Waymaker

 

Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday, and especially in Pentecostal churches, there is always a focus on the work of the Holy Spirit. Our First Lady (pastor’s wife for those not familiar with that term) is also our worship leader and she brought a new song to us. The song is called, Waymaker, and the congregation just soaked that song in! It has been running through my mind since yesterday, and I’m letting it sink deep into my soul.

I’ve included a link to a You Tube video on this song, and if you’re not used to Pentecostal services, it could be a little overwhelming, but don’t let it scare you because God will touch your soul deeply!  https://youtu.be/KeXcHAurv5A

Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.” (NASB) God has promised to make a way for us in whatever situation we find ourselves. We can have confidence in knowing that whatever is going on in our lives is not unnoticed by God. He knows, and He cares. We have several people in our congregation that are currently going through some pretty devastating illnesses. Some are going through difficult circumstances in their lives, but all of these people have strong faith that God will see them through. One of my friend’s is right now battling leukemia and praising God for a Christian doctor who prays with her. God is working a miracle in her life. She has a form of leukemia that, as far as I know, has no cure, BUT GOD, is healing her! The last report she gave us was that the chemo is working and the tests on her blood shows great improvement. We all are believing God that she will beat the predictions of the doctors and that God will heal her completely!

Each of us has gone through some devastating things, financial crisis, marriage difficulties, loss of loved ones, horrible illnesses, situations that seem unsurmountable! But God has promised that He is doing a new thing in our lives, He’s making a way, a new path, creating circumstances to be placed in our lives to bring about a greater faith in Him and for our good! I love the part of the song that says, “Even when I don’t feel it, You’re still working! You never stop, never stop working!” That is such a powerful phrase that we can lean upon. We can trust that He will keep us in His hand, He will guide us, He will make new paths for us to travel and new ways for us to trust Him.

Pastor’s sermon was called, “Infusion”, and he talked about allowing the Holy Spirit to be infused into our hearts and into our lives so that others may see Jesus in us, and that we receive power from the Holy Spirit to reach others for Him. Our purpose as Believers is to witness. That can take various forms, one on one speaking to someone about God, living in a manner that reflects God in our lives, through music, through the spoken word on radio and television stations, and even in the written word through books, devotionals, websites, and blogs. Whatever way we witness, it is our “job” if you will, to reach others for Christ. Jesus’ last words to His disciples was to “Go into all the world and make disciples.” (Matthew 28:19)

So, as I think about infusing the Holy Spirit into my life, I also am allowing the song to be infused into my heart. It’s a mantra of praise, worship, encouragement, and declaration that God is in control, He knows everything I’m going through, and I don’t have to worry or be afraid, because I know He is a Waymaker and He has me in the palm of His hand!

 

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Mother’s Day Thoughts

 

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and it’s been fun to see all the greetings to everyone yesterday on Facebook. I’ve been thinking about this Mother’s Day and the ones I’ve experienced in the past.

Let me begin by saying I’m extremely blessed! I have three stepchildren and six grandchildren that I am extremely proud of. They are my delight and fill my heart with so much love. It hasn’t always been such.

Before I married their father/grandfather, I had no children or grandchildren to dote on. My first husband and I never had kids. When I was 30 I got pregnant and my husband and I were through the moon with excitement, but at eight weeks I miscarried and then went immediately into pre-mature menopause. The doctor said I would never have children. I was so heartbroken! I wanted kids so badly. When my husband and I went to premarital counseling before we were married, the pastor asked us how many kids we wanted …. we said 6, and now we were left with none! We tried for adoption and both attempts ended in dead ends…no children.

Mother’s Day became a very difficult day for me. Even though I had a baby in Heaven, I couldn’t call myself a Mom. I had nothing to show for it, no children that I could point to and say, “They are mine”, no pictures in a frame to show. One Mother’s Day was extremely hard because a lady in our church had dealt with infertility for many years, and like me, Mother’s Day was hard for her, but on this day, her heart was full because she and her husband had adopted a little boy. As she related her story to the congregation, tears started to fall down my face and I was a basket case. My poor husband didn’t know what to do. A couple of the ladies in our church saw my distress and after church, came up to me to love on me and encourage me. This happened 20 years after I had lost my baby. Some people would think that by that time I would have been able to get over it, but there’s one thing every mother who has lost a baby knows, and that is, you never get over it.

