God is Greater

Devastation of man.jpg“Behold, in this you are not right. I will answer you, for God is greater than man.”

Job 33:12

Last year our beloved Smokey Mountains were ablaze with fire. The devastation that man’s carelessness caused broke my heart as I traveled around Roaring Fork Trail and captured the charred remains of  age old trees. I wanted to cry. But as I hiked up the side of the mountain and looked out over the scene before me, my focus went from the burned stubble to the new life springing up all around. Sprigs of pine trees dotted the mountain floor and other green vegetation poked sturdy heads above the earth. I took this picture, because it spoke God’s life into me.

I sat down and prayed. I asked God’s forgiveness for only seeing the charred remains first. I asked God’s forgiveness for the individuals who caused the fire. And I found peace that in the midst of the ruins, God is greater.

I’ve been through many trials in my life. Some so bad that there will always be a scar. But the thing about scars is that the wound itself is healed, the scar is mark on me is a reminder of God’s deliverance.

I saw that in the forest. There were scars all around, but the healing was in the new growth. The healing was in moving forward and trusting in God who cares more about the foliage than I ever could. The Creator is greater.

 

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Saved, now what?

how to receive the holy spirit - good news unlimited on Image Of The Holy Spirit“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative – that is, the Holy Spirit – he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”

John 14:26

Jesus spent a lot of time with his disciples. This time was not always spent in walking, fishing, and telling jokes, although I’m sure they did their share of that. Most of Jesus’ time was spent in teaching lessons that the disciples would need after he left them. Lessons on how to talk with authority when you don’t agree with them, lessons on how to show love to the unlovely, and lessons on repentance when you fall short of God’s expectations.

I have a heavy burden for those who accept Christ and are not taught the “what’s next” of a Christian life. My burden was given to me from God and through that burden I wrote “From Self-esteem to God-esteem.” These words on paper are a guideline to listening to the Holy Spirit in the “what’s next.”

When we accept Christ as our Savior and acknowledge that he has forgiven, and always will, our sins, we are free. We are free to be whoever we want to be. But as we are told in Psalm 37:4 that if you, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart,” our desires will be the same as God’s. Dwelling in the relationship with God is where the Holy Spirit comes in, and also where we fall short in mentoring new Christians in their walk.

Our strength to walk with God comes from the strength of God in us. Jesus did not leave his disciples, or us, to their own devices. He left them with an indwelling Holy Spirit that provides a way to continue walking with Christ. The Holy Spirit teaches us as Christ taught his followers: talking, loving, and repenting. He gives us wisdom and understanding for living in a sin-full world. He  teaches us meaning when we read the Scriptures, and he reveals sin through discernment.

We should never neglect the Holy Spirit power in us. I spent many confusing years trying to do it on my own, because I was saved through a denomination that made me feel like the Holy Ghost was a dirty word. I didn’t realize that I had all that I needed right with me from the moment I accepted Christ to live a Christian life. I worked, I studied, and I did. And I searched for something I thought was missing.

What a revival we could have if we would only take the time to mentor Christians and show them through God’s Word the power against the world that we have inside of us. My pastor has been giving out the “From Self – esteem to God – esteem” book to new converts at the time of their salvation. But we need more. That book is only a stepping stone to helping each other draw on the wisdom, strength, and power of the Holy Spirit living inside each of us.

Who can you mentor today?

The Will of God

Jesus_black“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

John 6:40

 

Last night during our weekly Bible study, a discussion started around God’s will and the conditions of the world. I know, this isn’t a new topic among Christians, but as the views and beliefs circled the room, I felt God nudging me in truth: God only has one will for us. God’s will is that all should be saved through belief in His Son, Jesus Christ.  Everything else along our journey depends on how close we are to God and listening to Him. Psalm 37:4 gives us the roadmap, Delight yourself in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart.”  

Many people are serving God in countries that are dangerous to Christians, and we pray for their safety. Is it God’s will that they be in danger? Are we thwarting God’s will by praying for their safety? No, I don’t believe that we are. God’s will was completed the minute these precious missionaries looked on Jesus and believed in Him; they have eternal life and that is God’s will. As they walked with God and became closer to Him, He placed a desire in their heart to serve Him through mission work and that is what put them where they are today. And we are all called to pray.

It is not God’s will, or even His desire, that we suffer, but He warned us that we will as long as we live on earth. If we look at the book of 1 Peter (I’m not going to write it all down, but please, do read it today), we see many times where Peter writes similar to the following in 1 Peter 3:17 “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” God’s will is that none would be lost, that all would be saved to eternal life. But then He lets us know that from that moment of salvation, if we are living a Christian life, we will be persecuted. In the verse above, I looked at the Greek translation and it defines “will” as being more toward God’s inclination. In other words, God is sovereign, and He can step in any time to deliver us from what the world throws at us. Why doesn’t He protect us and deliver us always? Why did our child die? Why do I have pain? Why is the money too short for the month? On and on and on come the “whys.”

There are many questions that we will never have answered here on earth. We can feed depression, fear, and hatred by allowing those questions to grow in our spirit, or we can trust in almighty God whose desire is for us to trust Him. Sure, we miss our loved ones here on earth, but we will not have that loneliness when we get to Heaven, which is our eternal home. We may be miserably in pain or in a wheelchair or otherwise debilitated, but we will be free of pain and encumbrances when we get to Heaven. We may struggle with paying our bills, or even be homeless, here on earth, but we have golden streets to walk on when we get to Heaven.

