1 John 4:8 and 16 say, “God is love.” That is the first, and possibly the hardest, thing we need to learn about God. That He loves me. Yes, me, Sandra. Yes, you put your name there. Say it out loud, God loves me, ______. From early in life we’re told we’re wrong, too loud, too quiet, too short, too tall. When others don’t criticize us, we turn on ourselves. Continue reading
After the birds planted a hackberry seed, when it came up right where we’d had an Althea bush, my husband moved it close to our back door. Too close, as it turned out, for either plant. As it grew, I realized its shape didn’t resemble our old Althea and wondered what was this tree-like, former seedling. Continue reading
Remember the neon-colored, fuzzy little dolls of a few years ago that said, “Please be patient; God isn’t through with me yet.” This morning I thought of that saying and almost jumped up and down in glee. God’s not through with me yet! That’s a real praise the Lord. The same is true with you. Continue reading
A friend gives me a beautifully wrapped present, a 4″x4″ square but quite heavy. Why did she give me a gift, I wondered? It’s not my birthday or anything special. Excitedly, I open it and know she can see the disappointment on my face. But I can’t help it; I’m almost crying. Inside the gorgeous box was a dirty, ugly rock. I wished she had not given me anything rather than something like that. What must she think of our friendship?
This beautiful rainbow over Yellowstone Lake came after a thunderstorm, while my husband and I boated on the lake with a fishing guide. Thankfully, we were not in the main part of storm but the waves got close to two feet high as we bumped and rocked our way back to the dock. Continue reading
Famine, near starvation. What could be worse? That makes my problems seem not quite so bad. How about yours? Yes, they don’t go away because someone else’s are worse; they don’t even lessen. But it does help me gain perspective. Poor Habakkuh. His situation could not get any worse, but look at what he did! Continue reading
A victim of your circumstances? Yes, some things about our situation we can’t change. But we can change how we think about and react to that problem. We can have a victim mentality or we can have winner thinking. What do I mean by that?
In Luke 4:24-25 when Jesus spoke to the paralyzed man lying on the mat and told him to get up, the man had to choose to obey. He could have chosen not to believe Jesus and stayed lying there and been bedridden the rest of his life. But he chose the winner’s way. Jesus put mud on a man’s eyes and told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam (John 9:6-7). The man made a choice. He could have said, “Here’s water that’s closer, I’ll just wash in it,” but he wouldn’t have been able to see because he didn’t obey Jesus’ word to him. Again, faith required a decision. Continue reading
If I were preaching or teaching
Or witnessing to the lost,
I’d say I needed the anointing of the Lord
So that His words would be said
In the power of His Spirit and might.
But if I live my daily life,
At home or work or play,
I may not think I need God’s anointing.
For who am I to need His power
In the mundane things I do?
But who am I, indeed, to need His power,
Whether at home or work or play?
How many lives do I touch
By the sermons and the teachings
I unknowingly live today?
Yes, Lord God, anoint me indeed
With the power of your Holy Spirit,
For you alone know the ones I reach
By the strength of my faith,
By the words of my testimony.
- Anoint, Anointing: Anointing in the New Testament also refers to the anointing of the Holy Spirit, which brings understanding (1 John 2:20, 27). This anointing is not only for kings, priests, and prophets; it is for everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. The anointing occurs physically with a substance such as oil, myrrh, or balsam. But this is also a spiritual anointing, as the Holy Spirit anoints a person’s heart and mind with the love and truth of God.
(Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary; copyright 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers; from PC Study Bible.)