A couple of years ago on Mother’s Day the First Lady of our church (our pastor’s wife) was having every mother write her name on a slip of paper for a drawing she was going to do for a prize. She asked if I was a mother, I told her I had a baby in Heaven. The next thing out of her mouth was like a revelation to me! She said, “Well then, that makes you a mother, put your name down.” I had never thought I could call myself a Mom! It was like I was given permission to say I was a Mom.

After my husband passed away I was left alone for six years, and then God brought to me a most wonderful man! We fell in love and got married, and when I married him, I got an immediate family complete with children and grandchildren! The Bible says that God will give you the desires of your heart when you are committed to Him. Well, God went above and beyond ANYTHING I could even imagine! I have two beautiful stepdaughters, three handsome stepsons, and six incredible grandchildren.

Today my heart is full and my cup overflows! As I was thinking about my kids (even though I didn’t birth them, I consider them my kids) I began to think of my daughters and how proud I am of them as I watch them be Mom to their kids. They are strong women of God and are teaching their children to love God and are exhibiting before them the characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman. Proverbs 31:29 (NASB) says, “Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.” Amber and Kristen, I am so proud of you both, and the example you display before your families, of a woman after God’s own heart. I am honored to call you my daughters.  Your mothers are to be praised for raising such amazing women of God!

You are my Shield

 

Last Sunday our church sang the song, “Shield about me”, and today it’s been running through my head. In my Bible Journaling today I looked for the Scripture that the song is based on, Psalm 3:3, “But thou O Lord, art my shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” (KJV) What a comfort to know that He is my shield! He is my protector, He encourages me, He plans good for me, He is my buckler and standard! How can I do nothing less than love Him!

As I write this, I have the song playing over and over, and my soul is at rest and in a place of peace. The words of the song follow:

Thou O Lord are a shield about me,
You’re my glory,
You’re the lifter of my head.
Thou O Lord are a shield about me,
You’re my glory,
You’re the lifter of my head.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah!
You’re the lifter of my head.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah!
You’re the lifter of my head.

All glory and honor go to Him! Can you imagine what Heaven will be like, as we who are Born Again Believers all join together around His throne proclaiming, “Holy, Holy!” The idea is just more than I can even think of. I think of those in my family who have gone before me, and my heart is so full at the thought of me and my loved ones gathered together praising God and worshipping Him. How awesome is that!

I love the thought that He is my shield! He protects me from all kinds of things, but I think mostly He protects me from myself. I can get myself into so much trouble, but He is always there reminding me of the pathway I should take and not the one I’m determined to take. He leads me and guides my steps. He is the lifter of my head! I think that means that He encourages me to the point of letting me know how special I am to Him and that He loves me more than I could ever imagine. And so, I can do no more than praise Him! Hallelujah!

This is a proclamation of praise and adoration to the One who died for me, who loves me more than anyone else, who walks with me day by day, who rejoices with me when I am happy and cries with me when I am sad. He knows me intimately, every fiber of my being has been created by Him, and He is on my side! He watches over me and I am so amazed at what He has done and who He is!

Thank you, Jesus, for being my best friend, Savior, Lord, Master, and King. Thank you for your sacrifice on the cross for me, for loving me so much that you gave completely of yourself to save me. I love you and worship you.

How He Loves Us

This morning God woke me with a song, David Crowder’s song, “How He Loves Me.” As I began to do my Bible Journaling today I am finishing up a series called, “Rise Up” and today’s journaling is from Hebrews 9:27-28, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this then comes the judgement., so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”(NASB)

At first as I read this I was having a hard time finding where the idea of being risen, or we would rise up to something, was in the passages. As I was journaling, the song kept going over and over in my mind, and then I focused on verse 28, “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” I was thrown off a little in verse 27 where it talks about judgement. But then my husband reminded me that the visual of Jesus on the throne at the Judgement Seat of Christ, was not a judgement of our sinful deeds as we would normally think of judgement, but a rewarding of the Saints for their work while here on earth.

