When Life Has Dealt You a Bad Hand

We tend to get this idea in our heads that Christian leaders have everything in perfect order; that they are always holding a good hand. We think that they have had a great Christian life and have never been tempted to sin or been through troubled times. But this is far from the truth. When we look through scripture we find that God oftentimes chooses the weak or the least expected to do mighty things for Him.

Where the Light Felll

I have said many times that we need to have more times of testimony. Times when we share about our troubles and weakness. And then also to share how God has gone through the fire with us. How can others be encouraged or know that God is an amazing God when we aren’t sharing these things?

As I picked up Phillip Yancey’s memoir, Where the Light Fell, I found the story of his life heartbreaking. But I learned some things in my reading that I will share with you today.


We cannot let our past dictate our future.

Philip and Marshall Yancey, watched their father die when they were very young. They were raised by their mother and “aunt” whom they never felt they could please.

We all have our stories to tell. People have hurt us, often in terrible ways. Perhaps we were born into poverty or places full of drugs, alcohol, and crime. Maybe we were treated poorly by parents, family, or even leaders. But God has a plan in mind. Consider Joseph when he told his brothers,

“You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”

Joseph, Genesis 50:20

God is ready to take whatever life has dealt you and turn it into something good. Your experiences can make you empathetic toward others who have gone through the same things. Trust me, they are out there looking for someone that can lead the way out. You may be that person.

Romans 8:28 

Where the Light Fell @philipYancey
#book review
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BEFORE WE CONTINUE

I would like to leave a note here… I’m a seasoned Christian. I have learned to handle life’s challenges with God’s help. This does not mean that we don’t need occasional help from specialists, therapists that can help us through all the junk life has thrown at us. If you are struggling with depressions or having thoughts of suicide, please reach out for some help. Talk with a counselor or reach out to the suicide prevention hotline. They are there for you.

Test the Spirits.

Mrs. Marshall was heartbroken. She and her husband had plans to be missionaries, but when he contracted polio they followed the teachings and encouragement of the church leaders to reject treatment in the iron lung because God would heal him. He died two months later.

She continued following the instructions of this very conservative church to raise her children. And her harshness was hard for the boys to bear. Scriptures tell us to test the spirits. You would think, one could always trust what the church is telling you. But there are leaders and churches who are leading so many astray. We must vigilantly read the scriptures and pray for God’s guidance.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  1 John 4:1

Where the light fell
1 John 4:1
When you get a bad deal
#bookreview #philipYancey

On the otherhand, parents are doing the best they know in raising their children. Maybe we should give them a break.

Philip and his brother, Marshall were treated harshly by their mother. Disappointments in her life caused her to struggle all through life. Though she took direction from the church, it wasn’t always great advice. She was doing all she knew to do to raise her boys right but her frustrations came out as dissatisfaction and faultfinding toward her boys.

I know in my own life as I have grown and looked back, I can now see what was going on with my parents at times. I can see that what they said was not really directed at me. Sometimes, it was purely my own perception of the situation that was wrong.

When we realize this we need to have a little compassion. As we become parents ourselves, these realizations may come to fruition. When it does, this is the time to let go of the hurt and hatred so that relationships can be repaired.

Forgiveness is always the first step; and the sooner, the better.

It doesn’t really matter if a person comes and apologizes, we must forgive them. Otherwise, it will eat away at the soul. Unforgiveness does nothing to the instigator. It only drives you deeper into an unfulfilled life. (depression, anger, sin, and other things). Remember, Christ: He was wrongly accused, beaten, crucified, spit on. But what did he says from the cross before He died?

Forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Jesus, Luke 23:34
Where the Light Fell
#forgiveness

Remember the parable Jesus shared about the Unmerciful Servant. We have been forgiven so much, so we ought to also forgive those who sin against us.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Matthew 18

While our lives can have a direct influence on our children. It is still their own responsibility to find God and follow Him.

Parents, we need to examine our hearts as well. If we are getting out of control, it’s time to take a step back. Keep our mouths closed and stop from striking out. We do need to be willing to apologize to our children when we have been too harsh. Kids are resilient. And when we are willing to apologize, we will find that the situation is over and forgotten. But if these things keep happening, a child will retreat further and further. They will have difficulty finding it in their heart to forgive.

Though it is true that each child must come to God on his own, we can certainly create for them a more direct path to God. We need to do what we can to display the character of God before our children. We do have that responsibility,

Parents, don’t provoke your children to wrath.

