Monday, December 29, 2008

A Sense of Urgency

     Well, I heard today that Israel and Hamas are fighting.  It gives me a sense of urgency.  There is not much time left to serve the Lord here on earth.  Inside, I am nervous, excited, concerned--all wrapped up in one.
     I am nervous for all the accounting I have to do, with regard to my service to Christ.  I am excited that it is getting all the more closer to actually meeting Him face-to-face.  I am deeply concerned for those who are still lost!
     I know that my service to the Lord is a Johnny-Come-Lately service.  I have not really started serving the Lord until He brought me out here.  Before that move, though I was saved at twelve (PRAISE THE LORD!), I was not living the way He would have had me live.  I struggled immensely, simply because I did not actively seek His will in my life, and I did not yield to Him in matters of holy living.  Oh, how I regret those irreplaceable years!
     I am excited to know, though, that I will be seeing my Lord!  I came to Him in faith and repentance that night, fourteen years ago.  I look forward to going to Him!  I was watching a large cloud pass over the field this afternoon, and wondering, (as I constantly do), if that was the cloud that was to carry my Lord to call me to Him.  I find myself musing those thoughts more and more these days.
     I am scared for those who will be left behind.  So many...So many!  I fear for those people.  I cannot even express the feelings I have about the thought:  scared does not even come close!  My whole body shudders to think of a soul going to the lake of fire!
     Whoever reads this blog, and is not sure that they belong to the Lord Jesus Christ--PLEASE, consider your destiny!  There is no time to wait!  Christ can come any moment, ANY MOMENT; and when He does, will you be going to Him?  If you are not sure, go to this link: How To Get To Heaven.  Do not take it lightly!

Friday, September 5, 2008

I Want To Be My LORD's Friend

     So, I catch myself doing the very things that my spirit does not want to do.  In other words, living carnally.  Have you ever noticed that when you live in the flesh, your spirit feels dirty inside of you?  Especially when you sincerely do not want to do that sin anymore, yet you catch yourself doing it.  Well, that is something I have been dealing with lately.
     I know I have not been relying on the Lord for strength.  I have been feeding the lusts of the flesh, and I know that it is wrong.  I HATE it!  Yet, my flesh loves it.  I do take comfort knowing that I am not the only one who endures these hardships.  However, I am still disappointed in knowing that I have disappointed my Saviour, again.  I know, I know.  This is MY fault, not God's fault. I do not blame Him one iota:  I blame myself.  I think He lets me continue down this path, just to see how desperately I need Him; and, I thank Him that He cares enough for me to let me see myself as I am without Him.
     I thank Him that I do have Him, but I do not like being a rebel.  I want to be obedient unto Him.  Yet, there is no good thing in me, that is, in my flesh.  Thank the Lord that He is good, and He is in me.  Then I can glory in Him for His goodness that comes out of me!  I pray that I will do better with my days that the Lord Jesus gives to me.  I want to bring Him honor, for He saved my soul!  I want to make Him happy, for He makes me happy every day!  I want close fellowship with Him; to be friends one with another.  But, in order to do be His friend, I have to remember the very memory verse I taught to the children in my Sunday School class:  "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."--John 15:14.  Man, do I need some shaping up to do!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Relationships

