Lord, Please Soften Hard Hearts

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“Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. ‘What are we accomplishing?’ they asked. ‘Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.’”John 11:45-48

Seriously? Jesus had just raised a man from the dead! A man who had been in the tomb for 4 days. These religious leaders were so blind, this had no effect on them. All they cared about was their way of life. The temple and the nation. What did the temple mean without God? It was nothing but stones. It was all meaningless without God. Yet they had made it about them. It’s mind-boggling or maybe scary how the human heart can become so hard not even seeing someone walk out of their tomb can move it.

Father, please soften the hearts of people in this world. Open our eyes to the truth. Help people see that Your Son came out of the tomb and He did it for everyone! He did it for us. Please help all who are lost to see what You did for them.

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There IS a Conspiracy

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I keep hearing about conspiracies. That all the chaos in the world is a planned attack.

It’s true. The Bible tells us the name of the one who is behind all evil: Satan or the devil.
He’s a liar and is always scheming as to how he can cause death, destruction, and chaos. He hates God and therefore hates His creation. And he does not work alone:

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:11-12

Rulers, authorities, powers of darkness, and spiritual forces of evil are always at work to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).

“….The devil…was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44

The devil is behind every lie and murder. He is our enemy.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

What do we do?

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

* Be alert (1 Peter 5:8).

* Submit to God (James 4:7).

* Resist (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9).

* Take a stand (Ephesians 6:11).

* Put on the armor of God: Truth, gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the Bible, and prayer (Ephesians 6:13-18).

*Pray always (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

*Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13).

*Do not let anger win giving Satan a foothold, “‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold,” (Ephesians 4:26-27).

*The blood of the Lamb! “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:11

*Remember: Satan is a defeated foe! His time will come, “He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years…And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:2,10)

Thank You Jesus that You have already won the war! Help us to cling to You and Your truth as our enemy continues to battle. Help us stand firm against His lies. Please help us love without fail to show Your mercy and grace to all.

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Jesus Came to Set Us Free

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Jesus is the only answer.

Only He can set us free from hatred, anger, and injustice.

Only His Spirit can change a heart.

Shine Your Light Jesus.

Into every heart.

Into every dark corner.

Change my heart.

May I love as You have loved me.

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Help Us Father!

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Father, please help our nation. We’re in pain. There is so much hatred and distrust. We need You. We need the light of Your love. Please shine Your light into the darkest corners. Bring us to our knees in grief over our own sins. Help us each to repent and turn to You. Help us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Please use all this chaos and pain to bring good somehow. Help all those who believe in You to walk in love and faith. Help us be willing to face the wrong in our own hearts and confess it so we can be cleansed. Thank you Father that every human is made in Your image. Thank You that Jesus died for every soul. Help us turn to You. Please help Your body of believers, the church, to stand up with love, forgiveness, and grace. Help us take a stand for those who are mistreated. Shine Your light, Father. Help us through these troubled times. Thank You that You never leave us or forsake us.

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” Acts 17:26

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

“But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness had blinded them.” 1 John 2:11

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.” James 2:1

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How Can I Make My Marriage Better?

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Thirty-seven years ago today! These are the truths that have brought us to this day:

Forgiveness is essential! Forgiveness is the cornerstone of our marriage.  Remembering we both need it continually helps us be forgiving. We’re each weak and we make selfish decisions and mistakes every day.

Grace. Grace is each of us letting the other be human. It’s not our job to judge each other or hand out punishment. We both need grace! God gives us so many good things even though we don’t deserve them. How can we withhold good from each other?

Love. True love (as demonstrated by God) is thinking of the other person before self. True love is choosing to act in love toward another. Every day we choose to give love and build each other up or we choose to withhold it and tear each other down.

Feelings and affection. As we choose to show love in words and actions, our feelings grow stronger. The more we show affection, the more our desire for affection grows. Love doesn’t happen by accident, it’s intentional.

Letting go of expectations and the fantasy marriage in our head. We all enter marriage with expectations and this picture of how our spouse will behave. There came a point in our marriage when I had to let go of that picture. I have to let him be who he is and love him for who he is.

No comparing! We all will see someone else’s spouse doing something we wish ours would do. We don’t see what that other person does we wouldn’t want to live with. Comparing is futile and creates discontent.

It’s not our job to change each other. Any change that happens in each other’s life is God’s work. When desired change has come in either of our hearts, we knew it was because of our response to His work.

Prayer! Should be #1. The one most powerful and effective thing we can do for our spouse is pray for them.

Providing a safe haven. It’s a tough world out there. When we come together, we need to know we’ll be accepted and loved not criticized or nagged. We need to know we’ll be safe.

