Thought for the day: Trust. Now it’s getting deep. We better put our floaties on. Trust. Who do you trust, and why? The real answer lies in the ‘why’. There could be many reasons why we trust someone. But, what would happen if one day that trust was shaken? Most likely we’d begin to doubt. What about Jesus? Do you trust Him? That is a loaded question. Many times I will say, “I trust you Jesus;”but then go my own way. Or try to control a situation. Is that really trust? No. I’m still a work in progress. You? For years my professional life was on the uphill, there were uncertainties at times, yet for the most part it was good. Then. One day, a few years back that changed, and it was like I fell from a mountain top. I suddenly found myself unemployed, struggling to find a full time job. It took a few years. My trust was split wide open like the San Andreas Fault. For you it may be something else. Yet, can you relate? However, during those years Jesus never left me. Oh, I promise, it may have felt and looked like it. You? Worry, fear of the unknown, all creep in. But. At just the right moment, things turned! And now my feet are on a new path with Christ! Trust. It can be difficult. Hang in there! He will not fail you. And one day, once again, we’ll say “See, God has come to save me. I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” Isa. 12:2 NLT TRUST. Do you? #spreadthewordacrosstheglobe #trust #doubt #Hewillnotfailyou
Thought for the day: Advice. Who do you go to for advice? Why? We all have that person, or people, we seek advice from when we are at a crossroads. The real question is: do you follow their advice? It has worked both ways for me. There are a handful of people who I go to. And by handful, I mean less than five. God is included in that count. Sometimes I listen and follow, other times…. Perhaps I didn’t like what they said (including God), so, I did my own thing anyway. You? I’m pretty sure, our stories of doing our own thing all turned out similar. Difficult, and stressful. Can you relate? Why, do we do that? Two words: pride, easy. Our pride that we know best gets in the way, and we want an easy, comfortable, life. Yet, we get the opposite. You? There was a man that at every trun in his life sought advice from God. Moses. He led the Israelites out of Egypt. No simple task. Throughout the Book of Exodus we can read over and over, he cried put to God. May we take his example and when we cry out to God for advice, DO what He says. “Then Moses cried out to the LORD,… So Moses did this…” Ex. 17:5-6 #spreadthewordacrosstheglobe #advicelistenanddo
Nooooooo, not yet!! It’s too early! I don’t want to think about it. I don’t have any money.
I’m sure that as soon as you read the title one or more of those thoughts raced to your mind. Christmas seems to bring that initial response out in people. Retailers seem to be setting up right after Labor Day, while Halloween and Christmas share isles, and Thanksgiving’s corner gets moved each year to a single shelf, on an end cap.
At this time, I will challenge each of us to move towards Christmas with a new outlook and focus. We have nine months until Christmas, and within nine months another event is anticipated with joy and excitement. This year won’t you please join me as we await the arrival of a birth! A birth of a baby boy.
Awaiting the arrival of a new born baby can be the most exciting time, and the most worrisome time. Emotions can be all over the place. It’s been a while since my children were born, however just four short years ago my family anxiously awaited the arrival of the youngest of my grandchildren.
During this study we will focus on the meaning of “Christ”mas, and what the birth of Jesus brings to a lost world. What His birth did for us, and Who He is.
“But you, Bethlehem, David’s country, the runt of the litter— From you will come the leader who will shepherd-rule Israel. He’ll be no upstart, no pretender. His family tree is ancient and distinguished.” Micah 5:2-3 MSG
This is a nine-month focus. The same term as a pregnancy. We will begin in April and go to December. Each month we will focus on one aspect of anticipating the arrival of a baby. There will be an item that I will ask you to place in your house and scripture readings for that item. Each item will lead to the expected arrival of our Lord and Saviors birth. To the true meaning of Christmas and celebration behind the commercialized holiday.
“The LORD says, “Shout and rejoice, O beautiful Jerusalem, for I am coming to live among you!” Zech. 2:10NLT
This idea came to me as we just moved through Easter. We celebrated His resurrection from the grave, and how he conquered death. But, it all began with His birth. God becoming a baby, born to a virgin, in a manger, surrounded by animals, and wrapped in swaddling cloths. Notice I said cloths, not clothes. Big difference. There was no fancy hospital, skilled doctors, and blankets.
