Friday, August 31, 2018

"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, Ephesians 6:19 NIV

The Apostle Paul is asking his friends to pray for him? If Paul needed prayer, how much more do we. This wonderful man preached all over the ancient world, but he still wants prayer for words.

I suppose if anyone knows about fear, it would be Paul. I don't know what he has faced at this period of his life, but he had some very painful, near death situations during his lifetime.

All of us need to pray however we can in our circumstance. I shared about speaking out loud the other day, but I want to tell you why I know the silence kind are important too.

We can be in places where it's not appropriate to pray!  Have you ever prayed to silently in a doctor's office? I think most people have. We can be sick and not know what words to say. I am recovering from a sinus and ear infection, and I prayed silently a lot this week!

Thank God we can have hope in our Father who hears even when we don't speak. We can get to know Jesus, and who He says He is, when He answers those silent prayers. No one knows but God himself what your request is.

I read Luke 11: 1- 13 last night. You are probably familiar with verses 1-4. It's the Lord's prayer. What I didn't realize, just after this, Jesus shares the story about the traveler who comes at midnight. The house he enters doesn't have any food, so the host runs to his neighbor for bread.

The neighbor doesn't come to the door because the man asks him to, but only comes after much persistence from the host. This man wouldn't give up knocking, banging and so on. Jesus relates this to a father who is good, and wouldn't give his son a snake if he asked for a fish. You can read the rest for yourself.

What struck me was the goodness of the fathers in this story. Of course Jesus is relating this to the goodness of our heavenly Father.
We belong to God, and his love for us is deeper than we can ever imagine.  Verse 13 of Luke 11 reads, "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"  Not one of us can say we have enough of the Holy Spirit.  

Thursday, August 30, 2018

"Pray at all times - on every occasion, in every season - in the Spirit, with all{manner of} prayer and entreaty, To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints {God's consecrated people}." Ephesians 6:18 AMP 

Have you ever felt as if you were a little fish in a big pond? I thought this child may feel this way, but then I thought maybe there are 20 people at the other end we can't see? We don't always have the luxury of seeing the whole picture.

I think she is happy, so I'm not going to be concerned. How our minds can jump to conclusions! I have concluded about others character on very small tidbits of information.

I'll bet you have done this too. Prayer is important when it comes to deciding how we feel about someone. Sometimes first impressions can be deceiving. Do you conclude someone isn't "your type" on first meeting and forget about building a friendship?

I have done this too many times to count! Fear was behind some of these judgements. I have been open to people as I have gotten older. I don't have time to play games. We are all the same on the inside.

When it comes to prayer, God tells us in this verse to"watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints." I'm putting away immature behavior so I can focus on what can make another stronger.

I don't want you to congratulate me or anything, because I don't have it done to perfection! I don't think any of us have. Let's be aware of our judgements so don't push away those who may need our help. Give out what God has given to you. This is a sure way to filled again!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." Ephesians 6:18 NIV

You might have noticed I have used the same scripture for the past few days. I can't let go of it right now. It is such a powerful truth and I want to drive it home in my heart and yours.

I pray for those who receive my blog, and I care about your spiritual growth.I may have never met you before, but God knows exactly who you are and every detail in your life.

I trust Him to make these blogs personal to you by His Holy Spirit. Only Jesus can minister through my words to your heart and situation. He is beyond faithful to us!

I wish I had a stronger word than faithful to use. It isn't enough to express how wonderful our Father in heaven is to us. Sarah Reeves expresses faithfulness in her song, "Faithful".

The dictionary uses steadfast, unswerving, and committed to describe faithful. We can stack these words together and still not reach the magnitude of the faithfulness our God demonstrates toward us.

I haven't mentioned the picture at the top yet. These are our first two children, Rudy and Rachel. Rachel graduated from Depaul Law School in May. Rudy graduated from Hofstra Law School in 2015. They are precious to us.

They have worked hard for their degrees, and we have prayed. Obstacles came out of nowhere in seemed, but they persevered. We believing God to use them mightily. Prayer was lifted up for them before they were born.

I'm sure most of you can relate to this. When we don't know what to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us. The gift of tongues is able to pray through us to the Father when we don't know how or what to pray. Isn't this amazing?

Monday, August 27, 2018

photo by Ben

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:18

This is a mouth-full of a verse and it was supposed to come up on yesterday's post but for some reason did not. It is worth repeating. I cannot say enough about the importance of prayer!

