IN THIS MOMENT…

Well…here it is.  Eighteen days into the New Year, and I feel I’ve already blown it!  I resolved to change my ways, be more kind and forgiving, etc….etc…etc…and keep my big mouth shut!  ….  My language is not always up to par, and many times, I’m afraid “I fly off the handle when I’m full of bologna”!  For those of you that know me well…keeping my thoughts in check  is NOT an easy task for me!  I think it…and there it is…served up on a plate…straight in your face!

So…here I am again, kneeling before my Father in heaven, asking Him to help me….feeling like He sometimes stands there, shaking His head and thinking, “Here she is again.  Will this girl ever learn?”

My heart is sad, knowing that I’ve failed once again to be what He wants me to be.   I reach into my Promise Box, whispering a prayer, asking God to give me just what I need for today.  And lo and behold…just look  what God put in my hand….

“Turn unto the Lord, your God:  for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.”  -Joel 2:13

Maybe you’re like me.  Your intentions are good, but your flesh is weak.  You’re impetuous…quick to act…do it now…say it now…and think about it later kind of person.  We need God’s help.  He CAN and WILL transform us if we just turn to Him and ask for forgiveness and allow Him to change us.

I’m ready to start over.  It doesn’t matter what I did a moment ago…it only matters what I do in THIS moment, and in the moments that follow…

Help me do what is right, Lord!

Anita

I WANT TO BE JUST LIKE YOU!

This morning, on our way to the bus stop, I had this song playing in the car.  My son Joel said, “Mom…don’t start cryin’ now…but out of all the people I know…I DO want to be just like you!”
I got all teary-eyed, and said, “Why me?”
He said, “Cause you’re not too good…but you’re not too bad either!  You get mad, but not for long.  And most of all…you forgive me…even before I say sorry!  I DO want to be just like you!”
-anita
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I want to be just like you
He climbs in my lap for a goodnight hug
He calls me (Mom) and I call him Bub
With his faded old pillow and a bear named Pooh
He snuggles up close and says, “I want to be like you”
I tuck him in bed and I kiss him goodnight
Trippin’ over the toys as I turn out the light
And I whisper a prayer that someday he’ll see
He’s got a father in God ’cause he’s seen Jesus in me

Lord, I want to be just like You
‘Cause he wants to be just like me
I want to be a holy example
For his innocent eyes to see
Help me be a living Bible, Lord
That my little boy can read
I want to be just like You
‘Cause he wants to be like me

Got to admit I’ve got so far to go
Make so many mistakes and I’m sure that You know
Sometimes it seems no matter how hard I try
With all the pressures in life I just can’t get it all right
But I’m trying so hard to learn from the best
Being patient and kind, filled with Your tenderness
‘Cause I know that he’ll learn from the things that he sees
And the Jesus he finds will be the Jesus in me

Lord, I want to be just like you…
Right now from where he stands I may seem mighty tall
But it’s only ’cause I’m learning from the best Father of them all

IT’S NOT JUST FOR YOU!!

I’ve been thinking a lot about these words I receive from time to time.  I know they are from God…because they come from out of nowhere, and cause a real impact on my life when I choose to listen to them.

Then, I began to wonder if they were just for me….  Or was I supposed to somehow share them?

I believe that words from God are NOT just for the initial hearer!  You see, there are many folks out there who can’t hear words from God because they don’t KNOW Him in a personal way, and the god of this world…Satan, has blinded  their eyes and made them deaf to the things that God Almighty has for them.  They don’t want to listen to God…but they may listen to you!

Believers in this day and age are to be like the prophets of old…we ARE the mouthpiece of God Almighty!  And let me add…we are not only to “talk the talk”…we are to “walk the walk!”  Sometimes, the only Bible that folks will read, will be YOU.  Not just what you say… but what you do accordingly with what you say –that’s what makes the difference.

When God shows you something…when He  puts a thought, a word, an idea into your heart that clarifies all of the stuff you’re going through–you need to share those thoughts…those words…those  ideas  with others around you.  They may be experiencing the same things and this sharing, this caring, will be the very thing they need to hear.

I don’t believe God causes bad things to come upon us in this life, but I do KNOW he uses those bad things we go through to help others that are in the same situation.  We have empathy when we’ve experienced things, and we are able to truly identify with those now in need.  We understand.

