Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Goodbye Band-aids, Hello Salvation

My life was covered up in one big band-aid. And my life was anything but a boo-boo. I was lost and broken and hopeless and purposeless - for decades. The band-aid was anything and everything I could grab hold of in this world in my almost constant desperation to be saved from the hell in which I was living. Little, and tragically, did I know that what I needed more than anything else was true salvation and the way to escape the literal hell where I was undoubtedly headed to spend eternity. I looked to counselors and programs and groups and medicines and doctors to deliver me from a life of brokenness, and I had no idea the genuine deliverance I needed from a heart and life filled with sin and darkness would not be found in anything of this world. My band-aid of psychology and 12 steps and hospitals and disability and welfare and a zillion other temporary fixes did nothing more ultimately than help me get by for just a little while longer while I sank ever deeper in the quicksand of the wickedness of the life I was living. 

photo courtesy of creative commons via wikimedia
I was too wrapped up in myself, too wrapped up in my own story, too wrapped up in the self pity I held onto over childhood sexual abuse, over abandonment by my family, over abandonment by two husbands, over this and that and the other thing, anything at all, to understand that the crux of my troubles were not my life circumstances. The root of my problems was this. I was a sinner headed for eternity in hell who was living according to the ways of this world who desperately needed to repent from my sins and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ that He had died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

When Good Things Happen to Bad People

I know countless people have questioned why bad things happen to good people, so call me sort of backwards when I confess I spent a good long time wondering - and being miserable over - why good things happen to bad people. To be perfectly blunt, and transparent, I was raging angry, and totally bitter, not to mention sometimes consumed, with why someone who had committed a crime against me seemed to be enjoying every single minute of life while I was left with the ugly repercussions and ramifications of the crime. Suffice it to say my heart was too filled with hurt, and self-pity, and rage, to have the clarity to see the Truth. Then along came God, His Truth, and His conviction. And when God, and His Truth and conviction came along, I found myself ultimately with an utterly changed heart.

background photo courtesy of pixabay.com
Let me confess before I continue that I was far too wrapped up in myself to realize that I had no reason, nor right, to judge this other person's life. Who was I to determine that the person was enjoying life to the fullest? What I saw on the outside of that person's life may have been no indication whatsoever of the condition of that person's heart and inner life. Who was I to assume that person was happy? How did I know that person wasn't miserable inside? Better yet, who was I as a follower of Jesus Christ to walk around with my own heart so full of wickedness? After all, doesn't Jesus Christ speak endlessly of love and forgiveness? And, speaking of the Lord, who was I to not come to grips with the Truth - and to live it? The truth wasn't my human self-centered opinion. The Truth was, and is, God's Truth. His Truth according to His Word.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Little Sheep, Do You Hear Your Shepherd Calling?

The greatest of all shepherds, the Great Shepherd Himself, Jesus Christ, packed a short and sweet scripture so full of wisdom on the intimacy between a sheep and its shepherd that studying it could forever change your relationship with the Lord.

Jesus makes three main points in this scripture. If you study the original Greek words before they were translated into English, you will find a wealth of wisdom.

Joh 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 

First, the sheep HEAR the voice of the shepherd. The word HEAR in this context according to the Bible concordance also means UNDERSTAND. The sheep UNDERSTAND their shepherd. They do not merely HEAR the shepherd's voice. They UNDERSTAND the shepherd's voice. How can a sheep hear and understand a shepherd? Doesn't the sheep need to spend lots of quality time in the presence of the shepherd to get to know him and to understand him so that the shepherd is not just some far-away, distant overseer calling the sheep's name from a long way off?


photo courtesy of pixabay.com
Second, the shepherd KNOWS the sheep. The shepherd does not merely know the sheep in that he recognizes one of his sheep. The word KNOW in this context according to the concordance also includes in its definition "to know absolutely", "be aware of", "feel", "perceived", and "understand". This means the shepherd ABSOLUTELY KNOWS the sheep. The shepherd must be so intimate with the sheep that he is AWARE of the sheep, FEELS the sheep, PERCEIVES the sheep, and UNDERSTANDS the sheep. This is vastly more than simply recognizing the sheep, isn't it? This is not a one-sided, lopsided relationship between the sheep and the shepherd, is it? The sheep and shepherd are close enough on an ongoing basis to hear and understand and know and perceive one another.

Are You Denying Yourself?

The world is ever teaching us that we should look after ourselves, right? And we should put ourselves first, shouldn't we? And we should seek stuff for ourselves, right? And we should pursue our dreams, shouldn't we? We should live our lives to the fullest, isn't that right? We should focus on us, true? We should make the most of our lives, shouldn't we? It's not about others, it's about us, correct? Happiness is the aim, isn't that so?

background to graphic courtesy of pixabay.com
God's grace and His salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ are intended so we can get a fresh start and live happily ever after, prospering all along the way and experiencing life to the fullest so we can sit back, kick up our feet, and maximize the self-pleasure in our lives, don't you think?


Monday, September 22, 2014

Are You a Friend of God?

I used to stand with my arms lifted high up in the air with over 50 or so other people in church singing the joyful song, "I am a friend of God." I was a friend of God, for sure. Wasn't I? We were all friends of God, weren't we? But just because we were singing the song, and just because some of us believed in God, were we His friends? Are you?

photo courtesy of wondermar via pixabay.com
No matter how much we might want to think of ourselves as friends of God, it's not as simple as singing happy songs in church and waving our hands in the air. Nor is at as easy as simply saying we believe in God. For the Lord Himself has something to say about who are His friends. And if anyone should know who God's friends are, He should.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Housewife from 1800's Asks Life-Changing Question

Whoever would have guessed that a humble housewife from the 1800's would pose a question in her incredibly precious and inspiring memoir so utterly life-transforming that centuries later it has the potential to help change the rest of your life? When you ask yourself the same question she asked herself all those hundreds upon hundreds of years ago, you will undoubtedly find in your answer what could well be the catalyst for your entire future to change.

