Thursday, December 18, 2014

They Are LYING to YOU!

Ouch. It's hard to write. And it may be hard to hear. But this must be said. They are LYING to YOU! Thus saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord. There are most assuredly men and women of God solidly grounded in the Bible who are genuinely called by God to prophesy His Truth according to His Word to warn, teach, rebuke, instruct, encourage, etc. as messengers from God. But there are also liars. Deceivers. False prophets. False teachers. Beware! Beware! Watch out for people claiming to speak for God as they promise peace and prosperity, riches and rewards, happily ever after on earth and wishes come true. Watch out for those running around throwing "Jesus loves you, Jesus loves you" in your face without telling you the whole story. Deception is deceptive. It looks all pretty all packaged up with big red ribbons on top. Enticing. Alluring. Seductive. Tempting. Comfortable. Cozy. Deadly.


DON'T GIVE UP / Daily Inspiration

I can't even fathom how many people around the world right now might be ready to give up. You might even be one of them. Given the challenges this world faces, not to mention the challenges of individuals everywhere, is it any wonder that countless people worldwide are ready to give up. To give up on their marriages. To give up on their loved ones. To give up trying to break free from addictions. To give up loving people who are hurting them. To give up trying to do what's right in a world that is increasingly don't what's wrong. To give up recovering from sickness. To give up helping people who aren't grateful in return. To give up trying to make positive changes in their lives. To give up jobs to which God has called them that have turned out harder than they expected. To give up dreams God's given them because of the obstacles in the way. To give up on giving to others. To give up on their foster children. To give the animals God has placed in their care. To give up paying off their debt. And, some, to give up their very lives. If you are ready to give up, or you know someone who is, I would like to offer you three words of encouragement.

BACKGROUND PHOTO COURTESY OF PIXABAY.COM

Don't give up.

God didn't create you to give up. He created you to love Him and to serve Him. He created you to grow in His image. He created you to repent of your sins and believe the Gospel that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins so you can be forgiven and receive the promise of everlasting life. He created you not to just believe in Jesus Christ. He created you to follow Jesus Christ. He created you to leave behind your old ways, to study the Bible, and to learn to live according to His ways. He created you with a plan in mind. He created you with a purpose. He created you to live and breathe for Him, to worship Him, to adore Him, to be loved by Him, to be in relationship with Him. He created you to be prepared while you are on this earth to spend eternity with Him beginning with being forgiven for your sins through faith in Christ and then continuing on by having your life transformed through study and application of the Bible. He created you for love, joy, peace, hope, and faith that are not contingent on your troubles, your trials, or your tribulations - but instead contingent on Him. He created you to bring glory to His name.

The devil has, and will, do everything he possibly can to destroy your life, and he will do everything he can to convince you to give up.

Don't give up.

Look away from your challenges. Look away from your obstacles and your hurdles and your trials - and look to Him. To the Lord. If you only knew the love He has for you, if you only knew the forgiveness and mercy He offers you through repentance and faith in His only begotten Son Jesus He sacrificed for you, if you only knew the plans He has for you, if you only knew the heights and depths of His magnificence, if you only knew the splendor of enjoying an intimate personal relationship with Him through faith in His Son, if you only knew all that lies ahead of you if you turn away from the stuff and the people He wants you to let go and cling and cleave and hold onto Him for dear life. If you only knew.

Don't give up.

No matter what or whom it is you want to give up on, whether something infinitely small or as enormous as your very life, don't give up unless God has told you to. And don't give up on the very most important one of all. No matter what. Don't give up on God. And don't give up on His will for your life.

Throw yourself at His feet. Fall to your hands, your knees, and your face. Repent of your sins. Plead mercy. Receive His love, His forgiveness, His magnificent grace. Do the one thing you've never done before - not to this degree anyway.

Surrender. All. Everything. Most importantly, your life.

Live for Him.

Don't give up.

