Friday, October 31, 2014

The Right Writing Life

God gives us gifts, but we don't always use the gifts for what they were intended - for Him. Such was the case for so very many years - even, to my surprise, not so very long ago - with the gift of writing He has given me. But God took a hold of my heart, not just once, but as many times as He needed to, to lead me to live the right writing life - as opposed to the one I had been living.

the home office of all home offices . . .

As far back as I can remember, I have been writing. Even as a little girl, I could not get enough of paper, pens, and the words that poured out of me. As time passed, and as computers came on the scene, I had all the more opportunity to pour out words - faster than ever. But when I had become a committed Messianic Jew, a wholehearted follower of Jesus the Messiah, the Lord took a hold of my heart. One day, sitting at the kitchen table with a beloved mentor, the Lord convicted me of what I had done with the gifts He had given me.

Paralyzed dog Mr. Simeon enjoying my new laptop tray in my home office
while severely disabled senior dog Little Miss Miracles snuggles on my blanket. . .
I had used them for myself and for the world rather than for Him. I repented and told  Him I wanted to use the gifts for His glory. Some years later now, with the life and ministry mission to share the Gospel while ministering the Lord's love to a world in need, I aspire to use my writing as an avenue to preach the Gospel, teach God's Word, and encourage and inspire people to be dedicated followers of Jesus Christ.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Seven Nights of Doom - Don't Miss the Signs . . .

In my sometimes crazily fast-paced life, there is much that misses my attention as I find myself scurrying from one amazing ministry opportunity to another. It's not just how busy I can sometimes find myself. It's that I have an incredible radar for what matters most to me - the things of the Lord and His leading that someone, somewhere, at some time, is in need to whom I can minister. Suffice it to say so very much passes right by me. I am known to be incredibly intense and incredibly driven when it comes to the Lord and my ministry work. How much I miss on a daily basis that other people see, I cannot even imagine. What I tend to miss given my driven nature and how full my plate so often is now are the details of life. And because I have willingly sacrificed having a social life so that I can be available 24-7 to the Lord and to the work to which He has called me, I often have no idea whatsoever of the social and entertainment happenings of the world around me. So it came as a bit of a surprise to me when I noticed a little sign along the side of the road that I would not have ordinarily even noticed was there. The sign was plain and clear. No details. Just four words. SEVEN NIGHTS OF DOOM.

Don't Miss the SIGNS OF THE TIMES . . . 
And do you know something? The sign not only catch my eye. It caught my heart. Not because I can only imagine some person, some group, some organization, someone out there had dreamed up this Halloween celebration of sorts, or perhaps theater presentation, or haunted house, or who knows what it might have been as Halloween was just around the corner. The reason  the sign caught my heart is because of my indescribable burden for the dire state of this world and for how many people are on the highway to hell because they have not heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or because they have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and have refused to repent from their sins and to confess Him as Lord and believe God raised Him from the dead. So what does any of this have to do with Seven Nights of Doom anyway, you may wonder.

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WALK BY FAITH DEVOTIONAL now AVAILABLE in PRINT.....

The first issue of the brand new WALK BY FAITH DEVOTIONAL, a pocket-sized daily devotional IN PRINT that offers daily Bible teaching and inspiration and encouragement, is now available upon request for individuals, churches, ministries, businesses, organizations, and anyone else interested in distributing copies.

November 2014 Issue
of the brand new WALK BY FAITH DEVOTIONAL 
I have written the WALK BY FAITH DEVOTIONAL in such a way that it can be used on any day, any time of year, so the reader is not bound to a specific day as is typical with many devotionals. A new issue will be available for each month of the year.