To order this book, you can CLICK HERE.
I can only imagine the Lord smiling down upon me from heaven as He knew full well how indescribably blessed I would be the day He placed this little book from so very long ago into my hands and ultimately my heart and life. I had been mildly attracted to the front cover, slightly interested when I read the back of the book, but held no significant expectations. How surprised I was to see how the Lord would use the little book to touch and bless my life beyond measure. Surely He knew in advance, as He knows everything from start to finish, how that one sentence that would strike such a chord in my heart would also provide an opportunity for me to share through my writing the thought the 1800's housewife's words would bring so mightily to my mind.


Promise Breaker, Promise Keeper

Devastated? Devastated was an understatement. He had broken every promise he had ever made to me. Maybe except one. The promise to get rid of me. He had hurt me in every way imaginable - and unimaginable. He had done anything and everything to break my heart. I didn't know a heart could be broken so often, so much, so much so that it was a wonder I had a heart left at all at the end of it all. But little did I know what lesson I would ultimately learn.

photo adapted from bricks photo courtesy of pixabay.com
Not the lesson about how I am called to love regardless of what others do. I have learned that one. Not the lesson about forgiveness. I have learned that one. Nor about mercy and grace and taking responsibility for my own sins and repentance rather than spending the rest of my life pointing fingers. I have learned that one as well. Some of the hardest lessons I have ever learned. Lessons that have left a stream of opportunities to practice them in their wake. But no, not those lessons, as utterly vital as they all are. This one. The lesson about promises. The lesson about the promise breaker. And the promise keeper. The greatest lesson of all, I believe, when it comes to promises. The lesson of the promise keeper and the promise breaker.

The real reason I was so devastated about all the promises he had broken, I would come to find, was not that he had broken all his promises to me. It was that I had placed my heart and life and trust in the hands of a man instead of in the hands of the Lord. And I had set my affection - my heart and my mind - on the things of this world instead of on the things of the Lord above. I had placed my expectation in a man instead of God.

The Desire to Please God

Do you desire to please God, or do you desire that God pleases you? Give my friend a desire to please God, I found myself praying recently. What an odd prayer for someone like me. At least it's an unusual prayer for someone like the woman I used to be. But I have been blessed with such a transformation in my heart and life by the renewing of my mind through study of God's Word and application of it to my life that I have found that above all else I have a desire to love God and to please God. What a long way I have traveled to get here. For if I am perfectly honest with myself and others, and honest I shall be, I used to think the purpose of God was to please me.

photo courtesy of geralt at pixabay.com
Sad, yes. Tragic, yes. And undeniably true. I was clearly under false, entirely irreverent, fleshly, ultimately fatal, false teaching. I have since repented - thanks to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the day by day washing and purging of my mind from impurities by study of God's Word. We are on the earth above all else to love the Lord with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves. If we truly love the Lord, we will study His Word and learn to walk in His ways rather than our own. And if we truly love Him and study His Word and walk in His ways, our lives will bear fruit of our love for Him for we shall abide in Him rather than in the things of this world.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

LOVE UNFATHOMABLE - Do You Have It?

Love unfathomable. Love unimaginable. Love beyond measure. Love boundless. Love unleashed. Love that never ends. Love that goes on and on - and on. Love that loves when all you want to do is run the other way. And hide. And scream. And give up. And turn away. Or lash out. And attack. And show vengeance. And break. Or both. And all of it. Or any of it. And cry. And sob. And weep. And mourn. And bang your fists. Or yell and scream and holler and rage and cry NO WAY, "I will not love this person anymore!" Or ever. "I will never love that person. Ever!" How can God even conceive of it? How can He ask you - no, how can He command you? How can He command you to "love one another" in this case? Or that case. Surely there is an exception to loving your neighbor - to loving another. This must be the exception. If only God would take back what He said about love - in this instance anyway. For you cannot possibly love this one. Or that one. It's too unfathomable. Too unimaginable. Too impossible. Too out of the question.  Yes, totally unfathomable. Unfathomable love.


photo adapted from photo courtesy of pixabay.com
Give her an unfathomable love for that person, I prayed for a friend as I drove along. Such an unfathomable prayer for me. Why? Not because I don't know how impossible it is without God to love the unlovable, but because I almost never use the word unfathomable. Nor do I almost ever pray a prayer like this one. The very prayer I need myself. The very prayer we all need. That God would help us to love the very person, or people, so impossible to love. They are impossible, aren't they? Or so we think. We think - we are convinced, in fact - that they are impossible to love.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Earned Your Way to Heaven Yet?

Have you earned your way to heaven yet? Done enough good deeds? Helped enough people? Given enough money away to those in need? Just in case you feel like you're not measuring up, I've got news for you.

You might as well quit while you think you're ahead. Or you might as well quit while you are convinced you are behind. Because no matter where you think you stand on the measuring stick of being good enough for heaven, you are absolutely positively definitively most assuredly 100% permanently incapable of earning your way to heaven.


If you open up the Bible and take one good look at God, Creator of the universe, you will see without a shadow of a doubt that God is totally righteous, forever pure, and perfectly holy. You will also see that we as humans are sinners by nature and are totally unrighteous, absolutely impure, and anything but holy. We are also thoroughly incapable of being in God's presence, of having a relationship with Him, and spending eternity with Him in heaven because of His holiness and because of our wickedness as sinners. Unless - Unless what?

