{Graditude} God, Veterans, & USA

As we all know, this Monday will be Memorial Day. Many throughout the country have plans set or at least something in the making via plans — whether it is a parade, picnic, family gathering, or time spent doing nothing. Perhaps, maybe you are scheduled to work because you are a nurse or aid — whatever the case may be we all know that it is Memorial Day and the weekend is upon us.

I am reminded once again of our great country. Oh, I know we can easily find fault in it somewhere or in someone, but before we get sidetracked, let’s not — for we do indeed have much to be thankful for! Like our freedom!

  • Before I even continue any further, I would like to thank all of you who have either served our great USA in the past or today are actively serving. Though we may not personally know one another — in our home, your sacrifice (your families sacrifice) is not forgotten. We rejoice in our God-given freedom and know that freedom is NOT free, nor will it ever be. We thank YOU!
  • I think of those who gave their lives, WE REMEMBER; for you have not given in vain. Though your families grieve the most [which we grieve with them], in our home, we choose to remember and not forget we are free — our lives would be far different if it weren’t for brave men and women who didn’t serve this great country we call America! Thank you!
  • There is one other person I’d liked to thank…my Navy man. I am proud of my husband and his service to our country. He stands strong as a reminder. He is a truly a man of God. [super-incredibly-thankful for him!] Thank you! 

So the weekend is happening. Monday is fastly approaching. Whatever plans you may have — or not have, may I encourage you to STOP and take a few minutes to: 

1) Thank the Lord for your freedom. 

  • Seriously, you could be living in another country where let’s just say, things could be MUCH different! You are blessed!

2) Thank a veteran.

  • Whether it is at a parade, in a checkout line or at a gas station or your neighbor — thank a vet! Maybe invite one to your picnic!

3) Take time to pray for our country.

  • America needs our prayer.

  • America needs to keep God first.

  • Psalm 33:12-13 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.  The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.”

  • 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”


Have a safe, memory-thankful-filled Memorial Day. 

the Armor of God: Prayer [Really???]

What is the armor of God and truthfully, do we really need it?

Have you ever wondered why we need to fight or for that matter ‘wear’ such spiritual garments? Why we must do this so-called fighting that quite frankly we do not even ‘see’ – or do we?

I believe we all would say that we have fought a battle or two in our life time whether it was with our kids, our in-laws, our parents, possibly our spouse, or maybe even God.

But one of the most troubling battles we face [more than we care to realize] are not the things that we ‘perceive’ with our five sense – but rather everything else that is unseen. Don’t get me wrong, we certainly wrestle here on earth and it’s directly related to the visible and invisible, but we must not forget that the invisible is REAL – much more than we care to reckon. So before we disregard its presence, let’s take a little look.

My Pastor, who is also my husband, said a few months ago in a Sunday morning worship service, “Remember who your REAL enemy is! It is not those sitting next to you here at church; it is not those who live in your home or extended family members; it is not the workplace, the store, that slow driver in front of you that is ‘making you late’; it is not people; it is not God – it is the DEVIL. Your real enemy is the devil!” [Pastor Richard Woodruff] We must remember who the real enemy is!

The devil (aka: satan – who is the great deceiver) wants you to ignore the spiritual reality behind your physical reality. Why? It is to his best interest and your greatest destruction; for he knows that as long as you are focused on what you physically ‘see’ with your eyes, he can continue his dirty deeds and run rampant underneath the surface. This only happens when we are personally distracted, unfocused, (mind, heart, spirit) on the things that do not matter most.

Isn’t that so wicked – oh wait a minute…he is wickedness, he is not our friend…he is the greatest deceiver! Following me, yet?!

My friends, it is not for us to live in fear over the devil, but rather live in wisdom, knowledge and understanding of who and what our enemy is and capable of – but more importantly resting in the power of knowing who our God is and who we are through Jesus Christ.

Remember we have already won the battle, but don’t live foolishly – the enemy may be invisible, but he is not fictional. He is present. Real. He wants to destroy you! He is persistent. Consistent.

Do not think for one moment that because you are a believer in Jesus Christ you have immunity; quite frankly you have a bulls-eye on your forehead. You are the target. Don’t allow this to scare you but rather remember WHO resides within you? GOD! This means you are fully loaded; fully empowered; 100% equipped, power-filled by the Father Himself [now if that doesn’t give you goosebumps] to defend anything and everything, even when we don’t understand — yet we trust. [what God-love. God-grace. God-comfort!]

