Friday, January 13, 2012

Living a life of Victory!

Sometimes, life can really get you down. When you are feeling like this, like I am right now, often it's almost impossible to see a way out of your negative feelings, depression, discouragement and disappointments.The world and the pressures of life can be overwhelming sometimes, even for the strongest of us.

But that is NOT how the Lord wants us to live. He wants us to live a life of victory! We can't be useful for His Kingdom, if we are living a life of defeat. How can we spread the love of God when we are feeling down about everything that is happening in our life. As Christians, the world looks to us to lead the way. What kind of an example can we set if we ourselves are down and out and grumbling about everything and everyone?

We all have tough times in life. No one is exempt, no matter what they might tell you about how great their lives are. There are circumstances that come up in anyone's life where they feel trapped and don't see a way out. But there is a way out and his name is Jesus Christ. Wrap yourselves in His loving arms of comfort and feel His love and peace all around you.

John 16:33 reminds us how Jesus conquered all of our problems, fears, worries and disappointments for us: ... "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

This life we live can get really messy and it's getting more complicated all the time. Spiritual warfare is kicked up to a whole new level in these end days as some reference them. Satan is alive and well and reeking havoc on the souls of men. You must be vigilant in your life. I know I sure do. Satan is a liar, and a thief and he can convince you of just about anything he wants to. He can make you will think that what you are doing, saying and thinking is not affecting you at all. That is a lie of the devil! The Word of God tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 to:

"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

So, how do you be sober and alert and live a life of victory? I know what helps me. I look up, not in! I open my mind and put in the good stuff~~ I listen to a Christian or inspirational music or read an uplifting book. 

You can also listen to uplifting radio shows or CD's in your car. If you're watching TV, or surfing the net, don't focus on the news or shows that bring you down. Sometimes just watching the evening news or reading the newspaper can be a real downer because all they normally focus on are all the bad things happening in the world. If you're feeling down, please don't fill your mind with the bad stuff, at least for a while. Surround yourselves with the people and things that make you feel good about life. That's what I do, and it really helps.

Look to Jesus and His promises to never leave you or forsake you. He is there with you. Matthew 28:20 is a promise: "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” He's not going anywhere.

I have a friend that tells me that whenever Satan gets after her thoughts, she actually takes out the broom, turns on the Christian music and sings and sweeps Satan right out of the house and it really helps! I'm sure you can also think of some other things that will bring your spirits up, like maybe a drive or walk outside to discover God's beautiful earth.

Most importantly read the Word of God. Read, a daily devotional, pray, pray, pray and Believe. Even if you are at a loss for words, continue to pray because the Holy Spirit will help you. Romans 8:26-28 says:

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Even in the midst of troubles, you CAN live a life of Victory through Jesus Christ! Amen~

My verses for today are in red.

My prayer for today:

Oh Lord Jesus:

We are having trouble with our son right now Lord. But I know that you have him in the palm of your Hand. 
I am resting in your promises and knowing that you in control of the entire situation. I am believing that you will work things out for your good purposes in your perfect time. I love you Lord and I trust you in all things.

I pray in Jesus name,

Monday, January 9, 2012

God lovingly disciplines His children~

The Christian walk is not always an easy path, but it is worth every trial, every roadblock and every blessing that the Lord bestows upon us.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, he puts a seal on us and we belong to him. It's a done deal forever, for eternity. We are branded as one of His and our name appears in the Book of Life.
2 Corinthians 1: 22 tells us "He set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."
                                                                  In His Light © Greg Olsen

We belong to the Lord! What a blessing and comfort that is! When the world is falling apart around us, we can take great comfort and rejoice in knowing that our eternal destination is set in stone.  Luke 10:20 says we should ..."Rejoice because your names are registered in heaven."

What an awesome thing that is, but you're probably saying, what about my life now? My life seems to be falling apart? We all have times when things aren't going our way. You say, 'wait a minute God, I have things that I want to do with my life.' That's not my plan! We all make that statement. But, here's the thing:

Once you surrender your life to Jesus Christ, you belong to Him for eternity. There is no turning back, you can never take that away. You can rebel all you want, but he's not leaving your side. You can stray for days, months, or even years, but he'll still be there waiting for you to return, while lovingly trying to show you why things are not working out your way. Mind you, you can live any way you want, God give us all free will, but He won't bless you or your plans when you are living against His perfect will for you.

But how do we know the way. How will He show us? By closing doors that you want open. He is the God of the Universe and He can do anything he wants with you or me. You might think you have the greatest plans in the world, but if you belong to Jesus and are living outside of His will for your life, all of your plans will fail miserably. I can guarantee you that.

                                                   God can close any door he doesn't want you going through~

So, how do you get the wisdom to know what the Lord wants for your life? James 1:5 tell us to “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” 

The Lord want to help us on our way, but we have to seek after Him and His will. If you seek the door will be open. Matthew 7:7-8 says "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."

                                                                            Let Him In© Greg Olsen

Seek, trust and obey. It's really is that simple. Proverbs 3:5-6 says you should “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight”

I remember when our oldest son was a teenager. He kept getting caught in all these unsavory situations and couldn't understand why all of his friends got away with things and he never did. I told him 'that's because you belong to the Lord.' He is disciplining you and trying to teach you the right way.' He wasn't real happy about that, but I told him the truth. God had His loving Hand upon him.

Jeremiah 29:11 says: "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." When we do not do what we should be doing, he has a way of "slapping us down,(if you will) to make it real clear that we are going in the wrong direction. It took me many years of Bible Study and prayer to finally surrender to His will for my life. But surrender I did.