Ephesians 6:4

And Proverbs 22:6…

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a Child

Rather, Let’s Hit our Knees in the Prayer Closet.

I just cracked open Hope McCardy’s book, 31 days of Praying God’s Wisdom for My Husband. In the first chapter, she shares how she was praying for success for her husband. She would constantly share her prayers with her husband. But he finally shared that this was causing extra stress on him. She learned that some prayers need to be silent prayers and kept in her prayer closet. She shared two principles that have been confirmed in her after decades of praying for her husband.

1. It is my responsibility to pray and pray and pray some more.

2. It is God’s responsibility to answer in His own time and in His own soveriegn way, and even when the answer is not to my liking, my trust must be in God and Him alone.

Hope McCrady, 31 Days of Praying God’s Wisdom for My Husband.

These truths apply to our children as well. I saw that the Yancey boys had a mother that wanted them to be missionaries since she didn’t get the chance. Then she began to push so hard. They weren’t able to live up to the task. So they questioned God and ran away from Him. Mrs. Marshal might have seen different results if she had gone into her prayer closet and prayed silently for her boys. (Remember The War Room Movie?)

Questioning is Not Always Wrong

Philip Yancey was always questioning his faith. What is Real? What is really a sin? He tested his teachers and mother at every turn. But in His questioning, he found the truth. He found a faith that he could grab onto and believe in. Not only that, he has been able to answer many questioning people through his books. His life and questioning of it gave him the knowledge to explain the truth to others that possibly, we who have always accepted the faith of our families cannot. Just take note of some of his book titles.

The Jesus I Never Knew

What’s So Amazing About Grace?

Prayer: Does it Make a Difference?

The Scandal of Forgiveness: Grace Put to the Test

WHY? The Question That Never Goes Away

Reaching for the Invisible God: What Can We Expect to Find?


I would like to thank Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. I have given my review freely and with honesty.

kindness

How Kindness Leads to Redemption

Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Romans 2:4

God’s Nature is Kind, Tolerant, and Patient

The Amplified Version of Romans 2:4 describes the riches of God as “kind, tolerant, and patient; withholding His wrath.” Paul is reminding the saints of how God’s kindness led them to repentance. How He gently, drew the Romans to Himself, waiting patiently for them to turn to Him.

God is Long-Suffering

David knew of His patience and loving-kindness. It has been over a year when Nathan confronted his sin, David begged the Lord to restore fellowship with Him. The first thing David said was, “Be gracious to me, God, according to your faithful love; according to your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion.” (Psalm 51:1

God’s Loving-Kindness is for Anyone

God did deal with him according to His loving-kindness and He still does for us. This kindness was not just extended to David but to anyone who would repent and turn from their sin.  My heart cannot grasp how good, kind, and patient God has been, not just to His own people, Israel, but for all of us.

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” –

Mark Twain.

Living Like Jesus Points Us to God

It is something that touches the soul of man. Our lifestyle will draw men to Christ. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “be kind… compassionate … forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you.

To the Colossians, Paul wrote, “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders,.. Let your speech always be with grace, … seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person”.

Living like Jesus draws men to Himself. It causes one to “want some of that”. And when they ask us what is different about us, we should be “ready to make a defense… to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence”.

How to Have More Kindness

In conclusion, while kindness may come more naturally for some, true kindness is a Fruit of the Spirit. It develops out of our willingness to fully surrender to the Holy Spirit. In her book, Jesus in Me, Anne Graham Lotz writes,

“While you have the Holy Spirit within you, the cooperation of your full surrender, obedience, and faith is required to activate it.”

She quotes Dr. Alan Redpath, Moody Church,

“it is a moment-by-moment surrender to the moment-by-moment control of the Holy Spirit”

(qtd. Alan Redpath, The Making of a Man of God: Lessons from the Life of David,9)

It is a daily commitment to rise in the morning and give your day to the Lord. It makes all the difference.

Dig Deeper into Romans 2:4

I am privileged to share my studies at Gracefully Truthful. Click through to read more.

kindness
peace of God

How to Know the Peace of God

Isaiah26.3.IG

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3

I was born on a Wednesday.

The following Sunday, I was in church and nearly every Sunday since then. My family was one who found themselves at church every time the doors were open. We also had family devotions … often. Sometimes this was at breakfast, other times, in the evening before bed. Every summer, we attended Holiness Camp .. even though we had a dairy farm to run, these times were not ignored or skipped. But these things, in themselves, did not save my soul. They were instrumental, but I had to make the decision to follow Christ myself. Each person must trust in Christ. Each one must personally make the decision to follow Him. As it is often said,

“God has no grandchildren.”

