Wednesday, September 19, 2018

" It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share God's grace with me."
Philippians 1:7 NIV

This picture reminds me of my daughters, Rachel and Stephanie. Rachel used to read to Steph since they are 10 years apart. Before Stephanie was born Rachel used to beg me for a baby sister.

Without going into all the details I told her it was out of my hands, and she needed to pray. She did, and I had given it to the Lord to do whatever He wanted. I wanted another daughter, but my husband wanted two children. 

He was thinking two children was a houseful, but not me! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

"There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you will keep at it and bring you to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears." Philippians 1:6 The Message

This is a known verse so I thought you might enjoy reading it in "The Message" version. The interpretation may not be accurate, but for our purposes it works well. Thank God He is working in us, because without Him, nothing would be accomplished!

We cannot change ourselves or others. I thought I could change my Dad, but spent many years of frustration trying to turn him into me.
God has a specific plan for each life, and I knew this but still wanted him to live a better life. There's nothing wrong with this, except he was always bent on being himself.

All of us want to be "ourselves". We can't be anything else, but we can be the best version of ourselves, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God will not make us, or push us into becoming like Christ. 

He moves gently in our lives, and only after we have given Him permission. He, the Holy Spirit, will not usurp our will. If we push Him away, He will go away. If we open to the will of our Father through the Holy Spirit, He will come in and do extraordinary things!

As a younger person, I thought I had given all of me to God, but now I can see I didn't. I didn't realize the depth of His wisdom and love for me, until I surrendered more. There possibly is more I will find to surrender in the future.

It's God who does the work. Prayer is what will change us, and others. I don't know if my Dad changed any, but I trust God heard my prayer for him, and made himself known to him at some point before he died.

One day we may see Him, with our own eyes, here on earth. It is incomprehensible to me to understand this but I know it could happen. I believe it could be in my lifetime. Are you able to grasp what this means to us?

The Creator of our Universe, and any other universes, wants to return to this earth to be with us, and set up his millennial rule here.
Can you comprehend such a thing?

Monday, September 17, 2018

"because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now," Philippians 1:5 NIV

I don't like to share pictures of myself, but today seems like a good day for this one. I don't remember where this was taken but it was a few years ago. We look young, but it's only because this isn't a close up.

I haven't thought about age much until recently. I don't feel any older, because on the inside I am a girl. Do you feel the same way? Sometimes when I look in the mirror I see the girl, and sometimes I see someone else.

It's all me, so I'm not worried. I love me at every stage, and as long as the girl is shining from the inside, I'm not concerned. Age is a state of mind, however, our bodies give way to the corruption in this world.

This past month I have learned to pray a lot, because my body hasn't been happy. Ear and sinus infections, with anxiety, a twisted ankle, and them back pain. All of these things were temporary, but put me on my back for several days at a time.

This has caused me to think about how will I handle pain as I get older. I have come to conclude, I will handle pain as I have always handled pain. With wisdom from doctors, and a lot of prayer, not in this order. Prayer is my daily life line to the Lord.

He can calm the raging sea of emotion in me. Sometimes I have found, my emotions about pain are actually worse than pain itself.I can trust God when I know what is happening, but I need to trust Him even when I don't know the outcome.

Remembering how God went through the fire and flame with me in the past helps. It bring peace because I remember His faithfulness is with me even when the circumstances aren't what I had hoped for. 

Can you relate to any of this? Probably since I know I'm not alone.

Friday, September 14, 2018

"In all my prayers for all of you,  I always pray with joy." Philippians 1:4 NIV

Joy comes from the Lord. I know this is a blanket statement, but I believe it is true." Every good and perfect gift comes from above."James 1:17 KJV What can I say? Having the weight of sin lifted off your shoulders brings delight and peace too.

I can remember when God took all of the extra baggage off of me. It felt lighter than air. I didn't float, but my spirit inside did! I went weeks without a care. Why did I move my attention off of Jesus, and on to this world? 

Something shocked me into earthly reality. I remember it well. My Father was insisting I get a j-o-b. How could he say such a thing! I'm teasing, but at the time it was not what I wanted to hear.

He was right, and he had a job for me at a factory near our home. I worked there for 6 weeks, and got laid off, just before a week long retreat at our church. I was able to obey my Father and go on the retreat.

I had joy at my job, but it took a bit of time. Jesus came with me, to my surprise. I didn't know this was possible. I was a brand new christian, a babe in Christ. Similar to our new Pup. She is silly, falling over herself with her oversized paws, and pouncing.

