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Saturday, December 19, 2015

5 Tips For A Joyful Christmas

Joy to the world                                                 
The Lord has come
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart 
Prepare Him room 
And heaven and nature sing (repeat x 2)

Since the Christmas season began, I've sung the above words in church a few times, and ever so often I would find myself humming or singing the song. Needless to say, it's one of my favorite Christmas carols and is quite popular at this time of year. But even though I sing the song, I'm aware that there is not much joy in our world today. For many people Christmas is the saddest and loneliest time of the year. And if you live anywhere on planet earth, you know there are dozens of other reasons for the lack of joy.
So rather than depressing you by telling you what you already know, I've come up with some tips to help you experience some joy this Christmas. 

1. Spend time with the Lord. Yes, I know you pray and read your Bible daily, but at Christmas time we may find ourselves so engulfed in our preparations we may neglect spending some quiet time with God. Don't let this happen. The psalmist said, "In thy presence is fullness of joy ..." Psalm 16: 11.

2. Slow down. This may seem almost impossible, but guess what? You don't have to kill yourself trying to have everything perfect; neither do you have to attend every function to which you are invited; neither do you have to overspend in an attempt to buy gifts for everyone. 

3. Spend time with friends and family. Make it fun, leisurely and stress free. Invite someone who may be alone over for dinner. If you are fortunate to have older relatives around, have them relate stories about "the good old days." They love to do that, and the young people will benefit from a little history lesson.Watch a movie like this one that everyone can enjoy.

4. Share your faith. Don't be afraid to say, "Merry Christmas," to store clerks, co-workers and strangers you meet in the mall. You never know, it may spark some conversation about our Savior.

5. Sing. Yes, sing some Christmas carols. Find a radio station that plays them or go to You Tube where you'll find modern as well as old-fashioned ones. You cannot remain sad when you sing. 

You may be able to think of other ways to infuse some joy into your Christmas, or maybe you have some family traditions that are special to you. Why not share them in the comments box below? And do have a blessed and joyful Christmas. 

Enjoy this video of Whitney Houston and the Georgia Mass Choir singing Joy To The World. 

Friday, December 04, 2015

Don't Worry!

This heading is part of a popular song title of yesteryear, Don't Worry, Be Happy. In light of recent happenings in America and around the world we can't be happy, but we can certainly not worry if our eyes are fixed on God.  
Psalm 42: 5, 11 and 43: 5 say, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance." KJV

The AMP version says,  Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become restless and disturbed within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.

The ERV version:  Why am I so sad? Why am I so upset? I tell myself, “Wait for God’s help! You will again be able to praise him, your God, the one who will save you.” 

The NIV version: 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.

Jesus Himself said,  "When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21: 28).

The only way we can survive this terrible period we are going through is to trust in the Lord, stay close to Him, study His Word, and don't worry.

My thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones and those who were injured in this latest tragedy. God has not forgotten you.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful For Little

This week I came across a proverb that goes something like this: He who is not thankful for little, will not be thankful for much.

This reminds me of the Bible verse that says,  “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much" (Luke 16: 10). 

I don't have a lot of readers, but I am thankful for each one of you, and especially for those who take the time to leave a comment and share my posts with others. I am also thankful for Thanksgiving Day so that we can gather with family and friends to enjoy God's bountiful goodness and reflect on all He has done and continues to do for us.

As the year draws to a close, I am making plans to bring about some changes to my blog in the new year. I hope you will continue to visit and be blessed by what God has laid on my heart.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Bring Potato Chips

The following is an email message that was forwarded to me by a friend. As I read it, I was reminded of this verse from Hebrews 13: 2:

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. 

Read on and enjoy

 A little boy wanted to meet God.   He knew it was a long trip to where God lived,
So he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer
and started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man.   He was sitting in the
park, just staring at some pigeons.   The boy sat down next to him and opened his
suitcase.   He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that
the old man looked hungry, so he offered him some chips.   He gratefully accepted  It and smiled at him.

His smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a
root beer.   Again, he smiled at him.   The boy was delighted!   They sat there all
afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word...

As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave;
But before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the
old man, and gave him a hug.   He gave him his biggest smile ever...

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was  Surprised by the look of joy on his face.   She asked him, "What did you do today  that made you so happy?"
He replied, "I had lunch with God."   But before his mother could respond, he added,  "You know what?   He's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"

Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home.   His son was
Stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked, "dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?"
He replied "I ate potato chips in the park with God."   However, before his son
responded, he added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear,  an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.   People come into our lives for a reason, a season,  or a lifetime!
Embrace all equally!

