Good News

It’s so nice to be able to say that I have some good news for you today. After a year of bad news and fake news, let me give you some good news as I continue discussing walking in God’s love in these crazy times.

As I mentioned in my previous posts, walking in love did not come easy at first. I made my decision to walk in love and then someone would do something unkind and I would see just how very easy it is to just go with the flow of anger, hate, and division. What I finally learned was that in my own strength I would never be able to love like God loves and forgive like God forgives. The good news is that He never intended for me to do it in my own strength.

First I made the decision that I would live a life of love, then I realized that the decision that I actually needed to make was to live a life yielded to the operation of God’s Spirit in my life.

“…God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5, NIV)

“…The fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence)….” (Galatians 5:22-23, Ampc)

The fruit which His presence within accomplishes. Think about that for a moment. God sent the Holy Spirit to us for a purpose and He is well able to accomplish what He was sent to do if we let Him. Jesus said of the Holy Spirit:

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7, NKJV)

He was sent to help us and scripture tells us clearly that He is here to help us to live our lives with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

So how do we live a life yielded to the Holy Spirit, with His love and His strength operating in our lives? I will simplify it in these two steps.

  1. Ask God for His Holy Spirit in your life.
    • “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Of if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:9-12, NKJV)
  2. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you.
    • “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.’ So He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Our father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name….'” (Luke 11:1-2, NKJV)
    • “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26, NKJV)

The main point of today’s post is to learn from the Holy Spirit how to live a life of love. However, learning to pray the words “Teach me” to God completely changed my life for the better. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things. I have asked Him to teach me how to walk in love. I have asked Him to teach me how to be a good wife, a good daughter, a good in-law, and a good friend. I have asked Him to teach me how to pray. When a young family member passed away, I asked God to teach me about healing. I ended up ministering healing to the sick for 17 years after He answered my prayer.

We all need God’s help to walk a life of love. The good news is that God will help you with that and He is also wanting to help you with so much more if you will just ask.

Love Your Enemies

“But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.’” (Matthew 12:25, NKJV)

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48, NLT)

Voices, voices, voices, everywhere! They are on the television. They are on the radio. They are on the internet, on internet news sites, and social media. They are the voices of some of our friends, family, and co-workers and they all seem to be chanting the same mantra, “It’s us against them.” These words are seeds being planted into our hearts and minds if we let them and the seeds being sown, the harvest they seek, is hate.

They want us to hate someone because of the color of their skin, black or white, hispanic, or asian, etc. They want us to hate people who don’t agree with our politics, our religion, our medical and our educational choices. They want us to hate someone that has more money than us or less money than us. They want us to hate a particular political leader whether on the left or the right. Why? Because if they can get us to hate, they can divide and conquer.

I’ve seen it as a political ploy one too many times. Focus the hate on one person and make it all about that one person. I get the texts, the emails, the mailings, “Can you believe what so and so person is doing now?” To my Christian friends, I want to remind you that we battle not against flesh and blood and if you are focused on one person or people of a particular race or party, you have been brought down from your influence in the heavenly realm and down to an earthly, soulish battle that you will not win.

For seventeen years I visited and prayed with people who were battling illnesses and disease. As we prayed, time after time, we would find the origin of the disease in the person’s emotional state. Fear caused all kinds of physical and mental issues. When the emotion was hate, those illnesses both physical and mental became amplified. We were created in God’s image. God is love. We were created to love and be loved. When we hate it goes against our mental and physical ‘wiring’ and things go wrong, both mentally and physically and as we are seeing so clearly now things go wrong societally as well.

In his book, Deadly Emotions by Don Colbert, M.D., Dr. Colbert discusses the link between negative emotions and disease. Some of the ‘deadly emotions’ he discusses are anger, hostility, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, self-hatred, anxiety, and repressed anger. Some of the diseases that can be triggered by these emotions are hypertension, coronary artery disease, autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, panic attacks, mitral valve prolapse, heart palpitations, tension and migraine headaches, chronic back pain, TMJ, and fibromyalgia to name a few.

Have you ever noticed how consuming hate can be? And who does the hate affect the most? The person that is doing the hating. Yes, their actions will affect others, but in the middle of the night when they are all alone, that hate is destroying the hater, both physically and mentally.

Why do I say all this? Because I love you. I love every person that is reading this post. How do I know? Because I have chosen a life of love over a life of hate. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I may not agree with people, I may not even like certain people (usually because of their actions), but I have chosen to love all people. Why? Because hate will never change the world for the better. Love will.

