Monday, October 31, 2011

Immortality NOW

Read: Romans 6:4-5

"Whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." - John 5:24

Humans constantly search for the fountain of youth to achieve immortality. They explore in vain for a way to live forever. When we are "born again," we actually cross from eternal death into eternal life. It happens the instant we believe that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins and rose again to give us a new life in Him. At that very moment, we take our first step out of this mortal world and into the immortal Kingdom of God.

Then we experience life as Christ prepared it for us. We are free from the power of sin and the lusts and expectations of this world. Our old nature is crucified with Christ, and He lives His life through us (Galatians 2:20). We live each new day in glorious freedom as the body of Christ.

Lord Jesus, make our lives a living witness of the power of Your gospel.  Keep us ever mindful that Your Spirit resides in our hearts to empower us to live Godly lives now and throughout eternity.

Thought for the Day
Exhibit the power of Christ’s gospel through a life, which is victorious as well as surrendered.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I'm Out to Change My World

Read: Mark 16:15-20

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."  -Acts 1:8 (NKJV)

A friend once asked me,  “Have you had any evangelistic opportunities lately?” I could not answer her, because I had not even looked for any opportunities.

This motivated me to step outside of my comfort zone. I started buying a small gift for each new person moving into my neighborhood and included a salvation tract and a map to my church. I also gave my neighbors inexpensive homemade gifts at Christmas and included a salvation tract with my phone number tucked inside. Each week at church, I spoke to the people I did not recognize and asked them how their week was going. I started smiling at everyone I passed and saying, "Hello".

I also began looking at the cashier’s nametag in all the retail stores I frequented, and asked, “How is (their name) today?” Then I actually listened and told them I would pray for them as I gave them a salvation tract with a map to my church. I even talked to people sitting next to me on planes, trains and boat trips and told them how Jesus changed my life.

As we talk about God’s goodness (Psalm 18:49) to our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors, we are witnessing! It is that easy! If we boldly share with others, God will bring conviction. (1 Corinthians 3:7)

Lord Jesus, never let me pass up an opportunity to “sing” Your praises. Help me to remember that my words may be all that will stand between this person and hell. Amen.

Thought for the Day:
I want to change my world, by sharing the gospel with one person at a time.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Love and Loss

Read: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

“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.” - 1 John 4:16 NKJV

When my former husband decided there was no option for us but divorce, I learned that hate is the opposite side of the coin of love, two passionate emotions using the same vehicle of expression. The realm of emotions has no rage comparable to that of love when it turns to hatred. The reason that we hate is because our love is spurned or disappointed. I had to give my dejection to God and to choose not to hate.

Even when someone we love dies, our love never dies. Love lives on in our hearts in spite of death, divorce and disease. When we love others with Christ’s love, we decide to accept each other’s faults and to encourage one another’s successes.

God’s agape love covers a multitude of sins, casts out all fear, and sets us apart from those without God’s love in their hearts. Jesus says that others will recognize us as His disciples by our love. If God’s love makes us the type of people who love no matter what happens, then others will want to know what we believe, so they too can experience God’s love.

Lord Jesus, You taught us by your example to love those who hurt us. Help us to rely on Your spiritual power instead of our nuclear power. Help us to follow Your Spirit’s direction to prevent us from developing into misdirected persons.

Thought for the Day:
Our love actually never ends. It just changes direction.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fellowshipping with Our Father

Read: John 14:16-21

“What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” - 2 Corinthians 6:16

As my sister-in-Christ walked on the beach, she fairly fainted with excitement over her upcoming trip to her best friend’s home. In the next moment, the Lord stated a clear fact to her. “You are more excited to spend time with her than you are to spend time with Me.” This thought reminded her of Mark 12:30, "Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."

Amazingly, the God and King of the universe desires companionship with His children. So much so, that He sent His Son to die for us, and His Spirit to dwell within us.

How much time do we spend fellowshipping with Our Father? How much attention do we give to the monumental fact that the Holy Spirit of God lives inside of us? Our busy schedules usually prevent this from happening.

Therefore, now is the moment to prioritize our time and to exclude all of our useless endeavors (1 John 1:6). Then, whatever crowds out or competes with our affections for Him can be demoted to its proper place in our life.

Lord Jesus, we desire to walk in Your presence each moment of our day and to live our lives as a praise to You. Fill us with your peace, joy and contentment. Draw us ever closer to Your heart.