For God's sake, don't give up.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What Are You NOT Giving? / Bible Takeout

The Bible says that it's better to give than to receive, but I believe that WHAT we give is just as important as the fact we are giving. And what we are NOT giving may be a good indication of where we need to make changes in our hearts and lives.

background photo courtesy of pixabay.com
The greatest two gifts ever given in the universe are when God sacrificed His only begotten Son Jesus to become Savior of the world, and when Jesus sacrificed His life by dying an indescribably gruesome death on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. There have never been, nor will ever be, greater sacrifices than these. Those who repent of their sins and believe this amazing Gospel of Jesus Christ are forgiven and promised eternal life in heaven with God rather than forever in hell. Being reborn and saved by receiving Christ as Lord is just the beginning. We are called to follow Christ by sacrificing our own selfish worldly sinful ways and learning to live our lives according to the ways of the Lord as we learn when we study the Bible. We are called to offer our lives to God as a "living" sacrifice. The common denominator in all of this is sacrifice.

When TEMPTATION Seems RIGHT / Daily Inspiration

Lots of temptation seems blatantly wrong, right? Illegal drug use, adultery, pornography, they all are pretty obviously temptations straight from the devil, don't you think? But have you ever considered that lots of temptations may seem totally right - at least as far as appearances are concerned? Let me give you a few examples.

background photo courtesy of pixabay.com
Taking your kids to Disney World. Asking a beautiful and kind single Christian woman on a date. Volunteering for a reputable non-profit organization to help at-risk youth. Joining a church small group to get to know people where you have just moved. Coaching soccer in the next town over. How could any of these possibly be seen as temptations, right? Don't they all seem like great opportunities? What could possibly be wrong about saying yes to opportunities like these? They can't possibly be temptations, can they?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Warning About Your Pastor / Bible Takeout

No matter how much you love your pastor, no matter how kind he is, no matter how loving and generous he is, no matter how much he encourages and blesses you, no matter how engaging his sermons are, no matter how many people respect him, no matter what a good friend he may be to you and your family, no matter how much he helps you, heed this warning. If he is not teaching the sound and solid Truth of the Bible, he is leading you to destruction and hell. And if you think pastors, no matter how wonderful they may seem to us, are not capable of leading their flocks to destruction, you are wrong. The Bible is chock full of warnings about false prophets, false teachers, false teachings, false doctrines, and pastors who promise peace and prosperity and are in fact wreaking havoc and hell in the lives of their sheep because they are teaching contrary to the Gospel and God's Word.

Are You Missing God's Purpose in This? / DAILY INSPIRATION

In the seemingly most insignificant and purposeless times in your life, you could discover that God has the most extraordinary purpose and significance if you are willing to lay down your life and yield yourself utterly to Him.

When Mordecai sent a messenger to tell his cousin Queen Esther whom he had essentially raised to go before her husband the King to plead for the saving of their Jewish people, Queen Esther responded by messenger that she could lose her life by going before the King outside of proper protocol. Mordecai made it clear she could lose her life anyway because the Jews would all be killed if she did not intercede for them before the King. But this was not all he said. The message he sent to her is a message for us all.

background photo courtesy of pixabay.com

Monday, December 15, 2014

Is Your Faith Dead or Alive? / BIBLE TAKEOUT

Is your faith alive? Or dead? If you think it's enough to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord, it is not. We are not called to merely believe in Christ. We are called to follow Him. Those who genuinely believe Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and was three days later raised from the dead are believers. But belief isn't enough. After all, even devils believe in God. Genuine faith in Christ as Lord manifests in a life committed to Christ. Real faith in Christ produces good works. Sincere faith results in a life committed to leaving behind one's own ways and learning to live according to the ways of the Lord.

background photo courtesy of pixabay.com

What Are You Praying for? / DAILY INSPIRATION

I didn't always believe in God, but rest assured as soon as I did I started praying - and praying and praying. But I confess that I spent quite a few years waving my magic wand and praying for what I wanted when I wanted it - much of the time for myself. I wanted God to make something happen to make me feel better, for provision to fall down from heaven so I could be more comfortable, things to turn out the way I wanted so I would be happy, etc. Even my prayers for others were oftentimes about me. I wanted someone to love me, someone to change to treat me better, someone to come back into my life to make me happy, someone to repent so that person would fulfill my plan for that person's plan, someone to get healed so I wouldn't lose the person, someone to be a committed follower of Christ so I would get what I wanted from that person, etc. Times have changed; my heart has changed. And so have my prayers. What are you praying for?


