Wednesday, October 31, 2018

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3 NIV

Divide and Dissolve. This is what it says on this young lady's shirt. Is this what the left wants to do to the right? I think so. What about tolerance? No, they don't want to tolerate us anymore. This is not a political stance necessarily, but a way of thinking about the future.

Those who oppose us are wrong, so we must get rid of their ideology. We have been patient with those who hold different beliefs than we do. In the "old days" we debated different views without anger or violence. We didn't "hate" another because of their stance on anything.

The hatred of others in our nation today is unbelievable. We  rarely had violence because of religious beliefs as we have seen in the past week. People in America didn't go into synagogues and gun down the innocent! 

Yes, we have had church shootings in the past and all people who do such heinous crimes are not well, but the jews have had a vast history of violence. Certainly in America they would be safe?

Our beloved Apostle had a special word for us in our day. The Philippians benefitted from it too. He said, Don't think about yourselves, think about others over yourself. This is novel thinking in our day, but it's been around for thousands of years.

When we put others first, we think about the good of our nation as a whole. We don't limit our love to those in our families, but show love to every person regardless of anything they might believe. What did Jesus do? When He was on earth, He reached out to everyone He met.

The disciples didn't understand how He could talk to the Samaritan woman. How could He touch the leper, or call the children to sit on His lap? These people were considered untouchables to the jews, but not to Jesus. Did any of them wonder about why He was so different?

The Apostle John thought about it, and Jesus knew his heart. This is why He was allowed to put his head on Jesus'  chest and hear His heart beat. He understood what made Jesus who He was. Jesus had a human body, but His heart beat was from heaven.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

"then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose."Philippians 2:2 NIV

The Apostle is strongly encouraging the Philippians church to follow in Jesus' example to be one with Him as He was one with His Father. This is the only way to be like Christ. It goes further than this though. Paul wants the church to be one with Christ.

Paul isn't speaking to one person but this church as a whole.  The love of God  is the only force on this earth worth dying to self. There is no love worth giving up on self for, but the wholehearted  love our God offers to us.

It would be impossible to have a group of people, no matter how committed or lovely, to be of one mind without the love and power of the Holy Spirit. It couldn't happen. It isn't something one can try really hard to obtain, or study for weeks to accomplish. 

Like all  the lovely gifts God gives, it is free, and cannot be prodded, or poked into our lives. This reminds me of our puppy who dislikes being on a leash. I don't blame her, she runs in the backyard most of the time. When I come with that leash, she sits.

The love of God isn't bought or given from one generation to the next. It is as individual as every person. It is intimate, private, and lavish all at once. It never wains, or falters. God doesn't yell down at times, and say,"Sorry, I don't have it today!" No, it is constant, and beyond our ability to understand.

Everything we know has an end, but not God or His love. Is it possible for us to comprehend it? No. Should we wonder about it, and marvel in it? Yes. Doing so reminds us where we are from, and where we are going. This world is not our final destination. It is temporal and ends for all of us.

This is a good thing. What has been promised in heaven is greater. We cannot comprehend a world without dying, sin and disappointment. Heaven doesn't avail itself to the just, righteous and selfish of this world. It opens wide for those who trust, yield and commit to Jesus.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being of one accord, of one mind. Philippians 2:1

I'm not sure if this is a sunrise, or sunset, but I'm sure it's a time of reflection. Nature has a way of putting our day in perspective. It's one day, whether good or bad, there will be many more to deal with.

If it's the best day yet, what could I do to make it even better tomorrow, or if it's the worst day how can I change things so tomorrow won't be the same. I am usually better at thinking things through after the fact. Some people are great in "the moment" of a situation. They know what to say and do without much prompting.

Being able to quickly judge a moment and know what to do is key. The Holy Spirit can move through me to do this, but on my own I am flatfooted. The Holy Spirit knows the before and after part of everything that occurs so being in tune with Him matters.

We are shortsighted, being able to know only details of the natural  circumstances.  The Apostle Paul knows the important of the saints being in one accord. One mind, set on the Kingdom of God.