Thought for the Day:
Blessings are not earned, but awarded.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fairytale or Reality

Read: Acts 19:8-10

As you do not know what is the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything." - Ecclesiastes 11:5 (NKJV)

Paul appealed to the people in his day, and quite successfully convinced many of them about God’s reality. Others refused to believe the Gospel, and some even mocked it. The same is true today. Since scientists cannot examine God under a microscope they explain Him away. They have no proof of the origin of electricity, the wind or magnetism either; yet, they accept these assumptions as facts. With God, however, since they cannot prove Him scientifically, they dismiss Him as a fairytale. This is not consistent, nor is it logical.

Not only can we see the handiwork of God in our universe, we can also see the consequences of His work in a Believer’s life. The miscreant transforms into a productive citizen, the selfish woman considers her family first, and the wandering husband spends his time at home every night.

I thank God that He is not finite and measurable; but that He dwells in infinity. I would not want to serve a God, which I can categorize, allegorize and automatize. I much prefer serving a God that I can apotheosize.

Prayer ~ Lord Jesus, Your Spirit creates a difference in our thoughts, words, and actions. Till the soil in the lives of those around us, so that we can successfully plant the seed of Your truth.

Thought For The Day ~ As long as Believers live in our universe, there is absolute proof that God is real!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Crown of Glory

Read: Isaiah 28:5

“The gray head is a crown of glory and beauty, IF it is found in the righteous way, the path of spiritual and moral uprightness in every area or relationship.” - Psalm 16:31 (Amplified Bible)

Since I now possess a full head of gray hair, this verse holds greater significance for me than it did in my youth. It challenges me to live healthier and more righteously. The dictionary defines glory as great honor awarded to us when we do something of value or importance. It is the condition of the highest achievement of majesty, affluence, radiant beauty or magnificence. To be in one’s glory means to enjoy one’s best and happiest moments of life.

The Lord alone is our true glory, treasure, magnificence, and radiant beauty. In this photo, you will see a young girl and/or an old woman depending on your perspective. When Jesus lives in us, we are actually in our glory, regardless of our age or the color of our hair. However, even in old age our significance does not diminish. We shine with the brilliance of a valuable, ancient golden coin because of the glory of Christ within us.

Lord Jesus, You were crowned with glory because of Your death and resurrection. Now, you are a crown of glory and beauty for all of Your Saints. Yet, when You are revealed in the last days, we too will win the conqueror’s crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:4)

Thought for the Day:
In our youth we have faith only in what we can see; but as we age, we learn that the true glory of life is in what we cannot see.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Acceptance With Joy

Read: James 1:2-4
"Knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven."~ Heb 10:34c (NKJV)

I constantly struggle to accept with joy the various negative circumstances that harass my life. For instance, a few years ago we bought a tiny, old brick house built way back in 1971, a 700 sq. ft. fixer-upper. The once dark, paneled walls now stood faded and blotchy. Fiber tile in the suspended ceiling dripped with orange grease, cigarette smoke and age. Old yellowed, metal office blinds covered the few windows. Even after I cleaned the scarred, dry-rotting linoleum kitchen floor it still looked dirty. An outdoor laundry room exposed me to the tropical heat and rains. Permanent pocks marred the reflective film on the windows. This house desperately required a “facelift.”

As the seasons blended from one to another, I finally got sick of listening to myself complain. I realized that I needed to “lift my face” to Heaven with a smile of gratitude instead of a frown of criticism. I thought about the many homeless people who had no dwelling at all. At least, I had a secure residence in which to live. From then on I started focusing on the good qualities about this home. I referred to it as our miniature, antique cottage. I praised God for a dry roof, no termites and carpeting on the concrete floor. True to form, once I changed my attitude, then God miraculously started providing what we needed to remodel.

Lord, help me to focus on meeting the needs of those less fortunate than I am, and to remember that Heaven is our true home.

Allow patience to produce her perfect work.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Reason for Christ's Body

Read: Exodus 18:18-27

You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.” Exodus 18:18

“I am only one person. I cannot do more than one thing at a time.”

If I had a dollar for every time I uttered this comment, I would top Forbes list of the richest people on earth. Sometimes, though, human beings find it hard to ask for help. We do not want to bother anyone. We want to stand on our own two feet. Sometimes, we even get discouraged that we even have a need.

