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

 

 

ARE WE REALLY GUILTY?

Here’s one from Lee for us all to consider… -anita

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Do your actions in life ever bring on feelings of guilt before God? I know mine do, quite regularly I’m afraid. I know for a fact that I sin several times a day, every single day! The good news—if you can call it that—is I usually feel very guilty when I recognize that I’ve sinned.  And I typically rush to ask God to forgive me, and, this is most important I believe, I ask for that forgiveness after I’ve apologized to Him for my actions.

But do I really need to ask God for forgiveness? I’ve written about this before. I long ago came to believe that to ask God for forgiveness once we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ is not necessary. We can surely be sorrowful when we sin and can rightfully apologize for those actions, of course. But ask for forgiveness again? Maybe not; in fact maybe that’s a sin of disbelief in itself!

I was reading about forgiveness recently and about the quandary of objective truth versus subjective feelings. When I sin, objectively I’m truly guilty. I may or may not subjectively feel guilty (hopefully, my conscience has been well informed by the Word and the work of the Holy Spirit and I always feel guilty when I have sinned!). But the fact remains; when I sin I’m factually guilty before God. I’ve broken His law. In a passage I read in Dr. R.C. Sproul’s Tabletalk, it stated, “…our transgressions of God’s law provoke in us a subjective sense of guilt that can be quite burdensome.” Amen to that, and I would want it no other way!

The way this should work is this: when we sin, we confess our sin to God and then turn from that sin. But, at least for me, sometimes, those feelings of guilt just hang on. I recognize clearly that God has been so good to me and does so much for me that I often feel guilt so deeply when I fail Him. But here is the bottom line: I think I should rather be feeling sorrow for my short-comings rather than guilt. I hate it when I hurt God with my failings but I shouldn’t feel guilt. No, God long ago has forgiven me when I accepted His Son as my Lord and Savior. As Tabletalk put it: “To question our forgiveness when we have confessed our sin to God and turned from it…is to incur more sin. It is a sin to disbelieve God, and that is what we do when we hold onto our guilt….” And the article concludes with this great thought: “For when God forgives us, He forgives us forever.”

So, when you sin—which you will, of course—express your sorrow for that to God (apologize to Him), and then move away from that sin, confident that God has already forgiven you. And then work hard to please Him by your efforts to avoid that sin. God, more then any other, knows we’re fallen creatures, quite capable of repeated sin, yet He stills loves us and shows us that love every day without fail.

Lee Pierce