Newspaper Story on Walk by Faith Ministry


Praise the Lord that He sent freelance reporter Leslie Moses into my life who asked me if she could do a story on me and the wheelchair dogs of Walk by Faith Ministry and then present the story idea to the Savannah Morning News. I was very clear with her that everything I do in my life - including caring for the 16 mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs - is ALL about Jesus Christ. It didn't take her long to realize my heart above all else is to love and serve the Lord, and to share the Gospel while ministering His love to a world in need. 

 photo taken by freelance reporter Leslie Moses on Hilton Head Island, SC 

She poured her heart into the story for which I am truly grateful. I am also grateful to the Savannah Morning News for publishing a story about the Lord, as I know mainstream newspapers are not always open to articles about the Lord Jesus Christ. My heartfelt hope and prayer for this article is that the Lord uses it to draw people to Himself and to bring glory to His name. Please consider passing it along to others with the shared desire that the Lord be exalted through these words. All glory to Him!

Please CLICK HERE to read the article. 
                 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Just How Wise, Strong, and Rich Are You?

Wise? Strong? Rich? Are not these the standard measures for success in this world? A computer technician from another country conducting technical support over the telephone with me recently gushed at the mouth over how clear it is when he speaks to Americans how vitally important riches and appearance are to so many of us in this nation. He did not speak of wisdom and strength, but are these not also standard measurements of living the so-called American dream? How often have we measured the success of our own lives, or of the lives of others, with these measurements? Wisdom. Strength. Riches.

But who are we to measure our lives against the world around us rather than to measure our lives according to the standards of the Lord? Given He created us in His image, not to reflect the world but to be born again through faith in Jesus Christ and to renew our minds with the Bible and to watch our lives be transformed as we are conformed to the image of Christ, who then are we to boast and brag and glory in what we perceive to be our wisdom, our strength, and our riches? How foolish, is it not? Hear the Word of the Lord!

Jeremiah 9:23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 
Jer 9:24  But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (KJV version)

God commands us not to brag about ourselves with the wickedness of the sin of pride, but to humble ourselves and to boast of Him. We are to glory in God! We are to brag about Him! Should we be proud of human wisdom, human strength, and human riches, knowing full well that each and all of these are utterly fleeting, utterly temporary, utterly ephemeral, and will be utterly gone whether this very day, sometime soon, or at some point in the future since none of what we possess on this earth we will take with us whether we end up spending eternity in heaven with the Lord through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ or whether we spend forever in hell separate from God because we have refused to repent and to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ who died on the cross to bear the penalty for our sins? Not an ounce of human wisdom, of human strength, nor of human riches will we take with us! All of it will perish. So in what then shall we glory? In what then shall we boast? In what then shall we brag?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Which Side of the Gap Will You Be On?

When the rich man in the Bible went to be tormented in hell and the beggar man Lazarus was transported by angels to Abraham's bosom, the rich man begged Abraham to send the beggar man Lazarus to him to cool his tongue with water. How unimaginable the perpetual torment of forever in hell when even the very tongue is desperate for a single drop of water. But it was too late for the rich man who lived for his riches and prosperity and pleasure on this earth.

The gap between eternity in hell and forever in heaven could not be crossed - not ever! So the rich man begged Abraham to send the beggar man Lazarus to his family that still lived on earth to warn them to prevent them from ending up in hell like he had. How did Abraham respond? He said the rich man's family already received its warning about hell from the Jewish prophets. But the rich man argued that sending Lazarus would give them the wake up call they needed because Lazarus would have to be raised from the dead to deliver the warning so that they would repent and be saved from eternity in hell. Abraham's response in this parable given by Jesus Christ was not just a lesson to a rich man burning in hell for eternity.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Serving God in Your Everyday Life

This week I had the great pleasure - and privilege - of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a man from a local business who gave me a ride to another local business, ministering to a friend going through a fiery trial whom I ran into both times I hauled off my trash to a dumpster, sharing an exceedingly personal part of my testimony in a letter to a woman who adopted a dog from me several years back, talking to a temporarily homeless woman with two small kids about the need for repentance, not to mention numerous other contacts and communications with seemingly random people in seemingly random situations concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not a once in a while occurrence for me. This is a just about everyday experience. Why? Is it because the Lord has called me into full-time ministry? Honestly? No. It is because I have learned to serve God in my everyday life. But how?

I keep my heart open to the Lord. I keep my heart open to people in need. I keep my ears and eyes open to the Lord. I  keep my ears and eyes open to people in need. I keep my Bible open every single day, digging in, digging in, studying, learning, applying it to my life, growing, and pouring out what the Lord pours into me. And I have come to understand, and accept, and even expect, that everyday life is absolutely plentiful with opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a world in need. Not merely to show Christ through my words and actions, which I ever aspire to do no matter how far short I fall and no matter how far I have yet to go in learning to do this more consistently. But I have learned that everyday life is chock full of possibilities when it comes to talking to people about the Gospel and ministering God's love - whether it be explaining how to be born again and saved, whether it be praying for someone, whether it be helping someone to understand the Bible, whether it be giving someone godly counsel, whether it be encouraging someone, and, yes, as hard as it can be, whether it be confronting someone with the difficult to hear truth in love. God's Truth.

Monday, September 8, 2014

DONATIONS for Blind Dog's Eye Surgery - No More Eyes......

She's come a long way baby. Mostly blind Glory, whose "seeing eye dog" and best buddy is two-footed Winnie who lost her back feet when she was run over by a train, is about to get her second eye removed. With virtually no eyesight in her remaining eye, the likely discomfort of a cherry eye and ongoing eye issues including the strong probability of glaucoma among other things, and the need for at least three eye medications/treatments several times daily,

Glory in the animal shelter before her transition to Walk by Faith Ministry
Glory should be a lot more comfortable with the removal of her second eye. Not to mention that with one of her multiple eye medications going up 600% in price on a bare bones ministry budget, it is not wise to pour large amount of money into medicating a dog who clearly would be more comfortable without having the eye issues at all.



