Monday, June 30, 2014

Prayer

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. II Chronicles 7:14

As I watch the steady decline of our country, I mediate on this verse. I pray this verse often asking God to show me my short comings as well as others who call themselves “by His name”.  The action of this verse is a group action not just an individual but an entire community of believers coming together to seek and plead for the interceding of the Heavenly Father.

Watching the news and following different blogs I see that the world as a whole and our country in particular is no longer following the tenets of God. Even some churches are calling “good evil and evil good”. People are saying certain things are right or “ok” when the word of God, the Bible, tells us not to do it. Everyone is following “what is right in their own eyes” (Proverbs 3:7)

Now is the time to turn back to God. How does one do this? By doing it God’s way and not our own way, here’s how:

The steps:
·        Humble ourselves
·        Pray
·        Seek God’s face
·        Turn from our wicked way

The result:
·        God will hear
·        God will forgive
·        God will heal the land

The Bible has many verses regarding prayer. Here are a few:

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. Psalm 5:3

Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. Psalm 55:17

The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous. Proverbs 15:29

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; Ephesians 6:18

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippines 4:6

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. I Timothy 2:8

Pray without ceasing. I Thessalonians 5:17 

Prayer is talking to God. Have you talked to Him today?

Have a blessed day,
Donna

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fathers

James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Happy Father’s Day. I was thinking of some of the fathers that have touched my life. Some of the memories are good, some not so good, but I learned from them all. I am now in my 6th decade, but I still have fond memories

Maternal Grandfather
My maternal grandfather was always fun to be around. He would pick me up from my house on Fridays so I could sleep over. One of his favorite past times was “junk collecting”. He was one of the original “American Pickers”. People would leave “trash” on the side of the road and he knew all the “good places”. I loved to go with him when I was young.  While driving and “looking for the right junk” he told me stories about the area. He loved to tell the  “I remember when”  stories as we traveled around the town or city.

His cellar was loaded with all types of “treasure”. He had “a place for everything and everything was in its place”. My brothers and I would go downstairs with him to see the newly acquired  “stuff”.  In those days, my grandfather found many things lying on the side of the road. I still own two brass chandeliers, which he gave me when I moved to my own home.  

My grandmother was crippled with arthritis, and my grandfather did whatever he could to help. He did laundry, grocery shopping and “straightening up” around the house. He installed a “buzzer” in the cellar (the original man cave) so grandma could just push from upstairs to get his help or call him to supper.

My maternal grandfather and my father did not speak to each other for eighteen years. During all those years he was still faithful to his grandchildren. He would visit, when my father wasn’t home. When my father was home, he would respect him and not go into the house but wait patiently for his grandchildren to bring them to his home for a visit. In all the years that the “feud” went on, I never heard my grandfather say an unkind word about my father.

My grandfather died of Alzheimer’s disease when he was in his mid 70s. I have many fond memories of him and his love for me and my brothers.

Dad
My father did not have a good role model from his own father. My father’s goal in life was, “I don’t want to be like my father”. To this end he worked very hard. He spent time with his children. He taught us many things: playing basketball, riding bikes, and fishing to name a few.

My father did not have a high school education, yet he was a very smart man. It always amazed me that he could figure out math problems “in his head” before I could write them down. He had his own contracting business for many years. He was a hard worker who provided for his family.

 My dad was  very sentimental and very emotional. He would cry very easily. I remember one time shortly before his death, when my family traveled to visit him. He lived in FL while I lived in New England. When we arrived at the house, he was standing at the door, crying like a baby, because he was overjoyed to see us.

 He was also a “worry wart”. He would worry about things that might happen. I sometimes think he would not know what to do if he did not “worry” about something.

I am so thankful for the father God gave me. He was not perfect but he was mine and I have many fond memories of him

Dad L
Another dad I knew was my father-in-law. Unfortunately I only knew him for 5 years before he died of cancer. He was an orphan at a very young age and reared by an aunt, who was not very kind. He did not have a father so his parenting skills were nil. He loved his seven children and wife but had a hard time showing it. One of my favorite memories is dad playing with “fisher price people” on the floor with my daughter.

My father in law would give his wife a “darling wife” birthday card and not sign it. When questioned about this he would reply, “she only has one husband.”

Here are a few of my father-in-law’s sayings:
·        What my necktie pay attention.
·        You can call me anything but late for dinner.
·        It’s a long ride home give the children some cookies for the ride. (we lived 15 minutes away)

The father of my children:
My husband is a wonderful man. He is a hardworking man who loves the Lord with all his heart. He was brought up in an Irish household where stoic is the main word. He was taught from a very early age that “boys don’t cry”.

Mark has always been there for me and the children, who are now adults. He worked extra jobs when the children were young so I could be home with them. He went to  Bible College at night while working a full and part time job. Many nights he stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to complete homework assignments.

