.....that's Who He is.  We cannot know true love until we recognize His love for us.  He doesn't tell us He loves us for His own purposes but He demonstrated it when He took our place on the cross taking our sins on Himself. The empty void in our soul cannot be filled until it is filled with Him.  He is enough.  
When we expect someone else to fill that void in our hearts we will be disappointed every time.  It is really not right to expect a human person to fill us up because they can't.  When you learn that God is enough you have learned a truth that will be the only thing that sustains you in life.  It may be hard if you did not have love as a child or an example of love, but choose to accept God's love for you right now.  He says He loves you and He does not lie.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Day 98

Art of Journaling

"And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book,........" Exodus 17:14a.

Sometimes I like to try my hand at drawing or doodling.  I decided a couple of years ago that I needed to keep my art in one place so I purchased a sketch book and have several pages done.  I would love to have more time to devote to it because I find it relaxing and meaningful.  
The Lord told Moses to write down what He told him as a memorial in a book.  I believe that is still applicable today.  Sometimes I can't remember the last thing I did so writing it out or drawing it as a memorial is a perfect plan because I often review them.
Before the beginning of a separate art journal I was reading in one of my past writing journals and found a doodle I had created in it.  In the middle of the page was the word God with different names of God written in bright colors that had ministered to me over the years.  He has been my Counselor, my Healer, my Sufficiency, my Provider, and the Lover of my soul to name a few.  What a great way to acknowledge that than by a visual picture of His names written out.  There are so many other of His names that I could have drawn but the ones I wrote were special to me.
Then there was the one that had a balloon to demonstrate that He continues to lift me higher to soar in the Spirit of His marvelous love.  One was of a pot filled with flowers with the words 'With Gratitude' on it.  Each flower then had what I was grateful for:  God, Church, Home, Family, Friends, Husband and Children and Grandchildren.
Then again it was a Bible passage like 1 Corinthians 13 about love and all it's attributes.  I can look at that and hopefully remember what all love is and is not.  One time when away on Retreat I drew the surroundings of the little Inn where we stayed.  It helps me remember the time away with the Lord and is a great way to remember the spiritual marker it was in my life.  Now I have not only words describing my experience but a visual picture that will be ingrained in my mind.
Let me challenge you to do the same.  You don't have to be a great artist, maybe you just like to doodle.  Why not make it into a work of art that has significance and helps you remember either scripture or a time of importance in your life.  You can keep it to yourself if you choose.
I like to also glue tickets, flyers, trip souvenirs or pics in my journal to help me remember a really fun or special event that either I have attended or taken our grandchildren to.  It helps you later to find the event a little easier also. 
 Use your imagination and make journaling a fun event because it is helpful to go back and review where you have been and see how God has been working in your life all along.  You can also determine by your writings if you have grown in your spriitual walk or have remained stagnant.  Are you further along the path towards God today than you were last year?  If not, why not?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Day 97

The Testing of Your Faith

"Consider it (all) pure joy....whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance" James 1:2.