You cannot enter heaven on the coattails of your parents.

Trusting in Christ Will Cause You to Know Peace.

I think it was Rev Kelsey at Bethany UMC in Canton, Ohio that would end every sermon with a prayer that said something like “If there is anyone who has not responded to your call to salvation, let him have NO PEACE until he does so.”  I did not appreciate this prayer. I felt it was an attack on me. Until the day I walked the aisle and gave my heart to Jesus.

During my teen years, a bumper sticker came out that said:

By then I had given my life fully to the Lord and I really could appreciate the fact that peace comes from knowing Christ. That prayer by my pastor has stuck with me and it’s a prayer that I use as I pray for my children and my siblings’ children, “That they may know peace”. I pray that God will give them no peace until they surrender their lives fully to him. I pray that the sin in their lives will become so distasteful that they cannot enjoy it. And, instead, it will recall to them the things they learned growing up. And that they will be drawn to the Prince of Peace.

More Thoughts on Peace

I was recently honored to write about the Peace of God for the Gracefully Truthful Community. Click and follow the link below to read more thoughts on the peace of God.

 

-Mandy

PeaceofGod.pin

The God Who Fights For You

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.

Psalm 34:17
God Fights for You
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Throughout the Bible we see that the godly are not exempt from troubles; however, God is always near to us. He is ever watching and He will help us through. Isaiah always shared comfort in that God was walking through those trials with us. He hears our cries and He provides what is needed as we go THROUGH the trial.

Continue reading
not shaken

Even in the Night, I Will Not Be Shaken

Shaken to my Core

If you knew me in my young years, you know that I could have been the Dairy Poster Child. I grew up on a family dairy farm. Once I left the farm, it seemed that there was nothing to talk about but cows. There was nothing like a tall glass of fresh milk right from the bulk tank. It’s what I missed the most, I think. It took me a while to get past the taste of pasteurized milk and I didn’t dare drink 2% milk. When I visited a friend’s home, they offered milk, I would ask, “Is it whole milk?”

So when I learned that I have osteoporosis. It was quite a shock to me. For a day or two, I really could not grasp how it could be that my bones are not strong; that I was at risk for fractures and breakage. Adding this to all my other diagnoses was more than I could bear. Like David, I cried out to God, “How long, oh Lord? I can’t take any more problems. Please no more pain.”

God Speaks

Since I had morning appointments that day, I didn’t get to sit down with the Lord until that afternoon. (Maybe that is why I was so shaken… I had not invited Him into my day yet.) Anyway, God began giving me messages all day. As I did my study with Gracefully Truthful, He said to me, “I will not leave you as an orphan. I will come to you.” (John 14:18) Thank you, Lord, for this reassurance. I began singing this song the rest of the day.

Encouragement from Friends

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”

Proverbs 16:24 NIV

They may have not known that what they shared was for me, but it was. All through the day, I received gracious words just at the right time. Have you ever seen a cross-section of a bone? It’s like a honeycomb. Unless you have osteoporosis… then it’s more like swiss cheese. See National Osteoporosis Foundation

The words of my friends were like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Friends offered up prayers. Sometimes it was just sharing a quote or scripture. They had no idea that God inspired them to share it for my purpose. That night my dear friend at Alabaster Girls post this prayer.

Father, I am loved by You, an extraordinary God, a good, good Father. Your love makes life worth living. Because of You I don’t have to be afraid of tomorrow.

You are my peace.

Thank You for Your grace that truly is sufficient to carry me through the difficult places. I don’t like the difficult places, Lord — You know that. And yet I find You there. You draw near and strengthen me. You pour out Your love on me and it quiets me, giving me strength.Help me keep my eyes on You, Lord.

In Your presence I find joy, courage, and the tenacity I need to keep moving forward.

Bless You, Lord. What a wonderful God You are.

In the Name of Jesus I pray, amen.

Nan Trammel Jones, The Alabaster Girls

But I Still Tossed and Turned for Many Nights

All these things and more I have known since my youth. I know that God will not abandon me. I know He will see me through. But I am tired and my pain has been unbearable lately. Just the pain alone was waking me up and then my mind would start running away wondering what would happen next.

