Have you ever been on a new construction site? Isn’t it interesting to see the workers begin a new structure by digging down a certain amount of inches? After which they lay block to create a stable environment for the rest of the building to rest squarely upon. Foundations provide support for the structure above them. A good contractor has complete confidence in his new project even before he sees it if the foundation was firmly placed according to the specifications; beginning with the key piece or cornerstone. If the contractor is not careful when the foundation is built his new structure will not withstand storms, high winds or natural shifting of the terrain below. God in His divine order has done the same thing for us.
He built the foundation of the world for us and then sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as the cornerstone. This cornerstone, this capstone, this JESUS is and should be our foundation to build our lives on. Without the cornerstone for support we will not be withstand the pressures and storms of life. As the old hymn says, “all other ground is sinking sand”.
Isaiah 28:16- Therefore, thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.
As we face the inevitable storms and pressures of life, we can be certain that we will prevail if our faith is set on the firm foundation of God’s word and our unshakeable belief in Jesus Christ as Lord.
Has it occurred to you that if we don’t make a choice to follow Jesus then we are making a choice not to? Are you desperate for your family and friends to realize that heaven or hell is just a breath away? Choosing Jesus means we will live in heaven forever. If we don’t chose Jesus we will live in hell forever. I don’t know about you but I choose JESUS! I want all my family and friends to choose Him too.
I heard a moving testimony about a man who was a self- professed atheist very near death in a hospital room. He was curled up in a ball screaming for help. A nurse, who was a believer, began to whisper the plan of salvation to this unbelieving man who was so close to death he could see and feel hell. Within 40 minutes she was able to lead him to everlasting peace as he entered the gates of heaven instead of hell. Now that is cutting it close! God’s amazing grace allowed him one more chance to repent and choose Jesus.
This testimony reminds me anew how desperately our loving God wants us to believe by faith and be saved. In the prodigal son story in Luke 15 verse 17a says “But when he came to his senses”. If you are discouraged because a loved one hasn’t accepted Christ; don’t give up hope, keep praying, God hears your prayer. He is simply waiting for them to come to their senses and choose Jesus. It takes some of us longer than others.
My father died an untimely death when I was just 15 years old. I was talking to him one minute and the next minute he was gone. Our home would never be the same. I missed his footsteps up the stairs, his deep voice biding me good night; I even missed his obnoxious snoring. I wanted my father back! He was my rock, my security and my protector. How could God take him away? During the eight difficult years that would follow I got to know God. Waves of grief knocked me to my knees almost daily. I told my Maker a lot of things I probably wouldn’t tell Him now. I didn’t understand why life was so hard or why my family was falling apart. For the most part; our conversations were me telling Him how much I didn’t like Him for what had happened in my life.
Things have certainly changed since then. God is now my Rock, my security and my protector (He always was, I just didn’t know it.) He has been faithful and just giving me more than I could have ever imagined. He is a loving, kind and faithful God who knows what is best. I couldn’t understand it at the time so I just lashed out. Those were some rough years for me. I am thankful He was patient and waited for me. Because of those trying years I came to know Him on a deeper intimate level. It is this special relationship that I yearn for when things are at their toughest. I didn’t know it then but it was my training ground for intimate fellowship with my King.
Prayer is a tool that God has given us to communicate with Him. The more we get to know God the more we will desire what He desires. It is His good purpose for us to be transformed into the likeness of His Son, Jesus. Once we begin this transformation we will automatically begin asking for things according to His will for our lives. It is not an unsolvable math equation or word problem. It is not a test we can pass or fail. It is simply a line of communication between our Maker and us. He doesn’t care if you use correct grammar or special places to pray. He simply desires communication even if you’re mad!
Romans 8:6 says “for the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Difficult people coupled with difficult circumstances can sometimes push us to our breaking point. Our flesh wants to yell out “Enough!” Not all personalities feel that way when confronted with opposition but all of us have some type of natural response in us that wants to lash out when pressured by trying personalities. Bigger flesh desires are more obvious to us and we can prepare our minds for that kind of attack. It is the unsuspecting assaults that really tell us who we are in Christ.