With that I quickly counted on my fingers and wondered – how many months before Christmas? What do you know – nine months. The number of months a woman carries her child before giving birth.
I then took my thoughts down memory lane. What did I do, prepare for, and start stocking up on? Then took my thoughts on a stroll through Babies R Us. Mary, Jesus mother, did not have the luxury of Babies R Us, or the local store to begin stocking up. There were no registries, or showers, to provide much needed items. However, like any expectant mother I’m confident she did some preparing, and planning. Even if it was only mental preparation.
If you’ve never experienced giving birth to a child, or are expecting a child, you know mental preparation is just as important. Your life is about to CHANGE. And that is exactly what happed to the world when Jesus was born. Life CHANGED. That is what happens to us when we embrace Jesus as our Savior – our life CHANGES.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zech. 9:9 LB
If you’ve not had children of your own that’s ok, because I’m pretty sure you have anticipated the arrival of other babies. Family, or close friends, all welcoming in a new member to the family. You have seen, heard, or been a part of the anticipated arrival.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.” Jer. 23:5 LB
So, what is it we do when we are anticipating the birth of a child.
- Pick out names
- Start to prepare a room – paint, buy furniture
- Begin to purchase necessities – until we know the gender we keep it neutral
- We stock up on diapers, wipes, and all the things we know we will need
- Purchase a few starter toys
We will begin this week with the announcement – the news that a baby is coming! And, based on conception this baby will be born at Christmas! The greatest present we will ever receive.
The announcement has been made! A baby is coming!
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” Isa. 11:1 LB
Please join me in this nine-month focus as we are Moving towards “Christ”mas.
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2017
*picture thehaystack, littledribble, pinterest
What does it mean to you when someone says, “I know that person”? It is different than saying, “I’ve heard of that person,” or “I know of them.” When we know someone it is on a personal level. We know details, and perhaps secrets, habits, the way they think, likes, dislikes, and how they would act in a given situation.
Just before I sat to write one of my friends called me. I have not spoken to her in years, yet we keep in touch via social media. She is one of my dear friends from way back. You know – the ones that know more about you than you care to know about yourself. You have more than dirt on each other; you both possess knowledge that is clay from the Earth’s core.
What I love is that through social media we have seen the changes in each other’s lives. We also have personally experienced Jesus in miraculous ways, felt His unearned grace, and received His unmerited favor upon our lives. This is what happens when God in his sovereignty reaches his hand down, and places his finger tip on the pulse of our lives. When that happens a person can’t help but not change.
“And the Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Cor. 3:18b NLT
God doesn’t just place his finger tip on our lives – He shows up! Through Jesus He chooses to reveal himself. He gives us a glimpse of his presence. To reassure us He is here.
“No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.” Mt. 11:27b NLT
Jesus shows up to say:
- I AM omnipresent. Psalm 139
- I AM all that you need. Matthew 6: 25-34
- I AM your comfort, confidant, and crusader! 2 Cor. 1: 3-11
As I ended the conversation with my dear friend, and she shared her revelation of Jesus in her life, we shared our thoughts on Him. We both conclude when He shows up – it is nothing but AWESOME! As I type this I have chills on my arm, for I can still see Him in my mind’s eye. When Jesus reveals himself you will know it’s Him, but it will blow your mind so much that you will need confirmation to make sure you are not seeing things.
When he reveals himself it can be in a multitude of ways: Through His word, other people, circumstances, prayer, or the church. You will just know because you won’t be able to explain it. You won’t be able to contain it. And the timing – well, it will be spot on!
His presence causes a combustion so great, you will have to share. As you search for an explanation, and the right words, all that will be left are only three “it was God.”
I love that He shows up to two lost people. At two different times. Two different life circumstances. Two different states. Two people on a path to destruction many years ago, and instead of allowing us to derail. He went to the Father and said, “Let’s stop them. Change their life. And, reveal ourselves to them. Decades later those two lost people who will belong to Me will see the same face. My face.” The idea that He loves us so much tickles me to my toes!
It tickles and humbles me to no end because God has taken our sins, our past, our mistakes, and erased it all on the cross! Luke 23.
If my friend were sitting here she would agree – we saw the same face. His face. Do you see Him? Do you know Jesus? Has He revealed himself to you? Or do you just know of Him?
If you will allow me, I encourage you, if you do not know Him – get to know Him. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you, then watch what happens.
