WHOSE PRAYER SHOULD GOD ANSWER?

Here’s one from Lee…

WHOSE PRAYER SHOULD GOD ANSWER?

I’ve been out in Illinois visiting my only sister, Mary, who has been battling cancer for the last couple years. She is unable to tolerate chemotherapy and is receiving only vitamins to combat the disease at this stage.

I have been faithfully praying for her for many, many months now, and one of the hallmarks of my prayers is the request that God would show kindness to her and would extend her days to be with those who love her and whom she loves. I was thinking about that prayer the other morning: is that prayer to extend her life really the best thing for her? Is that the best thing God should do for her?

As I prayed, it came to me that, for God to answer that prayer, would mean that He would have to delay the time when she finally came home to Him. So who is that prayer really meant for; who most benefits? Her, or is it me and those who love her here on Earth? We don’t want to see her leave us because we love her and love having her in our lives. And I’m sure she loves us; Mary is the one who always remembers every birthday and every anniversary. And cards appropriate for the occasion come every Christmas, of course.

But to be fair, Mary has been pretty sick for a while now. She has had a mastectomy and surgery to remove some cancerous lymph nodes. She now has cancer detected on her lungs and liver and is having difficulty breathing. She is very much aware of the probable outcome of all of this disease and states clearly: “I’m not afraid to die.” She flatly refused to take any more experimental chemo because the doctor warned her that she would be mostly incapacitated and would likely spend her last days bed-ridden. “That’s not really living, is it?” she says.

When one reads the, albeit somewhat limited, description of heaven in the Bible, one gets an idea that it’s a pretty special place. And there one has the unimaginable experience of being face-to-face with the Lord Himself. I’ve often thought that, if you look around this world with all of its attendant wonders and God-created artistry, one can hardly even imagine what Heaven will look like in comparison. After all, that’s the place where God Himself resides. As I look around this world, I often conclude: O, the wonders heaven must hold!

So, as much as I hate to even consider the thought, Mary would probably be so much better off in Heaven. No sickness, no worry, no pain…only God in His glory. To want to keep her from that almost is mean at its worst and selfish at best.

I’m so going to miss her loving smile and kind words when she leaves us…but I’ll be so glad for her to be where every Christian wants to be: in the loving arms and clear sight of the God we dearly love! Intimately present with Jesus, the God-man, who purposefully and intentionally died to give us the opportunity to be with Him… forever! I love Mary, but He loves her even more!

Lee Pierce

WHAT A GRACIOUS GOD I SERVE!

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercyThe Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:8-9. … He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy.

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Please forgive the tardiness of the blog today…first day of school!

Some, if not most of you will be able to relate to the following.  How many of you live from pay check to pay check?  The oldsters used to call it, “…living from hand to mouth.”  It doesn’t happen always, but sometimes, unexpected things come up and must be taken care of-that happened to us this month.

We were blessed to be gifted with another car!  It is perfect in every way.  All we had to do was get the insurance and plates for it, and fix a couple of minor things!  God is so good!

Well…here we are, in between pay checks, and found ourselves short…or so we thought.  We kept believing in the Lord and His mercy and love for us and trusted Him to make a way.  And, of course He did!

We were actually counting out how much we had…Oh us, of little faith! 😦   But God in his mercy made it so that we were able to get the insurance, temporary plate, school supplies…and still had gas money left over!

God IS Good!  He is merciful!  He is kind and compassionate to His children!

Thank You Lord!

Anita

NOTHING TO FEAR…

I know so many people…close friends and relatives that are plagued with ‘panic attacks’.

You very seldom heard of this malady in years past…but now it has spread to epidemic proportions!  At first it was the older folks that seemed to have these.  Not long after, we heard of middle aged, and even young adults being afflicted.  Now…it has even come to those of a very young age.

What is happening?  Why is this curse so prevalent in today’s society?