Once again, I can’t control whether others love me or not, but I can control whether I love others or not. Living a life of love did not start out easy, and occasionally a person’s words or actions can challenge the decision I made to love everyone, but then I remember a few things. I remember the damage it can do to my mental and physical health. I remember that it will only hurt me and others. I remember that good or bad God loves them. He may not like their actions either, but He sent His Son Jesus to die for them, who am I to hate someone He loves.

This doesn’t mean we don’t rise up against injustice or stand up for what’s right. We can hate evil without harboring hate in our hearts towards any one person or people group. What it does mean is that as we love our enemies, pray for them, and do good to them we look a little more like our heavenly Father each time that we do.

We are surrounded by those voices sowing seeds of hate, but we can be those that sow seeds of love that bring healing to our own lives, to the lives of the people we influence, and to our communities, ultimately affecting nations.

United we stand, Divided we fall

So we’ve just left the hardest, strangest year we’ve experienced in our lifetime. Everyone was looking forward to leaving it behind and moving into a new year. This new year hasn’t gotten off to a great start either. What is going on in our world? There is so much to say about that, but today there is one aspect of our current struggles that I want to discuss today.

“But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.'” (Matthew 12:25, NKJV)

One of my greatest struggles in all this chaos has been to witness such deep divisions throughout the earth. Divisions based on the color of our skin; divisions based on masks, no masks, lock downs, no lockdowns, vaccine choice, mandatory vaccines; divisions based on financial status, rich, poor, middle class; divisions based on which candidate you support, which political party you are a part of, what country you live in; and divisions not only between believers in Christ and those who don’t believe in Him, but even between believers themselves.

My heart grows heavy when I think of all the division. We are all in this together. Everyone of us went through 2020. Everyone of us is going into 2021. No one is exempt that is breathing on this earth. Jesus made it very clear when we are divided we fall.

So what can be done? We can resist the forces that would seek to divide us. Do we have to agree? No. Do we give up our beliefs to attain unity? No. What we do is we determine in our hearts that even if we disagree we will not allow ourselves to be divided from one another.

I have prayed more in 2020 and the beginning of 2021 than I have at any other time in my life. I am praying for the dividing walls to fall in our world, in our nation, among all the different people groups. I am trusting God to help us. That’s all I can do for the division out in the world. However, what we have seen in this time is division even closer to home. We are seeing divisions in our families, in our relationships and friendships, and even in our churches. This is the area that we can take a prayer stand as well as a “boots on the ground” stand. I refuse to be divided from any person in my life. We must take a stand against division close to home.

Our commandment is to love one another. I may not agree with you. I may not even like you, but I’m not going to let that stop me from loving you. It’s often easier for me to do that with a world leader that I don’t have to interact with on a daily basis. Sometimes that becomes more challenging in the day to day with the people we do interact with and sometimes the people we live with. Let’s do our part in our homes and in our lives, in our neighborhoods, in our cities.

We can’t control whether others choose to be divided from us. We can control our choices. I choose to love my enemy. I choose to pray for my enemy. If a certain topic will bring strife into my home or family, I will choose not to go there with that person, but go there with God in my prayer closet. We battle not against flesh and blood. Our enemies know this, so they sow seeds of division and watch us fall when we take the bait.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7, ESV)

“Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:11, ESV)

“Jesus answered…’And you shall 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: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 29-31, ESV)

Today was a drop in the bucket. Join me over the days to come as I share from the Bible how to not be divided from the people in our lives and beyond.

His love, His mercy, His grace, and His blessings to you today!

His Way

I spent some time in prayer with a friend this week. We spent some of that time in worship with one of my new favorite songs, Defender by Rita Springer. It was just released with her new album Battles.

Here are some of the lyrics:

You go before I know, that You’ve even gone to win my war. You come back with the head of my enemy. You come back and You call it my victory… and all I did was praise, and all I did was worship…Hallelujah, You have saved me, so much better Your way.

As we worshiped my friend saw this picture. She saw herself on a plateau, facing an insurmountable wall of rock leading to the next plateau. On the face of the rock was a ladder. She was trying to climb it while trying to help her two little children up the ladder ahead of her and trying to pull her discouraged husband up the ladder behind her.

One side of the ladder kept breaking loose, making her task of getting her family up to the next plateau impossible. As we worshiped, she saw the plateau she was on begin to rise up with her and her family on it. The plateau rose until it was even with the one that had been above it. Now instead of climbing up, she and her family could now step over.

We may try to fight battles or climb ladders in our own strength and effort, but when we rest in Him, He can cause us to rise on His wings in victory.

We rest. We praise. We worship. He wars and He wins. He calls it our victory. His way is better.