Friday, December 12, 2014

When Blessings HURT - DAILY INSPIRATION

One of the most hurtful things I have faced over the past few years as I have poured my heart into my writing both online and in print is most of my friends refuse to read my writing and don't encourage me whatsoever in my calling to write for the Lord. After decades of feeling hurt over one thing or another, I have finally come to see that some of my greatest blessings from the Lord have come right in the midst of great hurt. How did I finally come to see my blessings despite all the hurt they have often come packaged within?

Photo in background courtesy of pixabay.com

Are You Facing a Big Decision? BIBLE TAKEOUT

Right in the midst of making a major decision in my life that could effectively impact the eternity of a bunch of people living in dire straits, not to mention that could potentially effect my emotions on one end and my safety on the other end, it dawns on me that the method I use to make major decisions may be something worth sharing with others who struggle with making major decisions. So if you are wondering whether you need to alter, or upgrade, or even exchange your decision-making skills for the ones I believe God would desire for us all to have, I hope you will consider the nine steps I believe are crucial based on my long-time, in-depth study of the Bible.
If only we would all love the way we are called to love . . .
Let us love with the love of the Lord!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Is Hatred Keeping You in the Dark? / BIBLE TAKEOUT

I love you. I love you. I love you. That's how I spent a good part of my second marriage - before my husband abandoned me for the last time. The words were meaningless; my heart was full of hatred. I pridefully bragged to the world how I walked in God's light because I knew and followed the Lord while my husband lived in the dark. Some time after my husband left and I found myself living in the filthy basement of the house we rented with countless dogs facing multiple blizzards and total brokenness, God stripped me of most of what I ever loved and wanted and showed me the inside of my heart. He showed me I had a relationship with everything Christian (churches, pastors, prayer meetings, Christians, and the Bible), and no personal relationship with Him. My now ex-husband would tell you now he was living in the dark. But it was nothing like the darkness in which I lived, my heart hardened with such rage and hatred.

photo in background courtesy of pixabay.com

Don't Give Up on Me - DAILY INSPIRATION

"Don't give up on me." The words didn't just come once. They came several times. Emphatically. "Don't give up on me." "Promise you won't give up on me." My friend had just gotten out of the hospital where she had been exceedingly sick, but by God's grace was still alive. She had not just received medical care; she had gotten another wake-up call from God. As she shared with me some of the things she was coming to see, I reminded her that I had told her some of it over the past few years as I relentlessly shared Bible verses with her and did my best to teach her from God's Word. She had resisted. She had rebelled. And, ultimately, she had distanced herself from me - to the point I thought I would lose her friendship despite how dear she is to me. How surprised I was to hear her imploring me not to give up on her. But then, I shouldn't have been surprised at all - not really. Why?

photo behind the words courtesy of geralt via  pixabay.com


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

L is for Lust: Desiring the Ungodly / Bible Takeout

I know a man who has been consumed with lust for as long as I have known him. And oh how I pointed my finger for years at his insatiable hunger for sexual immorality. Little did I know that lust isn't limited to having insatiable cravings for what is sexually immoral, but it does have everything to do with desiring what is ungodly. So much for pointing fingers. Not only was I filled with the sin of judgment, pride, and condemnation, but I was utterly ignorant of how we ALL struggle with lust of one variety of another. Anytime we are obsessed with satisfying an urgent, aching, desperate hunger for something that goes against the Lord and His ways, we are struggling with lust. And God teaches us in His Word that we need to turn away from the lusts we have tried so desperately to satisfy and to turn to Him and work on becoming holy like He is. In plain English, God tells us to ABSTAIN from the lusts that have controlled so many of our lives.

