Thursday, April 26, 2018

"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming."  Ephesians 4:14 NIV

I am so glad to hear the birds chirping in my yard. What better sign of spring then the birds coming back from the south to grace us with their voices. Do you ever wonder what these little ones may be thinking? I'm pretty sure there isn't any bit of thought going through these bird brains.

It's not their fault. God didn't design their brains if any to think. We know the tiniest babe has thought processes. When a child grows we expect their thoughts  and abilities will mature too. There is a problem when the body grows and the mind doesn't. 

Have you ever been tossed by a wave? I will never forget one wave I was tossed by. We were at the Atlantic Ocean a few miles from our house. The beach was known for its waves and rough waters. I've only been there once and that was enough for me.

I was tossed over and over again and I couldn't find the ocean floor. Sand was tossed along with me, and I could't wait to get on shore. I wasn't sure I would find the beach. It was a scary feeling. How I wished someone saw what happened and would rescue me!

Our society is like the rough waters that toss us around. When we say we are sure of God's existence every other person will challenge us on it. Some do not want to believe in absolutes. Maybe their thought is acknowledging truth will mean changing their ways.  Could fear come behind this? 

One thing is for sure: as we mature in our understanding of God's Word, we have less fear." The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe." Proverbs 18:10 ESV Maturity and trust go hand and hand in the spiritual realm. God expects us to go in faith and we can because he is good!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

"Until we all reach unity in the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."  Ephesians 4:13 NIV

We will need teachers, evangelists, apostles, pastors and prophets until we reach unity. This is called the five fold ministry. I used to be a member of a church called Pinecrest and this chapter was our declaration. I appreciate this chapter because it teaches us much of what we need in the body of Christ.

This "attaining of the whole measure of the fullness of Christ" is an overwhelming task. It could never be undertaken in our natural selves. Some of us may have tried to do this in our own strength. All this did was exhaust us, and defeat us as christians.

 We were never meant to take on a spiritual task in the natural. Actually the idea is quite ridiculous, and I tried it not realizing at all what I was doing. Once I got on track with God leading me life it was immeasurably easier.

Right now I can say I will never be complete on earth. God's work on my life will not end while I'm alive. We can always learn, grow, and become more like Jesus. I want to be reaching farther and growing more everyday. We need to be hungry!

What do I mean by this? I want to search deeper, grow stronger, be healthier. Our natural self will take over if we stop. We are leaky as christians. I watched a u-tube video made by Dr. Caroline Leaf, a christian neuroscientist. She said we need to listen to a talk or read information over and over again in order for it to make it into our memories. She told us if we want to increase brain intelligence we need to laugh. Good word!

What makes you laugh? Maturity is the ability to laugh at ourselves among other things. Do we take ourselves too seriously? I was mad at my daughter for not respecting my wishes. As I thought about it, I realized she didn't really understand what my wishes were. 

She was caught up in her own thoughts about her High School Formal and hadn't heard me. I apologized about being mad with her, and asked God to help me assess the situation in the future with better  accuracy before I jump to a conclusion.

God listens to us, as parents we need to take the initiative to follow in His footsteps and listen to our children. We aren't going to change overnight, so taking one step at a time will make a difference over the years. Let's give ourselves some slack, and not judge ourselves too harshly. The world will judge us harshly. "Laugh at the days to come!" Proverbs 31:25

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

" His intention was the perfecting of the saints {His consecrated people} {that they should do}the work of ministering toward building up Christ's body [the church]," Ephesians 4:12 AMP

The young man in the picture is Christopher Heimerle. He is in South Africa on a Missions Trip with his Bible School. The little boy is having the time of his life! 

Chris said where ever the students went children would follow them. If 15 children were invited to a meeting, 100 would come. One meeting had 1,000 children who came from all over to hear the Americans. Racial discrimination was obvious.

 One young man told Chris he would not be able to attend college. The separation between black and white was also a financial issue. This man would not be able to get a job that would afford him enough money to attend college.

