Heavenly Appearance

I’m sure you’ve heard of her. She has the figure that has been impossibly unattainable since the day she arrived on the shelves of toy stores. What was most likely meant to bring little girls hours of make believe fun has become the subject of poor taste and irresponsibility to generations of young girls and women striving to look like her. And it doesn’t end there. In the late 70’s early 80’s a plastic bust was made of this doll with hair that could be styled and makeup to be applied teaching little girls how to eventually do this for themselves. Nothing wrong there.

I experimented with makeup my later years in high school and I have absolutely nothing against wearing makeup. Wearing makeup makes many women feel special. I’m so practical in my ways that applying makeup is more a chore than satisfying. Our two daughters went through the teenage phase of heavy makeup [my husband would always tell them, “don’t ruin the Rembrandt!”] to their beautiful natural look with the occasional application.

Then Daniel asked the guard whom the palace master had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, an Azariah: “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations.

Daniel 1:11-13a

Some theorize that Daniel and his friends chose not to eat the meat from Nebuchadnezzar’s table because of the possibility that it had been offered before idols. Others believe that their decision had nothing to do with vegetarianism. Still others theorize that because Daniel and his friends were held against their will they took the opportunity to exercise the few choices they had and preserve their distinct identity. They chose to stand apart from all the other people around them by choosing to eat food that would cause their appearance to look healthier.

There is something deeper in this story. The spiritual appearance of Daniel and his friends. In addition to requesting a veggie only diet to improve their appearance they had a relationship with God. One in which they honored and revered Him resulting in an outward appearance that couldn’t be matched regardless of dietary habits.

Precious Friend. Jesus loves you and when you allow Him to settle in your heart something happens. The power of Holy Spirit begins to transform you from the inside out and your appearance takes on one of heavenly dimensions. Your appearance shines with the joy of Jesus in your heart. No coverup is needed because He infuses you with His confidence and boldness.

Don’t ruin the Rembrandt.

Eternal Accountability

For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.

2Timothy 1:11,12.

Trust me. You’ve probably heard this phrase so many times you’ve lost count. Or perhaps you, like me, have used these two words in the past.

When we decide to trust someone we are relying on their character or putting our confidence in them to follow through on what they’ve promised to do for us.

Jesus left us with specific directions to go and make disciples of all the nations. Like Paul we are heralds and it is our responsibility to share the good news of the gospel message with everyone!

Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of your sin and my sin. When we choose Jesus we are cleansed of the sin that once plagued us and while sin will still tempt us, sinner is no longer our identity. We are righteous in the Righteous One.

When you place your trust in Jesus he safeguards your salvation until He comes again or calls you home. You can trust the character of Jesus and place your confidence in Him to follow through on all the promises you find in His word.

As heralds of the good news of salvation through Jesus we also bring with this message an eternal accountability to all who hear The Message. If you haven’t placed your trust in Jesus, what will you do with this message of salvation? I pray it burns in your heart until you are ready to make the choice for Him! If you already believe, what will you do with this message? I pray it burns in your heart until you are ready or continue to nurture a deep and intimate relationship with Him walking in His will in complete surrender! We all have room to continue to grow.

Of all the things I could ask you to trust me with, this one thing, salvation in Jesus, is the only thing that will stand up against the test of time.

Worthy To Hear The Gospel

She ran out to meet him as she did every afternoon. He greeted her with, “Hi sweetie!” as she reached to carry in his thermos. This had been their daily ritual for many years now and it made her feel like a princess. Although she had four older brothers, he was her hero. She was the little girl he had always said he wouldn’t stop trying to have.

He was a quiet man but strong and mighty in her eyes. He rarely raised his voice at her and the few times that he did she knew she had pushed the envelope just a bit too far.

On her thirteenth birthday she ran out to meet as usual but this time was different. In her newfound teenage mind she thought it best that he no longer called her sweetie. She said to him, as she reached for his thermos, “You don’t need to call me sweetie anymore, I’m thirteen now.”

In the proverbial blink of an eye things began to change. He started to withdraw not knowing what to do with the young woman that ‘just yesterday was his little girl’ and she thought her hero had simply stopped caring.

Many years later after he had passed and upon reflection she realized how hurt he must have been by her triumphant declaration when she was thirteen. And he didn’t have the words to tell her she would always be his sweetie.

She realizes now that she felt unworthy of his love which led her to feel unworthy of the love of God.