My spiritual Mother has been giving me a verse on the day that my birthday falls, on the thirteenth of each month now for at least three years.  It is always special to know that she has prayed that the Lord would specifically give her a scripture for me.  Some verses are very encouraging and uplifting.  I am always excited to get them from her and just meditate on them and ask God to teach me what He is conveying or preparing me for.
This past month my scripture was our key verse for today.  Upon reading it I must say I was not real thrilled because I thought, Oh man what kind of issues must we go through now.  Over the years of testing and trials I was so grateful to have had a lady in one group I was part of describe me with one word as instructed by the leader; Perseverance.  Just like you I have endured many very hard and sometimes tragic events but I kept holding on to God's Word for hope and reassurance and God has always given me the strength to come through.
My mentor said that she was praying that through the bitterness of life's experiences God would show His lovely redemption to me.  She was praying that He would be in my testing in a very clear was.
I didn't have to wait long for the struggle to come and for the testing to begin.  I found I needed to step back and remind myself once again that I am not in charge.  God is.  Often times trials can produce bitterness in our heart.  When we begin to count it all joy the enemy is put at bay.  
Gratefully lessons have been learned along the journey of my life and even if my heart quickens at a call of emergency or bad tidings I can quickly remind myself of passages of encouragement and truths that will get me back on track when I begin to panic.  God knows what is needed in a situation to either do a work in us or a loved one.  He is always working it out for our good even when it does not look good.  
I try to recall passages that have been such a blessing and promise to me over the years and I draw on those.  If I really want to keep them close I will jot them down in my index card booklet and carry them with me.  That way when I need a promise or  instruction I will have it right before me to recite or bring to memory.
It is not if we face a time of trials and testing, but when!  Getting to the next level of spiritual maturity and growth is often hard to contemplate but it does produce perseverance.  Hopefully you can exclaim in the middle of the battle, "Lord, the Battle is Yours.  I am looking to You and You alone.  Remember when the news comes that you dread that you have some scriptures close by or memorized  to help you through your time of testing.  Would you like to escape loss or brokenness, since in them you are promised perseverance?

Day 96


"And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady" Romans 5:4 TLB.

When sitting in the dentist's chair for almost two hours there is a lot of time to hear the conversations above your head.  If someone ask a question you can only grunt out an answer at best.  You are too busy trying to hold your mouth open while attempting not to strangle on your own saliva.  And....not to think on the grinding as you see pieces of whatever are flying up in your face and your dentist's glasses.
At a recent visit my dentist began sharing that he enjoyed his job and had learned the art of patience with his clients as each one sat in his chair to receive his services.  Some are easy going and cooperative he said.  Then some people brought challenges as they shifted in the chair or were unable to hold their mouths open long enough for him to do his work.  He shared that he had learned to try to accomplish the work
Our conversation reminded me of God's patience with us...His long-suffering. So many times we squirm out of His reach or His plan for us making it difficult for Him to accomplish His work in and through us.  Sometimes we don't open our mouths to share His love with others when He brings them our way  or share a word of witness for the hope within us.  
My dentist didn't really attribute his lessons on patience as a testimony to God but how it had taken him years to develop patience as a character trait.  He stated learning that virtue was life changing in his ability to respond to his clients properly and to enjoy his profession.
Patience is hard for us these days because we are use to getting what we want in an instant.  Or maybe it is that we are not patient with a person and must learn that lesson. You, like me may have heard over the years not to pray for patience because you just might find yourself in a test to prove your patience. 
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are all mentioned in Galatians as the fruit of the spirit.  It is a life long process for each of us as we allow God to develop each one of those in us.  Maybe you need to renew your vow to work on all these attributes in your life.  I am praying that your faith will remain strong and steady as I strive to do the same.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Day 94

God is Our Refuge and Strength

"God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble. And so we need not fear even if the world blows up and the mountains crumble into the sea" Psalm 46: 1-2 (TLB).

While at work one day I received a call that my Dad had experienced a mild heart attack.  He had driven himself from the doctor's office to the emergency department ten miles away.  After sharing the information with my charge nurse, I made my way across the street to the hospital.  As the doors swung open I saw my Dad in the hall on a stretcher.  I began to pray that God would give me the strength I needed to minister to he and my mother during the crisis.
Trying to make light of the situation, he explained they were making arrangements to admit him to the Cardiac Unit for observation and that there were plans to perform a heart cath the following Monday to see the extent of the damage and look for any blockages.
What an example of steadfast faith my Dad has always been for so many.  The loss of such a godly man would be a devastating blow to our family and his friends.  He has always been a solid rock to us all so to lose him would be one of the saddest days of my life but God gave me such peace at the time and even with the news three years later that he had suffered a mild stroke.
My Dad longs for his heavenly home, but his family would love to hold on to him as long as God allows.  We can't imagine life without him and thankfully we did not have to, this time.  We keep hoping to go up together as Christ return for His Bride.
The Lord promises in the key verse to be with us; to be our refuge and strength in a time of trouble.  He also tells us not to fear even if the world blows up or the mountains crumble.  My test during these struggles was to trust God no matter the outcome.  In verse 10a of this same chapter it says, "Be still, and know that I am God;".  Be still means to relax, let go and allow to fall; take your hands off.  I must recognize that God is Sovereign over all my circumstances and trust him with the outcome even when it is hard.
During our days of uncertainty we drew upon His strength one day at a time, to see us through whatever the results would be.  We know He always has a purpose and plan and we trust Him in that.  God will not waste our sorrow.  Are you willing to take your hands off of your troubles and trust God to work it out for good?  

