Stayed On Christ

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If someone asked you where you were staying, what do you think they’re asking? You might be away on vacation and you assume they want to know what motel you’re staying in. Those “stays” are  usually short-lived. You can’t live at a resort after your week’s reservation is over (sad, huh?). As much I always hate leaving a place of rest and vacation, I eventually must go home. My stay is over.

One morning his week I studied Isaiah 26:3 –

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.

I thought on the verse all day and then that night I heard a message from a godly pastor from this same verse. He had shared with the congregation that his adult son has cancer. Then he said, “Where are you staying? Right now, I know where I’m staying – I’m staying on Jesus!” He shared that he was having to rest on the Lord heavily and think upon Him while going through this trial. He was keeping his mind, his thoughts stayed on the Lord. Only then can peace saturate our hearts.

The trial won’t last forever, and even after it’s over, we can keep on staying on Jesus, keep on thinking on Him, keep on trusting in Him. As a matter of a fact, when it’s all said and done, you’ll find it easier to “stay” on Him because you’ve seen the benefits and the joy of remaining with Him!

So, today – right at this moment, where are you staying? Are you fretting and worried, or are you staying on Jesus and enjoying the peace that only comes when you trust in Him?

Your reservation is never over! Stay!

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Refresh Yourself With Fellowship

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A week or so ago I found myself at a surprise birthday party for a friend.  Because it was a surprise, and everything was “hush-hush!” I had no idea who else had been invited.  I was delighted to find several other good friends were also there.  We were able to sit together and enjoy the fun of some fellowship that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise!  We had a great time celebrating our friend’s birthday AND getting to share an evening together!  It was a reminder to me that we need to schedule those times of encouragement! 
When was the last time you got out and had fellowship with a friend or two?  Women tend to be so busy with life that they seldom make time for fellowship that will encourage and strengthen them as a Christian woman.  We need each other.

I love what Paul says in Philippians 3:17, 18 – ‘

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.  

This is a warning not to fellowship with the wrong people, as well as an encouragement to fellowship with the right people!  Paul is saying, “Walk with people like me and steer clear of someone who will take you down the wrong path!”  This is a reminder to me that we need the influence of strong believers in our lives.  

What a blessing it is to get together with another Christian woman, who loves God, loves His Word, and loves doing the things that will honor the Lord!  Can I encourage you to schedule time to get with a godly friend in the next week?  Share a cup of coffee and talk about what you’re reading in the Word. Share your burdens with one another.  Pray together.  It will refresh your heart and hers!

Be refreshed by a friend,

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The Blessing of Friends Who Know God

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Yesterday morning as I read Exodus 33 I was reminded what a blessing it is to have friends who walk with God.  Moses was such a man.  Let me explain.

God’s anger was kindled against the Israelites because of their continual sin and God said that His presence would not go with them into the promise land.  Moses spoke to God on their behalf, telling God that they couldn’t go on unless God would go with them.  Verse 11 says, 

“And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.”  Because of his intercession, God said to Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. 

What relief that the Israelites wouldn’t have to trudge on in their own devices, their own weak ideas and strategies!  God answered Moses’ prayer!  Having a friend who can talk to God on your behalf is a huge blessing!  You see Moses going to God, then talking with the Israelites, then talking to God, and again to the Israelites.  Who wouldn’t want a friend like that?!

While I was reading that passage and being reminded of dear, godly friends that the Lord has given me, I received a text message from one of those friends.  Another called while I was getting ready for the day.  A third called as I was driving to do some work at church just to tell me she loved and appreciated me!  And lastly, another godly friend met me at the church to help and support the work I was attempting to do!  My cup was running over with the blessing my friends.  Each one, led by the Lord was calling to encourage or bless in some way.  That is a godly friend!  God spoke to them, and they followed through to tell me what He said to them!  That’s just like what Moses did!

I have to stop and ask myself if I am that kind of friend to others.  How about you?  Do you hear the Lord speak a word to you to call and encourage someone or to stop and pray for them and then you do it?  If He prompts us to stop and pray for them or do a loving act for them are we quick to obey?  Do we go out of our way to help and support them as they are serving the Lord?

May we each be the “Moses-kind of Friends – a friend who knows God, talks to God on behalf of our friends, and also talks to our friends about God!”

