Thursday, February 17, 2011
He says, "I Am the Vine, you are the branches" We are supported by His Life. We are given nourishment and help in our times of need. We are healthy in Him, but apart from Him, our lives are damaged goods. With Him, our lives have purpose and meaning. He brings vitality to our weak parts and strength to our cracked places. None of us is worthy, but because of His Love, we have new hope, new beginning, and new life.
When our roots are deep into the vine, we are given of the Living Water. The Holy Spirit brings to our hearts and minds what Jesus has said, what He has done, and what He is going to do. The Holy Spirit brings us joy, comfort, and hope. The Holy Spirit brings us to the knowledge of God, and opens up revelatory knowledge, to bring Truth into our blinded eyes. As we wield the sword of Truth, the Word of God, we break bondages around us.
"Whoever lives in Me, and I in him bears much [abundant] fruit. However apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing." John 15:5 I want to be an abundant branch. I want my boughs to be bowed down with abundance of fruit that glorifies God. I want to bring joy to my Father's heart. I want Him to say, "Well done, My good and faithful servant". I want to let my heavenly Father be blessed by seeing my life given wholly to Him. What about you? Do you want your life to be abundant with fruit? Do you know you are a bearer of fruit? When I first asked God about my gifts, I thought I only had one. He showed me that I had the gift of encouragement. I began to use that gift as He led me to use it. It was often a great step of faith to do what He asked of me, but I stepped out in faith, doing my best to use what He gave me, to my utmost, for His highest glory. As I used this gift, I began to realize that I had other gifts, and then more showed up. That story about the talents, is so true. As you use what He gives you, He will give you more, as long as you use those gifts for His glory. So, begin to find out what gifts you have. It may be a natural gift, it may be a spiritual gift, but whatever He has given you, use it for Him. Glorify Him with your talent, your gift, your life.
I look forward to hearing about what you find out from God about yourself. I look forward to hearing about your steps of faith. I look forward to seeing that abundance come into your life. Oh, dear ones, may you be set free to soar!
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I remember when I still lived in Turlock and I was going to a Bible study with a good friend of mine. I was learning so much, from our lessons. It was a Kay Arthur study, and she gets very deep into the meaning of the Word of God. She was so honest with her past and how far God had brought her and healed her and was now using her to help others. Her ministry was called, "Precepts Ministry" because we are to build upon God's precepts. Precepts upon precepts. In other words, we are to build upon the first true knowledge we receive from God, and then build upon that with the next truth He brings to us. I felt like God's Light was flowing out of me in such a mighty way. One day I was going to the gas station, before the Bible study, and as I was going in to pay, a couple were going in at the same time. I looked over at them and smiled, and they went a little bit ahead of me, and they both turned around to look at me again, and they had this quizzical, but delighted look on their faces. I didn't think about it until later, but I realized they had seen something that intrigued them. They didn't know what it was, but it had captured their attention in such a way, that they took a second look. No, it wasn't my appearance, it was God's Light that was upon me that day. It attracted them, and made them look again. I had a similar situation happen to me when I had moved to the foothills. I was in a fast food place in Jackson, and I was enjoying a fun meal with my kids. I noticed two ladies looking at me with mad faces. I immediately began praying, because I had no idea why these ladies were looking at me with anger, but it affected me. I didn't want to lose my joy and fun that I was having with my kids, because we had already had a hard time, but we weren't going to let it ruin our day, and God had blessed us anyway, with the lady at the counter, who had been mad at the customer in front of us, and then when we came up, and I was nice to her, not rude because of how long it had been taking to get the orders done, she responded with kindness, after she had snapped at me in the beginning. I know God's Light was shining that day. I know the two ladies didn't like that Light, and were having a hard time being close to us. They eventually got up and moved away from us, because that is how much it affected them. I kept praying that God would bless them, and that He would not let His joy leave us. The kids and I had such a fun time, and we left without having any bad drama, due to these ladies. In fact, due to our prayers, the atmosphere in that whole place turned around, and we ended up having a fun time of conversation with quite a few people in the place.
