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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Write It Down

If you are like most Christians, you no doubt enjoy reading the Psalms. These verses, most of which were put to music, were used as expressions of praise to God for His love, His goodness and His mercy.

 I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me. Psalm 13: 6

The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!  Psalm 18: 46

 Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy.Psalm 28: 6

But many of them, written by David when he was experiencing persecution from his enemies, were songs of lament, hardship and the wrath of God.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42: 5


Arise, LORD, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Psalm 7: 6

You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me. Psalm 18: 48

The prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah and others also wrote about God's faithfulness, wisdom and His willingness to forgive.


For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41: 13


For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Hosea 13: 11


Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips. Hosea 14: 2

What about you? What has God done for you? What do you have to be thankful for? Has God forgiven you, blessed you, comforted you in times of distress?  Why don't you do what the Bible writers did? Why not write it down? This will help you in a number of ways:

It will help you recognize what you have to be thankful for.
It's something you can refer back to when things might be rough and you tend to forget what God has done for you.
You can write some verses of praise and memorize them. Use them to comfort you when you are feeling down.
It will help you identify those areas of your life that you need to pray to God about, either because you are weak in those areas, or you simply don't know what to do.

By now I think you know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about journaling. You can use a simple spiral notebook, or if you prefer something fancy you can click on the link below. If you do, I will receive a small commission.




Saturday, August 20, 2016

Passing The Baton


Usain Bolt's final gold captivates the Twitter worldLike most people, I have been watching the 2016 Olympics every chance I get, and I'm blown away by the extraordinary performance of the athletes - even the losers. To me, they appear almost superhuman. And as I watched Usain Bolt, the athletic phenomenon, capture another gold medal in the men's 4 x 100 m relay, a thought ran through my mind. What if the person passing the baton was a second too late, or what if he stumbled and fell? The thought confirmed something I already knew. We all need someone to depend on. No one man - or woman - however great, achieves success on his/her own strength.


This is proven in the lives of many great men in the Bible. Moses had Joshua, Elijah had Elisha, the Apostle Paul had Barnabas and even Jesus depended on His disciples - especially Peter, James and John - to assist Him in His work. Just as these great men supported and received support from trusted individuals, so too we should train ourselves to be dependable. Those with whom we live and work should be able to count on us to do what we are supposed to do, when we are supposed to do it. And we in turn should not be selfish with our gifts, but should be willing to pass them on to others the way Elijah passed his mantle over to Elisha, and Jesus did with His disciples. He said to them, "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" (John 14: 11).

 So, can you pass that baton, or grab it when it comes to you? Whatever your situation in life may be, you are needed. If you feel that you are lacking, ask the Holy Spirit to equip you to fulfill the role that is expected of you. You may never be a Usain Bolt, but you can be part of a formidable team that runs the race to victory.

If you enjoyed this blog post, will you pass it on to your friends and share it on Facebook, Twitter or whatever social media you use.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

House Cleaning

When I was growing up, Saturday was always house -cleaning day at our house. We would pull the furniture away from the corners, sweep, dust, mop and polish until everything shone. The habit has stuck with me into adulthood, but as I grow older, I no longer have the interest -- nor the energy -- to do that much cleaning.

House cleaning takes a lot of time, if you are to do a good job. It also takes a lot of energy, the right products and the right tools. But the sad thing about house cleaning is that the house never stays clean. You keep repeating the same chores over and over again.

Would you be interested in a type of cleaning that is a "one-and-done" affair? It's one that is done by the Master Housekeeper Himself. His name is Jesus. He is so good that when you invite Him in to clean your house, He does it instantly and it's done for good.

He doesn't use an assortment of  products, neither does He bring the latest gadgets. All He uses is a time tested and proven cleaning agent. His precious blood which He shed on Calvary. The old hymn says,

There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Emmanuel's vein,
And sinners plunge beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.

One drop of His precious blood is all it takes to remove the deepest stain anyone can have. Lying, stealing, adultery, murder, all gone with one drop of His blood.

The other great thing about Jesus's cleansing is that it's FREE! You don't have to pay Him. If you hire a cleaner, it's going to cost you something. But Jesus knows we can never afford to pay Him, so He does it for free.

Isaiah 55: 1 says, "“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost."

If you are hiring someone to clean your house, you would try to make it look a little presentable before the person comes. But with Jesus, you don't have to do anything. Just acknowledge that you need to be cleansed and go to Him just  as you are.

There are others out there who promise cleaning, but their methods have a lot of conditions attached to them. Do this or that and you'll get to heaven. Cut your hair or don't cut your hair and you'll go to heaven. Eat this or don't eat that and a myriad of other things. All Jesus asks is that you believe that He is the Son of God and He is the only way to heaven.

