Thank God for Sticky Situations

thCA43E4AY(37) And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (38)This is the great and foremost commandment. (39)The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ———- Matthew 22:37-39 (NASB)

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but loving one another is about as easy as peeling a sea urchin. There are a lot of sharp things that can stab us. Loving God is easy — He IS love, so His response is always gentle, kind, and fulfilling. Loving people often requires leather gloves to keep from getting hurt.

One day when my husband and I drove into the driveway, we noted our “condo” birdhouse was full. The birds had taken up residence and were fully engaged in nest building. The funny thing is, every “apartment” was taken by a different kind of bird. The top one housed a chickadee, the middle floor a sparrow, and the basement held a pine siskin. They sat happily on their perches, singing sweet bird songs, enjoying the safety of the nest that kept them high above any predators. They didn’t seem to care that they were different “denominations.” They were just thankful for a place to live that was protected and safe!

Part of the secret to getting along with people is being thankful. I am thankful more than words can express for the friends in my life. It is their prayers and encouragement that keep me going. We can co-exist in peace because we know that we love each other, even through difficult times. We don’t have to be jealous, envious, or demand things of each other, because we are thankful for who we are and that we have Jesus. Like the birds in my front yard, it doesn’t matter about our differences.

One of these days, Jesus is going to return for His Bride. He’s going to see if we have been selfish “bridezillas,” or if we have learned how to find the unity of the Holy Spirit. We will never truly agree on doctrines, practice, etc. But we should be able to love with thankful hearts and sense the Presence of God in each other. Today let’s allow thankfulness to spread through us. Let’s enjoy the goodness of God in each other and let go of all the things that we think we know. We can travel the road to destiny together, and sing our heavenly songs of love with joy!

(This information was used by permission from “Whispers of Heaven” by Rosalie Storment and Faye Higbee, copyrighted 2011)

Calm In the Midst of Turmoil

Eye of the Storm(8)“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
(9)“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.
(10)“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
(11)So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:8-11 (NASB)

“Let not your heart be troubled.”

Not easy to do when circumstance are stacked against us. But God has a plan and a way of doing things that tends to sun counter to him we see it or how we would do it.

Example: One recent year, north Idaho received a record snowfall. We had several feet within a 24-hour period. The reindeer decoration in our front yard was so buried that only the tips of Rudolph’s antlers showed above the snow bank. It seemed awful to some. But the subsequent summer produced bumper crops of food. The fruit tree produced way over their usual amount of fruit. The huckleberry bushes in the forests of Idaho were thick with luscious large berries. Our tomato plants went wild with fruit. The snow cover from the seemingly harsh winter brought enough much needed moisture to yield a wonderful harvest.

I have contact with many Christians of every different ministry focus. Many who are warriors are frustrated with the way the world and the nation seem to be going. They run the spectrum from angry to discouraged because it seems as though their prayers are not being answered. But I have good news: let not your heart be troubled. God is still on the Throne. What we think we see is not what God worries about, not what He has planned for the end game!

God works through His purposes, His way. Remember that He sees the end from the beginning. He commands us to stand for righteousness, to pray as He directs, to be who we are called to be and not compromise. How He answers our prayers is not up to us. His purpose always involves the souls of people, and it always involves His word. When we become upset over what we see, we are not sitting in the heavenly places nor praying there.

How did the Apostles keep their faith when Jesus was arrested, crucified, then left them when He ascended? They were afraid. They didn’t really understand the circumstances, though the Lord told them to wait for the power to come. They huddled together, praying in the Upper Room (the top floor of the house). They didn’t know what was going to happen. Then pow! The Holy Spirit blew through their lives and changed everything!

They didn’t all suddenly get rich or get a TV show. They didn’t all suddenly become well-liked and have fawning followers. They did, however, suddenly become well-known–and within one day’s time, 3,000 souls were added to the Kingdom of God. Suddenly they could do the miracles Jesus did and many were healed. Suddenly they became targets of the Romans and the Jews. Life got dangerous and complicated in human terms, but powerful and exciting in spiritual realms! What they did, what they experienced, and what God told them to write has had eternal consequences!

