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!

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GOD SINGS!

Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJ)
“The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.”

This prophecy from Zephaniah is a promise for Israel….but we can take it for ourselves!

YES…GOD SINGS!!! Since we are created in his image, we sing and make music. Every people group on the planet has figured out a way to make music and rhythms since time began.

musical notes

Everything God has created sings. The heavens declare His Glory. Do you know that Astronomists have discovered that the stars and planets have audible notes? They are forever singing!

The rocks sing, the rivers, lakes and streams sing. The ocean sings a beautiful unending song. The trees sing as the wind moves them. Insects sing.

The sea animals communicate with audible sounds. All land animals, wild and domestic have a voice.

The birds have been created to sing beautiful melodies that identify who they are. Good job, God!
You are such a creative creator!!

You cannot think of anything that does not sing in some way.

When you become a believer in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, God is satisfied and rejoices OVER YOU with happiness and singing. It is as though He leans back with a big sigh and SINGS OVER YOU because YOU GET IT! Then He quiets you with His love.

TAKE HIS SALVATION, LOVE, JOY AND PEACE TODAY, AND KEEP GOD SINGING!!!

(repost from July 10, 2014)

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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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PERFECT STRENGTH

The long-anticipated Rio Summer Olympics are on TV right now. Since I had a little foot surgery a few days ago and have to keep my leg elevated, I am watching hours of swimming, gymnastics, volleyball, et cetera. I am always amazed at how far the human body can be pushed to its physical limits.

I have never been an athletic person like my daughter, sister and niece are, but I appreciate and marvel at what our bodies are capable of. The mental and physical strength it takes for some athletes to continue to break world records year after year is amazing to me!

All of this world-wide competition is great, and it is exciting to watch, but there is a strength offered to us by our Creator that goes beyond the physical. It is His strength that gets us through the daily hardship of living.

You may have experienced a difficult time in your life when you had to completely depend on the promises of God to get you through. And….there are many scriptures that promise the undergirding of our loving and compassionate God.

Paul writes that he does not boast in his strength but in God’s alone. II Corinthians 12: 7-10 “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, FOR MY STRENGTH IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distress, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Then how do we become strong enough to run the race of our lives in order to win the best prize……eternal life with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior?

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6

Please take time to read and re-read Ephesians 6 to give you the strength you need for each day! Don’t give up….keep on keeping on! God will give you the strength as you need it for each day.

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JARS OF CLAY

There are times when a friend will make a mistake, and I say to them, “well, you’re just human after all,” and most every day I need to remind myself of that very fact!

The Word of God tells us that,  “The LORD God formed the man from dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7

Also in Psalm 138:13 & 14: “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  

Since we have established from God’s Word that we are, each one, created by Him in such an individual and unique way, let us surrender our lives to our Creator  He knows us well and has a perfect plan for us.  I trust Him with my life….do you?

However God made you…and if you are a believer in His son Jesus…then you are a vessel, or jar of clay to be used by Him to spread the Gospel. That doesn’t mean you have to be a preacher or singer or even a writer or poet. What that means is that you let the Light of Christ shine from inside of you to a dark world by the way you live your life in front of others.

A Christian rock group that has been popular for many years even chose their name as…Jars of Clay!!!

Photo by Kristin Coke

Photo by Kristin Coke

In II Corinthians the 4th chapter the Apostle Paul is explaining to the Corinthians that he and his fellow ministers are just yielded vessels being used by God to spread the Gospel. In verse 7 he says, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

And what is “this treasure”?  Verse 6 gives the answer…“For God who said (at creation)    ‘Let light shine out of darkness’  made this light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

Wow! So we have His light in us to shine out to others…..but we are just frail humans made from dust…..actually jars of clay.  Don’t think of yourself greater than you should, but be a willing vessel for God to use.

Have you ever seen a potter at the wheel forming his work of art? That’s what God is to us. He made us…..as the potter makes jars of clay.  Let Him have His way in forming you to be what He wants you to be.  I guarantee…. you will be beautiful.

A beautiful, prayerful song is……

“Have Thine own way, LORD,  Have Thine own way.  Thou art the potter, I am the clay.  Mold me and make me after Thy will….while I am waiting yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, LORD,  Have Thine own way.  Hold o’er my being absolute sway.  Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see Christ only, always living in me.”