Prayer is our bridge to Jesus. He lives within us as believers, but our verbal declarations are powerful and effective. Lifting our voice is how we reach out to Him. It has nothing to do with space or time, but everything to do with our hearts.

It also involves our minds. We engage our brain in the process through our language and call out to the King of Kings. Our body, soul and spirit have to be involved because this is the totality of who we are.

Without words our brain won't process our prayer as declarations or dialog. Many thoughts pass through our mind throughout the day, but those thoughts that make it in to verbal language are recorded in our hearing as well as our memory.

This process is important. God hears our heart cry, but we need to hear the words. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Prayer is possibly the most important activity we do on any given day. Tonight the churches in our area are having a 24/7 Prayer Service for revival. We need God to move on our Island!

It doesn't matter where you live, your area needs prayer. You may have needs different than ours, but it is our responsibility as the people of God to go before Him. The days in which we live warrants this.

We are living in the last days. Before you accuse me of being negative, let me say that the Bible describes these days as the time after the ascension of Christ. Basically we have been in the end times for 2,018 years.

Most theologians believe the third day, or the years after the year 2,000 are significant for Christ's return. I am referring to the past 18 years, and as long as God says after this. The end of the age known as "the church age" is within our grasp.

We can see the sign of the times in our culture. Our nation used to uphold Biblical values, but today many of them are not seen as significant. Marriage was vital to the fabric of our society but our current culture sees it as not important. We have seen terrible attacks on marriages in the past 40 years or more.

This is only one area of morality we see disintegrating. For the sake of time and space I will spare you the details, which most of you know.Violence is another specific moral downfall we see on the rise. My husband just informed me of a shooting today in Florida.

Our nation needs us to stand on the walls of our cities and communities! Take a stand for the salvation of your neighbors and loved ones through prayer. Prayer in the spirit so God can pray through you for specific needs you may not know about.

Cry out with your voice to the only one who can deliver and move on our needy world! All He needs are willing citizens of His heavenly kingdom to take down the lies enshrouding our earth. Are you willing to be used by God?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

"Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God."Ephesians 6:17 NIV

Great times are coming, or have they already come? It depends on who you listen to. There are many theories and some are based on nothing much, or on Biblical truth.

The ones to be taken seriously come from the Bible. Many theologians speculate and I'm sure they have some clear understanding about when all of this will come. We are in a holding pattern right now. This is for sure.

The first garden is gone, and the second one is coming. Both are free of sin, sickness, distress, evil, hunger and death. There will be a renewal of what was supposed to be in the first place. This is where the holding pattern comes in; our current state.

If you are confused about any of this, join the club. I don't  study eschatology, or what the Bible calls the end times. I need to know more than I do right now, but where to start is the problem.

What I do know is that a great revival is coming to the world before the end. This is what we desperately need! When the presence of God moves in power on this earth many will come to Christ.

Many who lack understanding will see Jesus as the Son of God and call Him Lord. Some will be miraculously healed, families will be restored and lives changed. Then the end will come.

There are some great books written on these times I call the holding pattern. Lysa TerKeurst has a book coming out in November called, "Between Two Gardens." I have read the first and last chapter as a member of her writer's training called "Compel. It looks promising.

John Elderidge has written a book called "All Things New" and I have briefly looked at this. Pastor Fowler from my church has written a book called "Life in the Middle."

I haven't spent much time thinking about being "in the middle,". Now I have three books from people I respect, I think I should take a look. John Elderidge is a Psychologist, who writes along the lines of C.S. Lewis, because he describes in detail surrounding  and emotions. His years as a gifted Psychologist and sensitive, caring person help the reader to picture in their minds what his words say.

 I think we will continue tomorrow. There is a lot here to discuss, and I'm not sure which way God wants me to go right now, so hold on! Love and kisses to you! I appreciate your patience.

Monday, August 20, 2018

"In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." Ephesians 6:16 NIV

Did you ever consider the heart has a breastplate and shield to cover it? Of course, the shield can be used many places, but when I think of this armor in a resting position it usually is near the heart. 

The shields of roman soldiers were much bigger than any other army. As Paul describes the armor it is considered  by scholars he is referring to the roman army's armor. After all, he is in a roman prison and has easy access to the particular traits and details.

