Today, Jesus speaks…

Everyone has an opinion. There is a lot going on in this world. People get angry because of ‘other’s beliefs’, they twist and trample, they push and yell. But God speaks, everyday! His Book is written. The most misunderstood of all men is the man, Jesus Christ. Today, we open The Book and let Jesus do the talking. TO him who has ears to hear, let him hear:

“By myself I can do nothing.

As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is true because I do not live to please myself but to do the will of the Father who sent me. You may say that I am bearing witness about myself, that therefore what I say about myself has no value, but I would remind you that there is one who witnesses about me and I know that his witness about me is absolutely true. You sent to John, and he testified to the truth.” (John 5:30-31, Phillips).

Do you remember what the testimony of John was? Here’s a refresher:
(John 1:32-34, Phillips) – Then John gave this testimony, “I have seen the Spirit come down like a dove from Heaven and rest upon him. Indeed, it is true that I did not recognise him by myself, but he who sent me to baptise with water told me this: ‘The one on whom you will see the Spirit coming down and resting is the man who baptises with the Holy Spirit!’ Now I have seen this happen and I declare publicly before you all that he is the Son of God.!”
1:35-36 – On the following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. He looked straight at Jesus as he walked along, and said, “There is the lamb of God!”

Back to Jesus and the words which flowed from His mouth:

“Not that it is man’s testimony that I accept – I only tell you this to help you to be saved. John certainly was a lamp that burned and shone, and for a time you were willing to enjoy the light that he gave. But I have a higher testimony than John’s. The work that the Father gave me to complete, yes, these very actions which I do are my witness that the Father has sent me. This is how the Father who has sent me has given his own personal testimony to me.” (John 5:35-36, Phillips).

So what was ‘the work’ so far? Well, just from the one account, up to chapter 5 in the Book of John, it is recorded that:

-Jesus ‘saw’ Nathaniel ‘under the fig tree’ even when He was too far to physically ‘see’ Nathaniel.

-Jesus had the empty waterpots filled to the brim with water, and when they were served to the master of the wedding feast, it was wine of the best sort!

-Jesus stood up to the Temple priests and turned over the money-changers’ tables and the tables of merchandise saying “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” (John 2:16). And being challenged by what authority He had to do this,  Jesus answered the Jews, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”(John 2:19). (This speaking of the future work of Jesus being put to death on the cross and in three days rising again! This spoken of in the presence of the religious leaders. Jesus speaks!)

-Jesus also spoke with Nicodemas at night…who said this about Jesus: “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”(John3:2). So Jesus taught Nicodemas, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3).  But The Pharisee, Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, he didn’t understand, “How can these things be?” he asked Jesus.

So Jesus answers, not just for Nic at night but for you and me in dark places with questions. Jesus gave him the theme of His whole Story:  “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that every one who believes in him shall not be lost, but should have eternal life.”(John 3:16, Phillips). Listen very carefully now, Jesus has more to say.
“Be quiet everyone with your opinions! Be quiet about your take on things, Jesus is talking:

“You must understand that God has not sent his Son into the world to pass sentence upon it, but to save it – through him. Any man who believes in him is not judged at all.”(John 3:17, Phillips).

And if you don’t believe that is true, in the very next chapter of the Book, , Jesus is in the presence with …a Samaritan. (Well, today, think of someone that you absolutely ‘hate’ and view as ‘evil’ and listen to how Jesus spoke with the woman:

“Please give me a drink,” Jesus said to her, for his disciples had gone away to the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)

“If you knew what God can give,” Jesus replied, “and if you knew who it is that said to you, ‘Give me a drink’, I think you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water!”

“Sir,” said the woman, “you have nothing to draw water with and this well is deep – where can you get your living water? Are you a greater man than our ancestor, Jacob, who gave us this well, and drank here himself with his family, and his cattle?”

 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I will give him will never be thirsty again. For my gift will become a spring in the man himself, welling up into eternal life.”

 The woman said, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may stop being thirsty – and not have to come here to draw water any more!”

 “Go and call your husband and then come back here,” said Jesus to her. “I haven’t got a husband!” the woman answered. “You are quite right in saying, ‘I haven’t got a husband’,” replied Jesus, “for you have had five husbands and the man you have now is not your husband at all. Yes, you spoke the simple truth when you said that.”

The woman didn’t feel condemned, NO! She felt in AWE! AWE of Jesus and His gentleness, His graciousness. Can you hear the tone in His voice? His voice, His voice! He is THE VOICE:

Jesus speaks: “Believe me, …the time is coming when worshipping the Father will not be a matter of ‘on this hill-side’ or ‘in Jerusalem’. Nowadays you are worshipping with your eyes shut… Yet the time is coming, yes, and has already come, when true worshippers will worship in spirit and in reality. Indeed, the Father looks for men who will worship him like that. God is spirit, and those who worship him can only worship in spirit and in reality.” (John 4:21,23, Phillips).