Our youngest son is having a hard time right now. He gave his life to Jesus Christ about a year ago during his brief 3 week incarceration. Once he got out, he was a changed man. He was like the boy I knew from so many years ago before he started down his path to destruction. We all had 5 wonderful months of sobriety while he was living in God's will for his life. He was attending church willingly and regularly and he was encouraging us with bible verses and attending weekly Bible Study classes. It was an unbelievable transformation that could have only come from the Lord. But Satan wasn't happy about this new child of God that was shining for the King and he came after our son with a vengeance. He gave in, as so many of us do. Satan is a strong force, and believe me, he is alive and well in 2012.

Now, unfortunately, our son is back on the other side of the coin. He's not been living in God's will and he is seeing his "plans" fall apart. I feel so badly for him, yet I know exactly that what is happening. It's clear as a bell to me and to my husband. The Lord is disciplining his child. He's trying to tell him that he doesn't like some of the things he's been doing or saying and the way he's been living. It's so hard for him because my son is young and so full of pride. But the Lord wants us to live with a humble heart. Psalms 25:9 says "He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way." 

                                                                   Lost and Found © Greg Olsen

So, we wait and we pray. We wait patiently for the Lord to soften our son's heart to Him again. We wait for our son to turn from his rebellion against us and against the Lord, hoping that it will come sooner rather than later. We are confident in knowing that the Lord Jesus will not let go of him in the process. 

We pray for God's Hand of protection upon our son and we ask for Him to guide him and give him wisdom. Your kids are yours until the day you die, you never stop thinking about them or praying for them. It's true what they say - Little kids...little problems. Big kids.....big problems. Thank God that we know Jesus Christ and can lean on Him and His promises. Amen~

My verses for today are above in red.

My prayer for today:

Dear Heavenly Father:

Thank you for the life of our son. Thank you for blessing us with this young man. Thank you for what you did for us on that Cross. Thank you that our son has accepted your precious gift. Help us to guide him in Your way, back to you. Please watch over him and protect him during this trying time for him. Help him to come back to your loving arms of comfort.

In Jesus Name I pray,
Amen and Amen

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I am forgiven~ Thank you Jesus!

I was perusing my images of art yesterday and found a few of very poignant ones by a couple of my favorite artists and friends,Greg Olsen and Morgan Weistling. I worked closely with these two talented inspirational artists in the 1990's during my 'marketing' years at Mill Pond Press. We launched the new Visions of Faith line of inspirational and religious art prints. I was so blessed to be able to work with these Godly men. I saw many very beautiful artistic images of Jesus up close and personal and it changed my life forever and began my spiritual quest back to the Lord.

Their art cuts deep into my soul and always has. Forgiven ©Greg Olsen is an image of a young girl kneeling before Jesus, asking him to forgive her deepest and more horrible sins. Greg painted to a verse in the book of Isaiah: "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)

When I look at this expressive image, I think about my own sins. I can so relate to what she is feeling as she sits at her Savior's feet and confesses her sins. Surely, I am covered with crimson and scarlet because I am a sinner.
I will readily admit my sins to anyone when asked. But, most importantly, I've admitted them to the one who matters, my Lord and Savior, Jesus. I love him with everything in me. I am proud to belong to Jesus. I am blessed to be a child of God. 

For me, being a Christian means that I spread the love of Jesus every chance I get. Social media is the perfect fit for me. It's available at anytime, any day and I can access it simply by sitting down at my computer. Perfect for someone who can't drive anymore because of MS. Spreading the love of Jesus is part of who I am and I feel blessed that I am able to do it. But please understand this: being a Christian doesn't mean I don't sin. I do sin, every day, but the difference is my sins are forgiven. Each time I confess, the Lord forgives me of my sins and he is waiting to forgive you too. 

Forgiven  ©Greg Olsen

1 John 1:9 says "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." What sweet words those are! He makes it so simple for us, why do we resist him so?

The Crucifixion ©Morgan Weistling

Though His face is weary and worn, we see Him looking up to heaven towards the Heavenly Father. 
To think, He did it all for us...Unbelievable!

I feel that part of our human thinking is we honestly believe by doing 'good things', we can earn our way into heaven. You absolutely can't! Salvation is a gift. Nothing you can do will change what he did. Ephesians 2:8 declares it so well: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."  

There is nothing that you can do to change or better what he did, Nothing! He is the one that died on that Cross for our sins. He did it and it is the perfect gift that he is waiting to give you. There is nothing you can do or say to better it. It is the greatest gift ever given to humankind, pure and simple.

                                                                           White as Snow ©Greg Olsen

The image above White as Snow ©Greg Olsen shows Jesus with the girl after he cleansed her from her sin. Her red garment (symbolizing her sin) is sitting on his lap and she is draped in white, her sins blotted out forever. What a glorious feeling - just look at the smile on that face of hers!

Do you want your soul to be white as snow? Do you want your sins to be cleansed by the only one who can save you? Do you want a brand new life, and a fresh start for the New Year? Turn your life over to him. Confess your sins and ask for his forgiveness. He died for you and only he can save you.  

It's the greatest feeling in the world and it will change your life forever. All the other stuff just falls away. This is the only thing that matters during your journey here on earth. I am forgiven. How about you?

My verses for today are above in red:

My prayer for today:

Dear Heavenly Father: 

Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for everything you did for me on that Cross. What an unbelievable gift that is.Thank you for saving me from myself and my sins. Help me to live for you everyday. I am so unworthy of your love, Jesus. Help me to take this tremendous gift you have given me and take it to the nations, in your blessed name!

In Jesus Name I pray,
Amen and Amen