The shields were 6 feet high, and could lock into another soldier's on each side. When the army would approach an opposing country for battle each soldier would lock shields until there would be a massive straight line.

The shields could reflect the sun because each one was meticulously clean and prepared for war. If an enemy tried to move forward, the reflection would be blinding.

Faith must be held high in our lives. Faith is substance even though we cannot see it. It is evidence of things not seen. It can be felt in our hearts. It can be proclaimed loudly from our mouths and ought to be always.

All we see in the natural realm points to the spiritual realm. The unseen came first. All of the seen world is governed by the unseen. Which camp are you from? 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

"and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." Ephesians 6:15 NIV

I am glad to be writing to you today. God is gracious and kind and beyond wonderful. I don't have enough accolades to express all the joy and love I have for Him!

It's a good thing He knows our hearts, so if we don't have the words to express our love for the Lord , He knows it anyway. As women we want to use our words to express our emotions. It's a good thing.

God intended from the beginning for language to be good. He never wanted it to used in a cutting, divisive way. Guess who uses it to hurt and destroy? The enemy of our souls. 

I try to remind myself before I say something, if my words are what God would want. Words can escape our lips without thought. Especially in relaxed settings, like our homes.

This should be where we use the most caution. Our family relationships are the easiest to bruise and can be the most damaging.

 How we live for Jesus in our everyday existence is what tells the most about our grounding. We do have times when our sure footing can be compromised. This is when we need the most caution.

Can we be ready to reflect the peace in our hearts even when there may be some unrest as well? Yes, we can. And if something else comes out, it's all good. We are a work in progress!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

"with the breastplate of righteousness in place." Ephesians 6:14b

When children and dogs are together it is beyond cute. The sense I get from this picture is: "It's ok, we've got each other." There seems to be a confidence between the two. A sense of conquering anything set to overtake them.

I wish it were this simple; to be safe. Safety comes at a much higher price. It had to be paid in blood on a cross. Our eternal safety can only be secured through Christ. 

No one else would ever be able to satisfy the debt of sin and offense between God and mankind. When God looks at us He sees the sovereign work of Jesus, accomplish by His death.

Christ was the only sacrifice to accomplish the work of redemption. When the breastplate of righteousness is taken up by faith, we are seen by God as washed, pristine, whole and magnificent!

The word pristine means: "in its original condition; unspoiled. Clean and fresh as if new, spotless. It is as if we never sinned. It's interesting to learn how it covers our heart. Our hearts need to be clean and pure.

When someone says I've asked Christ into my heart, it means the sin has been erased and purity now dwells where sin used to live. This is the starting place for the process called sanctification.

The process takes time, patience and love, all of which Jesus gives in abundance. Our soul realm needs to walk out of the ungodly ways we may have taken for granted. No one likes this process, but it is necessary, to be like Jesus!

Monday, August 13, 2018

"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place," Ephesians 6:14 NIV

Do you remember when Pilate said to Jesus, "What is truth"?  {John 18:38} All generations have asked the same question. Every heart has searched to know the why's and what's of life. Why am I here, and what is my purpose?

Truth has been debated ever since the Fall in the Garden of Eden. God wanted to spare us the pain of searching, by giving us the truth from the beginning. Every soul has cried out for relief from their ache.

God has always been available, with His truth, for those who would take hold of it. He doesn't hide from us, but rather we hide from Him. Remember Adam and Eve covering their nakedness with fig leaves and trying to hide?

It wasn't the physical nakedness they felt and wanted to cover. It was a spiritual emptiness, a void on the inside, a feeling of something missing. It was the presence of God.

Sin had brought them into a new reality, of fear and heartache. Fear was the first negative emotion to enter their pure hearts.The division had come between God and man. 

When God came to find Adam, He said, "Where are you?" God knew their physical location, what He was really saying," I can't sense your presence." I think this is one of the saddest parts of history! Praise God the story doesn't end here.

Sin had divided God from man. Man was free to decide for himself what is truth or what is not. What a horrible life it would be if truth hadn't prevailed in my life and yours! Truth will keep us from the lies of the enemy. "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."{John 8:32}

Truth comes from God and His word. When we buckle  the truth around us, we become so aware of what God's word says, we don't even feel it around us. It comes from our mouths naturally because we have placed it inside of us.