How did this purity get convoluted over the centuries? Man has put his ideas into what God has said. Over time those who have been brought up in the ways of man don't know any different. This is one reason why we have the Bible.

God's word will bring us back to what God has said, and what is important to Him. "His divine power has given us everything for life and Godliness." 2 Peter 1:3 How are we ever going to have unity among the body of Christ in America?

God has a plan, and we are being squeezed and scrunched and blended into what is necessary for Him to use us. All of what our lives are right now is what God uses to make us like Him. He doesn't waste any of our experiences.

We yield to Him, and He pulls all our messes into ministry. How we learn from God helps the next one we touch. We share His incredible love with others, letting it splash out from our souls. The more it splashes on to another, the more He will fill us, but we need to sit at the fountain, and be filled anew! 

Friday, October 26, 2018

"For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for  him," Philippians 1:29 NIV

I suppose the church in Philippi understands about suffering for Christ. Next week we will see Paul relates his experiences to theirs.
Life was hard thousands of years ago, but to suffer for your faith on top on it is something most of us don't know.

Unless you have been overseas in a country where preaching the Gospel is illegal, I would say we don't know anything about it.  Recently we saw an American Pastor released from a Turkish prison after 21 months. I believe he said all of the other prisoners were muslim. When asked how successful he was in converting them, He said, "They tried hard to convert me." It was one against seventeen.

Thank God for Pastor Andrew Brunson and his prayers for President Trump. This man went from a foreign jail to the office of the President of the United States within days. Reminds me of Joseph in Genesis.

This week I read a testimony from a mother whose daughter is still in captivity with Boko Haram.The girl is 15, and wasn't released with the other girls because she would not renounce her faith in Jesus. I can't imagine this family's pain, as their daughter faces execution.

These are hard truths of life around the world. What can we do to make sure our nation doesn't treat Christians in a similar fashion? Pray for revival, and ask God to have mercy on a nation who destroys babies before birth. Ask God to have mercy on our nation as the upcoming elections are almost upon us.

Ask God to put angels around every candidate who will vote for life. Ask God to open the blind eyes of every person who sees the Gosnell movie and doesn't understand about  the sanctity life. 

Pray for the persecuted church. I'm sure Pastor Brunson had many people praying for  his safety. The ministry of "Voice of the Martyrs" will give you lots of prayer material. Maybe your church has missionaries who need prayer?

God has lots for all of us to do in this day, but a new day is coming. God will return for us and no one else will be saved after this. Now is the church's hour to act like His church. Precious time is going by. Be blessed and do what He tells you to do!! 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

"without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved-and that by God." Philippians 1:28 NIV

Persecution is what Paul is talking to the Philippians about. They may not be behind bars for their faith but disbelief is everywhere. Christianity is only about sixty years old at this point. No mass media to get the message out.

People are hearing the gospel for the first time every day from missionaries who came to them on foot. The Holy Spirit is moving in a wonderful way, but some will not understand or hear their message. Blinded by this world and its ways, many need to know Jesus alone can save.

Saved from what you might wonder? Death, sin, torments, bodily ailments, lies from the enemy, discouragement, fear, bondages, and such things. And what does a child of God gain? Hope, love, peace,
salvation, life for ever, healing of body soul and mind, joy, laughter, victory, patience, kindness, goodness, self- control, knowledge that He is the everlasting God. The ability to be clean on the inside by being released from guilt and shame.

I could go on, and I think you probably have thought of some I forgot, but it's OK. It's hard to put the God of the entire Universe into a few sentences. We try to do this, but it never works. He is not able to fit in to our boxes. 

How do you put into words the Majestic One, who is the Creator and Ruler over All things? We have to in order to convey the message of the Gospel, but mere words fall short. Maybe we should show people Niagara Falls, The Grand Canyon, and the Atlantic Ocean. We tell them these are great, but none of it compares to the one who created them.

The reality is none of these things will impress if we don't pray. Blinders are removed from eyes when the power of the Holy Spirit is present to reveal Himself. People are shaken out of their spiritual slumber when the Holy Spirit is close and prayer has broken chains that bind.