You see, when we let God's Light reflect out of us, it allows others to be affected whether for good or not. If they want what God has to give them, they will be attracted to the Light, but if they are wanting their own way, and the way of darkness, they will not want us to be around. I remember reading a story once of a group of Christians going to a Celtic Fair where there was a lot of New Age things going on. They had their picnic close to a Palm reader's stall. They were praising God, and praying quietly to themselves. The palm reader was having a difficult time, and finally came out of her stall saying "I can't get any good readings today. Something is blocking my readings". God's Light so affects the darkness that it can't operate. How many of us know this? You have the power of God within you. You change the atmosphere, just by being there in God's appointment. He leads you to where you need to be, and He can charge the atmosphere with His Light. Some places are darker than others, and will take longer to make a difference in, but don't give up. If God has placed you somewhere, than you are meant to be His Ambassador there.
Let His Fragrance, the Fragrance of His Sacrifice feel the atmosphere around where you are. I have smelt the sweet Presence of Jesus, a few times, and it is so wonderful. It has comforted me in times of deep stress. I have all of a sudden noticed a sweet fragrance in the air, as I have been crying out to Him, and all of a sudden, my heart is comforted by knowing He was there. He was answering my call of distress. He was changing the atmosphere! Let Him minister His Light and Aroma to you. Let Him be real in your life. Let His Love pour out to you. Let Him give you all that you need to do what He calls you to do. My dear friends and family, He longs to bring His Kingdom into our midst. He does that through us. Let Him use you to bring hope and healing to others. I know you are important. Each of us has a part in the Kingdom. Each of us is a part of Christ's Body. Let us encourage and build each other up. Let's have the eyes of our understanding opened to see and hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
How do we capture hope? How do we begin to change those seasons of disappointment, so that we can begin to have lives based on hope and a future that will be better? I know that when Corrie ten Boom and her sister were in the concentration camp, they held onto hope with the Word of God. Corrie had been able to sneak a Bible in through God's covering her with His supernatural touch, so she was able to have her Bible to hold onto. They shared this hope with others around them. They praised God for the fleas and the lice, because it meant that the soldiers would not come into their quarters and find their Bible. These were not ideal circumstances, but they encouraged one another, so that when one was feeling hopeless, the other would encourage them to hope, and vice versa.
I think that is why it is so important for us to keep ourselves in fellowship with one another. We need hope to continue living in this world. I know that the enemy of our souls tries so hard to get us into feeling hopeless, so that we will give up. That is why people who get depressed want to die. Nothing looks good. Life seems so blah and neverending. There is no joy. There is no future. It is all blah. Nothing. Hopeless. Without light. I am so thankful that the Word of God tells us that "even in darkness, He is there". He is able to penetrate the darkest night and bring hope and healing. He is able to shine His Light and dispel the darkness.
Many people don't know that at one time I was the most fearful and scared person there was. I was afraid of my own shadow. When God healed me of that darkness, I felt like heavy chains had fallen off my shoulders. Now I laugh at scary things, not because they are no longer scary, but because I know how strong my Savior is. He is not surprised by anything the enemy does, and He has defeated all the works of the enemy. So, why should I fear or worry? I serve the Living God. He is able to take care of me. He is able to give me hope and a future. My youngest daughters favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, but plans to give you hope and a future." Wow. His plans are to give us hope and a future. So, why let disappointments rob us of the goal? Let's not let them win.
Take that disappointment by the shoulder, turn it around, and start dancing on it. Let your praise be the highest praise you can do. Let your hearts be filled with the Word of God. Find those Scripture verses to fill your mouth with. Verses that talk of God's Power and Strength. "Nothing is impossible with God. " That is one. "For I can do all things through Christ Jesus, Who strengthens me". That is another. Find your own verses. Verses that God uses to speak HOPE to you. Verses that speak STRENGTH to you. Verses that give you the power to rebuke the enemy, and go forward. Believe what God says. There are so many people out there saying "You can have what you believe for", but did you know that it is God Who tells us that, first? He says it in His Word. Only, if we truly know Him, we are going to want what He wants for us, not just what our flesh is going to want for us.