One of the girls from The Alabaster Girls group had friended me earlier that week but I was not “in the mood” to talk with a new person. She was from halfway around the world. And I wasn’t sure of her connection to me at that point. She kept gently prodding me to respond to her. But I like being the encourager and I didn’t have it in me to chat with someone new. Then she sent an audio clip… She sang “Pass me not, oh gentle Savior, Hear my humble cry. While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by.” And tears came to my eyes. It was my prayer. We chatted and I shared a bit of my story. She promised to pray for me.

Preaching to myself

On the second day, I saw the writing prompt for Five Minute Fridays – “STRONG”. I wondered, “Could I write about strong bones when it was so raw to me?” In the past, I have looked through my old posts to see if there was anything I could update and share. And there it was “When I am weak, He is Strong”. As part of that post, I shared an old hymn written by Annie Johnson Flint. I didn’t know it then, but Annie was orphaned as a child, and by her teens suffered severe arthritis and was soon wheelchair-bound. I’m learning more and more that it is those who go through great trials that have the most beautiful poetry and songs. Do you know her hymn, He Giveth More Grace”. That’s the grace God is giving me.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance

When our strength has failed ere the day is half done

when we reach the end of our hoarded resources

Our Father’s full giving is only begun

He GIveth More Grace, Annie Johnson Flint

I Will Not be Shaken

Finally, I stumbled on this scripture which woke me up to realize that God has got this. I do not need to be shaken. It is quite appropriate with words like: “even at night”, “my thoughts trouble me”, “I will not be shaken”, “my whole being rejoices”, “my body rests securely”, “You will not abandon me”, “You will not allow your faithful one to see decay”.

I will bless the Lord who counsels me—
even at night when my thoughts trouble me.
I always let the Lord guide me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad
and my whole being rejoices;
my body also rests securely.
10 For you will not abandon me to Sheol;
you will not allow your faithful one to see decay.
11 You reveal the path of life to me;
in your presence is abundant joy;
at your right hand are eternal pleasures.

Psalm 16:7-8

I Need to Memorize This Verse and Quote it in my Bed at Night

Interesting that just last year, verse 11 was my verse for the year. I should have read more of the context, eh?

A Word For You

Don’t allow the old devil to get you shaken. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus for in His presence we have abundant joy!

Mandy

5 Steps Toward Joy in Adversity

It’s easy to lose our joy in the world we live in. 

Originally posted in ggmandy dot com on November 10, 2016 
 

Just watch the news or even just look at your own life, your failures, your unfulfilled dreams, the junk that life is throwing at you, and boom! you’ve fallen into the pit of despair. But I believe that we have a choice whether we stay there in the muck or find joy in the moment. The apostle Paul wrote of that joy sitting in a prison in Philippi. (Philippians 1:3-7) So if he can do it .. we can do it! Right? 

But how can we have joy in adversity? 

That is the question. And that is what I have been searching for this year. Let me share a few steps I am learning to take … 

1. Understand that joy and happiness are NOT the same things. 

You can have both or you can have one but not the other. The difference is the source. Happiness is a result of some outside force. It is dependent on our “happenstance”. We are happy because of what is “happening” to us. We are happy the day we graduate or get married or when we receive a gift. But joy is much different. It comes from inside of us. The scripture says … 

 The Lord is my strength and shield. 

    I trust him with all my heart. 

He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. 

    I burst out in songs of thanksgiving 

Psalm 28:7 (NLT) 

If you take a look at the context of this verse (as with many of the Psalms) you will find that David was crying out to God. His circumstances were anything but good. He had enemies all around him, yet .. he was “bursting out in songs of thanksgiving”. Wow! Just knowing that the Lord was with him was enough to sustain him, to keep his joy. 

Steps Toward Joy Through Adversity: Understand #Joy and #Happiness are NOT the same Click To Tweet

2. Read a Psalm every day. 

As I mentioned before, nearly every Psalm begins with distress, speaking out the trouble he was in; but before he gets done, he is praising the Lord. There is nothing better for us than having an example set before us and the Psalms are it. Read one every day and you will be reminded of how awesome our God is. How much He loves you. 

3. Praise the Lord. 

We were created for praise. God made us for this sole purpose.

Psalm 148 says ” let every created being praise the Lord.”

Praise opens the door of communication with God. And that is what He desires. Being in His presence, in communication with Him fills us with joy. If we start looking for something to praise the Lord for, we will find it. There is always something to praise him for. I am reminded of a song the Imperials sang many years ago. “Praise the Lord“. It said,

‘When you’re up against a struggle that shatters all your dreams … Praise the Lord.” Every word of this song is on target. 