Now, keep in mind…I’m speaking from experience.  In fact, I “experienced” it last night!  My ten-year old son came down with a cold.  His nose became stuffy, and he just didn’t feel too good for most of the day.  I doctored him up with the usual home remedies and over the counter medications, and he seemed to be feeling better.  However, when bed time came, he kept coming into my husband’s and my room into the wee hours of the morning.  Finally, after hours of being woken up every ten to fifteen minutes, I told him to bring his blankets and lay in our room.  That worked for awhile…but not for long.

You see, FEAR had gripped his little heart and he was afraid if he went to sleep…he wouldn’t wake up!

How many times has this type of fear gripped your heart and soul?  How about the time you got laid off and was worried about finances?  Or when your marriage was on the rocks and you were at a loss as to ‘how to fix it’?  What about the time when the doctors report came back…and it wasn’t good news?  We’ve all been in a place at one time or another when FEAR took over and commanded our steps!

But the Bible says:

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

Also, look at this….

Be sure…”God, Himself, is looking over your shoulder…” -2 Timothy 4:1  Again in Luke 4:10-11 it says, “For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11 and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 

The world may fear because they don’t KNOW the Lord of heaven and earth…but if you know Him…and I mean truly KNOW Him as your Lord and Savior, you have nothing to fear!

Anita

NEARER THAN YOU THINK…

Do you ever wonder if God really knows what’s going on in your life?  You know…the pressures of financial difficulties…health issues…marriage problems…loss of a loved one…disappointments….

I know many people who question His very existence.  Some even go so far as to declare, “There is no God!”

But the Bible says, The fool has said in his heart, ‘there is no god!’  But Jesus said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you!”

The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him in truth. -Psalm 145:18

Be assured!  He is right beside you, every step of the way through this life’s journey!  He is right here!  Count on it!

Anita

I’VE JUST SAILED AROUND THE BEND…

When Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha died, Jesus gave these comforting words to them….

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live -John 11:25 (KJV)

Another version puts it this way…

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. -John 11:25 (NLT)

I thought of this Scripture this morning as I rose with a heavy heart for my friend, Janet.  Her mama just passed away, and today is the funeral.

Funerals are really for those of us left behind and grieving.  When our loved ones pass, and we are left here in this angry, cruel world, death can seem so final.  But Janet’s mama KNEW Jesus in a personal way…she had an intimate relationship with Him.  Therefore, we can be assured that she is not suffering; she is HOME with her Savior!  No tears.  No pain.  No death.  Only peace…joy…love…and ETERNAL LIFE!

If our loved ones could send us a post card from Heaven, all it would say is:

“Wish YOU were here!”

I wrote a poem years ago about death entitled, “I Heard Them Come”.  It goes like this….

“There,  in the quietness of that hospital’s stark whiteness,

With pain so intense, it made the body numb;

Where the smell of death scented the air…

They were quiet, but I heard them come.

They weren’t there for me, but their presence I felt

As they took the soul from the body, and set the spirit free.

Pain, that ravaged the body and face just mere moments before,

Took on a different look, when they walked through the door!

I didn’t see them, but…I know they were there;

For arms went up to greet them, and a smile replaced the tears.

I’ve been there twice now when they came,

And both times, there was nothing different…it was all the same.

The room was filled with peace, and their footsteps, I scarcely could hear

As they gently took the helm of my loved one,

And side by side they sailed together through the valley of fear.

So, when they come for me…I’ll gladly take their hand

And let them sail my ship into a better land.

Don’t be afraid for me…there is no need to fear!

You need to realize, there’s more than now and here.

For when this ship sails from your sight,

It only means I’ve taken flight!

Life’s river has no end…

I’ve just sailed around the bend!

Anita Mondragon

 

THE PERFECT JAR OF JELLY…AND THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

The promise I drew from my box today said this….

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil.  He shall preserve thy soul. -Psalm 121:7

Notice.  It says from all evil!  That means even the little stuff that happens in the day to disrupt your joy and peace of mind.  That definitely means the big stuff too.  For everything that comes against you, remember…the Lord is in control!

Notice the word preserve….

