CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

Remember that TV ad a few years ago when the person would move different places trying to get reception on his cell phone?

I wonder if God thinks that about us sometimes!

How do YOU hear from God?

Maybe you feel God really doesn’t talk to you……”He doesn’t care about me….He has only the major stuff in the world to concern Himself with.”

Well……do YOU talk to Him?

Our Father God is all knowing, all seeing, and He is everywhere!   He will listen to you as you speak to Him through His Son Jesus.

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…..”  I Timothy 2:5

So, to have a relationship with your Creator you must talk to Him….then LISTEN.

The listening part is the most difficult for all of us humans.  I say “Dear God, give me a written sign, in English please!!!”

If you need an answer from God my advise is to seek out the answer in the Bible, meditate on it, pray about it, ask for wisdom, and a peace will come into your inner-most being with the answer.  Sometimes the answer is not what we want to hear.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

What I’ve noticed as I get older is that looking back on events in my life I can truly say….”Oh!  That’s why that worked out that way!  I see it all clearly now.”

Sometimes it’s a process (one of my least favorite words!) that doesn’t happen quickly.   And wrong choices I’ve made and repented for, God, in love, has turned it around for my good.!!!

Beloved, TRUST GOD.  He sees, He hears, He answers the best way for each one of us in His time.

LISTEN…….HE IS SPEAKING TO YOU.

CAN YOU HEAR HIM NOW???

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It Is ENOUGH

We have written much about our Mom and Grandmother Johnson lately. Obviously she had a good influence on us all the days of her life.  During the last couple years of her illness Mom shared with me often about waking up in the morning with a Christian song in her mind and heart.  Many times we would sing it together; sometimes it was such an old one from her childhood that I did not know it.  She even wrote those hymns or choruses down each day.  I am blessed with the gift of music in my head like Mom and her sister, Norma, sometimes so much that it is there in the middle of the night!

Piano keys and sheet music

There is a hymn we sang at church that has stayed with me the last two weeks.  One phrase in particular repeats over and over in my head…”It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me.”

I know that those of you who are much younger than I, or that have not grown up in a church that sings the old hymns could not possibly know this song.  The new songs are great and I have them in my head and heart too, but most of the old hymns have so much good doctrine in the words that I am sorry you may be missing out on them!

Anyway, the point is today that we all go through difficult times.  Life is hard.  God did not promise life on this sinful earth would be easy.  God did promise that He would guide and direct us “through it all” (another great song by Andre Crouch). The point is that no matter what – it is enough, it is enough that Jesus, my Savior died for my sins, and that He lives and is preparing an eternal home for me.  How awesome and humbling is that?  No one, or no circumstance can take that away from me!!!

If you do not know Him and the power of His resurrection, I pray that as you read this you will ask Him to be your Savior.  It is so easy!  Our human minds try to figure out God, His Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  Don’t go there, it’s not possible!  Just accept that it is enough that Jesus died for you.

MY FAITH HAS FOUND A RESTING PLACE

1/ My faith has found a resting place, not in device nor creed; I trust the Everlasting One, His wounds for me shall plead. 

2/ Enough for me that Jesus saves, this ends my fear and doubt; A sinful soul, I come to Him, He’ll never cast me out.

3/ My heart is leaning on the Word, the written Word of God; Salvation by my Savior’s name, salvation thru His blood.

4/ My great Physician heals the sick, the lost He came to save; For me His precious blood He shed, for me His life He gave.

 Chorus/ I need no other argument, I need no other plea; It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me.

Words: Lidie H Edmonds,  1891     Music: Norwegian Folk melody, 1891

Repost from June 2014

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KEEP THE MAIN THING…THE MAIN THING!

We all come from different backgrounds.  We are a diverse generation with differences in social, cultural, economic, political and religious thoughts.  Our world has become smaller in that we are able to see and try to understand the ways of the many people groups.

The difference for those of us who believe in the One True God is that we know there is only one way to Him and that is through His Son Jesus Christ.   Many arguments begin at the mention of that truth because the influence of many world religions have caused us to wonder….are there other ways to redemption and everlasting life?  To convince another person of the only way truth is difficult……because the Holy Spirit has to do the work in each individual heart.