Sometimes, we don’t want to share the “ugly” scenes from our past because everyone in our present life thinks we’re perfect…innocent…pure; and, we don’t want to blur that picture, that image of ourselves to them.  So, we keep quiet.  Hold it in.  Pretend to be all the things they think we are.  But…we are lying to ourselves, and to them!

It’s time to share all the “messages” God lays upon your heart!  Don’t be ashamed of your past!  You don’t live there anymore!  You of all people know,  that if He can deliver YOU…then He can deliver anyone!

Anita

GIVE YOURSELF COMPLETELY…

Even though today is a holiday…no school…no work…no reason to get up at the crack of dawn, my pets had me up at the regular time.

As I stood in the darkness, looking out the window at the sunrise, I was reminded of the verse in 1 Corinthians 9:19.  It says this:

1 Corinthians 9:19-27The Message (MSG)

19-23 Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!

If we expect to reach the world with the Gospel of Christ, we must first “give ourselves” completely to Him.  I sang the following song to my Savior. -anita

*******************

I give myself away

 

I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me

[Verse 1:]
Here I am
Here I stand
Lord, my life is in your hands
Lord, I’m longing to see
Your desires revealed in me
I give myself away

[Verse 2:]
Take my heart
Take my life
As a living sacrifice
All my dreams, all my plans
Lord I place them in your hands

[Chorus:)

I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me
William McDowell (Lyrics)

Give yourself to Jesus today!  Let Him work in and through you in this new year!

Anita

GOD’S GLORY–WHERE DO WE FIT IN?

Here’s a good one from Lee!  Enjoy… -anita

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GOD’S GLORY—WHERE DO WE FIT IN?

I recently read a piece that discussed God’s glory and the joy of His people. It came in the context of materials from Ligonier Ministries (headed up by Dr. R.C. Sproul, one of my most favorite theology teachers and who just recently passed away to be with his Lord).

The article dealt with a topic raised in Is 48:9-11; that God does all things for the sake of His name and He will share His glory with no one else. I have read that passage many times in the past and—though I hate to admit it– rather felt in that reading that God was maybe being a bit egotistical (as if I have the right or credentials to criticize anything that God thinks or does). A great Protestant thinker I much admire, Jonathan Edwards, comments on this and related passages that “God’s pursuit of His own glory is not contrary to our happiness.” Edwards continues, “In fact, by seeking to display the fullness of His glory, the Lord is at the same time seeking our joy.”

As I attempted to follow the logic of that, I failed to see his point, I must say. But the Ligonier article went on to explain that, “Since the highest aim of our God is to reveal His glory…then His glory must be the highest good possible.” The article logic then follows this path: since God is good [Mark 10:18], and if God’s glory is the highest good possible, “then we will find our greatest joy in the…proclamation of that glory….”

As I thought on that for a while, it occurred to me a couple of things, both of which tend to elevate you and me to a special place amidst all of God’s vast creation. 1) God made us in His own image [Gen 1:27], and 2) Jesus lowered Himself from a place of divinity and made Himself into a man like us, just so He could die in our place to expiate us from our sin. Jesus did not do that for anything else in all of creation, only us. Further, in Isaiah 43:1-7 we are told how special we are. In verse 4, God says “…you are precious in my sight…and I love you.” Later, in verse 7, He says, “Everyone who is called by my name…whom I have created for my glory.”  So in an important way, we are tied to His glory.

Back to Edwards’ point for a moment that God’s glory displayed also involves His seeking our joy. In Ps 105:3 the Bible says to us: “Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.” And in Jude 24, Scripture says He is able to keep you from stumbling, and to “…make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.”

I’m sure I don’t fully understand nor appreciate all that God is doing here. I am sure, though, that we, who are made in His great image and for whom He died, can be joy-filled as we see the glorious things our Lord has done and is doing. And as Jude promises, some day each believer will stand before Him and see His glory unabated…and will be glad!

Lee Pierce

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME?….

During these first few days of the New Year, I’m sure some of us are still making our list of resolutions.  For some of us, the list may include our service to God.  We want His imprint to be on us in a mighty way this year.  Some of us have decided to attend church more often, and be more religious, but God wants intimacy from us, not “acts of worship”, but true worship unto Him!