The Samaritan woman, despised by all the jews around, and perhaps even the people in her area, she responds to Jesus: “Of course I know that Messiah is coming, you know, the one who is called Christ. When he comes he will make everything plain to us.”

And Jesus speaks and reveals Himself to the outcast woman on this very day: “I am Christ speaking to you now,” said Jesus. (JOHN 4:25,26, Phillips). Jesus speaks, yes, to an outcast, to one who is lost and alone, Jesus speaks:

“I am Christ speaking to you now.”

Jesus was right saying that the ‘works’ testify to who He is! Can you hear Him speaking? It’s so much different from the view of everyone around. We might cry: “What’s going on today?” Actually, the answer is: “Nothing different from the days Jesus walked the earth.”

So at times, we feel ‘paralyzed’ by all the evil things going on, and the addictions, and the sickness, and the hatred, and the warring. But if you keep reading the Story, the very next chapter, Jesus speaks to a paralytic. Oh yes, and this guy was probably real discouraged, but Jesus, He speaks:

 “Do you want to get well again?” (Can you hear Him? He has such a gentle voice.)

 “Sir,” replied the sick man, “I just haven’t got anybody to put me into the pool when the water is all stirred up. While I’m trying to get there somebody else gets down into it first.” “Get up,” said Jesus, “pick up your bed and walk!”  Later Jesus found him in the Temple and said to him, “Look: you are a fit man now. Do not sin again or something worse might happen to you!” (John 5:8,14 Phillips). Yes, Jesus speaks to us all!

Until now, God is working-Jesus Himself has said: “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” (John 5:17).

In only 5 chapter, amazing testimony is given about the ‘work’ that Jesus was given to do by His Father. Jesus speaks.

You pore over the scriptures for you imagine that you will find eternal life in them. And all the time they give their testimony to me!” (John 5:37-39, Phillips).

“But you are not willing to come to me to have real life!” (John 5:40, Phillips). (Please, let it not be said of us who are listening!)

“Men’s approval or disapproval means nothing to me,…” (John 5:41, Phillips).

… but I can tell that you have none of the love of God in your hearts. I have come in the name of my Father and you will not accept me. Yet if another man comes simply in his own name, you will accept him.”(John 5: 42,43, Phillips).

” How on earth can you believe while you are for ever looking for each other’s approval and not for the glory that comes from the one God?” (John 5:44, Phillips).

Jesus speaks. His words are clear. They aren’t easy, but they are True! Let’s stop looking around for ‘each other’s approval’ and instead be about our business and giving glory to Him! How? By getting to know Him, more and more,and more and more by hearing His voice. Jesus speaks the Way. And yes, spending time with Him, truly He is the Life!

God make us hungry for Your word, longing to hear Your Voice!

“Breakfast anyone?”

“Come and have breakfast.” (John 21:12, Amplified Version).

Another invitation, but these are words spoken by Jesus AFTER He was beaten and scourged and His hands were lifted and nailed to a cross, after He breathed His last, and died, after He was buried in the tomb. These words, He spoke to His disciples,while He was sitting on the beach in front of some fish He was cooking and some bread! And Peter was there too, Jesus spoke these words to him as well, even after he openly denied Jesus previously.

This is my story, as if, I am one of the disciples on the pages of The Book in this story in John 21.It’s as if these words were spoken just today, just for me, (frustrated with my inability to love and abound in joy).
You see, I see Jesus sitting by the hot coals cooking up the fish and having plenty of bread, calm as a cucumber calling my way saying,”Come… come to Me, you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28), come and have breakfast.”

Yes, but, it feels as if I am not even on the land yet, in my story. I am just like the disciples, (heavy-hearted, sorrowing, not sure of the future, void of love and joy… )- so they went out fishing. (Which was their ‘old trade’ because with Jesus they were ‘fishers of men.) My life sometimes feels like the disciples many times- out on the water, fishing all night, catching nothing!

So I read in the story that Jesus said to them, (while they were out ‘toiling’ ), “Children, have you any food? They answered Him, “No.”(John 21:5). So, Jesus then said to them.“Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”

So, my prayer this morning was “Lord, WHAT IS THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BOAT?”

And, so the frustration about situations and circumstances in life seem to me like ‘going out fishing and catching nothing.’ And the Lord tells me, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So I went about my morning, busy doing all the things I had to do, and then had opportunity to pray;
prayer, talking to God, laying it all down, not ‘throwing it all to the wind’ but ‘casting it’ all to Him, and He answers. Prayer changes things…I am to cast my net on the right side of the boat, I am to cast my burdens on Him. He’s the right side of the boat!

