He Always Keeps His Promises

You and I regularly witness this proof that God is still keeping the promise he made over 4000 years ago.

God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all the living creatures of every kind.  Never again with the waters become a flood to destroy all life.  Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”  Genesis 9: 12 – 16.

We love looking up into the sky to see these gorgeous colors. I enjoy seeing all the pictures of rainbows posted on social media. Somebody told me recently they bought their house because, when they have a rainbow, it often ends in their backyard. Their literal pot of gold.

All of this beauty and light and good feelings reminds us of the faithfulness of our Father God. He loves us and he regularly gives us these giant, wonderful reminders so we never forget.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Great Love!

Do you feel it?

I do.

I see it in the gorgeous sunrise as God once again declares his faithfulness to me with the start of a new day.  I feel it in my 2 1/2 year-old grandson’s hug.  I see it in the smiles of my friends.  I feel it in the ‘love you’ from my husband of over 41 years.

It’s the great love God has lavished upon me.

God tells me that I am a precious child and he proves that by showing his love for me in a multitude of ways, every day.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God.”  1 John 3:1a

It’s very encouraging to realize that the closer I get to God, the more of his love I feel pouring out over me.  As I’ve been consistently memorizing God’s scripture these last 7 years, I also feel his wisdom pouring out from his Word.  More knowledge.  More understanding.

I am his child!  How much more love and wisdom and knowledge and understanding does he have available for me?

There is no limit!

As 2023 quickly approaches, I am looking forward to seeing what God has planned for this next year.  New challenges.  More love.

Thank you, Abba Father.

The Best-Selling Book of all Time, By Far

“If it’s from God, you will not be able to stop these men.”

Gamaliel was a smart man.  As a religious leader, he took part in the debate about how to get rid of Peter and the other apostles after Jesus left earth and returned to heaven.  The apostles were creating a growing threat to the established religious authority.  They had be ‘dealt with’.

I can see Gamaliel now.  Frustrated by the lack of insight into what has really been going on with Jesus, he stops the debate, “Leave these men alone!  Let them go!  For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.  If it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:39)

It is now over 2000 years later.

And we know the answer to Gamaliel’s question, don’t we?  Christians make up almost thirty percent of the global population.  It is estimated that more than 5 billion copies of the Bible have been sold.  It’s the best-selling book of all time in the entire world.  No other book is even close.

No one has been able to stop the spread of the Gospel because it comes from God.  It is not ‘from human origin’  like all the other religions.

The Truth has come from God and his name is Jesus.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Surrounded

“I have a problem with anxiety.”

“I’m going to need to take an extra anxiety pill”

“I get so anxious”

“My whole family has issues with anxiety.”

I’m hearing these statements from people in the world around me and I feel like I’m surrounded by anxiousness.

Don’t get me wrong – I have moments of anxiety. Who doesn’t in our crazy culture?

But then I remember what Jesus says to me in Matthew 11:28-30. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

‘Burdened’ means ‘anxious’ to me. You and I are burdened when we start to worry about all the things we’re not in control of. We are burdened when we focus on all the negatives in our lives. We are burdened when we become afraid of the unknowns – all those terrible things that could happen to us and the people we love.

Jesus gives me rest for my soul when I listen to his voice and lay at his feet all the things that make me anxious. His yoke is easy and his burden is light because he can be trusted. He loves me and has promised to work it all out for my good.

Nothing is impossible for him.

As I keep my eyes focused on Jesus each day, anxiety fades away.

Thank you, Jesus.

I want to be…

like the Samaritan Leper.

Jesus healed 10 lepers and “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan.”  Luke 17: 15 – 16.  Jesus healed the whole group of lepers and this man was the only one that came back to say thank you.

Jesus had redeemed the leper’s life from pain and death.  And the leper made an effort to show his gratitude for what Jesus had done for him.

Jesus has done the same thing for me.   He redeemed me from hopelessness, death and eternal separation from the only source of good things in this universe – our Father God.

After reading this passage many years, ago, I decided to start all of my prayers with thanking God for who he is and what he has done for me.  I still do this today and I find it puts me in the right mindset to have great conversations with God.  He has already done so much for me – lavishing his love on me, forgiving my rebellion and self-centeredness, pouring his blessings down on me, giving me purpose and peace…..I could go on.  So starting every prayer with ‘thank you’ helps me avoid the trap of treating God like Santa Claus just going down my list of prayer requests.

