Joy Baskets

baby Moses

As I was cleaning out a certain closet last week, I came across two baskets I forgot I had. I do like baskets; they can be used for a variety of different things no matter what size they may be.  They got me thinking about some baskets in scripture.  So, over the next three weeks we will discover what’s in these baskets.

But let me preface this with the following statement:  Have you ever said to yourself, “If it wasn’t for _________________ I’d be happy?  Remember this:  Satan is our joy robber and many times we let him be just that.  Having said this, let’s consider our first basket.

You are familiar with the story of baby Moses.  He was born at a time when all male babies were being killed.  His mother, Jochebed, was a special woman.  She wasn’t about to give up without doing all she could to protect her son.  She hid him first of all, and then realizing she had to do more, she prepared a special basket (an ark), water proofed it, placed her baby in it and took it down to the river, laying it in the reeds.  She left him  there and went home while her daughter watched from afar.  Wow!  How could she do that? Only one word is all it takes to describe this extraordinary event and this extraordinary woman — faith.

When events in our lives look impossible, remember:  nothing is impossible with God.

When we think God has abandoned us, remember: God will never leave us or forsake us.

When our strength is gone, remember:  God is our strength.

When we see no hope in sight, remember:  “I know the plans I have for you.  They are plans for good and not for evil; to give you a future and a hope.”  Jer. 29:11

Satan tried to have Jochebed robbed of her joy like he tries to do with us.  But remember what God did for her and how He blessed her.  He can and will do the same for you when your basket is full of faith.

If we want a joy basket in our lives, we need to add faith alongside whatever we are presently carrying in our basket. Don’t let Satan rob you of your joy.

 

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

I Know Who Hold Tomorrow

I found myself singing a favorite hymn on my way home from PA last week:  “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow.”  Our lives sometimes take us down roads that are unfamiliar or uncertain and and it can leave us wondering, “What in the world is going to happen to me?”  We can begin to imagine the worst and  worry about things that we don’t need to worry about.

So, why or how can I say this? The chorus of this hymn says:

Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand:

But I know who holds tomorrow,

And I know who holds my hand.

So, no matter if our skies turn to gray, or our path be through the flame or flood; God’s presence goes before us.  We are in good hands and we are covered with His blood.

“Fear not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yes,I will help you; yes,I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.”   Isa. 41:10

 

 

 

 

 

Labor Day

Labor Day

Labor Day isn’t quite like it used to be, is it?  Most places of employment used to close for this day; but not so any more.  Of course we are thankful for the jobs God gives us and even the Bible says, “…if any would not work, neither should he eat.” II Thess. 3:10

I love what Matt. 11:28,29 says:

“Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.”

Notice, first, the invitation:

Come to me.  God is available and wants to help us.

Notice, second, the instruction:

Take my yoke upon you.  In other words, yield to Him, let Him work with you side by side giving you the strength you need.

Notice, third, the incredible promise:

I will give you rest.  You shall find rest or your soul. It’s a rest only He can give.

I personally believe this can be physical as well as spiritual.  Yes, we need rest for both.

So, I am thankful for this Labor Day and trust you will enjoy your day.

But as Jesus Himself said,

“…the night is coming when no man will work.”  John 9:4

We don’t know when the Lord will return; so in the mean time let’s be busy doing all we can to serve and labor for the Lord; letting others know that they, too, can have rest for their souls when they trust Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Don’t forget to claim these verses for yourself.

A “Cast” Sheep

All-We-Like-Sheep

I read something in the last few weeks that blessed my heart and taught me something that I had never heard of before.  It’s the definition of a “cast sheep.”  A cast sheep is one that has wandered away from the rest of the fold.  It finds some lush green pasture and will lie down, roll over on its side and become unbalanced.  This causes it to turn upside down with all four feet flailing.   It becomes “cast.”  It is in danger of predators, and also of dying from gases building up in its system.  Death can come quickly; but there is hope it can be saved and restored.  That hope lies in the shepherd, himself.  When he finds it, he doesn’t set it upright and send it on its way; nor does he yell or scold it.  He speaks softly to keep it calm.   He will rub its legs to get the circulation back.  If it does’t improve, the shepherd will then pick it up and carry it home on his shoulders.

