Saturday, April 10, 2021

Who Am I Influencing?

There is a new society word that we hear a lot nowadays, which is social media "influencer". Influencer's market and help brand companies, products, or people.  Their opinions matter and they have the ability to make or break someone's business, career, or reputation.

Well, it hit me this morning that we, too, are influencers.  But, are we?  Am I?

To an extent, I am through blogging.  To an extent, I am through my actions and reactions. To an extent, I am through serving.  

Yet, I feel as if my life of influencing people for Jesus Christ may be wanting.  How do you feel you are a social influencer for Jesus Christ?

Oh, LORD, show me how to be more effective for bringing forth the character of who You are to the lost world around me.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Springtime in Fall

I sat outside early this morning, communing with my LORD and enjoying the spring weather in my backyard.  Birds, squirrels, and bunnies were doing the same all around me.  Holy Spirit spoke this to my heart, "The sweet sound of spring".  I knew He was prompting me to write.  The words flowed as if waiting to be penned.   Here is Springtime in Fall.

Photo Courtesy of Aniket-Bhattacharya - unsplash.jpeg

                                                                   Springtime in Fall

Oh, the sweet sound of spring
birds calling and singing
squirrels searching for peanuts
bunnies quietly eating the goodies of the green grass

The sweet sound of spring brings renewal, hope, rejuvenation
to the souls who call out
to those who sing
to the souls who search and wait quietly in the Presence of The LORD

Oh, the sweet sound of spring is in the air
and in my soul
oh, spring's fragrant smell
breathe deep, oh, my body; breathe deep, oh my soul

As the sun peaks through the trees dancing the sunlight
The Son's Light dances in the delight of me
in the delight of me! 
oh, LORD, how You Love me and I love You

I taste and see Your Goodness, oh, God
my heart and soul yearns for You
my mind craves The Truth of Your Word, LORD
my body is ageless in Your Presence

For You, Lord Word, are life and health unto me
You are The Sweet Sound of Spring to my soul
The Sweet Aroma of Life that causes me peace
You, my God, are The Springtime of the fall of my life

The Springtime of the fall of my life.  

Thank You, Holy Spirit, for allowing me to put into words the emotions You knew were in my heart.  Thank You for bringing them up and out of me.  

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Where the Real Dying was Done

Have you ever agonized over a decision you had to make?  I have.  Just recently.  

Two decisions at the same time.  The two would result in tremendous loss to my heart and soul and life.

Neither one were should I's or shouldn't I's, as I knew what I had to do.  It was the agony of my soul before I actually put action to the decision and "pulled the plug," so to speak. 

I agonized so much before doing so that the stress of it all put me in the emergency room after it was all said and done.

I understand now, more than ever, our Christ's agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He knew what was expected of Him.  He knew, for this reason, He was birthed as a human being, and yet...His agony of "pulling the plug" caused His Body to sweat Blood.  

Luke 22:42 reads as one compound sentence, so we do not stop and think that the author did not account for time passing between Jesus' Words.  It could have been hours or even days leading up to His Gethsemane Moment.

saying, "Father, if it is Your Will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not My Will but Yours be done."

"Father, if it is Your Will, take this cup away from Me."

...  Time... 

...  Pleading with His Father...

...  Time...

....  Agony of His Soul...

Agony in The Garden - The First Sorrowful Mystery — John C Sweet

...  Time...

...  Pleading with His Disciples to pray for Him...

...  Time...

...  Agony of His Soul...

...  Time...

...  Sweating Blood... 

...  Time...

...  Surrender.  "Nevertheless, not My Will, but Yours be done."

Finally, S U R R E N D E R  to His Father's Will.  As the Words of relinquishing came out of His Mouth, it was done.  Decision made, no turning back now.  No calling on His Angels to rescue Him.  

His Whole Life prepared Him for this one final act of obedience (Heb. 5:8). 

Time did elapse between "Father, take this cup (destiny) from Me" and "not My Will but Yours be done."  During that time span, He agonized the surrender of His Will to do something He did not want to do. Jesus' agony of Soul was so severe that His Body bled internally and came out the pores of His Skin.  And so much so that His Blood "fell to the ground" (vs. 44). 

The Man Jesus did not want to be tortured for hours and hours to die an incomprehensibly painful death, nor did He desire to be separated from His Father for the first time in Eternity.  NEVERTHELESS, He died to Self and surrendered His Will.  

His real dying came in that Garden.  If Jesus had not died to self first, He never would have died for me and you.

O U R   G O D   U N D E R S T A N D S  the surrendering of our wills to His Purposes in our lives.  He understands when we agonize over putting action to our decisions - especially if it will cause us suffering or loss.  H E   U N D E R S T A N D S.  

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for so identifying with us.  Thank You for the account of Your decision-making process, which helps us in our time of need.  If it cost You to agonize, why should we think it will not cost us?  May Your Gethsemane moment remind us of Your painful decision to be obedient.  And may we remember it this coming Good Friday.  I love You, LORD, and I so appreciate what You did for me.  As You hung on that Cross dying a slow death, Your life did not flash before Your Eyes, but mine did as well as every other human being.  Thank You.  