God’s will is that we come to know Jesus as our Savior. Period. His desire is that, once we are saved,  we walk close enough to Him by reading His word, fellowshipping with His people, and learning from His teachers, so that we are always doing what He desires for our lives. In that, we will put our faith in the things above and not in the misery of this earth.

You never know how God will supply

cashier“I (Jesus) have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

 

I went to the ENT doctor today for a checkup on the medication for COPD. The visit went well; I am showing great improvement in breathing and the medication is not causing any side effects. It went well, at least until the end. The doctor turned to his assistant and told her to order a more comprehensive PFT at our local hospital. I was a little taken aback, but didn’t say anything. We discussed the refills for my inhalers and then the doctor explained that the last time I was in I was in pretty bad shape and he wanted to make sure that no other damage was done to my lungs. He then smiled and escorted me to the exit.

I say in my door-less Jeep for a few minutes letting the soft breeze blow through and cleanse me of my apprehension at the words “in pretty bad shape.” It didn’t work. Now, I’m not one to worry, but any human is going to have at least a little bit of fear of the unknown in situations like this. I drove out of the parking lot and turned on K-Love, my favorite Christian radio station and let my mind focus on the praise coming across the airwaves.

I decided to stop at our local grocery and pick up some cleaning supplies. I usually use the self – check lane, but today I rolled my buggy into the cashier’s lane and smiled. She greeted me with a typical, “How are you today?” And I responded with my usual, “I’m blessed, how are you?” What followed next was a pure Jesus moment.

The cashier responded with, “I am beyond blessed!” And she proceeded to tell me how just a few months ago she was at death’s door with asthma and COPD. Even the oxygen she had been on for so long could not help her breathe and she was ready to join her husband in their heavenly home. But just before she crossed over, her husband met her and told her to go back, “God’s not done with you yet.”

The doctors are amazed, but I’m not. She stood there in front of me, smiling, healthy, no oxygen, and telling me of all that she is now doing in her church: teaching Sunday School, driving the Sunday morning bus, and sharing her testimony. God is not done with her. And He is not done with me.

Jesus gave me the desire to pull into that checkout lane and He gave this precious lady the words that He knew I needed to hear. I can have perfect peace, because my God knows where I am, what I am going through, and what my next step should be.

Someday I will cross that river into glory, but for now, I have a peace that passes all understanding. And I pray that I can be just as much of a blessing to someone today, as the cashier was to me.

Journaling 101: The end of day journal

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot in my head when I get ready to retire at the end of the day! I have found that if I take the time to open my journal and write some of it down, it clears the way for a good night’s sleep.

So what are some ways to get this pen moving? Here are some suggestions, but in the end, keeping  a journal is personal and only you know how it can bring you to peace and quiet.

  1. Use a journal that encourages you to think good thoughts. I keep a journal on my nightstand that opens up with a scripture on each page. I use that verse to start my thoughts about the day I just completed and I start writing. For instance, one verse recently was Psalm 119:2, “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.” From that I started praying and writing, “Father God, I pray that You would set my feet on your righteous path each day. Guard my way from turning to the left or to the right. Protect me from falling into the traps that Satan sets for me and keep my reputation spotless that others will not be able to place blame. Keep my testimony pure that I might lead others to You.” As I prayed, little things came to me that needed to be let go so I wrote them down.
  2. Don’t try to start a writing marathon right before you go to sleep; sometimes that only causes unnecessary worry about if you are “doing it right.” Again, there is no right or wrong way to journal. Sometimes my writing is as brief as , “Today was a really yucky day and everything I did seemed to turn out wrong! Tonight I will rest and tomorrow is a new day to get it right.”
  3. I know that in today’s technological world, the temptation to use a tablet for your journal is great; at least it is for me. But I have found that when I do that, it not only stimulates my brain into wide awake status (studies have backed me up on this), but it also distracts me into other things I could be doing, like playing Solitaire! No, put the tablet down, pick up a pen and start writing.

This blog post is short and sweet, but that is what  a night time journal entry should be; a release from pressure.

Happy Journaling!

Sheila

From Self – esteem to God – esteem: Introduction

Introduction – From Self esteem to God esteem

“From Self – esteem to God – esteem” is a book that was written to help new Christians find their way from salvation to righteousness. It is also for more mature Christians who are looking for a deeper relationship with Christ.

Join with me as as I read each chapter; don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so that you don’t miss a segment!

And if you would like to have your own copy, go to the Christian Writer page and order your own copy to write in as God reveals His plan to you.

Thirty Days of Prayer for My Husband – Day 29: Strengthening our marriage

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“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Father God, we’re in this marriage to the end of life on earth. And I pray, Lord, that it continues when we reach that mansion that You have prepared for us, because I can’t imagine heaven without my husband.

I know that keeping a marriage exciting and alive is not easy, especially when all around us we hear things like, “Well, if it doesn’t work out it doesn’t take much to get a divorce.” What is ‘divorce’ Father? It has to be a surgical procedure, because when we said “I do” we became one flesh. No wonder there is so much pain in the separation.

I ask, Lord, that You grow us closer through the years and that the struggles of daily life only push us to each other for comfort and wisdom. I pray that the fruit of the Spirit would prevail during hardships and that we would always think of how our words, moods, and decisions affect the other before they come out.

I ask that You would remind us to live in the Spirit at all times and that we would strive for peace, love, joy, faithfulness, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control in every aspect of our marriage. And, Lord, I ask you to know my husband and to strengthen him in whatever area You see that he needs Your guidance. If there are areas where my hubby knows he needs help, give him the boldness to come to me so that we can pray together. And remind me to do the same.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Galatians 5:22-23