Monday, May 21, 2018

"And do not give the devil a foothold." Ephesians 4:27

When the weather is so wonderful it can be hard at times to remember it does get better than this. Today is warm and sunny after many days of cool weather and rain. I don't mind winter if it would only be January, February and March, but lately spring doesn't come util May.

I'm sure you didn't tune in today to hear the weather report. My complaining about the weather can be a foothold of the enemy if I allow it. Nothing can bring others down like complaining. I won't do it anymore.

The enemy of our souls is sly, and He doesn't advertise His coming in our lives. He can be so subtile we don't realize he is anywhere around. He wants to trip us up big time. When I was dating my husband I had anxiety day and night. I thought it was indicating we were not right for each other. 

Nothing could have been farther from the truth. A seed from my childhood had been planted and it was a fear of men.  As we attended a friend's church one evening the Pastor came over after the service and started to pray for me. As he laid his hands on my head God gave him these words---

"That which you think is not from God is from God!"

The fear broke and I was free. Prayer is not always answered immediately and I'm not sure I have had it answered like that since. Before this service I had been praying and asking God for release and wisdom. It's amazing when God shows up!

Maybe I needed the power and faith of another person to break through.  Whatever the reason the enemy wanted to ruin my life and he didn't get to do it. We rejoice for His faithfulness and goodness in our lives. We have three grown children who have finished college, and one more to go.

Our kids will be arrows bursting the lies of the enemy and setting captives free. Rudy and I aren't finished by any means either. We have many good years ahead of us doing the same. Hope you can enjoy some sunshine today! 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

"Be angry, and do not sin" "do not let the sun go down on your wrath." Ephesians 4:26 NKJV

It's not a sin to be angry, but what you do with your anger can be. If we are mindful of our thoughts sometimes we can catch anger before it gets out of hand. Being careful about what we allow in is critical to this.

I know I have said it before but humor me. What we put into our minds will come out in one way or another. I need to hear this again and again. I am extremely careful with what I watch and read, sometimes I can't help it. As I said the other day, even Doctor's offices have televisions!

Thank God I am not as sensitive as I used to be. I am grateful for this. Just this morning I remembered a past moment of anger and I relived it for a few minutes. Then I realized we would be reading this verse. Now that is a clear message form the Lord! 

Forgive quickly and don't let a root of bitterness take hold.

Don't allow anger or bitterness to become a dandelion in your heart.
As I was weeding in my yard the other day I noticed how thick and long the root of a dandelion was. I needed a special instrument to get down deep and get all of the root, every last bit.

These are  feisty weeds and we don't want them in our hearts or yards either. It's a lot easier detecting one in our yard. All we need is our vision. In order to detect one in our hearts takes a little more introspective thought. Although one can be just at the surface as mine was this morning.

As I go to prayer I will ask the Lord, {who knew it was there long before I did} to help me let go of this nasty root once and for all.  Our attitudes about others effects our relationship with God.  All of these little foxes as The Song of Solomon calls them, can clutter our hearts with unnecessary trash.

Releasing trash to God allows our hearts to be filled with His love and goodness instead of filth. I don't want anything cluttering my mind or blocking my vision of Him.

 At least in this situation, I can be free, and hopefully next time I can catch it before it's a dandelion.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

"Therefore, putting away lying, 'let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,' for we are members of one another."  Ephesians 4:25 NKJV

God wants us as it says in verse 23, to" be renewed in the spirit of our mind." Being renewed takes time. Sometimes we need to be washed, or our minds do. We need to be washed with God's Word to gain fresh perspective. Only His Word will give us a clear understanding of His ways.

It can be easy to pick up the wrong ways. It comes naturally to us but to change our ways takes effort. We have to consciously engage our will to make changes. It is worth every effort to be more like Jesus. Basking in His presence restores us to peace and love as He designed us to live in.

Offended and afraid we become nasty and cynical. God doesn't want this for us and we certainly don't want it either. We become drained by negative emotions and exhaustion can set in. Don't allow any of these things!

Paul is speaking to the Ephesians because he wants growth to happen in their lives. Some of these things may seem superficial but we can all handle reminders of the basic way to live. As a father reminds a son, and cautions him to follow in the ways of goodness and truth, so Paul is guiding those he loves.

He is guiding them in the ways of love. When we care for one another we will tell the truth, speak kindly, and watch out for each other. It is the way of love. It is the way God wants us to live. How often do we see the opposite in the news or around us?

Regardless of what others might do, we are called to be different. We are to do what doesn't always seem natural. He are called to a higher standard. How will anyone know anything else if we don't show them?

 If you feel as if the natural will be blurted out, stop. rest. Take a deep breathe and let it out.  Then you can be in control of what comes out. It seems if we realize we can control our breathe we can control other things too. It works for me. Be blessed dear ones.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Do you ever have the simplest things not work for you? Today is one of those days. No matter what way I tried to download a picture in this blog, it wouldn't. I just noticed the ink should be light green but it isn't. I will roll with it because the message is most important. I didn't write yesterday since we were busy saying goodbye to our daughter Rachel in Chicago and traveling back to New York.

It was a whirlwind of fun sights and life long dreams come true. Rachel graduated from DePaul Law School and is busy studying for the Bar Exam. Similar to her brother who is a public defender, she wants to work with foster kids who have been placed in the system. 

I am thankful both have chosen to serve others, but look forward to the day when each can support their mother in her old age. Ha! I don't plan on being old for a long time. Hopefully it won't come to this. My trust is in the Living God, who provides for our needs in such a faithful way.