If you are interested in obtaining copies for yourself or to distribute to others, please contact me at 843-338-2219 or via love@walkbyfaithministry.com.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Your Worst Life Now - and Forever

Why does it seem like the worse the world gets, the more I hear about prosperity? Just this past Sunday, in fact, my pastor mentioned that one of the most famous preachers in the United States is renowned for his teaching on prosperity. As the world falls into greater and greater disarray, prosperity becomes ever more popular when it comes to proponents of how to live the very best life possible. It shouldn't come as any surprise, not really, when the Bible makes it abundantly clear that false teaching will abound as Jesus gets closer to coming back to whisk His believers off with Him to safety before God's wrath and judgment falls on those left behind who have rejected the message that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. So the false teaching that God set us on the earth to accumulate as much wealth and luxury as possible, to live lives of perfect contentment and total health, to fulfill our fleshly desires while God sits on His throne to be at our beck and call, well, it couldn't be more timely, could it? False teaching abounds, indeed. The greatest tragedy in all of this focus on waving our magic wands so God can satisfy our every desire and bury us under mountains of riches in answer to our insatiable lusts is not merely that it is entirely untrue that God created us to satisfy the lusts of our flesh. It's that what is being marketed as our best lives now are actually our worst lives now - and forever.

Why? Because when we are deceived into thinking God created us to live happily ever after amid an orgy of self-love and the radical hoarding of commodities for ourselves so we can kick up our feet and live our lives on a perpetual vacation, we are actually missing the point. Our lives could not be any worse, in fact, when we live this way. For the reason we were created is to love and worship the Lord, to reverence and adore Him, to bring glory to His name, to honor and respect Him, to bow down before Him, to enjoy fellowship with Him now and forever through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins so we can have a relationship with God and spend forever with Him. And the travesty of living our "best lives now" is that the fleeting pleasure we may experience now in our so-called "prosperity" by focusing our minds on our wealth portfolios, owning billion dollar homes while much of the world is starving to death, by hopping from one bed to another while marriage falls to the wayside, by choosing pornography over godliness, by lying when we know good and well what honesty is, by stealing and cheating when God never intended for us to take what He does not want us to have, and, oh, by so very much more, the travesty is this. We are living our worst lives now. And not just now, but forever.

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Are You on the E-Mail List? Important Information. . .

Hi friends, 

If you receive e-mails from me and Walk by Faith Ministry with my DAILY INSPIRATION and ministry & doggie updates, please note I am switching to the Mail Chimp e-mail marketing platform to send my e-mails to you. 

Please e-mail me at love@walkbyfaithministry.com if you do not continue to receive my almost daily e-mails. 

You may need to check your SPAM FOLDER to make sure my e-mails do not go to your spam folder when I make the transition. 

Thanks for continuing to bless me with the privilege of sharing with you what the Lord lays on my heart & the writing & other blessings He pours through me that I pray are a blessing in your life.

With love & blessings, 

Lara

p.s. If you're not on the ministry's e-mail list and would like to be, please let me know by sending an e-mail with your e-mail address to love@walkbyfaithministry.com.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Life I Never Expected

Least likely to succeed. Most likely to fail. That's how I would have summed up my life not so very long ago. Despite an Ivy League education, I never in a million years thought I would do anything other than fail utterly. No, I didn't always expect failure. But enough years spent consumed by post traumatic stress disorder and multiple addictions, thanks in part to childhood sexual abuse, not to mention almost two decades of wanting to kill myself, self-mutilation, debilitating depression and anxiety, hospitals, counselors, medications, abandonment by my family and two husbands, two unwanted divorces, and plenty more, bottom line, I didn't hold out a single hope my life would turn into anything even remotely valuable. 

Paralyzed dog Mr. Simeon (back) with severely disabled senior dog Little Miss Miracles
snuggled up on my bed aka home office where I do my writing
when I'm not either caring for the dogs or out on the streets or at the beach
sharing the Gospel while ministering the Lord's love to a world in need.

But then again, if the truth be known, I had absolutely no idea whatsoever it was possible for someone like me to come out the other end of the way I lived at all. I figured one of two things would happen. I would either be miserable and useless for the rest of my life, or I would take my life. Instead, by the grace and mercy and love of the Lord God almighty alone, I didn't take my life. I gave it to Him.

And, in His hands, by His love and the transforming power of His Word, the Bible, and a life dedicated to believing in AND following the Lord Jesus Christ by the application of the Bible to my life, I am now a joy-filled, sold out, on-fire-for-the-Lord, woman of God dedicated 24-7 to loving and serving the Lord with all my heart and all of my life. My heart is His. My life is His. And the victory of a life broken beyond description transformed into a life of purpose and fulfillment belongs entirely to Him.