Do you have a special godly friend for whom you are especially thankful?  What have they done to push you closer to the Lord?

With love,

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Organizing Your Prayer Journal

The Word of God is my favorite Book.  Oh, how I love it.  My Bible is a treasure to me.  Its worn, marked up pages and loose binding are all precious, and I wouldn’t take  a million dollars for it. I mean it.

Now, let me tell you about my second favorite book.  It’s my prayer Journal.  I began using this almost ten years ago.  It has been to the “hospital” many times.  I’ve had to make new pages and add paper reinforcers.  I’ve had to remove pages to make room for more requests, more answers to prayer, and more notes from my morning Bible reading.

When I look at its pages and see the check marks, which reveal an answer to prayer, my heart leaps with gratitude and joy at my wonderful God.  It’s a reminder to me that God answers prayer!  It keeps me coming back day after day, moment by moment to cry out to the Lord for the burdens and needs in my life and the lives of others I know.

Corrie Ten Boom referred to prayer as our steering wheel.  I’ve likened my prayer journal to a car.  Without the car, the steering wheel wouldn’t have direction or a place to go! Of course you can pray without a journal, but in my experience, before I began a serious prayer journal, I prayed, but I really didn’t have a prayer life. A life is the period of existence, activity, or effectiveness of something inanimate, and without the direction of my journal, my prayer life really wasn’t that effective.

Using the imagery of a car, let me explain how a prayer journal can help your prayer life.

It’s great to have a glove box (pocket) at the front in order to hold verses of Scripture that you can pray.

The radio being on, (you singing a song of praise) is a great way to start your time alone with God.

Every car needs a clean windshield (heart), and it’s helpful to have windshield cleaning fluid (a time of confession of sin) ready to do the job necessary to have a clean heart..

It’s time to start the engine (petitioning) when you specifically ask God for the requests before you.  Have a seat for everyone (a different page for each family member).  List their needs for each day of the week.

What a blessing it is to look in your rear view mirror (at the past) and see how God has answered your prayers!  Be sure to make a check mark beside that request and write how God took care of that request.  It will increase your faith and cause you to pray more fervently in the future!

If you have a trunk (back pocket) in your binder, put your prayer bulletin there, missionary prayer cards, or other tools that will help you pray more specifically.

Park the car (sit still and alone) while you pray.  Don’t let the engine idle (don’t have distractions around you).  Be all there so you can pray and then listen to God.

Rosalind Goforth, missionary to China in the late 1800’s wrote a book, How I Know God Answers Prayer.  She had to have a method of recording His answers in order to write a book like this.  Could you write a whole book of how God has been at work while you’ve prayed?  It will only happen as you record it, otherwise you will forget.

I challenge you to get a journal of some model (kind) started.  See how it will change your prayer life!

Do you use a journal when you pray?  What’s keeping you from starting one?

With love,

What If Everyone Could Hear Your Words?

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What if everyone could hear your words?  Would you be okay with that?

Imagine my horror recently when  I discovered that my cell phone had been on “Record voice” mode for thirteen minutes to a group text!

It was just a couple weeks ago on a Sunday morning and I had been texting with a group of friends while getting ready for church.  I slid my phone into the outside pocket of my purse and headed downstairs to make breakfast and finish my meal prep for lunch, totally oblivious to the fact that my every step and word was being recorded.

I set my purse down in the kitchen and made my way to my husband’s office where he and I had a brief conversation.  Making my way back to the kitchen, I busied myself with my kitchen chores.  About thirteen minutes later, I heard a notification on my phone.  It was when I went to check it that I realized I’d been recording myself!  I quickly sent a message to my friends to delete the recording, then I proceeded to listen to what I had accidentally sent. I heard footsteps, my question about what my husband would like for his breakfast, and my banging and moving about in the cupboards.  Yeah, that could’ve turned out unpleasantly, but it didn’t, thank the Lord.

However, as I finished my work, I couldn’t help but think about how careful my words would be if I knew they were being recorded and replayed for all to hear!  I wondered…

  • What if that had happened on a day that I was being unkind to my husband?
  • What if I had said something unkind about someone else?
  • What if I had been griping and complaining?
  • What if I had been going off on some rampage?

Yeah, what if?  But of course the truth is, God always hears those words.  My complaints, my hatefulness, my griping, my complaining, my slander.  He hears it all.

