Once upon a time I was somewhat artsy. I enjoyed painting with water colors but the problem with them was, if I made a wrong stroke, it wasn’t easy to fix it. I could paint over it but if you looked closely, you could still see it. Pen & inks yielded the same challenges. I did some pencil drawings also. The great thing about those was that you could erase a mistake and never even know it was there. It was also very easy to smudge a line between black and white so that you couldn’t tell where one ended and the other began. Sometimes I think we want our lives to be in pencil. We want to be able to smudge that line between wrong & right and we want to be able to erase the parts that we don’t want anyone to see. Problem is, everything we do is permanent. Even when you try your best to hide a mistake, it’s still there & satan makes sure that there is always someone there just waiting to point out where you’ve messed up. The only way you can completely get rid of all the mistakes is to cover them with the blood of Jesus Christ. It will remove even the ugliest mistakes and guide you in creating a new work of art. And although Satan is still going to provide plenty of people to remind everyone what a mess your canvas used to be, all that will actually matter is that now you are the Master’s masterpiece.
I have spent the last couple of weeks praying. Multiple times a day. Praying while cleaning. Praying while cooking. Praying while driving. Praying for healing for a loved one that has been very sick.
One day last week, after I had been praying, I was thinking about the situation and I had concerns. Because although her condition had not worsened, it didn’t seem to be getting any better. And at some point, something needed to change. And I thought to myself…maybe the prayers need to change. I’ve been praying for weeks to heal her, to comfort her, to ease her pain, for God’s guidance for the doctors and nurses… But what did Jesus say in scripture every time He healed someone? He told them that their FAITH has healed them.
So that day, my prayers changed. Rather than asking for healing, I began thanking God for the healing He was doing right now! It became almost a chant. I spent the day with an almost constant mental loop of thanking God for His healing and for His faithfulness to answer prayers.
The next morning we got a call that she had been able to sit up and visit with her husband. Still very very sick…but improvement!!
So the loop continued. I thanked God. Not a hopeful thankfulness. But a, “Thank you God because I KNOW that You are healing her right now!” I wholehearted faith fueled prayer KNOWING that God was working a miracle even as I was praying.
So the next day we get a phone call, and not only has she improved, but she is home from the hospital!!!
So maybe…if you have been praying and nothing is changing….maybe it’s the prayer that needs to change. Because it’s not our prayers that heal…it’s our faith.
We may no longer live in a time when we all sit out on the porch every evening and visit with our neighbors or run next door to borrow a cup of sugar…but just because things are different doesn’t mean that we don’t have that same kinship of the past. Now when I need something, I can post it on Facebook and within a few minutes I have at least 10 friends who have come to my rescue. And in today’s society, I may not sit on the porch drinking sweet tea and visiting with my neighbors, but instead I sip a sonic drink while visiting with my football people, volleyball people, basketball people, softball people, track people, and spend my Sundays and Wednesdays with my church people. So while things might not be like they used to be….some things will never change. Your community…your people…are your root system and God is the soil that keeps you firmly anchored and nourished.
It’s so easy for me to get disgusted & overwhelmed by the deterioration of the world’s morals & ethics. I was watching something on the news & my normal knee-jerk reaction was to blame the government. And in doing so, I heard that all too familiar still, small voice say, “It starts at home.” This country as a whole has a disease that is eating away at it. A disease that makes sin ok & calls Christians fools. The problem is…the government is not the disease. It’s the symptom. The root of the disease is in each and every home in America. It begins when we fail to make God first and foremost in everything that we do. Yes…everything. We put ourselves in first place and everything becomes about, “what’s in it for me?”. It festers and multiplies when we fail to teach our children biblical truths by living our lives as examples and showing them the path to righteousness. It spreads from home to home when we fail to love our neighbor and instead spread rumors, boast pridefully of “our” accomplishments, or look down on someone when we should be lifting them up. We can treat the symptoms and things may seem somewhat better for a little while. But it’s only when we get to the root of the disease and make Jesus Christ the Lord & Savior of our own family…my own family, that true healing begins. And then we start helping others heal by sharing God’s word and biblical truths.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31
I was eating lunch the other day & saw a squirrel in our yard. My daughter was all excited & didn’t understand why I was concerned about it. I explained that as it got closer to the back of our house, it was also getting further & further away from a tree, and that if our dog saw it, then it was going to have to be really fast to get back to safety before she caught it. Nonetheless it kept inching closer & closer until we tapped on the window & it ran back to safety. Unfortunately a couple of days later we discovered that it had ventured too far and wasn’t fast enough to get back to a safe haven before it met its fate. The world is full of things that we would like to have. If we could just get a little closer. And sometimes even when we get really close, nothing bad happens. So the next time we get even closer. And then one day, we don’t even realize that we have walked away from the only true safe haven that we have. The loving, protective arms of God. We are so enamored by the things of the world that we don’t even realize it. So when Satan attacks, it’s not because God has left us. It’s because we have left Him. And just for the record, my dog is not Satan. She just really likes to play with squirrels…unfortunately until they die.
On this 28th day I’m feeling blessed that although I often find myself saying, “What is wrong with people!?”…I know that there are many really good people in the world. I’m thankful that our hearts have not been hardened to the point that we don’t feel excruciating sadness for the tragic events going on in the world. Oh how I wish everyone could see that if this world would just turn to God that all things would be healed and become right. If you’re missing something in your life, you will never fill it with money…people…work…hobbies…or habits. There is a Jesus shaped hole in everyone and He is the only thing that will fill it and complete you.
