Comfort Zone, it was nice knowing you.

In this season of my life, God has been challenging me to be obedient and walk in boldness; two things that do not come naturally to me. It’s about stepping out of my comfort zone and saying yes to anything God has for me. And some of those things are not easy.

Comfort Zone

“How do I do that?” you may ask. First it’s about having INTIMACY with the Lord so you are able to hear his voice and do what he says. He wants us to take time out of our “busy” lives to sit and be still with him. I feel like I write about this often, but that’s because it is SO IMPORTANT! Having intimacy enables us to hear his voice, and when we hear his voice we know what direction he wants us to go in.

 

Obedience means compliance with someone’s wishes or orders or acknowledgment of their authority. If we love God we will want to be obedient to him. I want to please him. I want to show him love in return. However, no matter what I do or what I say, God loves me anyway! I am a sinner and God still loves me. I mess up every day and God still loves me. The least I could do is be my best for him.

 

John 14:23 “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father in heaven will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

 

Boldness means showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous. This is how I want to live my life every day. And I feel obedience and boldness go together. I have a recent example, and I don’t give this example to prove what I did, it’s about what Jesus did.

 

Last week in the evening I went to look out at the ocean. I sat on a short wall and stared off into the endless blue ocean thinking about God and his love for me. A group of 4 people came up and stood to the left of me speaking another language. They were Asian and I could tell they were visiting. I felt God tell me to go over and talk with them. I sat for a few minutes more and then got up and headed over to the group. I said hello to them and asked them where they were from. They seemed shocked that I came up to talk with them. They were a group of friends from China visiting for 6 months. I introduced myself and told them to enjoy themselves here in beautiful San Diego with the wonderful ocean. They smiled and nodded at me and said thank you. Then I said good-bye and was on my way.

 

I didn’t mention Jesus. I didn’t force anything upon them. I was obedient to the voice of God to talk with them. Who knows the impact that made, but I know I brought the light of Jesus to them simply by saying hi and engaging in short conversation.

 

God wants me, he wants us, to be a vessel for him to spread HIS love to HIS children. It doesn’t matter what people think of you. All that matters is that you are doing what your father in heaven is telling you to do. He wants us to be obedient, step out in boldness, and love his children. We are the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth. We are a light in the darkness. We are vessels of God’s love to the world!

 

Are you taking that responsibility lightly? Or are you using what God has given you and sharing it with the world? His children are all around you. Love them one person at a time.

 

1 John 6 “And this is love; that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”

 

Psalm 138:3 “When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.”

 

Bold as Lions

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“It will change your life!”

I am hearing that claim a lot lately…. the new by-word being thrown around.

At our local grocery store the young man at the check out said…”try these caramel and sea salt donuts that are on sale this week…so good it will change your life!”    OK….gave into temptation.  I ate 6 of the small donuts on the way home and was sick within the hour.  Duh…that’s not the kind of change I want in my life.  (Don’t be too hard on me..you all have probably done something similar!)

The spokesman on an ad on TV speaking about a new device to replace an impending knee surgery said, “It will change your life.”  Ads about back surgeries, No No, Yes Yes hair removal devices, wonder creams on every page of a magazine, pills to make you feel better and live longer….all speak of changing your life.

Yes, these things may change some situations in your life for the better, but what is it?  Are we all so frantic to change our lives in some way that we are searching for external fixes?

GOOD NEWS FLASH….JEUS IS THE ANSWER!

Jesus said in John 10:10 “I have come that you may have life to the fullest extent.”

Since time began, God, His Son Jesus, and The Holy Spirit have been changing lives from the inside out….changing lives from eternal damnation to eternal life, from despair to hope.

True…we are constantly trying to better ourselves as we journey through this earthly life, but remember where your lasting treasures lie.

Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven , where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.”

With the pressing media promising quick fixes for a changed life…remember to listen to the life changer Himself for your daily needs.

LIFE IS HARD…BUT GOD IS GOOD AND HE CARES ABOUT EACH ONE OF US!