There is much to learn as a babe. Daisy, our pup is searching out every corner of our house and yard. It is new, and different than the farm she came from. All of her people, and dogs are different too.

I felt as if I had entered a new place. It was different than any other time until this point. Maybe you can relate? 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

" I thank my God every time I remember you." Philippians 1:3 NIV

The storm is lifting and this ship is sailing into the sunshine. Do you ever feel as if you're being tossed up and down, in a terrible storm? 

Many people are contemplating a hurricane in North Carolina early tomorrow morning. Thousands of people have been evacuated, including my sister Allison.

 She just arrived here with her daughter, and two dogs. Her husband and son are staying back in case of flood. If they have to, they will leave as well. It's not the hurricane that causes the threat. It's flooding afterwards.

Allison and her family live very near a river, and it is expected to crest 24 feet above normal on Sunday. Rivers recede slowly, so this may be a long term situation. Prayer is what makes the difference. 

A few days ago the Weather Center said it might be a category 4 or 5 storm, which would have been horrendous. Our God knows all the details. Allison doesn't care about the house, it's the people inside the house.

Maybe you have family who have had to leave as well. Pray for those who stayed. Life is more important than anything else, and I know you know this. As you think of the storm, pray. 

Allison's neighbors, haven't left, and are closer to the river. My brother-in- law Steve is concerned for them, and will help them if he can. Why don't people deal with these things?

There are so many different answers to questions like these. Praying for safety and wisdom for all. Thank you for praying too. Blessings and love,    Ann

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

"To all the saints in Christ Jesus in Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:1-2 NIV

I guess I will have to realize fall is on its way. I'm not ruling out the possibility of 80 degree days, and beach weather though. September and October can be some of the nicest days of the year.

As we embark on Philippians, I want you to think of Paul, chained to a Roman guard. He is waiting for a trial, in jail, but he remembers his friends in Philippi, because they are paying his living expenses while he waits.

He reminds them to be content, and humble, which tells us much about the man himself. He doesn't focus on his situation, but on Jesus Christ, and the ability he has to encourage his friends.

Paul is finding joy in prison. Not because of his chains, but in spite of them. How can this be, you might ask? It's because of who is with him. Not the guard next to him, but the one who fills him with every good thing.

Is Christ's presence this real to you? Do you have the assurance of His presence inside? Even when we do, we can still be thrown into anxiety or discouragement as times. Being close to His side means everything especially in the day in which we live.

Hurricanes, refugee camps, terror attacks, and the list goes on. As bearers of light we can't afford to be away from the Lord. The world needs to see the truth of Jesus, and we need to dig in deeper.

Have you had some trials in your life? Thank God. You are being prepared  to stand. As we studied Ephesians we learned: "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything , to stand." Ephesians 6:13 NIV

Who needs you to stand strong today?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

"Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love." Ephesians 6:24 NIV

In the notes below this verse it says,"or grace and immortality to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ." Immortality isn't a word you find reading the newspaper. It doesn't exist in our daily vocabulary. I don't think it is found in the Bible, at least not in the NKJV. 

I suppose it doesn't matter too much, except one means love and the other means life for ever more. I wish I could go to my logos software and tell you more, but I twisted my ankle. Getting up has been a challenge. Oh, this is frustrating!

Google says: the greek meaning of immortality refers to soul, but english Bibles refer to a living conscious body. Hmm, I don't know if we have anything yet.  Agape love is used in this verse. In greek, we see agape means the love God has for mankind, as well as the love man has for God.

It is an all encompassing, unconditional love. It isn't moved by emotions. It's not an on- again off- again feeling.  It is enduring, no matter what. If immortality means living forever, and agape means love never changing, we could say it's close to being the same thing. God is love and He is immortal. 

God is not like us, except for Jesus shedding his immortality to become a mortal. He was God in mortal flesh. He chose to walk among us. It wasn't for his good, but for ours. He is the perfect example of agape love and nothing else comes close.

There is nothing on earth to compare to God's unchanging insurmountable love. This world is changing all the time. It rains, the sun comes out. Seasons move from one to another and water is always finding its lowest level.

"Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements, and his paths beyond tracing out!" Romans 11:13 NIV

Nothing compares to His excellent greatness, and might. His love is everlasting, and His truth will endure for thousands of generations. Give Him praise for who He is today!