Isolation, Separation and Hope

Isolation – “various measures taken to prevent contagious diseases from being spread”~Wikipedia

Separation – “The act of disuniting two or more things, or the condition of being separated.”~Wikipedia

Hope – “The feeling of trustconfidencebelief or expectation that something wished for can or will happen.” “A person or thing that is a source of hope.“~Wikipedia

Are you tired of all this isolation during the COVID-19 quarantine? Feeling separated from those you love, those you want to see and spend time with again? Feeling cooped up, wanting to just get out and GO somewhere?

Have you been unable to work? Struggling to pay bills? Wondering when this all will end? Wondering if we’ll ever return to “normal”? Or wondering what this “new normal” will look like going forward?

I understand…and I want to encourage you today with the Hope we all have even in the midst of Isolation and Separation.

“What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?”~Job 6:11

“You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.”~Job 11:18

“But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.”~Psalm 9:18

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”~Psalm 31:24

“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.”~Psalm 33:20

“In his name the nations will put their hope.”~Matthew 12:21

I want to encourage you today to hang on to Hope as you hang on to Jesus!!

Do you know The Lord Jesus Christ? Is He your Savior and Lord? If so, you will know that there is always HOPE.

Don’t understand this hope? Don’t know Jesus in this way? TODAY can be your best day ever as you learn how Jesus can give YOU hope too! Click here to learn more. You won’t regret it!!

Led by the Shepherd

Psalm 23:1-3 “The Lord is MY Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me].  I shall not lack.  He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him-not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.” AMP

Revelation 7:17 “For the Lamb Who is in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to the springs of the waters of life; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” AMP

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Jesus Saves Leftovers

Jesus Saves LeftoversWhen they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over.  Let nothing be wasted.”  So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.” ~ John 6:12-13

Do you eat leftovers?  Leftovers are some of my favorite things to eat for breakfast or lunch.  I don’t like to waste food, and I usually don’t throw much away unless it goes bad.

Jesus was not wasteful.  Even while He did things in abundance, He was specific in this passage to instruct His disciples to “Let nothing be wasted.”

I love this!

Not only did Jesus feed over 5000 people with a boy’s 5 barley loaves and 2 fish (in abundance), He wanted to make sure they saved any leftovers so they were not wasted!

Do you ever feel like a leftover?  Have you gotten discouraged over something in life that left you feeling inferior, unloved, left out, or leftover?

Jesus loves people.  He wants everyone to come to him and be saved…have eternal life in Heaven with the Father.  No one is a leftover to Him.  Everyone is welcome.  Everyone is valued.  Everyone is loved.

When I think about the story of the woman caught in adultery and how the people of the town wanted to stone her for it, Jesus simply wrote in the sand and told the one who was without sin to cast the first stone.  This woman was a valuable leftover to Jesus, and He made sure she was not wasted.  He did not condemn her but instead instructed her to go and sin no more.

2 Peter 3:9 tells us that “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly.  That includes the leftovers!  We only have leftovers when there has been abundance.  Have you given your life to Jesus?  Are you living in the abundance He alone can provide?

And while we’re talking about leftovers from the 5 loaves and 2 fish, I think it is interesting to note that there were only leftovers from the loaves.  I guess the people ate all the fish…just sayin’!!

Here are some of my favorite verses from the Bible

Some Favorites from God’s Word

Hebrews 2:1 KJV  “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”

Zephaniah 3:17 NLT  “For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Matthew 6:34:  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” 

Colossians 3:12  “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

James 4:17 NASB  “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

Proverbs 22:1 “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.

Psalm 37:23-24 “The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.

Isaiah 58:10-11  “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring”

Psalm 125:1 NIV  “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever”

Colossians 3:23  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

Psalm 40:8  “I desire to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart.”

Ephesians 6:10-13  “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

John 15:5  “Apart from me you can do nothing.”

Psalm 127:1a “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”

1 Corinthians 3:12-13  “If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.”

Jesus Will Roll Away Every Stone

Happy Resurrection Sunday!!  My pastor’s message this morning, focusing on the stone that was rolled away as the women went to anoint Jesus’ body according to their burial traditions, went so much deeper into something relevant to our lives today.

Mark 16:2-3 ~ “And very early on the first day of the week they came to the tomb: (by then) the sun had risen.  And they said to one another, Who will roll back the stone for us..?” Amplified version

Do you have stones in your life? Not real actual stones, but stones of anger, resentment, regret, shame, sin, grief, relationship difficulties, financial struggles?  Maybe your stone is something else, but equally debilitating in your life. These are all stones that can stand in our way of walking in the fullness of life that Jesus died to give us.

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How about not yet knowing Jesus?  Have you never committed your life to Him?  That can be the largest of all stones, and He can remove that one right now!  Just pray the simple prayer below to turn your life over to Jesus, and He will remove that stone and turn your life around for you.

*Thank you Lord Jesus for shedding Your blood on the cross in payment for my sins and for offering me the gift of eternal life with You.  I am truly sorry for and repent of my sins. I turn from them and open my heart and invite You into my life.  I commit to follow you the rest of my days.  By faith I receive the gift you provided for me, and I acknowledge You as my Lord and Savior.  Amen

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Truth…is it absolute?

Truth.  What does this word mean to you?  Have you ever really thought about it?

One might say, “Well, what is true for you may not be true for me.”  While I can understand the thinking that everyone is different, our lives can certainly be different, and one size does not fit all, I also know that when it comes to Truth, God’s word is absolute, and absolutely true for everyone!

E. Paul Hovey stated, “Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them.”

We all want what we want, don’t we? And we don’t like being told we are wrong about something, or told we are living wrong, or doing things we shouldn’t be doing if they are something we want to do, or something we want to have.