So, here's what you need to remember about getting your house (yourself) cleaned.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3 : 23

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Acts 16: 31

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2 : 8 - 9

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.  Matthew 8: 3

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Romans 8: 1

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Want to read about someone who was in dire need of cleansing? My book Coming Out of Egypt, Book 1 of the Egypt trilogy, is a compelling story of two sisters who were sexually abused by their father. Marva, the older girl, accidentally kills him and she and her sister embark on a roller coaster journey trying to evade the law while trying to forge a new life for themselves. Through all of this, Marva's teacher introduces her to Jesus, and she accepts Him as her Lord and Savior. However, while she hopes for love and forgiveness, she expects only judgement. What will she get? Click below to read the exciting outcome.


 






Sunday, July 24, 2016

Racism And The Church

File:Protesters gather for Black Lives Matter march (20946900494).jpg
Fibonacci Blue Creative Commons Black Lives Matter

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I toyed for a while with the idea of writing on this subject, not sure how it would be received. You just have to turn on the news these days to realize this is a very hot topic. So hot, in fact, that the church doesn't seem to want to touch it. In recent times, the number of unarmed black men killed by white policemen has grown to alarming proportions, and the response from the pulpit and from Christian media has been a deafening silence.

 But this morning, I was very pleasantly surprised to hear a young, white, visiting preacher to my church speak on the subject. The young preacher spoke about the racism and injustice being played out on our streets gave rise to the "Black Lives Matter" movement. What he said was not anything we don't know already, but it was nice to hear a member of the clergy say it.

So my question is, what is the role of the church in society? Now, don't get me wrong. The church is very vocal about things that need to be spoken about - homosexuality, abortion and politics- to name a few. The church is always in the forefront when there is a natural disaster, distributing food, water and clothing to those in need, even providing shelter in some cases. This is why the church's silence on this national man-made disaster is so disturbing.

This article in the Florida Baptist Weekly not too long ago is encouraging. The opening sentence of the article, "Panel:Racism Cure Resides With Church" by Diana Chandler reads, "Racial reconciliation rests at the doorsteps of the church and can only be achieved through the Gospel in action." This was at the 2016 SBC annual meeting of Baptist pastors in St. Louis. The panelists touched on a lot of core issues, such as the link between racism and sin and the need for the church to "pass the Salt and turn on the "light." All good words, but they are preaching to the choir.

What we need is more visibility from our church leaders - black AND white - in dealing with this matter. Instead of meeting behind closed doors, how about using your vast platform to bring the matter out in the open? How about having dialogue with police and government officials?

Jesus did not shy away from tough issues. John 4: 4 says, "... He had to go through Samaria." Jesus could have gone anywhere else to get water, but He went there to bridge the racial divide that existed between the Jews and the Samaritans, and to spread the Gospel. After Jesus had spoken to a Samaritan woman at the well, she went and told the people what He'd told her. Many of them came to see Him and believed on Him. (v 29; 39)

Jesus also told the story of a man who had been robbed, beaten and left for dead on the roadside. A priest and Levi - church leaders - passed him by. But a good Samaritan went out of his way to take the man to an inn and pay to have him looked after. Luke 10: 30 - 35

Can the church in today's society reach out across the racial divide and demonstrate that "Black Lives Matter" and "All Lives Matter?" We may have to watch and see.


If you enjoyed this blog post, please share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. 

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This is a reminder about my novel Coming Out of Egypt, Book 1 of the Egypt trilogy now available on Amazon kindle. The book is a compelling story of two sisters who were sexually abused by their father. Marva, the older girl, accidentally kills him and she and her sister embark on a roller coaster journey trying to evade the law while trying to forge a new life for themselves. Through all of this Marva's teacher introduces her to Jesus and she accepts Him as her Lord and Savior. However, while she hopes for love and forgiveness, she expects only judgement. What will she get? Click below to read the exciting outcome.

Coming Out of Egypt 





Sunday, July 10, 2016

Hasta La Vista, Baby

photo bucket




The above words from the movie The Terminator made popular by Arnold Schwarzenegger are well known to movie goers everywhere, but what occurred in Dallas, TX on Friday last was no movie. It was shockingly real. And in the end, the sniper, Micah Xavier Johnson, a supposedly deranged human being, was blown to smithereens.

According to an article in the New York Times, Dallas police chief, David O. Brown, said, “Other options would have exposed the officers to grave danger.” The article went on to say that some law enforcement officers were stunned by the decision to use the robot, while others supported it. Without being present at the scene, it's hard to say what really went down on a night when emotions were raw and officers were expected to act.

Others have questioned whether the robot could have been used to deliver some type of non-lethal substance that would have knocked out the gunman and allowed the officers to take him alive. The NY Times article cites two examples where robots were used as assistive devices rather than destructive:

  • To take pizza and a cellphone to a man with a knife who threatened to jump off a bridge in San Jose, California.
  • To “deploy chemical munitions,” to a man who had barricaded himself in a motel room with a gun.

In a hospital where I worked some years ago, a robot - a very polite one, I might add - was used to deliver medications from floor to floor.

Were the officers who dispatched that robot justified in their actions? Was the sniper justified? Were the two white police officers who killed the two black men justified? As has happened in the past, there may be no legal consequences for these actions. Only God has the answers.