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2015, edited re-post 3.1.2017
*pictures by imagebing, epkyliving
Lately all the messages I’ve heard, and things I’ve read talk about praying and giving thanks. This morning those last four words jumped to the center stage of my mind, and danced around – praying and giving thanks. The word “and” was the lead dancer. That’s not difficult to do when life is good, is it?
As I thought about those four words I wondered if God gave any conditions, or exclusions, such as: if you are sad you don’t have to give thanks; if things are difficult, you don’t have to give thanks; or if you are facing a big unknown situation in your life, you don’t have to give thanks. With those questions in mind I scoured the scriptures to check.
Whenever we have a question we should always go to God’s word first. With three translations in front of me I sat out on my journey through the pages. My eyes focused in like magnifying glasses, and my fingers walking through the pages as if searching for any trace of bread crumbs to lead me to my destination – the exclusion!
In my journey God showed me His answer. Over and over with each scripture verse I came upon it was the same.
The thought that provoked the journey began with the teaching, and example, of Jesus when he fed the 5000 (Jn. 6: 1-13). Before Jesus fed the multitude with only two fish and five loaves of bread, it says:
“Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.” Jn. 6:11
It is noted in my study bible along with several commentaries there were estimated to be more than 5000 people, because in verse 10 it says “there were 5000 men” (Jn. 6:10b italicizes mine). According to the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible, “The men numbered about 5000, plus women and children (Mt. 14:21), totaling perhaps as many as 15,000 people” (Jn. 6:10 footnote p. 1816).
It wasn’t Jesus that was facing sadness, difficulty, or an unknown in that situation. It was His disciples that were with them. Perhaps it is you also. Perhaps you are facing sadness, a difficulty in your life, or you are in a situation where the outcome is unknown. When we stand face to face with any of those circumstances it can be a bit daunting, and intimidating.
The disciples looked at the sea of people surrounding them, their location, resources, and the unknown answer to the question of:
“How will we feed them?” Jn. 6: 1-13
If you are like me when faced with the unknown I want to know the answer to the outcome before anything else. And like me, you may find it hard to pray and give thanks. Sometimes my journey through the scriptures is quick, other times it is longer. I figure the journeys that take longer are because God is trying to cement something in my mind, and heart, that needs reinforcing. That needs to be implanted into the recesses.
This morning my journey took some time, it was not a quick run to the 7-11 store of verses. I had to search, read, cross reference, and search some more. At times it is because I am looking for the answer I want. Can you relate? Yet God, being patient, waits as I go from book to book, and verse to verse.
During my journey I had a phone conversation that did not end well. It left me in tears, as I thought God my heart is breaking, and I am supposed to pray and give you thanks – for this? As I choked back the tears, not wanting the other party to know, we ended the call. You may be able to relate. As I hung up the phone the three verses that lay in-front of me dancing on the page were:
“Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Th. 5:16-18
Pray and give thanks. My journey continued and stopped at three other places.
The verses on this morning’s journey:
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Phil. 4:6
“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind, and a thankful heart.” Col. 4:2
“Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; and pray all the harder.” Ro. 12:12
God’s message came full circle. Sometimes God allows us to experience the question along with the answer in order to teach us. Other times it is so we can share it and teach another. If that is you, and you find yourself soaked in saddens, darkened by difficulty, or unsure by the unknown dig deep into untapped strength stop to pray, and give thanks.
As the words danced across the page, tears streamed, my heart prayed for the other person’s happiness, and I gave thanks.
Today – find something to be thankful for – pray and give thanks!
©Gentle Whisper Ministries re-post from 2/10/15. Edited 2/10/17
*picture by thebloggingdisciple, 1millionwallpapers, pinterest
They say: God’s timing is perfect; God’s way is the best way; God will lead you on the path He has for you; and God has something better in store for you.
Those are a few things I’ve heard over the last six months. And yet, in the last six months I’ve seen none of those come to fruition. I’ve even spoken those words to others, and to myself. But lately when I hear those things my response has been “well that’s the rumor isn’t it.” Does that mean I no longer trust God, or believe Him? For some of you reading this it may be longer than six months, it may be years.
There’s an area in my life that has not come to fruition in years. So I can relate on the waiting. This writer does not claim to be a patient person, nor ask for patience. No, no, no. Careful with that.
