April 30, 2016

Only God restores a soul

What is essential for your well-being?

A host of millions think that wellness consists in things that one can do, or have done to them.

Here is a partial list:

Entertainment

Massage

Exercise---walking, jogging, swimming

Gardening

Vacationing

Painting, shopping, and even performing good deeds just to name a few.

What gets your blood flowing?

What pumps you up and makes you feel good?

Do you feel like a million bucks when you get dressed-up and go out with your hubby?

Eating and drinking, and the other things I mentioned are not evil.

And neither will any of them cure what ails us.

The just shall live by faith, not how they feel, and only God restores a soul.

He does the miracle in wandering souls when, while still in sin, those souls turn and repent.

Repentance is the one thing that souls can do wherever they find themselves.

The catalyst is God pursuing you, and your repentance, and turn toward him.

We cannot serve two masters.

Is your body failing, or are you in perfect health?

Do you have a ton of money, or very little, or give away all that you have?

It matters not, for only God restores a soul.

Are you in a run-down house, with five hungry children, or in a mansion, with just a cat?

Is your mission to be the best that you can be?

Terrific, but only God restores a soul.

Should you find yourself in prison, literally or figuratively, turn and go home to God.

He makes souls completely well.

With or without a perfectly functioning body, he creates a sound mind out of a sinful one.

With or without wholesome physical surroundings, he brings one to completeness, wanting nothing.

In knowing God, a heart is decisively, and completely changed.

Upon knowing God, one walks in a new direction, and has abundant life.

Darkness turns to the light of day in the repentant soul.

Hopelessness is vanquished, and miraculously all is new.

It does not happen through any outward circumstances.

God cleans a heart when a heart turns, and in obedience says, "You're right."

Then God's righteousness fills the once darkened soul.

One cannot be filled with God, and want for anything.

He has all of a heart, or none of it.

He will have no other gods before him.

The human tendency is to think that outside stimuli makes one complete.

That search leaves one searching still.

That search proceeds from a self; it is prideful; it is vanity.

Restoration is not "Look what I have done, or can do," but "Look what God has done!"

Only God restores souls.

All glory belongs to God alone.

He receives praise no other way.

It is never God plus anything else.

What else would one need, or want, in knowing God?

He alone restores a soul.

The restored soul finds rest, and walks in paths of righteousness, for his name's sake.

The Lord is my Shepherd.
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. 
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
(Psalm 23:1-3)





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April 25, 2016

Told or shown?

Would you rather be told or shown of love?

Do you desire words of affection, or deeds performed?

Which is easier?

The answers to those questions are simple.

We all want to be shown.

To say, "I love you," is a lot of hot air— if our hands and heart reflect indifference.

That is what Jesus was explaining to Peter in John 21:15-19.

Peter wanted to just say the words, and Jesus told him that love is proven in loving deeds.

If you're going to say the words, then actions must follow as proof, or forget about it.

The recipients of your words know you love them if you walk your talk.

They know the difference between hot air, and loving sacrifice.

To those whom much has been given, much is required.

To those for whom much has been invested, much will be returned to others.

In every situation, and at every turn, someone needs tending.

Do you easily say words, and is your love all talk?

Or is your body a living sacrifice poured out for the weak, the stumbling, the needy?

Have you been given much?

In repentance, a soul is changed.

That woman, touched by grace, is radical.

Her walk turns from wide to narrow.

Night becomes day.

Talk becomes action.


April 24, 2016

Dressed for service

The world will tell you that you should dress for success.

There is nothing wrong with being successful.

There is everything right about getting dressed too.

The woman, who loves God, is clothed with the garment of salvation (Isaiah 61:10).

She is free.

She is free, no matter what fabric she is wearing, to serve.

Do you need a cool drink, a hug, a back rub, a friend to take a walk with you, run an errand for you, or does the baby need a clean diaper, a trip to the park, or does dinner need fixing?

She is not too "fixie" or "fancy" to don an apron, and get to it.

She welcomes work.

She gets dressed with service on her mind.

Nothing is beneath her dignity to do when a soul is in need.

She stoops, extends, embraces, washes, mends, and soothes.

