Friday, May 31, 2019

Known For What?

         What do you want to be known for now and/or after you've passed on?  Is it your earthly accomplishments, your wealth, your fame, your philanthropy, your success, your family, or your faith?   "From God’s perspective it’s not our resumé or the amount of money we’ve accumulated that matters but rather the kind of life we have lived."
         I think it's sad when loved ones scramble at the end of a loved one's life to know what to say at their funeral.  Your life should be representative of something, and it is good or bad.  The dash [-] is the symbol of your life on your tombstone, so make it stand for something more than time passed.  
         The average human gets around 25 thousand days on this earth. That's it. This life is a breath. Heaven is coming fast, and we live in that thin space where faith and obedience have relevance. We have this one life to offer; there is NO second chance, no plan B. We get one shot at living to expand the kingdom, fighting for justice. We will stand before Jesus once, and none of our luxuries will accompany us. We'll have one moment to say, "This is how I lived".
         As for myself and what inspired this blog, my parents and I went to eat dinner at IHOP last Friday night.  As we were leaving, a lady in the restaurant said "I know you, Angie!"   With a puzzled look on my face, I said "Really??'  She turned out to be a friend of my friend, Beth.  She knew me because of my blog and complimented me on it and my faith.  Wow!  Yes, please know me now and forever as the daughter of the King and his strength that helped me overcome this world and its struggles.

       "You are not defined by anything that happened to you or anything you've done. You are defined by who you are in Christ. (Beth Moore)

       Proverbs 22:1  "A good name is more desirable than great riches;
    to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."

        "All of us are writing a story with our lives—one that affects others now and in the future. Are we living to please God? We don’t know when the Lord will call us Home. Let’s live every day with an eye on the harvest." []

Only the truth that in life we have spoken,
Only the seed that on earth we have sown;
These shall pass onward when we are forgotten,
Fruits of the harvest and what we have done. —Bonar

A fruitful harvest requires a faithful life.

O keep up your courage, each day to the end;
Go forth in the strength of the Lord;
Trust wholly in Jesus, thy Savior and Friend,
And feed on His own blessed Word. —Miles

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Peace in the Valleys of Life

John 14:27  " Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

       Today's blog is about having personal peace within ourselves despite the chaos and circumstances around us.  Each of us have either come out of a hard valley or are in the midst of one or are about to face one and don't know it yet.  Life has it's moments of mountain tops, but we don't live there continuously.  The steep climb or descent is not an easy journey for any of us.  God sent the Holy Spirit to live within us, as believers, and be our guide during these difficult times.  John 14:16-17  " And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you."

     In the verse above John 14:27, "He wasn’t saying that all their conditions would be serene, easy, and comfortable. On the contrary, He was telling them they would have peace of mind and heart even though their circumstances were painful, difficult, and uncertain. And this is the same kind of peace Jesus promises to all of us who belong to Him." []  As believers, we can have peace by knowing and trusting in God's control and that He is working things out for our good.

     True peace comes from having a relationship with Jesus, a togetherness or oneness with him.  Any other source of peace is faulty, fraudulent, counterfeit and not everlasting.  If you don't have Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will never have peace.  You will have fear, doubt, anxiety, needless worry, and uncertainty.  We are called to be followers of the Prince of Peace, Jesus.  As followers, we are not to just enjoy the gift of peace but to be peacemakers in the world around us.

     Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4 NIV).   That verse resonates the kind of peace God wants to give to us.  Even tho, we may be in the worst situation of our life, we trust God to carry us through it, even death.  These valleys of life  are often a metaphor for difficult times, times of darkness, despair, defeat, or discouragement.

3 Things to Remember About the Valleys of Life [R.Warren]

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Loved By God

John 10:14-15  " “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep."

      "Sheep are essentially defenseless animals, so a shepherd uses a few tools to care for and protect his sheep. He uses a rod for guarding and protecting and a staff with a little crook in it to rescue the sheep.  We are like lost sheep, so Jesus came to Earth to be our Good Shepherd." 
          This blog is about how much God loves us, cares for us, directs our paths, protects us and never forsakes us.  Below are some resources I've found to show us His love by examples and use of scriptures.

'Every once and a while, a ewe will give birth to a lamb and reject it. There are many reasons she may do this. If the lamb is returned to the ewe, the mother may even kick the poor animal away. Once a ewe rejects one of her lambs, she will never change her mind.
These little lambs will hang their heads so low that it looks like something is wrong with its neck. Their spirit is broken. These lambs are called “bummer lambs.” Unless the shepherd intervenes, that lamb will die, r
ejected and alone.
So, do you know what the shepherd does? He takes that rejected little one into his home, hand-feeds it and keep it warm by the fire. He will wrap it up with blankets and hold it to his chest so the bummer can hear his heartbeat. Once the lamb is strong enough, the shepherd will place it back in the field with the rest of the flock. But that sheep never forgets how the shepherd cared for him when his mother rejected him.
When the shepherd calls for the flock, guess who runs to him first? That is right, the bummer sheep. He knows his voice intimately. It is not that the bummer lamb is loved more, it just knows intimately the one who loves it. It's not that it is loved more, it just believes it because it has experienced that love one on one.
So many of us are bummer lambs, rejected and broken. But He is the good Shepherd. He cares for our every need and holds us close to His heart so we can hear His heart beat. We may be broken but we are deeply loved by the Shepherd."

[Author Sheila Walsh book "Loved back to life"]

5 Ways God Wants to Protect You and Direct You [devotional by Rick Warren]
  1. If you bring your hurts to him, Jesus is compassionate.
Jesus has compassion on us, because he knows that we are helpless without him (Matthew 9:36). He doesn’t put you down; he lifts you up. He doesn’t hassle you; he heals you.
“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 ESV).
  1. If you follow him, Jesus leads you in the right direction.
The Shepherd goes before. He leads from the front and calls you forward. Jesus is not going to push you through life. He’s going to say, “Watch how I do it. Look where I go.”
“When he has led out all of his sheep, he walks in front of them, and they follow, because they know his voice” (John 10:4 CEV).
  1. If you get confused or wander away, Jesus will find you and bring you back.
When God brings you back from wandering away from him, he will not punish you, but he may discipline you. If a shepherd has a sheep that is prone to wander, he will often wrap that sheep’s leg so it can’t move. In the same way, sometimes God gives us a limp to keep us from wandering.
“If a man has a hundred sheep but one of the sheep gets lost, he will leave the other ninety-nine on the hill and go to look for the lost sheep” (Matthew 18:12 NCV).
  1. If you fail or fall, Jesus rescues you and sets you on the road to recovery.
Like all sheep, we not only wander, but we also stumble. When we trust that God is going to restore us and rescue us when we fail, we’ll faithfully run to him every time we mess up.
“If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not rescue it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep!” (Matthew 12:11-12 NIV).
  1. If you trust him to save you, Jesus will keep his promise to do just that.
It’s not your job to save yourself. Your job is simply to put your hand in God’s and say, “God, I’m all yours—the good, the bad, the ugly.” God loves you too much to ever let you go.
“My Father gave my sheep to me. He is greater than all, and no person can steal my sheep out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:29 NCV).
The goodness of God means he’s going to guide you, guard you, protect you, direct you, and save you. No one else can offer you those five benefits. They only come from Jesus, our Good Shepherd