Quitting Too Soon?

We’ve all done it at some point. Given up on something just short of a breakthrough. Is there something difficult, but good and big in your life that you are considering walking away from?

My Pastor made a point in his Resurrection Sunday sermon last weekend that stood out to me. The story was from Luke chapter 24 about Cleopus walking back home on the road to Emmaus. He walked with another, and their heads were hung low in defeat. They had believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but Jesus had died on a cross Friday night, and they were headed back home early on Sunday.

Jesus actually caught up to them and asked them what they were talking about. They told Jesus, whom they did not recognize, that they had seen Jesus die and they were disappointed that he was gone and that all they had believed was not true. HA! Their messiah and their hope was right there beside them, but they didn’t even recognize him!

Jesus had told them all that he would die and that he would resurrect, numerous times. Cleopus still gave up and started walking back home to his old familiar place TOO SOON! Shouldn’t he have waited around on Sunday to see Jesus resurrected as he had promised?

Cleopus gave up just short of the breakthrough and headed back to his comfort zone! Thankfully for him, Jesus pursued him on his wrong path anyway! He ALMOST MISSED the most important moment that could have ever happened to him!

Whatever you are doing in life that is worth doing and biblical – whether it be a challenging job, building and staying with a relationship, getting in shape, eating healthier – that you feel like giving up on because you are not “seeing results,” STICK WITH IT! KEEP GOING! You have been promised the results, and they will come if you keep on. They say 80% of the progress comes in the last 20% of the time spent on a project. Push forward and don’t turn back to your comfort zone and quit! As Dory would say in Finding Nemo, “just keep swimming!”

DON’T QUIT TOO SOON OR YOU WILL MISS YOUR BREAKTHROUGH!

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Have you found the perfect gift yet?

I get amused with the Christmas shoppers in the Riverside Gift Shop I am managing at the retirement village.  They will come in and say they’re looking for the “perfect gift” for someone and they’ll “know it when they see it.”

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This month of Christmas music, programs, parties and shopping can become stressful to some people.  We have been made to feel guilty if we don’t give extra to the needs of those less fortunate.  There are the lonely people who actually hate this time of year.

But wait…..what is it really all about?  And I mean more than remembering a miraculous virgin birth of a baby 2000+ years ago.

The miracle of Jesus the Christ…..the Anointed One, is that He is fully God and fully human!!!    The doctrinal word for that is Incarnation……….and I don’t mean a flower!!!

This is one of the mysteries of Almighty God.   In His Son, Jesus, God became a human man to save us ultimately by shedding His blood on the cross, dying and arising from the dead, without ceasing to be God.

Philippians 2:5-11    Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death of the cross.  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

WOW!!!  That’s quite a bit to comprehend.  It’s so “far out there” our human minds cannot figure it out……not possible….don’t go there!!!

It is child-like FAITH which is a GIFT from God to receive THE TRUTH.

If you are struggling with the reality of who Jesus is, and that He is more than a baby in a manger, ask God to give you the faith to believe.  Be honest with God, He knows the thoughts and intents of your heart anyway.  Don’t try to figure it out…..just know that God loves you with unconditional love.  Once you realize that great love through Jesus Christ you will never be the same again!

The celebration of Jesus’ birth this week will give you JOY and an INNER PEACE that is unexplainable.

JESUS CHRIST IS INDEED THE MOST PERFECT GIFT TO YOU!!!

Romans 6:23  The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

THE King of kings is Greater than any president

In just a few hours we will find out who will be the next President of the United States of America. This campaigning has been insanity and the country is divided in a way that I have never personally witnessed. People are fighting, calling one another names, and cutting off relationships due to this polarization in opinion and thought in a fight to join one band wagon or the other.

This is what I know:

– The God I serve is bigger than any person or election process.

– Life will continue no matter who sits in the White House for the next four years, and it is my duty to live a life that Christ would approve of by loving all people as much as myself, practicing gratitude and giving of my time and resources to make the world a better place.

– Many people are now at least using their right to vote in what appears to be record numbers. This means more people are paying attention to the issues, which is great news. When life rolls along “well enough” we become complacent and lazy. I see a new spark.

