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

Prayer

THIS IS SUCH AN ENCOURAGING POST, I HAD TO SHARE IT! TAKE A LOOK…-anita

New Hope for Dry Bones

The whole, full armor of God.  God designed this armor, not to stand on display in a museum or as decoration in a castle, but to be filled with men and women.  That turns empty armor into a soldier.

When this armor is upon and around me, I am ready to stand.  But what do I do while I am standing?

Ephesians 6:18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.6:18 Greek all of God’s holy people.
19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I…

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TAKE THE SPLINTER OUT OF YOUR EYE FIRST!

Does your ire ever rise at the blatant lack of the fear of God in the world today?  When I watch the news, I am appaled at the total disregard of all that is good and Holy!

Sometimes, I want to do like Peter did in the garden of Gethsemane and use my Sword on the world’s views!  And , yes…sometimes on people;   But, that’s when I most need to take a moment and realize it’s time to use that Sword on myself.  It’s time to cut away the parts of myself that are unpleasing to God.  Time to examine MY short-comings.  Time to make the necessary changes that are lacking in My Christian life.

I shouldn’t wield  the Sword of the Lord (the Scriptures) against others, but turn it on myself…let the Light shine through and show me my own sins.  If I allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in ME…change ME…transform ME..then the world around me will change for the better.

Jesus made a change in me by loving me to Himself.  This is how He wants us to cause change as well.  John 3:16 says, “For God SO LOVED the world, He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not parish, but have everlasting life.”

We cannot beat folks over the head with the Bible.  We can’t FORCE the world into a better way of life…we must LOVE them to Jesus!

I read a blog the other day that said this, and I quote: “Every attack I have made to force the world into better-ness has resulted in bitterness.” -New Hope for Dry Bones

That just about sums it up!  So the question is…Do you want people to listen?  Do you want to make a positive impact?  Do you want to change the world for Jesus’ sake?

If your answer is yes…then, start with yourself…take the splinter out of your own eye and then Love the world to Jesus!

anita

IT TOOK COURAGE

Lee’s on a roll!  Here’s another good one!  Keep ’em coming brother…we love it! -anita

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It Took Courage

 As I’ve been reviewing John’s account of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, two men stood out to me. Men not of Jesus’ inner circle of disciples: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.

 Both of these men had high ranking in society during the time of Jesus’ ministry and crucifixion. Nicodemus is a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, and is mentioned in three places in the Gospel of John. Joseph, according to Mark in verse 15:43, was “a prominent member of the Council (the Sanhedrin).” Matthew noted that Joseph was wealthy.

 Interestingly, the gospel of Mark explains that Joseph “gathered up courage” (NAS) and went in to ask Pilate for the body of Jesus. Obviously, given that Joseph moved in circles which very much wanted Jesus dead, he risked great disapproval and even hostility from that group for being associated with Jesus. One commentator I read noted that Joseph even risked “ceremonial defilement in handling a dead body,” a task typically left to lesser members of that society.

Nicodemus came to join Joseph bringing with him a large quantity of expensive myrrh and aloes to place on Jesus’ body. Myrrh was quite costly and was used primarily as a fragrance in perfume but also to hide the odor of decomposing flesh after death. One commentator said, “Joseph and Nicodemus’ act of love and respect for the body of Jesus was for them dangerous, costly, and without personal gain.” Clearly, for these men to even gain access to Jesus’ body required them to take His body down from the Cross in a very visible and public place, before all to see.

It apparently was Roman custom to allow those crucified as seditious criminals to remain on their cross for vultures to consume. Jewish custom, however, dictated that one crucified must be taken down before night fall and buried or it would curse the land [Deut 21:22-23].  To help keep peace, the Romans allowed Jewish custom to be followed and thus, agreed to the desire to remove Jesus’ body from the Cross. As a side note, it was custom for the Jews to bury criminals in a common grave outside the city.

 What I find most compelling is that our Lord was buried properly, with expensive spices, in a garden in a rich man’s new grave to satisfy prophecy [Isaiah 53:9].  Jesus as a man lived a life of complete poverty, never owning more than the clothes on His back, yet, due to the actions of these two men, Jesus’ body was treated as one of high estate. As another commentator put it in an article I just read: “Though Jesus had suffered much humiliation, the honor shown in His burial marks the beginning of a shift to a more exalted state for our Lord.” One justly deserved for One who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

-Lee Pierce

JESUS PAID A RANSOM, BUT TO WHOM?

Jesus Paid a Ransom, But to Whom?

 “The Son of Man came … to give His life as a ransom for many.” [Mt 20:28] I’ve been reading once again of the crucifixion of our Lord and His work of atonement. I guess I always dread reading this portion of Scripture because I always feel so badly that Jesus had to suffer so much when He was entitled to glory and great honor as the Son of God and a member of the Holy Trinity. It hurts me to see the shame, suffering, hurt and persecution He had to endure to complete the task of atonement.

