YOU NEVER FAILED ME YET!

As I anxiously awaited the return of my husband, fear began to overtake me.

He had left hours earlier to do a gig in the mountains.  The snow had been falling for hours before he left, and had not stopped.  Common sense took control, and logic soon followed.  When it’s that bad outside…you need to stay home!  But he had signed a contract, and had to do the job.

For quite sometime, I fretted and fumed…pacing back and forth to the refrigerator looking for something to comfort me.  Then it hit me!  All I needed to do was call on the Lord, and put my trust in Him!  That simple.  So I did, and my fears began to subside.  Then, the following song came to mind….

Listen to the words.  Then put your faith and trust in the God that NEVER fails!

Anita

YOUR PRAISE GOES ON…

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.-Psalm 19: 1-4

Did you know that scientists have discovered that stars don’t orbit in silence?  They generate music.  Similar to humpback whales, stars give off wavelengths and frequencies that may not be heard by the human ear but by using acoustic astronomy, the sounds and pulses of space can be heard!

The music of stars, whales, and all of God’s creatures create a symphony.  They proclaim God’s greatness!  Look at the verses above!  God made all of nature to give Him praise!

I love how the song-writer, singer, Chris Rice puts it in the following song…take a listen!

Anita

WHAT DO YOU DO ON SUNDAYS?

Here’s a good one from our own Lee Pierce!  Take a look… -anita

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How important to you is going to church on Sunday? Is Sunday just another day in your life? These are some of the thoughts I encountered upon reading a great article on Sunday and its importance in Christian life.

 

The Rev. Joe Thorn, a pastor in Illinois who wrote this article, avers that we Christians, with all the federal and other assorted holidays we observe (many of them observed without fail, I might add), often treat our most holy day—one given to us by the Lord Himself—“as a good option so long as there isn’t anything better going on that day.”

 

If you are like me, going to church on Sunday is inviolable—I want to attend, I need to attend, I owe that act of worship to my God and to fellow believers.  Rev. Thorn goes on to say that, failure to observe the Lord’s Day , “tells the world that even if Jesus rose from the dead, it has little impact for us….  He says further: “…gathering with the church on Sunday is a testimony to the world….” [Heb 10:25] I dearly love how he characterizes Sunday worship: “When the church gathers on the Lord’s Day, heaven itself is breaking in to the darkness in which we live….”

 

So, are we limited to going to church on Sundays, and must do nothing else on that day? There are many places, especially in the OT, where all work is decried on the Sabbath [Neh 13:15-18, Ex 31:14-17] (the Sabbath is considered to be Saturday in Jewish law and custom, whereas early Christians began to observe Sunday as the Lord’s Day since Jesus arose on that day). Here again, in researching this topic, I’ve come across some interesting and, I believe, deeply important thoughts concerning “working” on Sunday.

 

An interesting organization—Scripturally consistent and biblically conservative, I believe– found atwww.gotquestions.org, comments extensively on this subject. They cite Col 2:16-17 where Paul says that most everything, including observance of the Sabbath day, is a ”shadow of the things that were to come,” namely the coming of the Lord Jesus. The rest that the Sabbath was to provide is no longer a once-a-week event; that rest is now permanent in our relationship to Christ Himself. Various Bible-believing organizations espouse many views on the Lord’s Day and keeping it holy. Not to work for profit or personal gain, is one example, yet they allow that some believers in critical roles in society (think police, firemen, doctors and nurses) must work to serve our society. Jesus, who is Lord of the Sabbath [Matthew 12:1-8], allowed His disciples to gather grain to eat on the Sabbath, which, of course, threw the Pharisees into a tizzy.

 

Ultimately, then, Jesus is our rest, and while our Lord still wants us to spend Sunday reflecting upon and worshipping Him, some aspects of life must go on. When Jesus came He fulfilled the Law and He provides our rest. And not just for one day a week but for eternity! Anything we can do on any Sunday (or any other day for that matter) to glorify Him is worth doing—even if it looks like work to the outside world. 

 -Lee Pierce

 

A PERPLEXING QUESTION INDEED

I’ve been reading in the book of Joshua recently and have gotten bogged down in one of the greatest mysteries in the Bible: the time that Joshua prayed and God made the sun and moon stand still for nearly 24 hours.

 

I don’t know about you, but I find this fascinating, but perplexing, all at the same time.