Praise the Lord by The Imperials

Let’s go back to that prison in Philippi.

Paul and Silas began praising the Lord. What happened next? An earthquake opened the prison doors, broke their chains, and ultimately the prison guard and his family were saved. That’s what happens when others see us being victorious in and through our struggles. We are always wanting God to take us out of the situation, but maybe God has placed us there to bring others to Him. 

4. Additionally, Give Joy to Others. 

shut-in crochet joy in adversity

I recall when I was single and lived far from home and family. I would get lonesome and depressed. So I would call home. Mom told me time and again, to get out and do something for someone else and it would help. You see when you give joy to others it comes right back to you. It’s one of those “reap what you sew” ideals. If we go around complaining and grumbling, we get grumbling and complaining in return. When we start doing for others and see the joy it gives them, guess what, we find that the joy rubs off on us! 

Since my health began to fail, I took up crocheting again. I learn to crochet way back in high school through the 4-H program. Never really got the hang of it. But I decided to give it a try once again. But I need a reason to crochet. So I started looking for who I could make something for. First there was a new baby, then a wedding. Then I decided I would make a shawl for all our shut-ins. That has kept me plenty busy. But here’s the catch … the absolute best part. When I finish a shawl. I can hardly wait to give it away. I am beside myself while I watch them open the package and take out the gift. And it’s not just a blessing that one moment. every time I see them, they speak again of how they love the shawl! And there it is .. abundant joy! 

5. Finally, some practical advice … 

A. Eat right. I know we don’t like to hear it; however, our tendency when we get down is to go eat a bucket of ice cream! Come on , you know it’s true. And I’m not saying that you can never eat ice cream. But do it with moderation. Slow down and eat a few bites. Be sure to enjoy it. And then get right back to eating right. 

B. Get your vitamins. Most of us are vitamin and nutrient deficient. So eat those fruits and vegetables. Resist the grains, bread, sugary desserts. You may need to have your doctor check some of those vitamin levels, such as Vitamin Bs and D. 

C. Spend some time outside EVERY day. Soak up some natural vitamin D. Take in God’s beautiful world. 

D. Do what your doctor says. Take you medications faithfully. 

E. Exercise. (Did I have to mention that one?)  Sorry. But it can help you feel better! 

Okay. I am #preachingtomyself here. But maybe you can come along for the ride and find your joy too! 

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city on a hill

USA – Are We Still a “City on a Hill”?

In 1630, a ship called Arbella came across the Atlantic and landed at what is now known as Boston. Rev John Winthrop was a passenger along with those whom we know as the Puritans. While still on board, he gave a sermon, called “A Model of Christian Charity“, which was a challenge to the people that they would create a new nation that would be “a City on a Hill” – a light to the world. Winthrop’s sermon expounded that America was divinely purposed by God to “hold world-historical importance”. Their success would only come with “the commitment to a higher cause and the dedication to God”. [Perry Miller]

No politician had turned to this sermon as the origin of America by quoting it until Perry Miller wrote about it in 1960. Then nearly every president to hold office quoted this one thing – We were to be a “City on a Hill”.

Winthrop’s sermon gradually became the key text defining and explaining the development of American literature from its origins to the present day. By 1979, this text opened and anchored The Norton Anthology of American Literature, the most dominant anthology on the market. Countless students still read it today.

How America Became “A City Upon a Hill” | The National Endowment for the Humanities (neh.gov)

But Are We Still a City on a Hill?

We may be still a city on a hill that the world looks to for many things. But what are we pointing them towards? I fear that somewhere along the way, we have left God in the dust. We have returned to our idols and selfish desires.

Sometimes I feel like the weeping prophet, Jeremiah.

    … my eyes will weep bitterly,

overflowing with tears,

    because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive.

Jeremiah 13:17

I look at how far the United States has fallen. My heart breaks at how we have turned away from God in so many ways. We have allowed sex, greed, pride, entertainment, and more to become our gods.

I was reminded while reading Jonathan Cahn this week that there is still hope. Cahn has been writing for years now on The Harbingers, the warnings that God has been sending us. Even before 9/11, God has been telling us that we have turned away from Him. But as He has always promised…

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:!4

The Call is to Christians

Notice that God is not speaking to the sinners here. He is calling His People, the Christians to humble themselves, pray, seek His face. You and I need to get serious about the fate of our country.

city on a hill

We need to:

  1. fall on our faces in prayer.
  2. pray for Christian leaders who will take a stand against sin.
  3. call on our country to pray.
  4. pray for all our leaders that they would turn to God as well.