Let God show you who to pray for. You might be surprised. The woman behind the register at stop and shop?  The attendant who helped you at The Home Depot? God knows the hearts of people everywhere, and He cares for them. You can be Jesus' hands and feet today or tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel" Philippians 1:27

This is my youngest child Stephanie 5 years ago, when she was 12. She is about to be 17. I can't imagine where the time has gone. The years fly into the next, and before you know it, everyone is older. This is the way life is. 

The truth is we don't know how much time we have here. Paul says, "whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel." If we get lax or too comfortable we will think this planet is our home, but it isn't.

Contending for the faith as one man is not what we see in America. Why don't we see it? It seems everyone has another agenda. I'm black or white, or democrat or whatever!

None of these things has any value compared to what Jesus offers. Priscilla Shrier said recently she is a christian, who happens to be black woman. I think she has the order the way Jesus would want us to.

Jesus needs to be first in our lives, because He alone knows what is coming down the road in your life. He is the Almighty God and He deserves to be front and center in everything we do.

If this isn't enough, we know His soon return will be for those who follow him, not as a hobby, or a once a week meet in church. No, He is serious about you and I being ready when He comes.

We are His bride, and we need to make ourselves ready. All of us together are the bride or His body. How do we make ourselves ready? We come together as one man and one mind. We can't be double minded.

We need to seek after God with all we have within us. Time may not be on our side. Jesus waits because you and I have unsaved family and friends we are praying for, but His time frame is something He alone knows.Give Him all of your doubts, fears and cares. He is able to handle every bit of it!

Monday, October 22, 2018

" so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ will overflow on account of me." Philippians 1:26 NIV

We need each other. Loners are not usually joyful, fulfilled people. Our friend the Apostle knows his presence will bless his dear friends in Philippi. Joy overflowing is what he wants for them.

God  wants this for us too. When was the last time you had joy like this for no special reason? I am glad to have joy like this today. I woke up feeling different, as if a burden was lifted. Were you praying for me?

This is what we can expect when we pray: ANSWERS! God has answered the many prayers for my sister and her family. Their home was destroyed with Hurricane Florence, and they are half way through. Volunteers came from churches as far away as Ohio, and Virginia. They started out thinking it would be the two of them removing the ruined walls and floors. God sent people.

Allison is a fifth grade teacher, but the school building was in disrepair for 5 weeks, so today is the first day of school since Florence struck. One of the class Mothers was given money from a church to buy the family a new washer, dishwasher, and range.

God has supplied for them in ways we could never have expected. Who knows what He will do now! They may need a contractor since none are available in her area. Many homes were damaged, but we can pray for God to be there with those who have the overwhelming task of picking up the broken pieces.

Prayer has made the difference in my sister's life. How about you? Do you write down answers to prayer to reflect on at a later date? 

John 21:25 says"Now there are also many other things that Jesus did.Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." ESV

God is working all the time. Sometimes He is quiet about his workings, and they aren't obvious to the eye. Think of the trees in winter when everything seems to be silent. The roots of every outdoor thing are stretching and moving deeper into the earth.

God challenges us to move our roots deeper into the soil of His word. He compels us to pray more, or help someone with all we have. He calls us to be selfless, allowing faith to hold more ground. Can you believe God to care for you while you care for others?

Friday, October 19, 2018

"But it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body, Convinced of this, I  know that I will remain and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith." Philippians 1:24-25 NIV

I'm glad Paul knows why he is to stay. He has work to do, and people to encourage and bless. He has churches to visit, and another missionary journey to take. The preaching of the Gospel is in its beginning stages.

It would have been selfish of him to say to God, I would like to come home now. Would God have done this if Paul asked? I don't think so. Perhaps Paul is sad at this point not knowing when he will be released. He may miss his friends, and want some decent food.

He couldn't text his favorite restaurant and have them deliver. I imagine he didn't get steak in prison either. Life wasn't good at the moment, but it would get better. He seems to say in this verse he will be with them again.

