Tuesday, July 17, 2018

"This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.   Ephesians 5:32 NKJV

This mystery of Christ and the church? If Paul calls it a mystery I can't imagine I could call it anything different. It is a love relationship but it's not quite like anything else.

The Bible calls the church His bride.This is who we are collectively, and the Bible speaks of us in this way. As women we can relate easily to this concept. When I was young, girls in the catholic church had their first communion in white dresses. I believe this was to signify their marriage to Christ.

 The people of God are His. He has committed Himself to us as a loving husband does to his one and only wife. God doesn't have a backup plan. He isn't a foolish husband who makes a commitment he cannot keep.

He has made covenants with His people. Abraham's justification by faith promised him God would be with him and his descendants forever. God is the God of forever. His promises never end or have an expiration date.

His faithfulness is never late according to His time clock. We get flustered and out of sync when God doesn't move the way we want Him to. We may be led to think He has forgotten His covenant but this is impossible.

God is never out of sync with His agenda. His plans rule over everything else. Those who don't surrender to this will never have peace. The ruler of the Universe has made us with free wills to choose Him or not.

A love like this has never been duplicated or copied and it never will. There is only one God who gives grace and healing. He has extended Himself to humanity from the beginning of time. This comes from His love for us.

We cannot understand a love like this. It baffles common sense. It satisfies our hearts and fills it with joy. There are no words to adequately describe its depth and perseverance. You have to grab on Him for yourself!

Monday, July 16, 2018

"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." Ephesians 5:31 NIV

For this reason? What reason? Since Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it. A man shall leave his parents and start his own family. He is to love his wife more than his own life.

How far we have come from this simple, loving truth. Many men don't cherish women because women don't want to be cherished. It is not in vogue. It's considered sexist. Women are strong and don't need to be cared for is the thought. 

Why is it suddenly wrong to acknowledge we need help? Women aren't as strong as men in many ways. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and we need each other.

Women want to be safe. This is especially true if you are pregnant and the nesting instinct begins. Don't mess with a Mama ready to give birth! She wants to know everything is set.

Men need the emotional support a woman gives. He needs to know his wife is with him and loves him. This stability isn't discussed too often but it is true. What is wrong with saying it like it is?

The persona of today says we are just fine without anyone else. When a society has too many loners the depression rate also goes up. If marriage is not considered permanent why make an effort to make it work?

Gloria Steinem, a leader in the Women' Movement,  got married. She had strong feelings about marriage being degrading to women. What made her change her mind? 


Friday, July 13, 2018

"For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members {parts} of His body." Ephesians 5:29-30. AMP

This child is viewing the flower with awe and wonder. I suppose this is why I love children. Every new thing brings them such delight! You may never know from one minute to the next what they will find to occupy their time.

There are times though, when nothing will occupy them. If a nap is in order, or hunger has set in crankiness will over take even the calmest little one.We have to allow children to get the sleep and nourishment they need.

It wouldn't be right to limit these essentials. A loving parent wants to provide what is necessary for healthy growth and strength. It is similar for women. If a husband is selfish and doesn't love his wife she won't be able to flourish in the relationship.

Weak relationships do not honor God especially when marriage is God's idea. Loving a wife means the husband will value her opinion. He includes her in important family decisions, and honors her over himself.

Sounds like a good deal to me. Why doesn't marriage work for everyone then? Not everyone understands the value of loving his wife, and the wife may not value and honor her husband.

Value is what God places on our lives. His value of us includes him cherishing us as if we were the only human on the planet. If God holds each of us in high esteem we ought to hold others up in the same way. 

The love of of God is the only true valuable we have besides each other. Pour out love on someone who needs it today. There isn't anyone who is not in need.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

"In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves His wife loves himself." Ephesians 5:28 NIV

Do we live in a selfie world? What exactly does this mean? I believe a selfie world is one where people are caught up in themselves. Google says a selfie world is about your pics being on social media.

What does Jesus say?  He says to forget about yourself and concentrate on Him. He doesn't say this in a condescending way or to make us feel "less than." He wants us to realize there are seven billion other people in this world.

The love of God within us wants to reach out. It wants to be available to those who need it. When we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in this the will of God is accomplished.

Thinking of others and acting on these thoughts of love are important.  Everyone gains hope when someone gives of themselves. It is not natural to anyone but it can be done. We learn to walk away from selfish ways when we see the benefits of selfless actions.

How we are brought up probably has a place in what we think of servanthood. If family members felt it was beneath them to serve  we may have picked up similar feelings.  Jesus, who is the ultimate servant never stopped doing what He saw His Father doing.

Can we see the Father pouring down spiritual blessings from above for eternity? I think the Bible supports this theme. Zephaniah3:17
"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

If the All-mighty can function in a attitude of giving how much more should you and I? Giving love, care and mercy are not things we are going to regret looking back on our lives.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

"that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she would be holy and without blemish." Ephesians 5:27 NKJV

God wants us to be whole or holy? What if I told you these two are the same? God wants us to be whole. We are talking about our hearts. Only God can do such a thing for us.

In the old testament each family had to bring a spotless lamb to the temple. It represented the spotless Son of God who would come to take their sins. The father had to put his hand on the head of the lamb, as a sign of the sins being transferred to the one who would pay the price.

It was a very real life reminder of sin being paid for by the blood. God uses pictures to remind us of the things we need to remember. I don't think I would forget any of this if it were right before my eyes. This is how important it is to God for us to remember how we got to be pure and blameless before Him.