Then what popped out at me was that Christ was offered as a sacrifice for our sins, He bore them all on the Cross! Then the song and the verse tied in together! Jesus loved us, and still loves us, so much that He paid the penalty for our sins completely, and we never have to offer up a sacrifice for our sins as the priests did in the Old Testament. It is finished! That is the ultimate in love!

John 15:13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (KJV) Jesus could not show His love any better than to offer Himself as a perfect, living sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. In our church we sing a song that says, “He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay, I needed someone to wash my sins away. And now I sing a brand-new song, Amazing Grace! Christ Jesus paid the debt that I could never pay.” How awesome is that! He was the sacrificial lamb, the final sacrifice, for the redemption of sins for all mankind. I can do nothing more than praise Him and thank Him for such a great love!

We Will Rise

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Acts 24:15, “having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” (NASB) The Apostle Paul was brought before Felix in Rome, and he gave his testimony after being accused of sedition. The high priest, Ananias, and the elders accused Paul of treason against Rome, religious heresy, and desecrating the temple. They said that he caused riots and spoke against the Law of Moses. They also accused him of bringing a Gentile into the temple, which was strictly forbidden.

Paul spoke in his own defense. Paul refuted the claims of which the high priest and elders accused him. Then he said, “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.” (NKJV) What stood out to me was the phrase, “I have a hope in God”! Our hope is in Jesus Christ’s work on the Cross, and His death, burial and resurrection, without which we have no reason to hope, believe, or be confident in our salvation.

Our hope as Believers is that we will be resurrected into a new body to live with Christ for eternity. I think sometimes we have a tendency to also remember that not just the Saved will be resurrected, but also the Lost! The Scripture says, “both the just and unjust” will be raised. The take away from this is, will we rise to everlasting life or everlasting death? That is all dependent on one vital decision we must all make, and that is, what will we do with Jesus? Do we believe His Word and accept His sacrifice for us on the Cross, or do we reject it? The answer to that question determines where we will spend eternity.

The Bible says we will all live after we die. We all will have a Spiritual body. How we have received Jesus and His Sacrifice determines our destiny. Some people do not believe that Hell exists, but I believe that if Heaven exists, there must also be a Hell. God is a God of order, there is evil and there is good, there is reward and there is punishment, there is a place for all who call Christ, Lord, and there is a place for those who reject Him.

The Bible says that God can not be in the presence of evil and wickedness, so therefore, He had to create a place for evil to reside. Satan is the ultimate rejecter of God and His infinite plan. He, from the very beginning, rebelled against God, tried to be like Him, to be worshipped like God, and became so full of pride and sin that God had to banish Him from Heaven. Satan began as an angel who became so full of himself, that there was no room for God. His chief desire is to cause men to turn their backs on God and, like himself, rebel against God. Hell was originally meant only for Satan and his demons. It was not created for man. But the Devil is crafty, and woos men astray into wickedness and sin, and God had no choice but to allow men to make their choice.

Those who accept God’s wonderful plan of salvation and accept the free gift secured for us through Jesus Christ will be raised into new life. I Thessalonians 4:15-17 says, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” We have a hope! We who believe in Christ will one day live with Him. How awesome is that!

I’ve heard some say they think that once we’re in Heaven we will just float on clouds, strumming harps, and do nothing. However, God has given each one of us talents that are to be used. We will have work to do, each one according to the gifts God has given us. God is a God of order, remember? During Jesus’ Millennial reign, He will govern the earth…and that also requires a governmental system. So, I’m sure we will have a part in that also. Our main focus will be, however; worshipping our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him belongs all honor and praise! We have a hope!

 

God Spoke

Yesterday’s Bible Journaling was from Psalm 33:6,” The Lord merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born.” What an awesome God! All He had to do was speak and it happened. His words give life!