 Chris said this fellow was very smart and frustrated with his situation. He couldn't understand how God could give him the ability and understanding of a college student, but not the opportunity. My answer was for him to think outside the box. Easier said than done, I know.

As Christians we need to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. Chris is in the United States again, and I don't know if he will ever have the opportunity to speak with this South African man again. I can't understand how a society could be closed to helping  their own countrymen, but it happens here too. 

This ugly, dirty slave called racism. It stifles love, opportunity, and kindness. It is on both sides. Most of us have been guilty of it. Lord, help us. Building up Christ's body. Can we bridge the gap? I don't mean any individual, but then maybe God does. Who knows what God can place on the heart of one christian?

Monday, April 23, 2018

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:" Ephesians 4:11 KJV

Have you had a chance to get away for a weekend? Have you been able to spend some big chunks of time looking to the Lord? I went on the Women's Retreat with my church this weekend, and I was refreshed. Do you ever get an opportunity to do this? I hope you can say yes!

It is so important to get away with the specific purpose of seeking God. We can get caught up in the daily grind of our schedules, and our children's schedules, and our husband's or friend's agenda. In our society where God ways are not cherished we need to relax in His presence. We need a good soaking in His presence. We need to be doused in the worship that is led by the Holy Spirit.

Everything in life on Long Island and other places gravitates around moving fast. Texting had become so easy for me, that I don't like making phone calls. I am not even aware that I speed when I drive.

Maybe you can relate? I'm sure you can. Relationships, in order to be healthy don't work on the 5 minute plan. A pat on the head doesn't satisfy a child. We were made for touch, and good words, and kindness.We need time with our people. We need time with God.
 If you have never had a regular prayer time, start with 5 minutes a day. Be faithful to your 5 minutes, but if you're not, don't worry, just start again, and again and again if you need to. Don't give up and don't give in to discouragement.

These godly people mentioned in our verse today didn't become godly overnight. It took time. It takes time for us too. Change doesn't come quickly, not because God is slow, it's because we can't handle God working too fast in our lives.

We need to feed our bodies healthy food so that we can function at our optimal ability. Without certain vitamin and nutrients our body is sluggish and compromised. This is true of our spirits. Energy in, energy out. We begin to flow to our best ability. Some stress is eliminated on our digestive systems and we relax.

Take a deep breathe in, and hold it for a second. Breathe out. Doesn't this help? Good, now do the same for your spirit. I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise will continually be on my lips." Psalm 34:1 NKJV Say this verse a few times, and really think about what it means. Let it sink into your heart. Maybe you need to say it all day, or another verse that means something to you.

Can you eliminate some poor choices in what you read, look at, or listen to? Feed your spirit truth, which can be found in the Bible. Strength will be the reward. Start with one thing you feel isn't feeding you according to God's standards. 

This is why the Bible teaches us to come into His presence everyday through prayer. Read His Holy Word, and let it sink into the deepest inner resources of your being. Don't be distracted with other things on Sunday. Get to church, or Bible Study or that Prayer Meeting. Be faithful to God, and your life will not be the same.

Friday, April 20, 2018

" He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe."  Ephesians 4:10 NIV
Stop for a moment, and think about this verse. I had no idea when I first came to know God what He had done for you and I. In His humanity, Jesus submitted to His Father's plan. He knew His Father's plan included the cross. The sinless Son of God would hang on a tree, between two thieves.

His choice, fully knowing the consequences, was to be crucified. This doesn't mean it was an easy choice. It wasn't what He would have chosen for himself, but He wasn't motivated by His own choices. He knew His purpose for coming to earth, and He was determined to fulfill it.

In the old testament times, a spotless, perfect lamb had to be sacrificed on the altar in proxy for all of the Hebrew nation. Only the High Priest could go into the Most Holy Place to perform this sacrifice, for the atonement of sin.