She loves the needy.

Her heart has been made whole; she wants for nothing; she has repented, once and for all.

She loves her God.

With every beat of her heart, she hears the cry of children in need of attention, and the longing of the lonely for a friend, and the desperation of the poor for relief.

She loves them all.

Her body, time, and possessions belong to God.

Dressed in his righteousness alone, the woman, in love with her God, serves.


April 23, 2016

Just do it....with love, and grace

You probably have a lot to do today, or at least you may have a list of things you'd like to do.

How is it that the list will be accomplished?

As you go about getting things done, keep in mind that people are more important than things, and getting things done.

And yet, with that in mind, breakfast (food!) is very important, but if the thought of pancakes (and at my house, bacon, and homemade syrup go with those pancakes, or forget about it!), overwhelms you, then fix a bagel, or a piece of toast, with an egg perhaps, for those you love.

Service requires that you have others in mind, and that you think of them, and care for them.

You prepare for them, just like you prepare for you, for we are to love others just like we love self.

You need not be Martha Stewart-ish about the preparations.

Just do it; serve someone; do it with all the energy that you have in you.

And in that service, the woman, who loves God, will do it with love and grace.

Will you be tempted to sling a bag of bread their direction, and say, "Help yourself."

Yes.

Temptations are not sin; yielding is, but God will not allow the temptations to be too strong for those who love him (I Corinthians 10:13).

Do you love God?

Then you'll be serving others just like you serve yourself.

That is truth, and that is love.


April 22, 2016

Please, come in

Hospitality.

Do you know the definition of hospitality?

It's making people feel at home....when you wish that they were.

(Insert smiley face here because I don't know how) :)

But seriously, to follow Jesus on the narrow road, and to learn of him, is to learn of real hospitality.

He has gone to make a place for us.

He is setting the banquet table, and is preparing a meal.

Is there nothing sweeter than to know that a place, and a meal is being prepared just for you?

And that someone is waiting for you?

And that someone will welcome you with open arms?

Do you do that for others?

It will cost you something.

The price is death to self.

The return on the investment is eternal life.

What a glorious exchange.

April 21, 2016

Intimacy

Without looking at what Mr. Webster has to say about that word, what do you think it implies?

The first word that I think of when I hear that word is secrets.

For instance, a good friend will hold what you tell her close to her heart.

To whom do you feel comfortable sharing personal details of your life?

Would some things embarrass you if your world knew of them?

(It's hard to imagine anyone saying that nothing they have done would be embarrassing!)

Think of a friend whom you believe to be one who would stick closer than blood.

I could almost guarantee it that you think that they would not share your secrets like wildfire.

That person is one who would protect your heart.

They would literally take your secrets to the grave with them.

In thinking about intimacy, I don't immediately think of a man and a woman in a warm embrace, but I do think that a man and a woman, who can share a warm embrace, have secrets, and keep them.

Maybe it is sins that one, or both, of them have committed, and yet it is just between them, and no man, or beast, or BFF could pry it out of either of them.

Maybe it is a special song, or fragrance, or eye-signal, or a gesture that, upon noticing it, the beloved knows what is in the mind of the other, and it is only between them.

Love does not flaunt what it knows, or has, and it is not arrogant (I Corinthians 13:4).

Love covers the sins of others (Proverbs 10:12).

Love is kind (I Corinthians 13:4).

If we say that we love God, then let us not just say it, but show it.

Love keeps a closed mouth, and it keeps secrets, and it demonstrates itself through hands, and feet.

Hands that reach out to the poor; hands that soothe a troubled lover, and feet that run to help a widow.

The heart that knows intimacy with the Father will demonstrate it to the neighbor.

According to Mr. Webster, the "neighbor" is, plain and simply, one's fellow human being.

He got that one right.

So what does he have to say about "intimacy?"

Mr Webster says that it is something of a personal or private nature.

Again, he got that right.

With all the flaunting of self, and personal information these days, and the ways that are available to do so, intimacy is a strange beast. People share the most mundane, as well as intimate things with a world of people that they do not know, and think that they have friendships with those people who see what they do, and hear what they say on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, to name a few.

