Friday, November 21, 2014

Goodbye Shy, Hello Bold for God - My Testimony

Whoever you are, I pray this little piece of my testimony, shared in today's DAILY INSPIRATION, would bless you, inspire you, encourage you, and that God would use it to help you to press on. 

I was one of the shyest people I have ever known. I was also afraid. Quite the combination. I was so shy as a child that I was petrified when I won the national French contest because I would have to walk down the aisle to get my award with a large audience all around me. I did not want to be noticed. I did not want to be seen. I used to wave my pony tail in the air at competitive tennis tournaments when I wanted my parents to walk away so they couldn't watch me. The day I finished my very first can of beer, I discovered the number one way to make all the shy and fear go away. I spent four years at an Ivy League university drinking away my shy and fear and hurts and memories of all I wanted forgotten. I drank my way straight out of shy and right into a boldness beyond imagination. Bold in all the wrong ways.

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For years afterward, even after I became sober, I stayed bold. But my bold sober was anything and everything but godly. How could it be godly? I did not know Him. I boldly took a baseball bat to the world with a fiery temper, an arrogant attitude, a judgmental spirit, a condemning nature, while all along inside my core I was lost and broken, terrified and hurting, wounded and alone, just as scared underneath it all as ever. But shy I was not. I was boldly living a life of sin and debauchery, of almost anything wrong I could get my hands and heart on.

Got Lust? You May Have More than You Think / BIBLE TAKEOUT

When Jesus Christ calls His followers to deny themselves, He is telling those of us who repent and believe the Gospel that He died for our sins so we can be forgiven and promised everlasting life that we must turn away from our ungodly lusts and ways. How easy it would be to wave aside the "lust" issue and say that it belongs exclusively to adulterers, prostitutes, fornicators, pornography addicts, etc. But the word "lust" is translated from a Greek word that also includes in its definition the words desire, eagerness for, and inordinate desire, according to the Greek lexicon. Followers of Jesus Christ, therefore, are called to turn away from our desire for the unholy things of this world.

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We must deny ourselves the pleasures of that which is wrong, wicked, sinful, unholy, not of the Lord. This is not restricted to ungodly sexual lust. As we follow Jesus Christ, we must leave behind us anything in and of this world that is not godly. How, then, do we know what is godly and not? God makes it abundantly clear in the Bible the difference between what is right and wrong in His eyes. And what may seem right in the eyes of the world does not make it right. Our standards are to be God's standards.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

When Greed Prevails - Daily Inspiration

Mat 6:19  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 
Mat 6:20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 
Mat 6:21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 

Either greed is at an all-time high, or I am just more aware of it. I may be more aware of it because God has dealt with my decades of selfishness and taught me how to love, give, and serve rather than lust, covet, accumulate, hoard, and take advantage of others. And when I fall short, He reminds me. I am not here for me; I am here for Him and am called to lay down my life for others. Is the world greedier than it has ever been, or am I just hyper sensitive to it now?
photo courtesy of pixabay.com
Regardless of my own remarkable transformation by God's grace and His Word alone, I am assured by Bible prophecy of the dire straits the world would come to that I am more than likely not off the mark when I believe the greed of humankind has reached unprecedented heights and depths. But as greed appears to prevail in the grand scheme of things, from random individuals to businesses everywhere I seem to turn, and from people I would have thought would be giving to major corporations and institutions not living up to the Lord's "love your neighbor" command, I am reminded of this.

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WARNING: Watch Your Eyes / Today's Bible Takeout

What did Eve do just before she sinned against God which resulted in her and Adam losing their relationship with God and being kicked out of the Garden of Eden? She LOOKED with her eyes. What did King David do just before he committed adultery and had the husband of the woman killed before he ultimately repented? He LOOKED at a woman bathing herself. What does the Bible say about what we LOOK at? If we fill our eyes with evil, you guessed it. We fill our hearts and lives with evil. What does the Bible say about lusting with our eyes? It is not of God. It is of the world. And God does not call us to follow the ways of the world. He calls us to follow Him. 