He doesn't laud it over us in a demeaning way. Never! He wants us to remember so we will know who we are in Him. We are told to remember why He came. We are told told to remember why we are here. It's not for our will but for His purposes.

Because His love for us is genuine, He wants us to be blessed. This is of course in the realm of what's good for us. We don't know what's good for us all of the time.

Listening to the whispers of the Holy Spirit, we learn what's holy and acceptable to Him. Oh how I miss out when I don't listen carefully. I'm sure some of you can relate.

There is no way any of us could present ourselves to God and live. Without the blood of Jesus and the work He accomplished on the cross, none of us would be whole. Live in the victory He has won for you!

Monday, July 9, 2018

"Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,"   Ephesians 5:25-26

Nothing says summer like flowers. You can almost smell these peonies and the color isn't something any man can manufacture. They hold a glimpse of heaven for us to see for just a split second.

The transformation from earth to the heavenly realm can only take place because of the love of God. His love for us defines us and prepares our hearts to be with Him forever.

Can a human love with the love of God? When the love of God is inside of someone it can flow out. Jesus gave Himself up to the cross so we could have an eternal home with Him and bring down heaven in His love.

Why would He do it? His love for us compelled Him to do the unthinkable. Only through the love of God can any of us please the Father. Husbands are called to love their wives by laying down their lives if necessary.

Jesus knew what had to be done to save us from the lies and torment of the enemy. We no longer have to live under the dictates of this world. He has lifted us above this realm to dwell in His presence and walk in the truth.

Live in His presence. How do we do this? Read the Word. Meditate on it day and night. Let it consume your thought life. Listen to worship music. Allow it to wash over you. 

Sometimes a hardship or trial will draw us to God's side. This can be a blessing in disguise. I write about this in my book"Unshakeable-Becoming What You Were Created For."

 I think I will be teaching from this book in September at my church Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle. The book will be made available to everyone soon. Blessings and love to all.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

"For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is head of the church, his body, of which he is Savior." Ephesians 5:23 NIV

There is no denying Christ is the Head of the Church. It is clearly taught through out scripture.  Christ rules with the power and authority of the Godhead. He also rules with wisdom and love.

Christ our Lord is undeniably the Savior, healer and lover of our souls. He comforts, builds up His people and protects us from harm in every way. If correction must be given He choses to bring it in the easiest way possible. He is never overly harsh or uncaring in His correction. 

Correction is given from the hand of God to protect, and save anyone from harm, or destruction. The pitfalls of life are all around us. Sometimes we are unaware. I ask the Lord to please show me my error or wrong doing so I can turn away from it. 

As lovers of God we don't ever want to do things to offend Him. At times we do want to do things our own way though. This is where the rubber meet the road. We will save this discussion for another day.

The point I want to hone in on today: as Christ is the head of the church in all decency and honor so husbands are to be to their wives. "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." {Philippians 2:4} 

If we think God is harsh, uncaring and cruel to His children, we will treat others the same. The God of the Bible is nothing like this!
How do people perceive Him in such a way? Someone had to teach it to them!

The enemy of our souls is out to distort marriage and God's take on it. He doesn't want women to feel safe and protected. If women are content and peaceful why would they ever look to follow the enemy's lead? He is mad about this, so distortion and lying about God's way is all he can do.

 Many have fallen for his tricks but those who look to the Word of God for direction and truth will find it. Peter said to Jesus when asked if he wanted to go home and stop following Him,"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of life." {John 6:68 ESV}

Peter tends to be looked down upon as if he isn't very smart. He could be led by emotion at times as any of us are. He understood the most important truth: Jesus is Lord of All!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

"Wives be subject- be submissive and adapt yourselves- to your own husbands as {a service} to the Lord." Ephesians 5:22 AMP

I have given this verse a lot of thought and frankly I think it has been over thought by a lot of people. When a verse is taken out of context and used as a weapon it is never what God meant. Just before we read, "Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ."

 When too much emphasis is placed one any verse in the Bible it tends to be blown out of proportion. Men usually have a desire to lead. When given the chance, a man will thrive in this role. If the husband is loving and caring for his wife it works well.

It was never meant to mean the husband is to be domineering, forceful or more important. A husband and wife are equal in the marriage relationship. One is never to be subservient to the other.

When there is a decision to be made, and the two disagree on a solution, it should be worked out among the husband and wife. Then, if the solution is not agreed upon the wife should allow the husband to lead in the decision.  "I told you so" is not a fair retort if the situation is not resolved properly.

Why would a wife do this? She has a reverence for Christ. The husband is her covering and the Lord will honor a wife for being under her covering. A problem occurs if the husband doesn't love his wife. It can get confusing from there.

The entire subject can become confusing when other family members try to "help." These things are to be between the couple and not the entire family. When the married couple surrender to one another out of love and consideration life can be harmonious.

Maybe some of you are thinking right now this is too simplistic an answer. This is how I intend to address this. As a devotional writer I have to be broad based and I don't ever intend on answering every aspect of every question.

I hope this has helped you to understand harmony in the home is the intended outcome. God never intended for anyone to feel used or abused. We are never to be doormats or pushovers. In a generation of  much turmoil in the family I hope maybe some clarity on this subject can be found. 

Love and blessings.

Friday, June 29, 2018

"submitting to one another in the fear of God."

Who can resist feeling nostalgic when seeing new life. It screams to me about the reality of our God. As I watched two butterflies early this morning in our yard I also felt their existence was a neon sign pointing to the Savior.