This is another beautiful picture of what our Shepherd does for us.

Isa. 53:6 says:  “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.”

We can often wander from the fold and find ourselves in some very difficult situations.   Jesus seeks and finds us.  He doesn’t scold us, though we may deserve it; but He gently and tenderly works in our lives and at times He may even carry us until we have the strength to walk in His ways again.

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.”  Psalm 23:1

“He restores my soul.”  Psalm 23:3

Aren’t you glad we have such a loving Savior who will restore us even when we fail so many times?

Semper Fi

marine corp emblem

While touring Battleship Cove on my bus trip, I met an elderly man as he was about to come on board one of the ships.  He was wearing a Marine emblem on his hat.  I greeted him and thanked him for his service in WW II.  Since my husband, Autry had also been a marine, we stood and talked awhile and he reminded me of the U.S. Marine Corp’s motto and greeting, “Semper Fi.”  Autry often greeted a fellow marine with that greeting.  It means always faithful, or always loyal.  I’m grateful for our marines and all of our men and women in the military service who are equally faithful and loyal to our country.

As Christians, perhaps this should become our motto to our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He certainly is faithful to us in so many ways.  He is loyal; He never fails us.  He deserves our faithfulness in return.

I believe as the marines repeat this motto they may also be encouraging each other not to give up when the going gets tough; but to remain faithful. I think we, Christians, need to encourage each other in the same way when the going gets tough. Don’t give up; remain faithful.

“But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you and keep you from evil.'”                         II Thess. 3:3

“..be faithful unto death.”  Rev. 2:10

“A faithful man shall abound with blessings.”  Prov. 28:20

Perhaps “Semper Fi” needs to become the way of greeting our fellow believers.

 

Storm Warning

thunderstorm

On the last day of the bus trip I took 2 weeks ago, we ran into a heavy thunder and lightening storm just before reaching our stop at Sturbridge Village.  As we pulled into the parking area, all of a sudden several of the cell phones on the bus were sounding  out warnings of a tornado.  An official at the grounds came out to the bus and told us to hurry inside to their theater as a tornado warning was in effect.  For the next hour we all gathered inside along with many others; not sure of what was going to happen.  Although there was damage around the area, we were safe.

Many times, as Christians, we travel in a storm, unaware of the severity of the danger around us.  If we are not walking “in tune” with the Lord we may not hear or see the warning signals.  Being in God’s Word every day is a must for guidance and warnings in our lives; knowing that it is the Holy Spirit who “gets our attention”  when things are wrong.  No, there is no loud siren, but IF we are listening, He will direct our steps.  We just need to remember when these storms do hit to come under the shelter of His wings.

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me: yes, in the shadow of your wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be passed.”  Psalm 57:1

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Ps. 46:1

There is no safer place to be.  God will protect us in and through any storm in our  lives.

History Speaks

Roger Williams

I had the privilege of going on a bus tour to the New England area last week.   Rhode Island is not only beautiful but it is full of history in regards to the beginning of our nation.  Roger Williams was one of those people who helped shape our nation in regards to religious freedom.  In Providence, R.I. a tall statue of him overlooking the city below, was erected in his honor.  However, no one really knew what he looked like.  It seems other statues of him have also been erected in various places and they all differ in his appearance.  To me this is interesting.  People knew he had existed and simply wanted to honor him for all that he had accomplished in his lifetime.

Why is it so hard then for people today to accept the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ did exist?  No, we don’t know what He looked like and there are many differing pictures of Him.  But there were eyewitnesses to the fact that He did exist as found in the chapters of the Bible.  II Cor. 15:3-8 tells us of the numerous people that witnessed the resurrected Christ and in Acts, chapter 1 many witnessed as Jesus rose toward heaven.  It’s all recorded for us. If we can believe the facts and in the people in regard to our own American history, shouldn’t we also be able to  believe the facts concerning the most important history in all the world?