Was this a wish or had God dropped this truth into his heart? No matter what the important thing is he is released, and lives to do many more wonders through the Spirit of God. Many you have wondered what God has ahead for you?

I have found life with Jesus continues to get better as time moves on. I don't know much, and I know less than I used to. I used to think I knew everything, but I have overcome these thoughts. No, I don't have all the answers.

I don't want to know all the answers either. I want to learn and grow in understanding, but I have found it is best to stay close by the Lord's side, a listen to what He wants to tell me.

He has a lot to say to us. Maybe He will speak to you about prayer, or a relationship that needs fixing. Maybe, all He wants to tell you is how much He loves you! He will say this over and over because it's true! 


Thursday, October 18, 2018

"I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ which is better by far." Philippians 1:23 NIV

I have to agree with Paul. Being with Christ is no comparison to being in this body. When Jesus returns we will get a new body, one without all of the problems our current body can have.

You may have noticed all the things aging does to your body. If you haven't noticed yet, you will! Some of you are thinking, Ann, you haven't seen anything yet. 

All the things doctors say to do make a difference. Exercise, diet, and thought life. What's thought life?  What you think on makes a difference to your health. Meditating on God's word brings life to our entire bodies.

Giving all our burdens to the Lord reduces stress and lifts our spirit.  God never intended for us to carry fear, doubt, worry, or jealousy. We were intended for the Garden of Eden, and what we got is no garden!

We are susceptible to all of the lies of our enemy, if we don't fight back. God's word quells all stress we were never meant to carry. No wonder Paul wants to be free from this world. I do too, but of course at the right time. 

I have lots to do for Jesus here on earth, and YOU DO TOO! The time is short before His appears a second time, not as a suffering Savior, but as a Victorious King. He will not come alone, but with hosts of angels from the heavenly realm.

Every eye shall see Him, the Bible says. Revelation 1:7-8 It will be the most glorious event of all time! Think of the most magnificent fireworks display you have ever seen. This will be a thousand times better. It won't be glorious for the lost, however.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

"If I am to go on living in the body, this means fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! Philippians 1:22 NIV

Paul is trying to decide if he should stay here on planet earth or go to be with Jesus in heaven, and shed his physical body. Do you think God was giving him a choice? 

No , I don't think so. God has His appointed times for all He does. It is well planned out, even those things we are surprised about. It may be God tries to tell us and we miss His signs. We can move at a breakneck pace trying do what we thing we should.

How can God speak to us if we are too busy doing what is on our agenda? When do we relax with God and ask Him what He wants? 
I had such a situation. I wasn't doing anything wrong but I was missing the mark. 

I felt as Paul did when he was knocked off his horse by the presence of God and blinded by the light. Depression overcame me like the ocean covers the shore. One minute it wasn't there the next it completely engulfed me. I was undone.

At first I thought I could ignore it, but doing so is how I got there in the first place. I didn't know this at the time. Certainly this was a passing feeling. I needed to rest I thought. I couldn't.

I was unable to sleep, eat or function normally. God, what are you doing? He was doing a deep work in me, and I needed to learn how to lean and rest as never before. 

On the other side, I learned life is precious, and short. We do not know what a day will bring, but our God is able to keep us in His rest and grace even when we don't know what is happening.

His plan is good and right even when it hurts. The hurting has to come to the surface for healing to happen. God doesn't want anything left in darkness, but all things to come to His light. I can say as our Apostle Paul has said, "If I am to go on living in this body, this means fruitful labor for me!"

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21NIV

This is a dramatic picture. The night is over and a new day has just begun. This is our story, as we live in Christ. He is always working to make us new, complete and whole. There is no retirement in the kingdom of God.

The work He has for us is to the last hour. There is usually someone who needs to hear that this world is not it! This realm in which we live doesn't satisfy. Only through Christ does this life make sense.

Jesus paid for our redemption on the cross, which frees us from the grip of sin and death.We are no longer citizens of earth but of heaven. Our King is a benevolent Father which means He rules in justice and love and holds all power and authority.  Paul longs to see Jesus.