On this 26th day, I’m so thankful for God’s blessing of forgiveness. If you’re wandering thru life like I was for many years thinking, “I’m a decent person, God wouldn’t send me to Hell” then you need to be aware that God does not send you to Hell. Your sins do. We are ALL headed to Hell unless we make the one and only choice that can save us. Jesus is the only One that can save you. He loves you and allows you to make your own choices…right or wrong. So if you “think” you’ll be ok…if you “think” you’ve been saved…if you don’t KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt and if you can’t feel the love of God inside of you, then my advise would be to pray until you KNOW! And if you think you’re too far gone to deserve God’s love and forgiveness, then you should also know that NOBODY deserves it but It was made available to everyone thru the blood of Jesus Christ. Nobody is so good that they don’t need it and nobody is so bad that they can’t have it.
How can anyone neglect a child? How can a mother carry a person in her womb and not have an overwhelming love for it? How can anyone not make loving, caring for, and protecting their child a priority? But how can even the best parents….parents who love their kids, clothe and feed their kids….support them in all their extra curricular activities….spend countless hours with them…..how can they not be concerned with their children’s souls? I ask this because I was once one of those people. My excuse was that God saves all children. And I still believe that is true. By here’s the problem with that excuse ….children grow up. They pass that age of accountability. And if they don’t accept Jesus as their savior then their security is gone. It’s gone and we have failed to teach them the most important thing. And if they’ve never been taught of God and His love for them and accept Him as their savior, then it doesn’t matter how good they are…how many A’s they bring home…how many points they score….how many people they help….none of those things will get them to the eternal prize.
On this 23rd day, I feel blessed to know that I NEED to have my toes stepped on! I fear that too many people are attracted to preachers that sugar coat everything and don’t tell you what you need to hear. If a preacher is preaching nothing but rainbows and happiness and never tells you about the consequences of sin, then you need a new preacher! And if you walk around in a bubble, continually sinning while praising God for your “blessings” and spewing the “don’t judge me because Jesus didn’t judge” excuse….then you better break open your bible because while you are right that Jesus came not to judge but to save…you need to know that we will all absolutely will be judged by God almighty! Whew! I’m on fire tonight !!! And if I stepped on any toes…your welcome;) Hopefully someday you’ll thank me for it & if it makes you feel any better mine get stepped on all the time…lol.
On this 22nd day, I’m blessed that although my couch and ottoman are covered with folded laundry, we have plenty to wear. And even though I still have dishes in the sink from last night, we have plenty to eat. And even though we never have enough time to spend with everyone we would like to, we have friends and family that we love and miss. And although my to-do lists never get complete before more is added to them and I often feel overwhelmed and stressed about getting it all done, I have an amazing life. THANK YOU JESUS FOR EVERYTHING!!!
Yesterday the weather was so nice! It was absolutely beautiful outside. Today, not so much. So I’ve decided that I’m gonna start referring to the weather as our hokey pokey weather. Then it occurred to me that too often we have hokey pokey faith. We sometimes put our problems in God’s hands but then pull them out because we think that we can handle them ourself. Or we’ll give him our praise but then turn around and take it away by reminding others how great we are. We’ll put one foot on the path of righteousness but then take it out if we think we’ve found a faster track in this world. We’ll put one hand in to reach out to a friend in need but then pull it back out when it’s someone that we don’t think deserves our help. We’ll put our head in but then pull it back out so we can hear the latest tidbit of gossip. But once we put our whole self in, God will turn our life around. And THAT’S what it’s all about!!!
Last Sunday was Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday represents the day that, as Jesus rode into the city, he was greeted by people waving palm branches and praising Him. By Friday, some of these same people were yelling, “Crucify Him!!” So why do we refer to a day that brought such pain and suffering to Jesus as Good Friday? Because without it, we would have no hope. We received the greatest gift ever through His death. Because, although He suffered greatly….He loved even more. He carried our burdens on that cross. He bore our punishment. He died our death. And He did it because He loves us that much. So…is the life you’re living, worth Him dying for?
Pride. It’s been said the center of pride is “I”. We all have it. I’ve seen it destroy marriages. I’ve seen it tear families apart. I’ve seen it split churches. I’ve seen it divide nations. It’s the attitude that, “I’m right no matter the cost!” But when you look back at some of the best people in your life, you will usually see that the reason that they were good was because they were also humble. Even when you’re right, you can be the rightest of rights but if you go about being right the wrong way…you’re wrong. THE best…the only…sinless man, could have stood up and yelled to the world that He was right and that everyone else was sinners, and that the only way to get to heaven was to believe in Him! But instead He died for them….for us. We all have pride, but the question is, does pride have us?
Although I’m thankful for so many things every day, I can honestly say that I never thank God enough for all of my many blessings. So on this day, which has seemingly been a disaster since I woke up, I thought it appropriate to begin this month with a thankful heart. So today, I’m thankful for bad days, because without them I wouldn’t fully appreciate the good ones. I’m thankful for tears because if I didn’t shed them, then it would mean that my heart had hardened. And I’m thankful most of all for God because I know that no matter how bad things get, He is always right there with me showing me the good when I can’t seem to find it for myself. Because even on my worst day….I have more blessings than I could ever deserve. But all that doesn’t mean that sometimes I’m not also really thankful when day is almost over…but it does mean that I’m so very thankful when I wake up and God has blessed me with a whole new day.
On this last day, while I’ve spent most of the month thinking about things that change, I’ve spent most of today thinking about things that never change. God never changes. He is the same today as he was when His Son died on the cross to save us.