Tuesday, October 16, 2018
"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21NIV
This is a dramatic picture. The night is over and a new day has just begun. This is our story, as we live in Christ. He is always working to make us new, complete and whole. There is no retirement in the kingdom of God.
The work He has for us is to the last hour. There is usually someone who needs to hear that this world is not it! This realm in which we live doesn't satisfy. Only through Christ does this life make sense.
Jesus paid for our redemption on the cross, which frees us from the grip of sin and death.We are no longer citizens of earth but of heaven. Our King is a benevolent Father which means He rules in justice and love and holds all power and authority. Paul longs to see Jesus.
Paul isn't interested in dying, although he looks forward to meeting Christ after he dies. Our longing to be with Jesus, and no longer under the curse of this world is real. God has an appointed time for all of us to be on this earth.
I know I said in the paragraph above that we are no longer citizens of this earth and I mean it. The obstacle is the enemy of our souls who wants to disrupt the truth of our freedom in Christ. He lies to us about who we are, and what our destiny is.
Don't believe a word of those lies! God says in John 8:36 "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."Freedom over fear, addictions, sickness and many other things.The Bible also says, "You are the light of the world." God's light shines out of every believer who allows Him to.
We are precious to God, a chosen people, a royal priesthood. He can't take His eyes off of you! Psalm 34:15. His gaze is intent upon us because of His great love for us. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Romans 8:35-39 Please read these verses so you can get the full impact of how serious God is about keeping us spiritually safe.
Blessings and love to you today!
Monday, October 15, 2018
"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or death." Philippians 1:20 NIV
Do you know about "Footprints in the Sand"? It is a poem about a christian asking the Lord why He didn't have footprints next to hers during the most troubling parts of her life. He answer was, "It was then that I carried you."
God never leaves us, and especially not when we are hurting! This is what happens to me, and I believe may be your plight as well. I tend to take my trust off of God and live in the place of trouble. My emotions can take me down and fear can come in.
Paul wants sufficient courage to run the race of living for Jesus without being ashamed of something he may do in the future. God's gives us grace to be faithful, but our flesh can get in our way. As we are aware of our failures we pray for his mercy on us to overcome.
The great Apostle, who penned 1/3 of the new testament is concerned about loosing out on the blessing of walking with God. He knows how easily his old man or sin nature can take over. There are certain triggers I have and you do too. Out of nowhere, we can become angry, defeated, or thrown off course.
When we stumble and fall, he is right there to pick us up, and as we humbly ask for forgiveness, all is forgiven and forgotten. Our Savior loves us too much to stop at this. He wants to make us over comers. God will remove the trigger so we are not bothered by it again.
It can be a process! Everything depends on how willing we are to work with Him. We need to get into God's word and find scripture to encourage us to overcome.
My son Rudy is very good at triggering anger in me, and he knows it. He is a major scooch. Spell check doesn't like this word, but let's use it anyway. Webster's Dictionary says scooch means "to scrunch down, to slide jerkily." It's not a good thing to do to your Mom.
He thrives on getting under everyone's skin. I have learned not to respond. My triggers are no longer triggered. I don't allow hurt to take me for a ride. He is just a kid! Moms want their children to say nice things to them, and Rudy has learned to do this.
I was sensitive, but both of us have learned how to deal with scooching. Women don't like to be made fun of on a regular basis. We need to know those close sincerely care. Thank God both of us have made progress in our relationship! You can too!
Friday, October 12, 2018
"Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance." Philippians 1:19 NIV
The Apostle Paul is looking forward to the freedom he will gain after his chains are broken. Not just freedom from the physical chains, but the ability to preach and share freely about Jesus.
I suppose he doesn't have too many new faces to preach to in prison. His fervent desire is to make Christ known, wherever he is, or will be in the future. Sometimes God will remove our prison chains and other times he does not.
Peter was removed from prison by an earthquake in Acts 12, but Paul was released by an earthquake and didn't leave the prison so the jailer may be saved. Paul had a greater purpose at hand.
I'm not saying Peter wasn't doing the right thing. His circumstance was totally different. Herod planned on killing Peter and God released him to continue with his work. God had more for Peter to accomplish.
No two situations are the same when we allow the Holy Spirit of God to lead the way. God's plans for each of us are as individual as we are. Our relationship with God will be different too.
Paul's joy while imprisoned is certainly unique. It demonstrates the power of the Holy Spirit working in the Apostle in the worst situations of life. This is not a gift for Paul. It is meant to everyone.
We can have joy no matter what comes our way, because Jesus has promised to be with us. For you and I as christians living in 2018, our joy comes from believing in God's promises as He rolls out one year after another.
No matter what may happen we can stand on the promises of God. He will do exactly what He says He will. He is coming back to earth for us, and while we wait, we can see him move through prayer and worship. Don't give up! He won't.
Thursday, October 11, 2018
" But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motive or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. " Philippians 1:18 NIV
Our friend the Apostle is right. It doesn't matter at all if people's motives were not pure about why Christ was preached. Those who thought to hurt Paul made him joyful instead!
Victory was on Paul's mind. He was overflowing with the truth, and he was not moved by anything else. He did see Jesus in a vision, and I expect he never forgot it. Would anyone ever forget such a sight?