 As I paged through this “old, old story” (from the old hymn Tell Me the Old, Old Story”), I began to think about the idea of ransom. In the Matthew passage (Mt 20:20-28) Jesus is quite clear in His understanding that He was being given a cup that only He could drink and was paying a ransom for His people. I suppose I had never thought too much about this ransom idea and maybe even had considered that the ransom was being paid to Satan to free believers from Satan’s clutches.

 Upon doing some research on this ransom idea, it seems the view that Satan was being paid off is an idea held by many in the church over the years. But in reading through material from one of my favorite sources, Dr. R.C. Sproul, the contention is made that payment of a Satanic ransom does not square with Bible teaching. Per Sproul: this idea does not agree with Scripture’s view of Christ’s work as “a victory over Satan.” He quotes 1 Jn 3:8b which states that Jesus “appeared…that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Dr. Sproul further notes that, for Satan to receive the ransom, Satan would actually be the victor in Christ’s death, and we all know that Satan has been defeated. If that’s not so, then we don’t have salvation! Further, Sproul states that, “… the devil is himself a rebel and has no right to demand a ransom for our redemption.”

 God our Father, however, has every right to demand a ransom to release us from the “state of condemnation” brought about by Adam’s sin [Rom 5:12]. A pure, just and holy God cannot permit even one sin to abide before Him. While, by Jesus’ atonement, we are secondarily freed from slavery to sin and death, we are primarily saved from the wrath of God Himself. As Sproul puts it: “We are saved from God, by God, for God.” In short, Jesus Himself was the ransom paid to His Father to rescue each one of us.

 Dr. Sproul, during the course of his teaching career, was always fond of saying that, for any of us to commit even one little sin, amounts to “cosmic treason” before a perfect and holy God. I suspect that you, like me, have many more than one sin for which Jesus had to atone. Thank God Himself, we have a Savior!

-Lee Pierce

MC CROSKY’S POND

I was thinking a lot about my dad today, and remembered the following story he used to use as an illustration in his sermons. Braden Mc Crosky and my dad were great friends! Take a look… -anita
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The Gathering Journal

I blogged this back in 2015 when we first started The Gathering Devotional blog site.  I thought about it again this morning as the sun shined bright through the window, revealing all the dust on my furniture!  Yikes!  Time to grab the duster….  LOL 🙂

Seriously though…Let’s all ask God to reveal the things in us that need to be changed… cleaned up, and then allow Him to do that for us! -anita

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“Search me O God, and know my heart, try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me…”  Psalms 139: 23 & 24

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It had become a ritual for Braden to walk the small parcel of land left to him by his father.  It was almost as important to him as his morning devotions.

In the middle of the property, was a small pond.  On hot days, he would stoop down…

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YOU EVER FEEL LIKE JOB??

We are going through it!  My ten-year old son brought home a bad cold back in October.  He recovered pretty quickly.  However, my husband and I caught it, and it has almost killed us!

I know age has a lot to do with recuperating…but this stuff is ridiculous!   My husband is still struggling with a sinus infection, which this morning has his face swollen.  I have been coughing for over eight weeks straight…day and night.  The cough drop companies are getting rich off of me!  I’ve taken antibiotics, prescribed cough medicine, yet nothing works!

Yesterday at work, my back began to bother me.  First I was stiff, then I could hardly move.  Last night was sleepless in Denver!  I am in pain at this point.  Can’t even go to work today.  My husband has to help me in and out of a chair and bed.  It hurts when I sit.  It hurts when I walk.  It hurts when I lay down.  …It hurts!

But, I will continue to praise God.  I asked Him this morning…”What do you want me to learn from all of this?”  I haven’t had an answer yet…but I will.

We have been doing a lot in ministry lately that is making a difference in lives.  I’m sure the devil isn’t very happy with us…and I say, “GOODY!”  It is my main goal to wreak havoc in his kingdom!  if that means I must suffer his wrath for a short time…so be it.  I’m not giving up on my quest to build the Kingdom of God!  I won’t stop!

I do admit to feeling a bit like Job though.  But I know in the end, the blessings I will receive from God will be so abundant that all of this trouble will fade away!  God will get us through all of these attacks!  And no matter what we suffer here…we WILL receive a crown of Righteousness in the end!  The devil can’t touch that!

My point in sharing all of these woes?  To encourage you if you find yourself going through some ugly times!  Stay strong in the Lord!  Stand in the Power of HIS might!  You’re almost at the end…just hang in there!  And…if you turn around…you’ll see me and my husband…we’re in the same boat!

Anita