I know it sounds so obvious, but what does this all mean ‘practically?’ We come with ’empty boats’ void of love and joy and stressed from ‘toiling all night and catching nothing!’. It’s as if He speaks in His answer: “Toni, it doesn’t matter, all the ‘stuff’, I know it already, but you just take time with Me and cast each and everything to Me, and I’ve got breakfast cooking!

He is a good Friend. What a Friend we have in Jesus! Once again, an old hymn rings true: “What a friend we have in Jesus. All our sins and grief to bear. What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer. Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear…”

He says, “Come and have breakfast,” (John 21:12). “Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me; for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest – relief, ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet – for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29). “For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good)-not harsh, hard, sharp or pressing, but comfortable, gracious and pleasant; and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” (Matthew 11:30, Amplified.)

I think what is so wonderful about this story is, yes, they put their nets on the right side, and yes, they caught a great multitude of fish- but Jesus didn’t even need their fish!He already had it all provided for them to eat. He knew after hauling in that catch, they would need rest!

He knows all the ‘junk’ we have to deal with in a given day! (Can you imagine cleaning all of that fish?!)“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13).
He knows, and He will take care of us. We’ve just got to keep casting our net on the right side of the boat!Fixing our eyes on Him. What an amazing friend we have, in Jesus. “God is love.”( 1John 4:8). “And God’s love never fails.”(1 Cor. 13:8). Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble everywhere? We should never be discourage; Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful, Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; Take it to the Lord in prayer.

He knows our wayward thoughts and wayward steps, He walked in our shoes, yet He was without sin: “Therefore in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” (Hebrews 3:17,18).
“Are we weak and heavy laden. Cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior , still our refuge! Take it to the Lord in prayer. Do Thy friends despise, forsake Thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer. In His arms He’ll take and shield Thee; Thou wilt find a solace there.”
(Hymn, What a Friend we Have in Jesus).

“Come and have breakfast.”
“If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”(1 John 1:7) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness…
My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (1 John 2:1).

“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1John 2:2)

God uses our failures as a means to draw us closer to Him: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.”(Ps. 119:67).
“Put your nets on the right side of the boat!” “I am the way,…”(John 14:6).

“Come and have breakfast.” Jesus’ words exactly!

An open invitation to God’s Table!

How we love a holiday. And many of us have an invitation to be with family or friends on Thanksgiving Day, where the majority of businesses close their doors and people plan to meet together for the main purpose of fellowship and companionship and good eats- lots and lots of good eats at the table! This day is set apart from all others.This is an American National holiday!

Set apart. And there are people, set apart, and lonely on these days. Oh yes, this can be a day of great sadness as well, even when surrounded by a crowd! But God doesn’t ‘shut Himself up in the heavens’, no, He has come down with an invitation for all. When like Jacob on a journey to his father’s home, he only had a ‘rock’ for a pillow. There were no ‘comforts’ on his way, but the Comforter was with him and gave him a vision of the ladder come down that reached to the heavens, with angels both going up and coming down. But not only that, God gave Jacob his word:

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” (Gen 28:15). The Bible tells us that ‘the fear of the Lord’ came over Jacob, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place…”(Gen 28:17).

I don’t think Jacob was lonely anymore. I don’t think Jacob was without direction anymore. Jacob was ‘filled’ and he worshiped God.

Sometimes God has us walk in a lonely place. Sometimes God has us walk in a painful, uncomfortable place. But it is then that we ‘see’ His hand-pierced invitation. It is often in that place, when a ‘rock’ becomes our pillow, that we pick up the invitation: The invitation is for all: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”(Matthew 11:28) And the choice is made, to come…in heart, soul, and mind,to the Lord’s Table.

“Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”(Matthew 26:26,27).
You are hungry for God, and come to the Lord’s Table. You take a broken and pierced piece of bread and you realize, “He knows what it is like to be poor, to be lonely, to be rejected, to be full of sorrow, to be completely misunderstood, and treated shamefully, even angry, He knows.”

And as you chew on that broken piece of bread and are reminded that “the wages of sin is death,… (Rom 6:23) you can hear Jesus say these words to His Father: “I am willing.” And the words to a long forgotten hymn come to mind:
“Alas! And did my Savior bleed And did my sovereign die? Would He devote that sacred Head For such a worm as I? Was it for crimes that I have done He groaned up on the tree? Amazing pity! grace unknown! and love beyond degree!”(At the Cross).

The old songs were written of this amazing Table of precious fellowship. There is no Table like God’s. “Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome, God’s free bounty glorify; True belief and true repentance, Every grace that brings you nigh.”
“I will arise and go to Jesus, He will embrace me, in His arms. In the arms of my dear Savior, O there are ten thousand charms.”
((I will arise and Go to Jesus, Joseph Hart).