Now, I grew up on a farm during the first years of my life.  After moving to the ‘big city’, my mom still canned and preserved fruit and vegetables.  When you can vegetables and make preserves, there is a process.  There are actually five steps to making preserves.

  1. wash and cut the fruit
  2. sanitize the jars
  3. cook fruit until it sets
  4. fill warm jars with hot fruit
  5. close the jars and process them in a hot water bath

That seems like a lot of work to get a perfect jar of jelly…but that’s what it takes.

The same holds true with the human heart.  When Jesus finds us, He must wash us clean in His blood.  Then, He begins to cut away all the old habits from our life.  Our hearts are sanitized, made pure by His presence. We are “cooked” through the trials of life until we learn how to stand in the face of adversity without wavering.  After this, our hearts are filled with a Holy Ghost fire to serve Him, no matter what may come our way.  we are now fit for the Masters use.  Then we are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Here’s the little poem that accompanied the promise:

“Guide me O Thou great Jehovah, pilgrim through this barren land; I am weak, but Thou art mighty, hold me with Thou powerful hand!” -Unknown

Remember, when you’re put through the fires of life…you are still held in the powerful hand of God!

Anita

No Stairway to Heaven

I read the following on one of my favorite blog sites called, NEW HOPE FOR DRY BONES. Take a look…this is TRUTH! -anita

New Hope for Dry Bones

I heard a story yesterday from a lady that was talking about her son playing in the elementary school band.  After a year of learning to play his percussion instruments, the band played a concert.

Parents and other people that could not get out of attending crowded into the school gym to hear the fruits of their labors.

The band director proudly announced they would play “Wooly Bully”.

I can relate to this because my brother played in band all through school and I am pretty certain I attended the same kind of concert early in his playing days.

It was a good thing that the director said the name of the song, because if he hadn’t, there was no way to know what the song actually was.

No matter how hard these young musicians tried, there were off notes, bad timing, squeaks and squeals not meant for human ears…

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EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD HAVE TWO VIEWS…

We have been studying the different gates mentioned in Nehemiah chapter 3 on Sunday morning services.  Right now, we are on the Horse Gate…the place of doing battle.

Pastor said so many good things yesterday, I decided to share a few highlights with you, my readers.  Keep in mind, these are all quotes from Pastor….  -anita

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You don’t do battle with the devil for Victory…you fight in Victory, for the battle is the Lord’s, and it’s already won!

You have three enemies in this life…

  1. the world
  2. the flesh
  3. the devil

You fight these three enemies with the four “F’s”

  1. Flee evil
  2. Follow the way of righteousness
  3. Focus  on God’s Word
  4. Fight the devil

There are three keys to withstanding evil

  1. Submit -draw near to God; The measure of our submission will determine our level of resistance!
  2. Cultivate a humble heart
  3. Fight  Remember, if you are true to the fight, you will outlast the battle!

If you KNOW Christ, you have “Sword Power”!  But, you must show up to ‘Sword practice’!  You need to come to prayer meeting, Bible study, as well as Sunday morning service!  You can’t expect the pastor, or your spiritual friends to wield your Sword.  It’s YOUR Sword!

When fear tries to suffocate you and threaten your sanity, recognize it as an attack from Satan; then, RESIST through the Word of God and the Blood of Jesus!

DO NOT:  Bind, rebuke, deride or curse the devil or his demons….  Leave that to God Almighty!

DO:  Resist him, (oppose his onslaught, stand against him, and watch God neutralize his attack!) Then, watch him flee from you!

Every Christian should have two (2) views…  The backside of the devil, and the face of God!

Lastly, be careful of the types of folks you hang out with…even in church.  There are four kinds of people in church….

  1. Those that add to your life
  2. Those that subtract from your life
  3. Those that multiply your life
  4. Those that divide your life

Learn to surround yourself with those that add and multiply to your life.  Stay away from those that subtract from your life with their negativity, and divide you from your brothers and sisters in Christ!