Psalm 139:4
For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, you know it altogether.

After that incident, I would start to make a comment, and then close my mouth, knowing that I wouldn’t want that recorded!  Sometimes they were just words that weren’t needed.  It was best to allow the silence to fill the room, instead of my talking.  Other times they were words that shouldn’t be said.  It was best to be still.

Wow.  What a lesson that was to me, and one I pray I won’t forget.
Maybe asking yourself,

Would I want this to be broadcast for everyone to hear?

will keep you from saying what doesn’t need to be said.

Oh, and you might want to check your cell phone to be sure it’s off.  I remember some time last year a friend going “Live” on Facebook without ever knowing it!  It could happen to any of us, but if we guard our words, it won’t be a worry if it does.

Refresh others with your words!

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Let the Fire Die

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A fire in a fire pit is a great thing!  A fire in your lap…not so much!  You may say, “A fire in your lap?  That’s dumb!  Who would want that?”  The answer is no one!!  Proverbs 26:20 says,

Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer,
the strife ceaseth.  

You see, a person who bears tales (gossip) causes strife.  It’s like having a fire in your lap.  No one wants it!

The strife that tale bearing causes is as hurtful as a fire burning in your lap.  Even if the words are true, they are painful to hear.  What do you do with this “story” after you’ve heard it?

I recently had someone share a “fire” with me.  The words were true, but I didn’t need to hear them.  They stung.  It was like sparks flying from a hot ember, touching my very heart.  Trying to deal with the burning coals for the next day or so wasn’t easy.  They needed to be extinguished with the Water of God’s Word.  I was reminded of words that were flung at Christ; untrue accusations, ugly names, words of doubt about Who He really was.  What did He do?  He answered not a word.

Not a word.

For me to pass on what was shared would be to pass along the fire.  No one else needs this in their lap.  I told my Savior, and of course He already knew.  He applied the salve of His love and comfort.

Do you know some “hot news?”  Keep it to yourself.  It could be a burning ember that will scorch the hearer.  The fire in my fire pit needs to keep burning, but the fire that needs to go out is the one that will cause strife.  May we each let that tale bearing fire cease.

With love,

With Words of Praise

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This hideously adorable donkey lives on a farm about an hour from us.  We have affectionately named him “Lester.”  Lester is very jealous of the other animals on the farm.  How do I know?  If  visitors gather to pay homage to the lovely peacock, or ooo and ahhh over the long neck of the ostrich who lives there, he will begin his very loud and obnoxious,

Hee-haw!  Hee-Haw!

It’s really comical to hear him.  Not only is his noise hilarious, his mouth and ears look quite funny when he’s going off on his rampage!

While listening to Lester, I turned to my husband and said, “I’m sure thankful I can sing!  Wouldn’t it be terrible to open your mouth and sound like that?!”

The next day as I sat to have my quiet time, I read Psalm 145.  I was moved at how many times it talks of using my mouth to praise the Lord.  Words like, extol, bless, praise, speak and utter were all reminders that God wants me to use my voice for His glory.  I must praise Him with speech and song.  I must tell others of His goodness by the use of my voice.  However, I often neglect the chance to speak up!  I remain silent, or I don’t give honor belonging only to the Lord.

  • Even little things like praising Him like when someone passes and says, “It’s a pretty day, isn’t it?”  needs to be followed with, “Yes, and I thank the Lord for making it.”  Anything else would be like Lester’s “Hee-Haw!
  • At testimony time at church, if I fail to stand and praise Him for prayer He’s answered, I’m belting out “Hee-Haw” instead.
  • When the opportunity to share the Gospel is given and I am too afraid to share it, my lips are uttering ol’ Lester’s ugly “Hee-Haw!” greetings instead of the Truth that will set that person free!
  • To miss the opportunity to pray my thanks for a meal, for God’s comfort, His presence, for answered prayer, or for provision is to selfishly call attention to myself rather than my great God.  Hee-Haw!
  • “Hee-haw!” is what I’m really saying if I’m not singing with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs and making melody in my heart during the song service at church.

We all have a voice, given by the Lord.  Are you using yours to praise the Lord, or do the sounds that come from your lips resemble Lester?  Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord!

With praise to Him,

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