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Mar 30, 2022

Rise

 

Photo By Casie Steele Photography

The road has been a bit bumpy lately. The last couple of years have taken a toll and still more rough patches seem to be rising up. It's enough to make you want to give up and throw in the towel. There you are, some place between "why bother' and "enough is enough". It can be overwhelming and before you know it you are immobilized. You know what I mean; unable to move forward, gain momentum or grow. 

Sure, rough patches can rise up, but so can you! You are a child of the Most High God. Nothing can keep you from your good. First you need to raise your sights. Lift your eyes up to the Heavens. Don't be paralyzed in your circumstances. God is right there where you are. He sees you and knows exactly what you have been through.

Jesus wants to help you rise and be the best you can be. He doesn't want to see you trampled by the world. You have a supernatural source, the Holy Spirit, inside you. You have the power to move you forward and be strengthen. Do you believe it? It's true! So what are you waiting for? 

Rise up! Ask God to open your heart and mind to the steps He wants you to take. Next be obedient to follow through with what He has told you and continue to seek Him every day. There is grace and joy in the journey, you just need to rise up and take the next steps. I can hear Jesus now telling you to walk and watching every step you take. 

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. Acts 3:7-8





Mar 8, 2022

Just Love

 


Have you ever stopped to consider that God placed you on this crazy planet for a reason? There is something that you can do, that no one else in the entirety of space or time can do. It may be a specific gift you were blessed with that when shared will positively impact lives. Perhaps you are to lead others to Jesus or be the parent or sibling of someone that will be inspired by you to do so. No matter the reason, you are also called by Christ to love. If you did nothing else with you time passing through this world except to just love, that would be so powerful!

Sounds easy right? Oh but it isn't. There are people and circumstances that are guaranteed to get under your skin, irritate you, and make you want to not love at all. It could be a stranger, someone at work, or even your very own family member causing you to respond in a way that is far from loving. 

You see, love isn't about self. It's about you reaching beyond yourself and connecting with others as Jesus would. God doesn't just love you on the days when you remember to talk to him and you treat everyone in kindness. He loves you when you totally forget He is there and you have a bad attitude with your spouse or child. His love is constant and is looking for you to be a constant in loving those around you.

So, if you are unsure of your God given gift and purpose for being here, fear not. You have a mission to just love those around you. That alone should keep you pretty busy and, yes, blessed.  

"My command is this: love each other as I have loved you". John 15:12

Jan 12, 2022

Grace

A New Year is the perfect time to pause and reflect on your life. Often individuals choose to make New Year's resolutions or self promises for improvement. Personally, I like to skip resolutions and instead sit with God and ask Him for a word that might set the tone for the year. Last year's word was "trust" and God did not disappoint. This year's word is "grace". 

In considering "grace" there are several aspects including the definition and its meaning for Christians. The Webster definition is, "unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification; a virtue coming from God; a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance." 

From a Christian perspective, grace is God's favor towards us. Grace is a gift from God that cannot be earned. It's God giving us more than we deserve. God is grace. Grace is what God does because He is gracious. All we have from God is because of grace; creation, salvation, His never ending love, provision and protection are all because of God's grace.

As Christians we rejoice because of God's grace and still we have a responsibility to show grace to others. This is not always easy. As followers of Jesus Christ we are to have the mind and heart of Christ in all we do. This includes our interactions and relationships; especially with those we may feel don't deserve grace. Doing so demonstrates the love of Christ in action. Perhaps you too are hearing God say that you need to focus on grace. Pray that He with transform your behaviors and motives so that you can show grace to others.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. 
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God."
Ephesians 2:8

Dec 10, 2021

Appearances



 If you had to sum up in one word what currently matters most in American culture, a good describer would be "appearances".  Yes, appearances seem to be what is most important to people. There are influencers, celebrities, and even famous people with no talent appearing to be important, wealthy, cleaver, or have some special quality that others are chasing after.

The truth is, things are not always as they appear. What is visible to the world via social media, Hollywood, or the news is almost always a made up version of reality. That is not surprising when you consider we live in a fallen world. Jesus warned us that Satan is a liar. His goal is to distract, attract and attack. He even tried tempting Jesus. He will stop at nothing to make what is bad look good, just to get his way.

God's "appearances" are quite different. With God we learned to never judge 'a book by it's cover' as he uses the small, unassuming, and meek to do mighty and often miraculous work. His ways are awesome and awe inspiring. He sent the Savior of the World as an innocent newborn baby and had angels and a star appeared to announce His arrival.  He used a small shepherd boy to take down a giant and become King. He chose an orphaned girl to grow up and become a courageous queen, saving Israel from annihilation.

What about you? Are you getting caught up in appearances and becoming distracted from what matters most? Are you focusing on Christmas gifts, decorating and hosting the perfect "celebrity"  version Christmas for yourself, or are you celebrating the true meaning of Christmas? The truth is, no matter how things appear, Jesus Christ, and the joy that comes from knowing Him as the Lord of your life, is the greatest gift of all.

Praise honor and glory to you Jesus Christ! 

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: 

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14


Nov 22, 2021

Give Thanks to the Lord


Revised and updated from original post in November 2009

Beyond the turkey and stuffing, past the mashed potatoes; broccoli with cheese sauce and the rolls, lies the true meaning of Thanksgiving. It is not about the pumpkin pie, the kick-off of the football game or holiday season. It has nothing to do with the traditional Macy's parade and the deals of Black Friday. Of course, our culture and the mainstream media focus on making Thanksgiving about these things instead of on its true meaning.

The true meaning of Thanksgiving is tucked away in the festivities and the meal preparation. In some cases, it is buried deep underground and not even mention. The true meaning of Thanksgiving is to praise and celebrate the goodness and grace of God. Many will fail to bow the knee, praise Him with grace before the meal, or raise their hands in gratitude. However, I am sure that you will join me in giving thanks, praise, and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ on Thanksgiving Day and every day.

As you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with those you love, take a moment to reflect on the great man that was brave enough to acknowledge God before the world as evidenced by the proclamation that follows from so long ago. May you too proclaim God and His Son Jesus Christ this Thanksgiving and always. 

Proclamation: 
The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well as the iron and coal as of our precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A.D. 1863 
By the President: Abraham Lincoln

I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!