"How can anyone miss this" I said to myself. Just because I'm aware of God's presence doesn't mean others are. I had lunch with a friend today. She shared about one of her sons who was not 100% sure about creation. He went to a public High School and was experiencing a small amount of doubt.

Her response is to take him to The Creation Museum and to look at the reproduction of the Ark. If he thinks it is impossible to build such a boat seeing what it may have looked like is sort of seeing the butterfly. Everyone has something they can relate to.

Maybe seeing love in motion speaks to you about the reality of God. In this world we want to cooperate together when we have a common goal. A Missions trip can speak to everyone on a team to do their part.  The goal is to complete the trip and accomplish what was agreed upon before the trip began.

"Voice of the Martyrs magazine" sent out an issue this week with pictures of some of the people they help around the world. I was moved by a picture of a group of young people from rural Vietnam. They were lined up to be baptized in a local river. Not one of them had a smile on their face.

Their faces were quite serious as they contemplated what this baptism would mean. It meant some of them would not be able to go back to their families. It meant persecution for the rest of their lives, and possible harm. It meant pressure to reject Jesus.

They did it anyway. Serving God in America might not come with persecution right now. There could be a day when it is a serious problem for us. Will we be able to submit to one another out of the fear of God? Can we fear God enough so fearing man is not a hinderance? I believe we can, while we love one another. Blessings and love.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

" giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:20 NKJV

One of the many things I love about the Apostle Paul is his gratitude to His Heavenly Father. Giving thanks for all things can be difficult. I don't think he means we have to be grateful for all things right away.

 It can be easier to thank God for the good we see come out of a bad situation. Not everything can be seen as good at the time. A car accident where someone dies isn't something we can thank God for initially. We might be able to see fruit come from the attitudes of those who grieve the loss of the loved one. 

Someone who has suffered such a great tragedy may not ever see one thing to thank God for. God is fine with it. He loves you right where you are. In the middle of the pain He wants to meet you.

God knows serious, hurtful things take place every day in our lives.Our friend Paul is speaking about worship in the verse before this. In the context of the chapter we see in giving thanks to God it comes from our sincere hearts.

Worship has to be sincere. Our giving of thanks is not right if it comes begrudgingly. No way does God want this! Truth is what God stands for. He knows our hearts and how to bring wholeness.

If you are walking through an emotional trauma don't despair. All of us have been in your shoes at one time or another. Life comes in cycles. The Spirit of God works in us to cause us to overcome. Usually we are in a trial, coming out of a trial, or healed from a trial.

It is how God makes us more like Him. If we don't allow Jesus into our stuff, we won't change. It is painful, but it brings health strength and life in the end. As much as I fuss about change I know I need it. No one likes the pain of change. help us Lord Jesus to see you in the trial. Amen.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

" speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord," Ephesians 5:19 NKJV

This is a happy picture. Matt is rough housing with our golden retriever Buddy. These two love one another. When it is rainy out at night Buds wants to be with Matthew in his room. All anxiety leaves the dog as he rests with his friend.

No other time is it alright for a dog to be in a bedroom. If buddy is in the laundry room and it is blustery outside he will scratch at the door until little pieces are all over the floor. I am not my happiest when I come down to a mess like this first thing in the morning.

There are other messes in the dog/laundry room I dislike more first thing in the morning. I will spare you the details. I don't yell or scream but I dislike messes just the same.

Our verse today is how I like to spend my time. A friend asked me once why I didn't play christian music when I was home. I said,"I like to be able to sing whenever I want."

  This doesn't mean I couldn't play music as well.  Singing with music is legitimate too. Most times I like to be free to let out a melody when I think of one. We each have our own way of worshiping throughout the day.

"Making melody in my heart unto the King of Kings" is one of my favorite occupations throughout the day. How do you keep yourself occupied? This of course is when you are alone.

Music has been a vital part of who I am from the very beginning. My Dad liked music and he played classical music at night when he was home. This developed in me a love for instrumental music.

Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Korsakov were some of his favorites composers. Worship music has its own special place in my heart. Don't get my wrong, some of those special classics are very worshipful and were written for the Lord. I love this about those beautiful, masterfully crafted pieces. 

Getting lost in worship to the Lord is about the best thing to do any  ordinary day. You are whisked out of this dull existence and delivered into the presence of God. How's that for an otherwise standard Wednesday?

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

" And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit," Ephesians 5:18 NKJV

Dissipation means  overconsumption, self indulgence, decadence, squandering of money, energy or resources. If more of us knew this definition maybe we wouldn't get uptight about alcohol. Drunkenness is the sin in this verse. 

Self control is necessary to walk as Jesus walked in every area of our lives. The danger is overconsumption and this is where some cannot draw the line. Alcohol can easily become self medicating if someone is troubled. 

The consequences of self medicating are much worse than whatever is troubling someone. Alcohol dries out our internal organs. Our brain is 85% water and a brain on alcohol is destroyed.
Is it worth the temporary buzz to damaging our brain?

Of course not. Alcohol breaks us down but the Spirit of God builds us up. It's easy to grab a drink but it takes discipline to seek after God. God is not hiding on us or trying to avoid us. He wants us to find Him; He delight in us.

We need to get past our fleshly desires to come into the realm of the Spirit. I don't mean to sound mystical. God is very tangible and relevant in today's society. He knew all of today's headlines before the earth began.The problem is with us. 

Jesus has always been available to those who desire to follow him. The Spirit of God will draw us closer to Jesus, never push us away.
Wherever you are today in your relationship with Him, He wants you to come. He's the God of the impossible and your situation can be changed if you give it all to Him. Let go, and let God! 