Thy Word

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Carry THE LIGHT

God was in the process of creating our earth, and seeing that darkness was prevalent over the earth said, “LET THERE BE LIGHT, AND THERE WAS LIGHT. GOD SAW THAT THE LIGHT WAS GOOD.” Genesis 1:3

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All living things need light. A blind man still needs light from the sun on his body to give him vitamin D and warmth.

The dictionary gives the number one definition of light as a noun: The form of radiant energy that stimulates the organs of sight, traveling about 186,300
miles a second.

I can see God in that definition, can you?

The light I’m writing about today is Jesus Christ, because He was there with God as the sun light was being created. (John 1:1-5)”…and through Him all things were made….in Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”

The darkness still does not understand the light of Jesus, and continually stumbles in the darkness. In fact, II Corinthians 11:14 says that Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. So, people are sometimes confused as to what is the True Light and what is the pretend light! (In fact there is a cult by the name True Light Church….so learn to test the spirits.)

When you accept Jesus Christ as the True Light, the Holy Spirit will help you discern what is true and what is false. Get to know the True Light by reading His Word and ask Him to help you know the difference. Satan is deceitful and manipulative. You must stay aware of his tricks and keep your eyes on the brightest light of all. Then allow His Light to shine through you as you go about your daily living.

The teen choir at the church I attend sang a song by Twila Paris last Sunday night that affected my thoughts in writing today……
“Carry the light, carry the light. Go and tell the people they are precious in His sight. Carry the light, carry the light. Go and preach the Gospel ’till there is no more night. In the name of Jesus Christ…carry the light!”

Matthew 5:14-16 (Jesus’ words) “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

Dear Lord, because Your Light is in me, help me to be a reflection of Your Light wherever I go, whatever I do. Amen

Further reading: Luke 11:33-36 and Ephesians 5:8-21

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Ebb and Flow

Ebb and flow are two phases of the tide or any similar movement of water. The ebb is the outgoing phase, when the tide drains away from the shore; and the flow is the incoming phase when water rises again.

You can count on two things with the ocean:

1) A cycle of tide in and out due to the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of gravitational forces exerted by the Moon, Sun, and rotation of the Earth.

2) Every single wave is different than every other. It is unique.

A surfer learns about the tides, and practices riding different kinds of waves. The surfer knows that every wave is unique, but learns to recognize patterns and principles in the ocean that help him/her to anticipate and ultimately ride those waves to shore consistently. He/she will get tossed about, pulled under, hit with the board and crash many times. However, with determination and perseverance, that surfer will eventually learn to properly handle the good rides and recover from the falls, get back up, and go again.

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Life is just like this!

We can count on the ebb and flow. Without the low tides, we would not appreciate the highs. We cannot avoid these ups and downs in life, but we can study the Word and practice principles so that we are prepared for every unique wave that comes at us.

We learn to stay calm. To breathe. To be aware. When to swim with the wave and ride it, and when to skim over it or dive through it to wait for another. When it is safe to be out at sea, and when we should stay on shore.

The tides will come. High tide. Low tide. Riptide. Calm, relaxing, rolling waves. Crashing, angry, stormy waves. Every tide brings something new to shore, and drags something else from the shore back into the sea.

With this understanding we can more confidently surf the waves that life brings us. Get prepared with principles and knowledge, then practice these in our everyday lives so that we will be ready for those big massive sets of waves of life when they start to roll.

If you are in a riptide or a seemingly endless set of monster waves in your life now, be assured that out at sea, coming toward you, is a pleasant calm set. This is the cycle of life. So, let’s not try to avoid it, or stay watching others’ lives from the shore! Besides, we know The One who created the sea and life and put those waves in motion!

Let’s all learn to surf!

Psalm 89:8,9
“O Lord God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.”

James 1:12
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

Photo by Kristin Coke, San Diego, CA

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GUARD YOUR HEART

“ABOVE ALL ELSE, GUARD YOUR HEART, FOR IT IS THE WELLSPRING OF LIFE.”
Proverbs 4:23

How do I do that? What does this mean, Lord?