If you read through the Old Testament you will see a roller coaster ride of good and bad kings. God would give the people a good king and there would be wealth and prosperity in the land. Then, the people would rebel in some way and beg for a different king. Then, God would allow the people to have what they wanted so that the new generation would learn and come back to Him. It is a definite pattern.

Perhaps this is happening now. We can see in the candidates a culmination of the collective views and values that citizens in the U.S. share. We will reap what we sow, always. This election has put a lot of topics in the spotlight that need to be there. Regardless of the outcome, we will push forward. The sun will come up every day and will shine on the righteous and the wicked and eventually we will finally come to that most glorious day when we see Christ return.

We shall not fear or waver because our God is King of kings and Lord of lords.

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“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome….” Deuteronomy 10:17

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith…. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus….I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time – God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:11-16

“On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:16

Note: Do yourself a favor and go back and re-read the last post by my Aunt Tami as well: “Which ‘One Another’ Are You?”

WHAT IS TRUTH?

We are soon to take our responsibility as United States Citizens to vote locally and for the President of our United States of America.  This is a serious time and each one of us must be informed of the issues, weigh our decisions carefully, and ask God for wisdom in our choices.  We are listening for TRUTH but all we hear are false promises.

Two thousand years ago the Jewish people under the harsh rule of Rome thought Jesus would be their King.  They hailed Him as their Messiah who would rule them justly and throw over the oppressive Roman government in Israel.  As they discovered in one week….He said His Kingdom was not of this world.  They called Him a blasphemer because He said His Father God sent Him. They wanted to kill Him!

But when Jesus was brought before Pilate to be questioned, Jesus answered him (John 18:36-38) “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not here.

Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’  Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king.  For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the TRUTH.  Everyone who is of the TRUTH hears My voice.

Pilate said to Him, ‘WHAT IS TRUTH?”

Are you asking the same question today?  We are hearing and believing lies every day.  Satan’s language is lies….that is his native tongue! (John 8:44)

Romans 1:25 says wicked men exchanged the TRUTH of God for a lie.

The only absolute TRUTH is Jesus the Christ, who came from the Father full of grace and TRUTH. (John 1:14)  Jesus speaks the TRUTH.  He is quoted as saying “I tell you the TRUTH” thirty times in Matthew, thirteen times in Mark, eight times in Luke, and thirty seven times in John.

When Jesus was teaching His disciples, He knew He was going to die, raise from the dead and ascent to His Father in heaven.  He told them He was going to leave them…and they were afraid!

He said, (John 14:1-6)  “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In my fathers house are many rooms, if it were not so I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.  And where I go you know, and the way you know.  Thomas said to Him ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

That is a promise…..and God does not break His promises!!!

Jesus also said (John 8:32)  “You shall know the TRUTH and the TRUTH shall make you free.”

NOW YOU KNOW WHAT TRUTH IS!!!

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If there is a God, why is there struggle and pain in this world?

If there is a God, why is there struggle and pain in this world?

This is a question that is asked frequently. People have a hard time wrapping their minds around the fact that if there is a so called “God” who is loving and caring why would he allow people to go through such horror and pain?

Consider this…

God gave us free will. He is not demanding us and calling out orders from heaven. Of course, yes, He does have a plan for us and wants us to live a life of love, but he does not force us to do so.

It started in the Garden of Eden. God said to Adam and Eve they could eat from any tree in the garden, except for the Tree of Knowledge. They were given choices. They were given the free will to decide which tree to eat from. When they decided to eat from the tree of knowledge, God was there but he did not force them away. He allowed them to make that decision.

In Genesis 2:16-17 it tells us, “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’”

The opportunity was given to them to make a decision but he also told them what would happen if they chose a certain tree.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

“The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (The devil’s temptation to make the wrong decision)

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it (her decision). She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it (his decision).”

Genesis 3:1-6

There is evil in this world, and the evil was in the garden. The devil came as a serpent and tempted Adam and Eve. They gave into that temptation and in their own free will chose to eat from the tree of knowledge. They were given a chose. God wasn’t forcing them to choose what he wanted them to do. He stood back and allowed them to decide.