Monday, June 25, 2018

"Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:17 NKJV

Which one of these summer prepped ladies do you identify with? It doesn't matter but it may say something about your personality. Are you sports minded and ready like the gal in the jumpsuit -short outfit?

 Are you covered up like the one with the hat and sunglasses? Do you fit in the middle, ready for whatever comes your way? I hope to be the one in the middle.

As I get older I find I like life to be predictable but with 3 grown kids in the house life is rarely predictable. Matthew can be in the back room he likes to call the man-cave with 3 or 4 other guys watching sports.  Rudy is mostly in his room, and Stephie can be any mixture of the two.

At any given moment we can have a car-full of young people stop by. We like this because we know where every is and what they are doing. I hope to call this wisdom. My hesitance comes from an incident recently when music was too loud at 1:30 in the morning. No problem though because when told to, the music was turned off.

My mother was the same way. She allowed kids to come and flop at our house. She wanted everyone home.

 Wisdom is building bridges with our children no matter how old they are. The peace my husband and I have because of this is huge. Cooking for a crowd isn't a problem because most of the time the young adults go out for food, or call uber eats.

If I had asked you ten years ago " What's an uber" what would you have said?

 My spell check doesn't believe it is a word. Our witness to these young people could change their lives. Being available to talk is part of why we do this. A listening ear may be a rare blessing as life moves swiftly ahead. 

If I need to talk about life in general in my stage of life certainly the younger generation does. As we are venturing deeper into the end time agenda of God's plan many will need to be reassured of His goodness.  Young people in my experience, don't like to talk about the imminent return of Jesus but I didn't like to talk about it when I was younger either. 

It can be daunting at any age.  It may not be something you like to talk about. Being knowledgeable about what will happen and to who is important. I read an article by Mike Bickle from the International House of Prayer last night. He said we have 150 chapters in our Bible dealing with end time events.

Let's be proactive and learn about such things so we can share with others. Personally, I don't have much understanding of such events. Better to know and step on the head of fear before it starts. Blessings!

Friday, June 22, 2018

"redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:16 NKJV

How do you see the world we live in? Are you aware of the presence of God and the presence of darkness? I think of these two forces working on earth and I smile. Look at this new-born. 

Their life is before him or her and some would say it is a blank slate. Not according to God. God knew this precious new one before they were in the womb. His plans for them are for good. 

"Good" meaning the best is yet to come. "Good" defined by the sinless, purity of God. "Good" in the truest sense of the word. Our definitions of "good" don't come close to the reality of Jesus.
The best we can do is point to something we know on earth, which is tainted by sin.

I am quite aware of the presence of darkness but I choose to meditate on the Kingdom of Light. This is the one who wins.
This is the one we know overcomes all darkness. The story has already been told.

We can stand in strength and wholeness because we know how the story ends!

Although we have to contend for wholeness here on earth it is ours because He has given it to us. The fight is on, but the battle has been won. Do you believe this? I do but I still have to fight to keep the victory at times.

WE all do. The battle has been won but our enemy doesn't play by the rules, and we are in this world. Through prayer we can pull down heaven to overcome the natural man within us. Jesus can fill us with His Holy Spirit to sing and dance in spite of all circumstances.

Through prayer we can dispel the dark, and call in the light.
Jesus said, "Heal the sick, raise the dead,  cleanse those who have leprosy, and force out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." Matthew 10:8 CSB Pray for God to send revival to our thirsty land. We are in drought stage spiritually. Cry out to the only one who saves, and ask for Him to move in His mighty power and grace!

When the Spirit of God moves we don't have to "invite" the lost to church. They come in droves. The doors burst because Jesus is in the place. When Jesus was on earth physically thousands followed Him everywhere. By His Spirit He moves today. "For the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty."           2 Corinthians 3:17 NKJV

"See that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise," Ephesians 5:15 NKJV

Today is the first day of summer! We can officially say it is summertime. Do you have plans to enjoy it? These plans can be as simple as going to the beach one day or sitting in your own backyard.

Enjoy the days you have. None of us know how many days we will be here on  the earth. We can live each day as if it is the one day that is better than the one before it. Wisdom says to count your days and don't count the ones you might not have.

Treat others as if you might not see them again. Honesty and respect could run rampant if we all thought this way. A foolish person may be bored with others and take them for granted. 

This is another area where I fall short.

My Brother-in- law Bob went to work one day; went home for lunch and never returned. He had a brain aneurysm rupture and went to be with the Lord. This was sudden, without any previous notice. He was having bad headaches but no one detected any problems.

Each day God has a purpose and a plan for us to notice what He is saying to us. It can take a while for me to realize what it is, and at times I miss His whisper entirely. Show us Lord what you want to say today.

Nature has a way of speaking to me "the best is yet to come." I especially get this message from God through His creation when I am weeding. God never intended for weeds to be in our garden or our lives. The weeds of sickness, emotional distress, and need pester us in this world.

God tells us in His Word a greater day is coming. All of the pestering lies, disease and torments will be gone because He never intended for them in the first place. Jesus came to redeem us from sin and from the fall. Nature will declare at His coming; All is well!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

"Therefore He says: 'Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light." Ephesians 5:14 NKJV

The Apostle Paul is speaking to unbelievers in this verse.  He explains in the verses before this to"have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness."  We can apply this to christians as well. In our culture it's easy to see how the lines can become blended.

I don't know how many times I have said to myself, "I can watch this show; It's not that bad." I become blinded to the horrific contents within. It doesn't seem to make any difference but this kind of thinking can explode. It can explode into loosing our discernment.