photo in background courtesy of pixabay.com


Why? Because I Said So / Daily Inspiration

"I don't see why I have to do that," I found myself moaning to the Lord in my usual ongoing conversation with Him. "WHY?" I knew good and well what He wanted me to do next with my work, but nevertheless I found myself questioning Him. After all, shouldn't God explain Himself when we ask why He is telling us to do something? Doesn't it make sense He should have to tell us why He wants us to do something so we can figure out if, and when, we want to do it? Or, even if we are truly committed enough to Him to obey Him regardless of how we feel about what He tells us to do, doesn't He still owe it to us to tell us why? We are adults, aren't we? But how often do we find ourselves reverting to childlike behavior, demanding of our parents why we should have to do something only to be told, "Because I said so."

background photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Best Marriage Advice - from a Pro - BIBLE TAKEOUT

Call me a pro when it comes to marriage. But I am not. Not in the least. I have been abandoned by two husbands, and rest assured we all played our parts - and all fell far too far short of God's glory. It would be easy to say I have learned far more from my mistakes when it comes to marriage than from my successes. But the truth is the greatest lessons I have learned about marriage come from God's Word. In my first marriage, neither one of us was a follower of Christ. In my second marriage, we were believers in Christ but not followers. Now that I am a full-fledged follower of Christ, I know where the very best advice is when it comes to marriage, and I have some of the very best ever marriage advice to give straight from that source.

background photo courtesy of pixabay.com

Ever Feel Stuck? Don't Miss Your Opportunity / DAILY INSPIRATION

Ever felt so stuck you can't help but think you're missing some great opportunity someplace else, in some other situation, with some other person, in some different experience, in some other circumstances, in some other anything at all, anywhere but the very place you're utterly convinced you're STUCK in?! Did you ever consider that the very place you're feeling so stuck might be exactly where a great opportunity lies? This thought came to me thanks to a totally unexpected prayer I found myself praying to God after I happened upon a totally unexpected, and unusual, STUCK situation.

background photo courtesy of pixabay.com

Monday, December 8, 2014

Have You Shot the Messenger? / DAILY INSPIRATION

I'm not good with details, my memory is not up to par, history doesn't much interest me, and it's a struggle for me from one minute to the next to remember the names, places, and specifics of the Bible no matter how much I love the Lord and love His Word. But by God's grace alone, His message behind the details rings loud and clear. Such is the case when it comes to a very small portion in the Old Testament involving the princes of Judah. What they did, and God's response to it, contains a powerful message for us all - just as much this very day as was true all the way back then.

background photo courtesy of pixabay.com

Do You Really "Know" the Lord?

If you profess to know the Lord, does your life reflect that you know Him? Repenting and believing the Gospel that Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for your sins to receive forgiveness and the promise of everlasting life does not mean you have reached the finish line. Being born again through faith in Christ is the starting line. Knowing the Lord is not about believing in Him; it is about believing in Him AND following Him. It is an abomination to God when we profess to know Him but live our lives in disobedience and rebellion toward Him. A genuine follower of Jesus Christ is someone who is willing to forsake his or her own ways, and to study the Bible and learn to live according to the ways of the Lord. While no amount of good works can earn God's love and the promise of eternity, our lives should be filled with good works as the fruit borne from our love for Him and obedience to Him.

If you profess to know the Lord and are living a life of disobedience and rebellion, repent and commit your heart and life unto Him. Not merely in words, but in true sincerity and action. 

Tit 1:16  They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Your Good Deeds Aren't Good Enough - BIBLE TAKEOUT

Your good deeds aren't good enough. And if you think I'm not serious, you're wrong. I'm entirely serious. In fact, let me go a step further. You can do all the good deeds in the world from the next breath you take for the rest of your life, and I can promise you this. Your good deeds will never be enough. Talk about discouraging, huh? Especially for those who invest endless energy into doing so-called good deeds. So what's the deal? Here's the deal. And it's two-fold. So before you stop doing good deeds, please hear me out. We CANNOT earn our way to God's love with good deeds. And we CANNOT earn our way to heaven with good deeds. We are all sinners who fall short of God's glory. Then why should we bother with good deeds at all?