It’s our only chance for survival.

Cahn points out in his book, Harbinger II: The Return, that it is not too late… yet. Time is short but prayer and fasting have saved this country in the past. It can happen again if we get serious about revival.

Were you aware that the union army was struggling to win until Abraham Lincoln called our nation to prayer?

And that very day, the tide began to turn.

Another Call to Prayer in our Nation’s History

There was another time since then that our nation was saved because the president called the nation to prayer. I remember my parents saying that this president had delayed the coming judgment on our country. Ronald Reagan called us to prayer.

I said before that the most sublime picture in American history is of George Washington on his knees in the snow at Valley Forge. That image personifies a people who know that it’s not enough to depend on our own courage and goodness. We must also seek help from God our Father and Preserver.

Abraham Lincoln said once that he would be the most foolish man on this footstool we call earth if he thought for one minute he could fulfill the duties that faced him if he did not have the help of One who is wiser than all others.

Ronald Reagan, 1982 New York Times
Reagan - city on a hill

Read Reagan’s complete speech in the New York Times

Focus on the Good

Eric Metaxas reminds us in His book, If You Can Keep It, that we must look for the good and stop focusing on all the wrong. We need to be proud of our nation. Love of our Nation needs to take precedence again. Between social media and the news, we are only hearing about the wrong things that have happened or are happening. What if we were to focus on the good things?

Like with our children, if we are constantly saying, “You are bad”, “You won’t amount to anything”. It is likely that they will indeed not amount to anything.” This is not to say that we don’t correct the wrong. But we need to find the good things and brag on those things. Then likely a child (or a nation) would begin to believe in themselves and begin doing more good.

Love not Hate

We need to love our country and the good things it has done. It’s not to say that we are perfect. No! The Preamble of the Constitution says,

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Preamble of the constitution

“… to form a more perfect union”.

That is, that we would work to make things better and better; not necessarily PERFECT but more perfect. When we realize that we are doing something wrong, we do what it takes to make them right. I am proud of how far we have come when it comes to slavery, racism, democracy. I am proud of how our country has gone and fought for the freedoms of others in other nations. We have done many things right. And we have led the way towards establishing justice, tranquility, and liberty. Like no other country… EVER.

We are Blessed

Psalm 33:12  a city on a hill

God has blessed this country immensely. We have been a “city on a hill” leading the way for so much good. But we have turned and now are leading the way in the wrong direction. (family values, abortion, greed, pride, selfishness) The Bible says “Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord.” As a nation, we are failing to keep God as our Lord. I fear there is little time left. We need to get humble, get praying and get right with God before it is too late.

Maybe God will hear and forgive us once more.

JOel 2:14 a city on a Hill

A Call to Repentance

12 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
13 So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
14 Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him—
A grain offering and a drink offering
For the Lord your God?

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
Consecrate a fast,
Call a sacred assembly;
16 Gather the people,
Sanctify the congregation,
Assemble the elders,
Gather the children and nursing babes;
Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber,
And the bride from her dressing room.
17 Let the priests, who minister to the Lord,
Weep between the porch and the altar;
Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord,
And do not give Your heritage to reproach,
That the nations should rule over them.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’ ”

Sincerely from a God-loving Patriot,

Mandy

Learn More About the Founding of America

at AMERICAN REWRITTEN

Other Resources

If You Can Keep It by Eric Metaxas

Harbinger II: The Return

Wallbuilders

Teaching American History

National Endowment for the Humanities

God Chose the weak

Be Confident: God Calls the Weak

Our Confidence is in Giving God What we Have

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 

God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. 

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. 

Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

God Chooses the Weak

God chose the weak

 Referring to verse 26, Lady Huntington, the rich and influential friend of Whitefield and Wesley, said she was going to heaven by an “m”: it isn’t any noble; instead, it is not many noble. Indeed, Jesus said it too when He expressed the point that it is difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 19:24)

It’s pretty obvious that God calls the weak.

He doesn’t look for the great or the wise. He chooses those who desperately need to depend on Him to make His call happen.

Consider the Patriarchs of the Bible.

  • Abraham was not even serving God when He was called.
  • Moses was a murderer and had a speech impediment.
  • Gideon was the youngest of the smallest and least important tribe of Israel but God used him in a mighty way to save the Israelites.
  • King Saul hid in the baggage when Saul announced him as the first king of Israel,
  • King David was a young boy when Samuel anointed him as the next king. Samuel thought his older brothers would make great kings, but God had other plans.

