Prayers for you to have a wonderful and happy New Year.
Prayers for you to have a wonderful and happy New Year.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I had the honor of visiting and sitting with someone at the hospital on Friday. She was a young lady of 80 years old, turning 81 this month. She told me she had surgery scheduled to fix two leaky heart valves. Once I arrived and talked with a family member I discovered that what she thought was going to be surgery to fix the problem turned into two procedures to investigate the heart and valves to see what surgery would work best. The family member said she was disappointed, however her smile and words were no indication of disappointment.
She was scheduled for the first procedure at 11:30 and had been bumped several times, getting in the operating room around 2. She was in ICU from 2:30 to almost 5:00 waiting for an open operating room for the second procedure. Smiles and kinds words continued to drip from her mouth to all of those who came in contact with her. No frustration, fear or anger for being bumped and the long wait.
As I sat with this lady she talked about God non-stop. All his blessings in her life. She talked about her marriage of almost 60 years, her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and her spiritual journey. She talked about the many times she could have died but didn’t because God choose to keep her around. She talked about how she loves to go to church because she loves God and wants to be there every time she can to worship Him, to praise Him, to sing to Him and to be with other Christians. She said how hard it was to get up to go to church on Sundays and how she longed for the days when she could go Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday nights. She spoke of week long revivals, events the church held throughout the year and how she used to volunteer to work at the church as often as the church would have her. Most of all she talked about how people today don’t feel this way and how it made her sad.
As we sat waiting on the second procedure, I shared with her how I admired her, her faith and her love of God. She called me close and whispered that in her lifetime she had voice God speak clearly and directly to her and today was one of those times. She stated as they were putting her to sleep she heard God tell her that He did not want her to be afraid because He would be with to the very end. She held my hand, looked me directly in the eyes and said “you know JoAnne, God will never abandon me. Never. AND I KNOW that that was God talking to me.”
What faith. What a witness. What a great woman of God. After the second procedure the doctors told the family that her heart was not strong enough to withstand the surgery. They said they would prescribe medication that might help but at this point there was nothing they could do. She was not disappointed, not angry not afraid. She simply repeated God’s promise “to be with her to the end.” That made everything alright with her. Sunday morning, she was in the church. She was worshiping God, praising God and fellowshipping with other Christians with a smile and joy that only God can give.
I don’t know who on this post is struggling with abandonment issues. Maybe you feel abandoned by a mother or father. Maybe you feel abandoned by a friend, a boss, someone you were in a serious relationship with, your spouse or a child. Who knows, maybe you feel abandoned by God.
I want to encourage you today. Today’s scripture is a promise and God keeps his promises. People may leave you but God never will. If you are going through a trial it doesn’t mean God has left you. We are promised in this world we will have troubles. God told us that so we could expect it, not like, but know it was coming. He tells us we don’t have to worry about those trials because He will be with us and help us to overcome the trials.
I love what this wonderful woman of God said to me and I believe it with all that I am. GOD WILL BE WITH YOU TO THE END!! My family used old southern saying which would be appropriate with her words, “Now you can put that in your pipe and smoke it”. The phrase was used after stating something surprising or undesired, to emphasize its truth. This 80 year old woman spoke the word with TRUTH.
James 3:3-12 (ESV) 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
My husband, children and grandchild all love to fish. My father taught all the kids in my family how to fish, including all the details of which bait to use, which hook to choose, what strength line was needed, how to choose a fishing pole, and how to fish for the different types of fish.
As I read the scripture above I was reminded of fishing and the hook you use to catch the fish. The official description of a fish hook is as follows: A device which goes at the end of a fishing line that actually catches fish either by impaling them in the mouth or, more rarely, by snagging the body of the fish. The barb is shaped so that after the hook goes into the fishes mouth, it won’t easily come back out. A basic fishing hook is shaped like the letter J. Funny how Jesus starts with a J right?