 

In Joshua 10, as Joshua is following the Lord’s command to continue the conquest of the promised land, the Bible describes a very unusual event.  The Israelites were contending with the Amorites and the Lord had caused great confusion among the Amorites, and also had slain many of them by causing a great hail storm to fall, killing many. Given that the Amorites were being killed in great numbers, it’s curious that Joshua then prays to God to stop the sun and the moon in place [verses 10:12-13]. Joshua’s stated purpose for this request is so that the army of Israel could complete the conquest of the enemy.  In doing so, they would be obedient to God’s command.

 

The Bible uses very clear wording here: “So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped [verse 13a].” Further, this stoppage wasn’t momentary, as verse 13 continues: “And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.” A somewhat similar event, where the path of the sun was altered, is recorded in Isaiah 38:8. Here the Lord says to King Hezekiah that, as a sign to the king, He would cause the sun to backtrack and move its shadow back 10 steps on the stairway at Ahaz.

 

Some science here is useful. The sun (nor moon) doesn’t actually move across the sky; that movement is due to the rotation of the earth. For the sun to stop “moving’ means that the earth had to stop rotating for most of a day. Now, from the minimal research I did, the rotation of the earth is critical in some important ways. The rotation affects things like the motion of the tides. It also helps control the temperature on the earth – if the sun stays stationary in the sky, that part of the exposed earth would become unbearably hot while the opposite side of the planet would begin to freeze deeply. Both are conditions anathema to human life. There’s also a factor of gravity: without centrifugal force, which comes from the earth’s rotation, the force of gravity on us might be crushing.

 

Various explanations have been given for this event: maybe it was an eclipse, or maybe it was a “local miracle” where God caused light to remain only in the Gibeon area. The former doesn’t make sense to me because an eclipse only lasts for minutes not hours, and it takes away the sunlight rather than sustains it. And the latter argument doesn’t seem to hold up given the Bible’s clear language that the sun in the sky “stood still.”

 

I like the suggestion of one commentator who posits that maybe we should just take the biblical language at face value and agree that God stopped the earth and, therefore, the sun in the sky. He says, “There are objections to this explanation, based on the physics of motion, but the God who created the world and established natural laws is perfectly capable of compensating for any collateral complications.

 

I guess I would have to agree with that commentator. God is the same one who put the sun and moon in the sky in the first place. If He chose to stop earthly motion I’m quite sure He 1) has the power to do so, and 2) could mitigate any damage from earthly temperature change and the tidal motion. After all, this is the same God who, through Jesus, brought dead people back to life. That, to me, is every bit as astonishing as seeing the sun halt in the sky!

 

In sum, I would have to say that I have no idea exactly how He did it, but I believe everything in His Word, and I fully believe He could, and did, halt the sun. For me, believing His Word is a big part of living out my faith. I trust what He says—I hope you do, too.

 -Lee Pierce

Are YOU a difference maker???

Read 2 Chronicles 14-16.  This will give you the whole story.

Yesterday in church, the sermon was on, What it takes to make a difference for God.  Pastor reiterated the life of King Asa of Judah.  The first fifteen years of his reign were done with dependence on God-entirely!  There was peace and prosperity in the kingdom for the following twenty years.  ….But in the thirty-fifth year of his reign, he got angry at the words of the prophet, and decided to do things HIS own way.  That was the beginning of his downfall.  Instead of calling on God for help during a battle, he called together a counsel and depended on human help.

In 2 Chronicles 16:9, the Bible says this:

 For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose hearts are completely His.  You (King Asa) have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”

Some of us start out great when we first come to meet the Lord.  We do wonderful things…miraculous things in HIS name.  But humans tend to forget rather quickly that our success comes from God Almighty.  We become arrogant and self reliant.  We think we are “self made men” and forget that we are blessed because we relied on God as our strength.  That’s when trouble begins.  We do it “our way” without consulting God.

We need to ask ourselves…

  1. Where is my heart?  Does it completely belong to God?
  2.  How will I end? Will I still follow God and His lead?  Or will I do it “my way”?
  3.  How far have I moved from my starting point with God?  Am I going forward?  Or have I regressed?
  4. Do I want peace in my life?  Or do I want to constantly be at war?

I want my end to be better and more fruitful than my beginning was.  I want to be a difference maker in this world!

Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to place a fire in us!  A fire that burns so bright that ALL can see!  Let’s be contagious for God and the things of His kingdom!

Now, let’s go out there into the world and be a difference maker!

Anita

DO YOU FEEL THE NEED FOR FORGIVENESS?

