Monday, February 29, 2016

Weep for a night; BUT JOY COMES IN THE MORNING!!

I received this wonderful testimony of encouragement and was given permission to share with our readers today.  A little background:  this was sent to me by a new widow, in her eighth day of grief at the sudden loss to a fatal heart attack of her loving husband of 37 years.  I am so blessed at this example of trust and faith in our Lord and only hope I can show such grace and love in the face of personal pain and sorrow as this dear sister in Christ!

“Have you ever thought about your testimony? Just what it is? This past week and all day Saturday, I thought about mine and my recently deceased husbands.
As people filed past and talked I heard his testimony in the stories, the love, the laughter. You see, our testimony isn't written down on paper! It's written in the lives we touch for Jesus.
Why do you think satan fights us so hard to knock us down? It is to mess up our testimony. We will all mess up, we all fall down, we all get beat up; but it's in the getting up, the correcting our messes, the loving those who fight us and want to destroy us that our testimony through Christ shines.
You see; it isn't anything that we do except allow Jesus to work through us that our testimony evolves.
Today look around you: do you see broken, messed up people? Then go help them out with God's love flowing from your heart and let your testimony shine.
Be so very blessed today in all that you do and comes your way. Know that beyond a shadow of a doubt you are loved more than life itself.

Revelation 12:11 ESV
And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death
1 Peter 3:15 ESV But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
Philippians 1:27-30 ESV Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.”

What a tremendous word of encouragement from one who anyone would understand if she withdrew into herself and grieved at this time of raw emotion!  Instead of withdrawing, she is pouring out encouragement to others, so they might see the mighty hand of God in their own situations!

Whatever our personal circumstances, when we choose to surrender ourselves to the Almighty and walk obediently in the Spirit and NOT after the flesh, He provides the strength and relief and comfort and joy we so desperately have need of in our lives!

Please freely share this with others who need to be encouraged and know that truly, God is for them in every situation, whether they see His Hand of mercy or not!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Getting in the DOOR

Unlocking the door isn't as hard as you thought it would be!
We've all heard the parable Jesus told which Matthew shares in Chapter 25?  About the Master of the Land going away on a long journey, and he calls three servants to him and gives each of them a certain measure of responsibility based on their ability and willingness to work.  Then he gives each an appropriate amount of money suitable to begin the work he has tasked them with, but only enough to get things started.

He leaves it to them to be resourceful and find the way to bring the increase that each servant is very well aware he wants to see when he returns.

There is no time frame put on the journey; they had best get to work right away!

To the most cunning and clever of his servants, one who has nothing but the wits and will to do something about it, he gives 5 talents of whatever the measure of money was in his day.

To the one who has a little gumption, while less cunning and clever than the first, he gives two talents.

To the servant he knows from past experience only does the minimum his job description calls for and never puts himself out or goes beyond he hands over just one talent.

Sure enough!  He heads out on his journey and enjoys the privileges and joys his position allows him. After a time he returns to his Land and calls the servants to give an account of themselves.  He is eager to hear of their triumphs and trials and how they overcame to expand his lands as they all were well aware he wanted done.

The first gives him the 5 talents back and adds 5 more to the pile!  He accomplished the work and found a way to not only make back the original funds but doubled those funds.  The Master is well pleased with him and says so.  A reward will surely be his this day!

The second hands over the two talents and shyly, adds the additional two, secretly wishing he'd done a little more, but sure he'd given his best to the job entrusted to him.  Another hardy "well done!" booms forth from the Master, who is pleased that he, too, doubled what he'd been given.

Then the third makes a weak and sniveling speech about how he knew what the Master wanted but excuses and reasons why he did nothing except return the one talent he'd begun with and performed minimally only the bare necessities his job called for.

"WICKED!" the Master proclaimed this servant.  Wicked, because he knew what was desired yet did nothing to attain the goal, remaining lukewarm, neither risking the money and losing it nor putting any effort into increasing it.  "WICKED!" he was proclaimed, and the one talent hastily taken from him.

I want to focus for a minute on the second servant.  He wasn't given as much to work with as the first servant, yet he accomplished the exact same results.



"Well done good and faithful servant!"

We have a tendency to compare ourselves to other people; this usually leaves us feeling like we

a.)  come up short, which discourages us
b.)  come out ahead, which tends to build selfish pride which ultimately SLOWS US DOWN

The Master didn't compare the servants to each other.  He held each individually responsible to perform according to the blessings and abilities He gave each of them.

We are not in a race against each other.
We are not in a contest against each other.
We are not the standard and our abilities displayed is not the goal!

Meeting the Masters requirements is the only goal.  Meeting the Masters requirements is the only result that counts for anything.  Running the race He designates for us individually is the only race we are entered to run.

He was pleased with the second servant, for the second servant accomplished the FULL MEASURE of the goal set before him; he doubled what he'd been given to work with.  He didn't try to imitate the first servant, he didn't slack off because he knew he had already outdone the third servant.  He completed his race, he finished his course and the Master was well pleased with HIM!

The practical application is simple.

You do your best with what the Father has given you to work with and don't concern yourself with or compare yourself to anyone else. You do what God requires of YOU.

Eyes on JESUS.  Thoughts on Gods Word.  Heart steadily following the Holy Spirit.  Then you too will hear the sweetest words by the most High, Holy, Just, Perfect, Loving, Almighty GOD:

"Well done, My Good and Faithful Servant; enter into the JOY of the LORD!"