Stepping out in faith never comes easily, but sometimes the battle turns long and drawn out. I think faith costs more dearly during those times. Look at Abraham, “the Father of Faith,” for an example. Abraham’s father Terah with Abraham and Sarah left Ur of the Chaldeans, where his family had lived for generations, to go to Haran. There they made their home and Terah died after a number of years. God told Abraham to leave there and go to a land He would show him. So Abraham took all his servants and all his possessions, including many cattle and sheep, and left without any idea of where he was going. Taking giant steps of faith, Abraham started walking. Continue reading
Phillip Baker, in his Daily Move, sent out this short message:
Harry Houdini once failed to unlock a door. He had never failed to pick a lock. So, what happened? The door was already unlocked. All he had to do was kick it open. Many times Christians believe a door is locked to them, when all they have to do is kick it open. What took place at Calvary unlocked everything. Continue reading
Luke 18:35-41 tells the story of a blind man who shouted at Jesus when he heard the Messiah was coming into Jericho. Although the crowd told him to stop and tried to ignore him, the man yelled louder still until Jesus noticed him. When asked what he wanted, the man replied, “I want to see.” Immediately Jesus said, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” This kind of faith demonstrates the bulldog principle because the man had to ignore the crowd and continue shouting until Jesus heard him. An even better example is in verses 1-5 of the same chapter where Jesus tells the parable of the woman crying out for justice before the unjust judge. After repeated requests from the woman, the judge finally gives in simply to get rid of her, admitting that he didn’t care anything about the laws of God or the rights of people; he grew tired of putting up with her. Now the point is that our heavenly Father is nothing like the unjust judge in not caring about us. He loves us more than we can imagine; however, sometimes for reasons we don’t understand, God will delay answers to our fervent prayers. Continue reading
Imagine one particular morning you’re eating breakfast with my husband and me, looking onto our large backyard with numerous trees of various kinds. Our two dinette windows occupy most of that wall’s space, while about 25 feet away, three chickadees vainly try getting seed from my bird feeder. They know from lots of experience that when they see seeds, it should flow out the holes at the bottom of the plastic feeder onto the tray where they can eat it. In frustration, the two parents pecked several places on the sides trying to force the seed onto the tray. “Why won’t those stubborn seeds come out so we can eat them?” the chickadees question. Continue reading
Isaiah 50:10-11 (Amplified Bible) states: “Who is among you who [reverently] fears the Lord, who obeys the voice of His Servant, yet who walks in darkness and deep trouble and has no shining splendor [in his heart]? Let him rely on, trust in, and be confident in the name of the Lord, and let him lean upon and be supported by his God. Behold, all you [enemies of your own selves] who attempt to kindle your own fires [and work out your own plans of salvation], who surround and gird yourselves with momentary sparks, darts, and firebrands that you set aflame! — walk by the light of your self-made fire and of the sparks that you have kindled [for yourself, if you will]! But this shall you have from My hand: you shall lie down in grief and in torment. [Isa 66:24.]” Continue reading
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV).
He [Peter] came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. 13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. 15 But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.” 16 Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished (Acts 12:12-17). Continue reading
At the end of “The Three Chickadees” I stated I wished I had rules so that if you were a chickadee, every time you went to my feeder, you’d be guaranteed to get seed. In this case, however, the chickadees are believers and the feeder is God. Let’s consider the difference between living by rules and living by abiding in our Lord Jesus Christ. Rules are easier, I think, because then you can check off the boxes and be assured you’ve done all you need to. The Pharisees of the New Testament kept all the outward rules but didn’t have compassion for anyone and were the ones Jesus rebuked most because of that. They liked to be highly praised by men but that was all they gained from their religion. They didn’t have a clue about what God wanted from them. And they had no joy. Continue reading
As I watched my bird feeder at breakfast, I saw three chickadees trying to get some seed, which they were sure was inside the feeder. They went all around the tray on the outside but to no avail. Then two of them even pecked at the plastic sides of the feeder. They could see the seeds inside, but they would not come out. Why not? Continue reading
If you had grown up in Galveston on the Gulf Coast like I did, you would have gone to the beach often as a child. We still live near Galveston and our grandchildren have enjoyed going to the beach and playing in the water. Often my husband and I simply drive there and watch families take their small children wading so that the water comes up only a little ways. Older children go in deeper, of course, and surfers like to go still further out to ride the waves into shore. Shrimp boats certainly aren’t within swimming distance but are easily visible, while the oil tankers and container ships are out very deep so they are barely seen on the horizon. I thought of this last week while I was reading in the book of Ezekiel. Continue reading
Your Father God sees you far differently than you may see yourself. Sometimes I’m my own worst critic; aren’t you? At least I used to be until I learned that no matter how I view myself, my Father dearly loves me. Then He gave me a love for myself that quit believing all the lies Satan would tell me. I now recognize when I do wrong and admit it, apologizing to whomever I have hurt. I ask my loving Father to forgive me and know He has wiped my slate clean; therefore, I don’t have to carry that guilt any longer. Continue reading
I hope each of you has a wonderful Valentine’s Day filled with love from family and friends. I especially pray that you will realize, as far as humans are capable, the love of God. A love so very rich and strong that He sent His only very beloved Son, who was with Him from before there was time, to earth to live a perfect life so He could become the perfect Sacrifice for your rebellion and mine against God. Then Jesus took all that horrible amount of sin upon Himself on the cross and died to pay the price to redeem you and me from hell, so that we might live eternally with Him and God the Father in heaven. Not only for our eventual life in heaven did He die and rise again, though, but also for the rest of our lives on earth.
Sound impossible? It is for us but not for God because Luke 1:37 tells us, “Nothing is impossible with God.” The context is important: An angel has just announced to Mary, a virgin, that she will have a son; furthermore, her older relative Elizabeth, who was considered barren, is in her sixth month of pregnancy. Then the angel pronounces Nothing is impossible with God.