Words are powerful! Words of affirmation renew and strengthen while a critical word crushes the spirit. We’ve tried not to use words that tear each other down but when we do (even if it is non-verbal such as “silent treatment”) forgiveness is key.

Commitment. Knowing we’re committed to our marriage and to each other carries us through whatever comes.

Yielding instead of demanding. Choosing to yield instead of always demanding our own way brings harmony and peace. On the other hand, I’ve learned that expressing what I feel and desire is important. Balance is key. It’s give and take.

The Lord Jesus Christ! He’s most important. Without Him we’re selfish, demanding, judging and critical. He’s the strength of our lives and our marriage and as we spend time reading the Bible and praying, we learn to love and give.

Do we do these things perfectly? Of course not! But these are priorities on this journey. We have to make these choices every day.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:13-14 (NIV)

The tongue has the power of life and death…” Proverbs 18:21a (NIV)

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Listen for His Voice

tree-3094982_1920-1“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12

“Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” John 8:47

I’ve been taught about who Jesus is since birth and have heard Bible lessons since I was old enough to listen. When I was 13, I believed in Him personally realizing He came to save me from my sin. He’s always been there. There were years I worked and strived thinking I had to keep a checklist to stay in His favor. Times I thought I had to perform in order to prove I knew Him. Yet, I always knew Him in my heart. I remember moments when I would talk to Jesus about not being “sure” of my salvation. Then I would realize I was talking to my Lord. Of course I knew Him!

Grace is an amazing gift from God.

What Jesus wants is for us to walk with Him, not focus on keeping rules. It’s not about us striving to live up to our chosen list of dos and don’ts. He wants us to follow Him and listen for His voice. He wants us to walk in the light. As we walk with Him, listening for His truth, we will hear Him guiding us. He speaks as the still, small voice in our hearts. He uses the truth of the Bible and speaks to us through the Holy Spirit.

He wants a relationship with us. He desires that we focus on Him not on how “good” we want to be. Apart from Him, we may do a good deed now and then but we can’t be pure.

Jesus, I want to walk in the light with You. I know I belong to You. Help me hear Your voice guiding me. Thank You for giving me the Light of Life.

Please guide others to know how much You love them and draw them to Your light.

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I’m Free!

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“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14

You have rescued me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of Your Son whom You love, in Him I have redemption and the forgiveness of sins.

Praise You Father! Thank You for the best truth I could know!

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Faces

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From my blog: Photo fun! I love taking photos!

Photo Fun

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:1,21b

From my backyard to the famousHenry Doorly Zoosome of my favorite photos.

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May 25, 2020 · 12:36 pm

How Do I Gain Eternal Life?

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“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” John 6:40

We talk a lot about finding out what God’s will is. We often pray to ask Him His will. Jesus told us plainly in this verse what His primary will is:

That everyone—every person— who looks to Jesus His Son and believes in Him will have eternal life. And Jesus then promises that He will raise them up at the last day. He will fully restore all who believe in Him when He returns. We are with Him at the moment we die but in the end, will be restored to all He created us to be. He will make everything new! (Revelation 21:5)

This is the gospel! Look to Jesus and believe.

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Why the Church Needs to Address Race Relations in the U.S. by Victoria Elizabeth

 

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Please read this beautiful piece written by Victoria about an issue we all need to face:

“There’s a strange dichotomy in the evangelical Christian church in the U.S. Most Americans recognize racism is still at-large and realize it’s wrong. In fact, a 2018 NBC News poll states that 64% of Americans still consider racism a major problem in our country. Yet, most evangelical churches in the U.S. don’t address it from the pulpit.

But why? I recently polled people of color, asking them how racism has affected their lives. I interviewed 35 individuals in seven days, allowing each to share their experiences.

One Pastor stated he believes the Church (the larger, corporate, more global church) has a huge responsibility in addressing race relations. But he doesn’t dare take it on because: 1) he’s lost on where to start and 2) it’s too divisive a topic; he feels like he’d be navigating through a “minefield,” if he said the wrong thing, it would “implode.”

This was one of the most sobering statements I heard. Because the day the Church decides not to voice the heart of God, is the day it stops being the Church. So why does the Church, who widely describes itself as, “the moral compass,” shy away from speaking against racism?

If there was any message, I’d like to send to ministry leadership it’s to wake up to this issue. Racism didn’t die with the desegregation of schools (1954) or the end of Jim Crow laws (1964). There isn’t a person of color that I interviewed that didn’t have an example to share. It’s our sad truth, still today (2020).”……

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