I am especially sensitive to violence because of my background. My father wasn't violent on a regular basis but when he lost his temper it was bad! This is not spiritual discernment but self preservation. What I am talking about today is not listening to God and falling asleep to His leading.

I know how easy this kind of thing can happen. Are you moved emotionally by a couple who is divorced in a TV program? Maybe I am overly sensitive but this bothers me. Am I sensitive to this because my parents were divorced?

This could be the root of it but I don't think so. Broken relationships are nothing  to happy about. There are couples on HGTV who I love, but I feel badly because divorce took place between them. Does this make sense to you? Please let me know if you think I am being overly sensitive.

Anything in our lives can pull us away from God if we have the wrong attitude. Don't be asleep at the switch! We have the power of God in us if we only ask Him for it! I am guilty as anybody of not utilizing the gifts He has given.

I need more prayer in my life. I need to look to Him more often. I need to ask for His strength instead of settling for weakness. Don't be asleep! I speak this to you so it can bounce back to me. Our country needs for a move of God to sweep across the land. Be a part of what is on God's heart today and pray for revival. He wants YOU to draw close to Him! Thank Him for this.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

"For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret."  Ephesians 5:12 NKJV

It is time to lounge! I can go for this at any time.  No, this is not true because when it's time to walk I don't want to lounge. When I am in walking mode I can't stop until I really need to. If I don't push myself a little farther than I think I can go, I won't gain new  ground.

It can be true of most things. If we want to learn a new sport or language, we have to put in the time and effort to make it happen. Growing in our relationship with the Lord requires effort.  Everything in our natural woman would rather do something other than pray and read His Word.

We strengthen our muscle of prayer by doing it and thereby our relationship with the Almighty is closer and better. The more time in His presence the less time we want to spend doing things that are counterproductive. Does television call you to sit for longer than you like?

The reason I ask this is because it happens to me. I am a HGTV only person when it comes to TV.  Even too much of an ok thing can be wrong if it takes you away from something better. Of course a balance is in order here.

My point is the worst things imaginable can be seen on TV or in the movies today. The standards of the past have been eliminated for the most part. Thank God we have seen some incredibly good movies come out in the past few years.

Even when I watch HGTV it bothers me if the couple looking for a house are not married. I don't know them, but I wish for them to have Godly morals and respect His order of things. Prayer while watching is a valid way of doing things, as long as it's not your only time of prayer for the day.

Prayer during the news is especially important. In our world today prayer for everything is valid and needful. Prayer for President Trump as he does the things considered impossible by other administrations. Watch the local news and pray for people in your community. Change comes only through prayer.

If you would like some encouragement to pray, google: Curse Breaker Prayer by Jekalyn Carr

You can find wholeheartedlady.com on twitter, Pinterest or Instagram now!  Tell your friends and church buddies.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them."  Ephesians 5:11 NKJV

Seriously, whose in charge around here? Did the adult who bought this cone for the little boy really think he could eat all of the ice cream? My husband told me his grandmother used to say in broken english, "Your eyes are bigger than your stomach!" 

We can all be like this. We think we can do something when in reality we can't. It looks so easy when the pros throw a baseball, or swim across the lake. I know I can think something is true but is it really? The church in our neighborhood had a sign outside and it said this:"Don't believe everything you think." Good point.

We need to determine the source before we believe something to be fact. In these internet days we should be more careful because so many sources say different things. Can we be sure of the truth? Yes, we can. God has given us His very own words for us to know truth.

How do we determine truth when something isn't so clear cut? "We can do what we know to do, and then we will know what to do." This is a saying of my Pastor, Gary Zarlengo. Praying for wisdom and clarity is always in style. Asking those we trust for guidance is usually a winner, even if we don't take their advise.

God knows we need His guidance and He will give us what we need. We can miss this if we aren't careful. " Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established." Proverbs 15:22 The people of God are to give each other direction according to what God says.

Some other person we trust may look at our circumstance and see an entirely different way of dealing with it.We are all unique, genuinely made by God, but not the same. His vast array of personalities He has presented in the people of this earth is amazing!    Would someone please give this boy a napkin!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

"Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it."
Ephesians 5:10 The Message

It is as simple as this. We make following Jesus so complicated, or at least I do. He doesn't want us to make it complicated. I can get stuck in myself at times. Have you been there?

I fuss and complain about the simplest things. It is a battle with my flesh and will. No one can say it doesn't exist for them. It can be easier as we learn to obey. We can subdue our natural man and we should. When I obey I realize it wasn't a big deal. Why did I fuss at all?

I'm not talking about big issues but the little ones. The Song of Solomon calls these, "the little foxes that spoil the vine." Just when the grapes are ripe and ready for harvest the little pesky fox grabs them. 

I don't want to forget to mention these cute little girls twirling and enjoying themselves. Do they worry or fear? Maybe but not right now. They are lost in the fun and dance of being a child. Is this why Jesus said to come to him as little children? I believe it is!

Can you find joy in dance, or worship? I can. Are these things pleasing to the Lord of All things? They certainly are. Look at the Psalms; they are full of  references to these gloriously fun things.

Maybe you can't imagine jumping for joy today, in your circumstance. I understand. I don't feel to do these things either sometimes but we don't have to feel them. If you will walk in obedience and do them anyway, the joy will come.

Maybe not today or the next but it will come. Worship, whether it be in dance, song or how we live our lives brings delight to God's heart. Connect in the doing of worship. Lift your voice in thanks.