Step back from social media, and hold what you share, in those venues, up to God.

Ask for wisdom.

Share with discernment.

Examine your heart and make sure that what you reveal glorifies God.

Is it kind?

Is it bragging?

Is it too personal?

In knowing God, one's heart is new; it is still tempted, but it yields to the narrow road of love.

Do you have a personal bond with God?

The answer lies in what your hands, and feet do, and what comes out of your mouth about others.

Is it blessings or curses?

For whom are you praying that God will seek, save, and tame?

Do you have an intimate relationship with that person?

Remember that the redeemed are the hands and feet of God.

They have a new heart. It beats with compassion. It prays for souls.

In praying for a soul, one cannot be hateful at the same time.

Get home to the Father.

He is waiting.

Blessed intimacy is found in repentance, and in yielding to the Father.

I pray that you will.










April 20, 2016

What God will be saying....

You've probably heard it said, and you've most likely said it, "I wonder what God wants me to do."

No matter the circumstance, no matter what someone has, or has not, done to you, or for you, God stays the same, and so do his words.

We need not wonder, for his words are written down, and are very clear, and they will not change.

We do not need to pray about what we should do; we need to know his Word. 

Don't wait for anyone to love you first, but "Love one another as I have loved you," (John 13:34).

Don't wait for anyone to ask for forgiveness, but "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ, has forgiven you," (Ephesians 4:32).

Don't slack off with any task, but "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, as working for the Lord, not for human masters," (Colossians 3:23).

Don't fret about anything, but "in everything by prayer and supplication, let your request be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus," (Philippians 4:6-7).

What joy divine, and what peace floods the soul of those who believe the Word is truth.

Those who believe it, obey it, and are happy (Luke 11:28).

Are you happy?

If not, repent. Turn around. Follow Jesus, which means, you'll be doing what he says to do.

Ask for help. Pray for wisdom, and that you'll not even be tempted. That is scriptural.

There is no need to ask God if you should be sweet to your husband, or submissive, or generous.

All of that is crystal clear.

All that is left to do is obedience.

If you cannot be obedient, then seek God to know why.

He commands that we seek him, and love him with all that is within us, and love the neighbor too.

Do you love God with all your heart?

Are you ready to face him?

Will you be able to stand before him, and say that you loved him with all your heart?

To say in all honesty, that we love God, then obedience is how we daily live, and walk (I John 5:3).

Do you love him completely, and your neighbor as yourself?

 

April 16, 2016

Offering blessed hope

I have a new friend who cannot get into bed. She sleeps in her recliner. She has for years.

Imagine not being able to stretch out flat, and relax, and then curl up, and drift off to sweet sleep.

She aches from years of hard work, and despair, and loneliness.

What do I have to offer her?

I know someone. In knowing him, I no longer hurt, or ache, or despair. I'm never lonely.

I want the same for her.

She tells me to come right into her home, never knock, and that I am always welcome.

When I leave, she hopes that I will come back the next day.

She tells me that she just needs a woman to talk to sometimes, and asks me to sit with her while she eats because she just gets so lonely sometimes.

When I am away from her, I cry at the thought of her alone, and lonely.

I ask God to help her, to heal her, to set her free.

And because I believe, and ask in faith, then I have blessed hope, and I can look her in her eyes, and tell her that it is going to be okay. I won't leave her. We will be friends till one of us passes.

She tells me that if she is the first to go then she will wait for me on the other side.

To whom do you offer hope because you know the God of this universe?

He does not give hope; he is hope. 

In knowing him, hope is a by-product.

Those who know God, produce fruit, and in producing fruit, they share it.

Love, joy, peace, patience, long-suffering, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and gentleness.

Until they are demonstrated, or animated through a yielded body, those attributes are just words.

Are those attributes simply words that you know, or fruit that you produce?

One does not know hope, the blessed gift that it is, and then hide it under a bushel, indeed it cannot be hidden, for how does light not shine in darkness?

The light of truth shines in, out, and through those who repent, and turn towards home.

Are you walking the narrow road?

Do you share hope with your downcast husband?

