How to Know the Truth

I have discovered through experience that this world is filled with liars. Many lie to save face. Others lie to make themselves appear better than they are. And some lie deliberately to deceive others for personal gain. So, how are we to discern who is telling the truth? God has the answer to our dilemma.

When Jesus ascended to the Father in Heaven, He left behind the promise of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2 (I encourage you to read this first encounter of a multitude of people with the Holy Spirit of God), the Holy Spirit is poured out, revealed, if you will, to a great crowd of people. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and He is the One who leads us into truth. He helps us discern the truth of God’s Word and when others are lying about God and what His Word says, interpreting for their own benefit or gain. He is God, just as the Father is God and the Son is God, and He cannot and will not lie. Thus, He is totally dependable as a truth teller and is available to all who seek the truth. Many want to have their “ears tickled” and don’t want to know the truth, but for those of us who desire to know what God is saying to us today, the Holy Spirit is our conduit of communication that speaks clearly the words from the Father and opens our hearts and minds to understand.

May your hearts and minds be watchful for the truth that the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to you. And may you, in turn, share that truth with others who are ready and waiting to hear it. Have a blessed day, my friends!

Chosen

I have heard a great deal about a production called “The Chosen.” I haven’t seen it because we just recently got streaming services, but I do plan to do so someday. Supposedly, it is Biblically accurate, but I would like to check that out for myself.

In the meantime, I am one of “the chosen” of God. He chose me and then gave me a job to do for Him.

God chose me not so that I could sit around and bask in His glory or sit idly by while others do not know the truth about His Word and His way to salvation. He chose me and then He sent me to bear fruit. I think that my bearing fruit for the Lord goes hand in hand with my asking God for answers to prayers and He answers them. If my prayers are according to His will, which all has to do with leading others to Christ, then I can expect that God will answer. Maybe not the way I want or when I want, but He always answers. The fruit that we bear for Him remains eternally, just as we have eternal life with Him.

Have a blessed day and may you feel the call of being chosen to serve and lead others to the fruitful life of eternity with God.

Bless the Lord

In general, I have found that people are discontent with what they have, where they are living and how much they have accomplished. God has been speaking to me lately about being content and not always striving for more. After all, as He has told me repeatedly, “The only things that matter are the legacies of faith that you leave behind you.” I used to really want a nice home where I could make memories with our children. After twenty plus military moves, I felt that I somehow deserved a place to settle that was ours. When we bought our house in Pennsylvania, I was absolutely thrilled to have a home to call our own, one in which I could hang pictures, set the heat to the temperature I chose and even plant flowers if I wanted. Alas! We were only there for four years while I fruitlessly searched for a teaching job in the state that refused to hire me because I was too expensive for them. (I had experience and a master’s degree.) So, we moved to Maryland, spent a year in a rented apartment and then bought a modular home which is all that we could afford in the expensive economy there. In fact, when we chose to move to Virginia, we took that home with us, bought four acres of land and have settled into that as our new dwelling. No memories of children growing up there because they were mostly all grown when we moved there. But God is not calling me to reminisce bitterly about the past and dreams that didn’t unfold the way that I expected. He wants me to be content with what He has provided.

I have always had enough, maybe not all I wanted, but enough and I am delighted to say that I can truly bless the Lord for His provision. Moving to Virginia has been good for us in many ways. Our home isn’t all we want but it is all we need and that’s enough.

It is always a good time to praise the Lord and to let others know about how faithful He is on a daily basis. He has walked with me for over five decades, talked with me, cajoled me into taking steps into the unknown with a little faith and been with me through it all. He is a good God and He has been devoted to me even when I was whining about my circumstances.

May your day be blessed with reminders of His constant love and faithfulness to you.