The longer we wait to ask for help, the more the need grows. Then, we struggle with negative emotions, such as impatience and anger, because our focus is on our need and interruptions are an irritation.

Over the years as a Pastor’s wife, I learned to follow Jethro’s advice in my life too. I ask for help from those who are wiser, smarter and more gifted in an area than I am. I not only lighten my burden, but I also provide a blessing for others, since they now feel useful and needed.

God put us all in a Body for a reason. We need one another, and we need Christ as the Head of our Body. With each one doing our part, we can walk in harmony and peace, which passes all human understanding.

Lord, help me to see that no one is an island and that there is no shame in asking for help.

Thought for the Day:
Effective performance is not accomplished as productively by one person’s labor, as it is by a team effort.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Living Life Largely

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” - Colossians 3:17

Can you give thanks to God the Father for what you do in word and deed? If you cannot perform your current behavior in the name of the Lord Jesus, then do not do it!

 Serenity Prayer
“Father, grant me the patience to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

The Serenity Prayer teaches us that we can hear God’s desire for every situation in our life. We can experience each moment of life fully and deliberately with thought, prayer and purpose. In the Serenity prayer we ask God to give us the wisdom to know what situations in our life that we can change, and which to leave in His hands.

If you cannot change them, then give them to God. No! I mean, REALLY give them to God. Then praise God for them, in them, and through them, even for the negative elements.

God either helps us to deal with the abhorrent emotions and circumstances in our life right now, or He willingly takes the burden of them from us; so that we go on to the next moment of life full of peace and joy. By doing this, we end up walking in complete contentment and in the dynamic fullness of the Spirit of God.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of ALL the fullness of God.” - Ephesians 3:16-19

Thought for the Day:
Living life consciously, in the present moment, keeps us from taking life for granted.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why is Jesus Waiting to Return?

(Published in Penned From the Heart - 2011)

Read: 2 Peter 3:4-10

“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” - 1 John 2:28 (NKJV)

Those in Peter’s day had the same question people do today. When will Christ return? Scoffers like to ridicule faithful Christians about our predictions of this blessed event. Peter answered their question by explaining that time has no relevance for the Lord.

Newton may have discovered the laws of nature, but God set them all into motion. He even set up His calendar of events before the beginning of time (Titus 1:2). God sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), and His Word predicts the damnable results of our human choices.

Therefore, His patience prevents Him from returning until the cup of His wrath is full (Revelation 14:10; Romans 2:5). He is actually unwilling for anyone to suffer the torments of hell forever. Now, when people complain to me that my God does not keep His promises, I remind them that God loves them too much to come too soon.

Lord God, thank You for Your inclusive patience and unfailing grace.
Teach us not to grow weary in doing good, but to look forward to
Your imminent return as we continue telling others about Your eternal love.

Thought for the Day:
God loves us the most when we deserve it the least.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Defeating Satan

Read: 1 Peter 5:8-11

“Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour.” - 1 Peter 5:8

Sometimes, we have
momentary lapses in judgment when we follow the advise of our flesh or Satan’s influence and we rebel, steal, lie, hurt someone, etc. At other times, however, we unwittingly open ourselves up to satanic oppression or possession.

Dabbling in satanic rituals, ouiga boards, seances, sorcery, witchcraft, fortune telling, horoscopes, wicca, tarat cards, voodoo dolls, casting spells, using mystical powers, etc. opens the door of our life to Satan.

Christians who do these things will get oppressed by Satan and this will result in all kinds of entrenched rebellion, negative emotions, unforgiveness, physical illness and despotism. When we parents permit these sorts of things in our children’s lives, then we relinquish Godly authority over our children and hand them over to satanic forces. Non-Christians who do them may get demon possessed and go into Satan worship or worse.

God has equipped ALL Christians to overcome Satan's power. The Apostle Paul said that "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (of a fleshly or earthly nature), but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds" (2 Cor. 10:4).

The Devil runs from submitted, yielded Christians."Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he WILL flee from you" (James 4:7). Resisting is done through prayer by the power of the Holy Spirit within us. God's power delivers us from satanic bondage, which we or our ancestors allowed into our life. I've seen the Holy Spirit set people free from the results of possession and oppression, which plagued them for years.

Lord Jesus, help us to draw near to You and to stand against the wiles of the devil. Help us to walk in Your wisdom and discernment, so that Satan does not push aside our will and take control of our thoughts and actions.