-Pastor William Rodriguez

“TALK TO ME LIKE YOU USED TO…”

First of all, I want to apologize to all the readers of this blog.  I have been busy moving, painting, assisting in VBS (Vacation Bible School), helping at the food bank, getting ready for school to start, and contemplating my new job!  I have been retired/semi retired for eleven years now, but will be returning to work next week.  The other stuff has been fun, but, I must admit,  I’m stressing a little over the job.  I just want to do my best!  Hence, the preoccupation!

I am sorry though for not blogging on a regular basis.  I promise to try to do better in future!

That being said, I had to apologize to my Lord as well.  He has been getting “the short end of the stick” for sometime now.  I finally took a few minutes away from my busy schedule yesterday, and sat on my porch swing.  As I viewed all of God’s glory and beauty that I’ve been missing for a while, I found myself saying out loud to Jesus, “I wish you’d talk to me like you used to…”

The reply I heard was almost audible.  “Yeah.  I was thinking the same thing! ….”

WOW!  That’s when I had to repent!

Life is busy.  But we need to get our priorities straight!  God should be the first one we talk to.  He should be included in our every conversation and thought!  He should be sought for guidance, strength, assistance, and most of all fellowship in every moment of our day.  He is to be loved and adored…and we need to tell Him how much we love and adore Him,  all day long!

You want Jesus to talk to you?  I do!  I NEED Him to talk to me!

Maybe we need to start the conversation with Him first….  I’m sure  He’ll answer!

Anita

WHO DO YOU HATE?

Here’s a good one from Lee!  Check it out…. -anita

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My wife has managed to get me involved in a TV series, Call the Midwife,that I’ve struggled to watch. There are many child births, of course, but I can handle those. What depresses me and vexes my spirit is the inhumanity depicted at some points in the plot.

This is set in London’s East End in the 1950s, amid much poverty, overcrowding and depravation. One episode stood out starkly to me and literally upset me. One character– a man whose wife was very caring for him and quite submissive — went out of his way to berate, demean, and physically abuse her. I’m not quite sure why this particular character and his actions bothered me so, but I found myself literally hating him for the way he treated her. Now, before you rush to tell me this is just a TV series and is not real, I would say that I certainly get that fact. And, are there many, many other mean and hurtful acts perpetrated on real people every day? Of course there are. But there was something so undeserved in the way this dear woman was mistreated by someone who should love her, her spouse.

After the conclusion of the episode to which I’m referring – and after I’d calmed down somewhat emotionally – I began thinking about this hateful character. I began to think about this character and how I might relate to him if I encountered him in real life. I then tried to put the man into what I call “Jesus terms.” How would our Lord relate to this fictional character if encountered in real life?

Clearly, the Bible teaches us to love and care for our family, friends, and neighbors. [Lev 19:18, Mt 5:44, 1 Tim 5:8] And especially our wives. [Eph 5:28] Certainly, our Lord was kind to even the gravest of sinners. Yet He could be absolutely angry with some people, like the Pharisees, when He castigated them for their actions toward the people. [Mt 23:1-26] As I tried to picture in my mind an encounter between the Lord Jesus and this man, I got some interesting images. Keeping in mind that I’m talking about a fictional character here (but a character most assuredly representative of many, many real men), I can picture Jesus putting his arm around this hated and hate-filled man. Jesus, as God, would know the very things that drive this man’s pain; and undoubtedly, this man was in great pain. People don’t just act by chance in the way described here—there’s a reason for their anger and abuse. And it’s usually because they were first abused themselves; it’s the only way of life they know.

As I thought long about how the Lord would interact with this man, my view of him softened. I could feel some of the pain that emanated from his character. And most of my feelings of hatred toward him slipped away. This is complicated stuff, just because we’re all so individually complicated. People are many-faceted with complex backgrounds and relationships that form our present character. I would venture to say that none of us know one another completely—there’s too much there to absorb.

But there is One who does know us better than we know ourselves. His name is Jesus. And He loves us.

Lee Pierce