     For the past two days, I have been contemplating the relationships in my life.  The more and more I think about some of them, the more saddened about them I become.  I know I should not dwell on them, but I do need to stop ignoring the obvious and come to terms.
     Since I came back to the Lord, and Dear got saved, our lives have slowly, but dramatically, changed. We are still the same, but yet not the same.  I have been saved for nearly fourteen years now, and Dear has been for two and a half years.  The first twelve years of my saved life was me staying a babe in Christ.  I truly was seeking to live for the Lord, but in my own understanding.  I would read the Bible, pray, go to church, but I was not grounded in the ways of holiness.  I attended churches that did not teach many sound doctrines; yet, the Lord Jesus Christ allowed me to get the food I needed to survive.
     It was not until the Lord directed Dear and I to where we now live, over three years ago, that things really started to change.  I had been backslidden for a few years by this time, and really had no plans on going to church.  I was in a new place, a strange culture, and around a people disinterested in me.  Those things, plus some Holy Spirit convicting, caused me to start seeking a church to attend, something I was not planning on doing.
     We tried a couple churches, which was fine for Dear.  He was a people-pleaser, laid-back, fun-loving kind of guy.  He did not mind going to the worldly churches, and he was even interested in going back to where he grew up for a time:  a Catholic church.  Yet, the Lord kept making it evident to me that these were not the places He wanted us to be.
     After visiting a very charismatic Assembly of God church, (briefly--we left after the first five minutes of service, for they were getting very wild and the spirit there was not of God), we stopped looking.  I was not reading Scripture, or praying; unless, of course, I was in need of something.  I did not start looking again for a church until after my father had left from visiting around Christmas.
     Almost two months later, I decided to give the Baptist church in town a try.  I had been to a Baptist church in the past, but that was only one morning service.  Yet, I thought I would still give it a try.  I got there on a Sunday night, half an hour late.  Regardless, when I entered, they did not give me weird or harsh glances, but took me in like family.
     Dear was not with me to attend this church service. He was so dead-set against going to a Baptist church.  He gave me any excuse he could think of regarding not coming.  Yet, I went.  Afterward, I was so glad I did.  They taught the truth, solely out of the King James Bible, and the love of Christ was very evident the moment I came.  I knew I was where the Lord wanted me to be!
     It took a bit longer for Dear to come, but not much longer.  By March he had been coming to a few services with me, and the pastor had started a "Basic Bible Truths" Bible study with us; especially for Dear, so he could understand what salvation was.  On March 12, 2006, my husband went to the altar during the evening service altar call, and sought to be saved by Jesus Christ!
     After that, we took off for the Lord.  We still have our struggles, but we see them as growing pains.  It truly is a much more blessed life to be following the Lord Jesus Christ than the world.  Due to following Him, I have noticed the distance between us and some of those that we dearly love.
     Our lost loved ones do not, and can not, understand our lives.  Some think we are in a cult.  Others think we are overwhelmed in our "religion."  Others are simply tolerant of all beliefs, whether they understand it or not.  Some get offended.  Some do not talk about it at all.  Many times people wished we were how we used to be before Christ took control.
     Because of our love for the Lord and trying to obey Him, it has distanced us from them.  We love them terribly, yet because of the differing lives, are unable to have close fellowship with them.  This pains my heart, but God has been good and gracious to us by giving us a family in the church members.  It is a close-knit group, for we do spend many times together outside of church services and activities.  We are able to have a close fellowship one with another.
     Even with the close fellowship with my church family, and my saved husband, the only relationship I can truly count on is the one I have with my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is my only constant.  He will never leave me, forsake me, or disappoint me.  I thank Him that even though the reality of my relationships with lost loved ones is being distanced as I draw closer to Him, He blesses me with a close relationship with Him and His other saints.  Thank You, Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Patience & Power in the LORD