We are the adopted sons and daughters of the one True Living God. Our lives have eternal consequences! We are privileged to be called to rule and reign with Him. But that job description gets complicated if we let out minds to the thinking. Don’t let the things you see discourage your heart–remember that God Almighty has called you as His own and that He is sovereign over whatever happens on the earth. He will accomplish His purposes in spite of the ravings of the enemy or the foolishness of men. All you have to do is trust Him, keep your mind firmly on His heart, and your faith helmet solidly in place. His grace and love will make up the difference! You are greatly beloved!

(This material was used by permission from “Wisdom of Heaven” written by Rosalie Storment and Faye Higbee, copyrighted 2011)

Dependence on God

thCAN8U08M(5) Love. . .does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, —1 Corinthians 13:5 (NASB)

Whether we are married or single, one of the most difficult attacks comes with bitterness towards someone else. Married couples experience this frequently–and if not handled it will eventually spell disaster, just like it does in the church.

When we expect something from another human, we are going to be disappointed. When our dependence is on people instead of God, we become angry when they don’t do what we want. It is about what WE want. When we trust the Lord, we can rest and be at peace, because He is then in control.

When my husband and I were married, we didn’t have enough money to buy a wedding ring, so I made one out of old gold and an old diamond from my mother’s ring. Because the gold was very old and brittle, it broke within the first year. Now, of course it was disappointing. But it wasn’t a place where bitterness should grow! And so I placed my trust in the Lord to provide a ring someday at His convenience. If I had focused on my loss, it would have placed an unfair strain in our home. One of my favorite statements came from a former pastor: “Ask yourself–is it a big enough hill to die on?” My lack of a ring was definitely not big enough. For me to have thought so would have brought condemnation and embarrassment to our home!

We should not be easily offended or hurt (1 Corinthians 13). We should be able to tell the difference between something worthy of discussion and something that will tear apart a relationship. Bitterness always tears things apart and speaks of our control and selfish desire more than our concern for the hearts of others. It’s about God, not about us. It’s about love. Let’s celebrate love, let’s walk forward without the baggage of bitterness!

Rescued!

a69ef3631a(5)But I have trusted in Your loving kindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me. ——Psalm 13:5-6 (NASB)

Just what is “salvation” anyway? It has become a religious word instead of a God-heart word, so let’s bring it back to His heart.

The word “salvation” in the Old Testament comes from the word Y’shuwab, or Yeshua. Sound familiar yet? It means to help, to deliver, to save, to bring victory, to care for the welfare of someone. Its connotation to the recipient is one who is brought to good health and prosperity, free of problems. The source of salvation is outside of the situation, not inside of it. A “savior” can rescue us from sickness, our enemies, or any other catastrophe. In total, the denotes a full and complete deliverance from everything we face in live on this earth!

The Bible says that Jesus “saved” us by the cross. That simply means He created the avenue where the enemy of our souls can no longer have authority over us. Nor only do we have intimate relationship to the God of all Creation, but like a safe zone wherever we go, there is no plan against us that can prosper. Jesus also took back the keys of death, hell and the grave by His death and resurrection. That means if we encounter a life-threatening situation here on earth, we don’t have to worry, because He’s already made a place for us with Him forever. We cannot be separated from His love (Romans 8).

When I was a little girl, my dad saw a car burst into flames. He slammed on his brakes, bolted to the vehicle, yanked the female driver out onto the ground, wrapped her in a coat, and flagged down a passing motorist to call the police. When he got home, he smelled like smoke, his coat was charred, and though he told us what happened, it didn’t seem to be a big deal to him. Just something that “had to be done.”