Glory has come a long way baby, and now I am seeking help with donations toward her eye removal surgery.

How far has Glory come? She was dropped off at an animal shelter in South Carolina several years back with a litter of dead pups. She was so emaciated it took her several weeks to be able to stand sturdily to walk well. She was chewed up in lice, had open sores on her body, was missing patches of hair, the hair that remained was a wild mess, she was mostly blind, had two cherry eyes, and was high heartworm positive.

Glory in the shelter before her move to Walk by Faith Ministry
The shelter staff and vet were adamant she needed to be euthanized, but a rescue worker was adamant she needed a miracle. So the rescue worker contacted me when she learned I believe in miracles, and Glory was happily shuttled off from South Carolina to Virginia where I lived at the time to begin her new life.

Friday, September 5, 2014

An Invitation from Jesus

If Jesus Christ Himself came to your town for a visit in the next few days and planned to do some teaching, would you make plans to go to where He planned to teach to see what He had to say? So often the scriptures that seem so insignificant to me that I have a tendency to rush right on past in search of "more important" scriptures often are exactly what I cannot afford to miss. When chapter 8 of the Book of John opens, it appears that the second verse is merely a description of Jesus' whereabouts that will set the stage for whatever Jesus has to say. But if you slow down and give some thought to this verse, you might find yourself either entirely inspired - or convicted - or perhaps both.

"And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down, and taught them." 

Just setting the stage? Not so. Consider what is happening here, and think about yourself when you do. When the people learn that Jesus is coming to teach, what do they do? They come to Him. Why? Because Jesus is going to sit down and teach them. How can they learn from Jesus if they don't make it a priority in their lives to come to Him to learn? What do they do? They make it a priority to drop whatever else they are doing and to go to Jesus so He can teach them. What then is the application of this scripture in your own life, you may wonder.

Jesus might not be coming to your town today to teach, but He teaches us in God's Word, the Bible. So here is the question. Have you made it a priority in your own life on a daily basis to come to the Lord to spend time with Him in prayer and to open the Bible and let Him teach you? Do you do what these people do in the scripture and come to Jesus because you know He wants to teach you? Are you teachable? Do you study God's Word and apply it to your life?

You don't need Jesus Christ to come to your town today to visit your local church so you can learn from Him. God gave us His Word to teach us, to help us to learn to walk in His ways, to renew our minds and to transform our lives.

Is it time to lay aside all the busyness in your life and to make the Lord your priority? Is it time to rearrange your schedule so the Lord and the Bible are number one instead of way down on your priority list if they are there at all.

I don't know about you, but I find myself constantly distracted and tempted to get my priorities out of whack. The seemingly insignificant second verse of chapter 8 of the Book of John in the Bible is a wonderful reminder that we need to do what the people described in the verse have done.

We need to come to the Lord, open the Word, and sit at the feet of Jesus as we learn all that He has to teach us. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

THE WRONG REASON FOR GRACE

Rom 6:1  What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Rom 6:3  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Rom 6:4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-4 KJV

"God's got me covered." "He promises to forgive me if I confess my sins to Him." "I can pray for forgiveness after I finish enjoying this sin." "God's grace is bigger than my sins." "God says His grace is sufficient for me." "God's looking the other way while I sin." Jesus died on the cross for my sins, so I might as well enjoy them, right?" Ever had thoughts like these? Ever found yourself stuck in the muck of sin, sinking down in its quick sand, admittedly enjoying the momentary pleasure of slopping around in the hog pen of your favorite temptations, utterly convinced that you might as well enjoy your sin for all its worth because when you're good and ready you know you can go crawling back to God begging for His grace and forgiveness?

Ever found yourself using God's grace as an excuse to keep on sinning while you keep God on the back burner in case of your next emergency need for His grace and mercy? Surely using God's grace as an excuse to keep sinning isn't a big deal, right? Isn't that His purpose for grace? Doesn't God offer His grace to you so you can milk your sin for all its worth all the while knowing in the back of your mind that God really does have you covered? In fact, didn't Jesus Christ die on the cross to make your life easier, your sin more pleasurable, your sin without any negative consequences, and to enable you to stay in your sin for as long as you desire? Know what the Bible has to say about all of this? GOD FORBID!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Is It Time to Shut Your Mouth?

1Jn 3:16  Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 
1Jn 3:17  But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 
1Jn 3:18  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:16-18 KJV

I arrived at the post office with my hair in a million directions, my hands stuffed with unsealed envelopes, what I wanted to mail, an address here and there on a little note or so, and my mind in way too many places. I have no recollection of most of what I said to the postal care worker nor to the man standing in line behind me, but I do recall what he said to me and how I had to ask him to repeat it.

"You're a humanitarian," he told me after he heard how my paralyzed dog ate my library book. Now that I recall, I must have told him an the postal care worker as I scurried to get all my mailings together before the post office closed about the 16 mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs in my care.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Is Fear Stopping You?

Is fear stopping you from doing something God has called you to do? Or, is fear getting you to do something God has clearly told you not to do? Or both? Is fear driving your decisions? Is fear driving your life? Or are you allowing God to lead you in His ways? Whom are you following? Fear? Or God?

Do you know that you are a servant to the one whom you obey? Are you a servant of fear? Or do you serve God? Are you yielding yourself to fear as a vessel of unrighteousness? Or are you submitting to God as a vessel of honor to Him, your Creator?