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Life Lesson from 3-Legged Lucy / DAILY INSPIRATION

Life lessons can come in all shapes and sizes and with all number of limbs and legs or missing ones, I have discovered given my caring for 17 mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs. Three-legged Lucy, found under an abandoned shack with an unusable leg due to what was discovered to be bone cancer upon which her leg was amputated, is no exception. Returned to Walk by Faith Ministry just days ago due to anxiety over thunderstorms and separation from her then family, Lucy reminded me immediately what she is most famous for. And, in this reminder, came yet another doggone faith lesson from the Lord.

Loving Lucy, happy as ever! 
Loving Lucy, for she is the epitome of loving when it comes right down to it, is absolutely totally fully completely utterly dedicated to keeping her ears, nose, and hear in tune with my whereabouts - ALL the time. In fact, just minutes ago, she hoisted her three-legged body high up into the air, braced herself on the brick side of my house, and like a puppet hanging from above she popped her head next to my bedroom window so she could peer in and make sure I am here. But this is not an exception to Lucy's rule. This is how 3-legged Lucy lives.

** Prayer Request / Sharing My Heart **

My dear pastor hasn't known me long, but he trusts me. I don't believe he finds it hard to do. As he likes to remind me, I have a transparent heart. From my personal testimony to my struggle with sins, from my over-the-top passion for the Lord to my hurts and challenges, from my rejoicing to my praises, from the heights and depths of my love for the Lord to how zealous I am about my calling as an evangelist, from the times I am broken to God's gracious gift of mercy and wholeness, my heart and life are open for all to see with my hope and prayer they might see the glory of the Lord. And so it is that as I stay true to my transparency, I share with you my heart and latest prayer request.

"The Lord is my strength and song...." Exodus 15:2

Thursday, December 4, 2014

What Are You Bowing Down to? / BIBLE TAKEOUT

I know a person who struggles with a particular sin in which the person actually is in a kneeling position while engaging in that sin. How easy it would be to point the finger in judgment, which I did for many years mind you before the Lord grabbed a hold of me and led me to repentance, and condemn that person for sinning in such a way the person is literally bowing down to the sin. The sins with which you and I struggle may not result in our being physically bowed down while engaged in the sin, but what matters most really is the posture of our hearts, don't you think?

background photo courtesy of morguefile.com

REJOICING in GIVING / Daily Inspiration

Little did I know as I drove along the road with my car jam packed with disabled dogs and a zillion other things I needed on my hurried errands as I dashed off to the beach for a photo session for an article with a local magazine that God was paying close attention, as He always does mind you, to my rambling thoughts. When my mind took a quick visit to a wish I had that someone would make a personal donation for me specifically since I live on a very low income because of my ministry work and would be grateful for such a blessing, I had no idea that just hours later a friend would do just that. Though she was a bit uncertain about whether God had truly placed it on her heart to slip a generous donation into a loving card, I assured her after I had opened the gift that it absolutely was God. She then told me that she was fairly certain that it was God. Why? Because she was so filled with joy in the giving of the gift.

photo courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Goodbye People Pleasing - Daily Inspiration

Goodbye people pleasing. If you struggle with people pleasing the way so many of us have done, you might want to look at it from a different angle. Like the angle from above. That's right. The perspective from heaven. Because while people pleasing might produce a lot of satisfied customers as far as the world around us is concerned, how God views it is an entirely different matter. I should know. After all, God has spent a good part of the past few years showing me in His Word and in my heart just what He has to say about it. Simply put? It's time to say goodbye to people pleasing - and, most precisely, caring what people think of me. But why?

background photo courtesy of morguefile.com
For those of us who have any kind of background in rejection and abandonment, in abuse and hurt, in loneliness and fear, it is not at all uncommon for any and all of this to manifest in the desire to garner anything from love and approval, to validation and affirmation, to confirmation and attention, and on and on, from others. The problem is not that we desire love and acceptance. Nor is the problem that we desire to please another. The problem, and it is a grave one, is that we look to the wrong source. How so?