We are paying attention to our hearts this month of February, because of the awareness of heart disease in men and women. We wear red to make a statement that we are supporting the research being done. And…we have Valentine’s Day which stirs up the emotions in our “love” heart. Our hearts are fragile, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually.

But how do we keep our hearts soft and guarded spiritually, which is the most important of all?

The scriptures tell us that God knows the thoughts and motives of our heart. There’s no way to hide that from God.

In II Chronicles 36:3 we read that Zedekiah, who was only 21 years old when he became king and ruled Jerusalem, became stiffnecked and hardened his heart and would not turn to the LORD. Also the Apostle Paul was speaking to the Romans (8:5) about their stubbornness and unrepentant hearts.

Proverbs 16:2 “All of man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.”

Oh wow…..I don’t want to have an unrepentant heart, do you? I know my sins that are ever before me, but I also know that God has promised to forgive my sins through the shed blood of Christ when I have a repentant heart.

THIS IS HOW YOU GUARD YOUR HEART!
Heart

I have Psalm 139:23 written on a card and taped to my bathroom mirror, so as I am “prettying” my hair and face, (which takes a little longer these days!) I am reminded that what’s really important is what is on the inside. So I ask God to search my heart and see if there is any offensive way in me, and to lead me in the way everlasting. Most of the time I need to make an attitude adjustment!

When you stay in fellowship with God you have peace that there will be “no fear of bad news and your heart will be steadfast because you trust in the LORD”.
(Psalm 112:7)

Philippians 4:7 says, “the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will
guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”.

So….obviously our minds are connected to the attitude of our hearts.

HOW DO WE GUARD OUR MINDS?

Well, my years of life experience says….be careful who you hang-out with, what you see and what you hear. Notice how your thought processes change little by little, and make an effort to rein in those thoughts and motives that in time will begin to harden your spiritual heart.

Jesus said, “where your treasure is there your heart will be also.”
(Matthew 6:2)

Stay in the Word of God that pierces the heart with truth. Truth hurts sometimes….but that’s OK because the final outcome is a beautiful, repentant, soft hearted you.

NOW, THAT’S A HAPPY HEART!!!

So….here’s to our hearts. May they keep receptive to the plan of God for our lives…GUARDED by our desire to be all that He has called us to be.

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A Light Unto My Path

The following was written by Gladys in March, 2003.  It’s a comforting blessing to have these timeless truths she left with us ~

“Your Word is a Lamp to my feet and a Light to my pathway” Psalm 119:105

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A lamp is needed in darkness so that we do not stumble or fall.  We live in dark days, and often question what is happening.  Has God left us without a light?  Not at all.

He has left us His Word, which Hebrews 4:10 tells us is “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Sometimes when you are jarred out of life’s routines by dire circumstances and you cry to the Lord for help and understanding, let the Word of God be your Light so that you do not stumble or fall.  His Word will NEVER FAIL YOU.

~ Gladys Johnson ~ March, 2003

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Jesus’ Address

Do you have a little boy in your home? If so, you know what I mean when I say life is never dull with one around! I am convinced they should be standard equipment for every home!

My five-year-old, who doesn’t “take” too readily to serious thoughts of religion, and to whom life is one long joke, was saying his prayers before being tucked into bed one evening recently. I thought it was time he began to learn some scripture verses, although I knew it would be difficult to corral the little mind that wanted to think of building forts, or wrecking them; of climbing the tallest branches of the tree, or just running for sheer delight at being alive.

With a silent prayer for help, I started in. “Ronnie boy, I want you to learn a simple Bible verse.” “What is it, Mother,” he asked in his sweet, bedtime innocence. We began with “For God so loved the world. . . .” with Ronnie dutifully repeating each word. We came to the end of the verse; “should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Ronnie sighed contentedly and bending to kiss him, I thought I had better acquaint him also with the chapter and verse, so added:

“John 3:16.”

“What’s that?” Ronnie asked, “Jesus’ address?”

Sighing, I thought, “he always turns everything into a joke.”