Thought for the Day:
Over time Satan lulls our minds to the point where we call good evil and evil good just as the Bible says would happen in the end times.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eternal Weight of Glory

Read: James 4:13-15
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” - Heb 12:2  KJV

I grew up and then married into homes with conditional love. I strove for half of my life to win approval from those I loved. The only way I survived emotionally was to realize that God’s love is not only a free and unconditional gift, but that it also lasts forever.

Life on earth is merely a single breath when viewed in the scope of eternity. Why do we strive so hard to find success in this temporary existence? Having an eternal, rather than a material view of life allows us to live in circumstances much less than perfect and still have abiding joy. We learn this lesson from Jesus. He endured death on the cross by focusing on the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2).

Father, we pray that You teach us to abide in You and to see our circumstances through Your eyes. Help us to let go of the riches of this world in order to attain the treasures of heaven.

Thought For The Day:
Christians who accomplish the most in this present world are those who think more about the next.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Friend or Foe?

Read: 1 Corinthians 3:16-20

"Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." -James 4:4

Paul’s parents educated him so well that he rose in the ranks of Roman society. Once he met Christ, however, he chose to be called a fool in the world’s eyes in order to  "be transformed by the renewing of his mind" (Romans 12:2). This restoration took determination, consistency, persevering prayer and the continual reading in God’s Word. Once Paul made the commitment, God provided abundant resources for him to succeed.

Let us also make this uncompromising pledge to God and rise above the wisdom of the world. We can cast aside the innumerable influences, which compete for our attention, and instead seek to please the One who sacrificed His life for us.

Satan plants mine fields along the road toward freedom to destroy those who do not walk vigilantly (Ephesians 5:15). Do not become a statistic in Satan’s tally. Walk in the Spirit and you will see the world's wisdom for what it truly is... foolishness.

Lord Jesus, give me the faith and courage to stand alone. Though the world may label me a fool, I will "trust in the Lord with all of my heart and lean not on my own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5). Amen.

Thought for the Day:
God's plan always requires us to be "sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Triple Treat

Read: Romans 5:8-10

"For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." - Romans 15:4

I am amazed at the extent of God's love for us. He not only made provision for our Salvation through Jesus Christ, He also gave us the Bible with detailed instructions on every aspect of life. He did not leave us defenseless to survive a lifetime of trials and tribulation. The Bible gives us wisdom to live victoriously, even in these perilous end times.

Events, which are chronicled in today's newspapers, are predicted in God's Word. We know exactly what will happen and what to expect according to God's timetable. God gave us a triple treat: His Son, His Word and also His Holy Spirit. When the headlines threaten to douse our faith with fear, these three lead us on to victory as they comfort us every moment of every day. (Isaiah 43:2)

Lord Jesus, remind us that You have everything under Your control. Nothing surprises You, because You set it all in motion before the foundation of the world.

Thought for the Day:
The darkest hour of the day is always followed by the dawn.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Beyond Our Abilities

Read: Ephesians 3:14-19

“Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” - James 2:22 (NKJV)

My talents are in the area of crafts. I love to do anything that involves string and a needle or paper and glue. Therefore, when I turned my life over to Christ, I feared that I had no talents to offer, which He could use for His Kingdom. I had little more than genuine trust in Him. Then, I learned that with salvation comes the gift of faith to accomplish all that God calls us to do in our lifetime (Matthew 17:20).

We never walk alone, because God fills us with all of His fullness. Works become an indication of our salvation, rather than a prerequisite for it. We can obey the Spirit’s promptings in our life regardless of our talents or knowledge. No task, which God asks us to perform, remains beyond His anointing on us to carry it through.

On the other hand, sometimes we see a need and our compulsion prompts us to fill it. That is not always wise. Jesus helped everyone He felt God leading Him to assist, but He did not help everyone. Likewise, if we give aid to someone outside of God’s will for that person or for us, then we are actually enabling and rescuing, rather than assisting them in a healthy way. Our goal in life is to follow the Spirit’s leading in everything we say and do.


Precious Lord, lead us by Your Spirit moment-by-moment throughout the day, so that we may accomplish the greater works that You commissioned us to perform.