In a smile, a sweet embrace, and a helping hand, are you generous with kindness to him?

Do you look at the cashier, and speak words of encouragement?

When you see a friend, do you stop to offer the kindness of time, and concern?

If not, then you are hiding under a bushel, and sin has you bound.

Know this, God is waiting with open arms, and no condemnation, and that is exactly what those who know him offer their world— open arms, and no condemnation.

Repent. In your sin, agree with God about it.

So many are drowning in despair waiting for hope. 

I encourage you to continue in truth; those who endure to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13).

Endure, and walk, and let your light shine. 

Yes, take this world and give me Jesus....we are not home yet!

Till we see the Savior, pray without ceasing; ask in faith; love one another.

And generously, gratefully, and gracefully hand out hope.








April 15, 2016

Nope, it is not fair, thank God.

Fair: free from bias, dishonesty, and injustice.

The definition of the word "fair" includes freedom from dishonesty.

It makes sense.

If I am fair with a "neighbor," then I will not try to swindle them; I'll be honest.

Typically, we may think, not so much about honesty, but a division of labor.

Sort of like, "I'll scratch your back, and now it is time for you to scratch mine."

The world thinks like that, and those called by the Most High, don't.

Christians are tempted to think that what they've been called to do (always serve with love) isn't fair.

Who believes it is fair to always be the one to change a diaper, wash the dishes, or pull the weeds?

As a servant, and in looking at the example of the Lord, we notice that a servant does not look around in an effort to notice what anyone else is doing, or not doing; a servant singularly serves.

Servants do the bidding of another.

Jesus taught that over and over again.

Read the gospels, and you cannot miss that fact.

Do you want to keep track of your husband's moments, and what he is up to all the time, and see if what he does measures up to what you do, and then call him to task for his failure to do as he ought?

If so, then do you ask him to do the same to you, after all, that is only fair, right?

And do you really think that you are the template on how to do things?

But most importantly, do you think that it's okay to keep track of the behavior of anyone?

In truth, I can't find the right to keep tabs on anyone, including husbands, anywhere in Scripture.

The wise woman in Proverbs tells us how busy she is while her husband sits and talks!

Meditate on that for a moment or two, or forever. 

In studying the life of Jesus, we see he did not play fair.

His example, to those who follow him, was service all the way to death.

Yep. It may kill us, but what a way to go, and what a reward waits!

Jesus took what was not his, and made it his own.

Do you?

Do you clean the mess of others without condemnation?

He washed feet, and didn't hand off the towel to anyone.

He absorbed betrayal, and held no grudge.

He provided, and provides to this day, for the ungrateful.

He took the penalty for sin.

He takes bondage, and gives freedom, and life.

I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude that Jesus did not play fair with me.

He took my mess, and made it his own.

He paid the price for my hate, and gave me love instead.

He laid down his life that I might have life. That's not fair. I'm very thankful.

If you claim to be a servant of the Lord, and when you are tempted to whine about life not being fair, then remember that it really isn't fair that a lump of clay, who sinned with intention, is now free from the chains of sin to live a life of abundance, and then, choose gratitude; that's what servants will do.

For it is in giving that we receive, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

"Lord, use me. Make me a gentle instrument of peace. I am yours."








April 14, 2016

What's a helper?

Helper:  a person that gives assistance without getting in the way

Wives, who love God, assist their husbands.

To give help, or assistance, a wife must know her husband's needs.

To know a husband's needs, a wife must study her husband by watching him, and listening to him.

Of course, she can ask concerning those things, but to have someone just "tune-in" is great— huh?

Isn't that what a wife wants?

Are you giving it?

Give and it shall be given (Luke 6:38).

Or scream, and cry, pout, and manipulate, but I guarantee you that a husband does not need that.

The desires, of a woman who loves God, will be met.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).

Or do you not believe?

Those who believe, love, and those who love, obey (I John 5:3).

The helper, of a man, loves him. She is patient with him. She gives— demanding nothing.

She will not seek her own way; she will give, and give again, keeping her eye on the prize.

The call of God is upward, not inward, and not to consume on one's own lust (Phil 3:14).