Just As and Every Effort

It’s easy to be kind to people who are kind to us, but it’s a challenge sometimes to be kind to those who don’t treat us so well. But God’s Word tells us to treat all kindly and, more importantly, to forgive each other JUST AS Christ forgave each of us. It’s also easy to hold a grudge and then justify it because the other person’s actions were reprehensible. Fortunately, Jesus does not hold grudges, and we are to follow His example. “Just as” means in the exact same way as Jesus did. He even asked God to forgive His tormentors, even as He was undergoing excruciating torment on the cross. I have never been lead to a cross and nailed there, but Jesus was, for me and for you. If He can forgive in those circumstances, I am certain that I should be able to forgive the petty things that others do to irritate me. Even the things that I give great weight to and decide that I am justified in not forgiving, God tells me that I’m to forgive all because that is what Jesus did.

In another version, the “make every effort” is translated as “pursue.” In my youth, I pursued good grades, making every effort to get straight A’s on every report card. I was single-minded and totally focused on that goal. God exhorts us to make that kind of effort in living in peace with everyone. We are to show that we are holy, that is “set apart”, from what the world is doing and how they behave. Those who are pursuing peace should definitely be seen as different in this world of cultural wars.

Have a blessed day and remember to forgive “just as” Jesus did and to pursue peace with all. Your life will be better for it!

A Prayer

The Holy Bible is filled with prayers, of ordinary people talking to an extraordinary God. Probably the one prayer that is most well-known is the Lord’s Prayer, in which Jesus was asked to teach us to pray. It begins with praise, continues to petition and ends with praise. It is a model for us to follow as well as a prayer to say. I found another prayer today in my devotional and it spoke to my heart.

I hope that this simple prayer of declaring trust for God speaks to you, also. When I am discouraged or just not feeling as close to God as I should, this is a prayer I can come back to, again and again. My soul belongs to God and one day will return to His loving care. For now, it rests in my body and desires to commune with the One who breathed life into me to begin with. I am flawed but not forsaken. I trust God to bring me to the end of my journey, however long it may be, still serving and being taught by Him along the way.

May your day be blessed with fresh insight from the Lord and a walk with Him that instills you with peace, joy and love.

His Wonderful Deeds

I have been living in a very busy household for the last few weeks. The oldest child has an activity daily after school, and sometimes she has more than one. The youngest daughter had two activities this week. My only “activity” was to watch the toddler each time there was an activity that required the parents to be elsewhere. Meanwhile, about ten days ago, I got sick. It started with a sore throat, then nasal congestion and finally, the inevitable bronchial cough. I talked to my son about getting me to the doctor but there never seemed to be a good time to go. Well, yesterday was like a day planned by God. My son had to pick up groceries, so he dropped me at the clinic, went to do his errands and I called him when I was done. (Diagnosed with acute bronchitis and sinus, but I have meds now, so I hope to get better soon,) When I called my son to pick me up, he said that he was putting the groceries in the fridge and would be there soon. The baby had fallen asleep. The end of the matter is that I got to go to the doctor, get my meds and not totally upend the family’s schedule. I figure that’s one of the things that God does for me all the time, frequently without my noticing. He just works things out for me, even when I am discouraged or not as hopeful and filled with faith as I should be.

So, what wonderful deeds has God accomplished in your life? That is your testimony for others, so share and proclaim your thankfulness!

May the Lord who richly blesses His children bless you “real good” today and throughout the week!

Not Home Yet

I have been in Maryland for four weeks and have two more weeks to go. My heart yearns to be home among my familiar things, people and places. I was so homesick last night that my husband could hear it in my voice when we spoke and volunteered to drive the five hours one way just to come and be with me for a few days. I discouraged him from the long trip, promising him that today I would get my son to take me to the doctor and hopefully would start feeling better. I have been sick with a cold that has headed to my lungs as usual for the last ten days, so that has not helped my attitude. Being ill has also contributed to my desire to want to be home, with tea, heated throws and a husband who cuddles me close when I have difficulty breathing. Yes, I do desire to be home again and I know that day is coming soon.

In my devotional this morning, God reminded me that even when I go home to Virginia, I am still truly not home. My home is in Heaven and everything here is temporary. All of the comforts of home that I seek pale in comparison to what awaits me when I get to Heaven. So now my yearning has taken a new direction. I desire to be with the Lord, looking forward to seeing His face and praising the One who loves me best for all of eternity. Change has always been difficult for me. A different routine disturbs my peace because I am an introvert that needs to be alone at times. But God has spoken to me clearly that He is here with me, no matter my physical location or circumstances, and He, too, is looking forward to the day when I am with Him. Imagine that! God looks forward to my being with Him!