Have you shown kindness to a stranger lately, or has one shown kindness to you? Why not share it in the comment box below?

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Loss Of Innocence

At what age do children become aware of their nakedness? Seven? Eight? It's usually around that time they begin to want to bathe and dress themselves, while a careful mommy or daddy supervises them. My youngest grandchild is seven, and she hasn't begun to try to bathe herself yet. I'm saying all this to reflect the innocence that young children have, even though the average child will hide herself from a stranger.


All of this ran through my mind during my Bible reading this morning as I read about Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Many of you know the story.

The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die' "(Genesis 3 : 2 - 3).

Eve disobeyed God and ate from the fruit of the tree that God told them not to eat from. Then she gave some to her husband Adam and he too ate of the fruit. The result was that their eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked. In other words, they lost their innocence. They now had more knowledge than they had before, but sin had entered the world, bringing with it pain, sorrow and death. 

Knowledge is not necessarily a bad thing, but when we look at our world today, we see all the turmoil that has come about as a result of the misuse of knowledge. God wanted to keep us innocent so we would not get hurt, but man in his insatiable desire for knowledge, went against God's wishes. 

But God's story always has a beautiful ending. Even though He banished them from the garden, "The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them" (v 21). Adam and Eve had covered themselves with fig leaves. Those would soon wear out, but the garments of skin signify the robe of righteousness we will one day wear, a covering that will last forever. And, we will have free access to the tree of life.

The book of Revelation tells us, "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God" (2 : 7).

No matter how old or young you are, you stand naked before God. He sees you, just like He saw Adam and Eve, and He knows everything about you. If you are trying to hide from Him, it won't work. But He is such a gracious God He will gently cover you and protect you, if you will let Him.

Adam caused us to lose our place in the garden of Eden, but we have been restored through the blood of Jesus Christ. Will you thank Him today? 



Monday, November 09, 2015

When They Throw Stones At You

I'm sure you're familiar with the saying, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me." And, of course, we know that is not true. Words, carelessly spoken, can and do hurt. In fact, while we may get over the pain from sticks and stones, the effects of words may be felt for the rest of our lives.

This thought came to me as I listened to my pastor preach on the martyrdom of Stephen. This follower of Jesus Christ was stoned to death because some of the Jews argued with him but "they could not stand up against his wisdom" (Acts 6: 10). Therefore, they set people up to lie against Stephen and say he blasphemed against God and Moses. This godly man was killed by verbal stones as well as physical ones.

But what impressed me about Stephen is that he forgave those who were stoning him.

Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep (Acts 7: 60).

Stephen did not become angry or bitter, but instead, like Jesus, he forgave his executioners. Then the Bible says, "he fell asleep." 

When the Bible says Stephen fell asleep, it means he died, but in the context of unforgiveness or worry, we have trouble falling asleep because we keep mulling over the wrongdoing or the injustice instead of looking up to God, as Stephen did, and forgiving the other person. 

Jesus says,  "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins" (Matthew 6: 15). 

How do you react when others throw stones at you? Do you retaliate? Seek revenge? Or do you simply forgive? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

How Do Others See You?

 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will - Romans 12: 2.

If you could be a fly on the wall and listen in on your friends speaking about you, what do you think they would be saying? Or, like a commercial of not so long ago, what do you want on your tombstone? I heard this joke about a man who was given the name "Odd" by his parents at birth. This name caused him a lot of teasing during his growing-up years and affected his self-esteem. "Odd" eventually got married and he said to his wife, "When I die, don't write my name on my tombstone, just the year of my birth and the year of my death." He died and his wife followed his instructions. When people passed near his grave, they looked at it, saw no name and remarked, "That's odd."

I hope that brought a chuckle out of you, but seriously, what do you think others say about you behind your back? Do they say you are smart, good-looking, kind, genuine, and fun to be around, or do they say just the opposite? I know there are some people who never have anything good to say about anyone else. After all, the Pharisees found a lot of fault with Jesus, but right-thinking people are usually accurate in summing up someone's character.

As Christians, our Christianity does not begin on Sunday morning and end Sunday night. We have to be circumspect at all times. I once heard a woman address a waitress at a church banquet in such a harsh manner I hung my head in shame. Remember, people are watching us. They see us all dressed up on Sunday morning, Bible in hand, getting into our cars. They also see us at the supermarket, at work and other places. But more important, Jesus is also watching. He sees everything we do, hears everything we say, and He holds us to a higher standard. We represent Him every day. Let's not make Him hang His head in shame.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mary And Martha

In this last week of my promotion of my book Women For All Seasons I leave you with a post on Mary and Martha, two well known women of the Bible.