Monday, June 11, 2018

{For the fruit of the light consists in all  goodness, righteousness and truth.} Ephesians 5:9 NIV

Have you ever in your life felt like a wallflower? Have you wondered what it is exactly? This picture describes it pretty well. I have felt like this most of my life. Sometimes I wanted to feel this way. Other times I was thinking I was treated like this.

Fading into the shadows isn't something I want anymore. We could call it maturity but mature people can still feel invisible. I like to call it God's amazing grace. Grace is similar to imagining your greatest dreams have come true.

Grace is feeling free and alive like you never experienced before. I am in Michigan today visiting my brother and sister-in- law after the wedding of their daughter, Karrah. I went outside a little while ago and it was one of those best days of the year in my opinion.

The wind was lightly blowing, and the neighbor's laundry was swaying in the breeze.

 It was about 75 degrees and there wasn't a cloud to be seen. I could stand in the sunshine and not sweat or retreat to the shade because of the heat. Most of the time Michigan will have our weather a day in advance.  Tomorrow I will get to have this day all over again, or the weather at least.

I don't want to live the same day over. I want to have new days and new experiences and adventures each day. I want to live for God to the best of my ability and beyond, today and tomorrow.

I want to shine the light of the Lord over all those who need it, and boy, do they need it! Goodness, righteousness and truth can be buried if we don't allow it to shine. Definitions of such things can be twisted to mean things God never intended.

As I have been sharing about God's goodness, I hope you have realized good, in its truest sense is who God is. It's not a mediocre term but the best of the best. It is the highest sense of the word. 
If God's goodness were a balloon, it would sail on forever. It would have no end, just like His Kingdom! 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light." Ephesians 5:8 NKJV

Today is a good day for a good day, as Joanna Gaines would say. I know I said I wouldn't talk about the weather often, but I have to say this: Today is June 7, and it is cloudy and 67 degrees. Not too bad, but not too good either. 

I will choose joy today. It's easy today because in a few hours I will be in Michigan visiting my brother Park and his wife Renee.  Saturday Renee's daughter Karrah will be married. The perfect event for June.

As Children of Light, we see differently. There are no grey areas for the Children of Light. The Spirit of God will lead us into Light, and we are to resist the darkness. This is where our enemy tries to mix the lines.

When we hear a little voice inside say,"Well, it isn't too bad.  Just a little bit won't matter." The voice of compromise is trying to sway you. It isn't worth the battle to give in to a little of this or that.

Have you ever heard the story of a little bit doesn't matter? The presenter will offer a glass of clear, fresh water to someone. Just before it is given to the person, the presenter drops a tablespoon of black, putrid dirt into the water. Of course the person is repulsed by it!

Our God doesn't deserve for us to drop a tablespoon of dirt into our hearts! Think of all the pain and turmoil you have been through to gain a clean heart. Why would we turn around the pollute it with something questionable?

These things happen because we are caught off guard. Our enemy doesn't play by any rules. He is forced to when God shows up. God's grace is always available to restore us but damage can still stay.

 God overpowers the enemy every time. If we have compromised in any area our ability to demonstrate the Light within us can be compromised too. "Walk as children of Light." Blessings

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

"Therefore do not be partakers with them." Ephesians 5:7 NKJV

As I was weeding out e-mails a minute ago I noticed the latest marketing tools. You need this! Your life will be extremely better with our product. Your life will be transformed and you will never be sick again. Why don't I believe them?

I've been down the road a piece and I know better. Maybe your thing will help me. I don't know. In order to get my attention though the hype has to be there. There is much hype these days.

Social media is hyped to the point of causing teens to hurt themselves as others make fun of them. You don't have to say your hurtful comments any more, just type them.  It has created a false sense of safety and many bruised hearts.

We need to teach our young people to have nothing to do with those who seem to be nice in person but slaughter them on instagram. Paul writes to  the church at Ephesus to have nothing to do with those who sin and have no regard for God and His ways.

When we say we belong to Jesus, we are declaring His love for others. "This is my command: love one another." John 15:17 NIV
This cannot be done the way Jesus wants it to be done in our own strength. God never says to allow others to walk all over you. If those around you don't want Jesus and they don't respect you cut them off.

We are never to be a door mat to the lost or to anyone else.

Loving like this can hurt. It hurts our flesh. Let it hurt because we need to die to our ways. God can't shine through our flesh so it needs to move out of the way! Less of me and more of Him is what this world needs. Let Jesus shine and melt hardened hearts. Amen.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

"Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience." Ephesians 5:6 NKJV

Wow! Did you know how important your words are? I have to say I forget sometimes. As Americans we have learned to listen to empty words from politicians, Televisions personalities, and Newscasters. It doesn't faze us usually. We get used to it.

We have learned to not believe what others say so when Jesus says I will never leave you or forsake you do we believe Him? Are  empty words without meaning creeping into our spiritual life? Do we turn off what God is saying in His Word?

It seems to me that believing God is a process. As we grow in God it becomes easier to trust Him since we have a history to look back on. My love for Him gets stronger as I get older and I realize He is worthy to be trusted. This of course, does not mean I understand everything He does.

It does mean I can trust Him when I don't understand. His Words are never empty or void of meaning. He means what He says and He does what He says. Our understanding is jaded by sin and our lack of knowledge.

I hope I'm not around when the sons of disobedience get their due. It will not be pretty. It amazes me when people defy God. They have absolutely no concept of the reality of the wrath of God. It doesn't make anyone happy when those who disobey are lost. God doesn't like it and neither do we.