As for now, I am happy to serve and I will be happier to get home. But the home I will return to is temporary, also. I am there until God calls me to be with Him. Perspective is everything.

Have a blessed day and may you, like me, look forward to going to live with the Lord. It’s in His time, but it’s still coming and will be a great and glorious day!

Other Gods

I believe that everyone has a god that they worship, although they don’t call it worshipping. They just call it how they choose to live their lives. These days, with media everywhere, it is easy to see who or what these gods are and how fake they are. At least, it’s easy for me and other Christians. I once heard a story about a bank teller who said that they are trained to recognize counterfeit bills by only touching the ones that are real. They have a certain “feel” to the paper and the ink on it. That’s how we Christians can note the difference between our very real God and all of the fakes that are out there. We spend our time with the God who made Heaven and earth, our Creator, our Redeemer and our Father.

Man has tried to make himself other gods for a long time now. This passage from Jeremiah warns that the gods that mankind sets up for itself are not really gods. What are some of these things? There is not enough time to list them all, but I had a wise pastor who once told his congregation that anything you value above God is your god. So, anything more important to you than spending time with God is your god. In today’s world, many people have made themselves into their own mini-gods, trying desperately to make themselves happy with more money, more pleasure, more things. Because their altar is built for themselves, they live a fruitless life of always chasing a dream that is never enough. Our world today is in a sad state in which the God of the Universe is relegated to the end of the line while people pursue entertainment, riches and glory for themselves. Only the One true God can satisfy the needs of man, but they are failing to recognize that because they are too busy with their other gods. I challenge you today to consider what you spend most of your time with. What do you use your twenty four hours daily to do? Working is the natural response. But what about the rest of the time? Or is work (your career) your god? I implore you to turn to the only God who offers you security, safely, happiness, comfort and eternal life and leave your other gods on the shelf for a while. Spend some time in worship and let God be God in your life.

Have a blessed day establishing your relationship with the Only One who will ever truly make a difference in your life!

Competence

Whatever abilities we have come from God. I used to teach and was told that I had a talent in the classroom to notice students who needed help and to find a way to help them. That ability, I believe, came from God’s insight that He gifted me with.

It is when we start to think that we don’t need God that we stumble. Our pride takes over and then we forget how far we have come WITH God and try to make our way without Him. God forbid that we leave the place of safety with Him and try to make our own way, but in our ignorance and quest for independence, that is what many have done.

God is my shield, my protector, and when I get ahead of Him or move away from Him, I am leaving my shield behind. That opens me up to the fiery darts of the enemy, the destroyer who only wants to own my soul, not cherish it.

May you have a day blessed with knowing that God is your shield and He has provided you with whatever competence you have in life.

Do For Others

In today’s busy world, with both parents having jobs, kids having numerous activities and all kinds of other things going on, it’s easy to lose sight of what is most important. Following Jesus’s example is the most important thing that we can do and He left instructions on how to do that.

We are to take care of the needs of others, as much as it is possible to do. Look around you. There are needy people everywhere. A lonely neighbor, a widow or a child who seems to be friendless. Reach out helping hands and be the one who makes a difference in their lives. You may say that you are not comfortable entering someone else’s world and interfering. Then, do what you are comfortable with. Smile at people you meet. Say kind words to servers and to helpers in your world. Be the person that God means for you to be. You may have to step out of your comfort zone and do something that challenges you. Golgotha was definitely a challenge for Jesus, but He did not back away from the cross, but He faced it boldly and with the conviction that He was doing what the Father had established for Him to do since the beginning of the world. We cannot sit around complaining about the state of the world and not be willing to make a difference in it ourselves. Pray about what God wants you to do, and then go get started. If you want to be like Jesus, start by serving just as He did.

Have a blessed and safe day, serving others before you think of yourself and your own needs.