I don't know about you, but no matter how much I may believe I am a wholehearted follower of God, I still stumble upon areas of my life I realize I have not committed as fully to God as I may have fooled myself into believing. I still find at times that I am serving fear in some areas of my life instead of being fully surrendered to God.

Friday, August 15, 2014

490 Is NOT a Magic Number

If you think 490 is some kind of magic number because Jesus told Peter that we should forgive someone 490 times if that person keeps offending us over and again, you may well be missing the point. Why did Jesus tell Peter that we should forgive someone 70 times 7? Some would say it is because 7 is considered the number of perfection and completion.

Is it time to forgive again?
Others might say Jesus picked the number 490 because it is such an unattainable number that He makes the point we simply need to keep forgiving over and over. Still others might say the number is so high because we will undeniably lose count if we try to keep track of how many times we might need to forgive someone.

But what if 490 isn't a magic number at all? What if it really doesn't have any overall significance? What if it might be any number at all? Isn't the point that God COMMANDS us to forgive when we are wronged? And isn't the point that we need to keep forgiving over and over no matter how many times we are wronged? If you are struggling with someone because that same person keeps hurting you, and you feel like you've just about had enough of needing to forgive that person, think about this.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

INVITATION: Peace, Grace, and Hope - Forever

When was the last time you were filled with peace, flooded with grace, and overwhelmed by hope? Ever? If it was the kind of peace, grace, and hope that comes from the world and from circumstances, then surely it was fleeting. After all, life can be a roller coaster. One minute you are peaceful, the next minute everything crashes and your peace flies out the window. Same with grace and hope, right? When peace, grace, and hope are contingent on your everyday life and circumstances, fasten your seat belt and be prepared. As soon as you're as high as you can climb, boom. You find yourself flat on your face without an ounce of peace in sight. But there is a peace, a grace, and a hope that are eternal, and there is a way to know them all, not just temporarily, but for now and eternity.



photo courtesy of antranias via pixabay.com
The price to know this peace, grace, and hope, doesn't come cheap. How could it? Who wouldn't give just about anything to know a kind of peace, grace, and hope that goes on forever? But you need not be concerned with the price, for the price has been paid. In fact, there is not a thing in the world that you can do to earn this peace, grace, and hope. How can you earn what has already been paid for? But there is in fact a requirement to receive this eternal peace, grace, and hope. And the requirement is this. Repent and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Your spiritual new birth, your new beginning that comes with repentance and faith placed in Christ is the ticket to a peace, grace, and hope that is unimaginable. No more roller coaster. For this peace, grace, and hope are not contingent on your everyday life. They are contingent on the life of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

WANTED: MONTHLY SPONSORS!

Paralyzed doggie Mr. Simeon is sad to report that his loving and generous MONTHLY SPONSOR said she could no longer sponsor him. So Mr. Simeon has joined forces with his beloved paralyzed doggie Miss Mercy so that they can both ask you if you would consider becoming a MONTHLY SPONSOR of either or both of them. A MONTHLY SPONSOR can pick ANY amount to donate monthly via automatic check sent from your bank, via automatic withdrawal from your debit or credit card, or by check sent in the mail. MONTHLY SPONSORS are also wanted to help support Walk by Faith Ministry as a whole as I pursue my life's calling and ministry's mission to share the Gospel while ministering the Lord's love to a world in need. 

Paralyzed dogs Mr. Simeon (left) and Miss Mercy (right)
Please CLICK HERE to sign up or e-mail me at love@walkbyfaithministry.com or call me at 843-338-2219 for more information. Thank you & God bless you!!!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

DONATIONS Needed for Three Handicapped Dogs

Three handicapped dogs, paralyzed big handsome hound Mr. Simeon, severely disabled senior tiny dog Little Miss Miracles, and two-footed Winnie all need financial help to go see the doggie doctor for different medical issues! Mr. Simeon has a problem with his leg associated with his wheelchair, Little Miss Miracles has a skin issue, a tumor near her throat, and needs updated blood work to see where she stands with the lyme disease and anemia she had. Winnie has a very swollen ear that could possibly use surgery. (Please see photo further down to see Little Miss Miracles, as photo just below is of Miss Mercy, Mr. Simeon, and Winnie.)

As director of Walk by Faith Ministry, my ministry's mission is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ while ministering the Lord's love to a world in need. I do a combination of preaching, teaching God's Word, writing, streets & beach ministry and evangelism, one-on-one ministry, and providing sanctuary style care to 16 mostly special needs & senior rescued dogs. I live on a bare bones budget, and the ministry operates on a bare bones budget as I dedicate my life 24-7 to the Lord's calling on my life. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for helping me to fulfill my life's mission. God bless you!
Paralyzed dog Mr. Simeon with disabled senior Little Miss Miracles

Saturday, August 9, 2014

God is NOT an Angry God - Is He?

I think my mouth must have dropped all the way down to the sand as I stood on the beach listening to a woman tell me that a pastor had taught her that God is all about grace and that the word "wrath" is misunderstood. After all, she explained as she had learned, God is not a wrathful God; He doesn't get angry. Besides, she told me, we're under the New Covenant now. Let me give you a word of warning.