There is a Ladder from heaven to earth! “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.” (Ps. 18:6).

“Seeing that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympothize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 45:14-16).
It is God who ‘makes all things work together for good…'(Romans 8:28), even when we are journeying and our pillow is a ‘rock.’ Because He is there, with a personal invitation to His Table, anytime, (well, not anytime in the physical, but communion in our hearts with Him, anyplace). He says, ‘Remember Me’, “Do this in remembrance of Me. ” (Luke 22:19).

God makes us hungry and thirsty for truth, for worship, for church with other believers, and for the love and forgiveness He gives at His Table.

And when we come, our soul then remarks with incredible awe, “How awesome is this place.” (Gen. 28:17). ‘How awesome is this place’, there is no  Table of Thanksgiving quite like this one. Let us ‘come’ to His Table today, in our heart, soul, and mind, and love the Lord for all He has done. Letting go of all that was behind and taking and receiving all  that He is –
Oh how ‘full’ we become. “Empty me, that You may fill me with the fullness of You.” In Jesus Name, AMEN.

Let’s be thankful for the ‘good and perfect’ gift…

The perfect gift? The perfect gift is God Himself! Perfectly gold and majestic and awesome to behold, all wrapped up in a most strikingly beautiful crimson red thread of redemption, filled to the brim with the Holy Spirit to show the Way, with even a personal name written on each individually! Yet, so often,… we, the children look for fulfillment elsewhere! How can that be?
The Father God speaks. The children, well,…Oh how we need help to listen. And what happens when God speaks? How can it be so turned around and twisted to mean almost the opposite of its intent? What is the problem here, there’s an enemy amidst us!

But God. He is so patient, and He suffers l-o-n-g with His children. He never changes. He doens’t ‘react’. No, He is s-l-o-w- to a-n-g-e-r! God’s Word to His children is gracious. He IS ‘the Father of lights’,(James 1:17).He sees the ‘good, the bad, and the ugly’ and yet His word says,that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is variation or shadow of turning.”

God is the same, yesterday and tomorrow, there is love so deep our brains can’t even comprehend! Today, we must be thankful for that ‘good and perfect gift’ Who reminds us what’s true and what we really must do:

He is the ‘giver’. It is our job to ‘receive’. He did the work. It is the child’s job to ‘believe’! How can something so simple become so complicated? Perhaps the old hymns were written to simplify. Perhaps God’s word reminds us to ‘speak in hymns’because the old song just won’t be sung,but reading, and speaking these words filled with ‘light’ enlighten our darkness, His grace now we see. The greatest gift is God Himself who sent His Son to pay our debt, and to die in our place, we’ve heard the story, but there is so much more, so much more…

when His ‘good and perfect gift’ takes root in our heart and we finally ‘hear’ we finally respond. Instead of reacting thinking, “God’s out to get us!”, we finally see, He, The Lord God, the Creator of our very life, He is on-our-side!
So, Phil P. Bliss sat down yesteryear and penned in simplicity of the greatest gift of all:
“Once For All (Free From The Law).” “Free from the law, O happy condition! Jesus hath bled, and there is remission; Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall, Grace hath redeemed us once for all.”

“Once for all, O sinner, receive it! Once for all, O brother believe it! Cling to the cross, the burden will fall; Christ hath redeemed us once for all!”

The hymn is a tool that the good Lord uses, to get the children’s eyes back on His precious promises. Then all of a sudden the sparkle of gold and the red crimson thread are the focus of the child instead of the ‘wild roller-coaster ride’ that only leads to chains and heavy hearts and fear. Phil P. Bliss continues his writing: “Now are we free, there’s no condemnation! Jesus provides a perfect salvation; “Come unto Me” O hear His sweet call! Come and He saves us once for all.”

These words are amazing, so gloriously true, that they need to be repeated, they’re almost ‘too good’ to be true: “Now we are free, there’s no condemnation! Jesus provides a perfect salvation; “Come unto Me” O hear His sweet call! Come and He saves us once for all.”

Children, perhaps we’ll never sing this age-old hymn, that we have even no idea the melody within, but today with thankful hearts we read it and agree, that these very words ‘lift us as wings as eagles’ above the melencholy world that we plod along daily! Today, let’s be thankful for that ‘good and perfect gift’ of the Holy Spirit that guides us and leads us and reminds us what’s True and what Life’s all about, He’s about loving His children, if they only keep turning their eyes upon Jesus, they’ll be filled with joy, continually. No matter what’s going on, because God the Father, He knows our name and He’s calling and calling, and waits all the day:

“Children of God O glorious calling! Surely His grace will keep us from falling; Passing from death to life at His call, Blessed Salvation once for all. Once for all, O sinner, receive it! Once for all, O brother, believe it! Cling to the cross, the burden will fall; Christ hath redeemed us once for all!”