He has a quirky sense of humor but always gets laughs at his corny jokes. Our granddaughters adore him and love to have “papa days” which include playing at the park and going to McDonald’s or Dunkin Donuts. Our grandsons, who are not local, also love to Skype and tell him what is happening in their lives.

He worked a full time job for many years while pastoring a church. He is one of the most dedicated and faithful men I know.  I am so thankful for a godly husband. I love you, Mark!

Closing thoughts
Today is Father’s Day, thank a father who has been an encouragement to you. Think with me of the “fathers you know”. Do you have great memories of your dad or  grandfather? Can you remember playing a favorite game with them or maybe having a “scary” story told by them?  Maybe you don’t have fond memories as I do but do not despair.

You have a great Father in Heaven. James calls him the “Father of lights”, he never changes. He is better than ten earthly fathers. God is always there right by our side. He is a kind and compassionate Father.

The Bible is rich in descriptive words explaining our Great and wonderful Father in Heaven. Here are a few verses to get you started:

A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. Psalm 68:5 

Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. Psalm 103:13 

I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. Psalm 17:6 

When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. Psalm 27:10

Have a wonderful day

 Donna

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hallelujah, Christ is risen!


      And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. Mark 16:6 

 
Hallelujah, Christ is risen. Can you imagine the words being said to the disciples? They were mourning and weeping then someone comes to share the Good News. He is not dead, but alive, He is risen!!

This is exactly what happened over 2000 years ago. Three women, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome, went to the grave to prepare Jesus’ body for burial. Arriving early in the morning, before sunrise, they came to the tomb. They were shocked to see the great big stone rolled away from the mouth of the tomb. Who could have possibly moved the stone? It was large and had been sealed by Pilate’s order.

They entered the tomb and were startled to see a man sitting on the side. Could this be an angel? The women were frighten. “Do not be afraid”, he said,” Jesus is risen. He is not here, come and see where he laid. Go and tell Peter and the disciples.”

Shocked, afraid, and amazed are just a few of the words describing the emotions of the women. They could not believe their ears, Jesus was alive. Mary went and told the disciples, they came to the grave and Mary followed. The disciples left with heaviness of heart but Mary remained. She saw a man she thought was the gardener and asked what had become of Jesus’ body. The man spoke to her and she knew it was Jesus.  Now she knew first hand that Jesus was alive. She quickly went to the disciples and told them the great news. Sadly at this time the disciples did not believe her. A short time later Jesus appeared to the disciples and rebuked them for their unbelief.

How about you this glorious Easter morning? Are you a “Mary Magdalene” and believe or a “disciple” and disbelieve? Jesus is real, Jesus is alive and He is waiting to receive you.

(Resurrection account: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20)

Please take a minute to read the words from an old hymn.

Christ Arose
Robert Lowry
Low in the grave He lay,
Jesus my Savior,
Waiting the coming day,
Jesus my Lord!

Refrain:
Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed,
Jesus my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead,
Jesus my Lord!
Death cannot keep its Prey,
Jesus my Savior;
He tore the bars away,
Jesus my Lord!


Have a wonderful day with family and friends, keep the true meaning of Easter in your heart.

Have a blessed day,
Donna

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Meaningful Songs



The Bible is silent about the day before Jesus rose from the grave, but a couple of songwriters have put their thoughts on paper summing up exactly what Jesus did for you and me.


I Should Have Been Crucified
Gordon Jensen

I was guilty with nothing to say,
And they were coming to take me away.
But then a voice from heaven was heard, which said,
“Turn him loose, and take me instead!”

Chorus:
And I should have been crucified,
I should have suffered and died.
I should have hung on the cross in disgrace,
But Jesus, God’s Son, took my place.

Crown of thorns, the spear in His side,
And all the pain should have been mine.
Those rusty nails were meant for me,
But Jesus took them, and let me go free!


Jesus Paid It All
Elvina Hall
I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Refrain:
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.
And now complete in Him,
My robe, His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.

When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
Shall rend the vaulted skies.

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down,
All down at Jesus’ feet.


Have you walked the Romans Road?

The Romans Road is a group of Bible verses that show the way of salvation in Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
The Bible says no one is innocent.

Romans 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
We all have sin in our hearts. We all were born with sin.  We were born under the power of sin's control.
- Admit that you are a sinner.

Romans 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
We all have original sin from Adam, the first man.

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; …
Sin has an ending.  It results in death.  We all face physical death, which is a result of sin.  But a worse death is spiritual death that alienates us from God, and will last for all eternity.
- Understand that you deserve death for your sin.

Romans 6:23  … but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Praise God that verse 23 doesn’t end with death. The verse continues BUT (God gives us a choice)
Salvation is a free gift from God to you!  You can't earn this gift, but you must reach out and receive it.
- Ask God to forgive you and save you.