It's no coincidence that our scripture reading in church this morning was from the Sermon on the Mount. One of the things Jesus taught was, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Matthew 5: 9). He also said,  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor  and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," (43 - 44)
We must do no less.  

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Thursday, July 07, 2016

Dare To Dream

This morning I have the distinct pleasure of bringing you this blog post by Mitzi Neely, motivational speaker, blogger and woman of God. In this message, Mitzi reminds us of the importance of trusting God with our dreams and aspirations and waiting on His timing. Read and be blessed.




Dare to Dream
'Oh how precious life is when the desires of our heart come true and we take a bold step in faith to make a dream become reality.'
One of my dearest friends messaged me a few days ago with her ‘over the top’ news. You see she had prayed for many months about the possibility of expanding her home-based business into a storefront location.
She had done her homework. She knew the potential pitfalls, the what-ifs, and the resources needed. But she also knew that the possibilities could be endless.
So she continued to commit her work to Christ and she faithfully prayed that He would honor her requests; all the while waiting on His perfect timing and go-ahead as to the direction He wanted her to pursue.
She was almost to the point that her dream wasn't to be when an innocent comment on social media landed just the right response for an available property.
God’s word tells us in Psalm 37:4 to, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
She could hardly contain her excitement about this new venture. Oh there is uncertainty too, but she knew from her conversations with God that He had orchestrated every step of this so perfectly.
Timing and circumstances vary for all of us, but if we continue to lay our prayers and praises before Him, we always get His perfect response. We may have to make adjustments along the way, but He makes clear the direction we are to head.
What we do with His response shows our trust and faithfulness in Him. We know we serve a mighty God who can accomplish the impossible.
When we seek His will for our life we are best served when we have an attitude of humility, perseverance, faith, and above all to make sure that our goals and dreams align with His ways.
His word tells us in Mark 6:36, "Don't be afraid; just believe." Jesus is the source of all hope and promise, so give all of your cares to Him. He will make a way.
How sweet the soul that faithfully prays, diligently commits the desires of the heart to her Heavenly Father, and quietly, but boldly trusts Him to provide just the right path for her to travel.
Do you have dreams and aspirations for your life? Take it before God and let Him do his mighty work. The outcome will be His, but it will be perfect for YOU!
Blessings & Hugs to you in the week ahead. I'll be praying for you.
Mitzi
Mitzi Neely is an inspiring motivational speaker who encourages women of all ages through her experiences and shortcomings. She has been blessed with a passion and love for people that stretches across the generations. Her heart is to lighten your load, while conveying her message that nobody’s perfect. So often God places certain people in your life at just the right moment; whether the reason is to help teach you, help you grow in your walk with Him, or to simply love and lift up others. Whatever your struggle or need, you will find encouragement through her words as she refreshes your heart and renews your joy.
Follow Mitzi at www.peacefullyimperfect.net because the joy of the journey is learning in His word together.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

How Independent Are We?

English: fireworks seen across the at Washingt...
Photo credit Wikipedia





Whether you live in America or not, you are probably aware that this is Independence Day weekend. Here in America we do everything lavishly. Food, fireworks and fun are the order of the day - or the weekend. I heard some popping last night and I did my shopping yesterday so I won't have to be in the long lines today. If you are heading for the grocery or the malls, head out early and be careful.

Apart from achieving our independence from Great Britain, Americans are by nature an independent people. We pride ourselves on being "captain of our own ship, master of our destiny." We work hard, play hard and do our best to provide for ourselves and our families. This is one of the reasons America is the richest country on earth. We extend aid to poorer countries, and they look to us when they are in difficulty.

We have every reason to be proud. But let's not stick our noses in the air and think we are okay. Everyday we are being reminded that we are not. Terrorism, stock market crashes and global economic instability prove otherwise. We do not have "freedom from control, support etc. of others," as the online dictionary defines it. We are interdependent on others and whether we like it or not, we are dependent on God.

In Romans 9: 16 Paul says, "It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy." And in verse 18, "Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden."

In other words, all that we are and all that we have are not the result of our "independence," or our hard work, but God's will. He has the power to build us up or tear us down. No amount of leadership, wealth or military power can save us if God chooses to unleash His wrath on us. So, as you enjoy your barbecue with friends and family this weekend ask yourself these questions, "Am I truly independent? Am I trusting in my own strength or God's?"

Happy Independence!

Here are some related posts that might be of interest:

Happy Independence Day

Through A Child's Eyes


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To help you enjoy the long holiday weekend, I'm offering my newest novel Coming Out of Egypt, Book 1 of the Egypt series at a discounted price of just .99c on kindle. Coming Out of Egypt is based on the account of the Israelites' exodus out of Egypt. It tells the story of two sisters, survivors of sexual abuse, desperately trying to put their abuse behind them and forge a new life for themselves. As you read you will see how God delivered these precious girls from the bondage of their past just as He delivered the Israelites from the bondage of slavery. Just click on the image below.