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Who Did Jesus Select to be Disciples?

Peter – a fisherman with no education who was always sticking his foot in his mouth. But God transformed him into a great leader and speaker.

James & John – brothers who fussed over who was the greatest. But God used them to write portions of scripture.

Matthew – a tax collector who overcharged his own people for his own benefit until Jesus got ahold of his life.

Who is Wise? Who is Foolish?

1 corinthians 1:17 God chose the Weak
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But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 

1 Corinthians 1:27

Early in life, I had no confidence in myself. I felt that God could not use me… even though I did have many talents. Surprisingly, when I married my pastor-husband, it somehow gave me “license” to speak; that maybe now as a pastor’s wife people might listen to my teaching. It gave me confidence. After my diagnosis of R.A. and chronic pain, I was again disturbed that now I really couldn’t serve God. But I felt I wasn’t finished. But I did still have something in my hands to give him … my mind, my computer, my knowledge was still available for Him to use.

God will use anyone who is willing. Just give him what you have.

When He called Moses, He asked him, “What do you have in your hand?” Moses replied, “a stick.” And wow! Did God ever use that stick? What do you have in your hand. Give God your stick! He’ll use it!

When God calls you, just say, "YES!" He'll take care of the rest. #confidence #answerthecall #legacylinkup Click To Tweet

-Mandy

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It’s Your Turn

We’re sharing about heros this month. Have you written about anyone who gave the little they had and gave it to God for great results?

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living to please God

How to Live in Order to Please God

Additionally then, brothers and sisters, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received instruction from us on how you should live and please God—as you are doing—do this even more. 

For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

For this is God’s will, your sanctification.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-3a

What does God’s Will; Your Sanctification Mean?

God’s desire, His will for us, is more than just forgiveness. It’s more than fire insurance saving you from Hell. He wants to restore us to His image. God created us in His image. And while that was ruined by the fall of man, God still instructed us to “be holy as He is holy“; God still wants to restore His image in each of us and He offers that to all who are saved. (Colossians 3:9-10

Colossians 3:9-10 Living to Please God
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Sanctification is a big, confusing word. It can also be translated as “holiness” or “set apart.” Thus, God’s will for us is to live holy lives to be set apart. When we live holy lives, we are becoming more and more like Him.  

His Holy Spirit Helps us

Upon salvation, His Holy Spirit enables us to “participate in the divine nature” of God. (2 Peter 1:3-4) Peter urges us in the following verses to do our part… “make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.” 2 Peter 1:5-9 NIV and again to “make every effort to confirm your calling and election…” (2 Peter 1:10-11)  If we are “to make every effort”, then certainly there is a part for us to play in becoming like Him.

Through salvation and out of thankfulness and humility toward God, we should want to live holy lives; doing our best to exemplify the character of Christ. His Holy Spirit directs us and gives us all we need to do this. When we participate in His work, we are then READY to enter His Kingdom. 

 “For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.” 

2 Peter 1:11

Defining the Big Words About Salvation

Defining big Christian Words; living to please God
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We receive many graces when we are saved. The first of these is justification – the forgiveness of sins. I like to explain it this way… It is “Just as if I’d never sinned“. Romans 5:9-18 

But grace does not stop there. The next thing God does is give us new life! We call this regeneration. Easton’s Bible Dictionary explains regeneration as a change of heart. (Titus 3:4-8); becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17); a renewal of the mind (Romans 12:1-2). This is nothing man does but rather it is the work of the Holy Spirit within us. 

Thirdly, God adopts us as His child!  (John 1:12-13We are His heirs

Finally, we are given the Holy Spirit, who teaches us to live more and more like Jesus. As we grow in Him, this holiness (sanctification) becomes the doing and living of our salvation. Dr. David Jeremiah, Turning Point, says “it is the proof of our faith… the example of our faith… and the action of our faith.” (Crosswalk) 

Surrendering everything to Him is the best way to live a pleasing life for God. Years ago, I learned that we must give the “Unkown Bundle” to God. That is, we give him our yesterdays and our today, but also our tomorrows. Like signing a contract without getting to read it. We sign an empty page and hand it to God to fill it with His will for us. We say to God, “Whatever You want, is what I want”. Like Jesus said in the garden, “Not my will, but yours”. Luke 22:42

Will you Give Him the Unknown Bundle of Your Life?

~Mandy

*This devotion is excerpted from a study of 1 Thessalonians, written by Mandy for Gracefully Truthful – a Women’s Online Bible study journey. You can read it in it’s entirety on the website.