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The Best Message in the Universe


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Goodbye Makeup, Hello Awesome Discovery

This is the first winter in as far back as I can remember that I haven't even bothered with the makeup. Not that I won't take a dive back into it at one point or another, but chances are pretty good it won't be like it was in the past. I used to see it as necessary. Mandatory, in fact. After all, we live in a society in which our appearance is just about number one, don't you think? But this winter, I am quite sure, will be quite different. This I know for sure thanks to an awesome discovery I have made that I cannot help but share with the world.

photo courtesy of pixabay.com
And all I have to do is take one good look at myself in the mirror in winter time, what with my white-as-snow, ugh, skin, not to mention the effects of middle age that have made their grand entrance into my life. What appear to be permanent bags - tired? often - under my eyes. Wrinkles wherever they choose to be, not that I invited them nor had any say as to where they might make their landfall. I could go on, but why waste the time? I believe my point has been made - or the first part of it anyway.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Need Encouragement? Powerful Lesson from Long Ago

David's life could not have been much worse. His people's enemy, the Amalekites, had captured the women, burned their city, and taken captive their sons and daughters. As if that were not bad enough, the people were so distraught over their horrific trials they considered stoning David. David could have run away. He could have killed himself in an effort to escape from it all. He could have given up and spiraled into an ever deeper depression. But David did something instead that is a powerful lesson to us all.

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David "encouraged himself in the Lord his God." David didn't reach out to and depend on the encouragement of others. But neither did he allow himself to get swallowed up in grief, disappointment, discouragement, and depression. And when he decided to encourage himself, he did not do so in some random way. He did not merely pat himself on the back and puff himself up with pride in an effort to encourage himself. He did not arrogantly consider his successes in the past. He very specifically and clearly encouraged himself IN THE LORD. How do I know? Because the Bible says so.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Say Goodbye to Vengeance - Are You Ready?

Heb_10:30  For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 

When David in the Bible came face to face with his arch enemy King Saul, who had done everything imaginable to kill him,  David refused to seek vengeance and kill King Saul because the king was God's anointed. What was the end result? David's wise decision to refuse revenge humbled Saul on the one hand and on the other hand paved the way for David to become king. So who took care of dealing with Saul and his wrongdoing? God took care of it. This was not the only time David had the chance to seek revenge with Saul. When David came face to face with Saul yet again, and had the opportunity to kill this man who had wreaked such havoc in his life in desperately trying to kill him, David once again refused vengeance. He trusted God to deliver him. How did Saul die ultimately? He fell down on his own sword - on purpose - when the Philistines came after him. David, who could have lost his ability to become king by seeking vengeance on God's anointed Saul, became King of Israel and was part of the lineage of none other than Jesus the Christ, savior of the world! David had trusted God to deliver him from his troubles and to deal with Saul. Who does vengeance belong to, according to the Bible? Not us. Vengeance belongs to the Lord. And when we step out of the way and refuse to seek vengeance on those who have wronged us, God takes care of it.

photo courtesy of pixabay.com

Do you know what Jesus Christ did on the cross when He was reviled? He did not revile in return. Do you know what He did when He suffered on the cross? He did not threaten those who came at Him. Did He open His mouth and yell and scream and fling accusations at those who tortured and ultimately killed Him? No. He didn't open His mouth to do that at all. He used His mouth to forgive. And do you know what He did? He put His trust in God who would judge righteously. He let God take care of it.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Audience of NONE - Would You Do It Anyway?

1Co 10:31  Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 

I shouldn't have been surprised by the little note a beloved friend included in a donation she and a friend of hers sent me. She had told me she wouldn't take the time to write anything this time around, but she has a heart for the Lord and couldn't help but write what the Lord had laid on her heart. She thanked me for my obedience to God. Just moments after I read her brief note, unlike her usual long letters, it dawned on me what she had written. Only minutes before I retrieved her note and donation from the mailbox, the Lord had dealt with me in yet another lesson in obedience.

photo courtesy of pixabay.com
I had been going back and forth with Him on His direction to me to write another book. After writing three books that almost nobody read, and after he had told me to take all three books out of circulation because I had written them with the wrong heart, I have had a big hesitation to write another one. What if nobody reads it? What if I pour my heart into yet another book, and it falls to the wayside just like the other ones?

