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Jesus had Questions of His Own


One day as Jesus and his disciples sat by the lake, a throng of people gathered around him. He took the opportunity to deliver a stirring message, filled with many parables. Toward evening, he said to his disciples, "Let's go over to the other side." They left the crowd behind, got into the boat and set out for the distant shore.

A furious squall came up. The waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Where was Jesus?  Fast asleep in the back of the boat!  The disciples woke him with but one question on their minds, "Don't you care if we drown?"

They did what many of us do when the storms of life hit. They questioned the one they thought loved them. The one they thought would keep them from all harm. 

We do that. We ask God why he would let bad things happen to 
us- his children. We sort of expect him to give us a smooth, trouble-free life, but he never promised that. In fact, he said just the opposite:

"...In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b)
So, we need not be surprised when life brings us stormy seas. Trouble hits everyone and yes, it does sometimes raise questions in our minds. In fact, when the disciples questioned whether or not Jesus cared if they died, he had a question of his own...
Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”  Mark 4:30-41
"Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

Jesus knew the storm would hit. He is God, come in the flesh. He knew everything. So, why would he suggest crossing a lake when he knew a huge storm would hit them. Perhaps it was to prove to the disciples that no matter the danger, they could trust him. Perhaps it was to reveal to the disciples just how little faith they had in him. Perhaps it was to display the powerful saving grace of God.

Storms will hit - it's a part of living in a fallen and broken world. It's a part of life. Expect hard times to come.  Before they do, anchor your faith in the one who has overcome the world. Rest assured that he will see you through the storm, providing whatever is needed. 

Sometimes he calms the angry sea around you and sometimes he calms the angry storm within. 

Trust the One who loves you beyond measure, the one who know you better than you know yourself and know that if he allows a storm, he is there with you. Perhaps the storm is necessary to deepen your faith.

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Waiting on God - You're not Alone



You've prayed (many times) yet the answer has not come. You're weary, sick, alone and feel as if God has forgotten you. You've read, believed and stood on God's promises. You feel your faith wavering, your hope fading, your trust crumbling. You are holding on frantically, but losing your grip. You know God loves you, wants the best for you and is able to rescue you, yet He has not yet stepped in and you wonder why. What purpose could there be to this waiting?

Dear friend, you are not alone. Many believers across the land are waiting. They, too are discouraged, confused and desperate to see God's hand move.


If all who are waiting on the Lord were gathered together in one place, what would they do? What would you do? Would you commiserate, recounting your own woes and doubts, or would you look on those troubled souls and speak life to them? Would you encourage them with words of faith, pray for them, let them know that they are not alone - that you are standing with them?

Of course you would, and in the process, your own strength would be renewed, your own spirit lifted and your own hope refreshed.

You may not be standing in the midst of that waiting throng, but you know they are out there and you can still do the one thing that would be most helpful and loving. You can pray for them. Pray all the things that you would say if you were with them, and in the process, you will be strengthened, for God honors love.

So, as you wait, pray, and as you wait, take a look around you. There are people who are waiting on the Lord, struggling to maintain hope, feeling all alone. They may be the people closest to you. Don't let them stand alone. Reach out and offer friendship, understanding, encouragement and most of all, love and together praise God while you are waiting, knowing that He is faithful and will reward those who endure with patience and trust on His perfect timing and His perfect answer.

"Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you." Psalm 33:20-22

Are you in that waiting place? Discouraged and feeling alone? I would love to pray for you. Please leave a comment below and know that you are not alone. I'm here with you.


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There's more to repentance than you thought.



I recently made a trip home to Ohio for the holidays and had a wonderful time with my large circle of family and friends. 

Coming home, I was glad to be with my husband, but quickly became dissatisfied with the loneliness of life here in Arizona. What family I do have here are all busy working and involved with families and work of their own. I understand that, but it still leaves me lonely.

All this culminated in a day of whining and feeling sorry for myself. By the end of the day, I was headed to full blown depression, so when my sweet husband walked in from work and asked, "How was your day?" I crumbled. Then, I unloaded on him. Not blaming him, but just venting.

He held me, prayed for me and asked what he could to to help. Short of moving back to Ohio, there was nothing more he could do than what he was already doing. Fortunately, bedtime came soon and rescued him from having to listen to me any further.

The next morning I sat with God in prayer, repenting for wallowing in self-pity and thanking God for the blessings that I have in my life. I had to admit that much of my loneliness was my own fault. I had retired early, often rejected invitations to spend time with friends and spent way too much time on Facebook, telling myself that this interaction with friends and family made up self-imposed isolation and for being away from my Ohio kin. (Yes, kin - country girl here.) 

Anyway, after a good repentance session and feeling forgiveness flow from the Father, I flipped open my Bible and decided to start reading through the New Testament for the New Year. It wasn't long before I came to Matthew 3:8...


"Produce fruit in keeping with repentance."

Oh, boy - that one hit me right between the eyes. Repentance brings forgiveness, however that's not the end of it. We must then begin producing "fruit" that shows that we are truly sorry for our behavior. In other words, change the behavior - turn around and go the other way - stop doing what you were doing that brought you to the point of sin. It's not to earn forgiveness, because that's a free gift from God, but it's behavior that shows you shun sin and embrace godly change.