I think not. We have the word of God and the Spirit of God to lead us. We don't need a sign from heaven, or any other sign because God has given us His Holy Word.
God's word if able to bring us right into His presence as if Jesus were with us actually speaking within our hearing. God spirit and presence are the same. Just different ways of saying the same thing.
The Word of God confirms itself over thousands of years. Old testament scriptures lead right into the new. Jesus used the old testament in his teaching while on earth. We see old testament verses confirmed in the new testament.
Jesus' coming was written about long before His coming. Not only was His coming written about, but the town where he would be born, and all the circumstances before it happened.
Most old testament books speak of the coming Messiah, which can be confusing because of His first and second coming. Some prophecies have been fulfilled and some are still to come. Maybe in our lifetime!
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
"The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains."
Philippians 1:17 NIV
Some people are not at all concerned about the welfare of others. Paul is in jail, and we have already concluded a Roman jail in the first century was no walk in the park. Yet, their desire was to cause him more pain on top of jail.
What causes people to be mean? Desperation. Maybe they have tried others ways to stop the gospel from moving ahead, but were unsuccessful. Their thought may have been to make Paul miserable, and he would tell christians to stop preaching.
It reminds me of a national situation last week. Some were stirring up trouble for a Supreme Court nominee with no regard for anyone else. Both the Judge and witness were damaged and it left many with open wounds.
No regard was given for those who would be hurt, and many were. Not just the families in the spotlight, but victims of sexual abuse who thought this was about justice for them.
If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, please know God wants to bring healing where there has been hurt. He isn't angry with you, He loves you and wants you to free from pain and harm. Too many women have suffered in silence, not knowing what to do.
Talking to someone who is trustworthy, and knowledgeable about these things is best, but Jesus is the only one who can heal the brokenhearted, and restore what has been robbed. There are many who care about the wrong being done to women and children.
Professional Counselors know how to lead a victim out of the lies told them by an abuser. You can believe what God says about you to be true. He will never leave you, and His love is strong and constant. His hand is ever reaching out to provide the answers all of us need.
If you know of someone who has been abused, let them know you care about them. You might be able to offer help by going to the Police with them, or finding them a qualified counselor. Love always prevails.
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
"The latter do so in love, knowing I was put here for the defense of the gospel." Philippians 1:16 NIV
Who are our guests here? Mary Poppins and Walt Disney. I guess if Mary were a person she would be surprised by the year 2018. How about my friend Fred Rogers? What a sweet, contrite man. His heart was filled with the love of God for the most vulnerable among us.
We are all vulnerable to the torments of this world, because this is not our home. As christians we are not comfortable here. We do not belong. My friends and I were talking about how liberal N.Y. is and having a desire to live somewhere else. It is not much different anywhere else.
The hearts of men will try to make this life all about themselves.
A life left to itself, will implode, and then there isn't any life. God made our hearts to need one another. When we try to live without others, depression, anxiety and other serious sicknesses try to take over.
My sister asked me this morning why she was having yet another storm come to her area. I told her, "You are not to blame. It's not about you. It's about the fall.
Our natural man thinks it's about something we did wrong. We are taught to think good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people, but this is not true. The rain falls on the just and the unjust, literally in North Carolina.
Jesus said," These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33 NIV
The gospel of Jesus Christ was sent to us so we would not be hopeless in the face of tragedy. God is a miracle working God. He makes a way even streams in the desert, but in this case we are asking for no more water.
Would you add your faith with ours and pray that Hurricane Michael would not hit land. Allison and Steve have had volunteers come everyday to clean out their house. It currently has no walls, floor and a leaky roof. It is not in any condition for another storm.
Thank you for your prayers. Our God is able. The Wilmington area has suffered enough.
Monday, October 8, 2018
"It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill." Philippians 1:15 NIV
Do you remember being this small, and being held in someone's arms? I don't think I can remember this. It feels good I should think! Make sure you give hugs to the little ones in your life.
Life can become all about busyness, and our schedules, and running from one place to the next. I remember a neighbor telling me the reason she was a stay at home Mom was to drive everyone to different activities. Everything within me wanted to scream out, "That is not a good reason!"
I felt bad for her because she thought this was her vocation.
Moms are much more than this, and I'm sure she did good things with them too. Children need to sit with us so we can play with them, or make a craft, or whatever they find amusing. Quality time.
Matthew, my third child wanted to wrestle all day, and this wasn't something I was good at. My brother wasn't physical so I didn't know what to do with him, except take him outside. He loved jumping on the trampoline, running through the lawn, and digging forts in the back of the yard.
He was so content, and happy with this so I went with him, as much as I could. He will be 24 in December, but I'm glad for some happy memories. I regret he watched more television than my older two. As Mom we cannot go back and pull apart what we did or didn't do.
I did the best that I could, and I'm sure you did too. Our friend the Apostle was all about moving forward, and I love this about him. He didn't care much about what was behind him. He said, "I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."Philippians 3:14.
How many of us would be free from stress or fear if we could put the past behind us. We all can, by allowing Jesus to wash over us with His precious Holy Spirit.
If you can right now, close your eyes, and say to Him Father, please wash me anew from past mistakes or fears. Help me to not go the same way again. Teach me to learn from those failures so you can be glorified in my life in these areas. Amen.
I love you and am praying you were blessed by this. Ann