Day 93

He is Risen; He is Risen Indeed!

"I know that my Redeemer liveth"  Job 19:25.

What a privilege On Wings Like a Dove has to be located right next to God's Acre in Old Salem.  It is a beautiful sight all year, but especially at Easter.
The day before Easter the Moravian s come to scrub the tomb-stones and place flowers on all the graves in God's Acre.  The band plays music from the belfry in the building behind our office and occasionally a pastor will share scripture on the intercom that goes out across the grave site.  It is amazing to witness.
This sets the stage for a beautiful sight as people gather for the Easter sunrise service at Home Moravian down the street on Easter morning.  They then walk in procession past our office to the graveyard for worship as the sun rises.
I learned today that the people are buried facing the east so when Jesus returns they will rise straight up to meet Him.  My great-great-grandmother is buried there as well as my great grandparents so it makes it even more special to me.
The preacher says, "He is risen", and the people respond, "He is risen indeed".  What a glorious way for families to celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord.  We know He lives, sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us.  That fact alone should give us hope and cause for rejoicing.
What our Savior bore on that cross is beyond anything we could ever imagine.  He did it to take our sins upon Himself because He loved us so much.  There is no greater love than that.
If you have not made your decision to ask Him into your heart why not do it today.  What better time to secure your eternal destiny so you can be assured that you will rise to meet Him when He breaks the eastern skies.  Oh what a glorious day that will be for those who have made Him Lord of their lives.  Do it today.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Day 92

Running On Empty

"And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty" Deuteronomy 15:13.

One of my bad habits is pushing my car to the brink of empty.  Years ago our car actually spoke to us a warning when the gas tank was almost empty.  Now a little light comes on to give me warning but I must choose to stop and fill up in order not to find myself stranded on the side of the road!  My husband has warned me for years about the possibility of running out of gas when by myself but I often procrastinate and seem to always test the limits.
Running on empty is an interesting correlation in our spiritual journey as well.  How many times do you find yourself feeling like you are running on empty?  How many warnings does God give before you stop to fill up spiritually to avoid an inevitable crash.
So how do you keep your tank on full?  You keep a consistent time set aside to meet with the Lord.  Even one day without fellowship with Him can cause your tank to head towards empty.  You communicate with God in prayer and listen for His voice giving you guidance and direction.  You involve yourself in Bible Study or read materials that educate you on biblical truths.  
What are some warning signs that you might be near empty?  Could it be a sharp tongue, a sudden burst of anger, resentment, pride, self-centerness, gossip, jealousy, just to name a few.  
If you find yourself running on empty examine your source of supply.  Just like you wouldn't want to pump the wrong grade of gas into your car, you would not want to allow wrong teachings or trash to come into your mind or heart.  Confess any wrong attitude or actions immediately on conviction.  Vow to have a regular time to hear from God.  Don't allow yourself to get to the point of a warning; keep filled up on Gods Word.
My husband tries to make sure he is at least half full in his vehicle in case we traffic might come to a standstill and find us sitting there without an opportunity to get gas.  You never know what crisis may come and have you stuck in the traffic of life and find yourself depleted spiritually or run out completely.  Always be found full of God's Word to avoid running on empty spiritually.