Jesus’ Name means deliverance, rescue, salvation. He IS those things and does them because it is His nature. He doesn’t stop and think first. He simply saves. It is the heart of God that none should perish in ANY way. Salvation is something that “has to be done.” In His heart, He is love. In His work, He is love. We are saved by His love. Whatever you are facing today–a trial, a joyous moment, a change in direction–know that the God of salvation is on the move in your behalf!

Hang On To Your Dreams

Peace(34)“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. —Matthew 6:34 (NASB)

Hang on to your dreams. You don’t fixate on tomorrow. Dad’s ways are often confusing to us as we navigate life on a daily basis. So what is He talking about?

Let’s start with a hint: prophecy is not fortune-telling. Prophetic utterance is speaking forth the Word of the Lord–for encouraging the Church, for letting people know that God hears them, for establishing God’s will and plan. Sometimes “prophecy” ends up as divination – will I be married, will I get rich, will such and such be in my future? It becomes a forum for trying to make God tell us what we want to hear.

Hanging on to our dreams is about hearing the voice of God and staying true to Him, no matter what happens to try to deter us from His plan. A prophetic Word from the Lord can help us stand strong in the midst of the enemy’s attempts to derail our destiny.

Every year promises to be more difficult in the world. But God’s people are beloved–and His promises to them are yes and amen! We don’t need to worry about what is to come or what will happen to us, because our God has promised to be our Rock, our fortress, our strength, our joy . . . and we are citizens of His Kingdom, not the earth!

God’s Kingdom cannot be stopped. Every evil can try to stamp out Christianity or destroy our destinies, but God is sovereign over all. The authority against ALL the works of the enemy belongs to Jesus the Christ. Trust Him. Know that He is King of kings and Lord of lords. And no matter what we see each, trust Him that His plan and purposes will come to pass in our lives.

(This information was used by permission from “Whispers of Heaven” written by Rosalie Storment and Faye Higbee, copyrighted 2011)

Hope

Prayer for the Angel(4)I sought the Lord, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.
(5)They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces will never be ashamed.
(6)This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him And saved him out of all his troubles.
(7)The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them.
(8)O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Psalm 34:4-8 (NASB)

No matter what country, background, or ethnicity we may have, all of us have experienced disappointment in our lives. Whether it is a desire to serve the Lord in ministry, or a plan to expand a business, or the hope of the bride in her new marriage, things don’t always turn out as we had hoped. These are “shattered dreams.”

There was a time in our lives where it seemed as if everything kept derailing – no forward momentum but lots of backwards falling. “Hope deferred makes the heart-sick, . . .” is the way the Scripture puts it (Proverbs 13:12 NASB). Yet we learned to move forward and not give up, in spite of heartaches and what seemed like failures. We learned that friendships are huge helps in times of trouble, as are our deepening relationships with the Lord. And we learned that what we THINK we see, may not be what God is doing!

And there is good news! the second part of Proverbs 13:12 which we rarely hear says, ” . . . But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” God is all about life. The reason Jesus went to the cross is to allow us access to life – both here on earth and throughout eternity. (John 3:16). When God created the earth and all that is in it, He commanded all of it to prosper and bring forth life. He asks us to be the vessels of His “River of Life,” the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t break “bruised reeds,” people who are sad and hurting. He came to bring us LIFE and that MORE ABUNDANTLY (John 10:10).

When it seems like there is no hope, there is God who creates the dawn. When the dreams appear to be dead, there is the God of resurrection! Tomorrow is a new day for us all. What happens today may be the stepping stone to breakthrough you have waited for. Faith is built on what we can’t see, but what we know God has in store for us. May the fulfilled desires of your heart come quickly, and may all that delays your hope be destroyed by the blessings and love of our Savior!

(This information was used by permission from “Whispers of Heaven” by Rosalee Storment and Faye Higbeee, copyrighted in 2011.)