 I will be 60 next year and with all of the new beginnings in our family it is hard not to wonder what the future holds. Our son Matthew is graduating form Stony Brook University on Thursday and my Birthday is Saturday. Mother's Day was the same day as Rachel's graduation. Did I mention about the whirlwind? Yes I did, well it is coming our way again.

I love all of the great beginnings and new starts. In all of this my anchor is in the Lord. A Mother prays for many years for her children. Most times she doesn't see the progress but she knows her prayers are building a child for something greater than themselves.
Once in a while she is able to catch a glimpse of what the future will be, as God gives the revelation.

Prayer is never a thing to cast aside as God builds the younger generation. It becomes increasingly vital to their welfare. Never feel your family doesn't need this vital element in their lives. Spiritual warfare is the necessary purpose of our lives.
God sees this as a huge job, and it never stops being essential. I dare say in the day in which we live it is indispensable for all of us.

If you don't pray why don't you start? Call upon God through Jesus Christ the one and only giver of  abundant life. His leading and guidance will bring you into a relationship with the Father and will open up the dreams in your heart you might have forgotten about. God is the giver of dreams. Your life has just begun!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

"to be made new in the attitude of your minds" Ephesians 4:23 NIV

Spring is here after much delay and cool weather. A fresh scent is in the air as trees bloom and flower pop out of the dirt. It seems as if spring came all at once on Long Island because it did! No gradual build up but what matters most is it's actually here. 

The newness of everything where ever you look is amazing. It is what we wait for and desire all winter long. It is parallel to our new minds when we come to Christ, and as we grow in Him. 

The transformation has been likened to a butterfly who starts a dull, dingy moth. Nothing about us is fresh and bright before the new attitude is given. Our minds become regenerated and cleansed in a marvelous way.

 We think about life in a whole different light, because we are in the light. We have to guard our hearts though because we can fall into darkness. This is where what we watch, hear and look at effects us.
I need to be especially aware of this  because I know I am sensitive. 

It is impossible to learn to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and feed ourselves trash. It would be a tug of war from one side to another. It would also grieve the Holy Spirit. This is not what we want as daughter of the Most High King!

The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He will not hang around where He is not wanted. We live in a culture full of images and words which fly at us without warning. Television screens are in Doctor's offices, airports, and malls blaring sights and sounds we may not want to see or hear.

We all know about personal devices. Phones are our closest friends these days playing u-tube videos and other things no one has to know about. God doesn't look at us in judgement about our personal time. He looks out of love and compassion on us because He is the Prince of Peace. Thank Him today for His great love for you!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; " Ephesians 4:22 NIV

This little boy is darling. He looks as if he is enjoying time with his Dad or an important man in his life. We wish at times our children could stay this age forever, but this is not what God wants, or the child. Maturity is what God has planned from the beginning of life.

Maturity can be a bad word for a teen. As life brings struggles between childhood and adulthood a teenager can bounce back and forth from one world to another. The balance comes and peace is restored as life comes into focus as an adult.

I wish it could be as easy to live with teens as it is to write this to you! Sometimes I go for the ride with the emotions being off course and sporadic. A parent can go up and down like a roller coaster if our teen's emotions are not even. It can be the same with our spiritual lives.

Putting off our old nature isn't a one time thing. Unfortunately it isn't as easy as taking off your winter coat and putting on a sweater.
We constantly have to keep the sin or old nature in check. It doesn't die easily, and it doesn't want to surrender but it must if we persevere. 

Jesus is sufficient for every need we have. I am reminding myself of this lately. I need to be grounded in this truth so I stay calm when life gets harried. The roller coaster ride of emotions isn't unique to teens. I suppose you have noticed this yourself.

Jesus is stability personified. He is the rock that we stand upon, and He never falters. No foundation in our lives is as stable as the love of God and His truth. Proclaim His Word as your truth today! 

"No weapon forged against you shall prevail. and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me declares the Lord."Isaiah 54:17

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

"Surely you heard of Him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus." Ephesians 4:21 NIV

Do you celebrate your dog's birthday? We don't but if my daughter knew when each of my three were born I'm sure she would want to. Right now she wants a cat, or another dog if we would allow it. She has no idea how much work it is to care for an animal.

Work is not the worst part. It's the vet bills that cause me to say I have no hobbies, or vacations because I have dogs. Celebrating birthdays doesn't seem to make any sense under these circumstances. I love my dogs but I have no desire to celebrate their birthdays. I hope you are ok with this.

Paul is encouraging the Ephesian church in this verse to move on with their walk with God. Some have tried to mix worldly ways with their christianity. Remember the church is a brand new baby at this time. Putting on a new nature was not taught in old testament times.

 The Ephesians are mostly unfamiliar with Jewish traditions anyway. Their knowledge base comes only from new believers who have been redeemed just as they were. Paul wants to make sure this church understands the basis for faith before he goes to a deeper teaching. Jesus is the only one who can forgive sin and shame to set the captive free.

This truth has to be in place before Paul can go further. We can't change ourselves. We might have some success but to be truly transformed it has to come from above. The spirit of God does the transforming over time as we allow Him to work. This process can be painful if we aren't yielded.

While on the Women's Retreat a few weeks ago the speaker Ellie Lofaro said it this way:"You can't hurt me, I'm already dead." She was referring  to taking offense at what others say to us. God changes us and we aren't offended by what others say, because we only care about what He says about us. His opinion is what counts.

Maybe you haven't come to this conclusion yet. I don't think I have, but I understand the concept, and agree with it. We are all diamonds in the rough. As time moves ahead we will detect a difference and know we aren't who we used to be. I like a quote from Joyce Meyer that says: "I'm not what I want to be but thank God I'm not who I used to be." Well said, Joyce.