Thankful, so thankful we can be today, because Jesus has called us and we each need to hear. But sometimes He uses an age-old hymn, that never gets tired or out of date! The words tell the message so clear and simple that the children can STOP…
and recall, “This is true! Jesus does love me, inside and out, even though He see’s every small bit of doubt, and all of the things that might not be so pretty, not ‘pretty’ at all, but my Jesus, He loves me. I now see my need to pick up that gift and make it my own. And keep it beside me wherever I roam!

Thankful, so thankful we can all be, because God the Father loves us and sent His Son to do the work, and gave us His Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts to remind us these things to lift us out of the dark!

“And God, now that we see Your great love for me, will You fill me with overflowing love for those, all around me. O God, how I ‘miss the mark’ and ‘sin’ everyday, but Lord will You help me, help me obey, it is so very hard for Your children, (You know!) but will You never give up on me – and thanks fro this old song that is here to remind me time and time again: “Cling to the cross, the burden will fall; Christ has redeemed ME once for all!”

Do all the children say, Amen? Yes, all the children say, “AMEN!”

Hallelujah…continually inspired! “Comfort, yes, comfort…”

Isn’t your entire being moved during Handel’s Messiah? When you hear, ‘Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!…’ it’s as if “the glory of the Lord has been revealed, And all flesh see it together.” (Is. 40:5)

Well, did you know that it was Isaiah 40 that inspired Handel to compose the Messiah? It is written that George Frideric Handel was greatly inspired by Isaiah 40, “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” says your God.
Perhaps these words spoke volumes to him because at this time his music was perceived as ‘outdated’ and he was thought of as an ‘old fogey’, after having great success at the Royal Academy of Music which he had opened years before.

The story is told that Handel shut his door in London on Aug. 22, 1741 and started composing music to these words, “Comfort, yes, comfort My people.” After 23 days, Handel’s Messiahwas birthed.

Have you read Isaiah 40? Well, they come after 39 chapters of “woes”. Isaiah 40 comes after 39 chapters of judgement,
“Comfort, yes comfort My people!” says, your God. Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the Lord’s hand
double,(or forgiveness) for all her sins.”

These words have inspired me, as they did Handel.
You see,after suffering great amounts of trial,(in my opinion) the Lord showed me His hand, it was nail pieced and He offers forgiveness for all our sins. So I feel in some strange way that just as John the Baptist fulfilled Is. 40:3 in Jesus’ day, that God uses our voices today, to be “a voice crying in the wilderness: saying “Prepare the way of the LORD;”

So I close my door, so to speak, to complete a book that I am writing called, “God’s Hand.”
“Why?” you might ask.

I think Isaiah 40: 6,7,and 8 answer the question: The voice said, “Cry out!” And he said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”

In other words,
He has shown me that life is short, but in that short life, God allows some tough times to blow, but in the wind and torrent, His Word becomes my life, and His word stands forever,
so I write because God has spoken, “Lift up your voice with strength, Lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”

So the book IS being written, but not as I originally thought. The book is many books, and each book in and of itself has one theme: “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” So Lord, I pray, that if I compile any words, that they speak to Your children, young and old and are centered on Your Word, because this is a day when ‘truth’ is vague, and ‘lies’ are everywhere, and it’s hard to see and know which way to go.

“Jesus, bless us, all Your children with more and more understanding of You. Because all of You is good, and Your love endures forever, and Your lambs constantly go astray, but will You draw us to You…You are like no other, and it is truly Your kindness that leads us to repentance! Oh yes, how You welcome your wayward sheep, and not only that…

when we turn and come on home, You run to us with open arms! O Lord, Your ways are not the ways of man! Thank you that you forget our sin as far as the east is from the west. Thank you that your steadfast love never ceases, and that Your mercy never comes to an end, and Thank You, thank You, thank You that even better than all of that, Your mercies are new every morning! Great, O how Great is Your faithfulness!

Hallelujah, Hallelujah! Ha-le-lujah!

Thank you for the comfort of Your word. In Jesus name we pray. AMEN. ”

I’ve failed. But God never gives up on me, (or you), ever…

See God's Hand

It says about our Jesus that,

“A bruised reed He will not break. And a smoking flax He will not quench, or snuff out.”

Let the facts be known, in case anyone thinks that because I write about Bible verses that I always walk in faith.

Please know, it is because I am most bent to make ‘flesh out’ choices that I so desperately need the word of God – and THAT is why I write the word! ‘Prone to sin’ as the children of Israel were under Moses’s leadership, is this child of God the Father, who’s Son paid my debt in full, and has given me the Holy Spirit to guide me into all truth.

Yesterday, I pushed the panic button. Yesterday, I resorted to thoughts of, “I can’t take this anymore.” “I can’t do this,” etc. I am not sure that you can even relate, but if…

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The truth of the matter… where’s the solid ground?

