COME…AND REST A WHILE! May 1, 2015

“And he (Jesus) said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they, (the disciples) had no leisure so much as to eat.”  Mark 6:31

Here I sit…in all the beauty God intended for us; snow-covered mountains, huge boulders, the size of large buildings, clouds coming down so low…it looks as though they are kissing the mountain tops.  The clear blue water, mirroring the glorious sky above.  Birds on wing, sail through the air, seeing what I see…but through different eyes.  The quietness is immense!  When I stop to ponder the boundless love of God, I am overwhelmed!

Why He loves me so, I can’t even begin to understand!  I’ve done nothing to deserve such lavish treatment.  Most of the time, His gifts to me go un-noticed.  He brings a beautiful sunrise each morning, and a breath-taking sunset each evening…but most days, I’m too ‘busy’ to see them.  He makes the flowers blossom in Spring, and the dead trees become lush and green as He breathes life into His creation once again.  He desires to do the same for me everyday, but I’m too preoccupied, trying to ‘breathe life’ into my own situation.

Yes…I’m alive…functioning…breathing; but am I really LIVING?  I’ve been so busy, I haven’t stopped to question this until today.

It’s good to get away from all the distractions this life holds!  Good to sit in the quietness of His beauty, and hear Him whisper through the rippling water, or the bugling of an Elk herd…to see His finger paint the sky in colorful hues.

I need to do this more often…to remind myself of His great, undying love for me.  After all…when it’s all said and done, THAT is ALL that REALLY matters!

By:  Anita Mondragon April 2015

OUR REFUGE April 30, 2015

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.  It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.”  Psalms 118:8-9

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus…look full in His wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”  Helen H. Lemmel 1922

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This is a truth I often find myself needing to remember.  In time of trouble, we often think that if we just choose the right leader, just vote for the right person…our problems will be solved.

When we put our trust in men, we will always be disappointed.  We need to TURN OUR EYES TO THE LORD, and trust in HIM!

By:  Terry Shapiro

GOD IS NEAR April 29, 2015

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  James 4:8

God IS near!  Have confidence in God’s mercy, because when you think He is a long way away from you, He is always so much closer!

God still draws near to us in ordinary, common places.  In everyday experiences, He comes in the most surprising ways!

By:  Nicole Shapiro

Hello Gathering Devotional Family,

Today and tomorrow our posts will be a bit different. The amazing Anita who so faithfully blesses us with daily updates is in the mountains for a well deserved break so I am going to post the next two days. Unfortunately I have the flu (please pray for me), so I am going to post some cool video clips that we have made over the years.

Stay blessed

Pastor Danny

EVICTION NOTICE April 27, 2015

“Submit yourselves therefore to God.  RESIST the devil, and he will flee from you.”  James 4:7

It just suddenly happened one day…I felt the need to change.  My bags were packed, I was ready to go…it was time to rearrange this crazy life I’d lived so long…devoid of mirth, of hope, of song.

So I sat down on my suitcase, ‘whilst deciding where to go…just standing at the crossroad…which road to take?…I did not know.

But Satan saw me sittin’ there, and he said with a grin…”So, where’d you say you THINK you’re goin’?…Hummm? Someplace you’ve never been?  Naw…you ain’t goin’ nowhere…you ain’t leavin!  But go ahead and make your plans…cuz you’re just dreamin!  Ha!  Naw…you ain’t goin’ nowhere…I’ll make sure!”

I looked at him a minute, then I said, “You know…you’re right!  I ain’t goin’ nowhere!  It’s you that’s takin’ flight.  It’s time for me to take a stand…I’ve run from you too long.  All these years you’ve been with me, you’ve only done me wrong.  So here’s your eviction notice…and you better read it well; you’re outta here…and take your friends…you can all go  back to hell!”

He looked at me a second…unsure of what to do.  I’d never talked to him like that…this one thing was quite true!  Then he looked and me and said, “Now…I know you THINK you’re tuff…but this here ride I’m about to give you, is gonna get real rough!  So, buckle up your seat belt, call on your God, and we’ll see…but you can bet your bottom dollar…you’ll never be rid of me!”

Well, I thought he was just barkin’…that’s what I tried to believe; but he had somethin’ unbeknownst to me, tucked up inside his sleeve.  He started pullin’ out some old betrayals, that were still in need of healing…like all my hang-ups, hurts, and baggage; WHEW!  My senses were now reeling!

He said, “Come on now!  It don’t have to be like this!  I can make it all go away, if you’ll just go back to some of those old habits, you had back in the day.  Don’t you remember all the fun we used to have?…You can’t be good!  You know it’s true…you’re too used to bein’ bad!  My friends and me have lived in these rooms here, for such a long, long time…now, you may think they’re yours…but they aren’t…they’re really mine!  You’re not movin’ us out just to move HIM in!  Naw!  We won’t go quietly!” he said with an ugly grin.

I let him finish talkin’…then I stood up and said, “You’ve been after me for lots of years, and you’re always talkin’…but I want you to be quiet instead!  I’m tired of layin’ down for you…I’m ready now to fight; but, it won’t be by MY power…it won’t be by MY might!  No!  I’ll call out to Jesus, cuz I know that He’ll come through!  He WANTS you outta here…He WANTS me rid of you!”