Every valley shall be lifted up and filed up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low… And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed… Isaiah 40:4,5

 

 

Be Made Whole

She sat across from me, this cherub of a child, and asked me to pray that her grandmother who passed away suddenly almost a year ago would come back to her. I leaned in to the Holy Spirit. What do you say, what do you pray after a request like that? I followed His lead.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV

I prayed that His peace, that peace that is beyond understanding, that peace that doesn’t make sense, would guard her heart and mind.

Peace, when I hear that word I think of the Hebrew word shalom, completeness and wholeness, nothing missing and nothing broken, the peace that comes from being whole. The word used for peace here in Philippians 4:7 corresponds with the Hebrew word shalom (Vine’s Dictionary, 1996).

This little girl was broken. She was missing her grandmother. She had a hole in her heart in the shape of her grandmother. As I prayed, I saw that God wanted to fill that hole with Himself. He wanted to make her heart whole again.

He would fill that empty place in her heart and she would have peace again. How can you have peace, how can you be whole when your loved one is gone? It doesn’t make sense. Yet His peace surpasses all understanding.

What hole do you need Him to fill? Invite Him to fill it. He will make you whole again. He will give you His peace to guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus.

Be made whole, in Jesus’ Name, amen.

I’ve Got You

I stepped out the back door and there he hovered, less than a foot from my face. He was baby blue. This petite, baby blue dragonfly greeted me as I stepped out my door just before sunrise. I was mesmerized by his beauty. So I told him.

You are beautiful. Let me see you.

I put my hand out and to my surprise he came closer and landed on my hand. He visited me three days in a row. I still catch a glimpse of him here and there, but those three days he actually came to me with a message. But what was it? I would soon come to know.

On the second day my husband and I were walking our two dogs around the pond in our neighborhood. Just ahead of us some workmen were working on the sprinkler system. The water came on. A dark cloud lifted up from the grass and moved towards us. They were dragonflies. Dozens of them. They surrounded my husband and I and as we moved forward, they moved with us. A cloud all around us. What did this mean?

I’ve ‘known’ God long enough and recognize His ways enough to know He was trying to tell me something. But what was it? So I prayed.

He reminded me that dragonflies eat mosquitos. Through a friend he said that the dragonfly spoke of protection from pestilence. My friend didn’t know, but God knew that my husband had been worried about the Zika virus. I had been watching over my heart to keep from being worried about Zika as well. Dragonflies eat mosquitos. God’s message to me through His little creations was I’ve got you covered. There’s no need to fear.

I’ve got this. I’ve got you. ~ God

Psalm 91Amplified Bible (AMP)

Security of the One Who Trusts in the Lord.

91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand].
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust [with great confidence, and on whom I rely]!”
For He will save you from the trap of the fowler,
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you and completely protect you with His pinions,
And under His wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and a wall.

You will not be afraid of the terror of night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction (sudden death) that lays waste at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But danger will not come near you.
You will only [be a spectator as you] look on with your eyes
And witness the [divine] repayment of the wicked [as you watch safely from the shelter of the Most High].
Because you have made the Lord, [who is] my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.

11 For He will command His angels in regard to you,
To protect and defend and guard you in all your ways [of obedience and service].
12 They will lift you up in their hands,
So that you do not [even] strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra;
The young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14 “Because he set his love on Me, therefore I will save him;
I will set him [securely] on high, because he knows My name [he confidently trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never abandon him, no, never].
15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 “With a long life I will satisfy him
And I will let him see My salvation.”

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Sarah Palin

When Sarah Palin first showed up on the political scene, I was very impressed. So much of what she had to say was exactly what I was thinking and feeling regarding our nation. I was also impressed that she did what she said she would do, true to her word. This did not seem to be a common trait among politicians any longer.

I loved her bulldog, or mama bear tenacity. I loved the fact that she was and is a strong Christian woman. She arrived as a bright light on a dark and murky political scene. Yes, I love Sarah Palin.

So the other day she came out in support of a candidate in the 2016 presidential election that I don’t like one bit. I won’t go into what I don’t like about this candidate. That’s not what this post is about. So what does Sarah Palin’s candidate choice have to do with Christianity and the love of God?

It’s what I noticed in my own heart. Suddenly she didn’t seem to shine so bright in my eyes. When I would see an image of her or a post by her, I felt this little scratch inside. I no longer felt love, but I felt something else creeping into my heart.

So why do I love Sarah Palin? I realized that my love had been based on her words and actions. When her thoughts, words and actions were different than my own, fear began to creep in and love began to fade. Something was wrong. Something had to change. I had to change.

Today, I can say that my love for Sarah Palin is not based on her thoughts, words or actions whether they agree with my own or not. I am a born again believer. Sarah is a born again believer. That means that we are both part of God’s family, both part of the Body of Christ. My Savior and King Jesus loves her unconditionally and so do I. He has asked me to and He gave me His love to do so.