Thought for the Day:
God's Spirit in us is infinitely greater than the boundaries of all of our abilities.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Lily in My Deep Valleys

Read: Psalm 18:2-6

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:6-7

Wise Solomon, who had more wives than I can count, said in Proverbs 21:9 “It is better to live in the corner of an attic than with a crabby woman in a lovely home.” (TLB) He should know...he lived in a palace! 

From his vast experience, Solomon often compared different types of wives. “A wise woman builds her house; a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands.” (Proverbs 14:1) “A worthy wife is her husband’s joy and crown; a shameful wife saps his strength.” (Proverbs 12:4) 

My former husband acused me of tearing down my house with my own hands. In the unstable financial, emotional and sometimes physical environment he provided for me and my three children, fear and insecurity often overwhelmed me. I over-reacted when something disturbed the well-planned order, which I used to insulate myself from a world that sometimes really, really scared me. 

Over the years, God taught me how to trust HIM, instead of people or circumstances, especially when I am afraid. Proverbs 31:26 advises us to open our mouth with wisdom, and on our tongue to have the law of kindness. I am learning to get all the facts and to think before reacting. This way I can give a lucid response with a loving attitude. Do I still slip now and then? Oh yeah! But, I'm mellowing with age. 

Lord Jesus, sometimes I still shiver with fear when circumstances spin out of control. You are my Rock, my Sword and my Shield. You are the lily in my deep valleys. You are my bright and morning star.

Thought for the Day:
When life flies at me with blinding speed, I am learning to duck…
behind the Rock.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reluctant Changes

Read Mark 10: 29-31

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33

What do Moses, Abraham, Elisha and the disciples all have in common? They answered affirmatively when God called them to fulfill His purpose for them in the earth. They all left family, home, businesses and a lifetime of habits and accumulated comforts to follow God’s will.

Would we obey, if God required a change from us as well? Change is hard. We avoid change like the plague. The fear of the unknown is the culprit behind our reluctance to adjust. We settle in a comfort zone and see no reason to leave it.

As we draw close to God, we find the freedom and power to live each day under His control. The Holy Spirit helps us to accept change, while God supplies everything we need to make a successful transition; and at the same time, Jesus helps us to find peace and joy during the whole process. Many people live with change every day and never regret it. We can too, if we surrender to the work of the Trinity in our lives.

Lord Jesus, give us the courage of David and the wisdom of Solomon, so that we will allow You to bring Your changes into our lives. Amen.

Thought for the Day:
When God calls, Satan forestalls and man squalls, but Jesus overcomes all walls.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bearing More Fruit

Read: John 12:42-43 

"For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive?" (1 Corinthians 4:7).

A friend told me she did not want to accept Christ in her life, because she was afraid of losing too many of her friends. I reminded her that she would gain even more and truer friends, but she was too fearful to give it a try. Another friend was afraid that God would require that he give up his self-important lifestyle and his excessive carnal desires.

All of our gifts and abilities come from God’s work in our life. He even prunes us, so that we can bear more fruit. God uses our trials to build into us the character of Christ (Romans 8:29). Our motivation in service to King Jesus comes from our love for God and not prompted by the praises of man or driven by our measure of success. God deserves all of the praise for who we are (Ephesians 2:10). When people praise our fruitfulness, we can thank them for their encouragement and give the glory to God.

Thought for the Day:
No criticism makes me less, just as no praise makes me more.

Lord Jesus, help us to keep You as our focus as we bear fruit for You and as You prune us to bear even more fruit.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Avoiding Temptation

Read: Hebrews 10:35-38

And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. - 1 John 2:17 (NKJV)

I have seen a pattern in my life when it comes to sin. The more I give in to temptation, the stronger the temptation is the next time it comes. I shut out the warning of my conscience and soon I can no longer hear from God at all. My sin separates me from Him and causes my resistance against sin to diminish. I also lose my peace and joy, and God no longer experiences any pleasure in my actions.

However, when I focus on the fact that Jesus already won the victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15: 56-57), I have stronger will power to resist the temptation in the first place. The Holy Spirit is always ready to empower me to break the cycle of sin and to walk in God’s Righteousness (Philippians 2:13). He helps me to remember the promises of God and to trust Him to provide me with everything I need to live successfully. I never want to become so accustomed to sin that I consider it normal behavior.

Lord, give me Your eyes to judge between right and wrong, so that I never lose the joy of being in Your presence.

Thought for the Day:
Jesus walked in sinless perfection, and He abides in me.