Daily, as we feed our spirits on the Word of God, His truth will overcome any lies, fears, or torments of the enemy. We are warned, to stand firm, because the storms will come. We strengthen our faith by contending for the truth. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when  the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."Ephesians 6:13 NIV

I want to tell you what my life has been like lately. Lots of good things, and some flies in the ointment. On July 25, my precious pup, a Yorkshire Terrier named Jack lost his battle with Lyme's nephritis. Not ever a good thing to deal with, but I had planned to fly out the next day for a writer's conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I continued with my plans, attended the conference gained wonderful knowledge and ideas to better my writing. I met with three publishers from different christian publishing houses who gave me practical advise.

We flew home on July 29, so I could do laundry and pack to fly out on the 31 to visit my sister inWilmington, North Carolina. We  went to the beach, had fun times with family and kept the teenagers happy. Tuesday August 7, we board a plane for New York City.

We sat at the gate for an hour before moving to another spot.An hour goes by and we are told the flight is cancelled due to bad weather in New York. We are then scheduled to fly home the next morning. 

During our stay a family member decided to pester me about things that happened many years ago.My hopes had been for a restful, neutral visit without drama. When teens are involved I should never let my guard down.

None of these things would move me except I never had a chance to recover from the loss of my dog. Do you see the strategy of the enemy here?  A little incident thrown in here or there, and we can be taken down.

Yesterday and today has been power days for me. Lots of prayer and worship music. I feel wonderful, a little weak, but it's because I tried to weed in the garden in full sun. I got carried away by the gigantic weeds.  We all do such things I suppose. 

Thank God his word is full of strength, power and grace to help us in times of need. I wouldn't call my family time a" day of evil" but when the enemy is prowling we need to be alert. Love to All of my Precious Readers. Praying for you! Talk to you on Monday.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians  6:12 NIV

I can't imagine a world without dance. Some of you  may be wondering why I would make such a statement. You may not know I love to dance because I don't dance in front of anyone.

As a child my mother said I loved to dance around and around in a circle. As I got older I often fell over my own feet, so I wasn't a good candidate for dance. She never said this, I'm saying it about myself.  

Who says you have to be "good enough" to do anything? Who makes the judgement about who can or can't? I say if you want to dance for joy, then do it.

God is blessed as I dance before Him. He doesn't care if my steps aren't perfect. He knows my heart and desire is to pour out my love on Him. Don't allow anyone or anything stop you from praising God!

Praise will raise you from being under the circumstances to over them. Praise pushes out the evil and darkness of the enemy. We can be raised into the heavenly realm in an atmosphere of worship.

Beyond the darkness, and evil, we can be lifted into the very throne room of the King. As we continue through chapter 6 of Ephesians, we will see how important the armor of God is for us.

Our praise and our armor help to keep our eyes on Him. He  has provided  all the necessary protection we need. My problem starts when I overestimate my ability and underestimate the ability of the enemy.

Hopefully, you and I will learn valuable lessons from our next few blogs. Every time I study the armor I learn something new. My prayer is you will learn good things too. Blessings!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Do you remember the days of catching lightening bugs in a glass jar? My brother, sister and I would make forts out of the lawn chairs and place beach towels over them. The towels would hold the fort together.

We thought it was the greatest fun. What do you remember about being a child during the summer? Did you swing in your backyard, or at the park? 

"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." Ephesians 6:11 NIV

Why do we think our lives consist of only the things we see? Children actually have a better handle on looking past what is obvious to see what is less obvious.

Children are not hindered by self consciousness, or fear of what others might think. They are spontaneous and exuberant and full of life and fantasy.

Why do we loose these attributes as we get older? Do we really know better as we mature? Not always. The enemy of our souls doesn't want us to believe in a spiritual world.

If we believe only what is in the natural, we won't try to defeat him. He likes to be undercover and able to spread lies where ever he can.
His main deception is to turn all people against God. 

The enemy wants us to believe God isn't good, and he doesn't care about us. He will bring accusations against God's character  in order to place doubt in our minds.

God's armor, which we will look at further in the next few days can quench all the lies and distortions of the liar. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

August 7, 2018
Hi Everyone,

This is from my iPhone so a picture is not available. Yesterday the ocean in North Carolina was beautiful. The water was different shades of blue and green. A perfect day if there is such a thing. We are on the plane back to New York today.