My point today is, that you and I as believers in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the redemption of our sins should not get into arguments.  What we must do is live the life as a witness to the life-changing power of Jesus.  To be ready at any time to show and speak (if that is what the Holy Spirit is prompting you to do) to someone about how they, too, can have salvation through Jesus the Savior.

Colossians 4:3-6 “…..pray for us too, that God may open the door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ,……..pray that I may proclaim this clearly, as I should.  Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders, make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

As you all probably know US Supreme Court Justice Scalia passed away suddenly a couple weeks ago, and now we wait to see who will be appointed to take his place.  It is a big deal because he was a conservative vote.  (Pray that the new appointee is a person who seeks God’s wisdom and stands for morality and ethical Biblical principles.)

What impressed me most about Judge Scalias’ funeral is what his son, as the officiating Catholic Priest said……..”We are gathered here because of one man.  A man known personally by many of us, known only by reputation to even more.  A man loved by many, scorned by others.  A man known for great controversy and for great compassion.  That man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth.  It is He whom we proclaim!”

How’s that for KEEPING THE MAIN THING……THE MAIN THING?  What a witness to thousands of people.  That is an example of how to be ready in any circumstance to make the most of every opportunity!

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God bless you today as you strive to be like Jesus, and to be His witness in every area of your life. Not easy, but doable if you continue to learn about Him and submit your life to Him. We are all on this journey…..we support and pray for one another.  I am not perfect….but at my age, and for the past 69 years (I was 4 when my Mother led me to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ) He’s still workin’ on me!!!!!

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TEACH BY EXAMPLE

In thinking about this blog post today, and asking the Lord what He would want me to share with you….the word “teach” kept coming to my mind and heart. As I am the living elder of this family group it seems my thoughts often go that direction. My sister, niece and daughter easily share with you what they are learning from the Lord in their daily walk, but I am drawn to teach in some way each time it is my turn to write. Then I realized that because of my age and life experiences that teaching by example is what I should do. There’s not a better teacher than your godly older family members and friends…..after all we have been through the “school of hard knocks”!

And then I recall the book of Titus that admonishes the “older women to train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to honor their husbands, so that no one will malign the Word of God.”  Titus 2:3-5

Those of you who are of the male gender who are reading this, you are included in this small three chapter book, a letter written by the Apostle Paul to Titus who is pastoring the Christians on the Isle of Crete. He tells Titus to teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled (hmmm, heard that somewhere before!) and sound in faith and doctrine, in love and in endurance. Then they can teach the young men to be self-controlled (wow! must be important and covers a wide range of our personal character).

So, here’s the thing….whether you are single or married, young or old, we all have struggles with living a godly life, and this journey we are on is a never-ending classroom…..no recess, no summer breaks!

If you have a godly older person in your life to encourage you, teach you, pray with and for you, then you will learn that although life is tough, there is victory in every area  And remember the Word of God will never fail you in your classroom of life. It is the best textbook that ever was and ever will be!

More from Titus 2:11-15 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say “NO” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave  Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness, and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.  These, then, are the things you should teach.  Encourage and rebuke with all authority,  Do not let anyone despise you.”

Thy Word

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GODS’ BALANCE OF JUSTICE AND MERCY

Does life seem unfair to you? You see the unrighteous thriving with enough money to buy whatever he wants.  You question how a God of love could allow an innocent child to be maimed in an accident.  Why does an elderly parent who has been a follower of Christ suffer a long and agonizing illness to death?  A Mom and Pop store is going out of business after 40 years because a large chain store has come to their town and taken their faithful customers.

You have unanswered questions in your heart and mind that don’t seem to make sense.  Life seems out of balance.  Have you experienced unfair judgement yourself, or to those whom you love?  Are you keeping account of it?  Do you want to strike back in revenge?

Problems are a part of life and are inescapable because of this fallen world of sin we live in.  You do not have the capacity to fix everything.  Talk to God.  Seek God’s perspective on the situation.  Ask Him to help you see the person or deed through His eyes.  The answer may not come in your lifetime, but to understand that God knows your heart and motives goes beyond the wondering as to how you will be vindicated.  After all that is God’s business….not yours.