The Joy of the Lord

Joy is no longer an outside job in my life. It used to be, or at least I wanted it that way. I figured joy was contingent on the circumstances of my life. Isn't that the way with everything in this world? Happiness depends on circumstances, right? And peace also, don't you think? Hope surely must be the same, isn't that true? That's how I lived my life. Oh, no, let me be clear. It's not that I had any real joy, or happiness, or peace, or hope, or love and faith for that matter. Not any of the lasting variety, anyway. I remember a young man long ago was absolutely delighted to break free from a relationship with me because he was tired of being on my roller coaster with me. Roller coaster? Yes. That's what I discovered life was like when I lived my life dependent on the world around me for what I sought.

Enjoying the beach this past weekend with paralyzed dog Miss Mercy (left),
two-footed dog Winnie (center), paralyzed dog Mr. Simeon,
and Glory, my precious Dog without Eyes!
The JOY in my smile is the JOY in my heart -
the JOY of the LORD!
Today, I have joy. I am happy. I have peace and hope. And I have love and faith. More than I ever imagined possible. And it is not contingent on my circumstances. It is contingent on my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And, quite honestly, it does not come because I seek it as I used to do. It comes because first and foremost, I seek the Lord. He is the love of my life. He is my number one priority. He is the one I seek above anything or anyone in the universe. He is truly Lord of my life! And the joy I experience every day of my life now has nothing to do with the ups and downs of daily living. The joy I have today is the joy of the Lord. For I find my joy and delight and fulfillment in the Lord God almighty through my faith in Jesus the Christ!

Got joy?

Neh 8:10  Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
bold & underlining added

Joh 16:33  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
bold and underlining added

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I am a Mother, Bridesmaid, and Midwife

Some may look at my life and pity me. After all, I am 47 years old and never had children. I was abandoned by two husbands and was never asked to be a bridesmaid. And I have never hurried to the hospital to hold a friend's hand as she gave birth, nor have I walked beside a friend through her pregnancy. I have probably only been to one bridal shower, and I can't remember if I was ever invited to a baby shower. Maybe years ago. Some would pity me indeed, given how much I have missed. But alas, I have come to see, I am a mother. I am a bridesmaid. And I am a midwife. And I have not lost my mind. I have gained the Lord, and I am blessed beyond measure for this status He has given me even if some in the world might not see what I now know.

photo courtesy of pixabay.com
I am a spiritual mother to countless people the Lord has privileged me with mentoring. Though I once wanted to adopt children, I now see all the time I might have spent raising children instead is dedicated utterly to loving and serving the Lord as He uses me to help raise His children as I share the Gospel, minister to those in need, and feed and care for His children He has so graciously placed in my care.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Are You Headed for Hell?

Some time ago, a woman told me she was too bound to the world to place her faith in Christ. I suppose she did not want to give up the pleasures she enjoys in this temporal life, however much or little she might enjoy them anyway, for the sake of everlasting life with God. She would rather be lost and give up forever with God than surrender what she enjoys in this lifetime by believing in Jesus and making the decision to follow Him. Oh, how my heart grieved for her. But I did not only grieve for her; I grieve for the world.

scale in background courtesy of pixabay.com
For our temporary pleasures on this earth are just that. Temporary. Fleeting. And the price this woman will pay for the pleasures she seeks in her sins on earth will be to die one day and spend forever enduring fiery torment in heinous hell. But this woman is not alone in this. So much of the world turns its back on Christ and walks according to the ways of this world - step by step on the highway to hell. Unless. Unless what? Unless she repents and believes the Gospel of Jesus Christ that He went to the cross for her, died an indescribably awful death for her to bear God's wrath for her sins on Himself, and was raised from the dead. And unless she commits her life to following the ways of the Lord rather than the ways of this world. But this Gospel is not just for her, and it is not just for me. It is for anyone who will receive what the Lord offers us.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Laughter Amid Trials

Paralyzed dog Mr. Simeon looks into empty laundry machine
while Speckles enjoys her visit in the clean laundry.....A good laugh! 
Life is full of trials isn't it? Jesus didn't promise us the perfect life. In fact, He said we could rest assured we will have tribulations. The hope for those of us who repent and place our faith in Him who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins so we can be forgiven by God and promised eternal life is not that life will be easy. In fact, for some, it will be anything but. Where, then is our hope?