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A Short, Sweet, & Victorious Battle Plan for Your Life

The Old Testament is chock full of battles, isn't it? Ever noticed the common denominator when it came to victories in the battles? The victors sought the Lord and stayed in contact with Him oftentimes before, during, and after the battles, listening and obeying and letting the Lord lead the way. Whether they sought the Lord's face themselves, or sought the Lord through a prophet, or simply followed the directions of an angel of the Lord who came to deliver messages and directions from God to them, they sought and were open to and submitted to the Lord.

photo courtesy of morguefile.com
Too many of us, too much of the time, seek the Lord when we have already lost our battles, or we cry out fox-hole prayers when we have found ourselves in the fierce warfare of battles we perhaps should never have entered into in the first place, not without the Lord anyway, or we do not seek Him at all nor are we open to Him even when He sends messengers to give us directions. Choosing not to study the Bible and to apply the Bible to our lives, and to spend time praying and seeking His face and listening for His voice, these are the most obvious ways many of us rebel against hearing from and following the Lord in the peaks and valleys, the battles and the victories, and yes, even the defeats, of our lives.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

The Battle of Your Life - A Lesson for Victory

Why did David the keeper of sheep with his laughable weapons of a slingshot and five stones achieve an unfathomable victory in his battle against the gargantuan Goliath and his mighty weapons and armor? I believe the nine reasons I found accounting for David's victory could prove life-changing if we choose to use them in the battles we face.

* He had a HEART AFTER GOD. (1 Samuel 17:7)
* He had THE RIGHT MOTIVE going into the battle.
* He was ANOINTED BY GOD. (1 Samuel  16:13)
* He REMEMBERED HIS PAST VICTORIES and gave GLORY TO GOD for them. (1 Samuel 17:37)
* He had CONFIDENCE IN GOD, not himself. (1 Samuel 17:47)
* He REFUSED TO BE INTIMIDATED no matter what came at him. (1 Samuel 17:43-44)
* He put his trust in THE NAME OF THE LORD. (1 Samuel 17:45)
* He knew he would GIVE GLORY TO GOD for the victory as he had given glory to God in the past. (1 Samuel 17:46)
* He knew THE BATTLE IS THE LORD'S. (1 Samuel 17:47)

God had chosen David over his brothers to be future King of Israel because God saw David's heart. David had a HEART AFTER GOD.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Life Lessons from Long, Long, Ago

Sometimes the greatest lessons come from long, long ago. Such is always the case when it comes to the Bible, isn't it? No matter how long ago the people in the Bible lived, the life lessons we learn from their true stories are timeless and priceless. There is no better counsel in the universe than from the Lord Himself, and no greater lessons learned from others' stories than from the people of the Bible.

So why is it we spend so much of our lives looking for wisdom from everywhere but the Lord, and why do we look to others as role models more than we look to those the Lord chose to be in His Word? Because of our humanness, our ignorance, our foolishness, our pride, our rebellion, and our obstinacy. As I shared with someone I met on the beach just the other day as I tagged alongside two of Walk by Faith Ministry's wheelchair dogs, who are we to dare to put anyone or anything above the Lord and His Word?

Who are we to place television, movies, magazines, radio, our social lives, our jobs, our dreams, anyone or anything above the Creator of the universe? Yet we do, don't we? But while we are still alive and breathing, it is not too late to turn our priorities around and to place them in their right order. The Lord first. The Bible. Our lives.

Our lives are best lived, after all, when we seek the Lord above all else and commit ourselves to live unto His ways.

Mat 6:33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 

Isa 55:6  Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 

Isa 55:7  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When the Automatic Door Isn't Automatic

There is nothing quite like trying to go through an automatic door when it is not behaving itself and being automatic. I'm the kind of person who doesn't just walk away from the door. Nor do I just patiently wait and twiddle my thumbs. If I held a mirror to my face, I am fairly certain I would see my eyes roll clear to the sky. Then my eyes would quickly descend. Because I would no doubt be staring at the "automatic" door wondering why the heck it won't do its job. After all, it does have a job to do, doesn't it?

background of photo courtesy of pixabay.com
Shouldn't it automatically open? The trouble is that the longer I stare at it without making a move, the more my eyes want to roll straight upward again with my "Duh, you're supposed to open. Now open already" attitude. Then, as though the world might come to an end if I don't get through the door that should truly be fired for being totally NOT automatic, I PUSH with ALL my strength - NOT - my way through the door with all the world watching. As though the world has nothing better to do than to watch my battle with the automatic door that isn't automatic after all.