Sometimes we simply need a visual, so, I share an old story, (an ‘old’ story because one must imagine a day with no modern technology, etc.): Suppose you and I and all the neighbors and the leaders in the community and the rich and the poor in the many, many surrounding and distant cities, and prominent church goers in all the areas, together, enter a huge ship on it’s maiden voyage. Everyone has a room that each could afford. Some luxurious, some very mean and rough. But they all were on the same ship!

Well, a storm did come and it was furious and larger than ever imagined and the ship capsized midway on it’s journey. Every person now found themselves in the water on a dark, cold night and had no other choice but to swim for shore in order to live. Young, old, rich, poor, churched, unchurched- we all find ourselves – you and I, the neighbors, the politicians, the clergy, the mamas and the papas and the children- in the water. We are all faced with a choice: ‘sink or swim!’

So swim it is! Some of the weaker ones could only swim 100 feet. Then they sank. Some could swim 1 mile, but that was the end of their strength. And they sank as well. The ‘churched’ were not stronger than the ‘unchurched’, no. They couldn’t even make it to land without sinking! And still some, more fit than all the rest, they swam 10 whole miles, yet they also came short to reaching land and safety.

The reality? What’s the point of this ridiculous illustration? We’re all ‘swimmin’ for solid ground! This simple story is a picture of what is true: If God was the solid ground, and it was up to us to get to Him, we would all drown! How can I say this? Because God says it Himself in His word: “There is none righteous, no not one; There is none that understands; There is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way,…There is none who does good, no,not one.” (Romans 3:10). These are not my words, and these words are repeated in a whole different way just a few verses down, in case we didn’t get it the first time: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23).

Hey, even if we ‘obey’ the 10 commandments, which none of us do, we ‘miss the mark’! We miss the shore! We’re all sunk! The pride of man and his own works is spoken of, and it might do well to remind ourselves of this truth: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). The word ‘all’ in this verse literally means, ‘ALL!’

And the truth of the matter is, this is not good news!

But, back to our imaginary, ‘old’ story: You see God, the Father of heaven and earth, He sees it all. He knows it all. He has an arm that can save each of the ‘drowning’ swimmers. But something has separated us ‘all’ from Him. Yes, our sin. And the “wages of sin is death.”(Romans6:23).

The Good News is, that God sent His Son, Jesus to ‘die’ instead of each of the swimmers flapping their arms furiously in the water. Jesus’ blood was shed. So ANYONE, (and we might want to give them the name of “WHOSOEVERS”), who calls on His name, ‘Jesus’ as they flap and swim, unable to get to God in their own strength,…Just as if we never sinned, God reaches out with His strong arm and He saves the drowning swimmer! One by one. Personally and individually! You’ve heard this verse before, “For God so loved the world”, (that’s ‘ALL’ of mankind!) that He gave His only begotten Son, that ‘whosoever’ believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).

So, the truth of the matter is, the “wages of sin is death, but the GIFT OF GOD is ETERNAL LIFE through CHRIST JESUS our Lord!” (Romans 6:23, all caps, mine. Exclamation point, mine!) The best news about this is, we are all on the same ship, we all have the same problem and there is only ONE solution, and it has nothing to do with man and his strength!

It’s all God! There is NO ROOM for the pride of man! Move over ‘pride of man’ and put on humility!

This is time for ONE THING: To give thanks to God and to Love one another. God loves you, me, everyone! This is the good news. Oh, we are such sheep! We want to think it’s about us.

“All we like sheep have gone astray…” (Is. 53:6), but God loves us still. “We have turned, every one, to his own way…” (Is. 53:6), (did you see the words, ‘every one’? I think that means ‘every’ one!) “And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6).

The truth of the matter is we’re all SUNK! But there was an ‘old’ song written many a year ago about the hope we have to find some ‘Solid Ground!’
“My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand.
“When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.”

Let us call on His name continually, but only 1 time is needed to be saved, and let us love one another and remind ourselves of this:
“His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.”
“On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.”

God’s arm is ready to save ALL who call on Him! And when we’ve been brought safely to the Rock, may we share the wonders of God’s love and love others in hope, as we tell them of the very ONE who can bring them home!

‘On Christ the Solid Rock’ we will all stand, safe and secure in our Father’s Hand.

I think this calls for a very happy thanksgiving – everyday! God bless all the people with His love, and may we who have called His name – be part of God’s blessing of Love to ‘ALL’!

Wisdom calls…

Wisdom calls out in the street. Wisdom does not hide. Wisdom’s calls are calls of love, to anyone who will hear.

Wisdom’s calls of love go forth in every sunset sky and in every ocean wide. In every autumn leaf and trickle of water in a creek. Wisdom’s call of love are in every infant’s eye, and in every child’s cry.