But if the verse did not actually “stick” to Ronnie, the meaning of my boys’ words certainly did to me. What is an address? Isn’t it a place where you find someone? And isn’t that exactly what John 3:16 is? Anyone—no matter how far away from God, can find Jesus in that little verse. They can find salvation — forgiveness of sins — the way to heaven — peace of heart. And isn’t that the thing we search for? They can find the loving heart of a heavenly Father who yearns over them. No one is excluded. He is immediately accessible to all who knock on the door of that verse.

Yes, Ronnie, that’s Jesus’ address, all right!

Thy Word

Gladys I. Johnson, November 1958

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FREEDOM

“He whom the Son sets free, is free indeed.” John 6:36

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What is Christian freedom?

We today are so totally influenced by our culture that we, for the most part, do not know what this means. We are influenced by TV, which gives a distorted view of life. We are influenced by materialism, which says, “just get more.” We are even influenced by our peers more than we care to acknowledge.

We can let these “cultural icons” and the pictures they produce in our minds control us, which is certainly far from freedom.

Or, through The Word, which is “quick and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12) we can become salt and light, not living by the examples of darkness, but free indeed to live as Christ’s Ambassadors “not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds...” (Romans 12:2)

And that’s Freedom.

Written by Gladys July 8, 2003

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Beware of the Leaven

Mark 8:15, Jesus talks to the disciples and says, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.”

What did he mean?

Leaven here means “doctrine.” The Pharisees often aroused Jesus’ disgust, for they were religious men, but were concerned about the outward appearance…about keeping the vain traditions of men rather than the true meaning of the Law. If a man kept these outward signs, he was considered “righteous.”

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When you put a little leaven into the making of several loaves of bread, very little leaven (yeast) influences a great amount of bread dough.

Jesus said of the last days, “Beware that no man deceive you.” Deception is a great sign of the times, and it is all around us, and so subtle and alluring. We cannot afford to let deception, even in small amounts, enter our hearts.

What is deception?

ANYTHING that is contrary to the Word of God.

Written by Gladys March 28, 2003

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Which is the Right Way?

“This is what the Lord says:  ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16 (NIV)

The crossroads come up a lot more than I would like in this life.  It never fails. Just when I think it’s smooth sailing from here on out and the road ahead looks straight and true, I come to a place where I must choose a direction. Which way do I go?

crossroads

When driving around my town, I know my destination and the many ways to get there. Unless there is an obvious obstruction or detour, I don’t get out and look for the best way to turn on the road.  I suspect ancient travel wasn’t all that different.  The means were more primitive, but in the end they each took the road they knew would get them to their destination.

And yet, the Bible is telling us here to stop at each crossroad and look around for the best way to go.

And what do we get for taking the time to not barge through life’s intersections but to stop, stand there for a bit and thoughtfully consider the right way to go? Rest. Not a nap. Not just any kind of rest. Rest for our souls. 

I don’t know about you, but in the times I’m faced with the most decisions, I could use a little rest for my soul.  We humans tend to muck up this brilliant bit of instruction by frantically choosing the road as we speedily approach it and then barreling around the corner before we are able to see the consequences of our actions.  Sometimes, those consequences involve an ugly head-on collision.  If we survive the crash, we live in the torment of looking back and thinking, if only I’d stopped and looked, I would’ve seen the danger of taking the wrong road.

This is one of those pearls of wisdom you can take to the bank. Every time. I encourage you to keep this one close to your heart.  Memorize it.  Make it part of your daily decision-making routine.

Stop at the crossroads.

Stand there for a bit – look around – consider the BEST road, the GOOD road.  And take that one.

Here’s to the end of head-on crashes.

Jeremiah 6:16 ~

“The Lord said to his people: ‘You are standing at the crossroads.  So consider your path.  Ask where the old, reliable paths are.  Ask where the path is that leads to blessings and follow it.  If you do you will find rest for your souls.” (NET)

“This is what the Lord says: Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.  Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.” (NLT)

“God’s message yet again: ‘Go stand at the crossroads and look around.  Ask for directions to the old road, the tried-and-true road. Then take it.  Discover the right route for your souls.” (MSG)

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