For the rest of my life here on this planet, I will be like the leper who came back to say ‘thank you’.  I will live my life in gratitude to God.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Pushing the Darkness Away

Wow, this is a dark time in our country, isn’t it?

Disrespect, discord, distrust, disgruntled, discrimination, discontented, discouraged. The ‘dis-es’ are one of the biggest pandemics infecting our culture today.

Do you find it hard not to get sucked into the darkness?

I do.

Until…

I look to the Light.

Love, peace, forgiveness and strength come from the Light and his name is Jesus. When I focus on Jesus, the darkness fades away.

Have you tried this when the darkness overwhelms you?

There are times that I forget darkness is not the opposite of light, it is the absence of light. When I let the Light of the World fill my mind and heart, the darkness is pushed away. ” When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

It can be very hard to focus on Jesus in the blackest part of the night when worries and fear creep in.  For many years, when my thoughts became anxious in the middle of the night, I would talk with my Father God.  Eventually I started to find myself thinking about all of the ‘bad stuff’ instead of praying about it and the night would gradually become darker and heavier on my soul.

Recently, I have begun to fill my mind with praise songs when the negative thoughts start and the darkness threatens. Remember – darkness is the absence of light. When I let the words and the melodies of some of my favorite praise songs repeat over and over in my mind, my brain becomes filled with the Light. It doesn’t take very long before my fears and concerns are replaced by reminders of Jesus’ love and care for me. He brings peace and security…..

and sleep.

Go ahead and try it.

His Light shines in the darkness.

He Makes All the Difference

When ‘The Chosen’ series came out, I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch it because I usually don’t like the movie if I’ve read the book. And I’m reading this book – the Bible- for the 11th time.

So I started streaming it with critical eyes and my hand ready to turn it off if it was wrong and not representing my Father well. The first episode was about Mary who was possessed by many demons. I don’t know about you, but Satan turns my stomach. The Evil One is so real to me that it was very hard to watch Mary struggle with the demons on the screen. The characters in the show were trying to help her and I kept saying in my head with my stomach churning while watching this, “When is Jesus going to show up?”

I just finished reading the Old Testament in the Chronological Bible for the 11th time. It ended at a time that the Israelites had turned back to God and recommitted to following him. But the last 10 months of reading have been full of stories of people turning their back on God, disobeying him, and worshipping weird, worthless idols. The Old Testament ends with the faithful people saying, “When is the Messiah going to show up?”

Then I look up from my Bible and see the world around me. What a mess! Evil is revered and rampant. Important values are disappearing daily. Ignoring God and his truth is at an all time high – even in our churches. It would be easy to look around and say, “When is Jesus going to show up?”

The good news for us is that Jesus has already ‘showed up’. Over 2 thousand years ago he came to earth and sacrificed his life so we can have a personal relationship with God that starts here and continues on into eternity in heaven. After Jesus died for us and raised himself back to life before going back to heaven, he send his Spirit here to live inside all those who put their faith in him.

Jesus is here. His Spirit is alive here.

As I write that, I feel such a relief! Because when Jesus showed up for Mary in the “The Chosen”, he sent all the demons away and she transformed in a beautiful, happy woman who committed her life to serving Jesus. Jesus made all the difference.

Knowing Jesus is here gives me relief as I finish reading the Old Testament which is filled with stories of the Israelite’s lack of faith and hundreds of years of wavering commitment. When we choose to put our faith in him, his Spirit can help us remain faithful and committed. Jesus makes all the difference.

I even feel relieved when I look around at all the issues in our current culture. Jesus is here. He is in control. He gives me peace and love and fills my empty spaces in a world that is a ‘train wreck’.

Jesus makes all the difference today and every day.

Thank you for being here, Jesus.

400 years of Silence

I can’t imagine it – God being silent for 400 years.

That’s the amount of time between the Old Testament and the New Testament.   So it is said that God was silent.

But was he?  Really?

It’s hard for me to imagine that my Father God who loves us and cares for us so diligently each day would be quiet for 400 years.  I think it’s very possible that he was speaking and interacting with people at that time but none of it was meant to become part of his revelation to us so it was not included in the Bible.

When I think about how much I need God each day and knowing that there were faithful people during that time as well, it doesn’t make sense that he was actually silent for 400 years.  It doesn’t sound like something he would do.