Would you believe a week is up? How many of you have family out of state or far away? It is hard on me especially as I age. Who isn’t aging? It happens to new borns too. In fact, I have never met a person who hasn’t experienced aging but it’s not a popular subject with women.

Back to family far away. We deal with it, as some of you may. You try to make the best of the time you have together. You text, e-mail and call on the phone the old fashioned way. You send cards and gifts at appropriate times and reminenese about times when everyone was younger.

We need those times remembering what life was like in our younger times. It can keep the present in perspective and help our children know life was different for us. My brother in law Steve Bender grew up in St. James as I did. His thoughts and memories vary from mine. He grew up in a different neighborhood than us.

He and his two brothers, and sister went to Smithtown H.S. East as we did.I didn’t know any of them when I was in High School. It’s interesting talking to them and find out their thoughts about life when we were growing up in the same time and same town.

God has all things planned out and as we look back we can identify a cord of consistency. This cord starts when we are born, before we know the Lord as Savior. He has us in the palm of His hand because He holds time. We belong to Him in eternity past, present and future. 

It’s hard for to us to wrap our understanding around this since we live in time. We have a beginning in this world, and an ending time. God sees us as we walk into time and when we walk out. It’s that easy to Him, but not for us.

We grieve the loss of those who go into His presence before us, longing to see then again. This ache of the heart is what every one of us has whether we long to see a loved one or long to be complete physically or emotionally. This world comes with pain headache and suffering. 

How we see these trials makes the difference in whether we have peace or angst. The Bible is replete with stories of the human condition. God tells us the truth. In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Pray for loved ones who are far from God. He wants to pull them close to himself. Having eternity to love them far surpasses a few days on the earth!

Monday, August 6, 2018

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." Ephesians 6:10 NKJV

Be strong in the Lord: what exactly does this mean? It certainly doesn't mean we should do whatever first comes to mind. I think most of us wouldn't do the things we first think of every time.

Maturity usually means we aren't impulsive, and we think before we do. Under duress, I may not think straight. My children can spark responses from my mouth others don't ever hear.

I don't curse, but I can be short, have a bad attitude, or use a tone I wouldn't use with someone else. There are times I need to express my feelings about a topic or person and I want to get my point across without a debate. 

I am the mother of two lawyers, who are experts on cross examination. As I said last week, my son has been practicing his court demeanor on his mother for years. Rachel has a strong opinion on everything. 

I don't allow these two to bully me but I don't try to "win" an argument either. I'm not big on who "wins" or "looses"in a game or a discussion. I really don't care. 

I am the mother and I'm concerned for their souls. I want each child to honor the Lord, and respect people. These are attributes I know they value most of the time.

My resolve regarding these matters is strong and unwavering, and it will be until God calls me home. I can't think of anything more important to me since before my children were born.

I'm not going to be moved, shaken or defeated since I pray about these important issues on a regular basis. As we love others we declare strong words of victory and purpose over their lives. You don't need to be a parent to feel the same way about loved ones!

Friday, August 3, 2018

"Knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord." Ephesians 6:8 NKJV

Have you felt like this before? The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer can suck the strength out of you. Humidity is my greatest enemy this time of year. I am currently in North Carolina visiting my family and humidity is highest this time of year.

The Carolina beaches are beautiful and humidity doesn't follow me there. If you have the opportunity to visit you might agree. Less people, mostly blue skies, all sand! My local beach has a lot of rocks, on the north shore of Long Island.  I love it because its ten minutes from my home.

I compromise because of the convenience. Some Long Islanders won't use the north shore beaches. I understand their point. If you grew up with ocean beaches you might not settle for the L.I. sound.

It depends what you are used to. I didn't know how nice the ocean was until I spent some time there. You may not realize how good God is if you never looked into the Word of God.

People may talk a lot about God but not know what the Bible actually says about Him.The Word of God is the true honest source of God's character, not our experiences.

Our experiences are tainted by our emotions. Our understanding which can be flawed, may distort our emotions also. The enemy of our souls loves to distort God's character so we think He's not good.

From the beginning of time, in the first garden the garden of Eden, the devil has tried to paint God as a liar who wants to hide us from true riches and delight. 

Our enemy hasn't changed his devices.  Distortion and lies have been his game plan. How will we know what is true? Trust God's word. If Jesus says He will give us good things why should we doubt? His love will prevail!