God’s Word tells us our mind is capable of deciding which way it wants to go. If asked, most of us would admit that we have let our mind lead us to the flesh desires that taunt and tempt us to react without thinking. However, according to God we can also decide to set our minds on the Spirit and receive life and peace. Sometimes it is as simple as if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. Other times it is a matter of prayer and reminding yourself that your war isn’t against the flesh in front of you. No matter what the circumstances; the key is to recognize the opposition and look to Jesus for relief.
It is so hard to stand firm against the schemes of Satan day in and day out. The devil wants to draw us away from God and tempt us to despair any chance he can get. It is always a good reminder that we can “set” our minds on the Spirit and receive life and peace.
A couple of times a month I have the incredible privilege of dining with the inmates. Their “chow hall” consists of round tables made of steel with four stools attached. The type of stool you straddle rather than sit on. They are cold and without personality. I choose three women at a time to chat over lunch with.
We enter a line that offers two windows where the lunch tray is shoved through to the inmate. Once the tray has been delivered, you then gather your beverage from a nearby cart and find your seat. This process takes approximately 2 or 3 minutes. It is not unlike a school lunchroom. Once we are seated around the shiny table we ask the Lord’s blessings on us and our food and begin our girl talk.
Today one of my guests told me her story. Her father was a “mean drunk” who physically and mentally abused her mother, who finally ran away from him leaving her children behind. My lunch friend confessed that her father began using her for his whipping post very early and then eventually for his sexual pleasure.
After many years of abuse, she began waiting for moments to hurt him while he slept or when he was in a drunken stupor. At age 13, she got married to get away from him. She then propped her hand on her forehead and said “Life really went downhill from there”. My mind was screaming, how could it go downhill? Looking me right in the eye, she said, “I’ve been in for a long time. I have five children who don’t know me, both my parents are dead now but God has not left me. I was mad at my mother for leaving me with that mean man. But, I wish I could tell her I forgive her for doing it.” She professed her love for God and how He has taken care of her all these years and indeed this sentence may have been God’s grace to give her a safe home to live in.
What an honor to know this beautiful woman and to hear her story. She is a modern day Joseph who is trusting God with all of her heart. She may have a chance at release in 2015. She hasn’t had a visitor since sometime in 2004.
My husband and I aren’t fans of Valentine’s Day. This hallmark holiday seems to attract quite a bit of attention in our world today. Weeks before the documented date of February 14th nearly every store entered tempts us with treasures to behold for the lover of your soul. This Hallmark holiday has taken our nation by storm it seems. Even though it was originally meant for sweethearts it is no longer just for that special one. Now you can find a Valentine card for just about anyone in your sphere of friends and family. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could buy a Valentine for your pet!
Lonely hearts feel the pull of flowers and romance desiring the rich full love that should accompany such a special event. Unfortunately, some are left feeling unloved if they don’t receive just the right message of affection from their special someone. Many of us will feel the pressure of the holiday and follow protocol because everyone else does it. It amazes me how easily we go with the flow not ever questioning the right or wrong of it. Our hearts seem to be so desperate for love that we will do anything for it.
Many years ago I was introduced to Jesus Christ. He would become the Love of my life and because of that great love I would be able to love my husband more deeply and richly. My husband would become my Sweetheart with skin who brings me flowers and candy from time to time but his love for God has taught him how to truly love me. 1 John 4:19 –”We love because He first loved us.” It is not possible to love with a pure heart if you do not have God. He created love and created us to love not only Him but others. If we don’t have God how can we really love anyone else?
This Valentine’s Day give the love of your life some time. Go to Jesus and express your deep love for Him and what He has done for you. Renew your relationship if you have left it unattended. Soothe your soul with this inexhaustible love of God. He is just a breath away. While you’re at it give your sweetheart with skin something special too!
Charles Stanley wrote a book some years ago entitled “The Gift of Forgiveness”. Recently, I have been rereading it and applying some of the lessons in it to myself first, then to the prisoners. It is obvious by its content that Dr. Stanley has had years of experience on the topic.
When I first considered the title I immediately assumed I would be learning how to give the gift of forgiveness to those whom I had reluctantly withheld it from. I was eager to learn all the secrets that Dr. Stanley was willing to let loose of in his book. What I learned however, was the process of forgiveness wasn’t necessarily a gift I was going to give but one I would get!