LOL - God has a way of spelling it out for, ya. You know what I mean?

Your thoughts on this? 

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Who's Who in Your Relationship with God?






Something to think about.



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You are God's Girl



I was nothing special. Just a common girl, growing up in my uncle's home. Living an uneventful life, until the day I was taken away to the king's palace where I was pampered and perfumed, dressed in silk garments and schooled in refinement, but inside, I was still that common girl. Suddenly, an overheard conversation revealed mortal danger for my people and I, only I, was positioned to save my people from annihilation. Scared, inadequate, I sought my God for wisdom and guidance, then He heard my cry, showed me what to do and my people were saved.

You are now positioned to save those around you. Perhaps not from physical death, but from spiritual death, from the plans of the evil one, who seeks to destroy their lives. You think yourself a common girl, nothing special, but you are God's girl, placed in this time and space for specific purposes. Will you allow Him to use you?

Each day you are surrounded by hurting people, wounded and broken by the hardships of life. You are light in a dark place, hope where there is none, a friendly face among the crowd. It is no coincidence that you are where you are - your city, school, work place, neighborhood, even the stores you frequent. God has situated you to share His love with those around you. Will you be His hand extended?

This is the moment for which you were created. Each encounter is an opportunity to bless - a smile, a kind word, a pat on the back, a whispered prayer - these are life changers. Let Him help you change lives today.


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What happens when we talk about the Lord?

Don't you just love getting into a good conversation about the Lord? When thoughts and scriptures flow to and from one another? When questions are asked and someone can give the answer from the Word? When a friend shares a moment when God stepped into the middle of a bad situation and turned it around for good?

Those kind of conversations stir my spirit and build my faith, but there's something else that happens when we stop along the way to talk about the Lord together.  I found it in Malachi 3:16 this morning...
"Then those who feared the Lord talked often one to another; and the Lord listened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who reverenced and worshipfully feared the Lord and who thought on his name." (AMP)
"Then those who honored the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened and heard them. The names of those who honored the Lord and respected him were written in his presence in a book to be remembered." (NCV)
"Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name." (NIV)
"Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name." (KJV)
"Then those whose lives honored God got together and talked it over. God saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God’s presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the God-fearers written down, all the names of those who honored God’s name." (MSG)
Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name." (NLT)
See, no matter which version of the Bible you prefer, the fact remains that God takes notice of what we say about him when we get together. He keeps a record of our conversations. 

How it must please him when his children discuss his goodness and faithfulness. How he must delight when we speak in faith rather than in fear and trust rather than doubt. It must cheer his heart when he hears his children encourage one another to stand strong in their faith. He must be thrilled when we surround a hurting brother or sister with love and prayers and support.

Let's bring him honor today. Let's be aware of our words as we talk with one another. May our words encourage, uplift and inspire others to draw closer to Him.

He is watching and listening to our conversations. Will he be blessed or disappointed with what we say today?

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Satan's Gone Fishing - Don't Take the Bait!


I grew up fishing with my Dad. He knew just where to fish, what bait to use and the right lure to use if the live bait didn't work.  If the lure or bait wasn't drawing them in, he had a "magic" spray that made them smell enticing to the fish once they took the hook, he knew exactly how to work the line and reel them in.

Me? I always felt a little sorry for the fish. I mean, there they were, swimming along, minding their own business when suddenly something catches their eye. It's shiny, it's moving seductively, it even smells good in a wormy kind of way.

What's the fish expecting? A yummy treat that's going to be so satisfying. A distraction that makes swimming around in the same old boring lake seem fun and exciting. Maybe he's dreaming of how he's going to brag to the "guys" about how good it was. He might even recommend that his buddies give it a try.

What did the fish get? A sharp pain, dragged out of his place of comfort, away from his fishy family. Finally, he was pulled to destruction and finally to his death.

Are you getting the connection?

Satan loves to go fishing. He also knows just where to fish - usually among those who are dissatisfied or bored with the status quo of their life.  He suspects that they're hungry for something new, that they're vulnerable to just the right bait.  

The devil has a tackle box full of lures and magic sprays. He will try everything in his arsenal until he finds what works with you, and when he does, and when you bite, he'll reel you in so fast it will make your little fishy head spin.

Saying yes to his bait will cost you - sometimes your job, friendships, marriage, reputation, money...make no mistake...he will drag you further and further away from happiness until destruction surrounds you and if possible, he will seek to take your life.

How to keep from falling for Satan's bait:
  • Read God's word to stay spiritually strong
  • Be aware of the Devil's schemes and on guard against them
  • Pray to be kept from temptation
  • Pray for insight and wisdom
  • If it looks good - BE CAREFUL!
What to do if you're already on the hook and headed fast toward the shore of destruction:
  • Admit and renounce your sin
  • Ask God to forgive you
  • Admit your sin to a Pastor or a strong and trusted Christian friend- ask them to pray for you
  • Make yourself accountable to someone
  • Make amends with those you've hurt
God has the power to take you off the hook and restore your life. Oh, you might have a sore mouth for a while. Sin always hurts and might even leave a scar. Sin has consequences, but God will strengthen you to face them.

Final advice - stay away from flashy things that distract and tempt you to stray from what you know is safe and right.  


Don't take
the bait!
 

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