I don’t know why “bad things happen to good people,” as in Rabbi Kushner’s book by the same title, but I do know that “God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)  You see….God is a God of order, with justice and mercy in perfect balance.

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Please be encouraged today in knowing that the God we serve is Sovereign and has a perfect plan for each one of our lives.  He is the only one who really sees the big picture of your life from beginning to end! TRUST HIM.

With Adam…sin entered the world.  This was not God’s fault.  Man had a choice and he decided to disobey God’s laws.  When that happens God’s justice holds up.  As in our courts of law the one who has been found guilty in the due process of a trial must accept the consequences.

God’s consequences and rewards are eternal…. “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (I Corinthians 15:22)

Remember that judgement is God’s necessity or He wouldn’t be God…but His nature and essence is love, and with that love comes mercy.  He is the One always calling out to the lost to be saved through belief in His Son, Jesus the Christ.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who have been called according to His purpose.”   Romans 8:28

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Believe…..

Believe what?     Believe who?

Believe Santa is real?       Believe this chair will hold me when I sit down?     Believe I will win the Power Ball?

Every time I see that word used in so many ways and written on so many objects I think to myself and sometimes audibly say “believe what? who?”

Do you think belief and trust are the same thing?  They are both elusive in that you can’t hold them in your hand, and yet we act on those words every day.   I guess the answer is unique to each person, but I tell you the truth…“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household.”  Acts 16:31 

As you believe on Him and in Him, every part of your life will be affected.  You will walk in The Light because He is Light.  He is Truth!  And because of your daily walk in His Light your family and friends will see that your belief in Jesus Christ as Savior is truth.

Believe

The young people at my church sang a song written in 2013 by the Newsboys (Hooper,Fike & Ryan) and the following is part of that song entitled We Believe.

“In this time of desperation when all we know is doubt and fear, there is only one foundation.  We believe.  We believe.  In this broken generation, when all is dark, You help us see, there is only one salvation.  We believe.  We believe.

We believe in God the Father….We believe in Jesus Christ….We believe in the Holy Spirit, and He’s given us new life.

We believe in the Crucifixion….We believe that He conquered death….We believe in the resurrection, and He’s coming back again.  We believe.

So let our faith be more than anthems, greater than the songs we sing.  And in our weakness and temptations,  we believe….we believe.

Let the lost be found and the dead be raised.  In the here and now let love invade.  Let the church live loud.  Our God, we’ll say, we believe.

And the gates of hell will not prevail, for the power of God has torn the veil.  Now we know Your love will never fail.   We believe.  We believe.

AND HE’S COMING BACK AGAIN !!           WE BELIEVE !!!”

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THE BEST GIFT OF ALL

Last night I sang in a vocal group that performed for the local Rotary Club’s Annual Christmas Dinner.  The members brought their families, including children from infants to 18 years of age.  A local Pastor dressed up like Santa and, after a delicious meal and entertainment, arrived with a loud “Ho Ho Ho!!!”  The youngest children were delighted, and each one was called up to receive a gift and get their picture taken with Santa.  This was a fun evening, and we brought in the message of the birth of Christ in our music.

But, with all our busyness at this time of year, it is so important to teach our children that the baby Jesus in the manger grew up to die on a cross and shed his blood for our salvation.

He really was BORN TO DIE.  Whoa…you say…that is a morbid thought.

You see, God had a plan from the beginning of time to reveal Himself in human form by sending His Son into the world as a baby, born of a virgin.  This is one of the mysteries of Sovereign God.  One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel which translated means “God is With Us.”

The God-Man Jesus, who was without sin, shed His blood on a Roman cross to cover all sin before and after his death and resurrection.

Wow….that’s so difficult for our human minds to comprehend!  That’s where faith comes in.  Child-like faith…which is a gift from God.

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.  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 will give you joy and an inner peace that is unexplainable!

JESUS THE CHRIST IS INDEED THE GREATEST, MOST LASTING GIFT OF ALL!!!

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

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YOU’RE MINE TWICE ! (A Parable)

A twelve year old boy had learned wood carving from an Uncle.  He was pleased with a boat he had carved from a solid piece of wood.  He sanded it smooth, painted it a beautiful white with red trim and now wanted to see if it was balanced enough to float. The next afternoon after school he took his creation to a pond nearby that opened into a stream that ran through his town.  He carefully placed the little boat in the water…it was balanced perfectly.  You can imagine how proud he was of his creation.  The string he had attached to it guaranteed that he could always bring it back at will.  The boy had many happy afternoons sailing his boat.