I think the devil uses different bait, just like a fisherman to catch us on his hook. It could be anger at another person, gossip, jealously, hate, pain, the list goes on. I think we open our mouth, take the bait and then we are hooked. Some open their mouths so wide they completely swallow the hook while others are simply hooked on the mouth, the lip or even the body. Once we are hooked, just like a regular fish hook, it is hard to get loose because of the barb, we have already committed with our words.
As a fisherman, we had to choose if we were going to catch and then release the fish or if we would keep them for dinner. I assure you the devil has no plans to catch and release us. Each time we took the fish off the hook the fish would fight and wiggle to try to get away. Sometimes, they would escape from our hands and fall back in the lake. They could either fight for their life or fry in the pan. They had been caught but they were not truly captured until they were in the ice chest or in the frying pan. Then there was no hope.
The devil may have caught you with his bait I mentioned earlier. You may feel caught, you may feel trapped, captured, backed into a corner. Maybe you have started something and you don’t know how to get out of it. You don’t have to live there. Start fighting the devil and the desire to use your words against others. Fight, wiggle, jump, do whatever you can to get away from the devil. Stop and go apologize for the one you have wronged. Go back and repair the damage you mouth has made. Make amends.
Maybe you are the one that is suffering from someone else’s words. God does not approve of us tearing each other down as the scriptures says above. Pray for the person who is trying to hurt you. They have been hooked. They have been caught. Pray for their freedom. Pray for them to see a way out. Pray for you to forgive them. Don’t stop praying until they are freed. Ask others to pray with you for them. Ask God to give you wisdom on how to release the hurt you may feel and to love your enemies. In other words, do what is right, no matter how hard it is. God will honor and bless you if you do.
Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. Psalms 126:5 (NLT)
A friend sent me this scripture this morning. As most of you know I am a pastors wife. Being a leader can be very rewarding, however, at times it can be very hard and discouraging. I have managed/led people in large and small corporations, for profit and non-profit and managed/led people in churches, for over 20 years. The difference is that one is full of Christians and the other a mixture of saved and lost.
What I can tell you is that people are people and sin is sin. No matter whether it is church or business, the way people behave is not very different. Sad but true. I have watched our country change so much over the last 10 years. Respect for the flag, respect for God, respect for pastors, respect for teachers, respect for parents and respect for each other is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Bullying is now cool, even with adults, and gone are the days of treating your neighbor as yourself.
I am beginning to sound like a old person right? I hope not. This is not a post to talk about the state of our country nor our young people but a post to encourage you. Yes our world is different, the kids look and act different and even churches are not what they used to be, however our God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He has not changed and He loves us. God knew exactly where this world was headed. He knew exactly what the world and people would like in 2018. And that is why, Christian you are here.
This world needs Christians who are trying to live out God’s word every day. He wants us to trust Him and to stand firm times of trial and tribulations. He wants us to see what the world can be, He wants us to be light in a darkened world and He wants us to live out share the good news of Jesus Christ. God knows it is not always easy. He knows we may take abuse, feel hopeless and even feel tired and alone. Remember Jesus walked the earth as a human so He understands what we go through. God knows your struggles are real. Think about it. He gave us this scripture to let us know that there will be times when we are trying to do what we are called to do and we need a minute to just cry. It is ok to cry for a minute but don’t stay there. God says that after our tears, our hard times, we will have shouts of joy.
I can tell you that in my time of ministry I have had both tears and shouts of joy. I think the thing that has always hurt me the most was when Christians act like the world instead of Christians. In those times, I cling to God’s promises in scripture, focus on the mission which is to share the share the gospel with the lost and trust God for the victory of the battle I am in. Be of good faith. Be encouraged. Our Daddy is bigger than the demons daddy and our Daddy always wins.
When thoughts of yesterday’s failures begin to play in your mind, change the channel. When I was a child, my grandmother would always say get rid of stinking thinking. I think many of us are watching reruns of our past over and over again.