So, how does one defend, reload, and stand strong?

  1. PRAY! [Yep] Pray! You may be laughing at me right now, but it is true. You may be thinking “how in the world does praying help you win the battle?” For starters, read Ephesians. Paul highlights one of the most important [yet most overlooked aspects] spiritual armor – PRAYER! Without communicating with God over the battles – you’re done! Without His inward strength coming through us from time spend in prayer and in His Word – you’re done! Prayer brings His plan. His vision. At times His purpose. We cannot do what He wants if we do not know what He requires. Communication! Paul esteemed prayer so critical to the victory over satan’s power in our lives/during these battles – maybe we should take note, just maybe! [what do you think?]
  2. Study out the armor of God – allow it to become you!
  3. You want to see personal victories – PRAY – for there is victory in spiritual warfare when prayer is practiced. Don’t be afraid of it – just do it!

    “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, [19] and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might [20] which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, [21] far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come”

    Ephesians 1:18-21.

    God-Checks [ever so vital]

    How we ‘see’ God is critical.

    It is vital that we continually retain our mind & heart in a God-check so that we are not creating a manifestation of God [our own idea of who God is] but rather seeing who God actually is through His Word and by His character.

    Be in the Words of God. 

    God will not be ignored. He instructs us to worship and fear Him.

    Just a FEW verses…hope they are an encouragement to your soul. Have a sweet time looking up more! All verses are from the NASB (fyi).

    • Deut. 6:13 “You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him…”
    • Deut. 8:6 “Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.”
    • Deut. 11:16 “Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them.”
    • Deut. 13:4 “You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.”
    • Psalm 40:3 “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the Lord.”
    • Psalm 66:16 “Come and hear, all who fear God, And I will tell of what He has done for my soul.”
    • Psalm 99:5 “Exalt the Lord our God And worship at His footstool; Holy is He.”
    • Eccl. 8:13 “But it will not be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God.”
    • Isaiah 42:8 “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.”
    • Luke 4:8 “Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’”
    • Rev. 14:7 “…“Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.”

    GOD

    “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another,
    Nor My praise to graven images.” Isaiah 42:8

    Is God Enough?

    So, I have been reading this book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. It was part of a course requirement for my husband’s one doctoral class – it caught my eye. So when he finished reading the book, I asked him if I could borrow it. WOW…my heart!!!! Since reading the book my soul has been greatly rebuked and challenged yet encouraged in the greatness of who God is and how much He so desires me — and YOU!

    Today, I’d love to jot down for you a few excerpts from Mr. Chan’s book from pages 41-45 [please note that all bold words within quotation marks are from Crazy Love].

    My prayer for you is that through reading these thought provoking reminders they will both challenge and encourage your soul; make you honestly evaluate your own relationship with God; make you question who you ‘think’ God is – or realize if you have created your own idea of God and not truly see who God really is; and help bring your soul to the only place where it should go — bowed down; worshipping God because of who He is; because it belongs to Him, because of who I am – to be awe-struck just as I am.


    “When I am consumed by my problem – stressed out about life, mu family, and my job – I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God’s command to always rejoice. [Phil. 4:4]

    In other words, when consumed by my circumstances I say…that I have a “right” to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities…but in God’s eyes this thinking is wrong.

    WORRY implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives. [OUCH!!] 

    STRESS says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, out lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control. [Double OUCH!!] 
    Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we have been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won’t be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God’s strength, our problems are small indeed.

    First Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” So what does this mean? Frankly, you need to get over yourself. It might sound harsh, but that’s seriously what it means.

    Maybe life’s pretty good for you right now, God has given you this good stuff so that you can show the world a person who enjoys blessings, but who is still totally obsessed with God.

    Or maybe life is tough right now, and everything feels like a struggle. God has allowed hard things in your life so you can show the world that your God is great and that knowing Him brings peace and joy, even when life is hard. [Isn’t God Good!?] Like the psalmist who wrote, “I saw the prosperity of the wicked… Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure… When I tried to understand all this it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God” (Ps. 73:3; 13, 16-17).

    It is easy to become disillusioned with the circumstances of our lives compared to others’. But in the presence of God, He gives us a deeper peace and joy that transcends it all.  