Do you help, or do you hinder?

Does your heart long for heaven, or stuff, and a better/different husband?

Do you seek peace (Psalm 34:14), or long to change your husband? (there is no verse to justify that)

Knowing the God of all comforts allows the married woman to walk the narrow path in peace.

Do you walk in peace?

If not, metanoia.

Change your mind about the sin that you do, and do not pick at the sin in your husband's life.

It ain't yours to fix.

The song by Coldplay, "Fix you," is sweet, but off-base.

We don't fix anyone.

We love. We pray. We help.

God changes people, and husbands, and you.

Those who love God, love others— all others, including that husband who isn't what you want.

What do you want?

Do you want to be a helper?

Cry out to the Helper.

Repent of your unloving way, and walk the narrow way; the Helper of all helpers gives strength.

He is almighty, and strong to deliver you, but first, turn to him, and repent.

The days are short, and the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Love one another (John 13:34), and love your husband (Titus 2:4).


April 12, 2016

Resentment

It is a feeling.

Resentment is a feeling of displeasure or indignation at what someone has done or said.

It is considered to cause pain, injury, or insult.

Easily we can identify how the world reacts to resentment.

They hurt others in return, be it a husband, sister, supposed friend, neighbor, or frankly— anyone.

What does the Word say about resentment?

How does the woman, who loves God, handle resentment?

Looking to our supreme example, we see that Jesus could have felt resentment at many different times, against those who were closest to him, his disciples.

They said that they loved him, yet fought over petty things concerning life here on earth.

Jesus, knowing their hearts, forgave them (before they ever asked), and he loved them deeply.

He washed their stinking feet.

He fed them.

He helped them all along the way, all the while, he spoke not one word of condemnation.

Not one.

That is how the woman, who professes to follow the Lord, will behave.

She will, while noticing the slight, forgive, feed, and wash the stinking feet of the offensive.

She just has too much love in her heart to hold a grudge.

She cannot help but love the unlovely.

She will forgive, and love others, for she has been forgiven, and loved, in abundance (Luke 7:47).

Watch out for the root of resentment (Hebrews 12:15).

In the woman, who caves to temptation, it grows, and becomes hate.

To those who have repented of their hate, a river of love flows (Romans 5:5).

Does love, compassion, and tenderness flow in you, and out of you to others?

God commands everyone to love.

Love others just like you love yourself (Matthew 22:39).

Do you?

Remember, the just live by faith, never a feeling.

The redeemed do not live with resentment in their hearts.

Good fruit and bad fruit do not co-exist in a heart (Matthew 7:19).

God has all of you, or none of you (Matthew 15:8).

Live by faith.

It is the only way to please God (Hebrews 11:6).



April 8, 2016

Full and overflowing

The Christian woman has a day that looks like too much to do.

Yet knowing Whom she serves, and while being tempted, she is not overwhelmed.

The temptation sounds like this: "You have too much to do. It won't get done. It's not fair."

The tempter uses other words too of course, and the tone of it will always lead one to wonder if God is love, and if he cares, and if he knows, and if it will all get done, and worry sits—always waiting.

But the woman, who loves God, knows him.

She knows he is love, and cares, and knows her, and she knows that even if all of the things on her mind, and in her heart don't get done, she worries not, but takes one more step on the narrow road.

Her life is full. It overflows. That is what the Savior came to bring to her.

John 10:10.

He keeps his promise.

To the repentant, he gives life, full, free, and flowing.

As the woman, who loves God, wakes to a new day, she puts one foot in front of the other into her world, serving herself, and then another— always another. She is available, and active, and able.

Good hair, or bad, wrinkled or not, she smiles at the future for her God is there.

He waits for her at the end of her days.

She can hardly wait for that to appear.

She will see him.

On that day, as always, she will be full to overflowing.

Her tongue will praise God then, and it praises him now.

Worry, and fret, and an anxious mind cannot dwell along-side a heart full of praise.

Worship the Lord, and serve him alone.

When you touch another, you show his love.

His love is not given to a woman for her to then sit with her abundance covered-up inside her soul.