Do You Feel the Need for Forgiveness?

 

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

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Every month I receive a newsletter from World Challenge, David Wilkerson’s ministry, now headed by David’s son, Gary Wilkerson. In the December newsletter, Gary’s words spoke to me in a strong and convicting way.

 

Gary made the statement that “No one likes to think of themselves as a stereotypical Pharisee—rigid, moralistic figures who mostly opposed Jesus.” He went on to note that “several Christian writers,” however, believe that many of the Pharisees’ lives “most resemble our own.” What? That stopped me in my tracks. He clarified his point by saying that it’s not because we oppose Jesus, “… but because we strive hard to lead upright lives the way [the Pharisees] did.” And then the clincher: “And … because we rarely feel the need for forgiveness.”

 

That last point really got me thinking. I believe I feel the need for His forgiveness every day…because I sin terribly every day. I know I’m a well-practiced sinner who is very much in need of a Savior. But Gary continued to make his case. “For most of our waking hours, we aren’t moved or stirred to love on God.” Gary made this point in the context of discussing the story of the woman who anointed Jesus’ with expensive oil at the house of Simon the Pharisee. Here was a disreputable woman who took the time to love on Jesus, and our Lord responded with great forgiveness toward her. And He took Simon to task for Simon’s lack of similar acts of love and hospitality toward our Lord, whom Simon had invited to his home for dinner.

 

Gary Wilkerson wraps up this newsletter with some very penetrating questions; questions every professing Christian needs to ask of themselves. “Why don’t I feel Jesus’ love more? And why don’t I feel more love for Him?”

 

Wilkerson’s point is that, while we’re called to represent Jesus here on earth and spread His love to others around us, we can’t give what we don’t have or feel. “I urge you, receive His love—and love Him right back,” he says. I’m saying this mostly for me, but it may fit you, as well.

 

As I’ve said before, I need to do a better job of including Jesus in my whole day. Maybe then I’ll more readily recognize just how much I need Him and, in turn, love Him that much more for His great love and forgiveness toward me…and toward you.

-Lee Pierce

FOR THE “GLOBAL” GOOD May 13, 2015

I’ve shared this before, but was just now thinking about it again. Thanks for allowing me to share this again… -anita

The Gathering Journal

“For God so loved the WORLD, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

Going “global”, is nothing new…

It was done long ago for me and for you.

Jesus died for mankind

Upon a cruel cross.

He did it for us…

He suffered the loss.

He loved the whole world,

And the color of skin,

Is not what He died for…

It was the part within;

The heart and the Soul

Of each one here on earth,

Was offered the same…

A new chance…a new birth!

He cared not the color

or slant of the eyes,

His only concern

Was that men would rise

From the ashes of sin

That fettered their minds;

From the chains of darkness,

That cleave and bind.

He wanted relationship,

Communion…a friend.

His desire for us

Was that we would mend

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PRAISE TO THE CREATOR!

I wrote the following poem one day while on a fishing trip in the mountains with my husband.  Not sure if I’ve ever shared it before…but I’m just having a thankful day on this first day of the new year.  So grateful for all of God’s love and mercy towards me…including all the beauty He supplies every day if I’ll just take the time to stop and look….   HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!  -anita

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PRAISE TO THE CREATOR!

 

The grass so green,

The sky so blue,

The birds on wing,

All speak of YOU!

The soft blowing breeze,

The choir of birds,

Each sings their praise

Without any words!

But YOU of Lord,

Know the language of bees…

Of  birds on the air,

And rustling leaves;

Of water that laps,

And waves that roar;

Of crabs that crawl

On the sandy shore…

Of butterflies that

Seemingly don’t make a sound…

Of tiny insects that crawl on the ground;

YOU know the language

Of trees and flowers

That dance on the breeze

In the moonlit hours.

Of sunlight that shines

On the rivers and seas,

The rippling water on the lakes

From the breeze.

Earth sings her song

To the Father above

Who created them all

In His infinite love!

-Anita Mondragon -June 3, 2017

IS YOUR LIGHT STILL ON?

Here we are…going into another new year!  God has been so gracious to us this past year!  We can’t thank Him enough for all He’s done!

As I looked back over 2018, I began to question myself and my walk with God.  I know these questions regarding Him and my walk/testimony should be asked by me on a daily basis…but it seems I usually wait until the end of the year to examine such matters.