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One day the string attached to the boat got tangled in a branch and broke free from the boys’ control.  A wind came up and blew the little boat across the pond and down the stream. The boy ran after the boat, but lost sight of it.  Because there were three days of torrential rains, he never found his little boat that he had carefully carved into a beautiful creation.

Several months later a toy shop owner saw the bow of a little wooden boat sticking up out of the mud along the banks of the stream.  He picked it up….saw that it was finely made, took it home, washed it, brightened up the paint and put it in his toy store window for sale.

As the boy who made the boat was walking down the sidewalk in front of the toy shop, he saw the boat in the window and recognized right away that it was his craftsmanship! Oh, how excited he was to know he could finally get his little boat back!  He went into the shop…told the shop owner that he had carved the boat himself and he wanted it back.

The shop owner said..NO!   It’s mine now and if you want it you’ll have to buy it!

The boy ran home…broke open his piggy bank and took the money back to the shop owner.  It was just enough to buy the little boat!!!   He hugged it to his chest and said, “YOU’RE MINE TWICE!!!”

Just imagine how God feels when He sees you, whom He has made and breathed life into, go your own way. God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross and rise again so that when you accept Him as your Savior He exclaims…”YOU’RE MINE TWICE!”

I Corinthians 6:20  “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

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ALL SAINTS EVE

That’s right…..November 1st is All Saint’s Day, so Halloween is the opposite of that…an evening where witches, ghosts and zombies are glorified!

It’s fun for little children (and adults) to dress up in cute costumes, but the glamorization of the underworld is not funny.  Evil, demons, witches and Satan worshipers are real.

Be aware!  Be wise and cautious.  Think about it……….

Deuteronomy 18:9-13

When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.  Let not one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist who consults the dead.  Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God.”

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KNOW HIM AND MAKE HIM KNOWN

My sister, Tami, wrote about prayer in the last blog entry, and she mentioned she had not been specific in focused time prayer.  I, too, have prayers flying upward throughout the day and night, and only once in a while for any amount of concentrated time.  I tell you, we are never too old, or have been a Christian for so long that we cannot refine our intimate time with our God!!!

We all need the reminder that we are in a spiritual war, and should take our time with God in prayer and Bible study seriously.  So, my entry today is to encourage you to get into God’s Word.  His Word reveals His ways to us, Who He is, what He expects from us, and How much He loves us.

When my daughter, Kristin, went to Charlotte Christian School, their motto was “To Know Him, and Make Him Known.”  How can we know God and His Son, Jesus, if we don’t spend quality time with Him?  We all KNOW ABOUT HIM, but my question to you today is, DO YOU KNOW HIM?

Time spent with a family member or a friend is usually a “set aside” amount of time.  Will you “set aside” time to READ God’s Word, pour out your heart to Him in PRAYER, and then LISTEN listen to Him?  The amount of time you give to God is a very personal thing for each one of us.  No one can give you a schedule to follow…….that is between you and God.  But, the end result of your diligence is not how much you study His Word, but the application of it to your life.  How is spending time with Him changing you?

The Holy Bible contains everything we need for knowledge of salvation and godly living.  Did you know that the Holy Bible is the most popular book ever written? Over five billion copies world wide have been sold….and the second most copies sold of any book is two hundred million of “The Tale of Two Cities”.   Amazing, right?

King David loved the Word of God as the first five books of the Bible were written on scrolls. He wrote in Psalm 119, many verses about how he loved God’s Word………

You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.  I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees.  How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. I will not neglect your word. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law .Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselor. Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path.”

Wow! And David only had the first five books of the Bible to read!  We have the  entire Word of God to guide us, give us wisdom and understanding, and to convict us of what is displeasing to Him.

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How can we let our Bibles sit on a shelf until we take them out to carry to church? My plea to you today is to get to know God by getting in His Word so you can KNOW HIM AND INTRODUCE YOUR BEST FRIEND TO OTHERS!

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