As most of you know, I have a bunch of sermon notes, and verses plastered all over my refrigerator.  I call them my “Refrigerator notes”.  They are little reminders that help keep me on the right path.

My laundry room is situated right next to my kitchen, and I must pass the refrigerator to get to it.  I never seem to run short on the need to do loads and loads of laundry…it’s unending!  Sometimes I get frustrated when I see the mountains of dirty clothes stretched out before me; so as I pass into the laundry room, I take a quick gander at my refrigerator notes…and adjust myself accordingly!

Here are a few verses from my refrigerator notes to help us in our quest to grow closer to the Lord, and have His imprint be upon us…

Colossians 3:23-24 (KJV)

23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and to men;

24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

For me…that verse means laundry and dusting! LOL!

James 1:27 (NIV)

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Going to church, praying for hours, fasting…and all the other things we ritually do is not what God is looking for.  He wants us to be His hands and feet in this world…He wants us to BE Jesus, with skin on!

And here is my personal favorite…

Amos 5:21-24 (MSG)

“I can’t stand your religious meetings.  I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.  I want nothing to do with your religion projects, you pretentious slogans and goals.  I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making.  I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego music.  WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SANG TO ME?”

Sometimes we “get busy” for God with all of our programs and ideas to make church more appealing, but God wants us to have a personal relationship with Him.  Like Clint Brown sang in his song called, Alone….

You don’t need majestic choirs, with awesome voices raised…

You don’t need a congregation, to offer Me your praise…

You don’t need a mighty orchestra to bless Me with your song…

YOU GET ALL OF MY ATTENTION, WHEN YOUR WORSHIP ME ALONE!  -Clint Brown

When was the last time you sang to Jesus?

Anita

THE PATHWAY TO GROWTH

Our pastor was preaching on Nehemiah 3 this past Sunday.  He was talking about how the walls in that passage = the church, and the gates = the ministries in the church.

The gates were made of wood, bronze, and copper.  The wood = human effort.  The bronze = strength.  And the copper = pliability.  This is a picture of us in our ministry.

The Sheep Gate is the gate of Salvation.  See Psalm 118:19-20

The word “Hananeel” was a tower that was built for the Watchmen of the day.  They stood in these towers, and guarded the gates to the city and sounded the warning cry if the enemy was approaching.  The word, “Hananeel”,  means Grace, or gift of God.  EVERYONE has a call on their life that is connected with a gift from God Almighty!  ALL Believers are to be Watchmen.  We are to warn folks of the approaching enemy!  One modern-day name for Watchmen would be intercessors.  Another would be, witnesses.

In the above passage, we see that Eliashib built the Sheep Gate.  His name means “God of conversion.”

In the previous passage -chapter 2, we see that there was opposition to the rebuilding of the wall by a man named Sanballat.  His name means “Moon God” , and is translated as Sin, in the ancient Mesopotamian language.  King Artaxerxes sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall—Sanballat and others oppose Nehemiah in rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem.

My point for sharing all this?

When we as Believers try to be Watchmen…witness, and warn folks of their coming doom…share Salvation…we run into much opposition by the devil,  and SIN!  But we shouldn’t give up!  The KING of Heaven has given us grace and mercy, and endowed us with special gifts to overcome the enemy!

Your ministry is important to God Almighty!  Hang in there!  Use the gifts He has given you to win the lost, and bring them into His Kingdom!

Anita

Notes: Wm. Rodriguez

DAVID IN SAUL’S SERVICE

David in Saul’s Service

1 Samuel 16:14

Now, the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him.

The Torn Curtain

Matt. 27:50-51

50  And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.

Acts 1 (NIV)

Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven

1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Mission

God’s will in the hands sinners!

Two words: Ekklesia vs. Kirke

The New Testament Greek Lexicon

Ekklesia Definition:

1. a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly.  2. An assembly of Christians gathered for worship

Kirke Definition:

Easton’s Bible Dictionary

 “CHURCH: I. Anglo-Saxon, cyrica, circ, cyric; English, church;  Place of rituals. Scottish, kirk; the Latin circus, circulus,the Greek kuklos

“Let us not give up meeting together.”  Hebrews 10:25

                1. Share

                2. Encourage

                3. Worship

The Seven Churches

1) Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) – the church that had forsaken its first love.

(2) Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) – the church that would suffer persecution.