Wisdom is in the person of Jesus Christ. The word, the word, it lies on many a shelf. Power and Peace unopened. Direction and understanding not sought. Grace and mercy not received!

Yet man and woman in their daily anguish put off what means the most, And carry on with worry and stress.

Wisdom calls out! Can’t you hear the voice speaking ever so quiet and gentle and still: “Turn and Look”, (proverbs.1:23). “I will pour out My Spirit on you, I will make My words known to you.”(proverbs. 1:23).

Proverbs 1:23, ‘Turn and Behold!’ The Lord pleads, the Lord calls…He is wisdom personified.

Heed His voice , His wisdom and not your own and you will discover life, and that more Abundantly! Behold the Lamb of God who takes away Your sin! Behold Peace, He truly does bring goodwill to all men!
Turn and behold …Jesus pleads and offers the Holy Spirit to help you understand! Yes wisdom, Wisdom cries out. Respond and turn and live a-new, this moment, turning to Him.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

Who are we pushing away?

“Get His name out of the school books.” “Remove His name from institutions that instruct our young!””Get His name off our monument buildings and prominent signs!” “Be rid of Him! Be rid of God from our sight!” In other countries, we pray for ‘protection’ for our missionaries that bring His name in hiding places and quiet buildings- but this is the attitude of ‘political correctness’ in America! The Land of the Free!

Don’t they know that the peace our country experiences is because of the ‘grace shed on us’ from God Himself! The ‘HE’ they push away is the very ‘God We Trust’ on our currency! “We are the great nation America, We don’t need God,” seems to be the message the young people perceive from our instructional institutions, from Kindergarten and especially in our colleges.

“Woe is me! I am undone!” (Is. 6:1) are the words that come to mind for me. It was ‘in the year that King Uzziah died’ that Isaiah the Prophet in the Old Testament wrote that , “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” (Is. 6:1).
Did you get ‘crashing news’ recently? Has your security and strength been ‘shattered?’

“What if it’s cancer?” “What if daddy dies?” “What will we do if we lose mama?” “How are we going to buy food?””There’s no money, what are we going to do?” “The addiction is unconquerable it seems!” “Where can I find a job at this age, what do I do?” Is it the year that YOUR ‘king Uzziah’ died?!

All of a sudden, that ‘God’ that the world has tried so hard to push out of the way, makes an entrance. He doesn’t speak to nations all at once, He speaks to children, young and old , one by one. When called by His name, He hears and He draws us to Himself when our ‘king Uzziah dies’ . With gentleness and with no conditions. That name, instead of seeming so horrible and controlling, now has a ‘ring’ of hope to it. You see, It is a ‘blessing’ for the ‘bottom to fall out’ when it brings us to a place where our hands are no longer pushing God away, but, instead…
our hands hang down, and we are hurting so, even unable to hold on to anything we once felt stability with – and He is there. Yes, God, our Father in heaven. And even though people try to push Him farther than the heavens, He is there when our ‘king Uzziah’ so to speak dies.

Don’t they know that the Name they try to push away is really our ‘hope and glory?’ Don’t they know that as ‘the nations rage and the people plot a vain thing, and the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His anointed,’ that ‘He who sits in the heavens shall laugh…'(Psalm 2:1-4). And don’t they know that when calamity comes and distress arises greater than their flesh and mind can handle, that if they call on the One Name that they used so much breath to push away, that they would receive from the LORD forgiveness for their sin, that He would proclaim His very Name:
His name is all He is, His character, His attributes! His name is “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…” Exodus 34:6,7. Don’t they know that Name they push away is the “very image of the invisible God”(Colossians 1.15).but just like Isaiah, ‘ in the year that king Uzziah died’ we see the Lord, and He shows us, …
He is King and it is He who sits upon the throne. We are at His mercy.
But His Name, the one so many want to push away is Mercy and Grace.

He was there all along, but we finally ‘see the Lord’. And He is ‘sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.’(Is. 6:1). Well, maybe we don’t ‘see’ the Lord quite like Isaiah did, but ‘He’s on the throne!’ We see Him, He is King, and not just King…He is King of all Kings. And in our great weakness which was some event that has truly ‘rocked our boat’ we cry out, similar, but not exactly like Isaiah: “Woe is me! For I am undone…” (Is. 6:5).

Our country may never get it, but God will reach each person, one by one. He’s a personal God. You see, there is great blessing in brokenness because God hears those cries. Don’t push Him away, ever. The children will learn, the mamas and the papas will come to understand-even if the institutions insist on ‘pushing His name out’.

God in His great mercy and grace multiplies a peace that passes all understanding! Yes, that Name Jesus. He makes us new and suffered long in His waiting for His children one by one, to stop pushing Him away and instead, in great weakness reach out in need.