Monday, November 10, 2014

When Your Enemy Becomes Your Friend

One of the greatest gifts God has ever given me is how my enemies have become my friends, how those I hated most are those I love most, how those who hurt me the most I cry for before the Lord to save and heal them, how He has given me a love for humanity that I am quite sure can be none other than His. His love.

photo courtesy of pixabay.com
For the same love He has extended to me through faith in Jesus Christ, the same mercy and compassion, the same forgiveness, the same sweet kindness and tenderness, He has enabled me to have this for others. All the time? No. But more and more. More often than ever. So why not all the time? The only reason is this. My flesh still gets in the way at times. But more and more, I am learning to deny my flesh, to take up my cross as the Lord calls us to do, and to follow Jesus as He calls and equips me to love the unlovable, to forgive the unforgivable, to extend mercy to those who seem least to deserve it.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Humble Helper

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 best helper in the universe is the Holy Spirit of God who among other things is referred to in the Bible as the "Helper," but rest assured God has human helpers worldwide living their lives for Him as I was reminded over the past few months when God called me to move forward greatly in my ministry work and helped me to do just that. Not only did He send me a host of prayer warriors both locally and around the nation to pray me up, through, and forward in this new, exciting, and humbling phase of my ministry life, but He also utterly surprised me by sending me one specific humble helper who seemed to appear out of absolutely nowhere. But to me what seemed like out of "nowhere" was, of course, God's way of dropping another blessing clear down from heaven.

The "Finding the Light" Gospel tract is available individually or in volume upon request

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Who God Created You to Be

"I just want to walk in God's love, and I want to be obedient and faithful and loyal to the Lord," I told a friend via her voice mail recently as I shared with her I was waiting to meet with a loved one who has struggled beyond description for years and had just popped back into my life once again after years of weaving in and out of my life. As soon as I hung up the phone, I was flabbergasted at the words I had spoken. What a far cry from the woman I once was.

I know what I would have told my friend in years past. I know what I would have wanted. And I know what I would have done as far as my loved one was concerned. In open rebellion, I would have been filled with pride, arrogance, condemnation, judgment, criticism, bitterness, hurt, fear, anger, control and manipulation - my mainstays for years.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hey God, HOLD THE FRIES. . .

When I was a little girl, though to this day there is much I don't remember, how could I possibly forget that one of my favorite things in the world was a trip to McDonald's, or bags-full of take-out McDonald's for me and my brother when my parents went out? Then there was the McDonald's game. At 47 years old, with a limited memory of my childhood anyway, I can barely remember. But what I do recall is that the game allowed us to place and fill our own orders. Okay, so we didn't get cheeseburgers to stuff our faces with since it was only a game, and we didn't get to open the packets of ketchup and squeeze out the yummy contents to pour over our fries, but at least we got to be in charge of our orders. And so it was in this American culture of ours that I learned at an early age all about placing orders, getting orders filled, enjoying the fulfillment of those orders, and being able to shout out, "Hey, I told you to hold the fries!"

photo courtesy of pixabay.com
Okay, admittedly, I loved fries too much to tell anyone to hold them. And despite my limited recollection, I don't ever remember shouting at the pimply teen behind the counter, or at the old guy with the back all crooked over from standing over the fries machine for too many years, or whoever it was. But I absolutely learned at an early age that I had the right to ask for what I wanted, and that I should expect to get it. McDonald's fries or not.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

How Can I Do the Work I Do?

When people wonder how I can do the work I do, which includes caring for 16 mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs but is above all else to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ while ministering the Lord's love to a world in need as a sold out, 24-7 committed servant of His, the answer is simple.


God. His love. His strength. His provision. And His amazing mercy, for I fall terribly far short daily in all that I do. But I confess my sins to Him, He forgives me through faith in Jesus Christ, and He encourages me and enables me to carry on. But how can I help dogs like these, and how can I help so many?


Shouldn't I just give up on them? Some days my flesh wants to quit. But God lifts me up and leads me forward. And then I remember. God could have given up on me long ago, and still could on a daily basis. But He didn't give up on me. He sent Christ to the cross to pay the penalty for my sins, and led me to repent and place my faith in Jesus so I can be forgiven and be promised eternal life instead of forever torment in hell.

Who, then, am I to give up on His Creation, whether it be a homeless man, a suicidal woman, an addict young person, a paralyzed dog, anyone at all whom God created.