As long as there is life there is hope. Hope for the lost to come to the truth, to come to Christ. We do not know what transpires at the last moments of someone's life before they die. Pray for those you know who do not seem to ever come to know Him. Blessings

Monday, June 4, 2018

"For this we know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God."

That's it. None of us can belong to the Kingdom of God. We are all guilty of one, two, maybe even three of these. Thankfully this one verse doesn't dictate who God is to us.  In Christ, we are redeemed as we come to Him in repentance.

He is far greater than we could ever dare to imagine. He is good, in a much greater way than we can describe. His mercy and compassion far exceeds any that we have been shown before. The word "good" as we know it doesn't pay tribute to God compared to what He is due. 

There is a  current worship song we sing: 
Your name, Your name is victory,
 All praise will rise to Christ our King!
By Your spirit I will rise from the ashes of defeat
 The resurrected King, is resurrecting me
In Your name I come alive
To declare Your victory
The resurrected King is resurrecting me!
"Resurrecting" by Elevation Worship

I am far more in Christ than I could have imagined in my best dreams. His love for me is real, genuine and freeing.
I am released from fear, defeat and anxiousness because He is leading me and knows the way I should go. 

This doesn't mean everything will be alright. It could mean life is wildly out of control, my control, but not His.  I might not always feel good about my circumstances, but I can have peace regardless. Have I obtained 100% victory all the time?

 No, I would be with Jesus if this were the case. I'm still here on earth so I'm fallible, but victory is much more attainable for me and for you. My anxiety doesn't last for long before I surrender it to Him. Life gets better and better. We can trust Him. He is good!

Friday, June 1, 2018

"Let there be no filthiness nor foolish and sinful talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming: but instead voice thankfulness to God." Ephesians 5:4 AMP

How are you today? I hope you are blessed and able to give God the praise. I wonder what this Mom is telling her two little boys? Is it a pirate story about the monsters in the briny deep sea? Is she making up a story as she goes along? I don't know but she has their attention!

Keeping anyone's attention seems to be a great challenge these days. What has your attention? Are you overcome by facebook posts or what Donald Trump will post on Twitter? Are you waiting to see what challenge will come up in the daily news? At least daily we read about someone saying something outrageous and the next day apologizing for it. 

Words are so cheap and if what comes out of our mouths will sell papers or up our ratings we can say it and say we are sorry the next day. Really? Where is our integrity if we can just say some words to get us out of our mess but no really mean it.

Why has journalism fallen to such a dangerous level? Is it all about the money or notoriety? What about the truth? Does this matter at all? Not if you don't believe in absolute truth. If there isn't anything real or absolute than why does it matter? I guess it doesn't and that's what I'm getting at.

If you know Jesus is Lord and what you say matters to the One and Only your words take on a whole new meaning. What if your purpose on this earth is to make Him known, and His love for this lost, demeaning generation? Your words matter immensely. 

Is your purpose is to love others regardless of how they treat you? Don't be ridiculous Ann, no one can do that! This is where grace comes in. We can't do anything pleasing to God on our own. We need Him to mold and shape our lives so He shines and not us.

No one needs what we have. Everyone needs the unsurpassed grace, mercy, compassion and strength of Our God. Can we humble ourselves so He can shine? Absolutely! Be what Jesus wants you to be today, and don't scold yourself if you don't. Tomorrow is a new day to shine for Him! 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people."

I don't know about you but I am still such a child at heart. I remember doing this fun exercise with my children but no one has offered to do it for me! My son Matthew can bench press a lot more weight than mine, but I think it would hurt my stomach! No, I'm not going to mention it to him.

We can see from this verse how much we need the Lord. Without His Holy Spirit we would be reprobates, lost in our own ways. Greed is just as improper as things we might consider a lot worse. It just goes to show us that His ways are not our ways.

The standards we think are correct do not meet God's level because He sees All things and we don't. I don't mean to be so cut and dried but there you have it. Why get wordy when it is this simple?

When I was a child, we didn't even think about sexual predators but now we do have to be concerned about them. Our children have many other concerns than we did. School shootings, opioid deaths, gang activities and other things plague our youth. Add social media bullying, and comparisons to the mix and life for a school aged child is stressful. 

All of these societal troubles can be linked back to family life, or the lack of it. If family life was in the forefront of society again many of such ills could be cut in half if not more. How we need to call out to God to revive our land!

Cry out to God to put a hedge of protection around your children, neighbors and all you know. The battle in the spiritual realm is fierce but we have the victor on our side.  Jesus has made a way for us.  We do not need to allow fear and anxiety rule us. He is the Almighty King over All. Amen!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV

Live a life of love!  I think this is probably every heart's desire starting out in life. We get pushed off course so many times as life goes on and we don't know how to get back up. Which way is up we may ask. It reminds me of being tossed by a wave in the ocean. 

When I was young getting tossed by a wave was my biggest fear while being in the ocean.  I remember loosing all touch with the right way up. How can I put my feet down when I don't know where down is?

I felt this exact way when going through post partum depression. How do I stop this tumbling over and over again. How do I put my feet on solid ground where I won't get tossed any longer? Only Jesus had the answer, and only Jesus was the answer.

The enemy of our souls wants to keep us tumbling so we will deny Christ and follow after things in order to bring death to us. He will serve up a whole lot of trouble and put it on a platter for us to enjoy. It won't look like trouble, oh no, he is too crafty for this.

It will come in beautiful, well wrapped boxes camouflaged to look innocent and serene.  It's no big deal if I have a few drinks, how can it hurt me? What if I am friends with a few men I don't know on my twitter? It isn't a bad thing. It could be completely innocent, but before you know it things are out of control.