I believe in every church there is a woman like Martha. You know, the one you can call on when something needs to get done? She is at every fundraiser, every outreach, every celebration assisting willingly. I believe Martha in the Bible was like that. Hardworking, dependable, hospitable. Her sister Mary, on the other hand, just loved to sit at Jesus' feet and drink from His wellspring of knowledge and wisdom.

On one occasion, the Bible tells us, Jesus came to Bethany where the sisters lived, and went to stay with them, as He always did. Mary took her usual position at Jesus' feet, while Martha busied herself in the kitchen getting everything ready. When she saw that Mary wasn't coming to help her, she went to Jesus and complained, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself ? Tell her to help me!" (Luke 10: 40)

I wonder why Martha didn't address her complaint to Mary herself. Could it be that she secretly blamed Jesus for taking up Mary's time so she couldn't help her? We have to be careful not to get carried away in our zeal to do things for Christ. When we do things for the Lord, we should do them out of our love for Him, not as a duty or as a means of getting praise from others. And we should experience joy and contentment from what we do. Mary was content where she was, at Jesus' feet, but Martha, even though she was hard working, wasn't really content. 

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things,
but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her"(v 41 - 42).

I believe Martha meant well, but her zeal prevented her from putting things in the proper perspective.  Instead of performing her task joyfully, she grumbled and complained because she didn't have help. Like many of us who are very active in church, at work or in the community, we often complain when we don't have enough help. We may be overburdened, but did we ask for help? Or did we try to do everything ourselves, only to realize that we have taken on more than we can handle? There's nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. Don't wring your hands and say, "Lord, why me? Do I have to do everything around here?"

If you find yourself overwhelmed by your responsibilities, here are some things you can do:

1. Ask for help. As in the above paragraph, asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of. Read what Moses' father-in-law told him (Exodus 18: 24).

2. Choose the right people. Having people around you who are not suited to the task can cause problems.

3. Learn to delegate responsibility. This will take some of the burden off you, while giving others the chance to show their talents and skills.

4. Be willing to train others. You won't be around forever. You must have someone to take up the mantle when the time comes.

 5. Be content. 1 Timothy 6: 6 says, "But godliness with contentment is great gain."

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hannah - Barren

In my last post, I wrote about Rachel, Jacob's wife, who was very unhappy in her marriage because of her barrenness. This post deals with Hannah, Elkanah's wife, who was also unhappy in her marriage because of her barrenness. Like Rachel, Hannah's husband also loved her more than he loved his other wife, Peninnah. Elkanah didn't care if Hannah had children or not, but Peninnah taunted her unmercifully until Hannah became so distraught she couldn't eat.

Elkanah tried to comfort her, saying, "Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don't you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?" (1 Samuel 1: 8).

Hannah decided to do something about her condition, but unlike Rachel, who resorted to schemes and charms, Hannah cried out to God and made Him a vow.

 "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head" (v 11).
So passionate was she in pouring out her heart to God that Eli the priest thought she was drunk.

But Hannah replied, "Not so, my lord," Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD (v 15).

Eli blessed her, and she and her husband went home. Hannah conceived and bore a son. Hannah was ecstatic that God had blessed her with a son. She called him Samuel. Many times we pray for something and promise God that we will attend church more, or we will study our Bible more, or increase our giving, only to forget all about our promise when our prayer is answered. 

Hannah kept her promise and gave her son back to God.  The Bible says that after she'd weaned the baby, she took him to Eli just as she'd promised. Samuel went on to become one of the greatest prophets Israel had ever known. But the story doesn't end there.

And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters ( v 21). 

 God rewarded Hannah for her faith. We learn something from Hannah's story. We can never surpass God in our giving. Whatever we give to Him He gives back to us in abundance. 

Luke 6: 38 says, Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."  

If you enjoyed reading this  blog post, why not sign up to receive my monthly newsletter. In addition, there will be giveaways and other articles you can benefit from. There's still time to win a copy of my book Women For All Seasons when you sign up this month. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Rachel - A Woman Scorned

The story of Rachel reads like the script of a modern-day soap opera, one in which the authors decided to give free rein to their over- active imaginations. But Rachel was a real woman who became the wife of Jacob, grandson of Abraham, Sarah's husband, whom I wrote about in my last post. Rachel was also Jacob's cousin, daughter of his uncle, Laban. The Bible tells us she was very beautiful, and from the minute Jacob laid eyes on her, he was smitten. And Rachel shared the same feeling. So everything should go well, but it didn't.