I slowly began to realize I was deciding somehow, what was owed to the offender. I would actually mentally sentence them and if they didn’t get the punishment I had decided was a fair swap then I would withhold the gift. Willing to really forgive those who have offended, hurt or bruised you in some way is liberating to the soul. Knowing that and getting it done are two entirely different things.
Once again in God’s sovereignty He has designated a writer to pen some words that remind me, it is not about me! I realized I needed to learn the art of granting forgiveness without applying any of my own stipulations. It is not at all easy but, when accomplished I found it allowed me to walk in freedom. After all, God has given His Son for our sins. The least we can do is forgive others.
If you have been withholding from someone for some damage they have done please consider releasing them soon. There is no better gift you can give yourself than the gift of forgiveness.
There seems to be a trend among the younger crowd to profess their non-belief in God. Atheism is a growing movement in the high school and college arena. Atheism defined is “a person who believes that there is no God.” Believing Grandmothers, Aunts, Mothers have lamented to me their fear for these immature family members toying with the silly youth games of our world.
Our world, which largely consists of immature people of all ages, encourages free thinking which is really a disguise for no responsibility, no accountability. Therefore, accepting the idea that there is no God gives them freedom in everything! They are no longer required to adhere to the laws of God and have no responsibility or accountability for their actions. No one to answer to? Now that’s a recipe for disaster if I have ever seen one
Psalm 14:1- The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.
Now, if one scripture wasn’t enough for you go ahead and read Psalm 53. It is a mirror image of Psalm 14. I just love God don’t you? If He doesn’t get his point across the first time He hammers it home somewhere else.
Biblically speaking the fool in this passage carries a moral meaning rather than an intellectual meaning.
Essentially, these teens think they are out smarting God by saying they don’t believe in Him, therefore, they are not under his Authority. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but they’re going to learn this one the hard way. That means they will come to a place where they lose all hope. At that point, they will begin the search. God is a God of hope (Rom 15:13) and there is no other. They will find Him if they seek Him with their whole heart.(Jer 29:13) Rest assured, God knows what he’s doing and He can handle a spoiled child of any age.
Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. David wrote this after his good friend; Nathan told him what he needed to hear. David was sinning against God but had rationalized it in a way that didn’t “seem so bad”. His friend, Nathan pointed it out and then David realized he was not walking with God. He repented and asked God to forgive him so he could renew his close relationship with His Creator.
We all need to bury this scripture in our hearts so that each time we struggle with temptation or rationalizing something that is against God we can immediately repent and return to our Father.
As simple as this topic seems it can be the one thing that trips all of us up. We can get in a rut and not realize we are sinning because what we are doing has been rationalized either by us or by our family and friends. We all need good friends to tell us the truth from time to time. This is something we don’t usually like but sometimes necessary to get us back on the right track.
Could you be a good friend and tell someone the truth of their sin? Could you be on the receiving end of this and accept a gentle criticism or rebuke? A good friend will not intentionally hurt your feelings but want to cautiously correct your wrong.
We are meant to help each other along in our faith. Pointing out a sin can be part of that. I’m thankful for Nathan’s story in scripture but I am equally thankful for David’s response to the correction. He didn’t take it out on Nathan he went immediately to God for restoration.
A great example for all of us!
I have a friend who often uses interesting one- liners to get her point across when communicating. One of the most humorous is “she could worry a wart off of you”. It causes a grin every time. Now, I know what she means by her analogy and I bet you do too. God also has quite a few analogies in His Word and this is one of them. “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” Mathew 6:27
It is not at all hard to understand what He is saying in this verse, the visual is clear. However, accomplishing this not worrying thing is hard work in the world we live in. We worry we will not have enough money to pay our bills, we will lose our job, and we will have a long-term illness… I will just stop typing for a moment and let your mind take it from here.
Now that you have your own list, let me suggest that worry is nothing more than fear of the unknown. If you take that one-step further, the fear of the unknown could be considered lack of faith. After all faith defined, is a strong unshakeable belief in something without any proof or evidence. Ouch, did that hurt your feelings as much as it did mine? I don’t like to think of myself lacking faith but if I am constantly walking around in fear worrying about the unknown then my faith is very weak.
Let’s agree together to get rid of this person called Worry and become best friends with Faith.