Politics is never a reason to love or not love someone. Agreement or disagreement is not a reason to love or not love someone. We love because He first loved us. He loves unconditionally and so should we.

It doesn’t mean we have to agree with them. It does’t mean we have to vote for them. It does mean that we let His love flood our hearts no matter what and allow Him to drive out all the fear that would try to come. Fear is destroying this nation from the inside out. Love, God’s love that never fails, is saving this nation. Let us be on the love side of this equation.

PS… Jesus loves Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Barak Obama unconditionally. Not based on their performance or good deeds, but based on His love for all mankind. He loves them, so so do I. He asked me to.

Love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5

But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. Luke 6:27-28

Faith works by and through love. Galatians 5:6

Love Makes a Way

Yesterday I shared on the phrase “where there is a will there is a way”. This is a continuation on that post based on a conversation I had later that day.

During a conversation about people’s differences and fears in the church I made this statement,

Love drives out all fear. Love others in their weaknesses as they love us in ours.

I immediately sensed that this statement didn’t come from my heart as much as it had come from God’s heart.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35, NKJV

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love covers a multitude of sins.’ 1 Peter 4:8, NKJV

But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control… Galatians 5:22-23, Amp

In our own strength we could never fully and truly love one another as He has loved us, but He hasn’t asked us to do it by our own strength, but by the empowerment of His Presence within us.

Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit says the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4:6, NKJV

It got me to thinking I wonder how much we are stuck in our own weakness and may not even see them because we are so focused on the weaknesses of others.

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:1-3, NKJV

Perhaps in our judgment and offense towards others we step out of love and find ourselves stuck in the same sins and weaknesses we have struggled with for years. Faith works by love. What happens to our faith when we judge others and are offended?

He didn’t command us to judge. He commanded us to love. It doesn’t mean we don’t have standards and boundaries. It does mean that even while holding to the standard of His Word, we do so in an attitude, a heart full, of love.

I believe His command to love one another was part of the plan to see us all enter His grace, freedom, and empowerment to do His will on this earth as His Body.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing-life forevermore. Psalms 133, NKJV

Love makes a way for the anointing to flow in our lives and in the lives of others. Let us yield to His Presence within and fully, truly love one another.

Where There’s a Will

Where there’s a will there’s a way. These were the first words that entered my conscious mind this morning as I was just waking up. I then thought of two recent instances when I was told that something could not be done. I was determined to get it done. I found a way and I got them done.

Following these thoughts I began to think about God and His will.

Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. Mark 1:40-42, KJV

Jesus Christ is perfect theology – He is the will of God. ~ Bill Johnson

Healing is so much God’s will that He made a way through the scourging and death of His own Son. Jesus paid the full price to make a way for healing, for all.

…By His wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24, Amp

Following this another scripture came to mind.

This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity-the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. 1 Timothy 2:3-6, NLT

God wants all men saved, so much so that He sent His Son to shed His own blood to pay the price for the sin that held us bound. It’s His will, but He won’t force His will on us. We have a choice. We can say no, but even then He ‘had’ to make a way. Why, because He loves you and me.

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. John 3:16, Amp

But He was wounded for our transgressions,  He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

What has God promised you through His Word? What has God said is His will for your life? Where there’s a will there’s a way is not always true for us as men, but when God wills something He makes a way.

With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. ~ Jesus

I Come To You in His Name

In less than a week I leave with a team from our church to serve the people of Guatemala. As I pray over and think about this trip, one phrase keeps coming to mind. “I come to you in the Name of the Lord.” Each time I hear this phrase so many thoughts flood my mind. Here are just a few.

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10, NKJV)

God’s name is a place of protection… (Proverbs 18:10, MSG)

We are going in safety and peace, because we are going in the Name of the Lord.

Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediatlely his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked… walking, leaping, and praising God. (Acts 3:6-8, NJKV)

…His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong… (Acts 3:16, NKJV)

“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name…they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17,18)

We are going with His healing power, because we are going in the Name of the Lord.

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel…” (1 Samuel 17:45, NKJV)

We are going with His victory and deliverance, because we are going in the Name of the Lord.

For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13, NKJV)

We are going with His saving power, because we are going in the Name of the Lord.

…God is love. (1 John 4:8, KJV)

Jesus was moved with compassion. (Matt 9:36; Matt 14:14; Mark 1:41; Mark 6:34)

We are going in love. We will be moved with compassion towards the people of Guatemala and meet their needs through His supernatural power and provision, because we are going IN the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11, NLT)