If you believe for a single second that God is not wrathful, that He will  not take vengeance on those who sin against Him and do not repent and place their faith in Christ and become followers of Him ever working out their salvation with "fear and trembling", and that eternity in hell does not await those who do not receive God's mercy through Christ's death on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and resurrection, you are believing the biggest lie in the universe. God did not leave His wrath behind in the Old Testament. And if you study the Old Testament carefully, you will see His mercy abundantly clearly in the Old Testament - as He offers it again and again to those who repent and return to Him.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The 6-Letter Word that Changes Everything

"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

If you speed through your life as quickly as I do sometimes, particularly if you sometimes find yourself speeding through Bible verses, perhaps you have overlooked the six-letter word that changes everything when it comes to understanding and applying a well-known Bible verse. How often have you tossed around the words, "your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost," like I and so many others have, with your point being that God wants us to take care of our bodies because they belong to Him? If you're looking for the six-letter word that changes everything in that part of the Bible verse, let me offer you a word of encouragement. Look past those well known words and check out the rest of the verse. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

War Rubble, Chocolate Rations, and True Gratitude

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17 KJV

One of my mom’s favorite stories of growing up in a Jewish family in London, England, during the World War II Blitz is two-fold. First, she and the other kids played in the rubble that remained after the bombs were dropped. Second, the soldiers periodically gave their chocolate rations to the children to enjoy. It’s hard to believe the children found joy in the rubble of war and from popping tiny pieces of chocolate into their mouths, but they did. They were grateful.

My mom raised me to be grateful, constantly pointing out to me that I had absolutely no idea how fortunate I was compared with so many others in the world. She grew up in a war. I grew up in luxury. She tried to teach me to be grateful. I failed miserably. By the time I was a young adult, I was spoiled and had a strong sense of being entitled to whatever I wanted or felt I needed. My dad told me there was a difference between wanting and needing something, but to me it was all the same.

How Humble Is Your Heart?

How humble is your heart? I can't answer that question for you. And you may not be able to answer it either. But I know who most assuredly can. God can. Because God knows your heart like nobody else does. And notice how I do not ask how humble are your actions. My question is about your heart. Because as the Lord showed me recently with some incredibly strong conviction about a particular area of my life, my heart needed an overhaul as it so often does when its interior is revealed in the light and love of the Lord. See, a humble heart is not the same thing as humble actions.

I can do stuff in my life that looks, and even feels, humble in the eyes of the world. But in the eyes of the Lord, who sees my heart, I can be filled with pride. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees numerous times in the Bible for getting so caught up in actions that looked good to the world while their hearts in fact were full of pride and arrogance.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Blessings, Blessings, Blessings

I was utterly shocked one day to find myself saying aloud that I was one blessed woman. Given the numerous challenges and circumstances I faced for decades, coupled with my ongoing struggle with sin, not to mention a history of being altogether too negative, I was astounded to realize that I had come to see myself as blessed. 

But the biggest surprise of all was not that I had come to see myself as blessed. It was that I had finally realized that my greatest blessings are not physical and tangible. They cannot be touched and tasted. For my biggest blessings are spiritual, and they begin with the greatest one of all. The Lord. And my greatest blessing, the Lord, is the source of all the beautiful, spiritual blessings I have discovered. 

When you count your blessings, which one is at the top of the list? If the Lord is not your number one blessing, it is time to re-arrange your blessings list. Begin with Him. For He is the greatest blessing of all. And unlike all the things and people in life that come and go, the Lord is forever. When you make the Lord your number one love, and your number one priority, and come to see Him as your number one blessing, you will begin to discover all the beautiful, spiritual blessings that come from Him. 

When Anger Strikes

Anger struck. I wasn't just mad. I was really mad. Really, really mad. Downright angry. So angry, in fact, I did a great job of pulling out all the nasty weeds in the blistering heat as sweat poured down my face and soaked the front of my shirt. The person had done it again. Not for the first. Maybe not for the last. I should have known better. I am the one who opened the door - again. I should have known it was coming. Not just the person's selfish actions. But my anger. But there I was all over again, right back in the same place I had tried so hard to leave behind. But this time around, I did know better - in the most important way, in fact. When anger struck, I knew what to do.

photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures via Pixabay.com
I went to the Lord. I refused to react. I chose not to respond. The devil, roaring like a lion seeking to devour me, wanted a foothold. Even a toehold would have sufficed. And all he had to do was get me to react. All he had to do was get me to pick up the phone, or sit down at the computer, and lash out at the person with whom I was angry. But at last I understand my battle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). The devil is behind the person's actions. And if I realized if I submit to God and resist the devil, and draw near to God so He draws near to me (James 4:7-8), I can walk away with a victory in the Lord instead of a defeat just like the devil so desperately desires.

Monday, August 4, 2014

It's Time to Return

If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. John 15:22 KJV

A man I know has flipped flopped for years between digging deep into the Bible for seasons and then tossing it out of his mind and life for other seasons, his life in those seasons indicative of whether he was in a season of immersing Himself in the Bible or not. I could never understand why he would turn away from the Bible at times when his life was so rich and vibrant and fulfilling when he was studying God's Word. His answer was plain and clear.

"The Bible cuts me up," the man told me. In other words, he was getting convicted of his sin when he studied God's Word. So in the seasons he was holding onto his sin for dear life, he stayed away from the Bible to stay away from God's conviction. The trouble was that without God's conviction, and without God's mercy and God's strength to walk in God's ways, the man was utterly miserable.

When the Homeless Do the Helping

If you think the homeless are helpless, you might be surprised to learn that it is not uncommon for the homeless to do the helping.

"I helped two people recently," a homeless woman shared with me not long ago. Up against numerous health challenges, and despite an incredibly rough past, so much so that she needed my help to get her free hot lunch over to a park bench where she sat as she neared her next hospital visit later that day, the homeless woman shared with me about her belief in the Lord and told me joyfully how sharing her hard-to-hear testimony had touched two lives recently. And she related happily about her Bible studies and hope to get involved in ministry.