     Today as I was doing my devotional readings, God gently spoke to me.  I have started to notice, (yes, some very obvious things take much longer for me to observe), that God can be very blunt, very subtle, gentle, obvious, etc--in other words, He can speak to you however He sees fit, but it is usually how it will get across to you the best.  Whichever method He uses, it will always be profound, and it will always get His point across.
     As I have been dealing with some spiritual battles of late, (of my own doing), God has abeen dealing with me.  He never lets me go, for He is a good God, Father, Lord, Master, Saviour, Friend....He loves me too much.  I never exactly know how God will speak to me through the Bible as I read, and when I ask Him to reveal Himself to me and what He wants me to learn, I never know quite what to expect.  Sometimes I think I am going to get a real whopper of a spankin'; and, sometimes, I do.  Other times, I just am clueless, and get wonderfully surprised at His power.  Today, I was definitely amazed by my Master...again.
     Sometimes the directness of our Lord Jesus Christ to the problems at hand, are eerily right on the nose.  I mean, the Precious Lord and Saviour of my life puts His finger right on the dot, without error, without being even a millimeter off point, of the issue. WOW!  I know I should not be surprised, but it sends chills up and down my spine.  There are times I feel like maybe there are more important things going on for Him, and my issues are waiting in line.  He points out to me, most definitely, that He is aware; and, I do not know whether to cry, shout for joy, or run...I just do not know.  I mean, this is the CREATOR, SAVIOUR, and GOD--What would you do when He shows you He has a specific interest in you?
     Today, he shared with me His wisdom, and if I am smart, I will heed it.  "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God....Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."--I Corinthians 2:5; Psalm 27:14.  When you are paying attention and listening to God, you will hear Him and see His love for you.  I am thankful He gave to me today a listening and attentive heart.  Otherwise, I probably would have missed these precious words of love.
     I find myself all too often taking heed to man's words of wisdom.  I might get caught up in what a person is saying:  whether they are preaching, teaching, or offering advice/opinion.  I will say to myself:  "Well, they must know what they're talking about, for God's using them." 
     Most certainly He uses His children, but I should not be taking their views or words as the Gospel.  I need to take the Gospel as the Gospel.   My faith needs the rest solely on the cross, God's power, not man or man's wisdom.
     I also need to be patient as God builds my faith.  It is not going to be this colossal mountain of faith; though, if it is in His will, it could be.  I need to be patient as God works within me.  He will strengthen my faith and my heart, but He is taking His time with me:  so that I do not overload and explode.  I know He knows me better than myself, and many times what I think I need right now, is not what I need right now. Rather, I receive bit-by-bit that which I need, so that I will be steady throughout this journey. I also need to stay in His Word and prayer to keep receiving that bit-by-bit that I need.
     I am glad that our God is a personal, caring, loving, and gentle Lord.  He knows how much we can bear, and does not overwhelm us to the point of not being able to endure.  Just contemplating Him for a minute makes my spirit well up inside of me.  Thank You, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the King.  Thank You for loving me and setting me free.

Friday, August 1, 2008

My First August Devotion

     I am so excited over the devotion I had today!  God really opened my eyes and had me pay attention to Him, and boy was it worth it!  I would like to share today regarding this wonderful time with the Lord and Saviour of my life!
     I am reading out of a KJV One Year Bible, which has put together passages so that one will be able to read the whole Bible in a year.  Today I read out of II Chronicles, Romans, Psalms, and Proverbs.  I am really enjoying reading about King Hezekiah, for his heart truly was seeking the Lord.  Specifically, I like how his desire to obey the Lord, out of his love for Him, caused him to take action for a nation that was backslidden.  While reading some of it, (though I know it is dealing with Israel), I could not help but think of the United States of America.  I love my country, my people; yet, we as a nation are so far gone from the Lord, just as Israel in King Hezekiah's reign.
     
"And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see. Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you. For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him." 
II Chronicles 30:7-9

     We have not had a truly God-fearing leader for some time.  Of all the time I have been allowed on this earth, I cannot remember ever having had anyone lead our country, who was solely relying upon God. I cannot comment on a single person's salvation, but I can see with my own eyes that our nation is not what it once was.
     The first President of the United States of America, George Washington, gave this prayer to the Almighty God, "...Which appears on a plaque in St. Paul's Chapel in New York City and at Pohick Church, Fairfax County, Virginia"--America's God and Country, Encyclopedia of Quotations, pg. 647:

'Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy Holy protection; and Thou wilt incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field.  And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the Characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation.  Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.'"

     Needless to say, we are not the "happy nation" we could be.  Lusts are never being satisfied.  The only one who can satisfy is Jesus Christ; but, one must repent first, and repentance is a dirty word in our day and age.
   
"So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem. Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the LORD. And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation." 
II Chronicles 30:10-13

     So, those in charge of sharing the message from the king to the people were "laughed...to scorn, and mocked..."  People sharing the message from the KING today are dealt with in the same manner...Most of the time.  Yet, as we see just in the next sentence, there were a few that were told the message and were humbled by it.  We can experience the same blessing, but we must tell the message first.  Our nation needs people who are truly saved to do as the Lord says:   reach out to those who are lost and confused, and share the message that God gives in His Holy Word.  Then, we can see a people humble themselves through the power of God's Word:  Jesus Christ.