    To be brutally honest, it doesn’t really matter what place you find yourself in right now. Your part is to bring Him glory – whether eating a sandwich on a lunch break, drinking coffee at 12:04 a.m. so you can stay awake to study, or watching your four-moth-old take a nap. The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His. It is His…World, His Gift.”


    “Many of us want a ‘religion’ but don’t want a ‘Christianity’ that touches our lives.” [Pastor Bob Loggans] “We want the world and Jesus too – it doesn’t work that way. We cannot have them both.” [Pastor Richard Woodruff]  I have such great pastors — so blessed & thankful!!

    Folks, we have got to decide!

    Is it Jesus or not?

    What is the point of my life? I already know the answer to that question for God has already told me in His Word. The real question is:

    WILL I OBEY?

    Joshua_24-15

    Blessings, In Christ I Am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}   

    C.S. Lewis & Joy {2}

    {Lewis quotes and excerpts from Shadowlands and Songs of Light: An Journey into Joy and Healing Author: Kevin Ott}

    When Joy Moves Us

    When Joy moves us, a new question may enter our minds:

    “How do I go about spending more time with God?”

    Fortunately, Jesus answered this question for us: Go to the secret place. We are to go into a room alone and close a door behind us. If we do not have a room at our disposal, we find a corner or place of separation that provides solitude, even if only a little.

    The next question follows:

    What do we do there?

    Jesus told us to go and pray. Volumes have been written about prayer, but all of it can be distilled into one simple principle:

    the prayer that happens in the secret place is meant to be a heart-to-heart encounter between you and your Abba Father and not an intellectual exercise.

    The secret place is where you bare your heart before God and pour every ounce of it at His feet ─ whether it be sorrow, gladness, thanksgiving, intercession, or all of it mixed together. In turn, God draws near and shelters you with His presence in the secret place.

    ✓ So…do you have one {a secret place}?

    ✓ Do you go there?

    ✓ Oh have you ever longed for this sweet place with God?

    ✓ Have you ever asked Him these very questions?

    ✓ Have you ever longed so intensely that you weren’t able to think of anything else but Him, His Word, and the time you so longed for?

    ✓ “It’s a force you cannot stop — for it comes from within and wants more, and to go and be there is pure joy!”

    ✓ So what’s stopping you? He is longing for you to come! GO!
     

     

     

    C.S. Lewis & Joy {1}

    {Lewis quotes and excerpts from Shadowlands and Songs of Light: An Journey into Joy and Healing} Author: Kevin Ott

    the Other-Worldly Joy

    In C.S. Lewis’ autobiography, Surprised by Joy, he tells of experiencing an other-worldly joy ─ a specific Joy that defies our modern understanding. This idea of Joy is not a satisfied desire but an unsatisfied desire ─ a deep longing for God, a hungry pursuit of God’s heart that never ends and is more satisfying than any earthly happiness.

    Lewis recalls three seemingly trivial and disconnected events with a common thread: he experienced a sudden, piercing pang of longing ─ a bittersweet ache and yearning for something far-off, other-worldly, and unnamed during each event.

    He would later recognize these sudden aches of longing: a deep spiritual hunger for God ─ not just for an intellectual knowledge of God, but for a real relationship with Him. These deep longings in Lewis’ life ─ these stabs of Joy ─ worked as flashing sign-markers pointing him down the path toward Christ.

    How to Act on This:

    True Joy, as Lewis presents it to us, is the ache for something beyond this world. The Holy Spirit uses this restlessness to awaken spiritual hunger. When little moments of life ─ like the way the light falls on a summer evening ─ stir you with a deep longing that’s hard to define, don’t look to earthly pursuits to fill the void. Instead, allow the ache to push you deeper into your relationship with God. Pursue Him. Allow that longing for Him to become the hottest fire in your heart.

    C. S. Lewis Quote of the Day, from Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life:

    “The reader who finds these three episodes [in which Joy occurred] of no interest need read this book no further, for in a sense the central story of my life is about nothing else.”

    Shadowlands and Songs of Light Quote of the Day:

    “Joy—that sharp, wonderful Stab of Longing—has a lithe, muscular lightness to it. It’s deft. It produces longing that weighs heavy on the heart, but it does so with precision and coordination…it dashes in with the agility of a hummingbird claiming its nectar from the flower, and then zips away. It pricks, then vanishes, leaving a wake of mystery and longing behind it.”

    Passage: Psalm 16:11