Enter Leah, Rachel's older sister. Not pretty, but older, and therefore according to tradition, she should be the first to marry. And here's where things get interesting. Laban initially agreed to give Rachel to Jacob in exchange for seven years of labor, but at the end of the seven years, Laban gives him Leah instead. When Jacob wakes the next morning, there is Leah in his bed.

I have heard many explanations for this mix-up, if you want to call it that, some very comical, but for Jacob this was no comedy.  

So Jacob said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn't I? Why have you deceived me?" Genesis 29: 25.

 Laban tells Jacob to stay with Leah for the week and he will then give him Rachel, but he must work for him another seven years. Jacob agrees and at the end of the week he gets his beloved.

 Jacob lay with Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years (v 30).

Will they live happily ever after? As in true soap-opera style, things become more complicated. It's bad enough to have to share your man with another woman, even worse when that other woman is your sister. But Rachel's woes don't end there.

  When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, "It is because the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now." (v 31- 32).

Leah gives birth to three more sons, Simeon, Levi and Judah. By this time, Rachel can no longer contain her jealousy. She cries out to Jacob, "Give me children, or I'll die!" (30: 1).

But Jacob lashes back at her, "Am I in the place of God? Did I shut up your womb?" (v 2)

Mandragora officinarum 002.JPG
The mandrake plant
Desperate, she does like Sarah (Genesis 16: 3) and gives her maid Bilhah to Jacob so she can have children through her. Bilhah bears Jacob two sons, Dan and Naphtali. This is some consolation to Rachel, but she still wishes she could bear her husband a son. One day, she spots Reuben coming in from the field with some mandrakes, a plant to which was attached some superstition. Among other things, it was believed to help with fertility. Rachel makes a deal with Leah - give her some of the mandrakes and Leah can spend the night with Jacob. Leah agrees, but the deal backfires. Leah gets pregnant and gives birth to Issachar, then Zebulun and finally a daughter, Dinah. 

 After all this, Rachel finally gives birth to Joseph (22 - 25).  She conceives again, but dies giving birth to Benjamin. Poor Rachel. Despite her beauty and the love of her husband, she was a woman scorned. She resorted to stealing and lying when she took her father's idols and sat on them. When her father came to search for them Rachel said to her father, "Don't be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I'm having my period." (31: 35).

Laban was a trickster, and so was she. Laban obviously believed in those idols, and so did Rachel otherwise she would not have stolen them. She went to great lengths to allow Leah to sleep with Jacob in exchange for the mandrakes. But God showed her that no charm or sorcery was match for His will.

"It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy," (Romans 9: 16). 

Many of us are like Rachel, doing everything necessary to get what we want instead of leaving it up to God. If you have been striving and longing for some things to happen in your life, ask God to help you to wait on Him and accept His will. God bless.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Sarah - A Woman For All Seasons

This month marks the fifth year since the publication of my book Women For All Seasons, featuring twelve women of the Bible.Their stories are written creatively so you can easily relate to them. At the end of each chapter, there is a section called "Insight" where I give my views on the story, and where you can write answers to questions. To give you a better introduction to the book, I will write a short post on one of the characters each week for this month.

This week's character is Sarah. I included Sarah in the book because she depicts the season of winter. A time when the landscape looks dry and infertile. The weather is cold and nothing grows. There is very little activity as people hurry to get before a warm fire or turn on the heat to make themselves comfortable. Such is the situation of Sarah, a ninety-year-old woman in the winter of her life, long past child-bearing age, and been barren all her life.

When the angel told her she would have a child, she didn't believe it. She said,  "After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?" (Genesis 18: 12).

But the Lord said,  "Is anything too hard for the LORD?" (v 14)

If you have ever read the story, you will know that Sarah did have a child and she called him Isaac. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead thousands of years later quickened Sarah's infertile womb, and she was able to give birth.

Are you in the winter of your years? Do you feel useless, infertile, unproductive? God doesn't say that. Psalm 92: 14 says, "They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing."

God had made a promise to Sarah and Abraham and, even though it was long in coming, He kept His promise. He has also made promises to you. Stand on His promises, and don't be discouraged. It is never too late.

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the publication of Women For All Seasons, I'm giving away five copies randomly from now until the end of the month when you subscribe to this blog. You'll also receive my monthly newsletter with articles and Christian news from around the world. So don't miss out on your chance. Sign up today.   