Luke 13:3  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Repent means to think differently. We need to think differently about our sin and turn from it.

Romans 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus died for our sin, your sin and mine . He paid the price for all sin, when He took all the sins of the world on Himself on the cross.

Romans 10:9 -10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. [10]  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 Rom 10:13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
- If you know that God is knocking on your heart's door, ask Him to come into your heart.

Pray and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sin and come into your life and save you. Repent and turn to Him.

Have a blessed day,
Donna

Friday, April 18, 2014

Seven Statements from the Cross

1. Forgiveness
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do… Luke 23:34 

2. Hope
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:43 

3. Compassion
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. John 19:26

4. Abandonment
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Mat 27:46 

5. Suffering
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. John 19:28 

6. Completion
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. John 19:30 

7. Satisfaction
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Luke 23:46 

As you reflect on these verses remember Jesus did this for YOU.

Praise Him for His sacrifice.

Have a blessed day,
Donna

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Abiding


Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.   John 15:4-5

As Holy Week was coming to an end Jesus again takes the opportunity to teach the disciples. There is a long discourse of what they need to do; take a few minutes to read and meditate on John chapter 15.

I believe He is speaking to His disciples as well as Christians today. Here are some highlights:

Verse 1:
Jesus is the vine and His Father is the husbandman. God takes care of us.

Verse 4:
Abide in Jesus and He will abide in you. Abide in the Greek means to stay (in a given place), dwell, endure, be present, remain.
We need to stay right next to Jesus. When we abide in Him we will receive all the strength we need to get through each and every day.

Verse 5:
Jesus is the vine we are the branches. To bear fruit we must abide in Him. Without Him we are nothing. Without Him is the same thing as separated from Him. Albert Barnes says, “As the branches, if separated from the parent stock, could produce no fruit, but would immediately wither and die, so Christians, if separate from Christ, could do nothing.”

Verse 6:
When we do not abide in Him, we will wither away (or dry up). We have a choice, accept or reject Him.

Verse 8:
Jesus wants the disciples and us to bear much fruit. We need to apply the “fruit of the spirit” to our lives to show forth and share with others.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23  Meekness, temperance: … Galatians 5:22-23

Verse 9:
As God loves Jesus, Jesus loves us, continue in His love. Show His love to others in word, action and deed.

Verse 10:
When you keep His commandments you will abide in His love. Abide means to stay in a given place. We will be close to Him. Jesus is trying to stress that the disciples need to abide. Abide with Him.

Verse 12:
Love one another.

Verse 13:
No greater love than when a man lays down His life for His friends. Jesus loves us so much he was willing to die for us.

Verse 14:
We are His friends if we do what He says.

Verse 17:
Love one another.

Verse 26:
Jesus will send a Comforter which is the Holy Spirit.

This was one of the last times the disciples were with Jesus before He was killed. He was preparing them for the time after He was physically gone.

We need to abide in Him. When we pull away from the vine all strength is zapped out of us. We cannot get nourishment unless we are attached to the vine.

Abide in Him today.

Have a blessed day,
Donna

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Be Ready


Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.  2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:  4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.  6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.  7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.  8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.  9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.  10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.  11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.  12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.  13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.   Matthew 25:1-13

As Holy week continued Jesus taught whenever he had the opportunity. He knew His earthly time was coming to an end. He taught parables, some about His second coming. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Here we have a story about ten young women going to a wedding. A wedding is a wonderful celebration and a time for great rejoicing. People would dress up and get “ready” for the feast. They would also bring lamps with oil to light up the path for the celebration which would last late into the night.

When we go to a wedding today we get ready before we get there. Everything is done before we enter into the church or reception. We make sure we are clean and showered, not a hair out of place, makeup and jewelry perfect. Our clothing is pressed and everything matches.

The parable tells us that five of the young women were prepared and five were not prepared. The five that were not prepared thought about it too late. Who would ever use a lamp and not bring oil to fill it? Weddings were typically held at night. The people attending knew they were held at night, and a lamp would be needed.

The foolish, or unprepared, fell asleep not thinking of the empty lamps. In the middle of a nice nap a loud cry is made, “The Bridegroom is here go and meet him”. All of a sudden the foolish realize they have no oil, the path will not be lit for them. They run to the wise and say, “Give us some oil, our lamps are dry.”

“We cannot do that”, say the wise “there is not enough for both of us. Go and buy some oil for yourself.” The foolish left and missed the Bridegroom, by the time they came back it was too late, the door was shut and they could not get in.

Are we watching and waiting for the Lord? Are we so busy in the busyness of life that we totally forget about God and His word during the week?

Are we prepared for the coming of the Lord? When the trumpet sounds, it will be too late (I Corinthians 15:52). Now is the accepted time, now is the time of salvation. (II Corinthians 6:2)

Have a blessed day,
Donna