"For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the LORD. For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they did eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, the good LORD pardon every one That prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary. And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people." 
II Chronicles 30:17-20

     Are we willing to pray for a people who have not yet been cleansed?  Jesus Christ is our passover, and His blood our cleansing.  There are some who do not realize that they need to first be sanctified by Jesus Christ; are we willing to pray for them that they may see?  I know that many times I fail in praying for my lost friends and family.  I get so caught up in my own selfish desires, or I simply do not contemplate the situation of my nation.  Yet, I must!  God is allowing me to be here, and I need to pray for those who are not cleansed in the blood of the blessed Passover--my LORD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST!  I want to see my people healed!

"And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered." II Chronicles 31:20, 21

     These last two verses are convicting to me, but also encouraging.  I am convicted, for I know I do not always do what is good, right, and honest before my God.  I do not always do with all my heart the service of the Lord to His Church, nor do I obey His commandments, nor do I seek Him as I should.  I am a horrible sinner, yet God loves me. Praise His name, He sees me through Jesus Christ!
     I see myself as I am, a sinner; and I aspire to be always like Christ.  Yet, I set myself up to fall every time I choose wickedness over righteousness.  Every moment I choose to do things my way, I know I am going to mess up things.  Yet, when I seek God with all my heart, I will prosper like Hezekiah did!  That indeed is my confidence in the Lord:

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths...The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is sweet reward." 
Proverbs 3:5, 6; Psalm 19:7-11

     I am encouraged by Jesus Christ, the Word of God:  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men." John 1:1-4.  He is my life and my light.  He is my reward.  He is the reason I am not going to hell and the lake of fire.  I know I deserve hell and the lake of fire, for I am a horrible sinner.
     Yet, because He loves me enough to have accepted me at the age of twelve, when I humbly pleaded for His forgiveness, turning away from living the way I always had (my way:  trusting in myself to get to Heaven), desiring things His way (righteousness), and trusting Him as my Saviour and Gate to Heaven--He will not let me die and go to Hell.  He is not like people, for I can trust Him.  I cannot trust man's word, for even when they mean well, keeping their word can be difficult.  It is not difficult for God to keep His Word.
     So, if God can do that for me, He can do it for a nation who is repentant as well.  Pray for our nation....Pray for our nation! Pray that they will get saved, and turn from their wickedness.  Pray that they will see they are sinners, but that they can be sinners saved by God's grace!

"Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD. Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. For thy name's sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great." 
Psalm 25:1-11

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sickened By Sin

     Lately, I have been meditating on my current spiritual health situation.  I realize that I do, neglect to do, say, or neglect to say things, that hinder my walk with the Lord.  I have been rather stagnant, sometimes.  I do not have the prayer life I should, and my devotions in the morning have become more ritualistic than out of love.  I am not proud of this situation. In fact, it sickens me to the core.
     I do not like looking inside myself, for when I do, I see the sinner I am.  It was not that long ago that I enjoyed reading the Bible, praying with God daily, multiple times in a day. That time was also before I backslid, and got caught up in all the lasciviousness of the world.  Ever since then, I have struggled with maintaining a steady, faithful life.
     I constantly feel the pull of the world around me, especially in these times.  I also compare myself quite frequently to other Christians around me.  I feel that they are much more devoted to God and spiritually-minded.  Never mind rationale, I do not have any sense of the word when I am focused on what my feelings are.  I know that deep-down in my soul, I long to be engulfed in the Word of God, prayer, and a devoted walk with Him.
     I sometimes think I need a refresher...Maybe I do.  I am constantly checking myself to see if this is all religiousity or sincerity.  I DO NOT want to just go through the motions.  The more I strive to love God, the more the pull of the world comes.  The battle begins the more enticing it becomes.
     I want to be victorious!  I do not want to continue dwelling in sin, making excuses for it.  I do not want to rationalize it, or enjoy it.  Once committed, (even though I have had warnings by the still, small voice prior to engaging in the wicked activity), or even when God puts up roadblocks, as a brother aptly put it:  "My soul feels dirty."
     I do not understand why I have put myself in this place, again.  I am determined not to turn away from the Lord, but my constant sinning is killing me.  I do not like who I am.  I am a sinner, saved only by the grace of God.  But I am still a sinner.  There are times when I think of myself, then think of Jesus, and as the prophet said, "I am completely undone."
     I know I need to re-prioritize my life.  I need to keep God #1, and myself last.  I need to spend more time in prayer, more time in study of His Word, and less time entertaining myself with the things of this world.  I live in the flesh way too much.  I do not desire to be carnally-minded, but spiritually-minded.  I only pray that God will have mercy and grant me the grace to overcome.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Unworthy