Thursday, October 01, 2015

He Always Will Be God

God is God
And He always will be God
He's God of the fiery furnace
He's God of Abraham
He's God of the Hebrew children
He's God the great I AM

Nelcia and my daughter Karon

So go the words of this song my now-deceased mother-in-law loved to sing. Nelcia passed away this week at the ripe old age of 95. She had long lost her eyesight, most of her hearing and her memory, but she had not lost her voice. Whenever we went to visit her, she would ask us repeatedly who we were, but she never forgot who God is and that He will always be God. And then she would treat us to her rendition of the above song. I suppose that thought comforted her throughout those dim, dark days of her dementia right down to the moment when she sailed away to be forever with the great I AM.

Do you know that God is God and that He always will be God? That He is with you in the fiery furnace, the lions' den or any other crisis in which you may find yourself? That you don't have to worry or fret over anything, because He is in control? That He is the same God yesterday, today and forever? If you don't, why not get to know Him today? Find a Bible-believing church, listen to the sermons, read the Word, talk to Christians and ask God to teach you what you need to know. Then you can sing like Nelcia, God is God, And He always will be God."


This month marks the fifth anniversary of the publication of my book Women For All Seasons. To celebrate the occasion, I'm giving away five copies randomly from now until the end of the month when you subscribe to this blog. So don't miss out on your chance. Sign up today.  


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Thou Art Loosed

The story of  Jesus raising Larazus from the dead is one of the best known in the Bible. Before this
incident, we hadn't heard much about Lazarus. We knew that he had two sisters Mary and Martha and that when he took sick his sisters sent word to Jesus, expecting that He would come immediately since Lazarus was His friend. But the Bible tells us that when Jesus finally showed up, Lazarus had been dead four days. Still, Jesus asked to be taken to the burial site where He called Lazarus' name loudly and Lazarus came out of the grave.

The scripture tells us something that is significant. When Lazarus came out of the tomb he was bound hand and foot in graveclothes; even his face was bound with a napkin, as was the custom in those days.

Jesus said, "Loose him, and let him go" John 11:44).  

Had Jesus not loosed Lazarus it would have been impossible for him to get very far. Those graveclothes would have tripped him up.

The Bible gives us another illustration of a woman who had been bowed together for eighteen years and could not lift herself.

And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. Luke 13: 12.

In our world today many people are bound - by sin, drugs, alcohol, negative thinking, false beliefs. The list can go on and on. These things can cripple you and prevent you from making progress, but you don't have to stay bound. Jesus can loose you. He wants to loose you and set you free. 

John 8: 36 says,  "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." 

Do you want to be free? Then call on Jesus. He'll set you free. 

The Bible tells of another woman who was bound by demonic possession. Her name was Mary Magdalene. She was set free by Jesus and went on to become the first person to proclaim the good news of Jesus' resurrection. You can read about her here.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Light That Never Fades

I had a strange experience driving home from work one day last week. It was after seven and the sun was setting. At first it seemed like I wouldn't need my shades, but as I turned westward, the sun burst upon me with a blinding glare. I hastily put my shades on, but then the  road became dark while the glare of the sun was still in my face.

Afterwards when I thought about that experience several passages of scripture came to my mind.

For now we see through a glass, darkly ; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known .1 Corinthians 13: 12.

Through my shades, everything around me seemed dark, even though the brightness of the sun was never diminished. Could it be that we are "seeing through a glass darkly," so that we miss the brilliance of the Son shining down on us? 

We live in a world that seems to be getting darker and darker, and the more we look at it the darker it seems, but if we turn our eyes away from the things of the world we would find that the light of Jesus shines as brightly as ever. 
Sin is on the increase. We call wrong right and right wrong, and Christians are fast becoming an endangered species. But let's not be discouraged, His light still shines. 

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. Exodus 34: 29

 Moses had to cover his face in order to speak to the people. But when he went in to speak with the Lord, he removed the veil. 

We need to remove our veil, our shades - everything that prevents us from seeing clearly - and get into the presence of the Lord. Let His glory shine down on us and then we can face the darkness of this world we live in. God bless.

If you love reading novels, here's my recommended reading for this week, and some music to cheer your heart.

Friday, September 04, 2015

A Night With The King

Esther and the King
Esther and the King (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The story of Esther is one of the most loved of Bible stories. Some may even classify it with the fairy- tale love stories we grew up with. When you read the book of Esther, you will find everything to delight your fiction taste buds: a king falling in love with an ordinary girl, a bad guy trying to stir up trouble and being justly punished, and a happy-ever-after ending to the story. But if you are a Bible reader, you know that behind every story is a much deeper meaning, and Esther is no exception.