Recently I sat in a church service where people were sharing their testimonies’ and one of them shared “we were faithful, tithed, and now we are debt free!” Speaking for myself my eyes flashed a picture of my current circumstance and I immediately tuned out. Instead my conversation with God began – I too tithed faithfully, yet received double debt, AND no job, while being on the path I believed you had for me. Can you relate?
When I shared my frustration with some of my friends here came the “sayings.” Again I responded with “well that seems to be the rumor.” I share this with you because I don’t want any of my readers to think I have a perfect life and everything is roses all the time. I am just as human with my own faults, struggles, doubts, and fears. Sometimes it’s not until my fingers hit the keys of my lap top, and I begin to seek out His answers for me that I begin to see His view. If you can relate let’s go through this together. When life gets hard it makes it somewhat easier to have a friend go through it with you. Let me say too, I do not negate my friends they mean well, they love me, and want the best. I love and cherish each one of them. However, when you are on a different road it’s sometimes hard to relate. So girlfriend, guy friend, if you’re on the same road of Struggle Street let’s do this together.
“When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.” Ro. 1:12 NLT
What is the rumor?
- Is it that God knows best?
- Is the underlying tone God strings us along only to bring us to our demise?
Look at the last question that is what Satan would want us to believe in an effort to get us away from God. We need to be careful not to allow bitterness to seep in and take over.
“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Heb. 12:15 NLT
According to Merriam Webster On-Line Dictionary rumor is defined as, “information or a story that has passed from person to person yet has not been proven to be true.” Yes, you and I may be in our positions because of decisions we made. However, God uses everything (that word is an all-inclusive) for the good of those that love Him, and who have been called according to his purpose. Ro. 8:28. Even if you are in your current position by someone else’s decisions Romans 8:28 still applies.
The question remains: how do we get past the rumor and move on to truth?
There’s a saying that is used when people are in the middle of a difficult time: you can’t see the tree when you are looking at the forest. I know – that’s the rumor. Thought I’d try a little humor! It made me chuckle, hopefully you did too. Using the metaphor combined with God’s Word let’s try looking at the tree past the forest.
In Joshua chapter four the Israelites just crossed the Jordan River and God has directed them to gather twelve stones one for each tribe represented. I imagine the look on their faces must have held the question: what for? God proceeds to tell them because the stones will serve as a reminder of what God has done. (Jos. 4:1-9) Rumor or Truth? No rumor there. They lived it, breathed it, saw it, felt it, and walked it. That my friends is pure truth. For a moment let’s take a look back into our own lives. Grab a pen, pencil, crayon, lipstick, or mascara, whatever you have handy to write with, and a piece of paper. I’ll wait.
Moving past the rumor write down events in your life where God clearly was at work. It may have been 5, 10, 15, even 20, years ago, write it down! It’s all relevant. There may be one big thing or several things, our goal is to make our own standing stones.
“These stones are to be a memorial to (us) forever.” Jos. 4:7b parenthesis mine
If God did for the Israelites (and for us), does he change? Rumor? No.
“I the LORD do not change.” Mal. 3:6a NIV
God does not change, but our circumstances do. The rumor Satan would have us believe is that God changed. Things may be difficult now, the future unknown and unseen, yet –
“God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” Ro. 11:29 NIV
So the next time the forest blocks the tree –
- Point your face towards the heavens
- Get out your standing stones
- Recite them out loud with confident conviction – there is no rumor – it’s all truth: I lived it, breathed it, saw it, felt it, and walked it! Our God does not change.
“For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth.” Dn. 6: 26b – 27a. NIV
When we seek Him, He allows us to find him. (Jer. 29:13-14) At this I am humbled, and grateful, that we serve a God that is merciful, understanding, and loving.
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2014, re-post with edits Dec. 2016
*picture by fisherynation, 12stone
Twas’ the night in the manger, when all through the countryside not a lion was stirring, not even a bear. The cattle was in for the night, along with the townspeople, in hopes that tonight would be like no other.
The shepherds were in the fields, watching over their flocks. And the wise men in their finest clothing, saddled up their camels, packed up their gifts, and had just set their paths for their long awaited journey.
When up in the sky there arose such a light, the shepherds dropped their staffs to see what was the sight! Away from their fears they flew like a flash, ran to the light, and covered their eyes.