Paul isn't interested in dying, although he looks forward to meeting Christ after he dies. Our longing to be with Jesus, and no longer under the curse of this world is real. God has an appointed time for all of us to be on this earth.

I know I said in the paragraph above that we are no longer citizens of this earth and I mean it. The obstacle is the enemy of our souls who wants to disrupt the truth of our freedom in Christ. He lies to us about who we are, and what our destiny is.

Don't believe a word of those lies! God says in John 8:36 "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."Freedom over fear, addictions, sickness and many other things.The Bible also says, "You are the light of the world." God's light shines out of every believer who allows Him to.

We are precious to God, a chosen people, a royal priesthood. He can't take His eyes off of you! Psalm 34:15. His gaze is intent upon us because of His great love for us. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Romans 8:35-39 Please read these verses so you can get the full impact of how serious God is about keeping us spiritually safe.

Blessings and love to you today! 

Monday, October 15, 2018

"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or death." Philippians 1:20 NIV

Do you know about "Footprints in the Sand"? It is a poem about a christian asking the Lord why He didn't have footprints next to hers during the most troubling parts of her life. He answer was, "It was then that I carried you."

God never leaves us, and especially not when we are hurting!  This is what happens to me, and I believe may be your plight as well. I tend to take my trust off of God and live in the place of trouble. My emotions can take me down and fear can come in.

Paul wants sufficient courage to run the race of living for Jesus without being ashamed of something he may do in the future. God's gives us grace to be faithful, but our flesh can get in our way. As we are aware of our failures we pray for his mercy on us to overcome.

The great Apostle, who penned 1/3 of the new testament is concerned about loosing out on the blessing of walking with God. He knows how easily his old man or sin nature can take over. There are certain triggers I have and you do too. Out of nowhere, we can become angry, defeated, or thrown off course.

 When we stumble and fall, he is right there to pick us up, and as we humbly ask for forgiveness, all is forgiven and forgotten. Our Savior loves us too much to stop at this. He wants to make us over comers.  God will remove the trigger so we are not bothered by it again.

It can be a process! Everything depends on how willing we are to work with Him. We need to get into God's word and find scripture to encourage us to overcome. 

My son Rudy is very good at triggering anger in me, and he knows it. He is a major scooch. Spell check doesn't like this word, but let's use it anyway. Webster's Dictionary says scooch means "to scrunch down, to slide jerkily." It's not a good thing to do to your Mom.

He thrives on getting under everyone's skin. I have learned not to respond. My triggers are no longer triggered. I don't allow hurt to take me for a ride. He is just a kid! Moms want their children to say nice things to them, and Rudy has learned to do this.

I was sensitive, but both of us have learned how to deal with   scooching. Women don't like to be made fun of on a regular basis. We need to know those close sincerely care. Thank God both of us have made progress in our relationship! You can too!

Friday, October 12, 2018

"Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance." Philippians 1:19 NIV

The Apostle Paul is looking forward to the freedom he will gain after his chains are broken. Not just freedom from the physical chains, but the ability to preach and share freely about Jesus.

I suppose he doesn't have too many new faces to preach to in prison. His fervent desire is to make Christ known, wherever he is, or will be in the future. Sometimes God will remove our prison chains and other times he does not.

Peter was removed from prison by an earthquake in Acts 12, but Paul was released by an earthquake and didn't leave the prison so the jailer may be saved. Paul had a greater purpose at hand.

I'm not saying Peter wasn't doing the right thing. His circumstance was totally different. Herod planned on killing Peter and God released him to continue with his work. God had more for Peter to accomplish.

No two situations are the same when we allow the Holy Spirit of God to lead the way. God's plans for each of us are as individual as we are. Our relationship with God will be different too.

Paul's joy while imprisoned is certainly unique. It demonstrates the power of the Holy Spirit working in the Apostle in the worst situations of life. This is not a gift for Paul. It is meant to everyone.

We can have joy no matter what comes our way, because Jesus has promised to be with us. For you and I as christians living in 2018, our joy comes from believing in God's promises as He rolls out one year after another.