“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth”( Ps. 146:-8). But His children are lied to, everyday, told lies, but the LORD, He is ” gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in mercy. The LORD is good to all…(Psalm 146:8,9).

So, as for me…”I will praise You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever. Will you join me? Let’s be the ones to remind the children what is true about that Name they keep pushing away! Time is running short. The Lord is coming back. Do you believe?
The bottom line is – Jesus,( the Name that saves, and the One that knows your name…), He LOVES you!

“I can’t hear ANYTHING!”

At times there are no words, even for prayer, the heaviness and pain are so thick.”God, your children are hurting.”

But it’s there, the very prayer that you and I need to pray today. It’s there tucked away in the Book of Psalms. It’s there in many places, but today, I found the prayer I needed in Psalm 143, King David captures everything in verse 7,

“Answer me speedily, O LORD; My spirit fails! Do not hide Your face from me, Lest I be like those who go down into the pit.”

Is this the relief that C.H. Spurgeon is talking about when he said, “Dear troubled friend, there is no relief like prayer.” Could praying actually be the relief? Even more than the answer for each request?

But there are so many needs, so many heartbreaks, so much loss, at this point there are no human answers. God is our hope. So we pray, “God, my heart is failing, answer me quickly, I need to see Your face right now, or I’m done!”
“Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.” Psalm 143:11.

Yes, David wrote the words of our very own hearts. And we know David wasn’t perfect, we know he was just a man and had failed miserably on separate occasions. God didn’t love him any more than anyone else, he didn’t have more of God’s ear than anyone else. But the most special thing about David is, that,he KNEW he HAD God’s ear – and he cried into it often,

“Hear my prayer, O LORD, Give ear to my supplications! In Your faithfulness answer me, And in Your righteousness, do not enter into judgement with Your servant, for in Your sight no one living is righteous.” Psalm 143:1,2.

David was troubled, greatly, but he found his friend in God.

Could this be the relief that we so need, in all our troubles we have a Friend, who sticks closer than a brother,(Prov. 18:24). Can we actually find the peace we so need as we talk to Him, the God of the Universe, the God who made us, the God who hears, in prayer? David was changed in his prayer from fretful, to faith -ful:
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands. I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah” Psalm 143:5,6.

It’s almost as if, we sometimes feel as if we are the 5,000th guy in line on the day that Jesus was breaking the bread and dividing the fish for the 5,000, and wondering, “Is there gonna be enough for me?” David somehow brought his eyes from looking at the supply,(which was minimal, remember there were only 5 loaves!) to looking at the supplier, Jesus Christ, who miraculously kept breaking that loaf over and over again.

Could it possibly be, that the very act of prayer brought about the fret – to faith? The moment ‘focus’ was made on the Lord, there was a ‘peace that passes understanding!’ “He will keep you in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Him” Is. 26:3 encourages us.

‘Meditating on all Your works,” was what David did. He spent TIME musing on the ‘work of God’s hands.’ So David had God’s ear, not because he deserved it, but because God is ‘our Father’ and David had ‘relationship with his Father in heaven that was active and alive! He talked to Him about His wonderful works and went from ‘fret to faith’!

But David couldn’t hear anything? So he asked of God: “Cause me to hear…”Ps. 143:8.

“Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,””I’m all ears Lord, speak to me, like little Samuel said: “Speak LORD, for your servant hears.” 1Sam 3:9.

David talked with God, but it wasn’t just petition, it was a relationship! “Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,”
“So Lord, give us Your ear and hear our prayer, “Answer me speedily, O LORD; My spirit fails! Do not hide Your face from me, Lest I be like those who go down into the pit. Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.” Psalm 143:8,9.

Yes, “Answer me speedily” is our cry too. The ‘W’ word, ‘wait’ is so very painful. It is the ‘death of me’ at times!

But God does speak, oh so gently to a troubled soul,to one who takes time to remember His powerful word that transforms a heavy heart into a hopeful one, that finds a place to rest and Be Still. He says,
I will keep you in perfect peace if you keep your mind stayed on Me. Because You trust in Me, “Trust in the LORD forever, For in YAH, the LORD is everlasting strength.” Isaiah 29:4  ‘Keep ‘stayed’ on Me” God says! All that God is, is found in Jesus. As you fix your eyes on Him,can you hear the words? Can you hear:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor;He has sent Mer to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;That they may be called trees of righteousness. The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Is. 61:1-3).

The planting, the planting… I get it now. There is time when the seed goes into the ground, but before it can move on, there it must die first, then it produces much grain. “Lord, in this silent moment when Your voice is not heard, in which I am ‘made to wait’, can You give me a ‘perfect peace’ as I keep my mind on You!” Selah