A big-hearted pastor drives straight from preaching at his church on Sundays
to preach in the park to the homeless, others in extreme need, volunteers, and passersby.
When he is not preaching, he is usually found picking up trash when lunch is served. 
Another homeless man at an outreach I attend helps weekly with the physical setup for the food, clothing, and toiletries distribution, while another not-too-long-ago homeless man helps with security. Another homeless man told me recently he was praying for me. Another formerly homeless man preaches. Still other homeless men and women minister to me by asking how I am, listening to me share about my own life, and sharing hugs and friendship and love and kindness - sometimes more than I receive in my usual day to day life. Even in the midst of their hardships, the homeless and others in extreme need are sometimes the helpers despite the common belief that they are a segment of the population that is only on the receiving end of God's provision as it is distributed by those who serve in one capacity or another. But then, we are ALL on the receiving end of God's goodness, aren't we? Anything good, and necessary, that we have comes from Him in the first place.

Sinner in the Hands of a Merciful God

It happened again. Someone told me I'm special. And I denied it. Then the person disagreed. I prepared for battle. It happens periodically. What? That someone looks at my life and the work that I do and thinks I'm special. And that I immediately disagree. I even go back and forth with people. "Yes you are," they say. "No, I'm not," I reply. Why? Because I'm not. And when someone tells me I'm special, I have the perfect opportunity to tell the person the truth.

"I give ALL glory to God," I tell people. Why? Because every single good thing in my life, and every single positive thing that I do, is because of God. My testimony is proof enough that without God I am nothing. And with Him, anything is possible. Amazing, beautiful, wonderful, things can happen when I lay aside my own will and surrender to His as I walk with Him day by day. Because of me? No. Because of Him.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

DON'T BELIEVE YOUR PASTOR.......

Don't believe your pastor. Please don't worry, I'm not done. In fact, I'm just getting started. And if you think I'm about to put down your pastor, you're wrong. After all, I don't even know him. But I am about to give you a warning. Not just any warning, but a very serious one. And let me say this. This is not my warning. This is a warning from the Lord. And in case you don't believe me, I can promise you that you won't find just one warning in God's Word. You will find plenty. So don't believe your pastor - UNLESS.

That's right. No matter how loving, kind, experienced, nice, giving, serving, educated, trained, respected, gentle or even stern, tough or easy going, well versed, authoritative or even meek, wonderful, reputable, renowned, worldly famous or simply local and unknown, friendly, warm, diligent, hard working, or anything at all your pastor is or is not, DO NOT believe your pastor UNLESS. Unless what?

photo courtesy of public domain pictures via pixabay.com
If your pastor is not preaching and teaching the plain, unadulterated, genuine, Word of God, the Bible, DO NOT believe your pastor. Along with countless warnings in the New Testament about false teaching and false prophets, about false gods and deception, deceiving spirits and wolves in sheep's clothing, the Old Testament is in its own right incredibly, and powerfully, chock full of false prophets, false gods, and infinitely strong warnings from the Lord against both acting in any of these roles AND against believing any of these false teachings.

The Most Important of All

What is the most important thing in your life? Good question? No, it's not. The most important question shouldn't be what is the most important thing in your life, but who is the most important person in your life. And if you cannot definitively, undoubtedly, by your mouth and in your heart and according to your thoughts and actions and lifestyle, say and demonstrate that the Lord God almighty is number one in your life, then you are missing the most important of all.

If you are familiar with the 10 Commandments, and I confess that only recently did I take a deeper plunge into them as I had admittedly, and ashamedly, taken them for granted for far too very long, the very first commandment is plain and clear when it comes to priorities: "You shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3 ESV)." But if the truth be told, and you take a close and honest look at your life, is the Lord absolutely without a shadow of a doubt number one in your life?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My 18-Year-Old Cheerleader

Cheerleaders are often known for their beauty right? They are often renowned for being warm and bubbly, right? And full of encouragement to help the players on a team work hard to achieve victory, right? They often have broad, shining smiles, and they usually work hard to stay in excellent shape, right? Well, little did I know when I stood side by side recently with an 18-year-old girl I met on the beach as we posed for a photograph alongside paralyzed dogs Miss Mercy and Mr. Simeon in their wheelchairs that God had sent me yet another one of His cheerleaders to cheer me along as I work hard to pursue my life's calling to share the Gospel while ministering the Lord's love to a world in need. As far as I was concerned, she was just another young person on the beach enjoying the hot July sunshine who was enthralled with the uniqueness of two paralyzed dogs cruising down the beach in their wheelchairs as people so often are when they see them. But God knew that like with so many of my seemingly random meetings with people - particularly people vacationing from out of town - that this wasn't just a random meeting.

God blessed me with an 18-year-old cheerleader recently
who shines with the light of  Christ.
Here we are pictured with paralyzed dogs Miss Mercy and Mr. Simeon in their wheelchairs
where we met on Hilton Head Island's Folly Field beach.
Little did I know as the young woman and I crossed paths for just minutes on the beach as I did my usual up and down the beach stroll with the dogs with my heart wide open to opportunities for the Lord to use the dogs to introduce me to people in need of hearing the Gospel, receiving a prayer, hearing a scripture or two or a word of encouragement, that God had plans already in place unbeknownst to either myself or the young woman to place her on His cheer-leading team for me. But it didn't take me long once she reached out to me via the Internet shortly after our meeting why God would choose her to be on His team - and why He would send her to me. I am always humbled when I go out into the world with a heart to love and serve those in need to see how God sends His kids to do the same with me. Off I go with the desire to be a blessing to others, and He sends others to bless me. Like an 18-year-old cheerleader. Just like a cheerleader on the side of a football field - beauty and all. 