A Unified Army

images(11)The Lord utters His voice before His army; Surely His camp is very great, For strong is he who carries out His word. The day of the Lord is indeed great and very awesome, And who can endure it?
Joel 2:11 (NASB)

Have you ever wondered how an army could walk together and be in unity when they don’t really know each other? Ouch! The vast majority of Christianity goes to church on Sunday, maybe to some conferences, maybe a dinner or two, but we don’t really know one another. We know ABOUT each other, much like people know ABOUT Jesus, but don’t know Him intimately. We are busy you know. And our pastors are the speakers so they are busy, too. Spending time with each other is more important than we will ever realize. Being loving and vulnerable, making an effort staying humble with each other is a/ healing fountain of life.

I have a dear friend who was single for many years and went to a large church. She was sort of an “outcast” because she was single with children. For some reason, few members of the church would spend time with her. This also may have been because she was not of the same race as they were. But she felt lonely and isolated from the people in the pew. She and I spent lots of time together, and her faith helped me through some lonely times of my own. When I wanted to tell the Christian church to drop dead, she actually dragging me kicking and screaming to the same church . . . and it turned out kto be a giant blessing and a place of healing for me. She kept her heart from bitterness against the very people who had left her feeling alone . . . and it saved me from a big root of bitterness too. But the fact remains that they should have made an effort at friendship.

One day a special friend came over to the house and we made cookies and candy together. God bless her – she helped me so much and out of it she received a few plates of gifts to give away. She told me that no one had ever invited her to do that before. Help us, Lord! I’m so thankful she is my heart friend!

The Body of Christ was created by the Lord as a place of heart friends. It is to be ONE as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one (John 17). We can’t live as one if we don’t forma loving relationships, meant to last through eternity. If we are looking for perfect people to love, the only one perfect is Jesus. If we find fault with everyone and push they away because we are too busy or don’t really want to get too close, we miss the point. If we don’t have relationships, we can’t be His Army. If we don’t love, we can’t be His Army. We’re not as “army of one.” We are the Army of The One who died for us. And if we love one another as He loves us, we really will conquer all that comes our way and it will keep us from the heart conditions that kill us.

May you have many heart friends – people you can trust, people you can pray with and for, people who will stand at your side and fight for you when the going gets rough. And may you find the love of Jesus in relationship to Him AND the oneness of the true Bride of Christ!

(This excerpt is used by permission from “Whispers of Heart” written by Rosalie Storment and Faye Higbee, copyrighted in 2011.)

Spiritual Preparation

The BiblePsalm 68:9-10

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

(9) You shed abroad a plentiful rain, O God; You confirmed Your inheritance when it was parched.

(10) Your creatures settled in it; You provided in Your goodness for the poor, O God.

Excerpt from A Walk with Jesus:

God Is WITH You

Over the years, all of us have heard the term “preparation.” We have been told to prepare for all the doom and gloom scenarios. We have been told to get out of debt; we have been told to do all sorts of things in “preparation” for what is to come. However, most of us have no way to accomplish the things these would-be prophets tell us to do. This has often made us all concerned about whether we’ve messed up and whether God would really take care of us in a pinch.

Here is your encouragement for the day: God will never leave you not forsake you. If you are poor, He will make sure you are fed. If you are broken-hearted, He will heal you and comfort you. If you don’t have a safe place to live, He is your strong tower and fortress. Keep Psalm 91 close to your heart. You belong to the King of kings and Lord of lords. Nothing is impossible with the Lord!

The word from A Walk with Jesus that you read above explains what is really meant by “preparation.” It doesn’t mean go build a bunker to hide in. It doesn’t mean panic and worry about what is to come. It DOES mean that God has been preparing you already throughout your walk with Him. As you dedicate your heart to be aware, to keep moving forward no matter the circumstance, and  to seek the Presence of God, there is nothing that can stand in the way of His Hand in Your life. He will open your understanding to the secrets of His ways. He will accomplish things through you that are mighty!

(32) By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.  Daniel 11:32 (NASB)

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