Is Your Sin Keeping You from God's Heart? - Bible Takeout

Have you ever felt like you have made too many mistakes to be a man or woman after God's own heart? Ever felt like you have struggled with sin way too much to please God? Ever felt like your life will never have any true significance as far as God is concerned because you have fallen too many times? Those who know King David's story in the Bible may know he was considered "a man after [God's]...own heart," and may also be familiar with how he had an affair with a woman and then had her husband killed to cover up his sin. Dig a little deeper into King David's story, and you will find in 1 Chronicles 21, for example, that this was not the only time King David sinned. So how could King David be called a man after God's own heart given he sinned - and not just once, at that?

background of photo courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Meaningless Man's Threshing Floor - BIBLE TAKEOUT

Have you ever felt like your life is meaningless? Totally insignificant? Like you can't seem to see the purpose in your life? A man called Ornan only appears in two places in all of the Bible, and his job was nothing more than to thresh wheat. How many hours, and days, and years, he must have wondered if his life would ever amount to anything more than the threshing floor. Then God called King David to repent for his sin and thereby prevent Him from punishing the people any further for King David's sin by setting up an altar on Ornan's threshing floor. Imagine how surprised Ornan must have been at King David's request to use his threshing floor as an altar to God. But Ornan did not show surprise. He showed instead utter humility and complete surrender. He told King David he would give literally all that he had - the threshing floor, the instruments, and the meat to become an altar to God and as a sacrifice for not a penny.

background photo courtesy of pixabay.com

NATIONAL ENQUIRER magazine - Your Enquiring Mind

For as long as I can remember, the National Enquirer magazine - along with its wild, wacky, and sometimes raunchy photos and headlines - has flaunted itself proudly in the faces of supermarket and drugstore customers propelling their shopping carts up the checkout line. Its long-time motto, "enquiring minds want to know", may seem like the farthest thing imaginable in the way of a catalyst to launch into a vitally important Bible lesson, but in fact it is not. For just as much of the world has pressed its nose and eyes into the pages of the magazine while passing through checkout lines, perusing its pages whether it be for total curiosity, extreme interest, or sheer boredom, so has the world's enquiring mind manifested itself in countless ways throughout the ages as it enquires (inquires and looks into) and seeks everything from A to Z and back again. We live in an enquiring world, don't we? We are all constantly seeking something, or someone, aren't we? We are seekers by nature, are we not? We have enquiring minds, wouldn't you agree? Now take a leap of faith with me for a moment from National Enquirer magazine to the pages of the Old Testament of the Bible.

background photo courtesy of morguefile.com

Monday, December 1, 2014

Need Help? Where Are You Looking? - BIBLE TAKEOUT

"How do you do it?" the freelance journalist asked me when I told her I now have 17 mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs in my care along with the numerous responsibilities of being an evangelist in full-time ministry. Then she laughed; she already knew the answer. She had interviewed me some time ago for an in-depth article for an area newspaper; she had already heard my heart and testimony. But she also knows her own. "I know," she said. We both know what it took me decades to discover.
background photo courtesy of pixabay.com
When I look to myself, or to the world, to provide the help and resources I need, I always fall short. When I look to the Lord, I have all that I need. When I look to myself, or to the world, to meet my hope and expectations, I will never have the strength and success I desire. When I look to the Lord, I have more than I can imagine. And, when I look to the Lord, I find that the help, the resources, the strength and success I find are nothing in comparison with the joy and the peace I find
in loving Him who first loved me (1 John 4:19).

Are you trying to live your life in your own strength? Are you looking to the world to be your help? Or are you looking to the Lord? Is it time to turn unto Him? 

Psa 121:1  A Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 
Psa 121:2  My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. 