Because of You and Unto You, LORD Jesus,

Saturday, March 20, 2021

To Be Like Ducklings

When Joshua and God's people FINALLY arrived in the Promised Land, Joshua divided up the lands by lot.  Except for Caleb.  It was 45 years since Caleb spied out the land for Moses, and finally, Caleb was being rewarded for his faithfulness to God. 

Moses swore on that day, saying, "Surely, the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children's forever because you have wholly followed The LORD my God." ~ Joshua 14:9

Caleb received an inheritance "because he wholly followed The LORD GOD of Israel." (Joshua 14:14).  And the land (Caleb's land - Hebron) had rest from war. ~ Joshua 14:15b

With everything in him, Caleb followed The LORD.  Entirely, completely, in totality.  No matter the cost.

What does wholly following The LORD God mean to you and me?  

That is a question I think we need to sit and marinate in for awhile.  We need to ask Abba if there are areas of our lives that we are not following wholly after Him and allow Holy Spirit to shine His Light in the dark crevices of our souls and reveal to us truth.

Is our following after Him haphazard or on purpose?  Have we ever even given thought to it? Have we crucified our flesh in areas that He shows us so that we may wholly follow Him?  

Here is the BIG question:

Do we even desire to whole-heartedly, without reservation, follow God's Ways of living and being and doing - even if it means no blessings show up for 45 years?

Happy marinating!

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Monday, March 15, 2021

The Holy Life-preserver

This photo reminded me of me about seven years ago.  My heart was drowning - sinking into a dark abyss.  I could not, at that time, imagine my life today.  I couldn't get my brain to imagine what God was going to do in me.  Nor could I imagine His faithfulness to walk beside me through the abyss.  

But, He certainly did.  His Word is Truth, and He allowed me to experience His Truth, Love, and Faithfulness through my circumstances. 

I look back through 2020, and as awful as the things of this world have been, God has been extraordinary to me.  Healing deep, painful wounds, He has lifted me so far from that bottomless pit I was in seven years ago.  He has lifted me to a plane of the Heavenly kind where I reside, with Him.  He, as my Companion.  Me, as His friend. 

Does Abba need companionship?  Oh yes, He does.  He longs and looks for those who desire His Friendship, those who desire Him to walk alongside us, going through exactly what we are, trusting Him to deliver us in His time, absorbing more and more of Him as we decrease - those who are not afraid of intimacy with The Holy God.

If your heart is drowning...

If you are sinking into an abyss from circumstances beyond your control...

If you are crying out to God for help...

Let me encourage you in this: even though He may be silent, Jesus is right beside you; even though you don't feel His Presence, He is there; even if you cried out for help and nothing changed, know He has a master plan and He WILL deliver you in His due time.  He will put His signposts along the road you are on, leading and comforting you.  His encouraging Words are yours for the opening of His Holy Book.

Painting by Youngsung Kim/Words by an encouraging word
Trust those Words. God is not a man who lies.  He is The Almighty, Who speaks only Truth.  Let those Truths comfort and encourage you.  And cause you to grab for Jesus' extended, Life-preserver Hand.  For surely, that is Who He is!  No matter what you may personally think of Him, He is not One to be offended by our ignorance, or anger toward Him, or our convoluted opinions of Him.

Because He IS Love, He will NOT let you drown.  And as He pulls you out of the storm-churned waters, you will have experienced His Love like never before.  You can trust His Words, His Hand, His Love.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Sunday, February 14, 2021

The Sandwich for Life

Sandwiches.  Who does not like a good sandwich?  Living on Long Island, you could walk into any deli in any town and get the most delicious, filling, and satisfying sandwiches made any way you like.  

Vacation on Long Island - not only for its vineyards and beaches
but for its vast array of delis and fine dining. The East End of
Long Island is a foodies delight.  Oh, to be your tour guide!
Although the bread or kind of roll can make or break a great sandwich, what is sandwiched in between the two pieces of bread or roll is what is so satisfying.

We have morning-time and nighttime.  And what is sandwiched in between the light and dark of a day is what is important and satisfies us.  From the opening of our eyes to their closing, Jesus should be sandwiched in between.  

Just as a good sandwich with quality meats nourishes us, Jesus should be the sustenance of our day.  It is in spending time in His Presence that feeds us for that day.  God rained down manna from Heaven daily for the Israelites.  If we only ate one sandwich in weeks yet expected us to be filled and satisfied for weeks, we will find out that we are sadly disappointed.  And hungry!  We must have food daily.  

We must sit in Jesus' Presence daily.  A once-in-a-while sitting at His Feet will not sustain us long term.  We need a DAILY dose of His Presence to keep our spirits nourished.  We need Him to fill us so that there is something of His Character to be poured out.  

One bite of a good sandwich is tantalizing causing us to want to devour the whole sandwich. One taste of Jesus (Ps. 34:8) is pure gratification.  So much so, that we want more and more and more of His Presence.