God tells us to imitate Him, and this is how we will stay under His care where we can be safe. Sure, the unexpected can happen to us, but it is never unexpected to God. We can be surprised by situations and we are at times but we do not want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We don't want to be unprotected by His grace.  

Stay in a safe place friends, out of the way of evil. Jesus is our strong tower! The righteous run to Him and are safe! Proverbs 18:10.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate " Ephesians 4:31 NIV

This is a picture of the beach on Jupiter Island. It is quiet all year round because it is private. People can't come here to visit because there is no parking on the streets and it is heavily patrolled by their own police force. This is the view from the deck of the cottage we stayed in a few years ago. 

Our friends own the cottage and were gracious enough to invite us to stay for a week. We enjoyed a very different pace of life there. New York has an energy all of its own. The beach life is nothing like this. Thank God for another pace!

A slower pace is what we needed, especially my husband. He needs away time so he can clear his mind and not be concerned about his office or clients. He loves being an Attorney but the constant race of going to court then the office is waring on him.

The apostle Paul reminds us of what life should be like, in regard to kindness. As you might remember from previous posts I have written, Paul wants the Ephesians to be compassionate.  This is God's desire! All of us need time to think clearly and to put away our fleshly ways.

Time restraints can play into our behavior. The quick pace and running around with busyness can cause us to be short with people and we might forget to be courteous. Ouch! Didn't I just do this on the phone with the tech in the doctor's office? Yes I did.

I am caught in my own judgement! Oh well at least you know I'm human. There was a time I wouldn't get on the phone with a Dr. office because I was too shy. I think you know what I'm saying. It takes a concentrated effort to show God's love all the time. It is worth the effort because He gets the glory. Hallelujah!

Friday, May 25, 2018

I have hit the jackpot this week with pics! I love the look on this little girl's face. She is so excited! How long has it been since you were this excited about Jesus?

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."  Ephesians 4:30 NIV

This weekend may be a beach weekend. Saturday is supposed to be really nice. Seeing this precious little one on the beach makes me want to run right down there. As a child my Dad would take us several times a week. We live on an Island and the local beach was 10 minutes away. I still live this close to the Long Island Sound.

Some of my friends won't go to the Sound beaches. It has to be the ocean or nothing. Since I grew up on these beaches I can enjoy either. I especially like not having to drive forty-five minutes to get to the ocean. There is lots of traffic, and I end up spending a whole day when I might want to go for just an hour or so.

West Meadow Beach in Setauket is low key. Not a big deal, but I like this about it.  It beings back memories of what Long Island used to be. I have lived here all my life so I remember in the 1960's when roads weren't crowded and life was simple.

Life since my childhood has changed dramatically! What is on God's heart about all this? He has an opinion I'm sure. As we go to His Holy Word we see lifestyles today are very different. The biggest change which I believe and many experts agree is the family.

The basic structure of husband and wife is God's design because it supports each other member when it is correct. Not perfect, but in accordance with God's priorities. Not one of us can achieve perfection especially when it comes to relationships. Words seem to be a huge part of maintaining good, strong marital bonds.

The Holy Spirit is grieved by the recklessness of priorities in our lives. Placing our Heavenly Father in the forefront of every relationship will cultivate an atmosphere of respect and self-control. I didn't say it was easy. Nothing worth anything in this life comes easy but it is worth every every struggle.

I have learned recently to swallow some of my words before spewing them at another. Stop and think before anything comes out. Will my words build this person up in the long run? Can I use a word picture as Jesus did to convey my thoughts so the precious member of my family can understand better? Can I humble myself just for a minute so I can gravitate toward words of life? I can, and so can you! Ask Jesus to help you as I have. It will make a difference.

Enjoy this Memorial Day weekend. Say a prayer for a family who has lost a member recently while in combat. I hope to be talking to you on Monday. Blessings and love to my dear readers!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29 ESV

Now this is a picture I can relate to! Not only does it have flowers, the girl is wearing a dress to match. It is whimsical, and light and outside. The rain has stopped here, and we have had a few good days in a row. Thank God, He is the sunshine when the sun doesn't shine!

Thank God for His grace. Without grace none of us could stand before God or know anything about Him. Grace says we can come to Him without any fear or concern of judgement. Grace is what brought Jesus to the cross. He was determined to have grace reach us.

Once and for all He took the judgement for our sin. It isn't fair, one would have to die for all, but He didn't care about fairness. He cared about us being with Him for eternity. I am forever glad and I could never praise Him enough to equal how wonderful His sacrifice was. All of our praises put together could never match or be enough.

Not that we shouldn't praise or thank Him! We should never stop  thanking Him as this helps us to come into His presence. Corporate worship especially draws us into the throne room of the Almighty. This is one reason we are told not to stay alone, but to come together at least once a week to worship and hear the Word of God. 

Grace is something we can forget about in our busy lives.  It is necessary for my words for sure. The right words spoken in the right moment can bind wounds, heal hurt and pain. How hard this can be at times. We all want to say the RIGHT thing, and sometimes it is beyond our understanding to know what is right. 

As we read God's word and pray He molds our hearts and teaches us how to say what's right. Prayer immediately in a situation also can bring the right words. God wants to help us with such things. How gracious and loving He is to give us words in a situation when we are stuck.

I was with a Mom recently who was suffering through a desperate situation with her daughter. I couldn't think of anything to say to this girl, even Hello didn't come out. I thought afterwards maybe nothing was better than anything  else I could have said.