When God Says NO WAY

Years ago, I BEGGED God to take away my incredibly challenging circumstances. He flat out refused. In fact, He went one giant - and challenging - step further. He told me He was using my circumstances to change my heart. By His grace alone, I made it through and out the other end of that difficult season of my life. With an altered heart, mind you. Nowhere near perfect, but my heart was changed nonetheless. Suffice it to say, my heart was on its way to where it needed to be. So, wise woman that I am, I foolishly - yes, foolishly - believed God was done using challenging circumstances to change my heart. And oh how wrong I was! In fact, all these years later now, I have been greatly distressed over a problem I have that nobody I have ever talked to struggles with. I figured the easiest solution, of course, was for me to wave my magic wand and God - my prince charming - would come riding in on His beautiful, well fed and exquisitely well cared for horse to take away what I perceive to be the cause of my problem. God's response? NO WAY! What, then, am I, and what then, are we all, supposed to do when God says NO WAY?

photo courtesy of freepik.com
Okay, here comes my confession. I have a noise sensitivity. No big deal, right? Well, let me be more precise. I go through periods of time when I can hear every noise imaginable not to mention every noise unimaginable. I can hear noises coming from multiple directions. I can hear little noises nobody else can hear. And I can hear big noises others can tune out. And I can hear every dog bark, every dog whimper, whine, and, did I mention I have 16 dogs in my care? I can hear the extremely loud industrial business that parked itself right near my property. And I can still hear it even though it moved down the road. I can hear the dump trucks back up at 6 in the morning with their BEEPING noises.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Best Shower Ever - Need One?

I just took the best shower ever. Or at least I thought I did. After four years of smelly well water that could hardly be called clean, I got a new well tank. After low water pressure, I got a new pressure switch for the well. Then, after continued low hot water pressure, I spent my birthday money I had intended to get a used bicycle to buy a new shower and tub set in a last-ditch effort to get the shower up to par. Oh, but then, that was not all. I was blessed with a donation of a new hot water heater. Needless to say, surely my first shower after all these changes would have to be called my best shower ever, right? Wrong.

photo courtesy of  pixabay.com
The dirt I needed to wash off of me after a few days without hot water was nothing compared with the filth inside of me thanks to two consecutive days of a tumble downward into an old sin I absolutely detest. Now, don't get me wrong. I didn't always hate the sin as much as I do now. I despise my sin now more than ever because I am in love with the Lord more than ever. And let me tell you something. The best shower ever - clean, hot, good pressure and all - does not even come one iota close to the shower of mercy the Lord offers those who repent and place their faith in Jesus Christ who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. And not only does God offer forgiveness when we are born again and saved by confessing Jesus as Lord and believing in our hearts God resurrected Jesus Christ, but God offers us forgiveness each time we come to Him afterward with genuine remorse over our sins. Furthermore, He does not merely offer us forgiveness, as though that is not enough. He promises to cleanse us.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Big Surrender - Care to Elaborate?

"I've surrendered," someone told me recently as the person burst into tears. I held wide open my arms and gave the person a heartfelt hug. How grateful I was to hear of the person's surrender. But when I looked back at the person's words and the ensuing conversation, something didn't sit right inside of me. I had heard the person speak of surrender in the past, and sadly the person had quickly returned to old ways rather than to follow through on what the person had described would be a changed life. The overwhelming conviction I had this time around when I looked back at the conversation was that I had absolutely no right to judge, and that I didn't see the person's heart as God does. But still, even when I sought to consider the conversation in a positive light, I continued to have a sense that something just wasn't quite right. And then it came to me. The discernment I had about the person, once I was able to put aside the judgment and to look at the situation with a clear and pure heart, was what I discovered to be a lesson I desperately needed to learn and felt led to pass along to others.


When the person had spoken of surrender, I had assumed the person spoke of a surrender to God. Whether or not this was the case, only God knows. But the lesson for me is that surrender can be a wonderful, and necessary, thing when the surrender is to the Lord. But there is also a surrender that can be devastating, and even ultimately deadly. And this is the surrender we humans can make to our own flesh, to the ways of the world, and to Satan our rival enemy. I do believe the person may have in fact surrendered, but my concern is that the person surrendered to the widespread deception in our world today associated with people, programs, ways, and beliefs that try to make themselves appear as of the Lord but in fact are borne from false, and deadly, teaching.

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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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?