We all fall short of the glory of God but we aren’t unworthy to hear the gospel message of His love.

Precious Friend, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been Jesus wants you to hear His message of His saving grace. You are worthy of eternal life and the forgiveness of all your sins by simply believing in Jesus as Messiah, Emmanuel, the King of kings, Lord and Savior.

And her hero, well before he passed he became the best nanu to her three children.

Reading His Word Touching His Robe

She was most likely iron deficient. She probably suffered extreme exhaustion from the daily loss of blood from what had afflicted her for twelve years. And because of the culture she lived in she would have been considered unclean which meant she could not be an active part of the community she called home.

She saw Him crowded by a sea of people that made it look as if it were impossible to reach him. Steadily, without taking her eyes off of him, she made her way through the crowd, who were pushing and shoving to get close to him to. She knew He held the healing she had been seeking for so long.

She said to herself, If I only touch is cloak, I will be healed.

Matthew 9:21

With more boldness that she probably felt she reached out and touch the edge, just the edge of his cloak and instantly she was healed and restored.

How marvelous that must have been to be in the very physical presence of Jesus, The Messiah!

Where does this leave us? We don’t have the ability to actually reach out and touch Jesus but we can touch Him through his word.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart

Hebrews 4:12.

Whenever we read God’s word we engage with Him in a very alive and active way. Healing is still found in Jesus. We simply need to look to the right source. And keep an open mind and be alert to what Jesus is speaking to you about your healing. I’m a miracle seeker but my own physical healing has come over a period of several years and is still not complete and may not be complete until I see Jesus in eternity. But I can rest in the truth that I can ‘touch’ Him through his word.

Read His word, touch his robe.

*pic is a mural in the Encounter Chapel of the Duc in Altum Spiritual Center, Magdala

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Are You Ready?

There isn’t any judgement in these questions as I ponder them for myself. Am I ready for Jesus to return? Will He find my house in order? Will I be engaged in what He anointed and left me to do? Or, will I be chasing after idols that don’t matter now or in eternity?

One of my deepest prayers is for the Church to arise. To desire true discipleship and to disciple. To no longer gloss over the hard truths, teachings and sayings of Jesus. To live sold out for Jesus regardless of life’s challenges and struggles.

I’m working toward this. Will you work with me too?

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.

(NASB 1995).

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Thursday Thoughts

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You’ve Got Purpose

I wrote quickly and with purpose. In my 15 year old mind there was no way my Big B [my nickname for the youngest of my older brothers] wasn’t coming home for Christmas. He had never missed being home for Christmas. So, I sat down and wrote a very firm but gracious letter to his commanding officer aboard the U.S.S. Harry E. Yarnell.

But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.

2 Timothy 1:8b-9a.

God had a purpose. He sent His only Son. Jesus had a purpose. He hung on a cross to forgive you and me of all our sin. Holy Spirit has a purpose. To take up residence in the heart of every person who proclaims Jesus as Lord and Savior and continually guide them toward Christ-like behavior.

You and I have a purpose. To live a holy life. This holy life we are called to live isn’t because of anything we have done by ourself. We live a holy life because of Jesus purpose and His grace. We live a holy life with the ever present help of Holy Spirit. We live a holy life by staying tethered to Jesus consistently. By reading and studying His word, through prayer and in praise and worship of Him.

Jesus gives our life purpose and in that purpose we find meaning for the direction of our life. Along with Christ’s purpose we have His grace, which was given to us before the beginning of time. How amazing is it that grace was ours before the beginning of time simply waiting for us to choose and accept?!

Jesus fulfilled His earthly purpose and destroyed death and brought life and immortality illuminated by the truth of the gospel. Because of this we can live here and now unafraid of death and know we will live an indestructible life of immortality with Him in eternity! Good News indeed.

I must have written an extremely persuasive letter or his commanding officer had a heart for a teen girl who desperately missed her brother. My brother was home for Christmas that year.

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Chariots of Fire

Can you see them? The eternal, ancient warriors of heaven and their chariots of fire?

Many times we forget about the spiritual realm around us and perhaps we’ve become desensitized. We aren’t talking much about the enemy and how his hatred toward us causes him to wage war against us. It isn’t hocus pokus and not meant to scare us. Talking about spiritual warfare is meant to place us in a strategic mode of defense so when situations arise that seem hopeless we don’t cower and hide but stand and fight!