The light from the angels shining brightly down from heaven gave the luster of day to the night sky above, when what to their amazement should they hear, but today in the town of David the Savior was here!
With the angels to accompany them, they moved so quick. They knew in a moment it must be Christ the Lord. More rapid than lions, they traveled afar, and they shouted and sang and called Him by name:
“He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!” (Isa. 9:6b)
Their search took them to Mary, Joseph, and the baby. The sight to behold was the baby lying in a manger.
And then in a twinkling, the wise men appeared. They heard outside the clickety clack of camel hooves, with the sight of their entourage, and gifts to give: frankincense, myrrh, and gold.
And then, in an instant, they joined in praising and glorifying God, for all they heard and seen. As Mary pondered in her heart all she had heard, she held tight the little baby Jesus.
He was dressed in cloths wrapped tightly around him. The gifts all around him and the animals paying homage. He looked like a normal baby boy: gentle, small, helpless, and yet held all the power of God.
His cry how gentle, his tears so wet, his cheeks were so round, and his sleep patterns adrift. His glow almost blinding, his little fingers wrapped tightly, as his mother cuddles him it leaves everything undaunting. He was normal like any other baby yet the one thing that is different is his Father – The Almighty. It was at that moment they knew they had nothing to dread.
He cried not a tear but went straight to sleep, the tiny baby Jesus, and they all smiled when they saw him, in spite of themselves. As the baby went to sleep they sprang out of the manger, and away they all went back to their places. But I heard them exclaim as they left out of sight,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests!” (Lk. 2:14)
© 2014 Gentle Whisper Ministries- re-post Dec 2016
*picture by christmaskid. realmagda, goodlandspanish
Tomorrow will mark another day I journey across the Bay.
Last week I was listening to some lessons on-line by Beth Moore, in this particular lesson she said, “Sometimes God has us experience things so we can minister to another, and so that we can speak about it.” I agree, yet my spirit cried out “when can I stop experiencing all the hard things, and begin to experience good things?”
Have you been going through some rough days, months, or years?
I may sound like I’m complaining, but I’m not. I firmly believe that we all do experience things so that we can help another, and encourage another, when they experience them.
But man. You too? I know, right.
I will echo the words of the Apostle Paul –
“And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News.” Phil. 1:12 NLT
Before someone tells me we are very fortunate in America. That there are millions across the globe that have nothing, and daily have to walk miles for food. There are millions of others that deal with an illness, or incurable disease. I agree with you. Travesties far worse. When your world was flipped upside down, it becomes a challenge to put those things into perspective as you stare into the forest before you.
My perspective is from someone that had their life mapped out, everything was going well, until – it was flipped upside down. The table began to tilt with the lay-off. Three and a half years later it was upside down. But isn’t it funny that while upside down I had only one way to look – UP.
I’ve heard it said “it is better to have nothing than to have and lose it all.” I never really understood that. I was one of those that would say, “It’s only things,” “If you lose your job you can get a new one.” Those statements are true, but the ability to cope is much tougher. It was three years before I found a job, a full-time, permanent, with benefits, job. The ones in-between were part time, or seasonal, and the pay was marginal.
“…the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me; this will lead to my deliverance.” Phil. 1:19b NLT
Can you relate? Have you been there? Are you there now?
If you are, I understand. When the table of our life gets flipped upside down its:
“Don’t look out for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Phil. 2:4 NLT
I know how your emotions can be up one day and down the next. I know how others close to you won’t, or don’t, even offer to help. Their reason – “you never asked.” I mean really? You can’t just do something? I know how the people you thought were your friends never called and asked – how are you? How are things? Instead they stayed away. If someone would have asked me five years ago, if all this would have happened. I would have probably said, “unlikely.” How wrong I would have been.
None of us know the path God has laid out for us. But what I do know, having journeyed on the road you may be on today, is to keep going. Don’t give up.
When you want to stay in bed, with the covers over your head. Get up.
“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” Phil. 4:12 NLT
What may be in front of you now is the forest, and you can’t see the tree, but friend just put one foot in front of the other, and keep going.
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:13 NLT
During this time look for what God wants you to do? In the midst of everything this blog was birthed. It came with ease, although at times I suffer writer’s block, or time constraints, but God will make a way for His will to be done.