     Oh, how I long to just talk face-to-face with my Lord.  I do not desire to leave those I love behind any time soon, but I feel that if I could be with Jesus, it would be all better.  I would not have these pains from trials and tribulations anymore; I could just rest in His arms.  I wish for that now, as I struggle inwardly, yet again.
     I do not understand.  I feel so completely incompetent for the Lord God--I fail miserably so often, when it comes to loving Him the way I should.  I fear that maybe some times I go through the motions day-by-day, instead of reverently loving Him daily:  thankful for the opportunity.  However, some days my heart aches, for I know I am not loving God as I should.  How horrible am I?
     How is God's long-suffering love possible?  I know He knows me, yet I have never seen Him face-to-face.  He knows me so intimately well, and that I right well know.  I cannot explain it. I just know He knows me, is putting up with me, and loving me all the same. WHY? I do not deserve Him.  How can I ever love Him enough?
     My heart is incapable of the love God is due from me.  Too many times in my life have I suffered the agony of not serving Him; not living for Him, though He saved my soul.  He DIED for me, ROSE for me, makes INTERCESSION for me--yet, I am incapable of loving Him enough, or adequately.  Oh, how I wish I could--my heart's only true desire!
     People do not know what love they miss out on when they do not get saved.  How can I explain this love God has for them?  Will my family ever know His gracious love, before it is too late?  I do not want to leave here, 'til they do.  It is the most blessed gift:  to want to love Him, serve Him, please Him, know Him--that I could ever have.  He is always there, and always will be.  No one can take that from me.

Monday, March 17, 2008

"Amazing Love, How Can It Be?"

     Struggling, yet again.  It seems that every time I pray to be closer to the Lord, an internal struggle takes place.  Will I ever learn?  My dad always told me to be careful how I prayed...
     I want to be the kind of Christian I am supposed to be.  I sometimes think that I should "Voila!"--be right where I need to be.  Yet, it just does not happen that way.  I know that growth takes time, but I have a tendency towards impatience.  Then, when I pray for growth, man do the struggles come!
     However, the struggling does cause me to be in prayer more, and want to be nearer to God.  Being nearer to Him is the safest place for me--but my flesh is saying: "NO WAY."  OH!  I hate that battle!!
     I do thank the Lord God for His grace and tender mercies toward me; for, that is the ONLY way I am making it through this time. For so long, I have trusted my feelings to be my guide. Yet, my feelings are so deceptive, and can be played like the strings to an harp.  Satan knows this fact about me.  The world knows it.  I know it.  God knows it.  For that very reason, He allows me to be pulled in this area of my life, that I may be drawn closer to His Word and trusting in It alone.  The Bible never changes, and can never be pulled here and there, like my feelings can.
     As much as I realize all these things, it still is difficult to endure.  But, the Lord is good to me.  I can go to Him in prayer.  His Son, Jesus Christ, is waiting patiently for me to talk with Him about my troubles; so that He can help me.  What a loving God have I!  What mercy!  What loving kindnesses are bestowed upon me!  My heart weeps, realizing and knowing all the while that I am not alone in my struggles...that I have a Saviour just a call away, to help in my time of need.  I am so unworthy for such amazing love.
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