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VALLEY THOUGHTS

Where I am now living there aren’t any geographical mountains….so there aren’t any valleys. It’s flat in Florida! Most of my life has been spent in places where I could at least see the mountains in the distance. I love the geographical mountains and valleys.

Some valleys are beautiful and lush with greenery due to the water run off from the surrounding mountains……but when the sun is low it casts long shadows and darkness comes sooner than on the mountain top.

One of my favorite old songs to sing is  “Peace In The Valley.” Everyone seems to identify with the Hope we have for the future when Jesus comes back to earth to set up His Kingdom. “What A Day That Will Be”…….so many songs we hear and sing give us encouragement that everything will be perfect “In The Sweet By and By”!!!

But what about peace right now…in our hearts, minds, thoughts, homes, neighborhoods……in our world?

In the 23rd Psalm, David says…”yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow….”  But, is there peace in the valley of our lives…..where those dark shadows hide our clear sight? We want to live on the mountain top all the time…but that’s not reality.

When we find ourselves in the valley there are many thoughts that trouble us. We want security, right? I know I have questions about tomorrow…..how about you?

We want to control our own lives, but we know we are subject to many circumstances we cannot control. We look back through the years and think about the rewards we worked for but somehow never realized. There were times we wanted revenge for being mistreated or left out. Some of you have felt abandoned, isolated, forgotten, or criticized, maybe by your own family.

Have you found yourself wandering in a dark valley of rejection or hurt today? Or in a valley of pain and poor health, or financial devastation? That “valley of the shadow of death” could be physical, mental, or spiritual.

Be encouraged today that it is possible for you to live on the mountain…..but you must be determined to climb out of the valley by reading God’s Word, memorizing some verses, praising and praying to God, asking for help, filling your mind with praise songs and hymns. Yes, it takes some work and determination…..just like a mountain climber in the physical world!!!

This poem written by Annie Johnson Flint speaks to reality..

God has not promised skies always blue, flower-strewn  pathways all our lives through. God has not promised sun without rain, joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God has promised strength for the day, rest for the labor, light for the way. Grace for the trials, help from above, unfailing sympathy, undying love.

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GOD OF OUR FATHERS

“In You our ancestors put their trust; they trusted You and You delivered them.”  Psalm 22:4

We are in the week before our 4th of July celebrations…..more correctly known as Independence Day. Our forefathers fought against Great Britain who owned the colonies here. We wanted to be independent of another country and make our own laws and Constitution for every citizen to follow. (Interesting that now Great Britain is our closest ally).

Our forefathers were God-fearing men who read the Bible and prayed to the only One True God. Since 1776, as a Nation we have strayed away from God’s laws and have been swayed by foreign philosophies.

Let us remember to pray for our Country and leaders, and that God will give each one of us wisdom as we vote in our local and National elections.

In the hymn book there is a song entitled “God of Our Fathers” written by Daniel C. Roberts in 1876. (Evidently at our 100th birthday Mr. Roberts was already concerned about the turning away from the original hope of the Founding Fathers!)

God of our fathers, whose almighty hand leads forth in beauty all the starry band. Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies, our grateful songs before Thy Throne arise.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past; in this free land by Thee our lot is cast;  Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay, Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence, be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense; Thy true religion in our hearts increase, Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way; lead us from night to never ending day;  Fill all our hearts with love and grace divine; and glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.”

To that I say, AMEN !

America…..don’t let go of God’s hand.

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GOD Said……

When God created the heavens and the earth, He SPOKE everything into existence. (Genesis 1)

Cosmos

God spoke audibly to Abraham and Moses, and many other patriarchs of old. He also spoke audibly so everyone present heard Him say, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan river.

I have never heard God speak audibly, but I know in my innermost being when He is speaking to me through His Holy Spirit. But, wow…..how awesome it would be to actually hear the voice of God! I think I would crumble into a heap of weakness on the ground.

I know of a family who all came to Christ because their severely handicapped son who could not walk or talk spoke to his father one day. He shouted clearly, “GOD SAID!!!” That so impacted the entire family that they became strong followers of Jesus Christ.