The Reason for Your Hope - DAILY INSPIRATION

My life was a roller coaster of hope - and hopelessness. I hoped for a man to love. I was hopeless when relationships with men fell apart. I hoped for a wonderful vacation. The vacations always came to an end. Then what would I hope for? I hoped for a happily ever after marriage. Two husbands abandoned me. I was beyond hopeless. I hoped for this, and I hoped for that. I was high when I was full of hope. I crashed hard, and low, when my hope was not fulfilled. I couldn't get off the hope roller coaster; I was desperate to hope in something, in someone, to feel okay, to feel good, to believe somehow, in some way, I would find fulfillment in life.

photo courtesy of wikipedia.com

CRAZY MAN IN THE POST OFFICE -- Daily Inspiration

reprinted from December 2013 because I believe there is a powerful message here that needs to be heard....

Crazy people always stand out from the crowd, don't they? This one did, alright. I couldn't help but notice him. The post office might have been jam packed with people holding on for dear life to their remaining patience and arms piled high with holiday season packages, but the crazy one drew my attention more than anyone else. Barefoot. In winter. Simply dressed. No coat. No impatience like many of the others. No smile either. A sadness, actually. Soulful eyes. He wore his heart on his sleeve. He was weighed down by some sort of tragedy. His shoulders sagged. And he didn't even have the weight of so many packages to pull his body down, not like all the others did. He had no packages at all. Not even a letter to mail. I watched him carefully, wondering what he would do. What was he standing there for when he didn't have anything to send?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Will You Sacrifice Your Life? BIBLE TAKEOUT

You may not be headed for martyrdom in your love for the Lord like so many people throughout time who have literally given up their physical lives as they stood for the Lord and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ right until the very end, but this does not mean you are exempt from sacrificing your life for Him. God calls each and every one of us to be a "living sacrifice". While we are yet alive, we are called to live for Him rather than for ourselves.

background photo courtesy of morguefile.com
We are to day by day put away our wicked, worldly ways and learn to live the holy lives He has called us to live. We are to sacrifice our own wishes, wants, and ways, and to live our lives as He calls us to. Just as martyrs die a physical death in the name of the Lord, we are to die to ourselves, to our selfish ways, to the ways of this world, and live new lives in Christ. How? We renew our minds with the Bible, and God transforms us as we choose to do what He teaches us through His Word rather than live the way the rest of the world chooses to live. The death involved in this sacrifice is the death of our flesh as we make the decision to live according to His Holy Spirit. 

If you look in the mirror this very day, do you see someone whose life is a sacrifice for the Lord even as you remain alive? 

Rom 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 

Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (underlining added)

ALL BY MY LONESOME / Daily Inspiration

"I want what you have," my loved one told me as we sat catching up on our lives. "The joy. The peace. The hope. To be happy," he continued. But he didn't need to say more. I already knew. For this is the woman  I have become - all by my lonesome.

background of photo courtesy of pixabay.com
"What did you do for Thanksgiving?" he asked me before we made our way into our usual fast food restaurant where we meet every few months to share our longtime love, our tears and troubles, our victories and praise.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

How to Handle UN-Thankful People / Daily Inspiration

Argh. Ugh. Have you ever poured your heart into helping someone, giving to someone, serving someone, blessing someone, doing something loving and kind for someone, doing anything at all for someone only to discover the person doesn't have the remotest intention of even uttering a single under-the-breath "thank you" in response? Did you find yourself a bit disappointed, to say the least, if not discouraged, resentful, bitter, angry, hurt, disappointed, offended, anything whatever in response other than perfectly content? Imagine my surprise when I found myself  raising my voice at the 16 mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs in my care to yell at them about how incredibly inconsiderate it was of them to never tell me thank you for all the work I do caring for all of them! And they didn't even bat an eyelash let alone pass around a thank you card to sign with their paws. The nerve of them!

me with three of the 16 incredibly special blessings from the Lord -
even if they don't send thank you cards!!!!