When you look around you and see the beauty of creation, how everything is intricately put together, it boggles the mind to think that it all came about just by speaking the words, “Let there be…” My husband and I were talking about that as I was showing him my journaling page. He marveled at how powerful God is to be able to create something as complex as our universe! Everything was created with perfection, not one small detail was missed.

Scientists are still trying to figure out how the building blocks of life were made, and some have even tried to create life by cloning. But, that isn’t really creating because they are starting with material that is already in existence. God created from nothing. He had no raw materials, He spoke and there was life, He spoke, and the world came into existence. Out of the darkness came light! The dust of the earth became man! The idea is mind-boggling!

When we look at the human body we are in awe at how complex it is. Every cell is engineered to work perfectly right down to the smallest atom. There are a myriad of different cell types, our DNA is so complex, scientists are just beginning to scratch the surface in figuring out all the components, being able to identify different genes, and finding out what gene is responsible for different conditions.

You would think that a God who is so detail-oriented and perfectionistic would expect His creation to be perfect and He would be domineering. However, because of sin, He knows we are not perfect, and He is so patient with us. He loves us and knows our inmost being. He knows our flaws and our failures, but He is eager to forgive us if only we will ask Him. Because of His love for us, He wants only the best for us. He created this world we live in with us in mind. The beauty and majesty of His creation was made for us to enjoy and to marvel over. His plan of salvation is also a result of His great love for us.

When one looks at creation, there is no doubt that it was created by a loving God who has a magnificent plan for our lives and desires a relationship with us. He wants us to communicate with Him daily. He has provided the written Word through which we may come to know His heart and relate to Him in an intimate way. He wants us to speak to Him and pour our hearts out to Him, trust Him, and give Him honor and glory and worship! When we ask for His forgiveness and accept Jesus as our Savior, He speaks, and our sins are forgiven, we are cleansed and made into new creatures. Again, He is creating.
We have a new life, a new heart, and a new mind.

Spiritual Blessings

In my Bible Journaling I focused on Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” The study I am doing focused on the fact that we have spiritual blessings. Most of us, when we talk about blessings, usually highlight physical or material things, and rarely mention the blessings God has given us spiritually. I know I have a tendency to think more of God’s goodness materially than I do what He has given me spiritually.

As we read through the first chapter of Ephesians, Paul outlines some of those spiritual blessings. First, in verse 4, the Apostle Paul says that God chose us before the foundations of the world. Think of that! God chose to have us in His family before He ever created the earth and man. How awesome is that?! The verse goes on to say that the reason He chose us was so that we could be blameless before Him, and He did it out of love. At this time of the year, there are so many people who feel unloved and neglected. Christmas is a very hard time for them. Lost loved ones, dysfunctional families, strained relationships, health problems…the reasons run the gamut. But there is One who loves us unconditionally, and His Gift, the Gift of His Son, was given because of His great love for us!

The second blessing Paul lists in verse 5. It says we are predestined to become a part of His family. He adopted us through Christ, to become His children. The notation in my Bible says that predestined means “marked out in advance.” Before God created us, He marked us as His. Now, I don’t want to get into a huge theological discussion about predestination, because there are varying views. But the way I see it, yes God predestined us to be His, but the decision to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior is still up to us. God gave us free will, so we aren’t forced into being a Christian. In my mind, the thought that God loved me so much that He wanted me to be His child before He ever created me, is too awesome for words!

The third blessing is found in verse 6. “For the praise of the glory of his grace, ‘wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.’” His grace is a huge blessing! If not for God’s grace, we would have no hope, no future, no eternal life. I found a definition of grace online, and it said the word “grace” “comes from the Hebrew word, CHEN, and literally means favor, to bend or stoop in kindness to another as a superior to an inferior.” It also said that God’s grace has been termed “unmerited favor”, “but it is more than an attitude of favor or mercy.” (Taken from Wikibooks) Grace is given, not because of anything we have done, because we can’t earn it, but it is given to us because of God’s great love to us.