As a believer in Jesus and a part of the Body of Christ we join the ancient chariots of fire and are THE mightiest force against the deceiver of our soul. Do you believe this?

Worship, praise and prayer become spiritual javelins, tent pegs and mallets, bows and arrows and spears.

Pick your weapons and use them daily. Attack and counter attack. Retreat and strike again and walk in victory earth as in heaven!

What’s your weapon of choice?

Prosperity, Wealth and the Gospel

Like the spokes of a wooden wagon wheel there are many aspects to wealth.

What does wealth mean to you? Do you consider yourself wealthy

  • in love
  • in friendship
  • in kindness
  • in perseverance
  • in patience
  • in finances

In Proverbs 10:4 wealth is wealth. It is monetary wealth. Before you fall off your chair, if you are sitting, or raise your hand and utter, “but, but,” I am NOT preaching a prosperity gospel. I don’t believe in a prosperity gospel.

So what are we to do with Proverbs 10:4? Like the spokes of a wooden wagon wheel there are many aspects to wealth. Certainly God provides all our needs and there are times that He blesses us with considerable financial wealth. In those times what we choose to do with that wealth perhaps is an indication of our understanding of proper stewardship.

What speaks to me the most from this verse is wealth in serving God especially as it pertains to God calling me to speak, teach and write[three spokes of the wooden wheel!]. Many times wealth is truly measured by our heart connected to God’s and the joy of the wealth that is Him. This leads to the condition of our heart and the practice of reflection.

I am very thankful when Holy Spirit highlights verses such as Proverbs 10:4 causing me to take inventory of my heart. Rather than thinking in one direction about God’s ordination for me it opens up my mind and heart to joyfully and simply serving God.

Proverbs 10:4 reminds me I am a wealthy women indeed!

The Laying on of Hands

The day I came home from the grocery store and witnessed her pure delight when I handed her that package of gum…

Even if it was only a pack of gum given to her ‘just because,’ our oldest daughter’s love language continues to be gifts. When she was younger it was challenging to fill her love language while raising a young family on one income. The day I came home from the grocery store and witnessed her pure delight when I handed her that package of gum will always remain imprinted on my mind. That is when I realized that gifts didn’t and don’t have to be the latest and greatest. For someone whose heart is filled to overflowing with a thoughtful gift, it really is the thought that counts.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.(NIV 1984).

2 Timothy 1:6-8

While gifts is not my love language I do love to give gifts and watch the surprise erupt into joy on the face of the person receiving my gift. God works through us to bless others and ultimately display His love for us with His knowledge that He knows exactly what we need. HOW gracious is He?!! Can I get an Amen?!

In today’s verse we find Paul encouraging Timothy to fan into flame the gift of God. Paul is suggesting Timothy take action. God has given the gift and now it is Timothy’s responsibility to learn to use this gift wisely for God’s glory and His kingdom and the saving of many lives. Because truly when we think about spiritual gifts, like gifts in the physical, they aren’t meant for us but for giving! For sharing Jesus with others by giving them hope that the sun really will come out again.

Laying on of hands can seem spooky, hocus pocus or downright uncomfortable to some. But it is Biblical. Perhaps we are not learning about this aspect of discipleship in our churches or through our own studying of God’s word and guidance from Holy Spirit or maybe it has been practiced out of context and abused and church leaders have put up their fingers in the sign of the cross attempting to ward off some sort of evil.

It is important to remember that the gift(s) is not given by the one who lays hands on the receiver the gift(s) it is given by God and God alone. To lay hands on another is God’s instrument of conveying His supernatural encouragement and revelation. When we pray for the one we are laying hands on we are seeking God’s guidance and confirmation of God’s will for that person. Some theologians believe it ought to be a regular practice in church for others to discover God’s will.

Do you ever wonder about the power you wield through your faith in Jesus by His Spirit. It may not be physical power and it certainly isn’t an abusive power. It is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and you, as a believer, have access to this 24/7/365. Doesn’t that leave you awestruck in wonder?! Power, love and self-discipline are all a part of your identity in Jesus. These identity characteristics, like gifts, are also meant to be used wisely.

And lest we think we can do anything in our own power, Paul reminds us that we cannot even suffer on our own. We need the power of God to push through and remain focused on Him.

I bless you with choosing to be a good gift giver through Jesus and the gifts He has given you and to be open to the gifts He has for you through the giving of others.