Each day I made a list of three things. I had to do these three things in order:
- Read my bible
- Apply for 3 jobs
- Write on my blog
Start small. Make your list to fit your situation. Find at least three things to do each day. Something to keep you busy, productive, and focused, as you journey on your path.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Mt. 6:33 NLT
We who love Jesus are all called to spread His Good News. Wherever God plants your feet – share. Talk to people. Friend, you and I are not alone in our struggles. It may be dressed differently, but it brings with it the same fears, tears, and doubts.
“Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” Ps. 96:2-3 ESV
I wish I could tell you that tomorrow your struggle will be over. But, I cannot. I have no idea. Except that one day it will end. The gates of heaven will open and things will begin to change. Hang in there. In the meantime, sing, seek, and declare glory to Him.
In the years of my struggle, I learned a side of God that I had not known before. Friend, I pray as you seek Him in your time of struggle you will learn more about the God that loves you. His Son that gave His life for you, and the Spirit He gives today for wisdom.
“Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be hoy and without fault in his eyes.” Eph. 1:4 NLT
Tomorrow as I journey across the Bay, day in and day out, I’ll watch for opportunities to share, encourage, and inspire, another – for His glory.
“No, dear brother and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” Phil. 1:13 NLT
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2016
*pictures by tenspeedhero, imgarde, pixgood
Today is October 30. The day known as All Hallows’ Eve. The day before the world renowned Halloween, or All Hallows’ Day. Something else I just learned Halloween is also, All Saints’ Day, as noted by BBC – Religions, and the Catholic Church.org.
I am not Catholic; however, having grown up in the church in a different denomination, Halloween was never referred to as All Saints’ Day. Even today the church I attend does not promote Halloween. Many churches promote Fall Festivals, and the now popular Trunk-or-Treats.
I will admit, and most likely will receive a frown from my pastor and bible study teacher, I like Halloween. I like the fun of hay rides, bonfires, pumpkins, carvings, costumes, S’mores, ok and a scary hay ride is fun too. Scary, but fun. I like the Disney Halloween movies, and some of the Classics. It is part of the season. Where I live now we don’t have pumpkin patches, or orchards, and the leaves really don’t change. However, the weather in October brings a crispness to the air by removing the high level of humidity that is the typical blanket of air. Fall and winter where I live bring with it fantastic hair days!
Last night my boyfriend and I went on a scary hay ride, and after we left he made a comment, “You know what’s really scary? Life and all that comes with it.” Yes, it can be.
That comment triggered a few scenes in my mind’s eye. Some of the scenes that began to come alive were:
- A person close to me was just let go from her job. The reason – she didn’t learn fast enough.
- A good friends husband has a progressive stage of ALS – enough said.
- Another person I know with 2 small children is struggling to make ends meet and just had her power cut off.
- Another person lost all her savings and at a stage where retirement should be closer. She finds herself in a rebuilding stage.
I’m sure you could add to this list. Those in those shoes I’m pretty sure if Frankenstein, A Werewolf, the Scream character, Freddy Kruger, Michael Myers, or Jason, showed up at their door it would be nothing. The things they face – are much scarier.
Wasn’t he right? Life is scary.
Yet what I find scarier is this scene:
“I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books.” Rev. 20:12 NLT
We hear over and over – live for today. Just do it. But, on this All Hallows’ Eve – the thing that remains the scariest is on the Day of Judgement – we will all be judged according to what we have done.
I can hear the church people standing in contention saying – Jesus has forgotten, and forgiven our sins. Yes, I agree. However, God is clear that all will be judged according to their deeds. Does not matter who you are – From the Apostle Paul to the homeless man on the streets. You, and I too – judged. SCARY.
After proclaiming and confessing that Jesus is Lord.
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, is it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” Ro. 10:9-10 NLT
I believe a lot of people come to Jesus thinking he is the ticket to winning the lottery. He is in the sense of:
- Securing your eternal life in heaven
“For everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” Ro. 10:11 NLT
- Interceding for you
“Christ died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” Ro. 8:34 NLT
- Giving us an advocate for the wisdom we need
“When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative – that is, the Holy Spirit – he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” Jn. 14:26 NLT
But He is not, in the sense of having a life living in the rose garden. He tells us to be prepared, things will get tough.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way…” Ja. 1:2a NLT
“…There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a while.” 1 Pe. 1:6 NLT
So friends, I agree – Life is SCARY. And the Haunted Hay Ride we may be on takes us through:
- Loss of loved ones
And many more, but one thing remains constant –
“The LORD is for me; so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” Ps. 118:6 NLT
And that, my friends, is NOT SCARY.