There is evil that we face now. Things happen to people that are not deserving of it. People are robbed, raped, murdered and they didn’t do anything wrong. How can God sit back and watch that happen?

It breaks God’s heart to see his children struggle, in pain, hurt. During those times of pain, what do you do? Do you search for anything to help you? Are you desperate for an answer, comfort, someone to take away the pain?

God is waiting with open arms for you to run to him. To cling to him. To cry out to him. To ask him for help. I don’t believe it’s a matter of God allowing bad things to happen because there is evil in this world, but he does wait for us to make a decision to draw near to him during those times. Following God does not mean life will be easy and nothing bad will ever happen to you, but it does bring you comfort and peace knowing the ALL POWERFUL GOD is on your side and fighting for you. He will bring the enemy down. He already has, but we as humans are tempted and create a way for the devil to get in and torment us. God never wanted that to happen, but he gives us a chose——to follow him, or to follow the ways of the evil one, the ways of the world.

What do you choose?

807a28c94045772dc0c9119335067ee6 Psalm 23:4

LOVE Your Enemies

Ouch. This is a tall order.

But, Jesus Himself tells us to pray for and love our enemies. UGH.

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27, 28

At this time of great political dissension in the USA, not to mention riots, hate crimes, and general unrest, it is pertinent that we as Christians not only remember these direct words from Jesus, but that we actively participate in them daily. If there has ever been a time to love and pray for our enemies, it is now.

Our enemies range from ISIS to the “Frenemies” that permeate our daily lives. From that deadbeat Father that refuses to pay child support and tries to intimidate, to the head of a country who threatens nuclear war. Jesus makes no distinction. We must love and pray for them all.

Without fail.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

We did not deserve it, but He loved us anyway. And He loves us now and forever despite our constant shortcomings. We must think of loving our enemies in this way. We expect nothing in return, but give the unconditional love of God to those who don’t deserve it. It is only when we can turn our hearts from hatred to this kind of love that we can truly pray for our enemies and hope the very best for them – that they will also come to know the love and salvation of God on a personal level that will change them from the inside out.

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Regardless of our political views, we are to pray for our President and the leaders of the nations. Regardless of our personal disappointments and hurts, we are to pray for those who mistreat us.

This is truly a challenge. Will you take it with me? Will you commit to this kind of prayer and love? The world needs us now. Let us stand by humbling ourselves on our knees in authentic prayer and love for all.

NEED JESUS IN YOUR BOAT?

Maybe you’ve heard the old idiom “I’m up a creek without a paddle!” exclaimed by someone who is in an awkward position with no way out. Or maybe you have even said “that doesn’t float my boat.”  Around here, at the retirement community, we often say to one another after hearing a familiar scenario, “we’re all in the same boat!!!”

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Well…….Jesus’ disciples had such a situation in a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee (which is actually an inland lake……but storms can come up quickly from the coast through a break in the mountains named The Horns of Hattin).

Mark 4:35-41 NIV  “That day (after teaching a throng of people by the lake) Jesus said to His disciples ‘Let us go over to the other side.’  Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along, just as He was, in the boat.  There were also other boats with Him.  A furious squall came up and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion, The disciples woke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’  He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still !’  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to His disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?’  They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey Him!’ “

Are you troubled today with the storms of life?  Do you feel as though your boat is swamped and you’re sinking with no help in sight?

Believe me…..you are not alone.  JESUS IS IN YOUR BOAT!!!

Jesus speaks PEACE to those storms.  Ask Him…….trust Him.

The Heritage Singers have recorded a song entitled PEACESPEAKER that will give you encouragement.  Look it up on YouTube…..it will bless you!

HOW IMPORTANT IS ENCOURAGEMENT?

This is the 250th entry of our Life Words Today blog!

Amazing how time flies by!!! What started as an idea, a desire that I voiced to my sister, Tami, as we walked along the beach of Salisbury, Massachusetts, became a reality. She is a computer whiz…..I am not. So she began to do the research on how to set it up.

Here we are, still sharing our thoughts and words of encouragement to you, our faithful readers!

In the past I taught a class for women’s retreats entitled “Life Words vs Death Words.” It is to our disadvantage to speak death words – not only to others, but also to ourselves. The enemy of our souls wants us to think we are worthless and of no value. Then he can persuade us to turn our backs on God. He is a crafty one, and lying is his native language.

Sooooo…..the need for us frail humans to be encouraged is not only biblical, but a basic human need.

We have shared our individual struggles with you and included you in our personal thoughts and meditations. Hopefully you have been encouraged to “keep on keeping on” regardless of your circumstances.

Life is hard, and when you know someone else has experienced similar hardships and has gained strength and perspective from them, it lets you know you are not alone.

Although we have pulled out some of our Mother’s writings from the 80’s, we are also mother/daughter, mother/daughter, with experience ages of 28-74, and we all live in different areas of the United States.  We have shared with you diverse life experiences and views, but all with a biblical base and personal relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ.

We take seriously the teaching of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Prophets and Apostles who made sure we had the inspired scriptures to guide us through life. There is no greater “manual” for what to do or not do in life than the Holy Word of God.

Even if you have no one person to encourage you, read and re-read the 23rd Psalm!!!  Almighty God said He would never leave you. There are many scriptures that will encourage you on your life journey.  But, seek out a godly person to encourage you and pray with you.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established….that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” Romans 1:11-12

BE ENCOURAGED!

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Facetime with Jesus

When you are friends with someone, do you make an effort to see them and spend time with them? Do you make plans to go to the beach, get coffee, go shopping, fishing, bike riding, crafting, you name it? Do you sit and have conversations with them about the good, and the bad, the celebrations, and the challenges?

This is how it should be with Jesus. He is our friend. He wants to do the things we enjoy doing WITH US. He wants to sit down with us and talk about the celebrations and challenges in life. He is a great listener. He also has excellent advice.

Do you spend the time with Jesus like you would a friend?

I was having some Jesus time this morning, and I must be honest, I have not made it a priority these past couple weeks. I have become distracted by the things in this world and made Jesus second.

I really want to hear Jesus more clearly. I really want to be like Jesus. And you know what He said to me this morning??

When you spend time with me the sunshine that is inside of you increases and becomes stronger. When you spend time with me other people will be affected because the atmosphere around you changes. When you spend time with me you will become more like me. When you let go of the distractions around you and focus on me you will know the plans I have for you. You will see the bigger picture. You will walk in my ways and not your own.”

It’s simpler than I make it out to be. In order to be like Jesus, I must spend face to face time with Jesus.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

John 15:13-15

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(Facetime with 2 of my best friends! This is what it’s like to have facetime with Jesus but he’s even closer and not on a screen!)

GOD’S VOICE

The older I get, the more I find how many deep hurts most people have from their past.  In the last two days three people have opened their hearts and mouths to spill out their deepest pain to me.

My heart is broken with the facts of life and the struggles we all deal with.  We are not immune to the deception of the enemy of our souls who constantly seeks to devour us.

All I can do is listen, encourage, and pray.

It seems when Satan the accuser does his dirty work on someone’s mind and stirs up old wounds, it weakens even those who seem, by all appearances, to be strong in the Lord.  The feelings of unworthiness take over and hope disappears.

Beloved ones……DO NOT LISTEN TO THE LIAR’S VOICE.

As I wrote in my May 2nd blog, Jesus says in the 10th chapter of the book of John, my sheep know my voice and will not listen or follow another.  Can you hear Him now?

Can you hear Him calling you to repentance and forgiveness and healing of memories that consume you, and who and what you think you are?

YOU ARE WORTH THE PRICE JESUS PAID ON CALVARY.  Don’t listen to the enemy of your soul who tells you Jesus couldn’t love you that much.  He did…He does…He will.

Trust God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit to help you on this journey of life.  No one else can do it for you……this is between you and God.

Find a believer in Christ to pray with you.  Seek out some verses of scripture that will sustain you every moment of everyday…..write them on a 3×5 card and keep them before you.  You will gain strength, and victory will be yours.  That’s a promise from God, and He does not break his promises!

LISTEN TO HIS VOICE………CAN YOU HEAR HIM NOW?

Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ “Night sky praise