No matter what may happen we can stand on the promises of God. He will do exactly what He says He will. He is coming back to earth for us, and while we wait, we can see him move through prayer and worship. Don't give up! He won't.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

" But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motive or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. " Philippians 1:18 NIV

Our friend the Apostle is right. It doesn't matter at all if people's motives were not pure about why Christ was preached. Those who thought to hurt Paul made him joyful instead!

Victory was on Paul's mind. He was overflowing with the truth, and he was not moved by anything else. He did see Jesus in a vision, and I expect he never forgot it. Would anyone ever forget such a sight?

I think not. We have the word of God and the Spirit of God to lead us. We don't need a sign from heaven, or any other sign because God has given us His Holy Word. 

God's word if able to bring us right into His presence as if Jesus were with us actually speaking within our hearing. God spirit and presence are the same. Just different ways of saying the same thing.

The Word of God confirms itself over thousands of years. Old testament scriptures lead right into the new. Jesus used the old testament in his teaching while on earth. We see old testament verses confirmed in the new testament.

Jesus' coming was written about long before His coming. Not only was His coming written about, but the town where he would be born, and all the circumstances before it happened.

Most old testament books speak of the coming Messiah, which can be confusing because of His first and second coming. Some prophecies have been fulfilled and some are still to come. Maybe in our lifetime!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

"The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains."
Philippians 1:17 NIV

Some people are not at all concerned about the welfare of others. Paul is in jail, and we have already concluded a Roman jail in the first century was no walk in the park. Yet, their desire was to cause him more pain on top of jail.

What causes people to be mean? Desperation. Maybe they have tried others ways to stop the gospel from moving ahead, but were unsuccessful. Their thought may have been to make Paul miserable, and he would tell christians to stop preaching.

It reminds me of a national situation last week. Some were stirring up trouble for a Supreme Court nominee with no regard for anyone else. Both the Judge and witness were damaged and it left many with open wounds.

No regard was given for those who would be hurt, and many were. Not just the families in the spotlight, but victims of sexual abuse who thought this was about justice for them.

If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, please know God wants to bring healing where there has been hurt. He isn't angry with you, He loves you and wants you to free from pain and harm. Too many women have suffered in silence, not knowing what to do.

Talking to someone who is trustworthy, and knowledgeable about these things is best, but Jesus is the only one who can heal the brokenhearted, and restore what has been robbed. There are many who care about the wrong being done to women and children. 

Professional Counselors know how to lead a victim out of the lies told them by an abuser. You can believe what God says about you to be true. He will never leave you, and His love is strong and constant. His hand is ever reaching out to provide the answers all of us need. 

If you know of someone who has been abused, let them know you care about them. You might be able to offer help by going to the Police with them, or finding them a qualified counselor.  Love always prevails.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

"The latter do so in love, knowing I was put here for the defense of the gospel." Philippians 1:16 NIV

Who are our guests here? Mary Poppins and Walt Disney. I guess if Mary were a person she would be surprised by the year 2018. How about my friend Fred Rogers? What a sweet, contrite man. His heart was filled with the love of God for the most vulnerable among us.

We are all vulnerable to the torments of this world, because this is not our home. As christians we are not comfortable here. We do not belong. My friends and I were talking about how liberal N.Y. is and having a desire to live somewhere else. It is not much different anywhere else. 

The hearts of men will try to make this life all about themselves.

A life left to itself, will implode, and then there isn't any life. God made our hearts to need one another. When we try to live without others, depression, anxiety and other serious sicknesses try to take over.

My sister asked me this morning why she was having yet another storm come to her area. I told her, "You are not to blame. It's not about you. It's about the fall.

 Our natural man thinks it's about something we did wrong. We are taught to think good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people, but this is not true. The rain falls on the just and the unjust, literally in North Carolina.

Jesus said," These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33 NIV

The gospel of Jesus Christ was sent to us so we would not be hopeless in the face of tragedy. God is a miracle working God. He makes a way even streams in the desert, but in this case we are asking for no more water.

Would you add your faith with ours and pray that Hurricane Michael would not hit land. Allison and Steve have had volunteers come everyday to clean out their house. It currently has no walls, floor and a leaky roof. It is not in any condition for another storm.