A Priest studied and worked hard in order to be chosen for this highly respected position. He knew that being in the Holy of Holies could bring death, because God's presence was there. If He moved the wrong way, or had any sin in His own life, He might not return from this place.

Once a year this Priest would make a visit to atone for sin. Once and for all Jesus gave himself up to the plan of God. He became the Lamb that was slain. He took our place so we could live. He sits at the right hand of the Father now praying for us. God no longer sees our sin, because He sees the blood of Jesus instead.

This reality can be mind boggling when you consider that He chose it. Not because He wanted to suffer, but because He knew it would bring us to God.What kept Him on the cross? Only love for us could do this!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

"This is why it says: When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men. What does 'he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?"
Ephesians 4:8-9 NIV

What a day it is today! You might be wondering what I am referring to. Today is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice an be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 It may seem ordinary, and rainy, but it is a day that God has made for a purpose. You and I may not know what God is up to, but for sure He is doing some great things.

Our verse today refers to Jesus rising from the dead. Those who are "captive"are the souls that died before His resurrection. He freed those who had passed away previously from the sting of death and the grave. Why did He take these to heaven? They were believers in the promise of the coming Savior.

 We are saved from death{our souls I mean}because we look back to the work that Jesus did on the cross. These who were led by Jesus into heaven were those who believed before He came. Our God is so wonderful. He has made a way for all to partake in His grace, as long as we are willing.

When Jesus was crucified, be went into the "lower earthly regions" as Paul writes. The purpose of this was for Him to rise above all principalities and powers, and truly be Lord over all! He reigns over every lie, and destructive thing the enemy tries to put on you.

The power of the resurrection is beyond our understanding. We have not seen God moving in His power in this country the way He wants to move. Is it because we don't pray? We do pray, but maybe we haven't hit the mark yet. Maybe we need more dedicated time in prayer specifically for revival?

Some of you know I lead a prayer ministry in our church called 24/7 prayer.We hope to have someone praying every hour around the clock for revival, and blessing on our region.We are not complete yet, but are trusting God to send more people who will dedicate an hour once a week.

Who knows what God will do through prayer on Long Island? We know He is willing. May our cries reach His heart with sincere reality of our needs. He will answer with His might. It is all in His timing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it."   Ephesians 4:7  NIV

I took this picture myself a few years ago at Bethany Beach in Delaware.The pics I have used recently are from a site, and don't have any personal attachment. I can't wait to be on the beach! Usually we go to our local beach on the Long Island Sound, only 10 minutes away. There is little traffic, and it's easily accessible.

The trade off is it is not the Ocean. There are rocks instead of a lot of nice clean sand, and if you don't wear beach shoes it's not fun at all. Bugs can be a problem too, since there isn't a strong ocean breeze. My husband Rudy isn't up for a ride to the ocean on the weekends. He rather sit in our own backyard and listen to the birds chirp, and not hear people.

He's not anti social at all, He's tired after a busy week, and I understand him. I go to our local beach sometimes during the day to walk and get my feet wet. I might pray a little when no one is around. I feel the Lord's presence in the outdoors. It is His domain.

This is the first week that us Long Islanders have had a day where the temp was above 60 degrees.  My sister in North Carolina has had spring weather for two months. Those of us in the northeast have had to rely on God's grace to get us through.

I'll bet you were wondering how I was going to fit this verse in! God's grace isn't something we can take for granted. It is given when we trust Him to be who He said He would be. Our faith ignites the grace of God in our lives. We become aware of this marvelous grace when faith is present.

Can we trust God that He will apportion to us the grace that is needed in our circumstance? Yes, because He knows better than anyone how much is necessary. He is keenly aware of our lives and knows all the details, better than we do.

As I read the Word of God I am aware of His grace being poured out on lives in both the Old and New Testaments. Since God NEVER changes we can lean on His lovingkindness to be liberal in our lives. How wonderful to know the Lord of All the Heavens and the Earth.