Many things stand out for me in this lovely story, but in this post I want to focus on one point in the plot. When King Xerxes decided to choose a queen to replace Vashti, girls were brought in from all over the land to prepare to spend one night with the king. The girls had to go through a whole year of preparation before they could meet with him. After that night, the king would decide who should be his queen.

The story says, "And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king's palace" (Esther 2 : 13).  

"When the turn came for Esther (the girl Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her" (v 15).

"Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti" ( 17).  

Esther did not go out of her way to impress the king. She went through the required preparations, but she asked for nothing other than what Hegai suggested. And yet, the king loved her more than any of the others. The Bible does not tell us if she was more beautiful than the other girls, all it says is that she won the king's favor. In fact, of all the girls, she was probably the least likely to be chosen because she was a Jew. But she kept it a secret as her uncle Mordecai had instructed her.

The word "favor" is mentioned 117 times in the Bible. Psalm 5 : 12 says, "For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield."

When God gives you favor, you don't have to worry about whether others are pleased with you. Esther found favor with the king because God was with her. Later, when the wicked Haman sought to destroy the Jews, God again gave Esther favor with the king and Haman's plan was miffed. Do you have to meet with someone important, or carry out an important assignment? Don't look at what is against you, look at Who is for you. Ask Him to bless you with His favor and see what happens.

Want to read more about Esther and other famous women of the Bible? Click on the image below: 

And here's a video for you to enjoy;

Friday, August 21, 2015

National Senior Citizens Day

If we look at some online calendars, we will see some special days mentioned other than the regular holidays that we are familiar with. I happened to stumble across this one while looking at one of these calendars, and I'm glad I did, for we live in a society where the elderly are not always shown the appreciation and given the care they deserve. We owe a lot to our elderly. Their wrinkles, gray hairs, work-worn hands and frail bodies reflect years of loving, caring and all the hard work they put in to build the solid foundation that we take for granted today.

Look at your own family history and you will recall stories of heroism and courage your ancestors displayed. Take time today to go through your keepsake boxes and family albums with pictures of your parents, grandparents and maybe great-grandparents. Then go a step further -- call or visit at least one of them. Depending on their health status, they may not recognize you, but that's okay. Just your words, your smile, the touch of your hand will bring comfort to that person, and God will bless you for doing it because He cares for the elderly.

He says, "And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made , and I will bear ; even I will carry , and will deliver you" (Isaiah 46: 4).   

The psalmist prayed, "Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth" (Psalm 71: 9) . 

In the Bible, not only did care for the elderly, but He used them to carry out His work. Noah was six hundred years when God called him to build the ark. Abraham was a hundred years old when his wife Sarah, ninety, gave birth to their son Isaac. You can read about them here. Anna, an elderly widow, and Simeon waited in the temple until they had seen the baby Messiah and pronounced a blessing on Him. And more can be said of Moses and Caleb and Israel and others. 

So today,  let us show appreciation to our senior citizens. Let us drink from their fountain of wisdom, let us treat them with gentleness and kindness and not abuse them or cast them aside, but cherish them as your Heavenly Father does.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Parental Mistakes

As parents, we all make mistakes. I know I have made more than my fair share, but I know that God
does redeem our mistakes, and I thank Him for that. One of the saddest examples of parental mistakes recorded in the Bible is King David's reaction to the rape of his daughter, Tamar.

In case you are unfamiliar with the story, it goes like this: Ammon, Tamar's half brother was so infatuated with her he could think of nothing else. His friend, noticing his depression, asked him what was the matter. Ammon told him, and his friend came up with a plan. He told Ammon to pretend to be ill and when the king asked him what was wrong, he must say he was ill and could Tamar come over to his quarters and make some cakes for him.

Ammon did as his friend advised, David instructed Tamar to go over and bake the cakes for her brother and, you guessed, he raped her. The Bible goes on to say that Tamar begged Ammon not to send her away because she was now a disgraced woman. However, he now hated her more than he had loved her, and had her thrown out of his house. Read 2 Samuel 13: 1 - 20.

The Bible describes King David's reaction in a very short sentence: "When King David heard all this, he was furious" (v 21). In my Bible next to this verse I wrote, "And he did nothing."

The following verse reads, "Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar" (v 22).

David failed to deal with his son's wrongdoing and as a result Absalom (another son) killed Ammon, revolted against David and was later killed. David lost two sons because of his failure to act when his son did wrong.