But we know that there were 400 years between the two parts of the Bible.  For some reason, God put in a significant break before he begins the account of his greatest Gift of all time – salvation through his son, Jesus Christ.

Mark’s account starts with, “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the son of God”. (1:1)

John’s account starts, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” (1:1)

The Light of the World was arriving – we would never be the same.

Amen.  Hallelujah!

I’ve Got Your Back

When we want to accomplish something big, it takes a team.  One person can only do what one person can get done.

I have discovered when a group of people join energy and brainpower to tackle a goal together, their efforts are multiplied and good things happen. I’ve seen big successes roll in when a team of people are engaged, committed to working together and helping each other achieve a goal.

And when God is involved I have seen a supernatural factor come into play that is truly astounding to witness.  Projects turn out much better than planned.  Blessings pile up.  We see our faith growing as, together, we experience the power of God in our lives.

Has this happened to you? I’ve experienced this many times and its exciting every time it happens.

I find the historical account of Nehemiah leading the Israelites in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem to be very motivating.  The Jews were being attacked regularly by their enemies who didn’t want them to complete the wall.  They were very discouraged.

We’ve all been there.

Nehemiah refused to stop building.  He knew that he had been sent back to Jerusalem to lead this project so he couldn’t stop.  He organized the men into teams, “From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bow and armor. Nehemiah 4:16. They protected their brothers with everything they had.

Working together,

protecting each other,

they accomplished the goal of rebuilding the wall.

They could not have done it without each other.

Our Spiritual family is like this.  We need each other.  Each one of us needs to identify our spiritual gifts in order to build each other up and fulfill our purpose of reaching others for Christ. We watch each other’s backs – loving and forgiving each other in supernatural ways.

And we love those who don’t know Jesus yet

while our Spiritual family supports us and cheers us on.

We can do this, because God first loved us…

and He has our backs.

Try It

I would normally tell you from experience that it’s not a good idea to test God. You won’t like consequences. God wants us to have faith in him and trust him, not test him.

With one exception.

There is one place in the Bible where God says, “Test me”.

He knows all the issues we have with money – it quickly becomes our god, we always want more and we’re willing to sacrifice our families to get it, we have trouble giving generously, we get in such deep debt that we think we can’t give.  Just to name a few.

God says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:10.

I have attended a couple of different churches who sponsor a 90 day challenge for giving to God.  People tithe for 90 days – no cheating because nothing is hidden from God – and they watch God move in their finances.  If they don’t see God move, they get their money back.

Nobody has ever asked for their money back because God always moves.  I love it!  Test him!

And you will find out what those of us that have committed to tithing have found out – the refunds, checks for overpayment and unexpected credit to our accounts start rolling in.   Regular stories like this –

I had a dental claim paid by my insurance a couple of years ago and the medical assistant looked at me with surprise when she handed me back a check for $900. She told that insurance NEVER covers this part of the procedure but they did for me. Thank you, God!

The air conditioner in our home recently started making a very loud and worrying noise. Our house is 15 years old and the air conditioner is original to the house so you know what we thought – time for a new air conditioner. Nope! It was fixed for the cost of a service call. I always give God the credit for anything like this that happens to us because I know he’s watching over us.

You would hear these kinds of stories from anyone who has committed to tithe.  God is faithful and we can count on him to respond when we are generous givers. I believe God moves in how often our cars break down and how quickly appliances stop working. If we are stingy with God, we don’t need to be surprised when we spend that money anyway on repairs and unexpected bills.

God is a good Father and he wants to teach us the right way to handle our money. Test him!

Through the years, my husband and I have donated two of our older cars to charity because we know God will bless us more for that than what we could sell them for.  We donated a 2 year-old refrigerator to a church mission for the same reason.  God knows.

When you and I faithfully tithe, we are putting our finances under the umbrella of God’s blessing.  When we do that, he not only blesses our finances, he pours other blessings into our lives as well.  These are things that money can’t buy – like joy, love and purpose.  And more.

So much more pours out that it fills us up and starts to spill over to the people around us.  The windows of heaven open up for us when we get our money in line with God.  The more we give, the more we have.  That’s God’s math.  We cannot outgive God.

If you don’t have any of these stories, go ahead and test God!  I know what will happen.

Thank you for your faithfulness with our finances, Abba Father.