When God Gives You More than You Can Handle

"Sixteen dogs is more than one person can handle," I told God at the wee hours of the morning. I love spending time with Him in the early hours before the day begins and the 16 mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs in my care start needing me.

God's response was terse. He spoke these words into my heart. "It is more than one person can handle."

photo courtesy of pixabay.com
Sigh. Relief. God had agreed with me.

Not so fast.

"But you are not one person," I heard Him speak further into my heart.

Monday, October 20, 2014

When Your Vision is Not from God

Are you holding onto a vision for dear life, refusing to let it go? Are you hanging onto a dream you simply cannot part with? Do you have a plan for your future that you are utterly convinced must come to pass? Let me ask you a question. Have you ever considered the vision might not be from God?

photo courtesy pixabay.co
How often, I wonder, do we hold on to visions and dreams and plans that are simply not from Him? How often do we hang on to what we have convinced ourselves most assuredly must be His will for our lives when it most certainly is not? How often do we cleave to a vision that we know full well is not from God, but we adamantly refuse to let go anyway? God may allow us to continue forth in chasing a dream that is not His dream for our lives, but we will pay a high price for placing our vision above God and His will for our lives.

A Reminder to be Humble

I thought it was a misprint. Surely she was writing too fast. After all, technology makes it so easy to write a message quickly and send it even quicker. My beloved friend must have typed too quickly onto her little telephone whatever-it-is-called, and hit the send button. Why else would she send me a message like this one?

"God told me that because of your incredible LOVE AND OBEDIENCE TO HIM, HE has GREAT PLANS FOR HIS MINISTRY....WALK BY FAITH."

Maybe others might not catch the misprint. The mistake. The error. Whatever you want to call it. After all, not everyone has a background in editing like I do. But there it is. Plain and clear. She wrote God has great plans for "HIS" ministry. But she was wrong of course. She meant to say "your" ministry. In other words, she had meant to tell me that God has great plans for Lara's ministry. After all, isn't that what it is? See, as a long-time writer with a strong background in editing as well, I had caught the problem. My friend had referred to Walk by Faith Ministry as God's instead of mine.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Compassion without Christ

For anyone who thinks you can't have compassion without Christ, think again. In fact, if you take one good look at the world, you will more than likely find all sorts of compassion. At forty-seven years old, I daresay I see more compassion now than ever. Sure, evil is everywhere. But compassion abounds. From one non-profit organization to another, from this cause to that cause, from one new group to another longstanding one, from one individual raising money for one family in need to another family giving away money to an individual in dire straits, compassion is just about everywhere. So is it possible to have compassion without Christ?

photo courtesy of pixabay.com
Absolutely. I see it constantly. I see countless people involved in causes jam packed with compassion, and totally transparent about their lack of faith in Christ. So if the lack of compassion isn't the problem in our world right now, what is? It's the lack of Christ. Why? Because all the compassion in the world won't get a compassionate person into heaven. And all the compassion in the world won't get the recipient of it into heaven either.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Goodbye Prosperity, Hello Prosperity

Oh, how I might long for the days I gorged myself on prosperity "Bible" teaching. I didn't just love the teaching. I lusted after it. I rushed off to every church, every prayer meeting, every fellowship, every book, every so-called teacher, anyone or anything that helped me to become satiated with how to live the life I wanted, how to get everything I wanted, how to get this healed and that healed, how to believe God for this and believe God for that, how to get rid of suffering and live happily ever after on earth, mind you, it was all about me, me, and me, what would God do for me, did I say me?

background of photo courtesy of pixabay.com
But the truth is I do not long for those days in the least. To be perfectly frank, I was never satiated, not by any of it. I always came away empty, and hungry, and starved. The worldly prosperity I was taught God should give me made me malnourished and sick, and took me farther and farther from the Lord. In fact, it was taking me straight to hell. By God's conviction and grace alone, I came to see that I was under false - and ultimately deadly - teaching of God's Word. I wasn't being taught God's Truth. I was being taught Satan's lies. And, sad to say, I loved just about every minute of it. But thanks be to God, who has since given me an insatiable hunger for Him and for His pure Word, the Bible, I said goodbye to worldly prosperity. And I said hello to a prosperity I never in a million years could have imagined possible.