Maybe David was very busy running the kingdom, but there is no record of him ever confronting Ammon about what he did, or having him apologize to his sister or try to make amends. He simply allowed  Ammon to go his merry way, and suffered the consequences. 

David is not the only father in the Bible who neglected to discipline the sons. Remember Eli, the priest? You can read about him and his sons in 1 Samuel 2: 12 - 26.

 Parents, we must discipline our children in a way that fits their age and their wrongdoing. We can't brush things aside, hoping they would just resolve themselves. This is not the same as what I wrote earlier about leaving our children alone. You can read that post here. This is something that happened under David's roof, and affected two of his children. He should have got involved. 

If we are unsure of how and when to discipline our children, tiny or grown, we can ask God to show us what to do, and He will. 

Sunday, August 09, 2015

He Cares About Everything

Recently, while doing the grandma thing while my daughter and hubby were away, I came across a
snag - literally. As I combed through my granddaughter's abundant hair - and I do mean abundant -  in preparation for church, the rubber band I had put in the day before became tangled. It looked like I wouldn't be able to get it out without tearing some of her hair. I also feared we might be late for church. Then, almost without thinking, I said, "Jesus, help me with this." Instantly, the rubber band came away in my hand. I stared at it in amazement. That was as profound a moment as I've ever experienced in answer to prayer, and it reminded me of something I already knew:

 Jesus cares about everything that concerns us.

After his groundbreaking achievement of separating twins who were joined at the back of the head, Dr. Ben Carson, world-renowned neurosurgeon, wrote of his experience in Gifted Hands. He said that when he attempted the task of separating the blood vessels in the twins' brains, they seemed like a glob of spaghetti. The slightest mistake could result in one or both of the twins bleeding to death. He said he prayed, and it seemed like God's hands took over, separating those blood vessels one by one. The operation was successful. Read my post here.

Not many people in the world are faced with the task of separating blood vessels, but whatever challenge you're facing, know that God is able and willing to help you if you would ask Him. He parted the Red Sea, shut the lions' mouth, rescued the three Hebrew children from the fiery furnace and performed countless other miracles. Those are big things, you say, but He also removed a little rubber band from my granddaughter's hair.  Trust Him.

1 Peter 5: 7 says, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Don't Leave Your Children Alone!

If you are a follower or regular reader of this blog, you may recognize the above title as being the opposite of one I wrote a couple weeks ago. Here's the post. So, you may be saying, should we leave them alone, or shouldn't we? Well, it depends. If your children are grown and no longer under your roof, you leave them alone.

If they are still under your roof, meaning you are still responsible for them, then don't leave them alone! You care for them, spend time with them, talk to them and listen when they speak to you.

You might say that it's only commonsense that young children be supervised, but all too often we hear of a child losing his/her life because the parents were negligent. In some cases, they were abandoned. Those stories tear at our heart strings and even incur our righteous anger. But that's not all that I'm referring to in this post. There are many children growing up nowadays with little or no parental guidance. They are left to their own devices - they watch whatever they want to watch on TV, wear whatever they choose to wear, and receive little or no instructions about God.

In today's society, parents, Christians as well as non-Christians seem to be in a quandary as to how they should bring up their children. The Bible has a lot to say about the way we ought to bring up our children. Let's look at some of them:

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 11: 18 - 19.

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live(30: 19)

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed. Psalms 37: 25 - 26

A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children, but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous. Proverbs 13: 22

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (22: 6).
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. (23: 13)
The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.(29 : 15).

  Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19 : 14)

'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise' ?"  (21 : 16)

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6 : 1

 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (v 4)  

Parents, don't leave your children alone! 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Trusting God In Difficult Times

Can you trust God when everything seems to be falling apart in your life? You are trying your best to
serve Him and yet sickness comes, your spouse divorces you, your child rebels, your dog runs away. No, I'm not making light of suffering. Some people really seem to go through some horrendous difficulties in their lives that make us wonder how that person keeps on going.

Joyce Meyer, popular evangelist, author and speaker, tells about being diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, she had surgery and it was successful so she didn't have to go through chemo and radiation. Some years ago, I was diagnosed with cervical precancerous cells. My doctor advised me to have surgery, and I agreed. The strange thing about that whole situation was that I never felt a tinge of fear or worry. Looking back, I still marvel at that, because I am a worrier by nature. I remember my daughter accompanying me to the hospital and all I felt was calm. I knew God was with me.

I think that's the secret to trusting God  in difficult times - knowing that He is with you. Psalm 23: 4 says, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." 