Thank you for your prayers. Our God is able.  The Wilmington area has suffered enough.

Monday, October 8, 2018

"It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill." Philippians 1:15 NIV

Do you remember being this small, and being held in someone's arms? I don't think I can remember this. It feels good I should think! Make sure you give hugs to the little ones in your life.

Life can become all about busyness, and our schedules, and running from one place to the next. I remember a neighbor telling me the reason she was a stay at home Mom was to drive everyone to different activities. Everything within me wanted to scream out, "That is not a good reason!"

I felt bad for her because she thought this was her vocation. 

Moms are much more than this, and I'm sure she did good things with them too. Children need to sit with us so we can play with them, or make a craft, or whatever they find amusing. Quality time.

Matthew, my third child wanted to wrestle all day, and this wasn't something I was good at. My brother wasn't physical so I didn't know what to do with him, except take him outside. He loved jumping on the trampoline, running through the lawn, and digging forts in the back of the yard.

He was so content, and happy with this so I went with him, as much as I could. He will be 24 in December, but I'm glad for some happy memories. I regret he watched more television than my older two. As Mom we cannot go back and pull apart what we did or didn't do. 

I did the best that I could, and I'm sure you did too. Our friend the Apostle was all about moving forward, and I love this about him. He didn't care much about what was behind him.  He said, "I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."Philippians 3:14. 

How many of us would be free from stress or fear if we could put the past behind us. We all can, by allowing Jesus to wash over us with His precious Holy Spirit.

 If you can right now, close your eyes, and say to Him Father, please wash me anew from past mistakes or fears. Help me to not go the same way again. Teach me to learn from those failures so you can be glorified in my life in these areas. Amen.
I love you and am praying you were blessed by this. Ann

Friday, October 5, 2018

"Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly." Philippians 1:14 NIV

I don't understand? Am I reading this correctly? Is Paul saying his chains are encouraging others to preach the gospel without fear? Yes, this is exactly what he is saying. Paul is sure his chains will promote the gospel.

He is right. It seems to me others would be discouraged to preach since Paul is in chains, but the opposite is true. It may be others are bold by the power of the Holy Spirit. We can see from other biblical passages fear is vanquished when the Spirit of God takes over.

The same is true for you and I. The Spirit of God is the same yesterday, today and forever! We can be free from fear to share the truth of God's word. How much do we want to be changed by the message of Jesus?

As we resist the lies of this world, and yield to God's ways we come into a deeper presence of His spirit. Yesterday as I pulled into a parking lot I read a bumper sticker on a car. It said"RESIST."

What does it mean? I can say it either says a lot, or nothing at all. If I am to resist everything my life will be miserable. No friends, no health care, no food? If it is a general meaning to resist the establishment, this will cause undo suffering, anger and fear. If we resist God, all we have to do is look at history to see where this will get you. 

Do not resist the Holy Spirit. All the blessings of heaven are for those who yield to His commands. It is not heavy or weary, but life giving and full of joy. True joy comes from yielding to the One who will lift our burdens and set us into a freedom this world doesn't know.

Our dear friend the Apostle, has overwhelming confidence because he joys in the gospel going forward. Let this be our joy as well! This glorifies God, and all of heaven. We agree with the Holy Spirit when we rejoice in what He has said. We are here today on this earth to testify of the truth of God. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

"As a result, it has become clear  throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ." Philippians 1:13 NIV

He was in chains. Have you ever been chained to another person for a number of years? A Palace Guard is a Roman soldier who is powerful and rough. I suppose Paul was able to charm him, and the love of God won the guard over time.

Being chained meant Paul was never alone. Did he have to be chained to go to the bathroom? Probably. Sounds as if the guard was in jail too, or maybe there were shifts? 

Paul says he had joy knowing this church was his partner in the gospel in verse 5. He rejoiced to know the gospel was being preached in verse 18.