Walk by Faith Doggie Update

For anyone who has followed the Walk by Faith Ministry doggies through the years, or perhaps just recently has stumbled upon the current 16 mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs in the ministry's and my care, it won't take you long to figure out how very much they keep me on my toes. With two paralyzed dogs, one missing back feet, one missing a leg, one without eyes, one nearly 17 years old, and plenty more, you can imagine that there is a fair amount of work involved. There are also plenty of opportunities for me to seek the Lord's forgiveness for falling short when I lack patience, when I forget compassion, etc. Needless to say, at the end of the day, when I take a step back, I realize how utterly blessed I am that God would entrust these very special dogs to me.

Glory after her second eye was removed
As for the update, all 16 dogs are in relatively good shape right now. All things considered. And I've learned through the years that it's all relative. Glory's eye removal surgery went beautifully, and she now has her bandage and cone collar off so that she is back to her usual antics - with lots of tail wagging as usual.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Birthday - Best Gift I've Ever Received

Today is my 47th birthday. It is 5:29 am, and I have already had the best birthday I have ever had. It is not because my dreams have all come true. Most of them have not. It is not because I have a big pile of presents to open. I have a single card from my mom. It is not because I have a family to celebrate with me later today. I do not. It is not because my first husband came back. He did not. It is not because my second husband returned, or that he is well again. He did not, and is not. It is not because my 16 mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs will sing to me sometime today. They will mostly likely have their usual endless needs that tend to take their toll on me. It is not because I got a haircut and a bunch of brand new clothes for my birthday. Rest assured I did not. No, it is none of these things at all that now at 5:32 am I can tell the world that I have already had the best birthday ever. Then why?

photo courtesy of pixabay.com
Because I woke this morning filled with the love of the Lord God almighty, forgiven and saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ so I am promised eternity in heaven, a full-fledged, wholesale follower of Jesus, my big beautiful Bible having spent the night in my bed with me all ready to be opened and studied and lived, my heart aflame with love for the Lord, satisfied and fulfilled more than I have ever been because I at last know that this now 47-year-old life of mine is not my own. I was not born to live for me. I was born to live for Him. And though I have lost much of what I have wanted in life, and not gained much of what I desired, and though my life to many would look foolish for its simplicity and lack of things and dreams and desires of this world, I understand at last that my life is His. I belong to the Lord.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

God's Bucket List

What the heck is a bucket list? I wondered. Call me clueless, and that I am. I am so clueless about the things of this world, but so crazy for Christ. Suffice it to say that now I am educated enough to know what a bucket list is, I have this thought. Should we be living our lives with a list of our wants and desires with the goal to scratch each and every one of them off our list? Or, should we lay aside our bucket list and live our lives for the Lord?

background photo courtesy of pixabay.com
According to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, a so-called bucket list is "a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying." I readily confess that I spent most of my life thus far vehemently attached to my own wants, wishes, plans, agenda, and desires, much of which I held onto for dear life before I came to believe in the Lord. But I also readily admit that even once I came to believe in the Lord, I maintained my stranglehold on what I wanted. More accurately, in fact, I greatly increased my hold. Furthermore, I came to believe that now that I believed in God, I could wave my magic prayer wand so He could fulfill my every wish and meet my wants and desires. I might not have known what a bucket list was, but I most assuredly had great expectations of how God would help me achieve what I wanted.