We can't know why the answer is sometimes "no", but what we can know, is that if God is saying "No", there is a reason, and our best choice, is to get in line with His direction, and find out what is "Yes". In Christ, the answer is "Yes, and Amen". Amen means, "So be it". So, in Christ, it is Yes, and so be it. When we are in line with God's plans, even if it looks impossible, the answer is "Yes, and so be it" and it will happen. We can trust a mighty God to do a mighty work. I believe He is waiting to do so many impossible things, and we haven't even touched the surface of what He longs to do on this earth. I believe He wants to show us miracles and wonders. Not for our sakes, but that His glory might be revealed. That He would be seen as He is, The God of the universe. The One True God. The Almighty.
So, tonight, if disappointment has rocked your boat. Let God show you where the "Yes, and Amen" is. Let Him reveal to you, the wonders He wants to show you. Let Him into your situation, and let His Light eliminate the darkness and show forth His wonderful glory. My dear ones, be encouraged to open up your heart to more of God. To more than ever before. Don't look around you, look UP, for He is your redemption. He paid the price, and His blood, His priceless blood, allows you freedom to go where you couldn't go before. Read the Lord's Prayer. The first part says, "Our Father, Who are in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, ON earth AS IT IS IN heaven." In heaven, all of God's desires are fulfilled. ALL. So, if we believe what we are praying, we are praying for God's Will, His Divine and Perfect Will to BE ON earth. To be what we experience every day. I want that, don't you? Pray that your disappointment will be gone, due to the hope of God's will overtaking that disappointment and making it get in line with HIS will for you. His will for a hope and a future. Not harm. Not disappointment, but LIFE. Hallelujah! Life. His Life within us, flowing out to be Living Water to all around us. Not about us, but all about Him. God bless you with His marvelous Light.
Monday, February 14, 2011
If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God's love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God's love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody).
Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God's love in me), I gain nothing .
Love endures long ad is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].
For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect).
But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded).
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.
For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully ad clearly known and understood [by God].
And so faith, hope, love abide [faith - conviction and belief respecting man's relation to God and divine things; hope - joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love - true affection for God and man, growing out of God's love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
I have been blessed, in that my family took very good care of me. They know how hard it is for me, to have to do this, and it is hard on them, too. Isolino was able to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather we have had, and he shared some of the beautiful pictures that he got. The birds have been flocking to our birdfeeders and trees, and the little ladybugs have been back to visit. He also went out to our local lake, and got some beautiful shots there. This is the time of year we love to see, when plants are growing, flowers are beginning to bloom, and animals are so interesting to capture in their spring antics. Of course, it is still too soon to call it spring, but in another month, it will be full blown in our area, with so many sights to enjoy and capture. Being camera happy folks, we love to get these sights into a photo.
So, you can see how having to stay in bed, when all this beauty is happening around me, could be difficult. Another thing, is that I was so looking forward to being in church today. So, when things don't go the way you want them to, you just have to trust God. My oldest daughter's birthday was yesterday. She allowed us to celebrate her birthday today, and as we usually go out to dinner, she was so gracious to let us have dinner at our house. It was so nice. I was able to be at the table, as long as I didn't do too much, and sitting and eating and celebrating, with our conversation and food, was a delight for me. It made up for having to stay down for so long. Isolino made such a grumptious dinner of salmon and baked potatoes and cauliflower. We certainly had a celebration and to be with our family and share the laughter we had, was so good. God is gracious to us.
Proverbs states, "Be still and know that I am God." So, when you have to be still, whether you want to be or not, know that God is there. He is allowing this for a purpose. You may never know why it had to be, but just allow Him to minister to you, in whatever way He does. For me, He used my family to bless me. He took care of my needs through my family. I pray that each of you, when you need to be still before God, will have the help you need, and the patience to allow God to do His work. He will direct you and lead you. He will give you understanding and hope and strength. Acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. He knows what you need. He understands better than you, what is coming up through the days and months ahead. Let His grace, which is sufficient for us, help us to handle these situations. Our God supplies our needs according to His riches in glory. That is a place to shout Amen and Hallelujah! This is the day that the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it.