But trusting God does not come easily. You have to build a relationship with Him and observe how He operates in your life. We all know the story of Job. He had such a strong relationship with God that when the devil approached God for permission to test Job, God said, "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?" (Job 1: 8)

God knew that Job was capable of passing the test. And he did! When, through his suffering, Job's wife told him to curse God and die ( Job 2: 9), Job responded, "Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh . What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil" (v 10)?

We may not curse God when trouble comes, but many of us may be tempted to turn our backs on Him. We may think He has abandoned us, but nothing is further from the truth. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13: 5) and He is faithful to His promises. See my blog post Footprints In The Sand

So, if you are going through difficult times and you don't know Jesus as your Savior, why not invite Him into your life today? Then build a relationship with Him through prayer, Bible reading and fellowship with other Christians, and He will take you through the valley of the shadow of death. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Leave Your Children Alone

Man thinking on a train journey.
Many times when I write a post, I'm talking to myself as much as to my audience. I am the mother of four grown children, and I still worry about them at times. Whether I'm with them or not, I worry if they are out late, I worry about their safety, who they are with, are they getting enough rest, and all sorts of things. Sometimes I call them just to assure myself they are all right.

This week I found myself thinking more than usual about one of my sons. You might translate thinking into worrying, and as I thought about calling him, I came across a devotional that talked about letting go of our children. The article stated that when we know we have done the best we could for our children, all we can do is just let go. Only God can protect them. If they are making wrong choices, only the Holy Spirit can speak to them and bring them back on the right path.

Recently, I saw a mother on one of the talk shows who was probably more of a worrier than I am. Her daughter had just started college and this mother was having a difficult time adjusting to her daughter being away from home. She called her several times a day, called all her professors, inquired about her schedules, and was even thinking of moving to be near her daughter. This lady is not alone. I've heard of mothers who not only call their married children to check up on them, but visit them frequently to see if everything is okay.

Parents, there comes a time when we must let our children have their wings. Give them a chance to practice the values that you have instilled in them. They may make mistakes, some of them costly, but if you trained them properly, they will learn from their mistakes and turn themselves around. The father of the prodigal son did not stop his son when he wanted to leave home. He allowed him to go. Later, the boy experienced regret and disillusionment, and decided to return home. And his father was right there waiting to receive him.

That father is God. We, his children, went astray, but God pardoned us and took us back. The Bible says, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" (Proverbs 22: 6). So, parents, once your children reach the age to leave home, entrust them to God's care, pray for them every day, and leave them alone! 


Sunday, July 12, 2015

You Can Be A Blessing

One of the most frequent requests we make in our prayers is, "Lord, bless me." We pray God's blessing over our homes, our families, our job, or something important that we are working on. And that's fine. We need to ask God for His blessing, otherwise it may be impossible for us to accomplish anything. But how often do we pray for God to make us a blessing? Do we want to bless others the way God has blessed us?

A very common Christian response when someone cries to us for help is, "I will pray for you." Prayer is always good, but sometimes a person's immediate need might not be prayer, but for some tangible help. Notice the number of times Jesus fed the people and healed them before teaching them about the kingdom. We don't have to be rich to be a blessing. In fact, the Bible gives many examples of people who blessed others when they themselves had no material wealth to speak of.

Peter said to the crippled beggar, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk" (Acts 3: 6). What Peter gave that man was ultimately worth more than silver or gold.

Ruth, the Moabitess, had no material goods to give to Naomi, her mother-in-law. Naomi had lost her husband and her two sons, and she was understandably bitter. In those days a widow who had no sons was truly destitute. Naomi had no choice but to return to her hometown, Bethlehem, in the hope of finding the help that she needed. 

Against Naomi's advice, Ruth decides to go with her. As soon as they settle in in their new home, Ruth goes out to look for work. Not only does she find work, but she also finds favor in the eyes of Boaz, the owner of the field, who later marries her. Ruth and Boaz have a son who is the ancestor of our Lord Jesus Christ. Naomi, who was a bitter old woman, now has the pleasure of caring for this baby and is comfortably settled in life. Ruth's faithfulness has turned out to be a blessing to Naomi.

When you pray today, why not ask God to make you a blessing to others? Maybe all you need to do is visit someone in the hospital, hold the hand of someone who is going through a difficult time, prepare a dish and take it to someone, help in the nursery at church, volunteer your time somewhere. The list is endless. Jesus said,  'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'(Matthew 25: 40).

You can learn more about Ruth by downloading a copy here.