The other night, we were invited to a party.  Most folks there practice religion/tradition of the same occasionally, but don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus.  When my husband and I attend these functions, we tend to stick out like a “sore thumb”.  Oh, they’re kind enough to us, but there is a feeling of awkwardness in the air…it’s called conviction.  We don’t try to make folks feel uncomfortable for they are family and friends, but…it just happens.  Don’t get me wrong…we are far from perfect in our walk with God, but the light of Christ shines through us because He lives IN us; and His presence in us brings conviction.

As I sat in the midst of the party,  I felt out-of-place.  Not much in common with anyone there.  Then Jesus spoke to my heart and reminded me that this was my calling…to be a light in the darkness.  To show kindness and compassion.  To forget my own comforts and be mindful of others.  I know these things, but I usually feel that my acts of kindness make no impact.

I was so surprised when one of them went looking for my husband to say the prayer before we ate!  Then…when we were getting ready to leave, one of them thanked me for a kindness I’d shown and said, “God bless you!”

As we were talking in bed this morning and remembering the happenings of the party, I told my husband, “It’s good to know my light’s still on!”Do you ever wonder if your light has dwindled or completely gone out?  I do often!

In this new year that approaches, we all need to ask the Holy Spirit to burn bright in us as we walk through this world!  We must remember that people are watching us.  They want to know if we really believe what we say about Jesus.  Are we really walking the Walk?  Or are we just talking the talk?

Ask yourself….  “Is my LIGHT still on?”

Anita

 

ARE YOU SHEEPISH?

Here’s one from Lee!  Awesome!  Take a look… -anita

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 I’m concluding my study of the book of John, and I always have enjoyed the conversation between Peter and the Lord Jesus in Jn 21:15-17. As you may recall, Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love Me?” Each time Peter answered in the affirmative and to each answer, our Lord said, “Feed my sheep.”

 

From my limited perspective and in my experience, when I ask someone multiple times to do something, I’m usually actually questioning whether they can do the task, whether they are committed enough to get the job done. In Peter’s case, the Lord knew Peter well and also could foresee the future (He even told Peter how he would die). With that, it’s more likely that Jesus was impressing upon Peter how difficult the task would be and He wanted to prepare Peter for the ministry ahead of him. Also, as many commentators have noted, since Peter had denied knowing the Lord three times, it may be significant that Jesus asked Peter for his commitment three times.

 

At any rate, Jesus three times emphasized to Peter to feed His sheep. Now, this isn’t the first time the Lord used sheep to describe us; He does so many times in the Bible. [See Ps 23, Is 40:11 and Jn 10:1-18 for example; Jn 10:7 Jesus says “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.”] In reading a daily commentary from Dr. R.C. Sproul on this topic, John Calvin is quoted as Calvin comments on people as sheep and observes our similarity to sheep in their mildness and their need for a shepherd. Per Calvin: “None can be fed to salvation by the doctrine of the Gospel [alone] but those who are mild and teachable….” Sproul’s comments continue by saying, “This is true not only of laypeople in the church but also of the church’s leaders. And it was true even of the Apostles.”

 

In part, what I get from this discourse is that we, like Peter, need to rely on the Lord without questioning, even if we have to go to a cross, or something else as difficult and painful. Jesus prepared Peter to literally go to a cross, and He prepares us to encounter our crosses, whatever they may be. And, back to sheep for a moment, we are very much like sheep. We often are mindless of important things around us—even dangerous things—as we walk through life. We often miss many important clues as we go day to day. We often “lose our way”—which is the path the Lord has laid out for us—as we get diverted by the things of the world.

 

Continuing the metaphor for a moment: what does it mean to be meek or mild, as Calvin advises us? The Greek word translated “meek” is praeis and refers to mildness, gentleness of spirit, or humility. An interesting reference in the OT describes Moses in Numbers 12:3: “Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.” Here was a man, loved and used by God in tremendous ways, described as humble or meek. One commentary I found said this about meekness: It is having the right or the power to do something but refraining for the benefit of someone else.

 

It’s hard to be humble. In life, often we have to grit our teeth and push forward with all our might and great resolve to make it through the challenges of the day, those posed by the world. In the midst of that, it often is hard to be humble. Yet, as I’ve grown older, I’ve slowly (and obstinately) learned to admit I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know everything. I do need to listen to the advice and counsel of those around me. And I, for sure, need to listen to the gentle, loving counsel of the Lord as He works all things for good in my life!

 

I’m proud—and grateful—to be one of His sheep…I hope you are too!

-Lee Pierce