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2016
*pictures by pinterest, wallpaperup
For such a time as this…
Those six words continue to echo in my head. As my birthday inches forward I find myself moving closer to the bi-centennial clock. I can’t help but wonder – what will be.
As I was working on a new project today I came across a document I had written out in 2008. My eyes stared at the words and my mind went into rewind to visit where I was then. I was in full swing in my career. I started on the path to finish my bachelor’s degree, just for an accomplishment. I didn’t plan to switch careers.
Until one day, I decided to go after a dream that was laid to rest back in the 1980’s. Everything begins with a thought. I was an empty nester, and thought – why not. What do I have to lose?
Looking back. The answer I would discover years later was – everything. And yet, I have gained so much more.
For such a time as this….
When life puts us in the spin cycle things get out of sorts, and our clarity can become blurred. We lose focus, and may begin to ask the age old question – now what?
Has life ever been on track for you, then all of a sudden it spins out of control? If so, has it stopped yet? Mine hasn’t stopped, but it has slowed down. I have tried not to think about what was because that is gone. Can’t change it. Can’t get it back.
In the words of the Apostle Paul I try to keep my eyes focused forward.
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus.” Phil. 3:12-13 MSG
I imagine Queen Esther and Daniel both thinking the same thing. They had things planned out. A dream, a goal. And then, life changed. For Queen Esther she ends up leaving her uncle’s house. Her comforts, friends, and own bed, only to be recruited by the king’s men. Friends, this is not Cinderella’s story. It would be more like Disney meets The Bachelor, followed by Survivor. She is forced to compete with other girls in the kingdom, and go through a 12 month beauty process. Esther 2.
Daniel on the other hand, a young teenager, hanging out with his friends, was living everyday life in Jerusalem. All of a sudden finds himself taken into captivity to Babylon. He is now required to learn their ways. They put him in culture classes to become one of them.
In both instances both Daniel and Esther found themselves in new environments. Learning new things. Dealing with new people. And, in both instances they remain true to themselves. And, to God.
Esther had to deal with facing the king without an invitation. To do so meant death. Yet, in an effort to protect her people – The Jews. She goes.
“Esther sent back her answer to Mordecai: “Go and get all the Jews living in Susa together. Fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, either day or night. I and my maids will fast with you. If you will do this, I’ll go to the king, even though it’s forbidden. If I die, I die.”’ Esth. 4: 15-16 MSG
Daniel, along with his three friends decide they will attempt to control the only thing they can while living in captivity. What they eat. This is to remain true to God.
“But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods.” Dan. 1:8 NLT
For the Apostle Paul, Queen Esther, and Daniel, their lives were turned upside down. What once was the sky reflecting off the water, the water reflected off the sky, and for them there was a reason.
For such a time as this…
They embraced it, and forged ahead. When life reflects upside down for us, when we get thrown into the spin cycle, do we forge ahead? Do we remain true to God? Or do we conform to society’s standards?
The words that stood face to face with me today, that were scribed in 2008, were written as part of a development plan I was writing for myself.
Express a desire to achieve a particular accomplishment.
- Option to retire at 50.
Today that’s not an option for a particular accomplishment. However, where God has placed me is not in a palace with a king, or in Babylon in captivity. Like the Apostle Paul I am not facing the Sadducees and Pharisees.
In similar form I am in a new environment. Meeting new people. Tapping into old skills in an effort to pour into my co-workers, motivation, encouragement, and a sense of accomplishment. I have shared stories, related to others, and empathized with them. But today, when those five words stood at attention, as my eyes scanned each letter, I find myself asking the same question the Queen Esther’s uncle asked her –
“Who knows if perhaps you were made… for just such a time as this?” Esth. 4:14b NLT
Today as the bi-centennial clock ticks forward the goal to retire at 50 has faded, but God has placed my feet on a new path. A path that will lead to new goals, new dreams, and a new accomplishment that will fit –
For such a time as this…
Wherever you are at in life today ask yourself the same question, and who knows, if perhaps you were made –
For such a time as this.
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2016
*pictures by 4freeimagesforyou, lifehappens