Some are focused on the “What if’s” of the future. Focused so much, that we can’t focus on anything else. With worry and anxiety we replay over and over in our mind “what could happen.” That scenario also plays over and over, occasionally having a different bad outcome.
Some people have become so familiar with the replay of the past or future failures that each day you pull out the folding chair, pop yourself some pop corn and settle in for the full feature film called “What if, Maybe and If Only”
Paul said putting off what is behind to focus on what’s ahead. He said we should keep our thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable.
When your movie of the past or future failures begin to play and they create fear, anxiety or worry you need to turn it off and remind yourself of a few things:
Your future is greater than your past.
Don’t feel sorry for yourself.
Stop mourning over what was lost.
God always has another plan. Start expecting Gods goodness. He had a plan for you before you were even born.
If God takes care of the birds in the air, how much more will He take care of you?
God forgives all your sins and throws them far, far away, and so should you.
Your past does not define your future. You do.
You are created in God’s image. How awesome is that?!?!
Turn the movie off and get a little sunshine today. Better yet, get rid of the movie that is holding you back, read and meditate on God’s word and spend some time chatting with God instead. You will be more inspired, motivated and stress free if you do.
Enjoy today’s blog by guest writer, Kelly Bivins, CPA and Associate Pastors Wife of The Body Church, A Church For Anybody.
“Two in Five Americans Confess to Financial Infidelity against Their Partner” according to the national endowment for financial education. Financial infidelity is when couples with combined finances lie to each other about money. Example: one spouse may hide a debt from the other spouse or one spouse makes large purchases without the input of the other.
Jesus said the following in relation to an inheritance: Luke 12:13-15- Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” I believe we can also apply this to married couples with combined money. What would cause one spouse to lie to the other about money? Does it boil down to wanting an abundance of possessions?
Money issues can lead to stress and divorce. Spouses should be willing to share with each other and discuss money openly. Genesis 2:24 – For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become of flesh. Married people are life partners. Money does not belong to her or to him. The money belongs to them together.
Tips for managing money in marriage:
When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me. Psalm 27:10
Forgetfulness hurts. We’ve all been forgotten and know the pain of expecting someone to remember — to show up, call, write, ask, make time — and coming up empty and alone.
One of the common things seniors deal with is forgetfulness. I have always been a forgetful person to some degree. I think my forgetfulness comes from being too busy. I forget where I leave my phone, put my keys and sometimes, you will be shocked, where I put my last cup of coffee. Oddly though, I am great at remembering conversations and details of things I write. I remember the location in my notebooks of where I write things. I can give you details of where in a notebook something was written, how far in the notebook it is, whether it is on the right or left page, top, middle or bottom of the page. The one thing that I try not to forget is people, especially those I love and call a friend or family.
Everyone reading this has probably felt forgotten at one time or another. Maybe you were not invited to a special event, you were not included in something special or not informed of something that you wish you had known about. I think it hurts us most when it is a family member or close friend whom you feel has left you out.
Our schedules are so busy that often these things happen, not out of spite or hatefulness but out of busyness. I do believe that they dynamics of family has changed over the years. Checking in on my mom, even dropping by each day was a daily event for me. No matter how far away I lived, I called my parents every day just to check in, stay up on their lives and I never missed a holiday family get together. Now before you make excuses that this is because I am woman, my brothers did the same thing. I think this still represents some families today, but even in my own family, I have seen a shift of how families interact with each other.
Maybe your family doesn’t “hang” with you like you wish they would. Maybe you feel alone. Maybe you feel like no one remembers you and you feel like you don’t matter. God never forgets His children. He doesn’t need a memory on Facebook to remind Him of you. He doesn’t need to scan his box of old photos to remember you. He doesn’t need to keep a picture of you hanging on the wall to remember you. He NEVER forget His children and that means you.
Though you may feel forgotten today, your Father will never forget you nor forsake you. You can rest in the Lord today knowing that not only does He remember you but he loves you.