Was Our Apostle ever lonely, afraid, or cold? I'm sure he was. He was like us. He was prone to all emotions as we are, but he was not defeated. What makes him different from you and I? He didn't take his eyes off of Jesus. 

I can be fixated on my circumstances so easily, but God has a way of changing me too. Have you noticed how God can bring about different situations to show us our hearts?

Will I trust him if someone I love is hurt or sick? Can I trust God to care for me even when the paycheck is nowhere in sight? Is He still Lord of my life when tragedy strikes?

Yes, He is. He is able to take our worst situations and turn them around. We don't always understand why God allows someone to die and another to live. We don't know why one house is destroyed and another is left untouched. What we can do is know God is good, all the time. 

We can trust His heart even when we don't understand His hand.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Dear Friends,

This is a picture of my sister Allison, her husband Steve, and their children Kim, and Zac. This was last June when my niece graduated from High School.

They live in North Carolina, about 20 miles outside Wilmington. Their house was flooded two weeks ago during Hurricane Florence. Many have come forward to provide household items and gift cards. They did not have flood insurance. 

Since they already have a mortgage, a loan would be out of the question. FEMA may give them some money but not enough to rebuild. If God places them on your heart, there is a go fund me page on my facebook or at Look for Ann and Rudy's sister and family. God bless you,  Ann

"Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel."

What is Paul referring to here? What happened to him? He was in jail for preaching the gospel, The good news. He must have been an optimistic person to think being in jail brought about good.

Actually Paul's time in jail caused the gospel to spread quickly. News of his stand for the truth of Jesus Christ spread throughout the Palace guard. Those who loved the Lord spread the message, and even those who opposed Paul told of the Gospel, thinking it would harm him.

Paul was overjoyed to know the gospel was being preached, no matter the reason. He was a remarkable man, because he believed God would use everything for his good. I can believe this too, but sometimes I wonder.

Have you ever said to God, "How will you use this in a good way?"
I believe you God, but this? How will you bring any good out of the sadness I feel? How can the loss of a loved one ever be ok?

Loosing a loved one isn't ever O.K., but the ache doesn't hurt as much. Time moves on and so do our lives. Sadness doesn't have to last for ever, if we look to the Lord. He can fill us with joy, peace and love regardless of our circumstances.

Times of deep sadness come to every life. I don't want you to fall into the lie I once did. I thought certain people had a better life than I did.These young ladies who sat in front of me in church had their mother and father with them. 

The parents were blessed financially, so I thought, looking on the outside their lives had to be better than mine.This was not true!
As time passed, they had serious struggles like the rest of us.

It was a lesson I learned well, and I remind myself of it every once in a while. 'The rain falls on the just and the unjust." Matthew 5:45
The difference is, when a christian goes through struggles, they can become better, not bitter.

"And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 KJV

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

"filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ- to the glory and praise of God. " Philippians 1:11 NIV

Do you ever walk and pray outside? Walking while I pray is my preferable way of praying, but not outside. I get distracted easily outside. I want to pray so my attention is only on Jesus.

This can be hard sometimes. It takes concentration and determination, and a plan ahead of time, not pick up the phone unless it's an emergency. My plans don't work out the way I always want them to.

We have a busy household. People coming and going, dogs who need to go out. I'm not making excuses, but maybe some of this sounds familiar to you?

The father of lies knows the truth about prayer. It is a powerful vehicle by which we can stop him. He knows what one woman on her knees can accomplish in an afternoon. If he can convince us that prayer isn't worth the time and effort, he has us on the run.

Jesus is our righteousness. On our own we could never come to our Father in heaven. He is the only way to God, and so our righteousness comes from Him. All of the spirit realm knows this is true. If we don't realize the truth, the enemy may get a foot in the door.

Jesus in perfect, sinless, eternal, and full of light as we have never seen. Will we fall before Him when He appears? Will we jump up and down in excitement, or simply be overcome by His holy and beautiful self? Will we worship for eternity?

It is beyond my wildest imagination how full and complete we will become. If we can sense this through prayer, how much greater the reality will be. For now, we need to be on our knees. Our nation needs us to stand for morality and decency. Blessings to you and your family.