Jesus Bought Out the Hallmark Store

Did you ever count how many Hallmark cards Jesus sent when He walked the earth? Did you ever consider how many Hallmark cards God sends daily from His throne in heaven? It's a wonder the Lord hasn't simply bought out the company and made it His own. After all, if you consider the Lord's compassion for His Creation, His love being so boundless and extreme that He sent His only begotten Son to the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, wouldn't it make sense for Him to at the very least invest in Hallmark given how many cards He sends to express His compassion? A very quick study I have just done of the word "compassion" in the Bible most assuredly proves otherwise. Why? 

photo courtesy of morguefile.com
When I gave counsel to a beloved friend recently to unleash her compassion toward another, I was immediately reminded of how much I have struggled with compassion at times in a certain area of my life. Not only did I encourage her to show compassion as I felt the Lord had prompted me to do, but I have been convicted lately to seek the Lord in learning to do a much better job myself of showing compassion - most especially to those whom sometimes I don't feel an ounce of compassion because my flesh has not wanted to. Needless to say, my friend didn't go running out to the Hallmark store to buy a bunch of cards as tokens of compassion, nor did I. And given it would be best to look to Jesus to whom we were created to conform to see what exactly compassion looks like in the eyes of the Lord, I can rest assured that I won't be heading out to buy cards anytime soon. Why? 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Big Birthday Prayer Request . . .

Two days before by God's grace alone I turn 47 years of age, I ask any human anywhere who is led to please read my prayer request and to pray as you might be led . . . 

Please pray for me daily if you are led. 


The windows of heaven have opened after decades of brokenness, and all I want is more of the Lord, more of his Word, and to humbly love and serve Him with every ounce of my heart. 




I am resolved that the only reason I remain on this earth is to dedicate my life unabashedly, unashamedly, unreservedly, passionately, relentlessly, to seeking His face, to growing in His image, and to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ through preaching, teaching, and writing far and wide, every opportunity He affords me. I yearn above all else to love Him with all my heart, and to help lead the lost into the Kingdom and to teach and train those already saved to be wholehearted, fully committed, followers of Jesus Christ. 


He has opened wide a door with my writing on three main fronts all at once, all while my daily life becomes fuller and richer and ever ripe with endless opportunities to fulfill my mission. I am unstoppable. 


Please pray for me as often and as much as you are led. I want to know that my hands and heart and life are being held up to Him as I bow down in reverence to Him in full pursuit of His calling on my life. 


In the name of the greatest love there ever was and ever is and ever will be, Jesus the Christ. 


To the Lord God almighty be every single ounce of glory for how He has transformed a life as broken down as far and for as long as mine was unto a vessel that only by His grace might be of honor fit for His use that He might receive every amount of honor and praise from my life as He is due. Forevermore!

2Ti 2:19  Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 

2Ti 2:20  But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 

2Ti 2:21  If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. 

Where Are Your 12 Stones?

Where are your 12 stones? You know the stones, don't you? Your memorial stones. You don't remember? How could you forget them? You know the ones. Or have you forgotten already? Or, is it possible you don't have any memorial stones? Perhaps you need a reminder then. Lest you forget what must be remembered.

photo courtesy of pixabay.com
The Lord had already parted the Red Sea for the children of Israel, delivered from bondage in Egypt, to pass through on their way to the Promised Land. The Lord had chosen Moses to lead them out of Egypt. But the Lord would not allow Moses to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. He chose Joshua to lead them in. This time, He did not part the Red Sea. When the priests that carried the ark of the covenant of the law of God came to the Jordan River, He created dry ground so the priests bearing the ark and all the people could pass through on dry ground. But God did not want His sovereignty and omnipotence and this miracles of His countless miracles to be forgotten. God wanted this to be remembered.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Woman Who Said No

My question was very simple. If I needed help with something related to my ministry, would she help? I believed the help I would need would ultimately bring great honor and glory to the Lord. The opportunity would be perfect for anyone who truly wants to serve the Lord with all their heart. The little bit of work that would be required could pave the way for numerous lives to be saved and helped. The woman should have had every good reason to say yes, or so it seemed anyway, but the woman said no. How could she turn down such a great chance to love and serve the Lord? The woman who said no had a simple answer to my simple question.