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IT’S YOUR TURN

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Stop, Look, & Listen SLOW

It’s Time to Slow – Stop, Look & Listen

Published February 25, 2017 on my closed blog ggmandy dot com

Inspired by FMF prompt: SLOW

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” 

Matthew 11:28-30 NLT 

Have you ever felt like you have been run down by a speeding train? 

photo by Malventosa @ Pixabay 

Did you know? “There’s an app for that! 🙂 When I was a kid, we were taught that when you come to a railroad track, STOP, LOOK, & LISTEN. Trains can only go where there are tracks, so pay attention. Don’t proceed until you come to a complete stop, then look and see if anything is coming, then listen for anything that might be coming down the tracks.

I wonder … 

Do you

STOP, LOOK  AND LISTEN before you proceed into your life?

The scriptures are full of examples and admonitions for us to slow and spend time with the Lord. Right from the beginning, God came in the cool of the day to speak with Adam (Genesis 3:8). Even before that God Himself rested after 6 days of work (Hebrews 4:4). Even Jesus would often withdraw from the crowds to pray. (Matthew 14:13-21)

And yet, we act as if we don’t really need to slow down. 

We jump out of bed in the morning, throw on some clothes, down a cup of coffee, and run out the door. Never once thinking of even a quick hello to the Lord or an invitation to Him to walk beside us throughout the day. It’s no wonder, we feel worn and weary.  

Matthew 11:28  Slow
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How Do We Slow Ourselves to Rest?

And what about our Sundays?  

When I was growing up, we did only what had to be done on Sundays. Even when the hay was ready to bale, it stayed on the ground for a day. Sundays were for attending church and resting. The most we ever did was maybe a “Sunday afternoon drive” or visiting family. 

I recall asking Dad once, 

cow  slow

“Why couldn’t the Lord allow the cows to give twice the milk on Saturday so that we wouldn’t have to milk them on Sunday as God did with providing manna to the Israelites?”  

His answer pricked my heart. 

“God might be willing to do that if we were willing to REALLY give Him the Sabbath.”  

You see, what I wanted was to be able to go and play and have fun, not to actually take the day to slow down and worship God. It seems that when we “slow down” we are still filling our lives with stimulants that do not allow us the opportunity to rest and to fellowship with God.  

There is little to no room for God.  

We come home from work or play and immediately, we turn on our radios, TV, and internet. 

No quiet for him to even get a word in edgewise. 

Take a look from a practical point of view. Phyllis Korkki, at the New York Times, says 

 “A growing body of evidence shows that taking regular breaks from mental tasks improves productivity and creativity — and that skipping breaks can lead to stress and exhaustion … and may even lead to bad health.”

I know for myself when I was working, I would get where I seemed to not be making progress in my work. The best thing I could do was to go take a walk around the block.  Breaks are helpful, so long as we aren’t using them to procrastinate. 

What about meditation? 

Studies show that regular meditation is a very beneficial activity. Anastasia Stephens lists seven benefits of meditation :

  • Increased Immunity 
  • Emotional Balance 
  • Increased Fertility 
  • Relieves Irritable bowel syndrome 
  • Lowers blood pressure 
  •  Anti-inflammatory 
  • Calmness 

Now, who couldn’t use a few of those benefits!  

God told Joshua, 

“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” 

So, if we want to prosper, we MUST spend time meditating on the Word of God. 

Musical Rests

rest slow

WHAT if THERE WERE NO RESTS IN MUSIC?

What kind of song would we get if only notes were played without regard to rests? 

I was a percussionist in the high school band. While the bells were my favorite, I also played the timpani. But many times there were long measures of rests between notes. This was no fun. Just counting beats.  

But these rests left time for tuning the instrument to the right note

And THEN, at the right moment, what an awesome timpani sound rolled out. 

We need these times of rest in our lives as well to tune ourselves to the drumbeat of God. 

John Ruskins said, 

“If we sorrowfully say to ourselves, ‘There is no music in a rest,’ let us not forget that the rest is part of the making of the music. The process is often slow and painful in this life, yet how patiently God works to teach us! And how long He waits for us to learn the lesson!”3 

God can only speak to us in the quiet.  

stop, look, & Listen  slow
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If we never slow down and listen, there is no chance for God to minister to us.  

Oh, how He loves us and wants us to come and fellowship with Him. He wants to tell us so much.

If we would but stop, look and listen

Mandy