Now, that old devil wasn’t kiddin’.  He put up one awful  fight!  But, he got beat, cuz Jesus made the wrong lose to the right!

From time to time, he does come back, lookin’ for a place; but, I just call out to Jesus…and the devil gets erased!

Each day we live, we have to choose which path that we will take…to choose the right, or choose the wrong, each moment we’re awake.  So listen to your heart, and be careful how you choose; for one choice gives you life…but the other makes you lose!

By:  Anita Mondragon June 2010

LIFE WITH YOU ALONE April 25, 2015

“For He shall give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways.”  Psalm 91:11

“I love to think on mercies past,

And future good implore,

And all my cares and sorrows cast

On Him whom I adore.”

Unknown

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Help me Lord, to put aside things or attitudes that may start to pull me away from the joy and love I have because of you!

There are so many wonderful things about where I am when I am with you.  There are so many reasons why I have such a wonderful and amazing life with you Lord!

So, I pray that you make me strong, and help me to always keep my eyes on you…and you alone!

By:  Nicole Shapiro

THE LEAST OF THESE April 24, 2015

Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’  (This is Jesus speaking!)

Each day I see them on the street;

The homeless people with nothing to eat.

Their clothes are all ragged, and soiled, and torn…

Their shoes, if they have any, are all shabby and worn.

They’re in need of a bath, and their hair is unkempt;

And the eyes of the masses, hold only contempt.

Their faces are weary, their eyes, lifeless and sad.

Thoughts run through their minds, remembering what they once had.

I’m reminded of HIM, sometimes when I see,

Their faces forlorn…looking back at me.

I know what they’re thinking…”Does she have the time

To spare just a moment…or maybe a dime?…

Does she know that I, was once just like her?

I was shown respect, and they called me sir?”

But, now just like Jesus, there’s no home…no bed;

No place at night to lay their weary head.

They wait on the masses to supply their needs…

And just like Jesus, ignored are their pleas!

Sometimes we entertain angels unbeknownst to us;

What if they’re not beggars…what if it’s JESUS?

One cold wintery night, he came to my door,

But I was afraid…for his clothes were all torn.

When I looked in his eyes, I saw kindness and light;

But I closed the door, as he wandered into the night.

I missed a blessing, for I know in my heart…

He WAS and angel, but I let him depart.

I should have welcomed, and invited him in;

But instead, I cringed and shrunk away from him.

My heart still hurts, when I think of that day,

When I turned that cold, hungry angel away.

But Jesus is merciful…HE gives second chances;

So when you see the homeless, don’t shrink from their glances!

It’s sad, but true…the reality grim…

What we do to them…we also do to HIM!

By:  Anita Mondragon June 2007

WITH US IN EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE April 23,2015

“But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring it to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”  Genesis 50:20

We live in a fallen world, and will have trouble in our lives…there is no way around it; but the amazing thing is, we serve a Mighty God who IS able to turn trouble and evil into good.

We may not be able to see it at the moment, but we can rest in the knowledge that HE is at work, and HE is with us in every circumstance!

By:  Terry Shapiro

AN AMAZING CHILD OF GOD! April 22, 2015

“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.”  Isaiah 58:8

You are an amazing child of God…precious to Him in every way.  As you seek Him, He will show you that He is always faithful and He will NEVER fail you!  You can completely depend on Him!

God cares about you, and knows all the desires of your heart.  Let the reassuring scripture passages, and lyrics inspire you.  Send out your thoughts and prayers to Him, and then listen to what God is saying to you.

Be strong in the Lord, and may His faithfulness always encourage you and give you strength!

By:  Nicole Shapiro

LET IT GO! April 21, 2015

“Do not try to punish others when they wrong you, but wait for God to punish them with His anger.”  Romans 12:19

We have all heard the song, “Let It Go!” from the movie Frozen.  I daresay, if you’re a parent…you’ve heard it at least a thousand times!  There is much truth in this statement.  If we don’t learn to get past bad experiences in our lives…and let them go…we will be frozen, stuck in the past, and never move on to experience all that God has for us!

This morning, I was reading my devotional, and it was talking about how high the cost of getting even can be…especially to the one seeking vengeance.

I’ve been on both sides.  In my younger years, I was wronged many times.  At one point in my life, I became the ‘Lone Rider’, seeking revenge on all those who had wronged me.  I use the term, ‘Lone Rider’, because no one could stand to be around me.  The hate and bitterness spewing from me was fierce!  At times, I couldn’t even stand myself!

It took many years for me to realize this anger I held was destroying ONLY me.  The folks who had wronged me, were either unaware that they had done so, or, they didn’t care.  It was eating me alive…but they were unaffected.  They were living life, moving ahead, and seemingly happy with themselves.  I, on the other hand, could barely function.  Everyday for me began by trying to strategize on how to settle the score.  I wallowed in self-pity.  I had no rest, and happiness for me was on the distant horizon.

Even though I was justified in wanting their debt to me settled, they did not agree.

Finally, I decided to put them in God’s hands and let go of my anger.  It dawned on me that even if they were to apologize, it would not change the things I had gone through.

I wasted many years trying to be a debt settler, but anger can cripple you.  Don’t do the same…learn to let go!  Learn to let God right your wrongs.  Learn to live and be happy!

REMEMBER;  “Two wrongs NEVER make a right!”

By:  Anita Mondragon

let it go