Roger Williams certainly believed in the risen Christ; left his homeland to  come to America and helped to establish freedom of religion.  Isn’t it time to let the historical facts speak for themselves and believe if you  haven’t already?

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how  that Christ died for our sins  according  to the Scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.  I Cor. 15:3,4

May today be the day of salvation for you.

 

Be Still My Soul

Be still and know that i am God

A few nights ago I sat out on my patio and I was awe struck by the stillness of the evening.  Not a leaf was moving; the only sounds came from the nighttime bugs. It was so quiet, so calm and so serene. It was like all of nature suddenly stopped to listen to its Creator.  I thought about a beloved hymn of the past, “Be Still My Soul.”  I needed to remind myself to be as still and calm as that night; because no matter what kind of trial or pain overwhelms me, my life is in my Creator, God’s hands.  The words of the song by Katharina von Schlegel sum it up for us:

Be still, my soul—the Lord is on thy side!

Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;

Leave to thy God to order and provide—

In ev-‘ry change He faithful will remain.

Be still, my soul—thy best, thy heav’ly friend

Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul—thy God doth undertake

To guide the future as He has the past;

Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake—

All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul—the waves and winds still know

His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul—the hour is hast’ning on

When we shall be forever with the Lord,

When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,

Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.

Be still, my soul—when change and tears are past,

All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

“Be still and know that I am God”  Ps. 46:10.

So, be still my soul, these waves and winds may blow but my God is in control.

Facts are Facts!

tree trunk

On my little jaunt last weekend to Hamlin Beach, I ate my lunch under the shade of a tree.  Before leaving that spot, I noticed an unusual formation on its trunk and I said to myself, “That’s an elephant!”  Look for yourself.  Do you see what I see? Perhaps you do, perhaps you don’t or maybe you see something entirely different.  It really doesn’t matter.  The thing of it is, no matter what we see, or think we see, the tree is still a tree.  The formation doesn’t make it anything different.  We can think and see all we want, but we can’t change this fact; it is a tree!

Here are some important facts we can’t change. I want you to remember them today:

You may think you are a nobody and that nobody loves you.

  But you can’t change the fact that God does love you.

“For God so loved the world (that includes you) that He gave His only begotten Son…”John 3:16

You may think no one cares about you.

 But you can’t change the fact that God does care about you.

“Casting all your care upon, for He cares for you.”  I  Pet. 5:7

You may think you are all alone.

   But you can’t change the fact that you are not alone.  

“…I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”  Heb. 13:5

You may think you are too weak to make it or to go on.

But you can’t change the fact:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13 

Satan would have you think and believe all of these lies and more, and play games with your mind. Don’t let him do it.  THINK ON THINGS THAT ARE TRUE (God’s truths).

“Whatsoever things are true,…think on these things.”  Phil. 4:8

Will you keep your focus on the facts this week?

 

 

As Plain as Black and White

black sandals

Before I had gone to the Lyfe Women’s Conference several weeks ago, I had purchased some new sandals.  About a week after I had returned home, I was looking for them and couldn’t find them after three or more searches in every place I could think of.  I sent a message to see if any white sandals were turned into the lost and found at the college.  Several days later I was pulling a pair of older black sandals from a drawer under my bed and that’s when all I could do was laugh.  Underneath my old black sandals was my new pair of BLACK sandals!  For whatever reason, I was thinking I had purchased white sandals, when in reality I had actually purchased black ones!  They were here all the time!

Aren’t we often forgetful about things even in our Christian walk?  We forget so easily.  We may be looking for answers, but we are looking in all the wrong places and perhaps for the wrong  thing.  We may even cry out to others for help; but we forget the answers may be right in front of us all the time; in particular–in our own Bible and our cry needs to be to God alone.  Nothing is hidden from Him and He will direct us to where we need to be, at the time we need to be there; or He will show us what we need to do.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Ps.119:105

Don’t forget to look in the right place for your answers.  They are as plain as black and white! And just keep trusting the One who does have all the right answers.   He’s right here all the time!