The Bible is our guidebook to how we should live, how we should act toward one another, how we should forgive, but most importantly how we get to God.

Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father but through Me!”  Jesus is the ONLY way to God the Father…this is TRUTH!

The bible teaches us about what is right (truth) and what is not (untruth.)

I love this quote from D. L. Moody, “The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it, but to lay a straight stick alongside it.”

This quote to me is very profound!  The point here is that Truth is like a stick.  A crooked stick will be revealed by laying a straight stick (Truth) alongside it.  Once the two are put side by side, the crooked stick (untruth) is uncovered and revealed by the straight stick (Truth).

The Holy Bible is the true Word of God and we should use it to gauge whether or not other written word matches up and is therefore TRUE.  We should not just judge things in life by what we want, what we see, or even what another person says is true.  To be sure of any Truth, we must consult THE TRUTH, the Word of God, the Bible.  It is the Ultimate TRUTH for our lives, and it is the way to know God through Jesus.

I Believe I Receive, Because I Believe

I so love spending time with the Lord in the early morning hours, and as I ask Him to give me my nugget of truth to take into my day, apply to my life, and use to point me to Him all day long, I am more than amazed at how He meets me right where I am and ministers to me through His word.

Today I read some scriptures about believing and God gave me the title of this post, “I believe I receive, because I believe.”

The bible says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” ~ John 10:10.

The thief is the devil, and his only quest is to steal, kill and destroy!  Don’t let him, my friend!  Believe God and you will receive His promises.

Here is why:

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.  If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” ~ Matthew 21:21-22 NIV

Do you see that, my friend?  IF we believe, we WILL receive.  So when doubts creep in, as they often do, cast them OUT and remember Jesus’ promise that IF we believe, we WILL receive.  Don’t allow unbelief to undermine your faith in God, your trust that God will remain true to His promises (because He always will!), and Believe you Receive, Because YOU Believe!!

In this scripture in Matthew, it is speaking about a time when Jesus was walking with his disciples and was hungry.  As he approached a fig tree, he found it to be unfruitful, bearing NO fruit, and He cursed it and it withered on the spot!  Because the disciples were so amazed and questioned him about this, he gave them this response, found in Matthew 21:21-22.

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.  If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

If you have faith and do not doubt…You must have Faith, my friend.

You must Say it…Speaking it out in faith is believing

If you believe, you will receive…You must Believe

Whatever you ask for in prayer…You must Ask, my friend.

These truths are so empowering, but we must keep our faith strong and cast out any unbelief that tries to derail us.  If our faith seems to waver, we need to ask God to strengthen our faith, build our faith, and help us cast out any unbelief.

Allow Him to take your unbelief.  Just as the bible says in Psalm 55:22, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you” and in I Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

So my friend, cast those cares and that unbelief upon Him, allow Him to remove it from your life, and then your faith will rise!

Then you will be able to Believe YOU Receive, because YOU Believe

Who am I to others?

Time alone with God

Each morning I enjoy spending time with God, reading His word and seeking Him in prayer.  I often use one of the Bible app plans to aid me in pulling out truth from the scriptures.  This week in particular I’ve been asking God each day to give me a nugget of truth that I can take into my day and apply to my life as a whole.

Today I was reading through the commentary in the Bible app plan I’m using and the writer was speaking about how we establish a good reputation with God and other people.  He made the statement that we should always speak about others as if they were present to hear.  He stated that we establish trust in those who are present at the time by our loyalty to those who are not.

Wow! This was today’s nugget for me.  God was showing me and speaking to me through this writer that it is vitally important that I always speak kindly about others to others.  If what I am saying about someone is not something I would say to them if they were present, then I should NOT say it!

I love that the writer said that we will establish trust with those who are present when we are loyal to those who are not.  That, to me, is profound!

How do we achieve loyalty to others who are not present?  By only saying things that we would want them to hear.

Have you ever heard “through the grapevine”, as the expression goes, what someone said about you that made you mad, or surprised you, or saddened you?  Have you ever found that someone violated a trust with something you shared in secret and asked them to keep that way?  Did you feel differently about that person afterwards?

I am certainly chewing on these thoughts and considering my words that I speak, asking the Holy Spirit to guide me and help me establish trust and a good reputation with others (and most certainly with God) by being careful to watch what I say to others about others.

Proverbs 3: 3-4 “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” NIV

Proverbs 3:3-4 “Don’t lose your grip on love and loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart. Earn a reputation for living well in God’s eyes and the eyes of the people.” The Message

I hope these truths resonate with you too, my friend.  Let’s all protect our speech, honor others with our words, and build our reputations by staying loyal and true to those who are not in our presence when we are speaking about them!

We also need to remember that God is always present, and He always hears everything we say.  He desires for us to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us when we speak and act, and by doing so we can be assured that we will always do and say the right thing.

Actually do it…Quote from Ralph Marston

I really like this Quote from Ralph Marston

“It’s great to know precisely what you want, and why you want it, and how to make it happen, but that’s not enough. You have to actually do it.

It’s helpful to learn all the skills, techniques, clever tricks and strategies, yet just knowing all those things won’t make anything happen. You have to make it happen.

You can read books, watch videos, go to seminars, hire a coach and do all sorts of other things to prepare yourself.

Yet you also must put all that knowledge and preparation into action, day after day after day.

Achievement happens only when you actually do it. And the only time you can actually do it is now.

Complaining about how bad you’ve had it, or how unfair life is, doesn’t count. Waiting until conditions are perfect doesn’t count.

Focused, purposeful, positive, effective action is what counts. And right now is the time to actually do it.”

~ Ralph Marston

And to this I would add the Quote from God’s Word in Matthew 19:26:

“With Man This is Impossible, But with God ALL Things are Possible!”

Care to comment?  Would love to hear your thoughts: