Thursday, December 31, 2015

DAWNING OF LIGHT



In Matthew 4:16, we read: “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death, Light has dawned.”

“Decorations must come down today,” she said.

“Why?” her daughter asked. No answer. “Then may I keep the Nativity in my room? I’ll be careful with it.”

Her mother shook her head. “Christmas is over for another year.”

 “Is that the reason you don’t go to church with us except on Christmas, Mama?”

“Of course not.” But Mama’s soft voice said otherwise. Why did she want to remove all reminders of Christmas? When did she stop going to church regularly? She had good intentions but...

Christmas is all about light. The light the Lord God sent into the darkness. The Christmas star for guidance, the light that shone as the angels brought tidings of great joy to all people. So we decorate using light. On our Christmas trees light shines forcing the darkness into the shadows. We place gifts under the tree to remember the gifts brought to the Christ Child.

Christmas is treated now as a yearly event. The nativity, brought out to celebrate Christmas, is carefully wrapped and stored for another year along with the ornaments and lights. Off, now, because there’s no connection to the power source.

The New Year awaits. I have a choice to make. I can pack away the joy that Christmas brings—the promises of light and love—or I can choose to share it.


Kingdom Thinking. In this New Year of 2016 the slate is blank. I choose to believe that the Lord Jesus loves me with an everlasting love. I believe that He promises never to leave nor forsake me. I choose to let His Light shine through me. And you? What do you choose for the New Year? He loves you and waits for you.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

THE WISE STILL SEEK HIM

In Matthew 2:1-2, we read: “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’”

First to observe the star, Belteshazzar reported it to his colleagues, the Magi. A thorough search of the ancient sacred books revealed the promise of a coming King to the Hebrews. A King and a savior. He couldn’t leave his dying father but promised to follow soon, the star still shining bright. Months later, he started out. A small caravan for protection and his fortune invested in three gifts for the King. An emerald, a ruby and a pearl--gems of great price.

Weeping and cries of anguish assaulted him as he neared Bethlehem. Soldiers moved from house to house, killing the baby boys, two years and under. He opened the door to a home, saw a mother clinging to her baby, her eyes wide in terror.  He put his finger to his lips, closed the door, leaned against it. A Roman soldier walked up to him.

“Step aside. All baby boys must...” He gasped as Belteshazzar opened his hand. The brilliance of the ruby danced in the morning light. The soldier grabbed the gem, moved  to the next house.

Years passed, still he searched for the King. On the Jericho road, he found a man beaten and left for dead. He put him on his donkey, carried him to an inn. “Take care of him.” When the innkeeper looked doubtful, he pulled from his purse, the emerald.

Before a family could be evicted from their home, the pearl satisfied the greedy tax collector.

Now he entered Jerusalem, heart hurting, hands empty. Caught up in the crowd, he moved with them. He saw three crosses. On the middle one, a sign read: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING ON THE JEWS. He’d missed Him. He returned to Jerusalem, shoulders slumped, head bowed, and stood by a building in the eerie darkness. The ground began to shake, buildings tumbled around him. Hit by a slab of roof, he fell to his knees. He heard the voice: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. ‘Enter into the joy of your lord’”

Kingdom Thinking. Like Belteshazzar, we are pilgrims, seeking the King. He promised never to leave nor forsake us. He loves us with an everlasting love. Have you seen His Star? Do you worship Him? He waits for you.


















Thursday, December 17, 2015

THE CHRISTMAS PAGEANT

In Luke 2:4-7, we read: “Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manager, because their was no room for them in the inn.

The scenery in place, the practices done, the time had come for the performance. The four and five year olds would take part this year and Susan, the director, was a bit nervous. Most of the children were well behaved and followed directions but then there was Ricky. Definitely, a free spirit.

The angel choir stood on the risers, evergreens in front of them, and sang their songs with gusto. The parents smiled, proud of their little ones. The narrator did his part, pulling the emotional strings at just the right moment.

Susan smiled. So far, so good. And then...

A stirring from the back of the church. A dog must have sneaked in and was making it’s way down to the front under the pews. Probably belonged to one of the kids in the pageant. Folks shuffled to let him past. Just as “Mary and Joseph” leaned over the manger, a head popped up from under the first pew, crawled over to the manger and peeped in.

“He’s alive,” Ricky shouted to the stunned audience. “He really is alive. Look, if you don’t believe me.” He pointed to the baby who began to cry, his little fists swatting the air.

Susan hurried over, picked up her baby, and turned to the audience. “Didn’t mean to cause a fuss, but he was sleeping soundly so I...” Applause and a standing ovation from the congregation let her know all was well.

In my busy life, I fail to remember that the Baby in the manger is Real. All God and all man. He came to provide room for me. He lives, therefore I live. Now and throughout all eternity.

Kingdom Thinking. The Lord Jesus offers you the same. He loves you with an everlasting love and promises never to leave nor forsake you. Won’t you receive Him? He waits for you--with room aplenty.










Thursday, December 10, 2015

THE FRAGRANCE

In 2 Corinthians 2:14-16, we read: “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.”


Christmas baking. Excitement zipped through her. Just the thought of helping Grandmother brought a smile to her face. She especially enjoyed rolling out and cutting the cookies, then decorating them with icing.

She ran up the steps, across the back porch and into the kitchen. She stood still and with eyes closed, inhaled deeply. Aromas of cinnamon, gloves, vanilla, peppermint...must be what Heaven smells like, she thought.


“Come on, dumpling,” Grandmother said, a smile in her voice. “We’ve a lot of work to do, but happy work.”

Work was in full swing when Grandfather walked into the kitchen. He didn’t mind the floured hands that snaked around his neck, giving him a big hug.

“Ummm, Cing,” he said. “You smell like a snickerdoodle, my favorite.” 

She giggled, then went back to her work, happy work with Grandmother. They would have plenty of cookies to share with neighbors and friends.

We share the aroma of our lives. As the Lord Jesus lives through us, his sweet smelling aroma of love penetrates, touching others around us. A sweet perfume to those that love or will love Him but the stench of death to those that reject Him.

Kingdom Thinking. The Lord Jesus came at the darkest time in history to bring Light and Hope. He, the Son of God, chose to be born in a lowly stable with rumors flying about his birth. He understands our pain and disappointment and offers His everlasting love. He, forsaken at the cross, promises never to leave nor forsake us. He offers His sweet-smelling balm to you. Won’t you come to Him.

















Thursday, December 3, 2015

THE REQUIREMENTS

In Micah 6:8, we read: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?”


He cringed as he listened to the preacher read the verse from the prophet Micah. His heart sank. There was no way he could meet God’s requirement.

He remembered times of disobedience since a small child. He thought he was smart, no one watching him. The cookies Mother told him not to eat, the change from Daddy’s dresser. Little things that didn’t matter.

But they developed into larger things. Money from the benevolent fund where he worked, short changing a client--all creating a crust of hardness around his heart--and hopelessness.

No, justice and mercy could never be his. Just a pie in the sky. Despair reigned in his life.

Until he heard the rest of the story. A story that told no man whether rich or poor, could meet the requirements God had put into place. A story of God, the Father, sending God, the Son, into the world to fulfill the requirements of “good,” to take his place for only God is Good. A story of hope and forgiveness and love.

As he listened God’s chisel chipped away at the hardness around his heart and tenderized it with His redeeming love. He fell to his knees. A man desiring to do what is good. To do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with the Lord.

Kingdom Thinking. When I think all is lost and hopeless, in the darkest moments of my life, the light of the Lord Jesus shines brightly. Not only to reveal my savior, but to spotlight the cross where my sins belong. The Lord Jesus fulfilled the requirements. He has promised never to leave nor forsake me. His arms are open wide. For you, too. Won’t you come to Him? He loves you with an everlasting love.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

THE GIVING OF THANKS

In Luke 17: 12-16, we read: “Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ So when He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.”

“Mama, why did only one of the men thank Jesus?”

She had read the Bible story to her little daughter before she tucked her in bed. As she looked at her now, she realized that question defined mankind. But for now innocent eyes stared into hers, desiring an answer. Help me, Lord, she prayed.

“I wish I knew the answer to that, sweetie. We take for granted the gifts that the Lord Jesus gives us. Food and health and loving care.

“Tell you what,” she said. “Why don’t you and I try to thank Him more. Not just for the big things but for the little things, too.” She looked at her daughter. “Will you help me to remember to give thanks?” A big smile and a nod answered her question.

Thanksgiving reminds us to give thanks. But the scriptures tell us that this is not a seasonal activity but a way of life. The Lord Jesus gave His life, paying for all my sins, so that I could be with Him for ever.

Kingdom Thinking. I choose to give thanks to our Lord Jesus for He loves me with an everlasting love and He has promised never to leave nor forsake me. He offers the same to you. Won’t you be the one that recognizes what He has done for you? He loves you and waits with open arms.










Thursday, November 19, 2015

THE BONDSERVANT

In Philippians 2: 5-7, we read: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal wth God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.”

He had a choice. After seven years of bondage, he had served his time. He was now set free. But if he chose freedom, he couldn’t take his wife and children with him. They belonged to the master.

He knew the law concerning servants, (Exodus 21: 2-6).  Now the choice was his to make but once made, there was no turning back.

He chose his wife and children. The master talked with him and made certain this was his choice. Then he took him to the doorpost of the house, and with an awl, he pierced his right ear lobe. A large hole, clearly to be seen by anyone. From that day forward, he would have the mark of the bondservant.

Everywhere he went, the mark gave him authority. He took responsibility for the master’s household. He now held the keys. He was accountable to the master, no one else. If an enemy came against him, he would think twice about the attack. This mark of the bondservant assured the enemy that the master would be the one to whom he answered.

Choosing to be a bondservant not only set him free, but gave him the chance to serve. His master, his family, and his God.

This picture of the bondservant is plainly stated in God’s Word. It’s important to me. If my Lord and Savior chose this way, then, I, too, choose it. Now wherever I go, I know that I go in the name of my master. I have His mark. When an enemy comes against me, I know my Master will take care of me.

Kingdom Thinking. The Lord Jesus has promised never to leave nor forsake me. He loves me with an everlasting love. He has set me free to share His Love. What about you? Would you like to be set free? He’s waiting for you.



Thursday, November 12, 2015

THE ELDER BROTHER


In 2 Corinthians 5:21, we read: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

His baby brother was in jail again. After their parents died, Elder took responsibility for raising Younger. At first the pranks seemed harmless.

Then the pranks escalated. Into serious allegations. Each time, Elder would step in. Younger promised never to do such a thing again. After a time, the cycle would begin anew.

One night Younger took part in a robbery, killing a person.  Older had promised he would take care of Younger. He had to think of something.

At the trial, the younger brother’s verdict--guilty. The sentence--to be hung by the neck until dead. A life for a life the judge had pronounced.

The guilty one was brought to the gallows, a hood over his head. He walked up the steps, offered no words of regret, simply stood there. The trap opened, he fell, his death quick. Justice was served.

But just then, Younger ran out. “I’m the guilty one,” he shouted. “Not Elder.”
When the hood was lifted, it was the face of Elder. The innocent one took the place of the guilty one. Younger fell to his knees. “It should have been me. Take me, I’m guilty.”

“You’re free to go,” the judge announced. “The penalty of death has been paid.”

Not an easy concept to believe, many have rejected the belief the Lord Jesus took our place, my place. He dressed in the robe of human flesh for all to see. He wore it through rejection and pain and death, but He continues to love us with an everlasting love. With the hood of death removed, He rose again and has promised that whosoever shall call on His Name will be saved.

Kingdom thinking. If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be a part of His Kingdom. He is waiting for you. Won’t you choose Him?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

HEART FOR GOD

In Psalm 119:30-32, we read: “I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me. I cling to Your testimonies; O Lord, do not put me to shame! I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart.”


She fretted over most things. Especially appearances. One frequent expression that tumbled from her lips--What would people think? She waded through life, miserable, unseeing of her surroundings. One morning in the park, she heard the voice of a little child.

“Are you dying?” The little boy stood there, by the park bench, holding his teddy bear. One with a large red heart  on the chest.“You can hug my bear. He helps take the pain away,” he offered.

She stared at the boy. Was that who she was? The walking dead? “Mercy me,” she said. She looked down at the him, accepted the bear’s hug, returned it. “Thank you. What’s your name?”

“Barney.”

“What are you going to be when you grow up, Barney?” He shrugged his shoulders.

“I know one thing you are,” she said. He tilted his head. “You are an encourager.”

“Is that a good thing?” He said, his forehead furrowed.

“The best.” She offered him a warm smile. “Thank you.” He grinned and ran toward the swings.

In life’s journey, I have a tendency to look at the obstacles in my life as problems instead of opportunities. Opportunities to cling to the testimonies of the Lord. Opportunities to run the course--which I can’t do unless He enlarges my heart.

Kingdom Thinking. I have chosen the way of truth. I stumble but as the Lord has promised, He will not put me to shame. He loves me with an everlasting love. He has promised never to leave nor forsake me. He has enlarged my heart--for Him. He offers the same to you. His arms are open. Won’t you come to Him?


Thursday, October 29, 2015

WIMPY HEART



In Psalm 27:13-14, we read: “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord.”


The sun shone on the brilliant foliage of the North Carolina Mountains, spotlighting the vivid reds, golds--the spectrum of fall foliage. The breezes gently brushed them to and fro, dancing their jig of fall.

In my heart, instead of a joyous jig, my inner voice reminded me that this trip would be a waste of time and money. You know, the negative announcer that delights in reminding me of my shortcomings. So...I made a choice.  I kept on driving, tuned in to the Lord’s Promises and decided to go for it. The Novel Writing Conference--Autumn in the Mountains.

The conference provided me much needed information. But I learned that life is much more than information. The conference gave me a chance to meet fellow writers, share the common bond of struggles, a bit of anxiety at the appointment for the manuscript review, and rejoicing with those who won an award. New members of my family include the attendees and the instructors.

In my world, I find it easy to lose heart. The news tells all the wrongs of today, problems abound, the lists go on...and on. But I have been given a promise from the One who cannot lie. He tells me to wait on Him, to be of good courage, and He shall strengthen my heart.

Kingdom thinking. I choose to believe Him, The Lord God Almighty. The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. He has promised never to leave nor forsake me. He loves me with an everlasting love. He has strengthened my heart. And to you, He offers the same.  He loves you and waits for you. Won’t you come to Him?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

HIS WITNESS


In Isaiah 43:12-13, we read: “I have declared  and saved, I have proclaimed, and there was no foreign god among you; Therefore you are My witnesses,” Says the Lord, “that I am God. Indeed before the day was, I am He; And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?”


She visited him in the hospital. His frail body, now ravaged by disease, was a shell of the man he had once been. But when he looked at her? His eyes softened, then clouded showing  bewilderment and fear.

I never thought I would be like this,” he said.

“I stopped by to see if you needed anything,” she said. “Maybe you’d like me to have prayer with you?”

He swallowed, turned and reached for the Bible on the bedside table. “I’ve been reading this. It doesn’t help me a bit. I’ll never measure up. There's no hope for me.” He closed his eyes. A tear trickled down his wrinkled cheek.

“I believe you read only the hard part of the Book. Did you read about the precious gift that Our Lord has given us? The gift of forgiveness and love?”

He shook his head.  "Didn’t see that.”

I read from Isaiah 43. “Did you know that He came to take our place?" He looked at me, hope in his eyes. "He knew we couldn’t live the kind of life that the Lord God requires. So He had pity on us...on me...so that I could be a part of His family. He says there is no one who can take me out of His hand. That’s your promise, too.”

"But you don’t know what I’ve done. He couldn’t love me.”

“He promised in John 3:16, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ I believe that includes you."

“I believe it does. Now I’m ready for that prayer.”

Kingdom Thinking. Salvation is a free gift to us, paid in full by the Lord Jesus Christ. We declare His praise for the wonder of His Love. Won’t you accept His gift today? He waits for you.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

TO FEAR OR NOT TO FEAR


In Isaiah 43:1, we read: “But now, this says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine.’”


She was on edge. Everyone in the small town was on edge. A teenage girl had disappeared. No amount of searching had found a clue.

 She jumped at the slightest noise and found it difficult to concentrate at school even though her dad had told her they were safe. She didn’t sleep well and woke at the slightest noise even though Buddy, her Boston Bull terrier, slept in his bed on the floor close to hers.

She had dropped into a restless sleep when her eyes popped open. She lay still, fearing for her life. A hand stroked her right cheek. She was afraid to move, terrified. How if?

She took a deep breath. “Daddy!” She yelled at top volumn. The hand didn’t move. Maybe the person that owned the hand was deaf. She heard Daddy coming, click on the overhead light.

And he laughed. By that time, Mama came in. She covered her mouth to keep from laughing. Then Daddy walked over to my bed and gently removed my left arm that was resting on my pillow--over my head. My arm was numb...had gone to sleep.

Repeated constantly for us through the Scriptures, the Lord Jesus reminds us, “Fear Not.” When I realize that He created me, He formed me and He redeemed me, I stand amazed. But more than that, the Scriptures tell me that He calls me by my name and declares I am His! This is too wondrous to comprehend. All I can do is praise Him and thank Him.

Kingdom thinking. Life constantly presents me with choices--to believe the promises of the Scriptures or believe the shadows that plague me. The Lord Jesus has promised never to leave nor forsake me. He loves me with an everlasting love. He knows me by name. He offers the same to you. His arms are open. Won’t you come to Him?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

WHO IS YOUR FATHER?

 In Isaiah 63:16, we read: “Doubtless You are our Father, Though Abraham was ignorant of us, and Israel does not acknowledge us. You, O Lord, are our Father; Our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name.

She wanted to take “I Want A Word,” an English class taught by Dr. Havilah Babcock. She’d heard so much about the class. So she made her way to the appropriate office to sign up.

She knocked softly on the door and went in at the invitation of the secretary.

“May I help you?”

“Yes ma’am. I would like to sign up for “I Want A Word.”

“That class fills a semester ahead of time,” the secretary said. “I’m sorry.”

“Thank you,” she said. As she turned to leave, she noticed a gentleman seated at his desk in the adjoining office. He got up, walked around his desk, and leaned against it.

“Where’re you from?” he asked.

“Mayesville, South Carolina,” She answered.

“Who’s your daddy?” he asked.

 “Joe Blackwell.”

He turned to his secretary. “Sign her up for my class,” he said. “I know her Daddy. Like to hunt with him. He has good dogs.”

I have a tendency to forget that the Lord Jesus is in control of my life and that the Lord God is my father. He has promised never to leave nor forsake me. He loves me--even when I am unlovable.

Kingdom Thinking.  The Lord Jesus loves you and wants you to know that this Love of His is forever. He has promised never to leave nor forsake his children. Are you one of His? Is He your Father? His arms are outstretched. He waits for you.









Thursday, October 1, 2015

THE TRUSTED ONE

In Ephesians 1:13-14, we read: “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

They were great friends. Now their friendship had grown into something more meaningful, something deeper. Soon he would be leaving for further schooling. She would be left.

She tried to convince herself that this was for the best. He had years left to get his degree. She understood but that didn’t keep the sadness from surrounding her heart. She would miss him.

He came to say goodbye, his car packed and ready for the trip. “Walk with me in the garden?” he asked. As they followed the path and crossed the bridge, he stopped. She looked at him and to her astonishment, he got to one knee. With extended hand he offered her a box, a ring box. He opened it and nestled inside was a beautiful ring.

“Will you marry me?” He said. “I don’t know the date yet. But I want to spend my life with you.”

The ring fit perfectly. They were now engaged to be married. Every time she began to wonder, she would look at her treasure. "No, it isn’t a dream. He is coming back for me.” She wore the guarantee on her left hand.

In Ephesians 1:13-14, we are told that after we heard the truth and believed, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. He is the guarantee of our inheritance. Interestingly, the Greek word for guarantee can also indicate an engagement ring. A gift from the Lord Jesus, our bridegroom, to us, the bride. All to the praise of His glory.

The Lord has promised never to leave nor forsake me. He loves me with an everlasting love. He has sealed me with the Holy Spirit of promise. When doubts come, I can remember His promises and praise Him for His goodness.

Kingdom Thinking. The Lord loves you and has promised never to leave nor forsake you. His arms are open to receive you. Won’t you trust Him? He waits for you.





Thursday, September 24, 2015

THE PILOT

In John 8: 31-32, we read: “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”


“Flying at night will allow us another day in the Islands."  Trained in the US Air Force as a fighter pilot, my husband flew a Cessna 172. His plan sounded like a good one so it was put into motion.

On the appointed evening, we took off, heading for the Bahamas. Another couple accompanied us, the guys seated up front, us ladies in the back.

It didn’t take long for the hum of the engines to lull me to sleep.

I woke at the sound of my husband’s voice making a request to land and refuel before we headed out over the Atlantic Ocean, the last leg of the trip.

The tower gave the coordinates but I sat up as I heard my husband's questions. He asked the tower to check. Then assured them the lighted runway was not the one requested. Finally after more comments and questions, different runway lights flashed on, the former ones winked out.

On my spiritual journey I need a pilot I can trust. One that is truthful. One that knows when I’m landing in the wrong place. As I looked out of the window of the plane that night, the landing lights had looked right to me. But not to the eye of the experienced pilot with instrument rating.

Our Lord Jesus has promised that if I abide in His word, I will be His disciple. But more than that--I will know the truth. Because He who is truth abides in me. He will pilot me. He will bring me home safely.

Kingdom Thinking. Perhaps like me, you have been deceived and believed the wrong coordinates for your life journey. The Good News is that the Lord Jesus will pilot you. He loves you with an everlasting love. He will never leave nor forsake you. Won’t you come to Him? He waits for you.






Thursday, September 17, 2015

SUBMERGED

In Hebrews 10:5-7, we read: “Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: ’Sacrifices and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure, Then I said ‘Behold, I have come--In the volume of the book it is written of Me--To do Your will, O God.’”

The gate slammed--the signal to swim to the surface. Breakfast would come soon.

This game had been going on for some time. As she closed the gate,  the vibrations of her steps clued them in. The provider had arrived  with the food. They would gather in the spot nearest the walk--waiting--with fins fanning. Unless there were too many steps or something hit the water and they would swim away, hiding  in fear.

The goldfish lived in a pond in the back yard, protected from predators with aquatic plants where they could hide and concrete edging high enough to keep out the raccoons. A waterfall had been added to aerate the water--their world.

 What if she could become one of them, swim among them, get to know them and win their trust. Then they would know how special and valuable they were to her.

Since the beginning of time, Our Lord has been telling us through the law and the prophets how valuable we are to Him. He set laws in motion for our protection. But when we hear his voice or feel His nearness, we flee in terror, believing He seeks to punish us. Even take our lives.

Then the Lord Jesus came. He laid aside His heavenly garments to be born in a stable and raised in an obscure village. He submerged Himself in life here on planet earth so that I might come to know how much I am loved by a Holy God. He knew I would never be able to save myself no matter how much I tried. So He came--to give me the Gift of Eternal Life.

Kingdom Thinking. No matter your circumstances His gift is available to you, too. He has promised never to leave nor forsake you. He loves you with an everlasting love. A Love so great, He left Heaven to come to earth to offer Heaven to you. Won’t you trust Him? He waits for you.






Thursday, September 10, 2015

THE GIFT OF COMFORT

In Isaiah 40:28-29, we read: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.”


empty
Tired didn’t begin to define the way she felt. More like...hopeless. As if all life had drained from her. Something had to be wrong. Maybe some incurable disease and no one was telling her.

She had been brought up in a loving home...but something was missing in her life. She assumed when she finished college and had a family of her own, she would be happy--fulfilled. She married a wonderful man, their children were beautiful. But the nagging thought would break through to the surface. “Something’s missing.” She filled her days with good deeds--reached out to help others, taught the children in Sunday School--but still--something was missing.
filled

In one of the darkest times of her life, she discovered she had a vacuum in her innermost being. A vacuum that only the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings could fill. She had pushed and shoved all sort of stuff in that vacuum but empty spaces remained. Now she wanted that place in her life filled with the Lord Jesus. The only one who could fill her completely.

She no longer needed to second guess herself. She now knew that the  everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth would be with her.

The Lord Jesus has promised never to leave nor forsake me. No matter what I am going through, He is my comforter. He never faints. He’s never weary. He gives power to me when I am weak and when I am helpless, He increases my strength.

Kingdom Thinking. No matter where you are in your life-journey, the Lord Jesus is there and willing to give you His understanding. He will be your comfort and strength. Won’t you come to Him? He waits for you.














Thursday, September 3, 2015

OUT OF DARKNESS INTO LIGHT

In Ephesians 5:8-10, we read: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.”

She found it difficult to believe. She’d been set free. She’d lived in fear for so many years, hiding in the dark places, afraid of her own shadow. No more hiding, no more searching through the garbage cans of life. Free.

The day had started the same as the others. Drudgery, misery, fear. Then He came. And with it He brought light and hope and love. She replayed the events on the screen of her mind.

She lay in the shadows that day, curled into a ball of misery after the beating. The enemy had left her for dead. Suddenly light surrounded her. Not just any kind of light. A light filled with warmth that went to her core. She opened her eyes to see eyes filled with compassion and love. He reached out, took her hand and lifted her to her feet. She felt the pain and numbness fade away. She felt--alive. And free.

“Neither do I condemn you,” He said. “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, my child.”

All of us have been in darkness. Your darkness may be different from mine, but darkness is darkness. We window dress it many times ashamed of what others will say. But when the Lord Jesus comes, He, the Light, disperses the darkness. Not only does He provide light around us but He fills us with His light. He sets us free from the dark places in our hearts. Not all at once but He continues to work in His Gentle way.

Kingdom Thinking. I choose to let the Lord Jesus, the Light of the world, continue to change me. He has promised to never leave nor forsake me. He loves me with an everlasting love. He loves you, too. Won’t you choose Him today?







Thursday, August 27, 2015

LOVE ONE ANOTHER


In John 13:34-35, we read: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

“Come on, Sara,” Timmy called his big sister. “I have my money to buy our cinnamon buns.” He’d planned this trip to the bakery for weeks. He did his chores and received his “wages.” During that time he vacillated from cinnamon buns to cookies. Cinnamon buns won out.

“Mr. Gray,” Timmy called as they entered the bakery. “I have my money.” He pulled out his handkerchief, the coins tied in the corner, snug and secure.

“Indeed you do,” Mr. Gray answered. “And what will you choose this fine morning?”

“Those two cinnamon rolls.” He pointed to the corner of the pan. They have lots of icing.” Mr. Gray nodded, a smile tugging at his lips.

Timmy and Sara walked outside and sat on the bench to enjoy their fare. Timmy opened his mouth to take his first bite but a hand snaked from behind him.

“I’ll take that.” In three huge bites, Sully, the town bully, ate the whole thing. Timmy’s eyes filled. Sara wiped away his tears.

Sara stood, her shoulders stiff. “If you’re that hungry, take mine, too.” She thrust it at him.

Sully stared, shook his head and ran down the street.

In this life, a lot of bullies show up. They never announce their intentions but snake their way into our lives causing anger, confusion and pain. Our Lord Jesus in His Wisdom has provided us a way to overcome. We are to love one another as He loves us. Everyone will know by this that we are His disciples.

Kingdom Thinking. When the bullies come, I choose to remember this is not a surprise to our Lord Jesus. He loves me with an everlasting love and has promised never to leave nor forsake me. The secret? He will love through me. He wants to show you this love. Won’t you come to Him?







Thursday, August 20, 2015

ORPHAN NO MORE

In John 14:16-18, we read: “And I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”




When Mama died, they took me in. I guess in their own way they loved me. But I never felt like I belonged.

Their children came first. I understand. I, an orphan, could never measure up to them.

Sara looked up, tears in her eyes. She brushed them away, lifted her chin. She tightened her jaw to hide the quiver.

So many times in my life, I have felt the same emotions as Sara. Alone. Unloved. Helpless. Hopeless. An orphan.

But I must remember whose I am. The Lord Jesus has promised that He would pray to the Father and the Father would give me another Helper. He would abide with me forever. The Spirit of Truth. In John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

I choose to remember His words, His promises, His love for me and wipe away the tears of self pity and let the tears of joy stream forth and wash away the lies of the enemy. By the way, the world doesn’t understand this. No need to explain.

Kingdom Thinking. This prayer from John 14, is for you, too. The great “I AM” loves you with an everlasting love. He has promised never to leave nor forsake you. He will dwell with you and never leave you as an orphan. Won’t you come to Him? He is waiting.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

THE YOKE


In Matthew 11:28-30, we read: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”


“Look, Daddy,” she said. “The oxen are pulling the cart filled with coffee beans. Isn’t that hard for them?”

Her father knelt so they were eye level. “It’s not hard if the load is distributed. The weight has to be shared so one animal doesn’t carry too much of the burden. But,” he added. “The animals must work together so they share the load.”

“They take care of the animals, don’t they?”

“Of course. If the yoke doesn’t fit properly, the animals don’t work together well or they may be injured. That would not be good for the owner or the animals.”

“How do the animals work together?” She looked at her father. “Is one stronger than the other?”

“Possibly,” her father answered. “Or one may be the dominant one or the leader. The other follows.”

So many times in my life, I tried to be the leader and do things my way. A streak of rebellion that I inherited from Mother Eve. No matter how hard I tried, I could never seem to get things right. I was tired of it all...so tired.

Then the Lord Jesus came. He said, “Come to Me. I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. I’ll teach you with gentleness. My yoke is easy. My burden is light.” I agreed with Him. My back wasn’t made for the burdens I had placed on it. Now He is leading. He is in control. The yoke fits.

Kingdom Thinking. The Lord Jesus says the same to you. He has promised never to unyoke Himself from you. He will never leave nor forsake you. And love. His love is everlasting. So if you are tired and heavy laden, come to Jesus. He waits for you.




Thursday, August 6, 2015

THE GIFT OF ABUNDANT LIFE

In John 10:10, we read: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

He knew that his parents had prayed for him. He overheard them when coming in one night earlier than usual.

“O Lord,” his father prayed. “We give our son to you. We love him, Lord. Do whatever You need to do to bring him to Yourself. Let him understand how much You love him.” He heard the soft weeping of his mother. He didn’t stop but clung to the banister for support as he made his way to his room.

He tried to block out those prayers and was successful most of the time...with the aid of his friend, the bottle. Then he met a beautiful girl. This will give me a new purpose in life. It did for a while. He became involved in the church but something in is life was still missing.

He had a heart attack, had to have surgery. The physician told him the odds of his survival were not good. During the night, faced with the reality of his death, he threw himself on the mercies of God.

The Lord Jesus accepted him with open arms. Not only did He forgive his sins, but gave him new life.  He lived to pray for his children and grandchildren with a joyful heart.

The Lord Jesus offers the same to you and me. An abundant life filled to the brim with His love that can overflow into the lives of others. Life refers to more than life on earth but a higher quality of life now and into eternity where it will be complete and perfect.

Kingdom Thinking. The Lord Jesus loves you with an everlasting love and He has promised never to leave nor forsake you. He stands with His arms opened wide. Won’t you come to Him?







Thursday, July 30, 2015

A NICKEL A DAY

In Matthew 25:14-15, we read: “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.”

She sat on a high stool behind the counter at the family drug store. She watched her nieces and nephews as they flipped through comic books, laughing and talking. Her brow furrowed in thought. I have to think of a way to get them interested in church.  Her face brightened--a light bulb flashed in her mind. It might just work, too.

“Who would like to earn a nickel a day?” She asked.

All heads swiveled to her. “I would,” they chorused. Some raised their hands.

“What do we have to do?” David asked, doubt laced through his voice. “Clean out the back room?” He made a face.

“No,” she laughed. “That would be a special favor to me but you don’t have to do that.” She tilted her head. “I’ll give you a nickel a day if you go to Sunday School with me every Sunday.”

“I can do that,” David answered. “How about you?” He turned to each of the kids. They nodded.

The kids kept their word. They met at her home each Sunday morning and accompanied her to Sunday School. After several Sundays, they sat with her in church.

Though she thought this a minor thing in her life, her investment paid off. A Godly mother, a faithful father, a minister and a missionary came from her little group.

Many times we don’t realize the far reaching effect our  small deeds have on others. With prayer to our Lord Jesus to guide us in our endeavors, only He knows the blessings that will come.

Kingdom Thinking. The Lord Jesus has blessed us with different talents. But more than that, He allows us to use them in His Kingdom for His Glory and for our good. He loves us with an everlasting love and He never leaves nor forsakes us. Won’t you choose Him? He loves you.






Thursday, July 23, 2015

THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT

In Matthew 22:35-40, we read: “Then one of them, a lawyer asked Him a question, testing Him and saying, ’Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”


“You don’t love your brother?” The mother questioned the four-year old. “Why not?”

“’Cause he won’t play with me,” she answered emphatically.

“What do your think ‘love’ is?”

“Umm, Bobby plays with me. He lets me play with his toys. And I get to have his ice cream,” she added quickly.

Mother thought for a minute, trying to hide her smile. “Would you give your ice cream to Bobby?” Sarah shook her head. “Would you let him have your favorite doll or play with your toy?” She shook her head again.

“Let me get this straight. You want him to share with you but you don’t want to share with him.” Sarah nodded.

So many times in life, I find myself in the place of the four-year old. I expect the list of things I think I deserve from the Lord. But God in His wisdom sees right through me...just as Mother saw through the four-year old. He knows my needs and knows what will benefit me most.

I choose to  love the Lord Jesus Christ, not because of how I feel or what He can do for me but because He is God and He loves me with an everlasting love and He has promised never to leave nor forsake me.

Kingdom Thinking. First comes my love for the Lord Jesus by choice. As I give my heart, mind and soul to Him, He loves my neighbor through me. He does this perfectly. He will do the same for you. Won’t you choose Him?


Thursday, July 16, 2015

OUT OF THE SHADOWS INTO THE LIGHT

In Hebrews 10:1, we read: “For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.”

Five year-old Jake folded his arms across his chest. “I want to see Jesus. Then I’ll believe He’s real.”



His grandfather thought for a  minute. “Let me show you something, Jake. Now watch carefully. You stay here on the couch. Okay?”

Jake nodded, but his arms remained tight across his chest and his chin tilted up a bit. His mind was made up. He watched Grandfather walk out of the room and into the hall adjacent to the den. The lights in the hall dimmed. That’s when Jake saw it. A looming shadow.

“Grandfather,” he called. “Come quick. A big shadow is coming to get me.”

“I’m here, Jake,” Grandfather said as he walked into the room.

Jake leaped from the couch and into his grandfather’s arms. He tilted his head, looking up into the  face of his grandfather, who loved him. “You were the shadow?”

Grandfather nodded. The light shone behind me. What you saw was the shadow of me. You couldn’t really tell how I looked, could you?” Jake shook his head. ”Now I’m in the light...out of the shadows.”

The Scripture tells us that the law is a shadow of the good things to come, but not the very image of the things. A shadow can distort the truth and leave much to the imagination. So many times, we just fill in the blank, so to speak. Like Jake, even though he knew his grandfather, he didn’t recognize him in the shadow.

Kingdom Thinking. The Lord Jesus gave us the law. But much more than the law, He fulfilled the law and now gives us the chance to come to know Him. He loves us with an everlasting love. He has promised never to leave nor forsake us. Won’t you come out of the shadows and into His light? He waits for you.





Thursday, July 9, 2015

THE PROCESS OF PRUNING


In John 15:1-4, we read: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

Discarded limbs and debris were piled high underneath the magnolia tree. The tree’s canopy had been raised and now the driveway was free of limbs that scratched the cars as they entered. The pile of limbs that remained on the pile showed little sign of life. A few of the leaves were green but would soon turn brown. They had no source of life. They had been taken away from the true tree.

Some branches were removed because they prevented the air flow and allowed pests to thrive. Now the tree would produce more flowers and fruit as well as contain a better shape.

Our spiritual life follows the same pattern. The Lord Jesus is the true vine and God, the Father, is the vinedresser. He takes away the branches that do not bear fruit. Every branch that bears fruit He prunes. The process of pruning is to keep the fruit clean to prevent bugs and disease, not to remove us. He has made us clean. All I have to do is to abide in Him. Rest in Him. Lean back against his everlasting Arms.

Abiding in Him. I cannot bear fruit of myself. But as I abide in the Lord Jesus, there will be fruit. I may get the credit for it but if you look closely, you’ll see that the power source is not me at all but the Lord Jesus in me as I abide in Him.

Kingdom Thinking. Abiding in Jesus is my desire. He promises never to leave me nor forsake me. He loves me with an everlasting love. He wants to abide in you. Won’t you ask Him in?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

THE GIFT OF PROVISION

In Jeremiah 33:9, we read: “Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it.”


She had received a call from her father. Her mother had taken a turn for the worst. Could she make arrangements to leave immediately?

Flights changed, goodbye’s said, she boarded the plane in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and arrived in Miami in the late evening. A layover of seven hours was the best that could be done to connect her to Columbia, S. C.

She opened her wallet. Empty. She had used the last of her cash. She would have to sit in the waiting area until her connecting flight.

She squirmed, rearranged her purse...all to no avail. Finally she gave up. She prayed, then she remembered. She yanked open her purse, unzipped the compartment in the side and they they were. Several hundred dollars in traveler’s checks. She was able to book a room and get some rest before her flight left.

I have a severe learning disability. I forget the promises of our Lord Jesus. He has promised if I praise Him and honor Him before all the nations and they hear all the good that He has done for me, they will fear and tremble for all the goodness of His provisions. The world is watching, has been since the days when the Children of Israel were traveling through the desert...even before. The world watches today.

I need to remember His promises. Reading and studying His Word strengthens and encourages me no matter the circumstances. His promises that never fail. His mercies are fresh every morning. For He has promised never to leave not forsake me.

Kingdom Thinking.  I never know who is watching. I must so live that my life reflects the love of my Lord and Savior. The power is His as He loves in and through me. He loves you with an everlasting love. He has promised never to leave nor forsake you. Won’t you come to Him. He waits for you.