Remember the saying that was so popular a few years ago, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” Actually, if God said it, that settles it whether you believe it or not!

When God speaks to you, do you respond with a yes? How does He speak to you? In a still small voice, or a booming loud voice? It doesn’t matter how God speaks to you. What matters is that you have a relationship with Him so that you hear Him and answer yes!!!

My family and I started this blog so that we could impart WORDS of encouragement to you TODAY. When we hear or read words of life from God’s written Word, or from a pastor who is teaching from the Word of God, or we are singing or listening to songs that are building us up in The Faith, then we are receiving Life Words!

Today, I encourage you to know that God is still speaking. His voice keeps everything in nature and our lives in order every second of every minute of every day.

A well-known theologian, A.W. Tozer, in his book The Pursuit of God said, “God is speaking. Not God spoke, but God is speaking. He is, by his nature, continuously articulate. He fills the world with His speaking voice.”

Psalm 19:1-2 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech.”

God is Sovereign, so I trust Him with my life. My prayer for you is that you trust that His Word is Truth, and that His desire is to have a relationship with you through His Son Jesus Christ, so that you recognize His Voice speaking to you.

Thank you,God, for speaking continually!!!

(Repost from April 2014)

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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

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Blessed Are The Flexible

In honor of Mother’s Day, coming up this Sunday, I thought I’d share this post.

My Mom says this to me often (and she tells me that her Mom said it to her),
“Blessed are the flexible, for they will bend and not break.”

I have wasted too much effort in my lifetime being fixated on things I could not control. As in all other areas, being flexible and unbreakable is for me a work in progress.

There are several things that happen in life that we have no control over. Two examples are: weather and getting sick – at the most inopportune times!

Have you ever planned an outdoor party, or even a wedding, and then it rained and stormed so badly that you couldn’t have it? You had to have a plan B somewhere inside? We can plan all we want to, and we are supposed to make a plan, but we can only work with the factors given us when the moment comes. We have to choose to see the good in it and believe it’s for the best.

I actually had a trip planned to Florida at the end of January to see my Mom and my Aunt Tami who was going to visit from California. I don’t get to see either of them as often as I’d like. I had been planning this trip for months!

Then, a trifecta of uncontrollable circumstances occurred at the same time that prevented me from taking this trip. My car broke down a few days prior requiring me to make rental car reservations. Then, I caught a bad cold the week leading up to the trip. I can’t remember when I was that sick! And finally, wouldn’t you know that we got an ice and snow storm in Charlotte the day before I was to drive! Ice is very treacherous when driving, and Charlotte basically shut down. Not only was I ill, but I could not get anyone to pick me up to take me to the rental car place, and even crazier, the rental car place closed due to inclement weather. When does that even happen? And all at the same time? I was so frustrated.

I actually got forced to decide not to go on the trip and forfeited my time with my Mom and Aunt all together. It took all I had to buck up and be flexible, believing that there must be a reason for this change of plan.

All these were things that were out of my control. There are many things in life that happen that way, and there is absolutely nothing we can do but resolve to learn a lesson and be flexible with our plans. God’s plan does not conform to ours! Try as we may, we are only human and cannot control all the factors in our lives. The example I gave was mild – we all face major circumstances in this human life that require us to be flexible. We must be so that we can be strong. The strength comes in the ability to bend, not in being so rigid that we can snap.

I am not known for being a very flexible person, but I continue to grow in this area the older I get. Fortunately for me, I have role models in this skill! My Grandmother was a very calm and flexible woman – she always believed that God knew what was best and rather than being irritated or rigid, she would “roll with life” and be open to where God was taking her moment by moment. My Mom has exhibited this skill, and continues to remind me to be flexible and teachable with her words and with her actions.

Grandma, Tami and Mom on Mother's Day 2007

Grandma, Tami and Mom on Mother’s Day 2007

So, on this Mother’s Day – I thank you Mom and Grandma for the wisdom you have bestowed upon me. It may be taking me a long time to grasp it, but you instilled it inside me! And here’s a shout-out to a great Mom, my Aunt Tami, and my very flexible and unbreakable cousin Nikki! Oh how I wish I could have mastered this skill as early as you have! You all inspire me daily! XOXO

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