(3) Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17) – the church that needed to repent.

(4) Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) – the church that had a false prophetess.

(5) Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) – the church that had fallen asleep.

(6) Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7-13) – the church that had endured patiently.

(7) Laodicea (Rev.) – the church with the lukewarm faith.

From a letter to Diognetus 120 AD

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children.  They share their meals, but not their wives.

They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood.  They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they, rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.”

Our everyday horizontal life should be completely energized by our vertical relationship.

Ephesians 2:19-22

So you are no longer strangers and outsiders. You are citizens together with God’s people. You are members of God’s family.

20 You are a building that is built on the apostles and prophets. They are the foundation. Christ Jesus himself is the most important stone in the building. 21 The whole building is held together by him. It rises to become a holy temple because it belongs to the Lord.

22 And because you belong to him, you too are being built together. You are being made into a house where God lives through his Spirit.

John 13:34  

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

παρακαλετε (parakaleite)

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)

13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

We are here on Earth to be the hands and feet of God. Not to hide in Him but to abide in Him.

I JUST WANT TO COME HOME!

On New Year’s Eve, when the clock struck twelve, and the New Year began, I thought about all of the resolutions I had…all the changes I wanted to make in 2018.  Changing my diet and exercising more, was of course in there, but other things came to mind as well.  Things like, smiling more, being more kind and humble, really looking at people with God’s eyes and seeing their hurt, sharing Jesus more;  then one thing really stuck out in my mind–giving up!

Not quitting on the things of life, but rather, surrender…giving up…giving in to the will of God for my life.  There are some things He wants me to do, and I’ve been fearful…stubborn…argumentative…rebellious…disobedient.  Stomping my foot, throwing my little tantrums, and refusing to do what He asks.

Oh come on now!  I’m not alone in this boat!  I dare say His Life Raft is full of uncooperative Believers like me.  But He’s waiting for us…for me to say, “I’m tired of fighting with You!  I just want to come home!”

I recall when my husband and I were first together.  We both had baggage from our previous lives.  When I was mad at him, I’d use mean, hateful words to hurt him.  When he was angry at me, he’d hurt me by sleeping on the couch.  That used to fry my hide when he would do that!  This kind of nonsense went on for a short time…a few months, then we both realized how futile it all was.  Making up, saying “Sorry!” was so much easier!  Saying, “I just want to come back and have things the way they were!  I love you and I miss you terribly!”  ….Saying those kinds of words made everything all right between us and life was peaceful and good.

That’s what Jesus wants from us.  If we are Believers, he wants us to return to Him, and stop fighting with the purpose He has for us.  If we are not yet Believers, He stands with arms wide open, waiting to welcome us into His family.  He says, “Come unto Me, all you who are weary and burdened…and I will give you rest!”-Matthew 11:28

I don’t know about you…but I don’t want another year of drama!  I give up!  I give in!  I SURRENDER!

All to Jesus I surrender…all to Him, I freely give.  I will ever love and trust Him.  In His presence, daily live!  I surrender all….I surrender all!  All to Him, my blessed Savior, I surrender all!    -Judson W. Van DeVenter (1855-1939)
I’ve wandered far, away from God…now, I’m coming home!  The paths of sin, too long I’ve trod…now, I’m coming home.  Coming home!  Coming home!  Never more to roam…open wide your arms of love….Lord…I’m coming home!   –William J. Kirkpatrick
Anita

HIS LIGHT OF MERCY, GRACE, AND LOVE

I rose early this morning.  It was still dark outside.  I stood at my front window that faces the eastern sky and watched the light of dawn spread its colors from end to end.

Then I heard God speak.  While he painted the sky, His words painted a picture in my heart.  This is what I heard…

 

The veil of sin lay stretched before me

The night was deep, and dark, and long

But then the Light of Mercy found me–

No longer blind…on my way Home!

 

The Light broke forth upon the darkness

It lit my way to paths unseen

It showed the road to life eternal

Dispelled my doubts, and washed me clean!

 

This glorious Light, His name is Jesus!

He shines His love on folks like me;

His grace and mercy–they surround me

He came to die, so I’d be free!

 

Oh glorious Light of His salvation…

No more in darkness will I be.

His love and mercy is a beacon;

No longer blind!  Now I can see!

Anita Mondragon January 6, 2018