The Ultimate Strip Tease

The year I met two professional strippers while on a family vacation and proceeded to spend the night in their rental rather than my family's had nothing to do with the ultimate strip tease, but then nor did the Halloweens I dressed up as prostitute, the countless times I went off to the bars dressed like a whore and acted like I didn't even know what the word moral meant, or the numerous times I became involved with men I never should have been involved with. None of this, now a piece of my sordid past from which I have repented and joyfully received God's forgiveness for, even comes close to the ultimate strip tease.

When I met a homeless man recently who had been robbed of the few possessions he owned, I commiserated with him as he shared with me how every proof of his identity was now gone. Not just his money had been stolen, not only his backpack that served as his traveling dresser since he no longer had a home, but his birth certificate, driver's license, and any and every proof of identity had been mercilessly taken from him. He had been stripped of all his possessions but for the clothes on his back. Though I have never been homeless, thankfully, and though I have never had my birth certificate stolen, I know all about the ultimate strip tease from my own not so long ago past. I know what it is like to be stripped of what I looked to as proof of my identity only to come to discover what my true identity is. And the ultimate strip tease has nothing at all to do with how people ordinarily think of the words "strip tease", but instead has everything to do with a strip tease that can prove in the end to be utterly life debilitating or entirely life changing - the stripping of what one clings to as one's identity.

PRAYER REQUEST from LARA

Hello Everyone, 

I would be exceedingly grateful if you are led if you would please PRAY for provision as I move ahead in fulfilling Walk by Faith Ministry's mission to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ while ministering the Lord's love to a world in need. 

With no staff or volunteers, and operating on a bare-bones personal budget and a bare-bones ministry budget, I do a combination of preaching/teaching the Gospel & God's Word, writing & publishing, streets and beach ministry, one-on-one discipleship, and providing sanctuary style care to 16 mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs. I am also deeply immersed in my biblical studies as preparation for the evangelism to which I am called. 

photo courtesy of Geralt via pixabay.com
Though Walk by Faith Ministry is a 501c3 non-profit charity organization, I do not do any traditional fundraising and do my best to trust the Lord to provide.

For the sake of transparency and so you understand Walk by Faith Ministry's need as well as mine at this time, the ministry is operating on an average $12,000 yearly budget while I am living on an approximate $9000 annual monetary income. 

At a time in which countless organizations and individuals are asking for money, I feel led instead to ask for this. 

Please PRAY, and I trust the Lord will provide as I continue forth in His calling on my life. 

May He get every ounce of glory, and may His name be exalted above all else! 


Monday, July 14, 2014

The Privilege to Serve

I spent much of my life being served and expecting to be served. I figured I would reap as much as I could from this world. I had a heart full of compassion, but compassion doesn't go very far with the self-centered lifestyle I led. I had a heart full of a bunch of human love, but human love doesn't last very long nor get very far either in the face of life's trials not to mention my sins running rampant. I did my best to do what the world taught me. Me, me, me. Isn't that what the world teaches? Today, I have less materially than I ever had. I don't have all the people and stuff I so desperately wanted. Nor am I living the dreams I had for myself. But then, it is a wonder I am alive at all. For I spent years of my life wanting to end it. When I lived my life for myself, I was miserable and messed up.

What a privilege it is to gather with churches, ministries, and others
at the weekly People Helping People outreach in Savannah, GA,
where preaching, prayer, and ministry,
along with food, clothes, and toiletries are available
for the homeless and others in need........
Now, I live my life for the Lord. And though there is so incredibly much I have lost as well as not gotten, I have the very best of all. I have a personal relationship with God through my faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. And with the Lord living inside my heart now, I have lost my desire for so much of what I desired in this world. But one desire I do have above all else - to love the Lord with all my heart and my neighbor as myself. Not with my love, but with His.

No longer do I desire for the world to serve me. Now I desire to love and serve the Lord - and to serve my fellow man. I have little materially anymore to give to people wanting stuff. But now as I seek to love, and to serve, I have the greatest gift in the universe to give to someone in need. The Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord and the Word.

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Mark 10:45 NASB

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Is Loneliness Eating Your Lunch?

I could be lonely. I should be lonely. I would be lonely. But I couldn't be lonely even if I tried. Yet I have every reason in the world to be lonely. I am a total people person, and yet I have no family, husband, fiance, boyfriend, co-workers, regular social activities, or what could even be remotely considered a social life. I have a background of abuse, abandonment, rejection, unwanted divorce, and a zillion other reasons to be depressed - and lonely. Lonely, lonely, lonely. Lonely? I can't even remember the last time I felt lonely. But how can this possibly be? I meet every qualification for loneliness, don't I?

photo courtesy of Patty Jansen via pixabay.com
Please understand I have a decades-long history of loneliness. I was lonely in my family growing up. I was lonely in crowds. I was lonely in relationships. I was lonely in two marriages before my husbands left. I was lonely in workplaces. I was lonely wherever I went. I was lonely whatever I was doing. I always felt distant. I always felt alone. Loneliness was glued to my side. Loneliness was in my marrow. Loneliness ruled in my heart. I looked for anything and everything - and most importantly anyone - that would take away my loneliness. But loneliness would not leave me. Loneliness didn't want to leave me alone. How ironic.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Are You Holy?

If you think it is irreverent of me to ask you if you are holy, you might think differently after I explain. Perhaps you wonder how I can possibly ask if you are holy considering the Lord is the only perfectly holy, perfectly righteous, perfectly just one in the universe. Doesn't it seem irreverent to even conceive of the notion that you and I could be holy? Let me explain.

God calls us to be holy as He is holy. This means we are to aspire to holiness. We are to aim in the direction of holiness. Once we are born again spiritually by confessing Jesus as Lord and believing God raised Him from the dead, we begin the process of becoming holy. We are newborn babes spiritually, and now we begin the process of growing up. We were created in God's image, and now we grow up in His image. God is holy, and we are supposed to become holy.