The fourth Spiritual blessing is found in verse 7, where Paul says that as Believers we have redemption through the blood of Jesus for forgiveness of sin, “according to the riches of his grace.” My Bible notation says that redemption refers to the release of a slave or captive upon receipt of ransom. But Paul speaks of the forgiveness of sins, and the notation says that redemption in this case is used in a moral sense. So that, Christians are released from being slaves to sin and God’s wrath, and because of Jesus’ shed blood on the cross, we are free from sin and redeemed.

In Ephesians 1:8, Paul says that God has given us His grace which consists of wisdom and prudence (or insight). My Bible says this verse can read, “He lavished upon us this grace which consists in all wisdom and prudence.” He lavished this upon us, which to me, means He loves us so much, that He gave us wisdom and insight, over and above anyone else. Wisdom and insight, or as I understand it, discernment, are things that God grants us, that we need to live a holy, consecrated life before Him. The sign of a mature Christian is wisdom, understanding, and discernment. The ability to sense the right and wrong course of action, whether it be in action, speaking, or in attitude.

The next blessing is found in verse 11, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” Paul says God has given us an inheritance. My Bible notation says that this verse can also read, “by whom we were also made an inheritance.” Meaning, we are treasured by God. The Bible says that we are the apple of His eye. We are His special creation, and because of this, He wants to provide and care for us as His special anointed ones.

Spiritual blessing number seven is found in verse 12, where we find our purpose and the result of that purpose. “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” Our purpose is to be His praise! We should give Him glory. Why? The rest of the verse tells us, because of the change Christ as made in our lives after we have trusted in Him. Praise and worship is one of our functions.

Verse 13 tells us that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit! What a blessing that is! God has placed a hedge around us, and kept us as His own. The evidence of this is that we receive the Holy Spirit the minute we accept Jesus as our Lord, Master, and Savior. My Bible notation says that in Bible times a seal denoted ownership and protection. We are under the protection of God!

The last blessing is found in verse 14, “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” My Bible notation states that this verse means that our salvation is guaranteed. The Holy Spirit is called “the earnest of our inheritance”, much like you would think of a down payment of a loan, you put up “earnest money” as an installment of your loan payment and guarantee that you will pay off the loan. God has guaranteed that our salvation is paid in full! Our salvation was bought and paid for through the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross.

In my mind, Christmas and Easter are all tied up together. Without Jesus coming as a Baby in a manger to a virgin in Bethlehem, there would be no Easter. Without Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection from the dead, there would be no need of Christmas. The story is complete. God’s miraculous plan was fashioned before the beginning of time. His love for mankind is so vast, no one can comprehend it all.
To think that He would provide a way of salvation from sin at the very beginning of creation, sacrifice His Own Son for us, and desire a relationship with us, is beyond all imagination. How blessed we are to have that kind of a God!

For those of you who have never asked Jesus to become your Savior and Lord, Christmas is the perfect time! The Bible says, “Now is the day of salvation.” (II Corinthians 6:2 KJV) Sin has separated mankind from God, and broken the relationship between God and man. But, through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, His death for your sin, He paid the penalty and bore your sin. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” And Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (KJV) Jesus took that penalty of death for your sin and mine. John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (NASB) But, He isn’t a bully, demanding your acceptance of Him. He is a gentleman, and He waits patiently, knocking on your heart’s door, waiting for you to open your heart to Him and invite Him in. Revelation 3:20 says, Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” That means He will enter your life, live in and through you, and change you into the person He created you to be…pure and holy before God. Praying and asking Him is as easy as talking to your best friend. You don’t need flowery language, just pour out your heart and tell Him everything. Tell Him you know you are a sinner in need of His grace, accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, ask for His forgiveness, and then promise to follow Him all the days of your life. The Bible also says that once we have made that commitment to Christ, we must confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, then we shall be saved. (Romans 10:9) Then, we are to tell others. Jesus says in Luke 12:8 and 9, “Also I say unto you, Whosever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.”

I hope you take that step of faith and accept Him. It will be the best decision you ever made. What a way to start a new year, starting a new life with Christ! Merry Christmas and may God bless you!