The woman said no because she knows how to love and serve the Lord with a healthy combination of love, humility, wisdom, and discernment. She knows when to say yes, and she knows when to say no. She knows what she can do well, and she knows what is not best for her to do. She knows her challenges, her limitations, and she knows her strengths. She is careful to discern what God wants her to do, and what He does not. And she knows that when she says no, this does not mean she does not want to love and serve the Lord. In fact, when the woman said no to me, she not only gave me an explanation of why she did not feel she would be a good fit for the opportunity I described to her. She not only told me how she did not feel she would be able to help. She shared with me her areas of strength and offered to help with what she believes she is in fact called to do in loving and serving the Lord.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Message from God - Time to Make a Move?

Have you been in the same place long enough? Is it time to make a move? Have you been stuck in place for too long? Or living somewhere you shouldn't be? Or going backward when you should be going forward? Or not making any progress when you know it's past time? Or traveling in circles and making yourself dizzy? Or wondering why it's taken you years of effort without making an ounce of progress? Do you know the children of Israel - those that made it anyway - took FORTY years to travel a distance that should have taken them ELEVEN DAYS?

photo courtesy of pixabay.com
Many of the children of Israel, despite inheriting the promised land, never made it into the promised land because of unbelief, idolatry, complaining, and sexual immorality. That's right, they missed their inheritance. And those that did make it in to claim their inheritance could have made their claim so much sooner. There is a pretty big difference between eleven days and forty years, don't you think?

Are You an Influence - Or Influenced?

The mother of a childhood friend of mine used to speak about what a bad influence I was on her daughter. It was ironic because back then for the most part I lived my life with somewhat good values and had yet to take the enormous plunge I would ultimately take into total depravity. My friend, on the other hand, was headed for an unbelievable fall of her own. For all intents and purposes, she was probably the worse influence of the two of us. Needless to say, we are all utterly capable of influencing one another for good or for evil, aren't we? And we are also utterly capable of being influenced by others. And herein lies a question. Are you a good influence - or influenced?


I know a woman who seemed to have a pure heart and a love for Christ who fell into a crowd at her workplace wherein she had a wonderful opportunity to speak to them of the Gospel and to influence them with her seeming faithfulness to the Lord since they did not appear to know much of Him. A year or so later, the crowd around her did not seem to know much of Christ and seemed quite content with living their lives according to their own pleasures and ways. The woman who had had such a ripe opportunity to influence them instead had changed her ways and become influenced by them. She seemed to have rid herself of some of the ways of the Lord and taken on the ways of the crowd instead. What a tragedy for them all. What a loss of opportunity for all of them.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Is God on the Back Burner?

Is God on your back burner? If you think I'm about to tell you that you need to move Him to the front burner in case you find that you have in fact placed Him on the back burner of your life, you are wrong. Because God doesn't belong on any of the burners of our lives, not on the front burner, the side burner, nor on the back burner. Not on any burner at all.

photo courtesy of pixabay.com
The Lord belongs on the forefront of our hearts, our minds, our souls, and our strength. Why? Because He commands us to love Him with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. This means that in all that we are, and that in everything we do, He should be honored, exalted, and glorified.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Warning of All Warnings

And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? Matthew 16:3

Everywhere you look, everywhere you listen, it seems, there are warnings. Weather warnings. Disease warnings. War warnings. Violence warnings. Threats, risks, troubles, and warnings are everywhere, all the time, aren't they? Times have changed. Risks are rampant and ever on the increase. Risks to your health. Risks to your peace. Risks to your very life. You heed the warnings. You take precautions before big storms. You watch what you eat because of your health. You wash your hands as protection against germs. You read the newspaper and watch the news to keep up with threats of war. You keep your eyes peeled, and your ears perked, for the latest warning.

PHOTO ADAPTED FROM PHOTO COURTESY OF PIXABAY.COM
A road with a bump in it? A hurricane? Tornado? Newest disease? Threat of war? How is it then, my friend, that you pay attention to everything happening in the world but perhaps neglect to pay attention to the signs of the times? You prepare yourself and your loved one for every possible disaster, but what have you done in response to the warning of all warnings? Or, are you too caught up in your day to day life and the world around you to pay attention to the signs of the times as a whole and to make yourself ready in response to the greatest warning of warnings? Or do you not know?

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.