The love of God fills and flows, and is a fountain in the redeemed (Romans 5:5).

At all times, the woman, who knows of God's salvation, sings in her heart of his goodness. 

Do you?

If not, repent of your ways, and trust in him alone.

Know of life, free, and over-flowing.

Jesus sets the captive free.

Are you free of sin?

If not, then turn towards the Savior, and never be bound by sin again.

The love of God binds the repentant heart to freedom, and love, full to the top, and then over the top.

That is the goodness of almighty God.



April 7, 2016

Facing the day

Each day is a new start on life.

Jesus, upon his resurrection, and facing a new day, had changed (John 20).

The disciples found Jesus was no longer in a prone position (get out of bed), he had changed clothes, and folded them (get dressed, tidy up, and make the bed), and he was gone (go, serve someone).

The redeemed follow Jesus.

He set the example, and commands those who love him to live as he lived, and they do.

Meditate on the fact that God made the world in an orderly fashion.

Is "your world" orderly?

Ask the Lord to teach you about how to order your day to make the most of time.

The days are evil, and the woman of God does not walk like the world; she redeems time (Eph. 5:16).

Wandering about in nightclothes, with a worrisome spirit, describes a wide-highway traveler.

On the narrow road, the warrior-woman wakes to serve.

She gets dressed physically, and spiritually, picks up her Sword, prays always, slays darkness in heavenly places, and in love, she serves her world while keeping her eye on the eastern sky.

Because love has filled her heart, and while her body may be weary, her soul triumphs.

Facing the day, and with kindness on her tongue, she hands out a smile, and shares her goods.

Not always knowing how her love will be accepted, and just like Jesus, she loves anyway.

She is not selfish. She is tempted in many ways, yet overcomes. She rejoices.

Do you?

If not, repent.

As you face this day, be filled with the Spirit, not to consume selfishly, but to give, pray, and love.




April 5, 2016

Give

The words of Jesus are commands, not suggestions, but commands.

He said, "Give and it shall be given to you," (Luke 6:38).

Will the child of God hesitate?

Yes.

Will the child of God be obedient?

Yes.

Why?

Because the child of God loves her Lord.

"If you love me, keep my commands," (John 14:15).

Will the child of God ask questions of her Lord?

Yes.

She will ask for wisdom. She will ponder. She will, after all is said and done, be obedient.

Why?

Because what is proof of love for God?

Not words. Words are easy. Words are cheap.

Keep his commands; that is proof of love (I John 5:3).

Give.

It proves you love God. It proves you live by faith. It proves where you will spend eternity.

It proves you love not this world.

It proves to your world in whom you believe.

It proves you don't worry about tomorrow.

Give and it shall be given to you.

Believe it?

Then you'll do it.

Obedience is proof of belief.

Give.

April 4, 2016

Rescue the perishing; care for the dying

The woman, who loves God, will extend her hand to others.

She may tend to be overwhelmed with the needs of this world, and it is then that she gets quiet.

In meeting needs, the body grows tired.

It is then that God leads his child beside still waters.

He restores the soul of the one who completely loves him.

And know this:

God does not tempt a soul to sin, nor does he allow overpowering temptation to occur (I Cor. 10:13).

While tired, his child continues to love, and to mount up on wings, like eagles, and soar.

In soaring, his child will give a cup of cold water to a thirsty soul, and serve with kindness.

The woman of God helps one, forgives all, and encourages her world as she walks the narrow road.

She helps to rescue first one, and then the next.

A husband, a neighbor, an orphan, a widow, a soul in need.

She is gentle, and she is kind, and she will ask for wisdom.

The woman, who fears God, gives, and gives again, and never runs dry of love.

Love is poured into her soul upon redemption; it flows like a river (Romans 5:5).

The good Shepherd leaves the 99 to search for the one.

Find just one today, and extend a kindness, and do not grow weary in your well-doing.

You will reap if you faint not (Galatians 6:9).

The redeemed are sustained by God's righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

Continue in love (Hebrews 13:1).

Whatever your call, as God leads you, go out into your world.

Redeemed woman of God, help rescue the perishing, and care for the dying.