What Kind of Fountain is YOUR MOUTH? / Bible Takeout

How easy it is to praise the Lord for His goodness, and how easy for us, someone who has let down one of our loved ones, someone who has refused to love us in return, someone who has neglected to show us the honor we feel we deserve, someone who has made our work harder and our lives more difficult. God is worthy of our praise, and the person who has fallen short of our expectations is worthy of our mean and spiteful words, our bad mouthing and gossiping, our negativity, our cold shoulder and verbal revenge, right? God makes the answer plain and clear in the book of James in the Bible.

photo courtesy of morguefile.com
People are made in God's image, and we have no right to bless Him and then turn around and curse people. Our mouths should not be a fountain of blessing and cursing, the Bible makes clear. Just how easy is it to refrain from speaking terribly of someone we believe deserves our negativity? Hard. Challenging. In some cases, it might seem downright impossible. But God does not call us to do something without also enabling us to do it. Our job is to get our flesh under control and choose by the love, grace, and power of God to walk in His ways rather than our own. Through faith in Christ, we can love and forgive rather than be a fountain of verbal vengeance, spite, bitterness, hatred, etc.

Is your mouth a fountain of love and forgiveness, of mercy and blessing? Or, like in my own case, is it time for a cleansing? 

Jas 3:9  Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 
Jas 3:10  Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 
Jas 3:11  Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 
Jas 3:12  Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

THE MAN IN VILE RAIMENT - Bible Takeout

Vile raiment. In plain English. Absolutely vile. Awful clothing. Just picture it. Stinking filthy. Nothing matches. Stripes in one direction; plaid in another. Surely you've seen it. On the subway. Begging on the street corner. Huddled up for a bit of warmth in the corner of the public library in winter with the million years old threadbare coat. The ancient bag lady pouring 10 packets of sugar into the McDonald's coffee in the booth that has become her second home to the streets. The sugar will tide her over until the soup kitchen opens. The young family with the cardboard sign just down the street from you, and you wonder why couldn't they pick another  neighborhood? Before you turn up your nose any further, or turn away for another moment, or wonder for another second why they can't just go out and get themselves a job, heed this warning from the Lord.

photo courtesy of pixbay.com

Turkey, Stuffing & REPENTANCE? - Daily Inspiration

Americans most commonly equate Thanksgiving with a day of food, fellowship, and family, with an occasional prayer or toast perhaps haphazardly tossed into the mix. But turkey, stuffing, sweet potato pie, football games, and leftovers for dinner often become a much higher priority than the giving of thanks. Some people count a few blessings here and there, topped off with homemade apple pie, whipped cream, and a bunch of Pepto Bismol as needed. Others do give a high priority to thanking God for their blessings as they partake of the traditional thanksgiving meal. Some don't acknowledge God at all, plowing  instead through the piles of mashed potatoes and busying themselves with scraping the marshmallow crust off the sweet potato pie for a little "appetizer" when nobody is watching while the kids pile outside to toss a football until the college football comes on the t.v. and the turkey is just about done. But no matter how high or low a priority the giving of thanks to God is given on Thanksgiving Day, or not at all, there is to what most Americans is probably a little known fact; Thanksgiving Day was founded for thanksgiving AND for REPENTANCE.

background of photo courtesy of pixabay.com


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Your Excuses May Be Killing You

We can make all the excuses in the world for our sins, and we can prove ourselves to humans whereby we get their love, respect, acceptance, and approval, but at the end of the day the one that we stand before is not the world. We will stand before the Lord and have to give account. As the world ever worsens in its wickedness, and its standards become darker by the day, it becomes easier for us to justify our wrongdoing when we use the world's standards as our measuring stick. When Jesus Christ confronted the Pharisees for coveting, greed, and placing such a high priority on their wealth, and they responded with derision, He told them expressly that their self-justification would amount to nothing because the abomination of their sin was clear as day in the eyes of the Lord who knows the hearts of all humankind.

photo courtesy of pixabay.com

Man Left for Half Dead Gets Miracle

It's in the news every day. One person murdered. Another left for dead. Woman raped. Kid abused. Bunch of people robbed. The news gets worse and worse, and the miracle stories seem fewer and far between. Then along comes a news story that doesn't just leave your mouth hanging open at the fact miracles still happen, but it brings such conviction to your heart that you wonder how you can ever be the same.