If Statefarm is there like a good neighbor, and a sandwich is there to delight us, Jesus is there not only like a good neighbor but to delight us, nourish us, and maintain our inner health.  

Take a bite; taste and see that The Lord is good!  He will have you coming back for more.  

Because of Him and Unto Him, 

Monday, February 8, 2021

The Wisdom of Ben Cartwright

I was watching an OLD episode of Bonanza.  Ben Cartwright's love was dying.  He said this to her: Compassion is the greatest form of love.

I thought about it.  It really is.  So many of the recountings of Jesus' miracles say, "He was moved with compassion."

When you think about it.  God, our Father - Jesus' Father - was moved with compassion toward His created humankind.  

He had so much compassion on us that He planned the torture and execution of His Son - right down to the smallest detail making sure every minute detail of our lives would be covered by the Sacrificial Blood of Jesus. 

I never really looked at it as Abba's compassion before.  But, it was.  

He had so much compassion on us that He turned His Face away from His Son.  As Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?!", Abba did not stop the whole horrid scene to save His Son's tortured Body and Soul.  

Because He had compassion on us.  Wow! 

He allowed Himself to be separated from His Son and turned His Ears deaf toward Him - seemingly ignoring His unimaginable suffering.  

What loving parent could do that?  Only the One who IS Love.  Only the One who IS all-compassionate.  

Thank You, Abba, for Your Compassionate nature.  Thank You that Jesus is the One Who shows us Your Compassion, Your Love for us, and always glorifies You.  

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Thursday, February 4, 2021

So Who Does God Answer?

As Joshua was sizing up the city of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man with a sword in hand.  Joshua went up to him and demanded, "Are you friend or foe?"  "Neither one, I am Commander of The LORD's Army", he replied.                                                                                      ~ Joshua 5:`3-14

Super Bowl is upon us again.  While watching football or baseball, I've often questioned this:  There may be Christ-centered men on each team.  Both teams pray for the winning touch-down or homerun.  So God, whose prayers do you answer?  I've wondered this question repeatedly over the years.

And in this passage of Scripture, Joshua is basically asking the same thing: Whose side are you on, LORD?  Basicly, The Angel of The LORD replies, Neither you nor them.  

You know who I am rooting for. 
Mahomes is my QB for the win

Neither team for the ring.

We just went through this as a nation politically.  Christians on both sides of the political divide.  Who does God answer?

If you have any thoughts or revelations on this long-seated question of mine, I'd sincerely like to hear what you think.  

Enjoy the game on Sunday - no matter who you are rooting for!

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

And the Beat Goes On!

I had decided that I wasn't going to blog anymore.  The passion for writing had waned.  And not just waned, but I didn't even want to respond to comments.  To those I didn't reply to, please forgive me.  My thoughts were, "What is the point?  Who cares what I have to say?  Arent' their responses obligatory?"

I started writing by journaling in my younger life.  Then moved to "an encouraging word" - a newsletter done on a manual typewriter with Whiteout always by my side, the real-deal cutting and pasting (gluing); taking the original to a printing company and then going back days later to pick up the printed newsletters; then addressing and stamping and taking them to the post office. Phew! That was over 40 years ago.  Then I found blogging!  WAHOO!  Thank You, LORD!

It was my way of sharing the goodness of our God.

Holy Spirit used Pastor Bill's blog (one of my devotionals) to speak to me the other morning.  These were Pastor Bill's words, or I should say God's Words directed at me:

When God blesses us or gives us a gift, it was never intended we keep that to ourselves.  We were never meant to hoard what He has given - whether it be a lesson learned in a trial or a test, a gift, a talent, or something as “earthy” as money.  It has always been His intention that we use it to serve Him. How can we keep the greatest story on earth to ourselves?  (Bold and italics are mine for emphasis.)

It kinda blew my socks off.  I bowed my heart and immediately responded.  "Yes, LORD.  I hear You."  

Writing is not an option for me, it is a mandate, as my life is not my own.  It belongs to my Savior and Lord.

So, here I am with my wonderful Apple laptop, which is like a non-petting but certainly a lap-loving companion.  She is always ready and willing to be used.  Instead of typing, I now peck-away on a keyboard.  And I can pick her up and move her to a different chair!  Oh, Hallelujah!

Oh, what Joy Abba brings to my soul.  He surely is intimate with us as He surely speaks to us.  When He finds a heart who wants to obediently hear Him, He will use anything, anybody, or soft whispers to speak to us.  I once used pens, then an old manual typewriter graduating to an electric one.  Then one of the first home computers, and now a laptop that includes a journaling app!  Can it get any easier than this?

Thank You, Abba, for the "tools of my trade" over all these years.  YOU called me a writer.  YOU gifted me.  YOU are my source and my joy.  And it is my good pleasure to be able to share Your Goodness and "an encouraging word" with others.  I love You, LORD.  And thank You, Pastor Bill, for continuing to blog and speak into my life!  

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Thursday, December 24, 2020

The Ornament's Truth

Have a most Blessed celebration of our Lord's birth.  We are the reason for this season.  He became human just to be crucified for us.  

Because of Him and Unto Him,